I think it's safe to say that things between Lily and I have been going too well. I didn't used to like focusing on the negative but after my mum's death I felt a switch in the kind of person I am and they way I think.
It's not something you're aware of at the time it's happening, you just randomly one day realise that you're thinking in a different way. I don't want to be pessimistic or waiting for the other shoe to drop, I might have overcome the largest part of my mental health struggles that came with losing my mum but you're never the same once you've been inside that hole.
I don't like showing this part of me to others, I don't like to wallow in the past because then I feel like it's going to come back and the last time took everything out of me. I know a lot people are saying nowadays to check on your happy friends because they might be those hiding the darkest secrets but a couple of years ago that wasn't the case.
My dad was in no position to make sure that I was happy, both of us were barely coping after a drunk driver killed my mum. I have never been able to fathom why someone would get behind the wheel when they know the damage they could cause. My life will never be the same because of that night and every single thing that led up it was out of my control.
It's not easy coming to terms with those facts.
We all yearn for control and a sense of knowing that we are able to change the things happening to us. You will know exactly the time you realise you crave control, there is something that happens to all of us and you are struggling to deal with something and it's a light bulb that goes off in your head when you realise it's all to do with control.
I thought that I was doing a lot better, having put most of it behind me. It has been 5 years since my mum was killed and even though I'm never going to get over it, I at least thought that I had managed to climb out of the deep hole I found myself in after her death.
It only took one phone to call to realise that you might have spent days, month or years climbing out of the dark hole; but you're pulled right back in within a matter of minutes.
I was on my way to pick up Lily for another date, having seen her nearly every single day since that night our friends met up at our local pub. I felt a shift in her since that night, even though she has yet to tell me what changed her mind.
All I knew was the fact that it might have been a bit of an uphill battle trying to win her over but every bit of effort I put into it was worth it. I had a smile on my face like every other time when I am heading to pick her up, it sounds corny and stupid even in my own head but things have been amazing between us recently.
I knew that I was a couple of minutes early before her lecture finishes but it's the way my mum taught me to be and there is no way that I am changing anything of what I have left of her. Like every other person when waiting, I bring my phone out to scroll and waste a couple of minutes before my girlfriend comes out of class.
We haven't spoken formally about labels but we have skirted around the words, just enough to know that we are both on the same page and want this for real. I have yet to find out why she has such a wall built up around her, but then again I am yet to tell her about my mum and just how deeply it affected me.
It's exhausting but to her I am that happy guy who knows what he wants and doesn't seem to take anything in life to heart. There is a part of me that feels guilty that I haven't let her in and told her that one point I was considering taking my own life.
The other, bigger part of me, however, is enjoying the fact that at least to someone I am normal again. I don't have those heavy clouds hanging over my head, even though they never felt like clouds but more like a wall of bricks.
I know it isn't right to hide something like this from her, I know that she deserves to know everything about me. I have been very good so far at hiding the times when I am struggling, which, gladly haven't been that many recently but I always go through long periods of time where I feel like I might be getting better and then the low mood starts and everything else that comes with that.
It might be exhausting living this lie, letting her believe that I am one of those few people that have never struggled with mental health. I honestly couldn't say that I know a single person other than Joe, who has been through some tough shit but has somehow managed to come away from it relatively unscathed.
I have read countless books, watched dozens of videos and been through several therapists but I still have no idea why some people can be affected by everything and yet others can try their hardest and yet sometimes nothing seems to be helping them.
People survive trauma all the time, we often forget the kinds of lives some people are living when we are in our own little bubble. And yet, once that bubble has been burst there is no going back. You see the world through completely different lenses and grow, you evolve.
I never thought I would be one of those people, I always knew life would be hard but I just thought that time was always going to be the best medicine and it would fix everything. I always thought that with parents as amazing as mine that I would never be in need of counselling, I mean so many generations and millions of people have managed to cope before us.
The truth turned out to be so much more complicated. I never thought that people suffering from mental illness were weak but I always felt like I could handle life. It's a tough lesson to learn when you're almost cocky like I was. You can never be too sure of anything, life is always going to find some way to bring you right back down to earth.
