Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….

Daily Prompt: I Am a Rock – IT’S MY LIFE

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Asking for help is incredibly difficult for me, and always has been.

I did try and ask for help when my brother used to beat me up, but I was either told to hit him back or screamed at for getting into a fight with him in the first place. So I stopped.

When I was being bullied at school, I asked my parents for help; one said ‘You have to learn to fight your own battles’, the other said ‘You have to learn to behave like a lady’. Confusing much? Neither suggestion helped, but both pretty much embedded it into my skull that I was on my own as far as the schoolyard was concerned.

When the dirty old bastard next door used to leer at me, lurking around the dark alley I had go through to get home and asking to see inside my knickers, I didn’t ask for help. What would be the point?  Kids were always wrong, grown ups are always right and I’d probably get a right earful for it if I told my Mum, so I kept schtum.

I never asked for help with my homework. That privilege went to my brother as I was expected to leave school at sixteen, get a ‘nice little job’ in a shop or something until I got married. I’m still shit at making myself study to this day, because, deep down, I don’t believe in myself or that I’m worth educating.

I didn’t ask for help when I split from my first boyfriend. My Mum always thought me too feisty and undeserving to keep C, so she would alway gloat and give me the whole ‘told you so’ lecture when we used to fall out. I don’t think she understood how someone like me got a man that looked like him, which probably tells you a lot about how I came to have such shitty, low self esteem. I don’t think either of my parents ever told me I was beautiful.

Ever.

I didn’t ask for help from anyone when my Mum was sick with cancer. No one was coping at home, my Dad was apoplectic with rage most of the time and I’d regularly get scolded and humiliated at school for having a creased/dirty uniform, forgetting my homework or not bring the right things for cookery class. It honestly didn’t even occur to me to tell them why and they certainly didn’t ask.

I didn’t ask for help when my Mum’s best friend tried to kiss me in a most inappropriate way when she popped by to visit her in hospital. And she did it when Mum was actually in the room! And when I come to think about it, I had no idea what she was doing, so I couldn’t have been more than 14 and rather repulsively, it was probably my first proper kiss.  If Mum saw, she never said a word. Mary was her best friend, and besides, being the most naive person on the planet and a Catholic to boot, she tended to deny the existence of homosexuality anyway.

I did ask for help from my second boyfriend when my Mum’s death was imminent and I desperately needed someone to be there for me for once in my life. His response?  ‘I don’t think I can come to your house because it will probably be quite depressing.’

Thirty five years on and I’ve never forgotten that moment, and even when he eventually turned up ‘Because my Mum said I should’ the die was cast.

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The moment she left this lfe, I turned to a living, breathing human fortress.  For a good twenty years I kept my guard up, kept my own council, let no one in and made sure I survived.
And I coped. Because I had to. Because everything leading to that moment taught me that I could never really rely on anyone other than myself.

It has only been very recently that I allowed myself to let my guard down. And I am usually so pathetically grateful for even the tiniest bit of support, that I’m still making it clear to both myself and others that I neither expect or deserve their help so they end up thinking that they are Mother Teresa or Bob fucking Geldof if they send me the odd text asking how I am.

But, encouraged by some of these small kindness that came my way after my breakdown, I finally asked for proper help from someone.

A friend.

Someone I thought I could trust. That would support me the way I had and I would still support her.

I say ‘proper help’; I actually, in the depths of despair, and in genuine fear that I would die of loneliness, when she asked me if there was anything she could do, I asked that if she hadn’t heard from me for a few days, I’d probably hit the wall mentally and emotionally, and if that happened would she please maybe swing by, pick me up and drag me out to a movie or for a walk in the park or something?

Silence.

Horrified, exposed, humiliated and furious with myself, I immediately back tracked, saying she didn’t have to do it, I knew she was busy and I was hard to be around when I was like that, etc., etc.

She replied saying that she was sorry for the silence, that of course it wasn’t too much to ask and that she’d be in touch when she got back from her business trip.

You can guess what happened, can’t you?

Not only did she not keep her promise but she’d kept arranging to see me then cancelling last minute, so many times that when it came to a head one weekend when she did it twice in two days, I ended up thinking that I couldn’t who I hated more. Her or myself.

