askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 It seems to have been an impossibly long time since I last posted.  Life is currently hectic and stressful (no change there) and has recently resulted in one of my most significant mood swings/extreme cycles in recent years.  Culminating in self harm, taking up smoking again, and a red-telephone-style phone call to BFF to ask to stay with her for a while as I just couldn't reliably stop myself coming to harm for a while there.

Some of this is hinted at and foreshadowed in two recent blog posts over on my other blog:
Just 'doing it for attention' - some thoughts on reasons behind self harm
High Stakes Gambling - on turning into skid when hitting hypomania

I'm currently crawling out from under a few hangovers - actual one brought on by a near uninterrupted 1 month drinking binge (something which is increasingly doing me a concern and I may post later on how I feel about drinking and working through some stuff there) and financial one from hypomanic spending and associated costs of going on a bit of a bender. 

Friendships are groaning at the seams and I need to put energy in there too.

I'm hopeful things are looking up, professionally, for me in September but there is still uncertainty and multiple factors at play there.  I'm also giving dating another spin of the wheel after wedding of friend who met now-husband on OK Cupid, which I attended with another friend who has recently embarked on a positive-looking relationship with someone from Realisation that my perfect "our eyes locked over the organic avocados" meet-cute moment ain't gonna happen and I need to put some energy in there.

In all: life.


Mar. 1st, 2015 06:29 pm
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Had a fairly dreadful couple of weeks.  I'm still not sure if I was going through a downswing/having depression or had a particularly nasty virus or, most likely, both but today I woke up feeling OK.

Spent most of week of 16th Feb laying on sofa feeling knackered and, on Wednesday, dashing to uni campus for an emergency GP appointment because I couldn't catch my breathe.  Mystified GP concluded it was either weird virus causing breathlessness, or some peculiar presentation of asthma, either way I was prescribed an inhaler and used it frequently for about 4 days before symptoms tailed off.  The nurse who triaged me asked if it could be anxiety and I said I didn't feel anxious and she was happy with that but I really don't know if it was anxiety or not.  It wouldn't be the first time I've had all the symptoms of anxiety without consciously feeling stressed.

That weekend was my best friend, Becky's, hen do.  She's not into the pink wings hoopla, and we travelled up to her home town of Oxford to take over the pub she and her friends used to drink in as teenagers and get squiffy.  I was apprehensive about the entire thing but it turned out to be a lovely weekend and I felt I got to know my fellow bridesmaids which is nice ahead of her wedding in May.  It's a bit of an odd group as with the exception of 3 wives and girlfriends, I am the only outsider to join their friendship group since they were at school.  I went to a wedding of another couple from this group several years ago and was the only person at the wedding who wasn't either a family member of the bride and groom, or had gone to high school with them.  It's quite a compliment, and they are a lovely group, but it can feel a little strange setting foot in a group I've only been connected with for 12 years, when they have known each other for closer to 20 years.

Last week I continued to be utterly, utterly exhausted.  My parents visited on Tues and Weds and due to my teaching schedule at uni I only actually spent one day with them even though they were here for 2 nights.  It was nice and I didn't get aggro as I so often do around them.  

Thursday and Friday I was desperately sad, and slept for hours and hours across those two days and nights.  On Friday morning I realised that my building sadness over the last two weeks was due to a subconscious awareness that it should have been Lu's 30th birthday.  Instead, of course, her sister, mother, and friends, all experienced - to different degrees - that gnawing sense of pointless loss for the day.

It shouldn't have been this way.

And then I learnt that Leonard Nimoy had died and I went through the peculiar distanced grief which comes with the death of a celebrity you've had such a deep, life-long connection with.  Star Trek has shaped my imaginative world since I was god knows how old and watching Star Trek TOS on my brother's knee.  Spock is what Star Trek TOS is all about.  And Nimoy was Spock.  He put so much of himself into that character and raised the entire show above the realm of cheap sci fi into the force for good and hope and dreams I know it as today.  I adored his appearances in the Star Trek reboot-movies and I can't quite accommodate the idea he, and his special aura, are gone from our screens save for re-runs.

Saturday was hard too.  I was still exhausted, still feeling the paranoia and anxiety I associate with a particularly brutal downswing.  Forced myself out of the house to Asda which was very nearly the end of me.  Home again for the evening, sadness, introspection.

