Blame it on the sunshine

Edit:  I’ve just checked my post, and have graduated from a Solo debit card to a Maestro debit card.   Solo cards are the debit cards given to people too irresponsible to breathe.   Having a Maestro card now gives me the freedom to make drunken purchases on STA Travel that I will later regret and then have to explain to my overseas friend who didn’t want me to come visit in the first place.  HURRAH!

A Maestro card officially makes me HUMAN, as opposed to the inconsequential wift of smoke I was back when I had a Solo card.  If I ever get a Visa, apparently my urine becomes a stream of glittering liquid gold.  If I ever get a credit card, then with everything bowel movement I make I get 10% splashback.

ANYWAY!

Firstly, I haven’t updated you on my granny.  She had an operation they thought would kill her but she was out of intensive care within two days.  Now she’s back at home, with people caring for her.  My granny is great.

And…

Oh dear.  Everybody’s cheering for the impending summer.  Hooray! reverberates around the country.  The Divine Comedy wrote the hand-clappingly exuberant, “Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count” about it.  Everyone is lovingly unwrapping their wicker hats and jelly sandals.  Except for me.  I do love the summer, in theory.  Even the asphalt jungle of London takes on a kind of benevolent beauty during these cherry blossom months.  The streets, which ordinarily gust the stink of piss and burgers into your face as soon as you leave the smoke-stained sanctity of your flat, begin to smell of flowers and saplings, and other subtle but no less beautiful scents that catch you off guard, as would the unexpectedly exquisite perfume of a passerby.  

In theory, I love the summer.  In practice, the summer months are the most dangerous for me.

For some unknown reason, I tend to suffer from vicious depressions during the summer. Occasionally, I’ve had terrible manic episodes in the summer, too, but the rule of thumb seems to be that whatever episode I get struck by in the summer will be hellishly severe and last for months.  This time last year I was under the care of the Crisis Team due to an incapacitating depression that got so bad that I tried to off myself.  The year before I was very depressed.  In fact, almost every summer for the past twelve years I have become a cuckoo.

I seem to have a kind of reverse-SAD.  As with the rest of the world, I do sometimes feel terrible during the winter months.  The days are short and worthless, life practically has to be strangled out of them.  The skies are grey, the trees are grey, your floating face in the mirror is grey and if you had the energy to disembowel yourself, a long grey slippery rope would slide out.  But, to my memory, which, lets be honest, isn’t that reliable, I’ve gone through my worst manic episodes during winter, and my worst depressions during summer.  For a lot of people with manic depression, the opposite is true.

I have a few theories why this is.  The first is Sod’s Law.  Outside, the desirous hoards laugh and laze in the sun, everything feels so much easier, the world, more free, life, more hopeful.   My mind hates me and actively conspires against me.  So, it strikes me with a depression that keeps me separated from this carnival.  It conjures a force-field that surrounds me, keeping me in a gloomy stasis, where all coherent thought withers down to just the one; “I wish I was dead”.  Ha ha, Seaneen!  Now another four months of your life will go to utter waste and you’ll struggle to remember a single detail of this time that doesn’t involve googling the fatal doses of painkillers!  In your face!

The other is that it might be my fault, a little bit.  The summer nurtures my ever-present rebellious streak.  There are plans, things to do, and because the summer always feels such a rarity that everything is as though it is without consequence because all can be excused, I start to slip.  I embark on many picnics and pub outings with friends and throw caution to the breeze- if my friends can drink, then why can’t I?   Then a late night in which I forget my medication, then I forget the next night- and I don’t want to take it anyway, I’d  rather be unsleeping than sleep to three and miss the glorious mornings,  I can’t stand months of mediocre afternoons, so why should I even take my medication at all when nobody else I know has to deal with this, it isn’t fair, I want to be like them…

Alas, my medication does little for depression anyway, but missing doses is enough to kick me into an unstable paranoid hypomania that turns into a heavily negative mixed episode, and drinking makes me feel depressed.

The summer can exacerbate pre-existing “Ah bugger” feelings, too.   I can’t wear short sleeves because of my scars.  I could but it would make me feel exposed and I’m paranoid enough about my appearance.  So my clothes become suffocating (and I tend to overdress to overcompensate for my paranoia), my scars itch and burn and I feel ridiculous and apart, and that depresses me.  I’d love to be one of those woman in short dresses, I imagine what the gentle sunlight feels like on their skin and imagine how it feels to live within a bodysuit that’s so smooth and only bears the human marks of bumps and childbirth and childhood accidents, and not the obviously deliberate scars than mine bears.  It makes me feel crap to be in long sleeves all the time during the summer.