I reeled back wounded, decided to keep her at a distance (not that she noticed) and we gradually lost touch.

Until now.

I’ll see her again in the near future when we meet up with a mutual friend.

I’ll be as warm and chatty as I can.

We’ll update one anohter on each others lives and on the surface of things, build bridges.

But my walls are back up.

She’ll never see the whites of my eyes again.

Though it’s unlikely anyone will again to be fair as even God legs it when I ask for his aid.

I am a rock and the knowledge that this is so is probably the one thing in this world I CAN rely on.

So whilst I’d love to think that one day, I will be able to ask for help and for that request to be fulfilled, in the meantime, I hold strong. And endure.

“My Life”

What I choose to do is of no concern to you and your friends
Where I lay my hat may not be my home, but I will last on my own

‘Cause it’s me, and my life
it’s my life

Oh the world has sat in the palm of my hand not that you’d see
and I’m tired and bored of waiting for you and all those things you never do

‘Cause it’s me, and my life
it’s my life

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/daily-prompt-self/

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2 Comments

DON’T ASK ME WHY

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Two full days back on the mat, and I’m headachy, creaky and knackered.  I love yoga but 2 x 3 and a half hours a day of it can be a bit gruelling, especially after a two hour journey each way to the venue.

Here in jolly old London town it is grey, cold and pissing it down which does nothing to improve my mood, plus I’m craving sugar after the huge macrobiotic lunches, which are lovely but they make me fart enough to create my own hole in the ozone layer, plus I could fertilise a small farm with the amount of dung I’m producing.

Macrobiotic folk, when will it stop?  I’m getting a bit frightened now. When do you get any time to do anything else?!  If this continues, I’ll have to see if Huggies go up to a size 10.

Plus it’s now wine o’clock and I can’t have a tipple!

In lieu of alcohol to cheer me up, I rather rebelliously decide to defrost some Apple Almond Torte (recipe on here somewhere, folks) for dinner, and just as I put the kettle on, my mobile pings.

My tired old shoulders tense with irritation.  I know who it is and I will not look.

I will NOT look.

…..

I look.

It’s from my friend C.

It says ‘How r u?’

I feel a twinge of deep irritation, then take a big yoga breath, turn the phone off, pick up my warm cake and tea and take them into the sitting room to unwind.

My landline starts up.  I have a big old school, heavy Bakelite phone that has a very loud ‘Doctors Surgery’ style ring which scares the shit out of my cats, so Dex, who was on my lap a second ago, has bolted, leaving in his wake, several deep red scratch marks on my right thigh.

After I have mopped my tea up off the sofa, and put the cake in the bin, I find myself torn between anger and guilt.

I could act like a grown up and tell her why I’m avoiding her, but I think she already knows plus another, the mean, hurt side of me thinks ‘Screw you!’

Whilst this may be me generalising, I think us depressives tend to be very proud and not very good at asking for help, so when we do pluck up the courage to express our need and it is ignored or brushed off, it is very wounding and tends to make us think ‘I won’t be doing that again in a hurry.’.

The other day, I felt unbearably lonely but not strong enough to do anything about it.  We tend to be our own worst enemy, but sometimes all it takes is for someone to turn up and say ‘Right, we’re going for a walk.  Here’s your coat, put on your boots, I’ve got the keys, move it!’

Of course I don’t expect people to be able to read my mind from a distance, but my closest friends who know and love me should be able to take a hint.

C and I were chatting on messenger the other day, and she asked how I was.  Whilst I appreciate genuine concern, for the most part, if you want a real answer and not just ‘Fine, thanks!’, I personally don’t always have the words, and definitely don’t have the inclination to potentially tap in the equivalent of two A4 paper sides worth of answer via text message.

So I replied with ‘A bit low, are you free any night this week?’

So whilst I haven’t actually said….

‘I’m really fucking lonely actually and need some bonafide, human, face to face contact, so please come round and drag me out somewhere.  Failing that, stay in with me and keep me company because I’m not only talking to my cats now, I’m about to start answering the voices in my head!’

….I think I pretty much made myself clear.

Silence.

Then presently ‘I could be free but I might have to take my dog to the vets for his annual check up.  I’ll let you know.’

