Now that I’ve made my ebook “Stay Wild; Notes From a Self-Aware Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the unseen chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in July 2017.
I’m sitting in the kitchen of my apartment, beside a half packed suitcase that’s about to travel (with myself) to my Mam’s house in Wexford for the next few weeks. I can’t really believe that I’m typing that sentence, but this is my current reality.
My younger self would not be impressed that I’m about to (temporarily) give up my glamorous life in Dublin but such is life. My younger self wouldn’t have been able to predict any of what I’ve been through in the past couple of weeks either.
God has it really only been a couple of weeks? I’m so exhausted. I’ve changed my mind and gone through so many different headspaces in those weeks that it feels as though it’s been forever. But here I sit, hopefully nearing the end of this trepidation that’s been a part of my existence for six months, ready to take my life back.
This morning I woke up to an email telling me that I hadn’t been picked for a journalism job that I interviewed for and that I really wanted. I waited for this news to pull me under a dark cloud, but it didn’t. Similarly, yesterday when I discovered that I’d failed some of my modules for my course, I was also able to manage that news.
I feel as though my resilience is building up once again which is something that I’m very happy about. When you’re facing challenges, as we all do, it’s so important to have resilience in order to manage them. Resilience is something that I’ve been without for the past while.
During this time, I had to lie down and just let life roll over me. I wasn’t able to participate in this world. Making decisions. Looking after myself. Being productive. These were things that I wasn’t able to do.
When I went in for my hormone appointment, my physical and emotional exhaustion was explained. My hormones have been out of balance for the past six months, meaning that I’ve had high levels of testosterone while also having high levels of oestrogen.
This has wreaked havoc on my body which has wreaked havoc on my mind and well, if you’ve read this book, you’re aware of the rest.
I’m tearing up as I write this. I’m very tired of this body that isn’t working the way it should and that frustrates me. Because as we all know, I’ve made amazing strides in terms of accepting my body and that’s become even more challenging now.
I’m having horrible hot flushes again as well as fatigue, dry mouth and intense mood swings. Also, my nipples are incredibly sore which means that I can’t flop down on my stomach and despair about life like I usually would.
Bear with my negativity, for I sense that I’m about to hit a positive note.
I’ll be seeking sanctuary in my Mam’s country house while I figure out what to do next. I finally do feel like I’m in a headspace to figure out what to do next. I hope to sleep, cry, scream, despair, practice gratitude, come to terms with my anguish and become myself (or at least some replica of myself) in my time there.
Looking back, a lot of the Stay Wild essays seem to have been telling me a similar thing. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Focus on yourself.
Now, I’m finally taking the time to do that.
The other day, I snapped at a group of men who were wolf-whistling at me. I let my shoulders drop and my eyes show my exhaustion and I marched up to their table, not hiding my disgust that I had to confront them.
“What is your game here?” I asked them. They just laughed uneasily while all staring at their feet. They can never meet your eye when you try and force them to.
I let my voice crack when I said the next part.
“I’ve just been checked out of a psychiatric hospital this morning because I had a nervous breakdown,” I told them. As I was saying it, I realised I wouldn’t be able to deal with the possibility of their response not being what I expected so instead of going on, I immediately turned away from them and left.
I’m not sure what their response would have been and I’m not sure what I’d want it to be. But when you lay yourself bare like that, you leave yourself open to the harshest possibilities, and I didn’t wish to do that.
For the record, this was a lie, or rather an extreme twist on the truth. I’m not sure why I chose to lie to them like that, but I think I thought those words would have a much bigger impact than my own confusing reality.
Standing up to people isn’t something I usually do because I’ve never seen the point but maybe in the future I will begin to face these people. This doesn’t mean that my past approach was incorrect or weak, it just means that I might need to find another way to keep my sanity.
I’m reluctant to dismiss the past few months as awful, because there have been many wonderful experiences mixed into them. But I can’t deny that so far, it’s been extremely challenging to be David Beattie in 2017. 2016 was amazing, but this year has been tough.
Today I’ve cried, returned to my bed a number of times, forced myself to eat meals and felt despair whenever I think about the future. This is what my days look like in this new current reality and that’s something I have to be okay with.
It’s not you, I keep reminding myself, it’s the hormones.
But if anyone can get through this, it’s me. I’ve proven that to myself time and time again and as long as I can keep that unshakable faith in myself, I’ll be okay.
Okay is okay for now.
The rest will come later.
Read more about this breakdown here.