Thursday, 20 November 2014

Breakthrough


A strange day with lots to do, hopefully everything would go like clockwork otherwise I would stress about time and then the day really would be in the shitter! I had a number of (medical) appointments to get through and with some fancy footwork I had been able to get them all on the same day, I just had to hold my nerve. I woke up feeling like hammered crap again and I felt as though I was sleeping deeply, I mean I can just about sleep anywhere, I just don’t feel refreshed after doing the deed! No breakfast as I had to go and get (another) fasting blood tests as the first one was abnormal (their words not mine) so another night of not eating and sat there bright and early for round two, I was in and out within a couple of minutes, I even felt confident enough to ask a few questions about what “abnormal” could mean in a blood test, I wasn’t overly happy with the response but hey ho do the crime……you get the picture!

Once back in the house I then proceeded to eat my weight in cheesecake for once, not because I was depressed, I was just bloody hungry and that was the first thing in the line of sight, a cup of tea to wash it down and I felt almost human. A quick wash then off to my rearranged therapy session, and the day was flowing so I went with it, the session I’m not going to break it down (simply because this chapter is about something that happens later in the day, stick with it) what I will say though it was again a deeply emotional session,  I don’t care for these type of sessions simply because I am drained afterwards, it’s like a bloody big rock stuck on a chimney and all I can use to get it down is an ice pick! Session over I headed outside to sit and wait for my good lady wife to pick me up, she was running just a little late I didn’t mind, I did something that I normally never do, I sat out in the sunshine feeling good, to have its ray’s warming my head and neck, the little blue car came around the corner, on board was the hurricane who was happy to see his Poppa (something else I need to work out) and I was dropped off at the house as he was taken to school and the wife got on with her chores.

Everything had gone swimmingly so far, and I had no intention of jinxing it, I had one last appointment for the day, I was being tested for sleep apnea and I needed to be wired for sound, we had a little light lunch and then headed off in the direction of Durham assuming we had plenty of time (danger  warning danger warning), the wife being an expert in avoiding kidnap squads from Havana (she never uses the same route twice) and she took me past where I spent the last ten years of my childhood, nowhere specific just a general direction, and while enjoying the weather and the quiet road we talked.

Rather I waffled on about the session earlier in the day and how I was feeling about the treatment, how it was going and how some of the tricks worked and some of them well, I wasn’t so sure. Again generally just chit chat, the wife seemed happy for me to do the talking and she just asked the odd question in here and there (she should become a therapist) but all of a sudden I got talking about the actual  incident itself, I have no idea how I wandered (blundered) onto it, I just did, and at just the right moment the wife asked me a question (don’t ask I don’t remember) and I just blurted out that it hadn’t been my fault, stunned silence and my wife was nearly in tears, I didn’t know what I had done or said! Of course she asked me to repeat what I had said, I had no clue, she was in tears, I still had no clue, she nearly lost control of the car as she was so stunned, simply because of my statement! then it hit me like a huge wave, washing over me, emotions that I had no idea what to do with them (I still don’t as I write this three days after the event) the wife still in tears, saying that she had been waiting for twenty three years for me to say that it hadn’t been my fault! I had been waiting a lot longer I just hadn’t realised it, this was too much I wanted to get out of the car, I wanted to scream at the world, I wanted to do a million things all at once , I just didn’t know where to start. I was also well aware that we were closing in fast on the hospital for my next appointment and I didn’t want us looking like two heed the balls just walking in off the street (more than we normally do). Thankfully traffic threw us a lifeline, the car park at the hospital is horrific and it gave us a ten minute window to calm down, thankfully we found a spot a lot quicker than normal and we clung to each other as we headed into the hospital!

Thankfully we got in bang on time and we were seen straight away, a false sense of humour with the nurse who dealt with me, and we were back out in the sunshine, me looking rather suspicious, as though I had a bomb strapped to my chest,  and soon as I was left to my own devices, that’s not a good thing, back in the car again head spinning, what to do or say, I wanted to lie face down in food and just eat my way through it, the wife talking at me, I was only getting one in four words, I felt like I had  been in a car crash, crushed disorientated just utterly distraught all because of four little words “it wasn’t my fault” once back in the house I was drained (again) and at some point I crashed and burned and if I am being honest all I wanted to do was sleep, I got my wish just not the way that I really wanted it!

I woke the next day and dragged all of the sleep paraphernalia off me, the nose vent hadn’t stayed in that long, I still have a bruise on my arm where the cables were taped to me, I felt worse than I had in a long while, I felt like I was dragging myself along, people were going to die today if they pissed me off, thankfully that didn’t happen although it came close as I waited for the plague carrier to carry my weary bones home, said individual must have took the hint as he turned and didn’t even attempt to board, I must also have been giving off a weird pheromone because although the plague carrier was full nobody sat next to me, me I didn’t care and as usual I drifted off into a crappy sleep, and awoke as we pulled into the last stop. Friday was more of the same and today has been me on the lookout for something to eat, in the strangest of places!

I still don’t know how to process what I said, if I could do that then I wouldn’t need therapy, plenty to put together, and focus and then try and get my therapist to tell me what it all means! Hopefully a magic wand will be waved (I’m being sarcastic for those of you who don’t know me) and all of my woes will fall from me like this fat suit I have worn for the last ten years, oh I’m funny, well maybe not but something tells me I’m going in the right direction and this particular vehicle is starting to gather speed!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Holidays in the sun


Not for me, but for my therapist, am I that bad really? No I don’t think I am, it appears that some people lead a normal life, so good luck to her and I hope she enjoyed the time off.

