1. Beginnings



Day one of my online blog.

I’m hoping that it can upstage the chronic plunge in mood dogging me in the wake of the August 18 wedding of my eldest daughter, Lauren.

A lot of family time and thought flowed into the wedding, which was one of the happiest days of my life. I proudly walked Lauren up the aisle, gave a speech, got very drunk and howled with deep pleasure at the joy of the dodgems, an unusual item which gave the day a never-to-be-forgotten flavour and left tens of wedding-goers with bruised knees.

Two days later, Maureen and I took a holiday in the Peak District, extending the afterglow of the deep wedding pleasures across a series of White Peak walks and visits. We relaxed with each other as married couples do when away from the familiar, sleeping long and forgetting what time it was. By the time we were halfway home, in an M1 traffic snarl-up, that feeling had disappeared.

As work and home routines have kicked back in, I feel caged by monotony. Hamster on a wheel. I’m a good journalist, but at 61 have long lost the energy and enthusiasm which once propelled me to start writing at dawn’s crack, and to bang out the words until dusk. It doesn’t help that our money is exhausted post-nuptials. Yet again I owe the taxman a few big ones. A grimmer shadow will be cast by the dark winter days just over the horizon, poised to cut short my therapies of gardening and cycling. Winter is tangibly less enjoyable with each passing year. I have learned to wait for the light to return, and walk to stave off the SAD. Alcohol would once have got me through, but I am wary of its depressive channels, and where they lead. More positively, good sleeps always help, and should become more regular as the nights get colder.

I have known depression before. I staggered through early teenage years at school, wanting the ground to swallow me rather than face more teasing, taunting and humiliations from ‘friends’. I spent the years from 22 to 40 in a haze of misery after a self-inflicted bout of foolishness. I contemplated suicide in Devon 15 years ago, after a protracted and ruinous credit binge, and was on anti-depressants for several months after my mum’s death in 2006.

Yet there are days when the current onslaught seems worse than anything I’ve known. The past always seemed to offer new options, which seem less identifiable this time around.

Which brings me back to the writing. It’s my hope that a few honest paragraphs each day, for possible inspection by others, will significantly lighten the burden. Confession and expression. Don’t think it matters who reads it, if anyone. My bet is that the daily discipline will occupy and motivate me, lighting some kind of path through the coming dark period.



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