The ‘D’ Word

Depression.   It is a terrible affliction.  Some suffer it as a one off, perhaps after a traumatic life event, or series of events; others return to it time and again; seemingly with just a simple shift in their chemical balance a person can be thrown to the floor, emotionally speaking.  Whatever the cause, it is debilitating, soul destroying and a right royal pain in the arse.

I have more than known my fair share of low moods. I have never seen a Doctor about it (I am anti GPs, on the whole, and even more anti-pills) so I have no formal diagnosis of depression, I refuse to acknowledge it as such.  I have never had a clinical depression, whereby I am physically unable to remove myself from bed, let alone the house.  Despite any amount of lows/depressions, I have never let it stop me from doing day to day activities; I have worked through a broken heart, carried on when loved ones died; but that’s what should happen isn’t it?  Life goes on, despite the tears and absence of joy or any facial expression remotely resembling a smile.  You fight.

Despite considering myself a strong woman, there is only so much I can take before cracks appear.  These weaknesses, these cracks, let the inner light escape so that all that is left on the inside is darkness; and inner darkness is extremely scary.  It’s like being in a moonless field at night, you walk but you see nothing; no ground, no sky, no horizon.  Eyes wide open, but no light to even depict a shape.  The emotions accompanying this metaphoric visual loss are equally as eviscerating; loneliness, sadness, worthlessness, pointlessness, eventually culminating in a desperate longing for it to all be over with.

Life is horrific enough; there is more than enough tragedy in the world, more than enough untimely deaths; so to feel like you don’t want to go on living seems an inordinate shame.  Why do negative life events make some turn to thoughts of disappearing off this mortal coil, while others to just a momentary stop-gap of tears before dusting off and carrying on?  It’s a difference that I find fascinating.  Ultimately, we are all worth so much more than to fall foul of despair.  It is that feeling in itself that is pointless, not the reasons that led us there.

I made a conscious decision, a few years ago, to not be dogged by my own negativity and insecurities of old.  I had had enough of sobbing with regard to my own self perpetuated inadequacies and ‘oh the injustice of it all;’ vowing to invite positivity into my life, and that’s precisely what I did.  The world turns regardless, so why continue to waste precious time living a half life?  And truly, from a point of desperation (a night I remember vividly) I changed my outlook on life.  Until recently.

It took a failed relationship to put me back in that dark place.  From a decision to leave, which I believed to be for the best at the time, my world slowly cracked and collapsed under the weight of every inadequacy I could pertain to my existence; the job I hate; the weight I carry; the love I give; the things I seem to have to sacrifice constantly; the isolation my life choices have brought.  Before I knew it, all sense of rationality had gone, my light snuffed out yet again.  Climbing up the walls erected around you to find clarity on the surface of life is an enormous challenge, especially if it is made a continuous task.  It is exhausting, actually.

Despite all this intense negativity, I wouldn’t change the way I have been.  I would never choose to have not experienced such crippling, illogical lows because there is so much positivity to be gained from them.  When you are so used to the idea of your own mortality, you have far less to fear.  It makes you care more for what is important in life.  It gives you an understanding that people come and go and that is okay.  More importantly than anything it gives you a greater appreciation of the good times, when they come.

Depression seems a frustrating waste of one’s time, but to overcome it, even if having to overcome it is a regular occurrence in your life, makes you far stronger and a far better person than you were before it.  When it comes, ride it out, claw your way through it.  Life will never be the same, you will never be the same……consider yourself upgraded. xx



Lovey Dovey, Lovey Dovey, Lovey Dovey, All The Time?

They say it’s better to be alone than in a bad or lonely relationship.  I have had this ‘reassurance’ advised by many in recent months.  Although it is true, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the exhaustion caused by hearing these attempts at comforting one’s bruised ego.  I mean no disrespect to the friendly well-wishes; it’s no different from the predictory advise I would give. But the only thought that immediately crosses my mind is, ‘but it’s better to be in a good, loving relationship than to be alone.’

Life, to me, is about sharing.  What is the point in embarking on this ‘journey’ if it has to be done alone?  What is the point in being well-loved by many but have no-one by your side?  What is the point of having wonderful people, friends and family around you; a good, honest, decent lifestyle; of having so very much love in you, when you don’t have ‘the one’ to share it with?  These are all things to be enjoyed by oneself, to be thankful for, but to share is to complete the package, unite it all.

