Last week, full of hope and promise, I made a list. I made a list of all of the small things I could do which might improve my mental health. There were 10 points (there are always 10 points on my lists): eat healthier, buy a radio so I can listen to music without shutting the world out, go swimming, get help. Nothing groundbreaking. I took it to my therapist, and she listened.
Then she told me everything on that list is an ‘action’, and I cried.
It transpires that I am having an existential crisis. Because I am pathetic and childish? No, because the world is a dark and terrible place with no meaning, there is no reason to live, capitalism is working against us all (unless you are Beyonce), and meaning can only be ascribed to anything by your relationship to it. God was invented by man. You are not important. Your very existence is at best futile. Mine too. So I am defining my own meaning by grasping for control of the forces of chaos that brought me here, in this society, at this time, attempting to understand and force my way through – and all of the time the abyss is watching me, waiting for me to fall backwards. I can’t go to work five days a week; I have panic attacks; I sleep for fourteen hours or three; my wonts are irrational; my ambitions are crumbling around my feet whilst I play useless party games and laugh about things I want to change. I can’t go on this way.
Here is my new list. It is not numbered, there are not a round number of points. They are achievable goals, they will help my mind grow healthy but will not impede its activity in other directions.
- stop drinking. this is also to save my relationship, which is suffering under the strain of my pent up rage and overwhelming sadness, something no amount of nice, guilty breakfasts can apologise for.
- finish one project. just one. there is one that has been there for years, as yet unfinished, that would be an achievement to myself.
- prioritise my degree over everything. seeing friends, boyfriend, work, hobbies, fitness, reading for pleasure. it’s what makes me happy and what i want to spend my life doing.
buy a radio.did this one already – i was actually working on the last list!
I don’t want to die or I would have done by now. I want to live the best life, but ‘best’ is linear, is conformist, is self-serving. I am certain that it is impossible to be the ‘best’ and to be happy. Is that not the closest thing we can do to give meaning to the damnation that is our existence?
“Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.”