Sunday, 13 October 2019


I’m meant to be in England today, but I’m here at home, writing this.

I’m meant to be in my lovely mum’s living room, enjoying the company of the astounding, energetic, astute and lucid 90 year-old who made me.

Instead I’m staring out of my office window, waiting for hours of rain to arrive, and much as I’d love to have been there, given my health at the moment, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here.

Two days ago I was in great form. The house was hoovered, laundry done, suitcase packed.

This was going to be a tiny trip, just two nights to see family, because back in August I’d cancelled a much longer trip at the last moment.

That one was going to be my holiday. Family and friends in London, but I couldn’t do it.

The tiniest sniff of conflict was setting me off. After I’d cried three times in public in six days, I pulled out of the trip.

Back in July this colyoom told of the arrival of a depression. It has been fierce, intense, long-lasting and extremely useful, because the foundations of my life have fundamentally altered.

Being a control freak, I find it hard to let go, yet I desperately needed to grieve.

Within a depression I have no defence against my emotions, so I’ve been able to engage each as they presented themselves, took the hit, took it again, marvelled at how ridiculous life is when this 59 year-old can still feel pure naïve pain, and tried to simply accept the different losses and conflicts that have dominated my life over the last year.

That sounds good, that ‘over the last year.’

Hopefully I’m now emerging, and soon will be able to enjoy looking forward, without carrying the past on my back.

That’s my target.

I’m not quite there yet, although writing about those dark periods in the past tense is pure therapy.

You poor downtrodden souls who read Double Vision regularly may have noticed that recently there have been many colyooms of whacky things Adley did in the past.

Some colyoomistas wondered what was up (Bernard! John!), so as a general guide the way Double Vision tends to work is that the more fluffy my copy, the darker my mental state.

When pumped up with courage and positivity, it’s easier to delve into deeper, possibly more meaningful fodder.

However, after last week’s fascinating exposé of my cleaning routines, I sufficiently disgusted myself to come clean with you too.

It has been yonks since this colyoom told new tales of drunken wobblings around the pubs of Galway, or (apart from Brexit, which feels personal) virtuous rantings on social justice and the lack of it.

Apart from when I teach my Craft of Writing course or visit the homes of friends, I’ve simply not been up to socialising with people, so there’s been precious little life to write about.

I’d planned this summer to reach out to my new town, because I still don’t know a soul here, but as Dylan or Lennon said, “Life’s what happens when you’re busy making plans.”

Bang! Depression hit, and while it temporarily kiboshed my chances of creating a new social life, it delivered the chance to heal.

I stay home alone. Not always pleasant, but for the last three months infinitely better than any alternative.

I’m an extremely lucky man to have this space, and even through the most wretched times, I make sure to give thanks for my wonderful friends and family.

They worry that such solitude is not healthy, but for my mental health this peace has been perfect.

Galway is an hour away, and my (not so new) local town awaits: an opportunity still very much available, which I intend to grasp, with all social skills blazing, as soon as I’m up to it.

Thankfully I do feel I’m gradually emerging from this depression, so hopefully the content of these colyooms will soon improve.

Two days ago, mentally and emotionally ready and eager to go to London, I zipped up my suitcase.

Two hours later my entire body started to shake, inside and out.

My legs, arms, fingers and toes were beating out macabre jazz riffs, my guts cramping and twisting, my lungs grabbing whatever air they could.

Scared the hell out of me, it did.

Felt like an adrenaline drenching, and since having two panic attacks in the past, I keep a couple of emergency valium in the house, so I took one and texted my friend, who’s rashly agreed to be my medical emergency person.

I asked him to call me in a few hours, to check in, by which time I’d stopped shaking, but felt weak and beaten up.

The serenity and solitude that I enjoy here may be great for my spiritual and mental health, but knowing nobody local when you’re physically unwell is an unsustainable situation.

New friends are nearby, I just haven’t met them yet, and there is: my life reduced to a beer mat slogan.

Next morning I awoke with a fever, zero energy, physically knocked out.

Oh no.
Please not now!
Not the day of my England trip!

I called my mum to tell her I had to cancel the trip.

I’ll never know if those two hours of shaking were a form of panic attack, or a ridiculously ostentatious way for a virus to announce its arrival in my body, but holy guacamole Batman, they were terrifying.

In August I cancelled because of my mental health.
In October physical illness made it impossible.  

I’m booked to go again in November.

Never mind all that 'things coming in threes' malarkey.

I’m backing ‘third time lucky.’

©Charlie Adley
13.10. 2019.

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