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May 7, 2018

So it’s back to the black dog diary. I thought I had a plan, but apparently it wasn’t a very good one.

Not long after I booked my flight to London, I remembered that it had been in the aftermath of my last London visit five years ago that things started to fall apart for me.

I thought I’d done well in the aftermath of Mike’s death in 2011. I know grief is a tricky thing (as a friend explained to me, in some countries the grieving are considered to be temporarily insane and are not allowed to sign legal contracts for a year), but within a few months I started to get contract work, which meant I could survive financially. I’d joined the local theatre group and been involved in a number of plays, so I was getting out of the house, meeting new people, keeping busy. I thought I was doing okay.

Then, after my 2013 trip, something inside me snapped. I had a contract to work on when I got back and for a month I did just that. I’d completed most of the research for the report, but when I started trying to write it, I couldn’t. I’d get up in the morning, sit down at the computer, write a line or two, then think, “Oh, I’ll just have a quick look at my emails and Facebook. I’d play my Wordscraper moves. And then… A couple of internet Scrabble moves weren’t enough. “I’ll just have a game of spider solitaire,” I’d tell myself. I’d end up playing for four, five, six hours. “It’s okay,” I’d tell myself. “I’ll catch up tomorrow.” But tomorrow turned out the same. And then I made the mistake of getting Netflix. So many shows to binge watch.

It took me a while, but I finally figured out I was falling apart. Went to the doctor and scored 18 out of 20 on the depression test.

If you’ve been following this journal for a while, you’ll know it’s been up and down ever since. I know it got bad over the winter. I wasn’t involved in any of the one act plays and I wasn’t getting any of the writing I’d been determined to do done. That’s the main reason I decided to book a ticket to London. I knew I had to have a break, get out of my head, see my family and my friends over there. It would be good for me. And it certainly was. There was a lot of running around to do, which was rather exhausting, but it was great fun.

But how to avoid falling flat on my face when I got back? It doesn’t take a genius – or a shrink – to figure out that the contrast between being busy with people every day for a fortnight and coming back to living alone is pretty stark. (Nothing against Stella or Roxie, but neither cat is a great conversationalist.)

I thought I had it covered this time.

I was going to be starting a new play as soon as I returned. The play itself (Psychopathia Sexualis) is a wonderful comedy, but most importantly I’d be working with five of my favourite people on the island. It was going to be great.

The house could do with a good spring clean. And, of course, I’d be back the third week of April, a time when there is so much to do in the garden. There would be a million and one things to do outdoors – and my garden blog to keep up to date.

Lots to keep me busy and engaged. I’d be fine. And for a couple of weeks I was. Just fine.

Then came Friday.

I started playing spider solitaire sometime in the afternoon. Instead of stopping in the early evening, making myself dinner and eating it in the diningroom, I kept playing until nearly 10pm, at which point I stopped, made a bowl of popcorn and ate it in front of the television. And, instead of going to bed after I’d watched the shows I’d taped, I started playing spider solitaire again. I sat on the sofa chain smoking and playing spider solitaire until it was getting light outside. All night. No point in going to bed. I just started a new day.

And I did manage to get things done, including making a lovely asparagus risotto for dinner. I decided, okay it was an aberration. Everyone’s entitled to the occasional aberration, aren’t they? Of course they are.

I went to bed at a reasonable time, slept for nine hours.  Got up, made myself a cappuccino and went back to bed. It was Sunday morning and I have a Sunday morning tradition that goes back to when Mike was still alive. The Saturday Globe and Mail is saved for Sunday morning and read in bed. The paper was waiting for me. I wrote a few lines in my journal about Friday’s fuck up. Then, instead of picking up the paper, I decided to use my tablet to check emails and have a quick look at Facebook. Then, despite part of my brain screaming NO!!!!, I decided to have just one game of spider solitaire. Eight hours later, at 7pm,  I was still in bed playing the stupid fucking game. When I finally dragged myself out of bed I couldn’t see the point of getting dressed. Then I remembered what a really, really bad thing not getting dressed was supposed to be, so I did. I hadn’t had breakfast, I hadn’t had lunch, I’d had nothing to drink since the cappuccino. How the fuck had this happened?

For the life of me, I cannot figure it out. There was no trigger on Friday, no moment of fear, anger, sadness or loneliness. I just started and couldn’t stop. If Friday was an aberration, what the hell was yesterday?

Okay, I’m going to try to write it off as a lost weekend. Alcoholics have them, so I suppose spider solitaire addicts can have them, too.

I’ll take it as a warning. The spider monkey is still on my back. I need to keep busy, do things and see people. Fortunately my London mate Mark is coming for a couple of days next week, but after he’s gone, I need to make sure I socialise. Rehearsals are clearly not enough.

Yes, things fell apart. But I am determined to put them back together.

Wish me luck.

From → Black dog diary

One Comment
  1. Irmani permalink

    Babe, this is a hiccup. A nasty one, a difficult one but one you can get past. Will email you tomorrow xx

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