And So It Begins

2019 is finally here and I've been wondering just how many 'fellow travelers' of mine have been busy making lists of all the things they won't do in the coming year. 

Dissapointment and failure or a combination of both can deliver a lethal dose to the depressive. That's one of the reasons I personally stopped creating new year 'To Do' lists a long time ago. For when one or more of the projects failed to lift off, I became debilitated, and on one occasion close to suicide. 

Lists are not for me, but serious and focused note taking are, so I write down ideas, thoughts without commitment, and if some of them happen, that's OK, the ones that don't are recycled and surface later.  

Over the new year period, my wife and I spent a relaxing 48 hours in Ely, Cambridgeshire. It was both relaxing and glorious, doing as we pleased with no structured plans for anything. 

So no more lists, half backed ideas or promises. Just 'Do It' and enjoy. 

 

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Another Year Cometh

Christmas wasn't has bad as I thought it was going to be, we all had such a wonderful time together, my granddaughter being the spark, the light the centre of the whole event. 

Now in the aftermath, which feels like a stroll on no-mans land, I feel a little deflated, but hopeful for the new year. A lack of exercise and some overindulgence in chocolate, has left me sluggish. But all these things can be put right by focusing on what is good and doable in my life.

Happy New Year. 

 

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The Week Before Christmas

Her name was Jan, we were together for eight years, we met at an AA meeting in 1991. We separated on good terms in 2004. She died the week before Christmas in 2011.  

Although we kept in touch, it was never the same and unfortunately she didn't fully overcome her addiction to alcohol and began to drink again in 2007.  

The years of decline were painful to watch and despite help from myself and my wife, things began to deteriorate in the summer of 2011. Along with her mother, we found her dead in the house her and I had shared for many years.

i only mention all this because after all this time, it still hurts around this time of year, and Christmas has never been quite the same for me, since that terrible Sunday morning, when part of me died as well. 

I'm not depressed, just a little sad at this time of the year, when I think of a light that shone so bright in my life, was blown out by addiction. I miss her. 

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My Battle With Tiredness

It’s my own fault, not that I would but I can’t blame others for my lack of sleep. More often than not I find myself waking around 3.30 - 5am. and te first though is coffee, I need coffee. First mistake, and let me admit right here that coffee and it’s consumption is if you will, my last addiction.

Elsewhere on this website you can access my coffee blog (My Coffee Moments), and this has been quite popular among my fellow coffee lovers (not addicts). Coffee is something I love to write about and cafe culture is something I’m equally passionate about.

And therin lies the problem, my passion is at times the cause of my lack of real slumber. To be honest it’s something I haven’t addressed, and I know I should. One very simple method suggested by friends and family is to swap from full strength to ‘decaf’ during the ungodly hours, when I’m catapulted out of a bad dream, or need to dash to the loo.

I’m taking this onboard so will post an update in about a month’s time. But for now, lets grind some more beans!.

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End Game (Part 2)

This morning I awoke with new hope, a new energy that I haven’t experienced in a long time. What seemed like a nightmare in the making yesterday, has crumbled into dust and I can now go forward into the coming winter months with a refreshed creativity both with writing and photography.

Sometimes we need a jab in the ribs to get us moving again, for me it’s been much more than that. I’ve had to climb out of a deep hole in which I was sinking. A lifeline was thrown to me just in time. Like the dry drunks that have leveled me in times gone by, there is only one way out.

Time to move on and immerse myself in new writing and photographic projects, now that the alarm bells have once more been silenced.

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End Game (Part 1)

It’s been a very difficult few weeks. I can’t remember feeling this drained in a very long time, and I’m amazed that this hasn’t mutated into a serious bout of depression. Giving a helping hand to a much loved friend can be one of the hardest tasks known to humankind. Not only does it drain the everyday batteries, but draws juice from any on board reserves.

Tomorrow a decision will be made that will either give great relief, or great sadness. The horrible thing is, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it - other than be a friend. I doubt if there will be any quality sleep this evening either for me, or the person I’m hoping and praying for. How I long for a peaceful night.

