Category: Life

Being open and honest in dark times…

I wrote a few weeks ago about being very very down and living through very dark moments. Although at the time of writing that post I didn’t express how truly dark those days were, but at the time I was considering ending it. Now, before I continue, I have NO point of life I can place this on, and really there is no rhyme or reason for my “black” thoughts, but all the same, they existed, they were real and nothing at that point moved me from this runaway train of thought.

Over the years so many rock icons had taken their lives by hanging, and I thought this to be a horrific, almost barbaric death. Then, this year our dear nephew hanged himself with his “best friend” dog by his side. He was at a point that this course of action seemed logical and to him his only friend was his dog, but even his dog could not chase the demons away. At the time of his death, I thought to myself how could he go through with it? What a terrible way to go. But, yes, there is always a but, in my head during those three or four weeks my thoughts changed and blocked the “how” question to something that now made sense to me. I even thought of exhaust fumes into the car, but my mind kept turning to the thing I thought barbaric and horrific, which at the time made sense.

These thoughts plagued me 24/7. In my dreams and my waking hours. It was monotonous and wore away at me. To me it was like something was daring, tempting, wishing me to follow that rabbit down the hole. Every song I listened to pulled me in the wrong direction and my head followed the trail of breadcrumbs to darker and darker places, like unseen hands relentlessly tugging at me, almost taunting me to the final act.

I can’t say what changed, what brought me back to a “sensible” train of thought, although still my head “goes west” but so far without the need for finality, however, it is still dark.

A week or so after writing that post I was wondering about the house and garden aimlessly and Mazikeen came to me wanting to play. Of course, I played with her and her ball and eventually, I sat in the arbour and she sat with me. She was leaning on me just staring at me with nothing but love in her eyes, and maybe the thought of a biscuit. I sat looking at her, holding her and asked knowing I was never going to get a spoken answer “will you miss me if I go? I need you to look after your dad for me!” She is a dog, indeed a very intelligent dog, but all the same, a dog, and I never expected an answer. She looked at me in the eyes, maybe sensing my turmoil, without breaking eye contact moved over to my knee and literally hugged me and gently licked me like she was giving me kisses of support, and maybe even telling me she would miss me. I have no idea what she was thinking but it was a gesture that unknown to me at the time made a big difference. Later that evening Harper did the same. Harper is a hugger, but again this probably made a difference.

Maybe that was what I needed. Maybe my girls really knew where my head was and formed a plan between themselves to help, or maybe they were being themselves and that was my point of return, a push in the right direction. Do not get me wrong, M knew I was in a dark place, but, I did what I always do, and pushed him back, told him to “leave it”, “don’t push it” and I am sure many other damning comments. Not that I wanted to hurt M, but I am someone that needs to deal with things on my own, and anyone trying to help gets pushed away. Not ideal, but I do not know any other way. I grew up with a hateful father who thought with his fists and “boys DO NOT cry” and the notion that emotions are weak. This is something I cannot change in myself even though I know it is self-destructive. I am over half a century old and old dogs don’t learn new tricks no matter what people believe.

Whilst in that frame of mind, the so-called sense is buried out of reach and dark thoughts emerge as sensible courses of action. Maybe my girls understood and their actions were just enough to pull me through, or maybe my head sorted itself out? I don’t know, and honestly, I’ll never know. I am still not right, but the edge of the precipice seems a little further away today.

One of the many songs I turn to when I’m down is “Hope there’s someone” by Antony and the Johnson’s. It is a beautiful song by a beautiful person.

A Little Bit Off…

Forgive me, this post may wander/ramble or be a bit all over the place.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been “a little bit off”, I don’t know why, and as the song says “I cannot put my finger on it”. One day I was my happy and carefree self, then the clouds came over and my mood went south and kept on in that direction for the duration. Many dark thoughts went through my head, dark thoughts that seemed rational at the time, but I could not talk about them. Talking is not something I do, never have, and I doubt I ever will. This I blame my father for as it was beaten into me that boys don’t cry, boys don’t express feeling, boys should go about fighting and beating up the gays. (The Irony of being a gay 51-year-old man whose father does not know he is gay as I have not seen him since I was a teen, also he lives somewhere in Europe.)

