Rain, Train, Pain

Oh my days.  I haven’t seen rain like this for a while or had to walk in it for a long time.  The kind where an umbrella makes little difference, and you’re too busy looking at the girl coming towards you in white plimsolls wading through a large puddle that you don’t realise said puddle is actually a lake and before you know it you’re ankle-deep in water.  Thank God I bought those boots. 

I guess this means that summer is almost over.  I say almost, because I still have hope, and I haven’t had that feeling yet, the one I get twice a year; once during winter when you know that summer is on the way, and once in summer when you realise the cold weather signals the onslaught of winter.

I realise that I didn’t account for spring or autumn (fall for you Americans reading).  To me they are like the place-holders for the other two seasons.  They are like boot camp for the following season, preparing you for the cold without really letting you feel it.  Priming you for the sunshine without really letting you feel its warmth.  

Perhaps because I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) I don’t really notice these bookend-seasons.  Am I too pre-occupied with my negative thoughts between November and March that I am immune to their beauty?  That is a shame.  

As I think about the oncoming winter, I begin to feel dread. I can barely motivate myself to do anything in the summer when the sun shines.  How am I going to achieve anything in the winter?  I think of all the things I want to change in my life, and that requires so much effort.

I feel a headache coming on, and I feel tired and sleepy all of a sudden. I daren’t close my eyes for fear of falling asleep and waking up in the dead of winter.  Or Hounslow.  I’m not sure which is worse.  

Advertisements

The Write Thing

As I sit on my bed this Tuesday evening, I can only describe the feeling I have right now in one way: contented.  Which seems bizarre to me, and probably to you too if you read my last blog post, I Survived the Weekend…and Lived to Blog About It.  I’ve just re-read every blog I’ve written since I started writing again last month, and I realise how much I’ve missed it.  

The actual act of writing not only makes me feel better, but checking my stats several times a day also makes me happy.  WordPress stats tell me how many people have visited the blog on a daily basis and how many times they have viewed it, which countries visitors are from and the number of views each individual post has received.  While my views are relatively low compared to other blogs, I get such a warm feeling inside to know that people are reading what I’m writing.  And not just reading it, but sharing it via social media to other potential readers.  

After the distress and disappointment of the weekend, I feel calm and…strangely enough, ok.  Work has been without issue so far this week, I am feeling positive because have applied for three jobs, and tonight I went to my book club where we discussed two short stories that I suggested, some 19th century women’s literature that I read at uni and loved.  But most importantly I am blogging again, and people are reading again.  Right now, in this moment, I am content.  

And you know what, I’ve actually had this feeling since Monday morning.  My friend at work read my last blog and asked me if I was ok; she must have been expecting me to burst into tears but I didn’t, and that I put down to having written about it.  I actually felt bad when my boss asked me how my weekend was, and I answered “not great”, because I was feeling ok when I answered her.  But I didn’t feel I could lie to her and tell her I had a good weekend an hour after posting a blog about suicide.  

I’m feeling like I’m waffling now, and I want to post this before I start to regret writing it, and that is totally not what I wanted to happen!   I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I know for sure this blog is the right thing for me to be doing.  And as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.  

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.  

Weekend in the Wilderness

Weekends are great, aren’t they?  You spend all week working, looking forward to Friday when you can clock off and forget about work for a few days.  Especially when your job is stressful and you’re already thinking about the upcoming weekend on a Monday, and you need that break away more than ever. 

I always looked forward to my weekends.  So when was it that I started dreading them?  

Since I moved to London, I find this to be the case with most of my weekends and the majority of the bank holidays.  Bank holidays, the most sacred of weekends, have become especially concerning to me.  I feel sort of relieved that there will be no more bank holidays now until Christmas, and then I won’t have to worry, because I will make sure I’m not alone.  Because it’s being alone that scares me most; having no plans in this great city where I should be making the most of my life.   

This weekend I had no plans.  I thankfully had been so busy in the week that I had no time to contemplate this until the weekend actually arrived.  

