…vs My Brain

9 05 2017

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With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I guess now is a good a time as any to ramble on about my past year. In fact, it was probably longer than a year- I just put off dealing with whatever my brain was telling me, and not telling me.

Last October I think I pretty much had my very own breakdown. It was at 2/3am. I remember sitting on my bed in some weird position crying, having a panic attack after panic attack. I was at war with my head. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t switch off. Nothing maintained my attention. I was starting to worry about myself. Prior, I just didn’t care. I went to the doctor and after a few minutes I was told to do a self-referral for treatment. I put this off for a few weeks, then stopped being a stubborn dick and did it.

Now I care more than I did. I went to the doctor a second time earlier this year, as my referral for CBT was going to be some time- the second stage of it. I made no improvements with the first lot. Labelled as having severe anxiety and mild depression. Labels are for foodstuffs- I’m not for consumption. Things shouldn’t define a person, just like their actions always shouldn’t. In this case, I wasn’t going to let this be something that ruled who I was and my life- enough was enough. I went to my doctor. She looked at me and asked how she could help. I cried. I broke down like a child and cried. I said “I can’t cope.” Finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t hack whatever was going on in my head.

As someone who can’t take paracetamol without assuming the worse, I had to resign myself to the fact that at this stage- I probably needed something other than talking. I agreed to take medication. Since starting the medication in late February, I am pretty sure that every side effect I had (I had them all) has been worth it. I’d rather have continuous dry mouth than have another fucking panic attack. The side effects have virtually gone. I do have days where I get this really bad pain in my stomach or the occasional headache, but I’d take that over how I was and what I was putting myself through. Or rather, what my brain was putting me through. I had my assessment for my second stage of CBT. I was being asked questions that weren’t relevant and being asked to focus on things that I really don’t need to. I felt as if I had to say what they wanted, and I didn’t want to be made to bring things up that don’t need to be. So I discharged myself. I decided rather than waste their time (and mine) I would give up my place for someone else who needs it more than me. I tried, and for me, that’s the main thing. But it just wasn’t for me.

Everyone bangs on about it, but support is key. I’ve got a handful of people that I know have my back and are there for me. Just like I am there for them. It also helps having a girlfriend who has a similar shit sleeping pattern so I have someone at 1am when I can’t sleep and everything seems too much. She’s my rock, and I try my hardest to be hers.

Music has been a massive help for me. We went to see Banks in March, and for me I think that was the point where I solidly felt okay. At one point going to gigs was just overwhelming. Going to work was overwhelming. Not because I hate my job or anything like that- far from it. But the effort of having to get out of bed and the overwhelming feeling of being on a packed train. My brain was slowly failing me. Or maybe I was failing myself for not taking better care. Music has been my other rock. Certain songs (which I’ll link below) have played a massive part in my brain healing and keeping me calm. I go the gym during the week after work to allow myself to take care of my body as well as my mind.

My bad days now don’t feel near as half as bad as they once were. I don’t have to fake being alright because I genuinely feel just fine at the moment. I’m not thinking long-term because that shit is scary. If I can get through one day without feeling terrible, I’m fine. My last panic attack was on the 2nd March. It’s been two months. I still feel a little shitty at times and certain things at the moment are fucking tough but, you can’t control everything.

I am not brave, I am not tough. All I did was reach breaking point. All I did was let myself get worse before I realised something needed to be done.

I’m alright. I’m happy with that. I’m alright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





THE CRAMPS: A Date With Elvis.

19 11 2016

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“I know a place that’s far from here
Where the squares they won’t come near.”

Last Saturday I turned 30. Nothing feels different, and I still look about 15. Maybe I made a pact with the devil at an early age, and I don’t recall it. Anyway, as someone who isn’t really a fan of birthdays I have someone who wanted me to have a damn good day. She did just that, and more. She got me a record that I had no idea I was getting. A month earlier I ruined a surprise by attempting to buy one she had already got me. I don’t pick up on signals, I need to be told. Even if it involves me potentially ruining a surprise! This one record she got me has blown my mind and I find myself playing it every day. I either play it whilst I get ready for work or when I get home. Sometimes both. My love for The Cramps started in 1996. I was 10 years old and I was going through a cupboard in the house. I was looking for something, not sure what but I found a mixtape. I picked it up and asked my stepdad if I could listen to it- being the cool person he is, he said yes. He told me all about the band before I went upstairs to my room and fell in love with Lux’s voice.

I wish I could remember what song was on the tape, but I’m pretty sure it might have been Human Fly. There was a Sisters Of Mercy live tape that I took also. Along with The Cure. I was being exposed at a young age to the bands that would form something inside of me that is still there. It’s never going to go. Its one thing about me I won’t ever fight off.

The record I was given on my birthday last Saturday was A Date With Elvis. She had gone through their records, listened to them all and found the one she thought I’d love the most. I think this proves just how well she knows me and how bloody great she is. A Date With Elvis is such a great record, and for me to shows everything about The Cramps that I love, and fell in love with 20 years ago. I love the raw and creepy sound that is consistent on all their records but there’s something about A Date With Elvis that heightens all of this.

The record opens with one of the greatest songs by them, How Far Can Too Far Go? Alright so some may say it isn’t their greatest but it’s pretty much my favourite. I love the words and I absolutely adore Lux’s voice on this song. The record came out the year I entered the world and it was produced by the beautiful Poison Ivy. Three is the magic number, kids and The Cramps proved that so easily with this record. Everything about the wonderfully sexualised lyrics and dirty guitar makes it for pleasurable listening. It is the record you should take home with you, to meet the parents. It’s the record you play as loud as you want. It’s the one you play to take you down a road of self-discovery. For some, the lyrics may be too much- but hey, don’t surround yourself with prudes. Let it all out. Let The Cramps drag it out of you.

A Date With Elvis is the kind of record that brings you to your knees because you can’t get over how great it is.  For me it just embodies everything I love about music and everything I look for in music. It’s the right level of creepy, it’s loud and it’s in your face but not in an intrusive manner. It’s so beautifully produced and created. That brilliant Psychobilly mixed with a bit of Punk sound that they were known for comes alive on this record, maybe it is more apparent on this one. Maybe I’m just being biased because I wholeheartedly love this record, with all I have. I don’t have the best record player in the world but it is currently making Aloha From Hell sound like the masterpiece that it truly is.

There are many reasons why I am fascinated with certain bands, but I’ve never really set myself a reason for doing so with The Cramps. It just comes down to a whole bunch of reasons. Mainly that it’s completely fine to live outside of certain “norms” and to just be whoever and whatever the hell you want to be.