And then, this morning, I woke up before my alarm and didn't feel exhausted.  The fog has lifted and my brain can think.  I've been accepted to a conference in Ireland in June which may well make a lovely holiday (if I can get funding from the department to go!) and I cleaned the flat and tidied the detritus of a fortnight of inaction. And then I made dinner, wrote some emails...I came alive again.

And I remember why I get up in the morning and why I speak to other human beings and why life keeps on turning.

It's been an awful couple of weeks.  I want to weep for my past self, because I feel bruised from the sadness which has been following me around.  It hurts.  And it scares me every time it comes back, and every time it won't leave.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
I find you in the strangest places.

Sitting against the window in the sun on the train from Birmingham to Melton.  In the face of the girl in the queue for the Manics last week. In an echo of teenage lust for David Boreanaz in the first episode of Buffy.

In bluebells and in fat, ripe, purple cherries.

It's good to see you.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Had a bit of a meltdown this week, ended up throwing myself on mercy of supervisor about the impending deadline (Monday) that I was definitely going to miss.  He took one look at me and said I should take a month off from PhD stuff and just focus on teaching (which right now is taking up 3 days of my week, oh my is it time consuming!) I'm not willing to flat out stop work on the thesis, but I am abandoning attempting to write anything for the next couple of weeks and just catch up on transcription.

I keep trying to do little things to remind myself how far I've come (like downloading a programme that counts the words in multiple word documents and discovering I've transcribed 242,000 words so far) but mostly I feel I've just taken on way too much this year.  I'm teaching which - based on feedback today after a lesson observation - I'm doing well, I'm organising a fortnightly seminar series with external speakers, I'm organising a big internal conference, I'm thesis-ing, I'm teaching on a Widening Participation programme, I'm still travelling around the country interviewing.  

It's a lot, by any standard.

Today would have been Lu's 29th birthday and it hasn't been as bad today as I feared - the beginning of the week was me bursting into tears a lot - I think lingering sense of grief and over-worked brain combined in emotional ways.  This morning I had Hepburn's I Quit stuck in my head.  I was boogying around my flat getting ready whilst singing, laughing, remembering jokes and singing to it when we were 14, then I left the flat and somehow my own silence overwhelmed me and I got a bit teary, then I smiled again remembering something else.  Her not reaching these birthdays brings things into sharp focus - I feel such a sense of loss - her loss, her family's loss, her friends' loss.  

I've decided to pursue private therapy at same clinic I went to previously here in Brighton and have an assessment appointment next week on Friday.  The following Monday I finally have my ultrasound guided steroid injection - I'm properly worried for potential pain after last time's agony but I also have cautious hope it could either resolve issue, or reveal a structural issue which can be resolved in another way.  My supervisor recently had 3 slipped discs and upon hearing I was also awaiting treatment to resolve chronic pain redoubled his entreaty that I take a break.  God I hope this injection fixes it - I'll even take steroid flare again if it subsides to no pain.

So, life.  Painful and sad and odd, but sometimes still beautiful - like the tiny break in the cloud today with sunshine crashing down around the pouring rain.


Oct. 22nd, 2013 11:02 pm
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Regina Spektor's Us is an extraordinary song for me.  It means two very special people to me.  Firstly, it means J, who bought the album (Mary Ann Meet the Gravediggers and Other Stories) home one day, and put it on in the living room. But we only had an ancient playstation hooked up to our tiny tv, and it automatically played the enhanced bit of the cd which was the video for Us, and I was utterly transfixed.  Secondly it means Lu, who told me that people play Us at their wedding because they don't understand what it's about.  And I was amused, very amused.  Like it was a secret joke.

I have taken to turning off the tv in the evenings recently.  A long time ago my best friend's boyfriend, a stoic, no frills sort of man, told me I should watch less tv because it made me sad, and listen to music in the evening instead. I laughed then.  But I think, several years on, there's something there.  TV is deadening.  I have it on for noise and noise alone.  It is rarely on to watch, and even less frequently contains something to inspire me.  I think I rejected it because as a teen I listened to about 8 hours of music a day, almost always in isolation, and it didn't make me feel good.  TV became the other media, the social media, the media that was about outside spaces - spaces outside me - and not the ones inside.

