Journal

I didn’t sleep at all last night, again. My wife got up for work at seven to find me in the kitchen, on Twitter. At least I was semi-coherent. The cats had been fed! I made her some sandwiches for work and kind of wandered around the kitchen for a while unable to decide what to do next. I made a coffee, went out onto the patio, smoked a cigarette, and came back in because it was cold. My wife went to work, the cats went out to play, and I was alone, in the kitchen, with my thoughts – a place I’m not very comfortable in these days.

I did some tweeting and spoke to some friends on Facebook and then I got itchy feet. I drove down to mum & dad’s at about nine. I love my parents dearly, words aren’t enough, but this morning was hard. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it any more. Sometimes I just want some normalcy. We chatted about football and family and then, inevitably, the conversation turned to me. I told them as much as I dared – I don’t want them to worry too much – and assured them that all will be well in another few weeks. I wish I believed that.

I came back home and tried to do some writing but I was too exhausted to think straight. TV grated on my nerves, as did music, and I couldn’t concentrate to read. I made a pot of fresh coffee and chainsmoked for a bit before giving up and going to bed at eleven. My wife came home around one and, a lovely surprise, came to join me in a quick nap. That was nice.

Since I’ve been up I have been in the most foul mood I’ve experienced for a long time. I have anger issues, there’s no doubting that. Road rage is my speciality as I am also a coward. The depression also means that I tend to ruminate, seethe, and exaggerate things out of all proportion. Knowing that doesn’t help, though, and tonight I was a tightly coiled steel spring of anger and bitterness. I have a couple of things that I need to deal with at the moment but nothing that warrants that level of rage. It’s the kind of anger that leads me to seek out isolation as I fear any kind of outburst will escalate to ridiculous levels. I’m not a violent man – like I said, I’m a coward at heart – but I have a very sharp tounge and I can, when the mood takes me, wield it like a sword. When I get like this I’m scared that I’ll say something that I can’t un-say, that I’ll really hurt those closest to me. I know that depression is a “selfish” illness but I have to be constantly on my guard against snapping, shouting, screaming, offending, and it’s fucking exhausting. Since about five o’clock I’ve been shaking almost constantly, my chest tight and my stomach clenched, adrenaline rushing and mind racing, and it has sucked the energy out of me.

But guess what? I can’t sleep.

I am actually wide awake right now, again in the kitchen, again on the laptop, again drinking coffee and chainsmoking. I know they don’t help but at the moment they are the only succour I can find.

I’ve tried to “chill out” and watch some of my favourite old movies but I’m too jumpy and aggitated to sit still for that length of time. I’ve tried reading but I don’t have the concentration. The only thing I can manage to do is write. For some reason I’ve probably written more in the last few days than I have in the last few months. Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to be a writer, in love with literature that I still don’t understand, with shelves heaving with books. After so long in a career that was clearly wrong for me and, in my last job, a run-in with a workplace bully that I simply didn’t have the energy to fight, I’m finally “living the dream”. All I do all day is smoke and write and you know what? That’s fine by me.

All I need to do now is pay my mortgage.

These hours, between eleven and seven a.m. That’s when I’m at my best these days. In the cool quiet of my kitchen I can be anyone I want with these words. I can be strong, I can be compassionate, I can be humble. With this laptop I can explain the feelings and articulate the thoughts that plague me. I can reach out across the oceans and make contact with someone I’ve never met who is suffering and, through the power of words at the speed of the internet I can help, maybe, in some small way. I can do all this from the safety and security of my own home, but…

With great power comes great responsibility.

I want to help you but I honestly don’t know how, yet. I’m learning, slowly and mostly about myself, and one day I will have answers for you if that’s what you’re here for. For now, though, all I can do is share with you what it’s like to be me.

I’ve spoken to some good people on Twitter who tell me that it’s valuable just to know what other people are going through, that it’s not just you, that someone understands, empathises, even if they have no concrete answers to this most complex and individual condition. So I’m going to keep blogging and, starting with this post, I’ll be writing a daily journal to let you know what’s happening in my life and in my head. If you want to comment or get in touch on Twitter then that’s cool with me. I don’t understand what’s happening to us and I can’t experience your pain but if we stick together, for just a little while longer, I’m sure that we can work it out between us.

I hope that’s ok. It’s all I have to offer you right now.

 

Advertisements

Lost in my kitchen…

It looks as though it’s going to be a writing night again. I’m in my kitchen and I’m lost. It’s Sunday night, the world is preparing for sleep, for work tomorrow, and I’m sitting here wondering why I can’t cry.

I feel numb today. The usual emotions are there; anger, pain, anxiety, fear; but they all seem subdued today, muted, and not in a good way. As if watching a loved one slip away, I watch the last of me fade to nothing. I make a coffee, light a cigarette, and wonder where I’ve gone. I watch the smoke hang in the air and wonder if I too am made of that stuff. Atoms, neutrinos, quarks, whatever. Am I simply just an indivisible part of the universe? I can’t take anything “out” of the universe, put it to one side, clean up and then put it back again. That’s impossible, as a far as I know. So am I just a part of the universe? An integral part of what is? Is the only difference between the sea and the air one of gradient? If I am so caught in this universe, this perception, then am I the universe itself? Just as a plank is a plank until it becomes part of the door?

I want to be the man I used to be but I can’t remember who he was. He’s gone, maybe for good. He never writes, he never calls. Sometimes I see him in town, while shopping, I catch a glimpse of him in a thought, an opinion, a shop window. As quickly as he’s seen, he’s gone. Do I try to find him again or will I simply slip back into the old ways of thinking? Do I try to build a new “me”? Where would I start? My mind fills with thoughts of heros, of mentors, of role models, NLP, modelling, talking therapy, therapists, counsellors, depression, fear, anxiety. I’m back.

