Friday, October 30, 2009

Four days lost

Just checking in and I see I haven't blogged for four days, which is fine, although not quite the once-a-day I'd planned for.

Not a disaster though.

My down has continued a little and last night I managed to explain it to Mrs CD a little - hey, perhaps I should try talking to real people more and put less emphasis on spieling at you imaginary friends out there? Just a thought - which I think helped. Talking's good we're learning.

I'm pretty sure of the reasons for this blip. They are:

  • The weather and changing seasons. It's been pretty good lately, but Autumn's coming on and we lost an hour of daylight this week as the clocks went back. The grey skies and early evening haven't helped.
  • Five months of being sober. The euphoria has definitely passed and now you're left with both the 'what now' and also the 'what have I done'. We all know the hangover version, but when you come round from more than 20 years on the pop it's a bit bigger than that. I'm awake in my life, looking round somewhat bewildered and having to take stock of where I am, what I am and so on. A lot of it, it nearly went without saying, is regretful and that's tough to deal with.
  • Five months of being sober, b. I miss it. Of course I do, it's been my love, my everyday and my extraordinary for so long. I know I need to try and fill that gap and I'm obviously not completely there yet. I've also used drink as a means of escaping the responsibilities and realities of life; now they're here and I have to deal with them - or try to - and I'm not used to it. My benefit is constantly being withdrawn and reinstated and I have to complete an appeal for example. Undoubtedly, I am getting better at this and practice will continue to move me further towards perfect but the short of is that at the moment, I'm not very good at anything - which is no natural high.
  • I'm doing a fair amount of unpaid writing at the moment - experience and with the possibility of going into business in that way - and It's starting to feel like a pressure. I feel guilty when I'm not at it, this weight isn't lightened any by my partner in the proposed business, who is at it 24-hours-a-day; it's his obsession.
  • Counselling. I now accept that this is doing me good. I also accept that my depression is to a great degree in my own hands. I have to make changes in order to, for want of a better word, defeat it. This is painful, it's a healing pain but it hurts just the same. I'm wallowing around in my past and coming up with the deficits in my character and personality - try it, it's not big smiles.
  • I'm lonely. I'm new in Cardiff and don't have many friends and I've started to get into a bit of a rut. My old rut was lubricated with a big old stream of high strength lager and involved a fair amount of social interaction. The new one has less. I spend too much time at home, and in trying to get into a routine I've quite limited myself. I'm either staring at this screen or meeting people involved with my treatment. Playing football should help, but it's obvious my new sportsmates' primary social environment is the pub.

I managed to snap myself out of it yesterday. I'd been out in the morning but come home had tea and stupidly had a spliff (see self-inflicted damage vols 1-1,000,000) and got on with my computery business and just got stuck there. I finally came out of it at about 7.30pm (Mrs CD has been working late a lot lately - add that to the above list) and forced myself to make a nice meal, that helped - smoked mackerel fish cakes with stir fried vegetables as you ask.

I apologise if this blog is getting rather tedious at the moment - that's the nature of my life at the moment. Attempt, fail, attempt again. Treadmills used to be a punishment for a good reason.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And another thing

A very good thing happened last week and I forgot all about it. I've started playing football - in the pouring rain first time out. This is an overwhelmingly positive thing. Excercise produces endorphins, it's social and it's pleasure.

I'm signed up to be a regular player every Tuesday night, which will help with my routine building and building a sense of responsibility and I hope it'll decrease my feeling of physical fear.

Yes, football is a good medicine. They're a nice set of lads, it's a friendly game at just about the right standard for me. I'll try and stay on for a drink afterwards next week - I've even been told that one of the players is a freelance journalist who might be a good contact.

I've also asked my doctor to sign me as fit to work from November 1, the date my partner and I set for starting trading in our web business - there's lots to do and I alternate between extremely high hopes and blank fear. I'm working away quite busily on what we can do in advance and well, I'll let you know. I've got so much that I want to do - writing for publication, working on a novel, doing more of my music, running this website on a commercial basis and so on - that I end up paralysed and doing nothing.

