Walking with a mate.
'Its been a good couple of days internally...'
^ Wayne and I on an impromptu trip to Berlin in the summer of 2019.
Biography of a nobody day 7. January 7th 2021.
Bee worked from home today so I figured I wouldn’t need to get up quite as early today. It still felt abrupt to be getting out of bed at 8 to prepare Alex for nursery and drop her off.
Once she was dropped off I went to the garage to change my car battery. It has needed changing since the initial lockdown and being sat unused for months. The battery has been in an elusive place in my car to me up until now so I was interested to see where it was hidden. Turned out the professionals didn’t know at the garage either. Youtube guides seem to help everyone!
Once changed I went for a social distanced walk with a close friend of mine, Wayne. He is an actor and so has had his industry hit pretty hard by Covid and returned from set again at the start of the week as lockdown re-engaged.
We chatted about life, about stresses, about processing life at the minute and how we each handle everything differently. How stress is relative to the individuals experience not the event that triggered it. How “the most stressful thing to ever happen to you” is completely personal and shouldn’t be judged just because you may have been through something “worse”. Not everyone has had perhaps a difficult childhood, not everyone has broken a bone, been in a crash, been divorced (or married which can be worse!) or lost a loved one. Experiencing perhaps the most stressful of those (again that is relative) may make the others seem less painful and so tends to make you numb to how other people feel when it happens to them. Or numb to how you felt at the time.
Some peoples stress is related to events. Some peoples to their circumstances. Some peoples to environment and others to a lack or excess of certain chemicals in the brain. Too much stress and your ability to effectively react or reflect anything becomes harder. Too much of finding that hard and something breaks.
Once broken- it is extremely hard to piece the emotional or mental state back together. Even if all the elements look great from the outside, or even if everything returned to the way it was before the break and stresses, something has irreversibly altered within you. It's not that you cannot recover (So irreversible is a state of mind) its that some days you lack the capacity to see a reason to try to. That is the difference between stress, pressure and depression. I have been stressed before, I have felt pressure before. I changed my circumstance then felt fine again with no long-lasting effects. When I experienced that relief I looked at people who suffered long with depression and suggested changes for them as if it would help. Perhaps tried telling them all the great things they have compared to others.
None of it matters when you are past stress and into depression and it, unfortunately, doesn’t help to be told. Now I understand depression a little more because I have experience of it.
I know for a fact I have a great life. I have a healthy body, and I was blessed with my what I would consider passable looks. I have a healthy, beautiful and intelligent daughter who is amazing in every way. My partner, family and friends are loving, supportive and mostly all here! I earn good money from a solid and reliable career that I can be proud of. I have a nice house, car, everything. I have every possible thing that you could need to be happy and more. Much more. I also know and have absolutely believed all of my life that “happiness is a choice” (Aeschylus). It just isn’t though, some days.
There are days (or longer) now where I am uncontrollably and inconsolably unhappy. This is a very recent experience. Not with any single part of my life, or with it as a whole. I can count all the things I just mentioned and still I feel it. I have prided myself on my logic all my life, my ability to simplify choices for myself and others. I know logically I have no reason to think or feel anything other than happiness. Yet still some days the unhappiness is there. The hardest part is that it triggers from nothing. I have always had pretty thick skin- I am one of six boys, my parents divorced, I am an engineer and I have forgiven and forgotten some pretty horrible shit. Now though, in my current state, I can be driving in my car on a good day and be listening to good music then my brain starts to recollect perhaps an old argument about nothing. That then spirals into worse and worse memories where I question myself and my choices in those moments continuously until an unhappy day starts. Then no matter what I do, who I see, where I am- underneath the smile is pain.
So, as you can surmise, Wayne and I delved deep into the psychological aspects of my current state of mind (and his) on our short walk. I did realise though, that even though I do feel all the above, I feel better knowing that I have felt worse. I have been through worse. That brings no solace to someone who is at that stage right now, in the thick of it, but it helps me. I ran on steam for a long time, reeling and feeling the PTSD from the custody battle for my daughter. I am sure I will delve into that at some point another day, but I have never and will never feel as low as when I thought I would lose my child. How people get past that I will never know. But, I have her, she is asleep upstairs and even in my most uncontrollably unhappy days since the custody battle I have known that tomorrow will be better because of it. I know that I can pretend in those unhappy days that life is ok, especially in front of her- because I know that tomorrow I will remember how lucky I am, and I have her. That even in autopilot in the worst of my days I can be proud I fought for her, she is with me, and she is my light. I know my path toward being my old endlessly positive, enthusiastic, energetic and optimistic self is somewhere in me.
I still remember that me and as long as I do, and the people I care about do, I can be that way again.
I am obviously having a good day today because even saying that (or typing it) feels like an epiphany. It feels like a big step in that direction and I feel like another weight has lifted from me. Whether that share of the load is permanently gone or will reapply itself by the time I wake up is something only time will tell.
I hope it is gone, and hope is something I feel right now. That in itself is 100 miles further along the path than I thought I could or would reach- just having hope.
It's been a good couple of days internally. A really, really good couple of days.
Roll on Friday... Who am I kidding- its 1:36 am. It is Friday. I am now up to date though and not a day behind so I should find daily entries easier.
Wayne, my actor friend, who is a star for allowing me to vent and is a literal star in films (nice Pete, nice) can be followed on Instagram via this link Here. Should you feel so inclined.
Thanks for today bro, you helped more than you could ever realise. I hope I helped you too.