I’m Not Ok. I Promise.

Corner

Today is a bad day. A very bad day. It’s safe to say I’ve crashed landed, following the high of last weekend’s gig. I’ve spent the last 24 hours feeling isolated and frustrated, whilst watching the world around me gradually getting darker and darker. Any hopes for the future (or any future at all) are slipping away. I’m trying to hold onto the recent positivity but I feel like it’s a pointless attempt, despite what I want. So what happened?

I know I’ve been on edge all week. The anxiety of another week of confusion is definitely something that’s got to me. I’ve been irritable too. Not intentionally though, but with good reason. I rely on stuff to take my mind off things. To give me something else to focus on…a break from all this thinking. Since taking a break from music, the only thing I have is work. But what happens when the one thing you have to keep you going becomes a chore? When it’s no longer fun because shit just keeps going wrong. How I’m feeling right now, this descent into depression is what happens. Heading into the 4th year of self employment and running a business, you’d think things would be a lot easier wouldn’t you? I don’t mean everything needs to be perfect. This is self employment, there’ll always be ups and downs. In fact every company has ups and downs, it’s just more pressure and more noticeable when you’re self employed as you’re responsible for everything. That said, you’d expect the basics to be second nature and all the standard processes to be straight forward because you not only wrote them but have had 3 years to practice them. Sadly, no. I wouldn’t say things are getting worse though…more like they’re just remaining inconsistent…unreliable. Tattooing isn’t just about drawing something and tattooing it. Nobody’s going to come to you if they don’t know you exist, or you can’t give them a reason to rely on you even when they do. I’m not saying work is to blame for the reason I feel this way…but it’s certainly not helping, especially when my life is so uncertain and messy that I just want some kind of stability or even something reliable. Something I can enjoy, without extra stress being piled on top of me. I know it’s down to me to make that happen. I’m not expecting it to be handed to me on a plate. I’ve worked hard to maintain standards and to make sure everything we do our best. I just wish everybody involved was as committed. Ok, maybe committed was the wrong word to use. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s just really fucking depressing when the same mistakes keep happening over and over again. Little things that may seem trivial to anyone else, but can ruin a business and a reputation that have taken blood, sweat and tears to create. Mistakes happen, I get that. Nobody’s perfect. But we’re supposed to learn from mistakes, not keep making the same ones over and over – especially when there’s no room for error in our line of work.

You know what? I can totally understand why depression is a stepping stone to suicide. The darkness and loneliness just sucks you in and refuses to let go. It’s something you live with. Something you manage on a daily basis. Something *I* manage on a daily basis. Problem is, each fuck up in daily life is another draining reminder of how life isn’t straight forward. When all those fuck ups add up each day, each hour, each week and each month…you soon start to buckle under the pressure, and the things you used to focus on start to become tarnished. However in my case, it doesn’t simply end there. All this stems from the unravelling of who I am. Waking up to find I’ve been living a lie from the moment I was born and then realising it’s too late to do anything about it because you’ve built your entire life on top of that one lie. Having nobody to confide in is what makes this so painfully isolating. Nobody that would understand or be able to see things from my point of view. I’m surrounded by so many people but I can’t establish a full connection with any of them because of the way I am. My other half just leaves me to it. She knows something is wrong but distances herself from it. She has asked if I’m ok on a few occasions, you know: the basic kind of stuff, but obviously I’ve not said anything. Nor would I until I’ve figured out what there is to tell. I don’t get the impression she wants anymore to have to deal with or is scared of what I might say. I don’t blame her really. This is fucking scary stuff. My best friend knows I’m unhappy and suggested I should speak to somebody about it. That’s all very well if I knew what to say to that “somebody”. She means well though. So, for now at least, it’s just me stumbling through the day, trying not to bump into anything. Trying hard not to give anybody reason to suspect I’m not ok at all.

In the past, during the rare times that people know I’m really bummed out, they’ll usually say something like “hope you feel better soon, you’re a top guy”. Ha, if only they fucking knew!! Actually, that just gets me down even more. Being referred to as “he” or anything like that is another blunt reminder of my problem. Sometimes it’s really distressing and I just want to fuck the world off and sit in a dark room on my own. I know people don’t say it out of spite, after all they don’t know why it’s upsetting. It’s not their fault. If anything it’s mine for not being able to explain myself.  To them, I am just another male. A few months ago, I came across the title “Mx” on a form for prescriptions. I had no idea what it referred to, so I turned to trusty old Google. Turns out it’s a gender-neutral title. Well, that was a nice surprise. It felt like I wasn’t alone – not on a larger scale anyway. There were other people in my position and there was official recognition for it. From what I know of gender and identity issues, it’s still a relatively unknown thing. That’s despite people like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, actress Laverne Cox and model Andreja Pejić being in the public eye and achieving all they have. It’s slowly getting recognition but as with all things in society, it takes time to gain acceptance. Until then, there’s a lot of fear and hate towards those who don’t fit the standard male or female moulds. There’s already so much for individuals to risk by revealing themselves and even when they take that risk, they’re met with hostility and uncertainty. Depression is linked to suicide, that’s a known fact but what’s not known is that gender identity issues have an even higher risk of suicide. I know this because I have to face it every single day.

“Nearly half (48 per cent) of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide, and 30 per cent said they had done so in the past year, while 59 per cent said they had at least considered doing so”
Stonewall: Facts & Figures

Somebody reminded me earlier that I was officially a Guinness World Record holder. This did cheer me up slightly. To know that I’d achieved something. Regardless of whether I was male or female because I was judged on ability, not gender. I can’t believe that was almost 5 years ago when I did that. Luckily the record hasn’t been challenged or broken again!! So where will I be this time next year? I really don’t know. I don’t even know where I’ll be at the end of the week. What I do know is that I’m slowly making progress towards finding answers…even though it’s taking me away from everything and everybody I know. I’m wondering if I should stop before I go past the point of no return. Then again, I’m wondering I can even stop.

Featured image: via Thinkstock

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