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Friday

Walked to Emily’s listening to Gogol Bordello, which put a spring in my step. Arrived feeling better than when I get a taxi there.

Listened to Christmas songs on the tele and drank cup a soups. Emily says she’s nervous about her operation tomorrow. In the garden she did a loud ‘It’s Christmas!’. I’ve requested she does it when I call her on Christmas Day, and she’s agreed. 🙂 Brought my last beer for her, but she didn’t want all of it, so I had half. Also brought The Lady In The Van, because she said she wanted to watch it again. Says the old lady reminds her of her gran. But she didn’t want to borrow it, doesn’t watch films often atm. Nor do I. Watched the Hairy Bikers making mushroom soup and rolls. I’ve made mushroom soup before so I found it quite interesting.

Said hi to Anne who was cosy on the sofa in her room playing Big Farm – a version of FarmVille that I cannot fathom. I’ve been playing FarmVille 2, and it was nice to see her playing an equivalent game. Find it a bit boring, but relaxing to tap away at and it’s nice to feel that I’m making steady progress in a way that is visualised.

Walked back as well, still listening to the music. People were walking dogs on glowing leads and I photographed the flower shop window display which looked very Christmassy.

Stopped at the shop and got Merlot, mince pies and buns. At home I watched Strictly with a glass of Merlot, a microwaved and crumbly mince pie (metal removed of course) and some chocolate icecream. Enjoyed watching Zoe Ball. Her expressions are great.

Often feels a bit lonely in the lounge when there’s no one there but it was okay. Watching tele feels more purposeful when it’s a shared experience, but it’s just a state of mind.

Retired to my room and Radio 6. I’ll call Emily again in a bit. Feel proud of myself for walking today. I had stayed in for a few days and my legs were starting to feel weird. Feel better for my walk.

That’s about all for today. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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Thursday

David Hockney, Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

One of my favourite paintings.

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Monday

Had a dream including lip art. A French flag and a bunny’s mouth. And I saw shoes being polished in different unusual colours. I think it’s because when I was unwell I bought some dark, plum lipstick and never wore it. I tried it on before my date and took it off again. I thought it looked nice when I was smiling, but odd when I wasn’t. I woke up thinking about Airbourne Unicorn, expensive vegan lipstick in a holographic and lilac casing. A friend became obsessed with it at college and I spent time browsing the site. Enjoying the colour names as I do with Crayola, and eventually buying one. To feel that I was connected with her.

Interesting that Emily has given me a unicorn duvet which matches hers to feel connected with me. She called me last night to say she has a crush on me and doesn’t want to see me for a while. I’m sorry about this. She said I’m not her usual type. I said ‘I’m not blonde.’ She wistfully replies ‘No, but you act it.’ Oh dear. She says she’ll get over it and I’m more like a sister to her. She thinks the crush has happened because she feels emotionally alone. I was impressed that she was able to articulate that and surprised that she feels the distance between her and the family she’s staying with. In many ways they seem like her kind of people, but maybe that’s the problem. A lot of joke name calling can take the edge off a lonely life, but it doesn’t stop it being lonely. It’s more like an illusion of connection and trust which needs to be backed up by meaningful discussion or it lives in an uneasy void. Emotionally alone. I suppose I should be happy that I am a source of relief from that, but unfortunately it’s too much contrast and she now has this sodding crush.

Woke up late and made myself go for a walk to the shop before the light went. Listened to French disco music with English lyrics, which was silly and uplifting. Did food shopping including bananas, custard and cookies, to relive my dessert at Sprinkles. Okay so it’s not cookie dough, but I thought I could crush the cookies and mix them in.

When I got in I had a bowl of emoticon cinnamon cereal with banana slices. It was amazing and I remembered Adam eating his breakfast last night (morning there) on FB video chat.

I was thinking that it’s a pity three people now have crushes on me and it’s interfering with friendships I’ve tried to make. Then Ben, one of these people, messaged me and wanted me to lend him a tenner so he could get a taxi over. I said okay and soon he was here.

