Rocked My World

I read something the other day that rocked my world and set me back on my heels. Let me dig it out … 2 ticks …

Damn – can’t find it online.

It was on the back cover of a book called The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn (yeah, I cut and pasted that). Two more ticks – I’ll have to go downstairs to fetch the book …

Well bugger me – it’s not on the cover of that book! Must have seen it inside when I opened it at random.

Anyway, the gist of it is this – when you’re depressed, the worst thing to do is to try to think about it or get to grips with it using logic, because this just makes you more depressed (some fancy phrase like ‘deepens the cycle of depression’ was used).

What it advocated instead was basically acknowledging those (depressing) thoughts, but then just putting them to one side and thinking about something else instead.

Sounds simple don’t it, but I tell you – it opened my eyes until they squeaked! I mean – all that time I spent filling journal after journal with my thoughts, justifications and explanations and all of that stuff – all wasted?

I thought to myself ‘nah – surely not – I learnt stuff about myself – and learning is always good, right?’

But then I remembered the times that I was truly happy, and it was always when I was thinking about something else, engaged in something different – things like enjoying a marvellous sunset, walking by the river, curling up somewhere warm and cosy with a good book, talking with friends about shit and just laughing and laughing and laughing.

Makes me wonder why I spent so much time chasing ghosts around my own mind.

Makes me wonder why I’m here, tapping away on my keyboard.

But then I remember you, dear reader. This is for you. I hope it means something to you. Something useful.

(inspired by a post that Joss wrote – (sorry, Joss – I nicked back the comment I wrote on your blog))



Losing a child is hell. The ache doesn’t go no matter what you do. The only escape was in sleep. When I could. But when I woke up, she still wasn’t there and the pain would hit like a blunt chisel at my chest.

I was used to her jumping on me to wake me up. Her dad taught her that. Taught her how to sneak and then how to shriek when her little body landed. I used to laugh and moan at the same time. I’d give anything to have that back.

But still, I preferred it when she used to call to me.

I would hear her little mewling voice from the next room and it would pull at threads that had mysteriously become twined through my heart. I would know that she was going to cry, long before the first, hesitant squawks escaped from her tiny mouth. I would just know. It felt like chocolate melting in a pan.

When she began to sicken, I thought it was just a cold. She had a bit of a fever and a sniffy nose, but don’t all kids get that? Just a bug going round, I told myself. Just a something that’ll pass. But a week later she was tossing in the bed like it was burning her skin.

Seven years old and she’d been boiled down to nothing – fried until she was just skin on bone. Couldn’t even raise her own head to take a spoon of soup. Didn’t even know there was a spoon most of the time.

I wished, prayed, that it could have been medicine on that spoon, but we just didn’t have the money. Even if we’d pawned everything we had left, it still wouldn’t have been enough.

The nurse … yeah, a bloody nurse – we couldn’t even get near a doctor. The nurse said we needed the latest antibiotic, the one they developed north of the fence. Said that what she had wasn’t treatable by the old drugs anymore. Even had the cheek to tell us that we were lucky we couldn’t afford to take her into hospital like that. The bugs there would have eaten her alive.

Two days later, she was taken anyway.

That’s when I decided that they wouldn’t get away with it. We’d show them what pain was. We’d teach them about loss.

(this is a prequel to a story I wrote earlier: Let Her Stay (full))

Let Her Stay (full)

These are the episodes of Let Her Stay, a post-apocalyptic, dystopian look at Europe after the collapse of the ice-shelf and the warming of the globe. One couple from south of the fence decide that the government is not going to get away with the death of their child and so take matters into their own hands.

Let Her Stay

Open Heart Surgery

Open Heart Surgery

I was expecting to love life.

When I was a child,
I thought it would be fun
To be older and wiser.
I thought that I’d be able
To do all those things.
Things I couldn’t do
because I was too small.

It’s strange to see now,
How, from the point of view
Of being ever so much older
(let’s leave wiser aside for a while),
Small is something I miss terribly.
Smooth skin and endless energy – wheee, imagine that!

Small wants large.
Large wants small.
Will we ever learn
That we have it all?

There are a million different versions of me in this heart.
If only I could find the right cut.
To find the right place.
To find the right me.
For today.

Above Average


If I stood still, hands in pocket, thumbs peeking beguilingly, then you’d think me a normal enough guy. You know – kinda average in a white-guy-sort-of-a-way. And I guess I am.

But beneath the hood, under my skin, I’m actually above average.

Here are three things I’m above average at:

  1. Being me
  2. Erm …
  3. Okay, that didn’t work.

Actually, what I’m trying to claim to be is statistically better than more of the population than less of the population. And yeah, when I think about it – what I’m saying makes as much sense as that last sentence, which I hope you didn’t spend too long puzzling over.

