Fear not, I’m not about to launch into Usher’s RnB classic – wouldn’t be a good move, I’m tone deaf for a start and I have a flat foot along with two left feet!
No, instead for some strange reason I feel the need to confess my truths and hopefully, contrary to Jack Nicholson’s assertions, you will be able to handle them.
You see whilst I sit hear tapping my foot and jabbing away at the little scrabble letters of my keyboard, what I really want to do is cut. Cut is probably the wrong word now, it started with little cuts but then like everything of this world, it evolved. What was one Gremlin became many and the monsters in my mind blossomed as I fertilised them with self loathing.
I was raised Catholic, but I’m many years lapsed. Even though I feel detached from the faith itself, a calmness floods through me on the odd occasion I find myself walking through such heavy doors. The comfort of ritual. The worn pews and delipidated hymn books, cracked spines and folded pages. The impression that time was nullified in those buildings so that the collective masses became separated from the turning world outside.
The first time I harmed was in the church toilets with a broken piece of china. Maybe it was the dramatic setting of the original offence, but somehow the location applied a righteousness to it. As though He himself might approve. I thought it would fix me, that first time. But it didn’t. All my essential rottenness remained, and so I returned, the repentant sinner. Whilst during the week I would work on finding something to ‘confess’ to the priest in the confines of that suffocating vertical coffin and afterward, on bent knees, utter silent prayers with numb lips as my hands processed rosary beads like brail, it was always alone I poured my secrets and blood.
The last time I harmed was 5 years ago. The day had started just as familiar as this one, taking the kids to school, the morning pots, some washing. But all throughout that day just as now I could feel those spindle legs tapping through my mind as though I had a hoard of Lord Varys spiders up there, waiting to report back. I put my child to bed after tea and began the pots after my husband left for the gym.
As I was vigorously attempting to transfer my rising hysteria to the dishes I noticed one of the glasses had a chip in it. It stilled me for a moment, it hushed the screams in my head, all my focus heightened upon this little tumbler. Minutely exquisite feather cracks ran from the original fracture, as though it too was wounded. It conjured snowfall to mind and crisp clear skies and I wondered if maybe this were my portal, a gateway and on the other side all the hurt would be gone.
I didn’t take that journey.
I did smash a glass against my wrist and I did need to go to hospital and have glue and steri strips applied. But I’m still hear. More dramatic than that moment was what resulted from it. My confession.
For the first time in my life I laid my soul bare, because it was so fractured, so hurt, that without intervention, without ‘medicine’ of some kind, I don’t believe I would be here now in this moment with you.
Depression is real, but unfortunately other than to a trained or very perceptive eye, it remains invisible. But it is there, it lies behind laughter and smiles just as easily as tears.
My medicine was short term antidepressants and counselling. I’ve finished both and admittedly may need one or the other in the future. I know that those gremlins in my mind will never go away. I know that for me, wellness will be a lifelong journey. Some days are easier than others and some days, just as before, I feel an incredible sadness and need to make it all fall away, to make everything stop.
But one principle raises its flag more than most in my mind, that every behaviour can be unlearned. If I can orchestrate an action, I can unravel it, however complex the knot.
I never needed to ‘confess’, the word itself presents the assumption you have committed a wrong. All I ever needed was to unburden, to unwind all the kinks within my soul, to ease the oldest hurt.
Once you’re ready it’s surprisingly easy to let someone love you, the hardest lesson, is learning to love yourself, but it is possible, over time. In the meantime, try to nurse every inch.