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This post is a compilation of my favorite lines from Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne
My heart started beating really quickly, but not in its usual trapped-insect way. In a new way. A good way.
I used to trust Jane… I used to trust my judgement. I used to trust my thoughts. Things change.
Why would I waste brain tissue thinking about you?
I had been. Clever, I suppose. Once. Now I had barely any qualifications to my name, and I’d ruled out almost A level subjects based on their potential to trigger a relapse.
Don’t even get me started on what existentialism does to my mind.
I hadn’t meant to ditch on Lottie. I just…ditched life, and Lottie was part of that.
Films had been my savior over the past few years. I was able to lose myself in the stories and get caught up in the characters. For two hours at a time, I could forget all the whirring non-stipends of guy-twisting anxiety. I could merge myself into the lives of people capable of leaving the house, capable of having storylines.
Have you ever barricaded yourself into a room? Honestly, it’s the most definitive way of confirming that, yes, you have gone mental. And that confirmation unleashes the emotional landslide – where, suddenly, after fighting for so long, your brain gives up and erodes in on you, spiraling your thoughts into monsters who seize the city and tell you nothing is going to be okay ever again. That is your new life now. Fear, and pain, and confusion.
I’m in therapy for an anxiety-related disorder. EVERYTHING makes me uncomfortable.
What’s important to remember is you have these techniques now, to deal with these thoughts when you have them.
Can’t I just never have bad thoughts? Can’t they just go away forever?
There were loads of MISINFORMATION and STIGMA and it was really terrible and everyone suffered in silence for ages, not knowing what was wrong, and not seeking help because they didn’t understand what their brain was doing to them and why.
People actually die of bipolar, you know? They jump in front of trains and tip down bottles of paracetamol and leave letters behind to their devastated families because their bullying brains just won’t let them be for five minutes and they can’t bear to live with that anymore.
Mental illness grabs you by the leg, screaming, and chow you down whole. They make you selfish. They make you irrational. They make you self-absorbed. They make you needy. They make you cancel plans last minute. The make you not very fun to spend time with. They make you exhausting to be near.
They should make a film about depression where it’s just one person, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling for an hour. Then it’d be authentic.
D you ever wonder how we decide what’s mad and what isn’t? There’s so much crazy stuff in the world – everything’s a mess most of the time – but then people who can’t handle it are called mental and have films made about them… But what if they’re just reacting to the weirdness of the universe? Isn’t it more weird to just think everything’s okay, when it clearly isn’t?
What if he realizes within minutes that you’re a massive weirdo freak and runs out leaving you alone to fester in the germs?
I am supposed to be going on a date but all my clothes hate me.
Panic took over – stupid overwhelming panic, over a stupid underwhelming wardrobe crisis. My chest tightened and I flopped back to bed, focusing on my raggedy breathing.
HOW TO OWN YOUR BAD THOUGHTS
1. PUT THEM THROUGH THE WORRY TREE
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS WORRY RIGHT NOW?
YES (Well go do it. Then… Go on! And now you can stop worrying.)
NO (Then proceed to instruction number two.)
2. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU’VE HAD A BAD THOUGHT.
3. BUT DO NOT INDULGE THE BAD THOUGHT.
That’s the thing about anxiety. You can worry about anything and everything, dream up all sorts of weird and wonderful situations to be terrified of in the hope your fear will control the world somehow… and yet the world remains uncontrollable.
The disdain in his words was heartbreaking. The self-hatred. I knew it so well. You can’t help getting sick in your head, but, by golly, do you forget that. Daily. You despise yourself for being the way you are, like you’re doing it on purpose or something.
There’s nothing more comforting than someone who actually gets it. Really gets it. Because they’ve been through the same hell as you have and can verify you’ve not made it up.
I didn’t think you’d say yes if I asked you out. And then you did. And I was so happy, and then, so panicked, and I knew I would screw it up, and I have screwed it up. Who brings their parents on a date? Who? WHO?
I wanted to grab her face and yell, “I’m not a horrible person, I’m not. But I’m broken too and I’ve never been on the receiving end of this behavior before and I can’t handle it and I have to look after me first, before anyone else.
My heart practically panicked and ran out of my ribcage to claim asylum.
Why are you so scared? You’ve done it before. Nothing bad happened.
It’s such a torturous circle. I eat something, I start to worry I’ll get sick, this releases adrenaline which makes my stomach churn and my hands shake. That of course, makes me think I am actually sick, so I get more scared, and feel more sick. Over and over. Day after day. So much life lost.
My ribcage seemed to tighten, like it was squeezing my heart in on itself.
Guy leaned over and every hair on my body stood to attention.
I looked at him too, my heart thud-thudding. He was annoyingly good-looking in the autumn sun. It lit up all the concaves in his cheeks; it made his dark hair look almost golden rather than black.
You know what’s the best revenge, of course? Moving on with you life, and becoming absolutely famous so he can see what he’s missing.
His brain cells that are lying in a brain cell morgue somewhere, dead as dead can be.
I wasn’t trying to be puff pastry, I just sort of wanted to date someone and have a boy think I was half-decent and not mad. That’s normal, right?
I stopped laughing, my heart already racing.
I should’ve rung the emergency doctor person. I should’ve told my family. I didn’t even have to tell them in person, I could’ve left a note on the kitchen table.
It’s back. I’m not coping. Send help.
