I never admit to being an adult. Even my daughter calls me a man child and I revel in that role, if I’m honest. It’s fun, it’s anarchic, pointlessly comedic and makes others laugh. I enjoy making other people laugh, seeing them react positively and having a good time. Maybe it is a way for me to hide my darkness from others.
It doesn’t mean that I take my responsibilities or role as parent any less seriously, far from it. I’m 47 years old (at time of writing), I’m not a child but I still like to play, have fun, be the fool. I believe it is good for mental health and for those around you to enjoy a laugh together, having fun every day, while getting on with business.
When the sneaky bastard of an illness crept up on me and during my first breakdown, I lost the will to do anything remotely challenging or mundane. I sometimes have a pile of letters sitting unopened and I look past every time, without any will to open them, deal with the contents.
I get phone calls, numbers I don’t know and I screen those calls, just in case I have to deal with something ‘adulty’ or challenging, like the energy bill, insurance renewal, credit card payment, tax business. It is all rather too much for me to deal with and after the business crashed, I’ve hidden away even further from such things.
When going out, I check the street for neighbours to avoid a conversation. I really like them, just don’t want to talk about anything personal. I walk or drive the long way round to escape people, I bypass the more acrimonious and potentially toxic conversations online, as I don’t want negative feelings to start. At Rory’s rugby, I distance myself from other parents and try not to enter conversation – yes, some are wallopers I wouldn’t give my time to anyway, but this is not selective.
There are only so many words I can use, but avoid fits best. It’s what I do. Escape, bypass, distance, body swerve, withdraw, hide. Avoid.
This is where Lady Mackay goes above and beyond, gets involved by opening letters, phoning people on my behalf and generally dealing with ‘stuff’. It’s so hard for me to watch this, knowing she’s explaining to complete strangers that her husband is not far off being a basket case, has difficulty dealing with their enquiry and she will deal from now on.
Of course, basket case is my interpretation, not what she is saying and more a reflection on how I’m feeling. And that’s a big part of it, right there. I can’t mentally face these things, the mundane, the challenges. Therefore I view myself as a complete fraud and not long before the men in the white coats turn up to save me from myself, everyone else around me for that matter. It’s not right that my darling wife has to do these things for me, God knows she does enough for us as a family and this extra crap she needs like a hole in the head. Yet, she does it without complaint, without showing any sign that it’s grudged or a chore. Just does it.
And I am eternally grateful to her for that.
I hope that I can recover in the very near future to take more of a load from her, show her she is loved and cared for, repay in some small way her massive support. As I’ve said countless times, I don’t know why she loves me but count my good fortune that she does.
My hope is that I recover enough to repay her love and support in good time, before she gets fed up or breaks.
Or is that just my anxiety talking? I never quite know these days.