Move On Up

The warm weather is breaking with the thunderstorms and rain and I love it. I love the capriciousness of it. Yesterday I got caught in the rain and the raindrops were massive, heavy and the sky was this gorgeous shade of grey, grey that saturates you. Rain that soaks you, though it’s still to warm to wear a proper coat.

 I saw my current psychiatrist (Dr. Moosa: legend) for what will be (hopefully) the last time. I gain a new one, but I won’t see him often. My psychiatrist likes to refer to me as his ‘success story’ and in a way I am. He said I was recognisable from the girl he treated for years. He said he had to see me more frequently than any other outpatient. He said I looked good and that I’d lost weight. I admitted I have bouts of depression, maybe a week long, but I manage it. That’s about the best we can hope for and that’s a pretty good prognosis. After all this time, all the medication and the reviews and the sections and hospitalisations and the self harm and the suicide attempts and the doctors and nurses and therapists and social workers and anguish and relationship breakdowns, I am finally somewhere where I can be in control of my life. That is better than winning the lottery. Seriously. You could’ve given me anything when I was really ill, money, love, anything, it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t ever have mattered or changed anything. Almost nothing made living bearable. I enjoy my life now.

 One moment of clarity I had was on Saturday. We drove to Stoke-on-Trent for the British Dance Organisation North West dance championships. Elizabeth danced freestyle, where they basically start the music and you have to make something up, and a duo and two group dances. She got a third prize for one of them, which was a huge success for them. It was so loud, and there was allsorts going on…manic, I would have been in pieces.  The noise, the activity would have crippled me. Depressed, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it, but I adored watching her, she’s so beautiful, she has grace and poise, something you might not attribute to street dance but when I see her dance I get choked up. I love it when she gets into costume and I put on a bit of lippy for her. I’m so proud of her. I really enjoyed watching all the other dancers too, we were there from 9.30-7.30 and it was non-stop, the music was still in my head for hours. Not my thing, but hey…wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

 I watched Shutter Island the other night, thought it would be a fairly innocuous thriller, something to dull the senses and mildly entertain the mind for a couple of hours. I thought it was average but quite enjoyable. At first. And then I sort of thought it’s basically Hollywood propagating the media fuelled myth that all ‘mentally ill’ people are violent, deluded, child killing hysterics. Yes, it was only a film, but I found the bit where they explain that the MC’s wife killed her children because she was a manic depressive hard to take, because there are some people out there whose only  knowledge of mental illness comes from film, tv and news coverage, which all adds up to one big area of stigma. Am I being too sensitive? 

 This week I am very much looking forward to The Changeling by Clare Pollard, her latest and long awaited new poetry collection. I shall be getting myself a copy pronto. I’ve been listening to Lower Dens after seeing them on Abbey Road Debuts. I’ll be watching Stewart Lee on the telly and listening to Low in time for their gig at Manchester Academy which I am going to next week. I seem to be writing some decent stuff and the recent ebb in mood is now breaking down, disintegrating. At least now I always know that I can be happy and I can be well. Before I couldn’t be told that there was any hope of anything better. I drag myself through the day when I’m low, I challenge myself, I make myself. It’s not easy, and I have the upmost sympathy for anyone suffering from depression. When it slips too far, you can’t function at all. I try and nip it in the bud as best I can in the early days, it seems to work. I force myself out of the house, the kids help, I force myself to eat, sleep properly (I am still on sleeping pills, they’re my routine and my only way of getting to sleep), and I go easy on myself if I can, mentally. I try not to beat myself up or be too hard on myself, which is something I used to do. So much. The suicidal thoughts come back really quickly when I get low, I wouldn’t act on them but they are there, I’ve lived with them my whole life it seems, until maybe this time last year, maybe six months ago, I’m not sure. They were a part of me. But I’ve smoked them out, I’ve prized them off me.

My poetry is upcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review.  The poems are from the original draft of A Body Made of You, most of which didn’t make the book. It’s very strange to have them published, but I’m really glad. It’s a brilliant journal.

 The sky is getting ready again, it’s going to collapse. I’m willing it to go.


One thought on “Move On Up

  1. So good to hear positive things from your psychiatrist, he does sound amazing. And congratulations to Elizabeth! Great to find yourself in a situation that is has the potential to be really difficult but you manage and even enjoy it. By the way, I didn’t enjoy Shutter Island, really annoyed me, so no, you weren’t too sensitive! And congrats on the publication too!

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