The boy who moaned

The hard truths about yourself are always the most unpalatable. You might be innately selfish or obsessive. You may have annoying habits or be full of self loathing. The perfect social human has yet to be created although I have met a few who would consider themselves most of the way there. I am in a galaxy far far away from that trust me. I have self loathing in suitcases tucked under the bed. I am paranoid at times (well I’m sure you must say that about me). I misinterpret the smallest off hand comments, what’s that you said????
We all have faults, flaws and imperfections that annoy, incense and infuriate those close to us. Some of us deal with life’s shit better than others. I have spent much of my adult life feeling like others are slightly better at things than I am. ‘Things’ may sound vague but you have the mindset that whatever you attempt, there is someone better than you at it. In truth this I realise is unimportant. As long as you do the best you can, no one can expect more. Inadequacies plague ambition and crush aspiration. If you feel that however hard you try you will not produce a good enough end product, pretty soon you just give up.

Many years ago I suffered from depression. This was principally brought on by work. I successfully worked in a job that no one in our management structure actually was bothered to acknowledge. I worked very hard and made a success of it. The only units that got any management input were those that struggled. The argument was that as there were no problems; there was no need to keep in touch. Staff who worked hard and effectively did not need anyone to tell them so. Sorry that is bollocks. We all need our ego’s stroking and for someone to stand up and say so. I was retired as you may be aware and have changed directions now and gained a degree into the bargain. I now work as a volunteer doing a job I would love to be paid for. It is frustrating and feels like playing at work at times. I hope those for whom I work value my contributions in a job that it has taken me thirty years to find.

The down side to depression is the scar it leaves. This is not a tendency to drift into the thought process of a depressive (although it does still happen). It is the belief that whenever you may be frustrated with others or suffer at the hands of other peoples moods; somehow this must be your fault. You have to own this because once you were treated for depression. You don’t get the benefit of the doubt. Peoples patience is also different if they know of your past. Its just him being self pitying again. The truth is painful though to all of us.
When I did my psychiatric nurse training, the first main element of the course was on self awareness. This suggested that if you know yourself and recognise your character and personality; you are more able to help others. Self awareness can be extremely positive and it can also be destructive. Many of the infamous figures in history had supreme amounts of self confidence and no self awareness. Ironically one of the greatest political figures in British history suffered regularly with depression. Winston Churchill was tortured at times with self loathing and feelings of helplessness. This did not diminish the level of respect he was held in. The great comedy genius Spike Milligan famously suffered from acute episodes of depression, leaving him ineffective for long periods. Actor/writer and TV presenter Stephen Fry has had crippling periods of bi polar disorder with the depressive periods rendering him incapable. Creativity often goes hand in hand with depression. Depression skews the perception of a self aware person. It personalises logical thought processes. For example, you come home from a hard days work; where your manager has yet again not recognised your contribution to the performance of the team. You walk in your house and your family ignore your return. There is no red carpet laid out or children and spouse throwing themselves ecstatically at your feet. Most of the time you shrug our shoulders and just get on with life. A depressive thinks one stage further. They personalise that lack of recognition. ‘It is because no one likes me’ or similar. There is no logic to this stage obviously but it does not stop the thought occurring. This shows a singular lack of self awareness. You ask a depressive that has stepped back from the brink why did you consider it, they will tell you it seemed the best solution for everyone. The world would be a better place without me messing it up. This is also bollocks.
We as a society are very good at putting down the achievements of others or seeking to cut down those who do show talent. We spend not enough time and effort endorsing, congratulating or supporting each other. The simple fact of all these admissions is that at least my family won’t read it and if they did, they would never say so. You don’t want to tell him it was interesting, he might get big headed!
You ask yourself therefore why do I write (for example)? I write because it is better than shouting at someone or jumping off a bridge. It is a positive, creative process that enables the writer to speak what they  would not be able to say out loud. It is hard for some to see others bear their soul but a writer can often do this as a creative medium. I write about an agoraphobic man who lives in his attic. His parents leave him and his whole world is within those four walls. I am not an agoraphobic or do I display any of his character traits. I may weave thoughts into the narrative but that is what writers of fiction do. I also am writing a novel and a children’s novel. they too will contain snippets of me but that does not make them autobiographical.

During my initial seven weeks of training we all had to take part in an exercise under the self awareness umbrella. Former colleagues of mine will cringe when the phrase ‘Me through the five dimensions’ is mentioned. The five dimensions incidentally were not an oversubscribed female singing group . They stood for Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual and Emotional dimensions that we live our lives through. You could tell the rest of the group about yourself covering these elements using music, poetry, props etc. I chose three pieces of music ‘Fat Man’ by Jethro Tull, ‘Feeling all the Saturday’ by Roy Harper and ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by the Who. I had several members of my cohort ask me profound questions as to my choice of music. Was it a self loathing and did I have body image issues? I replied I chose them because I like the songs. I have talked about this with my two friends from that same cohort and we laugh at the pumped up pomposity we were encouraged to indulge in.
In the end we all choose a way of expressing our inner soul. I would love to be a great musician but I never will. What I do enjoy is writing. So welcome to the window into my soul. Word of warning though, remember I do write fiction as well.


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