Obviously you made it here, so you must have either got it in the end, moved on without understanding, or (horror of horrors) given up reading altogether, in which case – you’re a figment of my imagination – a non-existent reader.

Okay, I need to get away from that line of thought because if you are reading this then you do exist and any discussion about your non-existence is moot (love that word) and if you don’t exist then there’s no point in talking to you. Except that I’m not really talking to anyone yet, apart from myself, and there’s no real point in doing that because:

  1. I already know all the things that I could say and
  2. I’m not really listening because I’m busy talking – duh!

Did I really just duh myself? Yep, I guess I did. I should reprimand myself for being disrespectful I guess, but I’m not really that kind of a guy. I’m pretty laid back actually.

I can’t get beyond the feeling that someone is reading these words (apart from me as I do this edit). I can feel you tickling the back of my mind as I type. You are probably female. Probably intelligent. Probably rather attractive. Probably energetic. Probably clinically insane.

Actually, I just threw the last one in for effect.

I do things for effect.

I realised yesterday that I do too many things for effect.

Yesterday, there came upon me the realisation that I am alienating everyone that ever knew me and am preparing to alienate everyone who might ever want to know me. It was quite a sobering thought. You see, the thing is – I’m above average in all sorts of things, which means that I could be a successful … person. But I’m not. Not really. I’m just getting by. I’m just keeping my head down and, well, just coasting really.

With my looks, intelligence and charm – I could really shine. With my personality – I’m killing myself. Let’s be honest about this – I’m crushing down any advantages my abilities ever gave me with my tendency to be caustic and cutting.

And another thing that’s not helping me is my habit of walking away. This kills any chance I have of forming anything like a stable set of relationships with the people around me.

Okay, I think I’ll stop there. If I carry on, I know that I’ll dig myself out of the existential hole I’ve planted myself in. I’ll do this by reminding myself that I have choices, and that I’m above average in all sorts of things, and that I’ll change, and that tomorrow will be better, and that maybe, just maybe, someone will read this and have the balls and the ability to help me. But …

*sighs and starts to think about tags to add to these words*

The Way You Make A Me Feel

Blue Cheese

Seems to me that it’s not what you say, or even the way that you say it that gets results, it’s the way that you make people feel after you’ve said it.

Many people think the key to success in interpersonal communication is to say informative things in an interesting or entertaining way. But it seems that there’s more to it than that.

You can tell your audience (or family, or friends) the most fascinating things in the world, but that don’t mean a damn to them if you don’t make them feel good in the process.

Tell them the moon is made of blue cheese, and prove it with endless formulae, unimpeachable experimental data but chances are they might only remember you until the next big thing comes along.

However – make them feel like dancing all night from the free samples of blue cheese flavoured emotions, or have them singing your praises at the top of their lungs by virtue of your full-moon silvered feelings and you will light up their hearts and be remembered until … well, maybe until mid next week!

What more could you want than that? 🙂

Oh. You want to know how to do that? Ah, okay. Then just let me read some more of this here book (It’s Not What You Say, It’s the Way You Say It! – Michael Parker) and as soon as I’ve got to that part, I’ll let you know more.

In the middle of writing this, I went on a call with my team. Part of that involved all team members introducing themselves to the rest of us. By the time I had finished talking about myself, several of the team members were laughing. I regarded this as a success because they ended up feeling happy. Maybe they’ll remember me fondly for that. Let’s see.

My Childhood Trauma

My parents divorced when I was as old as nineteen, so I probably can’t blame that for the way I am. I was a late developer, so chances are I was still a child. But I left to go into the big-bad-beast we call the-world all the same, so I must have been kinda grown up.

I get the feeling that I was an unplanned child, so I can probably claim that as trauma. The feeling itself might not be based on fact (although my parents were quite young when I came along and I can’t seem to figure out whether they married before or after I was conceived), but the fact that I am feeling them is reason enough to call myself traumatised. I guess.

Was I beaten? No. I was cuffed around the head a few times, but I wouldn’t call it a sustained attack. I was as naughty as any child, I guess. Although, on reflection, it didn’t feel like naughty. It all felt normal from the inside. But then again – doesn’t it always? I guess I was upset because I wanted the rights of an adult as a child. I didn’t want to feel ‘wrong’ just because the ‘right’ person was bigger than me.

Was I starved? No. I ate as much as I needed to eat. There was always food. I was given access to too much sugar and it probably made me hyperactive (which probably looked like ‘naughty’ to my parents). Choices. I always had choices. I don’t remember being forced to eat anything that I didn’t want to eat.

Was I abused? Prolly not. I have some gaps, but I hesitate to fill them with abuse. That’s an unknown for me. There has to be something that made me the way I am (kinda friable). But I think that it’s a mistake to go looking for easy-answers.

Childhood trauma seems to be largely absent from my life … and actually, adult trauma seems to be rare too. So what’s going on inside me, then! Does everyone feel confused about how the world works?