Seven sleeps till we are on that plane to America and I had great news this morning. I also visited my best friend (the Posh Spice lookalike; remember her from when I was more social and visited people?) and those two beautiful daughters of hers. Posh’s lovely cousin from home, a fellow Leinster Rugby fan, was also there and I got to meet her sweet new baby boy. So, it should have been a good day, and it was, sort of, but there’s a gnawing.
Somewhere, in the BlackPit of me, there’s a tiny, grotesque, sneering rat corroding the lining of my inner peace with his acidic spit.
Depression is not always circumstantial, that much I know and today has done something to assuage my fears that there’s actually nothing wrong with me apart from having made a royal cock up of my thirty four years and being a right fucking drama queen.
It’s possible that I feel like this because I have a Psych appointment in the morning. That old hospital gives me the creeps. It’s damp and musty, the walls have been painted sometime during the Boom in an attempt to cheer the place but the shade of blue – which in itself is a touch too symbolic for a psychiatric department – is more of a sullen grey, so the overall effect turns out to be one of an overcast day in April: always threatening to be bright and Springy but never quite shifting the lingering, suffocating mist.
At least, I think the walls are blue. I could just be projecting my emotional state onto the walls each time I walk through the doors, which desperately need to be sanded and revarnished, or thrown in a skip. But that would be a waste of time and money as the whole hospital seems to be dying a slow death while awaiting its departure to a new, expensively architectured campus. I wonder what will happen to the old hospital building on Baggot Street. I must research the history of it: if it wasn’t some sort of looming religious institution, I’ll be very surprised.
PsychEve is never a good night: lying awake wondering who I should be for her, my consultant. It’s not that I try to make myself seem worse than I am, it’s that I’ll say anything to get out of there quickly.
I hate it.
Tomorrow, I’ll have to explain to her why my GP changed my Pill and took me off the Beta Blocker and started the Amitriptyline -did I spell that correctly? I couldn’t be bothered checking – there’ll follow annoying questions and I’ll feel like she’ll think I’m telling lies about the migraines and fainting and not sleeping. Then, I’ll feel guilty because I’ll think I’m wasting her time and using up valuable resources and hours that could be spent on someone who really needs help, or some sunshine yellow paint perhaps. Then I’ll think the meter on the car parking is ticking so write the prescription bitch and let’s pretend I was never here. Or, if I run down to the hospital – I don’t know why I say “down” as it’s not South from my house (which is actually a flat and not a “house”) but actually more “in” the city and East, I think – I’ll be thinking, “Oh my god, I stink, my eyes are stinging from the sweat running into them and I’m going to leave a wet patch on this uncomfortable plastic chair. I hope they get nicer chairs in the new place. Preferably upholstered in a dark fabric”.
The puppy just ate my favourite flip flop. I thought they were over the shoe eating phase. Clearly not.
This morning, on the beach with the dogs, who kept running into me and nearly knocking me over, I received a call from the lovely Patricia, from Friday, at the Department of Social Protection. True to her word, she’d been through the pile of applications – I can only imagine the families worse off than us, I mean, much worse off than us – fuck, here comes the guilt again – and we’ve been approved for Rent Allowance. I cried with relief and waited for the flood of joy to wash over me, anticipating that the tide was out way too far to do any washing over me so it would definitely be intense happy relief that would flood me. It didn’t come. I noticed immediately that I didn’t feel much, I tried to feel it. I messaged my mam and dad to call me (phones have been cut off remember? For some reason, the 4G still works); I inserted excitement into to my voice. I thanked my long gone Grandad who always sorts this kind of shit out for me just as I think it can’t possibly fixed. But nothing. Except self conscious opprobrium and internal obloquy. Aren’t they great words? Somebody should call a band Opprobrium and the Obloquies. Catchy.
Jesus, is this really what it’s come to? Five years in university; amazing luck to have a permanent, pensionable job in teaching and I’m relying on handouts from the State, which doesn’t have enough money to keep one hundred and two year olds off hospital trolleys, to house my child?
What a fucking joke I am. Christ, I’m ashamed of myself and the black hole I’ve created around myself, sucking in and mashing my privileges to a fine dust of failure.
I can only think how people must judge me, resent me or worse, pity me. My family in America is paying for our summer there, hosting us for the third year in a row. My family here has fed and clothed us since September. My poor daughter has had such emotional turmoil loaded upon her and had to let me use her bank account and very often, her pocket money, for groceries. Now, I’m not only not working but I’m also getting help paying for the roof over our heads.
I compare this to those around me and I am small and mortified: hunched into a foetal position of self-contempt, drowning in a poisoned placenta of ignominy.
Company directors; teachers; pharmaceutical data analysts: engineers; barristers; computer scientists; political rights activists; postdoctoral research fellows; accountants; professional exhibiting artists; training managers; women with careers and kids and husbands. Believe me when I say how grateful I am that I’ve been given this assistance, I just wish I was strong enough not to need it.
I can only imagine how my Gentleman Caller must perceive me: having his shit together and having an ex who is some kind of superwoman – I swear if I met her, I’d probably instantly become her lead groupie such is her profile in her profession. She’s the woman who managed it all. Whereas I can’t even teach.
The worst part of this life washout is that I don’t see how I can turn things around. I honestly can’t see me being ready to go back to school in two and a half months. I have occasional notions about writing and poetry and a speech and drama school, but just as I was once told a PhD was a pipe dream, so too are these.
When I was with my goddaughter today, we drew pictures on her Etch-A-Sketch and I thought how wonderful it would be to wipe all my mistakes away and start over.
Somebody needs to invent an Etch-A-Life.