Stress

This last week has for me been one of the most stressful in recent memory. For the past four days, likable builders from Mansfield have been converting our garage into what will eventually become a utility room and office, the latter being for yours truly, to sit and write, think and get away from the world. I know things happen in their own time, but try as I might, feelings of anxiety overcome me and if it wasn’t for my wife, the more level headed one in this marriage, I would be a complete wreak.

As well as this, we’ve had very bad news about a friend in serious trouble, and the death of the husband of an old friend of mine, all of which have laid me low. Of course one has to try and get a sense of perspective, my wife and I are comfortable in our daily lives, not wanting for anything, but comfort has no bearing to the depressive, and at the moment I’m struggling with almost everything. Maybe if things go well next week and the builders make some real progress to the end product, I will being to settle, and the fog will lift.

At the moment, I’m burying myself in several books, in the hopes that page after page of decent writing, will give me a measure of protection from the world around me. So far it’s working, and I thank God for a loving family.

Social Media Nightmare.

I woke up this morning, with an overwhelming feeling to ditch 99% of the social media platforms I subscribe to. It was a little more than overwhelming, this was clear instructions, come from I know not where, but the truth of the matter was, that the ‘feelings’ were correct. 

Straight Away I went into action and sent a collective email to treasured friends informing them of my decision, and all came back with positive replies. There was one what I would call, disappointment. The reply was a thumbs down emoji, from somebody I thought would understand. I forgive this person, but it hurt a little. 

First to be dismantled was Twitter, and now I’m homing in on Facebook and Instagram. I’m keeping Goodreads, and that will be linked to my new revamped website, where you see this blog:) This evening looking back on the last few hours, I feel both stronger and much relieved that I will no longer be spending valuable reading time surfing through the shallow trash of Facebook. 

Blue Skies & Wispy Clouds.

Warm late spring and early summer days have such a soothing effect on me, it’s better than any medicine I know. Today is especially good, as I have the added bonus of the company of my stepson and my beautiful Japanese daughter in law. Like all my close family, I love them dearly and at this stage of my life, I find I need them more and more.

My wife and I have recovered from the cataclysmic holiday we had a couple of weeks ago. It was the worst time I’ve had in sobriety, and it’s the first time that I’ve ever considered completely eliminating the images from a foreign trip. I haven’t as yet, but I’m thinking about it. 

Next week, we travel to a tiny coastal town in Norfolk, with our immediate family, and we are both looking forward to those few days very much indeed. I’m so laidback today, writing about something meaningful and informed seems difficult, although I’m not usually stuck for words. Busy times ahead for my wife and myself, with serious beholding work just two weeks away.  

Looking around our small garden, there isn’t a lot of colour, mostly shades of green and reds, but it’s my refuge, my place of sanity. I was thinking about it last week on the way home from the city centre, where I bore witness to drunkenness, impatience, violence and zombie like trance in many people’s eyes. Scuse me whIle I dig out the sun bed and turn off all devices.

World Book Night.

Today being Monday, April 23, I can only talk about one thing. Tonight is World Book Night, and from early on this morning, I’ve been indulging in reading, browsing, choosing Lon, lost books from dusty and not so dusty shelves, to celebrate this little known event and relish every moment. 

Years ago, before the internet and mobile communication revolution, I buried myself in the healing power of words, reading countless books as part of my recovery. I didn’t have a TV or radio, had no money for cinema or theatre, but books were plentiful, and I found myself reading on park benches, peoples sofas, AA meetings, Town Hall Square, countryside walks, in fact anywhere and everywhere. 

Reading books led me directly to writing diaries and journals, and recovery from addiction, on a day to day basis. So I keep all this mind on this and other book celebration days, as I have the written word to thank (in part), for my soberiet. I’m still an addict of course, but the drug is in print form, or relieved by a Kindle from time to time. To you fellow readers followers I wish you happy reading and continued recovery. 

What a Difference a Day Makes.

My last entry was full of honest woe, but today I’m feeling much, much better. It’s application really, finding enough inside myself to realise that today is another adventure, in my case a trip through my bookshelves, and finding nuggets of gold. 

Next Monday is World Book Night, and I’m in preparations for a whole day of events, blogging and enjoying the day thumbing through pages of long lost friends (I’ve always referred to my books as friends). As for today a visit and sleepover of the granddaughter is always a delight, although she keeps my wife and I on our aging toes. As I write, she’s watching episodes of Peter Rabbit. I’m enjoying them too. 

Things To Come

My wife and I have recently returned from the worst holiday, both of us have had in living memory. There were little or no redeeming features that I could mention from the whole ten days. I slipped a little into my shell, but came out stronger so thinking about it, a little gold emerged from the shitty streets of Palermo, Sicily.

