The Bearable Lightness of Being.

I used to take life pretty seriously. You could say that I was weighed down by it. Having gone through an emotionally traumatic time and then become quite seriously depressed, responsibility seemed to impose itself at what was, looking back on it now, quite an early age. Passing exams was of utmost importance, getting to university was imperative, and getting a good job after it was an equally serious matter.
But, although I did manage to get a degree and then work for some time after it, it wasn't long before my illness took hold and I was unable to do any of the things which everyone in my peer group were doing. I lost friends, I lost the ability to work, I lost myself. It wasn't long before abject misery turned into mania and psychosis, and it seemed questionable whether I would ever regain some semblance of normality. I was ill for a long time, and even on getting somewhat better, there was still the prospect of facing up to the things I'd lost. Perhaps my illness had been some kind of bizarre coping mechanism. Unable to face the trauma of my past, had my retreat into psychosis really been an escape, a sort of temporary enchantment which took away the need to actually feel anything much at all? And, "coming down" from that state had its own problems.
Somehow, though, through that experience, I managed to realise that life need not be taken as seriously as I had once taken it. It was as if going through the process of losing all that was once dear to me made me realise that there is a certain lightness to life. It was as if all the pressure, all the expectations, all the dross that I was once held down by was lifted. When you begin to realise that you have, virtually, nothing, you  realise also that you have nothing to lose. Life is put into stark relief, and what's really important to you is all that matters. Although I am glad that I got my degree, the rest became less relevant. The pressure to lead a "normal" life and to be "normal" became like so much propaganda. Ironically, also, it was only when I seemed to relieve myself of these life pressures that I was able to face such things again: working a little, making friends. Life had renewed itself and seemingly started afresh, only this time with the feeling that things were decidedly more in perspective. My health, my family and my friends would always come first, but that aching weight, that stress-inducing pressure that many of us seem to feel had gone.
So, now I think that I've achieved some kind kind of balance again, I know that life is there to be enjoyed. It seems, at turns, sad, funny, mysterious and joyous. It is fleeting enough without it becoming too serious and heavy. Indeed, it is this lightness that, for me, has made life bearable once again.     

Comments

klahanie said…
Dear David,
And getting that balance just right can be quite the trial and error. Yet through all the different twists and turns, you are realising some sort of balance, once more. This is encouraging and with that light relief and sense of fun, you are doing remarkably well. Keep going, keep smiling and keep shaving.
Kind wishes, Gary
bazza said…
Hello David. This seems to be a very positive post and it's a pleasure to read.
“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” Milan Kundera from The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
Dixie said…
Dear David,
Indeed a very positive and uplifting post that you've written. Would that everyone could experience this lightness of being... what a better world we'd have. Sometimes, "less is more."
Most sincerely,
Dixie
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thank you for all the encouragement, and your ongoing support. Rest assured that I will keep going, keep smiling and keep shaving!
Very Best Wihses,
David.
David said…
Dear bazza,
I'm glad you found this positive, as it was intended to be so. And thank you for the complement, and the Kundera quote.
Very Best Regards,
David.
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Indeed, one would hope that everyone could enjoy and have some fun in life. As I say in my post, perhaps it has been my experience of illness that has just put things into perspective.
Thanks, Dixie,
Very Best Wishes, your way,
David.

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