Me I was left with a mind fuck of my own making, too many questions and nowhere near enough answers, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, straight after my last appointment, I had actually day dreamed through the appointment trying to construct something to write about as I needed to vent, and vent is exactly what I did, 11000 words of pure bile, not for any other reason than I wanted to vent and not about anything in particular, just bile from the pit of my stomach, if your reading this then you will be aware that that particular 11000 words were honed and whittled down to around 3500, after about eight drafts, and I enjoyed the process it took my mind off what was bothering me, the fact that I had not resolved the issues I had found when I decided to rip the top of this particular can of worms, and they weren’t the fizzy sour jelly kind.

I used to be (as a lad) a quizzical kind of person, always poking here and there and usually looking for the answer (to the meaning of life and what’s the inside of a ping pong  ball made of) I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box (I never claimed to be, but I can usually see enough in the dark if you get my drift) but of late I was happiest when I was switched off, I noticed I was tasking myself to drink copious amounts of drink, not an alcoholic, but just enough to dull the senses, for me to go with the flow on an easier flow! Just trying to get from point A to point B was the order of the day and sod everything else. I was happy as the dull blade, don’t ask questions don’t buck the system; the problem was that the system in reality was just life!

So many questions all of a sudden rose up and kicked me to bits on a regular basis, I wasn’t the happy go lucky person so many of my friends tended to see (I am trying to write with a little light touch of humour as opposed to all the misery I seem to spew) thoughts crowding in and overwhelming me, even work couldn’t resolve my issues, so I realised (long before my treatment started) to take a hold of the reins, and stop getting tipsy in the house, in the run up to last Christmas I don’t think there many stone cold sober moments (nor do I think I would have failed a breathalyser either on the majority) so I put a stop to it, and to be blunt it didn’t help, my brain started getting active, as it happens, about all the wrong things and my get up and go got up and went that a way!

Now after my first appointment in a fortnight I realised I’m acting like Sean Connery in Goldfinger trying to stop a bomb going off by bashing (in this case my own) its brains in using the bluntest of instruments, and it was never going to work, after so many appointments I need to learn something, something that I will be able to use, because at the moment I’m taking grumpy to new levels and have reduced my fuse (in some but not all situations) to merely a micro second as opposed to the long slow burn. I have some new little tricks that help when the bus goes off the reservation so to speak and they do indeed help, but generally speaking I am still reliving this bloody nightmare time after time, day and night and to say I’m a tad tired would be a bit of an understatement!  My treatment cannot simply be me repeating the same spiel week after week it’s not what I signed up for, hell I have been doing that for over thirty years, Now I’m not a qualified therapist and it would appear that I am about to start doing some exercises (mental not physical….phew), but I’m hoping that it’s going to put the brakes on my seemingly dumb ass eating habits, that in itself is bad enough but mix them up with an additional touch of crazy well let’s just say I’m really concerned, and although I want to run the white flag up the flag pole (and don’t think that this is the suicidal point of the book, it’s not I have never been that close to the brink I know I have some pretty major well for me they are issues but I’m not following that rabbit down any damn Rabbit hole) I’m tired of life generally, I feel worn down, life in itself is pretty shitty for most of us and it’s what you make of it that makes it special, well I know I’m not even making an effort and that is what’s wearing me out, I can see myself going down this path and I know it’s a pretty shitty thing to say but I can’t see myself stopping. My therapist insists that I have higher standards for myself (impossible standards for myself) and that is the main problem, so where the hell did that come from?

Thirty years ago I had a flight or flee (or freeze) moment, I froze and I have been on this shitty roller coaster ever since, I haven’t processed the event! What the hell is going to happen when I finally do? Am I then going to process every crappy mistake I have made and blame myself for those because of said incident, now that really has kicked the ball right out of the ball park, and the task is daunting and I just don’t know whether I have what it takes, I work and travel to and from work and then hide in the house, wasting my time away doing as little as possible not being a productive member of the family, never mind society, so where do I go from here? How do I motivate myself? Health issues are kicking (cause I’m a fat bastard) in and that in itself is stopping me in my tracks, I was always a motivated little chap and now everything is just BLUERGH! I’m hoping that when I get fitted with this Gimp Mask for my sleep apnea, that this might help with a whole host of issues, but its motivation that I lack at the moment and I really don’t know whether I can get that back!

Tomorrow I go for a double session and hopefully the road map out of this funk will be unfolded just a little more, I’m not jealous of the life other people have good luck to you and yours! I would just like me to enjoy what I have, and be chilled! I really wonder if the wife will like what she gets at the end of all this, I really hope that lifting of this particular funk doesn’t turn me into someone she doesn’t dislike!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Therapy


Another day another tumble of random thoughts that need to shifted through and disposed of, some far easier than others. I came out of the hospital today having just missed a bus and in the old days I would have just walked home, now disinterest seems to be the order of the day if I can come up with an excuse I will, it does indeed seem to be the order of the day. One good thing that did come out of it all, I got to sit and watch the view from the hospital, looking across the valley at the new style of windmills that seem to pop up everywhere, thankfully gently spinning, taking me away from the miserable thoughts that now seem to flood back in from the basement up on a daily basis!

Big hulking shapes that move with a grace that nobody would believe, spinning always in control, not judging themselves in any way, just turning, going through the motions doing what they do, I’m aware that I have a number of small walks that I do allegedly for exercise, although I feel I should probably do a lot more, however I neither have the ability or the inclination. Every walk has windmills at some point and usually that is my resting point, in some weird way they sooth the savage beast, stop me feeling the anger and resentment that seems to be close all the time, anger and resentment that seems to pointed in over, it would appear I am overly critical of myself with unimaginably high standards, standards that I’m not aware until they pointed out and I then slap my fore head like a docile Homer Simpson, something that is obviously so easy to spot by other people, why can’t I? (Is this me with high standards again?) I sit and try and second guess every waking decision that I make (and some that I make when I’m sleeping) picking at things that I say and do, looking at the rest of the world with spiteful eyes, hating that I can’t figure out my next move, when in all honestly it’s as simple as going from point A to B!

