The absolute joy of not giving a crap.

It’s marvellous isn’t it. Getting older. That’s right, today, right at this minute I’m on the right side of my mid life crisis. I can see the benefits, not one moan, not one gripe shall litter this entry. Negativity is but a distant dream today.

So what’s put such a spring in my step?  15mg of  Mirtazapine.

Now if you had told me I’d be on chemical enhancements a couple of years ago I would have looked down my nose and fluttered my eyelids, the way Madonna does when she’s pissed off in an interview.

But shit got real a few weeks ago. Full on mini meltdown.

I was sitting in a meeting with some clients, they were discussing a new project. I start getting tired and angry for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Eventually all I can hear is “Blah-Blah-Blah”. Then suddenly I hear a voice, remarkably like my own, shout out “WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK!!”.

Just Awful.

These are good people. I’ve worked with them for so long I can categorise them as friends. Thank goodness. They all burst out laughing but I was horrified. Swearing is one of my favourite hobbies, but never have I ever swore in front of a client.

Afterwards I was having a coffee with the M.D. She was studying me, head cocked, her lips pursed as I struggled to make my lips reach my mug. I was shaking, couldn’t stop. She reached down into her Prada handbag (the one I helped pay for) and produced a bottle of pills. She unscrewed the lid and gently tipped a small white pill into the palm of her hand.

“What’s that?”, I asked.

“Valium”, she said.

She didn’t need to tell me twice. It didn’t even touch the sides.

“You sir”, she said, ‘Are Depressed”.

Was I? I didn’t feel sad.

Except when I thought about life. Or my work or my family, my marriage, the news, the state of the world, cooking dinner or how absolutely fucking tired I was due to the fact I couldn’t sleep for more than three hours at a time.

But apart from that I was absolutely fine.

O.K, so she had read me like the cheap blog I am. She ordered me to go see my Doctor.

I did, but not before consulting my husband. He’s old school, brought up in a tough Jamaican household. They never suffered with depression because they were always high. His words – not mine.

“How many years have I been telling you to chill out and calm the fuck down”.

Because that’s exactly what you need when your’e super stressed, to be told to calm down. I ran to the doctors before I ended up in handcuffs and a spit hood.

My Doctor is awful. That’s not a negative entry, it’s just fact. She doesn’t like the Gays.

My husband came with me to my last appointment and she kept referring to him as my “Friend”.  So I try to explain how Ive been feeling and she’s doing her best attempt at concern, patent Dr frown – check, glazed look of sympathy – check, the odd nod and chin stroke – check. She’s got that shit down to an art form. Then she gave me a form.

“Please fill this in and bring it back”.

Are you feeling suicidal? Do you feel worthless? Do you feel disconnected? etc, etc. Please answer on a scale of one to ten, ten being very likely, one being not at all. I put ten for every answer. I mean you have to do that sometimes, right? Ramp it up just to get heard.

Next thing I know Iv’e got these pills. One to be taken every night.

I’m sorry but there is no other way to say this – Fucking Marvellous.

First night, nothing. Second night, still nothing. This went on for a week. Then on the seventh night I slept like I have never slept before, 14 blissful hours.

I awoke, not unlike Snow White to the sound of chirping birds. I smiled in the morning, I actually fucking smiled. I said good morning to my husband, he looked like he’d just been shot.

I bounded in the shower and I bounded out again, not once did I glance in the mirror. Not once did I analyse my middle aged body for more signs of decay.

The veil of shadow that had suffocated my brain was ripped away and underneath was a shiny, new, happy me.

But was I? Wasn’t I just masking issues? I wasn’t sure, I didn’t have any issues anymore. Something felt phoney, artificial and of course, chemical.

I suggested stopping the medication.  My husband threatened to leave me if I did. He was joking, at least I think he was…anyway, I cut the dose down by half.

Slowly my darker thoughts began creeping back to the party. They snuck in the back door and mingled in the kitchen by the stale humous and half empty Rose bottles.

That’s when I discovered mindfulness.

Two Audio books, Eckhart Tolle – The power of now and Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.  God bless the both of them.

Eckhart freaked me out a bit, he’s a wonderful human being but does sound a bit like a Bond Villain/ Peter Lorre. Ruby on the other hand was an absolute delight, firing off quips like bullets from a well oiled gun. Making me laugh and teaching at the same time.

I got it. Instantly. I understood the concept of neuro-plasticity, of training my brain to be better, happier and decluttered.  I cannot recommend these books highly enough, I think it should be taught in schools. It probably is in more progressive cultures, Sweden, they’re always one step ahead socially, I bet it’s standard practice there. (Although their suicide rates are a worry).

It’s an ongoing process, something I have to practice everyday but the results have been amazing.

Today I reached a milestone, a full week on just a quarter tablet. I’m hoping to be completely chemical free by the end of the month.

Absolutely life changing.

So in truth I do give a crap except now it’s just about the stuff that matters. Love, Life , Art and Staying sane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Festival Syndrome.

There’s been an epidemic of 50th Birthday parties in my social circle.

The trouble is they all try to eclipse one another with the scale of their celebrations.  We’ve had invitations to skydiving (declined), Formula one racing (declined), Horse riding (tempted) and a long weekend in Ibiza , abso-bloody-lutely.  This is all from a gang that can barely get a round in.

