Dazed, Fazed, Hazed

So yesterday was apparently the Most Depressing Day of the Year (yay! They finally named a day after me!).  That day that is far enough into January for Christmas to be forgotten about; but not far enough into the new year for summer holidays to be a reality. Nobody has any money and payday is still the best part of two weeks away (if you’re like me).  

Anyway, I’m not joking when I say they named a day after me.  Sometimes I really do feel like the Most Depressed Person in the World. 

But not yesterday.   Yesterday I felt…good.  I felt positive.  I wasn’t fazed by the whole “Most Depressing Day of the Year” thing.  In fact, it was more like the most depressing day of the year.  I knew it was there, but it wasn’t screaming at me the way it is usually would have done.  And I wasn’t indulging in it the way I would normally have taken great delight to.

But that feeling did not last.  It got me through to about 5pm, which was a most valiant effort on my insides to keep this horror at bay.  But then the MDDY penetrated my armour, and I started to feel its attack.

One of my bosses called me out on something I may or may not have done wrong at work.  Despite investigations, I haven’t found out whether it’s my fault or not yet, but it’s looking likely. So I took the blame.  That made me feel pants, and those old feelings of how shit I am at my job reared their ugly heads.

As I headed home, I started looking for jobs, not feeling inspired by anything I saw, and in the back of my mind all I could hear was you haven’t been shortlisted for anything in three months, so what’s the point.  There was no question mark, it was a statement of fact, like that current ad on the tube which should really have a question mark at the end, but they obviously feel so confident in themselves they don’t need question marks.  If only I was like that.

So then I got home, saw I only had 23p of electricity on the meter, and nipped to the Co-op, or the Co-oper-ative as my beloved Nana used to call it. But as I stood in the queue with a marked-down Piri-Piri pizza, I realised I had left my purse at home.  Uuuugggggghhhhhh.  

So back home, grabbed my purse and back to the Co-op.  On the plus side I did get a “fresh” chicken roast – two chicken fillets, cocktail sausages, some stuffing and gravy – for 99p.

So home I went, putting the chicken meal in the freezer and the pizza in the fridge for the following night, when I will get home late from book club. 

I cooked spaghetti bolognese, making the sauce from scratch out of my Usborne First Cookbook, the one I’ve had since I was little.  The one with illustrations of little people showing you how to make the recipe (which never has more than about four ingredients), just in case you’re too little to read the instructions.  

The spag bol was a success in my opinion, though that may have been more to do with the Malbec I added, not as per Usborne, but as per the Beeb website that I’d checked while in Sainsbury’s buying my ingredients. The Zinfandel I was drinking might have helped too. 

By the time I’d cooked, eaten and washed up, it was gone half nine and the last thing I wanted to do was apply for jobs I didn’t have a hope in hell getting.  So I read for a while, in a bid to get my mind to stop whirring, and cease the downward spiral I felt myself on.  

Then I read about the passing of one of my favourite musicians, Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of the Eagles.  And the tears came.  

I did not cry for Rickman – I was too busy laughing at all the wonderful one-liners he gave us in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (“I’ll cut your heart out with a spoon, Locksley!” being my personal favourite). Nor did I cry for Bowie, and all I can hear him say is “Well, laugh” before he continues laughing along with the goblins.  But for Glenn, a man I had seen perform three times with the Eagles, I cried. And could not stop. 

At almost 1am, I went to sleep, waking this morning, still feeling unsettled.  It is no longer the Most Depressing Day of the Year, but I still feel the after-effects.  Maybe I am just particularly hormone right now. If so, that will pass.  As all things come to pass.

RIP Glenn Frey (1948-2016)

Tequila Sunrise – The Eagles (1973)

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I Survived the Weekend…and Lived to Blog About It

Some of you may by now have read last night’s post, Weekend in the Wilderness, and probably thought it to be my most negative so far since I started back at 33andlostinlife in August.  You’re not wrong, because I totally agree with you.  But you know why the negative blogs are so important?  Because they allow me to speak about what I’m going through.  

After such a shitty weekend I feel ready to face the week ahead.  Which is surprising since the last few weeks at work have been some of the most stressful for quite a while.  Today I made it to the train with straight hair and a full face of make-up, bar the lipstick which I’ll add once I finish this blog.  This, while it might not sound like much, is a huge achievement for me, having lately favoured the au naturelle leave-the-house-without-make-up-and-wet-hair-in-order-to-spend-longer-in-bed-look.  I get compliments when I leave my hair as it is (wavy, the result of three perms as a teen) but I feel far from happy with this look and cringe every time I have to look in the mirror.  When my hair is straight and sleek is when I feel comfortable.  With regards to make-up, I always apply it by the time I reach work, although I’m sure this isn’t always appreciated by fellow passengers on the 8:41 to London Victoria.  