I'm 29.  I'm not the person I was when I was a teen. It's ok to walk the same paths - I won't end up in the same place.

Us is still a beautiful song.  Huge and sweeping.  Sometimes it makes me laugh and sometimes it makes me cry.  Life living with J at uni was, retrospectively, glorious.  I was awful to live with, a sackful of neuroses, he stuck by me with good grace and humour.  We had hi jinks and stupid conversations until 4am.  Knowing Lu was wonderful.  And frustrating and confusing, because she was human and we were young when we first met and were awful to each other and wonderful to each other as kids are.  And she was heading into adulthood the same way I was - forwards and backwards and reluctantly and willingly - which I suppose is why it's still so fundamentally perplexing why she decided to bow out early.

One song.  Two people.  Two huge sets of emotions.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
If your favourite smell could be described as a color, which colour would it be?

That really crisp white colour that has more blue in it than any of the other colours in the spectrum.

My favourite smell is the smell of laundry drying outdoors on a crisp spring day when the smell of dew is in the air and the sun is gradually burning it off - not in the fast and humid way it does in the summer when the sun gets hot early - with a gentle breeze just strong enough to move the laundry and release the scent.

Today my friend S, who was in the crash a week ago, was finally released from a hospital. He was home by 1pm and I went round to visit at 3:30ish. He's a lot sharper than he was but still a long way off being normal. He also views the last week with a bit of a haze and many big gaps. He has absolutely no memory of me and our other friends visiting him on Thursday - despite the fact he was talking to us reasonably coherently.  He apparently had some crazy delusions when he was in hospital; insisting he had to install an outside tap (he's a plumber) in the hospital ward at 2am one night, for example and, even more humorously, claiming to be the Duke of Cornwall - presumably not married to Camilla, but who knows?!

He tells me he feels as though one of his legs feels much heavier than the other when he walks and he is very much shuffling about when walking.   I suggested perhaps his leg has always been heavier than the other and he's only noticing it now.  I think focussing too much on what isn't normal yet is only going to frustrate him more so I keep trying to make light of such things.

As I left he thanked me for visiting and I thanked him for not dying; which caused his girlfriend to choke on her tea and start crying with laughter so that was good!

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
I feel like I can hear those frantic early morning phonecalls, as though I was there in the car as they raced across the county to reach the hospital in the dead of night.not knowing what would meet them.

S, you silly bugger.

Through a series of non existent circumstances, S's girlfriend and I never exchanged mobile numbers; why would we need them? She sent me a message on facebook just as soon as she could.  I didn't pick it up until last night and, shaking, I phoned her.

It was simultaneously worse and better than I expected; he was being kept in for a few days, he has swelling on the brain but he was not in a chemically induced coma and had eaten twice that day.  I offered her everything I could - lifts, company, food, cat sitting, love.  

Went to visit today and very nearly had a breakdown trying to find which building I needed to be in at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham which has apparently adopted a very relaxed approach to signing buildings - you get to know what floor the department you want is on, but not which building it is in.  Not to mention signs outside pointing in opposite directions for the same places. FUCK IT.

Eventually found the right building, began my hike around the corridors and was very nearly foiled trying to get into the ward by a locked door and no indication of which of the many buttons I should press to get in.  Was saved by more visitors turning up behind me.

S seems....ok.  He was occasionally a bit confused and very, very lethargic.  But we - there were 6 of us visiting when I was there - managed to raise a smile and a few times a laugh from him so I'm not despondent. He's pretty bashed up but nothing like I expected - if he'd fallen through a hedge he probably wouldn't look much worse.

Discussion turned, as he slept, to the crash itself.  He can't remember anything, and I mean ANYTHING.  I asked him what the last thing he remembers is; he doesn't remember. One of our friends, Jay, drove around to try and find where the crash happened - the police have recovered his vehicle - and took pictures of the site in the hope it would give us all some clue.  It looks as though he skidded on mud, ploughed off the road, across the verge and into the ditch where the van carried on sliding along on it's side until it hit a tree.