Resentful that other people can enjoy life, when all I seem to be doing is causing abject misery to myself and who knows what to my immediate family, god knows what my kids have thought over the years, do we get Mr Misery or something approaching useable, my wife sometimes gives me that look “oh here we go again” and I really don’t understand how she puts up with the mood swings, I know everybody has them, I’m not stupid (contrary to what I feel about myself) but sometimes I bet she feels like pushing me from a fast moving car, at times I try to deflect my bad moods with what I perceive as humour, others see it as sarcasm (and I don’t see it until too late) just to deflect whatever attention is being focused on me, so consequently when my friends notice that I’m doing it, they are more astute and know when to leave me alone, this is not always a winning solution as it usually sends me on a downward spiral far quicker than I would normally do so, left to my own devices self-pity will always rise to the surface and take over.  

Anger isn’t far from the surface either, anger with myself not angry as in a violent way, but the kind that surfaces when you can’t verbalise something, when all you want to do is let loose some kind of Primal Scream! Just scream until the emotion is out in the wide world scream until my lungs are ragged because I have abused them, so that I feel like I have been running a marathon and not caring about the end result. After anger then along comes resentment again mainly of myself, and that at the age of nearly 50 I have a child like ability to reduce myself to just these two emotions, neither productive, exactly the opposite and I feel my little black cloud sitting somewhere in the background just laughing at me, waiting for the opportunity to really make me suffer, although in reality it’s no black cloud, it’s me doing all of this to  myself, nobody else, but I have no chance of pushing these emotions away they swamp me and I just buckle at the first assault, empty of any true feeling, when the anger and resentment go what am I left with? Despair is the word I would use to describe it (look it up it’s rather apt), a total blackness that nothing can pull me back from, at this point I get emotional and freak everybody out, and at this moment in time I have very little within myself to combat these feelings, they are just there daring me to do something about it.

I haven’t wrote much this last fortnight, and to be honest I would not be happy putting my thoughts to paper, in the wrong hands there would be the possibility of a funny jacket that ties at the back, as I always state (to myself and anybody who thinks that I could harm myself) I have no desire to harm myself (or anyone else for that matter) in any way shape or form, but putting the worst of my thoughts down on the written page might make others think otherwise, writing sometimes brings me a kind of sweet relief it allows some kind of light to seep in through the edges of wherever I am. My treatment has brought forward other things to the fore front of my mind, stuff that I have thrown to the back of my mind then forced the rest of the world to sit on them, little details that for some reason that I can’t seem to let go, do they mean anything? no not really they are just there, someone shouting for a medic (three times) the scramble of feet over gravel (I so don’t like that sound) a hospital bed with sunlight streaming through windows, straps on my wrists, a man removing said straps but not looking at me directly, they all float in and out of my view without warning and just disappearing because they can, the passage of time (?)  Something that I have always been obsessed with! other obscure feelings that at this moment don’t make any sense, they float towards the front of my thought process and then disappear just as quick, not leaving any imprint, just a misery that leaves nothing but confusion on my fried brain.

Sometimes I can write four or five thousand words long hand then rewrite them long hand (simply to bring some kind of cohesion to my thoughts) before typing them and reworking them trying to erase the black emotions, almost as if I can remove them from the page, I can remove them from me, it rarely works although the process does have a kind of soothing feeling to it. I have been known to write seventeen thousand words just a stream of consciousness of pure drivel no train of thought just every weird emotion on to the written page, writing until there is nothing left, emotionally drained, less than a tenth of it in any way useable, but when you read it back you know that it’s something that you don’t want to rework or rewrite purely because it wouldn’t be healthy for you to, again nothing that would cause physical pain to myself or anyone else, but they aren’t fit for human consumption, the sensation of tearing them up or dumping from the computer’s memory is sort of satisfying, thankfully that happens rarely and although I don’t feel better at that moment in time , because I’m emotionally drained I feel very little for a period of time so thank god for small mercies!

Sunshine has been the order of the day and on days like these I feel as though I don’t belong, I feel totally disconnected to other people, everybody seems to revel in the good weather, I just want to retreat into darker surroundings, I feel less inclined to do things that are outside, I feel less inclined to want to mix, feel less inclined to try and climb out of my apathetic state of mind, I actually used to be quite a busy person always doing something, now if I could do nothing all day I would, that is not good for me or anyone else. But when I feel this way I don’t care for anybody but myself and my stupid thoughts. My inability to sort these emotions are again my inability to grant myself the same standard that I allow for others, surely I should have a higher standard for myself wanting to do better for myself, although it appears that it actually has a negative approach so again more work for myself to apply to myself.

Panic is a mood that isn’t very far from me, usually when my black moods are swirling around me like some kind of whirling dervish, causing me to struggle emotionally, causing me to struggle with breathing, generally pushing me to run away from everything that really wants to help (friends and family) I know people want to help me, but I feel like a drowning man who is far too stubborn to ask for help (these people have their own problems without having to deal with mine). Panic stumbles into helplessness which turns back to despair and my black cloud wins, I lose the ability to want to do anything, help myself, to please others, I want to drown myself in dark thoughts and food. The longer my treatment goes on the more I stay away from alcohol, is this me doing something sensible? I have no idea but the thought of time in a pub feels completely alien to me at this moment in time.