Maybe this summer I should experiment with,”Fuck Off and Die” chic.  As in, if you look at me strangely because of my scars, you can Fuck off and Die.  I did do the whole short sleeves shebang one summer in supposedly liberal and groovy Camden and people got up from my table and walked away when they clocked my arms, whispering about me.   But now my scars are far less shocking than they were, so maybe…

My raging depressions, and having this illness, pisses me off because I’m not unhappy.      The fact that nothing really seems to be wrong in my life exacerbates my feelings of helplessness, because I don’t know what to change.   It’s intensely frustrating.  It all feels very physical to me, and it always has done.  The sensations of falling into darkness, and the skin-crawling agitation and the feeling of slipping out of control all come from inside, not outside.  Pain in the arse, I tell thee.

Anyway, providing that I don’t die of Swine Flu first, I have to be careful this summer if I want to get to see my birthday in September.  Of course, I could be being characteristically fatalistic but my mood’s already quite messed up, in the sense of “hypomanic energy and irritation coupled with the, “Right, I’m going to hang myself” thoughts.  It’s nothing serious and I’m okay but at this time of year, things seem to get bad very quickly for me.

I’m utilising my usual mostly ineffective tactics to keep me out of the ground.  Trying not to temptingly isolate myself (I’ve been out recently, and had a lovely night at our local a few days back, except I got a bit tipsy and started ranting at my friends about good porn on the internet)  or to carry on getting pissed (I have had a horrendous couple of months and revisited my old friend The Booze to cope with it, and now I’m trying to go back to being teetotal, because giving up the booze was so fecking hard that I don’t feel like having to do it again),  trying to sort out my sleep, attempting to keep busy and productive with writing, trying to answer emails, although I “epically fail” at that, as tha kids would say, and trying to eat.     I do eat and keep it down, which is the important part, and I force myself to eat even if I’m not hungry.  I could genuinely subsist on coffee and tea at the moment, with a slice of toast if I’m feeling decadent.  Although I’m fairly fat so not eating wouldn’t do me much harm, it just, y’know, psychologically would.  

I still haven’t signed up to join the swimming pool but that’s mostly due to the fact that I just paid my rent and finally got a cheap external hard drive to save my ailing computer. I haven’t got enough left over membership fee and first month.  However, I have another trick up my wizard’s sleeve, which is not a euphemism for my vagina.

It is dull and exhausting having to be a careful person.  I’m fairly responsible and all, I mean, I am an adult, not an adolescent, despite my adolescent passions and impulses.  I pay my bills and that (I’m so grown up that I’ve decided to change supplier to save money), I’ve taken care of cats and they have yet to die on me.  It just gets really bloody tedious having to keep such a close eye on yourself and to accept the consequences/telling off when you don’t.  I’m not very exciting.  I’m not a daring harlequin cat burglar.  It’s tumbleweed all the way.  

I shall at least be having a restful weekend, as I’m visiting Rob’s parents and Hobbes, who reside in the bosom of the tiny Leicester village, Frisby on the Wreake.  It’s one of those rather pretty little villages that has one pub and whose shops close promptly at 4pm, so if you want a Twix you have to drive the required ten miles.  Rob is from another tiny village nearby, whereas I’m from West Belfast.  His hometown has lovely, lyrical street names and actual real life thatched cottages.  My council estate translates from Irish to English as, “The Green Hole”.  It’s certainly a hole.  It should really be called, “Cars Burnt Out, Shitty Mispelled Graffiti and Dog Shit Hole”.

I’m never quite sure how to behave around all that undisturbed greenery, and I have spasmodic attacks of guilt every time I stub a fag out in the grass.   It makes me feel like some sort of character in an American sitcom.  The garish hooker that is hired to pretend to be someone’s girlfriend, that’s me.   

I’ve also received the recording of the Radio 4 play but have yet to listen to it, I can’t seem to gather up the bravery to.  I will do, I’m just bracing myself for how strange it may be to listen to it.  

Before I go, here’s some photos I took on Wednesday that you may find FASCINATING! but most probably not.

I got dressed up like a tramp in cat hat and duvet Manicsfan coat (it was raining), took my camera to my desk, flat, and my immediate surroundings- nowhere more than five minutes away, to find interesting things that are around me everyday. Unfortunately! My battery died before I had the chance to ghoulishly snap Joe Meek’s Offing Palace, but I did get to the peaceful graveyard that is pretty much my back garden, my favourite newsagent and local cafe, and the farm that is five minutes walk from my flat, in Holloway, Zone 2, which is quite strange to me, and I can sometimes hear the roosters in my kitchen. Even though I got drenched, I enjoyed my three hour day trip to the five minutes around my flat. There may be some rubbish photos as I cannot be arsed to go through photobucket and delete things.  They’re big so stretch the page.

