The signal goes out, the train doors close, I try to force myself to get up, to get off the train but I can’t and before I know it, within the blink of an eye, I’m gone and he’s still there.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A desperate goodbye, a half hearted wave and a choked back tear. I was meant to be, well, normal. Able to say goodbye without succumbing to utter and complete sadness.
It started this morning when I woke up. It was there in the background as I tried to shake it off with a shower, it was there, lurking at the back of my mind and now, well now it’s here.
The depression has returned and as always I am failing to understand where or why it has come from.
As the day goes on it gets worse. I try to distract myself by immersing my mind in a show, in a drama that is not my own, but it doesn’t work. I keep thinking about what a dreadful person I am, how ugly, how much of a failure.
I read a magazine, again in search of escape and distraction, but it only serves to remind me of how disgusting I am and just how fat I feel.
The day gets worse and by the afternoon I find myself staring into space ruminating on everything that’s wrong. I feel unable to think of anything that’s right in my life and the dark thoughts start cascading into my cranium, filling me with nothing but desires for an end and for escape.
I want to run away but I don’t know where to go. I end up sobbing in desperation in the arms of the boy who struggles to understand what’s wrong but who knows enough of this illness now not to ask.
I crave sleep and after what feels like forever I drift off away from the tears only to wake shortly after gripped by anxiety. The thought of my train home is not something I can handle and the tears come again. I feel sick at the thought of it and don’t know how I’ll be able to travel in this state.
But we go to the station and I get on the train and i get home and now i sit here alone, and so miserable I could cry. And I do.
Let me begin by reassuring you that despite appearances to the contrary this dress is not a shirt. Though I chose it thinking it would work quite well for a night on the town as well as a day dozing in the garden it turned out to be rather unsuitable for both.
I decided to take today off so I could squeeze in some extra time in Manchester and finally get the chance to catch up with my friend who has been on a show stopping musical theatre tour all over the UK. After having a lovely lie in I sat outside in the garden to have my coffee and it was so nice that I didn’t really move much during the rest of the day. My friend came to join me outside and I got so lost in catching up that I foolishly forgot about the wonder that is sun cream. By the time the boy had returned I was a ridiculous shade of pink which did not at all suit today’s dress and is extremely painful.
As we are going out to a gig tonight I tried to calm it down and undo the damage by applying layers of after-sun. After the tenth layer I started to wonder why it was having no cooling affect in spite of the cucumber coloured bottle. At this point I had a look at the label and realised that what I had in-fact been applying was body glitter which had no healing affects but did make me look like an orange disco ball.
There was no time to take it off so I slipped on some other sparkly stuff in the hope of creating an overall impression of a woman hell bent on matching every accessory, arm make up included. The gig was set to take place at a mansion in South Manchester so I treated my feet to fancy shoes and wincing from the pain of my arms clambered in the taxi with the rest of the band.
I must admit that when I hear the word mansion my first thought is Mr Darcy’s estate at Pemberley. For this reason when we arrived at a rather beautiful but derelict mansion which had soil where I was hoping for grounds I was a little disappointed. It was still however a location for a gig and once I got over the soil which was staining the bottoms of my feet it actually turned out to be okay. There were bands playing sets in their pyjamas, toddlers singing magic penny to a hundred people and if one dared to explore the mansion there was an artists rabbit run inside. There were books on every subject you would ever want to study from the 60s and beyond, a grand piano, an artists easel and rooms where musicians could record, for free.
- The dress is originally from H&M, the belt from Topshop, the shoes from Kurt Geiger and the jewellery from Pilgrim. This was one of those dresses donated by the lovely Lara. Though it made for difficult descents from the taxi it is a cute little number and on someone shorter may be rather less revealing.
Getting behind with blogs always bums me out. I do like to make sure I am up to date but there are times like today when I have so many to catch up on that the task just seems too much. After many attempts to bash out a birthday blog, a tribute to the red dress and even a recollection of the night of my birthday celebrations I had to give up because I just couldn’t get them right and because in the case of the celebration blog my memory has been compromised by too many cocktails. Who knew something so delicious could be so lethal, darn you Oat Hill and your sorcerer ways.
There are times the blogs just fire from my fingers and in a matter of minutes a medley of words will shoot up on the screen. Today though no matter how hard I try I can’t finish even one, or even start it for that matter. My mind is all over the place and I’ve been on a downward slide ever since I woke up on Sunday morning. They say that alcohol is a depressant and the state I was in at the end of the day would seem to support that fact.
