Life, The Universe and Nothing..ness

I’ve just been out for a 10,000 step, 7.14km walk. A new route which is a combination/grouping of various old routes I used to walk locally. I bit off a bit more than I could chew to be honest. I arrived home in pain and feeling like a hip transplant. The things I do for serotonin hits.

I went for the walk for these reasons – I didn’t have anything else to do, was feeling down and it was sunny…ish. A familiar story these days, except the sun bit, as work is very quiet and I spend four to five days a week totally alone, desperately looking for constructive things to do and the motivation to do them. On the way back, as I flirted with tractors, trucks and cars on a small stretch of the road with no footpath and listening to the unhelpfully morose but brilliant music of Lana Del Rey, I stepped over two bees in quick succession, crawling along the road, nowhere near any flowers and struggling to survive. I didn’t bother helping them like the cool, caring people always seem to do these days before sharing it on Facebook. Gotta save the bees. I don’t feel too bad about it though as I didn’t have a spoon, sugar or water about my person but I suspect that even if I did, I wouldn’t have bothered. Each to their own really, I can’t be taking on bee’s or the world’s problems. It’s a case of survival of the fittest, which is pretty much how my own life struggle is panning out these days. Surviving seems to be getting more difficult but at least I’m kinda fit. A little more so after my 7km anyway. More on the bees later..

So where am I at these days? I’m 43 and I’ve realised recently (it’s taken this long yes..) that life, mine at least, is a cyclical, repetitive affair. Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes it’s good, others, not so good. Then sometimes, nothing happens at all. Despite your best efforts, nothing seems to go your way and you have no luck, either good or bad. There’s just “nothingness”. Where once, the same effort bore fruit, now it just doesn’t for whatever reason. It’s tempting sometimes to surmise that everything or everyone is against you or that there’s some master of puppets controlling your every minute and ultimately, your destiny. It’s far easier to think like that than face the harsh truth that the buck stops with you and you may need to dig in occasionally and just keep yourself going and that life is just…well, random. This is essentially the driver of depression. Not quite having the resilience to let life’s low points or bad luck wash over you and be patient for better times or blowing small issues out of all proportion. Attending several workshops and completing an online course in life skills over the last two years confirmed the same to me. But even though I know the enemy now, am doing all the right things, keeping myself busy, etc.. I’m still struggling. It’s been a pretty common theme in my life and it’s getting a little tiresome at this stage to be honest.

So my thoughts on the world, society and my place in them are thus. If you have a problem, you can either just surrender to it or you can investigate the cause and find a solution that stops it at source. Upon my self investigations and various visits to counsellors over the years into why I’ve struggled with happiness consistently, there are now a few things I’ve learned about myself that hover at the forefront of my consciousness always:

  • I have Abandonment issues
  • I’m introverted and socially unskilled by nature
  • I’m overly sensitive
  • I’m a perfectionist and overly controlling
  • I’m a hopeless idealist
  • I crack up if I’m on my own too much

Problems like these can be crippling and I HAVE been crippled by them but when you identify problems, that’s the first step to solving them right? In my attempts to solve some of the problems above I’ve learned to try real hard not to overthink, not to try control things I cannot, let go of people that have let go of me, get out and about and try to be more sociable and giving. I’ve been practicing these things for a long time now. I’ve done about 7 courses locally in the last 2 years, I’ve got back into recording music, I’ve moved house to somewhere less isolating, I see my kids a lot, I’m still playing football and going out for walks, etc.. I’ve also attended many workshops on anxiety and depression as I said above. But I’m still falling down again. Why? Best case scenario for me at the minute is that I’m just having a lean, bad luck period that I just need to weather. Worst case scenario is that I’m weary and not meant for this world anymore.

Then there’s the problem of society these days. I feel that the world has become an insanely busy, cold, competitive place. People avoid each other and occupy themselves with “quick fix” activities. I read something recently written by a regular foreign visitor to Ireland over the last 20/30 years. He said he’s noticed a huge difference in the “Ireland of a thousand welcomes” of the distant past to today’s hustle and bustle, essential communications only reality. People are desensitised to the world in general and to each other. No one has the time or inclination to send that “How’s things with you” message to someone they havn’t seen in a while. No news must be good news.

Today is the 19th anniversary of my mother’s death by suicide. It’s appropriate so, in a black humour kind of way that we would both have appreciated, that I was in the Doctor’s this morning on the strong advice of several people I know and I’m unhappy to report that I’m now back on happy pills. I always think it’s like admitting defeat at life when you put your trust in medication to get you through the day but it seemed to work last time so here goes again. It’s the mark of a strong person to admit defeat though and to continually rise above their problems and the problems a sick society presents and find happiness on the minimum amount of rations. There’s no better man than I though. I’ve dug deep before on more than one occasion and managed it. Truth be told, I’m happiest when I have a big challenge but it would be nice if more people held a metaphorical sugar and water filled tablespoon out to people who are struggling, just like they do for the bees?

If you need help, there’s some available here:

Aware
Pieta House
The Samaritans

And here:

Travelling Observations

Her yawning, reflected mouth requires a fleshy encounter,
I fantasise.
Neatly shaped, shining legs extend as she climbs the stairwell.
Our mutual angle almost reveals private land,
But she slips out of sight in time.

The warm-legged girl beside me keeps catching my eyes in the glass partition.
An ironic, emotional connection give our proximity.
On another occasion I sit centre aisle at the back.
Two uniformed schoolgirls enter,
One blonde freedom, the other brunette reservation.

They sit sideways, close to me, straddling the aisle,
Blissfully unaware of my trouser contents,
As I eagerly overhear their conversation.
Old creatures shuffle slowly and clumsily past,
Reminding me of my surroundings.

An annoying young child receives my feeble smile.
An obese woman boards, to create panic,
In the minds of single-seated passengers.
My destination is reached and I slowly disembark,
Returning to madness.

Written 20 years ago.

Another day in the life

Birth sounds a lot like sex,
Another life shagged!
Infants gush forth into existence,
Carried on a stream of blood, perhaps leaving likewise.

All the shapes and sizes of people,
Rushing to an unknown destination.
In my mind I project a downward view,
And think of slave ants scurrying aimlessly.

On the bus and old drunk shuffles,
Onto a seat beside the young, pretty girl.
Her face portrays the anticipation,
Of awkward moments to follow.

I share the experience when another drunk mumbles to me,
“I buried my brother today
– cancer took him away.”
All the while clutching his brothers memorial card.

I said I was sorry to hear it,
Without actually feeling any sorrow.
I didn’t care about his troubles,
And was content to judge him.

A stranger stopped and asked me was I a Christian man,
I said “No – Atheist”, he asked why?
But I had no answer for him.
I think I have created my own destruction.

Written 20 years ago.

A few questions

Why is madness more interesting than sanity?
Why don’t people see the bigger picture?
Why do we think we’re so important?
Why am I here?

What is beauty?
What is intelligence?
What is kindness?
What am I?

When will the world end?
When will there be peace?
When will we learn?
When will I die?

Where is God?
Where has all the love gone?
Where has the past gone?
Where am I?

How did we get in this state?
How big is the universe?
How do we survive?
How am I, really?

Who is responsible for us all?
Who was the first person to love?
Who decided right from wrong?
Who am I?

Written 20 years ago.

New Religion

I am the new Jesus Christ.
I have come, not to enlighten you,
But to confuse you.
Not to lead you along the path of righteousness,
But to lead you all to hell.
I will not suffer for your sins,
But let you suffer for your own.
I will not heal the sick,
But kill them and end their misery.
I will not offer you hope,
Because there is none to offer.

Written 20 years ago.