One Better Day

Number of Days Since a Debilitating Mental Episode : TWO


The menopause has thrown up an interesting development in terms of mental faculties: the distance down holes has increased in the last few months. To place this in the simplest terms possible, this translates to panic, anxiety and mental shutdown on a scale I have not previously experienced, enough to often bring me to my knees. The last couple of weeks since the holiday have then involved me attempting to not only adjust to this shift, but drag up a lot of pretty painful and emotionally difficult emotions to put into poetry.

This has been a pretty perfect shit-storm of my own creation, but is now beginning to offer some interesting new directions forward. It’s the mental equivalent of taking years of carefully organised notes and references to everything and setting fire to them, before flooding the entire storage area, then expecting to carry on with recall as if nothing happened. There are going to be consequences to all of this, and this will be me, trying to reintroduce order into what was, for a while, total chaos.

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I’m telling you this now for several reasons. The main one is that, in the weeks that follow, there will be a palpable effort to translate into words what it is like inside my head, in the vain hope that a) people might read it and b) then understand what its like to have to deal with this kind of shit on a daily basis. No, it’s not going to be used as an excuse, or a ‘you have to be nice, I’m broken’ stick for me to poke you with. I’m not expecting sympathy, but understanding would be helpful.

If there’s a lack of that, then there needs to be work on my explanation skills.

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I am immensely lost, and quite lonely right now. This is, it is now apparent, not going to be fixed by following more people on Social media or finding new hobbies or things to do. The loneliness is undoubtedly a result of being unable to communicate in a manner that allows brain to feel wanted. Having grasped that revelation over a period of several weeks, dealing with it is not an overnight task. It has to involve a reassessment of how life gets done, and what is written. That starts today.

There will still be observations and ruminations, but no longer will there be the belief that lying to myself is acceptable. Accepting someone for what they are, good and bad, is a tough ask. The new wave of honesty that’s been employed in certain spaces has already had an effect, and knowing that is where all of this deconstruction began. I am, literally and metaphorically relearning some pretty basic stuff, and the consequences are quite staggering. You’re never too old to readjust existence, just too scared.

Sometimes, you just have to do the hard shit and hurt.

Your Cheating Heart

The national side progressed easily into the last sixteen of the World Cup last night, but they didn’t do it properly. There were no magnificent scenes of victory. Nobody punched the air, except the Belgiums. A newspaper this morning calls this a ‘basic misreading of hypotheticals’ like that phrase means anything to begin with. A manager, for the first time ever, looked at the game after the one they’d be playing and made decisions based on a long-term outlook. Football fans can’t look past the next game, we all know that. If you’re not living in the moment, you’re dead inside.

There is a fundamental problem here that needs to be addressed.

I had a conversation with my daughter on the way to school this morning about how the fine art of thinking about shit is being lost. In the clamour to be noticed in a World that increasingly values the cheap gag or the funny meme above actual facts and logic, a valuable resource is being squandered. My opinion on last night’s game is valid, but as I am not Gareth Southgate how the fuck do I know what his plan is?¬†I have no right to question his tactical decision making now, I don’t get paid to be England manager, yet millions of fans like me feel they somehow now have a voice, because Social media gives them a stage.¬†We stop thinking, and start ranting, and then everything goes Pete Tong.

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Some would argue it is just easier to get other people to think for you. That’s why we have websites like comparethemeerkat.com, who use SCIENCE to tell you that you can save money and feel awesome (no hang on, that’s the other lot). Except, if all you do is compare figures and don’t look at the ethical backgrounds of companies, is this saving worth the effort? So what if I can recoup ¬£1000 a year? There are far better financial decisions to be made than this that most people don’t want to think about because they won’t consider their own unique circumstances. Having a website tell you to save is all well and good, listening to an ‘expert’ pontificate on what’s best is great… but what if that advice is potentially more harmful than good…?

I didn’t know the possible consequences of a Keto diet when I began it, until my gallbladder finally gave up the ghost and I was forced into surgery to remove it. When I watch people expound on my Social media of the benefits of fat bombs, there’s still a chill that runs through me. My body could have given up at any point, but had I taken better steps to read through possible consequences, a lot of fear and heartache might yet have been avoided. When someone else tells you X has changed their life,¬†just blindly copying them may have its own consequences to shoulder. Thinking through options remains a better bet than simply chopping and changing when someone else tells you ‘this is a good idea.’

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As less people think and just do whatever the fuck they want, the danger of disaster becomes all the more apparent. Handing over decision making to automation will not give us an easier life if our ability to think independently and critically is compromised. Giving people platforms to pronounce opinion has always been fraught with potential disaster, but if these people simply spew hate and anger from LEFT AND RIGHT, nobody wins. Sure, you can get angry, but if you let your hatred colour and pollute everything? There will be consequences.