Anyway, have a lovely weekend and think of me wandering around fields trying to avoid flicking fag ash over startled worms.

Photos after the imploring, “Read More” tag.

 

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I just felt really happy lying down here.

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PhotobucketI stared at this for AGES thinking it was a real bird.  I need new glasses.

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Occasionally when I’m talking to people on Facebook I sketch their profile photos.  I had done the outline of Jack’s face before spilling tea on it, so, hence the scribbling and abandonment.Photobucket

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PhotobucketNo make up, no sleep,  Disgusting I know!

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30 Responses

  1. Seaneen, you are the only grown woman alive who can pull off a cat hat. Nice pics.

    I love summer in theory, too. Unlike you, I have my major depressive period in the winter. Come spring my heart takes wings and sings like a songbird, or some other poetic imagery. But when I am lying in bed and the sunlight is keeking unwanted through the curtains, I want grey skies and pissing rain to match my mood.

  2. Love the pics Seaneen🙂

    Have a great weekend x x x x

  3. 1.) You have an excellent taste in books.

    2.) Those photos are FANTASTIC! I’m torn between which are my favourite ones – the ones of you or the ones of the squirrel. You’re prettier but the squirrel is cuter.

    3.) If you don’t mind me asking, what model is your camera? How many megapixels is it?

    4.) Sitting at my computer reading your blog and seeing a picture of the computer on which you presumably write your blog made my head feel all funny……….

    5.) I love the way I can see every hair on your cat’s face.

    6.) Is there anywhere you can go outdoors where you could be private, with just your close friends? Then you could wear short sleeves maybe. Personally, I think that people who have a problem with your scars are bastards. *hugs Seaneen*

    7.) Dunno if this is relevant, but my anorexia always intensified in the summer.

    8.) I wish from the bottom of my heart that life could give you a bit of a break. I hope you enjoy your weekend.

    9.) Yes, I am talking way too much tonight. Sorry.

    • 3) It’s a Fuji Finepix S9600, 9 megapixels. I can’t afford an SLR!

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fujifilm-FinePix-S9600-Digital-Camera/dp/B000INUDMY

      I love my camera, though, so much so that when it broke I just got the same camera again. It was £500 new, now is about £200. If I ever get handed Loadsa Money I’ll get an SLR. My camera is ace but is a bit rubbish in things like low light and stuff.

      In the photos of me on the gravestone, I took them because I was feeling so happy. I just felt really lovely.

      5) Yeah, with picnics with friends I don’t mind wearing short sleeves. In general day to day ness I try to avoid it. I do think that this summer I might just not care. They’re well faded, although bad thing about the sun is that it makes them more obvious looking.

      You’re not talking too much! And enjoy your weekend too🙂

  4. I like the photos a lot – great to see ‘normal’ things as such beautiful art.

    My depression happens at any and all times, summer and winter. But Summer seems somehow worse coz you’re supposed to be happier, and everyone else is happier and enjoying life.

  5. There are some beautiful pics on there. I’m impressed.

    And a new Moleskine… *drools*

  6. I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but when I spoke to a psychiatrist to try to determine what brand of mentalism I had, he told me that SAD is not, as it is commonly represented, depression in winter, he said it’s technically a form of bipolar, that you must have had at least one manic episode to be diagnosed with it, and that you can be manic in winter and depressed in summer just as easily as the other way around, it just means there’s a seasonal link.

    I’ve not read much more about it, because I’d not had a manic episode as far as I knew (hypomanic, yes, manic, no) so it came off the table.

  7. Amazing photos!
    I think we all have our seasons and sometimes they are different from year to year. Spring is the tough one for me. I think because everything is supposed to be new and full of life and I rarely feel that way so it just depresses me more.

  8. Really lovely. I’m going through a rough patch at the moment and it’s actually uplifting to appreciate your pieces.

    It has been 8 months of medication trial and error/allergies after my first delusional/hearing voices break down. Still not feeling right, but I’m not giving up. Thanks and keep writing.

  9. Those are some awesome pictures, the greens are so… uh.. vibrant.

    Felt like I was peeking through the window of your world. does that make me a cyber stalker ?

  10. 1. And I thought I was the only one that gets depressed in summer more than in winter…

    2. YAY! for your granmother!

    3. Wonderful photos. And wonderful drawings!

    4. Squirrel!!! A lovely squirrel crunching his nut! How cute! (I am still not used to squirrels.)

  11. I love the squirrel!

    Fantastic writing and fab pics.

    Thank you Seaneen – I needed that today.

    L x

  12. 1) You are an amazing photographer
    2)You are so pretty (Both with and without make up, you have amazing eyes)
    3) Your cats are amazingly cute and I miss mine now!

