The Porcupine Handlers

I used to blog religiously. For a time it was the only way I felt I could truly express myself. I would take myself into a quiet space and write about whatever first came to mind, and somehow it made life easier. I’m not sure if that is because, with opening up to the world, the world opened up to me, or if the relief of sharing my woes helped me to rid myself of them, but whatever the reason, blogging was good to me.

And so today, when I was feeling like my life was empty, I had a sudden urge to start writing again. To write about my feelings, my thoughts, my hopes and dreams; in the anticipation that it would help me to realise that the future can be whatever I want it to be.

Moving to Australia was everything and nothing like I expected. I thought it would be difficult to leave all my loved ones behind, those who have been there for me through all life has thrown at me, but I did not realise just how difficult it would be.

Ten thousand miles from the place I call home, Fifteen thousand kilometres from everything I have ever known, and an entire day of travelling from where my life began.

Everyone keeps telling me that I need to join a club, and make new friends, but when you are living with depression, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder that is easier said than done.

I worry that people won’t like me, that I have left the only people that will ever understand me on the other side of the world. I am scared that I will never meet anyone who I can open up to, or that if I do they will run a mile. I am in a constant state of anxiety, having to drag myself out of bed each morning and forcing a fake smile on my face.

Just before I left England, I wanted the world to end. It is not right in saying that I wanted to die, because deep down I know that I could never do that to my friends and family again, but I wanted everything to just stop, for someone to take away all my responsibilities and make everything better.

My Mum described this time as me having my ‘porcupine spikes out’, and I suppose this is a pretty good analogy. We have all heard of the ‘black dog’, and for many people I am sure this is a feasible description, but for me it could be nothing further from the truth. When I am depressed (or having an episode), I become a complete bitch. My porcupine spikes will hurt anyone that comes anywhere near me. I push everyone away and when they do not leave, I use all the anger I have vented up inside me to make sure they do. It becomes a sort of self-punishment, taking away everything in my life that brings me positivity and making sure I am surrounded by all the darkness and negativity that life can bring.

My go-to response when I feel this way is to take an overdose and get dragged, kicking and screaming, into psychiatric hospital. But this time was different. Now that I am a wife, I feel a huge responsibility to be the woman that deserves to have a husband. It is not that I love my husband more than my family; it is rather that our relationship is very much ‘us’, and that with him I can see a glimmer of hope, a potential future, one that will be filled with love and happiness.

And so, I forced myself to live. We booked flights to Australia, and arrived three days later.

Making this move should have been positive. It should have been the first chapter in our newly married lives. The chapter filled with fun and adventure, carefree and in love.

Instead, what the move has made me realise, is just how important those porcupine handlers are. The people that have been there with me through each and every episode, the ones who have let me know that they will always be there.

So to all of you, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I could not believe in myself. And to all the people that have found my depression too much to handle, I would like to put two massive fingers up to you. You’re lack of understanding and prejudice is what is wrong in the world. For most of you, there is no hope, but I suppose we can all live in anticipation that the generation that is now arriving into the world will never have to come across such individuals, and their mental health will be treated, as it should be.

But whatever my anxieties, and however depressed I feel, something has changed in me today. Maybe it was the magical moment of spotting a Dugong or that we will finally be moving away from our negative situation, but whatever it may be, I have finally realised something rather important.

It is time for me to let it go.

It is time for me to move on.

It is time for me to live, and want to live, for me.

liz in Aus

2 thoughts on “The Porcupine Handlers

  1. Oh Liz you made a move, great, embrace your new chapter in life. It’s a big move to make, leaving friends and family behind, but immerse yourself fully in the Aussie way of life and the life you want will come to you. There may be tough times but I’m sure that you will overcome them and love the life you are making for yourself

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