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It’s All In My Head

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I’ll Restart Again Tomorrow.

1st  January 2018

Last night we again ended up with no children around, and so were asked if we wanted to go to a local friend of a friend’s pub for New Year’s Eve. Yes, why not?

I was fine about it, I don’t really see any more significance in the New Year being a new start than any other day of the year. The 18th May- the day I had brain surgery is a more of an emotional time to me and of new beginnings starting. So Dave and I went with a friend, along with two of our parents who were with us.

The pub was nice enough and the people who run it were lovely and chatting to us like friends too. But just a few minutes in and I don’t feel I fit there. Firstly they were raising money for ‘Stand up to cancer’ and although I know this isn’t a mainstream or even spoken about opinion- I hate all the pharmaceutical companies, the oncologist's and charities who exploit people’s suffering for profit. There already are things that help get rid of cancer- mainly when you address the cause and not just expect to stay the same and take a magic pill that will cure you -as seems to be what they are standing for... OK, so I just avoid that part of the room and can easily refuse to buy any raffle tickets.

Then the pretentiousness of many of the people there starts showing… or maybe that’s just me feeling the amount of people who were doing or saying something just to be popular. The ‘surrey bubble’ people as I call them. Preening themselves in the bathroom mirror to put on their persona so no one will notice their insecurity.

Then there is the alcohol… that socially acceptable poison (yes I know it’s a pub- what else should I expect?!) and the fact it’s so hard to just get water to drink, and the looks of pity when I do. I am feeling more separated from ‘people’ by the minute…

But for a while there was a singer playing acoustic guitar who kept my head connected to something I knew- music. Then he stopped.  They still had songs playing in the background but the noise of people just seemed to be getting louder and louder with every drop of alcohol they drunk. The high pitched voices showing off their latest achievements or talking about the trivial.

After about an hour I am starting to struggle, I feel like I need to run to find some peace. I go for a slow trip to the bathroom and just take my time in the comparative silence there. But it doesn’t last, there is only so long you can loiter in the toilet!

I am still trying to block out everyone apart from who I am with, but it feels like the noise is still increasing with each minute and my patience and coping is falling rapidly. I know a few years back I wouldn’t have been able to take any more and would have gone into overload, told everyone to fuck off and driven myself home at this point. (One huge advantage to always being sober and the one driving) But instead I pull out some ear plugs and grab Dave’s phone and try and zone out with that. Although it doesn’t help much when everyone else on social media seems to be going on about having a Happy New Year too. Nothing personal and how they are actually feeling, just this ‘say what we are supposed to say’ bolloxs. It feels like there is this huge elephant in the room of how unhappy everyone is, yet they don’t dare say their truth and instead just grab another drink…

My brain is on overload with the noise, or is it the fakeness? I don’t know if it is the after effect of brain surgery, a possible touch of Asperger’s or just being a little introverted and needing my space and solitude, but whatever it is …I can’t hack this.

I am thinking I must be one of the only people who can stand taking pictures of a band- near a fucking PA speaker, a drummer and bass and guitar speakers; but cannot stand cackling women talking all night at full screech ... my brain felt like it was exploding… 'Get me out of here'…

I am trying to work out why I don’t feel the need to run at any of Dave’s gigs, yet an hour with just the noises of drunken people talking is just too much now? Actually my ideal at a gig would be to have someone I know also sitting watching with me and just be there so I am not alone with the other drunks in the pub. Apart from that I actually quite like sitting alone, drinking water and singing the words to myself. The music and the words heal me, they make up for the rest of it.

Also (as someone who hasn't drunk alcohol for over 25 years) it's easy to see the people who drink compared to those who don't. Those few that don't look healthier, their energy is different, they know what you are talking about and are just more 'awake'. They have addressed their demons (or spirits) - literally! Whereas right now I can feel the self-destruction and yet them thinking this makes them happy - despite the fact I can almost see them breaking inside. I don’t fit in here.

I sit there with tears rolling down my face.

Then through my blocking out earplugs and even more blocking out, trying to switch off, brain- I hear its midnight as the incessant cackle seems to get even louder. I vaguely look up and smile at Dave as he says Happy New Year, but cannot manage it for anyone else. If I do I will start an avalanche of tears- and I have to drive home, and cannot do that with blurry eyes. So I stay staring at the phone.

I sit there and just send silent thoughts of love to my children. Then my mobile rings and it’s Roan on the phone wishing me Happy New Year, so I go and talk in the toilets to him (the only place I can hear him). Listen to his childhood joy of watching the fireworks at my parents’ house, of it just being another day.

But as I leave the quietness of the toilets I know this is enough, my eyes hurt, my head hurts. I have to go. I tell Dave I am going to sit in the car and he walks with me as we go back to where we parked it and this time I manage to park outside the pub. I put on my chill me music on- Muse- loud enough so that I can only hear that and avoid all the fireworks and drunken shouting in the street outside and just be. I feel the shivers running down my spine and sing along to the songs- in my own little world for about 20 minutes.

I still feel I am somehow cut off from the others as they return to the car to go home. I just feel fuzzy to them and like my senses have had to reduce input. The lights are too bright, the voices too loud, so I have to focus on my task of driving home and just switch off the rest. I simply can’t cope with people.

As we get back indoors I just want to go to sleep- restart again tomorrow. New Year or not.

Next - “ Money and Exhaustion”