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Decision Time

It’s been a long time coming, but my wife and I have decided to leave the area, both of us have lived in for most of our lives, and go forth into a new adventure. Next year the plan is to leave Leicester UK, and head seventeen miles south to the town of Market Harborough, for what might turn out to be a much quieter life.

Recently, I sat for a few moments on the side of the Grand Union Canal, close to where we live now and thought about the move. For me personally, it would be good for my depression, as of late, it’s things, events if you will, happening in the area that have laid me quite low at times.

Rubbish in the street, burnt out cars, the angst, the general state of play here in the West End, have worried me for some time. Worse still made me very unhappy, so when my wife informed me that she wanted to move, after a moment’s hesitation, i climbed on board with the idea and been a different human being ever since.

Once those close to us had been informed, we set about looking for properties, and have a few to visit this coming week. Will I miss anything about Leicester?, yes, of course some things. But overall we are both up and ready to move on.

A bad, bad head cold, has seen me more or less housebound this past week. I’ve barely been able to string two words together. Thankfully, it’s in retreat and the words are coming, but slowly. There is a difficult period coming up, and I’m hoping that my faith and strength won’t abandon me in these times of need.

Grand Union Canal, Leicester UK.

Grand Union Canal, Leicester UK.

At The End Of The Week

This evening we lit a fire for the first time this Autumn, just what we (as in the wife and I)’ needed at the end of a busy week. My fitness levels have increased with all the walking, daily exercise and a massive cut down on spreads, cakes, biscuits, etc,. The benefits can be felt in as much that my jeans, combats, all need to be belted tighter than they have been in years.

I’m finding as I did before, some years ago, that my depression is eased enormously, when I’ve been leaner. Of course I’m not saying that it’s a cure for the depressive, but it certainly helps, in my case anyway. There have been some ‘niggles’ in the last few days that have made little dents in my routine, and it well, annoyed me. Nothing to fear, but I have to be aware. Anyway, more wood for the fire. 

 

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My Struggle.

I had so much I wanted to say in this blog post. I’d made notes, given things some thought, but when it came to putting digital ink onto digital paper, my mind went a complete blank. But that’s OK, throughout my periods of depression, there have been many times when the words just didn’t come or flow to make sense of what was going on. 

Things are a bit of a mess in certain areas of my life right now, answers will be found, but not in my time, in the situations time. So, not much to say, but it could be different next time around. Off to Wales next week for a few days with the wife, to celebrate our 13 years of marriage. Let’s hope the weather holds. 

 

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My wife and I paid a visit to Market Harborough in Leicestershire on Monday, a town we love. 

On The Move

Sometimes, you outgrow the area that you reside in. Both my wife and I feel that now after eight years at the present address. It’s just an idea at the moment, but both of us are getting itchy feet, even thought the idea came from my wife, which I have to say surprised me to say the least, given the fact we’ve just spent a small fortune on a conversion. 

The truth for me is, that I would take my depression with me wherever we went. It’s been a constant although unwelcome companion for most of my adult life. But a change would be good. We would both be moving in our 65th year, but we have been inspired by a new neighbour who has moved here to our area from Exeter, at the age of 88. 

a lot has to be thought about and considered over the next few months. We are due to go on holiday soon, in the far west of Wales. Maybe we will have a chance to think about things there. Autumn is almost upon us, tomorrow we will be moving the furniture around so we can have the full please of an open fire through the winter months. Cosy, safe and quiet. 

 

Doors to the old Leicester Polytechnic  

Doors to the old Leicester Polytechnic  

It may be De Montfort University to the many, but to my generation this is the old Hawthorne building where I used to go and see rock bands around 1970-72. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of those far off days. 

Bank Holiday

Since retirement close to five years ago, bank holidays have less significance for me now, than ever before. But walking into the city centre this morning to meet up with a friend in need, I was struck by amount of people who are suffering from one kind of addiction or another. It might be just my imagination, but ther seems more than ever. Such a sad sight to witness, on this or any other day for that matter. 

