Dear Diary: I have to hang up my keyboard …​

Apologies, I am a fan of the UFC, 4 years ago Welterweight great Giles St Pierre said, “I have to hang up my gloves for a little while ….” on Saturday he returned, won the middleweight title, the weight class heavier than one where he had been the unbeatable champion. He put his legacy on the line and rolled the dice one more time and won.

I may not have won 12 Welterweight UFC title fights, with 9 successive defences, nor have I secured myself a spot in any Hall of Fame, but, in 2017, I am very much my own champion, literally, I have a British Title to my name, and in overcoming the struggles of my medical condition, and being honest and open about my depression and battle with suicidal thoughts – not here I am sorry, but in my real life, where, it was important that while people saw me lift a trophy and some almost Rocky-like comeback they realised there was a very dark side and I was paying a very high price for that success.

I hope the battle was evident here, there have been many days where breathing only happened because it was a reflex, because had it relied on will, I would have stopped. The strain became too much; I withdrew from the Worlds, turning out to be a dodged bullet, and I withdrew into a dark place. The reality of life and future lack of change became far to much to handle, and even now, is not something I entirely want to contemplate. With more potentially bad medical news on the way and even a possible recurrence of cellulitis, I am, in truthfulness, out of fight.

I am therefore a little jealous of Giles, I wish that because of what is happening in my life I too could hang up my gloves or a little while. However, I am hanging up my gloves, competitively I have no plans to compete in 18, and in fact, my return to competition is entirely dependent on my training performance reaching a standard I have set, if I do not reach that standard, I do not return.

Professionally, I am retired from work for the foreseeable future, my medical condition is not under control to the extent that any employer could be expected to handle the amount of time off I would take, nor is it actually fair to expect work colleagues or an employer to deal with what happens during a severe hemiplegic migraine attack, and self-employment is beyond my work capacity at this time. That pressure is off, and I have had to accept that this is just the situation, I may have been working 2 jobs at 13, but that is perhaps why I am working no jobs at 45, who knows. I have to deal with it, and be thankful I am in a position where this is possible however tight and uncomfortable it makes the financial reality.

And I am not without a future, I had moved on, and while one project has to be dropped, I had other things that while I will have to do slowly I can do, and my wife’s career is going well with her working somewhere that values her and wants to invest in her development, so I can support her and do what I can to facilitate her success, this man is most definitely not an island.

So in the style of Giles St Pierre ” I have some thing in my life going on, and I have to hang up my keyboard for a while” …. dont use the R word ….

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Poetry Corner: Only Torment Can Fly

No demon today, the well is dry

Nothing but the anguish of an empty cry

Barren where only torment can fly

 

The angels they left, the devil cares no more

Death stares you down, the coward evermore

Only fear and terror take flight to soar

 

No shelter, no warm place of comfort and rest

No warrior, you failed life’s simplest test

Look closely at the misery of your very best

 

No place at Valhalla’s table, no ride in Elysium’s fields

There is no room for me in my Fathers’ house,

No echo in eternity, no final journey fallen on my shield

Dear Diary: Monday Recognition

I am up, out of bed, my wife gets me up and makes me breakfast bless her.

I guess forgetting to eat for three days may have given the game away?

I am here, doing that thing I do, except. previously in my life, I had stuff I just had to or my life would have collapsed. You know, no house, nothing collapsed. Now the problem is, if I do nothing, nothing collapses.

Nothing would change if I did nothing, the bills paid, my wife would get the shopping and pick up every bit of slack, and wouldn’t hate me for it. In fact, the more I deteriorated, she would worry and look to get me help, and do more to help me get better, being left to rot, would be the very last thing that would happen.

So how do I cope, I have nothing to do, no job left, everyone survives well without me, but I know I am not causing anything to miss a beat either.

The world really wouldn’t change, it wouldn’t miss me because it already doesn’t.

Dear Diary: You Can Never Hide

One of the great things about life is we can hide, work, family, hobbies, athletic endeavour combinations of those afford us wonderful opportunities to hide away from reality.

While we get away and pursue some noble and worthwhile goal to the applause of our peers, we can hide from facing something bigger, and more frightening than the challenge we tackle for the world to see.

But when the goal is achieved, the project is over, we instantly seek the next one to avoid the chasm and void of light where we know we face the truth we have been hiding from all the time, so we stay in the darkness calling light.

How long can we pull the trick of self-delusion, do we pull it at all?

Poetry Corner: Clock of Time

I’m not sure I asked,

It happened anyway, you said I did,

It’s all my fault,

It always is.

 

An earned reward, that consequence

I knew better,

You said I did,

I always do.

 

I gave up knowing,

Not even the same is safe

Breathing daring,

I know I should.

 

You would think

In the years that passed
I would have forgotten

I thought I would.

 

People promised time

Would be a healer

That the pain would fade

I guess I never learned.

 

You try to change

And think in different ways

You trust again
I am stupid, the story stays the same.

