Tag Archives: Uni work

Haven’t done this in a while….

9 May

I finished my degree last week – well I handed everything in anyway. So that’s that, three years done and dusted.

 

Feel pretty spent after the last few weeks of making sure everything was ready. The main thought on my mind since is how much I would love to just get away and relax. Get away and forget everything. That would be cool.

Of course when I say everything I really mean depression. It really wasn’t that very long ago that I started this blog and all because certain things were coming into sharp focus, like being 27 and having unsuccessfully coped with depression for nigh on ten years and not wanting to be 37 and still be in the same boat.

I still haven’t made any proper steps to remedy the situation which of course is nobodies fault but my own and that plus finishing uni has mixed together and it’s feeling rather claustrophobic in my head at the moment.

I guess it just annoyed me that I felt no accomplishment at all from finishing uni, I thought I’d feel something but instead it was just a feeling of ‘I don’t deserve to feel happy’ type feeling.

I think the weirdest thing is that I don’t feel unduly depressed – I’m certainly not in the black hole I was when I started this blog. It’s just a rather surreal feeling of ‘well, what did I expect, this is your life now’ which I know is depressing enough.

Well, to end on a positive – yes I know finishing uni is definitely a positive, but to add another one I’ve given myself till Monday to completely switch off from writing (professional writing I mean) at which point it will be back to the screenplays and working on my novel. That would have made it a complete week off, something I can’t remember doing since I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve actually gone out a couple of times as well since I handed in my work. I’veblog tried to be more sociable and see my friends again and it was pretty cool to see they genuinely seemed pleased to see me out.

And it’s my best mates birthday night out tomorrow so something good to look forward to there as well.

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Council Estates, Ex Girlfriends, love and Uni

17 Apr

I try to keep my posts focused on one thing at a time but on this occasion there are a few things on my mind.

I’ll start by saying that today was a lovely day here in South London; it was sunny and warm. You often hear how the weather can affect your mood and I always forget just how true this is until those first proper sunny days appear and you really do feel better about things. It just puts a nice tint on your emotions; even those things that are making you feel rather melancholy can be diluted down in their effect by filtering them through the happier disposition the sunshine can give you.

I was travelling on the train today, going through Norwood Junction, Crystal Palace, West Norwood, Gypsy Hill etc on the way to Balham.  I grew up in these areas, specifically a council estate in West Norwood; as I looked out of my window at my old stomping grounds I felt this pain deep within me, this void that I feel and know could never be filled. I was thinking about the council estate I grew up on and how I wished I could go back; experience it again as I was when I was younger, when things were so much more simple. My mind was sound, I had a happiness that I doubt I’ll ever recapture, a boundless enthusiasm for life I feel I’ll never rekindle. I rarely get such thoughts but today it was an urge that was – I don’t know – I’ve wracked my mind and the only word that comes close to describing it is an existential urge; probably because I know I can never go back in time but that somehow, some way I hope that I can experience those emotions again.

These days my happiness and forward thinking is filtered through the mechanism of simply coping; coping with depression, coping with bi polar, coping with a life tinged and tainted with an unremitting sense of ‘this wasn’t how it used to be, it used to be more fun but at least right now I’m doing OK because I know how to cope.’

As for uni, one of the other parts of this headline, I’m in the last two and a half weeks of my degree, which just seems strange. Three years gone but it feels simultaneously much longer but also that it has passed in the blink of an eye. Time is a strange concept. One thing that made me smile recently was that as part of my dissertation I obviously had to do an essay. I chose to look at Sherlock Holmes and why his popularity has endured through the years and unbeknownst to me there was a Sherlock Holmes story set in Norwoodwest-norwood1 called The adventure of the Norwood builder. After doing some research I found out that part of the story was in fact set in West Norwood, very close to where I grew up. Conan Doyle actually lived in South Norwood, again close to my local area.

Another point about Uni was that when I started I was going out with my most recent girlfriend. Tonight I met her for a couple of drinks; we still meet up quite often. She told me yesterday that she had split up with her current boyfriend (I briefly mentioned her in my last blog post). As much as I do not think we could work out (we were on and off for three years) I can never escape the fact that she was the one woman that I truly, deeply loved. I know she feels the same way because she says so but again love is a strange concept. Not complicated, just very…. strange is not the right word but I’m running out of steam now so strange will have to do.

Late Night Writing and My Tuesday Girl

26 Mar

Last Monday I had a tutorial with my screenwriting teacher at university. Getting feedback on your work is always nerve wracking but it’s one of those things you have to get used to, as is criticism. Imagine my surprise then as, sitting opposite my teacher, he flips his page of notes over and the only word I can see – written upside down from my vantage point – is ‘excellent’. Underlined. It was just the first 10 pages of the script but he also had the treatment so knew how the story was going to end. He then proceeds to tell me he thinks it’s excellent. I’m obviously pretty happy with this, I respect his opinion highly because he’s aTuesday screenwriting professional currently working in the industry. So I thank him and try to hide the smile dying to break out.

So obviously I resolve to crack on and I have a lot of added enthusiasm if a little tight for time. We only have to submit the first ten pages for this module plus the treatment and, being now fairly confident of a good mark could just leave it till May to finish, what with a dissertation to complete and the first quarter of a novel to redraft for my portfolio to. But I enjoy all the work – well the creative aspects anyway, the essay part of the dissertation is a pain – it keeps my mind occupied.