So how do I actually feel today?  I’m tired, and didn’t sleep well last night.  The sleep I did get was interrupted by bizarre dreams.  But I feel like I made it.  I survived the weekend and lived to tell the tale.  

As Suicide Prevention Awareness Week draws to a close, I feel this is an important statement to make.  Do not misunderstand me, I had no thoughts at all this weekend of ending my life.  But there have been times in the past when I have thought what is the point of going on.  If this is life then I don’t want to live like this.  There have been times when I could not stand with my toes just over the yellow line here at Platform 6 as I’m doing now, because the idea of throwing myself in front of the next train has been too prominent.  But this is not one of those times.  

I have always had a strength within me, and I know this because if it were not true, I say with certainty that I would not be here now.  But I want to live to see my life happy; to see my passion for writing realised, to have a job I enjoy (if that is not to be a writing job), a home that I love, and a soulmate who will be there in both the good and bad times.  So don’t worry, I plan to be here a while yet.  

My family and friends may find this hard reading and for that I ask your forgiveness.  But the purpose of this blog was always to educate people in what it’s like to live with depression, as well as to provide me with a form of therapy.  Living with depression is not always a happy tale.  But if you don’t like to read about it you are free to leave and I will take no offence.  

All Frocked Up

Recently I was invited to a black-tie awards ceremony, which at first filled me full of excitement before the realisation hit that I would need a posh dress. I haven’t worn a dress that swept past my toes since my wedding day, and I wondered how much change, if any, I would get out of £100. Of course this is party season, so there were offers and I could probably find a dress for about £60-70. Still not great when my overdraft limit is looming ever closer and we’re only just halfway through the month.

I went to Debenhams and tried a few dresses on, but none that I liked enough to part with my hard-earned cash.

The following weekend, I decided to take a trip to my local charity shops, as I remembered one of them advertising party dresses in stock. I tried four shops but none had long dresses. Then I remembered about one that was further down towards the end of the High Street, tucked away from the rest.

As I walked in and found their selection of dresses, my eyes fell on a long black dress, with a Ralph Lauren label. My heart skipped a beat as I sought out the charity shop’s label, which read “Ralph Lauren Brand NEW £30”. My eyes then looked at the size – it was a size 8. My heart sank. But I had an idea. Ralph Lauren is an American brand. I found the original Ralph Lauren label and it said $119 (around £76). Which meant it was a US Size 8, and therefore a UK size 12! I had the hanger off the rail and into the changing room before anyone else had a chance to steal my beloved find.

The fitting room was poorly lit but even so I could tell it fitted almost perfectly. I recently bought a pair of Bridget Jones’ big pants which I knew would even out any lumps and bumps.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love buying clothes in charity shops. A serious lack of money while at university meant that I relied mostly on them to fill my wardrobe. I love the excitement of finding a branded item at a bargain price. So I was particularly excited to have found my Ralph Lauren dress.

But it was not to be. The person I was supposed to go with decided against going, and didn’t even tell me. I had to hear it from somebody else. The disappointment of missing out on a glamorous night out, with the chance to wear my new frock hit me hard.

While my feelings are hurt, so is my bank balance. £30 may not seem like a lot but to me, at this time of year, it is. I can’t take the dress back (although I probably wouldn’t anyway) and I don’t know when I will get a chance to wear it. I’ve recently discovered an issue with moths in the flat which I believe have caused a few holes in my clothes, and I only hope I’ll get chance to wear it before the moths start to feed on it.

Life’s little (and big) disappointments can be hard to handle sometimes. Disappointments can be more hurtful than anything else, because you are given hope which is then often cruelly snatched away.

Talking to a friend about it, she said when disappointment strikes you just have to dust yourself off and carry on, which I think is a good mantra to have. Basically, don’t let disappointments get the better of you.

As for the dress, it hangs on the front of my wardrobe. Like me, it anxiously awaits the moment it will finally be given its chance to shine.

You Bet Your Life

While I have spent the last month without the company of my male friend, the last week has seen me enjoy some very good times courtesy of other male friends. Now before you get all excited, both were on a strictly platonic basis. But both gave me the opportunity to enjoy life outside my usual haunts without any expectations.

On Thursday, I headed into Central London with one of my male colleagues to another colleague’s leaving do. As we debated the closest tube stop to our destination in the West End, he suggested that we stop by The Savoy hotel for a cheeky cocktail. One of London’s five-star hotels, it is not the type of place I frequent, but I was excited by the prospect of a spontaneous visit. So we headed in, and found a table in their American Bar (the American Studies student in me loved that). I have to admit I was in awe of my surroundings. We stayed for two cocktails each, and made two requests to the piano man, the first being Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are, and the second being, erm, Billy Joel’s Piano Man. In my defence I had used up all my originality in just being in my new location. I considered asking for something by heavy metal rockers, Megadeath, but I managed to show at least some restraint for the high-society venue I found myself in.

