Living For The Moment

Time is a precious commodity. I’m currently sat in my garden, in my favourite spot. Why’s it my favourite spot? Because it’s secluded and I feel safe, not a single sole in sight.Keeping Things simple I’m not entirely alone though, Birds are tweeting their evening songs and an occasional bumblebee is buzzing past, all far to preoccupied to even acknowledge  my existence. I look up to see a never-ending blanket of blue and the sun setting in the distance creating a pinkish purplish haze across the horizon. Just how I like it, a nice break from reality, I’m truly alone with just my own thoughts for company. Not always great for a depressant I know, but right now it feels perfect.

 

And what does an intelligent budding writer think about in these moments of bliss? Well, you’ll be surprised to hear, nothing too deep and meaningful! Believe it or not I’m actually thinking about time spent sat on the toilet! Weird I know, but please bare with me.  lets just say, for arguments sake, that the average person spends 10 minutes a day sat on the throne, and lets just say that that person lives  until there 80 years old. That equates to 291200 minutes in a life time, or 4853 hours, or approximately 202 days! What a huge waste of time and effort! Granted it can’t really be helped, it’s the way our body works. However it’s got me thinking about how much time we do waste, time that we could do something about. How many of us are simply going through the motions, rushing from one event to the next and completely missing the whole point? The point being that life’s about the experience, it’s not just what you can reach out and touch, it’s how these things make you feel that truly counts. How many people continue to let life pass them by.

Perhaps because I’m a suicide survivor, my eyes have been opened wider than most, and perhaps I’ve learnt to take less for granted. You’d hope that being  Categorised as a suicide survivor would put me into a select group, but sadly that’s not the case. There’s a lot of us around and we all have completely different experiences. Some might never have intended to go through with the deed, for these people it might have been a desperate cry for help. Some might have simply bodged the attempt or been found before they wanted to be found!  For me I always intended on going through with it, so much so I put plans in place for my family, for after I’d gone. Nobody, apart from me can appreciate how close I came that day, but thankfully I had a last second change of heart. I’ve discovered over time that suicide is nothing to be ashamed of, and in fact being able to talk openly about it really helps me. I also understand that not everyone Is like me and for some, revisiting that moment of their lives is far too painful.

In the few weeks that proceeded my attempt, I saw more and felt more than I had in an entire life time. I know that must sound a bit farfetched, but it’s true. For all intents and purposes I shouldn’t have been here anymore. It therefore felt like I’d been given a second chance and even now it sometimes feels like I’m living on bonus time! If I could have found a way to bottle up these emotions, I would have done so, but obviously over time they faded, it’s unrealistic to think you can stay on cloud nine indefinitely! Battling depression isn’t easy, even with all the optimism in the world, I still have more bad days than good, and on these days I still find it difficult to function. In my worst moments I even question my decision to choose life over suicide. Thankfully this is a question I ask less and less, but that being said, this is the reason why it’s so important to make the most of my good days.

I now find happiness in the strangest of places, like sat right here on this garden swing. This refreshingly cool breeze has probably always been there, but I’ve never allowed myself the time to truly feel it. Practicing mindfulness allows me to notice and appreciate all the finer details. It helps me to put things in perspective and worry less about the future. With my anxiety issues, these meditation techniques have become a vital coping tool, but even if I didn’t have a mental health illness, I would still recommend them. Everyone has stressful moments, times when you’re guilty of overcomplicating things. Mindfulness can help bring you back to the present and remind you that the only thing you can control, is the here and now.

Earlier I said I wasn’t thinking too deep and meaningful, but somehow I’ve gone from the subject of sitting on the toilet, to the meaning of life! And so on that note I will wrap this post up and go back to enjoying this beautiful sunset.

 

The Waiting Game

For those of you who Don’t regularly visit my blog, I play table tennis in a local league. Now, I’m far from being a world beater, but I believe I play to a half decent standard. Crucially I’m good enough not to stand out as not knowing what I’m doing, which is my permanent state of mind in the real world. It might seem strange to describe my table tennis world as not real, but it feels like that sometimes. It’s almost like an alternative reality, one where I miraculously become more confident and comfortable in my own skin, one where I can forget about having clinical depression for a while. The funny thing is, there are similarities to table tennis and everyday life, or indeed any past time you happen to be passionate about. When you have success or a couple of unexpected victories, you feel on top of the world- even untouchable!  It was like this for me 10 years a go when I did a best mans speech at my best friends wedding. For starters when he asked me I became very anxious and I never imagined I’d be able to do it, but lets face it, we all have that feeling from time to time. Look at the child who bravely climbs all those steps to the top of the giant slide, only to have second thoughts. He stands there saying “daddy I can’t do it” “daddy I can’t do it” “please don’t make me do it daddy!” But in the end he takes the plunge and in fact he loves it, so much so that daddy can’t get him off the slide for the rest of the day!  Standing in front of a room full of people and being the centre of attention, was and still is my worst nightmare. But I did the speech, and I made a good job of it. Truth be told, by the end I didn’t want it to end, I momentarily had that feeling of invincibility, I had faced and overcome my biggest challenge. Now anything seemed possible. Sadly these moments of ecstasy rarely last and soon something as innocuous as a council tax bill, brings you right back down to earth!

When I lose a few matches at table tennis I’m guilty of judging myself far to harshly. I find myself saying things like “This is the one thing I’m supposed to be good at, in fact it’s the only thing I’m good at, and I can’t even get this right!” I quickly begin to doubt my ability, and worse still, I begin to feel uncomfortable in the one environment that’s previously felt safe to me.  This uncertainty and extreme vulnerability is what I’m experiencing right now, and the reason for this is undoubtedly  my next medical, which is scheduled for the end of the week.

PENDING DOOM!

A small part of me, after being left alone for almost three years, thought that they might have forgotten about me or that I’d some how been lost in the system. This was always more hope than expectation, the reality is I’ve been on tenterhooks for months now, waiting for the dreaded brown envelope to arrive. Of course the waiting is by far the hardest part, but now that the date is finally here, all sorts of emotions (mainly negative!) have come rushing to the surface. The medical is at the same place it was last time and it’s the waiting room that’s the main issue for me. Small and cramped with no windows, and only the receptionist can open the door in and out. It feels like there’s  no way out, like you’re trapped like a caged animal! This same environment led to me having a full blown panic attack last time. Just getting there will be a huge challenge, and that’s before we even get to the medical part! Being scrutinised and having to prove my illness all over again.

How do you prove something people can’t see?  

What if I’m too nervous to even speak? 

What if I can speak but say something stupid? 

What if the person doing the medical is having an off day? 

What if they’ve got out of the wrong side of bed? 

What if they take an instant dislike to me? 

How can I make them believe I’m one of the genuine ones?

I’m trying my best to stay positive, but it’s hard, I have this sense of inevitability that I’m going to fail, and that it’s going to be the start of a downward slope, one that I can’t see a happy ending too. To say that I’m terrified, would be a massive understatement. I’m angry at the system, but ultimately I’m more angry at myself. In fact  I’m really not liking myself very much at the moment. Frustrated with my lack of progress in the last three years. Frustrated that I’m still that same useless bastard  who’s afraid of his own shadow and struggles to leave the house on his own.

I will try my best to keep my benefit, the truth is I need it, I’m not fit for work, but whether I deserve to continue getting support, is debateable. I’m fed up of being such a burden.