I am gearing up to head down to London.

Somehow this action always brings a sense of dread and worry. London is mostly an unkind, hustling and bustling place. I have a strange fear of it.
But then I also have a strange fear of Glasgow.
In fact, let’s face facts, I simply have an absurd fear of almost everywhere there are far too many human beings.

But I only really go to the big smoke to see my family. And family is something that unnerves me on the best of days.
All families are a mixture of complicated relationships, people meshed together through strands of DNA, perhaps a surname, and sometimes very little else. I wonder how many of us would choose the families we have, if it was as simple as choosing our friends and acquaintances?

My family, like most, is complicated. Extremely complicated. Half of the time I’m not entirely certain who is speaking to who. Some of the time people aren’t speaking to me. The last few years of dealing with our mother’s dementia have further split and fractured some remnants of familial relations. Being a few hundred miles away didn’t help but whilst I did all I felt I could, sometimes it was made clear that perhaps I should’ve moved back to London, a move that would involve giving up all sense of the adult life I had finally built up for myself in Glasgow revolving around my partner, my home, my job (yes, it’s not the best, but it pays my way), my social life, my routines and interests.

Of course, if circumstances had been different, then moving to London would’ve been an option. But they weren’t.

Sometimes I wonder if my choices will be held against me for an eternity.
Sometimes I wonder if my views and opinions even come into consideration. I was the baby of the family. The thirty year old baby of the family, who wonders if anyone had notice him turning from a five-year old into an living, breathing adult with all the traps that come with it.

So I spent today, perhaps in pre-London anxiety, battling with my low mood. I struggled to smile, to enjoy interacting with others, to enjoy being by myself. Depression is like that, you feel restless regardless of where you are, what you do, who you’re with. That’s because it’s not those factors that count, it’s you, you are the constant. It’s very much a one-sided fight with your mirror-image. It’s the switching contrast that gets me, one day I can be perfectly bubbly and productive and then the next, lethargic, low, and every smile is most certainly forced (and disappears the instant the intended recipient isn’t looking).

I can take solace that tomorrow I might wake up and feel OK. It’s always hard to see that in the midst of the fog. You drive through and through for miles and wonder if every road is shrouded and from that you can only assume that you’re going to drive off a bridge without even realising. Then you wake up and suddenly you forget where you’d even been, you see the sunlight and the glass is crystal clear. Once again you are alive.

Tomorrow, I hope the fog clears.

But I’m looking forward to seeing my parents/family. I’m planning on meeting a pen pal for the first time, (from the days of real pens, paper, stamps and envelopes, but more recently Facebook, it is good for somethings!) who I’ve known for well over 10 years. And we’re planning on that first meeting being a 7 miles country walk in the Chilterns! Surreal and exciting.

Apologies for such a self-indulgent post, but I do find it somewhat therapeutic.

“Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.”
Franz Kafka

*Inhales*

Shane

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