Monday, August 24, 2009

What anxiety is doing to me.

I want to be sick. Right now, I want to throw up and it's all because of anxiety.

I spoke in my last post about what counselling had dug up - a heart, not even of glass, but of nothing. Now the counsellor said that the amount of skill and energy I devote to my anxiety shows that, in fact, I am at least a capable person. Building that core is going take time and I've only just started.

So, at the moment, I am trapped in anxiety hell.

First of all, I should make clear, some of this anxiety is rational, the consequences I create are not. It has a very specific focus at that moment but I've always been anxious around other people and feared them to a degree that is out of all proportion to any real threat.

This fear, of course, is much worse in cities simply because there are more people.

At the moment my focus is entirely on a group of kids who gather and play in our street; I would guess they range in age from six to 11. The rational part of my fear is that they are bad, nasty, naughty kids (or so I have convinced myself, maybe I am wrong and they're just mischievous and noisy). However, I know that they roam the streets till around 10pm or 11pm each night. I know their language is appalling, that they bully each other and fight terribly, that they throw rubbish wherever they feel like throwing it, including our garden and that a couple of them I've seen getting up to other stuff like throwing stones at people's doors. They run in and out of people's gardens, ride their bikes like lunatics up and down the pavements and basically show no consideration for anyone. Their only means of communication is screaming; which like everything else they get from their parents.

You'll see already what anxiety is doing to me. How much time I've wasted on these kids and what they do. And that's what it's doing to me - it's eating my life.

It's the consequences I create that are the reason that I am so upset by this. If they shout at me (as they have not, as they show no signs of doing) I believe I will be destroyed. It's hard to describe what I mean by destroyed beyond what it says on the tin - I will in some important way cease to exist. My mind races on to this conclusion without regard to logic or evidence, something like this: they will shout at me, I will shout back, they will follow me shouting this abuse, they will follow me home, I will be forced to confront them and say 'shut up' they will wait outside the house shouting this abuse and throwing stones at the door and window and what? And, blackness. I can't imagine anything or describe it as anything other than destruction, inside I know I mean running home to my parents, losing my relationship and any good I had done in my life, and a suicide attempt is likely.

I'm paranoid. I won't go in the front room without the blinds down. Whenever I go out - and it takes a while to get up the courage to do this - I scan for them everywhere. This is bringing me to their attention because I'm always looking at them and in my mind I believe they can sense my fear and will therefore see their prey. I go through an elaborate mental dance each time I have to walk past them - should I cross the road early, possibly showing fear, should I carry on and possibly invite words, should I try and say 'all right' to them in the vain hope they will like me (this pathetic craven belief has been with me for a long time; as a child I sought the approval of bullies in a desperate attempt to escape being their victim - the upshot, I made lots of crap friends.)

So, this is killing my life and endangering my recovery. I have no appetite and I often feel sick. I'm putting a lot of things off limits and I'm exhausted all the time for this expending constant nervous energy. It is upsetting Mrs CD and spoiling our relationship. I'm getting headaches. It takes me ages of psyching to get out of the house and when I do I stay out all day stopping me getting on with my volunteering on the computer, I shelter naturally in the pub and that's not a good thing.

But, I am fighting it. First of all, I have started repeating mantra-like to myself that I am strong and using the visualisation techniques I've been taught. I am forcing myself to do what I have to do. I am turning up radios and television in the house so I simply don't have to hear their noise. Today, I've gone cold turkey on caffeine, which is why I currently have a splitting headache.

It's hard and it's dangerous and it will take a long time. This helps. I have historically used alcohol to self-medicate for anxiety, but I've never really had it this badly - when I was drunk and living here I didn't notice them so much. It has got worse lately as two little groups have made friends and they gather round our neighbours' house.

I want a drink so badly and were I not on antabuse I would have had one by now. (I typed one, that's ridiculous, I would have drunk myself insensible).

The struggle continues. I have good times too, but they are getting increasingly fleeting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Counselling again - a much better experience.

