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: Dreams are like Stars

They are dead when you look at them too.

It’s true, the light from a star takes so long to reach us that when we see it the star has probably died.

When our dreams die, they die inside of us before people see that they have.

They only mattered to us, and their death only matters to us because we let it matter.

Ultimately it was all meaningless and worthless from the start.

Dear Diary: Social Media and Me

Ever ask yourself “what was I thinking?”

A while ago I made a promise to myself that I would disengage significantly with Facebook and use it as more a group update and keep in touch tool, with opportunity for contribution.

That hasn’t always worked out quite the way I planned but more and more I was starting to get the formula into a good balance.

Well, so I thought. You do that, you think things are going in the right direction. I do that, I think things are going in the right direction, or even, more disastrously, I think they are going well.

I am re-evaluating my contribution, after a couple of weeks where I have had the realisation that my contribution is not appreciated, or to quote “adds nothing of value” and that my “essays” are not as appreciated as I had thought.

It is easy to believe you are encouraging, maybe informing, sharing knowledge, even, dread the thought, lifting someone up.

I guess I should have known, delusions are only ever allowed to last so long.

Thinking Out Loud: I used to try really hard

It seems a very long time ago that I downloaded a blog planner and I was reading pages and pages on how to create content that would engage readers and grow an audience.

I would be carefully timetabling days so I could create content, especially my Monday Night Reflection, which was so very dear to me, that would be valuable and well thought out. Monday Night Reflections were particularly special because I was letting the blogosphere into my thoughts and sharing genuinely hoping that I was helping create something that would be of value to someone.

I knew that staying anonymous would limit way in which I could grow, but I tried my best to use strategies that would create an audience and some organic traction because I wanted engagement, my heartfelt wish was that someone wouldn’t hurt like I did, or would see that, hurting was okay, and that there was through it to get to.

Thing’s changed, and I thought perhaps I could document overcoming the attacks of what are most likely hemiplegic migraine, perhaps documenting survival in a different way, the challenge of having my creative ability taken, robbed even and learning, relearning, sometime learning daily to do something that had been a joy and such a big part of my day would be something I could share.

I found sharing impossible, there was nothing to share, it was blank, you just write rubbish and bin it, till its not rubbish and you feel comfortable sharing what you have. My failed attempts are not something I keep, like falling of a cycle, not something you really need to post for the world to see, failed is failed.

Thing is, you have stats, good old Word Press, and there they are not changing, there I was dedicated as an author to my craft planning and working to create, and there I was dead in the water, lost at sea, struggling to express myself at all.

I care, of course I do, every one who creates cares, I want people to engage, everyone with a blog is really saying look at me, I am no exception, what I mean to say is, I am here creating, I hope you like it, I am sorry if its haphazard, random, without focus or purpose, that’s my life right now, that’s is me, that is my blog and my creativity, I gave the structure thing a go, I couldn’t hack it, it didn’t fit, I am too old, and just a little bit too grumpy to wear things I don’t like.

Poetry Corner: Monday Does Not Care

The morning our beautiful mistress, our most heartless master,

Beckons us to our dream,

Cares not of triumph nor disaster.

 

The sun rises and sets indifferent to them all,

The dust it gathers before even the first night has come to fall.

Agony and joy, the cheers, imposters call.

 

It never cared about the journey,

Time never cared about the battle,

Time has on carried regardless, it never cared at all.

Dear Diary: The Day After Blues

It’s not really the day after, imagine it’s Monday

The weekend was the “weekend”, Sunday was the “day”. A year of work, 5 months of pure heartache and if anyone follows, I would guess you could call it heartache and real pain physical and mental have been my, and my family’s companion through life.

Probably giving way too much away, I have another life and this weekend that life was my life, the biggest day of the year so far for that life.

It’s over, its happened. Monday the sun came up, my son went to work, my wife went to work. There was a beautiful cake and a note on the side that he and his adorable girlfriend had made. There are of course messages on my social media posts saying well done.

But, the rain falls, the traffic flows, the TV didn’t record like it should, life on Monday morning ultimately doesn’t care if I won or lost. My ex doesn’t care, my biological children don’t care nor will my eldest care on our Skype. My news won’t even wrap chips.

Tuesday has become indifferent, the rain it lashes down, the shopping needs doing, and the carpet needs a hoover, the milk is running out too.

 

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