Don’t Let Me Drown


I’ve spent a lot of my life hiding away. Not just because of any gender identity issue or anything, just hiding in general. Starting from being bullied when I was at school to never being popular or having many friends, I’ve just kept myself to myself. In fact, when people do notice me, it totally messes me up. It catches me off-guard and I find myself getting worried, even suspicious…why they’re speaking to me or what do they want? It’s such a struggle to accept somebody could like or acknowledge me, or even accept me – a major part of my problem in coming to terms with what I’m currently going through.

Last night we went to a stand up comedy night. It was for comedians wanting to test out new material, but I heard that Sarah Millican was going to be there too. My other half loves her and has always wanted to see her, so I surprised her with some tickets…only I didn’t tell her that Sarah was going to make an appearance. The look on her face when Sarah was announced and appeared on stage was amazing. Totally worth it. In a way it was also a little sad because I like doing little things like that for her, but when she finds out about me then that will all change. Also, I was hoping a comedy night would make me laugh. I’ve been so crushed by depression, anxiety and worry recently that I’m struggling to feel anything. With each day that passes, I become more and more detached from feeling anything. I’m not sure if it’s a conscious thing. I know I’m suppressing emotions by physically doping myself up on painkillers or whatever I can get my hands on that will zone me out, but it wasn’t a conscious choice to want to suppress emotions…if that makes any sense?! Hmmm, I’m not even sure of anything myself these days.

The golden rule of being at a stand up comedy show is not to sit on the front row. Unless you’re quick-witted or don’t mind being picked on. We were sat on the 3rd row from the front. Close enough to see but just out of firing range. Just. Despite being out of the line of fire, I still felt worried about being picked on. I spent the whole night feeling anxious, making sure I didn’t draw any attention to myself. It’s really difficult sitting there for 3 hours without moving…not even to scratch your nose!! Imagine the embarrassment if they did pick me??

Comedian: “…and you, madam in the 3rd row, what do you do for a living?”
Me: “errrmmmm…I’m not…”

All eyes would be on me, expecting some kind of answer. Yeh it’s not my fault whoever’s on stage got it wrong, but what do I say? Put on a manly voice and say “sorry pal, you got it wrong”? Or awkwardly try and explain I’m not, but I can understand why they got confused due to me wearing eye make up and having long hair?? Fuck that. It was like being back at school, hoping not to be picked by the teacher to answer a question. Being singled out means people stop and stare. That then leads to being noticed and being judged. I don’t want that. I desperately want to exist quietly, without fear of being judged for who I really am. Why is it so difficult? Ok, I should have expected it due to being at a comedy night…but in my defence it so my other half could be happy and see somebody she likes. I never stopped to realise it’d create such anxiety until I was already in my seat.

Today, I was noticed by somebody else. Well…not so much noticed, but a friend messaged me asking for some help and advice. She was going through a really bad time after the sudden news of losing somebody she knew, and was struggling with how to deal the situation. She said she asked me for advice because I understood this sort of thing. I was more than happy to help. I’ve always been eager to help anyone, whenever I can. You only have to read some of my previous posts to know I’ve experienced some dark times, I would hate to see anybody else have to suffer that too. Besides, it also helps to distract me from my own problems. Without going into too much about what I’m going through, I tried to help her understand things from a different perspective. When people take their own lives, there are always so many questions for those they leave behind…”why?”…”what if?”…truth is, those questions will never find an answer. Family or friends feel guilty that they weren’t there for them or in case they contributed etc, but you just end up driving yourself insane trying to solve it. Even when you think you have all the answers, there’s nothing to check it against. As somebody who’s been right on the edge more than once, I know exactly what it’s like to get to that point. I know that people will have struggled every day and in the end that struggle was too much. The mental exhaustion from the daily battle meant they had no more fight left. But I don’t see it as loss. They didn’t give in straight away. It’s like treading water. Sooner or later you become tired. Sometimes a giant wave will hit you when you least expect it. Sometimes you manage to keep your head above water. But sometimes you don’t. What matters is that person tried all they could first. That’s not giving up. That’s wanting to survive. Wanting to beat it and live on. For those that don’t manage it, at least they’re now at peace. No more suffering or struggling, just peace.

At the time, she needed somebody to talk to. I never stopped to question why she turned to me. She was upset, so I sprang into action and did my best for her. Thinking about it now, it’s still weird that she chose me to talk to. I wouldn’t have picked me, that’s for sure. A part of me does feel…I don’t know…accepted (?) that she did choose me. It made me feel like I am somebody, even if I don’t know what is going on with me right now. On the flip side, I can’t help but wonder if she’d still have talked to me if she did know about what I’m going through or that I’m some kind of half and half…”person”. I must admit, I did feel a bit of a fraud, given what I’ve been writing about in this blog. Am I a hypocrite? Should I even be talking to people or trying to help them, knowing I’m not 100% or that secretly I’m drowning too? Does that invalidate my advice? Somebody once told me that you can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself. Well, I’m far from fixed but like today has shown, I’m always willing to drop everything and help others. Ok, so you could say I should stop doing that but I do find it helps me learn something about myself too. It might not be the same situation but there are often facets of other people’s lives which I can relate to or acknowledge enough to reflect on my own issues…and even see them from a different perspective. There’s always going to be lots of questions. Many unanswered ones, many with no right or wrong answer. I guess I just have to decide which is the better answer. But how do I do that when I’m drowning?

Featured image: via Google
Video: “Drown” by Bring Me The Horizon (via Bring Me The Horizon’s VEVO page)

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