Saturday, April 30

When MissGembles met Mr G...

A gang of people are assembled at Pimlico station, waiting to set off for a picnic which I am co-coordinating. On a concrete bench outside I spot a man with a mass of unruly curls and a baguette sticking out of his backpack. "Are you here for the picnic?" I ask.

We walk along the Thames. I teach the man my 'Favourite Hits of the 90s' game. He doesn't know it's a potential suitor test, but he passes with flying colours.

At Battersea Park he produces smoked duck from his backpack, and steals all my crisps. I fall a bit in love.

I'm peddling furiously on a pedalo in a pond. He is sitting on the stern of the boat, swigging wine from a bottle and smoking Marlboro Lights. All the time he is talking and talking about himself, and his life, and his dreams, and I imagine tiny fireworks exploding and dancing around his head. Then we switch places and I start nervously swigging from the wine.

We retreat to a pub where we each drink a pitcher of Pimms and start comparing notes on our likes and dislikes. Nerd alarms ring loudly.

We sit through a show. I don't know how we managed this. I just wanted to maul him.

We end up in another pub. He buys us red wine and we talk about Blake's 7. He offers to show me his box set, and we head back to his flat in Chelsea. He snogs me on the night bus and tells me I am beautiful.



The next day we can't bare to be apart. I float through a hangover in a state of bliss. I go out wearing his jumper, because all my clothes are at my friend's house. I stay another night.

Now he has to get up and go to work. I have to go back to Norfolk and go to work. He tells me to stay in bed and promises to come back and bring lunch before we say goodbye. He brings salad, and smoked mackerel and we kiss again.

Wednesday, April 20

Hints & Tips for the Discerning Mentalist

Don't stay up late.
Be in your bed by 10.30pm, at the latest, even if you're not tired. Once midnight has ticked by the gremlins enter your brain through your ears and gnaw on your mind. You might think you're beating them by choosing to stay up of your own free will, but this is what they want. They want you to get sucked into a crap and depressing film on TCM. Or a Jerry Springer repeat. They want you to stare out of the window at the stars and ponder the futility of your own existence. Do not satisfy the gremlins! Do not feed them after midnight!

Feeding time
When I am depressed I lean towards beige food (bread, biscuits, tea). It usually requires minimal preparation, fills the gaping void in my soul/stomach (same thing) and is bland enough so that I don't want to vomit it back up. But this is wrong. The key to surviving is to eat colourful food.

This is what I really, really wanted to eat yesterday:
- croissant/brioche
- bread roll

This is what I forced myself to eat:
- strawberries
- a pear
- an omelette & salad
- a yoghurt

... and guess what? I had almost picked up by 9pm. Almost. Until I found out Elisabeth Sladen had died and it set me off again.

Choose your entertainment wisely
For example, I can't watch loud things, or stupid things on TV when I am depressed, even though I generally love loud and stupid things. They frighten me. And give me a headache. I can just about manage knitting. And I can read a classic (Austen/James/Eliot). I try to avoid social networking, because it makes me paranoid, but generally fail miserably. Take my advice: stay away from social networking. Nobody wants to look at pictures of their horrible, old classmates' fugly babies, sometimes they can persecute you with their eyes "You have failed at life. Look at me. I am living proof that somebody you hated when you were fourteen is more successful and fulfilled than you".

Go Out
Of course you don't want to go out. Look at the state you're in, who'd want to look at you? What could you possibly offer the universe in your current state of mind? Your face is covered in anxiety spots, and untreated dry patches, and your good clothes are all lying in a spent heap at the end of your bed. Tough. If you work, I'm afraid you're going to have to go. If you're off, stick a big, baggy jumper on and go for a walk. Nobody is going to look at you. Get over yourself. It helps to have a small MISSION. For example, "Today my Mission is to buy some toilet paper from Budgens and go to the Post Office". Then you can get home and say to yourself "Mission Accomplished" which makes you feel nice, and important.

Stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Ask your doctor about it. It's ace.

Of course these techniques won't work for everybody. Depression is the most personal, most self-centred, most eclectic condition of the bunch. But perhaps, just perhaps, some of these scenarios will ring a bell with you. And maybe just feeling that you're not alone will help you recover for a brief second. If that occurs then "Mission Accomplished".

Thursday, April 7


I'm really not going for the sympathy vote today. If anything, I'm going for the opposite. If I read this post on somebody else's blog I'd definitely want to comment something like "You absolute gimp. Pull yourself together."

I'm sick. I've been sick for over a week, and I'm no better than I was seven days ago. My voice is squeaky and cracked, and because I have to teach I am unable to rest it, so it just gets worse, rather than better. My nose is blocked and I can't smell anything. I feel feverish when I wake up in the morning, and drag myself through the school day, only to feel guilty at 3.15pm when I drag myself home again to collapse on the sofa. I can't ring my dad, or my sister, it just hurts. Instead I send them weary texts, or Facebook messages.

James' birthday went largely uncelebrated last weekend, due to the fact that I was unable to get out of bed, so I have stacks of residual guilt about that too.

When I'm at work I am constantly berating myself for only being able to give about 60%, and worry that my colleagues are looking down at me.

I haven't worn any 'nice' clothes or makeup for over a week. I haven't blow-dried my hair, or straightened my fringe. I haven't cooked any meals, or undertaken any kitchen activity greater than heating up a ready meal.

I can't do any more job applications. Just thinking about filling in another form makes me feel like I'm about to cry.

It could be worse. It has been worse. I felt the cold kiss of dread creep across my body as I cradled the telephone receiver after discovering my mother had terminal cancer. I should really pull myself together. I want to. But knowing that I can't is making me feel utterly useless.

Do Google searches and that...