It’s no good starting a working day absolutely exhausted after a long night of sleeplessness, punctuated by anxiety dreams, but that’s the reality for an awful lot of people. It’s certainly my reality. I’m going through a long spell where it is taking every single bit of mental energy I have left, and it’s not much, to get through another working day. Or any day for that matter.
I’d begun to believe what I now realise was an illusion that somehow I was the world’s strongest man. Not physically, obviously, because I’m knocking on a bit, but mentally. I must have had something about me to still be alive and just about kicking after a near lifetime of mental health problems that started in 1969. 50 years of hurt.
The struggle was never more than about survival. To get through the next day. To still have a job when the sun goes down. To blot out the worst elements of depression and get things done. My self esteem has never been lower, my belief in myself has been on the slide for years – and even that started from a very low point. And I am going to be quite candid here: after five years of giving it everything in the writing department, the realisation that there is a reason I am writing for nothing and, pretty well, no one is beginning to dawn on me. I’m not as good as I thought I was and I never thought I was that good in the first place.
That’s depression for you. It’s not really self-deprecation. My depression is my reality. I am not very good at anything and that’s a fact. One O level, a lifetime of occupational underachievement, still unsure what I want to do with a life that’s far nearer its end than its beginning.
Thank goodness for family and friends. Today’s struggle would be impossible without you. 50 years of hurt never stopped me dreaming. But the dreams are so dark. And the dream of writing for a living is almost dead. Everything was not enough.