Food isn’t doing me any good I’m aware of that, I can’t exercise so I can rid myself of any excess weight (although when I am eating I am more inclined to be disinterested, a vicious circle with only one loser) dark thoughts take over and sometimes I find myself looking for something to eat (I never seem to over indulge in anything healthy) a form of self-abuse that seems to more evident to me, but I seem powerless to have the ability to do anything about it! one that if my wife were there, she would stop me dead in my tracks, although why I feel the need at this point to have a chaperone for something as simple as food escapes me, I’m less inclined to leave the house for any reason and it’s getting harder for me to even want to go to what appears to be my one place of sanctuary which is work! somewhere I can just lose myself and switch off to the rest of the outside world, the numbing effect has worn off and again disinterest rises with regular monotony, which is not good when you are the only wage earner in the family and the family does rely on you!

I don’t like myself ,this is something that has surfaced a lot later in life than I’m aware of, it’s something that wasn’t there five years ago, if it was, I wasn’t aware of it! It’s something I don’t really understand, I have no comprehension why this has festered like an old wound, how could I allow something like this to get a hold, I know I have never been the person out front leading the charge, I have never had tons of friends and I had no issue with that, but of late it is like picking at a scab, again is this those incredibly high standards kicking in or just something else I can torture myself with? As if I have to torture myself with anything else. I have to question what has caused all of these issues,  no matter how I write this it always seems trivial, so please be aware that I am writing this as I feel at this moment my interpretation changes on a daily basis, 30 plus years ago an incident happened to me that lasted only a few seconds in the grand scheme of things, those few seconds have skewed the way I have dealt with life the universe and everything going on from that moment, I am being stupid and I know I just didn’t process it correctly at the time. I understand that I have no problem with that, it’s the inability to process all this time later that I don’t comprehend. The world works in black and white or so I thought, now that view is being shattered on a regular basis and I don’t know how to deal with all the shades of grey that I have to deal with.

One little incident, one that I relive or rather the six minutes in the run up to it then ……nothing almost like trying to tune an old TV into a distant station sometimes getting the signal but getting more static than anything else, not too bad it’s only six minutes, I mean what’s six minutes, but this something has ran continually since the incident more than 30 years ago, that’s 240 times a day! That’s nearly 88000 times a year for thirty plus years, the math in itself is frightening, not being able to turn it off, normally always crystal clear HD quality just running through what essentially turned my life upside down, going from being (allegedly) a normal person to the person I am today, some people might be thinking I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill and to most people I appear to be a normal person who is just whinging because they can, I will just point them in the direction of the friends who at some point have had to deal with a gibbering wreck or my wife who sometimes feels like she is dealing with a three year old with a stubborn streak the width of the grand canyon, again the default position is self-depreciating humour, that some people just look on with pity on their faces and as always I feel powerless to do anything about.

I don’t like myself and it feels like a muscle that is being worked on and exercised regularly so as to make it stronger, I have no idea how to deal with this, I have no quick witted response and I can’t answer it, my wife and I try and talk about my issues in my more lucid moments, but I have no idea why this has appeared, the look on my wife’s face when this rears its ugly head is more soul destroying than anything else, again giving it more power over me, another struggle that I am slowly losing the will to be bothered to battle against. Sometimes the easiest thing would just be to walk away, just leave the people who I am hurting and its soul destroying that I am inflicting this pain on people who I love, to walk away from friends family and this area that I live in, just to have no connection, that the seems to be the easiest solution the one that offers the easiest way away from the issues of hurting everybody else, just go and live rough, would it be tough yes on everybody involved, but in time it could fade like any scar seems to do for other people, I could carry my scars and deal with them, or at least attempt to without that daily grind as to how my family and loved ones do now!

I feel as though I have missed out on so much, as though I have gone through life not noticing anything, do I love my family? Yes I do I believe they have brought me a stability I never thought I could ever achieve through all the good times as well as bad, but through time I feel like a satellite falling from the heavens back to earth with bits being dragged from me and the approaching impact (no matter how far in the distance is) lends a sense of impending doom, just waiting for me to fold my arms and close my eyes and await said impact, it’s this I dread, the impact, for everybody else I’m sure this would be so much the answer, as always I have no care for myself, something that I have no answer for I know it’s wrong, I know there are people who have feelings for me as I do for them, but I do not like myself and struggle to  grasp the concept why do they?

Music has been a great saviour, changing my moods bringing back to the face of humanity that many times I don’t feel, sometimes something depressing (musically can bring me back to a level of normal, different things for different people, I don’t want to be like everybody else, I just want to be me without any of the extra baggage that I have never required. Music helps me dissolve those emotions. As it does for many others a good song can lift you higher than a mountain, I have never had a song make me feel depressed that in itself is a good thing. Music has always been my escape, even though I can’t sing or play an instrument, I can write words and have done so accordingly (admittedly many years ago) I don’t miss those days, times changes everything and we all need to move on, this is one of the reasons that I cannot grasp or understand why I can’t let this memory go and why it rules the roost and drags me down this road to ruin!

Now as I look at the time and darkness that is everywhere I realise that I have written and rewritten this a number of times, restructuring what I feel inside, trying to be a more open person and not trying to burden anybody else, I understand when I am in these moods I do nothing else but burden everybody again a vicious circle, my intention is to keep a low profile and try not to impact others, but I also realise that this over six hours of writing, long hand, scribbled, long hand, neat(ish) long hand removing altogether some parts that do not make me happy, typed, typed restructured, and this has been  me in a better place than normal, when I write I move away from everybody else I don’t wish to connect, I want the isolation that comes with the writing like a cloak to pull  over myself, I’m aware that my writing style is sometime flowery,  but the words have a soothing effect and I would rather write 3000 plus words than sit gobbling down whatever medication usually offered in this situation.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Confusion


Ok so I have sat and contemplated my navel for the last six days, that’s how long it has been since my last session and has it helped? I really have no idea! If anything it appears to have opened a huge can of worms with more damn questions than there appears to be answers. Blurred vision is the best way to describe it as everything is so out of focus, it’s like my whole point of view is covered with a greasy film of some kind, and admittedly I have spent some of the time getting over the worst case of Noro Virus, I’m not sure what has sapped my motivation from me, the virus certainly didn’t help, I just know I really don’t give a rats ass at this moment of my life about much!