I'm back in counselling, through the Cardiff Alcohol and Drugs Team (CADT). My last experience was bad: alienating and even damaging to my mental health, although the caveat must be added that I was drinking and fighting a fruitless and painful battle to control it.

This time has started better. I went on Thursday and saw a very nice lady who had given me my assessment interview. I was amazed at the speed at which things happened and how skillfully she guided the conversation.

Initially, she just asked me how I was. I told her I thought that the entirely positive golden days of early sobriety were passed and my anxiety was ramping up and endangering my sobriety, because my way of dealing with fear is to drown it and it works, in the moment as my counsellor said.

From there it went so quickly that I'm struggling to recall the session properly. I'm sure she asked me what the cause of my anxiety was - I told her about the noisy local children. She asked me what I was scared of - I told her I feared being mocked. She asked me what would happen, what could be the worst thing that could happen in that event - I said I would be destroyed, my being would vanish.

Again, it was so fast and so emotional - and I've waited an unpardonable three days before blogging it - I can't recall everything, but, I broke down when she asked me to start visualising. See yourself as a little child she said - and that was enough, I broke down, describing how scared that little child was. "No-one ever told him things would be safe and it would be alright," she said. And it was true so I cried.

Before long I was visualising the children. I told he I would think of them as angry chimpanzees turning on one of their own number, bullying and victimising. She asked me to think of a more positive image and we agreed on baby orang utans playing. As to myself. My inner core became dust - nothing, blown away in an instant by the slightest breath of wind, by any criticism or mockery or conflict or abuse.

And that's my homework. To work on visualising myself as having a stronger sense of my own worth. And, that will take time. I have tried however, trying to tell myself my core is first a tree (what we agreed on in the session) and more recently as a metal ball and I'm trying to work on it. She pointed out that my constant monitoring of the world for threats was, in itself, a capability of a sort - a debilitating and exhausting one but one requiring some sort of skill.

This may sound ridiculous, particularly to those who don't have much time for counselling and who will find all this talk of trees and orang utans ridiculous, but to me it felt enormously powerful.

As a result, I've had a bit of an emotional week. My anxiety hasn't of course vanished, like my dusty inner core, but I felt those tears presaged some breakthrough and I know that my self-image is the one thing I have to change if I am ever going to learn to live in this world without smashing my self out with drugs or alcohol, if I am able to live without fear being my constant companion.

Ever since I can remember I have wanted not to be myself, to alter my consciousness in whatever way I possibly can. As a child by spinning, then by hyper ventilating, then by drinking, later with drugs. So, I need to go back to that to sort this all out - and it's going to be frooking hard, but it feels like the start of something.

I got myself a book on meditation out of the library and have collected another couple of numbers for martial arts groups - a way of building self-confidence. So far no call has been made, but I've made the first steps in meditation and Mrs CD very kindly just gave me a very calming massage. Both of which helped in a small way.

Because it's there and it's a real danger that could so easily push me to breakdown. The noise of children has already made me far too ready to leave the house and stay out all day to escape their noise and their conflict, and I often shelter in the pub. I do sincerely believe that a certain amount of altering of the consciousness is an entirely natural and healthy thing and maybe something like that will come through meditation. My other alternatives of choice - coffee and marijuana are starting to assume damaging characteristics. Coffee you might thing is nothing, but the amount and strength of it I drink is quite enough to cause a high - it's a cause of anxiety, so I'm an idiot inflicting pain on myself. I'm so nervous already that a spliff brings the terror of paranoia to the table, added to coffee and I'm off to the bath (the quietest room in the house) and then to bed. It's a shame, but in this state I really can't be doing with it - my intake is incredibly minimal, especially compared to my friends, but it's going to have to get lesser still.

So, a good start and two weeks to work on what I've learned about myself.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A bad day and a slipping mask...

WHEN I go and take my antabuse every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I am breathalysed - and I pass. No health professional wants to poison a patient of course so that's understandable - I do smile at the nonchalant "Avoid Alcohol" warning on the tablets, like the warnings I've been so gaily avoiding these past twenty odd years, seeking out in fact in the hope that there might even be an extra buzz in the interaction.