I wasn’t too sure if I should keep the appointment with my friend, as the last couple of days have been rather difficult to be honest. And there are some tough times ahead, and some harsh decisions to make, but at the moment everything has been put on the back burner, as I’m incapable of making any rational choice. At least I know that now, unlike before when I used to quickly decide, and topple over very quickly as I hadn’t thought things through. 

A simple lunch is planned with a couple of glasses of ice cold water. My coffee intake has been enormous this morning, which hasn’t helped. What’s on the telly? 

 

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Anything To Hand

Not been a good week to be honest. Some of it was my fault, some not and it would have been so easy just to sit back and wallow in the disappointment and heartbreak. But that isn’t the way for me these days. And by turning a low situation into a positive outcome has been the saving grace these past few days. 

For recovery, I turned back to my passion for photography, and got to grips with a project that had been on hold for sometime, the construction of a very large pinhole camera. The body I already had. It was a gift from an old friend of mine some years ago. What was needed was things like paper film holders and a tripod base, all of which are very expensive to purchase, so I went about making my own. 

I used oddments of wood and old drawers that had been gather dust and cobwebs in one corner of the garden shed. So with patience and imagination, with a good friend for company, the first stages of a new camera project for next Spring and Summer are well under way.  There is of course a lot more work to be done both on the camera and the ‘problem’ that still looms in the background. Both need focus. The way is becoming clear, but lots and lots of work and sacrifice are needed. Like all problems for the depressive mind, things have to move at a slow pace, with thought, consideration, and an ability to forgive. Not easy I know, but necessary. 

 

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Keep On Talking

Met up with a good friend today who is not in a very good place right now. We talked about many things including the failure of people to forgive. No easy answers to any of this persons problems, other than to keep on talking, no matter what. Even if it’s all one sided, just keep on talking. 

Over the years, I’ve seen many families and individuals cut to pieces, by staying silent and not talking. Of course talking ones problems out is not easy for a lot of people, but goodness, it’s well worth the effort to try. 

 

Writing and coffee. 

Writing and coffee. 

waiting on a good friend to talk, talk, talk.

Sleepless Nights.

Of late, the heatwave has been keeping me awake, night after night after night. I’m waking up with sweat soaked sheets and pillows, thirsty and as restless as hell. What to do?. Mostly I read, then I fall asleep only to wake up again wet through like before and feeling worse.  

I’ve always said to people both privately and publicly, that night time is the worst time for my depression. It’s the time when if I let my guard down, the demons come for me and I’m full of fear, about everything. This is why after much thought, I’m going to keep what will call my ‘After Dark Diary’, which will be separate from my daily writings, noting down my fears as they happen, no matter where they come from, dreams or thoughts. 

As most people know, writing about my depression has been and continues to be both my armour and shield. But what arrives in the wee small hours, has never been written down for reasons I can’t honestly explain. Let’s see how it goes, so tonight armed with a new notebook and pencils, I’m going to try and fend off the blankets of negativity, that leave me tired, drained and unable to function first thing in the morning. Demons beware, it’s me coming for you this time. 

 

Great coffee in a local outlet with my family. It was this moment I thought about writing an After Dark journal for the first time.  Not a cure for nightmares that induce depression, but I now have a chance to make sense of it all.

Great coffee in a local outlet with my family. It was this moment I thought about writing an After Dark journal for the first time.  Not a cure for nightmares that induce depression, but I now have a chance to make sense of it all.

A Day Away Keeps The Blues At Bay

Today, my wife and I decided to pack our side and backpacks, and head out to the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, and explore the magnificent cathedral, drink afternoon tea, indulge in cake overkill, and turn back time by paying a visit to Oliver Cromwell’s house.

It felt so good to get away from the back garden, and the familiar sounds of our own district, as comforting as they are. Depression sufferers like me, can if not careful, isolate themselves from the outside world, and become chained to where they are most comfortable. With support, like that I have from my wife, I’ve not travelled down that road of late, and walking too and from the railway station, I could feel the benefits of a good walk, and a day out.  

 

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Ely Cathedral, it’s magnificence is breathtaking, whether one is a person of faith or not. For me it has purpose being a Christian. But I love the surrounding area, and today spending time there was so beneficial to my continuing fight with the illness of depression.

