My dark passenger

Ok. Deep breath.

This is the tough one to write, the tough one to post, the one where I open up and lay myself bare before you.

This is the one about my mental health. My depression.

I think he’s always been there, my dark passenger, sitting inside me, waiting to take control and steer me toward the nearest brick wall, just waiting for my personal situation to match up with his hands on the wheel. Sometimes he sits in the backseat watching the world go by. We put some music on, enjoy the scenery and the driving is smooth. Sometimes he sits next to me and switches off the GPS, turns the music down and hides the haribo in the glove compartment. Sometimes he takes the wheel and drives while I lay down in the back and wait to see if there is a destination or if we’re heading for a cliff.

My personal situation has a lot of influence over who’s hands are on the wheel at any given time. When I was living in a place with my friends close by and I was working at a job I enjoyed, I was fully in control and my radio was blaring classic rock down the motorway of life. At the moment though, he’s sitting behind the wheel, driving down dark alleyways and long abandoned dirt roads with grass growing up the middle. The radio is off and there’s only silence to replace it.

Last year I was firmly in control, I was at university learning something new and exciting for me. I was making new friends and giving myself a shot at a well paid career. My family had just expanded again and everything was right with the world. Then early one morning on my commute to uni I was involved in a crash which wrecked my bicycle, but more importantly wrecked me. I was covered in cuts and grazes, banged my helmeted head hard into the asphalt, broke my glasses against my eye socket, and took a massive impact to both sides of my body. The impacts left me unable to walk properly for a month, unable to lift my arms above chest height, and unable to move my neck and head.

As a result of this I missed my exams, I was unable to attend large numbers of lectures and workshops, and I ended up dropping out of uni.

My knee turned out to be the worst injured part of my body and over a year later I still suffer with pain and have difficulty walking. This meant that I couldn’t continue in my job where I worked nights warehousing in a supermarket. In short, I was fucked and I moved over and let my dark passenger take control of the car.

I guess he’s been in control most of the time since then. Some days I take the car for a spin, but I always have to hand the keys back at the end of the day, just in case he decides to drive tomorrow.

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