From despair to where?

It was an extremely important day today in British politics. A change is surely gonna come. NO, not the Leveson enquiry with that fucking lying arsehole, there was a debate on mental health in the House of Commons. Two MPs in particular, Charles Walker and Kevan Jones, were brave enough to stand up and tell us about their experiences. This is a monumental event and with any luck, should be a catalyst for many good things to happen regarding depression and mental health issues.

You can read about the debate here –

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18444516

Why is it so difficult to stand up and say how we feel? Why is it so hard to tell someone how we feel? Obviously the stigma attached to mental health problems keeps us down, crushing us into a little space that makes us feel so alone and helpless. But if high profile figures such as MPs are putting up their hands and saying “Me! I suffer!” then why can’t the rest of us?

I took ages to get help. I didn’t feel like anyone understood. I felt like it was only me who suffered these problems and therefore only i should deal with it. Now to those who haven’t had depression or the like this just seems stupid. What the fuck? Just talk about it dumbass. Oh you feel down? Go to the fucking doctors then. But you and i know it ain’t quite as easy as that don’t we?

Different people deal with it in different ways. When i was at my darkest, deepest worst, i threw myself into music. It helped, it soothed, it understood. When i was 21, before things went a bit sideways, i was in a band. A five piece called Love Street, described by (ourselves!) as “The Rolling Stone Roses”. I was never the main songwriter with the band but i contributed one or two little ditties. It was only after the band split (musical differences you see) that i started writing more and more. I tended to write about day to day things, the usual shitey love song but mainly i was writing about how i was feeling. The only problem with that is i wasn’t really in a good place. My depression by this time had kicked in big style and looking back, my lyrics are a fucking psychologists dream case.

I thought i’d share some of them with you. I suppose they’re an example of just how i was feeling back then and a record of what i was going through.

But where is my heart, where is my soul, where is my life?

Here is the news, i’m dazed and confused tonight

A song imaginitively titled “Dazed and Confused” there. I think we can all hear what i’m saying there.

I can’t see straight, it’s all too much, a thousand things i see

My head is blind, my mind can’t breathe and the colours just won’t leave

A snippet of a song called “Kaleidoscope”. We’re getting a little bit deeper now. Read on!

Now it’s too late to be out here alone

So you kickstart your heels and start to waltz home

Steady on hands and cut knees

Aha! A reference to my drinking! That’ll be about me trying to get home from the pub arseholed out my tits then. But wait – here’s some more..

Start the day with an aching head

And the sun will rise above cloudy skies

Well these eyes have lost all the shine

Well well. I suppose it’s about waking up with a hangover, but boy are we getting a bit dark.

I play my part with usual style

A lot of witty lines and throw in a smile

But the mask i wear is cracking up to reveal me

Hmmm. I don’t think the author of this song is feeling too well.

Oh it’s such a nightmare and i’m holding on dearly

Such a confusion when there’s no option except defeat

Whatever could i be on about there? Defeat to who? No, i can’t be talking about that, surely, can i?

I’m not gonna let it win

This crushing blow that’s dealt from within

A fall from grace around and around

I’ve come this far so where is the ground?

I cut myself to see how it bleeds

The painful rush just makes me believe

So cover up the scars never seen 

I can’t explain how hard this has been

Now i’m not gonna let it win

But the battle cry is distantly thin

And it multiplies day after day

And the black eyed man is comin after me

Do i really have to explain that one? The song is called “Cut Out Indefinitely”. Fuck me, we’re going places.  Want to go deeper?

Look forwards not sideways, keep focussed on mindgames

Will he, won’t he? It’s good to be free

And someday you’ll find me surrounded by plastic

Couldn’t be called old, broken and cold

AWOOOGA!!! AWOOOGA!!! ALERT ALERT!! That’s… that’s… DEATH he’s talking about!! Well i did tell you about this in my previous blogs, didn’t i?

At my worst, my very very worst i wrote a song. It was called “I’ll See You Someday”. Looking back, i’d pretty much written a suicide note without realising it. Not the one i planned to use but it would have worked perfectly. I can’t bring myself to write any of the lyrics in this blog, it’s just too much for me even after all this time. Maybe one day i will.

