This was the species whose main excuse for not doing something was 'if only I had more time'. Perfectly valid until you realised they did have more time. Not eternity, granted, but they had tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after the day after tomorrow. In fact I would have to write 'the day after' thirty thousand times before a final 'tomorrow' in order to illustrate the amount of time on a humans hands.
This is the whole stupid thing about all these unblood relationships. They depend on people staying the same, standing in the same spot they were in over a decade ago, when they first met. Surely the reality is that connections between people aren't permanent, but fleeting and random, like a solar eclipse or clouds meeting in the sky. They exist in a constantly moving universe full of constantly moving objects.
I have been in love only once in my life. I suppose that makes me a romantic, in a sense. The idea that you have one true love, that no one else will compare after they have gone. It's a sweet idea, but the reality is terror itself. To be faced with all those lonely years after. To exist when the point of you has gone.
There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself. I don't really see the difference. We find ourselves through the process of escaping.
To lose someone you love is the very worst thing in the world. It creates an invisible hole that you feel you are falling down and will never end. People you love make the world real and solid and when they suddenly go away forever, nothing feels solid any more.
Minds have their own weather systems. You are in a hurricane. Hurricanes run out of energy eventually. Hold on.
Human history is full of depressing things like colonization, disease, racism, sexism...inventions of things which they had no idea how to handle (the atomic bomb, the Internet, the semicolon)....And through it all there has always been some truly awful food.
The key to happiness - or that even more desired thing, calmness - lies not in always thinking happy thoughts. No. That is impossible. No mind on earth with any kind of intelligence could spend a lifetime enjoying only happy thoughts. They key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don't become them. Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person.
And after that, after the awkward shuffling away of that last thin layer of clothes, words retreated to the sounds they once were. We had sex. A happy entanglement of warm limbs and warmer love. A physical and psychological merging that conjured a kind of inner light, a bio-emotional phosphorescence, that was overwhelming in its gorgeousness. I wondered why they weren’t prouder of it. Of this magic. I wondered why, if they had to have flags, why they didn’t just opt for one with a picture of sex.
MINDS ARE UNIQUE. They go wrong in unique ways. My mind went wrong in a slightly different way to how other minds go wrong. Our experience overlaps with other people's, but it is never exactly the same experience.
But it only takes a doubt. A drop of ink falls into a clear glass of water and clouds the whole thing. So the moment after I realised I wasn't perfectly well was the moment I realised I was still very ill indeed.
What doesn't kill you very often makes you weaker. What doesn't kill you can leave you limping for the rest of your days. What doesn't kill you can make you scared to leave your house, or even your bedroom, and have you trembling, or mumbling incoherently, or leaning with your head on a window pane, wishing you could return to the time before the thing that didn't kill you.
Forcing yourself to see the world through love's gaze can be healthy. Love is an attitude to life. It can save us.
That kind of monotony that running generates - the one soundtracked by heavy breathing and the steady rhythm of feet on pavements - became a kind of metaphor for depression.
One cliche attached to bookish people is that they are lonely, but for me books were my way out of being lonely.
People with mental illnesses aren't wrapped up in themselves because they are intrinsically any more selfish than other people. Of course not. They are just feeling things that can't be ignored. Things that point the arrows inward.
I didn't totally fit in. I kind of disintegrated around people and became what they wanted me to be. But paradoxically, I felt an intensity inside me all the time. I didn't know what it was, but it kept building, like water behind a dam. Later, when I was properly depressed and anxious, I saw the illness as an accumulation of all that thwarted intensity. A kind of breaking through. As though, if you find it hard enough to let your self be free, your self breaks in, flooding your mind in an attempt to drown all those failed half-versions of you.
It fascinated me how depression and anxiety overlap with post-traumatic stress disorder. Had we been through some trauma we didn't know about? Was the noise and speed of modern life the trauma for our caveman brains? Was I that soft? Or was life a kind of war most people didn't see?
I wanted to be dead. No. That's not quite right. I didn't want to be dead, I just didn't want to be alive.
We are all echoes of each other. We are all humans and feel both despair and happiness. Our similarities, as a species, are staggering. And our mental fragility is directly tied up with our humanity. We have nothing to be ashamed of in being human, any more than a tree should be ashamed of having branches. Let’s accept our own nature. Let’s be kind to ourselves and to each other. Let’s never add to the pain by blaming ourselves. We are all so weird that, really, none of us are. There are seven billion versions of strange on this freak wonder of a planet. We are all part of that. All freaks. All wonderful.
Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person. You can walk through a storm and feel the wind but you know you are not the wind.That is how we must be with our minds. We must allow ourselves to feel their gales and downpours, but all the time knowing this is just necessary weather.When I sink deep, now, and I still do from time to time, I try and understand that there is another, bigger and stronger part of me that is not sinking. It stands unwavering.
Even more staggeringly, depression is a disease so bad that people are killing themselves because of it in a way they do not kill themselves with any other illness. Yet people still don’t really think depression really is that bad. If they did, they wouldn't say the things they say.
It’s a weird thing, depression. Even now, writing this with a good distance of fourteen years from my lowest point, I haven’t fully escaped. You get over it, but at the same time you never get over it. It comes back in flashes, when you are tired or anxious or have been eating the wrong stuff, and catches you off guard. I woke up with it a few days ago, in fact. I felt its dark wisps around my head, that ominous life-is-fear feeling. But then, after a morning with the best five- and six-year-olds in the world, it subsided. it is now an aside. Something to put brackets around. Life lesson: the way out is never through yourself.
The price for being intelligent enough to be the first species to be fully aware of the cosmos might just be a capacity to feel a whole universe’s worth of darkness.
When you are depressed you feel alone, and that no one is going through quite what you are going through. You are so scared of appearing in any way mad you internalise everything, and you are so scared that people will alienate you further you clam up and don’t speak about it, which is a shame, as speaking about it helps.
(T)here are only two things that are true 100 out of 100 times and that is that you live and also that you die and every other thing is not true or false it is a mix. It is both. It is none.
Goals are the source of misery. An unattained goal causes pain, but actually achieving it brings only a brief satisfaction.
A million people a year kill themselves. Between ten and twenty million people a year try to. Worldwide, men are over three times more likely to kill themselves than women.
It is another unsolved mystery in a world full of unsolved mysteries.Now stand up and walk out the way you came, and the moment that fresh air caresses your face, you will realize that that is what makes the world so beautiful. All those unsolved mysteries. And you won't ever want to interfere with that beauty again.
And yet, I was scared of falling asleep, because the moment I fell asleep my wounds would heal and right then I didn’t want that to happen. Right then, I found a strange but real comfort in the pain.
No one will understand you. It is not, ultimately, that important. What is important is that you understand you.
ILikeThe WayThat when youTiltPoemsOn their sideTheyLook likeMiniatureCities FromA long wayAway. SkyscrapersMade outOfWords.
Hate is a pointless emotion to have inside you. It is like eating a scorpion to punish it for stinging you.
She said being human is being a young child on Christmas Day who receives an absolutely magnificent castle. And there is a perfect photograph of this castle on the box and you want more than anything to play with the castle and the knights and the princesses because it looks like such a perfectly human world, but the only problem is that the castle isn’t built. It’s in tiny intricate pieces, and although there’s a book of instructions you don’t understand it. And nor can your parents or Aunt Sylvie. So you are just left, crying at the ideal castle on the box which no one would ever be able to build