I do try to cheer myself up, I really do. I abandon Yoga for a three episode Glee marathon in the hope that the cheesy tunes would prove to be more spiritually cleansing than another session of singing oms. Unfortunately I fear I may have made the wrong choice and find myself wishing I had given the hippy healing another go. Glee is great but if I am honest its a little like Harry Potter, you always find yourself wishing it was real and knowing that there isn’t really a magical world or a place where spontaneous song is totally acceptable makes me a little sad.
In the end I decide to abandon my attempts to become a professional singer and opt for an early night. When I enter my room I am instantly cheered. The boy stayed over last night and I confessed to him that I was fed up of getting behind with blogs and having a room that was constantly in a state due to having a hundred dresses with no real place to put them. He has tidied up the room, put up my birthday cards, hoovered the floor and I even detect a hint of polish in the air. As well as this he has found the picture of liownn and I and mounted it on the wall opposite my bed so that the first thing I see when I wake up is the colourful drawing. Admittedly the dresses are still in a pile at the end of the bed but they are in a neat pile. This makes all the difference. Though things are tough with us living apart he still seems able to find ways to make my week easier even when he isn’t here. Now if only I could remember how to write.
- Today’s dress is from Florence and Fred sent from my mystery dress donor. Unfortunately I still know no more about the identity of this person and feel as though I am getting nowhere after ruling out my only suspect. Though I had thought the Polish Princess was the sender, the boy’s mother was away in Spain when this package arrived and unless she has gained an accomplice I think I must look elsewhere to find the culprit.
Everyone keeps telling me that in time it will get easier to juggle the job, the boy and the blog, but it has been six weeks and I am still struggling. Last weekend, finding myself behind with my posts because of a busy week at work I tried to catch up. The boy was down for the weekend and my writing dug in to our time together. Though he said at the time that he did not mind, my mother later admitted that she had seen him mock tossing my little laptop from the door. Either he does not like my laptop or he is jealous of all the time we have been spending together.
To try to make him happy and to prevent the blog from coming between us I left log ins to a minimum and only wrote when he was elsewhere. Though this did mean we got a lot more time together, by the time it came to me heading home I was stressed and tearful. I had done no washing, writing or ironing and in spite of my best efforts to catch up on sleep I was still feeling tired.
After saying goodbye I managed to drive till I was just around the corner before having to pull in for a cry. Though I managed to pull it together enough to engage my natural sense of direction after the sat nav ran flat by the time I got home I was a wreck. I do not know why I cannot cope, it seems ridiculous really. I am a grown woman who should be quite capable of living if not acting independently and yet being away from my boyfriend for five nights a week leaves me in a mess. Though I want to stay up to get caught up on the blogs I have left behind over the weekend, tomorrow is deadline day and if I fail to get enough sleep now I’ll be all over the place in the morning. I do hope the girls are right and that sometime soon I will get better at juggling and be able to handle everything more easily with a lot less stress. Spending Sunday evening and Monday morning in tears is never a good start to the week and I am afraid that if this carries on any longer I will have no choice but to drop one of the three. What on earth is wrong with me?
- Today’s dress is on loan from Sinead Kenny. It is originally from Miss Posh. As we are getting a bit bored with the same old background and props we decide to take the pictures outside using a dandelion. It is a nice idea but my heart isn’t really in it as all I can think of during the whole shoot is my car parked behind us which I will soon have to drive away in. The dress is meant to be worn sleeveless but I do not have enough up top to make it stay there by itself so I pull on a Marks & Spencer long sleeved top and use a bobby pin to keep it in place.
Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.
I feel restricted. Today’s dress to an outsider looks beautiful, flowery and feminine but throughout the day it has been slowly killing me. There is a corset structure on the inside which I believe may have realigned not only my bust but also my inner organs. In all fairness the dress has not been particuarly helped by my decision to go for the trio of meats at the Oathill for my Sunday dinner. The dress does not take kindly to my choice and even when I am ordering it I feel it twisting in outrage trying its best to remind me that corseted ladies should stick to neat little cucumber sandwiches and at a push a stick of Ryvita.
When the boy has to leave for home I am inconsolable; the weekend as always has gone by all too quickly and it feels as though there was no time at all to just be. Fearing I will embarrass myself on the platform by crying or trying to board the train I say goodbye at the door and let him get a lift with my baby brother. I don’t want him to see me sad but when he says goodbye I start to cry and can’t seem to stop.