They also check the tablets; seeing that they come out of an official looking bottle and looking to see that the logo on the tablet itself is the real deal. I asked one week why that was.

"Does anyone ever fake it?" I asked.

Well, it turns out someone once did and that is why they now check the tablets.

"I wonder why?" I asked, "it seems pretty pointless."

The answer the nurse gave me though was quite simple and immediately I recognised the same symptoms in myself.

"They wanted people to think they were doing well," she told me.

This patient had been doing enough to get through the breath test, coming in and then getting drunk on Monday night, then stopping and being clean again on Wednesday and clean again on Friday. Until, maybe inevitably they failed a test and their subterfuge was revealed.

We're all like that I would imagine. I want people to think I'm doing well, that I'm being successful in my new life and my treatment is going well, to the extent that I have probably, if not exactly lied, then gone out of my way to accentuate the positive even on this blog - anonymously! To people I will never meet and who don't know me from David Beckham (to whom, of course, I bear a striking resemblance, we are the proverbial peas in the proverbial pod).

I think staying positive, is a good and important thing and part of getting better. I enjoy the praise I get, which I even get in my local pub - 'we're very proud of you' a couple of people have told me. But, beneath the super-happy, all is progress mask, it is a struggle and some days are more struggly than others.

Yesterday is the first time I can say I really had a bad day. When I really got depressed and upset. And it's days like those that make the yearning for drink stronger and stronger.

I always knew I was drinking to treat anxiety and depression, and it works let me tell you, in its own way and in the short term if there's a better courage than dutch courage I don't think I've found it - not even when I was shoving gramme after gramme of amphetamine up my nose. So, now I'm a sober anxious person. I have my skills, my toolkit I've been taught - question the anxiety, deal with the physical symptoms and remember that what you fear is almost certainly not as bad as the possibility of a full-blown panic attack. I try to use my skills. It doesn't always work and then I start to remember the foolproof 5% proof anxiety medicine.

I've managed to get myself extremely anxious this week. The local kids - some of whom, and their families, I flat out fear and despise - are on holiday and screaming obscenities up and down the streets all day every day. My terror is that they will see me, they will mock me, they will see my weakness and prey upon it. Some of this fear is, by the way, entirely rational - I've seen some of them do it to others. They live lives entirely free of discipline or control and seem to fear nothing - children of about six are out on the streets playing at 11pm. We've got a friend staying - he's working at Mrs CD's work this week - and he's brought his 11-year-old son and I fear (not for him, don't go thinking I'm altruistic) he'll go out and about and have some sort of trouble with these nasty kids and it will come back on us, actually even that's too altruistic, it will come back on me.

However, the local kids haven't bothered me - not at all, not once, not ever. And some of the fear is irrational - most of them are just what I was when I was their age, a bit noisy, a bit unconcerned about upsetting other people, a bit into themselves and their game and nothing else.

I also do it to myself (I do and that's what makes it worse) - the best anxiety treatment I had I wrote about at length and the lovely psychologist who provided it was unequivocal on one point: caffeine is like amphetamine and it is terrible for anxiety. Cigarettes are too. So what am I doing? Yes indeed, every day a pot of the stuff, nice and strong too; add to that a paranoia inducing joint and there you go, the perfect recipe for a quaking Cardiff Drunk hiding behind closed curtains and looking for incoming attacks from every angle.

However. I AM NOT DRUNK. My physical health is MUCH MUCH BETTER, my eczema (which was making me so miserable and paranoid in itself) IS UNDER CONTROL. I am not working and that causes me a great deal of pain some days - BUT I AM DOING VOLUNTARY WORK AND DOING A GOOD JOB HELPING OUT AT A WEBSITE. I haven't got round to doing all the exciting physical things I was going to do, martial arts to help my fitness and confidence BUT I WALK SOMEWHERE EVERY DAY AND I EAR THREE MEALS EVERY DAY.

Is that overly accentuating the positive? I don't know. It feels more honest to admit that, yes, this is hard and may be harder as time passes - maybe it'll be easier, who knows?