With this in mind, I’m moving forward with new projects, beginning on Monday, April 23 which happens to be World Book Night. So elsewhere on this site will be a new book and coffee blog, and an update with several blogs on these pages talking about issues and events which have helped me of late. 

Exciting stuff (from this end anyway). Spring is here, and we spent yesterday in our back garden, cutting back winter growth and keeping an eye on what looks to be a poorly hedgehog. I sat out there until the stars came out, and watched several bats hunt for food on the wing. Back in a couple of days. 

Walking It Off.

Yesterday, I got up very early and walked into the city centre. Nothing out of the ordinary there you might say, except that prior to this I was laid low by the aftermath of bad dreams. Dreams that were both terrifying in the fact that they seemed so very real. 

this is happening to me a lot of late, and try as I might to make sense of everything, it does lay me flat and the blues quickly take over when my guard is down. This latest experience was beginning to way heavy on my waking hours, so I walked, at speed in the warm hazy sunshine and parked myself in the window of a popular coffee chain, got out a notebook and watched the world go by. 

I admit this was a ‘quick fix’, but it worked and the muted colours of the early morning to and fro’, dispersed the dull grey of nightmare visions, slowly but surely. It took a real effort to get out of bed, but in the end, the self motivation paid a huge dividend. Later I met up with two close friends, and we talked, well moaned actually, about the state of this and that and laughed a lot at our own aging thoughts and gripes. It all helps and by the time I was walking back home, all the horrors had been exorcised and obliterated.

Making the effort to pull clear of depression even for a short time, can be exhausting. But the effort has to be made. The alternative does not bare thinking about. 

Tired, Oh So Tired

I didn’t blog last week, in fact it was a struggle to write anything at all, and what I did manage didn’t really say anything. The problem in part has been a lack of quality sleep, which in itself has led to conflicts, and daily battles with tiredness.  

Now ive known periods like this for most of my adult life, and by n’ large I’ve been able to handle it, get over it, manage to work or at least function in a way that those around me would hardly notice. The last few years have been so different. Not sleeping has laid me low, and several days ago I was low, very, very low and that led to several short periods where depression zipped me inside a mental suit case and for a few moments, I was trapped. 

Eventually I was released, and headed straight for the electric kettle and a large mug of black instant, and an hour or two of quiet in the back bedroom of our house. I absolutely refuse to take any medication that would induce a deep sleep, turning instead which I always do to my journal and drain the the wound with words and thoughts. 

All of us who live with depression, all of us who suffer with bouts of insomnia, have to be fully aware that we can without warning be enveloped in heavy black clouds and we have to be prepared. At the time of writing, I’m not too bad but still finding myself awake in the small hours. I’ve tried staying up later, but that makes no difference whatsoever.  

I’m doing the best I can with shields of books, poetry and literary blogs and taking books. And coffee, let’s never forget the attraction of good coffee, instant or otherwise. 

But It’s Raining

As usual I awoke early this morning to the sound of raindrops, tapping on the windowpanes, leading me gently to my floor exercises, breakfast of cereal, chopped banana and two rounds of brown toast and marmalade (no butter). And all was good with the world. 

That is until I switched on the iPad mini, logged into my emails only to be confronted with a bogus incoming, trying to hack my Amazon account. The last time this happened I few into a rage which did nobody any good, least of all myself. So this time around I stayed cool while I logged in and changed all my settings, adding some extra security features. 

Mothers Day, was spent taking early morning communion, and a visit I to my step-daughter’s place to have a magnificent lunch with my wife, our grandchild and the mother of my son-in-law. So welcoming and warm, there wasn’t a black cloud in my head,z all day long. Later I paid homage to my own mother on social media, which was picked up and commented on by various family members including my sister and cousin.  

The week ahead looks fairly stable, time I think to read and scan the books I purchased at an independent publishing event over the weekend, all of which is food and nourishment for my days to day battle with the dark clouds.  

The Power Of Words

When I began this blog site, I used to open up with a relevant or not so relevant quote. Well that will soon return, but what has lifted my spirits this week is a remarkable book of poems, composed by Jade Anna Hughes who lives in the United States. The book is called ‘Home’, and the poems are among the most striking and moving I’ve read in a long, long time.

Jade is also a talented photographer, and although I’ve never actually met her, we seem to share a kindred spirit with words and pictures. When I received the book a day or so ago, I was feeling a little deflated having spent several days in the sun and easy going atmosphere that was North Tenerife. Reading Jade’s poetry was like somebody lifetime me from the gloom, into the sunlight of beautiful literature, which for me is as good if not better than any medication. 

Thankyou Jade for brightening my return to home soil. Home, is highly recommended. 

