Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 11: Raw

Hello internet people.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I have in no uncertain terms been struggling. Work was an unmitigated nightmare and I found it all very stressful. It has all felt so very overwhelming. I wasn’t coping and it was getting in the way of everything. I was feeling the weight of everything and wondering what had changed.

Worked it out, I was feeling the weight of it. About 6 weeks ago, I went to my doctor’s and informed him that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with the overall goal of not actually taking them anymore. Since my breakdown I have been taking them daily and am getting the idea that they are no longer doing me any good and for me it’s a concrete sign that I am getting better. I hemmed and hawed about it. worrying that my negative and obsessive thoughts would make a fast return and I’d go back to the terrifying earliest days of my recovery. I’d wish that on no-one, not even me. So anyway, went back to the doctors and we agreed between us that I should go onto one every two days, rather than one a day. And apart from missing the odd one at the weekend, have been doing the one every other day since. So, when do I notice the difference I wonder?

Now, now is when I notice the difference. Anti-depressants, don’t as a rule fix depression, no single thing can do that. They don’t make you happy, nor stop you feeling sad, the idea is that they give you the head-space to deal with shit. But one of the ways they do that is by blunting the effects of the feelings. So they stop you feeling so sad, but essentially stopping you feeling that much of anything. So I went from repressing my feelings, to battling my feelings through to suppressing my feelings to finally now experiencing them. For the first time in a few years, I am feeling everything  that I am feeling. Or at least I am beginning to. I didn’t notice it at first because, it’s takes about 4 weeks for changes in medication to have any real effect. For the first time in a long time, am feeling what I am feeling more. This has been an uncomfortable fortnight as a result and am sure the road will get rockier, long before it will get smoother. But I feel, maybe that I am becoming more present. I miss my son (away for a couple of days with his grandparents) and I mean really missing him, but that’s a pain I am happy to feel, for it reminds me how much I love him. I love my wife the MIGHTY Rosie and being close to her is where I know what hope, love and home mean. I never really worked out how to do feelings, but I am right now in the best company to start learning.

I spent much of the last two weeks, thinking something was wrong, but really, my heart is beginning to wake up. I have a lot of learning to do still.

I am loved, it’s time to show that I love in return.

I fear, it’s time to face that fear.

I am not falling back, this is just a more difficult climb than I expected it to be. But I honestly think I am up to this challenge.

We are mightier than we believe, stronger than we know and more valued than we often feel.

Even me.

 

 

Posted in The MIGHTY Rosie, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 10: A MIGHTY 11 Years

13:08 13 July 2006

It began as just a day like any other. It changed every day since. It was the day that changed the course my life. Because it was the day I met the love of that life.

11 years ago today, I met the MIGHTY Rosie.

The details of that day are beside the point but when I look back on the last 11 years, the ups have outweighed the bad by a HUGE margin. She taught me to value myself, to love with all my heart and above all she loves me, as I am, flawed and ridiculous. I know no one with a bigger heart and owe no one more for teaching me how to use mine.

I don’t tell her enough how lucky I am to have her and I don’t know I can her enough. She is my north star, she guides me home always. I knew the words home and love before her, but she taught me what they mean. She still does.

To my Rosie. You had my heart then and you have it still. The brightest Star in my sky.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 9: Gratitude

Hello there internet people.

It’s been a weird few weeks, some shit has happened, some of which isn’t my tale to tell, so will keep it to myself, work has been stressful and it’s been a week or two that I’ve been happy to get through. I am now 4 weeks into my half dosage of anti-depressants, hoping to go to the doctor’s next week and cut down even further. I feel better based on that fact alone. But after therapy yesterday and a bit of relaxation, I came to a strange conclusion.

I’m grateful for the shit I have been through.

Let that sink in there. Do I enjoy what the last few years have done to me? No. Do I like what this has done to my loved ones? Of course not. But there is another way of looking at this. After many years of repression, unhelpful thinking and a lack of interest in my own welfare, I was always going to suffer this. This wasn’t an if, it was a when. I wasn’t broken, but certainly how I thought of myself and how I did certain things, were clearly detrimental. But if I really think about it, I am grateful for what this has done, there are several positives about the last 4 years that came to mind.

1: The MIGHTY Rosie: Most married men can hold the assumption, that they have a partner in life, someone who has always got their back and will go to bat for them every single time. I don’t hold that assumption. I KNOW I DO. My wife has been my friend, my lover, my back up, my counsellor, but conscience and when needed the kicker of my arse. I don’t know what I did to deserve someone who loves me this well, but whatever I did, I’d do it again. I wouldn’t be here without her and even without all that, she will always have my heart.

