i spoke too soon: unwelcome houseguest revisits midwich mansions

October 21, 2013 at 7:51 am | Posted in musings, not bloody music | 7 Comments
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medicine

In the editor’s note at the beginning of Joe’s piece below I mentioned feeling refreshed and raring to go again after a week of recuperative holiday.  Well, whilst the family ‘staycation’ was indeed a delight, I’m afraid an unwelcome mental houseguest has chosen this exact moment to return.  My productivity forecast now looks somewhat optimistic.

An episode of depression is approaching.  This time of year, when the changing of the seasons coincides with my busiest period at work, is when I am at my most tired and therefore vulnerable.  We’ve also just spent a month nursing Thomas the Baby through a prolonged period of viral illness which began with chickenpox and has just ended (fingers crossed) with hand-foot-mouth disease (spots and snot mainly, no relation to the farmyard ailment with a similar name).  Trying times have exposed cracks and through those cracks has seeped depression.

I have nothing to be depressed ‘about’, of course, my life is a very lucky one full of joy and love but, of course, that isn’t how it works.  I am ill, not sad, and illness does not have an object.  What I mean by that is, I suppose, that to ask what I am depressed about is as nonsensical as to ask Thomas what his chickenpox was about.  It’s a matter of the strange, cyclical nature of my faulty brain chemistry, not ‘issues’.  This is why its onset is sometimes a surprise, despite having suffered many debilitating episodes since my first diagnosis in 1997.

Amazingly, it always seems to have some new torture up its sleeve.  It was alarming, for example, to discover on Friday night that some errant part of my brain has been making very detailed plans for my own suicide and was gleefully happy to present those plans to my conscious mind as I lay in bed, awake and appalled, at 2am in the morning.  The part of me that wants me dead was happy to answer logistical questions about ‘the day’, even down to suggesting a pleasant cafe to have my last meal in.  As you can imagine, I felt like I was losing my marbles.  I don’t mention this to shock or be melodramatic – I assure you that I am no risk at all to myself or others – but just to give an example of the exhausting, ludicrous thought processes that I have to fight with.  It isn’t all so grandiose.  The main damage is done by constant self-sniping, nipping away at my self esteem and energy levels.  Like having a pack of yappy dogs jumping on your back, pulling at you, biting your ankles all day and barking the word ‘loser’ whenever you feebly try to kick them away.

So what am I doing about it?  Well, the last time this happened I managed, for the first time ever, to successfully fight it off (hear that, fucker?  I BEAT YOU!!) and I intend to try the same set of tactics again.  I am fortunate to have a brilliantly supportive wife and family, an understanding and enlightened workplace and a sustaining and inspiring set of friends so I’ll be asking for help.  I also have access to at least three flavours of healthcare professional and am hitting ‘em all up for appointments as soon as possible for the current advice on crisis management and medication.  It then becomes a game of trying to maintain an acceptable energy level whilst the disease uses all its cunning to reduce me to a chewably shrivelled version of my healthy self.  This can be fought with diet (though liquorice allsorts are considered medicinal), moderate exercise, distraction, rest, and, when possible, challenging the dark thoughts head on by dragging them into the light and arguing it out.  That last bit is easier said than done, of course, but very effective when it works.

I won’t be disappearing, nor will the blog be entirely suspended: I’m still at work, there are two or three gigs coming up that I hope to attend, The Barrel Nut #4 is ready to roll (submissions for later issues still very welcome), I have a home-grown tape on Matching Head to tell you all about, a post by Scott on Bong and JFK to format and stuff in the pipeline by both me and Joe.  However, I will have to be careful what I commit to in the near future.  My ‘to do’ list has been ballooning grotesquely in every direction, like an irradiated, tentacled creature in a manga cartoon, so I’ll have to chop it down.  The review pile is over three months deep and thirty items high so I’ll be pruning that too and possibly passing on the cuttings to Joe and Scott – we’ll see.

All I’m going to ask of you, dear reader, is simple: some patience.  If you’ve sent me objects (or pointed me at your downloads) – many thanks, they will be digested in due course on the understanding that the course is currently indefinitely long.  If you’ve sent me email, or letters, or left comments, or corresponded by slip of paper attached to the leg of a trained raven I will endeavour to respond but, in the meantime, please accept this post as a reply and an apology.

OK, some hard work ahead – wish me luck.

7 Comments »

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  1. Stay solid, take care mate-

    Yann from athens

    ./ … ORILA

    * orila.net twitter.com/orilarecords * * *

  2. Just read your email, we’re (Cath, me and Lila) rooting for you. My brother gets clinical depression so we know how hard it is to fight.

    Good luck!

    Cheers

    Dec

  3. all the best Rob!

  4. Good luck and we await your healthy return. x

  5. hope you feel better soon rob x

  6. Good luck Rob! Keep punching & I’ll see you about.

    D

  7. Many thanks to all of those who have emailed or left comments – your kindness is very much appreciated. R x


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