Do you ever have that feeling that everything is just too much? That you are being slowly overwhelmed and pushed down – not waving but drowning?
I have that feeling at the moment.
Today is the ninth anniversary of the last time I saw my father lucid and able to talk rationally. After that, I saw him twice more when he was stoned out of his mind on morphine, and increasingly confused and frustrated by his confusion; and then he was in a coma; and then, of course, a few days after that it was all over.
The memory of this does not help matters, when I am feeling under pressure in every direction as it is.
I miss my father so much sometimes. I miss his conversation, I miss his quick mind and his acuteness, and his fascination with any and all new knowledge. I miss just being able to sit and talk to him. I miss his whiskey collection and our silly “blind tastings” when he’d bought himself a new malt. I miss having access to his knowledge of computers and his willingness to share it. I miss his voice, and I miss his sense of humour - weird musical jokes, dreadful puns and all.
Just now I also miss his support, which was steady and unquestioning and unconditional, and came with no suggestion of expecting or needing anything in return. He was that kind of chap, old-fashioned in the good way, and utterly sound. In two weeks it will be the anniversary of his death. I miss you, Dad.
I could have done with that kind of support at the moment. I still don’t know if I will have anywhere to live come July, and I still don’t know if I’ll have a job come August - and I do know that the man I fell for a while back isn’t interested in me. Then there’s the fact that because all this is chaotic and pressured and exhaustingly steessful, at the end of the day I haven’t got the time or the energy at the moment to do the things I really want to do (write, draw, go out, see my friends, and of course my Big Plan for this year, sort out how to publish something online and have a go at it, just to see what happens).
So I am now just working in order to keep on working; I’m no longer working in order to do the things I love. This is a state of affairs I dread, and have long fought to avoid.
I have to go on at work, performing properly and demonstrating my ability to deliver under pressure, while not knowing whether my role will even exist in a few weeks time. I have to pack up my belongings at home and prepare for a move, when I don’t actually know where I’ll be moving to. I have to smile and be at ease with my crush and accept it will never even register with him how much I would have liked to get to know him better.
I have to keep smiling and saying I’m okay, to all the people who, if I admit to them that I am close to screaming with despair inside, will then get upset and worry about me, and need me to be caring and good, and manage their distress. I haven’t the energy or the patience to do that at present, so the only practical option is to conceal the situation from them.
I have to suppress the gnawing doubt, which maybe is not a doubt at all but an unadmitted certainty, that I have wasted my life and am a creature without purpose or use to anyone. Because if I admit this doubt – this doubt that may in fact be a certainty – then I have to face the question – if there’s no point in me, why am I alive? Am I alive primarily because it will upset some people if I’m not here anymore?
And that way madness lies, madness and Ed’s sorry end.
I don’t want to die; I’m not suicidal, at least not in any sense that I ever have been before. I think I would recognise the state of mind, as it is hellish in the extreme.
But I am beginning to wonder if my existence is pointless, and even without any wish to end one’s life that is still a salutary and a depressing thought.
I know my existence wasn’t meant to be pointless (excuse the rather “fate and destiny” tone here!).
I was born into this life to create. Of that I am certain. I’ve known this since I was a very small child.
I want to tell stories and make images and write songs and plays, I want make beautiful things and share beautiful tales and adventures. I want to give joy, to cheer hearts and make people smile, to remind those who are feeling alone that they are not alone, that no-one is alone.
But I’m not doing any of this. I’m battling-on with a fraught job and fraughter home life, and seeing love go by me like a bright boat on the river. And my own right work, creating and making new stuff that will give pleasure and joy to those in need of them, is a thing I drag myself to with tired mind and body at the end of the day. When it ought to be the centre of my existence.
Should I ask for voluntary redundancy here, leave London, bugger off somewhere else entirely and make a completely new start? It’s almost starting to look tempting. I have nothing, really, to tie me to London, except liking my life here; or at least, liking the way things have been – until work became insecure and I got asked to move, and all the rest of that, and the bright boat sailed by me yet again...