Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Greatest Lesson of 2014: A Letter To My Best Friends

Hi, my name is Katie, I have suffered from depression since I was sixteen, 

And I am okay. 

I have know times of not okay, I have known times of a hell of a lot more than just not okay, but it is with a full heart and the help of some medicine, I can say I am now, okay.

And that's a really beautiful state to be in for more reasons than one.

But before I get into that I'd just like to add a footnote here and mention something about seeking help. I'd coped with my illness for many years before I truly felt myself become powerless to do anything about it. It was a dark time, and it took a lot of courage and support to admit I needed to get help, and pluck up the courage to seek help from a therapist. It was beneficial, but the immediate symptoms were too distracting to make real progress. So very, very reluctantly, I resorted to medicinal help. I was already afraid of my own brain, and the idea of adding more chemicals to mess around with it, absolutely terrified me. 

But I cannot express the magnitude of difference in which my quality of life has improved since I started taking the medication. I am not crazy, run-around-the-house, buzzed off my tits happy that I feared I would be, nor am I still at that horrible dark place where I realised I was out of control of my own body.

I am me again. 

And the relief and liberation I feel about that is so positively overwhelming. 

Accepting you need help is never a sign of weakness. Nor is mental illness anything to ever be ashamed of. People get sick. People get better. 

Anyway, after one of the hardest years of my life, finally returning to myself has made me so, so grateful for a lot of things. 

And possibly the biggest thing of them all, something which makes me almost tear up with gratitude and pride is the people who have been around me and seen me through this.

After having a festive farewell meal with my uni friends then going home for the Christmas holidays and catching up with old friends, I am leaving 2014 on an absolute soaring high of elation. 

So this is an ode to my best friends, the people who make this life that little bit more glittering. 

To Flossie,

You are forever the light to counter my dark. Whether it's dancing around the streets of New York City pretending we're in a movie in Central Park or carving cold meats and watching The Holiday curled up on the sofa in a perfect yin yang reverse-spoon, we always seem to be the perfect antidote to one another, two opposing pieces that seem to fit perfectly to create this perfect whole. 

You are the person I am most honest with in the entire world, I realised that yesterday. You know me better than anyone else, and scold me harder than anyone else for which I'm equal parts exasperated about and grateful for. I really enjoy being rubbish around you. Making you laugh is like the ultimate reward. You stop me from easily slipping into a not very nice version of me I don't want to be, and bring a string of fairy lights into even the shittiest and most impenetrably dark places. You are constantly exuberantly positive in a way that my darkness has no choice but to be completely deflected off. You are so broadly and widely adored and cherished by so many people and it's impossible not to see why. 

Thank you dearly, for so much. 

To Sophie.

You are such an extraordinary soul, and you constantly surprise and awe me. I owe so much of the person I am and the mind I have today to the insights in which you have bought into my life, even from such a tender young age. You helped me understand who I am and rearranged the jumbled pieces of my thoughts and ideas into this unshakable structure from which I operate upon today.

The pride I feel bursting from my heart toward you is genuinely astonishing. To think you could be so young and brave to move to NYC alone to go to drama school and follow your dreams is both mind-boggling and powerfully inspirational. Listening to you talk about it last week I found myself absolutely magnetised, hanging off of every word you said, and as I looked around the group, I found each eager face silently hypnotised in awe too. 

And what makes me so incredibly excited and positive for the future, is the knowledge that we can each go off for months, years even, and once reunited it's always as if we'd seen one another just the day before, yet each having grown, developed and experienced such extraordinary amounts in between, alone, yet together. 

Thank you dearly, for so much. 

To Harry,

In a similar vein as with Sophie, watching you each day make your dreams steadily becoming your reality is one of the most rewarding and powerfully awe-inspiring things to witness. You have been by my side for the longest, from countless teenage heartbreaks and ridiculous house parties, even when you sat with me outside the science block and held my hand as I cried over the death of my Grandfather in year 10. The love I feel for you runs so deep and fundamental in my heart, you are essential part of me. 

You were there when I first got diagnosed, when all that shit happened to me, and have helped me through every single step of this progress. The countless memories of such precious times I have with you over all these years could fill an entire notebook, and the only thing that makes me happier is the thought of all the things still to come. 

And you were the one, the only one who listened without ridicule when I first felt this change in me, when I first realised I wanted to start making something of my life, and we made that pact in the swimming pool on 2012 that we were going to refuse not to make our dreams come true. 

Thank you dearly, for so much.

To Greg, Brad, Jack - my so dearly beloved band boys,

I can scarcely put into words how lucky I feel to have met you boys. The other day when we were reminiscing about how we first met I actually became a little teary thinking about all that has happened since then. The love I feel for each of you is so bursting and colourful, just to be in your presence is the most inspiring and motivating thing in the world. 

Even when I think about the first couple of months of the band where we were kind of awkward and didn't really know each other, then suddenly something clicked and I saw you all every day and fell so deeply and affectionately in love with you all, it baffles me to imagine how different and shit my life would be if that hadn't happened. 

Between us, I feel we can simply do anything. The four of us are like four elements that combine in this perfect talisman of positive energy and fate. When we get really excited talking about future plans and all that we want to do, I feel this electricity crackle through my bones and I know, I just know, that whatever we set our hearts to, it will be amazing. 

Jack, you are my little oracle. I don't think I've ever underestimated someone like I did with you. You constantly wow me with your spiritualism, wisdom and insight, and there's genuinely nothing I'd feel delicate about discussing with you. You're perhaps the only person I don't feel the need to preface my ideas with 'I know this sounds crazy, but...'.

Greg, you are so ridiculous. We have the exact same sense of humour, style and passion, and even though I love nothing more than to take the piss out of you, there are often times where I'm taken aback with your talents and musicianship, and just how bloody good you are at being good at stuff. In the past dark year, most of my happiest, funniest moments have been with you, and boy, do we know how to manipulate fate.

Brad, we are kindred spirits. There is so much alike between us, of which I'm still discovering the depths of, and you are another one I underestimated. We both understand and respect what the darkness of a mind can do, and we are both okay from it now, and I think that brings a bond between us that most people wouldn't understand. Plus you have bloody good taste in charity shop finds, and the power of your determination and aspirations for Big Bear make me so, so excited for the future. 

Thank you dearly, for so much.

God I'm actually getting a bit trembly writing this, but my heart is just bursting with gratitude to a point where my brain is annoyed there aren't more synonyms to use. 

Being reduced down to your darkest and most pitiful depths of human despair, where that little twinkle of hope gets slowly distinguished by this clouding mass of creeping black smoke, I could only ever pray to be so lucky as to peep through the cracks in my fingers and notice a small little glow heading my way, to look up, and see there in front of me each holding little flickering lanterns, holding out hands to help me find the way back, are these people who love me. Who care about me. The people you love so fucking dearly and you should never ever take for granted. 

So on this turning of the year, I think the biggest lesson I have learnt in 2014, is;

When you are your own worst enemy, sometimes you need to let other people save you from yourself. 

And it does get better. It gets so, so much better.

As predictable as the sun, the way day becomes night, my days of darkness follow my days of light.

But when stillness comes and my demons are slain, the light will come for me again.

Happy New Year everybody. Go tell your friends why you love them if it's the last thing you do this year.