I’m me again: sat in my kitchen, cigarette smouldering, coffee going cold, fingers hovering above the keys, cursor blinking. The fridge shudders, the heating moans, the cat stirs but quickly returns to sleep. The bed creakes as my wife settles into sleep. The clock ticks. My heart beats.

Now I’m inside. I’m inside myself, trying to feel what it is to be me, to be this. My stomach hurts, knotted for too long with anxiety and fear. My chest hurts from too many cigarettes, acid reflux from too much coffee. My letters lie as unopened as the emails offering me work. I don’t want to work, it’s too superficial. I want to create art, not entertainment, but I don’t think I have what it takes. I don’t think I have the intelligence to create a work of art. I’ve spent most of my life bluffing, pretending that I have what it takes. I spent a decade in industry pretending to be good at what I do, talking a good game, fakin’ it until I make it. I got found out.

This illness that, I am beginning to suspect, I’ve lived with and worked around for most of my life hit me hard. I struggled on for a few years but had to finally admit that I’m ill. I was open and honest with my employer. Within a few months I’d been sacked.

I adjust my cushion – my back is aching – and light another cigarette. My mind jumps from one topic to another: from work to sex, from depression to meditation, from death to strength. I read some words back and they don’t make sense. They don’t have to. Not anymore. Now I just need to write whatever comes to mind or I know I’ll go mad. I’m so angry. I’m so scared. I’m so everything that I’ve always pretended I’m not. Maybe I’m just tired of pretending. Maybe my will to present myself to the world as a normal, capable human being has gone. Maybe I’m just simply too tired to fuck around any more.

Something good will come of this. I know it. Right now, though, I can’t even begin to imagine what that is. Every time I try to look forward, the past barges in. Maybe that’s how it is. Maybe I can only look forward by referencing what has already been? I can’t remember ever having an original thought, a unique piece of wisdom that is mine alone. Everything I’ve done has been a re-heating of what’s gone before me.

I inhale more poison and wonder about originality. Are we capable of it? Truly capable? Or is everything that is said, though, and written merely echoes of our past. Is that Karma? I don’t know.

I have so many things to tell you, so many things to write, I can’t put all the thoughts in order. Maybe I should go and read something? I’m slowly becoming more able to concentrate on reading now. That’s a positive thing. When I was a child my mother and I would lie on my bed for hours every night and she would read to me. She always (well, usually) read me funny things like Mr. Twiddle. She read me The Borrowers, The Magic Faraway Tree, and we laughed and got lost in the stories. No wonder I’m like I am. I love to read and I love to laugh and I have my mother to thank for that. Lately, I’ve not been able to read or laugh. I have depression to thank for that.

This thing won’t beat me.

I’ve had to cancel a number of gigs – something that I hate to do – because I was terrified of leaving the house. Over the last week I’ve made a number of trips to the shop and to visit family. I don’t feel strong enough to do the gigs but if I don’t get out of this fucking house and back to something constructive then I’ll lose my mind. I know I will. I’m a comic. That’s what I do and right now I’m not doing it. This is going to change. It may take all of my strength, courage, and will power to step back onto a stage but I will do it. I have to.

Apologies for such a rambling, confused post but I needed to talk to someone and you seem nice.

bdm x

You…

“You did this to me.”

“You.”

“You never let up did you? Every time I tried something new, something to improve our lives, something I thought I could be proud of, you told me I’d fail. You never supported me in anything. You said you supported me, sure, but you didn’t. You were all talk. I tried everything I could to make myself happy, for you, and you managed to wreck my confidence and my plans for the future every fucking time.”

“I hate you.”

“I wish I could wrap a wrope around you kneck and hang you high, slowly, so you suffered and I could watch you die. I wish I could find the finest of blades and slit your skin open for all to see the hatred inside you – the hatred you must feel for me to have done this.”

“You did this to me, you fucking cunt.”

“Every joke was sneered at, ever good idea discouraged, ever attempt at inidividuallity, of independent thought, was smothered under your stifling control. Sometimes, when I sensed your presence, I’d go cold. I would freeze up, unable to think, unable to act, for fear of your seering scorn.”

“You did this to me. I let you do this to me. I even thought I loved you, that you were somehow an essential part of me that worked to allow me to do the things I do. I thought you were my muse, my mentor, and my biggest fan. I trusted you. I trusted you and you crushed me – mentally, spritually, physically – without a single shred of regret or humantiy.”

“I hate you. I wish you were fucking dead.”

Jonathan raised his fist, staring coldly, blankly at the person standing before him. His expression froze as he brought his fist forward, hard, toward that face that he had previously so loved and cared for. His aim was good and the knuckles of his balled fist made contact right at the point of the jaw where unconsciousness was assured.

The mirror smashed into a thousand glistening pieces and rained down before him. He stood, for a moment, with his head bowed – motionless, expressionless – contemplating the shards of ice at his feet. Slowly, he turned and walked to the kitchen. Dazed and silent, he took a “Welcome to Cyprus” tea towel from the kitchen drawer and wrapped it around the gaping wound, highlighted against his own pale skin. He sat in a chair at the dining table and rested his feet on another. As he reached for his cigarettes, he wondered in silence how long it would be before he finally killed himself.

He lit a cigarette and breathed deeply, leaning back in his chair, enjoying the pain as the poison eased its way into him.

Briefly, for a moment, he was happy.