Guilt vs Fear

You know when you really need to talk, to blurt everything out, to admit to how you’re feeling; but you cannot find the words? Aye. That.

I’ve sat here staring and crying at a blank screen for the last twenty-four minutes. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

“This is time you are wasting that you’re never getting back” says Guilt Brain.

“Oh, do fuck off” says Fear Brain, and, just to reiterate its dominance, gives me the next delightful bout of faintness and motion-sickness (which tends to be unusual when you are not actually in motion).

“You should do some yoga, you lazy bitch. No wonder you’re a state” says Guilt Brain. “How do you expect to feel better when you just hide in bed all day doing sweet FA?”.

Fear Brain makes me think fleetingly of suicide (Fear Brain likes doing this), so I gather the resolve to click between tabs to have a look at Twitter and Facebook, to see if there is anything there that can stop the internal bickering.

Social media is bleak at the moment. Of the two, I have started to prefer Twitter (after a few years of a tumultuous love/hate relationship where, amongst other dramas, I was chased around the hinterwebz by knuckle-dragging mouth breather Tommy Robinson of EDL fame and my details, apparently, posted on ‘Redwatch’); but at the moment Twitter is a rolling news channel of ever-increasing hysteria with a sprinkling of British gallows humour. Facebook, on the other hand, is just full of drama, vague-booking, photographs of dinner and people dusting off the essential social media festive ornament, the ‘Muslims are demanding Christmas becomes Winterval’ story. I do have friends there – really good friends – but I feel as though my constant whining about my dodgy blood, my hormones, and now my depression and anxiety is getting them down. Of course, my own thoughts fly in the face of my actual beliefs that we should talk openly about these things, but hey – that’s what fucked up brains do, isn’t it?

I really don’t know where I’m going with this, to be honest. I know what I want to say – I want to say that I am going to get up tomorrow and go on a brisk, healing, walk and then do my yoga and my meditation, and this fug will lift and everything will be OK. This time, however, it feels like this is going to be a longer term thing and I have an awful lot of processing to do, including making some very hard decisions on whether it would be better for both parties if I were to say firm goodbyes to a couple of people who I love to bits but, for one reason or another, the relationships have become painful (through no real fault of theirs, just timings and distance and plans and whatnot that Fear Brain likes to dwell on as some kind of abandonment).

The GP has put me back on Citalopram, for once I didn’t kick up an almighty fuss about it; but I don’t remember the side-effects being this bad before and I don’t know whether it is reacting bizarrely with the beta-blockers, which I’m still supposed to be taking. I hope the side-effects wear off soon, I only have a week off work – if I don’t work, I don’t get paid and I need money for Christmas (another thing to panic about), but the days are, at the moment, mostly about hiding under the duvet feeling sick and shivery and anxious and frightened. I did manage to go on my Scout training in Auchengillan this weekend, which was terrifying but actually really great fun – perhaps the change of scene and the fact I was really busy and involved helped, because since I’ve been home everything just seems to have got that little bit darker, and the daily pool of treacle I feel like I’m pushing through that little bit deeper.

I just have to dig deeper. I’m not going to feel guilty about not doing much, my brain needs to heal, I just need to be well enough to work next week, that’s all I have to aim for at the moment, to be able to speak on the phone without panicking. Everything else will come with patience. Including those difficult decisions, I’m sure.

There are no photos today because, well, fuck it.


(Almost) Silent Saturday



Not so silent today as I feel I must point out that I completely failed to notice the name of the street or the shop, I just liked the composition of the scene (there was also a man behind me trying to sell me tobacco by kind of growling threateningly in my general direction, I wanted a quick shot and away), rather than this being any sort of vanity thang.

The Monsters In The Shadows

In the early hours of the morning, Hillary Clinton won the race to become the 45th President of the USA, with 79% of the vote.

And then I woke up.

I turned on my side and switched on my phone, turned to BBC News. The screen was achingly bright in the pitch black of the bedroom. I read the page. It was 5.50am and the world was changing forever.