2: You learn who really cares: I have a support system, that I never would have conceived of 4 years ago, certain family members, a couple of people at work who ask how I am, actually wanting to know and an understanding office manager, my trainer Ali, who has become one of the best friends I have ever had (Now don’t get cocky there Tea-Bag) my sister in law and others, it’s also shown me who I can and who I can’t rely on.

3: I am the lightest I have been in 10 years: Needing to focus on my well-being has got me more into exercise and eating better. I have lost weight, gained strength and am better in that respect than I have been for many years. It’s a small thing, but has made a big difference. The number of people who comment on the weight I have lost is phenomenal.

4: My boy: Going through all this, had made me appreciate how much I have and one of the things I have is being a dad. There aren’t words for it. I will never be a good enough dad for him, so therefore I need to keep trying.

5: You: If you are reading this, it’s because I am writing, which I started as a way of getting thoughts out of my head, or just writing to distract me, but I have read so many things about people’s struggles, their stories, their fandoms, their relationships and it’s opened the world to me, in a way I never believed it could, all this from a woman from Talk Liverpool, who suggested writing as a therapeutic aid.

There are many other things I could list, but they are the ones I thought of today. I am not the person I once thought I was, but the person I am becoming, I think he’s alright. Maybe it’s going to be ok, or at least, brighter than the dark places my mind used to live.

I’ll be back internet people

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 8: Writing was a pleasure

It was my last week at my Writing for Pleasure course. It was a bittersweet moment of joy in a somewhat less than joyful day. The class started out with a chat about how lovely and talented Tom Hardy is, before we actually started the class. In all honesty, the Tom Hardy question popped up a couple of times during class too. Being not very social and not very confident at the best of times, I have grown to enjoy these people and many of them I will miss. That said, we all have shared e-mail addresses, I spend time with one of them on weekends and another is a fellow wordpress blogger. A third person of not is the lovely Sam Riley. I have posted her work here before https://misfitmunky.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/thinking-thoughts-on-a-thursday-7-yet-more-poetry/ and after asking permission, I wanted to post her latest poems. So that’s what I am doing. Feedback would be appreciated, so that I can send it back to her.

(As yet untitled)

I thought true love would feel like butterflies,
A feeling that ignites the very corners of the mind,
A passionate flame that would never die,
Matches made in Heaven, souls that were aligned.

Although I’m told we’re perfect, it’s left me so unsure,
Are the emotions that I’m feeling even love at all?
To me, it feels like waves when they kiss the shore,
Constant and unchanging, yet calming all the more.

It’s nothing like I thought love would ever be,
Nothing like the fireworks on New Years that you see,
It’s a shy appreciation between you and me,
Quiet and content, on this we both agree.

It’s not the kind of love that rocks you to your core,
Nor is it the kind of love you’d sacrifice your soul for.

But as dutiful as the tide,
And as faithful as the sea,
Like waves and sand, side by side,
There is always you and me.

 

Here’s another one, which I found touching, my wife (The MIGHTY Rosie) enjoyed and made a fellow student cry.

We spend the afternoon, tracing circles on skin,
You tell me you thought you’d never let anyone in.

“There was a time when I’d flinch away from people’s touch.”
I ask you how it’s possible to hate yourself so much.

The sad truth is, I already know,
But I wait for your answer that’s drawn out like a bow.

Your self-esteem is crippled and shrivelled at your feet,
That’s what happens when your ex is a cheat.

No matter how many times I tell you it’s true,
I’ve never seen someone as handsome as you.

You’ve carried your insecurities for far too long,
You’ll never believe me, you’ll tell me I’m wrong.

The thoughts that you’re battling, I know far too well,
I know how it feels to be a broken shell.

So I’ll pretend not to see the scars on your wrists,
Hidden away under all your bracelets.

Instead I trace circles with my thumb over your hand,
Look into your eyes and tell you that I understand.

We’ll both fight this together, so go grab a gun,
I won’t leave your side until this war is won.

I am glad to have had these people be a part of my life for a little while and while some I will keep in touch with, I’ll miss the feedback, the talking and oddly the very long digressions. This course taught me things about writing and two other things, I am a more pleasant and caring person than I gave myself credit for and I am and anyone reading this is a writer.

Ttfn internet people.

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 7: Yet more Poetry

This is a poem by someone I know from college, a talented young lady called Sam Price

I felt it worth sharing, with her permission of course.

Storm Goddess

Remember us together,
Lying in your bed?
Listening to a song of storms,
‘I love the rain,’ I said.

You said I was your dream,
But I couldn’t make you stay.
I was much too raw for you,
and so you tossed me away.

My hair, a wild tornado,
My eyes are stormy skies;
You may try to break my spirit,
But you will never see me cry.

