Blogging hasn’t taken a backseat in my life: not perminently, anyhow. The reintroduction of school stress, exam pressure and complex social drama has driven me away from you, my beloved blogging friends and loyal companions, leaving me lonely, isolated, and yet strangely peaceful in nature. Regardless, I have missed blogging – missed writing to you all, missed catching up with your adventures and life events –, but now I return.
And unfortunately, it’s a bit shit.
Some of you may be aware that I’m blind. There’s no metaphorical, spiritual bull in that sentence: I’m blind – I have no eyes, short of the two plastic hemispheres sat in my eye sockets, unseeing. As with most disabilities, there is a blindness community, and specifically a teenage blind community. It’s basically the same dramatic crap of any teenage social circle, but with added blurriness, a hazard which stretches into the social circle it so ironically creates. This community is close – not necessarily close as in friendly and warm and loving, but close as in everyone knows everyone, and those who don’t know everyone know no one.
Last week, a charity for blind and visually impaired young people took a group from the blind teenage community to Barcelona, because what could cause more instability in a region of political upheaval than 12 blind teenagers walking into things? As I’m sure you can imagine, over the 95 hour trip – I got as far as counting down the hours, yes –, drama happened. For once (luckily), it didn’t revolve around me, which was in some ways a huge relief: my mental health – which will make an appearance a little later on – is currently as fragile as the glass cat I brought back from Barcelona; one misjudged move and it would shatter.
I’m not going to go into what happened on that trip: for one, it’d be emotionally exhausting, but honestly, it’s not my shit to throw out there, and so I don’t think it’s suitable, acceptable or right to do so. Regardless, there was drama, and tears, and tension and heartbreak and forced smiles and misplaced trust and mistimed happenings and for once, none of them revolved around me.
But I was hurting.
It’s really difficult to explain to someone how you feel when something infinitely worse has happened to them on the surface. But of course, it affects you, if you care about them, and so you’re expected to stand, strong by their side, and get them through it with every last bit of effort you have. But what if, for example, you are already worn down, already have no more energy, no drive to push on for yourself, let alone for anyone else around you? What if you’re drained, and you just can’t do anything, not for lack of wanting to, but for lack of ability?
When something happens to a friend, a common response is to invite them to talk to you, or to needlessly inform them that your door, ears and heart are always open to them, should they need a friend to talk to. But what if you reach a point when your own circumstances and current situation have left you unable, and even consequently unwilling, to listen any more, for fear of breaking yourself? What good are you to someone else, after all, if you can’t even hold it together yourself without feeling like one blow will send the splinters of yourself swirling in an unforgiving whirlwind of hopeless confusion and destruction?
Something happened between two of my closest friends, which involved a couple of outsiders – friends, but not close, close friends. I know these two people well enough to read how they felt – how they really felt –, whether they were ready and willing to show their feelings or not. Sometimes, you know a person well enough to read them beneath the surface, beneath a façade or bravado.
I tried; I promise, I tried. I did my absolute best to be there, to be understanding and open and ready to give advice and comfort them and support them in any way I possibly could. I listened and tried to put myself in their shoes, to try and understand – even in just the tiniest way – how they were feeling.
But I couldn’t. I couldn’t, because the first dramatic bombshell sent its targets flying every which way, and the debris hit me, broken shards slcing me, cutting me, breaking me.
I opened my mouth for help, desperate to try and save myself from something I had no control over, but for the first time, nobody was there. Through no fault of their own, I hasten to add, everyone was focused on what happened on the surface – the two friends of mine who were in pain on the outside, hurting uncontrollably. I wanted them to focus on them, individually; I don’t think either of them realised – or realises – how the other felt in those hours and days to follow.
So how could I expect anyone to notice me, fine on the outside, trying to be supportive and strong, but shattered and cold on the inside, where nobody is able to see? Of course I didn’t expect attention – I wasn’t a pressing issue, the problem of the moment, if you will. But it’s so difficult when you need help, and you can recognise that, but there’s no one there to turn to. You feel like you’re drowning, your cries for help morphing into desperate screams of, ‘GIVE ME ATTENTION!’.
My mental health was fragile before, and shattered now. But I don’t blame anyone for that; I can’t, because I know I’m being needy and self-centred. People should be able to rely on me, and know that I can be strong in times of trouble; I know that there are times when I can’t be, and the irony of the matter is, the bigger the problem, the more my friends need me, and the less likely I am to be able to help, because the bigger the problem, the more fall-out there is, and the worse I’m hit. It’s a vicious, endless cycle of self-hatred and a lack of self-worth, alongside a genuine inability to help those I care about, and a burning desire to give my everyting to them.
I stopped answering this morning. I took a day where I logged out of Twitter, stopped answering my phone and text messages, and just lived in the real world – the physical world that sourrounds me each and every day. This doesn’t solve any problems, I admit, but it felt good to not have my mind consumed with what has happened, and although I couldn’t forget that I feel this bad, I could almost forget why.