Back in the mental health unit a few months ago, my thick thick file was accidentally left in my room. SCORE! I opened it up to discover page after page of my blog posts. It was like a really fucked-up version of Neverending Story but without Falcor. The strangest thing. A nurse or doctor is reading my blog, printing my posts out, holepunching and then adding them to my file. Didn't really help my paranoia but eventually I thought fuck it, who cares? Who cares if people know my stuff? It's not going to kill me. Why do so many of us hold our cards so very close to our chest, desperate to keep our struggles to ourselves?
It's important to share what this human experience is like. Obviously I'm on the extreme side of sharing and I'm not saying we should all walk around sprouting our own personal wailing walls every day. But it's dangerous if all we show is polished, filtered, unattainable lives. I don't give a fuck about soft furnishings. Plenty of people do but if you're going to "put your life out there" in this strange, unchartered world of social media internet craziness, you have a responsibility to dig a little deeper. Life isn't a pretty Instagram photo with a thousand likes. This is beginning to bug me so much and I can't grasp why ... I think it has something to do with the next generation of children growing up online. And where my brother thought his life should have been compared to everybody else, before he killed himself.
A beautiful male nurse with kind eyes called Jens handed me an application form when I was hospital, for the Blue Fringe Literary Awards. To be eligible to enter you must have a lived experience of mental illness. I prefer the term mental wellness but whatever. I told Jens that I'd enter, and that I wanted to win. I wrote my short story in 46 minutes on the day the entries closed. And I won. So now I have to read my story out at the Carrington Ballroom in Katoomba in a few weeks. I HATE my story, it needs editing, it's rushed, the themes could have been pulled out and arranged so much better. I actually hate everything I write which is probably because I hate myself but whatever. I'll read it out, and I get to listen to everybody else reading theirs out too. They'll all be collated into a book and I'll dedicate mine to my brother who lost his battle with battling. I'll most likely cry, I'll most likely feel embarrassed at being what society views as a "mentally unwell" person but I have a feeling that the entire human race is probably a little mentally unwell and it's not just me anyway? Even the cushion lovers?
I rang the hospital to tell Jens but the nurse wouldn't put me through. Maybe she thought I was some kind of weirdo stalker crazy person. HA.
So can the person who holepunches hardcopies of my blog posts please let Jens know I said thanks?
And can we all start thinking a little bit about sharing the hard stuff a little more? I want my kids to grow up not afraid to feel and express the full gamut of life and experiences and emotions. Gamut. Now THERE'S a word.
Someone in the comments to my last post said that grief was a form of madness. Someone else said that I have lost a piece of my heart forever. Others say Cam will come back to me in some way and boyoboy do I hope that happens. A lot of people further down this well-worn path tell me that it will will get easier. Stopping and shouting back to me, "Eden, everything you are feeling is ok! We have been there and we know. Just keep walking." You have lost daughters, sons, parents, sisters, brothers, babies. You know the drill. I'll keep walking because I hear you. Thank you for echoing me back. Some very important kind of energy was exchanged, some kind of truth.
After my last post my stepson Tim text me this:
"Your words are your weapon, Eden! A very powerful weapon!"
And I cried because sometimes it really is worth the embarrassment of people knowing my shit.