But I didn’t.
Irrational reasons I didn’t tell anyone
1. They were all so proud of me, of how I was doing.
2. Maybe it wasn’t “back”. I was still functioning. I was still going to college, seeing my friends, doing my coursework.
3. And it wasn’t like I was doing all the same things as before.
4. If it was back, I’d have to up my medication again. I’d failed. I’d always be on it. I’d never know who I was.
5. I f it was back then all the therapy hadn’t worked. If it was back I would always be like this. I would always have to fight every day, to stop myself slipping down the slope to Crazyville. Just the thought f that was exhausting. If it wasn’t back, then I was cured.
6. If it was back, my friends might find out. They might not want to be my friends any more.
You’re not fat, you idiot. Saying that is being really mean to actually-fat people.
Almost-kiss at the house party… followed by an all-out communication blackout.
Why did I like hearing his name so much?
My euphoria drained out of me, like a plug being pulled in the bath, and I sagged on the dance floor.
When I looked at Guy, it was like my brain was on a dimmer switch and the rest of the world was twisted down to mute.
Kissing Guy made up for every kiss I missed out on over the past three years.
Why did you think you could be normal? Why did you think you could have something good?
My eyelids blinked in overtime, working hard to repress the tears banging on the door.
I’d never been lost in any kind of moment before. I’d always noticed everything, my brain was always tick-rocking wherever I went, whatever I did. But then, there, I was drowning in the moment.
I needed to be normal and laugh with my friends and talk to people close to me without making them cry about how screwed up I am.
We’re kinder and more fragile. That’s our biology and we can’t help it.
Our need to be loved, fanciable, desirable, – whatever. It messes up our judgement.
It’s hard to realize unpleasant truths about ourselves. But it’s the first step towards making things better.
I’d failed at boring everyday existing that everyone else finds so easy.
I just wanted to have one shower in the morning, like everybody else. And go to college without it feeling like the world’s biggest effort, like everybody else. And brush my teeth twice a day, like everybody else. And get the train, like everybody else. And not feel sick with fear all the time, like everybody else. And relax occasionally, like everybody else. And have fun with my friends, like everybody else. And get kissed, like everybody else. And go on holiday, like everybody else. And get kissed, like everybody else. And fall in love, like everybody else. And not cry every day, like everybody else. And not have stiff muscles and be in constant pain from stress, like everybody else. And eat hamburgers with my hands like everybody else. And to…
My stupid brain! With its constant CONSTANT barrage of thoughts and what-ifs and worries and bullying.
My mind was raced and jumped and bullied and hurt.
I watched groups of friends, scattered on tables, joking and studying and chatting and piss-taking and just living living living.
If all my craziness was a sore throat, then Guy was a Strepsil, melting the crap away in my head.
So much is lost when you lose yourself. Not just your pride, or your hope. But worse things, things that affect others. Like your ability to help them when they need you, to notice when they’re hurting. You’re too wrapped up in your own hurt, your own mess. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t want to be selfish, I didn’t want to be a crap sister… and yet I was… because I wasn’t strong enough.
They find something – even if you’re near-perfect, they find something.
Yes, proud of you. Because, despite all you’ve been through, you’re still good and kind. You’re not bitter. Well, you are, but only at yourself. You may feel broken, but you don’t break others.
You’re so obsessed with being normal, but that’s well boring, and you’re extraordinary, Evie. Promise me you’ll stop trying to stop being you.
Even IF I get better now, what’s the point? I’m always a week away from potentially losing it again. On the cliff edge of normal. Then what? Then what do I do? “You remember how far you’ve come, you get the help you need, and you continue fighting.
Do you not think everybody else finds it exhausting too, trying to be them?
Everyone’s on the cliff edge of normal. Everyone finds life an utter nightmare sometimes, and there’s no ‘normal’ way of dealing with it. There is no normal. There’s only what’s normal to you. You’re chasing a ghost.
Your behavior isn’t making you happy. You’re miserable. You’re wasting hours each day living in fear, trying to control everything around you. Trying, ultimately, to control who you are. You’ve got to stop hating yourself.
They’ll know who you are…and if they don’t like it, why would you want to be friends with them anyway?
You can’t control what they think, so why bother worrying?
I believe the world, our gender roles, and the huge inequality we face every day MAKES US crazy.
I felt like “me” for the first time in weeks.
Being labeled with a mental problem changes how you view yourself.
I really think humour is the best gateway drug into feminism.
Enlightenment is a journey – we can’t expect to know it all and get it right the moment we decide to fight for something we believe in.
My book “You Deserve Happiness, We All Do” is now available on Amazon
Everyone has different ways of dealing with depression. I wrote this book to let those who are dealing with similar problems, know that you are not alone.
I hope that at least one or two of the tips in this book will guide you in your journey towards getting back the happiness you deserve.
Reviews from readers of You Deserve Happiness, We All Do.
“Light, easy and enjoyable.”
“Even to people without depression, it’s really helpful. It also gave me some tips to help me stay motivated everyday.” -Bea
“I like the way that it is written; jotted down the steps of how depression was coped because experience is a concrete advice one can share.” -baewannaread
“Great tips on how to deal with depression – ranging from the physical and basic to more emotional and individualized ways to cope. I especially love the recommendation of books and YouTubers as it gives a personal insight to into your personal battle with depression.” -Annie
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