Love is an amazing gift, all too easily abused and disrespected by many.  An all-encompassing, enriching, completing emotion reduced, by some, to a simple word and used to manipulate others into satisfying their own selfish needs.  Quite abominable.  There is an almost daily gut-wrenching twist from within me; a lamenting ache in the knowledge that my capacity to express my love remains unfulfilled, try as I have.  This is not to suggest that I have not loved my exes above and beyond…if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been with them, but as both failed, it almost certainly proves that there should be hope for another.

It would be all too easy to be with someone for the sake of it.  They may not be beating down my door, but I am not without occasional interest.  If I were a less secure, needy individual, inconsiderate of someone else’s affections then I would decide to go to these rarities and dabble at an alliance…..(note the distinct lack of romance there) but I am not needy, I am nowhere near as insecure as I tell myself and I, most certainly, am not inconsiderate of someone else’s affections.  In fact, I am probably overly considerate at times.  The last thing I would ever want is to be seen to encourage the feelings of another, by dating for example, only to realise somewhere down the line that I have no desire to pursue them, thus potentially letting them down and causing unnecessary hurt.  This isn’t a big-headed assumption that the poor woman would inevitably fall for me, merely a potential circumstance.  Having been so let down in matters of the heart myself, I have always attempted, as diplomatically as I can, to dissuade any interest when I know there is no spark in me for that person.

All that this chivalrous, gentlewomanly approach to love means is that I remain incomplete and unattached, albeit for the right reasons, until such time that my fires are re-ignited; should I ever be blessed again.  So yes, well wishers, it is far better to be alone than in a lonely or loveless relationship – but give me an honest, loving shared path upon which to tread any day of the week; it beats singledom hands down.  In the meantime, I keep my dignity intact and my love a precious commodity, belonging only a special few.

JG  15.11.13

A Change in Us + A Change in Them = The End

We are all aware that no matter what you do, you cannot change another person.  You cannot mould them into being better; to being more your type; to seeing things your way or to liking the things that you like.  You can try to encourage, support, make suggestions, but each of us marches to our own drum.  We will not be changed.  Yet, how true is this really?

Love, one would think, is the most powerful motivator for change.  Unless you are extremely fortunate and find yourself in love with the most perfect person for you, when we fall in love we automatically try to fall in line, to reach a common ground; to become that perfect partner.  If you are anything like me, you take a step back, observe, learn what you can (and can’t) get away with and then behave accordingly.  A totally incorrect way to be I hear you bellow at the device you are reading this on, and quite correct you are.  It is natural to adapt yourself to any environment and even to any person, but not to the point where you forget yourself; or deny yourself the right to be true to yourself.

Worse still, it is sad when you both try to adapt to better suit eachother, because eventually it will fail, it’s inevitable.  Being someone you inherently aren’t is something which cannot be persevered at, and why should it?  This is when love simply isn’t enough, which is quite possibly the most tragic circumstance to find yourself in; especially if, like me, real love is felt so very rarely; thus dooming me into more years of loneliness, waiting for a love that may never come.

“If you love them, let them go,” has never been more poignant to me.  My ex and I had to let eachother go as we had stopped making eachother happy.  Our vastly different lifestyles bent and buckled under the weight of relentless compromise, on both sides, until our hearts broke to part, as much as they broke to stay.  A devastating situation to come to terms with, then and now.

However we all have an impact on those around us, so we do in effect change others, but the obvious changes we try to impress upon them are pointlessly futile.  If I ever find myself falling for someone whom I think needs to change, or who I need to change myself for in order for either of us to be happy, I will walk away before any damage is done.   I hope.

And Now…We Go Here…

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So, you finally find yourself emotionally balanced, after the most recent of life’s upheavals, and you start to think about rejoining the rat race, of getting your life back on track.  You’ve ditched the old you; the old life; the career; the baggage, and you stand, facing an open road; turns to the left of you, turns to the right, and here you are stuck in the middle, with me.  What happens now?

If you are lucky there is already something you fancy trying or becoming and, in which case, your path will be clearly sign-posted.

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For some of us our sign-posts are not so helpful.

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I don’t believe in going backwards in any respect; be it a job, a relationship, a home; you can never recapture what has been lost.  I have known friends that have forgiven betrayal and returned to their partners.  I have a friend who believed that returning to a home in which her and her partner enjoyed their happiest times, would reignite their failing relationship.  I have known someone to return to a job because it felt safe, one that they had previously left because it made them miserable.  In each case, none of them had success.  The relationships still broke down and ended; the work still brought misery.

Every dawn brings change, seen or unseen; experiences further define us.  Even these words I write are moulding my character as I type; I am different now because of my own musings than I was when I sat to begin writing this a few minutes ago. We cannot undo what has been done, said or thought, we can only absorb these changes, regroup, and move forward.

