The dreams won’t stop until I write this

For the last few weeks I’ve been stuck in a loop. I’ve been deeply affected by what happened to someone I’ve never met.

On Thursday 20th July, Chester Bennington reached the point of no return and hung himself in his home. Why this stopped me in my tracks is becoming less of a mystery.

I stopped listening to Linkin Park years ago, when I got over my angry phase. The last I knew of them was when Minutes To Midnight came out 10 years ago.

When I read about Chester, I was stunned. My usually unfeeling heart sank and I felt the urgent need to get some songs on my iPod to listen to in the car. That weekend I shed all the tears I had while listening to My December, one song of Linkin Park’s that has stuck with me all these years.

I started asking why, what it was that brought Chester to this place he couldn’t get out of. Those are questions that always appear in the aftermath of suicide, right?

Did he feel there was no other option? That it was inevitable? That the only way to end his pain was to leave this world?

A month later, I plucked up the courage to listen to the missing pieces of the story. I took in A Thousand Suns on repeat for days. It’s a haunting experience to hear this album for the first time when you know that voice will never sing again.

It’s also haunting to know that there was a hint of hope in there.

“Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration, and let it go…”

Was he writing to himself? Maybe he was writing to me.

When it comes to One More Light, I feel as though this was Chester’s goodbye. Each song conveys some element of closure, the title track saying the most, and it is one that I’ve taught myself to play on the guitar that sits alone gathering dust.

“Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars? Who cares when someone’s time runs out when a moment is all we are? Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do…”

After listening to these two albums, I had to go back to Minutes To Midnight because I only had half of the tracks. And it seems that those missing pieces fit together perfectly with One More Light and A Thousand Suns. Almost as though I was meant to discover it at this exact time. One thing I realised is, Chester used his gift – the most phenomenal male voice in this world left his mark and will always be remembered for that.

“I dreamed I was missing, you were so scared…”

In between all the questions and being annoyed at myself for wasting what I have, I’ve been dreaming about Chester. I dreamed I was telling him how much his music has meant to me and that he didn’t need to do what he did. He just smiled at me, touched my arm, and disappeared. He seemed happy and carefree, but I knew that he could feel what I was feeling.

“When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done. Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.”

Chester, you have done what you set out to do – left behind so many reasons to be missed.

Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory and leave out all the rest.

Chester may have felt his life was over. He may have believed that nothing could take away his pain other than death. But there was something… I just don’t know if he ever knew…

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” – Psalm 147v3

I’ve had my dark times, those moments where I couldn’t cope, crying and screaming for the pain to end because I just couldn’t bear feeling everything anymore. It’s the creative types who suffer the most with anxiety and depression, as has become more evident in recent years.

“Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” – Matthew 11v28

But there’s One who caught me when I fell, held me up when I couldn’t stand, loved me when I couldn’t love myself. His name is Jesus and He’s the reason I’m alive today.

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Think before you speak… but don’t take, like, 6 months or something…

It has been a long time. I last wrote about being in a dark hole, and I guess it could be possible that my readers thought I never got out of it. Well, I did, but as a consequence I lost my Voice.

I learned in recent days that failure to communicate can lead to catastrophe. My biggest flaw is my lack of skill in that area. You may or may not understand the concept of ‘white noise’ or ‘noisy head’, but let me try to clarify…

For a person like me, who is naturally quiet and reserved, it is too easy to get lost inside your own head. When there is no fog, you can be snapped out of the internal world and rejoin the real world with ease. But when there’s fog, what is in your head is only noise: the constant hissing, where your brain is trying to filter through that massive muddle of thoughts, where there’s no single voice you can isolate, where there’s no coherent thought of any kind. Which, of course, results in you looking like a catatonic jellyfish when someone asks a question.

This happened to me. It escalated to the point where I almost lost the person closest to me. It wasn’t the absence of proper communication, it was what came out when I tried.  I tried to translate the noise without first being aware, and making my Love aware, that the first words would be the dirt that’s washed off a potato before you get it ready to cook. I couldn’t make it aware, because I was yet to learn it.

But I’ve learned it now, though it caused tremendous heartache for us both.

The moral of the story is, you need to practice. I need to practice talking, and to do that I need to just talk. Say words. Start small, tell someone an interesting observation, send someone a funny picture. Saying something, even if it’s not… whatever the word is for someone having a way with words… because filling the space where words need to be will increase the capacity for more and better words.

I just wish I hadn’t hurt my Love in the process… 😦

via Daily Prompt: Devastation

Let me teach you about the Black Hole

Lately I’ve been experiencing the slow dark descent into depression. I hate that word, all it makes me think of is the 1920s.

I’m at a stage now where I can explain what it feels like. I want to do this as an attempt at helping those who’ve never experienced it to understand. And for those who face it regularly to know they’re not alone. And if they struggle to explain how they feel to others, maybe they’ll direct them here.

