Not THE post I want to write today, but A post. One I should do nevertheless:
It's a test of one's mettle, isn't it?
Typing in the middle of an anxiety episode.
Typing in fits and starts.
Every so often I have to hug myself tight round my middle to stop the shaking.
I feel like I'm trying to stop the bleeding. Psychological bleeding.
There IS a reasonable psychological element to it... worries about the future. Worried I won't get there -- or if I do, that I'll continue to be this miserable.
The next hour, the next 5 minutes, feels like it will be torture.
Trouble breathing? trouble thinking of anything good? That's me, right now.
I'd rather write "inspirationally".
But that's not all I am... a lot of me is this. Sadly.
I'll probably look back on this post and think:
"Gosh, a wee bit dramatic there, Buffy!"
But that will be a good thing, too -- if not a pleasant thing.
Everything can't be polished, can it? Even though I'd like it all to be 100% smooth, 100% of the time.
Can't be done.
I don't want to hide, any more.
And I'd better press 'publish' now... before I change my mind...[!]
In honour of the month of February, another 7 verses of the 5-7-5.
[With my profuse apologies to the Vicar for my shameful profanity...]
"First month doesn't count!"
Hit the ground running.
Pray to you-know-who
Divine gut inspiration.
"Fuck 'em all," says He.
The Shits? They can stay
Where all the Shits do reside:
Up their own arses.
What about Stalkers?
Just let 'em stalk where they will.
But not at your place.
What of the Siren?
Ignore its Silent Treatment.
Better off the hook [!]
You're the Boss of You.
And your Circle of Control?
Wide, bright, beautiful.
Lots of Light to shine
So start the New Year proper.
Good people need you.
There's a fair few euphemisms I've used for anxious depression -- 'Mr Darkside', 'Dusk Wulf', etc -- in addition to the more obvious ones in common usage like 'black dog' or 'under a cloud'. I know some people don't like these euphemisms as they prefer to be direct and look the awful think directly in the face... but personally I find that a little imagery takes some of the heaviness out of it.
One of the more long-term euphemisms [particularly when depression was a new thing to me] was 'The Twilight Zone'.
I really liked that eponymous American TV series as a kid [no, I'm not quite that old; in the 1980s and '90s they repeated episodes of the eerie original '60s series, late at night] and its offbeat, unsettling nature -- in atmospheric black & white -- did describe well that feeling of being in a place where life's normal rules don't apply anymore, where the ground beneath your feet is not as stable as you thought it was.
Watching it as a kid, The Twilight Zone series could be mildly unsettling, or downright terrifying on occasion... just like being anxious/depressed/both.
In my own 'Twilight Zone' I could/can go from fidgety/nauseous to borderline suicidal, and many places between. Colour fades from life [as in the original series, indeed]; up is down, down is up... the landscape of my life has all the sense of a drawing by M.C.Escher after a heavy session, and walruses have wings...
Amid all the chaos of the Zone, the silence or indifference of others is registered as loathing, the ability to focus is abandoned, and positivity shrinks to subatomic size, losing both its voice and trousers in the process.
Yesterday, I drifted in and out of my own Twilight Zone. Several times.
It was just one of those days: amid a day of busy-work, coffee with a chum, a couple of blogposts and some social emailing, I nevertheless on a number of occasions found myself feeling intensely lonely, miserable, with the feeling that everything I did or said was doomed to fail, and that every time I even attempted some degree of positivity then the world-at-large was essentially laughing at me, sneeringly and snidely.
I kept thinking, should I tell someone? A good friend? An old friend? A new friend? Should I blog about it, stream-of-consciousness style?
Anyway, I ultimately fell back on an old family maxim:
In confusion, procrastinate... Then do nothing.
So I kept silent [save for posting a poem I'd written earlier] -- and indeed, by the end of the day, it was as if I'd never felt low or anxious, at all.
Another devilish facet of my Twilight Zone... to leave naught but the vaguest of memories of the inner turbulence it brings.
Until the next time.
But, as with the other changes that come from my blogging, I feel that it's important for me to shed light on that Twilight-y place, and to be heard -- indeed it's important for any and all of us to be heard -- and I believe that in being open, I can hopefully make my Twilight Zone a less strictly personal, and therefore less lonely, place to be.
And what's more, before my blogging days, I don't recall ever admitting to openly feeling lonely ... feeling it was something to be ashamed of. And that is something of a big development.
So, my blogging chums... thank you for reading.
Buffy -- occasionally of The Twilight Zone.
Just a one-off experiment, really.
7 verses... all in the 5-7-5 syllable style that I grew up with:
My dinner of new haiku
With gleaming palate.
Though a jaunty chap
I'll write about misery
Like it or loathe it.
Don't show me pity
And don't say "Don't Be So Blue"
My griefs are my own.
For my filthy, hopeful mind.
I'll write it all out!
Title of my book?
"Anxiety: Cruel Mistress."
Really? Not so good?
You see to yourself.
I'll enjoy self-absorption.
Don't piss on my chips.
I have heard it said
Brevity's the soul of wit
So I think I'm done.
I think I've missed 'Blue Monday' [the day, not the New Order single].
Apparently it was two weeks ago, and I was a wee bit busy.
Well... I'm glad.
Like I'm glad I missed 'Black Friday' back in November.
I'm not fond of the media telling me when I should be worried, or unhappy.
[Probably one of the many reasons why I'm generally pretty rubbish at social media, really.]