My housemate often tells me I want to switch off from my problems, and I have to say that hour in The Savoy sure did allow me to disappear into another world for a while. But I loved every minute and would do it again given the chance.

Now onto my second jaunt. Yesterday I met another male friend in Central London. After we stopped by Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, we discussed what our plan for the rest of the evening would be. He suggested a casino. I countered with the cinema, hoping that we could see Gone Girl before it disappears from the big screen. I had my concerns about a casino, and my purse screamed no. But he said there was no entry fee, and that he would gamble with his money, so I figured why not.

I haven’t been into a casino since an overnight trip to Las Vegas in 2011 with some friends and not spent any real time in one since a four-day trip with my ex-husband in 2008, but the one in Leicester Square immediately took me back there. We found an electronic roulette table (although I don’t remember seeing those six years ago) and he placed his bet. I chipped in with the odd number, usually my birthday or a random pick. While none of my numbers came up, we left the casino £60 up, so I guess he must have done something right.

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“What I win, I keep. What you win, I keep. Got that?”

We left the casino to be faced with the huge billboard of Gone Girl on the front of the big Odeon in Leicester Square, the one where they screen all the big premiers. The expensive one. With a screening of Gone Girl starting in twenty minutes, our perfectly-timed winnings paid for our tickets, two portions of sweet and salty popcorn, a bag of chocolate sweets and two bottles of water.

After the movie, our winnings also paid for most of two portions of ribs at Garfunkel’s, which we devoured before getting our respective night buses home.

My unhappiness in my home life has led me to home-avoid a lot lately. But the silver lining in that has allowed me to discover a new social life. As well, I am finally feeling financially free to socialise regularly, a far cry from my days as a temp after I first moved to London, when I had to walk 40 minutes to work because I just didn’t have the tube fare. I have a lot of work to do on my home life, and feeling comfortable in my own home, which at the moment is causing me great problems, but like my other problems in life, I may be the root cause of all those issues.

Spontaneity was key in both of my fun trips out this week. Letting go of inhibitions and enjoying the moment. Not concerning myself with the cost, which in both cases turned out to be minimal anyway.

A lot is said about the work/life balance, but what I really need right now is a home/social life balance. That desire to go out and socialise without the need to feel like I am escaping from my own home. I’m not a betting person but if I was, I’d say I need to strike a balance between the two if I want to hit the jackpot.

It would be rude of me to go and leave you without any Billy Joel, so enjoy this song. So many I could choose, but I’m sticking with Just the Way You Are. For once, the lyrics aren’t directed at anybody other than myself.

Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel (1977)

All You Want to Do is Criticize

Don’t criticize my friends.

Don’t criticize my ideas.

Don’t criticize my lifestyle.

I’m fed up ‘cos all you wanna to do is criticise…

Ok, so you didn’t criticise my friends. But you did criticise Jack Bauer. And I like to count him as one of my oldest and wisest friends.

I very rarely watch television any more. Since shortly before I started university and my marriage crumbled, there has been a box-shaped hole in my life. Before that I had many American TV shows that I was a regular and avid viewer, 24 being one of them.

So when I finally get my hands on a copy of the latest, ninth season of 24, forgive me if I would like to put some time into watching it.

There are several reasons for that. One, that I want to follow the journey of one of my favourite American dramas. Two, that I’m a bit partial to Jack Bauer. And three, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy somebody else’s bad day for once.

I don’t need to be reminded that my problems won’t disappear after an hour of watching 24. I’m not completely stupid you know.

You insinuate I am wasting my time, when all I am doing is relaxing and taking time for myself during this busy period in my life.

I am the navigator of my life. I will make my own decisions. If life turns to shit, so be it. But I want the credit for making my life great.

I’m finally realising what I want in life, and what I don’t. And it feels pretty damn good.

Criticize – Alexander O’Neal (1987)

Gin City

So Wednesday night I had my first taste of that old mother’s ruin, gin. I have to say I’ve avoided it in the past because of the myth that it makes you depressed. And while I do need help with lots of things, I’m quite an expert in being depressed thank you very much.

Watered down with bitter lemon (oh, the irony) it didn’t actually taste too bad. I washed it down with two pints of Peroni and some Thai food.

I have to admit, I started out the morning after being far too depressed. About everything. Work, finding somewhere to live, my love life, or lack of it. I did have a good cry into my pillow.

But I got myself out of bed, and into the shower. Did my make-up (at home – aren’t you impressed?) and ran a brush through my hair. My reward? The beautiful sunshine that covered my commute that morning.

Some of my Facebook friends did tell me off for paying too much attention to the two-tone birds. And with the gin, maybe I am letting myth and legend rule my life too much. But it can be hard to accept that life is just a bitch sometimes, so to find something to blame it on, such as magpies or gin, makes life a lot easier.

