Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What depression sounds like on a Saturday.

This post is not intended to shock, nor do I want pity or sympathy.
There are people I love dearly who suffer with mental health issues.
I suffer with poor mental health occasionally. 
I endure bouts of depression. 
I have suffered, on and off, for as long as I can remember.

This is my experience of a day in one of those bouts. 
My intention is to give a small insight - in the hope it helps one person feel less alone, or one person understand a little more what it might be like. 

This is my truth. 
Yours may be different.


It’s been a funny old couple of weeks.
Not in the haha way.
Maybe in the haha way.
I guess it’s all just a matter of perspective.
And whether you were on the receiving end.

Last Saturday was a new low.  
It’s just been a REAAAALLLLLLLLLY long week since then.

Colleagues have looked at me, wondering what might fall out of my mouth next.
Occasionally wondering if my truth will be aimed at them.
I have wondered if my darkest thoughts might fall out of my mouth….. And what the consequence of that might be.

My filter hasn’t been working very well.
My filter hasn't been working very well at all.
And I’ve been a bit dead behind the eyes.
My spark has vanished.

Thoughts have been falling out of my mouth with astonishing rapidity.
There has been a running commentary to my life.
My inner monologue has been my outer monologue.

Properly honest thoughts….. ones like…..when a man was bouncing round his girlfriend during Wilmslow Half, announcing ‘i've got loads of energy left, what's up with you?’ (she was clearly on her arse)
She told him it was hard - that they were at 6 miles and it was too hard.
He told her she needed to change her play list.
I announced (a bit too loudly?) that her playlist was fine, but she probably needed to change her boyfriend.

This blog / outpouring is probably part of the same thing - my inability to appropriately filter my thinks, sprinkled with a touch of self harm.
I have waited though - until it is safer, at least.

People do not need to know my business or my bonkersness.
And then I wonder, will it help someone else?
And then I think, will it help me?
And then I think, nobody will ever speak to you again after they have read it, they will know for certain you are a fruitbat.
And then i think, this is my blog for me and I don’t actually care what you think.
There are all of the thinks.

They come simultaneously
At volume.
Layer upon layer of chatter.
Some of it, properly meaningless drivel.
Some of it, desperately hard to ignore.

All the while I am having these thinks, there is a layer of sound, planning how best to kill me.
We could throw her off Suicide Bridge over the M62
Thats no good, think of the drivers.
She’s only just got over the height thing -  that feels a bit cruel.
Hang her.
Run away and do it.
If you don’t want to upset the M62 users, think of the person who would find you if you hung from the TRX anchor point.
Where would you run to?
Far away.
You would have to wear matching underwear. Signe would never claim you otherwise.
You could poison yourself before you drive off somewhere.
Then hang yourself
But stab and skin yourself first.
Do that.
Imagine how good it will feel when the knife slide into your bicep.
My bicep? That’s new.

And so it goes on.
And on.
And on.

All of the noise.

When I am half well, I know it isn’t real.
When my filter works a bit, I know it is there, chattering in the background.
But I can filter it out.
I can make the volume work and while it is there, I don’t have to listen to it.

But when I am properly poorly?
Oh my god.
The filter becomes useless.
The volume is up to 47.
I cannot filter what falls out of my mouth and I cannot filter the things I pay attention to.

If I’ve said ‘say words at me’ once this past 2 weeks, I’ve said it a million times.
I don’t hear what is being said.
And when I do, I don’t understand it.

My brain is too busy hearing how I should impale myself on some railings.
Or something.
It’s all too hard.


Fucking hell, you want me to respond.
What was the question?

Engage filter.
DO NOT say what you ACTUALLY think.
Oh my god I’m exhausted.
Those words actually fell out of my mouth.
I don’t know what the question was and I don’t care.


The relentless noise makes everything so very very hard.
Working out which socks to wear.
Actually having clean socks.
Getting out of bed.
I have been so very paralysed by the noise in my head, sometimes, I can’t actually move.
Which is great.
Apart from when you need to do things.
Like go to the toilet.
When you’ve been in the same spot for over 15 hours.
Or get dressed after swimming in open water.
Whole-body inability to move is a thing.

A very scary, very real thing.
Less scary when you are trapped under the duvet.
But still scary even then.

I have to take all the energy I have in my whole body, and focus it on the limb I want to move.
It is exhausting.
All the while, there is noise screaming to be heard.
I have the worst headache.
I’ve had it for a few weeks now.
My head feels like it is filled with helium and is lifting the top of my scalp.
My crown is consumed with pressure from the inside.
Did i mention the noise?

