Can I ask you a question?
What would you fight for?
When one asks the average person on the street this question, you invariably get the usual cliches; world peace, freedom, their family, kids, independence, the poor, the starving, the weak, to combat prejudice, the needy, equality, religion, God and, of course, L.O.V.E.
Nothing wrong with that.
If however, I ask, what/who have you fought for/with, the list get’s a little more personal; promotion, a pay rise, to be taken seriously, to get child support for your kid/s, for the council to take away your rubbish, your ex partner during divorce proceedings, your parents over numerous issues, to pass your exams, to win the girl/guy, to win custody of your kids/dog/stick insect, to avoid bankruptcy, to clear your name, to dispute parking fines, combat illness, compensation, to protect yourself from that dick who picked a fight with you in a pub, to attain that next step up the corporate ladder, to smash that glass ceiling etc. etc.
This is all reasonable stuff that people fight every day for.
When you have mental health issues, the list is usually a whole lot smaller.
To survive, to keep the roof over your head, to keep as many people in your life as possible, to sleep at night, to stay solvent, to keep from going under, to keep people from knowing your truth, to find a reason to live, to hang onto some threads of your sanity when all around you is alien, hostile and crazy.
In the workplace, when all around me were working hard, learning, breaking down barriers, raising their profile, I was doing my role to the best of my ability (and I did a damn fine job of it all things considered), but when it came to events, departmental away days, and best practice sharing, I also did everything I could to keep my profile low. I did just enough to get by, but not enough to get noticed in order to ensure that no one would look too closely at me, as whilst everyone one else was going ‘Whoo, hoo!’ about some project/programme/acquisition or other, all I could think was ‘This means nothing to me, and I cannot, for the life of me, bring myself to fucking whoop about it.’ whilst desperately trying to remember key points about whatever the hell it was in case I was asked about it.
When it came to affluence, I could not go for promotion as I would be open to much more scrutiny, so that put paid to that. I also knew that I would be made to toe the party line, and treat people in a way I didn’t agree with and I wasn’t capable of doing that.
I mean no offence to anyone who work hard in corporate roles, I have friends who are very successful and ambitious, but it was a world where I felt like a total impostor.
When it came to people, I rejected potential partners before they inevitably rejected me, if my family hurt me (not difficult as I am a classic sensitive), I would cut them out of my life rather than fight to keep the relationship and if my friends abandoned me, I let them go, as in my heart, I didn’t blame them for leaving.
All of this might lead you to believe that I am not capable of fighting for anything.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When I choose to fight, I go in hard, hang in there no matter how tough it gets, use everything in my armoury and will not accept defeat as an option.
This fighting spirit tends to make a show if I’m attacked, mistreated, treated unfairly or feel extremely threatened, so comes from a place of anger and indignance with the sole aim being one of revenge and retribution and hitting back ten times harder than I was hit in the first place. I was bullied as a kid and once grown, I vowed that I’d never put up with it again.
But when I need it, like when I’m stuck at home, frozen rigid, afraid of the world, the night, the future, it is nowhere to be seen.
I know it’s in me.
I know how powerful it is.
My challenge is to find out how to bring that spirit of battle and harness it in order to strive, thrive and partake fully in this world, without invoking it’s best friends and companions, fury, aggression, punishment and revenge.
Then and only then will I find peace, self acceptance, and that clan of fuckers who look just like me….
I can but hope, anyway!