The Heat Is On.

Weve been back from a welcome break in North Tenerife for just over 48 hours, and I’m still wishing we/I was back there. This is the first time I can ever recall that I didn’t want to come from a holiday. We had the most wonder, relaxing time and the sun and overall warmth was just what my body, in particular my skin needed.

Being away, taking a break from the day to day routine and with little or no accesss to the internet was very welcome. I had the opportunity to write without distraction, in a comfortable environment, in the company of some interesting and ‘not’ so interesting people. Thankfully the latter was confined to one minor incident, when someone made a racist comment about my home town of Leicester UK. I avoided this ignorance for the rest of the trip. 

There isn’t a shandow of a doubt that being away was good for my depression. It was in part an organised trip to see places of interest, and the guide we had was absolutely magnificent. The blues didn’t visit me once. Even on the last day when we had enormous problems at the airport due to the bad weather, I managed to keep my cool, with one exception, when we were left knee deep in used food wrappers on the flight, when the cabin crew forgot to collect it, and looked at me with daggers drawn when I dumped it on them. 

Now I’m getting used to the cold again, but I feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle what’s ahead this week. We’ve decided that from now on, one or two winter sprints to pastures hot and sunny, is on our agenda for the rest of our days. Money permitting. 

Confined To Quarters

These past few days have been rather barren in the way of blogs or journal entries. The reason being a very bad head cold, whose dripping entrails have affected my entire frame, rendering me pretty useless. In between coughing bouts, I’ve manages to watch three box sets on TV, several scrappy and badly written entries into my physical journal, and sleep for England on my comfortable bed in the quiet back bedroom. 

Is it good for us to have downtime from the rough and tumble of everyday life?, maybe it is. On Wednesday mind, I had a really weird experience, that everything I was doing (which wasn’t much), I’d done before both in speech and tasks. I’m sure I was just very poorly and didn’t see this as some paranormal event or time travelling communications from past lives, should they exist. 

in the midst of all this illness, there was a moment, thankfully just a moment of heavy depression where I decided to cancel all my forthcoming meetings with friends and colleagues, and was emailing furiously. I’ve since thought better of this and rescheduled some but not all. We are about to go away fro a week of relaxation in Tenerife, it’s a week away from going, but I’ve already packed the suitcase. 

To Always Be Aware.

Last time I talked about social media at its worst. This week I have to report that less than twenty-four hours ago, I detatched  myself from a social media website, that was set up for people who battle with depression. I’m not going to give details of the site in question or it’s name, because it has nothing to do with the setup. The problem was some of the ‘posts’ I read in the daily feed, which I felt were, lets say, ‘not for me’. 

A decision was made, and I deleated my account and all the links. Let me say that what I saw wasn’t in any way suggestive or illegal, it just made me uncomfortable. When that feeling is present, I bail out, no matter what or where it is.  

It’s a sense I’ve developed over the years and it’s a major part of my armour of self protection. Later I discussed the situation with my wife. After explaining the what happened, she came to the same conclusion. If she hadn’t she would have been the first to tell me that I’d overreacted. We must always be on our guard, and do everything to protect our wellbeing. In the past, I have bore witness to far too many horror stories about people who should have walked away from difficult situations. No More!. 

The Worst Of Social Media.

Over the years, I’ve deleted my Facebook page at least three times. All have been the result of abuse of one kind or another, people from my past life who have nothing better to do than to try to embarrass me in front of a worldwide audience. Those people have now gone from my life, but quite recently somebody who I know said something very unpleasant, not derogatory, just categorised me in a way that was both offensive and unnecessary.

Ive forgiven this person, a Facebook friend who I know personally, but now unfriended as a result of this appalling behaviour. Trying to cope with depression in a world full of pitfalls is for me, a constant battle and sometimes my body armour is pierced, and I stumble. This time around I chose not to come off Facebook, but just eliminate the problem with several clicks of the mouse. I am sorry this has happened, not for me really, but for the person concerned. Sad. 

Social Media Depression Sites.

A few weeks ago I signed up to what could be described as a social media sit for people like me to suffer and battle with depression. At first I was a little apprehensive, having had some really bad experiences with popular SM sites, one of which I ejected from no less than three times, due to abuse some of which was vile.

But this seemed to be different and so far it’s going well. I’m very reluctant to say which one as I don’t want to advertise any particular self-help group, because what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. All I will say that it is based in the United States, and the people I’ve conversed with so far seem genuine and have a desire to support others. 

I'm telling you this on the back of what has been a rather challenging week here and there. I felt a lot better last Thursday having spent two hours with a very good friend of mine, a curate, in a local church who is young, progressive, supportive and completely free from rigid dogma. I had no problem in opening up to this but who I’ve known for some time, and we are to have further meetings over home made cake and delicious coffee.

