Tag: how to not be depressed

I am really serious about mental health.

My life is in a state of flux, as it often is. I have left behind that awful, miserable job (I have had nightmares about it since I left), and that’s obviously a good thing but also it was supplying me with a lot of social interaction and love because I was being hero-worshipped by 200 clients and that’s enough to boost anyone’s dopamine levels. That’s gone now.

Other things that I have traditionally relied on to boost dopamine: (1) romantic love – which I am missing terribly and could weep for if I let myself and (2) smoking this and that, which I am not doing any more because my lungs and teeth are not coping with it.

I am rather inspired by my friend who has had the most dreadful time recently. She lives alone like me and has recovered from a hip replacement with almost no help and is breaking up with her boyfriend of 10 years, which is a miserable experience for anyone, even when the fucker needs to go (I never liked him). Despite these gigantic challenges, she is as upright and future-facing as I’ve ever seen her and so how can I do anything but follow her example.

I now have the great luxury and privilege of only working one job and I know from experience that my business succeeds when I am happy and confident, so that’s an easy formula, isn’t it. It’s not rocket science.

This means I have TIME outside of work, which seems like a magnificent luxury after 1.5 years of working two full-time jobs. Here’s what I am doing with my glorious TIME that is designed to meet my social needs, keep my brain awake and keep lots of dopamine pumping around my system.

  • I went to the GYM on Friday morning! Seriously!!! I amaze myself sometimes. I walked right in there, all my stuff was still in my locker, just like I’d never been away. I went for a swim. At 6.30am. I am going to attempt to do that again tomorrow. It’s a time of day when the pool is not crowded.
  • I am going to go out ALL the time and see EVERYTHING around London. Everything. This is one of the greatest cities in the world, if not the greatest, and I am going to industriously see all of it. I even joined MeetUp so I can go and do more things and meet people.
  • I just plucked up my courage and emailed my neighbourhood community choir and told them I want to join, if they will have me, and I am coming to rehearsals on Thursday.

I am still video gaming and I am still doing some online dating but I am going to make a priority of doing activities that involve going outside and having relationships with people that aren’t based on casual sex, or indeed unfulfilled romantic pipe dreams.

Are you impressed? I am. I am a mental health warrior.

Severe Butthurt

I just don’t know what I would do without this blog. I am sorry there is so much psychology and self-help in here, I would honestly prefer it if we had more casual sex and art exhibitions but hey I am doing my best.

I experienced a lot of negative emotions today and I do not like to lose hours of my life to feeling depressed. So after living it with for a while and letting it bother me, I finally took action. As you can see from the below, it is yet another TLYW Massive Diagram. I listed all the negative emotions that I was experiencing, which you see in the red boxes there. I made sure to get them all.

Then I thought about it and wrote some responses to my own complaints, which you see in the yellow boxes. That was pretty helpful actually. Then that led me to the conclusion expressed in the top left hand corner.

So that’s me and my butthurt and how I plan to get over it and turn things around.

severe butthurt

Let’s have some proper reggae. This is beautiful, full of rootsy strength. Jah Rastafari. All dem tings small problems.

Derajah Ft Paketo: Inna De Yard

Bottle that feeling.

A short but very important post.

(1) My friend C, my beloved friend, when I was newly in love with the Honcho, said with great wisdom, ‘bottle that feeling, you can use it later’. I did, I have, I am doing, and I told a bunch of other people about that technique. (Thank you C!! I totally, totally love you with all my heart.)

(2) I started my big life plan. Then I crashed. I had about 3 days of doing nothing and wondering what the fuck was wrong with me, when the situation is becoming urgent and even that could not get me to move. Tonight I had dinner with my friend B. I told her about my immediate plans and then some of my other, much more risky plans. She said: ‘It is so bloody, blindingly obvious what you should be doing. There are the plans where you look resigned and talk with a serious voice and then there are the plans where you come on fire and the love shines out of you and you are shedding waves of energy. It is so perfectly clear what you are supposed to do next. Go where the fire is. You don’t need safe. Safe is what other people want for you. It’s not what you want for yourself.’

That will be all for tonight, thank you. Now I need to have a dance, which is something I haven’t done in a year.

I feed homeless people.

I don’t believe in God, okay. Let’s just get that straight right now. I think believing in God is one of the most irresponsible things you can do. It is an abdication of responsibility. (1) People who say God led them to do things are always and without exception describing things that they wanted to do, it just suits them to pretend it was someone else’s idea. (2) Religion is an absolute scourge upon humanity, resulting in genocide and especially the oppression of women, not to mention being anti sex and anti pleasure of every kind. (3) I can barely think of anything more insulting than dispensing charity to someone in need and then saying “Jesus loves you”. No he bloody doesn’t. If Jesus loved you, you wouldn’t be in this horrible situation. I also don’t believe in portents and signs. I believe in people. I believe in the kindness of strangers and I believe in myself and my own instincts and feelings. If I had to choose a religion, I would pick Satanism because it is firmly grounded in the real world and insists that people take responsibility for their own actions. If that doesn’t sound quite right to you, look it up.

