Friday, 17 February 2012

I wish that for just one time, You could stand inside my shoes



But in these shoes? I don't think so..

So I did the train trip up to London thing on Thursday - look I have a picture to prove it



And I thought it would be helpful to sort of piece together what my thoughts were like on that journey so you can get an idea of how my anxiety effects something that other people do without  a thought. It also gives me a chance to see how I behave and how my mind (sort of) works

So I was planning to go up on Wednesday but because the cold I had was weighing heavy on my chest it gave me anxiety like symptoms so I bottled it. It'd be like giving myself extra problems to deal with. So I decided to wait for it to clear up. Luckily by Thursday it had buggered off

Unlike the time before when I travelled up this wasn't on the spur of the moment so my brain had time to start getting nervous about it the night before, And in the morning, nothing serious but just a low level background hum of tension.

So got to the station, the train was already there so had no time to think and was on. Put on ipod and latched onto Spiritualized 'Ladies & Gents' LP which starts soothing and then gets loud and epic. Feeling a bit nervous, have to think about what my inner "chatterbox" is doing and how its making me feel. Runs along the lines of

"what-are-you-doing-youre-not-gonna-be-able-to-cope-if-something-goes-wrong-like-what?-like-heart-attack-or-its-anxiety-you-fucking-twat-its-ok-i-can-getup-and-pretend-to-faint-as-people-will-look-after-me-thats-pathetic-yes-but-iwon't-feel-so-alone-with-this-but-that-will-be-terrible-and-you'll-never-do-this-again-thats-true-and-besides-there-is-nothing-anyone-can-do-i'd-just-have-to-calm-down-myself-
its-all-me-just-doing-it-to-myself-yes-radiohead-very-clever-you-idiot-ok-breathing-get-it-under-control-well-whats-normal-breathing-usually-i-just-do-it-i'm-not-thinking-about-how-long-it-takes-between-breaths-do-i?!"

Go and sit by the train toilet in case I have to go in there to 'not vomit' (cos it never happens for me during PA's) or if I want to hide if it all gets too much. Feel a little better and try positive thoughts, (its a thought not a fact,, its a thought not a fact,, its a thought not a fact) and looking out at the industrial wastelands around Slough. Hate the fact that trains are such sterile airless tubes these days and that opening a window is akin to child abuse. Still, try and let the music and things around me distract me. I find I can't read cos a) it seems like I'm doing some purposeful DISTRACTION so my brain revolts  and b) cos it makes me a little travel sick. Tweet a couple of things but that also makes me feel weird. Still I feel more distracted and calmer. Several times I just have to take deep breaths and relax. That low level tension never leaves but this experience is nowhere near as bad as last time. If last time was an 8 this was about a 3

We reach Paddington and the tube to Camden and back was an absolute breeze. I think my Ipod helped. Instead of just calming music I had it on random. I found myself doing some "secret dancing" (fans of Collings and Herrin will know what I mean) particularly to a good run of Motown and Northern Soul.

Before long I was back at Paddington for the home straight. Was about 3pm and I thought "hmm, not eaten today, maybe I should try something" so got a sandwich from Whistlestop (hilarious) and found my train. It wasn't until we were about 5 mins in that I took a couple of bites of sandwich. After feeling OK for ten minutes, had a couple more bites. Uh oh, feeling weird about this, anxiety rising, its a thought not a fact,  its a thought not a fact, its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact,its a thought not a fact, feeling better. Manage to get back to as normal as I can and finish off one sandwich just as I arrive back at home station.

Overall that trip was much easier than before and this is the key. I've got to keep doing these things until they no longer hold that fear for me. Of course I have to address my fear of eating\drinking then travelling but one step at a time and I did a bit of that already. I think now I have to apply these methods to other parts of my life and raise my general self worth and confidence.

So I feel I'm working at things. I'm aiming to add a couple of things to my life over the next couple of weeks that will shake up my routine. It would be nice if I could find a job but I'm not alone with that one by any means.

Onwards and upwards.....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Whilst shivering in my shoes, I'll strike a careless pose

This shall be my theme tune for tomorrow.


Thanks for all the good wishes and messages today people.

I cried the other night, I can't even say why

I don't think that I've had a day as bad as today in a long time. And it wasn't my anxiety, that was fine. I didn't really do much so there wasn't much to get nervous about.

I've just had this feeling of complete despair, tiredness, loneliness and sheer bloody sadness all day. I think part of it is what I've been up to recently, changing the way I live, trying to push myself and beat my demons. The highs are great but the lows seem a lot deeper than I'm used to. Therapy does tend to mix you up a bit like this - you have to taked the good with the bad.

Its just a feeling that i don't belong anywhere, that I don't matter, that I'm a failure - and its not suicidal or anything like that, its just a helplessness. If only I drank or did some drugs I could escape for a while. I think the CBT has made me realise how different my life could become but how far I feel from that point that it might as well not exist

I wish i was stronger, better, smarter and.....just able to see what others see to like in me cos I just can't see it. Its so fucking hard to get rid of years of self doubt and this is the sort of whiny self pitying shite that I didn't want to write here. It just opens me up to all the ridicule and hateful thoughts that I pour on myself day upon day. And I don't blame anyone for thinking that I'm pathetic - cos I agree.

Thing is tomorrow I'm going to go out into the world and give all those demons a good kicking but right now I am so low down and scared on my own. I just wish today hadn't happened at all.

