World Mental Health Day 2019

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last post and these are my sins….

I’m quite sure that not writing anything for this long is a mortal sin, but I need to look it up on Catholics.com (pretty much the exact name of the site I got the confession words above).

The reason for my absence? Apart from an epic lack of imagination, brought about primarily by the state of the world at the moment; life is actually pretty dull, on the day to day. But, picture if you will, a duck. I function like a duck. I am The Duck of Existential Dread. On the surface, most everything is calm and serene, but under the surface, my mental legs are going like the clappers.

Summer went off peacefully and warmly. Friends and family passed through, filling my time with laughs and linen changeovers. For the latter part of August, I was mooching, eating good food, chatting up a storm and pampering. Can’t complain. Some of my favourite humans shared my holidays and were a welcome distraction. Apart from that, the stuff that makes great stories (you remember: assholes, drama, dating, partying, traveling) is, for the most part, on the back burner while I navigate the choppy undercurrents of the daily news.

Not dating, and not missing dating, has been a revelation. I’ve got enough on my plate, waiting to hear my fate with regards to the whole Brexit debacle, without trying to accommodate the emotional demands of another person; or indeed, myself in that situation. Dating while on an emotional knife edge ain’t pretty. Read my post on how not to date and you’ll understand.

One source of joy has been NOT DEPILATING! (don’t judge me, you take it where you can find it.) What new found freedom is this?! I didn’t go to the beach this summer, so between that and the lack of potential intimacy, I didn’t see the point. And it was fucking glorious. Think a reworking of Joni Mitchell’s lyrics ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’; but with fur and in reverse. I didn’t really appreciate how exhausting it all is until I stopped doing it. One less thing to worry about.

My anxiety has been ever present, but in the days since Johnson took office along with his band of merry criminals, it’s been more prevalent. Every day they said something regarding immigration or pissed off another EU dignitary (see Belgian, Spanish and German); my fear increased, and the reality of the consequences hit home as the deadline approached. I could be asked to leave this country.

If I could explain how busy my brain is, I would but it’s impossible as it’s just constant noise. That too is exhausting. Ain’t nobody got time for dating (or shaving) while the Duck of Existential Dread paddles like shit, under the surface. Not knowing what the hell is going on is torturous, but at least it’s just me and the cat. I can’t imagine the frustration and hurt of families with a foot in both camps, in the same situation. It’s awful. It’s all consuming and honestly, all joking aside, there really isn’t room for much else.

Hence, no post. What’s really occupying most of my waking life (and sometimes also sleepy time), is just that, and I don’t want to bore anyone of you with that, that’s not what this blog was/is about.

I can’t imagine my view on dating changing any time soon, as it’s been one less pressure to accommodate.I’ve been too frazzled to dip my toe back into that murky pool. Honestly, not even idle curiosity has seen me glance in the direction of a hot guy or at Tinder et al. OK, that’s not strictly true, attractive men I cross paths with, or brush shoulders with in cafes are rewarded with a momentary mention in my internal dialogue. But for the most part, logic kicks in and talks me out of anything more than a cursory nod/coy smile, by playing out the endless conversations about the idiocy of the UK (and never ending grooming).

As a way of compensating, I’m also nesting. I think it’s a backlash to the situation. On some subconscious level, I think that if I make my home really special, there’s no way the authorities will kick me out. Which of course, is ridiculous. I’m moving things around. I’m throwing things out. I’m donating to charity. I’m trying to curate art by illustrators I enjoy. It’s the emotional equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and repeating ‘LaLaLa‘ over and over again.

Merlin is an endless joy. What a godsend he’s been. There’s nothing like a purring bundle of fur to calm your frazzled nerves.

And so, I thought it apt on the World Mental Health Day, to share this openly.

When people ask ‘How are you?’ and I say ‘fine’, it means fine for me. Fine for me is a permanent nagging anxiousness in the pit of my stomach, pain in my shoulders and chest and a desire to get home as soon as possible. Those are the days that it simply is what it is and I go to work and do the shopping, see friends and feed the cat. It’s permanent.

Other times, it disturbs my sleep with nightmares leaving me exhausted in the morning, I drag myself out of the house, put on my work face, because as a freelance: no work, no money. It burdens me with an inability to function like a regular human in social situations. When I’m not obligated to go out, I lock myself in and call in even the basics like water, because I am quite literally, physically pinned by fear and incapable of going downstairs to the the corner shop. Those are the worst days.

So, for the most part, that’s the reason I haven’t posted. I haven’t been able to clear a corner of my mind long enough to fill it with funny stuff, life observations, general musings.

Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. It really is that simple. Although it may not feel like it at times.

Love

AP xx

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