I feel the latter right now. Hopefully, tomorrow will help me feel more of the former. I'm apprehensive because it's half-term next week and halloween, with fireworks night to come, giving the local feral youth plenty of opportunities for mischief - paranoia of course, they're really harmless, just a pain who need something useful to fill their time.

It'll be my five month sober birthday next week too. I committed myself to six months sober, but on advice, I'm going to stay on antabuse for at least another month to get me over the holiday season of good cheer and all day drinking to all men - I bet Jesus would be thrilled - and then we'll see. I haven't got my head around the concept of complete sobriety forever and hope that I'll have made enough changes to my mind, my basic being, my whole identity, that I'll be able to use drink (and all drinkers use it - it's a drug and has those effects) as others do, as a pleasant social lubricant. I need to be in a position where I don't need it as an escape from a life I cannot face, because if I start to experiment with it in that state, disaster will befall me - seeking the safety and warmth I can't find in myself in a glass.

Right, I'm going to have a bath and take my pills and watch Match of the Day - football again - and get some sleep. I really feel exhausted and dispirited, but rather than wanting sleep to make life go away I want it so I can start tomorrow.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Love, the Cardiff Drunk.

Counselling - part two

The second part of my homework is much more practical - to build a framework for this new life.

I explained to my counsellor the trouble I have motivating myself and the time I waste in bed just moping and self-loathing.

She has suggested getting into a routine.

I've made my first attempt and failed, but I'm under strict orders not to let this get me down, so I'll try again. The first attempt was stymied by what we'll cause the usual, dope and lethargy. It's another hangover (ahem) from being over-protected as child and having my life so run for me - I'll do stuff when other people tell me too but when that is removed it's as if a great weight has been lifted and I go into massive self-indulgence.

This is a good start though. Trying to get into a simple routine for myself - getting up, getting through a day doing what has to be done - really simple things like eating three meals, washing up, putting things away. I reall am a child, more than a child in fact, I'm a baby, and I need to learn the whole living thing from the bottom up. Now, feeling a bit low, it feels very hard - a baby is safe and coddled and protected and spoiled and doesn't have to worry about anything.

Tomorrow's a good chance because I have to go out to go to a business course, so I have to leave the lovely warmth of my bed early and do something. In fact, I've got a couple of these courses this week, so I should be quite busy, it's trying to keep that going once I'm home. With my ambition being to run my own business as a freelance writer that's going to be important - it's all down to you after all.

We shall see.

One routine I could get into - and I've written this so many times I've lost count - would be to make half-an-hour every day to update this li'l ol' blog of mine.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Love Cardiff Drunk.

Counselling again - part one

Councelling continues to go well, and I've split the last session into two parts, because my homework from my counsellor is in two parts, and you know me - I just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

We talked about my mood, and the fact that I had gone into a down when Mrs CD went away - went to bed for a couple of days in fact. It's not so bad, and I'm not drinking which is a good thing.

My mood's very volatile at the moment, I alternate between huge self-confidence (rather vainglorious really) about my future and finding work and so on and black, black, black depression.

I've gone into a down just now to be honest - the result of going to the shop past the local depressing kids. They don't do or say anything to me, they just exude an air of stupidity and pointlessness and lack of respect for anything or anyone.

Hey ho. Stupid I know.

I also just watched a Youtube documentary on racism, which wasn't such a cracking idea I think. He and again ho again.

Well, the talk at counselling is about connecting with my emotions again. They're locked away you see - I was never encouraged to express emotion as a child and I need to turn my thoughts off in order to feel, in order to feel real pleasure, or pain or happiness even. I'd love to get angry once in a while, but I just can't.

So, I've been given an exercise. Get in touch with them through film - it's a nice idea from my counsellor (writing's another one) - who sees it as a safe way to reopen those pathways. Watch some sad films, watch some funny shows, have a good cry and a laugh.

We'll see how that goes. I've just watched a film - not a particularly sad one - and managed a tear when the antihero died (it was This Gun for Sale, with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, based on the Graham Greene novel). I'll have to try laughter soon.