If you spent it, thank you for your time.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Onwards and upwards and thinking of drink

Oh Cardiff Drunk, you unfaithful blog whore, you give all your time to your other blog and never caress my blank pages with your lovely Trebuchet characters.

Ah, yes, 'tis true. I have been very busy in other parts of the blogosphere. I shall, again, promise to make time for my first and only true blog. I miss it actually, and would go so far as to say it's been a useful part of my recovery. If people read it (and feed my ego) by posting comments all the better really. It's working as a form of counselling for me at the moment - talking to the air. That's what counselling is really isn't it. They listen, they're not supposed to judge or lead the conversation, but maybe make suggestions, so essentially they help you heal yourself. And this is what this here blog does - it's my empty room.

That's reminded me actually, I went to the local counselling folks and haven't heard anything. I must give them a ring and check up. I say that now and mean it; it's just a phone call, it's no big deal, a couple of months ago it would have been an insurmountable obstacle and a source of great fear and anxiety. I also plan to phone Pathways, the agency that helps ill people back to work, and from which I was gaining a deal of confidence. I was thrown off my benefit as, despite what my doctor says, despite what the alcohol specialists said, the department for work and pensions say I'm well enough to work. I've appealed against this and I think that now entitles me to go back to Pathways for some more help - they offer advice on self-employment, and that seems the best route to me now. Yep, the thankless slog of rejections and no money that is freelance writing. The work I've done at the other blog has been a great help in restoring my confidence in my ability to write and edit - things which I do naturally and speedily and these are skills that are in demand.

I've been lucky I know. I have no financial worries, no housing worries, no physical health worries - in fact my skin has continued to improve and is now little more than an occasional annoyance.

I also know I'm walking in the lovely green fields of fresh sobriety. Their green will fade.

I think about drinking a lot. Sometimes I crave it fiercely. But, antabuse has been a great help - I can't drink. Some days I have a great feeling of NOT WANTING TO DRINK AT ALL EVER AGAIN, of remembering in pristine clarity what it's like to wake up with a car in your head and no escape but to drink again. Other days I envy drinkers. I was warned by fellow blogger Anybeth about my regular visits to the pub, and perhaps that isn't helping. Although my policy of going only during the day and not for great long periods of time is a good one. But, yes, I envy those who enjoy their drink and don't let it wreck their lives.

Anybeth, of course, had a drink problem and now drinks in such a way that it doesn't wreck her life. And, recently I've met two people who have done the same. I'm not sure what to feel about this. On the one hand I think - as I have always secretly thought and prayed - look! Damn good evidence that people can come through problem drinking and return to 'normal' drinking. Make no mistake that's what I want - no-one could love drink as fiercely as I did and not want to have some sort of relationship with it. But another, and quite possibly wiser, part of my brain wonders if I can. If I'm just one of those people who for reasons psychological or genetic, just can't stop, that no matter how much I sort out the rest of my life (and I'm doing great things in all areas of my life at the moment) and my anxieties and my depression, as soon as I drink a switch will flip in my brain and that will be that.

It's the age old problem and I think everyone who treats us and everyone who has treatment thinks about it a lot. In hospital most of the people I met were of the opinion that they had to stop and stay stopped. I never directly asked a doctor, but they were certainly encouraging abstinence over moderation, and I believe the illness model is the current fashion.

A couple of things tilt me in this direction - my absolute joy and delight at first being drunk as, I believe, a 12 or 13-year-old. And, my seemingly natural tendency towards addiction in other areas of my life - be it writing, reading, dope, coffee whatever. It's a cliche of alcoholism - the reformed drinker who becomes a gym addict, the love of strong coffee (however mild, it's a psychoactive drug and a very fast acting one) among alcoholics. In hospital I also noted that a lot of people were absolutely delighted to be off the drink, but equally committed to maintaining their dope smoking. I can't preach, and I wouldn't want to, but this seemed to be a swapping of addictions rather than a cure. Despite its many advocates I know regular and heavy smokers who are to all intents and purposes addicted to their weed - I know one who bitterly regrets it: "It's a killer of dreams," he said to me, mulling on what he might have achieved if he hadn't have been so stoned along the way. It's probably a less destructive addiction than alcohol in many ways but I think it can be just as pernicious.