Housemate Joe joined us in the lounge and talked about video games. I mentioned Rollercoaster Tycoon and he had played it as a kid too. Said he built an epic rollercoaster and was feeling mean one day so removed a piece of track. Something I never tried, but there were fatalities when I played too. I loved playing it so much. A few years ago, when I worked at Subway and was unwell, I relived the experience. Played it after work and for a long while found it almost as enjoyable as I had done as a child.

Joe is happy. He’s got a job in Burger King after being on benefits for 2 years. They have just given him his uniform shoes. It reminded me of my dream. What were those shiny shoes like? How many colours of shoe polish are there really? One pair were glossy plum I think.

Ben had split up with Mazy. He felt that he didn’t have the right mood to be in a relationship. He says she’s been upset about it. He seemed a bit low generally. He wants to go back to being in supported housing. He looked through my film collection and chose The 40 Year Old Virgin, but then decided to go home before watching it. Played some of the Spanish music Jane shared with me.

https://youtu.be/-XZud3y0aLI

Contacted Jane to ask who the other artist we listened to was, and she recommended this album by him, which I listened to in its entirety, under the unicorn duvet in the lounge. Felt peaceful. As nice to not understand the lyrics, as it was to have Jane translate them for me. One sense heightened for the lack of the other.

https://youtu.be/bEKFrJVyM40

Then I listened to Ron Sexsmiths latest uploads and I felt like he was keeping me company, after being in a foreign country with the other songs.

Had a cheese and tomato salad with the one pound balsamic vinegar which startled me in Tescos earlier. Then I ate my cottage pie carefully, determined not to get any on my duvet, and succeeded.

A nice evening. I’ve been writing to people online, and getting to know them. Then retired to my room to Mellow Magic and a cuppa. Chatted to Emily. Sophie answered the phone, which confused me for a moment. Emily was fine, but all I had to talk about was Ben’s visit. Emily and Ben hate each other. The police were involved in one of their disagreements.

Talked about Christmas. Emily says she knows I’ll be lonely if I spend it alone. She suggested that I ask Simon if I can go to his. Anne chirped in that he can only say no! And so I thought about it. It would be fun to be around a cute boy at Christmas. He is chatty and his family is probably nice. I might ask him. And he’ll probably say no! That’ll save me from figuring out the train journey! Anyway it made me laugh and helped me think of Christmas in a new way. In the other imagined scenarios there would be no one having me as their focus, and that sometimes leaves me feeling a little unanchored and lost. I’ve missed out on so much socialising because I’ve been mentally ill for so long, and at heart I’m still a bit of a baby about it. Maybe things are different now, and I’m just remembering how things have been in the past. It could be fun. Or just fun to think of. It could be awkward Peep Show style!

Read up a bit about lack of ambition online and some people had a way of putting a really positive spin on it, which made me smile. There are advantages to it as well. One person said that to want to live counts as an ambition. I realised it is true.

Another thing that I decided by myself is that I want to help people I cross paths with. I do this already, and I think that counts as an ambition too. Ben came to visit me today because he felt low, which was a boost to my self esteem.

Everybody’s Talking At Me has just come on the radio. Skipping over the ocean like a stone.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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Friday

Cleaned the kitchen. Went for a 40 minute walk. Spoke to Emily who encouraged me to visit Jane in Southsea tomorrow. Sung Paul Simon. Arranged to meet Jane tomorrow at 3pm.

Emily told me off last night for bringing Simon back to mine. She talked about a murder story she heard. I fell asleep and had a weird dream. A girl I knew at school had her ear knived. Most people in the class stayed put. The attacker turned the knife on himself. I ran towards them to go past to get help and then back the other way. The first person I asked didn’t want to help, but the second did. There was an assembly and they wanted me to be visible at the front, to show that we are not afraid. But the other people at the front of the assembly turned away from the audience. I faced them alone, sat on the floor. I felt calm because it was what I had been told to do and because I thought it really might help. The girl who had been attacked was there and the speaker spoke openly about what had happened. Her ear had not been detached, but there was a wound nearly all the way around it.

