This morning my GP asked me which of the many emotions I, or I suppose, we, as Human Beings, experience, overrides all others. I suppose this is a difficult question for anyone to answer, so I attempted to narrow it down by thinking about what I feel now, today. Still nothing, so he helpfully threw a few emotions at me…anger, frustration, regret…
Regret, now there’s a fickle thing. Let’s explore it a bit.
Do I regret what the last ten years has thrown at me? No, I don’t. I wouldn’t change what I’ve been through. Many of you might think I’m lying – who in their ‘right mind’ wouldn’t regret the many turns I’ve taken along the way that may have, but probably haven’t, landed me where I am? Well, for starters, I don’t know if you’ve gleaned this from reading my blog, but I’m not actually in my ‘right mind’, so there’s that.
And then there’s the ‘one in four’ statistic*. If MH really doesn’t discriminate, then one person living in my house was likely to experience Mental Illness of some kind. I can honestly say, I’d rather be going through this than watching someone I love go through it. The people standing by are powerless to do anything but just that – stand by. I recently read on someone’s Twitter feed that to be comforted/hugged/otherwise touched, mid-panic attack would be unbearable. I agree; the last thing I would want, when I’m clawing at the floor, fighting for every breath, would be for someone to come into my space and use up the oxygen that I was trying with every ounce of my being to get into my lungs. So where does that leave the people watching me? And then there’s the aforementioned fact that I really do love these people. So I don’t want them to know what it feels like to have something that feels like a fist inside you, wringing your gut, or to be so agitated that you define the expression ‘climbing the walls’.
On more than one occasion, I’ve made the decision to ‘recover’ when it would have been so much easier to do the opposite. Not to mention the multiple times that God has decided that I should remain here, when I’ve wanted the opposite. I don’t regret any of this either. Because, yes, Mental Illness has robbed me of some of the most basic human skills. I’ve had to relearn to eat, to walk (literally, when Anorexia took my mobility), to talk/communicate. But I also get to appreciate the most basic human pleasures. I can now be satisfied by the wind in my face, a conversation with a five-year-old, a vegetarian meal, a cuddle from my Mum. I have a clean slate, nothing left to lose. I can take my time, rebuild my life. There really is no rush, and I know not to rush because that will only result in backward steps.
Lastly, I genuinely believe…wait for it guys…I’m going to say something semi-positive about myself here…I genuinely believe that I’m a better person because of what I’ve been through. I’m more in tune with people. I recognise suffering, those less well off than myself. I don’t judge; I look at drug addicts on the street, and I wonder what happened to them to make them want to forget – EVERYBODY gets the benefit of the doubt, and call me naïve if you want to.
So there we have it. No regrets; as Robbie Williams said (it pains me to have to refer to Robbie Williams in my writing), ‘suppose it’s just a point of view’.
*According to Mind, as many as one in four people living in the UK will experience a MH condition at some point in their lives.