But when it came, it sapped the life from me.  Friday night I got home from work late and as I watched a film and made dinner I could feel myself getting down.  Saturday I spent without motivation to do anything, and it is a miracle that I actually managed to hang my washing out on the line to dry in the sunshine.  I ventured into the garden a few times but not for long; the overgrown lawn, flower beds and spiders hanging from every conceivable bush and the washing line sent me retreating into the safety of my dark and tiny studio flat, far from the reaches of the spiders and of course the beautiful sunshine.  Back into the dark main room, back under the covers of my bed, my head at best filled with a lack of capacity to do anything other than play bejewelled on my phone and at worst full of self-doubt and tearful realisation that this is my life.  The tears come and go; my tear-stained pillow soaks and dries.  

As Saturday night comes and goes, dissolving into Sunday morning, I am plagued by stupid dreams about work.  I wake early, around 8ish, before going back to sleep and more dreams until around 11.  The sun is shining again and I open the blind to let what little light there is seep through.  Today is another long day ahead of me, but there is some salvation in the fact that this is the final day of this horrible weekend.  I don’t look forward to going back to work.  I only welcome the relief it brings from loneliness and self-deprecation.  

As I heat the final leftovers of Friday’s chinese takeaway, having woken too late for breakfast and going straight into lunch, I hear my phone beep.  I leave the kitchen to look at my phone which is on the bed.  My friend is texting me.  I ignore it and return to the kitchen to finish washing up.  My phone beeps again. Eventually I go back to my phone.  One missed called.  She wants to meet, for coffee, to write. I am glad to have her text and an excuse to leave the flat.  So I reply and agree to meet.  But not in my usual style, and she suspects something is wrong.  I admit I am not ok.  We arrange to meet a few hours later.  

I feel more positive to have a reason to go out, but the motivation monster still has me tight in its grips.  I procrastinate getting ready and even after getting out of the shower, I sit there, on the bed, no desire to run a brush through my damp hair or to apply any make-up. Eventually I must text my friend to say I will be running late, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to watch Die Hard 3 when I’m supposed to be going out.  But I think even without the film I would have struggled.  She calls me, and I fall apart on the phone.  I can’t find the motivation to leave the flat, despite spending the weekend wishing I had a reason to go out.  She talks me round, and I apply make-up and even straighten my hair before taking my laptop to catch the bus from the end of the road.  

It was, of course, worth going out.  I didn’t do any creative writing (except starting this blog on the way home) but I did apply for two jobs.  And of course I spent time with a friend, away from the confinement of my flat and more importantly from the ruination of my own mind.  

It is now officially Monday, and as I look back over the weekend I see what a waste it has been.  Not completely of course, since I applied for two more jobs than I had before. In the words of the Eagles, “I could have done so many things, baby, if I could only stop my mind.”  There will be many more weekends like this, I’m sure.  But with every job application, every blog post, there is hope that life can change.  That one day the weekends will become sacred once more.  Something to live for, and not something to fear.

The Waiting Game

So much unhappiness in the world.  So many unhappy relationships.  It seems like everyone I speak to is unsettled with their boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband, partner.  It is all I can do to convince them to leave. For it is my experience, that once someone is unhappy in their relationship, that can never be changed.  

Perhaps the conversation between us becomes a happy one for a while; normal life takes over and they tell me about what they did at the weekend, they skirt round the underlying issues.  But those issues always come back eventually.  And what can I say to them?  Except leave? 

I had no-one to tell me that.  I didn’t discuss my unhappy marriage with a single person.  Well that’s not true; I kind of did once, when I was drunk, but I denied it after that.  The day I left my husband I stood in my mum’s kitchen while she was on the phone for ten whole minutes before she realised why I was stood in her kitchen, on my own, on a weeknight after work, without my husband.  That’s not her fault, of course, just a a result of the fact that my leaving came as a shock to everyone apart from me.

I wish I could believe in the hope that things can get fixed.  But I can’t.  Because I don’t believe that can ever happen.  

I do know people who have stayed together, long after one of them told me they were on the verge of splitting.  This couple are now married with a child.  And I believe their relationship will hold.  But they are very few and far between.  