I had also been playing a Who’s the Painter game on my IPhone, so that’s why there’s a Van Gogh reference in my dream.

Bit nervous about making the journey to Southsea tomorrow, but I ought to be able to make it okay. Maybe I’ll get a taxi back. It will be nice to see Jane again. Think it was a decade ago that I last saw her!

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Wednesday

Chatted to Simon and agreed to meet up the following day. I got an early night, managed to sleep okay. Woke up at 9am next day, before my alarm! Felt tired but strode out to the shop and got some bits. Thought about him coming back to mine and got chocolate icecream (which one of his profile pictures shows him eating), grapes because they are sexy and popcorn in case we watch a film together. Didn’t get any booze because it’s heavy. Enjoyed being out in the morning for a change. It’s a nice time of day I ought to visit occasionally!

Back at home had a bath listening to Natalie Imbruglie perhaps a little loudly for the morning, but I reasoned that I needed to wake up. Decided to wear my black and green patterned dress with green and white birds flying on it. Put on make up for the first time in a long time. Attempted a smokey eyed look but went for brown eyeshadow all over in the end. Was a bit concerned that my mascara might run in the light rain but wanted to wear it, so did. Happy with the result, wandered about my room trying to find the best light for a selfie. Got one I liked.

I asked him to call me to make sure I was up, and he called at 1pm. He sounded nervous and I was a bit worried that we would have nothing to talk about on the date. Walked to the bus stop, then headed back home put some playing cards in my bag (he’s a professional poker player) in case he was as nervous as he sounded on the phone.

Got the bus to Cosham, arriving at the pub an hour early. I had been umming and ahhing about whether or not to have a Propanlol which I had been prescribed for Restlessness, which also has other effects. Good – reduces social anxiety. Bad (on a date) – reduces excitement. It was really busy and noisy in the pub, and I felt a bit intimidated and distracted by the noise, though not uncomfortable with it. I just felt like it was a bit too much for me and so it was an easy decision to take one. Had a hot chocolate which was like a square chocolate lollipop to stir in the hot, frothy milk from the machine. And then a cup of tea. By that point the pub noise was received by my ears in a much more pleasant way. Walked to Poundstretcher and got a tube of toothpaste, which I forgot on my earlier shop. Passed time smoking rollies and found the cutest place to sit so I would have a Christmas tree behind me. Decided to get a glass of Merlot to be drinking when he arrived to further enhance the charm of the scene and because its delicious. It was the nicest Merlot I’ve ever had and I wondered if it were a Christmassy one or if I was imagining it.

A bit late because of a train delay (which he texted me about) he arrived and recognised me. He had been caught in the rain and his short hair lay flat. I stood up and he asked if I wanted a hug. I had previously messaged him saying I’ld be disappointed if he doesn’t hug me, and he obviously remembered this and didn’t want to make that mistake! So we started the date with a hug, which wasn’t that awkward at all.

He drank Magners then Strongbow dark fruits which he joked was mixing drinks but as his level of risk taking. He was very chatty, and so he’s probably just not a phone person – something I can relate to.

He was eccentric, funny, very bright and talked with his hands in an comical way which delighted me. He told me straight away he thought I was prettier than my photos and I thought to myself the make up is working! He talked about genius characters on the TV and how often their way of working things out isn’t realistic and jolts him out of the programme. I said it’s more like they can predict the future sometimes then and teased him that thinking like that was only a way to enjoy programmes less. He was delighted that I was listening to everything he said, and wasn’t bothered that I was quiet, because I was listening.

He had been on a date with a girl who was into obscure sci fi programmes which he had watched, though he wondered why those rather average ones were her favourites. Despite enjoying her geeky interests he was disappointed that she started looking at her phone during the date. He concluded that sharing interests isn’t always a good thing and doesn’t mean you will connect. I agreed with him on this one, and told him what an All Illustrator Party consists of – everyone very much in their own little world, having their own private party in a room full of other people doing much the same thing!

