…between being well and not is the hardest. I know I seem my normal self. I am fun, I smile, I am maybe the awful adjective “bubbly”. And I’m not faking. Today I went for lunch with a friend I’ve not caught up with in a while. It was really nice to see her and so far, it’s been a nice day. Later I bumped into another friend, hugs, how are you, do you have the book I lent you? yes, cool, see ya. And bang, I’m back to last semester, when I was fine and the world seemed a bit more like mine.
But it’s a jump from being so, so unwell to being this person again. When you come up for air, become yourself for a while, you find doubt-residue clinging to your new skin. Is this still me? Is this the right person, or just one of me? Are all three of me actually me, and what does that mean? What is essential to who I am? Do I get to choose?
And suddenly you are unfamiliar to yourself, a life at a distance, a character you want to find believable. But how did the character come back from the past? I just don’t know I believe in me, any more.
So being well in this way is rubbbed in doubt-dust and the other thing, the thing that is still more surprising: nostalgia for illness. When I felt awful, I knew exactly where I was. An awful place, one I wanted to escape at any cost, a place that felt like a choke round my throat… but somewhere stable, steady. Highs are not stable, they are a beautiful cliff to plunge from, fun until you feel good enough to dive, remember you cannot swim, you cannot fly.
And this? Feeling fine… is it ever going to be really fine? It feels like a lie, not one I’m telling but one being told about me by whoever is scripting the unbelievable dialogue between myself and the world. But characters have lives of their own that the authors can’t see, and mine retains an underlying ache, the tension of knowing nothing is permanent. Nothing is fine.