God I know I'm going to regret writing this tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

People just ain't no good, i think thats well understood

Or so I have thought for a long time.

I guess it all goes back to my first real girlfriend and my anxiety that was in its first terrifying phase. She was very chilled, laid back and confident. I was anything but. We muddled along but it soon became clear that she neither wanted or found it possible to understand what I was going through. We were both in our late teens so looking back I don't blame her. "Panic attacks" were an alien thing to most GPs let alone spods like me.

However I think this had a critical effect on how I lived my life and still do despite recent leaps and bounds. I hid my anxiety away from people as much as I could as I thought they wouldn't want to know me anymore. Like she did.

So this past year has really smacked me round the head with revelations. I have met more people and made more genuine friends in 2011 than I have in years. And as you can see I have laid all this stuff out in front of them.

And to a man\woman they have all been supportive, interested and I must say i really didn't expect that. And that's no indicator of how I regard my friends and colleagues NOW its more a reflection of how people from my past have. And of course both friends new and old are learning about this at the same time. A couple of people who I only met last year were totally floored by this blog as they didn't see their experience of meeting me in what was going on under my skin.

And now I'm grateful for friends looking out for me when I'm out and about in town. Not in an annoying way but just to let me know that they are there if I need them. They want me to do well, to feel better, to lose some of the fear but if I feel bad then they are with me. Its an unfamiliar but happy place I find myself in atm.

I've been doing really well anxiety wise. Went and saw The Ladykillers again and was absolutely fine (again if you haven't seen it - GO! before it disappears) was very relaxed and chilled. Been on the underground and despite getting a bit lost in the Northern line spaghetti around Kings Cross and Euston I took it in my stride. I hope to add and improve on this over the coming weeks.

So to all my pals, I appreciate you more than I have before, I hope I'm less cynical and open about people - well maybe. And if you know someone that you haven't called in a while cos of work, stress and other bullshit that piles up - pick up the phone, get out there and do it. 

I think that until recently i couldn't see myself having a serious relationship with anyone again cos of all this bullshit in my head. Slowly I'm appreciating that might not be the case.

Monday, 6 February 2012

DFB's DISCS No.1: The Cruisin' Series 1955-1970

Well I thought I'd post something non therapy so here's the first of my informational musical postings

DFB's DISCS No.1: The Cruisin' Series 1955-1970 (on CD\cassette\vinyl)



Imagine if you will a machine that could pick up radio signals from the past. And you could tune it into classic US radio shows to get the sound you'd have heard riding along in your automobile, going to pick up your best girl and hot foot it to the hop across town

Well we can dream. However there is a great series of albums that can give you some of that. The 'Cruisin' series from 1995-1970 give you a slice of a radio show from a US city. You get about 45 minutes of classic tracks, adverts, film trailers, DJ chatter and nonsense. It took the UK more than a decade to even catch up to music radio this exciting and alive.




A particular favourite of mine in the 1965 edition with Robert W Morgan from "Boss Radio" KHJ in Los Angeles. The USA is in the grip of Beatlemania and a caller has to chant "yeah yeah yeah" to win a competition in their special Beatles promotion for the week. There is whole different language going on here with 'Magic Key' times, "Boss Angeles", The Real Don Steele and ads for Laramie cigarettes. The songs are often familiar as your own family but in context of a show they have an added vibrancy



As you may have noticed the albums have these great comic strip covers which chart the lives of Eddie & Peggy through the years with comments on the news and events of the time. They have a rough time through the sixties but as you see Peg ends up barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen in the end. What girl could ask for more? A career you say? Hey baby, that's cute, hows that pie coming along?

There is a detailed page about The Cruisin' series here http://leemichaelwithers.tripod.com/cruisin.htm

Beware - a company is putting out basic rock n roll comps with similar covers, no DJ stuff so avoid them

Have the complete series on CD but am always on the lookout for vinyl copies. Have 1958 & 1960 so if you see any others then lmk!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Train Kept A-Rollin' All Night Long (despite the snow)

Well i walked out after seeing 'Chronicle' at the flicks yesterday - an excellent twist of the super hero origins tale, "found footage" approach a bit annoying but OK and maybe seeing people take on the world filled me with a little zeal.

So for the first time in over 12 years I got a ticket and got on a train bound for London. I almost didn't step on, had that feeling of jumping off a cliff and then thinking "fuck it" and going for it. Found a seat and acted like I was going to have a snooze. Artist of choice - Gillian Welch. Calm, calm, calm.

Armed with just a magazine, an ipod and a bottle of water I passed Slough (could have got off), (Hayes & Harlington (ditto), Ealing Broadway (ditto) and before I knew it was in Paddington. A quick check to see when my mates would be in Camden and then onto the Underground. Its been a while since I did that but it was OK.

Got to Camden, the blizzard fell and got to the pub, quick drink and then back onto the Tube. My bottle (no not the water) went and it took me about 20 mins to travel 2 stops. Took some time to relax and carried on. Got to Paddington, jumped on a train, still a bit nervous but there were plenty of people about and no drunk idiots so felt safer as the journey progressed. Got back to home and slowly drove through the snow. It was nice to be home.

I'm so glad I did that, maybe not the best night to do it but I did it. Face the fear and all that. Thanks to those who tweeted me and texted me good vibes. Always got my back.

"Look at me...look at me...."


Heard about one good friend's nightmare trip through the snow last night so hope you all are safe and warm today.