I am a wild, free spirit. I move countries more than I change my socks, and I chase the sun, the snowfall, and amazing opportunities. Yet for years now, people have been telling me, ‘Charmaine, you are just running away’. Firstly – travelling and my way of life is not ‘running away’, in fact, travelling helps me feel whole. People can be selfish; they can tell you that you are ‘running’ because they actually want you physically in their lives, next to them.
Tomorrow, tomorrow is the day I go back to England to see my doctor. Again. This is not goodbye to my lifestyle, more like ‘See you later’. I have been a resident of Spain now the past nine months, but I have just been so, overwhelmingly ill that going back to the country where my main doctor who speaks my language is seemed like a step in the right direction. I saw a doctor in Madrid, but with my broken Spanish I wrote up what I wanted to say and I handed him the letter. It was something along the lines of ‘I want to kill myself on this medication; I am coming off of it. Do you think it’s a good idea?’ Something told me that this wasn’t the greatest way to communicate this tragic thought. For some reason going back to the country I was born in feels like defeat, like I have lost. When you have lived in countries all over the world, you just understand and learn where your heart truly belongs, and my heart and soul is actually nowhere to be found in England, and is where I find I am at my lowest.
However, tomorrow. It has actually become so bad now that my mother forced me to book a flight back, and my grandparents are driving me to the airport to make sure I get on my plane. With everyone in my family believing this is the ‘right’ thing to do, I will try. I guess. I had no other option. I have depression and anxiety, and it’s been haunting me for as young as I can remember. The toughest part is, my parents don’t understand it. I came out to my dad and told him everything a few months ago, and the reaction was extremely poor – it made me feel like I was completely alone. Like he had just ripped out my heart, and left me standing there alone. He was my best friend, yet he just doesn’t see depression as a ‘real’ issue. Why couldn’t he just wait and listen to what I had to say instead of covering his ears and pretending not to hear me?
My mum, an alcoholic, gets frustrated when I cry and tell her what's going on in my mind. Maybe she feels guilty? Maybe she wanted that perfect ‘girly girl’ daughter, to give her grandchildren, and paint her nails, and go for tea and cake in the sunshine... maybe I'm the reason she drinks? Maybe I have disappointed her? Both my mum and dad don’t want to know, and have never, ever helped or supported me through this whole time. They must have seen that I was self harming when I was 14 years old. They must have seen I was depressed, they must have heard, they must have felt it. So why didn’t they help me?
Even in the past few years before I really understood myself what was going on in my head, I would express to them how I felt. Nevertheless, I think it was much easier for them to turn away and ignore it. So many times I’ve heard ‘snap out of it’, ‘think positively’, ‘you are so moody’, ‘what have you got to be depressed about, you have food, you have shelter, you have family’, ‘you need to sort your mood swings out’. But NEVER have I heard them say ‘Let’s get you help’.
Anxiety and depression doesn’t just affect me, but the relationships around me. If I have ever hurt you, I am deeply sorry and I love you. However, although it looked like me who hurt you, it wasn’t me at all. My illness isn’t me, it doesn’t define who I am as a person. It just isn’t me.
When the day comes when I have children, I will acknowledge how they feel instead of sticking my head in the sand. I will love and adore every step they make in life, even if it’s away from me into a different country. I will always be there at the end of the phone, even if it’s just to hear them cry. I will never be-little how they feel, and I will always, ALWAYS be there to hold their hand as their mother.