I see myself as a pretty unemotional person, I don’t read into things I usually just go with the flow, but since the treatment started I have been over thinking (in my mind anyway) just about everything, and at times I have to admit I don’t care for the feelings, I much prefer to glide through things without giving it too much thought. There has been a fair bit of anger, not directed at anybody other than myself and it doesn’t last for long, but I can officially declare I really don’t like the person that I am, why? Again I have no idea yet more questions and not a bloody answer to help me navigate through this thing we call life. Mainly I suspect that I’m pretty much jealous of how other people seem to be able to get on with their lives without all of the drama that I feel I am attracting to my own life at the moment, doing the writing about my treatment hasn’t been as cathartic as I had hoped, If anything it’s held me back, again with all of the over thinking. It appears the incident that has caused me all of my issues was not processed correctly; this is a common occurrence with my condition.

The black moods that I am suffering at the moment(nothing new there ask some of my older friends) hang about for a lot longer these days and sometimes they gang up on me, the indifference has helped quite a bit though as I’m not fighting them if they come they come, emotionally they don’t drain me like they used to, yes they still cause me to be upset but I’m not stopping them now, it’s like the tide there is nothing you can do to stop it so why waste time and energy to do that, maybe I should have learnt  that 32 years ago. My therapist has asked me many questions about my black moods; I don’t think I’m ready to spill the beans just yet.

Positivity is what I’m trying to bring into my life and some might believe me and other’s won’t I can’t help them I just want to be a better person, some of you probably feel that I’m doing ok, some of you who really know me know understand that I’m not, the fact that I have asked for help was a huge hurdle and has helped me immeasurably, am I cured? Don’t be silly, but I see chinks of daylight peeping through that darkness, faint beams, sometimes just for the shortest time, but it is there I have seen it, I’m now greedy I want that on a more regular basis, do I think I will ever be completely cured? No I don’t but with some new tools and tricks of the trade, I’m hoping that I can be a better person, at least better than who I am today! So with that in mind I need every day to try and put my best foot forward.

The main issue and I have mentioned this in a number of times in previous books and blogs is the fact that I have to like myself (WTF)! This is the one of the things I struggle to evaluate, I’m not saying that I hate myself, I’m just stating the fact that I really don’t care for myself, I’m sorry I can’t describe it and believe me I have tried, why do I have to like myself? I’m not the most popular person (or the most unpopular either) but I was involved in an accident, I feel that I could have helped stop it, this accident has shaped every second of my life afterwards, so I’m told by a very good therapist, trust me I’ve had a few and this one seems to be the one that has made some kind of headway with me, again it’s raising far more questions than answers, but that’s supposed to be a good thing! Because of this though to say that I’m confused would be an understatement, I rarely change my opinion (rightly or wrongly) so the fact that I have to change my opinion about myself is about as easy as a 747 trying to change runways as it comes in for an emergency landing……damned hard!

Another worry at least for me is what if the wife doesn’t like the person I become, my personality may change, I might even become harder to live with than I am now, ok I’m no angel but I’m no devil either as I said earlier I generally just go with the flow, what if all of a sudden I don’t, some might say that it could be a good thing, now I’m not a betting man, but sometimes change isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be, I love my wife I have never made a secret of that, without her I would have crashed and burned a long time ago, sometimes I think she struggles with me (not that she would admit that) and I can only admire her determination because I know I couldn’t have given her the same level of support over the years that we have been together, but there is a fear that she will not like a new me, for better or worse, even with all the help and support I have been given I know I could always get a whole lot worse, a return to the bad old days of the 80’s where I tried to drink myself sensible (was never going to happen) or just become permanently unhappy (yes more so than now) confusion is the word that defines me as I sit typing this.

As I came away from my session last Wednesday and I really didn’t like me at all, and I wasn’t a happy chap at all (one of the reasons why I have waited before typing this particular chapter) as I waited for the bus home I was quietly fuming at myself, what for? as always I have no idea, thankfully the spell was broken by bumping into somebody I went to school with, she was driving the bus so I had to be that little bit personable, she was someone who I knew before this incident in my life and although I didn’t want to be sociable she saved me on the day, she was a truly nice person at school and seems to have travelled through her life following the same route. She brought me back to my senses simply by recognising me and saying hello, and as I got off the bus she didn’t ignore me like she could have done and we said goodbye, sometimes the littlest thing can save the day.

So I have been off for nearly a full week and I have moped (as always) around the house doing the odd little chore, but the motivation hasn’t been there to do anything else I have read and scratched my arse watched TV (yes me) and conversed with an old friend on a daily basis (food) it’s not healthy, I know it’s not healthy, but food doesn’t bitch at me it’s just there! The only real trip out was to a concert (yes I blogged about it) which made me so happy, but it didn’t last I was soon brought back to earth with a bump; there must be more to life than this? I know money is tight, but as I hurtle through space approaching my 50th birthday, what’s the point? Every step or cunning plan we have we seem to get shot down every damn time!  Now if you have got this far hopefully you will be aware that I have no intention of self-harming myself, but if I don’t shake this funk from my life, I fear I will be harming the friends and relationships that I have left in my life, I don’t make friends easily so I can ill afford to lose the ones that I have in my life now, the ones that mean so much to me.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Hole in the sky


So March drifted on and I was feeling slightly disjointed, I didn’t feel as though the treatment was actually achieving anything, a close friend was taken seriously ill and I felt unworthy of any attention and really just wanted to show some support. I felt disconnected to a lot of things and I was simply being destructive, eating too much and generally not being healthy, being secretive (food wise). Work the thing that I usually lose myself in when this mood hits me wasn’t doing anything  either, I was totally disinterested, my focus was elsewhere and I was completely apathetic.