You might boggle at this, but another part of me (isn't your mind segmented too?) thinks that I'm just on the road to recovery from alcohol and drinking again will be part of the process - this sort of thinking is partly encouraged by the very non-judgemental style of a lot of alcohol treatment, especially counselling. Despite the misery of some of my life, misery caused most obviously by drink, I've never hit the fabled rock bottom and known and acknowledged that drink was the cause and started on the way up. It's a tempting thought isn't it? Drink, I'm not through with you yet. Mm. It sounds crazy I know, it's not at all the most dominant of the parts of me...

Of course the answer will probably only come if and when I drink again - and both are equally applicable at the moment.

You see Drunk in Cardiff blog, when I come to you, I come unfettered and full on - that's true blog love... I really will try and write something every day, but it's something I've said before.

Well, if you spent it, thank you for your time.

I don't know how you feel, but I feel a hell of a lot better for getting that off my chest. Now, I must away to the siren call of my other blogs.


Cardiff Drunk.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Daily Happy - Future of the Left

Magnificent Cardiff band, they remind me a little of Jello Biafra in Lard, Primus, The Fall but are entirely their own magnificent thing to my ears. This is Manchasm, which has invaded my mind to the extent that I had to find out who Mark Foley (who is right, apparently) is. Apparently he is the co-owner of a Cardiff studio, which is disappointingly prosaic I had hoped for some Marxist idealogue or notorious criminal. In a strange piece of coincidence I heard the name in the pub yesterday evening and rather wish they had been singing about this Mark Foley, who's father is called Mad Axeman Foley. Press play now!

Free alcohol everywhere... Exhaustion and my enourmous penis... Strange dreams and strange enthusiasm...

I wonder if my rather cynical mis-naming of this post will lead to a spike in readers here at Drunk in Cardiff? Whatever, I'm delighted with my total of around 1,000 views a week. If you do read thank you and I hope you take something from it; if you comment doubly so, it's a great thrill and very much encouraged, I always reply.

If you were searching for enormous penises, I apologise, there is related discussion to follow but it may not be your penile cup of tea.

A slight alarum yesterday on the Antabuse front. I've taken it without trouble for a couple of months now. Apart from some initial teething troubles all has been well. There was something approaching what the medics, with their arcane verbiage, call a funny turn with those first tablets, but the lovely hospital staff thought a residue of eczema cream booze in my system was to blame. A previous bout of Antabuse aided sobriety was also pretty positive, the one blip came through some antiperspirant which like Arthur Dent's planning notice ('behind a sign saying beware of the leopard) hid its contents ever so demurely. A couple of days of splitting headaches though and some unpeeling of labels to find the contains alcohol notice and all was well. Note to cosmetics companies - I'm sure it's a growing market, so why not proudly proclaim that you are alcohol free.

I've had headaches again in the last week. Something I never suffer from and yesterday I had quite the spacey episode after going into a builders' merchants and smelling some very fumey fumes. I'm not sure why I mention this, it's only in passing as it's all passed, but it's a concern. Mrs CD and I abandoned a planned Chinese cooking adventure last week because we couldn't find an alcohol free recipe. I know that alcohol burns off once you heat your dry sherry, but with half a bottle of the stuff in a braised belly pork recipe it seemed a risk not risking. I'm going to try and find a definitive answer from the manufacturers' website.

Tiredness struck me too over the last couple of days. I've seen the acronym HALT used a lot on alcohol treatment websites - Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired - as danger signs for relapse. If you've read here recently you'll know that angry and hungry aren't too much of a problem for me, lonely a little more so. I don't think of tiredness as a trigger for drinking - so much of my consumption was 'drinking to unconsciousness' and as an aid to sleep, but, as I think about it now I can remember the slothful lethargic fug that used to engulf me until a few energising pints went in. This tiredness is far better though. It's from my recently discovered and much-loved busy-ness. Yesterday Mrs CD and I slumped out in front of the PC to watch a couple of TV programmes and I realised that it was the first time I'd switched off for several days.

