From The Fishbowl

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Don’t Worry

This blog post is going to be very personal. I know that the nature of blogs mean that they should be, but for the most part this place has always been about my writing. Primarily, anyway. This one’s about me. I’m gonna share some stuff that I’ve never really said before to many people, and some of it might shock you. If you’re uncomfortable with that, then don’t read it. But yeah. Let’s go.

Essentially this is about depression and its antithesis. Broadly speaking, it’s about being happy and being sad.

I had a happy childhood. I was popular and good at school, I didn’t have a care in the world, I had (and still have) a fantastic family. The only thing that wasn’t quite normal was that I was particularly shy and introverted. But some kids are, I guess.

Then I went to college to do my A Levels and I came out of my shell quite a lot. Those were genuinely the two best years of my life. If I could pick one point in time to go back to, it would be when I was 16 and about to start at Brockenhurst. It was perfect for my requirements at the time and I’d recommend the place to anyone.

Then came the leap to University. I’d always wanted to go to Uni because, to be frank, the only thing I’ve ever been good at is learning. I’m a bit rubbish at putting what I learn into practical use, but I do enjoy finding out things about the world. What I wasn’t so happy with was moving out. All of the Unis I applied to were within an hour’s train journey of my house – Bournemouth (in this case, literally five minutes walk from my front door), Southampton Solent, Winchester and Portsmouth. I intended to commute. And then, on the advice of my personal tutor at Brock, plus my parents, mixed in with a bit of my newly-discovered self-confidence, I decided that I would try and live on-campus at Winchester.

That decision, I can say categorically, is the worst decision I have ever made.

I was in no way ready to make that leap, even at the age of 18. I didn’t even stay my first night in my Hall, I went back home. The rest of the year, I spent 2 nights a week on campus and the rest back in Bournemouth. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but the simple fact is that my first year at Winchester sapped every single molecule of self-confidence that I had ever built up, and forced me back further into my shell than I ever had been.

The next two years were better but I still didn’t creep out into the world. And then I started work, and that – as is pretty well documented – didn’t exactly help matters. The day I broke down in tears in my office was the day I realised I’d had enough. So I left a month later.

And here I am.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been very depressed, upset, and worried every single day for the past five years. That might sound like a ridiculous hyperbole, but it’s true. Every. Day. I’ve just gotten exceptionally good at wearing my mask. Nobody has ever really picked up on it.

So why I am I bringing this up now?

Well at the start of this year I decided that enough was enough. I was going to be happy. More than that: I would endeavour to make as many other people happy as possible. Because there’s too much sadness in this world.

And things were going well. On the whole, I’ve been much happier. In fact, since March, I’ve been ecstatically happy, because I’ve found someone who makes me happy. Which is such a nice feeling I can’t begin to tell you. (No details, sorry, I know I said this was going to be personal but there are still some things I like to keep private, at least for now.)

But this week…this week has been tough.

There’s no real particular reason for it. That’s the irritating thing. It’s just a general sense of hopelessness and failure and worthlessness. My happy has gone. But what’s even more irritating is that I’ve lost my mask. I can’t seem to remember how to wear it any more. Most of the people I’ve spoken to this week have said something to the effect of ‘Are you OK? You don’t seem very happy.’ Which I’ve never had before. I don’t like feeling like this. I don’t like wearing a mask, though, I’d much rather be myself. Although if I was myself I don’t think anyone would like me at all, so I don’t want to take the risk.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this any more. I just wanted to write something. But there is one thing I want to say.

If you’re reading this right now, think of something that makes you happy. A person. An object. An activity. A pet. Anything. Close your eyes. Keep that thought. Don’t let it go. Imagine that thing in front of you. Imagine it so hard that it could be there. Reach out and grab it. Bring it close to you. Smile.

Be happy.

We don’t have very long on this planet. You might as well try and spend it with a smile on your face.

I can’t do that for very long. But I hope you can. I’m jealous of you.

