I've started this entry umpteenth times, and deleted every word, because I can't quite express what I want to say; I'm contradicting myself and putting myself across really, well, knobheady. But I need to get this out. So I'm going to give it a final hash, promise myself that there will be no totalitarian erasures of text, and accept that if this isn't exactly what I thought I wanted to say, it must be what I need to type. So if you're reading this, I kept my promise. If I break it, nobody will ever know, until I start crying hysterically in public about how many feelings I have ;).
Last week was the first of three reasonably short periods over the next year that are going to be really tough for me. Last week, all my school/college friends who went to uni, graduated. I'd have been among that number, had I not been ill and had to take the academic year 09/10 off, and start my uni a year after. The next tough one, will be when quite a significant amount of my university friends leave for their study abroad year. After not being able to be part of the first number, this was one I settled reasonably happy into; I'd have been among that number, had I not been too ill to move away from the constant care that I need. The one though that I'm dreading above all else, is this time next year where my university friends graduate. Can you guess what I'm going to say now? Had I not been ill, at least I'd have got that day, with the people I'd spent the previous few years with. That would have been my day, too. Three different groups of people- those my age, those who chose the same academic path as me, and those I began university with- are all leaving me behind. Three groups I've been part of briefly, leaving me with the illnesses that have been my only constant.
I feel somewhere between being abandoned and being a failure. The abandonment issue is obviously bullshit and wrong and unhealthy, but being left behind has been summat I've felt so often, and I suppose I confuse being left behind with being abandoned, despite one being the natural progression of other people and the other being a deliberate separation of them from me. It bothers me so much that I have such dependencies on people and things, that I can't just cut loose and run off and do what I want- where would my therapy and medication come from? Especially the medication, since they'll only give me a week's worth at once. Without a psychiatric nurse every week catching any decline, and a psychiatrist to monitor medication, a breakdown would be inevitable, and what then if I'm not settled? It's completely impossible to go away more than a week and I HATE that. I want to run. It's the feel of being tied down whilst it feels like everyone else can escape and/or grow up. I know I'm not the only one in this position, but it's very easy to be jealous of people when all you see are their Facebook updates, I suppose. I think the feeling of failure is pretty self explanatory. I know I'm intelligent, but by the same token I'll be 22 in September and in classes with 19 and 20 year olds, from October. Urgh.
I had a bit of a... not epiphany exactly, but I realised that all I'm feeling is based on comparing myself to people who have no doubt had their own shit, but haven't had to deal with all I have, or haven't been as ill as I have been. Everyone is fighting a battle, that I know, but not everybody is or has fought quite such a long, bloody one. I think this is where I start to sound a bit knobheady, but when I compare myself more reasonably with people who have been through similar to me or have been as ill, I suppose I'm in not such a terrible position. I still managed my lower qualifications (GCSEs and A-Levels) whilst very ill, so have good but not amazing grades, and have tried to work through my degree, fighting, with... mixed results. Good marks for first year, not even having completed enough work to have failed second year. I don't know.
Those were my first and second levels of thinking/comparing, but that was all wrong, I'm thinking now. Comparisons are human nature, right? Keeping up with the Joneses? I'm not interested in having the latest gadgets or best designer names, but right from childhood, being academic was all I was good at. I can't sing, dance, swim, play any sport, play any instrument... but I tend to do well academically. I used to be pretty damn great at having an eating disorder, and I'm almost always the 'most ill' mentally. But now, I'm essentially two years behind where I should be academically and was getting better on the other fronts, so WAS a bit lost and down because of not being the best at any of those three, fucked up as that sounds. And so my eating was awful last week. A mix of eating shit all, drinking too much, and then eating whilst drunk summat that I'd throw up until I saw blood- a pattern I haven't followed in so long. My mental state started to decline. And why? So I can live down, not up, to a certain role? Bugger that.
There's a Baz Luhrman song, 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)' which is based on a 1997 Chicago Tribune article. The song is brilliant, but as the original is the article, I'll link you to that and let you go find the song yourself, hahaha- http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-schmich-sunscreen-column,0,4054576.column. The paragraph, 'Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself' is my mantra now. Letting myself get more ill isn't going to hurt the people who have hurt me, it isn't going to punish the mental illnesses that have caused all these road blocks, it won't make me graduate any sooner and it sure as hell won't make me any happier. There's no race with any of the three groups I mentioned previously, and I can't have any bitterness. I'll get to where I want to be, it's just going to take a bit longer than I thought. There are demons to be fought and mountains to be leveled, obstacles most people haven't necessarily had to face. I might have to crawl over the finish line years after everyone else ran over it, but I'll get there.