Saturday, 25 November 2017

Would You Just... Not Sweat that Oscar?

Well, I'm hungover. I drank last night by mistake. Finished work and had half an hour to kill before meeting my girlfriend, so bought a beer to sink with Steve while I waited. And then one of the regulars wanted to buy me a pint, said Go on, I said Sure. Then Fran had a crisis, a friend in need, messaged saying So sorry, she felt so bad -- but by then I had the taste and couldn't be happier and started eyeing up the spirits.

And I could have stayed later, gone out with the others after the close, got in the shots. Instead caught a taxi with Katie when she left, made sandwiches in my kitchen, fell asleep watching an episode of Sinner on my phone. But I woke up this morning gumpy and anxious and alone, angry at myself for weakness and a wasted evening and for confirming my worst beliefs about myself.

But here's a thing about happiness. It is not, and never has been, about what you have. It is about how you feel about what you have. If you live in a mansion but wish your mansion had a pool like your friends' mansions do, wish it had a helipad, a trophy room with an Academy Award sitting inside, goddamnit why have you never won an Academy Award? All your peers have won one, why do you not get the recognition you deserve? -- if you feel like this then you're going to be unhappy. But if you live in a one-bed terraced house and you feel grateful that you have a roof over your head and running water and central heating, as so many in the world do not, and you're excited about auditioning for a role in a small play, and excited about maybe one day earning enough as an actor to move to a bigger house, then you're going to be happy.

It's not what you have, it's how you feel about what you have.

And similarly, I don't think dealing with depression and low self-esteem is about changing how you act, by itself, but about changing how you feel about how you act. I continually drink too much, shirk responsibilities, avoid effort, because I'm in pain and desperately want something right now to assuage that pain -- a pint, the distraction of my phone, climbing into bed where the world is small and manageable and safe as the womb -- and then I feel ashamed of my bad choices, weak, impotent, and I'm all the more likely to make more bad choices in an attempt to assuage the pain of dealing with the previous bad choices. Repeat ad nauseam.

So that can't be the answer. Dealing with my depression can't be about just making better choices, but about feeling better about the choices I do make. And as I feel better, hopefully that will by itself lead to making better choices.

So I didn't go back to my girlfriend's and write last night, I spent money yet again and got drunk yet again and woke up with a brain feeling like it was made of the matter at the back of the vegetable drawer, yet again. But that has already happened. Absolutely nothing can change that. Beating myself up is wasted energy. Pointless.

What is happening now, in the one place I can affect, is the forming of opinions about last night.

Can I decide right now to not hate myself because of last night? To recognise that though getting drunk felt like the wrong thing to do, maybe there are valuable lessons in the experience, that no one truly knows what is "best" or "right", that what has gone can be let go of and what is coming can be embraced?

So I am up and showered, eating cashews, satsumas, drinking green tea. My head hurts, but I'm trying, trying, to see that this is all right.

1 comment:

  1. ๐Ÿ’–fall over 6 times, get up 7!!
    You can do it Rob ๐Ÿ’–