RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

An Empty Pot…

We all have good days.  We all have bad days.  But on the whole most days are average and go by unnoticed. We awake, rise, plod through our routines, eat, watch TV, maybe chat to friends, go to bed, sleep.  We get little highs, and little lows, but days, by and large, life and it’s grind goes by without any significant events.

No one upsets you, you upset no one. You bring a little light into the lives of people you touch by smiles, hellos and goodbyes.  You hold a door for someone.  Someone maybe catches the lift doors so you can jump in.  The world, whilst not being an eternal endless beach party, is not a dark and lonely place.

But.

For some people it is not like that.  To some people, those average days are the good days.  To some, those days when someone smiles at them, and they can smile back and mean it, are the days of endless summer.  And, to them, the bad days that others have are the average days, and worse their bad days are horrible.  Those days gnaw at their bones, close them in, lock them inside a bubble of hell that closes in, squashing their personality, changing them, making them into something smaller than themselves and turning them into something that they don’t want to be.

Lately I have been having a couple of good days.  Good for me.  Average for you…the sort of day where you get your jobs done, and you sit and relax and just not think about the day – just another day. But these last couple of days were the days of wine and roses for me.  Days when I thought was getting better.  But then I get a day like today. And I realise that I am not.  Back to square one.

Today is a day when I feel like everyone and everything is closing in on me. That there is too much to do, that I can’t even think of how to tackle it all.  I have paperwork to fill in, jobs to do, work to get on with, but I can’t face it.  I can’t face other people, because all I do is upset them.  I don’t want anyone around me as I will just be horrible and snappy at them and then that will make me feel worse about me. 

It’s taken me long enough to bring myself to write this, and I am doing it because after I have written I feel a lot better.  This writing, you see, is cathartic for me.  Unburdening myself. Like the feeling I got in Afghan when taking off the body armour at the end of a patrol. Of a weight lifting.  Which is why I have to do it.

I’ve been horrible this morning.  No patience.  Everyone has been in my way.  Too much is on my mind, too much is going round – and none of it will sort itself out.  The cloud of depression doesn’t allow any clarity of thought. It masks the solutions that everyone else can see. The worst thing about it is the realisation, just a minute later of what you have done. You know that you have irrationally snapped.  The facade has fallen and you have exploded and made whatever situation you were in a million times worse – worse for others involved, but the impact upon yourself…the realisation, the hate, the anger.  The feeling that you can’t go on like this any more, but that there is nothing you can do about it.

The feeling that you are ‘Slip Sliding Away’ as Paul Simon put it.  It’s funny how when you are  depressed that you can see somethings so clearly – but find it impossible to see other things. My depression has allowed me to see when things are about depression.  I see art and hear music and know that the artist was feeling the same way as me.  That the deep melancholy they suffered is the same as mine.  I see that so much. It is often the only time I will smile at a thought of my own. 

A knowing sniff and hunch of the shoulders. And a thought that is comforting for a second – I am not alone.  Someone else felt this way.  But then that resonance is broken and I am stuck in that internal world again.  I am trapped; voiceless, expressionless.  Like I want to scream and shout, but the words…the words don’t come.  Not even a guttural sound.  Nothing is inside you.  And it certainly isn’t able to come out.

An empty pot makes the most noise they say…

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19 thoughts on “An Empty Pot…

  1. I hear you. You’re not empty. Nor alone.

    • Paul Tofi on said:

      How very honest and I hope it was cathartic as you say. Without wishing to sound like an advert what we do at Samaritans is to allow people to say those things that need to be said. To unburden yourself or to talk about how you are feeling having just upset those around you. To talk about the things that are with you.

      What I am trying tosay is that it feels as if you are alone but you are not. Family, friends, fellow tweeters and blog readers are all there wishing you well. Wanting to stand alongside without telling you what to do but just being there for you. Often unseen and sometimes unheard there is a whole group of people who wish to stand beside you. Perhaps by just knowing that whenever you write your blog some people take time out to think about you and wish you well as I do now. Take care.

      • Thank you, and I know I am not alone, 1 in 3 and all that…but my point is not that I can’t say thise words, it’s I can’t find them. Like a bad case of writers block, I know what I want to say, but I have no way of verbalising it, I can’t find the words. The link…the fog breaks the link and hides the words from me so that I just can’t get them out, even if I knew what they were.

      • Paul Tofi on said:

        That sounds so frustrating to know what you wish to say but unable to find the words. Perhaps you could think of another medium to speak for you. For example a song or a picture, maybe one that you draw or paint yourself. Alternatively, imagine a situation where you only had a moment to say something to the people you love the most. I wonder where that would lead after all it could be the most important conversation you ever have.

        Not trying to tell you what to do just trying to help you unlock what is inside. At the end of the day I hope you will be able to but don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a while. I think you are very brave to share this journey and some reading your blog will know they are not alone with own difficulties in dayto day living. Take care.

  2. It’s really brave to write as you have, I am lucky to never have experienced depression but I would hope that recognising what is behind your actions is a step in the right direction.

  3. Eileen Satchell on said:

    I hope you felt a lot better after writing this blog. Life is not easy but you do recognise what is happening to. I went through a similar form of depression and found that I calmed myself with meditation.