But what’s this? Light at the end of the tunnel! Read on!

To get back on the tracks

To build myself up again

And i know that i’ll return soon

Don’t know where, don’t know when

But there’s a message i can send

And i hope and i think it’s today

IT’S GETTIN’ BETTER MAN!!!

And at that time i struggled to crawl from beneath the rock

But as time passes you shed the pain

And now i’ve learned to walk

So i’m obviously on the mend then. And the rest is history! Not quite as simple as that though.

These are just a snippet of what i wrote back then, i must have written a hundred or so songs, some good, some bad. Some with a positive theme, some with, well, an extremely dark theme. I enjoy looking back on them and i’ll forever keep them, locked away in a wee box somewhere so the kids don’t find them and asked what the fuck i was on back then. Well, i’ll tell them when they’re old enough.

I suppose that was my way of letting off steam, my release, my way of letting go. I haven’t let a lot of people hear my songs. I recorded a lot of them and gave the tapes to two of my best mates but apart from them, no-one has heard them. I don’t imagine that anyone will either, not only are the songs probably pure shite sounding but seriously? Do you want to listen to lyrics like that?

Maybe you do. Maybe you relate to them. Maybe what i wrote is exactly how you are feeling now. Maybe then, instead of writing it down for your own personal use, you should follow the lead of an MP for once. Stand up. Get up. Tell us how you feel. It’ll be the best thing you ever do.

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This is how it feels to be lonely

So we’ve put up our hand and we’ve admitted that we suffer, or have suffered, from depression or some form of mental illness. We’ve established that none of us are alone and that, to coin a phrase, we are all in this together. Except we actually ARE and aren’t a bunch of over-privelidged pricks prone to cronyism and denial. Well maybe some of us are still in some form of denial. Let’s try and help *adopts preacher man voice* AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED CHILD! WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!! Well maybe not like that. I wanted to talk about how it actually FEELS to be depressed. What you go through, what’s in your head, what’s not, why are you doing these things, why does nobody get it, oh for fuck’s sake, just fucking AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

I have little experience apart from my own. I’ve chatted to only a few people who have suffered and received some feedback from my first blog but that’s it. So i’d better just tell you about how i felt then, eh?

When i first started to feel down, i didn’t really get it. I was young (about 23) and just pushed it away. Kept pushing it away. Push it away. Keep pushing. No, not me, i’m fucking invincibile i am. I’m young and full of the joys of life. What the bloody hell would i feel sad for? Aye that’s right Scotty, keep on pushing it away. As far as you can get it. Aye there, right there, waaaaaaaaaaay in the back of your mind. It won’t come out from there. Oh fuck. Look what just happened.

Why was i crying for no reason? I was 23, had a good job, had millions of friends and loved life. Why would i feel so down, SO utterly, utterly miserable that i just wanted to lie in bed all day? Why could i not motivate myself? Why couldn’t i talk about it for God’s sake? Just open yer mouth Scotty, you do that all the time!! Oh i know, i’ll drink. That’ll work. Glug glug fucking glug. Too often. Too much. Trouble is, it wasn’t working. Got worse. But still, STILL, all the time – push, push, push it away. Maybe if i keep pushing all these wee black clouds into a space then they’ll disappear. BINGO! WHAT A STRATEGY!

This is what happened though. Picture this – Oor Wullie’s just been asked to tidy his room but in true fashion, the wee scamp cannae be arsed doing it properly and horses all his toys, books etc into the cupboard in his room. The cupboard is bursting at the seams but our spiky haired hero manages to shut the door and no more. His Ma comes in the room “My whit a wee angel ye are Wullie! Ye’ve done everything i asked ye tae, ye’ll be gettin yer favourite tea the nicht, mince an tatties!” Now Wullie is awfy pleased with himself but what’s this? He’s missed a copy of the Beano. Jings! Maw says “Ah’ll jist pit this intae thon cupboard” and she opens the door…….. and it all comes tumbling out, all in a oner, all in a gigantic wave, spilling things everywhere and causing an almighty mess.

Well that’s what happened to me. It all came out in one monumental breakdown. I haven’t shared this with a lot of people before. It is still hard to talk about but i feel it needs done and it feels right to do it.

