|My photo of a chalk-written message on the side of a kid's play area near Heysham village.|
I've not been feeling sorry for myself, but my anxieties and whatnot have reached something of a spike. This depression lately has been properly trying to kick my butt. My sleeping is fucked, and that has such a knock-on with my stomach, many things in my head (concentration, that 'fish bowl feeling' etc), what I get done in the day etc... I went shopping today for the first time in over a week (as I've followed the self-isolation guidelines since discovering I had a fever - but I'm aaalright now), and I so desperately wanted to go, to get out the house, to do useful things (compounded for sure by being a carer in various different strengths of responsibility for the past six-ish years, and spending a recent seven months living alone, which fostered in me that sense of knowing exactly what was going on around the house, and being in control of a lot of it), to see the sunlight, see a couple of humans etc. On the other hand, my head was making completely unreasonable scenarios seem likely. I was scared of the idea of the shop 'guards' meeting you outside the shop, standing in a line for who knows how long (and how long would the line be, us all standing two metres apart?), for some reason, I guess the sensation of being 'on display'. Also, there's a big shame thing going round my head at the moment, which centres around the idea of necessity. Yes it's necessary to have food to survive, but I have both the responsibility not to spread Covid-19, and the idea that homeless people don't have the luxury to pop into Tesco with their savings and get things in, which makes me feel guilty. As for the former issue, I have been worried about police patrols stopping me, questioning why I'm out. And I'm not saying I feel so dramatically paranoid that they'd arrest me, seeing something ulterior in my statement about a trip to get some bread and milk, but the emotional impact of being asked, at this time where I'm surprised how bloody fragile I'm feeling, is action-smotheringly looming large at me... Add to that little concerns like, for example, if I was looking at toilet roll - coul I do without it? Are you taking it out the hands of a poor old pensioner? I know, it's comic, but that's how it appears in my head, with the laugh track edited out...
As it happened, the shop was pretty good. A few people decided to walk shoulder to shouler along a pavement, forcing me right out into the road, but other than that everyone was just doing normal things, in pairs at most. The shop still had lots of empty spaces, but I got fruit, bread, even a couple of packets of crisps (hang me! I know they're not necessary and I went and got them anyway), so it felt pretty ok. I saw they were out of pasta, but managed to re-stock on beans, and honestly I forgot to check toilet roll, but that's thankfully not an issue for us at the minute. I self-checked-out, which I always find a shame because I like to talk to the cashiers, but I was happy that I was limiting their exposure (for what it's worth, when they go and serve someone else! But hey, every little helps, right? Or was that Asda?). The biggest difference was all the yellow and black tape all over the floor, marking out 'squares of safety', like we shoppers are counters in a board game. Well, we are in a vast, global strategy game of sorts... Cosmic, in fact. There was a slightly awkward moment on my way out as a person, I don't know, tried to guess which way I was walking, I slowed down to let them past, they sort of stopped so I powered forward, only for them to suddenly change direction and nearly walk into me, potentially unleashing huge plumes of virus-ridden droplets over Heysham, but it never happened.
I don't know why I'm writing this flippantly. Nervous energy, maybe? I really did feel like I was wound up tight before. I felt a little bit better having come back from the shops, but then felt absolutely compelled to get this down, which is unusual. I'm under no illusions that it's just trivial blather about my experiences, and normally I'd say 'hey, maybe some time in the evening get your thoughts down', but I'm a bit frantic, giddy even. It's so weird. I have that NHS advert off the telly in my head, and the red 'x' beside 'visit family or friends' makes me think how hopeless I feel. I've not seen friends in ages, and now it doesn't seem safe to... I feel compelled to try and keep abreast of the news, too, but, as I should bloody well know (maybe my depression is trying to feed itself, keep itself strong while I am weak?), some of it has depressed me, stories of people in cities around the world told not to leave their house at all, not even to get food, walk dogs or whatever. Then someone said, in a very hurt tone, Britain should count itself lucky they can leave the house at all, and I thought 'yeah, absolutely, every day like that is a gift', but then I think, 'but then aren't we part of the problem if we do go outside'? Every point has its obverse... Where am I going with all this...
I don't know whether it's good news or not (oh go on, be positive!), but I've decided to enter this BBC call for scripts (5-10 minutes, involving 2-4 characters in isolation who communicate via video call). I'd apologise for not giving you much notice, but, to be fair, the call only started a week ago, so no-one's had a great deal. Anyway, I'm not moaning, I'm just saying that's the way it is. I'm getting a decent idea together. I want to give them something. A little part of it is 'practice' mentality, but also I want to get my words out there, urgently so at the moment (hence this blog, I guess). I don't know. Am I thinking I'm dying soon? Do I feel dead already?
Hmm... It's a day like this where I could really do with a drink. Again, this is not a joke. I could use one to calm me down, stop feeling the discomfort of existence, and, maybe, to help me get actual sleep tonight. But I won't. Sorry for bringing that up. Anyone out there struggling with substance misuse problems, please stay strong. I know at the moment, nerves are jangling for everyone, and it could seem like a good reason to self-medicate - but honestly, life is still there to be lived, and you can only do that by being here in the present (which substances take you away from). Think of your strength now as a sober person - it's wonderful.
Right, I'm going to 'foxtrot oscar', as one of my colleagues would say :)
Stay safe everyone. Please don't be alone - get in touch with people. They won't mind.
P.S. Tim Martin's an asshole. He's seen some sense - but how much? It stuns me that he even considered fucking over his staff like that. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/03/25/wetherspoon-boss-tim-martin-decides-pay-staff/