M has tried to get me to talk, but he knows not to push me as that has the complete opposite effect and being honest I tend to clam up anyway, so when asked if I am okay I just nod and stay quiet. I cannot explain why I clam up and find it so hard to talk and express myself. The whole thing is very uncomfortable and rather than go through the motions I would rather just close down, shut out the world and live in my own head. Even writing this is tough, not in an emotional way, but hard to put words on the screen. I have meant to write something over the past week or so in the hope that it starts to pull me back out of my slump, but, the voice in my head spouted negativity and piles on more dark thoughts and I finally decided the voice was right and agreed with it’s “who really wants to read this crap, no one cares”. Now, I am not looking for anyone to say anything, either way, I just decided it was time to let my fingers do the talking as it were.

Churchill famously called his depression his “Black Dog” and I understand why because it feels like it’s a physical thing. I have no name or point of reference for my “low mood” but it does feel like a dark oppressive cloud over me. M also refers to his clinical depression as his black dog from time to time. M has been diagnosed with depression, however, back in 2013 my GP gave me some antidepressants for a month as I was having a bad time at work and she labelled mine as “low mood”. I didn’t take the tablets as I am not a tablet taking person, even when I was given meds for my heart, foolish maybe, but that was my decision.

We all experience down days, and it usually is just that, a down day. This time felt different, but I cannot put into words why it was different. Even the dogs got to me, Maz jumping up at me and Harper not listening kept sending me over the edge and I had to sit in the garden on my own to try and sort myself out. Not that it worked all that well, but it did take an edge off my frustration and calmed me slightly. Again, as to why this was bothering me I will never know. Maz has always jumped up at me and Harper never listens, but that day I could feel myself falling over the edge of a precipice.

I have just read over the post so far, and I can see I am not really talking about things properly, just skirting about things, and I cannot go any further, it seems my head will not let me, and this is the same when talking, however, talking comes with a mental and dare I say it a physical muteness.

One thing that has come out of this dark patch is that I admitted to M that all the scars on my arms were self-inflicted from when I was a young teen, he knew deep down, but I had never mentioned them, and now the sun is out they are showing quite a bit, usually, I tend to burn and that hides them. I guess this is positive, even though my ramblings here have not exactly been groundbreaking, but it is a start. I don’t know where my head will end up or even if my current mood will change, but today I feel a little bit happier, fingers crossed I am on the up.

“A Little Bit Off” by Five Finger Death Punch resonated with me and I have therefore shared both the video and the lyrics.

I’m a little bit off today, something down inside me’s different
Woke up a little off today, I can tell that something’s wrong
I’m a little thrown off today, there’s something going on inside me
I’m a little bit off today, a little bit off today
(I’m a little bit off today, a little bit off)
See, I’m a little bit off today, I cannot put my finger on it
Got up a little off today, just to play that same old song
I don’t really wanna try today, I see nothing in my reflection
I’m a little bit dry today, feel like I could die today

Feel like I could die today

Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey yeah, don’t ya know? (I’m a little bit off)
Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey, you gotta let it go (I’m a little, just a little bit off)

I’m a little pissed off today and there ain’t nothing you can do about it
I’m a little put-off today and I could not tell you why
Got a really short fuse today, everyone around me’s fucking crazy
I’m a little ticked off today, a little pissed off today
(I’m a little bit off today)
I told a little white lie today, I smiled and told someone I loved them
I had to say goodbye today to someone that I love
I couldn’t even cry today, I think my heart is finally broken
Didn’t need a reason why today, I don’t need a reason why today

Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey yeah, don’t ya know? (I’m a little bit off)
Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey, you gotta let it go (I’m a little, just a little bit off)

I got a little too high today, got lost inside a sea of madness
Crashed a little bit hard today, crashed a little too hard today
Everybody sing

Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey yeah, don’t ya know? (I’m a little bit off)
Hey yeah, hey yeah
Hey, you gotta let it go (I’m a little, just a little bit off)
Hey, you gotta let it go (I’m a little, just a little bit off)

I’m a little bit off today
Something down inside me feels so different
Just a little bit off today
You can all fuck off today

Five Finger Death Punch – A Little Bit Off

I’m Still Here…

Not that you would know half the time. I keep meaning to post but never seem to do it. Apathy applies? Oh most definitely. I have things to say, but sometimes I am just not in the mood to put fingers to keys, and after a long week working, then I just cannot be arsed with anything. I know, how rude? I know people read my posts, so I know I have an audience, but I seem to be losing my “voice”. Now, I know that I could post all the time as there is always something going on or a project on my needles, and years ago I used to blog/post many times a day, but these days I think I am in old age mode and happy to sit in front of the telebox and vegetate after work.