I am a Storm Goddess,
The bastard child of Zeus.
Revel in my power.
Fear what I can do.

I can roar like thunder,
With the strength of Hercules.
Beg and plead for mercy,
Down there on your knees.

I hope that you enjoyed,
The gift I sent to you,
Happy Birthday, darling,
The storm is here for you.

A tiny dash of lightening,
Handful of sprinkled rain,
Each lovely, little droplet,
Water torture to your brain.

I hope my song of storms:
My lament, drove you mad.
A reminder that you lost,
The best you’ve ever had.

I hope that when you hear that sound –
That sound that I adore:
Rain against the windowpane,
You will think of me, forevermore.

(Sam Price)

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 6: Even More Poetry

And this last one.

5 More Minutes

 

Give me five more minutes

Just a couple of minutes hugging this pillow

 

Give me five more minutes

Before I have to be all for everyone

 

Give me five more minutes

I don’t want to be just yet

 

Give me five more minutes

I get so little peace and quiet as it is

 

Give me five more minutes before my son comes in

 

In he comes, all excitement and hugs

Maybe I don’t need that five minutes

 

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 5: More Poetry

Same as the last one, just different poems

The World is no longer Yours

 

The world is longer yours

You had a good run

You did your best

You spread across the land grew in number and variety

Then the sky heralded the end

A shooting star ended your reign

Winter fell, the world changed, but you could not

The small scurrying creatures thrived.

 

The world is longer yours

You stood upright, heavy of brow, square of shoulder

From trees to the cave, you have conquered this land

You made tools, you made fire

But now there are others, smaller but smarter

More cunning, more dangerous, they want to replace you

By breeding or murder, they will supplant you

The world is theirs, you are extinct.

 

The world is no longer yours

You mastered the world, conquered nature and stretched outwards

The clouds were passed, the sky left behind

The atom, the moon and the lightning all bound to your will

But now, like all who came before, you fear the future

Is is to be a virus, to cut a swath through you all

Will you turn your world desolate, unliveable by you and yours

Or will you create your successors, replaced by your mechanical children

Who knows, you had a good run, but all races come to the finish line.

 

 

Magic

 

Where is the magic?

 

Where is the magic in the everyday life?

Where is the magic in our monotonous strife?

 

Where is the magic, stuck in a traffic jam?

Where is the magic in a sandwich with ham?

 

Where is the magic in the grey cloudy sky?

Where is the magic? I hear you cry.

 

The magic is in the rising sun

The magic is there when we’re all having fun

 

The magic is there in that traffic jame

The magic that lets you dream when you can

 

The magic is in the shapes in the sky

The magic is in your mind, with which you can ask why

 

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 4: Poetry

Here’s some poetry written by me, which was performed by actors at college last night.

Feeling Broken

A balloon on my chair

A card on my desk

Well wishes and kind words

Well intentioned attention borne of fondness

I cannot imagine a moment I dread more

 

He’s there

He’s there again

Talking behind everyone’s back

Stirring up trouble, ready to destroy any joy

No one invites him, no one’s his friend

He says the worst things

Tears at you, tears you from each other

You leave alone, your evening in tatters

He tells you it’s all your fault

He tells you, you deserve all he has done

In your weaker moments

You believe him

 

 

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 3: Writing for Pleasure

I have been taking a writing course in nightschool recently. One of the earlier assignments was to write about something you are passionate about. Now outside the top three things (my wife, my son and being with the two of them) the answer was easy, comics. So below is that assignment, unedited as I wrote it on the night. I would appreciate any thoughts.

 

Many people have vices, hobbies, addictions and that ‘thing’ they have. My father’s is sport, my mother’s is books about murder, or Victorian hardships and my brother has wrestling. I had comics.

 

I first fell in love with them at age six, the same age my son is now. At a corner shop in Bradford, I was given one as a reward, or a keeping me quiet thing, but it was a piece of magic. The comic was Original X-Men #1, this 11 page story, with fantastical images, overblown dialogue transported me into a world so far beyond my own. Its characters as real to my 6 year old mind as anything on TV, or even distant relatives. I couldn’t believe it existed, it was like books with better pictures, or cartoons where I did the voices. The morality of these four colour picture books was enticing, you judge a person by what they did, we were all equal, you stick up for the little guy and you did the right thing, just because it was the right thing. It reinforced the right and wrong my mother and father were teaching me and yet it seemed much more powerful, this was an idea. No it was more than an idea, it was something to strive for.

