The Lodge III

I’ve been pondering on my frequency of blog writing. I realise that if I am not writing, that means things are either pretty good, or really bad. What do we conclude from the fact that I am writing quite often at the moment? That things are quite bad, but not awful. So, yeah, this last month hasn’t been great….. but I digress (or start with a digression…. is that even possible?)

This evening, after work, I went to visit my friend B who is in The Lodge, following a suicide attempt at the weekend. She was concerned for me, visiting her, wondering how it would be going back. I wondered that too…. but DBT suggests that we approach our emotions with curiosity, so I put on my Big Girl Pants and drove there.

The place itself, being there, seeing the staff is ….. nothing. The memories I associate with it are not unpleasant. It is a place of kindness, of safety, of peace. Well, relative peace. Apparently B and one of the other residents spent yesterday evening with metal bowls on their heads throwing apples at each other. It’s an odd one, the mental illness thing. One minute you’re both nearly in tears discussing suicide, then next one of you is prancing round the living room demonstrating how well your trousers match the soft furnishings. It’s all as real as the other.

But still……… there is something. I feel what? Some pain, some sadness, some fear. Suddenly, everything that happened in the year or so leading up to me being there, everything that has happened since seems laid out before me and I want it all to go away. It seems………. too much.

It brought home, with certain clarity, that I can never be the person I was before. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, but that is irrelevant. As J pointed out today (and as I am well aware), it doesn’t matter what I wish, it won’t affect the outcome. This is actually quite a liberating statement, when you think about it. You don’t have to agonise over whether you wish for a particular thing, it will have no effect.

I wondered how I would react being there. On the surface, of course, I didn’t. I’m sure that I was the picture of the concerned but practical friend (armed with milk, meal replacement shakes and lip balm). On the up side, I didn’t feel like clinging to the door handle and asking for my old room back (apparently people who have been there before quite often turn up, seeking sanctuary). I was more than happy to get away after my visit. The same thought came to me that did the whole time I was there (reflected in the reactions of other service users, but never the endlessly understanding staff……..) I am not the sort of person who ends up in The Lodge….. And yet.

Mostly, it made me want to get my shit together. Or continue to get my shit together. Which is much easier planned than actually executed, of course. That’s part of my way of thinking I’d like to change. I feel like I either have to be superwoman (engaging and exciting teacher, marathon runner, great friend and still find time to bake my own bread) or totally basket case (lie on the kitchen floor having an existential crisis and plan my own suicide whilst listening to Nine Inch Nails). I find this fucking mediocrity of surviving and getting by really rather dull. As Chekhov said “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

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