“Cheer up”, they insist. “What have you got to be sad about?”
But I am not sad.
People are sad when they receive bad news or say goodbye to a loved one. When they inflict it upon themselves by watching the latest tear-jerking romantic comedy. Those are surface scratches – they need only time to heal completely.
I am exhibiting a side-effect. An external symptom of a complex relationship unfolding within. His presence fills me and consumes me. He follows me wherever my destination and waits for me to return home. He sends me to sleep for a thousand days and keeps me awake for an eternity. He beats me, breaks me, chews me up and swallows me, digests and passes me, time after time after time.
Imagine a shadowy figure watching over your every move. You know He is there and He knows that you know. You can’t talk to Him or reason with Him. He is too big to fight, but you can’t see Him or show Him to anyone. You have no choice but to accept that He is holding your remote control and He can change your channel on a whim or put you into standby mode as He pleases. He is equal parts worst nightmare and oldest friend.
I do not feel alone in an empty room. His presence, although fuelling the rage inside me, my paranoia and insomnia, is at times almost comforting. Despite the pain, fear and confusion He is always there for me, like an abusive spouse. He understands me.
I know that I have a friendlier passenger than many people. Most days He seems content to let me drive. We argue in the morning over whether to leave our bed or not, but He generally lets me win this debate and allows me to function as a part of society. He has no desire for me to do physical harm to myself, for which I am eternally thankful.
We co-exist quite comfortably, except when we don’t.
I write this after some recent “down time”, as an attempt to describe the most difficult relationship I will ever be a part of – my personal experience of health problems which affect the mind. I am not seeking your help or your sympathy.
Please do not feel sad for me. Cheer up.