I try to force myself out of it by sitting down to catch up on blogs but there is a problem with wordpress and I can not post. I do not know why but this leads to further tears which confirms my fears that I am starting to lose it a little this evening. Until now I had not realised how helpful writing the blog is for my general well being. There is something about writing it which allows me the creative release which I so obviously need. I spend so much of my time trying to keep my emotions under control and monitoring my behaviour to make sure I am not falling to low or climbing to high that it is nice to just write and not have to worry too much over what comes out.
When I write for the press I am constantly fretting over minute sections of sentences. I spend time trailing through the thesaurus to find the perfect word and seek out alliteration and rhyme wherever possible, checking the metre of the sentence by reading it aloud in my head. With the blog though I just type whatever I feel about whatever has moved me that day.
There are days where I do specific posts which I have thought about in my head for weeks but I never feel pressurised to perform when I blog and this I suppose is mainly down to you. I have been lucky enough so far to have readers who do not judge, demand or criticise too easily. I know the quality waivers and that posts are at times too long or too short but thank you, from the bottom of my heart for bearing with me and finding the time to read.
- Today’s dress is a donation from my lovely Fairy God Mother. I do not usually wear this style of dress, I am paranoid about my wide shoulders but with a cardigan the dress is balanced and thanks to the corset everything is pulled tightly into place to give me an hourglass shape which I guess is worth a bit of discomfort. I stuck with bare legs but am beginning to think the time has come to invest in a little sun in a bottle to stop my milky white limbs from blinding people with their ghostly glare.
I have sunk. Over the past few days I have felt myself falling and today I am just totally flat. I am worried about work, about the way I write and about how long it takes me to get a good introduction done. I am anxious and annoyed at myself for not getting on quicker; I am trying desperately hard but I just want to be there so much faster than it seems to be taking me.
I was gifted with the opportunity to write and research the splash, the front page of the paper. I managed to get the quotes and the contacts which is often the hardest part but when it came to writing it I froze. I couldn’t seem to convey what I wanted to say in the opening paragraph and after writing it and discarding it twelve times panic set in. It was so annoying because I had the time I just folded under the pressure. I was starting to feel last week as though I was finally getting the hang of things but after fluffing up today I just feel so angry with myself for not being able to follow things through. I know I can write but I just seem to be struggling.
I do not think that it helps that I have been coming home to an empty house the past couple of days. I like to think I am an independent woman who is happy in her own company, and most of the time I am. It is times like this evening though that I feel myself getting a bit tearful and wish the boy was here so I could curl up on his chest and warble out my worries from the day. As it is though I am alone and sad and have little enthusiasm for anything. The football was on and I watched it for a little while but couldn’t seem to summon the usual love of the sport. I knew I should eat but there was nothing I wanted and I did not see the point in cooking for myself. I had started to wonder whether it might be good for me to move into a place by myself, where any stresses were all my own but on days like this I worry how I would cope. Perhaps I will be one of those women who ends up with seven kittens or maybe I shall be sensible for once and take up Tai Chi.
- Today’s dress was brought for me by the boy as a cheer up treat yesterday. It is some unusual make but it was from British Heart Foundation and was only £3.99. I wore it with my checker tights and some huge heels to give me a bit of a boost. I am not usually a fan of purple but according to the boy it suits my hair colour. My baby brother took the photos for me before having to head out to see his lovely lady. He is a big fan of strange angles which he creates by spinning the camera around and randomly taking the photos when I am least expecting it.
After spending a weekend on what may well have been a mini high I have now entered free fall. Last night the boy and I had a horrible fight over the “future”. Admittedly I was probably being a little irrational. I wanted him to show me in some way that this is going to work; that we will be able to get through the next 18 months without falling to pieces and that this will all have been worth it in the end. It just feels strange a month ago we were considering the possibility of moving in together and playing house and now I am looking in the local paper for flats to move into by myself.
Though I am quite excited about the prospect of living alone for the last time I am sad to see our little dream end before it had really started. I know we can make this work but when I’m feeling low and pessimistic its hard to persuade myself of the positives. I do feel for him, I know it can not be easy going out with a girl whose head is so often in the clouds; the dark and the thundery as well as the light and the fluffy. He has always been the realistic one of the two of us. Though I might run away in my mind with schemes and plans about trips away to Cuba and a home in the Lakes where he can teach and I can write, he will be there holding my hand, ready to pull me back down to earth when the schemes become too wild.
Yesterday we argued because he is frustrated at how little I have been looking after myself. He hates to see me go into decline and understandably gets angry when he thinks it might be because I have been staying up too late, forgetting to take my tablets or just taking on too much. Although he has upset me this weekend by choosing to spend the Easter holiday at home rather than coming down to be with me, considering how much of a mess I was last weekend I can hardly blame him.
