On Christmas Eve this year, on Facebook I wrote that I was happy ‘for the first time in a hundred million years.’ Writing that made me think about how we define happiness, and if my mood that day really constituted actual happiness. There were a number of events that led to my surprising (and welcome) change in mood, come Christmas 2015, so here is my description of what happened in the days preceding and during, and why I think my mood seemed to change so drastically and quite suddenly…
To begin, I have to say that I have been incredibly down on life lately. In previous posts I have described what has been the year from hell and how things just seem to continuously go wrong lately. In fact, there came a few days recently where I was more than ready to give up on life ever changing for the better; and I had a plan to relapse and take my own life. My love life was a major cause for worry and concern (in more ways than one), and then I had a major fallout with my brother.
In my last post, I wrote that I couldn’t be sure what was going to happen with my relationship(s). Was I going to split up with my real boyfriend? Was my ex-boyfriend going to split up with his girlfriend and come running to me, or was he going to see her and decide she is the one? Since I wrote that, not much changed. I still spent my days in the dark, never knowing what events were going to unfold within the hour, let alone within days or weeks. I was experiencing double heartbreak and wondering about the near future every second of every day. Instead of living in the present as I was always taught to in Alcoholics Anonymous, the future dominated my every moment.
I repeatedly begged the universe to give me something- something good, for once, a drastic change in my circumstances that gave me some much needed peace of mind. But I felt like I was never going to get what my heart desired. I wrote on a piece of paper: ‘If I can’t have him, then please let me win the jackpot on the lottery!’ It was the most unrealistic wish possible, but I felt it had to be something that huge to turn my life around, in time for Christmas.
So what changed, to make this Christmas a magical one?
On the Eve of Christmas Eve, I was walking back from a successful doctor’s appointment (which is rare). It was a bit of a walk and dark by then. So that I didn’t have to listen to the various, argumentative and mean voices in my head, I put my music on maximum so I could barely even think. My playlist was full of songs about love working out and love not working out, and I passed all the Christmas lights along the way, knowing that the day I had been dreading was looming and pretty much nothing was OK. I sighed to myself, looking at the lights, and I said out loud, ‘just please let it be over soon.’
But then something completely random and quite spectacular happened.
I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by what then sounded like a new voice in my head. But this one was different to the others; it was much, much louder and felt as if I had a real person in my brain, shouting at me. I found myself physically stopping in the street to listen to it. It was a female voice and she said ‘you don’t need a man- any man- to make your life better,’ and ‘you are sexy and beautiful now, without anorexia and without anyone else having to tell you.’ You may think I am mad saying this, but then it felt like a ghost or something passed through me. An intense, indescribable feeling washed over me and for a split second every hair on my body stood on end. And I wept.
For so long now I have spent hour upon hour talking to doctors, psychiatrists, friends and family about the bullying voices in my head, most pertinently the anorexic one which seems to have had all the power for the past year and has driven me to deeply harm myself, over and over. It has been so long since I heard my own voice that I did not recognize her. As I cried in the dark street, I smiled, as I finally recognized Michaela coming back to life. Michaela, who loves herself and wants to live and prosper in life, not starve to death in a hospital bed with nothing but hatred left in her heart. That night, the sound of my own voice- no longer crushed and shattered by the metaphorical (although very real) bullies- rescued me from a dreadful Christmas period.
I walked on home, with a spring in my step for the first time in so long, and with a real smile covering my entire face. ‘It’s going to be alright, she said. Things are not perfect, they might never be, but it is alright nonetheless.’
There are photographs of me on Christmas Eve, the following day, and even I can say that I looked beautiful with only a touch of makeup. My hair looks shiny and my skin is glowing. No one needs beauty products and expensive shampoo- I truly believe that when a person is happy it shines through their face and makes them beautiful. I’m the most insecure person alive, especially about my appearance, but I look at those photos and I think I looked stunning that day. That was another Christmas gift for me, because I can never look at myself and say that, all I can ever usually see in myself is how fat I look and how big my nose is.
I saw my best friend on Christmas Eve, which was just wonderful. For a few years now, we are lucky if we get together twice in one year, so I actually felt spoilt in her company as she is just such a beautiful, giving and selfless person. We went to surprise our old school friend at her gig in town and we ended up all going for a coffee together. As we caught up, I received a Facebook message from my brother. I wish I could have captured the look of shock and delight on my face in that moment because it must have been absolutely priceless! In the message he apologized for our argument, said that he had a present for me, would call me the following day and ‘love you lots’ at the end with three kisses. It is hard to explain to those who do not know my brother what an amazing moment that was. My brother does not ever apologize or admit that he’s in the wrong. Perhaps he was motivated by festivity but I still hugely appreciated it.
For me, this was my second Christmas Miracle and boosted my mood even further.
All that was left, I thought, was for my love life to come to some sort of a positive conclusion. Although I was bouncy and happy that evening after my friend left, I still had a lot on my mind that I wasn’t sure of.
I really cannot go into detail in this public blog, as it is not fair on others involved, but I can tell you that, on Christmas night, before it was all over at midnight, I had a conversation that put my mind at ease and which helped me get into bed, smiling, and sleep like a baby.
There is still no real solidity in my life, not with regards to anything, but the operative word is ‘alright.’ I mean, I am stuck living with my parents on a tiny island, with no job and not a lot of money, still battling with my diet and weight, with very few friends and no social life, and with a very complex and unpredictable love life, but I feel like I’ve reached a point where I can accept my circumstances, for now. I will deal with what happens when it comes, whether something major happens to change it all tomorrow or in a fortnight. With Christmas all over now I feel a little deflated and I have to admit that the feeling of magic and wishes coming true has pretty much all gone, BUT the difference between today and three days ago is that I genuinely feel hope, and I realise I do not need to win the lottery or ride off on a white horse for things to be OK.