In such a divisive and uncertain time, with occurrences such as the presidency of Donald Trump and of course the Brexit causing divisions at home [the UK in my case] and abroad, it is almost as if it's a moral duty to be sad, concerned, or anxious. Or even outraged.
But is it?
Why do I feel guilty, at times, for being often indifferent to the problems of the world at large?
This formed a recent conversation with my good old spiritually-minded chum, Ms Sweetly, who was speaking of 'circles of concern' and 'circles of control'. I need to read up more on the subject, but Ms Sweetly says the basic idea is that the less time we spend on those 'big issues' that are [largely] beyond our control, and the more time we spend thinking on things that are [e.g. our health, or timekeeping, or friendships], the more content we are in the world.
It's obvious, really... but wisdom is often obvious, when we think about it.
The point is, life gives us enough lemons, sometimes, on a daily basis... and that's without the worldwide stuff.
Of course, the concerns of friends and family will be our concerns too, as will global concerns every now and then -- and if we're activists at heart we would follow our hearts when we can -- but there's no harm in not caring if it's not in us at the moment, I think.
Year after year for over three decades, I have worried and fretted and cried about a number of things well beyond my control... and, of course, nothing has come from this, except sadness and regret and anxiety pulsing thru my body.
But heck, if worrying did bring global harmony, I'd probably make it my hobby.
A friend of mine who is a recovering alcoholic is very fond of The Serenity Prayer, which I'm sure a lot of people will know a variation of:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Or as Mr Buffy would put it today:
Don't worry about not being worried... it's a Good Thing not to worry.
So it's the 29th of January?
It's almost crazy to think that on 29th December, a mere month ago, I was lying curled up on my bed, in complete darkness, in the middle of the lowest stretch of a long anxious depression [brought on from a brutally unfortunate accumulation of feelings and stressful events]. I simply wanted the world to end... or rather, my world to end.
And I seriously wanted to carry it out.
[Yes, I had a plan. A good one. I've had it for years.]
Certain friends helped keep me from the very edge [you know who you are... and you are very likely to be reading this, indeed].
I must also acknowledge, though, that my own nervous exhaustion actually kept me from carrying out my plan... I could barely move a muscle, so how I could I do anything decisive that required some effort? Not a chance.
The point was, all the rungs on my ladder of life had broken and given way... and there I was, lying at the very bottom, in the dark, with no hope to speak of.
Here I am now.
Writing words, essentially in public -- open and honestly; words that other people are able to read.
I realise that there are many people on here writing with remarkably exquisite literary fluency on the serious subjects that I'm passionate about... and that their blogs, their stories and their statements, are mostly far better than anything I could come up with.
This is a Good Thing. It makes me happy.
I'm very content to be the slightly oafish dilettante blogger that can make his own modest contribution, too.
The important thing is that the wise words get written: the more sufferers who can find some degree of peace thru understanding and enlightenment due to the communications on here, the better... so blessings on the houses of all the bloggers [!]
At the time of writing, I feel more hopeful and healthy than I've done in a long, long time... and being in this space, I also realise how much pain I was in on those supposed 'good times' in the second half of last year, when I was so exhausted and miserable beneath the surface, yet putting so much energy into being 'OK'. [I put so much energy into it that it nearly drove me crazy.]
Right now, I feel enlightened -- and doubly so.
'Enlightened' in the sense of being illuminated, and 'en-lightened' in the sense of feeling lighter; being able to move easier; not currently being under the big old rock that the anxious depressive oft finds himself crushed under.
Long story short [and I'm sure you'll be relieved that I'm finally getting to the point]... I'm just happy to be here.
And I'd like to be here more, read more, contribute more.
And it may well be a bloody fabulous 2017.
Thank you for reading.
"If you were a cocktail, which one would you be?"
-- Big Al.
Of course, my old roistering chum Big Al -- better seasoned in the twin worlds of hedonism and theosophy than I, it can't be denied -- asks all sorts of eccentric questions, but this one [from quite a while ago] has set me thinking, as I quickly type these words before preparing to venture tentatively towards the bright lights of the demi-metropolis for an eventide of chimerical chatter, saucy banter & intoxicating beverages of many colours... hopefully.
If asked the cocktail question, I suppose my chums would think of me as a good ol' gin & tonic; possessed of a certain heady flavour and [pseudo-] pretentious pseudo-sophistication, but not always to everyone's taste. More specifically, it'd be because it's a good old English favourite, and I'm seen by many [offline, at least] as the quintessential posh Englishman. [My good friend & exquisite fellow blogger Professor Lovely comments on this from time to time.]
I've lived for most of my life in England, and speak with a posh accent, so I suppose I am a posh Englishman in many ways... and I don't mind being called such.
On the other hand, I'm essentially a Celtic soul [of oddly mixed heritage] and my family were definitely what would be termed working class, so a lot of it's down to perception.
Therefore, if I were a cocktail?
I'd be comprised of a slug of Scotch whisky, a slug of Irish whiskey, a slug of [Sicilian] Limoncello and, last but not least, some [French] champagne -- with lemonade and ice for the sake of the drinker's throat.
A cocktail du monde, perhaps?
It does sound enticingly inclusive, deliciously diverse... but as to the taste? Maybe I'll have to make one. [And I'll tell you what it tastes like after I get up off the floor...]
Better still, just line up the aforementioned drinks in separate glasses on the bar, and I'll happily imbibe 'em one by one. ;-)