I set off last saturday to do my last long run before the marathon.
I was doing 16 miles, 18 if I felt good.
That was the plan.
The plan in my diary that had been out there before ‘this’
The sun was shining, but I struggled to get out of the house (and bed, and dressed, you get the idea)

I wasn’t feeling the love.
I wasn’t feeling anything.
Well, I was.
I was feeling like I had disconnected from myself and there was a part of me, floating, high in front of my body.
My soul was made of helium and threatening to leave myself, it was tethered by the thinnest sliver of a thread.
And a desperately heavy heart.
Made of lead.   
My heart was heavy and my head was empty.
I couldn’t make the 2 things work together.

How the hell was I meant to run 16 miles?

I got to the canal (yay!) and found myself in the midst of a local marathon.
This will either be brilliant or awful.

Someone I used to go to school with shouted my name.
He thought I was running the marathon.
Haha people thought I was almost finished.

I couldn’t even manage one mile.
That does wonders for your sense of failure - when people think you’re doing awesome and you’re actually in bits and a massive fraud.
I cried in the first mile.

I couldn’t pick my feet up and propel myself forward.
The layers of noise were immense.
I was hyper sensitive to all things.
There were shoots of green among the woods and trees.
Birds singing, chirruping, chattering, squawking.
Spring was doing that thing that spring does.


The noise that should be pleasant, that should be happy was irritating me.
I didn't have any music with me.
My head noise starts again.

You need to cancel everything.
You’re a failure.
Your legs don’t work.
Just slice them like we told you to.
You’ve got razor blades at home.
Good blades.
Sharp blades.
Your legs are useless.
Like you.
You like spring, but you can’t even feel that properly

I could hear the traffic in the distance.
And the birds.
And the noise.

Oh fucking hell this is too hard.

Go home.
Don’t you fucking dare, stay here and torture yourself.  

A runner comes towards me.

You haven’t run 2 miles yet.
Look at you.
You’re a failure.
Look at him, this is EASY for him.
What happened to your SAD going away in spring?

I can’t make myself run.
There is toooooo much other stuff going on.
My ears find a song on the wind.
It is a reggae version of My Heart Will Go On.
No it won’t.
My heart will not go on, i will rip the fucking thing out while it beats.  
Have I really heard that?
I try tune into where it is.
It really is reggae Celine.

3 boys cycle past me.
They are about 13 years old.
They’re discussing the poo processing plant and how it would’ve paid well in the 70’s and 80’s.
I couldn’t even bring myself to run past the poo plant.
Despite the stench, I walked.  

A family comes out of Toby’s Tea Room.
Oh my god the child is screaming.
Get it away from me.
Make the child stop screaming.

I need to run.
I need to get away from that screaming noise.

Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of overload.
I just want it to stop.

I walked 5 miles that day and ran one.
It was my slowest ever 10km.
That night, I put my face on, literally, got dressed up and went out.
I pretended everything was well in the world.
All the while, the noise remained.

I dreamt about flying that night - like a drone.
My disconnect continued.

Luckily for me (and people I come into contact with), I have had some time off work and I feel better than I did.
I am working really hard in lots of ways to make myself better.
But I am still exhausted and it is still relentless.

Today, I know that this will pass.
Saturday, I was all up for making sure it never happened again.
The thought of living with this crippling brokenness was too much to take.
I do not want to feel like this.
This is not who I am.

I have come to realise over the years (and only when I am well) that there will always be an impostor in my head.
Sometimes it is small enough to ‘just’ be wonky chemicals.
My inner superhero keeps it in check.
And sometimes it grows and it is the ultimate bad guy / villain.
I have no defenses and it consumes me.
Who I am vanishes.
I become this ‘other thing’.
The impostor takes my body as well as my brain.
Control is complete.  
We’ve all seen the films.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ponderings on Love

I've been thinking a lot about love recently. For a while in fact. So long that i drafted this blog at the beginning of February and its been sat. Contemplating

Not the chemical ponderings I usually have. Or maybe it is about chemicals. I guess I will know more when I've unpicked n examined the colour n consistency of my belly button fluff. 

I have been thinking about the shapes and sizes it can be. 
About the needs it meets. And how my needs interact with the other persons needs..... and what that produces. 

Love requires 2 people. 
It doesn't have to be reciprocated but it needs someone to experience the love. 
To feel it. 
Be moved by it. 
Be motivated by it. 
To express it. 
And if they, the lover (not sexual in this case), loves another person, wonderful things can occur. 
Particularly if the person who is the object of the love feels something similar. 

