The Other Me

The Other Me

‘Shut In’

The first time I’d come out of major issues with anxiety and depression, it was with a sense of triumph and liberation. I was free. It was like overcoming an illness, and putting it behind me forever. Of course, I was only twenty-one, so I was still at an age where I had a sense of invulnerability about my health, and the prospect of my future was new and exciting.

I didn’t feel that this time. This time, there was a sense of tentativeness, to come back out into the world and yet have this hang over my head, an unwanted visitor who could strike again. You didn’t recover from this – not fully, not even mostly. You came to terms with it, and lived with it, and needed to navigate it when it was an issue.

I didn’t want to go back to what had been. This stuff had marred my teenage years, and dominated my twenties – when other people were heading out into the world, building careers, marrying, setting up lives, I was either anxious or depressed, or I was a shut-in. I had missed those opportunities, and while I was still young enough to do anything, there was still a sense of regret for what might’ve been, and for the way this had shaped my ability to function and interact, to look forward.

My sleep, which had never been good, also continued to deteriorate, so I went and saw Dr Warren. I didn’t want to go back on Mogadon, partly because of my last bad experience with it, and partly because I didn’t want to develop another reliance on it. So, instead, Dr Warren prescribed me Euhypnos – what I’d been given when all this had started. This coincided with my parents going overseas for a couple of months.

I used the Euhypnos to try get into a rigorous schedule. I’d go to bed about 11.00 pm, get up at 7.00 am. I’d make and eat breakfast, wash the dishes, and then vacuum (necessary when you have a house dog). Then I’d walk Wolf to the video library (this a new bigger video library, a couple of kilometres away), borrow some stuff, then walk Wolf to the shops and do any required shopping. Once I got home, I’d write.

I also decided to push my writing and finished one screenplay after another – eleven of them in the space of a few months. I sent things out and sometimes got nibbles, and even – through the internet, via email – got in partnership with an American writer/producer for a Star Trek-like sci fi series idea I had. Nothing ever went further, though. Or paid.

This was a glimmer of the potential of my life as it could’ve been: self-reliant, regimented, and focused. There were still my issues, but they would always be with me, and I wore them like scars that showed the battles I’d survived.

Now, the future awaited me.