Going the Distance

Cocooned in duvet last night, for the first time in a long time, is liminality. Prayer. Silent tears, and sleepfulness. I have made it.

I’ve done a full week at work, in a new post. I have risen before the sun, to a four-hour commute, to cross London each morning, I have been productive, and traveled home again. I have met new colleagues, and old, been re-united with my book and paper collection, determined my teaching responsibilities, and returned home, long after sunset, to bed. This week, I have worked. I am employed, and employable. I have, to my knowledge,  shown no sign of mental illness at work. Last time my workplace was “informed”, I was written off. They must not know. Now, as I leave the house each morning, I feel  far from all the rubbish. I am professional. I am good at my job. I can do this. I am wanted, and I belong. The sunflowers are out on campus, and there is a rainbow over the fields on the coach journey. I smile.

And, as I feel this way, I wonder why I am bothering with the part of me that does not feel well. Why I am staying in Ox.,  when I have received no help from mental health services in the past four weeks, despite requesting it repeatedly. Why I am staying, when, without that support, I managed alone. Why I don’t  just forget that I am ill, remove myself from the therapeutic waiting lists, stop all medication, and get on with life.

The reason –  because I am not well. Tossing and turning in bed this morning, I wish myself dead. Die, die, dead. I should die because I am rubbish, and a fraud, and no one wants me around. Or so the voices in my head now say. That’s why I haven’t spoken to anyone I know this weekend. Why text messages are unanswered. Why I am alone.

As I keep the different parts of me physically and emotionally distant from one another, they are growing wild in their extremities; the one totally fine, the other definitely not. And I am none of them, and I am both of them. Maybe neither of them is real. Maybe I don’t exist anymore. I dare not exist in the spaces in between.

God, help me to resolve the  distance. 

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One Response to Going the Distance

  1. First of all, how lovely to read about your experience of your first week in the new job! You are right to congratulate yourself. You are gifted, talented, and good at your job!

    But maybe it’s no surprise that this morning you feel rubbish. Maybe you’ve ridden an adrenaline high this week and simply hit an adrenaline low this morning. Of course it’s exacerbated by your illness, but it’s something we all experience to some degree.

    And I’m struck by a similarity with my own experience: the need for individuation – for me to reconcile my sexuality and spirituality. Your final paragraph resounds powerfully for me. I know the damage incurred in trying to keep my two selves separate. And I know too the difference from being able to reconcile the two: individuation.

    I wonder. Have you read Patrick Woodhouse’s wonderful biography of Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed?

    But be assured that you are wanted and loved; and that you are in my thoughts and prayers.



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