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The Heat Is On.

Today, my wife and I along with our adorable granddaughter, drove to a local park for a few hours and packed a sizeable picnic, which we devoured in two halves at two different locations. Normally we would take her in the buggy and walk,but the heat has gotten to all of us, me especially and frankly I’m struggling like never before. 

Now I love the summer as much as anybody, and for depressives like me, the long warm days, generally have a positive effect. However, too much oppressive heat, has all my alarm bells ringing, and there were moments today when all rational thought drained from my powers of reason, and I had to take myself off to a quiet, shady nook and recharge.

I’m not too worried, when we packed up and came away, I sat in the coolest place of our garden and dozed off to sleep for a few minutes, waking to a cold glass of lemon water and a small bowel of strawberries. We built a tent, and wandered into the land of make believe, for a couple of hours, before my wife and I walked her back home. 

Evenin the most calm moments, uncertainty can sneak up on you, so it’s important to have on board the tools to cope with the unwanted intrusion. Next week our beloved is on holiday, so Grandma and I are off on a bus trip to Coventry. I acquired my first bus pass yesterday.there really is no stopping me know.

 

I like to think of strawberries and yogurt as a healthy ‘seconds’, or just on its own. Either way it still remains my favourite summer food.

I like to think of strawberries and yogurt as a healthy ‘seconds’, or just on its own. Either way it still remains my favourite summer food.

Alone With My Own Thoughts

As I write, I’m sitting up in bed, it’s 10.47pm, and I’m listening to The last episode of Radio 4’s Book Of The Week. One of the Adrian Mole books by Leicester’s own Sue Townsend. I met her once, at the old Phoenix Theatre back in 1982. Today I’ve done very little other than go for a longish Walk, see my wife off on a bus to South Wimbledon, eat good sandwiches write and read a little, and watch several movies.

it feels good to be alone for a while, a chance to clear my head and make headway with the summer reading. A chance to do nothing if you will, but a nothing that’s constructive and induces a sense of calm in these aging bones. The building work is all finished, and I have a new workspace, a place to read, a place to write and blog. My space, my turf, my place of sanctuary. Bliss

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My new workspace. It’s even more clear of clutter, as I’ve ditched the speakers.

Gone

It’s finally over the nightmare that was the building project. As I write an excellent all round craftsman who was employed by this awful builder, is coming over to finish off and tie up a few loose ends. This guy is truly wonderful and takes pride in his work. The only redeeming factor of the whole sorry buisness, is that we’ve picked up some amazing skilled guys who know what they are doing, and numbers have been exchanged for future work. 

The last two and a half months have played havoc with my depression, so much so that I’ve had to take myself away both physically and mentally for the last week or so. Thankfully my lovely wife was able to step in and handle the final countdown so to speak. Now everybody has been paid off, so goodby and good riddance. From here on in, from the chair in my newly built office, my intention is that my blog posts will be more upbeat and deter informed. 

 

 

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A box of free books is always a treat, these came just as the building work was coming to an end. It helped, it really did. 

Loosing The Plot

And I did, big time last Friday with the builder who is completely useless, full of bullshit, and I would not recommend him if he was the last person on Earth. His staff however, are first rate and if it wasn’t for them, it would have been a total disaster. This whole project (garage conversion into utility room and office), has stressed me out and brought me close to tears, many times in the last six weeks. The row I had with this man, left me drained, angry, so angry that my wife had to take over the proceedings, and is overseeing what is said to be the final week. We will see.

I’m much calmer now having had the most wonderful weekend with my family. My head has been cooled from the rancid outbursts of two days ago and I feel refreshed, and hopeful for the coming week. Earlier today, I paid a visit to a local museum here in Leicester UK, to see an exhibition called The Wolsey Angels. Please look up the New Walk Museum, for more details. It was a bright move, sitting there momentarily, looking at these four beautiful figures, a sense of calm enveloped me in the quiet of the room. My hope is that I can maintain that state throughout the next six days. Here’s hoping. 

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