Sunday, 30 January 2011

Poem: "The Storms Came".

When I was 15 ( a very long time ago now), I suddenly and quiet unexpectedly developed Tinnitus, first in my left ear and then a short while later in my right.  I think for most people it is just an annoyance to greater or lesser degrees, but in myself it promoted the most awful and crippling panics. I have suffered these panics on and off for many many years now, and each subsequent G.P I've had either have not been interested in helping me or simply havent known how to. Normally the panics would die down within a very short time of starting - usually a couple of weeks or so, but last October the Tinnitus became much more obvious and frequent and I started what appears to be a "panic cycle" which no matter what I did, I just couldnt get back under control - at all. I felt like the panics were controlling me and that my life was completely in tatters. If I wasnt actually having a panic I was panicking at the thought of one coming on. I couldnt eat or sleep which naturally just made everything a lot worse - including the Tinnitus. Mentally speaking I had become very very unwell so a couple of weeks ago - in sheer desperation, I went to see my new GP and I have to say I didnt hold out much hope of getting the help I desperately needed. I was so wrong - not only was he willing to help but he actually knew how to help me. He has prescribed panic suppressing meds in the short term and has got me to go and see a psychoanalyst for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the long term. He thought this was best as he has diagnosed me as having Chronic Panic Disorder, which as he said has gone untreated for a very long time, in fact he told me that he was amazed I was sitting in front of him, apparently people with this condition, if left untreated, tend to try to end their own lives. I have a son so I dont have the luxury of being able to entertain thoughts like that - thank God.  I haven't seen the therapist yet as I am waiting for an appointment, but I think the meds are helping. This poem is a result of trying to describe to others what the panics can be like when they come.

The storms came.
They swirled around me
Like fiery waves
On an unforgiving black sea.

They held my head underwater,
Till I thought I would die,
Then let me through the surface
For one choking breath,
Before consuming me again and again.

I fight back,
With every ounce of strength in me
Kicking the demon in the guts,
Till i can hold my head above water
Once more.


Although I know it is there
I still cant see the shore.
So I swim, I hope in
The right direction,
And, each time, I pray
The storm doesnt find me again.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Are teenage boys actually vampires?

I have a "mid-teen" son, and over the last few years I have noticed a few, well, "changes" occurring with him. Seemingly gone forever is my sweet, compassionate, clean, lovely son. He now seems to have been replaced by this shambling, rambling, smelly, greasy-haired, stinky-breathed, spotty version of his former self, who seems to be allergic to any form of light stronger than the tv in his darkened pit (sorry) room.

I think I can just about remember the "good old days" when he would get up (in the morning), greet me with a beautiful smile, and head straight to the bathroom, now I only know that he is up when this strange and terrible smell starts to waft around the house.  It seems to me that they reach a certain age, and then suddenly overnight they start to "leak" noxious fumes and fluids from every single orifice and pore. The rest of my house smells like spiced apple at the moment, but there is this 4ft area infront of his bedroom door that starts to smell like an open grave, and God help me if I actually open the damn thing! In the absence of any gas masks, I am seriously considering padding the area of hall floor immediately infront of his bedroom door, simply to avoid any further injury to the back of my head!

And what treats lay in store for me on the occasions when I am forced to stare into the Hellmouth: First of all it is ALWAYS dark, he seems not to want to open the curtains - ever, and he never seems to want to open the window, in fact, I think the thing has actually sealed itself shut. No wonder he smells like a mushroom! It is so dark in there that on one occasion I spent nearly 10 minutes shouting in what I thought was the vague direction of his bed for him to "GET UP NOW", only to nearly have a coronary when this 6ft thing suddenly loomed up behind me, having been in the bathroom the whole time! Secondly - the furniture. I have now given in and have actually started to buy him black furniture in the first place, as any other furniture I have bought him in the past was immediately "Gothik'ed" with a lick of black paint, and when none was available - black Sharpie Pen! As he wears black all of the time, the only way I can tell if he is actually in there is if he grunts a response at me, or is sitting immediately infront of the t.v (I cant actually tell by the smell being worse as I am usually holding my breath). Now dont get me wrong - I also wear black clothes pretty much most of the time, and I have dark furniture, but the point is I also open the windows and put on the lights! I have to admit that I can actually understand why he wants his bedroom that way, when I was a teenager I would have given practically anything to have the same bedroom as the kid in the film "Trick or Treat", but if I remember correctly (and I am sure I do because I have the DVD), when the kids mum went in there to deliver his clean washing she didnt have to peg her nose or wear skiing goggles.

Thirdly, he seems to want to be comatose during the day and only springs to life once the moon has appeared, which is practically the only time he wants to leave the confines of the Hellmouth and actually (gasp) GO OUT!

He likes to complain about the lamplight in our house a lot too. I dont actually like the overhead lights being on as I find them too harsh, so instead I have lots of lamps in the house. None the less, Mk1 Offspring complains about the "blinding light" EVERY time he steps out of the Hellmouth. He stumbles out of there with eyes like organ stops and his arms stretched out infront of him, and he comes over all "Rita Hayworth" - theatrically grabbing at whatever piece of furniture he can find, with the back of one hand pressed fervently against his (spotty) brow. Come to think of it - EVERYTHING he does these days has an overly theatrical edge to it, even when he is telling me that he has suddenly gone off his brand of breakfast cereal, it becomes like a scene from Hamlet: Mk1 Offspring (as Hamlet): "What a piece of work are Cheerios, how noble in crunchiness, how infinite in sugar, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like a honey nut loop, in taste how like a god! the beauty of the kitchen cupboard, the paragon of cereals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of wheat? Cheerios delight not me - nor Weetabix neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so." Me (as Rosencrantz): "My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts. Now eat the bloody Cheerios!"

Finally I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to re-double my efforts to do something about all of this soon, because if you think back to my description of Mk1 Offspring: ("shambling, rambling, smelly, greasy-haired, stinky-breathed, spotty version of his former self, who seems to be allergic to any form of light stronger than the tv in his darkened room," the pitch black Hellmouth, the black furniture and clothing, only wanting to leave the house under cover of darkness, and the overly theatrical nature), it is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to tell the difference between a normal teenage boy, and one who has apparently been turned into Nosferatu!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Poem: "Simple Things"

Today has been a good day.

I read some poetry, I stepped outside
and the pale watery sunlight kissed my forehead
and melted through my veins, spreading to
my fingers and out my toes.

People were kind, and one
surprised me with her generosity.

I went out with my son who has been unwell
because he felt better, and we heard the first
Blackbird singing though it is only

I read a book and absorbed as much
as I could, tasting the words as if
they were the most delicious cuisine,
Then I stored them in my memory
Like rare and precious jewels.

I listened to new music and felt peace,
real joy, and wonderment at how music can be
both transformed and transforming.
at the same time.

I took each step with a little more
confidence than usual,
Though I didn’t know where it came from,
So I revelled in it and fairly
glided through the dusk.

I watched as my son held the door
open for others,
Pride radiating through my breast.
We made it to shelter before the
first large drops of crystalline rain
soaked us through, and we celebrated
with our dearest loved ones.

Yes, today has been a day good enough
to hold onto,
For tomorrow the storms may come.