Sunday, 25 August 2013


As the door closed and I was left alone it all came rushing up. Everything, at once, relaxed in some strange way. There I was in Quito slumped against a wall on a staircase of an empty house crying into the darkness. Here I am again, alone in this house, with Emma and all of my friends here out partying. Now of course there are the thoughts of tomorrow. How do I explain it? I feel so close to them, they are brilliant, brilliant people. But I've known them only for a few weeks and most of them have no idea that I experience depression. There is the ridiculous shame. The shame that I would tell anyone else doesn't need to exist. But it is here, and I am embarrassed. Maybe tomorrow I will just lie and tell them that I had drunk too much.

Truth is, it came creeping back weeks ago. Into the cracks it seeped. Insipid, dull, relentless. This time- and importantly- I did not ignore it. I started to tell Emma as soon as I spotted it (and so did she, too). At least this time around it wasn't like admitting it, it wasn't a confession. This time I was a scout from the watchtower, the veteran. I was ready. And yet, just a few short weeks later I find myself in a bar surrounded by people that I have come to love, feeling as if they are gradually drifting further from me, or that the room is expanding and I am drifting from them. I become the observer of myself, from the outside. Nothing registers, or it all registers blankly. I know that on the vast majority of other days or nights I would feel happy in this exact situation. But tonight I can only make the blank assertion that I might, or maybe even should feel happy. And so the spiral begins. Why aren't you happy? What is wrong with you, fucker?

Then comes the inability to respond properly. Or rather the lack of will to. It's confusing, because the will is there. I love these people. I want to make them happy, or even just to engage them. But when they talk to me all I can muster is a pithy smile and agreeable response. I can see it register on their faces: something is wrong with this guy. And this is just the psychological stuff. There have been a handful of physical crashes, the anger (felt completely physically), the leaden weight at the soles of my feet, the tips of my fingers. The difficulty in forming sentences etc etc.

Emma wants only to help. She wants me to be out of this. I am awful to her. I can barely say a word and anything I say only upsets her more. This is my soul mate that I am talking about. This is unbelievably difficult to write. I can sense that she is scared, deeply worried. Perhaps deep down she is terrified that it might be like last time. I am. I think of Virginia Woolf and her letter to her husband. I think of my future and wonder if there will come a day when I can't take it anymore and pockets of stones might just be easier for us all.

So here I am, again, in that terrible, horrifying moment when you come to realise that it really is back and that it had never really fully disappeared. It was a latent thing, dormant all along.

I've neglected this blog because I have been deeply happy. I've made so many changes to my life, for the better. I've grown more- consciously, actively- in this last year than I have at any other point in my life. I've seen doctors, I've taken medication, I've attended therapy, and all of this voluntarily. And yet here it is again, and I am a heap, a mess, barely able to see these words through tears.

But this time around things are different. I don't want to hurt myself anymore. I want to see my future. I want to experience more. I don't have the uncontrollable urges that I had before, no desire to jump in from of ambulances or stab myself.. But it is exactly this that cuts so keenly this time. Because I foolishly thought that all of that was behind me it hurts so much more now that the depression is back. I made a silly, easy mistake. I thought that I was strong enough to just batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. I never imagined that it would blow me over in full view, face first into the dirt.

There is no point in pride. A very important friend of mine said to me that this blog had helped him through some darkness. That is amazing to me. I owe it to him, and to myself and to whoever else reads this to carry on writing about something that might well stick with me, despite my best efforts. Usually I take pride in my writing. Sometimes I feel that it just flows from me, that I can express it well. This, however, right now, is me pounding it out on a keyboard, listening to the same songs that I self-harmed to last time. This time I cannot offer any poetry or sweetness. This time it's bitter and bland, the same old shit. But I learned last time that sharing is golden, for me and for other people.

What I've learned this time around is that I have to rest and I have to open myself up fully to this thing. I can barely type the word depression. I have to admit it, without shame. I honestly don't feel completely comfortable publishing this. I feel scared and ashamed and anxious. But I know that I will be able to ride this out. It's softer than last time, and I have lots of hard, physical work to help pound it out. And I have Emma. And, hey, maybe it will make for some interesting travel writing. Might even be a bit niche: depressive travelling.


Now the tears have subsided and I have that feeling you get the morning after you've leaked your heart. And I'll have that tomorrow morning when I remember that I posted this out to my closest friends, my family, acquaintances, perfect strangers. But there is a huge, real value to sharing these experiences and all of that shame etc will disappear soon enough. Sure it will come back, and likely it will change just like everything else does, but everything is so much more beautiful afterwards. When the breeze cuts, when light hurts and stillness is agony, everything eventually comes to rest, exactly where it belongs, of course, and there is nothing more beautiful than that.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Stop, search, destroy

I was watching a slug move slowly across the pavement, hoping that the sun wouldn’t dry it out after all the excitement of the afternoon’s thunderstorms, when the police came back. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

An ode to a person that kept my feet on the ground and a thing that keeps them off

Below is a letter that I recently wrote to my therapist, who I nervously stopped seeing a few months ago. Reading it back made me realise the efficacy of that therapy and the hugely positive impact that it had on my life.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The View from Above

I walk a fair amount. I walk to work and I walk back. I walk after work and my breaks from work are largely based around walking in beautiful places. A great deal of my time is spent thinking ahead to walks and looking back on them. Sometimes I walk "off-piste". I have clocked a fair few miles on wonderful trails, I've tramped through the woods and snagged my trousers and skin on brambles and branches. Yet, it presents an odd topography.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Throwing Stones at Gandalf

As part of my attempt to try and get a better grasp of my own instinct I have discovered that throwing stones at stuff might help greatly. It has also apparently made me better at basketball (which I don't really play) and might even be making me feel better generally. Playing never grows old.

Friday, 9 December 2011

It does not feel right for a reason

To save you the effort of my convoluted approach, you can probably get the idea by reading this or watching these videos:

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Focus pocus

On Friday I head to the hills for Ollie's birthday. We are headed back to Snowdonia. This time it will be cold. I find myself preparing every day in some way. I enjoy prepartion. I find comfort in the focus it gives me and I find myself a far cry from those endless, aimless days horizontal and lost. Focus and preparation are perhaps some of the most practical tools in anyone's life, whether depressive or not. And what better thing to focus your mind than a change in season or the celebration of a great friend's continued existence. And in this fine case, both.

It is so easy to lose focus. There is so much distraction and so many things to draw your attention elsewhere, towards some exciting new thing that really will be of little actual worth. This I have found particularly disgusting and disturbingly emblematic...