In other words, ‘No, I don’t think I can be bothered to shlep over and see you on a school night.’

This stung as I would never have asked unless I really needed to.

Thanks C.

Anyway since that night, every day, sometimes twice a day, I’m getting text messages that say, yes you’ve guessed it….

‘How r u?’

…which make me feel quite headachy with suppressed rage.  She knows how I am, she can’t be arsed to do anything about it, so she keeps firing off lazy ass three word (if you can call ‘r’ or ‘u’ a word) text messages to appease her guilt and convince herself that she’s looking out for me.

Because I don’t want to fall out with her, but I also don’t like being false, (and I also think ‘Fuck. Off.‘), I didn’t initially reply, but eventually I sent the following retort:

‘Same old.’

OK it’s not very helpful/kind, but it’s two letters longer than the message she sent me, plus it communicates very nicely the unspoken message which is ‘You let me down when I needed you and I’m pissed off, so bog off until I’m not, OK?  And in the meantime, stick your texts up your arse.’

But she’s stubborn is old C, and kept sending the same message till I was on the verge of picking up the phone, calling her and screaming at the top of my voice into the earpiece.

After the fifth or sixth time she sent it I replied ‘Shit.’ and hoped she’d take the hint.

But no. Then she did the unforgivable.  She replied with ‘Why, what’s up?’

Before you think I’m a complete and utter bitch (and I am sometimes of course), I totally appreciate when someone is genuinely concerned about me, but (a) she already knew (b) I had asked her for help and (c) she asked ‘Why’.

For the most part, as C well knows, I have no idea why I feel the way I do; sometimes there are additional factors that have affected or exacerbated my mood, but at the heart of it, there isn’t a reason.  It’s just there.  Some days I attempt to describe it:

Like a cold hand on my shoulder.  

A heavy stone sitting on my diaphragm.

A dirty, infected needle in my heart.

A vice gripping my skull and getting tighter everyday.

A pile of ashes in my mouth.

I then lost patience and replied in a rather curt fashion, and now I’m getting more and more texts and calls and am very close to telling her where to go.

Because she should know better.

I could be wrong, she may not have a clue what’s wrong, but I don’t think so.

To save me from myself, and to save her from getting an earful, I think I’m going to send her this quote from Stephen Fry:

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

This comes from highly intelligent, hugely, wealthy, successful, witty man with hundreds of friends and famous admirers who, on face value, has everything to be happy about and nothing to be miserable about.

But Depression isn’t fussy or discerning who it points it’s boney finger at, proclaiming ‘I own you’.  It is a truly equal opportunities condition and can affect anyone from any background, any sex, any colour, any creed at any time.

Whilst I’m mid rant here, there was also some government health bod spouting off utterly nonsensical twaddle on BBC News this morning, saying that people who live alone are most likely to get depressed, go loopy and die alone.

What complete and utter shite, and totally insulting and patronising to anyone who suffers from and has to live with real mental health issues.

I live alone now, but I haven’t always, and I have been this way as long as I remember. The only difference was, when living with others, I had the added strain of hiding my condition from family/boyfriends/flatmates and pretending everything was alright, so if anything, living alone is probably the one thing thats stopped me ending up in hospital.

My flat is my sanctuary and I can always be alone when i need to be, so I genuinely feel for people who have this condition and live with family/friends/strangers, and sometimes never get a minute to themselves.  That would truly push me over the edge.

This entire article smacks of political spin, no doubt aiming to try and make more people live together and fill their spare bedrooms, because they have no clue how to solve the housing crisis in London.  Well, they can fuck off, quite frankly.

No room at the inn here Politicians, so either open your palatial mansions to the homeless, donate your annual bonus to a homeless charity, or shut the fuck up.  Haven’t you got better things to do like getting your wife to take your speeding points/screwing your secretary/expose yourself in a park/buying yourself a duck island/cheating on your expenses?  Keep your bullshit theories to yourselves, Fuckers.

OK.  I feel better now.

Ironic isn’t it, that I can do 14 hours of yoga in two days, but it’s sounding off on here that has really cleared my head?!  i may even get round to forgiving C tomorrow. If she’s lucky….

You guys should charge, you really should….;-) .

Night, night x