How do I tell people about…?

Summary

A list related to depression and disconnection – or rather my experiences of. (Drafted in December 2016 – unpublished until now) 

So…I made this video about the Mill Road Winter Fair 2016 – the third year in a row I’ve made one (and IIRC the third year in a row it’s clashed with a music rehearsal!)

But what if I told you I felt completely and emotionally disconnected from everyone on the day of filming? (I didn’t get any sleep the night before – insomnia).

What if I told you that I felt extremely isolated and alone that day?

What if I told you that it would have been much more fun to have been doing this filming & editing with a group of fun & energised friends?

What if I told you that I would rather have spent the day with someone than doing this alone?

What if I told you that during the rehearsal that followed, I had to take some tranquilliser medication just to get through it and the rest of the day?

What if I told you that what’s going on in local, national and international politics is getting to me more than it looks?

What if I told you that in a rehearsal hall with over 100 people in it I felt alone in that crowded room?

What if I told you I felt embarrassed & not know how to respond when people gave me positive feedback after that small group piece?

What if I told you that (unfortunately) it’s only the insults that stick?

What if I told you that I’m unable to apply for or take up job vacancies in London that friends and acquaintances tell me are made for me, because of my not great mental health?

What if I told you that, because of my health I’m unable to move into my own place – certainly in the near future?

What if I told you that I stopped dating because of my health several years ago?

What if I told you that I cannot visualise what being settled down will be like, because in my current circumstances I cannot realistically see it happening?

What if I told you that much of the community action I do today is driven by things that happened in the last millennium here?

What if I told you that out of those things that happened in the last millennium, I’m only in touch with two of the people who were there even if only for some of those years?

What if I told you that I nearly had a panic attack during a carol at a Christmas service I was invited to, because having to go to church had such a negative impact on my childhood?

What if I told you that years of exams and going to church with one of the worst choirs in the world almost turned me away from music completely?

What if I told you that I find it really hard to make friends with other men?

What if I told you that at a recent family wedding,  both bride & groom’s parties contained friends from their school, university and working lives, and I felt a deep sense of sadness knowing that I’ll never be able to experience anything like that?

What if I told you that it took me two days to recover from the journey to and from the wedding?

What if I told you that for near future at least, long distance journeys are now out of the question for me?

What if I told you that I was already displaying symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders in childhood before I even knew what they were?

What if I told you that none of the institutions I’ve studied with or worked at have ever looked after with people with mental health problems well, and as a result none of them were ever able to realise my full potential with them?

What if I told you that I used my A-level revision notes as the basis for revising for my finals…and I still got a 2:1.

What if I told you that I don’t think I have the self-discipline to do a masters or a Ph.D, even though I have a couple of ideas that would make good research topics?

What if I told you that I don’t blame people over the years walking away from me when my mental health issues became too much?

What if I told you that no one person or institution will ever be able to change my situation. Not even myself. It’s much more complicated than that.

What if I told you that one of my biggest fears is fear of being abandoned?

What if I told you that out of all of the people who encouraged me to stand for election, I was gutted that only two people were prepared to help in person with my campaign, and that only one person joined me in facing the general public in my neighbourhood? (Thank you Penny & Ceri for standing up and being counted?)

What if I told you that politicians from several political parties have sounded me out about standing for election as a candidate for their party since I left the civil service?

What if I told you that most of the best friendships I have had in recent years are with people I’ve met through Puffles, my dragon fairy?

What if I told you that many people who I know are more familiar with Puffles than they are with me?

What if I told you that there are people out there who call me Puffles in public, and some of them hold elected public office?

What if I told you that I’m fine with people calling me Puffles?

What if I told you that Puffles is a very useful filter, in that most of the obnoxious people I’ve met since 2010 have been people who don’t want to know about social media and don’t understand why I have a dragon?

What if I told you that the 4 projects I have lined up for the next few years are ones that I really don’t want to do alone, but also are ones that I don’t want to simply pay people to do?

What if I told you I am deadly serious about making a drama series for TV?

What if I told you that I am deadly serious about writing a history book?

What if I told you that in local history circles I’m often the youngest person in the room? (I’m going to be 40 in a few years time).

What if I told you that there is so much I more I would like to do with art and music, but that I cannot do it alone?

What if I told you that even locally there is so much more that I want to see and do, but that I cannot do it alone?

What if I told you that for much of the 2000s the colour of my skin was hardly an issue, but in the 2010s it feels like the opposite has been the case, especially in the past year or so?

When someone asks: “Where are you from?” I reply “Cambridge”. When they respond with: “No – where are you really from?” … I’m a bit like this man – four generations born in three continents on both sides of my family. If I’m not from Cambridge, where am I from? You tell me.

What if I told you that of the several thousand pieces of music that I’ve got, I can pinpoint many of them to a particular time, place, period or even person in my past?

What if I told you that I still collect music I can ballroom dance to, even though my heart has given up the ghost on dancing?

What if I told you that not having someone to dance with on a regular basis is still a painful void in my life?

What if I told you that I have an electric guitar, a base uke, a violin and a five-string viola in my bedroom but feel unable to play them or practice while I still live with my immediate family?

What if I told you that I really want 2017 to be better than 2016, but that I actually think it’s going to be worse?

Postscript

I don’t know why I didn’t publish this at the time – I think I just bottled it. But here it is, a year later. Certainly the general election result of 2017 was the unexpected event I could not have predicted. 

 

 

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