You know how it is – you get up, have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed and are making plans for the rest of the day. Okay, it’s raining just now but it might brighten up later. There are so many possibilities. Yes, there are chores to do like shopping, as you’re nearly out of washing up liquid, and you really need to get a haircut but maybe you could go swimming today.
Then it happens. Some part of your brain says, “Stop. You aren’t going anywhere.” A wave of anxiety floods your mind and you feel almost paralysed. You feel like crying. The tears well up in your eyes but even the act of crying seems too much. Another part of your brain is saying, “Come on, don’t give in to this. This is bullshit.” But it feels so real. All your plans go out the window. You just want to stay indoors. No, you need to stay indoors. You look out the window and see one of your neighbours going out. To her, this is just another day of coping with the kids and going to work. She gets in her car and off she goes.
You try and remember what it was like, being able to do all these things that other people take for granted and you know that when you’re having a good day you too can do these things. You sit at your computer and feel that at least you can do stuff online. You order a new ink cartridge for you printer. Hey, I’ve done something. You post on social media. Someone likes your post and you don’t feel quite so alone.
You make a coffee. Drink it down and make another. Towards the end of this one you add a slug of whisky. You hear that voice in your head telling you, you shouldn’t do this but it tastes nice and you relax a bit. You make another hot drink and add a bit more alcohol. You know you have your pills upstairs but they often don’t seem to make much difference.
Whatever happened to Valium? You remember that bit in Trainspotting where Renton, as part of his preparation to come off smack, nicks some of his mum’s pills? He describes her as being, in her own way, a junkie as well but her drugs were on prescription. But these days such medication is out of fashion. It’s all anti-depressants and beta blockers. No wonder so many people self-medicate with alcohol and smoke weed to alleviate their symptoms.
There’s so much shit to cope with. Is it any wonder we are facing an epidemic of mental illness, self-harming, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling addiction, domestic violence, increasing levels of racism, antisemitism and God knows what else? The planet is burning, there are dire warnings about our very survival and don’t get me started on Brexit.
But there is hope. There has to be. We need to cling on to the belief that things will work out for the best. It’s hard, often very hard to stay positive but for the sake of our loved ones and future generations we mustn’t give in to the fear-mongers. Those in the tabloid press who make money from spreading their own brand of fake, or at least distorted, news to enrage their readers. These poor sods who then consciously or unconsciously become more extreme in their views blaming immigrants, remainers, the liberal elite or whoever for all the troubles apparently afflicting our society.
But fuck it. Whether you think that Winston Churchill was a hero or a villain, he did come up with the acronym KBO which stood for Keep Buggering On. At the end of the day that’s all we can keep doing. I heard something on a play on the radio the other day where a character was going to throw herself into the sea but was persuaded not to and was told that we just have to keep going, even if it’s just out of habit, until things get better.
Me, I have music that has so often pulled me back from the edge. Today it’s been UK band Bruise followed by Buffalo Springfield and now The Black Crowes that is keeping me here. And the rain has stopped and the sun is out. I might get to the swimming pool tomorrow.