He surprised me by talking about how he had thought a great deal about how to optimise the first date experience. But he was charming enough to get away with this. He talked away for 3 hours and asked if he could kiss me. He came over for a little kiss and sat next to me. His hands were a little smaller than mine and much more feminine, but nice to hold. He was excited to feel my bra strap through my clothes. I felt lots of little jolts of excitement during our conversation, so the Propanlol wasn’t making me less excited as I had thought it might.

We got a taxi back to mine, and he talked about playing poker at Amsterdam airport and not really seeing the city. But how on another trip he had pot brownies. I wondered if he felt that this was a similar, enjoyable but one off experience.

We sat in the front room, I with a Diet Coke, he with water and kissed some more hearing the sounds of other residents bumbling about. Decided to go up to my room. I showed him my CDs and we had the latest Chilli Peppers CD The Getaway, followed by Avril Lavigne and Garbage to chill out to. Wouldn’t be my first choice for a chill out CD but he was enjoying it so I let it play. Had a really nice time. He had an uncharming way of flattering me which I put down to his age even though he’s only 4 years younger than me. Actually it was my first time with a younger man. It went really well, and had a bdsm element which I really enjoyed. He had a sexy way of biting his lip and knew what he was doing with his slender fingered hands. He started to fall asleep but hadn’t eaten yet. Gave him macaroni cheese which he ate in bed.

Felt like I could fall asleep holding him, which I never normally feel. Stayed like that for a long time but in the end I went to my half of the bed.

Saw Anthea in the morning, dressed in my date clothes again because I didn’t want him to see me in the Emily clothes I normally wear. Had a catch up and my antipsychotics jab, didn’t even feel a scratch. She can see I’m doing really well and so the visits will be every two weeks.

Then brought him toast up to bed. He has minus 8 vision and paced my room for a minute, thinking and joking that he avoids doing pacing in other peoples rooms without his glasses on in case he bumps into something. Put 80s radio on and Easy Lover came on which annoyed me but I was too proud to change the station, so let it play. It was long and annoying in a funny way though. I enjoyed my hook up but I wouldn’t choose that as the music for it!

Shortly afterwards I walked him to the bus stop and waited with him, asking about poker. He thinks it’s not inconceivable that he should win the one million pound prize. He’s been researching on YouTube and has won big competitions in the past. Doesn’t know what he would do with the money, but that doesn’t bother him too much.

The rest of my day has been quiet and reflective. Watched some tele with Alex, divers again and all animal, dark grey green coral found in the depths. They were drilling 40 year cylinders out of some huge coral and getting a long record of what the weather had been like. Using UV light to see white bands on the coral more clearly. One thick white band represented a year of heavy rain though I don’t know why.

Ran the Bonne Maman under the tap to get it open and had a nice jam sandwich, some grapes and a cup of coffee. Support staff Holly visited and had a little chat with her about me and Phillip having broken up. She paused halfway down the stairs to talk some more. ‘Keep swiping!’ she cheerily ended with, which I found funny because of last nights adventure.

But I have been looking on dating sites today. There’s a long haired fellow with a nonsensical profile who I might meet soon. He is funny and talks to cats. Simon, (I’m calling him Simon here) is great but ultimately I’m looking for a boyfriend and I don’t see him being that.

Since then I’ve been writing this blog post. I like the idea of being old and being able to read about my adventures in detail. I sometimes have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, so writing this blog good for keeping my memories safe.

Just received another message from a man who doesn’t want to date me because him finds me physically unattractive and doesn’t want to date a smoker. Felt a little bit weird about that for a while, but feel properly restored now. Not that I need a man to convince me of how I look, but I’ve got in touch with my sexy self again after his attentions.

Also another reason to end this blog post here is Paul Simon came on the radio and I’m thinking that’s an artist I haven’t tried on Smule. Might be fun to try. Glad I’m establishing a routine of waking up earlier.