Now let me tell you about my day.

So, as you know, I am in the middle of a sort of mild crisis about my career. I have spent the last several days brainstorming a bunch of ideas but I haven’t yet hit upon the idea and I feel unsettled and shaky.

My day started before I woke up, with a dream. I was with a group of friends. We randomly bumped into another friend of mine, who started showing off about her career success. “I’ve done really well!” she said. I looked at the guy I was married to – a well-meaning, rich, plain guy who I wasn’t even slightly attracted to and who I had married to save my ass financially. “I’ve done reasonably well” I said. Everyone laughed. I nearly split my sides laughing. The only person who didn’t laugh was this poor chump I’d married who understandably looked hurt. Then I woke up. I don’t think you need to be Freud to work out what that means.

Then I was awake and I was forced to realise that I am running out of holiday. So it was time to go out and see at least some aspect of Spain, so I put my clothes on and went to Vegueta, which is the historic part of Gran Canaria. You will get photos later as the internet connection speed at this hotel is not going to accommodate uploading them now. I went to see some contemporary art, which barely made a dent in my disconsolate mood, then I wandered around the town looking at old buildings and not knowing what the hell to do with myself or how to improve my state of mind.

Then I saw a man in a doorway. He was sitting on the ground, wrapped in a blanket, and he looked thinner than he should be. Finally, I had a purpose. With renewed vigour, I walked around until I found a place that sold take-away food. I bought a ham salad baguette and a bottle of water and a couple of other small items and took them away in a carrier bag. Then I hurried back to the man in the doorway, who was being roundly ignored by everybody, knelt down and handed him his lunch.

Let me tell you something about the urban poor. People are often cynical about beggars. They think that they aren’t really poor and are begging out of sheer laziness, because they’d rather do that for money than actually work. I don’t give money, I give food and I give a bit of my time, to listen and talk. I’ve never been turned down and I can tell you from experience that there is this electrifying look people give you when they are hungry and you hand over lunch. If you think you’ve been looked at with love, I am here to tell you, you may not have experienced it yet. They look into your eyes and right into the depths of your soul. It’s unbelievably penetrating. They thank you and they stare right into the bottom of your soul and they see everything. If I were a Catholic nun, this is where I would say “Jesus loves you”, but I’m not and I don’t. What I mean in that exchange of looks is “I love you”, except it isn’t at all necessary to say it. They see everything, with their x-ray vision. 

So I handed this guy his sandwich and it made me feel somewhat better. Not masses better but enough to go and look for my own lunch. So I went to a cafe, found a table in the sunny part of the street and ordered a plate of nachos, which I tried and didn’t like that much, and a glass of beer, which I did. That’s when Alejandro showed up.

Alejandro has wild grey dreadlocks, an even wilder grey beard, and one arm. His other arm exists but doesn’t work and his hand is twisted and mangled. He limped up the street, asking people for coins, which they refused. When he got to my table, I asked him if he was hungry, but he didn’t know the English words, and I no hablo Espanol, so I just pointed at the chair opposite me and he sat down. I passed him my plate of nachos and he happily tucked in. Then I asked him if he wanted a beer, and he said “Coca Cola”, proving that street people aren’t all alcoholics, so I bought him a Coke. Eating the nachos left a lot of guacamole in his wild beard but I don’t think he cared. In his very limited English and my even worse Spanish we managed to establish that I’m from London and that 30 years ago he’d visited London too. He said “Camden Town” and “Piccadilly Circus” and our happiness was complete. He sat with me for a few minutes, eating and trying to chat, then he thanked me very politely and went on his way.

I felt about a thousand times happier so I went to another part of town for the lunch that I still needed. This whole entire set of adventures so far had cost me about the price of one cup of coffee in London. 

As I sat outside the second cafe, eating lamb stew and realising that I am on this Earth to spend at least part of my time feeding the poor, and thinking up ways to make corporate sponsors foot the bill, I heard someone yell Hola in a cheery way, and it was Alejandro passing by, waving and beaming at me as though we were lifelong friends. I waved back and watched him go, still thinking about my corporate sponsors and how to make them realise that poor, hungry people are actual people. Then just as he was about to disappear round the corner, inspiration struck and I yelled “ALEJANDRO!” and called him back. I made him an offer – a couple of Euros in exchange for a photo of us together. He was quite happy with this so I gave him a handful of small change and a German lady at the next table took a picture of us together. It’s a lovely photo. You can see what a nice man he is, it is shining out of his face, and I look properly happy for the first time since I arrived in Spain. I am not posting the photo here because I like my anonymity on this blog, and that portrait might be the launching photo of my new anti-hunger campaign.

