‘You used to be alright. What happened?’
Disbelief, generally, from every friend – well, most of them: the ones who didn’t know me very well. From High School student, up into A levels, then University and onwards to a job, house, car, marriage, dropping friends along the way and never making up the numbers with new ones.The people who thought they knew me fell off the ledge and never got replaced. All I became was a load of half-hearted memories of drug-fuelled nights and days of summer haze and forgotten words. ‘He was ok back then. I heard he had a breakdown or some shit. Never liked him a lot anyway.’
Words that I’m sure were said a few times, with meaning, and with some sense behind them apart from the breakdown bit. I don’t think you can call four decent suicide attempts in a year a classical breakdown. It was more a time of pronounced emotional fervour; symptomatic heightening from my diagnoses (Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder). Things had ramped up to another level, that was all. I survived, obviously. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, ho ho.
I was never ‘alright’even from the early days. Not that anyone knew except, perhaps, my Mother and the people I hurt in fits of violence. Back at Primary School I’d wait in the playground for one of the older kids to start on a smaller kid then I’d leap in and start fighting, getting them to hit me as hard as they could so the rage could rise in all it’s glory. That’s when I started getting into trouble: I used to win, sometimes after knocking out adult teeth in child heads. The pain kept me sane. By 12 I’d learned to control all of the rage. I was internalising it, cutting myself, punching myself. Easy to do, no Police officers or bad school reports. People never see what you’re up to in the privacy of your bedroom, in the dark, alone. And I’d become a great actor in daytime, when I was called on to be alright, normal, to fit in. Inside I’d be in agony.
There were the moving pictures I’d see sometimes, ghosts if you like. There was music, strong feelings that came and went and crazy ideas which couldn’t ever be realised if I wanted to remain out of jail. Disfunction, sexual mania, drug-induced relief , and deepening confusion. And still people couldn’t see. I duped them all. I’d should have gotten some kind of macabre Oscar – the ‘Mentally Ill Best Supporting Actor’ in the story of my life. Nailed on winner.
Now, outside, it’s about to rain heavy. I’ll end this one here. Not much point in going through the past in any serious detail just yet. And I haven’t got a hand to hold today anyhow to help me through. Funny how outwardly tough people are really just broken and frightened inside. It’s a cliche, I know, but it runs true in my experience. Little broken children, that’s all we are despite the rage and the sad confusion.
My CPN is due tomorrow, then a rare home visit the next day by my Psychologist. They are determined to help me get well – to be alright. But who cares, eh? Not my old friends, and not, I suspect, you either.