Don't for one moment get the idea that I'm working-working-working, I'm not. But, since I started helping out with the website I've spent an awful lot of time thinking about it or logged on to the computer ostensibly doing things about it (even when rivalling Archimedes in the displacement activity thang). My mind naturally hums with thoughts of things that SHOULD be done, projects that MUST be started - otherwise I'm a loser and a failure - and simply slumping and watching without too much thought was a great relief. That it was the marvelous film Man on a Wire, about a superbly vivacious French tightrope walker who crossed the chasm between New York's tragically missing Twin Towers was even better. An excellent film, if you haven't seen it I heartily recommend it.

Time for my enormous penis now I think. Well, it's a red herring (I do like the British penchant for double-entendtre and sniggery pokery) of sorts. This is about Trazadone, my antidepressant. The sledgehammer blow of sleep it delivers is a boon at the moment but it does leave a drowsiness in the system which can persist. I've complained previously that if I'm tardy in popping my last-thing-at-night pills I lose pretty much the whole of the next morning. If I take it too early Mrs CD ends up with a slurring wreck as a companion - charmingly she finds this rather sweet and funny.

I'm trying to find the perfect time to take it. If you notice things like times of posting, you'll see the early hour of this one - it's 7.18am here in Cardiff, which is fantastic, it's a beautiful morning here - which is only possible because I took the Trazadone before 10pm last night.

Where's the penis I hear you cry. OK. Well, at my last appointment with the Community Addiction Unit, the doctor again raised the possibility of raising the dose towards the maximum. My GP had refused to do this until he received a letter from the CAU confirming their request, saying, "That dose isn't normally administered outside psychiactric hospital". I am concerned that my slight daytime drowsiness might now become Day of the Living Cardiff Drunk. (OK, we're here now) The CAU doctor also warned me about erections - large and long ones (snigger) - which would very likely occur at this larger dose. (Just that, and I only came here for the title, you misled you shout - well, welcome to the world of journalism and bear this in mind next time you read a newspaper say I). Every antidepressant medication I've ever taken has warned of some sort of sexual effect - spontaneous orgasm i one case - but I've never been troubled. Trazadone's effect in this area (one of great enormity to me (oh dear, sorry)) is more to do with blood pressure than mind I think. We shall have to see.

My dreams continue to become more lively and I'm so glad to have a dream life back. Last night's was odd and involved one of my mum and dad's neighbours and a return to the detox unit at Whitchurch - what it meant I can't begin to fathom; although I have thought more of booze in the last few days.

Also coming back to life is enthusiasm - something that has been absent from my life for an awfully long time. In my cheerless cups I became a nasty, cynical, dismissive, bitter old git. I'd never have been so positive as to watch a film as I did last night and enthuse about it, I would've railed against it, picked fault and sneered. Isn't that fantastic?! It feels like it. I'm loving listening to music (part of my life blood as a youngster, but latterly something to over-analyse and destroy with my own negativity). It's not something I normally do here, but I'll recommend wholeheartedly a Cardiff band who have really grabbed my throat, they're called Future of the Left and were also amazing in a previous incarnation as Mclusky - they are today's daily happy and the words that spring to mind when I listen to them are Ferociously Intelligent, Monster Funky Basslines and Quite Frightening - all of which, as you know, are good things.

If you spent it, thank you for your time. (And it's quite a long time on this one - I considered splitting this post, but decided against it, it's just all pouring out and I'm loving it).


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Too busy to blog

By too busy to blog you can be assured that I seem to make plenty of time in my day still for sitting drinking coffee while looking out the window and other such necessities. However, I have been busy elsewhere and it's an entirely positive thing.

I now rejoice in the title assistant editor at the website and am loving writing their newsblog - it's unpaid, but it's fun and will certainly be a feather in my CV's rather raggedy cap. I'm actually experiencing something rather strange - I want to get up in the morning! Unprecedented, at least of late.

