Not that one. This is a different one. A change I didn’t realise was happening…I didn’t even realise it was needed!
Turns out I’ve been sad. Like, really sad. Not just living with depression and stuff, but sad on top of that. Sad with life. And stressed.
And then the other day this photo was taken of me, and look at it…
I’m smiling. Not just smiling, but really smiling. That smile that comes from your eyes, from in your soul, from being honestly happy.
I’m still a wreck when it comes to mental health; still bursting into tears and having my odd ups and downs. But I’m happy, and I didn’t even realise that I hadn’t been.
You know what’s made that change happen, along with a load of other stuff, is the lack of stress. Sure I still get upset by my mum’s drinking, frustrated at the hoovering at stupid o’clock and irritated at random bits and bobs. But, essentially, what has brought this change about is being treated like a child.
- I don’t deal with money anymore: I get 5€ a week and I can manage that. I don’t have to comprehend bills, fight the urge to spend any money that comes in when I’m a bit of the wall or even think about cash. If I want something, I add it to my list if I can’t afford it, or I check my purse and I buy it. That’s it.
- I don’t have any responsibilities: I just focus on me, selfish as that is, and making sure I’m ok. My responsibilities stretch to remembering to eat, drink and take my meds, maybe a little further but you get the picture. There’s no big looming anything over my head that, when I mess up, will come crashing down bringing my world with it.
- I can do what I love: If I feel creative I have the space and the inspiration to write or photograph. And because I have that space, I feel more creative. I’ve written poetry without being in the depths of depression, I’ve read, I’ve learnt about photography by doing it, and soon (hopefully) I’ll be getting paid to do it too, on my time, with no pressure of everyday work.
- I’ve let go enough to take control: Before I was constantly trying to keep up that juggling act, the pretence that everything was ok. Now I’ve had to let go, essentially the balls have been confiscated, so I’ve had to let it go. And now I can actually use the insight into my illness(es) to my advantage. I’ve printed off several feelings lists and rainbows and I carry them with me so I can just point at how I feel. Just holding them makes me feel better, knowing that I had the forethought to do that, that I can express how I feel when I’m at my least expressive. If I need to cry, I don’t hold it in and let it morph into anger any more, I go and cry. I just let it go. And then it’s gone and I can carry on again.
- I can sleep: I still have the odd night where I struggle, but in general I can sleep. Sure, the meds will be helping, but there’s no whirling, worrying, panicking storm in my head every night. The nightmares have all but stopped.