CW: Depression, Food Issues, Suicidal Ideation
3 years ago today I was curled up in bed with a bowl of lentils, mixed with salt and oil. I would have added pepper, but I couldn’t face grinding it. I would have added lemon, but a trip to the shops was no more feasible than a trip to Mars. I would have added diced onion, but I didn’t trust myself with knives.
Lentils felt doable, in a way nothing else did. So I stood watching that pan boil for almost an hour, too exhausted to move, and too numb to feel bored. And for 3 days that’s all I ate, forcing a handful, a spoonful, or a single pulse down my reluctant throat.
I was deeply depressed, trapped in a suffocating web of guilt and pain and hopelessness which wound ever tighter. A trap of my own making which crushed me tighter and tighter. I already that I was struggling, but that’s what it took for me to realise that I couldn’t carry on.
I look back on that day and I see myself balanced on a knifepoint. If I’d gone another way this could have been a much shorter story. But instead I reached out to my best friend. She listened to me and together we worked out a plan. Most of all though, she gave me permission to reach out to others as well.
I was lucky to have friends and family who were there for me when I needed them. In the years since then I’ve grown so much as a person. I became a performer and writer. I took time out from uni and reimagined what my future could look like. And I’ve started to be purposeful in how I spend my time and energy.
People often talk about chosen family like it’s something which just happens. But sharing your life with people you share love and understanding with takes work. Its a lifelong project to surround yourself people who bring out the best in you, and I feel so grateful for the ones I’ve found in the last 3 years.
And whenever I feel myself struggling with mental health I take a breath, and remind myself of the commitment I made to myself on that awful day. “This will not own me”