The past few weeks have seen me struggle to write here. I’ve started blogs, worked on them for a bit then have discarded them, thrown away to one side like an old discarded newspaper. My focus has been a bit lacking. I’m struggling even to read a magazine never mind a book.
This morning though I could feel my anxiety rising, threatening to stick in my throat, like it had been threatening to do last week. I spent most of last week with a bad stomach bug. I had to take some time off work. My anxiety would bubble away. How could I take time off for a bad stomach? Were people thinking I was just pulling a sickie, taking time off to enjoy myself? Why can’t my brain allow me to be ill in peace?
I was back at work yesterday, my stomach still cramping after food or coffee. I felt better, not great but well enough to be back there. I’d missed everyone and missed my job. I thought being back at work, succumbing to it’s regular routine, would help tire my brain as my sleep had been pretty poor over the past week. Last night I showered as usual and went to bed around ten thirty, my normal time. After a few hours I was awake again. The moon was shining bright and clear on the other side of the house. It was so bright in fact that it seemed to light up the whole bedroom door. I got up and closed it so the light wouldn’t reflect off it. My brain seized the opportunity and tried to squeeze as many thoughts as possible into my head head as possible. It seemed to take great delight in asking questions of me, posing situations for me, bombarding me with as much information as it possibly could, throwing in some extra thoughts for good measure. Thanks.
After an hour or so I went back in the shower. I find showering in the dark through the night something that helps calm me when I’m having a sleepless night. I could feel my body relax and my brain slow a little as I lay back down. I was restless for a while before I slipped back to sleep, only to be roused what felt a few minutes later by my alarm.
Poor sleep triggers my anxiety, the lack of rest weakens my defences. I feel it’s telltale nudges that it’s here. The clamping of my jaw, the ache in my shoulders, the fluttering of my breath in my chest. My bus journey to work today is soundtracked by the soothing voice of the actor reading the poems of TS Eliot, the pace of the reading, the timbre of the voice and the musicality of the words are song like, it’s beats and familiarity are relaxing as I try to ready myself for the day.
The Waste Land is a poem that’s stuck with me for around thirty years after I was first introduced to it whilst at sixth form in my teens. It made me realise that poems could be epic works that didn’t have to rely on rhyming on the same twee beat structure. It could be dark, serpentine, coiling it’s way around your heart and your brain. That’s always appealed to me in a similar way that writers like Mary Shelly and Frankenstein have that route in to my heart of darkness. There’s the melancholic chords that resonate. I’ve always favoured styles like this. If it’s dark, haunting and has an intimacy it will call out. A lot of my earlier writing would mirror this but I’ve slowly created a little distance with my writing.
This is changing however. Being more on touch with my anxiety and depression has fueled me recently. I pick up a guitar now and I’ll favour minor chords, picking and strumming away at it’s strings.
I’ve been thinking of my next musical endeavour for a while. I had the idea of The Hollow Man a good few years ago, something a bit more darker and acoustic. Tipping my cap to TS Eliot I have decided to name my new musical protect The Hollow Men (after another of his poems). I can feel new songs stirring inside me, new voices speaking to me. For a good while now my anxiety and depression have taken their toll on me. Now I’ll draw from them, I’ll feed off their dark psychology. It’s time to reach inside and draw from this dark muse.
Let’s see what it brings……