Im writing this blog post from my warm position under a quilt, having already had my two pieces of dry toast and black coffee. I’ve been on a health and fitness kick since January 1, in an effort to loose 50 lbs in weight ( one pound a week). So far I’ve lost 12 lbs, so I’m very much on target. But watch this space.

Not Being Used.

Several days ago, somebody who over the years has gone out of their way to avoid me, sent me an email asking for a loan of money. I was so taken aback, so angry that I had to take a few moments just to stop myself from flying off the handle. How dare they, I was asking over and over again, after all this time of silence, even think about sending me such a request?.

Two cups of coffee later, the anger subsided, enough that I could sit and discuss the matter with my wife who was equally shocked and disgusted as myself. I have to admit that blocking this person from contacting me ever again, has been a thought I’ve been wrestling with over the last twenty four hours. It may seem a bit of an overreaction, a little sudden perhaps, but self preservation for the depressive is in my opinion, absolutely essential. 

As yet I haven’t done anything but sit heavily on my natural reaction of anger and disappointment. I’ve slept on it,  and will make a decision later. Of late, it has been a period of confrontation with people from my past, some I’ve dealt with, some I haven’t. It’s been a lesson in forgiveness that I’ve had to face head on. Not easy for me unfortunately. 

 

Snow Fall In The West End.

I have just had the most wonderful weekend celebrating my daughter-in-law’s birthday. The house was full of my step children, son-in-law and our beloved granddaughter. When they all left on the Sunday afternoon, my wife and I snuggled in the warmth of house, looking out at the snow which had made the West End (our district), look something like a belated Christmas postcard. We were both saddened by the kids departure, the house seemed so empty. 

The value of a loving and supportive family to me, a depressive, is worth a thousand or more anti depressants. But just for a moment, I was uneasy as it seemed like a layer of protective armour had been stripped away. When we play games in the lounge, I am ‘horse’ to my granddaughter. Despite years of back problems, I give in every time as we create adventures among the furniture and bookshelves, Grandma joining in when not distracted by the every day rough and tumble. 

The weather is getting me down, and soon we are to fly off and bathe in some warm sun around the equator. But nothing warms me as much as a loving family. I am lucky, this time around I see it in all its glory. 

Walking Away

This morning I walked away from a situation, a situation that could have ended in tragedy, for me that is. At a local gathering somebody appeared in front of me, that years ago I came to blows with and have never spoken to since. Looking t this person, I felt anger rising like a volcano about to blow. If I had stayed, despite being more calm these days than I’ve ever been, a confrontation would have occurred. I didn’t want that for either of us, so I got up and left.

Now there is an argument here for people to ask ‘why don’t I sort this out and sit down with this human being and just talk’?. It’s a fair question, but some things in life are beyond any reasonable form of discussion and this is one of them, for it involved vocal attacks on my family and an entrenched stubbornness of this person to see anybody’s view but their own. Just walk away.

Sitting here in a local cafe, drinking a regular Americano, I feel something close to cool and collected. I did what I would say to other people, just walk away.  

They Don’t Have To Understand, Just Listen.

I’ve just arrived back home from town, where I met up with one of my most cherished friends, over a pot of delicious tea in a city centre cafe. The beauty of that moment, is beyond words. He doesn’t judge, give out unwanted advice, make light of my plight, all he does is listen. 

How valuable is that!. In my experience, depression can at times put a great strain on personal relationships, including that of what we call our best friends. Back in the 1980’s I had a whole string of people who I thought were friends, abandon me, and I remember being angry and very upset. Looking back with the luxury of time, they were probably correct in their decision to gallop away. Not that I see any of them these days, but I don’t bear a grudge against any of these people. 

But there are those in my circle who give me the most precious gift of time, and today being with this wonderful man, a friend of the family, who I love dearly, has given me a peace of mind that has exorcised the monsters, that were bugging me earlier on today.   All thanks to him, my mate!.

Undiluted Fear

As I’ve got older, panic about things which have no base or foundation, seemed to have increased. Yesterday was a prime example. While taking my granddaughter to the local park in the mid afternoon, two guys on a bike rode by. They were scruffy, unkempt, but said or did absolutely nothing. Immediately I was passing judgment as to who they were and their behaviour.

In truth, it was just two guys sharing a bike ride and they were more than likely on their way home, or two a friends for a tea or a beer. But for the rest of the day, I was full of fear about what?, God only knows. I’m struggling of late, and this all comes down to letting my guard down and enabling the sickness and prejudice of another human being invading and polluting the chinks in my armour.

More work needed on my own persona, and soon.