Lately I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral. It’s been so bad that I made myself sick with a never-ending migraine that I can still feel in the back of my head. I’ve not had the energy to engage with friends or go out. I’ve barely been able to keep my eyes open long enough to pop some of my old CDs and DVDs on eBay let alone write this post. And the reason for it all is my illness. It controls the way I think, feel and act sometimes and it’s kind of like an over-powering boss you wish would just call in sick one day so you could have a day off from the nagging and stress of accidentally doing something wrong. You guys have been with me for over a year now, you’ve seen me during some of the best and worst times of my life, and I feel like you should know me a little bit more.
Having a form of Bipolar really messes with me sometimes. Obviously. I try to take it all as it comes, but it’s hard, you know? One minute I’m looking forward to something, and the next all I can see is a hopeless grey fog closing in on me preventing me from moving forward. I’m stuck in a depressive bog after my yacht of happiness and productivity capsized. But for some reason, I don’t let anyone see this happen to me. Online, I talk openly about mental health as I do in person, but could I be a little bit more honest about things? Most definitely. So what’s stopping me? I don’t even know. But here I am, trying to break that down and show you guys what I so desperately try to hide from people.
I try to be as funny, sassy and intelligent as I know I can be, but the depressive bog takes everything away from me. I become a person living in autopilot and I don’t know how to stop it. These days my Tweets are sometimes just there to prove that I’m still here and breathing, kind of like a mandatory thing to do. Instead of expressing my feelings and connecting with friends and other Twitter users, which is the main purpose of Twitter, I just Tweet something so people can see I’ve been there and I’m not dead yet. I have hardly any power or emotion behind what I send out into the world is what I’m basically trying to say. The last thing I Tweeted (at least the last thing from the time I wrote this) was something about being made to feel guilty for something I had no control over. I tried to make it sound less than what it really felt like and I don’t know why. I guess I want you lot to think I’m not some kind of moaning bitch that always plays the part of the martyr. What I’m trying to say is, I downplayed my feelings because I didn’t think anyone would want to see to what extent I was hurt. But still, is anyone really interested in a 21 year-olds hurt feelings? My Cyclothymia, or Horace as I like to call it, doesn’t seem to think so.
I was, and still am very upset over the fact that people can make me feel so guilty and horrible for something no one has control over. My moment of happiness will forever be followed by shame and guilt because of how this person made me feel. I could actually feel my heart deflate like a balloon. Shame and guilt consumed me even though I was so desperate to be happy and really look forward to something. But as of this moment, right here and right now, I couldn’t care less. I’ve got this I can look forward to and enjoy and I don’t need to feel guilty about it.
Whilst I give the impression that my life is full of funny dog videos with the occasional cute kitten, bunny, guinea pig and hamster videos thrown into the mix. Online I want people to see me as someone they can go to when they need a laugh or a friend or just someone they can confide in. I hardly write status’ on Facebook these days because I’ve given up hope that anyone really cares or reads what I have to say on there anymore. So I try to appeal to my audience. I try my best to change myself to suit my friends and their likes. The simple truth is, I’m a people pleaser. I always have been, and always will be. I hate people being upset or unhappy about something, and if I can change that, I will. Sometimes that means changing myself, but heck, worth it if the sadness ends for them, right? I get so stuck in my head that I forget I’m a person too. I have feelings that demand to be felt. But by being that person for others, they too forget I’m a human being. I get ignored until the point when someone wants something from me and eventually I get hurt by the fact I was so silly to let myself get into that position once again. I’ll always want to help people, that’s just who I am. But Horace makes me feel so alone and isolated on a daily basis, when I realise my ‘friends’ have abandoned me, it makes me feel indifferent and numb.
I wrote this down in my diary recently and I don’t even remember writing it. But it said; ‘in reality I share videos of animals because I care more about them than I do myself. I love animals, and I know lots of my friends do too. So I weigh up my options, express my feelings online, or share something that will make others smile. It’s an easy choice.’ Reading this back to myself really broke my heart. I genuinely feel that my friends care more about animal videos than me. Horace is always there in the back of my mind whispering ‘they don’t include you for a reason’, ‘you’re an afterthought’, ‘share that video of a small dog riding on the big dogs back because people might remember you’re alive…. or they might not, worth sharing just to find out’. Sometimes I’m scared Horace is right so I cut myself off from people. I go into hiding. I hide within pages of books and embrace the skill it took someone to make some breathtaking pieces of art. I do everything I can to get away from myself, Horace, and my life.
