6 years ago today, I was feeling extremely low, was in a relationship with an abusive man. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I felt so completely lost, alone, and broken, I didn’t want to go another year living in the toxic situation I was in, but felt extremely trapped in the relationship. It felt like only one option was left to me. I made a plan in my mind that I would go to a gig on my own, to get away from him, and instead of getting the train back I would just… disappear.
I’d not heard much from Amanda Palmer at the time, I knew of her and had seen her TED talk and really liked what she had to say, but seeing her live and feeling the amount of love in the room full of strangers, it changed something in me. I heard the song “Bigger on the Inside” for the first time. The last few lines of the song felt like they were speaking directly to me that night, like Amanda knew what my plans were and was speaking RIGHT to me.
“Trying is the point of life
So don’t stop trying
I didn’t end my life that night, and I did go home to that abusive man but over the course of the next few months the spell that had been put on me by my abuser had lifted, I realised what was happening to me was very wrong and should not be happening. I started reaching out to friends of mine who I’d lost contact with because of his insistance, and started looking into how to identify abuse, how to leave abusers. I left him in November that year and never looked back.
I was with him for 6 years.
This November will be 6 years since I left. Something about that feels symbolic.
I won’t lie and say things are all better now, my mental health is still wobbly, this time of year is hard for many different reasons. Not only it being the anniversary of that, but I miss my brother on my birthday and it signals another year where he’s not here. There are always ups and downs. Life is a constant rollercoaster that never seems to end and sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just get out early and stop. The days I struggle getting out of bed far outway the days I wake up alert and happy and ready for adventures. Most days it’s a struggle to do basic housework.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine passed away because they chose to end their own life. They are the third friend I know who has died this way. Just one person is too many. So many people dying too young. There’s a part of me that’s angry. Not at the people who died, but at the world we live in for being so bloody hard. Bigotry so so often goes unchallenged. We live in a world where abuse is expected to be hushed up or for the victims to be dismissed. Mental illnesses to still be stigmatised despite so many people obviously struggling. Basic human needs are capitalised so we have to work so hard just to exist.
I don’t want to be another reason for suffering. I don’t want my friends and family to lose more people than they already have. I want to put something *good* out into the world. It’s just kind of hard sometimes.
So… six years on and a lot is different. In my own life, and in the world. I still struggle putting one foot in front of the other.
But I’m still trying.