It is then that we all need someone to cut through the bullshit and say the things we’re all too scared to speak aloud.

Lots of you people genuinely frighten me. If you don’t think Piers Morgan’s a twat, it’s also highly unlikely we’ll have much to say of any value to each other.

The exit is that way —>

Bang Bang

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This morning, getting in from the School Run, I needed an iPad cable. Finding one, I then attempted to exit the front room, tripped over my feet and fell. This happens all the time, and normally all that is affected is my dignity and a shin/knee. This time I fell really hard taking all the impact on my left elbow and wrist. I knew summat was up when the lower half of my arm refused to operate, and then it was a case of deciding what happened next. A&E is 10 minutes walk away, but I was pretty confident nothing was broken. So, I called my Physio, and within an hour someone had established the extent of my injuries is bruising as of right now.

After that, I have a treatment plan, list of exercises to do, and instructions on how I reduce the swelling. It will be at least 72 hours before I can drive, which is a bit of an issue with acting as daughter’s taxi service. Today my son was a hero and took me to get her by bus, and I’ve arranged the last two days of pickups without issue. The only problem for her is a bit of an early start tomorrow and Thursday, but as Friday is Easter? We can sort this.¬†The biggest hurt for me is that I’ll not be lifting for at least two weeks, possibly longer. It will depend on what damage emerges once the swelling’s gone, and that will be at least a week :/

Yes, there have been a lot of tears today. But as I can still type, albeit with care and both hands? I’ll cope.

Bad Day

Two cars today, involved in an accident about six miles away, have effectively swallowed my morning. As we live very close to the main road between here and London, anything that happens on that inevitably grinds all traffic to a halt. Coming back from dropping off the youngest I abandoned the car in a side road so I could avoid the traffic, pop home for a wee and my handbag, before making my way to the Opticians round a less travelled path. I even had the foresight to phone ahead and tell them I’d be late, which I was. I now have a vital second pair of glasses on order. My eyesight hasn’t deteriorated, I just need the help a bit more now it is darker earlier and I’m driving more.

Yes, it’s another security blanket, and that’s just fine.

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Once I’ve organised everything that needs to be done and have ensured my scheduling’s¬† all complete… I can finally start on getting Christmas gifts finished and packed, ready to be sent. Somewhat optimistically I have given myself five days to do all of this (including the family’s gifts) so I can concentrate on writing projects running up to Christmas. I still think it’s doable: I might be a bit knackered by the end of it but that’s going to remain the objective right until it appears I’m ‘aving a laff.

For now I’ll be on hold with an operator ^^

Under the Sea

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Last night was the bottom of the hole. Now, it is a case of how long before body and brain decide to co-operate and mount an escape attempt. Brian, it must be said, is at least understanding the brief. However, I forgot how to do change at the Supermarket today and heard the woman¬†next to me muttering under their breath¬†‘seriously could you be MORE stupid in holding up this queue?’¬†and so I did what any sensible person would do and burst into tears.¬†As the eyes of the entire Supermarket checkouts were upon me I wiped a snotty nose on my sleeve, turned to the shitty person and told her that the next time someone’s struggling in her orbit, maybe she could stop being angry and find some sympathy.

Small victories, people. One idiot at a time.

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I’m also beginning to suspect that hormones are fucking about with my body. I’ve gone from sweating buckets to freezing cold today, and there are no flu symptoms at play. It would make a lot of sense as to how mind is working too. Either way, a public display of embarrassment¬†did the trick: I still have fight in me.

This is better than it was.

Train in the Distance

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I’m tired today, despite having slept better than has happened for weeks. The level of mental fatigue will not be assuaged by sleep.¬†I have to hold myself back from shouting at people’s willful ignorance, arrogance and general inertia. I’m struggling to cope with the simple stuff, all of a sudden, and I know it is because there’s just too much sensory input¬†right now. I stopped reading social media about teatime yesterday, and catching up this morning I marvel at how rich people deal with trauma. Yeah, I’d love to ignore Twitter for a day, but without it, I don’t make money.

Today is one of those moments when I wonder if chasing dreams is simply disappointment.

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Strength, I have come to understand, is built in many ways by individuals. Sometimes it is forced upon you by circumstance, whilst other forms are simply there without understanding why. Compartmentalising life is all well and good until a point is reached where the depth of sensory overload renders action effectively useless. The part of me that understands the inevitability of certain parts of life is where the failure is occurring: I can’t make people like me, I can’t stop people dying, I can’t beat inertia and force others to act against the glaring injustice they decide simply to ignore and mute ‘for sanity’s sake.’

