"What happened to your Blog?"
"Are you doing another Blog?"
"Why aren't you doing another Blog?"
All these are genuine questions that have been directed towards me by people in the past few weeks. Mainly my mother. There are four answers to these questions which I will now give in order of least importance first so as to build up an air of suspense and the illusion of tension. This is a common writing technique evident in many books and films, though strangely absent in the autobiography of Kevin Keegan which peaks somewhere around page 100 when he is heckled by a tramp.
1) And pay attention because we're going to come back to this and if you've followed the theme of the Blog so far you will remember that this is important, although at the same time it is also the least significant reason of all: Nobody is paying me for this.
2) And as a direct result of point one, I am therefore in the fortunate position of not having to squeeze out some contrived rubbish where I have to pretend to care about something passionately to justify my existence before one day realising I have no idea what I actually believe anymore and my own character has become so merged with the alter ego I have created for myself that I no longer have a soul. I am happy to let Jeremy Clarkson carry on his impressive unwavering commitment towards this goal.
3) I needed to make sure that I am comfortable with anything I write being read and attributed to me by friends, family, lovers, employees’, enemies, strangers and future variants of all of the above.
4) About a month ago I was told I was suffering from depression and whisked off to therapy sessions (which essentially consist of a man trying to encourage another man to talk through the medium of silence) and the like and have been trying to juggle getting better with trying to get a job and trying to keep an even keel. Frankly writing a Blog nobody's paying me for (see point one) was the easiest thing to let slide.
Depression is a difficult thing to write about for a number of reasons. In my opinion if you've never experienced it you won't understand it. I also believe unless you are currently experiencing it you won't fully understand it either. In the same way someone who is experiencing it won't understand what it's like to be okay someone who isn’t experiencing it won’t understand what it’s like to not be okay.
It is easy and overly simplistic to explain this shift in mood as being due to a situation or event. The truth is that a bad situation could be a potential catalyst but is rarely the cause.
For example you might catch a cold if you don’t wear a jumper but it is neither the lack of a jumper that is the illness nor indeed the jumper that is the cure. And it is not simply a matter of fighting the cold that will enable you to avoid the illness. You can fight a cold with all your energy but still get sick.
In my case it honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind there was anything wrong until my doctor and another health practitioner told me they had concerns. This is perhaps part of the problem. It is not a sudden mood swing. Instead it envelops you so gradually that you don’t notice it. In my case I had just accepted it was now normal for me to stand in the middle of a street staring at people and wondering if I could provoke them into a fight. I had accepted that I now became panic stricken at the thought of even the most basic aspects of human interaction, had lost all confidence in nearly every area of my life and was growing increasingly paranoid and anxious. This was just who I was now. Indeed remembering dimly that perhaps I used to be able to function rather more fluidly was more of a sorry reminder as to how I had changed, rather like a syphilitic old man might look back on his younger years with a mixture of envy, guilt and regret.
I should point out before I receive any messages saying “I read your blog. Are you okay?” or more likely “I had no idea you were so mental” that I’m feeling better and hence able to write about it, hopefully relatively objectively and hopefully without coming over as sounding too self piteous. If I don’t write another Blog for a while then it is more likely to be for reasons 1, 2 or 3 listed above than it is for reason 4 and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m sitting in a dark room somewhere eating Toblerone and masturbating indiscriminately.
Well it probably does but I’m probably quite happy doing that.
Because depression is sitting in a dark room, eating Toblerone, masturbating indiscriminately and being unhappy. Whereas happiness is sitting in a dark room, eating Toblerone, masturbating indiscriminately and being fine with it.