WARD LIFE: ‘I have lost myself along the way. I’m 31 years old.’

Who athumbnail_IMG_2675.jpgm I ? I’ve never really thought about it until recently – when I found myself questioning a few things. Not really the best time to do so either whilst going through a mental health crisis in hospital – but there you have it.

Who are we then? There will be scores of people out there who say:

You are who ever you want to be!

Being yourself is being who you are

You are everything that is important to you.

These stock / cliché answers above are perfectly valid answers to quite a complicated question, a question that involves consideration of identity, personality and values.

A real good friend of mine came to hospital today and spoke to me for a while about creating ‘my own story’ when I get out. Being who and what I want to be. It all sounded very exciting, until I got thinking about how best to get from A to B, A being myself at this present moment, B being the preferred me, when I leave and am on the outside. I can’t but help feel that there is a huge void/disparity from what I am now and what I’d like to be. Why is that? I think mental health is partly to blame – or my diagnosis Borderline Personality Disorder. I have never really had a true sense of who I am from time to time it can change depending with who I’m with. I have for a number of years felt a loneliness that has stripped me of my self-worth. It’s a real feeling of emptiness. I’ve grown to live with these changes, but should I? Or could I have challenged them along the way?

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I had a happy childhood with my wonderful triplet sisters. My mother and father made it clear at all possible opportunities that we could be who ever we wanted to be, if we worked hard enough at it. But, somewhere between then – and now – my faith in that statement has been crushed, smashed, demolished, call it what you will. It seems no longer possible. Continuing mental health issues mean I’m less outgoing than I was, I also have less pride in appearance and in my physical ability in the context of my personal fitness, and suffer from lower self-esteem in turn. My body feels like a shell, an old decrepit one that I have no ownership of and certainly no love of. I’m sure I have lost myself along the way. I’m 31 years old, and am sat here on my bed in the Hergest psychiatric unit writing this. Can I re-discover myself? Can my story be different to what I might have imagined it to be?

Here are some possible goals I’d like to chase in the near future.

  • Control my mental health better. I will live with it and I’m aware of its permanent residency in my abode, if I can put it like that. It does not mean I have to like it, but I’d like to know it, understand it and better control it.
  • I’d like to take better charge of my physical health, I have a sister (Manon) that’s a brilliant runner – although, aiming that high is ridiculous to start with! But I’d certainty like to have a physical routine that I can stick to daily. The main problem with this is that I tend to get obsessed with such goals, until I break the goal  (after about 4 days, let’s say) then it all goes down hill for the next 4 years! This goal will therefore also challenge me psychologically. I’m sure my dog will love long and constant walks. Lots of Antipsychotics pills are weight gainers and so are mine, so I’ll have to put double the effort in when it comes to exercise!
  • I’ve already spoken about one triplet sister (the runner) – the other one, Medi is an extraordinary cook and cooks with great passion. We’ve all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’ – if so, I need to majorly cut out the carbs and sugar, and think ‘colorful’ when it comes to food – concentrating on fruit, veg and clean choices.
  • Possibly, the most important thing of all – to have the ability to seize the moment, to enjoy and take full advantage of life’s opportunity, without losing it all in judgment. Self-judgment and generalized cynical judgment about the society and world we live in. Life is quite simple when we think of it  in these terms.

Let’s just hope that stories and exploration can begin at 31 years of age, even if mental health issues annoyingly persist for the rest of my working life.

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