I’ve had one of those weekends that I know I’m going to remember for a really long time. For the first time in what feels like forever, I feel genuinely happy. And it’s really, really weird, partly because I genuinely can’t remember the last time I felt happy as opposed to just-less-sad-than-usual, and partly because it’s the result of spending a really short, yet really wonderful, time at home (less than 24 hours really).
I went home to celebrate my friend’s birthday – the first time I’ve been able to come back from uni to do so because I’ve always been too far away or plans have fallen on the day I’ve had to move back for the new term. But this year I was close enough to jump on a train and come home. And I was looking forward to it. That might sound a bit odd, because I do love spending time with my friends and I always want to be able to see them when I come home, but this time if felt different somehow. It’s really difficult for me to find the words to explain what was different this time, the closest I can get to explaining it is that when I turned up at my friend’s house to wait for our taxi and chat and open presents with our friends, I was excited as opposed to the normal feeling I think I’ve normally had of dreading how exhausted I’m going to be, whether or not I’m going to stop them from having fun, whether or not I’m going to feel really isolated when we’re out in a bar even though I know I’m not because I’m with three people who have been a huge part of my life for 10 years now. It was one of the best nights I think we’ve ever had together, where we laughed at pretty much everything, danced to wonderfully cheesy 90s music, and ended up getting a taxi driver to take up to the nearest McDonald’s drive-thru so we could continue what has become a well-engraned tradition of ending a night out with mass chicken nuggets and chips. I’ve never been happier to have been able to spend time with them, and it made me realise just how important they are to me.
I somehow managed to get up the next day at a reasonable time(!) having stumbled into bed at gone 4am that morning, and I wasn’t exhausted…well, that may be a reach, but I wanted to get up, and my usual energy levels weren’t as drained as they normally are when I wake up (surprising considering I’d slept for about 5 hours with a head full of alcohol). I got to spend time with my parents that day; with my dad over lunch which is fast becoming a tradition for us to do when I come home, and with my mum whilst playing card games, listening to Hancock’s Half Hour (which I’m sure very few other people my age have actually heard of) and then curling up on the sofa with cups of tea, watching TV and chatting. I told her about my blog. I warned her that if I shared it in the future she’ll probably find some parts of it upsetting, reassured her that I’ve been fortunate to have never reached the point of depression where I’ve wanted to harm myself. We talked about mental health, and about other things which I’ll be doing over the coming term. I’m so glad we’re able to have these conversations now, that I feel able to do it.
When we were driving to the train station I started to well up a tad, because I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay because I’d been so happy. I wasn’t used to it. The same happened on the train ride home. I realised that it spite of the positive things that have happened over the past year, like managing to pass my exams or graduation week itself, this was the first time I had strong, positive emotions, where tears meant more than me being unbelievably unhappy. The same thing happened later when I told my flatmate what a wonderful time I’d had at home, and it’s happening now too. Because I think I might be getting better, and I genuinely wasn’t expecting that to ever happen.