Ruby’s #MadCovidDiaries 15.4.2020
I thought I would feel worse than I do. Am I a fraud?
Therapy is strange. In January I began a 7 month course of weekly sessions through the NHS. With a more specific focus on OCD and my experience of it. It is dislocating, going from a weekly face to face appointment to doing it over the phone. I find it disconcerting that I cannot see my therapist’s face. I cannot know what she is thinking. I can’t read her. I know that it doesn’t matter if your therapist doesn’t ‘like’ you. But I always used that as a kind of defence. I would try to make her laugh. It is hard to do that over the phone. It is important to me that I am liked.
I have become terrible at responding to messages from my lovely friends. I am isolating myself. Constantly goaded by self doubt. They don’t even like you, they’re just taking pity on you. Then I judge myself for thinking ill of them. They are my friends – surely I should be better than this. I should want to talk to and see them all the time. Why don’t I?
I seem to have adapted well to social distancing and lockdown too well? But I know I wouldn’t have adapted so well if I was living on my own in London. It is something that I like, being alone in company. I could be alone out here in Wales endlessly. But in London I can feel the pressure that I might not be doing London right. I might not be living right. I am temporarily living in Wales during lockdown. But London is my home and I have been living there for ten years. I am a fraud. I should have stayed there through this. I left because I knew I would be better here. I would be able to care for my mental health more effectively. But how can I call myself a Londoner after running away? After doing what was best for me? Am I weak?
I get an itch every couple of years to leave, but truthfully I don’t think that I will – not permanently anyway. I like living in a city. The sense of activity and potential. Things that I can choose to do and choose not to do. It is less like that out here. This is where my family is but my family is also there. All over London from Stokey to Sydenham, Southfields to Stratford and all the inbetweens. I know that the London I miss is not the London that exists now. I will not be part of their shared experience of London in lockdown. But why should that matter to me?
Often I don’t feel solid. I am porus, a mix, a mess. If I am not fixed I must be a fraud. I am trying to work out which words are comfortable. Perhaps none of them are. Could it be alright, to sit in the inbetween. Sometimes I feel like a border, not quite here and not quite there. Somewhere along the line. I tip from one side to the other. A negotiation. Perhaps I don’t want to attach myself to something solid and immovable. My thoughts will not let me sit still. So perhaps I don’t have to?
Or maybe I do. Am I a fraud? I don’t think that I can answer that question.
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