Those who don’t understand might say we have a case of the melancholy. Or the blues. Or we’re just a bit sad. But it’s more than that. I myself am guilty of thinking of others, ‘ah come on, you can snap out of it’. Even when I’ve felt it before. But when I feel it again myself I know it’s not as simple as that. Not even close.

I’ll tell you how it is, but first a bit of background. I was always prone to depression but it was mild. It wouldn’t last long or cause enough problems to warrant medication, so you could say I handled it on my own. It was when the anxiety reared its ugly head that things became unmanageable.

That was six years ago. Around the 5-year mark, I reduced my dose with doctor’s guidance and weaned myself off them. The withdrawals were worse than the starting side effects, I can tell you. After a couple of months, I felt the descent. It got so bad I would go out in my car, park somewhere and just cru until I had no tears left. On one occasion I actually reached out to a local charitable organisation, but there was no one available to help me. It’s a good thing I wasn’t suicidal…

Another couple of months passed, and I was struggling to lose weight. When I spoke to my doctor, he said the depression had slowed my metabolism to a crawl. So he put me back on the medication, and the weight started to come off.

Fast forward about 8 months, and it was time to reduce the dose again. This time I was on the half dose for 4 months. Right now is about two months from my last tablet.

And here’s what it’s like…

You wake up in the morning feeling like no sleep has been had at all. You lie and look at the ceiling, wishing you could just stay there in the darkness because for now it feels safe.

When you finally get out of bed, you start at yourself in the mirror, questioning the reality of your existence. Am I awake? Am I still sleeping? Do I really look like that?

You get dressed, but it takes a lot longer than usual because your legs hurt. Your arms hurt. Your head hurts. Your legs feel heavy, like they need to move but they don’t want to. Breakfast isn’t the usual, because all of your regular food is unappealing. You take the bare minimum so as to not feel sick.

The journey to work seems much longer. You try not to look around so much because that field over there could look a bit too attractive
The stairs to your office seem bigger, your legs screaming to go somewhere else because this place isn’t going to help. They say routine is good, but this place really isn’t going to help today.

Sitting at a desk with limited opportunities to change position aggravates your restless legs. They feel pain because they are desperate to move. The ringing phone generates fear that someone will notice in your voice that something’s wrong. Fear that they’ll think you’re rude or you don’t care but really you do, because you struggle to speak words that other humans can under because you struggle to speak. Words come out one at a time, and even then you’re not sure they came out at all.

Everything goes so slow; time, the speed you do your job, the movements you make. Even your words come out slowly, so slow that it takes all the breath you have and you need to inhale so deeply it’s like you’ve broken the surface of the sea.

People you love become people you can barely tolerate. It’s not their fault, but it’s not your fault either, a fact that’s easy to forget. Things you felt joy from doing, only cause pain. It stirs up feelings inside that you can’t understand because your brain won’t make the connection between the activity associated positive emotion. Your brain forgets. Your heart aches.

Depression is a block. It’s a preventer. It’s a black hole of despair that no one else can see, no one else can feel. Every person who knows what I’m talking about has their own version of The Hole. Some contain apathy, some anger and rage. Some drown in their tears, like me. And some are able to carry on without showing any sign that they’re in the hole at all.

Mine won’t let me out until I have something to focus on. Yesterday it was watching the highlights of the MotoGP race in Brno. Doing that again today might not have the same effect as yesterday, I have to find something else to focus on. Writing this blog post has helped. But what will help tomorrow? I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll wake myself up tonight several times to actively worry about it.

Learning https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/learning/

The facts are these

I have all kinds of crazy dreams. This time, I thought I’d share one with you, maybe get your thoughts…

My dream is in two parts. The first, a plane crash. The second, a spate of dead dogs.

So, the plane crash. I was on a plane. Don’t know where I was going or where I was coming from. I saw an EasyJet (white with orange writing) plane out the window, it was going down. It hit my plane on the way down, and our tail caught fire. I remember thinking, this doesn’t feel like a dream. We also went down. All this occurred in a built up area. I was a passenger in a window seat. I wasn’t overly scared.

My interpretation from research

  • Planes symbolise projects, plans or relationships taking  off
  • Being a passenger symbolises giving control over to other people, following the crowd, or relying on others to get where I’m going
  • Being in a window seat means seeing the big picture but maybe not being able to act on it
  • The plane crashing is about some aspect of my life in danger of ending suddenly, or my goals are too high, or I’m not confident enough to believe I can achieve those high goals

Bottom line? Dunno.

Okay, the dog story. I heard on Facebook that some people in the local area were poisoning dogs. I went to look for the dogs. I saw them all lying outside their houses. I was told there were 11 of them, but I found 12. They were all Alsatians (German shepherds). I was upset, wondering why someone would do that to such beautiful animals.

