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Mental Health Track 037

It’s bright and sunny out here. I have never been a huge fan of the outside. Obviously it’s handy because it joins up all those indoor places I like, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I enjoyed it on a daily basis. There wasn’t really enough space inside our house so I set up a gazebo and desk outside, dangling cables and wifi hubs everywhere. I watched the seasons change, saw the flowers bloom, played with the cats. It was lovely. Since the gazebo got smashed to shit by a storm and we finished our building work I’ve been out here only rarely, perhaps with a book. Presently I’m watching Geiger drink disgusting water from a plant pot. He seems pretty psyched about it. Our garden is quite wild, a riotous spray of green, with bluebells, roses and little flowers like sparks of fire in it. I often think about getting a proper patio laid, instead of the dozen slabs balanced crudely on undulating earth, but I rather like that my toes are brushing up against whatever the real name for sticky buds is; I like the chaos and mess of it. I like the greenness. It’s not a colour I wear often, perhaps because it’s so fully the colour of the outside world, from ground level to way up high where it collides with the blue and half-arsed clouds.

I am in a quiet and contemplative mood this afternoon. I have slept once again, which is ace, even if it was aided by drinking out all evening and walking halfway back home from West Bridgford. Big significant number birthdays for my friends: 30 and 50. The odd numbers feel higher, for some reason. Looking back, I know (as we all do) that the big number is meaningless, and the event a socially constructed source of anxiety and hope, and that’s only reinforced by the years since. At 30 I was still a fucking mess, still hadn’t been able look inward enough to get past the raging anxiety, epic sleep disorder, and desperate need to crush the past into a dense knot of failed forgetting (alas, crushing into a black hole gives it that crazy gravity, and tends to suck one in after it). It would be another four years before I managed to begin that journey. Approaching 45 gives me new options for dividing up my life into neat 15 year blocks. It’s useful for figuring out I’m one-and-a-half times older than someone else, but I don’t think those periods give a lot for reflection. 0-15: school and shit, innit. Quite a bit of bad stuff toward the end of that. 16-30: just too wide a span, from hope and destruction to university, the jokeworld of work, relationships and friends, and love, and everything; 31-45: more breaking, but also healing I guess. Maybe that’s not too terrible a breakdown.

As ever, I can find it enormously frustrating that it’s taken so long to get this straightened out and find that I’m still as wonky as ever, even if in different ways. So much time wasted, lost or forgotten. So many people, chances or possibilities lost or forgotten. It’s hard to imagine that any other path would have led to me sitting quietly out here drinking the coffee I nicked from the flat in York and looking forward to seeing the nonsense that will be Fast X in an hour or so. Saying “it was worth it” feels like the right thing to say, even though I’m not certain in means anything. I always lean back to determinism: so many of the choices and actions we take or make feel free but we never see the constraints, especially if we’re suppressing big parts of our past and present. How could we see the walls that corral us if we’re only staring at our feet, or at the sky? There is nowhere else I could have ended up, and I love what I have. The rest of it is a species of science fiction, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reach into the past and bring memories, people and places back into the present with us.

Slightly Broken

An assortment of diary entries from counselling and the process of coming to terms with the past, feelings and all that mental stuff.

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