Archives for the month of: February, 2016

Last night, British TV showed a program about ‘Manic Depression’. Before I start talking about that program, I just want to say that the general movement of this awareness, is great. The older generations of our country are the type of people who dismiss depression, people like my parents and family, and the hardest bit for me, wasn’t admitting I have regular depression and anxiety, not even being diagnosed as ‘Manic’ or ‘Chronic’ depression. The real challenge, and still on-going challenge, is for my family to wake up to the facts of this awful disease.

The program showed Stephen Fry, a worldwide famous actor, comedian and writer who has publicly expressed his own mental health problems, and campaigns for the awareness movement. So money isn’t everything, he’s smart, pretty minted, travels a lot and still suffers from the same shit I have. I related more, to the first character. A female who has been held back by the power of her depression. Stopping her from friendships, a career, travelling, or simple things like socialising.
Now, some people who know me, know I’ve had a rough life of drugs and lots of alcohol, and may object to me blaming my wreckage of a life on ‘me being a dickhead’, rather than seeing the bigger picture of depression. People who say these things, haven’t suffered from mental illnesses like I have, clearly. Some of them I know, have had rough stages in life. I’ve had a rough stage in life since I was 11. That’s the first time ‘recorded’ I was depressed. Many many years before then I was the same. It was just then when my parent (Mother) decided to get me some counselling.

It also showed a bloke at the end, who suffered from Bi-polar too. This guy had firmly believed that some famous 80’s singer wrote songs, for him. He thought she left messages in her songs for him, and this destroyed his life. This was the most interesting of cases in my view, he not only was depressed, but had a firm believe in something quiet wild. A passion for it, but it took over his life. I suppose you could put the same scenario with say; a working class lad, had a rough life, boring job, finds a conspiracy theory, and his life is changed. He dedicates life to learning about ‘the corrupt’ and/or maybe more conspiracies. Weather people believe him or not, he firmly believes what he believes and well, one could say, he’s brainwashed. Others might say, he’s enlightened. Whatever it is, his mind is constantly set around one topic, person, object, theory… the list is endless I guess.

Here’s why I mention this, why this interests me so much. At the end of 2014, I split up with my girlfriend who I met at university, and lived with for 2-3 years. It was hard, my first ‘real’ relationship with a partner, and there’s some positive’s, maybe more negatives. But it taught me things. After our relationship finally finished, I kind of, just stopped trying to socialise, stopped trying to meet women. I had a stage where I thought I was homosexual, and met a guy who I had some sort of sexual experience with. I didn’t enjoy it, didn’t feel comfortable. I felt lost.

My third and final year came around after re-sitting my second. Now, living without my ex and with a friend Heidi, and two other females whom I didn’t know. My life changed, I changed it, dramatically. I knew I was there for the reason of studying, and coming back from nearly being thrown out (not for my grades, but a petty fine) – I fought the university myself, and I won. But I was still very depressed, as everyday. No meaning of life, no wanting of more.

Then I introduced myself deeper into a world unknown to me. Politics. And through my own personal history, I realised a lot about who I am, who my family and friends are, and the people I feel most comfortable around. But that isn’t the connection. It’s the fact, that whilst I was visiting the doctors and university councillors for my depression and anxiety, I was throwing myself at learning Journalism, Law and Politics. It was the intensity of learning, which made me realise. I can beat depression, with passion.

My old 2nd year uni tutor, he wasn’t a councillor, nor a medical degree in psychiatric’s, but he did tell me to control my depression and anger, to put it into something passionately. And I did. My work, and I passed with the highest grade I’ve ever had in education. I got a 2:1 which I’m extremely pleased to say my tutors refused to help me, the nature of my work turned many people away from helping, because of it’s political references and the general election was so close. I almost had Nigel Farage on a dartboard in my mind, and every time I felt depressing thoughts of my own life taking over my time, I was throwing darts into Nigel’s turtle-looking face, and I continued to work.

I regularly wake up around 10am-1pm, but during this time. I was up at 7am every morning, no such thing as a ‘weekend day’, and I worked until the early hours every morning. All this whilst drinking and smoking ridiculous amounts of Marijuana I became a manic depressive, and taking down Nigel Farage’s UKIP was my main drug of choice. The finished piece alone I suppose can be looked at two ways. A manic depressive’s findings of UKIP and Nigel Farage, or… how most people viewed it. “Raw and controversial, great work, you should be a journalist”. When I left education, my life dramatically changed again.

I turned back into the first character of the show, I secluded myself even more, and the idea of intensely working on my passions, seemed a thousand miles away. I lost my independence and moved back home. I felt my manic depression had gone, and I’ve gone back into my average state of just… the bog standard depression of hating my life, everyday.



So I’ve got a new job, I’m a casual worker for the local council, my work – Stage production technician for the Theatre. It’s great, some colourful characters, some dull ones. I met actors, dancers, colleagues who I’m now close with. These relationship’s were formed in an extremely difficult time during my life. Over the course of the 8 weeks of pantomime madness, I managed to lose two grandparents. My nan, who was so close to my heart, and my grandad, who wasn’t as close, but his love for my grandma is something I will never forget. He worked until he was 80! Mad bastard, but that was him. Workaholic!

A friend I met at the theatre, threw £20 at me and forced me to get a taxi, the day before my nan died, to visit her in her final hours before the devil’s work of Lung cancer took her life. I was the last person she saw from our family, and I’ve never been so grateful for an act of kindness towards me.

The last day of pantomime, just as the final show started, two days after my nan’s funeral, I lost my grandad. Anxiety and depression took over his life in his later years when my grandma moved into a care home suffering from dementia. He visited her, but he had lost his soul mate, his best friend, and he gave up on life in general. His death was fast and sudden, only months ago was her planting winter flowers for approaching season.

Having myself suffer from Anxiety and Depression for over 10 years now, my daily life routine was just getting back into ‘normality’, whatever the fuck that is, when my grandparents lives started to diminish. I felt I had to change something, and the folk I met at the pantomime helped me see light at the end of the tunnel, never once did I cry, I only smiled.

Being suicidal for years too, I thought I would be feeling those same emotions when my grandparents pasted, but I never did. I drank and smoked a lot of weed, but I never felt suicidal, I just kept remembering I am apart of the pantomime. Remembering peoples smiles and laughs, the good nights out I’ve had during the show. And one other thing, which I don’t ever seem to mention much, but the inspiration from the people who worked it, helped me realise the hunger I had years ago before I left Bradford for London.

A great way for me to survive those suicidal thoughts, was quite simply, because of the pantomime. Focusing my attention to something enjoyable. That’s it.