The light at the end of the tunnel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This book is something that has been burning in the back of my mind for quite some time now. I have fought my fair share of dragons in the past twelve months and have had to come to terms with the result that trauma and grief have on a persons mental health. This book (which I'm still working on) is just an insight into the struggle to regain normalcy in a situation that is anything but normal. I hope you enjoy - I have never written anything before (aside from being forced to in school) so be kind!

Thank you for reading.
- SenderKnight

Submitted: April 14, 2019

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Submitted: April 13, 2019

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Chapter One

 

I feel the need to write about the last few months. Not because I want sympathy, but because I cannot think of another way to express myself, grieve and then pick myself back up as best I can.

 

Not quite sure where to go from there or what to say. I place my pen between my teeth, deliberately biting down on the already gnawed blue lid, chewing thoughtfully without result. Writing is difficult, I mean, writing about dungeons and wizards and vampires falling in love with humans was a breeze – almost everyone lives happily ever after, unless you’re the witch in a gingerbread house. It was different when it was your life, your experiences and your trauma being laid out on the table. Writing a story about your own demons was no fairy tale.

 

I had this desire to put in all down on paper, not that that was getting me anywhere. My life really wasn’t all that interesting, I had survived a quarter of a century being a relatively normal member of society. It was just the last six months of my life that had chewed me up and spat me out in a spectacular fashion. This story, my own, is one that would make Shakespeare envious that he didn’t write it and the Brothers Grimm wince at the needless sorrow. Although there are no clear ugly step sisters or big bad wolves in this story, there is no need to throw this book on a bonfire just yet. I promise a plethora of incredibly unpleasant individuals and bullies of the big bad wolf dimension.

 

But first, let me be straight up and honest – this story doesn’t end with Prince Charming riding his horse in to save me and declare his overwhelming love for me, and it thankfully doesn’t close with a happy clappy finale tune. The truth is that I can’t tell you how this story ends, because the fact that I’m still here to tell you about it, means that it’s not over yet. But I can give you a bit of insight into what has led me to this point and the need to share this story with you.

 

I am presently sitting in the extremely clean and quiet reception area. An area that is completely devoid of personality, aside from a palm in the corner and trashy magazines on the table in front of me. I am patiently waiting for my therapist, Nicole, to appear from the door to my right and summon me into her office. I anticipate an hour of sitting in a slightly uncomfortable chair and having an incredibly taxing conversation about why I am like I am and how to fix it. Don’t get me wrong – Nicole is a blessing. She has helped me significantly to the point where I no longer crave solitude twenty-four hours a day. I am now showering daily and eating a slightly healthier diet than I was before. All thanks to Nicole. I do wish, most of the time, for there to be a way to reach into people’s thoughts and memories and destroy the bad ones. I myself would obliterate the last six months. I had this discussion with Nicole, who then reminded me that if I didn’t have the memory of these last few months, I would also not have the lessons and strength I had gained because of it. Seems like a bad transaction.

 

Everyone seems to think that someone has to be crazy in order to go to therapy. I say this because I used to be one of those people. I used to believe that asking for help was like accepting defeat. That the only time you should see a doctor was when your bone was sticking out of your leg or when your blood was outside of your body. We are all entitled to our wrong opinions, especially when we have not personally experienced mental health issues. Reaching out for help, and actually receiving it, has been my saving grace. Having received this help has allowed me to not only talk through my experiences but to also learn that it’s okay to not be okay.

 

I still don’t know why they call it the ‘Black Dog’. If I was shadowed by a black dog for the last couple of months, I would be delighted that a dog had chosen me to follow everywhere. In my entirely wrong opinion, they should call it the ‘Black Cat’. It suits depression better.

 

Anyway, now that you know my opinion of cats, lets focus on the now. Here I am with pen and paper, sitting in the reception area, procrastinating. How anyone ever managed to write more than one book in their lifetime is beyond me. I’m the only one sitting in here, aside from the receptionist. She looks 20, maybe 21, and dresses like she’s flying to Milan tonight. Here I am, in my worn-out jeans and my favourite green ‘I give up on life’ jumper, as my ex-boyfriend used to call it. There is nothing more liberating than using the word ‘ex’ for somebody who sucked all the energy and joy out of you. That story, however, is for another day, maybe in 50 years when I’m in my retirement home and finishing this book between bingo and croquet.

 

“Sammy” a clear and friendly voice cuts through my thoughts of bingo and dentures. I raise my head in response and see Nicole waiting patiently in the doorway. I gather my belongings and move hastily through to her office just like I do every Wednesday at 3pm. As I head towards the uncomfortable chair Nicole keeps with the tradition of the last few sessions and begins with the usual questions “So, how are you today?” What a question. How could I possibly answer that in a coherent and sane manner? I’m exhausted. I’m always exhausted. I can’t sleep when I need to and need to sleep when I can’t. I sobbed the other day when I couldn’t find a park in the shopping centre. I’m falling apart and can’t seem to put myself together again, I’m the king’s men, and my life is humpty dumpty. “Fine” I hear myself answer in a flat monotone voice. Well that’ll have to do, I think to myself.