Bye.

EPIC FAIL

But at least it was my fault.

I will be back soon, promise, as soon as I can get my mind in order.

Bye for now.

I’m Terrible At Blogging

I really am.

I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to start a blog, but every single time it has failed. I think it’s mostly because I can’t make my mind up about what to write most of the time. Should I be more serious? Should I try to be funny? Should I keep everything to a particular theme? Every time I come upon those questions, and every time I simply cannot answer them. So I can’t promise that this time will be different; that would be foolhardy. But, y’know, it might be fun.

So hi.

I will probably make an ‘About’ page with this kind of thing in it, but I’m just going to talk about myself and some of the stuff I might like to write about on here.

Interests, then. I really like writing. Fiction, I mean. If you already know me, you’ll probably know that. I’m probably not all that good at it, to be honest, but it’s the one thing that I’ve always enjoyed and felt that it could be the right direction for me. But man, it’s hard. Almost as hard as blogging. I might put bits about that on here sometimes, maybe some short stories, maybe some plugs about stuff I’ve written, that sort of thing.

But I do have plenty of other interests. Many of them involve sitting in front of a TV like a loner. Which I am, but that’s another story…

I’m a big gamer. Have been since I was about 4 and my dad bought me a Game Boy. That was pretty awesome. Then I went on to the SNES and quickly realised that I was a Nintendo fanboy. This continued until I got to about 13 and I finally went to the ‘dark side’ (I genuinely used to call it that) and bought a PS2. Since then I’ve owned every big console, and long may that tradition continue.

I love films and TV shows as well. Sci-fi is my bag, but if something’s good then I’ll like it. I might put a few reviews of stuff on here, I’ve always been interested in that sort of thing.

If you haven’t gathered, I’m a huge geek, and frankly I don’t care. I even play Dungeons and Dragons on a pretty regular basis. Not so much any more, admittedly, but I still love it. It combines pretty much all my other interests – writing, gaming and junk food all combined into one blissful Sunday afternoon. How can you say no?

I’m quite a big fan of music, too. But not live music. Truly, I could think of little worse. I know that probably seems weird, but just the thought of being in the crowd of a live music event makes me cringe just a little bit. Live albums? Great. Actually being there? I think I would vomit. I don’t cope well with crowds at all. I hate parties. I’m generally happiest in my own company (although I do have some of the best friends in the world).

Anyway, rock music is my main interest. Among my favourite bands: The Beatles and Green Day on the more mainstream side, Coheed and Cambria and Sleigh Bells on the ‘who the fuck are they?!’ side. But I like a lot of other stuff as well. I think I am yet to find a musical genre in which there is not a single song I like.

Sports are traditionally not my thing. Apart from one season, from late 2009-early 2010 (purely because that year I bought my one and only edition of FIFA), I have typically had little to no interest in football, depsite every male in my family being a little bit obsessed with either Manchester United or Liverpool. Tennis I’m a casual fan of, but usually it peaks when Wimbledon’s on and I don’t follow it all that much for the rest of the year.

Recently, though, I’ve been getting quite heavily into American Football. Y’know, the one with the helmets and egg-shaped balls. It’s well good. I think I love its inherent binary opposition – it’s basically a chess match. A chess matched played out by BIG SWEATY MEN HITTING EACH OTHER VERY HARD IN THE FACE. And there’s absolutely nothing homoerotic about that last sentence, right? Cool. But please don’t call it a wimpy version of rugby or that it has no right to be called ‘football’. I might actually blog about that in the not-too-distant future, it really irritates me.

There’s other stuff I like as well, obviously. I’ll dip into a bit of everything now and then, when I feel like it.

One last thing – you might be wondering what the title and URL of this blog all means. About 20 people might get it/remember. Everyone else will just have to guess or make up their own custom answer.

I might try and blog something properly tomorrow. I’ll see. Thank you for sticking with me so far. Ta 🙂

Shane

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