Thursday night I met my best friend, Fen, who I helped move to London two weeks ago. It was so amazing to just meet up after work, have food (Chinese of course, since Fen is Chinese and I am half-Chinese by association) and have a girly chat. I have missed that. While we are very similar, we are also quite different. Fen doesn’t get overruled by emotion the way I do. Which means that when I’m losing my head she can be my voice of reason.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling a lot calmer than I have in days, and it is because I know, slowly but surely, that my life is changing. More specifically, changing for the better.

I probably always will listen to old wives’ tales and be superstitious (Although I never walk under ladders, more for the fact I don’t want to risk getting a pot of paint on my head). I will always believe in fairy tales. But fairy tales can be rewritten, and I proved that myself in the writing of The Princess and the Epiphany. Myths and legends have been around since the earth began, and it is these tales that have inspired centuries of human beings to become heroes. But the hero’s path is not an easy one, as I’ll explain in my next blog.

The Magpies are Flying Again

I always used to say I could live my life by the magpies. You know the well-known magpie-spotting rhyme that goes one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy and so on. I can pretty much guarantee that if I’m having a crappy day I’ll see a single magpie, or if I see one solo magpie it usually signals something not great it about to happen.

In the last week or so, since I parted ways with my male friend, the magpies have been in pairs. I can’t explain it. There was a single magpie that lived in the tree opposite my flat, the one I have a direct view of from my bedroom window. Since I moved in at the end of June, I have only ever seen him on his own. Yesterday I saw him frolicking on our neighbours’ roof with another magpie.

Thus, I see this as a sign that I’ve done the right thing. But have I?

That is as much as it wrote of this blog yesterday before arriving at work. It was my intention to write about how I felt like I had abandoned my friend, who is likely to move back up north in the next few weeks. He is pretty fed up with life too, and his own romantic knocks have only confirmed his decision to leave London. Yesterday I felt bad that he would spend his last few weeks without someone who he’s spent a lot of time with since moving to London, someone who had been a good friend to him as much as he had to me. Especially as now I have friends here, I want to open my social circle to him. So I had planned to call him last night.

Due to our department being short-staffed at work, I worked until gone 7pm last night, and by the time I got home it was close to 8pm. After sitting in my room for a while, I decided that after all my travels this last week – Manchester to help my friends move to London, a two-day business trip to Edinburgh that involved taking minutes at a senior managers’ meeting that lasted six and a half hours, and a six-hour spontaneous round trip to Lincoln where I drove to visit my family at the weekend – on top of working til 8pm the remaining days I was in the office last week meant that all I really wanted was a really early night. I used the bathroom then told my housemate I was going to bed. At 8:30?! Was his reply. He asked if I’d eaten and I hadn’t, deciding to forego dinner for sleep. He then started asking me all sorts of questions about what I had been eating lately, which made me mad because all I wanted to do was sleep, and I told him I didn’t appreciate him interrogating me.

We argued about it for a few minutes then I went into my room. I chatted with one of my friends who allowed me to vent while calming down.

After a while I left my room to let the Bish in, because I wanted to feel contained in my room, and also because I have started shutting him in my room at night so as not to bother my housemate who was complaining about getting woken up at night by my cat. Bish still wakes me up of course, but I tell him it’s not time to go out and he accepts that and goes back to sleep.

As I ventured out into the flat, my housemate asked me if I was ok, and after a long debate about how he feels I’m not looking after my health and not doing anything to better myself, the culmination of that conversation was that I handed my month’s notice in to leave.

To be honest, I have never felt comfortable living there since I moved in at the end of June. My housemate is a life coach, and while I do believe he wants to help, I dread the spontaneous two-hour long conversations where I get overwhelmed by all the personal development he tries to pile on me. After the last relationship with my former life coach didn’t end exactly great, I have been wary of him, and to be honest I find I can’t cope with being in such a tiny flat with someone who is trying to fix all my problems.

So anyway, now I have one month to find a place for me and Bish. Obviously I’m not relishing that thought after the previous trouble I had finding somewhere which left me homeless for three weeks. Although I’ve been told off for using that term “homeless” by my housemate. Whatever.

All I wanted last night was an early night. I don’t usually skip dinner by the way, as I love food. But this last week has been quite unique and while travelling I’ve ended up eating more sandwiches for lunches and dinner than I would like, considering I’m trying to go gluten-free.

I do wonder if I had phoned my male friend last night whether all this would have been avoided; if I’d told my housemate I was going to make a phone call rather than going to bed. But probably that would have been the wrong thing to do too.

Right now the sun is shining but I have a very nervous feeling in my heart. I don’t know where I will be in a month’s time, I only hope it won’t be in another B&B.

As for the magpies? I guess they’ll soon tell me whether it’s gonna be a good or bad few weeks.

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