My interpretation from research

  • A dead or dying dog means a loss of instincts

That’s all I have.

Any ideas?

Maybe I used to write like a crazy person

I found a thing. An old thing I wrote a long time ago. November 2005 to be exact. I find it to be bizarre… and I wanted to share it.

Like the Dead

Fighting past the barren sky, I fear the trembling… coming again. The lights are out, and I am indeed, alone. I am erased from that which was, and never will be again.

They know nothing, and I do not owe anyone. I have been laid out for them to see, and pass judgement on my frailty. There are no subtle jestures in their eyes, no faith or fiction.

I am cherished in some minds, although the words are delayed. None will spill into this world, they shall but drift unto countless euphoric moonlit skies, and pass through the ages.

Forgotten moments of clarity are what haunt the good. Simple enchantments are innocently cruel, bringing forth torment to those who wish to seek the broken and unholy. They did not give themselves to me; I only wished to share.

They no longer see the darkness in my eyes, yet I can see theirs. Simple twists and turns are reborn; something rather beautiful. I feel serenity in knowing… they are like the dead.

Rest assured, I am always there. Not wanting to be, yet still I remain, holding on to the hope that maybe one day I will be missed. I know that I was less than pure, but I was everyone else but me…

Sorrow depart! There is no time to meddle with such things. I feel the fear rising. Closed within this pale exterior, lies a creature with an unmeasured wealth of beauty…

My mind is blank…

She lies dormant, unwilling to be awakened. She refuses this time, and this place. She speaks; I must return to where the grass is greener, to where the lights are brighter… resist the urge to unstep the forward path…

And so I fall. With a hunger still unsatisfied, I tread the road I have been before. Alone, without heart, yet still breathing, wanting and needing. The dawn has risen…

…and a rose has blossomed.

Finished on 22nd November 2005 at 02:06 GMT

WHAT.

One word prompt – maybe

The Gift? I’d give it back

The Gift (2015)

Director & Writer: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

One day, I saw the DVD cover for this film and thought ‘hey, that looks interesting’, and based on what I read on the back, I decided that one day I would get myself a copy and watch it. Jump to about a year later, and I did.

Can I return to sender? Me no like it…

Going by the standard structure of a film, the first ten minutes or so shows the every-day normality of the characters’ lives, after which there is an event that changes things. Well, I was bored by the ten-minute mark, and the life-changing event had supposedly happened by then. I wasn’t shaken up, I wasn’t going ‘ooh, this is getting good’, I was yawning and getting ready to abandon the so-called adventure. But I decided to give it a chance, thinking there would be some huge reveal later on.

I’m still waiting.

Spoiler alert – Apparently, main character guy (Jason Bateman) lied about something. But the truth was never revealed. So some guy (the flippin’ writer!) tries to get revenge on him for lying about him when they were teenagers? And goes about it by giving him koi fish and a baby carrier? Get a grip!

As sad as it is to say, this was not great story-telling. I was not engaged. I did not root for any of the characters (except the dog, darnit that dog was cute). And I certainly did not feel that I had experienced anything other than annoyance at the fact that some truth was hidden in there and I just couldn’t see it.

BAH!

“Just because you’re done with the past doesn’t mean the past is done with you” – tagline

Yeah, it does.

 

Flavoured eggs, and other such nonsense

I’m not much of a cook. Or a baker. There are many things about food that I haven’t a clue about, but what I am good at is eating food.

I’m so good at eating food that I decided to rejoin Slimming World. And that restarted my desire to hunt for SW-friendly yummies. Cue the kitchen utensils’ dash for their lives…

Where I usually get my inspiration is that lovely place called Pinterest. You know, the place where you spend hours upon hours just looking at stuff. Well, today I did more than look at stuff – I tried out the stuff.

It’s not my first attempt, though. I tried a Cake in a Mug last year, the ingredients being sweetener, drinking chocolate, and egg. The result? Chocolate flavoured egg. No joke! It was basically chocolate scrambled egg! Yummers. There was even a time when I tried no-flour pancakes – egg and banana – and yes, it was banana flavoured egg.

So today, I made an attempt at these: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/206532332891317959/ Known as Curly Wurly Brownies, 18 syns for the whole mixture.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 21.05.25

As always, I followed the instructions just like it said. And to be fair, they weren’t completely different to the recipe picture…

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…except they look like a place where gophers live! And it gets worse…

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They be flat. Flat as a squished hat. Whoever heard of self-raising flour that doesn’t rise? Well, if there’s ever anyone who’ll find such a thing, it’s me. The flour must just have decided to join the rest of the kitchen and abandon ship when it saw me coming…

The verdict? Not quite chocolate-flavoured egg, but not far off. Must find a proper brownie recipe and forget the syns. Or better still, just go to the shop and eat the ones from there!