So we’ve ruled out one potential direction; this is, at least, good start!  We know, no matter what happens, in whichever direction we travel from here, changes lie ahead.  <sigh>  Where do we begin though?

In truth I think all of us have an inkling of what we were put on this Earth to do.  I believe we all have a purpose; be it a particular vocation; to be a good partner; a life saver; a parent; we all have our roles.  For some it is mapped out so clearly, for others it’s a battle of questions, uncertainty and of self doubt; but not forever.   Never be too quick to declare your unhappiness at life whenever a negative event unfurls; it all happens for a reason.

The glorious effect of time rewards us with clarity; the more patience you have, the sooner it seems that you arrive on the road you were destined for.  All the experiences you have had, regardless of how tragically painful, or inexplicably beautiful, will have provided you with the tools to fulfil your destiny.  If you just give it enough time the right path will lay itself out before you, ready for your first step towards your fate.

Have faith!

JG 10.11.13



It was brought to my attention this weekend that I appear to live in my own little bubble; an observation from a friend of mine.  The notion hit a raw nerve and distinctly upset me; made me feel extremely foolish and began a spiralling internal self-questioning that resulted in a shower of tears and a crushed spirit; but in fact, I needn’t have been so self-deprecating.

As a big girl I have had my fair share of insults, jibes and ignorant heckles from immature males, bellowed from the safety of an open windowed, travelling car.  In my youth each one would cause a ricochet of two emotions; anger, towards those perpetrators of ridicule, and sadness, at the shame of my apparent inadequacy.  Over the years I came to believe that there was something in me which made me worthless, inferior and dismissible; anyone advising to the contrary wasn’t to be trusted; they clearly had an agenda, or they were just plain mocking me.  It made me bitter, cynical and turned me into a people hater.  I trusted no-one.  I treated everyone as guilty before proven innocent and built my impenetrable walls sky high. I would be instantly defensive, especially with anyone new.

The consequence of all this negativity was that I made myself lonely.  I wanted love again, but I didn’t let anyone get close enough to be open to the concept, and on the off chance I was in a situation where I may feel something for someone I would run from it immediately, eradicating any possibility of having my walls broken down.  The emptiness, however, was too much.  If I was to ever have any chance of finding someone, or even of finding happiness alone, I had no choice but to let my defences down.  I had to allow myself to open up to people, trust that what they say is what they mean, start believing in my own worth and approach everything with more positivity.

After a sequence of events in my life I began to let go, to free my mind of all my pre-judgements as well as my automatic defensiveness.  A compliment received shouldn’t be instantly assumed to be disingenuous; not everyone that saw girlfriend material in me was just someone on the take; being approached on a night out didn’t have to mean I was the unlucky social recipient in a game of ‘Chat the Pig;’  nor was a random comment from a stranger to be taken as a personal jibe; not everyone is that clever, quick-witted or sly; sometimes they are just a few sandwiches short of a picnic!  And sometimes, you never know….they could actually be genuine.  Either way, I managed to stop feeling like everyone was out to get me, to ridicule me, to kick me when I was down, and so…I let go.

These days I give people the benefit of the doubt.  If I instinctively know they are to be wary of, then I keep them at arms length.  If they reveal themselves to be untrustworthy, I ditch them from my life.  No second chances, no explanations.  I’m sure I still get dirty looks from people, or disrespectful asides; people, in general, are idiots and will always amuse themselves by finding faults in others, but I have chosen to not see it.  On the rare occasion that I do see or hear something unfavourable directed at me, the individual will receive my reaction, in whatever form I am in the mood for.  These people are nothing to me, it is them who are inferior.

So am I really in this bubble that I was accused of being in?  Was the bedraggled, homeless looking woman, standing with her shaggy dog on the roadside, vacantly staring at passers by, who wished my friend and I, “Happy Halloween,” being sincere in her simplicity/friendliness, or was she making an underhanded slant at us being a couple of un-costumed, scary Mary’s, based solely on us being large?  (Which was the attitude my friend took it to mean.)  And was my upbeat reaction of a broad smile and chirpy, “Thanks!!” an oblivious retort to her greeting, or was it an instinctive attempt to retaliate ironically to her alleged nastiness?  In either case, what does it really matter?  She was forgotten about the second I walked passed her; that is until my friend brought it up later in conversation.

In life, I am happier being this way than I was by being overly guarded.  I have freed myself of the notion that life is against me and opened myself up to the plethora of compliments I receive from people I know to be genuine, as well as those from strangers; and I accept that while life is full of arseholes, ready to take you down a peg or two for their own entertainment,  I don’t have to give them any of my precious time.