You’ve Lost That Summer Feeling

I mentioned in a previous blog about how the summer here in England seemed to come to a soggy wet end some weeks ago, with the gorgeous sunshine being swapped for almost-daily showers, my summer wardrobe being swapped for its autumnal cousins. As a sufferer of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I felt my mood plummet along with the temperatures and the pouring rain. But most of all I felt the fear: the fear of getting cold.

It’s like I don’t know how to dress any more, but it involves layers, and lots of them. With the temperatures lifting this week to around the mid-twenties degrees Celsius, I’m feeling a little separation anxiety with my scarf and cardigan, who I feel have become old friends. Or maybe my Siamese twins. Either way, as a child, I didn’t need a comfort blanket. I certainly don’t want to start carrying one about now, since I’m already laden down with so much baggage.

So today, I left the scarf and the cardy at home. I’m not ready to embrace winter yet. And I’m working on banishing fears from my life. After a jog down the Thames last night, I’m feeling positive. And I want my summer feeling back.

Steal My Sunshine – Len (1999)

I was right about the 80s Pop

It’s been a tough few days. There’s been a hell of a lot of tears, and some difficult decisions. I’ll tell you about that another day, because this is only a short commuting blog, and by some miracle, I did make the train, despite getting my arm stuck in the door (don’t try this at home folks). Anyway, that means I should be at work on time(ish) and so there’s no time for a long blog now. But tomorrow, I promise.

As I was saying about 80s pop. Well I was saying…in between writing I just changed trains but missed the connecting train…some you get, some you lose I guess. Anyway, 80s pop! In the shower this morning my mind was taken over by the Wham! song, If You Were There, the first song on their Greatest Hits album, The Best of Wham!. While it’s not as fun as some of their others, it put me in a good mood. And as I sit here waiting for the train to leave, listening to Freedom, I know Wham! was the right choice for my journey this morning.

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So my eyes may be puffy still from crying, but I feel like they have a little sparkle back. You can ride the wave through the tough times, and it is possible to come out the other side smiling. Even if it’s only your eyes that do right now.

Freedom – Wham! (1984)

If You Were There – Wham! (1984)

It’s a SAD, SAD Summer

Ok, so 80s supergirl group, Bananarama called it a Cruel Summer, which I guess is also an applicable term. After the longest sunny spell that I can remember in years, the last week had seen plummeting temperatures and almost daily rain. I’ve gone from wearing dresses and bare legs with flip flops to jeans with socks, Converse, top, cardigan, denim jacket and scarf. And even then at times I’ve wondered if I’m going to be warm enough.

I’ve had friends staying from overseas who have also been dressed more, if a little over sensibly for the weather, and we’ve been out and about in London and other places, which may have influenced my wearing so many clothes. But after getting caught in the rain a few times and being chilled to the bone, I feel like I’m scared that I’m going to get cold. And with that, I just feel scared. My mood has dropped as quickly as the temperature, and I find myself becoming irritable and tearful. The unsettled feeling I’ve had with my life over the last few months has been exacerbated and I feel like I can’t find a way out of this. My Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is back with a vengeance, usually not appearing until at least September or October, and going into full swing in November, I feel like it’s going to be a long winter.

Last week while waiting at Richmond for the train home, I was stood on the platform in the tunnel, which is the best place to be located if you want to get in the first carriage ready to be straight up the stairs and out at Twickenham. As I looked through the dark tunnel, there was light at the end of it, as the sunshine illuminated the small piece of track, surrounded by trees, that exits the tunnel before it goes round the corner and out of sight. I tried to take a picture, but all I got was a big bright light surrounded by darkness. But on second thoughts, maybe that is all I needed to see.

Cruel Summer – Bananarama (1983)

The Seeds of Doubt Fire Us All

Reading the Metro this morning, more details have emerged of the death of comedian Robin Williams, following his suspect suicide on Monday. The star apparently slashed his wrists before hanging himself with a belt, after suffering with severe depression.

