It was probably inevitable that, after the last few days where I was consciously aware of significant steps on the road to recovery, there would be a setback.
As I’m writing this, I’ve let out a big sigh. I can feel pain running through my heart and soul. It’s only the lack of tears that keeps it from being one of those bouts of uncontrollable crying. Why am I hurting so much? Yet again?
It perhaps didn’t help that I had what can only be described as a ‘Falling Down’ moment the other day. Between the rail station and my home is an open alleyway. It’s strewn with rubbish, urine filled bottles, clearly the leftovers of house burglaries, and at the weekend there was a dead rat on it’s path. In the bushes beside it lurk people, their bodies hidden but not their voices.
Unfortunately, it’s the only way to get home from the station, other than a considerable detour, of around a mile. A three minute stroll would turn into a 20 minute slog uphill and then back down. Up until this point it’s been one of those necessary evils to walk through to get home.
Anyway, as I wandered absentmindedly towards the Magnolia Tree House, coming my way was a youth, in his late teens. Despite it being a roaring hot day, he was dressed in a royal blue hoodie, which of course was worn over his head. As we got closer and closer, his walk became a swagger, taking up the entire pathway.
As I tried to get by, he informed me, in a voice reminiscent of Ali G, though no doubt he thought was intimidating, that I would have to pay a toll to get by, though not quite as eloquently, littered with expletives. This was around 20 past two in the afternoon, but nobody else was around.
My reaction surprised me. On the very few occasions I’ve been confronted physically, I’ve been frozen with fear, unable to even run. This time, however, something was different. I could feel tension, not terror, coursing through me, and I began to hold my breath rather than hyperventilating. My body tensed up and I clenched both my fists. There was no clamminess about me. This was cold, brooding, intense anger building up inside of me.
Perhaps the hoodlum thought I might be easy pickings because of my age, or my sex, or the placid, mild mannered expression my body language exudes most of the time. This particular day, though, to my own shock as much as his, he made a terrible misjudgment.
I informed him, looking him straight in the eye, in a calm, soft but somehow snappy and spiteful tone, that he would be getting not a penny, and that even if he succeeded in putting me into hospital, he was going to get hurt in the process too, no matter what. The sneering ‘Is that right?’ – with the now obligatory f word, was met with a step right in front of him, and a very soft, calm “Yes”. By this time the nails of my fingers were digging deep impressions into my palm, so clenched were my fists.
It may have been just a few seconds, but it felt like a minute or so, my gaze never flinching. Eventually, he backed down, and took a step to the side, arms slightly raised, as if to say ‘Okay, okay’. I walked past, deliberately putting my shoulder into his, making him swerve out of the way and into the bushes. As a parting shot, though, from a safe distance, he threw some object at me.
Just as I reached home, I even turned back, wondering if I might go and take this further. Fear had long since gone. I was quite prepared to go after him and, rashly, turn the incident into something more violent. Totally out of character for me. I did, of course, think better of it, and calmed down, with a small measure of satisfaction that I faced him down, and that maybe he will think twice before doing anything like that again.
It seems more than coincidence, then, that so soon after something like that, my mood has swung back into deepening depression. Maybe all that negative emotion was rising up in me and was about to be taken out on a teenage thug. Then just at that moment, it stopped, which left all of those feelings floating around my mind and body.
Or maybe the answer is more simple. That it’s one of those setback days which my therapists have faithfully assured me would be coming and needed to be ready to deal with it.
It didn’t help, mind, that various companies took it upon themselves to harass me by phone, and that Lesley annoyed me intensely by a somewhat terse message after she had asked me to get in touch with her. If she didn’t want me to contact her via a certain number, then why on earth put it on her business card that she gave me?
Put all of that together and the result today has been pining for my ex, even though it is well and truly over, missing her, extraordinarily sad that I’ll never see her again for the rest of my life, and upset that I can’t improve my life one iota, whether it be job searching, dealing with everyday bills and housekeeping, or anything about me.
I’m not giving myself a chance to get better, and haven’t done for some time. But like William Foster in the film, it’s getting to the point where something is going to happen soon. We all know, though, how that ended. I’m back in the discomfort zone and not happy to be there, with thoughts of suicide creeping back in. For the moment, though, I’m making no plans to walk down my local pier armed with a water pistol.
Teaching thugs a lesson is about my limit.