The younger version of me didn’t realise. I always seemed to shrug it off as “one of those days”. I started to realise my love for sleep wasn’t out of laziness, it wasn’t solely because I was overly active that day. It was because I was emotionally and mentally drained; to the point where I just didn’t want to be awake anymore. I stayed in my room a lot, mostly because I felt the constant urge to be alone. To be away from everything. I felt even more miserable in school because I was the complete opposite of “the popular girl”. I was the quiet one and whenever I did speak it was to show I was present to the teacher taking the register. I lost my mother to her drinking problem aged 13 and I didn’t realise that played a big part until now. You always think you’re okay until you’re not. We had a very close bond. I remember never wanting to sleep in my own bed, she used to tell me that I had to sooner or later. Sooner came and she ended up actually wanting me to sleep in her bed. I’d wait for that knock to come every night. It’s sweet memories like these I long for. I used to sing to her like there was a live talent show in our living room and she’d always respond with an applaud and a warm smile. Even though I was honestly terrible at it. We used to bake shortbread biscuits and chocolate cornflake cupcakes together sometimes after I’d finish school. I’ve always had a love for cooking because of her, she let me be creative. She let me be me.
My mum was the most nurturing and loving soul. There wasn’t any flaw I could pick out. She put me first everytime and I don’t ever feel she failed at parenting. She battled with her addiction everyday and all I wanted to do was take her away from it all. But what can you do when the person you love is too far gone down the line? Completely and utterly fixated on the next fix?
I was helpless and so was she. But that never defined her as weak. She always told me how much she wanted to quit, how desperately she wanted to be happy. Those words were sweet melodies playing throughout my head; it was all I wanted to hear. Deep in my mind I believed it could happen, it was possible to have my mum back. But it turned out to be a cruel trick that only led me down the road of false hope.
Every little girl looks up to her mum as an idol, and my idol taught me true strength. We had countless arguments about her addiction which always ended with tears. I drove myself insane because the thought of losing her killed me inside. I could feel her slipping away and there was nothing I could do about it. She was my happiness that made me forget all the bad stuff and nothing in the world made me happier than her presence. I know that if I could tell her anything now, it would be I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you felt so lost and alone. That your depression manifested it’s way into your brain, poisoning it. Trapping you in this manipulative bubble with no will to get out. Depression is a sick and twisted creature that sits on your shoulders, draining every last bit of life you have left in you. I could say that I could have saved you but the truth is I didn’t realise. I didn’t realise you wanted to block everything out too, that you wanted to drink until alcohol was the only thing rushing through your veins. I wish I could have burst that bubble so you’d be here now. I didn’t realise and I’m so sorry.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become so much more aware about mental health. The ways it can affect and trap people. How it can kill loved ones, convincing their minds that life’s just not worth it anymore. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but learning more about it feels so liberating. It’s uplifting to have the knowledge and power to tame it, to be one step ahead of the game. There are happy times that come and go. Those times feel so far away and you latch onto those moments because you crave that happiness. It makes you feel alive. I’ve spent a lot of time accepting these dark feelings, not welcoming them but accepting them because this bottled up pain needs to come out eventually. Sooner or later.
The biggest lie depression ever told you was that it will go away someday, and the biggest truth is people fall for it. I certainly did.
Years later I’m still fighting the same battle but it does get easier. You become stronger and realise accomplishments can be as small as getting out of bed. Or taking a walk. Whatever you do, give yourself some credit because the self doubt is what makes us sink into the arms of depression. There are people who want you to be alive, as much as you don’t believe it you have a purpose here. There’s just so much for you to feel and experience. Your time is far from done.