I had another session and there’s an elderly lady that is in before me and she came out completely distraught, I realised I was totally disinterested, totally unfeeling towards this person and her issues, I felt numb and I really didn’t care, I strolled towards my session on the couch( a chair really, put me on a couch and I would be a sleep in seconds) I have not been anything but polite, I’m not sure if my therapist realised my funk, but straight away she started in on me, and I didn’t bite once, yet she kept wheedling away at me (in the nicest possible way) chip, chip, chip not a response, the session seemed as though it was a repeat of the previous ones and I was starting to think sod it! I answered the questions truthfully, the first time I have ever been really honest about my issues, what is the point of asking for help if I’m going to waste the opportunity. I left after the session feeling numb! No change no difference what was this supposed to be doing to help? Nothing as far as I could see, in reality it was helping I just hadn’t realised it!

The next session was cancelled and I shrugged my shoulders and got on in my grumpy way with life, I never gave it another thought, work and life in general were ever present but I wasn’t happy, but there’s nothing new there is there? The week dragged and I ended up with a bad case of gut rot, something I wish I could have avoided, 24 hours of no food and only liquids being taken as I was sinking slowly but I had to go, I suppose I have a slight case OCD, off I went to work with the wife threatening me because I wasn’t well, that’s just the way to get me to stay off threaten me, the day dragged as I was suffering quite badly, I chained myself to my desk so  that I wasn’t far from the nearest convenience!  I finally turned up for my appointment (early as always) and again the same old dear slipped out silently this time I couldn’t quite get a grasp of how she was ( or why was I even bothered) and at that moment I got angry, really angry, angry with myself for the apathy I was projecting to everybody, anger towards my therapist for missing my appointment the previous week, actually I was being delusional, in reality I was being angry with myself.

Thankfully as always there’s a window that I can look out of when I don’t have an answer, or if I’m feeling just uncomfortable, today was going to be the latter in a big way! The session started differently and straight away I felt as though I was on the back foot I was being asked awkward questions, why awkward? Well it’s because I had shut them out, I had avoided them, I pushed them to one side and blatantly ignored them, there was about to be some home truths, and as we all know the truth does indeed hurt!

My therapist had never been combative with me, but she laid it out that things were going to be worse before they get better (WTF) that’s not why I had come. I wanted the magic wand treatment and for all of my issues to melt away, it finally dawned on me,  the previous weeks had actually been the artillery barrage to soften up the target (that’s me) and now the real battle began, some real probing shots, which when put across in the manner that they were, well let’s just say I was stopped in my tracks just a couple of times, and that window was greatly appreciated, there were a number of emotions, mainly anger, and actually mainly because I had never got angry about it before! 32 years and not once did I get angry that the only thing I ever wanted to do was whisked away, and that I didn’t do anything about it, not that I could have, I was given quite a descriptive view on my condition. PTSD how could that be, quite easily it would appear. Some stunning conclusions and again I was on the ropes, I cried I’m not ashamed to say this I cried quite a lot, but still anger wasn’t very far from the surface.

It would appear that I shut most of the trauma out of mind, I had processed it just not put it in the right place in my brain, I will admit there was a number of things that were explained I understood what was being said, but I couldn’t dream that I could explain these things to you the discerning reader, and amongst the tears and anger was actually a dawning of some common sense, My therapist kept chipping away at the same things and I answered truthfully, then she asked me a question I didn’t expect and I answered truthfully and way to quickly “ what do you think about yourself?” “ I don’t like myself at all” damn I should have thought before answering that one, at least counted to three but the words just flew out of my mouth, the answer wasn’t a surprise it would seem, I just don’t think she expected me to be so truthful and to reply so bloody quick!

I now wanted this to end, I wanted to get the hell out of dodge, I even considered just getting up and leaving, to what avail and my guts were starting to stir an added concern I could have done without! More explanation of my condition and what had happened, I was now trying to dissect those six minutes like never before and for once I couldn’t, and this upset me, the session lasted over 90 minutes when normally they just last 60! My therapist seemed to be quite happy with the way things went, with the anger the crying I suppose emotions were being vented something I hadn’t done before in the sessions, then just as we were about to finish my little black cloud nipped in and gave me the kicking I hadn’t asked for, I was drained, I was told to think of something that made me happy, I thought About my wife, don’t ask me why, I just did she popped in there, damn there goes my credibility! I thought of how I had proposed, I thought of my daughter and her recent return to the scene of that particular crime to act in a major film, and it made me happy, there’s something I hadn’t been in a very long time!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Vigil in a wilderness of mirrors


It finally happened I received an appointment, my treatment is actually going to happen, I had been rereading the drivel that was the first ninety nine chapters, I was determined to stop feeling sorry for myself, I had returned to writing with a vengeance, most of which will never see the light of day, random thoughts on nothingness, just written because I could, a number of note books filled with the written (scribbled) word. I had started to climb the hill again, determined not to be pushed back, determined not to take any prisoners and as a whole my outlook had indeed been positive (well for me), work was overwhelming me simply with the amount, but not beating me, I was trying to do my best in all of my walks of life, this was a good time for me, not the best but positivity seemed to be keeping me company and I was grateful of his presence as both daytime and night time had gone to a level playing field and a truce with my issues seemed to have been called!

I received a letter telling me that I had a date with destiny, and that set my hopes soaring, not off into the stratosphere, but I genuinely feel as though somebody had thrown me out a line. The build up to the appointment was what Christmas is portrayed as, a heady mix of excitement and of not knowing what’s coming your way. I went to work and I have to admit I was on tender hooks the day couldn’t go quick enough, I clocked out and had done an early shift so as not to lose any work time, my lift dropped me off at the designated area, and I walked through the door full of dread and awe!

