Just said goodbye to my support worker Derek. He has been made redundant and tomorrow is his last day at ISOS Housing – they had a £360,000 cut in funding. He introduced me to the guy taking over my case David who seems like a nice guy. I’m going to miss Derek though. He has helped me immensely in the time he’s supported me. Damn government and their cutbacks to social care!
It’s my birthday in 3 weeks or so and I only expected to receive as usual the one card. Joyce and John, an elderly couple who were dear friends of my late parents, send me a card on my birthday and at Christmas. They are the only people who do so. They have saved me from myself several times since my parent’s passing.
However, this morning I received this package from someone I don’t even know IRL and only know through a website. I’m not going to open it until my birthday. I must admit that when I saw it that it brought tears to my eyes and hope to my beleaguered heart and soul.
I visited Chilli Studios in Byker with my Support Worker Derek. I start attending there 4 sessions a week from the beginning of April,. Photography on Mondays, Print Making on Tuesdays, Mental Health Heritage Project on Wednesdays, and Ceramics/Pottery on Thursdays. Busy, Busy! I need to get some structure back into my life and I feel that Chilli Studios is the place to do it.
Sad to hear of the death of my friend Okla Elliott at the weekend. We only knew each other through the medium of Facebook (and that only from January of this year), but he has been an inspiration to my writing for many years. He was only 39! Okla was a poet, novelist, short fiction writer, translator, and professor (at Misericordia Uni). He taught me a lot about writing. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP.
Satan, Bring Me My Guitar (Or: Use the Condom—
You’ll Be Happy You Did Later)
Three times I wished to find an end
Twice you called and said it was the end.
What’s the use of all this trying this wanting-more
your denials your holding-together?
What use the machinations the theatre the holy pornography?
Mister, there are mystical stains everywhere
these days; I don’t want
or at least
don’t want to want
or at least
don’t want to admit I want or want to want—
Oh, to hell with such
My blood is 7 degrees Celsius.
I am not alone.
There are others,
brothers of near-freezing blood; it’s that near
that keeps us close, that forms us.
What makes this room
suddenly Dantean in demeanor?
The pastel skulls are too much,
recurring details of a Día de los Muertos
acid trip gone horrifyingly wrong.
I want to compose a song.
Here is the refrain:
Our Father, I would like to complain
of senseless erections.
I have been meaning to say so
for years, but it only occurred to me now
because I have your attention.
Okay…that song would suck, I admit,
but that doesn’t make me not want to
(or want not to) compose it. So:
Satan, bring me my guitar!
But you don’t want me to compose
a song for you.
What do you want?
You always talked about commitment
at any cost,
so I will prove I am committed.
I wrote the title of this poem
before I was done
and now I will commit
to that parenthetical condom,
which I included just to amuse myself
and my friend David Bowen
with whom I was IMing when I was
drafting this poem.
So, here goes:
You visit me
And I tell myself,
Use the condom; you’ll be happy you did later.
There should be a barrier here
something to block the past
from entering the present unhindered.
- Okla Elliott
I was first “diagnosed” with depression when I was 14 years old. I had been my father’s carer for 4 years then. My mother had to work part-time as a ‘Dinner Lady’ as the Benefits System was even worse than it is now.
In those days (mid 1970’s), little was done to treat depression in children – not much has improved since! It was dismissed as “part of growing up”. The fact that I had to help my mother care for my father was ignored as was it’s impact on my life.
I suffered bouts of depression on a regular basis from then on – without any treatment. It wasn’t until around 2001 that I revealed to my GP my troubles and my self-harm/suicidal thoughts and acts. She sent me to the Crisis Team who put me on medication. I wasn’t a very compliant taker of the medication which obviously didn’t help my recovery! Compliance with Drug Regimes continues to be an issue with me I’m sorry to say.
Things continued along their merry way until 2008. In 2008 I lost both my parents. My mother in the February and my father in the July. Things went downhill rapidly from then.
I spent Christmas and New Year in Ireland. When I came home to Newcastle in early January 2009 I was in a pretty bad state both mentally and physically. This developed into what I now know was an episode of Mania. I did lots of crazy things – got into problematical relationships, spent (ie wasted) all the money my parents had left me on gambling, drink, and yes I’m sorry to say drugs. I was in a mess.
TO BE CONTINUED…