I’ve given up on taking selfies when I dress up because I know it’s not really me in those pictures. Trying to look pretty and make myself believe it is hard. Too hard. I’m not hating myself or the way I look, I just can’t be bothered to try to be something I’m not. I’m not a size 8 model with the perfect face and an exciting life to splash all over Instagram. I’m just your average, slightly chunky Plain Jane. I’m never invited out with people who want to take pictures. I’m never the person that people take pictures with. So I guess, I’ve given up on those kind of things for now.
Chances are if you see me in person, I’ll look nothing like my profile picture. I’ll have my hair scraped back in a horrific attempt of a messy bun, most likely greasy because I have this weird thing about touching wet hair and will avoid it at all cost (don’t ask, I really can’t explain that one), I’ll have a sore red neck due to shaving every morning, thanks to my PCOS I’m a real life bearded lady. My spots will look sore and red and the dark circles under my eyes will really make you question whether or not it’s a natural dark circle or if I left my mascara on the night before. I might smell a bit because I rarely remember putting my bra on let alone if I put deodorant on. I’m an awkward, person. Even though I answer phones at work, I hate picking up calls from my mobile. I hate getting up in front of people even though I act. I hate being the centre of attention even though I know sometimes I have to be if I want to act as a career. This is the Lily that people can’t handle. This is the Lily that’s around more than any version of me that you may see occasionally walking around in the real life outside world. This Lily is the one I never wanted to become. This Lily is what Horace / Cyclothymia does to me.
Online Lily embraces everything about herself. She’s open and confident and sassy. Whereas Real Me sits in her room at gone midnight every night, has a cry about how boring and lonely her life is, dries her tears after a few moments and goes to sleep ready to face another day of watching other people live grand and exciting lives while she just exists in the background. This is what my Cyclothymia does to me. It’s not a pretty trend or something that deserves to be romanticised , it’s taking so many meds that you have to go through the process of being sick over and over again just so the chemicals can find a balance in your brain. It’s spending so much money on things you probably don’t need until you don’t even have the money to spend on a train ticket, let alone some boots from ASOS. Horace controls every part of my life, and I fight ever single day. I wake up and sometimes I’ve worn him down and he’s beaten. It’ll be a good day. Other times I wake up and I just think about how many hours I have left until I can come crawling back into my bed and into the comfort of my duvet. Those are the bad days.
It’s strange how I try and show an ideal version of myself online, but never let anyone see how my illness treats me. Sometimes I feel like my brain has taken coke and decided to rewrite the entire Star Wars series at 3am when I’ve got to get up at 6am. Does that make sense? I find myself hiding behind my online persona more and more these days. Because it’s what people want to see. It’s more comfortable for them to believe I’m living a good life, sometimes lonely life, it’s the same life I’ve always lived. I’m just a 21-year-old soon to be 22, wishing she could restart her life and maybe do things differently. Maybe pick a different course to study at university and I don’t know, graduate and be like everyone else? I see everyone online achieving their dreams and striving to complete personal goals and targets, they’re getting engaged and having babies, moving into new homes, going back to university, getting their dream jobs and they really are living their best lives, I am well and truly so pleased for everyone, I really am. It’s just, it makes me feel like a flop. It gives Horace the chance to make me hide away behind the version of myself I make sure everyone sees online. At least Online Me can control what others see instead of really seeing the sad little girl I can be.
It’s so easy to forget yourself online, and sometimes we forget that we’re exposing a different side to ourselves when we send out Tweets or write those status’. Not everyone’s life is as perfect as they make it out to be online. My life is the furthest thing from perfect, but online I don’t want to give that impression. I don’t understand why I’m so ashamed to admit that I’m this person in real life, but here I am. Finally exposing the truth. My Cyclothymia is breaking me down more and more each day. I wanted to write this because it’s about time I told the truth about how Cyclothymia creeps in from the dark cracks in my mind and takes over completely. I guess my aim writing all this is so if you ever feel like your friends are all doing great things and you’re just sat there watching it happen, chances are they’re just like me and you. It’s okay to feel crappy and that you want to portray an equally exciting life, that’s just human nature. Just remember to stay true to yourself in the end. I forgot to do that and I get annoyed with myself because I’m not who I want to be. I’ve just about recovered from crying over how lonely I feel because I see people I used to class as friends having the best time without me. Online Me ain’t got time for that. But Real Life Me demands her emotions to be felt. Be them good or bad, she needs to feel what she feels. Horace is a pain in the butt and he’s really hurting me recently. But at least he’s consistent. Well, as consistent as a form of Bipolar can be.
I hope this made some kind of sense to someone out there. If you relate to any of what I say please reach out. I think by now you’ve kind of gathered I feel rather alone and tired these days. It would be nice to hear from you guys, especially if you’ve got some words of encouragement or are having a similar time to me. I do appreciate your patience and kindness. Always.