Ghosts Don’t Eat Peanut Butter Sandwiches


The day I wrote that I was depressed. No shit!

I feel like I’ve used that word so much since becoming aware of it’s presence. It started when I was 12, but being a kid I was unable to recognise it myself,  and the people who should have noticed – my mother, my stepfather – were partly the cause of it, so they too were unable to recognise it. Because that would have meant looking at themselves. It would have meant admitting wrong doing. It would have meant confronting their own histories of abuse and neglect. And they weren’t ready for that. So in ways I learned to be like them. To not see the reality right in front of me; and within. I learned all the illogical intricacies of the denial game. It took 15 years to finally recognise that game.

So, when I took those first steps off the pitch at 27 and turned my back on that game, for the first time in my life I felt the terrible, seemingly unbearable weight, of all the pain I had denied. But I had never lived in reality before, so I rather naively thought the struggle was over. A few months of allowing myself to feel everything. A few months of opening up to people. A few months of counselling. Fuck yeah, within the year it would all be over and there I’d stand, version 2.0 of myself… Glorious in victory, unencumbered by my past. No more fear and self-doubt.

I thought I’d reached the end. Turns out it was just the beginning…

Now 32, writing by hand helps.

On those days when I can’t read a book, write a blog post, or even watch some shite on YouTube. Those days when I can’t leave the house. When I can’t leave my room. Can’t leave my bed. Those days when I can’t feel a fucking thing. When I can’t pick up the guitar, can’t attempt to make something to eat, can barely seem to move a limb, without crying the strange and terrifying cry of a person who doesn’t want to live anymore. Think about that.. Life itself, rejecting itself. On those days that I am invisible; a ghost chained to life only by the heavy weight hanging from somewhere deep inside my chest..

On those days, writing by hand helps.

Whether it’s six words, or four, or just one.

Somehow it breaks the spell. The chains that anchor the unwilling ghost that is me loosen just a fraction. But instead of drifting out of life into the nothingness of not life, something returns. You might be wondering what. I don’t know. I mean I really don’t know.. There is just something..

Just enough of not nothing to move with the day. Maybe I can manage just one thing. On this particular day it was picking up my guitar to start learning a Led Zeppelin tune. On some other day though maybe it’s just a peanut butter sandwich.

Ghosts Don’t Eat Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Coming Out [From Under the Duvet]

A few months ago I tried to die. Commit suicide. Self-murder. Call it what you will.

I wasn’t sure whether to share this detail about myself here. Only 2 people in my life know this about me. But, hard as it is to talk about, it’s a pretty major part of who I am right now. And open honest dialogue about difficult issues only serves to take away their power. To make the monster small.

And depression is a complicated beast, with complicated roots. It manifests and masquerades in many different ways for as many different people. I only know my own story. A combination of a difficult childhood and my failure as an adult to live a life that I actually enjoy and respect are what led me to the end of my rope. The rope, by the way, had a little too much give – stretching just enough for my toes to touch the floor; just enough for some air to reach my lungs. So here I still am. While my actions that day were made spontaneously out of deep despair, I had very consciously been trying to deal with the anxiety and depression, and trying to fight the suicidal urge, for about 2 years.

Up till that point though I was trying to do it all from under the duvet.

Two years ago all I knew was that I had to take some time off and hide for a while, I could not face many more days of a life that I had just fallen into. I was confused about who I was, let alone how to be who I was. I had begun to feel like a dead weight, utterly disconnected from the life around me. I felt this way because I had spent my life running from the past and could not connect to anything else until I connected with it. So I quit my job as soon as I could.

I went to the doctor to find out my options. I researched the arse out every bad aspect of my dysfunctional upbringing. I saturated my mind with mental health theories – the old school, the new, the mainstream, the alternative and the very alternative. I discovered blogs and started reading other people’s stories. Some were sincere, some bold, some angry, some hopeless, and some hilarious. I had acknowledged that there were very real problems in my life that I had to address.

People will tell you that acknowledgment is the hardest part… Bollocks.

The hardest part came after. It came when I realised it was all on me. No amount of acceptance, or educating myself, no amount of kind and encouraging words from others could change my reality. Though these are all very good and very necessary things, it is ultimately only me who can carve out a life that I feel is worth living.

I knew this… but did nothing about it. And that is what led me to the end of my rope.

