Said in the voice of the late, great Frankie Howard….as in his role as Lurcio in Up Pompeii…. that’ll have a few folk reaching for Google….but I am of an age that spans almost 7 decades, so I can remember random shit from donkey’s years ago… even if I can’t remember why I went into another room 5 minutes ago. That’s the story of an ageing life anyway.
I am rapidly approaching my 70TH! birthday, and sometimes it seems only a couple of years since my 60th….. the time when I decided that I just couldn’t hack living a bleddy lie any more. Though at other times, I feel that the last 10 years has been one of the longest and hardest decades of my life!
When I made a decision that I needed to change my situation, little did I realise that I’d be embarking on a sometimes tortuous journey of a lifetime. I also made a conscious decision to chart the journey, by way of blogs ….(which at that time was something pretty new, but I was definitely ready to learn new things, only realising much later that it was just another way of writing a diary… bleddy thick as a plank or what?). My need to clear my head of ‘issues’ is what drove it…..much to the annoyance of the man I had given everything to for 23 plus years. After a very shaky start, where I deleted a whole raft of blogs because of his objections, I began to realise that he was exercising an extension of the manipulation and control over me, that he had very cleverly used for a very long time.
So, then I started to write for myself, in the way I needed, to keep my mental health issues under control. The result being in excess of 650 pages of trials, tribulations, self flagellation, many lessons being learnt, searching for myself….. but in the end realising I was there all the time….I just got ‘lost’ in the years of putting everyone else first. I went through every emotion you could possibly think of…..some of it makes my skin crawl to this very day 10 years later, but I’m not beating myself up over any of it any more… I’m well past wasting my precious time doing that..
But it was all to an end……and sure as hell not where I expected to be. But I am grateful, and proud of myself, for the fact that I can now stand tall, with my head held high…..despite making some huge fecking mistakes. I now put myself first, hopefully not in a selfish way, but in a self care way. I’m no longer afraid to say ‘no’ to anyone, especially if what I am being asked makes me uncomfortable. I will help anyone where I feel I can have a positive input, but cease to offer ‘advice’, as I now know that all of our perceptions differ so much, and well intentioned ‘advice’ can often be misconstrued. I will make the odd ‘suggestion’ if I think it will be received positively…..but only on matters I have knowledge about, or having experienced the issues concerned for myself. I now also only listen to people who have actually experienced situations where I am looking for answers. I know many people have theories on how we should function, and tell us how we should act/speak etc., (often without actual experience…..but that’s another issue)….. because we are not all the same, we are complex, we all have different needs, physically and mentally. The last decade, with the explosion of social media, has been a classic example of people not actually thinking for themselves, but believing all they read, see and hear in every area of the media….and now we find ourselves in a mental health epidemic, where people of every age, gender, religion etc., are taking their own lives by suicide in epic, and previously unknown, proportions. Media has to take some responsibility for it….along with the buffoons that appear to be currently running this world (yet another issue!)….. All a sad indictment of the times we live in.
This makes it a bigger achievement for me to have come through the biggest change of my life, without succumbing [again] to severe depression. Yes, I suffered from anxiety, and took medication for several years (but not for a couple of years now! Go me!)…. But I was always at least one step ahead of the Black Dog…. I am incredibly fucking chuffed with myself for that! It can be done. I admit to being a depressive, as like an alcoholic, drug addict or a gambler, once a sufferer always a sufferer. But it’s how you handle it, that is the only way it can be controlled. However, unlike an alcoholic, drug addict or a gambler, a depressive can’t pinpoint the one thing to give up to help control the illness! Depression is unique to every sufferer, it has different ‘triggers’, often at different times, and there is no one definitive answer. It took a bleddy long time for me to twig that one. But when I did, my life started to transform.
When I read my blogs, and my memories on social media, I see little glimpses of progress every so often, but like everything, some habits are hard to break……especially if you have taken decades to learn to live in a certain way. It’s bleddy hard to change things.
But one of my favourite ‘sayings’ is TO CHANGE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE….YOU MUST CHANGE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE! It sounds simple, but trust me it fucking isn’t! Changing a lifetime of habits is bastarding hard work. Trial and error is probably an understatement!
A few months ago, I looked at the gauntlet of emotions I had already run…..guilt, self pity, anger, jealousy, self criticism, disappointment and apathy….. But decided that ‘ACCEPTANCE’ was the biggest, and (hopefully) the final lesson I needed to learn to close this book on the last decade. I can’t change any of it. There were bad times, fun times, cringeworthy, exciting and foolhardy times… all necessary to experience, and to establish what I didn’t want from life, and what I actually needed.
My life isn’t perfect, it has moments of everyday worries. But in the main, I now have a huge amount of happiness, satisfaction and simplicity…. Which suits me. (But I know this life could easily be the stuff of nightmares for many others).
So, closing this ‘book’ on the last decade is a thing I never thought I would be able to do….BUT I CAN!! I am moving into my 70’s with the peace of mind I couldn’t have imagined ten years ago, how bleddy epic is that?
We are also all heading into another decade…. a 21st century Roaring 20’s maybe….and I can only hope that anyone struggling like I did, will find their ‘ACCEPTANCE’….that they will find their life has many more positives than negatives….
These few pages will join the other 650+ pages in the box under the spare bed…. Until maybe one day I will be arsed to re-read it, edit it and hopefully afford to self publish it…. Someone maybe interested….who the fuck knows? I bleddy don’t anyway….
So I shall start 2020, and my 70’s, with a new Lurcio style ‘prologue’…. Titter Ye Not!… Or hopefully both you and I will Titter A Lot! …. If not, then I shall do another Lurcio thing….. And not give a flying fuck….. Happy Days xx