Otherwise all seems to be progressing nicely. I do think of and crave for drink regularly - every day in fact. But not savagely and those who told me that keeping busy is the best thing were entirely right; I'm hugely lucky to have chanced upon something that does just that.

My confidence is improving too. I mentioned I'm doing the 'city walk' and my fear of surroundings is dissipating - not so jumpy, not so paranoid. Mrs CD was away for a couple of days this week and I did OK. I wasn't quite the domestic goddess I've become of late and a worrying coffee mug mountain started to grow in the sink, but I got through each day, I ate, I took my medication I made my appointments - nil disastrum.

I had a friend round too. He's a sound engineer and always grubbing around for work so I wanted to show him what he could do online with a a load of free web pages - facebook, blogs, myspace and the like. He was quite impressed and wants me now to help set him up online - another CV enhancer, plus it's nice to do something to help someone out.

I'm due to go volunteering again tomorrow. At the moment it's little more than photocopying and filing, but, it gets me out of the house and used to being in an office and with other people after my two years of isolation without a drink inside me.

This is by necessity a quick post, but I must try and say something at least every day. In the past, a hiatus at Drunk in Cardiff meant a really bad binge or an horrific depression low, now it means much better things.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Cardiff Drunk - sober and learning to be happier.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to be angry... Maybe a brain is reborn... Walking the city walk... Busy is good beware the facebook.

I WAS quite the angry blogger in my last post wasn't I? That's a good thing I think.

We did a deal on anger management on the therapeutic day programme in hospital but it was wasted on me. Knowing how to control anger isn't a problem, knowing how to have and express any anger at all is what I need. I'm just not angry - ever. I'm a bottler upper, a seether and a brooder, a churner and a sitter upon, a doormat and a push over. Not healthy, oh no, I know that, it just doesn't come out of me.

I've been angry of course, you can't walk down these mean streets without getting angry. Hell, you can't listen to the radio or read newspapers without getting angry, can you? It's not working for me. My anger has only really come out when I'm drunk, the times I've expressed rage when sober I remember vividly because they are so few. When drunk the top has come off the bottle in alcoholic blackout - I've been told afterwards what I've said and done when I crawled back into the pub to apologise.

But, I've a feeling it will come. My mind is coming back to life I think. It's getting more of a workout for starters; I'm enjoying my new webtastic writing stuff, I'm busier on here (and spend far too much time smart-arsing around on facebook) and I've been helping Mrs CD sort out financial stuff - a thing I would have previously filed as not my thing - run away! Lets see if I can get some anger then and stop this automatic slinking away and secret tears with an it's-all-my-fault seed sprouting in my brain.

I'm working on my nerves more successfully too. I really took on what I was told by the psychologist at Pathways and I try, try is the word, to put those techniques into practice when I feel the fear frothing up. I'm also starting to walk a city walk. That's a bit sad really but it's helping. I wouldn't paint my upbringing as bucolic and untroubled - it wasn't, the town I'm from is rural and smallish, however, it has tracks and they had a wrong side. There were bullies at school as there are from Eton down. But it's different from city life and it's a lifestyle I prefer - slower and smaller, I knew so many people in my home town that I would say hello to someone every time I left the house.

I've lived in Birmingham and London in the past, and fell under an alcoholic steam train in both cities. Strangely though I enjoyed the anonymity of London (I was drunk most of the time remember so the anxiety was being medicated) and the feeling of being an atom amid an ever revolving, remaking, ridiculous whole. Yes, I was very drunk.

My city walk, by the way, has more of a head down gait to it. I look around me less, I look where I'm going, I don't look at people, I don't listen to them as much as I normally would. It works for me. Cardiff is small and almost village like in character but for me, at the moment, this is the best way forward.

I'm busy, and that's the best thing that's happened to me since my detox. In fact last night, once I'd done all I had to do I was exhausted and needed to go to sleep because I'd been busy all day. More of the same please.

If you spent it thank you for your time.

Here's a lovely song about controlling anger.