It isn't exactly a secret that the past couple of months have been particularly difficult for me. In fact a few days ago, as part of an everyday internal monologue, I began thinking about how I would go about honestly describing my mental state of the past few months.
Here is the result:
Imagine you're in a pit. It's dark, it's narrow, it smells like stale water and you're alone - or at least, that's all you can sense. There seems to be blinders keeping you from witnessing the tiny footholds in joins in the walls. You are aware there is a rope being held by a person, waiting to pull you into the light, but no matter how much fumbling, you can't seem to accept that it will help. You keep thinking that one day there will be something else to come along that will do the work for you: You know this thinking is delusional. That you have to do the work. But the energy to find the footholds, the effort to pull yourself up, and the consequences of failing because you had faith, is all too much. So you sit.
One day, the light seems bigger and more attainable. You find the footholds - you get an inch from the floor. You believe you will make it. Two inches. Three. You rest, exhausted but proud.
The following day, you find you've fallen to a mere inch from the floor. You wonder what the point of the day before was. Why you had hope, and where it even came from? Sure, you're closer to the top than when you started, but you've fallen more than you've climbed. Doubt sits on your shoulders, heavy and immoveable. You may not be sinking to the ground, but the thought of climbing again with such weight is impossible. So you sit.
Some days, you wake at the pit floor. Some days, you are higher than you thought you'd ever get. The unknown of the following day is draining. The emotional turmoil renders you near-void of emotion all together. Some days the person helping is more visible and you may even reach out. Hope never seems to disappear all together. That is why you hold on. That is why a tiny little part of you believes that it is possible to make it to the top. Because even though you think hope is the reason failure cuts so deep, you know that without it you would have given up a long time ago.
As a change of mood, I want to mention that throughout all of this depression, there have been some things that still have the ability to make a day a little bit better, even by way of escape. And by saying this, I'm not ruling out the amazing friends and family who have always, and will always be my support. But without film, music and literature, my days would be filled with a great big nothing.
Because of this, I have decided to end every blog post with a recommendation of something I have enjoyed recently, if only to share the love!
Today, I give you Whiplash (a film written and directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Miles Teller [Spectacular Now, Are We Officially Dating?] and J.K. Simmons [Juno, Spiderman]).
Whiplash is the story of a young music student, who is single-minded about becoming the next great jazz drummer. His teacher and mentor uses terrifyingly brutal methods to coach his students in realising their potential, regardless of any resulting effects. This film is confident, unapologetic and brilliant. You fall in love with the ambition of young Andrew, regardless of his loyalty to family and friends being pushed aside in pursuit of brilliance. You love to hate Mr Fletcher and his lack of compassion. Do not set aside this film if you have no interest in jazz music. This is a film for anyone who has ambition, who has encountered cynicism and who can appreciate actors who go above and beyond for their art (deeper research into the film reveals that Miles Teller continued many drumming scenes long after 'cut' had been called so the injuries on his hands and the blood on the drum kit were authentic).
I give you, Whiplash - in cinemas now.