Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Bigger on the Inside

This is what I affectionately call my Happy Box. For the last three years, it’s sat by my bedside, storing my supply of antidepressants. Currently, it holds some copper coins, two Panadol Extra Strength  tablets, a contact lens with an outdated prescription (left eye, I reckon) and a plastic Green Lantern ring; hardly life’s essential items. I’m not generally an overly sentimental person, and I know I should probably just throw it out, but for some reason, I don’t feel quite ready for that just yet.
It’s a weird and rather unsettling feeling, being nostalgic about psychoactive prescription medications, and yet that’s what I am. I’ve been off antidepressants for three weeks or so now, and every lunch time I catch myself panicking over whether I took my pill or not that morning. Then I chuckle wryly to myself, and remind myself that I no longer take those pills, because I’m not depressed! And surely, the proof is right there, in my wry chuckle! Depressed people, as we all know, don’t chuckle, and certainly not wryly. You might get the odd bitter, sarcastic ‘ha’ out of them, but its disingeuousness is easily recognised. It is in fact one of the ways to spot the depressives when out and about. Look for the ones who don’t chuckle, even at chuckle-worthy happenings. Watch those ones.
It’s a weird business, recovering from depression. Sometimes I realise I’m genuinely happy about something, and the fact that I’m able to feel happy about things makes me even happier, and I go into a weird sort of happiness feedback, and before you know it, I’m smiling at pretty girls as they pass on the street, and whistling show tunes. I imagine it’s like a mild version of how manic depressives feel, on a manic swing. It’s fantastic, although I’d probably not think so if I went from whistling show tunes to stealing cars and driving across the country to buy crumpets. I’ll stick with regular brand happy, thank you very much. Happiness is weird when you’re depressed; you know you should be feeling happy about something, that you usually would feel happy about it, but the feeling just isn’t there. Or rather, it’s like all the happiness is there, sloshing around in your brain, but between it, and you and the feelings jar you need to pour it into, there’s a Perspex wall, and you can see all that lovely happiness out there, but you can’t get it where it needs to go, so it’s useless. And not being able to feel happy makes you feel sad, and if there’s one thing a depressed brain can do extremely well, it’s feel sad. In fact, sometimes it’s so good at feeling sad, that when something sad happens, you can’t tell if you’re sad because of it, or because of your broken brain, and your sadness for genuinely sad things becomes tainted, and that just makes you sadder, and suddenly you’re into the opposite of the whistling show tunes bit.  So, when you’re recovering from depression, and coming off the medication, or ending whatever treatment you’ve been having, it’s not about never feeling sad; because now, even when you feel sad, you know that you’re genuinely feeling it for a reason. And in a weird way, that can make you happy. And happiness is awesome.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back to Blog

I haven't blogged in months. Normally, when someone returns to blogging after a long absence, they open with a post explaining where they've been, and what wonderful or terrible life experiences have prevented them from blogging for so long, their new puppy who ate their laptop power cable, or the people who hacked their Facebook account and changed their profile picture to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, or the fact that their local muffin shop shut down their free wifi or blah blah blah. Then they'll promise to never leave their beloved readers again.
I'm not doing that. It's trite and clich├ęd, and really, I doubt any of you care. This isn't group therapy.  Instead, here's a short piece of flash fiction I wrote for a writing class a few months ago. It probabaly needs another redraft, but I read it at an open mic, and nobody openly told me it was shit, so I now assume it's amazing. Regular blogging will resume next monday, twice a week.

Footing The Bill

‘I just want you to know David, that it’s not you, it’s me’
She looked up from her drink and sighed, looking me in the eye for the first time in the whole half hour that we had been sat there.
‘No, I’m sorry, that’s not fair of me. We promised that we’d always be honest with each other, and I owe you that. It is you.’
I choked slightly on a mouthful of sandwich I struggled to swallow, and tried to come up with something, anything to say in reply.
‘I... but... What? Me? What?’
She sighed again, more heavily this time.
‘Don’t get me wrong darling, (Should I still call you darling? Probably not, I suppose); don’t get me wrong David, it’s not anything that you’ve done. It’s just that, well, I suppose you bore me.’
‘I... I bore you?’
‘Oh now! Don’t say it like that! You know that I’m not trying to be hurtful. Perhaps “bore” is too strong a word.  I just need someone a bit more... on my level. And it’s not like we didn’t have some fun times. Didn’t we have fun?’
She picked the last crisp from the side of her plate and nibbled at it daintily.
‘I’m... not on your level?’
‘I mean, we always had fun when we were out with my friends, didn’t we? Your friends can be a little... Is boorish the word I’m looking for? Certainly those rugby boys would class as boorish, with their drinking songs shouting and hollering.’
Our waiter gathered up our plates but, likely hearing our conversation, didn’t wait around to ask if we wanted dessert.
‘So, I’m boring and not on your level and you hate my friends as well?’
She sighed again. Her sighing at me seemed to sum up the entirety of our relationship really. ‘Oh now! Don’t go twisting things. I just think that we’d be better off as friends. You can see that, can’t you? Of course you can.’
She stood up. ‘Look, I have to go. I’m meeting Daniel, you remember Daniel from my office? I’m meeting him to go to the opening of an art exhibition in the library. It’s called “She Broke My Heart So I Ate Her Liver”. It sounds fascinating! Daniel is very into art!’
‘But... wait... Daniel?’

My mobile phone beeped; a text message. I ignored it
‘Look, I’ll call you, ok? We’ll have lunch again. A friendly lunch. As friends.’
And with that, she left. I sat in stunned silence, unsure what to do. It was several minutes before I realised that she’d left me to pay the entire bill.