 

“Have you been doing the exercises I set for you?” Nicole questions. Ah yes, the exercises. The ones I struggled to not roll my eyes at when Nicole first brought them up. The exercises that I have actually begun to enjoy and look forward to. How I hate that. “yeah, they seem to be working okay.” Again, my response is devoid of any emotion. “That’s great! Can you tell me how your week has been? Any moments of anger again?” Nicole presses me, knowing that last week I had experienced anger at the smallest issues. ‘A breakthrough’ she had called it and then explained that any sign of emotion was better than the constant nonchalance I had been dealing with since December. As I begin to explain my week – I realise that things have indeed improved for me, if only in small instances. I am well on my way to that wonderful land of recovery.

 

I am, of course, aware that in order to actually make a full recovery from my suffering; I will have to first dive head first into the trauma. Which is by far the toughest thing to talk about. I’d stopped trying to talk about it to friends who’d asked how my holidays were, because to talk about it was to relive it and I had only just survived it the first time around. Nicole patiently talks through everything with me, letting me know every now and then that the feelings I am experiencing are completely normal for a person grieving and that my condition is a result of a bad situation. I remember the first time she told me I had depression. I felt completely useless.

 

An hour is the same amount of time whether it flies by or crawls. My therapy sessions only run one hour at a time. Sometimes they crawl by and I leave with a headache, sore eyes and half a box of Kleenex in my purse. Other times they’ll fly by and I’ll leave with a spring in my step and hope for the future. There is no way of telling how and why one sessions result can vary so much from another.

 

I’m home now. The place of comfort, Netflix and so many distractions. But I’m going to try and put pen to paper, if you’ve made it this far into my story, you deserve to hear the truth. The whole traumatically, unbelievably true story of how I ended up here.

 

I guess the entirety of 2018 was a drag for me. I had spent the latter half of 2017 applying for a job that was to be pinnacle of my career and in late 2017 I got the long-awaited job offer. In January 2018, I began my new job fresh faced and full of hope. I’m an overachiever by nature and so I was eager to get there and make a difference, put my own mark on the workplace and leave it better than it was when I started there. I look back and shake my head at my own naivety. Obviously, I didn’t think I’d make such a big difference that it ‘echoed through eternity’ like William Wallace, but I wanted to leave something that would be remembered, be it a new way of organising a cupboard or maybe a new method for counting stock. I remember it so clearly, when I first realised that something wasn’t right. I felt sick all the time, I had stomach issues, I was run down and irritated at the smallest things. I went to see a doctor who, after many tests involving needles, poking and prodding; came to the conclusion that the issues were my body’s response to stress. I was told that maybe I should look for another job. Quite a kick in the guts for someone who had spent a good part of 3 months writing up essays and dreaming about this job.

 

One of my many charms, and I use that term very loosely, is my determined attitude. Some may call me stubborn, either way, I refused to give up my job. I refused to let the constant passive aggressive comments from co-workers, or the consistent let down and micro-management from my superiors affect me. Or so I thought. My stubbornness aided me for a short time, but by July, I had had enough. All of the determination I had was running low, my morale was non-existent and my ability to function in the workplace and in social environments was severely impacted. I decided to take charge, to step up and voice my concerns. I had kept my own record of every wrongdoing I had either been a victim of or had witnessed during my time at that workplace and decided I would finally do something about it. With one last push of defiance, I put forward a formal complaint of bullying and harassment, which resulted in nothing. This was the moment I realised that the big bad wolf was untouchable.

 

There’s nothing more demoralising than realising that all the things you’ve ever been taught as a kid about standing up for yourself is all a lie. I stood up for myself, I put my head on the chopping block and all I got from it was anxiety. I spent the next few months keeping my head down and hoping for an exit sign.

 

In order to bring some happiness back into my life, I decided to travel abroad, see the UK. It was something that I could look forward to in a period of my life where my only form of happiness was the period between waking up from a good dream and realising that I had to go to work.

 

I get up from the dining table, the notepad decorated in a scrawl of words, and head towards the kitchen in search of food. I hadn’t been eating very well at all lately. I could count on one hand the amount of cooked meals I’d eaten since January that weren’t toasted cheese sandwiches. But my body, persistent as it is, refuses to give up on me no matter what I throw into it. Remind me to thank it when I’m fully recovered, I think to myself as I’m raiding my fridge for any sign of edible goodness. I think about my trip to the UK. How excited I was to see London again, how I had planned to make lifelong friends, and kiss an Irishman in an Irish bar. Well I guess some of those things did happen. I sigh as I return to the notepad, graffitied with my depressive thoughts. “who on earth is going to want to read this” I mutter to myself. Then the thought pops into my head, ‘absolutely no one, but it’s good for you and it stops you from binge watching Gilmore Girls’. “yeah, right” I mumble as I pick up my pen. The words flow from my brain onto the notepad, almost effortlessly.

 

I have had so many breakdowns in the past year that if I was a car, I’d be sold for scrap metal. There have been the moments where I cry so loudly, like a baby that it’s a wonder people haven’t knocked down my door for some peace and quiet. But more often than not, I have sat alone, silent tears slowly dropping from my face as I struggle to breathe in between sobs. There is nothing lonelier than realising that no one cares about your pain.

 

End Chapter One

 


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