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"Fragile - Handle with Care"

Gonzo Commentary on My Mental Health


Ah yes, mental health.

As cliche as it might sound, life truly can and will be a "rollercoaster."

Although, I feel that if you were to more specifically apply that metaphor, it may be more fitting for mental health, or at least mine.

I don't want to ramble on providing commonly accepted notions or ideas about the ebb and flow in one's mental state... but sometimes it can be difficult to keep it all together.

To bring a more personal lens to the piece, I suffered a medical condition that exclusively bred within my little cranium and in medical terms only lasted three weeks.

Those three weeks defined the next eight months of my life. The definitive nature of the impact slowly erode in the following six months... and I estimate around 18 months—from the time I left intensive care. I felt normal again.

Okay. So the condition may have been induced by hallucinogenic drugs, but upon reflection, maybe that was the variable that heightened certain things and brought everything to the surface.

Growing up, I didn't like myself and I think a form of pacification was to attached myself to things.

Whether it be music, TV shows, sports, anything I could lose myself in and create a quasi-identity with, I would. I didn't want to be me, but I think the thing I can laugh about now is that there wasn't really a version of "me" at such a young age.

I think maybe that's part and parcel of growing up? You're a mish-mash of quotable movies and radio song lyrics.

Getting back on track... I wasn't so sure of myself growing up, and this uncertainty of myself lingered. Until it was plucked from the depths during this episode. Then I had no choice but to deal with it.

Disclaimer: From this sentence onwards, due to the nature of the topic, there will be some free-form-esque, seemingly non-linear recounting.

The first eight months were the hardest. To put it succinctly, I started at zero. Or to paint a more understandable picture:

It was like that scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Gandalf speaks about the aftermath of his battle with the Balrog in the mines of Moria.

The sequence where it shows a montage of the universe which pans out from Gandalf's eyes and shows his bare upper torso against *white.

*Picture Ian McKellan, naked and gasping while looking into the camera.*

If you could imagine what that particular scene feels like—along with Gandalf's monologue about being sent back. That's kinda how it felt.

Context being: I was a version of myself (Gandalf the Grey).

I had an encounter: Gandalf vs. Balrog / Me vs. Mental Health Condition.

I came back: Gandalf the White / Me post-Mental Health Condition.

To unpack my previous statement, before the incident, I was at 1. The incident subtracted 1. Therefore, after it, I was at 0.

I had to start everything again. My psyche was completely shot and I questioned everything I had ever done or ever will do. A question mark was stamped on my existence—like a wax seal upon an envelope. Was I ever to be opened again, did I even want to open the seal?

To explain zero in a sentence. I had everything stripped from me. My beliefs, interests, thoughts, comments—everything that makes a person a person... or creates an identity of a person. It fell away.

I had to rebuild, reshape and redefine who I was going to be. Which isn't exactly easy when you feel like nothing—not feeling nothing. Just nothing.

As in—who I was in that moment of time equated to nothing. I neither expressed internally or externally—my cognition was an A4 blank sheet of paper.

Actually, blankness is the most accurate word to describe those first six months.

Blankness: Noun. Total lack of ideas, meaning, or substance: Barrenness, emptiness, hollowness, inanity, vacancy, vacuity, vacuousness.

SO that was then—and somehow I made it to the present.

Probably through a combination of; talking, friends, drinking, drugs and confronting my inner beliefs of who I was and how I became that version of myself before the whole mental episode-black-hole-big-bang event happened.

Part of the introspection that took place into my life post the event, came in the form digging back through my previous 19 years of existence.

Most, if not all people will think or say "my family's dysfunctional"—and yep, that's me too—and unfortunately those blood related individuals can shape who you are... or who you were.

In a nutshell: My Dad was the youngest of four boys who were raised by alcoholic parents in government housing.

The eldest of my uncles took Dad under his wing and looked after him in the absence of their parents. They both made it into adulthood, until this uncle died of leukemia before I was born. He had red hair, a characteristic only passed onto my brother.

Once this uncle passed, it left three. The second eldest (I think?) ran with the wrong crowd, so much so the police would often come to my Dad's house asking where that particular uncle was. That uncle served time in prison and was substance affected presumably until the time of his passing last year. I hadn't seen him in nearly a decade and didn't attend his funeral.

Now that leaves two out of four brothers left. They still talk.

I remember it was this uncle's birthday party. At the time I was around 12 years old. I remember eating a slice of cake. Then I heard yelling. I ran around the corner to see my Dad and his brother punching each other on the ground.

When I say on the ground, my uncle was sitting in a plastic chair and was still seated while on his side, on the ground trading blows with my Dad. Who presumably got dragged down after laying the initial blow—that being if my assumptions are correct. And if I remember correctly which person was where.

Long story short: they were both on the ground. Both throwing fists. And one of them was technically still sitting in the plastic chair, despite it being tipped on its side.

So that's Dad. Mum? Well she's interesting in other ways and I may touch on that in the future. Growing up she tried what she could with what she had, but as I have transitioned into adulthood her flaws have become more apparent. She loves me and she tries—can you ask for much more?

Note: I do not blame anyone, especially not my parents for what happened to me. But your environment is your environment, and there's love there. For both.

Anyways... mental health. At present, three years on since that event, I truly have never been better. I feel comfortable with who I currently am and have many things to; be grateful for and look forward to.

But there is room for improvement. One thing I wouldn't be comfortable with: If I didn't push myself to grow.

To try and reach that complete projection of yourself—the person who you want to be, which is actually you.

That version of yourself who has tried to do what you really want to do, or is doing what you actually want to do—or found something completely unexpected which satisfies your entire being.

After "proof-reading" this at 1:19 AM, I can't glean a singular narrative or purpose of these words I have written that might serve anyone but myself.

I feel better after writing this and if you've made it this far, hopefully you don't feel as though I have robbed you of five minutes.

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