The long winter is a bind that has not given me any inspiration to do anything, not that I have been lazy. I have replaced the floors in both bedrooms on the top floor. We have three bedrooms, one on the main floor and two upstairs in the attic. Now, the floors had not been touched since 1973 according to a newspaper I found under the boards in the main room, and 1980 for the smaller room. My home was built in the 1800s and some things have not been touched or replaced from this era. Whilst walking about it sounds like an old ship with all the creaking. In the main room, the floor had failed due to the window in the roof leaking for some time, this was leaking long before we moved in. We discovered the leak one night in bed during a rainstorm, when we were wakened to dripping on the bed, needless to say, I had to do something about it, but unknown to be at that point it had caused the floor to slowly rot. Due to M’s disability, we moved to the downstairs bedroom, so over the years the floor had slowly failed, and one day, M was upstairs and called me to say that the floor seemed spongy, I thought nothing too much about it, and years later it finally started giving away, so I had to fix it. This was one of the major hobs that I had to do this year. I am not a carpenter by any means, but I did manage to do a good job of it. well, I thought so, and M approved, so that was all I needed to know. Once the main room was done, I had the job of doing the second room, although we have no idea why that floor was failing at the time. I lifted up the carpet which I have never replaced as I treat this room as a junk room. I discovered that it had failed due to a previous owner of many years back installing a small hatch that I can only think of was for inspecting electrics that are now redundant. The opening was so shoddily done that it had fallen through, thus causing the rest of the floor to break. It was like biscuits so needed doing. However, once I had lifted the carpet up I did not feel like doing it, so left it for over a week, then one day felt I had the gumption to do the job, and within 3 hours it was complete. The only problem with the second floor was that think I managed to knock my pliers into the void and not noticed and had screwed the two 1m x 2m sheets of interlocking wood down in many places. I have had them for over 20 years, so maybe time for a new pair.

Main Room, 64 square feet of flooring replaced in the end.
Room 2 after lifting the floor. The sad blue carpet you see is part of the floor that lifts up which is a “dead man’s drop” that is used to lower coffins down the main floor (as you cannot get them down the spiral staircase). This is also used to take furniture upstairs too.

I have also been doing the kitchen up. The kitchen I think was modelled on that featured in Noah’s Ark. We have many cupboards which were brown wood originally and not great looking. I had painted them in the past a few times but never been happy with the end result. However, this time I am happy with it all as I also changed the tiles and the worktops. We had a new boiler fitted as ours was over 30 years old and although it worked, it was not economical, and we have only had a tepid home for many years rather than a warm home, needless to say, it can be like a hothouse in a very short time which is rather nice. One part of the kitchen is a small alcove where a fireplace used to be and where we had a small drinks fridge, however, I decided that the fridge needed to go and I got an imitation log burner (electric) fire, built a platform for it, and added an unfinished sleeper (only carved flat two sides) as the front edge to the fireplace. I still have bits to finished off as well as do the tiling there, but all in all, I am happy with the look. I am sure you will agree that the before and after are quite different, although the before is when we first moved in back in 2003 and had not even taken a breath, never mind thought about decoration/renovation.

So, forgive my absence as I have been working hard.

Covid Vaccination

Three weeks ago I received my first vaccination for COVID-19 after receiving a text from my GP. A week later I received a letter from NHS England asking me to book my vaccination as I am a registered carer for someone vulnerable to Covid. Today I received a letter of the same ilk from the council’s carers department. Both letters mentioned that the person I care for (my husband) is vulnerable to Covid, however, M has not had his vaccination, and further to it all I have asthma which I have had from birth, and I also have a heart problem. Yes, I have had my vaccination, but only because I am a carer, and not because of my own health problems which happen to fit within the remit of the vaccination rollout.

When I went for my vaccination, one of the nurses who knows both M and me very well asked how M got on after his injection. I had to tell her that he had not had it, nor an invite. Needless to say, she was quite surprised but admitted that people were not getting invites when they should have had one. She assured me that she would speak to the surgery and get it sorted. A few days later she called and said she was having to fight with management over M and others that were missed off, but told me he was now on the list for the next set. The invite never arrived, and after getting my letter from the council I decided enough was enough.

