Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Same old complaining

Posted on: June 16, 2011

Everybody has their moment of great opportunity in ife. If you happen to miss the one you care about, then everything else in life becomes eerily easy.

– Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams.


This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

All children laugh when grown-ups say “these are the best times of your life”. Nobody wants to believe that that’s it – that predictable routine, acne and over-seriousness are the notable traits of the period of your life you’ll long for one day.

But the truth is that all the good things in my life happened before my eighteenth birthday.I mean, at high school: Deputy Head Girl, prominent member of the orchestra, reading mentor to younger pupils, relatively popular: seen as funny and clever and a little bit weird, someone you can ask for advice but won’t get the better of in an argument. Involved at school, showing people round on open days, amongst those involved in the interview process for prospective staff members, someone who could be relied on to make sure everything ran smoothly. Netball and table tennis after school. The fucking Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and enough GCSEs taken early that I didn’t even need to pass anything in Year 11.

And later, at college, the Philosophy teacher who compared me to Elizabeth Anscombe and cheerfully admitted that half the time he couldn’t answer my questions. Having parts of essays reproduced in hand-outs, and having exam papers ordered back from the exam boards so they could be shown to other people. Being persuaded to read out a piece of creative writing in a lesson and having the entire class burst out laughing at the funny bits, all looking at me strangely when I finished, because that wasn’t something anyone else had thought to do. Being surrounded by friends and feeling important and liked. Walking everywhere and having endless conversations that seemed so fascinating. Feeling like I had the entire world at my feet

Such meaningless, childish achievements, but I miss those times. They weren’t perfect, but it’s so much better to be full of promise than to have frittered all that promise away, and to be stranded on the other side of wasted opportunities.

I never thought I’d be really, truly successful, that anyone I hadn’t met would ever know my name, but I hoped, rather naively, that I would be able to do something. That I would find some path that would lead to a cheerful, unremarkable adulthood, in which I could be self-sufficient and happy and proud of what achievements I’d have.

Strange how things turn out, isn’t it?

I’m learning to drive. I don’t know why, it’s not like I have anywhere to drive to, but my parents have been talking about it for so long that I chose the path of least resistance and started lessons. It’s very early days yet, but I’ll be honest with you: I’m shit. It reminds me a bit of when I used to play a musical instrument, when I used to be asked to perform solo pieces for concerts, and I’d choose the fastest, most challenging pieces, as if to say, I know I have no subtlety, I know I have no skill or passion or lightness of touch, but watch me hurtle through this at breakneck speed, racing the music to the finish line. Perhaps that’s almost too good a metaphor for my driving technique.

My driving instructor doesn’t help – or, at least, my perception of him doesn’t. He’s a nice, friendly man, but I’ve easily become convinced that he’s mocking me, impatient and exasperated, and that just makes me defensive and a little aggressive. That’s not to mention how difficult I find it to be in an enclosed space with one person, practically a stranger, for so long. I’ve lost what little skill I had at small-talk, and there are plenty of awkward silences that have me slicing my wrists open in my head.

Also, I tend to panic if I don’t know what’s going to happen, and half the time when you’re driving, you just don’t know what’ll happen next, and that makes me very edgy.

The truth is that, if I ever do manage to drive properly, pass my test and get a car, all I can really think about is either driving away or driving the car into a wall or the canal or something. I tell myself it’s for my freedom and independence, but what I really mean is that being a driver just slightly extends the number of ways I might commit suicide, or else achieve the Holy Grail which is A Terrible Accident.

I’m really afraid, all the time. I just want to hide away, curl up in bed and pretend I don’t exist. In the absence of any opportunity to do that, I’m just wandering around like a lost child, hoping no-one notices how close I am to crying most of the time.

Over several years, I’ve become someone I absolutely detest. So full of self-hatred and rage without direction, all I want to do is gouge my eyes out and chop myself to pieces and set fire to myself.

I want to die, because I don’t know how to live. When was I supposed to have learnt how to cope? Who was supposed to teach me how to keep going? Is that something other people know instinctively? Because it’s never been automatic for me. Death has always been an option, and I’m tired of thinking it, and bored of wishing for it, and nothing ever changes because I’m paralysed by fear.

I’m just tired, I suppose, and longing for a time when things meant something to me. There was a time when I could read a book or listen to a song or watch a film and feel so much, but now I give up after a few chapters, or skip halfway through the song, or watch the film blankly, never engaging, and I feel nothing these days when confronted with all the things I used to think would see me through. I don’t even know what I’m relying on anymore. Perhaps I’m in freefall.


2 Responses to "Same old complaining"

Yeah. I could’ve written a lot of this myself, but I wouldn’t have put it so well. I feel like I wasted all my potential as well.
I was crap at learning to drive too, gave up…you’re not alone in that, it is difficult, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
I hope you feel a bit better soon.

Ain’t that the truth. I am terrified of driving, and most people assume it’s because I fear having an accident. Really, I am worried I will WANT to have an accident.

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My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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