1999 and all that

I don’t really want to talk about this year. Yet I must. Firstly and this can’t be stated strongly enough I was happy, life was going well for once. Yet come Holy Week my UC flared up and I was signed off work. I had no idea I would never work again. The usual high doses of steroids were to be taken. Visiting the Dr he had a trainee with him and asked questions he perhaps might not have asked. I explained all the normal side effects but added a new one concerning my tongue. This flagged something to him and he drew blood. Later that afternoon he phoned me my Blood Glucose levels were 32 (normal range 4-7). I had diabetes. What a relief to get a diagnosis at last! And no worries about having been around diabetes since I was a young lad. Quickly brought under control. And then without warning the darkness descended and I wanted to kill my self. I wouldn’t of course because I am a Christian. But boy did I think and plan it every waking minute. Unknown to me knives, pills etc were all hidden from me on the Dr’s advice. Then I became almost catatonic. Everything moved so slowly in my mind that it could take me an hour or more to find the energy and ability to answer a simple question that required a yes / no answer.

By May 2001 I was retired on grounds of ill health. Never once though did my faith leave me if anything it grew stronger. 

Eventually I ended up under the care of a psychiatrist. She was good. But while I improved a little over time I never and to this day it remains true returned to my old self. Then the difficulty in using my right side began to get worse and the chronic pain started.

Enough for today this is way way too painful to write about. It doesn’t help. It is not cathartic. Without my lovely wife things would have been different perhaps. I survived it all even although for months and years there was only God’s light to guide me.

Was it all darkness no? There are, as anyone who has ever suffered with depression will tell you, rage and anger beyond comprehension. Violent outbursts, smashing my head off a wall, plunging knives into kitchen units. Uncontrollable rage. It’s part of the disease one of the symptoms. Then there is of course the paranoia, the anxiety so intense and prolonged it cripples you to a standstill. It is an emotional rollercoaster of incredible depths. There are no heights, no breaking the water into sunlit breathable air, just drowning.

I live now in the shallows of that experience, I cannot get to the shore and the call of the depths is always beckoning. A great black shadow threatening always to encircle me. It is survivable.

If you are suffering from Depression do not listen to the killing voice. Like me you may never recover but you can and should survive.

Augustine x

Random Photo of the Day

Soul Cleaning?

I’m frustrated by my age and vision. I used to run websites, forums and blogs, then I gave up on it all, for a variety of reasons. In coming back to it I am frustrated. I wanted to make a pretty well laid out blog filled with well placed images and great typefaces. Sadly that’s not going to happen. It all seems beyond me now. So if you are going to read here then this is it as pretty as it gets and no images to speak of and certainly not write home about.

I notice as I grow older I am content to stop striving to move forward with technology. Yes I have an iPhone, an iMac, an iPad Pro and the latest TV technology, from Sky Q to Apple TV but it no longer can it excite me as it once did and I am cynical about upgrade cycles that add very little and do nothing much but empty my bank balance.

In no way therefore can you expect this to look good, professional or award winning. That makes me quite sad. I guess it comes with age when one begins to realise how futile material things are even the ephemeral  like this  blog. I recently deleted a long standing Facebook account as it seemed such a waste of time and giving up the battle for privacy with this giant seemed worthwhile.

A few years ago now I began to give up any attachment to material objects. It was hard but the more ruthless I became the easier it became. Now when something no longer has any use or purpose I give it away. There is a sense of freedom in giving things up. Don’t confuse this with the current fad for decluttering I am talking about soul cleaning. Oh look I’ve just made up a phrase, “soul cleaning”. I guess the more I contemplate the end of life the more I realise what an utter waste of time it has been cluttering up my mind, my soul, with the material. Better to live free, to live for thought, to live in the moment. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone but myself nor would I wish to make it a prescriptive necessity for anyone else. All I can report is for me this is freedom. It gives me space to grow inside, to nurture my spiritual well being.

Beach scene at sunset.A white letter overlay reads A letter to myself

In a world gone over the top on a consumer feeding frenzy it is good to step back and then turn my back on it all. It is the pursuit of a satisfaction from the material. A pursuit that will ultimately prove futile for everyone.

I wish I could send this to my younger self!

Take care,

Augustine x

Black and white photo of a man standing beside his car taking a photograph.  Taken circa 1930
Old Photo of the Day