As with anything official involving bureaucrats I knew it was going to be something that I had to fight for and was well aware that I would be sent on a wild goose chase. I called the GP surgery and after being in a queue that said I was number one, waited for 12 minutes to actually speak to someone. However, she was one of the surgeries “gatekeepers”. Unfortunately, most doctors offices in the UK have these gatekeepers who take it upon themselves to fob everyone off. I have had many arguments with these women who demand to know all the details of ailments as though they are the doctors, rather than booking the appointments as per their job description. (Before anyone decides to comment that I am wrong and they are doing their job, I have to stop you there as our surgery confirmed and published that the receptionists are not medically trained and when booking appointments you do not need to tell them about why you are booking it.). Anyway, I told the receptionist the reason for my call, she took M’s details and told me that he was not on any list and therefore would need to wait until they do 45 to 50-year-olds which will be some time. I questioned as to why there are no details on the system, and she informed me that I would need to get letters from the hospital for any appointments attended last year and send them into the surgery for them to look into it. I informed her that he had not attended the hospital last year as all appointments were cancelled due to the pandemic. she told me that if I could not do that I should call the NHS line and speak to them as it is them who decide who has their vaccination and when, but she had no records of underlying health problems. WTF!

Next stop NHS Direct. After going through 8 options I finally spoke to a lady who listened to me and tried to book the appointment. She told me that she could not as the system would not let her and that our GP surgery needs to correct their system to enable her to book it. I told her that the surgery had blamed NHS Direct’s side and said it was their records that were to blame. She assured me that their records are lead by the surgery and that they have “markers” that when the routines are run selects the people in those categories and invites them to have their jab. Feeling that I was getting another run-around I called the council’s carers line for advice. The lady was very sympathetic and told me in no certain words that M should have had his injection and that it is indeed the surgery who are to blame and that they had not coded M’s records properly, and I should call the surgery again and speak to the practice manager and refuse to give details to the receptionist as I would not get to the route of the problem.

Another call to the surgery to be told that the practice manager was in a meeting and she (a different gatekeeper this time) would try to get him to call me back. When I put the phone down I thought that I would not get a call and my request would be binned. However, I was duly surprised to get a call from the practice manager just 20 minutes later. So, on with my explanation to him, repeating everything I had said to all the others and telling of what I had been told by his reception to do, what NHS Direct said and finally what the council carers department told me. He looked into M’s records whilst I was on the phone and could see that something was wrong and he would speak to our new GP and get it all corrected. I told him what the nurse had told me and he said that she was one of the best members of staff and that she knew the patients very well and if she thought M should have been seen, then he needed to act on that too. I mentioned to him that our old GP who left the surgery was very rude about M getting a flu jab stating that those were only for people with cancer. When she said this to M I quickly corrected her and she finally backed down, however, M still had never received an invite for that either. He apologised that this too was missed off and admitted that M should also have been given the flu jab too each year especially in light of him being hospitalised with pneumonia, again, not recorded by the GP in question. I told him that the pharmacist next to the surgery had given M his jab each year and said that M was in the vulnerable group and that the surgery should have sorted this out. Again he apologised for all the mistakes and lack of professional conduct from our previous GP (who left in mysterious circumstances to a new life in Scotland) and promised to get everything corrected and went ahead with booking M in for his Covid vaccination.

Success!

Although I have condensed everything, the calls to all involved took me over an hour and a half. It is a sad state of affairs that we have had to fight for everything just because people cannot or do not do their jobs correctly.

The cruelty of others

I know that my readers do not know my husband apart from things written here which is a shame as he is one of the nicest people I know. I am not saying that because I am married to him, or that we have been together for 21 years next month, but am saying it because it is true. He is totally selfless, will go out his way to help people, and puts everyone, no matter who, before himself. All in all, he is a decent human being, and in all honesty, a rarity these days.