For the last couple of years I have been trying to find the good in everything, I can't help the few moments of self-pity and anger but I deal with those when they come. I don't know if other people are lying but I have never been able to control my own thoughts, it's the way that some people say you can calm yourself in a panic attack or similar situation with similar conditions but I have never been that kind of person.
Suddenly I feel so vulnerable, it's like I have been holding onto this fake smile on my face for so long and now that it has finally slipped I can feel the pain of what it took holding it together. I haven't been faking my happiness with Lily and yet no one ever warns you that happiness can be exhausting as well. We all strive for happiness but no one has mentioned that even that can be tiring.
I might be outside but it feels like the world is closing in. It has been a long time since I have gone into this way of thinking inside my own head so it somehow feels new in a way. I am not going to figure out the cure to depression and I am not going to be able to cure myself, and yet I still sometimes spend hours just thinking about how my life ended up in such a way that I found myself here.
Today started like every other day, I went into work for an early shift, one that I wanted to do so I can meet Lily afterwards. There has been nothing out of the ordinary to make me think that I have a reason to worry or look back at the tough times in my life. None of my triggers have been present today, it has just been a plain old boring day that I am hoping is going to get a lot more exciting since I get to see my girlfriend.
I might know a lot about myself, thanks to many hours of therapy but I can't predict the future so I have no idea if I am about to fall back down through the rabbit hole of depression or if I am simply in a contemplative mood today.
I don't have to try really hard to force a smile onto my face when I see Lily walk out of her building alongside Hope and a couple of guys. She might not realise it but she is one of those special people that are magnets, they attract everyone and you just can't help but be drawn to her.
I get this feeling of light and warmth as I see her laugh and joke with her friends, she has yet to notice me so I take these few moments to drink her in like a man parched. There is something about watching her when she is unaware but I'm not just watching any stranger, I am watching the woman I love and who I never see myself leaving.
It might be a scary thought to some and I am in no way talking about forever and marriage but at the same time I do not see a time or a place where I am not with her. My parents have told me countless times that sometimes you just know.
Not that I am going to spend the rest of my life with her but that she is someone special and she has come into my life to change it. I still don't truly understand it but my mum always said that someone could be the perfect person for you, they can be everything you have ever wanted and more but they are sometimes not meant to be in your life forever.
I get to watch Lily's face light up as she sees me, the conversation with Hope and the rest of her friends put on the back burner. I love seeing that she has the same kind of tunnel vision for me like I have for her. Most of the time when I see her its like there is nothing else in the world.
Just as she is saying goodbye to her friends I feel the phone in my hand start to vibrate and I can't help but quickly glance down to see who is calling me. There are not a lot of people I would pick up the phone for right now. Even though I saw her this morning after spending the night at my place, the feeling of seeing her after a long day of work hasn't worn off.
The person at the top of the short list is my dad, it's not a surprise that after loosing my mum I became even more paranoid of anything happening to my dad. All he has to do is get a simple cold and I feel as though something bad is going to happen. I know it's not rational and yet our brains aren't known for being rational most of the time.
I am proud that I have at least reached a stage where my dad can call me and I don't think that someone has died or the worst thing in the world is going to happen. I'm actually pretty excited he is calling me because I haven't seen him since Christmas which was nearly 4 months ago and that's just unacceptable.
I smile at Lily as I slide to answer the call on my phone, it's a little funny how she has to stop mid stride because I can tell she was going to scream something or jump on me.
However, the smile that was just on my face dies quickly as it's not my dad's voice that flows into my ears and into my mind.
"Hi, is this Jules?" Comes the voice from the other side and I have no idea how I know but my stomach drops at the sound of this woman who sounds extremely nervous. There is no way that this is going to be good news.
I might normally have tunnel vision whenever Lily is around me but at this moment I cannot see anything or anyone around me and I can barely speak a single word down the phone to let the woman know she is talking to the right person.
"Jules, your father has been in a car crash and he is currently in surgery. You can come down to St Andrews Hospital and wait to see him but I'm afraid I don't have a lot more detail to give you about his condition."She speaks calmly, as if my whole world hasn't exploded for the second time in 5 years.
"I'll be right there." I whisper and hang up as my hands hang limply in front of me. I feel like someone is shaking me or maybe even speaking to me but there is only white noise in my ears and black dots in my vision.