 

The clock it ticks

Tocks of hurts inside
A fading frame
I say ok when I hear my name

Dear Diary: Look Down on Me?

Most days a look of contempt or disdain is nothing to me, the opinion of some random non-entity who knows nothing of who I am

Today it bothered me: today I wanted to shake her and ask who are you to think for one minute you are better than me?

No one is better than anyone; we will all die, we will all hurt, we will all feel pain, hurt, we will grieve and feel the burning sear of loss, we will all be scared, we will be both courageous and cowards, we will regret and we will cry.

 

Thinking Out Loud: Staring at the Future

It has taken me a long time to face writing this: recently an infection put me back in hospital. Opposite someone with hemiplegic migraines.

They were under a regional specialist centre with a proper specialist consultant and were under a treatment team with multiple therapies. They were exactly where I am supposed to want to be, they followed the advice of every attack getting admitted.

It was horrific. The man was a shell, the ward was noisy and chaotic, and they had no idea how to treat him, worse, they were random and haphazard with his pain treatment, most of the time he curled facemask on, earphones in pain trying to make it through the day to his release.

He saw no treatment, he was pushing his family away as he failed to cope with the emotional effects of attacks, and each admission robbed him of days and weeks of his life, you could see him imprisoned by his “disease” and crippled by doing exactly what he was told to do. Exactly what I am supposed to do.
We spoke, he could not believe that my attacks were both longer and more debilitating, that I had no support in place, and that I was not being admitted like he was each attack. His disbelief crashed head first into the fact that, while we shared symptoms and experience, I had carried on doing life in direct defiance of medical advice and was doing well, and he, doing what he had been told, further down the road than me, was now virtually crippled and imprisoned by his condition.

We spoke only that afternoon, he left. I doubt he will change, he is embedded in being a patient and invested in the model where he would be saved by modern medicine. I don’t believe in white knights on unicorn’s, as a child I learned very early that it doesn’t matter how loud or how long you cry, how much it hurts, how bad it gets no one is coming to save you.

Perhaps then, out of the damage of those abuse years has come a useful toolkit for journey ahead

Dear Diary: Proof of Something

If I am proof of anything it’s hard work doesn’t pay off, practice doesn’t make perfect and what goes around doesn’t come around.

In reality, you have to be working hard on the right things in the right way, it has to be perfect practice, life isn’t even remotely fair and the universe simply does not care at all.

Ultimately the world will neither miss me nor mourn my loss, I matter only so far as I decide that I do, beyond that, I don’t matter at all. I lack both relevance and significance. My existence continues in large part through luck and cowardice; mostly cowardice.

I live a life of pretend and make believe. I pretend what I do has significance, it matters, it counts, that somehow my life is worthy of something, that I as a person have value and worth. In my make believe world I am wise and knowledgeable and people look up to me and value what I say, they support me and believe I will succeed, that my endeavours valuable for my part I pretend along that my life has value with them.

I know, I am, sadly, and I wish I was not, completely aware, of the sham and masquerade.

I am playing along like it matters because it’s all I know to do, but I do know exactly what is true.

 

Dear Diary: Manchester is not by the Sea

The seaside, so often the facade of towns long closed down in heart and soul existing was not for me.

This was reflection and calm, the quiet, where people said a cheerful hello while you look out, a gas rig or two between your bench and Norway. A different place, a different sense of time.

A little calm so close to places so familiar and a life so very different to the one I have now.

My obligation fulfilled, respects duly paid, tears respectfully held back, and happy memories built upon the ashes of the past.

My dearest friends a comforting bridge, welcoming arms and helping hands, solace in the storm.

A place does not know, it does not remember, it meant no harm, it held no anger, it will not be bitter, nor will it be sad, it will shed no tears, knowing not the passing of our years. Those we bring, they are ours to leave or take away, memories are our own each day, and the stories ours to tell, like the place lest we too face away.

Dear Diary: 19th July 17, At The Head of the Valley

Back from a weekend in Wales.

For many, this is a simple thing, for my Mouse this was a weekend of overcoming fears. Fear of the unknown, a trip to a new and unfamiliar place via new roads, to the countryside. No urban landscape, no hospital, no backup plan, no safety net, the very darkest of unknowns.

However, it was great. I walked up hills, found peace and solitude, walked in the woods and listened to the river whisper.

I cooked in a little cabin kitchen and connected back to myself.

The urban expanse brings neither comfort nor security, it feeds my fears and imprisons my minds, plays tricks on me and convinces me that outside is the enemy. It is people I fear, people are the cruel, random, violent, betrayers of trust.

Nature has no favourites, it is not cruel, nor kind, it is, it does not change, it seasons have always been and will always be, it is not capricious of malevolent, it does not plot or betray, it has no skeletons, no secret past, nature has not lied, nature does not rewrite the past.

Mr Mouse keeps on Moving, keeps in doing, good one Mr Mouse!