So often with mental illness it becomes all about the person who is sick. It is we who are given the tablets, the counselling and the coping strategies, all to often it is our partners, family and friends who fall by the way with little advice or explanation on how they should cope with the giant grey elephant in the corner who can not seem to stop crying their eyes out or talking at a hundred miles a minute. There are groups and websites which can help friends and partners but it is hard to know where to turn. There was one stage when I was living in Manchester when the boy was having to spend so much of his time making sure I was okay. I wasn’t seeing a Doctor, I was no longer on any anti-depressants and I had started having panic attacks. When I am a wreck it is all to easy for me to forget how much he has done and continues to do for me. I never want him to be my carer but there has been times when I know I couldn’t have coped without him. We work the best when we are both happy and I hate it on days like today when I sink so low that I refuse to believe anything he says. I tell him he should not be with me, that he should find a normal girl who is not so high maintenance but because he is sweet he tells me I am not and that he would not have me any other way even if I was.
I do love him dearly but I am so afraid of what the next eighteen months will bring. I am terrified that one day I will shoot us in the foot by saying something I do not mean and he will walk away for good and find himself a girl with fewer issues. One day he tells me he will write a blog which he hopes will help the partners of other people with problems, but at the minute I think he might be a bit too mad to write.
- Today’s dress comes from Lara. It is beautiful and I put it on because I knew the boy liked it when he first saw it in the bag of donated dresses. I wanted him to get on the train with a happier memory of me than the tired, tearful, weary eyed woman he went to bed with last night.
I have crab-crawled feet-first under a bush, took a running leap to clear a babbling brook and stood still, eyes frozen with terror as two hundred men came hurtling towards me; I have spent the day at the annual Bottle Kicking contest at Hallaton.
Some of you may have heard of this sport before but for the uninitiated, a little explanation will hopefully suffice. The competition, which is believed to date back a thousand years, sees villagers from both side of the brook compete to get the bottle back to their village. The only rules are no strangling and no gouging other than that competitors may do whatsoever they wish to return each of the three ceremonial bottles, filled to the brim with ale for the champions to drink, back to their village.
When I first heard of the game, I must admit I had pictured things rather differently. I had imagined a line of largely unbalanced men queuing up in a line to kick Carling bottles off the top of a brick wall. In my head I could hear the promotional voice which would speak over the contest: “Probably the best bottles in the world.”
As it turns out the Bottle Kicking contest is hands down the best way to spend a Bank Holiday. When we arrive, we cast away our city reservations and get right in with the crowd by tagging along with the parade towards the centre of Hallaton village. We passed Medbourne on the drive down here and though i am accustomed to supporting the underdog the boy and my bestest persuaded me to side with the winners and align myself with the Hallaton men. As I am reporting from the battle field I feel it would be rather rude to take sides so in the interests of soaking up the atmosphere I decide to follow the scrum wherever it may go.
I always thought I would do quite well in a war situation. Though I am petite, I am fast, strong and sneaky and as I had been a bit of a British Bulldog champ as a child I has rather assumed I may be of use to the scrum. As it turns out I am a horrible hindrance in battle. Though I keep on trying to sneak my way into the middle, whenever the lads start to drift towards me, I scream like a girl and run away as fast as I can telling everyone in my path to run for their lives. Everywhere I look there are fallen champions who are pinching at bloodied noses, gasping for breath and doing their best to slip shoulders back into place. There is a fantastic cross-section of society at this event and everywhere I look I can see society’s barriers broken down by the united aim of getting the bottle back to base.
I am fascinated to see women in the huddle who appear tougher than the men they challenge. One girl tells me she has been punched in the ribs by a rather rude chap but assures me she managed to get her own back. Whilst looking him directly in the eye she elbowed him straight to the steriles. I am amazed at what good fun the whole day is. We chase the scrum up and down the hill, through the hedges and over the fences and only after the games are done do we find the time to rest our weary heads upon the hill. There may have been blood shed, there may have been hate, but all this was over once the bottles were brought hurtling over the hill of Hallaton’s gate.
- I have made my dress as functional as humanely possible. Though I do rather look like I have been, and I quote, “shagged through a hedge backwards” I did work quite hard on finding a look for today which was not going to make me appear too girly. The dress is another of those donated by the lovely Lara but the belt and the black top are my own. The boots I am wearing are strong, structured and most importantly of all, not slippers.