Philip recommends; find your own path
Yes it’s mine, my very own. And you, you may or may not have your own, and that’s yours.
I didn’t realise till it was partially too late, that I have lived with what was commonly called, at the time ‘melancholia’. A quiet child, often with my head in the clouds. Playing on my own, with myself. I would spend hours in my own imaginary world of toys and adventures and finding a ways to be me. My sisters were never inclusive, though one will deny this through angry crooked teeth. She did try, but my elder sister called the whip on middle sister and the big dark door which was the portal to they’re fun was firmly shut to me.
I was the son my Mother had always wanted, having lost her first at birth. And so devoted was our connection, often unspoken. I learnt what was ‘expected’. I could read her and often others. I think it is called intuition, a way to be able to gauge whether to approach or vanish.
I grew up in my Mother/Grandmother/ ‘Aunties’ care and affection; of which there was much. ‘Wrapped up’ my Mother later called it.
So I became unlike other little boys, who would tumble, fight, graze, climb (though I did used to hide in the apple tree) and generally be this word ‘butch’ the true meaning and all its varied permutations I would not fully understand until I moved to London.
I was taunted and bullied at school, I now realise I withdrew that much more, and being creative and unlike other boys, that withdrawal became a place, much like my Mothers/ Grandmothers company, ‘safety’.
When my first major breakdown occurred (I’m aware it had happened before, but I had got through these myself, how? I hear you ask. Answers on a postcard to ‘no idea’)
I started medications, hospitals, secure wards, CBT. Everything was bounced upon me, and in my experience; when it’s private funding the more the better. But, I may just be bitter and depressed, possibly. I did learn how ‘in theory’ to freebase, roll a joint and pass an alcohol test at this time, all great life skills from the other residents in the fruit bowl.
My life, I have learnt, is like a vinyl 12 inch disc, I never liked the handle of 7.
It has many grooves and goes round and round. Sometimes the track is quiet and sometime the track is mind numbing to the ears. It can lift, or it can berate, it can enhance your day or blight it. It has a tendency to jump mid track to another less happy track, and then when you think that track is over it jumps again to ‘liebstod’ lush and loud sung by Jessye or Dame Janet full and determined. It can on occasion be an ‘etude’ or ‘ballade’ calming and beautiful like the song of a thrush. Then it can be as random ‘till there was you’ or Richard Rodgers, or nasty electric pop. Or the discordance of Berg or perhaps Sondheim, but therein lays many levels and shades of lilt or lash. And sometimes it can lift me by spirit and even make me move my ass from here to there and sometimes with a smile.
The disc, like life doesn’t stop, it may have its volume turned down by, distraction, medication. But it does not stop. It is constant and I have had to find a way to face it every minute of every day.
These tracks go along with an internal dialogue, the who did what, the who when, the who why, all mixed into these tracks a flow of words. And when the track changes/ jumps so does the thought, always negative, always seemingly relentless. The incessant ‘should’ ‘must’ ‘ought’ that so easily springs to mind learnt over decades.
I try, with medication and meditation. I have learnt the pitfalls of reaching out for the hand, that smacks. Or the blissful solace in withdrawal. Each and everyone has to find their own way, and I have been inspired and helped by many. Some strangers, some friends. Not by family, in my experience, but don’t let that be yours.
I think the most important thing I have learnt is that I have accepted the many many sides to my long player, and it does change sides. It has a side A and side B, don’t expect to get away with a single track scenario, depression doesn’t work like that, it sneaks around.
Accept/glance at the bad and revel/enjoy the good, listen to what is right for you. Don’t be pushed around by anyone, least of all those nearest. Explore the good and the bad and try.
It is now 6 years, I still get ‘Black dog’ days (Churchill’s pin point accurate description), but have also learnt that is simply OK.
Keep it Simple, I’m fond of:
‘To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man’ quote by Willy Shakespeare.
Or from guru Tracie
‘It’s ok with, and it’s ok without’
Go find yours.
Philip Cobbett 02/02/2017
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