'We're more capable than we give ourselves credit for'

Later this month, our Young Co. will present Adrift - a pertinent and ambitious new play that touches on issues faced by many young people. Set in a mysterious dreamscape, it is one person’s experience of contemplating their place and purpose in the world.

The play is written by former Young Co. member Catriona McNicoll. Here, she tells us more about why she wrote Adrift and what the story means to her.

Catriona McNicoll (Image by Alistair Devine)

I think when I began writing Adrift, (or whatever it was called back then!), the play was primarily about looking into the future with a more positive perspective. I think when we're struggling mentally, we tend to be focused on all the possible bad outcomes the future might hold. And when we focus on the future going wrong, we beat ourselves up, making us feel like we're incapable. But we forget that those futures include us, and we've survived everything that's been thrown at us so far, so we're more capable then we give ourselves credit for!

I’ve always been fascinated by the butterfly effect idea, and the suggestion that everything that has happened to us, sets up another thing down the line. Knowing from my own experiences, some of the worst, most painful things that have happened to me have had the most positive effects on my life. A great example of this is the play itself, as it’s taken me facing the deepest moments of my low points to appreciate my own courage and strength that pulled me out of it.

So, along the way, Adrift essentially became a story about “self-love”. But that term has always seemed too vague (and a little cheesy) to me. Self-love is not to be confused with vanity, or something as small as activities we could label as self-care. Self-love is deeper, and requires a complete change of heart for how you see yourself, as how important you are. You see, we are the heart of our own existence, without us, there is no future to be found. We may have a much better or happier life five, ten or twenty years from now, but those future versions of ourselves are indebted to us and where we are today. I feel as though if we had the opportunity to meet our future selves, we’d remember that that person exists because of us, and the fact that every day we made the choice to stay alive and keep going.

And so, Adrift is not only meant for those who feel lost and unable to see where they’re going, but for all of us, to recognise that as comforting as the temptation is to let depression and anxiety weigh us down rather than fight it, our future selves are counting on us to stay alive. And also to remember the version you are right now is pretty great and worthy of love too. Not just from others, but particularly from yourself.

Photography by Alistair Devine. Image by Greenlight Creative.

is at Scottish Youth Theatre 28 - 31 January 2020. Full price tickets cost just £10 and £5 for under 26s.