    I’m tempted to do a ‘things within 5 miutes away’ type thing… except it’s Birmingham city centre and concrete doesn’t really excite!

    I find going to urban fams in the rain somewhat soothing, I don’t know why, maybe it’s because the one near me is nearly empty so it’s peaceful.

    xx

  13. Seaneen, you are a total star. Multi-talented, absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, a feckin’ amazing writer… how many twenty-three year olds get a play written about them, just ask yourself that?

    I’m so glad you are feeling better than of late (God knows you deserve to), and you seem to have had a real surge of creativity. You just can’t keep a good woman down!

    Here’s to many balmy sunshiney days…Lots of love, Zoe.

  14. ps: I have to say though that I’ve had some corking summer depressions too (my first major episode, aged 19), and Spring ones. I agree with some of the others that to be depressed in spring or summer can make you feel worse, because of the contrast with the natural world, with other people and with how you are ‘supposed’ to feel. When I’m in the depths I long for grey skies and rain, just like La! The suicide rate is at its highest in May, apparently, so I guess this is not uncommon. xxx

  15. Love the pics! I too get more reckless in the summer.

  16. hurrah i am not the only one who gets depressed in the summer. Think it is because i loathe my body and the summer means i am the odd one out for being covered up and i am green with envy at women in little skirts and t-shirts enjoying the sun. This would be helped by losing some weight-but not that much i would still be too ugly for the rest of the world to see.
    Happy note loved the pics-esp squirrels. Are human beans the only creatures to be bi-polar?
    sad lamb

  17. beautiful, beautiful pictures. Thank you! I just wanted to say, unfortunately, all of this IS very physical, and the change of seasons probably does affect you – not just your behavior or attitudes but you physically. It makes a difference.

  18. Apparently, I found out recently, that whole SAD thing, whilst more common in Winter, can affect people in the Spring/Summer instead. Joyful news :s

  19. My bad depressions (3 so far) have all been in summer. Like others here, I suspect it has to do with the general pace of summer life – everyone’s more sociable and enthusiastic and energetic – I try to keep up and get stressed. This year I’m going to try sticking to my own patterns more, even if it does mean napping when it is sunny out.

    Your photos are fab and make me think of upgrading my camera. I’m going to save the pigeon one as my computer screensaver; I think it captures something about how sunshine and green grass can make even the manky London pigeon look ok!

  20. Summer seems to affect a lot of people the way you describe. I know a lot of people say they get depressed in winter and call it “SAD”, but those depressions though all-blanketing and lingering tend to be relatively mild (in psychiatric terms). Summer depressions are far more lacerating and they say the sunlight can trigger mania in the susceptible… I’m writing from my own experience and that of a friend of mine diagnosed “schizoaffective” …

  21. What lovely photos!

    Gosh, you are too cute. Especially your nose (hope that’s okay to say).

  22. You were complaining that you feel boring. But I assume from those photos you had the balls to get two people to pose for your pictures. I would never be able to do that.

    If that’s your bookshelf I see you have “The Ode Less Travelled” which I have as well. A lovely book. Mr Fry is rather God-like.

  23. I still have a Solo card. 28 in two months and I still have a Solo card. I’m a fucking joke.

  24. I frequently do the ‘Fuck Off and Die’ chic, but it’s hard at first. However, it takes me a fair few weeks of nice weather to psyche myself up to do it. I wore 3/4 sleeves yesterday on the Tube and was conscious of people staring so much that I kept trying to pull them down.

    Your photos are amazing and you are so, so pretty that I am jealous. I might do a 5 minutes around me slot, but then I think I’d just bump into obnoxious, rich people of South Kensington who object to being photographed. How London can vary from borough to borough.

    xx

  25. This post has inspired me to invest £40 in a second-hand digital camera from Ebay! I don’t take enough photos.

  26. I’m laughing because summer is around the time I seem to lose the plot every year, more so than usual….. My money is a summer spent bone collecting again, but you never know, maybe I’ll develop something more exotic this year! Wow, mental illness is just one long party of surprises🙂

    Loving the photos! More random pictures phhhrrrlease!!

    Lola x

  27. i love the pix! (and i look at a lot of photos) – when i saw the one where you said you thought it was a real bird i looked at it for ages and said to myself “but it is a real bird” until i scrolled down and saw the bronze one…

  28. I too have a tendency to become more mentally interesting in summer. I think it’s because the majority of people seem to be that little bit happier in summer, y’know, more content with life at large. And my kneejerk reaction to that is to focus on how meaningless life is and really what is the point of me? And that’s when bridges and tablets launch themselves to the forefront of my mind

    xXx

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