I'm too bottled up; that's the problem. Encouraged to be quiet and not make a fuss and be ultra polite and care about others more than myself. And, then, as I grew up I learned to keep myself secret - the things that became mine were things my parents disapproved of - drinking, smoking, drugs. Now, I see they're not the greatest things in the world, as I once thought they were, but they were mine, my own independent life and my whole identity. This world was secret and I became adept at keeping it so and this persists - I'm good at lying (not a pleasant thing to admit), hiding things and appearing as people wish me to appear.

I'm annoyed now - angry with myself and determined to find a new me who isn't like this. I don't have any old model to look back on because there's never been one, just a long history of shite.

Oh well. We're learning to improve these things and it's slow but steady I hope. A couple of months ago I wouldn't have gone outside at all for fear of these people, now I just walk past them but today has shown I need to do an awful lot more to build my confidence and my sense of self.

Friday, October 2, 2009

There may be troubles ahead... Finding a new self... Why I write this bobbins...

Friday, and blogging again already, wow, that's good. Although I can remember the days when I used to do this once a day.

Anyway. A good couple of days after a bit of a down - important times ahead though.

Thursday I went to counselling, which was great, really productive. I've talked more about my lack of self-esteem, self-respect, self-confidence and indeed self and also my inability to cope with or express my emotions - I consider them my enemy.

And, I did manage to ask my question: Does this work? Well, my counsellor said yes, but then she would say that wouldn't she. But, I agree. I've seen what it can do already, my confidence has been improved by visualising a metal ball as my core - silly isn't it, but it's worked, and by constant, nagging, mantra-like repetition of the belief that I do not need to fear, I have reduced my fear.

My next task - should I agree to accept it (and I think I did) is to unleash those emotions and, baby, I'm looking forward to it. I'd love to feel, what's it like?

Sometimes when writing this I have a real sense of my own ridiculousness. I'm extremely pleased and proud that 15 people 'follow' this blog (hello, I love you!) and so get little updates every time I post, but what the flibbety gibbet does my w*****g on about counselling sessions achieve?

Well, I always wanted to be honest in doing this, and, although it sounds ridiculously self-aggrandising, I'd love people to find some help from this. I felt very alone for a long time and found the best help I'd had to that point on a website with a forum - it's called Brighteyes and it's on my sidebar - for drinkers. I've also found strength in the writings of others, more than from any of the self-help (self is the word of the day, 50 uses and I win a tin star with a picture of David Cameron on it) book I tried. So, do say hello if you're reading this, it's great for my ego if nothing else.

And, if you're looking at blogs about alcohol and depression because those twin seven-sided bastards are on your case, I hope you do get some hope from this - I now firmly believe that it's kind of in my hands and it'll be in yours too. The treatment I've received I believe is typical of what you'll get on the NHS in the UK and the main plank of it is going to be counselling.

That's one of the reasons I asked the doctor this morning about coming off antidepressants, and the lady at the Community Addiction Unit (CAU) about coming off Antabuse and trying social drinking again - again is a misnomer, I've never drunk socially or sensibly.

The doctor urged me to at least complete the six months on antabuse that is the usual course before thinking about tailing off the Trazadone - and then probably not until the new year. The CAU lady was even more cautious, advising considering extending the Antabuse course until the new year because of our delightful national habit of celebrating the birth of a now little-regarded religious figure (whose chief message was, so it seems to me, to turn our backs on material things and seek joy in a life of love and its promulgation) by drinking like lunatics and consuming, consuming, consuming.

We shall see.

I feel positive now and hopeful that the changes in my personality that are going on will be GOOD, will be MIGHTY, and will be PERMANENT. Essentially that I'll be a new person. Now, that would be cool - a whole new life.

The interesting times I refer to above are Mrs CD impending departure for foreign shores, leaving me to my own devices for getting of for two weeks - my parents will harass me to visit them, or for them to visit here, but, largely I'll be alone.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Cardiff Drunk (four months sober yesterday.)

It also helps me and maybe it will help you