This one’s a little bit all about me. I hope you’ll forgive my introspection, and maybe even that you’ll find it interesting anyway. At the very least it might show others who feel the same that they’re not alone. Just like I know that I’m not alone. Even when I don’t quite believe it.
The other day I had an enjoyable evening out and two close friends walked me to the bus stop afterwards. We stood at the stop and chatted until my bus came into view, then we hugged and I got ready to leave. When the bus finally pulled up I was all ready to go. Except that I wasn’t ready to go. Not at all. I wanted to go back to my friends and hug them again, or stay with them longer, or maybe not leave at all. I was, in fact, pretty scared of leaving. I didn’t want to be alone again.
I almost didn’t share this little story. Not because I was afraid of sharing it, or because I was embarrassed by the reaction, but simply because this is normal life to me. This is what I feel every time I leave a friend’s house. This is what I feel every time we split up to go our seperate ways after a night out. This is what I feel every time I have to go from being with people to being alone. It scares me. It scares me a lot.
When I am in my deepest depression I often have trouble believing in people. If they’re not right there then I can’t be sure they exist, and I can’t rely on ever seeing them again. This is one of the aspects of my depression that causes me the most trouble. It’s always made sense to me that my fear of leaving people comes from the fact that I spend a not-inconsiderable amount of time not believing they exist, and I’m afraid that once I leave them they’ll stop existing again. (or, at least, stop existing for me). However, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I’m wondering if maybe one or both of the above tendencies are in fact caused by something else.
You see, when I was seventeen I said goodbye to my mother… and it was never meant to be forever.
I’ve never felt comfortable linking my depression to past events. It’s always seemed like a bit of a cop-out somehow, like I’m not willing to look inside myself for the problem so I palm it off on some life event long ago. But the more I think about it the more this particular link makes sense to me. Because there was really nothing special about my last goodbye to my mother. There was no hint or sign that it wasn’t just another routine day. I was working on biology homework (or possibly avoiding working on biology homework, I can’t quite remember), my sister was playing, my father was at work, and my mother went out to the shops quickly to buy something for dinner. She never came back. She suffered a massive brain-haemmorhage in the shops, and the next time I saw her it was clear to me that she was gone, despite the machines that kept her lungs breathing and her heart beating. And I guess I learned, somewhere deep down, that every goodbye could be the last one.
There’s something else I found myself thinking about too, and that’s the fact that it’s seeming to happen a lot more often these days. It’s been over ten years since that day, but I’ve panicked more over goodbyes in the last few years than I ever did before. And here, at least, the conclusion I’ve come to is a positive one. You see, now I have more people that I don’t want to lose. Now it’s not just goodbye to another acquaintance or maybe-friend. Now it’s goodbye to people that really, really matter to me. And while there’s always the assumption that we’ll see each other again soon, there’s also the tiny hidden fear that we might not. And I really want to see you again soon. I really do.