  4. Jane Harding on said:

    Wish I lived near you to give you a big hug and tell you everything will be okay. Keep on tweeting/blogging – putting your thoughts down on paper is supposed to help xx

  5. Know exactly where you’re coming from,suffered depression 20 years ago ,it never truly disappears but your control over it grows with time I find.You see the signs and become more adept at diverting it’s arrival thru for me walking the dog, forcing myself to interact,confronting it for what it is.I lost my Dad last year, was careful not to allow grief become confused with depression and give it a backdoor
    to overtake me.Simple mundane daily things are what life is about they form a routine the greatest defence against ‘The Black Dog’.Great heartfelt piece of writing mate. From what I’ve read here & on twitter know you’ll come thru it sooner than you think , all the best

    • Stephen Webber on said:

      This is how I am. I’ve been lucky, I’ve never had depression really bad, but bad enough to know the signs to look for and what helps to minimise them.

      You’ll get there, Alex, you’ve a lot of people behind you, both family and friends and people on here.

  6. David (RAF retired) on said:

    As some bloke said on the TV…. I’m listening…
    We are listening. We hear where you are. The help it will bring.
    So, bring it on…….. let it out.
    Good on yr!

  7. Chris Watt on said:

    “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again…”
    That allways summed up my depression.

    “Slip sliding away” always made me think of the chaos of life and the struggle to control it.
    I’m not religeous but the saying “God give me the strength to fix what I can, the grace to accept what I can’t fix and the wisdom to know which is which” can sometimes be apt. There are fights you can’t fight take a dive and save yourself for the next round. Don’t punish yourself.
    “I’m on you side when times get rough and friends just can’t be found…” Times are chaotic for you. You certainly have bet everything in one allmighty game of pitch and toss. Been there and despite a Pratchettean weighting got to the other shore. …” I’ve had a long streak of bad luck. But I ‘pray’ its gone at last”

  8. I There, I am one of your twitter followers and also blogger myself.. Depression is horrid, i know that it touched me a little a few years back but for a short time maybe 2-3 years and ended up having CBT therapy for mine.. Apart from congratulating you in being so honest that takes guts for anyone but we have know for a while about your depression,, it sucks, there is no advice i can give you that will help cause everyone depression is their own, and in their own mind will they find a way of coping.. I agree with writing it all down helps upload your feelings (its what my cognitive therapist taught me.) I hope as the time goes on honey that yoyu get more up days that you do down, but its one of those Silent, Hidden disabilities that no one can see, yet the owner has to live with….

    Debbie

  9. dragonfae10 on said:

    I know exactly how you feel, because I am experiencing similar feelings. For me, I am feeling this breast cancer malarkey has gone on long enough-still there are more treatments. I am glad I live alone, because I believe no one would tolerate me. I get angry because after doing the tiniest bit of work around the house, I am soaked with perspiration-all to do with the cancer medication. They tell you to keep exercising, but who wants to with those results? This is a wonderfully frank and honest blog: you have been through a lot, & it helps me put my worries into perspective. Thank you. Xx

  10. I hear ya! I’ve suffered with depression all my life. It’s a total pain the arse but I had a doctor some years ago who explained it very simply to me; my depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in my head which I can’t control. He suggested that taking antidepressants ad finitum might be the only way to control it and keep me on a much more even keel. In the past I’d always taken the pills but tried to get off them as soon as possible in a bid to become ‘normal’ again. It never worked and I’d find myself back in the vacuum of depression – I’ve always felt like I exist in a vast space alone – occasionally meeting other sufferers who, like you say, have a strange ability to recognise each other.

    I eventually, after many, many years and with the wisdom that age can bring started to accept that the pills were necessary and that actually, there is no great shame in depression. It’s like the doctor said; I just have a chemical imbalance in my head. The antidepressants correct that.

    Obviously I still have triggers that can upset that delicate balance but in general, by accepting that I have it, I’ve helped myself to deal with it instead of spending endless days and nights of self-analysis and asking ‘why me?’. Now that I don’t see myself as so much of a flawed human, but simply someone with a chemical imbalance, I’ve more or less managed to lose the devil on my shoulder.

    As long as i keep taking the pills I’m at a kind of truce with myself and as long as the pills keep the padlocked and chained box in my head where all the bad things live firmly shut, I can be ‘normal’.

    I’m sure everyone has their own way of dealing with this horrible illness and I really hope you find yours soon. It’s a dark place to be out there in that vacuum all on your own. xxx

  11. Christine Davidson on said:

    One day at a time… Try not to dwell on the bad days. Hang on to a thread of the good days. Use every means to express yourself. hold onto every hand reaching out to you…there are many. You will have more good days x

  12. hills100 on said:

    I’m not going to pretend to understand you fotr a second, I have no idea what you are going through… All I will say is bravo you!!! For getting through each day anyway you can, for turning each page of your book.. Now is a really shitty chapter, but give it chance keep reading and you’ll start a new chapter one day – and I hope that is soon !! Also bravo for bearing your soul to strangers letting them know that they are not alone – I know your not doing it for that, but it is an unexpected by product of your awesomeness…

    If you keep smiling, the bastards will wonder what at!!! X

  13. Hi

    I’ve just sobbed my way through your blog. I’m new to this depression thing, 3 months. My worst day by far was yesterday… No one who doesn’t suffer could possibly understand the absolute desperation you feel. I don’t know why though or what I want or need to help me – the lack of control is debilitating beyond belief. Today is so far an ok day in my world.
    Thank you for putting a lot of what I feel into words.

    Many thanks and my best wishes
    Deb

  14. Macmatt on said:

    Well done. You earned your black dogs the hard way. It ought to have been a more conclusive war(s) with some sort of resolution and then we all come home. But it isn’t like that. No war is perfect. No peacetime life is either.

    I used to tell my folks in the field that, ‘this is now the real world’. Everything that comes afterwards is faulty. It lacks clarity. I wish it didn’t.

    Best thoughts,
    Matthew

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