Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Making plans

Posted on: April 2, 2012

There’s a part of me, a tiny little part, that thinks I have some sort of future. There’s a person inside of me that believes I can stay alive, not just on a short-term, make-it-to-next-week basis, but for decades, for an entire natural life.

That person, she makes plans. She wants to find a house, get a mortgage, live alone. She wants to push on and succeed at work, do some volunteering, join a gym. She wants to create a little haven of calm, a home in which she’s not always watching the door, waiting for someone to barge in. She wants to learn to cook properly and paint some walls and organise her life. She wants something to organise, expenses to budget for, a diary to arrange and a life to keep in order. She dreams, vaguely, of writing something. Not for publication (even the dreamer in me is slightly realistic), but just an exercise in creativity, something to uncover her childhood enthusiasms which have been buried for so long.

But a dream is all it is. I fantasise about being a functioning adult human the way a child fantasises about being a film star or an astronaut or a Barbie doll. Having an actual life is about as realistic an aim for me as growing an extra arm.

Everything is feeling worryingly futile, and the naive, day-dreaming idiot in my head, flashing images of a life I can’t have, is just making things worse.

There was a manager’s job available at work. Everybody said I should go for it. I even got to the point where I was wording the application in my head, but then…nothing. I just couldn’t do it. My boss wants to know why, he thinks I’ve missed a chance, and I don’t know how to explain that I have no confidence. I deal with thinking I can do nothing by pretending I can do everything, and that makes people think I’m self-assured and strong and fearless. If I dare to hint that I’m a little bit shy, people tend to laugh at me. But I’m terrified of failure. I’m terrified of trying something and being laughed at. I’m just so fucking scared of ever changing anything because I feel that my current relative stability (I’m sleeping reasonably well, I’m eating healthily, I’m getting out of bed on mornings when it’s necessary) is a precarious state of affairs. The only thing keeping me even this constant is routine and a life of no surprises. I’m too scared to upset the balance.

I’m feeling increasingly like I’m losing control, like my life is slipping out of my grasp. I’m retreating into dreamlands more and more, hiding in my room inventing dull but – crucially – different lives that I can pretend to live while this one ticks away. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day anymore. The thought of leaving the house, walking to the bus-stop and going into town is practically unthinkable, and I feel like if I want to go shopping, I’d have to plan it like an Antarctic mission, and there’s no point anyway because why go shopping when I never want anything?

The really, amazingly good times flash up occasionally. I often don’t realise anything’s different until somebody looks at me strangely and says something like “What is wrong with you today?” or asks me if I’m on drugs. Every now and then I’m talking so fast that people get confused, or I’m playing Devil’s Advocate and pissing people off but just laughing to myself because logical and ethical gymnastics is fun, and I’m explaining myself by leaping from one foot to the other and doing ill-advised impressions of people and I feel magic, like I can do anthing.

And then it fizzles out pretty quickly, and I am so ashamed, I can’t even begin to accurately describe the burning flush of humiliation and the way that just walking into work after feeling like that and then, suddenly, feeling so shit feels like courage, feels like walking out on to a battlefield, it takes so much internal bullying just to get me through the door, jaw set and fists clenched and eyes stinging because I feel like everyone is looking and judging and whispering. I start hiding in the toilets on my breaks. I start making feeble excuses not to spend time with people who, only days ago, I was declaring to be my best friends.

Sooner or later, the shame and paranoia recede, and everything sort of flattens, and I don’t really feel anything except painful sadness and pointlessness. It’s hard to explain how little meaning my life has. My mood and my thoughts are all over the place, but my reality has no peaks and troughs, no twists and turns, no narrative devices, it’s just flat-lining. I’m very aware of how still I am, how little I achieve.

I was born, I live, and the world remains unchanged. I can’t see my fingerprints on anything. I’ve done nothing, I’ve changed nothing, I am nothing, and I don’t mean melodrama when I say it, but the world wouldn’t be in anyway different if I’d never lived, or if I suddenly ceased to do so.

A couple of months ago, an idea planted itself in my head. It started off as a number. A nice, round number. A target. When that’s the number in my bank account, I told myself, that’s a landmark of sorts. That’s a number that might make a difference in some people’s lives. In the grand scheme of things, it’d be a drop in the ocean, but compared to the good I do by keeping it in my bank account and doing nothing, it could do huge amounts of good. When I hit that number, I thought, I’ll donate the money to charity, and kill myself. I’m doing nothing, I’m helping no-one, I’m not even making myself happy. So die, get it over with, and maybe somebody else will be better off.

I’m nearly there. It won’t be long now until I’ve hit the target, and when it happens, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop myself. The idea has taken root and grown, and now it’s filling my head. It feels like the only thing I can do. The only real alternative is to live like this. I’m so tired. And, I suppose, if I’m leaving my money to a good cause, it quietens the guilt a little. Because the unshakeable truth is that even a small amount of money could change more in the world than I could.

I don’t really know what else I can do with my life. I’m too scared to do anything else.

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1 Response to "Making plans"

This is beautifully written. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Life is frustrating and agonising and maddening but it’s all that any of us have got. Find the courage to go on 🙂

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Hello

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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