Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.
Every now and again, I suffer from something that I like to refer to as a dark time. I believe that it may be a form of depression. However, I do not refer to it as such because it never lasts very long. These dark times began when I fell in love and lost my friends. This was a horrible time for me. I suffered greatly with these losses and the result was a new, darker mind. However, I never ran from this pain, I confronted it head on. When I couldn’t sleep because I was overthinking, I read my books. When I wanted to lock myself in my room, I listened to sad music. When I spent the day in bed I would watch movies that I loved. I would do what I needed to get through a day, telling myself that it was temporary. I would call my friends if I needed to talk. Turn my phone off if I needed to be alone. I would write in my journals as much as possible. I would look at old pictures and think about what I had lost. Watch YouTube videos of my idols. Go out and get coffee alone. Spend all of my money on sweets, diet coke and magazines. Take long, hot showers and baths. Read articles online about pain and loss.
I would listen to my favourite songs on the way in and out of school where I had to see the people that I had lost. There were times when I had to take days off school for my mental health. My parents were confused as I didn’t tell them what was going on but I insisted. On these days I would study at home instead and catch up on my work. I don’t think there’s much harm in missing the occasional day as long as you’re keeping on top of your work.
I began to smoke. This I am ashamed of. When the pain was getting really bad I would light a cigarette and smoke out my window. Don’t smoke. It’s disgusting. Please don’t smoke. I knew it was disgusting when I was doing it and I never felt better after doing it. There are much better ways to deal with things than smoking. I do not smoke any more and I never will again. I think it’s important to acknowledge when you’re going through pain. It’s not a flaw to feel pain and more people need to understand that.
Up until then, I had always swam along with the waves of my brain. But suddenly my brain had filled up with dark, murky waters. I had two choices. I could float atop these waters, pretending that they were clear, or I could swim downwards through the dark water. I was terrified. But I knew that I couldn’t just allow my brain to be full of such poison. I swam down through the darkness past all of my demons. I’m not going to lie, it was quite painful. But when I got to the bottom, I found a plug. I pulled it and the waters left my brain. And that result was worth the effort 1000 times.
I wanted, more than anything to run from my misery. To distract myself and to pretend that it wasn’t there. I wanted to escape with a passion that terrified me. But somehow, I found the strength to face it. And I’m all the better for that.
Ever since that time, I’ve had a certain sadness inside me. This is okay. It only arises every now and again. Splashes of those waters returning to my mind. For the most part, I am fine. But there are times when I feel this sadness engulf me once again. When this happens I don’t pretend that it isn’t happening. I don’t put on a brave face or do anything stupid like that. I fulfil my obligations such as college and plans that I have and I look after myself. I treat myself with kindness and compassion. I don’t wait for other people to treat me as such. Often, other people don’t even realise that this is happening. I don’t hide it, it’s just never that obvious. I do what I need to until I feel better and I am very fortunate in the fact that I always do. It only ever lasts for a week or two. It’s okay to feel sad for no apparent reason. To feel tired and overwhelmed. I suspect we all do from time to time. Be kind to yourself when this happens. Treat yourself as if you are fragile because humans are fragile by nature. Trying to avoid or deny this fact is a waste of your time. You never need a reason to feel sad. Don’t get frustrated at your pain or sadness because I promise that it will pass. You might not be okay tomorrow, or even in a few weeks, but eventually you will be fine. We always come back from these things.
Read about a day where I took some time out here.
Watch my mental health journey below: