So recently I bit the bullet and wrote about depression. Mental instability. Being a little cray-cray. Being followed by a black dog. Getting annoyed at Justing Timberlake singing about having sunshine in his pocket. Whatever you want to call it. Writing about it helped enormously. It was sort of not caring about it personally anymore. It took all its steam away. Now I was prepared to go to a dinner party and when people say ‘What do you do?’ I can reply with ‘I get really panicked and anxious and despair of everything and seal myself off from everyone, but I’m okay right now. Not that you need to worry about being a friend of mine or talking to me after this evening- you are obviously a pompous asshat and even if I said I was actually God, you’d still not be impressed because I don’t own a Brietling watch.’ (Yeah Dave. You know who you are, you twat.) It really freed me up.
One other change- my illness creates in me a debilitating physical condition that involved toilets, which is neither cool to talk about nor is it cool as a physical action. So I won’t- except to say that as soon as I stopped caring what people might think of the problem, it calmed down a lot. I mean it still happens sometimes, but what kind of idiots stand in a toilet laughing at the uncomfort being displayed aurally from a closet? Toilet humour is an acquired taste when you’re an adult, but take it too seriously and it gets really sensitive. Then it is powerful…
Well, the writing really helped. So does lying on the floor and asking myself ‘what’s good at the moment?’. Not ‘what do I want?’ or ‘what do I need?’. They’re aspirational questions- I don’t know what the fuck I want really. It used to be Lambos and swimming pools. Now its getting through conducting a concert without passing out.
I discovered by accident that there was another kind of writing that also helps.
I know this bloke; massive dude, gold tooth, tattoos, ex-bouncer, shaved head, alleyway nightmare; massively big and strong. But he sometimes falls down. He freaks out and forgets who he is and gets really low. He cannot see the wood for the trees- all that sort of stuff. Now that doesn’t make him dangerous- just sad. Really sad inside. Like he dropped his mojo down the back of the sofa and he can’t find it anywhere. And there’s about 50 million people that love him and his presence so it’s debilitating. Everyone knows him and respects him. He’s a Don.
Anyway, I messaged him when he said something negative on the book of faces. It was a general statement of despair. So I told him to forgive himself, be kind to himself and try to decompress from the hassles that he was experiencing.
Then I realised the next day, that I’d sobered up and what the hell had I done? This guy wouldn’t respect or even like what I’d done. He’d look at it defensively and say ‘Who the hell are you? You aren’t even that good a mate- don’t judge me or tell me this. I don’t need your homeopathic nonsense. I need a drink with my mates and a fight.’
That wasn’t what he replied though.
I’ll let you guess what he wrote but honestly, it turned out that I’d helped. I actually helped him, and he appreciated it. Genuinely.
You see, if you read this stuff that Mindtank kindly allow people to publish and you think it’s useful to read- then you will not believe how powerful writing about it is. Not to yourself. Write it aloud. Pin it to a bus stop. Put it on here. Slip it into a paper at Costa. No one will laugh at it. No one will dismiss it. They’ll use it or give it to someone else. Or they won’t- but that makes them too busy or just twats. And there are unfortunately some of those in the world. Just write it aloud. Like Sally Brampton. What a wonderful lady. Just maybe acknowledge your challenges earlier and write about them earlier.