So, the last few months have been my gradual coming out from under the duvet. Idealogically I sort of claim to be an anarchist, so I’ve started reading anarchist literature. I hate that I’m dependent on money, so I’ve started learning ways to use less of it on crap I don’t need, saving it for the stuff I really want. I hate how wasteful I am and that modern life doesn’t require me to do anything with my hands, so I’ve started volunteering at a local wood recycling place. I hate that my muscles are weak and untrained, so I’ve started trying out a bunch of martial arts and exercise classes. I hate that I have nothing creative to show for my 30 years, so I’ve enrolled on an art course (first class last week).

Find the thing that scares you and do it. Turn the thing you hate into passion for its alternative. Don’t just know the words and the mantras. Actually do it.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I’d even be lying if I said I enjoyed it. The classes, the course, the volunteering, they all fill me with dread. I have a terrible night’s sleep the night before. I wake up in a shitty mood. The closer it comes time to leave the house the more panicky, upset and nauseous I feel. And once I’m there it’s even worse. The flourescent lights scorch my eyes, searing my brain. My heart beats so hard and fast and loud I swear it’s moving the table. Every cell in my body screams at me not to be there. But I am there. And I know it will be like this for a while. My body is reacting to things that happened in the past, and not to anything that is happening now. It does get incrementally better – but you have to walk through the pain, not run away from it. Or sit with it under the duvet.

‘You need to reach out into the darkness before the darkness reaches you’ ~Dizraeli Reach Out

Coming Out [From Under the Duvet]

Image of Me/Why I’m Here

Do you ever truly see yourself? How much time do you take to think about what you see? Do you remember the first time? Did it change you?

I remember one of the first moments of seeing myself clearly…

A few years ago I came across some stencilled graffiti in a park that has stayed with me and has turned out to be a huge paradigm changer. Simple text, spray painted pink and repeated a few times were the words ‘you are what you repeatedly do’. Again and again, ‘you are what you repeatedly do’, ‘you are what you repeatedly do’, ‘you are what you repeatedly do‘. Frankly this scared the shit out of me. For the first time I saw that the person I thought I was was nothing at all like the real tangible me who lived, moved and interacted with the world … Despite all the rebellious declarations, despite how open-minded and progressive I thought I was, despite the long list of causes that I paid so much lip service to, my life in every way upheld everything I didn’t believe in:

– I did nothing for causes I care about.

– I worked for a large company doing a job I hated and didn’t believe in. While the bosses tried to convince me to join the interminable scramble up the ladder, I seethed with frustration and anarchist fantasies of tearing the whole structure down. Yet I stayed there for 5 or 6 years.

– I talked big words like freedom, adventure and expression; but in reality I was anxious, passionless, and totally co-dependant.

Basically, I had the horrible realisation that I was scared of everything. That most of my decisions were made in one way or another out of fear.

An extremely difficult thing to accept, because till that day in the park, I had believed in a very different image of me.

So.. I’m here on a whim. Here because I’m afraid to be here. Here as a first step in trying to bridge that gap between the image of me and tangible me.

I’m here because other people’s blogs have helped me. They’ve educated me, got me riled, made me smile, made me feel a little less disconnected. Now I figure it’s time to stop watching from afar and try to join the conversation.

And hopefully this won’t be too ball-achingly boring for you either!

Thanks for reading…

Image of Me/Why I’m Here

Little Black Book of Doom

Dec 13 – We didn’t even catch the meteor shower the clouds were so dense. Regardless, the late night trip to the roof left me feeling a tiny bit of life had returned.

Dec 30 – I haven’t felt too much of that life over Christmas. I’ve got a real problem being myself around other people. Not being myself gets tiring. And not being able to be myself is exhausting. It bums me out, sets my thoughts on a rapid downward spiral, and once that reaches free fall I’m not getting any sleep… I don’t know what I’m supposed to be changing here – me, or the people I’m around. As in the people I choose to be around. I guess if I change myself then the rest of it, like the people I find myself with, will just naturally change if it needs to.

Maybe. I don’t know.

I don’t know what it is right now, but I hate everything about myself. I hide in a relationship with Takes It Too Far Boy. And we hide together under the duvet, watching tv endlessly. I hate myself for it. I hate that I’ve started this journal. I can’t stand my limp, dull, self-centered snivelling. Am I taking the piss making out that this is helping me to understand myself and move on? Or is this just another thing I hide behind? Another shitty fucking distraction before I actually start living a life. Am I ever going to have that boot up my arse, that fire in my belly?  My life is inert. It’s dead. But I suppose not really, because I could revive it. In theory anyway.

So what’s stopping me? What am I so afraid of? What the fuck is scarier than death?

Life. Apparently…

Little Black Book of Doom