I grew up in the church.
I didn’t just tag along or go for friends, I went because I loved it, I was fully involved, at one point a even wanted to go to school to be a full time Pastor. I am not that person any more, I wouldn’t describe myself as a christian. I wouldn’t even say I believe in God.
I left the church when I was about 19, what I didn’t know is that it would have serious effects on my mental health.
As a teenager people used to tell me I was ‘deep,’ that I thought about things deeper and harder than other people my age. What they didn’t know was that wasn’t because I was wise, or because I really wanted to think about things. It was a cry for help.
I didn’t ask what the purpose of life was because I was philosophical , I asked because I desperately needed someone to give me a reason to live. Being a christian I believed fully that my purpose was to love God. That was what I was made for. At 19, when I dropped out of churches and all that had been taught to me as a child, part of the reason was that loving God wasn’t enough to keep me going anymore.
I thought I would find something better, I thought someone, one day, would sweep in like my knight in shining armor and tell me why I was alive. Maybe we’d even run away together in search of our bigger meaning. What I found was not what I hoped, what I found was people were now telling me the purpose of my life was ‘to be happy’ or ‘to make the best of it.’ I’m not being funny, but really?!? Your telling a person with depression, a person that could not remember the last time they were happy is that the meaning of life is to be this emotion that seemed non existent.
So I set out and made my own purpose in life and with every changing season seems to come a changing meaning. The first task I set myself was to die. That one I tried really hard at, but after a year of trying and ending up going in circles of Accident and emergency, ambulances, psychiatric units and treatment groups, with friends that irritated me because they wouldn’t let me die, I found a new purpose, recovery.
Recovery is the thing I work the hardest at everyday. I work in a sometimes challenging job, but my biggest challenge every day is my mental health. I shop, I spend time with friends, I blog about mental health, or music, or beauty, I youtube, I watch Netflix, I am any other person, but at the forefront of my mind, everyday, is ‘what do I need to do today to make tomorrow easier.’
What I’ve found is that I don’t need purpose at the minute, I need to be healthy before I can make decisions about my life and within that, there is purpose. The question I ask myself most nights is ‘if I wake up tomorrow and my mood has changed will I be able to deal with it?’ My purpose is to make sure the answer to that question is yes, then i’ll figure out the rest.
I have learned, since starting treatment and recovery that struggling with purpose and identity is a big issue for a lot of people with my illness, I am not on my own in my need for existential questioning. For that reason, Im done trying to find a purpose in my life, Im just going to live it. Because theres nothing I love better that giving my borderline personality disorder a massive fuck you.