I was met by the same receptionist I had seen since day one and she asked me yet again to fill in the same forms that I had done while awaiting for treatment, the look on my face must have said it all, as she informed me “you won’t have to fill these in again” then I sat and waited, the only other occupant of the waiting area was a gentleman who was obviously strung out on some form of medication as he sat and ticked and twitched waiting for his allotted time. Then the door swung open and my name was called, it felt like a dream, like slow motion, my doctor was female and younger than me (isn’t everybody :- younger than me that is) I followed her down the corridor to the room where I done my previous assessment (thank god for the daylight in this instance as well) and then we talked, and yes  I got emotional, I told my tale, she listened, asked relevant questions and actually pointed me to a safe harbour when I got really emotional (how the hell did that happen) the levee burst and it wasn’t the stream of raw emotion I had expected, I felt relatively detached from it, I felt I was sat in the corner watching other people converse. But no that was me and I just let it go, told the truth didn’t hold it back and it felt just like Christmas, a sense of wonder and genuine happiness, as soon as it had started it was over and I was told I would be seen the same time on the same day the next week, was that it?  I was shell shocked I didn’t understand, had I done something wrong, no I hadn’t my hour was up! It had felt like ten minutes but no it had flowed so quickly, did I feel better after it, I’m not sure I just know I didn’t feel unhappy so  that in itself was a good thing.

The following week I turned up on time for my appointment having dissected the previous weeks appointment in my head over and over again, looking for things  that hadn’t sat right or things where there could be issues, or even if they had decided I was at fault, I couldn’t see it, I was so unsure of myself this was unfamiliar territory, I was trying to cling to familiar bits of wreckage, the flotsam and jetsam that usually swirl through my life (in my mind at least) but there was nothing to cling to my mind was off on flights of fancy elsewhere, I have to admit my concentration wasn’t as good as it should have been at work, was I overthinking this? I had to give my head a shake, I couldn’t see any negatives, I didn’t trust this, I was feeling decidedly uneasy (but confident) as I sat down for appointment number two. The wind was blowing in a different direction and although I was caught off guard I really shouldn’t have been. This time this was all about my family my life before the army, I know I got antsy about the term broken home and the Dr scribbled furiously as I said I wasn’t from one, but it all seemed positive, again it seemed like ten minutes, and again I was being led out back through the locked door back to reception, I still felt good, I just wasn’t sure what this was going to achieve, I truly was in uncharted waters but I was told we would have a game plan at the next appointment, this time I really did go over everything, I made written notes on the way home and again I was surprised how much I had spoken over the sixty minutes and how little prompting there had been, it flowed slowly but passionately (I Hope) and truthfully, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but surely there had to be more to it than this, why had I not come forward to ask for help before this, then I remember the army method of stilted questions and my surly approach of one word grunts and the Dr reaching for his prescription pad, me walking out ripping at the end of the appointments tearing up the prescription, not trusting the system in anyway shape or form.

Then my life was turned upside down, my problems paled into insignificance, my best friends had their world ripped to bits, I have written about them frequently although never named, but if you know me personally then you know who they are! E has been my biggest ally in my fight with my problems, with quiet confidence she pushed me to blog, initially after enjoying the first few and realising that I was a happier person for doing them, E had had a stroke and also a possible aneurism, me and the wife are devastated, and we have actually spent the last week trying to do some kind of support system for G who is a rock amongst the maelstrom of devastating emotions that have shock all of our friends this week, what has this got to do with the book I have been writing about my emotional state, well to be honest everything, the friends I have now are more precious to me than any other friends that I have had at any other time in my life, they take me for the person that I am now and have shown me so much courage and have empowered me to take charge of this thing we called life, I have no intention of losing any of them not now after having struggled this hard to find them.

In amongst all of this turmoil I had to go for my third appointment, and I wasn’t feeling it, I hated the world and his uncle, the unfairness of life how a person can be stuck in a microcosm of life, as the world continues to spin through the darkness called space, I have struggled to find answers to continue with everything this week, this week’s appointment was a rerun of week one, verifying my facts probably, seeing if I’m a liar well that’s how I felt, I felt a fraud like I was cheating, one of my best friend’s lying there fighting for survival and here’s me whinging for my existence. With all of my heart I would swop places instantly, I feel as though their life means more to others than mine, I know as this part of the book is read by my wife I am in trouble, I don’t care at this moment, I make no excuses for feeling emotional, the out pouring of love for both E & G is overwhelming, nobody would miss me that much and she deserves so much better, a nicer more honest person you wouldn’t meet anywhere, the treatment hasn’t helped me this time and all of my dark feelings have turned up with all their friends and then some! Thankfully as I did a good deed and walked A to the metro after she had visited one night through the dark university grounds,  she discussed how her treatment had gone, as she had just completed her treatment for completely other reasons, she gently coaxed out of me how it was going and gave me just a little shove in the right direction, otherwise I think I would have foundered my bilge pumps had stopped working and I was indeed going down, and I was going down without a fight, I didn’t want to go back to the hospital thankfully she guided me back towards some light, that first wave had nearly sunk me, I have to admit that it was more like a tsunami than a wave and I have been pointed the back in the right direction to a safe shoreline, I pray every night for both of my friends and I realise that my problems amount to nothing compared to theirs, at this moment I need a star to guide me and that star is lying in a hospital bed fighting for her very existence, At this point I feel the need to point out that my wife is now and has always been my rock these last twenty two years, she has saved my sanity, but she is helping so many others and is having to deal emotionally with so much, I can’t drag her down with me, other friends although not taking the full brunt have all pointed me in the right direction, all at the same time and I will thank (and name them all) in full in the foreword of this book, I feel so helpless and I don’t feel at this moment in time I’m actually helping anybody.