Anyway, typically I aim to do 5 pages a day when I’m working on a script project. It doesn’t sound much, to me it doesn’t anyway but it means that in less then a month I can have a project finished. Last week didn’t exactly go to plan so tonight I thought, tonight is the night to catch up, except I got carried away and now I’m on page 70 already which is great.

Now for something completely different.

It was only when I looked at the time that I saw it was gone 2am. Tuesday morning is here. As your mind is prone to do at these times of the night my thoughts wandered to a girl I used to see on and off. Every Tuesday afternoon I’d go and meet her for lunch. I don’t know why that memory is so strong tonight, just going for lunch and chilling, there are certainly other, more recent and noteworthy memories to think of. It turned out to be quite the rollercoaster with her in the end but right now I’m just thinking about Tuesday lunches and it’s quite soothing haha. This really has nothing to do with the first part of this post.

In fact this post really doesn’t say much at all does it.

Second extract from my life writing piece.

21 Mar

So this follows on from my previous post, which is the first draft from a piece of work for my life writing class which is being workshopped in class tomorrow. Life-Writing-Color

 

Still, I decided it would have to be a memoir written from the experiences to come, over the course of say a year, unfolding I guess more like a journal but with the memoir elements of touching upon the important stages in my life that have lead me to where I am today contained within it.  At least the hope of something positive to arise from the choices I now plan to make going forward is there. In the ensuing days I have of course asked myself the question ‘why write about it?’ I think the answer has various elements to it. Catharsis from writing being one. Adding my own story to the ones already out there being another. Depression has a nasty habit of not only isolating you but making you feel as if you neither have a voice or that your opinion means anything at all. In the grand scheme of things I suppose this is true, but the emotion of me reasserting myself, telling my story, having a voice, is both a strong one and a powerful driving force. It is certainly true that depression is something that is much more widely discussed than ever before and I wish to be part of that conversation, to give my version.  

Building a framework

OK, so let’s assume that you agree that you would like to read what I write, you’re probably looking to gain insight from what you read. How else can I aid this I thought? Well if you’re on a journey you’d probably like a few signposts right, to see where you are going and where you have come from etc. So I tried to figure out what these signposts could be. Signposts that would make it easier for you to engage. The answer came in the form of questionnaires. I came across the website http://counsellingresource.com/ and found a wealth of information and also questionnaires on depression, bi-polar disorder etc. Fantastic I thought, these will not only give me a base line from which to properly start from, but my progress could easily be tracked by taking the test every, let’s say two weeks. You’ll get an added sense of the variable nature of the illness and hopefully over time the scores would be getting better as I try to take control and manage it properly.

I took two tests, the ‘Goldberg Depression Questionnaire’, which came back with

Total score of: 69 (54 and up, Severely Depressed)

“You appear to be suffering from severe depressive symptoms commonly associated with serious depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or dysthymia.”

And the Tri-Axial Bipolar Spectrum Screening Quiz (TABS), which came back with

Total score of: 32

(13-64, With Both Depressive and Manic Axes Elevated)

Your answers indicate levels of experiences which are consistent with bipolar disorder, including those associated with both manic and depressive symptoms.

I will add that these were taken on the 11th March and that the preceding week had been one of those ‘rougher’ ones.

To be fair the results could do with more elaboration so here are a couple of questions from the questionnaires with my answers (the actual questionnaires are just tick boxes by the way)

4. The pleasure and joy has gone out of my life. (depression test)

This. This is one of the principle reasons for embarking on this project. They talk about ‘episodes’ of depression, or ‘bouts’. To be perfectly honest I’m worn out from it all, the constant cycle of boom and bust. The good times now are just horribly diluted by the knowledge that the demon is around the corner. I’ll give you an analogy. If my happiness was say a river, then depression would be what the river would be like after an oil spill. Now there’s thick, black, sludgy nastiness on the surface. Sure, the waters still there, you can reach for it but you can’t avoid the oil, your hand is still going to be tainted by it. Or how about, you know how once your mind realises that the fridge is making that whirring sound you can’t unhear it because you’re tuned into it? Well there we go.

 

3. I have been enjoying activities that I know carry a significant risk of causing me problems later (e.g., buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or unusual business investments). (Bi-polar test)

19. Some of the experiences listed above have caused me problems at work or in my social activities; led to arguments or fights; or left me with family, financial or legal difficulties. (Bi-polar test)

I grouped these two together for the simple reason that after thinking about them they, along with the question from the depression test, provided the stimulus for change. After thinking on the Several thousand pounds of debt, with a credit rating so far gone I can’t even get a ‘vanquis’ credit card, when I think about the failed relationships, the shrinking of my friendship circle, the jobs I’ve quit when the depression got bad but I couldn’t bring myself to admit I was struggling, the breakdown in communication with my family, that rather embarrassing trip to the STD clinic, not remembering the last time I was truly at peace and happy (alcohol excluded), I just feel this is a good time and place in my life to begin to try and turn things around or at the very least, learn how to cope and live with what I have.

So I guess the journey will now begin.