I was on a night out, i think i went to see Billy Connoly with friends and afterwards met up with separate friends. Someone i know was playing a gig and we went to see them. Trouble is, i was drinking. A lot. Watched the band, met up after. Aye man, good gig. Afterparty?? OH BOY! I was like a dog with two dicks. Then i lost it. Just went for it big style. I could drink a lot back then, i mean a fucking bucket but there was copious amounts of class A too. I was like a man possessed, i was taking more pills before i even was coming up on the previous ones. Went to someone’s flat. More drugs. Big fat joints too. The only thing i remember is dancing to the Rolling Stones. Woke up in an armchair at some point the next morning. MAJOR talking point. Apparently i was the man, what a fucking guy, i know how to party, i REALLY know how to enjoy myself. I REALLY didn’t like it, i had no recollection of what went on. Then someone suggested going to the pub. A dog with four dicks now. Everything gets a bit hazy again. Eventually went home, bought Buckie, went to the park and played guitar. Went home, slept for a while. Woke up. Bollocks, it’s Monday. Phone a sickie. Go to another park, take guitars, smoke fags, drink some more. At some point we went to my mates house. Then my Mum phoned in tears. Please come home, there’s something wrong with you. WOOOOOOSSSHHH! BANG! Right between the eyes, there it is. Oh dear God there is. I need help.

So i got help. I went to the doctors, i got medication and i got better. Did i? Eh, naw. I got worse. There were some people around me that didn’t help. I confessed all to a guy at work. A brave and noble thing i thought. Maybe he’ll help me. His first question? Was i abused as a child? No really, THAT WAS WHAT HE ASKED ME. Next day he brought in a leaflet to help. On it was an advert for Seven Seas vitamins. Maybe they would help? Maybe you could fuck off ya bellend.

My drinking was getting steadily worse so that didn’t help with the meds. Then i started cutting myself. I CANNOT OFFER ANY EXPLANATION WHY I DID THIS. I really can’t. I’ll never understand. I have one wee faded scar to remind me though. Things just steadily got worse but all the time i was pretending to everyone around me that i was getting better. I wasn’t to myself anymore though. Some really dark thoughts started to enter my head. Black thoughts, black as night and just as deep. What if…..? what if i was to…..?

I chose a date. YES! That day made so much sense! I chose a method…. I chose a venue…. I chose a note…. Then i waited for the day to come along.

While i was waiting though, something in my head, something that was dormant was awakened. No…. Don’t do this…. This is not you….. You are better than this. Maybe it was the old me. Maybe it was something else. I don’t know what it was but i am nothing but thankful i woke up, snapped out of it and came to. It just happened, a moment of clarity while i was hammered. I need more help.

Just after New Year, i broke down again and confessed to my parents. I showed them my arms. I told them about the drinking, about how i was REALLY feeling. I never told them what i planned to do though. We all promised, in that room, on that night, that we would do everything we could to make sure i got better. And do you know what? I did. I am. With support, with the right medication, with all the right things in place, i got better. I stopped drinking for four months until i has got myself together. It worked. People understood. “Health and safety” i would laugh when asked why. Spot on actually. That was years ago now but i still, literally, bear the scars.

I continue to struggle though. We went through hell a couple of years ago and it brought it all back again. But i’d been there and i knew the way out. All the little symptoms. Intolerance, lack of desire, sleepiness, anger, despair, weepiness. All of you and the other symptoms can fuck right off out my life. I don’t need you. I see you coming and i will beat you. I am better than you. I. WILL.WIN.

So what would have happened if i didn’t snap out of it? Would i have went through with my awful thoughts? Would i have carried out my plan, on that day, in that way and in that place with my chosen ‘weapon’? Honestly? I don’t know. But i’ll tell you one thing, i am so glad that i’m HERE to contemplate wether i would have or not. As hard as it is to go through it, to go over these feelings again. it’s infinitely better than not being here at all. And i love my life now. I am happy. Life is good. Life is precious and something we shouldn’t waste.

Please, if you are feeling any of the thoughts i’ve shared in this blog, get help. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done.