 

From the X-Men I learned that racism and discrimination of all kinds was wrong, from Green Lantern I learned about fear, how it stops you and how you must overcome it. I was voracious in my reading, when many issues were thrown out, I was heartbroken, I carried resentment towards my parents, who had done this unknowingly. They were the touchstones of my history. I was a lonely and introverted child, this wasn’t about escaping the world, but expanding my world into new places. So many words I use now, I first learned in comics, my vocabulary now is often a hold-over from that. I could read more words than I could say and scientific ideas were shown to be before school decided to.

 

I was still only an occasional reader, but as my adolescence became lonelier and I turned more inward, I re discovered them at 14 and my love for them intensified. By the early 90s there were 30 years’ worth of stories, intense sagas, small character pieces and a sense of ongoing narrative similar to what my mother got out of soap operas. I had no illusions that these comics were seen as ‘beneath’ me and often viewed as kids stuff and I was very aware of the difference between these fictions and the real world, but these were my stories, my legends and my mythology. I read of Mice And Men and enjoyed the tale of George and Lennie, but that paled against the characters that I knew better and loved longer. That guy at work who works on the floor above, have met with him and drank with him, but I related more to the X-Man called Cyclops. I admired real people (still do) but not like role models, they always end up letting you down, but Superman was always a stand-up guy. I kept collecting and when the current wares didn’t thrill me, I searched back issue bins and comic marts to get classics. Through a shop I visited I made friends, even worked there on Saturdays for a couple of years. They expanded my world in many ways.

 

But out in the world, I was embarrassed by this hobbie for a long time, not admitting it to others, or simply avoiding talking about it. But inside, I was a died in the wool geek.

 

When comic book movies were starting to happen, I jumped on each one, the idea that something in my hand (or longbox) could be on the big screen was amazing, despite the fact that it’d been done many times before since the dawn of cinema. When comic book movies started getting more and more common, well that was just awesome. My wife and I, on our first weekend together went to see Superman Returns. It became something I could share with her, or at least be more open about.

 

Then I had a depression related breakdown. I felt broken. I stopped enjoying things and after dropping my son off at nursery each morning, I had a 45 minute walk to work alone to cope with. With depression, your own thoughts are scarier than anything out in the world. In order to cope with being scared of my own thoughts, I turned to podcasts, internet radio shows. I gravitated quick quickly to comic related ones and discovered a new community to be a part of and for the first time in ten years I could enjoy comic fandom. Long after my need of them to chase my demons away had passed, I continued with them. It got me online, get into social media and have made facebook friends out of it, one of them (a podcaster) I meet up with at comic marts and we have a great comic stuff conversation. My life has changed, is bigger than before, I am a father, a husband, a blogger (or one could argue, writer) but I was always a comic reader. Another podcaster that I am a fan of, referred to it as a crippling addiction that they may never recover from. I hope I don’t myself.

 

Next to my feet is a bag with 6 comics in it, I am wearing an X-Men tee-shirt right now. I love my son more than I knew was possible, I love my wife more than my own life, they are the greatest loves of my life. But comics have been a constant.

 

I am a comic fan, my life is a never ending battle…

…to be continued.

 

Posted in Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 2: Turning 40

cw4817qweaegieh

Had this awaiting me at my desk this morning. You’d think I’d be happy, touched at the effort and good feeling that would lead to something like this.

You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. I felt uncomfortable, awkward and wanted nothing more than for the ground to open and swallow it up, or me. I got a bollicking on Tuesday, that was easier for me to deal with.

Now it’s not being 40, getting to the middle age bracket and realising maybe half my life is over is not really my favourite thing to think about. But that’s not it, it’s not that I’m feeling my age, or anything, am still alive. No, it’s because someone has made a fuss about me. I don’t expect it and any form of attention in a social setting makes me feel uncomfortable. How fucked up is that? I can accept getting told off for shit that is not my fault, but a card for a big birthday feels wrong? But that’s where I am.

I have been back in therapy and have learned some of the precepts of transactional therapy (or TA) and it’s view of ego states. Stuff we learn or pick up (the Parent state) the moment we are in (Adult state) and the stuff that makes us feel the way we did about things when we were a child (surprise, the Child state) and these ideas are helping me to identify when I see things in the wrong way. Today definitely had a child state moment as I felt very much like I did as a child, we never wanted a birthday party. It’s a positive step to be able to identify this sort of thing, but it doesn’t exactly make me feel very good about myself.

I’m 40 tomorrow, maybe it’s time to be ok with people who aren’t my wife and son (the MIGHTY Rosie and the irrepressible SGM) treating me well. They tell me I deserve better. I am trying to believe that.

To anyone struggling with their mental health, anxiety or otherwise. Keep going, you’re not going to win every day, but you can move forward. Today is a bit of a struggle, but it’s not going to beat me.

Ta ta for now internet people.