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Back to the drawing board

November 1, 2018

If you’ve been around since the beginning you’ll know that exactly two years ago today I started what I called the Black Dog Diary. It began as a challenge to myself that I would write something – anything – for at least fifteen minutes every morning for six weeks. Although I often in the following 42 days talked about depression, I wrote about many things. Anything and everything, as it were.

Well, I’m starting the exercise again because (a) the bastard black dog is back and (b) I have not (with one exception which I will get to in a moment) written anything for months.

A few weeks ago I did start writing a play. As the goddess is my witness, I will get back to it, but I can’t at the moment for a variety of reasons.

My mother died, far too young, three weeks shy of a landmark birthday. Next Wednesday, barring unforeseen accidents, I will reach that landmark. Even if, for some bizarre reason, I don’t, I am already older than my mother was when she died. That is a sobering fact.

Why so glum at the moment? Well, the days are getting shorter, which doesn’t help. And, as of my least favourite day of the year this weekend, the clocks will go back and the days will be even shorter. That certainly doesn’t help.

The realisation a fortnight ago that my total lack of attentiveness had allowed my cat Roxie to wither away to the point that all I could do for her was help her on her way didn’t help either. Nor did coming down with the cold from hell a couple of days after I buried Roxie.

I can’t remember a single time in my life since I left home when there has been anyone around to take care of me when I’ve been sick. Even when I was living with other people, they always seemed to be away for work or on holiday whenever I was smitten. (Yeah, sucks to be me.) So I stay in bed, hauling myself out once a day to make and eat some packaged chicken noodle soup, because it reminds me of my mum taking care of me.

But this malaise was hanging over my head for weeks before that. The cold may have had me sleeping for fourteen hours, well into the afternoon, but I was already suffering from the same “sleeping sickness” that afflicted me in the spring, never waking up before noon – or later. (Of course, the fact that I’d been sitting up until three in the morning watching stupid things on TV didn’t help.)

And here’s how my twisted (or depressed or addicted) mind worked: If I’d slept until one in the afternoon, the day was already wasted, so I might as well just stay in bed all afternoon playing stupid fucking spider solitaire. So, for far too many afternoons I was doing just that.

There were stretches of lovely autumn days during this period. I could have gone for a walk or gone down to the garden to do some tidying up. I could have done some work on my play. I could have done some housework. (God knows the house could do with a good clean.) I could have worked on my lines. Or, at the very least, I could have stayed in bed reading. But apparently there is no such thing as free will, at least not in my case, because I could not get myself out of bed and I could not force myself to stop playing stupid fucking spider solitaire. Or perhaps there is free will and I used mine to decide to waste entire days. (All getting a bit too philosophical – or do I mean theological? – for me.)

How could I have known when I bought a cheap tablet for the sole purpose of loading books on to it which I could read on the treadmill (back when I still had a gym membership) that the stupid thing would become the weapon of my destruction? That I would lose hours that added up to weeks (or months) playing SFSS on it. I did not see that coming. But come it did. (I can, of course, not blame the tablet entirely. My addiction started on the laptop, but the tablet made it so much more portable.)

Anyway, anyway… Yesterday morning I wrote one word in my journal: Basta!  For anyone who doesn’t know, that is the Spanish word for enough. (Just to lighten the tone a bit, when I was a kid there were numerous western programmes on the telly. Being a horse-loving little girl I watched them all. There was one, the name of which now escapes me, in which the rancher was married to a (beautiful, of course) Mexican woman who not infrequently yelled “Basta!” at her husband. Of course it sounded like bastard, so I thought she was swearing at him in Spanish. I laughed when I found out years later what the word actually means. But since then and to this day, if I’ve reached a point which requires me telling myself “enough already” in no certain terms, only basta will do.”

Enough already.

I am going to get up before noon. (Have done for the past two mornings, although not by much.)

I am going to write something every day.

I am not going to play stupid fucking spider solitaire, no matter how desperately part of my brain may crave it.

Challenge begun.

From → Black dog diary

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