Content note: discussion of self-harm/depression/loss
By Nadia Singh
My favourite TV shows are still cartoons. I ask for hot chocolate whenever someone offers me tea or coffee. I had to bring a Corgi plushie to nearly every lecture and supervision in my second year for moral support. I choose my favourite Pokémon based on how cute they are instead of their battle stats. I still like to think that the moon is following me when I’m on a long drive at night.
Since experiencing an unexpected loss aged 17 whilst suffering from depression, I’ve felt sort of ‘stuck’ at that age, so it’s easy to feel left behind compared to my peers.
It seems as though people my age are growing and transitioning seamlessly into adulthood, whilst I’m spending each year of my life recovering from the previous one. Instead of planning for my future, I seem to invest most of my energy into processing traumatic events that I didn’t pay enough attention to when I was younger. This term, a good day will be one in which my Mum doesn’t receive a phone call telling her that I’m in hospital.
Currently my only responsibility is to keep all of my blood inside my body.
People should absolutely feel proud of reaching milestones and attaining achievements by which (in today’s soul-crushing capitalist hellscape) we commonly measure growth and success – those are fantastic accomplishments!
But I also think it’s important to create and recognise alternative milestones or achievements which can indicate these things, however small.
Reaching a certain number of days or months or years without self-harming or wanting to self-harm. Folding your laundry as soon as you take it out of the dryer. Leaving your room for the first time during a depressive episode. Toasting your bread to the optimum level of toastiness. Remembering to drink water.
It feels silly striving for the bare-minimum standard of looking after myself when I’m surrounded by some of the most capable and talented people my age. No one will give you a medal for these small victories, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth celebrating!