And that’s how I did the Devil’s work today and that’s all today’s Spanish news.

Well, that happened in the nick of time.

I am so glad I am off these drugs and that my brain is starting to function again. I am suddenly INSANELY busy at work. I mean INSANELY busy. The more I do, the more there is to do, it is horrifying, it is like a hydra. I have sent hundreds of emails today, I had three hours of sleep last night, I’ve just written the longest research paper of my career, I have meetings nearly every day and now I have to go to events in Paris and Brussels. All of this is imminent.

Added to this, I am the size of a small country, I can’t fit into my clothes and I am having my third period in five weeks.

I just have no words. I recall that I managed to score 1 Art point some time since I last blogged but I now can’t remember exactly when it was. It’s been a very, very long day.

Coming off drugs.

Five more days of low-dose happy pills and then I am drug-free. Last one on Sunday.

I am having an interesting time coming off them. It’s not awful, at all, I’m not having any symptoms that I can’t deal with, but it is interesting and strange.

  • Sleep patterns have gone haywire. I can sleep for 8 hours at night, be awake for 2 hours in the morning and then be totally wiped out again.
  • This alternates with huge bursts of energy. My god. You remember I said I had to stay in this weekend because of my roof needing emergency repairs? Well, the roofers came and did their job and meanwhile I went on a totally unplanned and unexpected frenzy of housework. I blitzed my house for two solid days. Charlie came over and he didn’t know what had hit him. There was no sitting around watching movies and he didn’t even get any sex worth mentioning, instead he found himself cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry. LOL. Probably not quite what he had in mind. But hey, my house is CLEAN.
  • I am about to get around to buying a new cooker because it’s been several months now since the current one collapsed and fell to bits. As I don’t cook, I previously had zero interest in replacing it, but suddenly I can no longer bear the sight of its derelict condition. It is intensely annoying to me every time I happen to glance in its direction. So I am going to buy a new one. The time has come. As I have no intention of ever using it and it is purely for the sake of making my kitchen, and hence me, look normal, I have realised that I don’t need to spend money getting a good one. I am just going to go online and order whatever cheap, shiny piece of shit will resemble a normal cooker and fit in a cooker-shaped space. The same sudden intolerance for living in what looks like a one-person shanty town is motivating me to replace the missing blind from my kitchen window, and light a fire under the ass of the guy who manages this building so we can get the actual windows replaced. I think what we are seeing is a revival of the Home Improvements project from earlier this year, which not coincidentally ended when I started taking the pills.
  • I am having extremely vivid dreams, which I don’t mind, and Charlie says I am talking in my sleep, which I do mind.
  • Productivity at work has shot up, thank God, and the reason I’ve hardly blogged for the last few days is because I’ve just written a 5,000-word research paper.

I think that’s all the news. I am as fat as Barry White and I haven’t been to the gym in so long that I can hardly remember where it is, BUT on the plus side I actually packed my gym bag yesterday. It has my towel and my swimming costume in it now. So that is something, yes?

1 Home point. This might be the cleanest my house has been at any time this year.

I want that shirt.

The last couple of days have been annoying (can you tell the happy pills are wearing off, ha ha). I have had way too much work on, leading to staying up all night for reasons that aren’t fun, then I had a fight with the British tax office this afternoon that nearly caused me to start smoking again and then my roof sprung a leak, A big one. So I cannot go out tomorrow because I have to stay in for the emergency roofer, otherwise my ceiling will fall in.

As the happy pills slowly wear off (9 days left to go) and my levels of rage and inability to cope with frustration gradually return to normal, I have been pacifying myself by binge-watching Breaking Bad. It runs in the background while I am working. I usually don’t care for TV, as you know, but it had rave reviews every year from 2008 to 2013, when it concluded, so a whole year after it finished, I finally came around to it, bringing me up to date with everybody else in the Western world.

I’ve just watched Season 4, Episode 8, Hermanos, and I actually started paying attention when I noticed Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) wearing this shirt. I love it!! I love the angel wings on the shoulders and the huge scale of the design.

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Elaborate detail.

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So much sparkle! He looks like a Christmas tree. I mean that in a good way.

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I could totally wear that. No reason why I can’t dress like a 30-year-old Albuquerque drug dealer. Judging by the logo on the back, it is by Xzavier. I wonder if they still make that exact shirt. If you know where I can get one, post a comment.