Today, I made time to meditate. My Mindfulness course suggests that a way to deal with an excess of thoughts is to distance yourself from them: they’re trains passing through a station, or scenes on a film screen. It’s a useful exercise, and today’s session has allowed an ability to at least sort my issues into better-defined spaces. Dealing with them all is not impossible, just takes thought that let’s be honest, I don’t have at the end of a busy week. The key here is knowing your limits. For me, that’s easily defined. I’m already at the end of the pier and have run out of land to run on.

Time to stop and not overload myself anymore.

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I can still think and exist in this state, make choices and improve the world around me. What has to happen now is what I personally do to deal with this situation. I’ve done both therapy and counselling, and the point comes where expecting somebody else to deal with the issues might be the attractive choice, but it is not the right one.¬†I possess all the tools required to fix myself and have for some time, and now is the moment when I have to look past the fatigue and anger and do just that.¬†The time for eating cake and pretending life doesn’t exist is passed, at least for me.

If I want to move forward, there has to be pain.

I’d love to take a day and complain at social media’s ineptitude, but until the people with money and influence (that’s you, particular subset of successful men and women) stop wanking into/with your piles of cash and start acting? Not happening. For the rest of us, out here in the fields, there is no opportunity to boycott, just the understanding that if we ever make it to your level of wealth we SURE AS FUCK are not making the same fucking stupid mistakes you do. Yes, I’m angry, but I know now how to use that emotion not to self-destruct but to drive me onwards and keep me sane.

Time to think more about exactly WHY all this shit happens in the first place and then get it changed.

Only Myself to Blame

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My daughter this morning was lamenting the fact that in Roblox, a game she used to love when younger, the ability to play as a guest has now been removed.¬†Apparently, it was fun to ‘roast’ guests, who often had no clue of the way certain games worked.¬† I told her that this was probably the reason why the ability has been removed: is it really the right thing to do when someone is new to the game to give them a hard time? Shouldn’t you be helping them out and not abusing them?¬†

I read yesterday an article discussing a forum post that Jeff Kaplan wrote last week, lamenting what a tough crowd the Overwatch fanbase is to deal with. The gaming community has always been a particularly brutal audience, especially when it comes to changes to popular characters. Here’s a man who admits that the attitude of this group of players is having a direct effect on him and his team. It’s a fairly shocking revelation because for years the Warcraft community pretty much destroyed their developers without anyone batting an eyelid.

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Except last year an individual¬†was convicted of sending death threats to Blizzard. The line between threat and joke has now blurred to a point where everything has to be potentially considered as dangerous. There needs to be the means of ensuring that gaming remains a safe place to play, but at the same time, there’s an increase in the competitive elements. Overwatch is about to launch its own worldwide league. Pretending to kill people for fun is about to become big business.

Game companies will tell you, time and again, that their output is purely entertainment¬†and there is no direct link between video game violence and its real-life counterpart. It doesn’t matter that we allow our children to roast their ‘anonymous’ friends and do the same ourselves on Social media under made up names. Increasing social freedom is giving people free reign to simply say what they wish, often without any recourse because unless there’s a credible threat, it won’t ever be an issue. I keep being told not to try and understand why a wealthy, seemingly stable man massacred nearly 60 people, but keep coming back to the same conclusion.

Society doesn’t condemn this kind of behaviour anymore. We just accept it as normal.

Anybody can be a killer, or an abuser, and yet with each passing day, we allow and often encourage people to do the same.¬†Instead of asking everybody to look within themselves and to alter their behaviour, there is an automatic assumption there are just ‘bad guys’ and that if we eliminate them, everything will be okay. Don’t let people be guests, and suddenly the problem’s dealt with¬†is probably a simplistic solution: it would be better to be like Kaplan and explain why you’re hurting the game to begin with.¬†The problem comes when your killer has no criminal record, lived an exemplary life and showed no potential to be a psychopath. Sometimes, however hard you try, there’s no way to avoid a disaster.

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The real truth is that thousands of people are dying every minute, around the world, of things we could easily prevent: malnutrition, via conflict, through systematic torture and subjugation. These stories never make the news because, yet again, we have become immune to our own inhumanity. In this respect, everybody has blame to share, especially those of us who publicly decide to ignore one side of a story to highlight the facet of most significance to ourselves. In that regard, news organisations, multinational corporations and governments are far more culpable than individuals, but perhaps if we stopped teaching our kids to shoot each other at an early age, there might be a change.

I wonder if it is truly possible to stop people wanting to hurt each other to begin with.