I was lightheaded as I went downstairs and made what was to be my first of many coffees today; I turned on the news, turned on the fire, curled up in my chair clutching my coffee and waiting, and hoping, and praying.

A flashback to June, when we woke up and felt sick to our stomachs as we turned on the news and realised  we were taking our country back.

A flashback to the heartbreak of September 2014 when that glorious summer of optimism and hope suddenly seemed to end with the Arctic blast of the status-quo.

Other flashbacks, flashbacks of being much, much younger. Sitting in primary school, aged ten or so, learning about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. How long we would have to get home if Reagan dropped a bomb on Moscow, or Minsk, or Kiev – how I panicked about whether I would have time to grab my little sister from the infants block and still be able to get home to mammy. I lay in bed at night worrying about my friends who lived much further from the school than I did – how would they get home in time if Gdansk took a direct hit? These, after all, were the days of the Cold War, of Able Archer 83, when the adults in our lives lived in a real terror of suddenly being annihilated in the most hideous way imaginable, as portrayed in Barry Hines’ acclaimed but, frankly, traumatising BBC drama ‘Threads’ (please don’t watch that link if you are easily upset, although I think ‘Threads’ is one of the most important pieces of drama ever written, not a day goes by where I don’t regret watching it).

Even earlier than that, I remember sitting on the parquet flooring of the TV and assembly room of the infants block of Pwll Primary School and watching a map of the United Kingdom slowly turn blue. Friday, May 4th 1979. Even then, you knew that the world was changing. Not just your narrow little world of playing in the woods and scuffing your shoes and backies on your pals’ Choppers, you knew it was bigger than that. It’s days like these that make your cosy, warm, familiar child-world that little bit more adult. A little bit more ripped apart, a little bit less cosy. Sinister. Inhabited by those dark, shadowy monsters that hide in the periphery of your dreams and on the lips of your parents who suddenly look shifty and change the subject to something jolly the minute you walk in the room. You release with a horrid stomach lurch (that you will experience many times throughout your life) the monsters have, in fact, always been there, they haven’t just invaded. Your adults were just hiding them from you, playing an increasingly desperate game as you grew up and became more savvy about the world. The game of childhood innocence.

Today I had to tell my children that Donald Trump had become the most powerful man in the world.

I have heard several people say this today, and I can only echo the words. That we do what we can to bring up our children to be kind, responsible, thoughtful citizens. We tell them ‘Do not lie, do not cheat, do not be a bully, do not be a bigot. Respect all other people’.

Then we have to tell them that a man who is a bullying, bigoted, racist, intolerant, misogynistic cheat, liar and accused child-abuser has become the most powerful man in the world. In their world.

Because the white and privileged of America decided this is how it should be. Because, seemingly, the only thing scarier to middle America than a black President is a female President.

Yes, I am aware that there have been many years of disaffection and distrust amongst many members of society – a society that were still getting it better than many others – but this is very much a global issue, not one exclusive to the US; and Trump – like all fascists – has jumped on the anxiety bandwagon, played the blame card, and suckered them all into his rhetoric of hate and distrust. Same happened here with Brexit. Same is happening in France with the abhorrent Marine Le Pen, and in Germany and across many of the countries of Europe.

I am heartbroken for my friends in the US. I am frightened for them, I know the disbelief, the grief, the what-could-have-beens, the incrimination, the sense of betrayal, the anger and the fears to come; we have been there already through the Independence Referendum, and then through Brexit. It is hard. You doubt those around you, you might well lose friends – or certainly never have the same relationship you had before. Your country will probably be forever fractured by this, as ours has been by Brexit.

But you will come through it. You may, as Scotland has started to do, come through it stronger than you ever expected. Take your time to grieve, to regroup, and come back fighting. Your weapons are love, and tolerance, and peace, and growth.

The changed world is watching, and most of us are standing with you, at your side.

You may not feel like it now, but you’ve got this.