Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A See-Saw Named Coping

A few years ago, I had a nightmare where I was in a long canoe boat with someone else at the other end, and we were rocking up and down in the rough sea like we were one  see-saw, and then suddenly, as I was high up, the other person vanished, and I came plummeting down, broke the surface of the water and plunged under. The water rushed over my head, the weight of it somehow keeping me from pushing upwards. I still remember really clearly trying to flail my arms but hardly being able to move, my throat beginning to burn, desperately trying to push up towards the surface. I woke up then, with my face pressed so hard into my pillow that I genuinely couldn't breathe, in real life, until I flipped over and lay panting in great lungfuls of air, my chest aching as if I had actually been drowning.

I'm thinking about it now, because that's sort of what I feel like.

I feel like I'm on a see-saw, alternating between riding high and plummeting so low that I'm trapped and helpless, and hardly able even to keep my head above.

One of the most hideous things about being a complete mental fuck-up is that my first priority has always been to hide the fact that anything is the matter from pretty much the rest of the world. So it's like drowning, but not letting anyone see you drown. It's like drowning while everyone around you is breathing and swimming just fine, and you feel like if you ever had the nerve to call out to them for help, they'd laugh at you and say 'Just swim to shore, you idiot.' But even more perversely, it's like drowning yourself, just like there was a part of my brain that was busy transforming my sub-conscious self-suffocation into a drowning dream, instead of kicking in an instinct to change position until I could breathe again.

Drowning is a good simile too, because it's being overwhelmed, swept under, engulfed. I don't know what is terrifying me more at the moment, the course I'm doing unexpectedly well in and will therefore inevitably soon become a failure and a disappointment, or the module in which I'm already a disappointment and have to push up my marks before it just looks like I'm not trying at all. I have to give a presentation tomorrow. I have to give a fucking presentation tomorrow. I don't even have the words to express how much that terrifies me, because I know I'll fuck it up, and I know I'll panic and talk too fast, and it'll be like I know I'm doing it, but I won't be able to stop.

I'm scared I will never shake this feeling of never being good enough.

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