I get it, my husband is 50 next year and he’s leaving it to me to make the arrangements. I hear “Sydney and Los Angeles” but I’m picturing a more sedate affair – a good old fashioned McDonald’s party (I can pass it off as retro and maybe even hire a clown).

One of our best friends decides to hold her 50th at a Music Festival.  This immediately appealed to my inner teenager.

I have a vision of crowd surfing over a sea of bodies screaming “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”.  However, my illusions are swiftly shattered by middle aged fear… filthy port-a-loo’s, communal showers and no moisturiser! Good god, NO!

But I’m assured we’ll be “Glamping”. That doesn’t go down well with the Husband, he won’t camp (although get him on the Brandy and he does a marvellous Beyonce). Unfortunately he won’t go near a tent, he’s seen too many horror movies, “The black man dies first and there is always a killer in the woods”.

So bless her heart, our friend  re-arranges the entire group’s accommodation. We’re now staying in “Eco Lodges” adjacent to the festival. Solid walls, alarms and great big signs outside saying “Psycho’s not welcome”. The Husband is happy although still very wary of the whole shebang.

It turns out to be a Soul and Jazz festival  with a fabulous line up, headlining are the Jackson’s (minus Michael of course). Not exactly Glastonbury but all very civilised. There’s even somewhere to sit down. Husband is still wary, he needs alcohol, lot’s of alcohol and I am more than happy to oblige.

The next thing I know he’s gone missing. Popped to the loo’s, getting another round in, who knows? I do worry though, he’s been known to scarper off if he’s having a crap time. I wish I had that ability, I just stick it out to be polite and then moan about it later.

So I turn around and bounding towards me is a bare chested man, face completely painted with glitter and wearing an oversized top hat with ski goggles. Who the hell?..Wait a minute, that’s my Husband!

And it doesn’t stop there.

Every twenty minutes he disappears and comes back with another festival accessory. Dayglo Bangles, Light sticks, Whistles, Beads, the whole kit and caboodle. He’s contracted full on Festival Syndrome.

For the past 12 years Iv’e had trouble getting this man off the sofa. For the past twelve years he has point blank refused a Pride march or Mardi Gras.

And then I see him, the man I married. The joyous, crazy, wild and ridiculous person I totally and utterly fell in love with. He’s back, he never really went away. He was just hidden, like I was, under a mountain of routine and day to day monotony.

I fucking love him and by the time he’s leaping around to ‘Don’t blame it on the boogie’ I’m right in there with him blowing my whistle and hugging strangers. All this without the aid of drugs, (definitely booze). But it’s more than that. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the crowd, it’s the music all wrapping us up in Festival madness.

We’ve booked up next year already.

But we’ve also brought a little Festival Syndrome back home, it’s done our lives and our marriage the world of good.

I’m getting a Loan out for his 50th, he’s getting that massive party come hell or high water, no Big Macs included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the Hell are you wearing?

I came across one of those dreadful articles the other day “What Men should wear Over 40”. It sent me into a spiral of panic. I’m basically still wearing what Iv’e worn since I was in my late twenties ; Standard uniform of Stussy T and Jeans, with airmax 95’s. Only now I’m faced with the horrible truth, I’m getting a bit mutton.

Apparently I should be wearing a nice Oxford shirt, Chino’s and some Boating shoes. I should be distinguished, own a Blazer and a nice pair of Brogues – And wait for it – Skinny Jeans. Skinny Fucking Jeans, (was there ever a more emasculating item of clothing woven into existence.)

Even if I wanted to have a wardrobe overhaul I couldn’t fit into anything from the GQ Nazi HQ list of must have items.  I used to be a Large, (I’m a 36 waist, oh alright 38) and I’m a 46 chest. I’m hefty, stocky, I spent ten years in the gym and it’s all heading south. So to my absolute horror I am now deemed an XXXL. That’s right triple fucking XL.

Apparently a friend of mine who works in the Rag trade put’s it down to the rise of the female designer – designing for Men. Women, he says, tend to design for what they desire, whilst men will design for what they need. No, that didn’t make any sense to me either but it came from the lips of a fashion professional so I just nodded and sighed in agreement.

Sexist nonsense aside, I have noticed over the last ten years that boys are being dressed more like girls. What’s wrong with that I hear you cry? Are you Gender conformist you moany old git? (Well no, trust me, quite the opposite. But that’s another story for another time) No, there’s just one problem, Men have different shaped bodies to Women. Whilst a woman may look adorable in slim fitting clothing, you can’t squeeze a 17 stone geezer into some jeggings. And don’t get me started on low cut t-shirts and Snoods.

You see, I am big, it’s the clothes that got smaller.

Well fuck it. I’m going to defiantly carry on wearing my trusted uniform of jeans and t-shirt.  I don’t give a shit if I look like an old git trying to be cool. I am fucking cool, big fat fucking cool and if it just so happens that what I was wearing twenty years ago is suddenly down with the kids, I shall milk it for all it’s worth. Because there’s one big difference difference between me and a sixteen year old… I can fucking afford it.