Of course, how I experience love is not how you will experience it. 
It changes. 

How I love one friend is not how I love another. 

It is not more or less. 
It is not better or bigger. 
It is just different.

And as such, it cannot be measured. 
Nor should it be.
How can it be? 

It cannot be touched, or seen, or contained.

It just is. 

Sometimes it is quiet, sometimes vast. 
Sometimes it arrives with its own fanfare. 
Sometimes it whispers in the night n smothers you when you least expect it. 

Occasionally it consumes you so much, it feels like your heart may explode through your chest wall, such is the inability to contain the feeling.

And for me, that's one of the glorious things. 
It is a chemical gift. 
It heals, creates, expands, enriches, motivates. 

It's not rationed.
It doesn't run out, expire, or go off. 
It is possible to love more than one person at once. 

Love is a wonder drug.

I love lots of people. 
In lots of ways. 

I love some people so very much. 

I hope they know how much they are cared for. 
I hope they know how far I would go to help them should they need it. They could have my kidneys in a breath. 
It's not even a thought process. 
Hot coals, ends of the earth, last pence in bank account. I would walk across, travel to and give. All of it. 

And it would be as easy as breathing. 

If I love you, I am all in. 
Luke warm is no good. 

I will remain all in, should you start to take me for granted n neglect our relationship.
I understand that I don't come first in your life. That you have priorities. My love doesn't have conditions. 
The giving of my time might, but my love doesn't. 

I understand that you have many friends and love them all. 
I can tell you how I need to be loved. About how I like to be loved. 
But I cannot make you love me that way. 

That's not to say you don't love me with every ounce of your being. 
I don't doubt that. 

People mistake my loyalty n love for weakness - I stay too long in relationships, with eternal optimism. Hoping that the other will recognise my needs. Hoping that I will understand the other persons needs with out effective 2-way communication. 

But sometimes love isn't enough. 

Effort is required.

I have recently been VERY lucky. 
Some might say I'm not, but I am. 
I met a manshape and I found myself to be quite taken with him. 

We chatted easily for hours. 
There was chemistry. 
A lot of. 
We have spent time together. 
That chemistry has remained. Grown. 
So has the ability to talk to each other. 
The more time I spent with him, the more time I wanted to spend with him. 

Yet, this cannot become 'a thing'. 
For his reasons. 
And I completely understand. 

And while I am so very sad, equally, he has given me one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. 

He was honest and open with me from the outset. 
I dared to trust and he acknowledged my fear and treated it respectfully.
He communicated the truth. 
Even the bits he knew would hurt.
He valued me enough to do this at the first available opportunity. 

And for that, I will always be grateful. 
As will my heart. 
It won't forget. 

I know what it's like to be homesick. My heart wants to go home - and be safe there.

My heart has found places where it is safe, places I can call home n absolutely be myself. 

These are rare, glorious spaces inhabited by those I care deeply about. People who will wrap me up when I need it, or come chasing up/down a hillside or immerse into freezing cold water with me in the name of finding adventure. 

I have spoken of loving with my heart. My heart pumps my blood. 
It is a muscle. 
My brain produces my chemicals (or at least tells my body to produce them).

So do we love with our hearts or heads? 
I think it's possible to feel lust and feel good chemicals and mistake it for love. 
To become addicted to a person and the way they make you feel.....To become submerged in that sensation is a heady high.

There is also something about words and actions, in this thing we call love.

There have been relationships, of all varieties, whereby 'love' has been offered to me as a word. 
An expression. 
But the actions of the 'lover' (non sexual) don't or didn't match the expression. 

Some people don't have the emotional intelligence to deliver. 
Some people don't have the capability.
Some people can - and simply don't want to or can't. 

They speak of love (I genuinely think they do love as best they can) but their actions don't resemble love. 

I was once told my mouth was writing cheques that I was incapable of delivering. And at the time, I loved the person so very deeply - yet I had unmet need which prevented me from behaving in a way that reflected my feelings. 

It all gets complicated. 
Too complicated. 
It doesn't need to be. 

Love is the easiest thing in the world, so long as we don't overthink it.
If we communicate honestly about our want and needs as well as our capabilities and limits, we won't go far wrong. 

It's so glorious how love transcends all things. 
It has no race, no religion, no age, no disability. It is genderless. 
Love doesn't care.

But it does make the world a better place to be.