When I’m depressed I feel like the person I used to be has disappeared and something that doesn’t quite fit has taken its place. It’s uncomfortable, a skin crawling feeling that leaves me agitated and restless. I didn’t always feel like this, in fact I felt the complete opposite. Everything needed to be bigger. My presence, my future, my voice, I was so sure of myself from a young age that I find it difficult to connect that girl to the woman I am today.
I have a file on my computer titled ‘Good’, hidden away within multiple folders not unlike the shameful porn collection of a pubescent teen. In this file is every positive thing that’s been said to me recently. From nurses, strangers and my psychiatrist, I make sure to record them as best I can. Like a deteriorating Alzheimer’s patient being reminded of their only daughter’s name, my brain seems unable to retain these positive moments. Instead its negative bias eradicates them as quickly as they came, leaving me in a constant state of doubt that they ever happened. And sometimes when I forget these positives, I find myself alone in bed on sleepless nights convinced my mental illness is intrinsically connected to my sense of self and existence. That I’ve become the personification of pure negativity, and I’ve lost myself. To take these shortcomings away from me, to remove them like a doctor would a cancerous tumour would be surgically impossible. It’s spread too far to distinguish the good from the bad.
In moments of clarity, which are few and far between lately, I’m more inclined to be kind to myself.
I remind myself that human progress and growth is fluid and constant. I speak about my younger self like she’s gone, and while it may be true that some parts have changed and transformed; the 12-foot giant of a girl within me is still here. That while awful things have been done to me and awful things have happened to me, these things don’t make me awful. I need to begin the process of being unapologetic about my strengths and genuine self. Negativity will only breed negativity, but fuck does negativity come easily for me.
Original Artwork supplied by MG