Where do we go from here?


January has arrived with some unusual weather for the time of year, but nothing has arrived from the NHS, I’m still going through every day with some semblance of expectancy, checking the mail and my hopes are continually being dashed on a regular basis, it’s only now that I realise the roller coaster of emotions that I have been on, thankfully the lows have not been as bad as previous times and I think I can actually navigate the seas better than I have been of late.

Having made that grand  sweeping statement, I have discovered the lows that I do experience are as deep as they can go, Am I being touchy feely new age man?, I don’t think I am, over the last thirty years I have experienced some pretty bleak times with some dark thoughts, No I haven’t come to the bottom, the end of my rope or any of the other metaphors you can use regarding the emotional distress I have been suffering, I haven’t wanted to self-harm, or even worse, but the dark moods that cover me are soul destroying, and it’s really hard to get somebody who hasn’t gone through this to understand, you cannot quantify it, the feeling of desolation, the emptiness, the bleakness, it seems that I’m going round and round in crazy (there’s that word)circles, let’s just say I get a little down.

The timescale for treatment is mind boggling, maybe if I had lied and said that I intend to self-harm etc etc,(I have said this before and in reality I know this isn’t the case it takes the time it takes there are other people out there who issues not just me) I would be at least starting my treatment, I know that there is no magic wand, no easy way to resolve the issues that haunt me on a daily basis, trust me even when I seem to be the happy go lucky chap (yes me) on the outside at times I am reliving those six same minutes in my head that have been with me for over thirty something years, some people who know me I think look at me and go “what’s the issue”, at the moment it’s the cycle of thoughts I am having ,well what are  they? Well I have a tendency to think that it’s my fault for what happened (people tell me it’s not, I know it’s not, but try and tell my brain that) it’s my fault for not asking for help before, actually I did but all of the army doctors wanted to do was to give me copious amounts of debilitating drugs, not what I really wanted in the end. When I recently went for both assessments, both health professionals who did exactly the same assessments (talk about being careful, what did they think I was a loon or something) indicated that my issue was that I was a higher functioning patient (WTF) this apparently means that I can function and do quite complicated tasks, while suffering from various anxiety attacks or even deep depression, at the same time I struggle to do some of the more mundane things like fasten my shoes, use keys the type of thing most adolescents take for granted, ask my wife she knows exactly how incapacitated I can become (without alcohol) just trying to do simple tasks!

If you go back to the beginning of this book you will be aware that I have muddled on with my problem for quite a while, I’m not saying anything about the length of time; I’m not trying to set a world record, I know that some people (even some of you who are reading this) have probably suffered worse than me, but to be brutally honest I’m tired of this droning on in my head, I have had enough I would love to be able to be like a normal human being, to have a night where I have uninterrupted sleep, at this point my wife will say that I sleep the sleep of the dead, but if only that was true, I cannot remember a night where I haven’t at some point had a variation of my nightmare for want of a better word in living memory  (that takes me up to at least last Tuesday), I can actually tell you the date (February 28th 1982)that the problem started, and since that day there is not a night where I have not relived the incident in graphic detail, some nights better than others and some considerably worse, and that’s not including the days where I have a tendency to seem as though in a daze (let’s not go there) where I am actually having a meltdown, People like myself have a tendency to be able to get the hell out of dodge and give my head a shake before the whole world and his dog realise that I’m a total head the ball. The fact that I have decided to write about it and make the whole world (and his dog) aware hopefully won’t make anybody think any worse of me. Actually I don’t care anymore what the world or his bloody dog thinks about me, the only people who concern me are my wife and kids then my friends then on a good day the rest of the world, I would like for my wife to have stop looking out of the corner of her eye, keeping an eye on me, to stop making sure that I am a rational (yeah right) functioning (barely) human being (now we are just asking the impossible).

The fact that I can make small random jokes about my “condition” I think means that I am for some reason finally being able to cope with it, putting my best foot forward and actually asking for that helping hand has batted away the little black cloud that usually follows me about and when it gets the chance it nips in and kicks me whenever it has the chance to do such a thing, it’s sneaky but it’s almost like I know when it’s going to happen thankfully since last May it happens on a less regular basis, that doesn’t imply that it sometimes doesn’t get me on the ropes from time to time, but I have a much better determination not  for it not to beat me.

Am I repeating myself? I probably am, here we are in January, waiting for something to happen (treatment wise) is it too much to ask, I asked for the assistance in May of last year, I was honest (what a fool) I didn’t exaggerate, I was brought (dragged) up as a good boy, I told the truth and here we are seven months down the road no further forward, I do however continue to try and educate myself I return to the memory exercises that I was taught after I came out of the army, they did indeed try to help, but I might as well have fought in the first world war for all the good it did the help that I received was the standard for the day thankfully it has improved another reason why I probably hung on before I asked for help again, that was the standard at the time and I gratefully accepted what was offered, Ok so I had to be dragged to the first few appointments, and the threat of being sectioned under Military law (because I was still under that jurisdiction as part of my discharge) and them to drag me off (and trust me those boys would have) and put me in one of their loony bins, they still had military hospitals in those days that goes to show you how long ago it was. 

So as I’m writing these chapters on a monthly basis for my own sake really, maybe in the vain hope that this looks like a some kind of road map to my problem, so with not a lot going on it appears that the chance of me completing this as a book itself will soon grind to a halt because if I publish this drivel you will all be clamouring for me to “sectioned” let’s keep my fingers crossed and the hope as high as I can, because at the moment the Chinese water treatment I’m receiving isn’t helping matters.