Having experienced depression myself for many years, I know how it feels, and it has taken me to some dark places. One of the things that shocked me most was upon telling my doctor about these dark moments, they were dismissed as nothing. I guess nobody ever really listens until you turn up dead with a tag on your toe. By which point it is too late.

Before you get worried, I have never been tempted by these moments. There is a strength inside me, something that has always been there, and I hope will always remain. But that doesn’t mean that life is not so very difficult, because it is. Depression is a dilapidating illness which snatches your self confidence and makes you doubt yourself and your abilities to do even the smallest things in life. Sometimes I wonder how I can write a whole book when I can’t even be bothered to write a blog. Or something even simpler like brush my teeth.

Right now I am battling the seeds of doubt. I feel more lost in life than ever and I don’t know what to do or where to go. This gets me down, and frustrates me beyond belief.

One thing that Robin’s death has inspired me with is the fact that there are six films which will be released posthumously. Six. Wow. The papers report that he was taking film and TV roles he didn’t want to pay the bills, mainly caused by his two divorces. Whatever his reasons, I don’t doubt that they will display his talents and showcase what he was good at: making people laugh. He was still doing, to a degree, what he was passionate about, even during his most difficult times.

Because people do battle through depression, and many creative types suffered for their art. Virginia Woolf is considered one of the greatest women writers, although she ended her life by filling her coat pockets with stones and drowning herself, putting an end to not only that great talent but to her mental suffering.

I still need to learn to harness my depression for my creativity. This blog helps that, but occasionally it will draw out the worst in me, like the three-line blog Little Miss Grumpy that I wrote on Monday. But short blogs like that are not so much art; they are more like Facebook posts. They really do nothing to enhance my creative self. I want my writing to inspire people; to laugh, to cry, to feel brave.

Life is a journey, and depression is a travelling companion that never leaves your side. You may occasionally get a break from it, while it goes on an excursion that may take it days, weeks or years, but it will always leave its passport in you, a stamp that promises you it will be back one day. I dream of the day that I can purge that passport completely out of my life.

For now I take inspiration from those who provide their creativity for us all to enjoy, and hope that one day I can follow in their great footsteps, without my most persistent travelling companion following me.

Little Miss Grumpy

I am so grumpy this Monday morning. Thank god for Fleetwood Mac is all I can say. It’s definitely softening the edges of this razor-edged mardy from hell.

Let’s Read and Make-up

A few months ago I wrote a blog about doing my make-up on the tube on the way to work, all the while being eyeballed by a little girl. Today, I was also doing my make-up on the train, although I’m glad to say this is a one-off, as I am at least organised enough to make-up my face nowadays before I leave the house.

As I painted my face, the little girl, who was about nine, read her copy of Stylist magazine.

Since I moved to Twickenham, I no longer get a copy of Stylist every Wednesday. The guys outside Twickenham station try to give me a copy of City AM every day, but who wants that financial mumbojumbo (not me anyway – probably those that have loads of money already and are in the business of making more).

Anyway, I’m glad the little girl got her copy. At least someone around here knows her priorities.

I’m Still Here

Greetings All,

You may think I have fallen into a big hole and can’t get out, which would account for my lack of blogs. Well, you may be right. The big black hole of doubt has swallowed me up and left me unable to do anything the last month.

I feel today though like I am making my way out, and in the words of my favourite anti-depressant, Gloria Estefan, I’m Coming Out of the Dark. Gloria wrote the song after the tour bus in which she was travelling collided with a speeding truck. Luckily she made a complete recovery after a year of gruelling therapy.

While I haven’t been through anything as drastic as she did, I have had some dark times over the years, and when the grey cloud chooses to sit overhead I am powerless to stop it. Well, maybe not quite powerless, but that’s how it feels. And that is how it has felt the last few weeks.

I’m not out of it yet, but the last two days have seen an improvement, so I’m going to try and hold onto that.

Coming Out of the Dark – Gloria Estefan (1991)