His family, however, are vile, despicable and overall shit people. M’s mum, who was the only decent one of them, sadly passed away 8 weeks ago this Sunday. Not one of his family has reached out to him to see if he is okay. As most will know, M is disabled and has neurological problems amongst others, so life is hard at the best of times, however, his family treat him as though he is making it all up, even though there are hundreds and hundreds of reports regarding his disability/problems, some of which are inherited from his Mum. At the funeral M was left on his own, his sister, brother and father walked together, leaving him to struggle about 20 feet behind, never checking on him. M never complained, he just got on with it. At the graveside, they all walked off and got into the cars and left him there, again never thinking about assisting him and getting him to the car. At the meal after the funeral, all the adults sat together around a large table and never made room for him, leaving him to sit with the children. After the proceedings of the day when they went back to the house, his father and siblings got drunk and again showed their true colours. M recorded them and it is appalling. His sister, a bit of a drunk, sneering and spewing venom and hate for no other reason than this is her true self. His brother is a drunk and drug addict, so need I say more. His father, also a drunk is a spinless pathetic specimen human being. It was like watching a more hateful version of the witches in Macbeth.

Now, I have previously posted about them, which can be read here, and the way they treated M. So, 8 weeks passed and no one has contacted him, apart from a call from his father giving off that the aftershave that M bought for him had not arrived. In this call, his father never asked how he was doing, and would only demand that M do something about the lack of delivery. His father decided to text him today saying that he was lonely, which is ironic as he has all his family and friends there and is always Skyping M’s sister in America, and when M’s Mum needed help at home, his father could not get her into a nursing home fast enough. Nothing has changed for his father for over 4 years. M took the opportunity to confront his father about the complete lack of contact, the treatment he received before, during and after the funeral, and questioned if his Mum did not like him over the last 6 or so months as he knew that the sister had been poisoning her mind. His father answered with “well, she had a lot on her mind”. WTF! M told his father some home truths, that he heard them all slagging him off and that their treatment of him was out of order. His father gave a very feeble apology which I translated as him saying “I’m sorry if you feel that way”. I have no time for them as I have seen first hand how they have been with him and they hate me as I stand up for M, and will not take shit from them, oh, I am also English and Anglican, so double whammy there.

M’s sister has single-handedly turned everyone against him, for what reason or gain we do not know, but she has sewn lies to all that were concerned. She is self-obsessed and I have witnessed her viciousness that has no bounds and is done for her own amusement. She is the type of person to stop at an accident not to help but to gleefully watch the suffering of others, something she is actually well known for.

M has now cut ties with his family, removed their numbers from his phone along with WhatsApp and blocked them. I have had the measure of them for close to 20 years and M now sees them as I do. It is a sad thing that they have treated him so appallingly. I feel that M being gay is the main crux of their problem, but they are also jealous of his independent life. He is happy, does not live in a shit hole and is out of their control and interference, also he was the first one to get out of the country. His brothers youngest girl went to Liverpool Uni, got a degree and was set to have a career in TV/Media, but they forced her back to Northern Ireland for their own selfish reasons, that of a baby sitter and gain control over her life. Why should she be able to have her own life away from there?

I am saddened for M, as he does not now, or ever has deserved this type of treatment, and as mentioned has gone out of his way for them all and others, never complaining. However, I am glad that he is away from their poisonous prison. They have preyed on him, victimised him for their own unknown intentions. Whilst I have supported M trying to please them to no end, I have also told him what I see. I could never tell him to walk away as his Mum was still alive and they doted on each other, but now she is at rest I can and have, and he sees what I see.

I have experienced hate from my own father who is homophobic, racist, sexist and a truly vile man who thought with his fists and whom I have had no dealings with from the age of 15. I have seen my family turn against me because I was gay (lead by one of my sisters), which was their loss for a year or so. I have seen my sister envious of the life I have, a happy life with someone I truly love. I have been at the end of a campaign of sibling interference that failed. I have witnessed this and been at the harsh end of it, but due to my childhood I became hardened to it, gained the ability to switch off my emotions at the drop of a hat, but with that, I have anger issues and a temper that goes from zero to explosion instantly, and I am a fighter. M, however, is the opposite, he is not a fighter, he cannot switch off his emotions and as such his family have been like hungry vultures, picking away at him, feeding on his humanity until there is nothing left. Thankfully, he has now put a stop to them. He can now move on. It will be a long trek, but one that is worthwhile. With each step, he moves further away from his troubles, from people that are not worthy of his company, people that do not know what honour, charity or compassion means. Each day will take him on a journey of healing and the realisation that he is important, worthy of love and kindness, and that he is loved more than he will ever know.

The old saying of “this is the first day of the rest of your life”, although a clumsy cliche is very apt for him now, and as always, I will be at his side for the whole journey. My vows 12 years ago when we got married were “in sickness and health, through thick and thin until the end of days” and never more than now are they adhered to.

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