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365 Lyric. Picture 3

The light at the end of the bottle – alcoholic alphabet….
….Five senses down and reeling


365 Lyric. Picture 2.

A lighthearted one. The lyric taken from ‘Flamboyant’. By Pet Shop Boys. I hope people realise I’m being ironic. My winter dog walking get up is far from flamboyant!

Just crossing the street well, it’s almost heroic
You’re so flamboyant


365 Lyric. Picture 1.

The first picture from the 365 project I wrote about in my previous post.

As I mentioned this will be the only one pre-planned from lyrics I deliberately listened to the day before. This is because I thing it is kind of apt for the theme and motivation. The rest will be from lyrics that crop up on shuffle and so not pre-planned. This one uses a bigger chunk of lyric than I think I am likely to mostly use.

“If death is pretty final, I’m collecting vinyl
I’m gonna DJ at the end of the world

‘Cos if heaven does exist with a kickin’ playlist
I don’t want to miss it at the end of the world

Hey steady steady, hey steady steady
I don’t wanna go until I’m good and ready

It’s on my mind, it’s in my mind
It’s what I found, it’s what I find
It’s on my mind, it’s in my mind
It’s what I found, oh my my my”



Project 365 Lyric.

Back to the blog once more.

I am again working to recover from an acute episode of PTSD. When I had my really bad episode a few years ago one of the things I did during recovery was a 365 project of self portrait photographs. One a day for a year. I have posted some of those previously on this blog. It was something that was suggested to me by several people and was certainly useful. Tapping into creativity is a useful distraction. Having a task to do every day is also a good discipline because it makes you do something even on the bleakest days. Many days it was easy but there were days when I really had to force myself to do something.

This time round I am going to do another 365 self portrait project. With a difference this time. Something that was suggested to me by a friend some time back but I never got round to starting. So the self portrait each day will be themed on a line or two from a lyric I have heard listening to music the previous day. This works for me as music is an important part of my life and there is not a day I don’t listen at some point. Several people have said to me in the past that I can’t just hear music as background but I have to listen to it. This isn’t strictly true. I often have music as a background; when I am painting for instance. But it is true that more often than not I like to give it my full attention. Always the case with new music I haven’t heard before. It is also true that lyrics are important to me. I generally prefer songs that have something to say in the lyrics.

This will be taken from lyrics from songs I have listened to on shuffle or randomly. (Apart from the first one which will be pre-planned.) This is so that I have to think of it day to day rather than it being a planned ahead thing.I imagine this will be quite a challenge, to hear a lyric that inspires and then to come up with something within 24 hours. It will be my take on a particular lyric. So not necessarily what the song is about or what the artist means but something I can take from it to make a self-portrait. So there may be some funny ones, some “history” ones, something that reveals part of my life for instance. Perhaps some references that people who know me well will recognise. There may be some surprises along the way.I will publish some of them to this blog but I’m not intending to post them all.

So watch this space!

Not Out of the Cave

I have neglected this blog for some time. I think it is a couple of years since I posted anything.

It started as a blog about my “recovery” from PTSD, but along the way it has taken several meandering detours.

What I have learnt along the way is that you never truly recover. You may go into remission, you may find ways to better deal with it when it does come snarling, but it never truly goes away. Ad so, I find myself in something of a relapse. The 25th anniversary came this year and, although I expected some reaction, it has triggered much more of a downward spiral than I expected. Including full blown waking flashbacks which is something I have not experienced for some time.

To explain the title of this I am copying below something I have posted before.