As I think about how long I’ve been single, and whether I wish I could be in a relationship again, even the wrong one, just to be with someone, and the thought leaves me cold.  Yes, I would rather be alone.  

Being alone is hard.  But at least I can look in the mirror with a clear conscience, and know the person standing in front of me is the one I want to be with.  

Bags to Boot

You know what’s been bothering me the last few days? On Saturday I bought a new pair of brown ankle boots.  No, it’s not that that’s bothering me.  Only two or three years ago I bought a brown bag, Jasper Conran from Debenhams.  Somewhere along the line of dejunking, I’ve given it away to the charity shop.  That’s what’s bothering me.  

Now I have boots and no bag.  What is a girl to do?

Buy another one, would be the sensible solution.  Except I’m not sure I have spare money for a bag this month, especially when I’ve spent money on boots (among other things).

It really chafes me that I had a perfectly good bag and got rid of it. Aha!  Maybe that’s it!  It wasn’t perfectly good, maybe the faux leather had started wearing off and I thought I’d get rid of it as it was starting to look a bit shit.  

Maybe, but I can’t remember.  

Hoarding possessions is linked to depression and anxiety.  People don’t want to get rid of physical stuff because it means they have to part with something inside of them too.  

I have made great progress the last few years.  You would not believe how many bags, boxes and crates have gone to the charity shops of Lincoln and London.  Of those hundreds of books, clothes, bags and other bric-a-brac, only a few have I thought that I wish I’d kept.  But those few eat into me with regret, poisoning my mind against further donations.

Like so much of my mental baggage though, there is only one thing to be done.  Let it go. 

More bags can be bought.  More fish in the sea.  

On this bright, sunny day, letting go seems like such an easy concept.  If I had time right now I’d go into  Debenhams and buy another bag.  Part with my money and not think about the fact that I’m buying something I had but gave away on a whim.  I don’t have time though, so a new bag will have to wait.  

Physical possessions, while important, are not the be all and end all.  I know that I did the right thing getting rid of the Jasper bag.  Because the last few years I have been sinking in stuff, and would have suffocated under the weight of it had I not seriously dejunked. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to live in a shack with the most minimal of possessions.  But as my room becomes tidier, so does my mind.  As I see a path through the clutter in my house, my mind will visualise the path I am to take.  There is no charity shop in my mind, but perhaps I should build one.  Except it won’t be a shop that sells on; just takes donations and keeps them safe.  So that when I’m ready, I can look back at those memories in a way that doesn’t hurt so much. 

Not What I Wanted To Say (But That’s Ok)

I must be getting better.  Five minutes ago I reached for my phone; reached for my blog through my phone.  Felt the need to vent exactly what I was feeling through the short burst of tears.  

But you know what?  I hesitated.  I don’t know why.  Here I am, five minutes later; the destination is the same, but I’m here to tell you what I did today, instead of what I felt.  

That is not to say that what I feel is not important, because of course it is.  But I feel myself reaching for those particular feelings like a comfort blanket.  One that I can pull over my head and encapsulate myself in, until the feeling goes away and I can face the world again.  

Instead, let me tell you some positives about my day, not negatives that don’t really matter.  

I wrote a short story on the way to work.  It’s very short indeed, and incomplete, but hey, it’s a story, and it’s short.  And it’s the second short story I’ve written, while commuting, in less than a week.  

I went to my book club tonight.  I finally made small steps towards meeting new people in this great city.  I’ve been going to this group for four and a half months, and it’s getting me meeting new people and reading books (and books that are not necessarily ones that I would have chosen).  More importantly, it’s getting me thinking about books.  Thinking the way I used to when i was at uni.  And thinking this way gets me inspired.  

I feel like there should be a third thing.  And there is.  This blog.  The fact that I’m reaching for WordPress, not the tissues (and really the tears were barely enough to warrant a Kleenex) is a sign that I have the right outlet for those times when things go awry.  That in itself makes me happy, although the tissue makers might not be so thrilled…

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries