Although I think I have written about this kind of thing before, I have to be honest with you and admit that I am not even sure at this point that this post is going to make a great deal of sense.
Sometimes when I sit at the computer looking at the ‘Add New Post’ screen, I know what it is in my head – what I want to communicate – but I am not sure how exactly I am going to go about communicating it. Other times I pretty much have a thought in my head and it is just a case of whether my fingers can keep up with my thoughts. But I guess I am not alone in this and that other bloggers probably experience similar things.
But as for this post I am not sure how to say what I want to say. You see just recently I have taken to watching a British series that is shown on Channel 4 and I think E4 and that has also been shown on BBC America and which is called Skins. I am really not sure what got me into it, probably my son Matthew, but I really do enjoy it and am watching all the back series and episodes on Netflix.
This picture is taken from the BBC America publicity and happens to show the series that I am currently watching. It therefore also features the character from whom the thought behind this posting came.
Now, please understand that I am trying very hard to explain the situation, which is relevant, without spoiling any of the program’s story line for anyone.
Anyway, In the show something happens to one of the characters and this causes his mind and especially his memory to stop working properly.
As a result of and subsequent to this, all of his relationships suffer under the strain of what happened to him and because his personality changes as a result of it he is no longer (in their eyes) the same person he was.
Thankfully his relationships start repairing and at one point he links back up with one of his old mates, and they discuss the fact that they haven’t seen each other very much recently. The ensuing conversation reaches a quiet reflective point and his mate turns to him and simply says, “I miss you.”
Without showing any signs of emotion he in turn responds, “I miss me too.”
The minute the words had come out of his mouth a voice inside my head said, “Yeah I know what you mean. I miss me too.”
Wow! “Yeah I know what you mean, I miss me too.”
It was loud (in its poingniancy) and it was clear (in its sincerety) and what is more it was from me and came from a place of deep regret.
Trust me when you have lots of voices in your head – both inside and out – if your own internal voice says something that significant it is hard to mistake it.
But that’s the thing about some truths. They make you sit up and take notice and they launch you into a period of reflection and hopefully even change. But in this case how do I bring about that change?
“I miss me too.” The fact is that I do miss me too. But I am not even sure I fully remember who I was.
Mental illness, poor mental health, whatever you call it, depending in part on what you personal preference for a label is or to some degree how severely it affects you, can have that effect. It can rob you of who you were. And if you memory goes as part of that mental illness you are in many ways just left with a void.
And that is what it is like for me. In some ways it is like half of Alzheimer’s but on really slow play. Instead of frequently and rapidly looping around the ‘where is?’, ‘who are?’, ‘what did?’, ‘are we?’ questions that sometimes seem to be continually and repeatedly asked and answered as part of that condition I am left with the continual knowledge that I am not who I was, life is not what it was, my relationships are not what they were, but just without the answers.
I try to remember but it is so very hard and I often fail miserably. Certainly there are a few memories there but it is as if they are the ones that made the biggest impact. perhaps the best way I could describe it is that memories are like pictures that are etched into the mind and when my mental health problems worsened it is as if those memories began to fade thus leaving only those memories which were either deeply etched or indelibly etched into my mind.
The difficulty is that so much of who we are is based on who we were and with most of my memories having faded or still fading I really do feel that so much of who I am has faded or is fading.
Thankfully, unlike the character in the show, I have had a few – a very few people (mainly family and one or two friends only) who have stuck by me regardless of these changes to who I am. But as I say they really are few and far between and sadly none of them knew the me who was the most active or the most fun or the most creative.
I did at one point try writing to my siblings and my mother (I live in a different country to them now) in order to explain my mental health difficulties and to get some inkling of who I used to be but that proved fairly unsuccessful and I am just as lost today as I was before I wrote those letters.
Even when I look at old photos it is as if I am looking at a different person or someone else’s memories which can be very disconcerting especially when you know that the person in the picture is indeed you.
And there is another element to all this.
As a Christian I fully aware that I am not in many ways meant to be just the man I want to be but the man, father, son, brother, that God desires for me to be, But as a loving father I interpret this according to my own desires for my children. Do I desire for my children to be all they can be? absolutely! Do I want the best from and for them? Of course. But I don’t want for them to be complete replicas of me – sort of mini me’s if you will – but to remain who they area and I really do believe that God desires that for me too.
Do I have absolute faith that God will, through Christ and through His Holy Spirit, do His part in all of this? Yes of course but how do I do my part if I can’t remember who I am or was? My faith tells me that as a loving heavenly Father God, fully aware of my illness and my in abilities, will also help me in my part as well and yes I trust in this but somehow that doesn’t stop my head and my heart grieving the loss that I am feeling here. Somehow that doesn’t stop my head and my heart from missing me.