As yet - the police may be able to tell us - nobody know what time he crashed or who found him.  It is certain that he was there, unconscious, for some time before he was found.  It may have been half an hour, it may have been 2 hours - there is a window of about an hour and a half in which it is likely he was driving home from work - again nobody knows what time he actually left - and there is a roundabout time at which he was found based on when his girlfriend received a text from a fireman she knows telling her they just pulled her boyfriend out of a wreck.

That he was alone for so long - and could have been for much longer had someone not stumbled on him on a back of beyond country road does not bear thinking about.  Intending to go back tomorrow, either just to visit or to make myself useful and give his seriously sleep deprived girlfriend a lift home so she can shower and maybe sleep - tonight will be her second night on a chair and 

It feels as though we've all suddenly come terrifyingly close to tragedy and simultaneously feels like it's not really happening.
askygoneonfire: if you lived here, you'd be home by now (November the 15th)
You sit, in a worn down but well loved, lived in living room, you shout from there to the kitchen down the corridor.  The soul you feel most drawn to and most forgiven by shouts back to you; you laugh till you cry.

Text messages buzz, the doorbell rings, the landline dings; "I think I'm standing outside?"

The temperature rises as bodies pack into the insufficient but perfectly workable space.  The thrum of laughter, and smiles - smiling has a sound - and conversation drifts from the floor upwards, filling the whole room with a pleasant din, like a fog which envelops but also multiplies as it spreads.

It is tactile, and comfortable, and it is home.  

It is home.  Far more than 'home' was ever home.

All those idiosyncrasies which were shameful and hidden are jokes - shouted across the room.  All those insecurities which were poured over cease to exist.  Home.  This is what home feels like.

It's a knowledge that happens in the core of the bones and spreads outwards.  And then, suddenly and gradually, there has never been any doubt about where here is.

You catch yourself: just once in a while, standing there, amongst the din, smiling and feeling, even for a few precious moments, perfect contentment.


It is 11 days until I get to go home.  It is too long, and my retreat will be too short.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Dear Universe,

Thank you for introducing me to a charming, intelligent, attractive woman with whom I can frequently have in depth and heartfelt philosophical, political, ethical, moral and theological discussions.  She is exactly what I asked for.

Unfortunately I neglected to specify that she and I should be romantically compatible, which led to a ridiculously drawn out unsuccessful relationship - because we both recognised we were right for each other and ignored every single aspect of our relationship which showed we weren't - and now a friendship which, whilst fulfilling, only serves to remind me of how close, and yet how far we came to getting what we both wanted.

Next time can you do less coming-of-age-drama-learning-wishes-don't-get-you-what-you-want moralising with the wish granting sting in the tail thing and just find me a nice girl.....or maybe a boy.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
I really have missed you.

And tonight was brilliant.

I realised so much about us both, stuff that should have been obvious years ago, but perhaps it is only now that I am ready to see it.

I'm not in love with you any more.  And I'm not in love with her any more either.  Isn't that huge? Isn't that glorious?

For a while I thought my broken heart would always mean I was still in love with her.  But somehow, tonight, a little bit of me that was reflected back at me as I sat talking to you was the bit that showed me the truth;  no love.

I can't wait to see you again in February.  I'm sorry we've lost so much time over the past few years - I think a lot of it came from how she changed me; but I know there was a girl changing you too.  We've both arrived somewhere better.  I'm glad that we are in each others future.

You're the keeper of half my memories.  I forget how much I forget.  Then you tell someone a story about something I did, or something we did together and the little portraits you paint release memories I didn't know I had.  Sometimes the story is as new to me as the person you are telling it to - I wish my memory was better, I really do, but it is such a relief to know that you, and a few other people, are keeping close guardianship of my youthful excesses, my triumphs and the many and various ways in which we got to this point.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (November the 12th)

Hi, I missed you.

All the stupid trips we went on.  The day we spent trying to find that hamlet because it had such a hilarious name.  The dangerous games we used to play.  The month we ate nothing but Super Noodles.  The month we drank nothing but cider.

The nights we did the thing that everyone knew we would except us.

The in jokes that will never get old.

The fact everyone we meet together - no matter how many years have intervened - always says we are so alike.  The same person, split into male and female.  The partners we've had that have been intimidated by our instinctive closeness.  Our bafflement that anyone feels threatened.

The times I cried.  The times you had no idea.  The times you just called me and said "come here".  The times you were everything good about my life.

I missed you.

Thank you.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

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