“Here’s what PTSD is like, and why people kill themselves over it. Think of life like a cave. If I send you into a cave with a lantern and tell you there are no bears in the cave, you feel safe. You will walk around the cave and enjoy yourself. Now what if I give you a lantern and a gun and tell you that there is a bear in there? You can still go down, but you’ll be careful to look for the bear and ready to run or shoot if you see it. Now, what if I send you down there with a gun but no lantern and simply say “bear” to you? Pretty soon, you’re in there, you can’t see the way out, and every rock you bump into feels like a bear. After a long enough time being down in the cave, you realize you don’t have enough ammo to shoot everything that might be a bear. It has nothing to do with running out of food or water or feeling like you’re fighting some unwinnable battle with the bear. You just get sick and tired of the uncertainty. Are you going to live through the night? Are you going to wake up to a bear gnawing your intestines? You get to the point where you just wish the bear would come along and end it. And when he doesn’t come, you decide to do it yourself.”

Therein lies the problem when it comes. The hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance with no productive outlet for the anxiety, stress, adrenaline et al becomes incredibly exhausting. Emotionally and physically. Exacerbated by the fact your fearful brain keeps you awake at night. This impacts completely in your life. Small decisions become impossible to make because you are just too tired to make them. And so the downward spiral into depression begins.

One positive is that having been down the road before I recognised the signs much earlier. So much earlier have sought intervention and time out. I am lucky to have the support of some particularly good GPs and others who have facilitated that intervention and time out. Not just that, they have given me the time for my sometimes rambling musings on my situation.

So, this blog is likely to become more active again one way or another. I will also revisit and update on some of the meanders!

Once There Was A Great Storm

Once there was a great storm
Pushed my head beneath the waves
I was gone.

On this date, several years ago, a young woman took a boat out to sea and didn’t return. I have spoken about her before on this blog but I always mark this day in some way. I still miss her very much.

She almost certainly intended to die. The inquest verdict was misadventure but, knowing her past and the state of her mind, it is almost certain the she knew she was taking herself to her end. It was possible she was reckless but she was experienced with boats so she knew the likely outcome of taking a boat out at night in the particular part of the coast she chose to and in the weather at the time. She was in incredible emotional pain (physical pain too actually) and it does seem with the distance of time that she could only end that pain in this way.

We were incredibly close and had a bond that is difficult to describe. People frequently ask if we were in love. We were not in the sense that people are asking; the sense of a romantic relationship. It was never like that. Gender (and all other connotations) was completely irrelevant to out friendship. But we were very close and we loved each other hugely.

Despite the fact that she probably took her own life I have never lost the sense that she was actually killed by what some people had done to her a couple of years before. A truly awful and evil act. I have only ever told one person the full account of what happened to her and that was part of a therapy process to try to overcome long standing difficulties I had with the whole thing. I will almost certainly never recount the whole thing again. The fact is that following this awful event I was the only person with her for three days and nights. So she and I were the only people that knew the full awful story (and possibly her twin sister who died just over four years ago). I have felt terribly alone and burdened with this unexpressed knowledge. As well as beating myself up with a feeling I didn’t do the right things or I didn’t do enough. I have managed to move on quite a long way with that because of the counselling and therapy. I still have moments when guilt raises its ugly head but it is far better than it was. I still feel a massive sadness and I have not fully grieved for her.

Over the past few years I have found a new friendship with an acquaintance who was also a huge, very close, friend to both of the twins. Ironically that friendship came about by a very circuitous route and despite interference from someone trying to prevent it. I think it has been comforting for both of us because of the shared common bond.

There is another recent unexpected twist of friendship associated with this. Recently I was away from home having physical rehab following spinal surgery. It also gave me the opportunity to have a bit of a top up of psychological therapy. Whilst there I spent some time talking with another person there for therapy. I found myself telling her something of what happened to my friend. It wasn’t planned and I took myself by surprise. It isn’t something I would normally do with someone I had recently met. Because of this we found we had some common ground and it has led to a new and important friendship. Strange how the universe guides us sometimes. We spoke of synchronicity; there was quite a lot.

During the top up sessions I talked with the counsellor of how, now her twin sister has also died, that I like to think of them reunited somewhere. There energy enjoying the close bond they had somewhere. Somewhere out there I will raise a glass to you tonight K and S. Always remembered with huge love.