No sleep over at Emily’s because they all still have colds, and no visit today because she’s out Christmas shopping with Annie. Simon slept under the starry side of the unicorn duvet she gave me. I otherwise use it as an extra blanket for my feet, because I don’t want my life to resemble hers too much. And because it’s so cosy!

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Sunday

Woke up late. Quiet day. Watched a bit of two films with Susan downstairs, wrapped in a blanket.

Had a little look through some of the notebooks I wrote when I was unwell. Here are some of the delusions I had in hospital which I wrote down when I realised they weren’t true.

Thought my room had been covered in thousands of barely visible little pictures made from bobbles in the paint. I was told the work had taken weeks and it was because a singer thought it was the only way of reaching me. He didn’t want to get closer than that because he thought I was a bad person in some way.

Thought I was being spied on through every metallic surface in the room.

I also believed that the wood grain had been designed for me to include special pictures. I thought a computer programme had been made to help with the design process and to make it appear more realistic.

I thought someone had been going into my room and arranging and folding my clothes to look like animals and faces. This started shortly before I was sectioned and continued well into my stay at the first hospital.

Thought I was surrounded by actors who had studied people I knew well. I thought I didn’t respond in the way people had hoped and now these skilled actors didn’t have much to do, so they were bored and annoyed, thinking I wasn’t worth all the effort they had put it.

I had written it down at night and wanted someone to read it straight away. A member of staff sat down and read it. Didn’t say much but it helped. I felt like the delusions were less likely to come back if I shared them. I was a bit shocked to find that the things I had been thinking were untrue. I stopped believing that my room was a set up when in the next hospital my room was identical. There would be no point in that, as far as I could see.

I realised that an old lady I worked in a factory with in my twenties had made contact with me a year ago. I wrote back to her and she was delighted. She has a scientific interest in minerals and paints landscapes too. She’s now housebound with MS but says she’s doing okay. She’s invited me over and I’m hoping to visit her soon. We had the job of straightening the labels on 3 in 1 oil.

I can hardly remember visiting her before but I remember she was kind and interesting and played me a song called ‘White Bird’.

Here’s two drawings from today –

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Friday

Felt a bit low today. Emily called me at 3am because she had a nightmare and wanted to hear my voice. I was half asleep but liked helping her. I miss when she was living here and looking after her when she had nightmares.

Had toast and honey for breakfast. Then I watched the last two episodes of the first series of In The Club. I like it when they think the baby might be someone else’s, but then the baby changes colour. When she returns to her blog to sum things up at the end of the series, I shed a couple of tears. I enjoyed being moved by it. By that time it was dark outside.

I sat in my chair, listening but not really listening to the radio, smoking and opened a beer. I looked through my phone contacts wondering about who to call, and decided to call Emily as I hadn’t yet spoken to her. I said I was feeling a bit low and she took it seriously. At first she wanted me to stay over at hers, but Annie said there were too many people over at the moment. So she said she would come over and see how she was, and maybe stay over.

It was really nice to see her and it cheered me up. We had a beer and ate our dinner watching Children In Need on the tele. I wouldn’t have normally watched it, but I sometimes find that watching programmes I normally only watch when it’s someone else’s choice helps me feel more aware that I have company. It was true in this instance. Emily wanted to hear the beautiful voices of the children singing, and after that she switched it off to ask about me. It was good to talk.

Susan joined us later and we talked about the Mencap Friday and Saturday social club that she goes to just down the road. She says it’s a good place to meet boys and Emily was very keen on me going. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and find out how I get the form to sign up. People play games and do puzzles and crafts there. There’s a disco too. Whilst Susan was making coffee I told Emily that I didn’t think Susan likes me. So Emily went into the kitchen to ask her! Susan said she does, and Emily tells me I should believe her, but I’m not so sure. It’s not like I can talk much with Susan anyway. Anyway it will be nice to have a familiar face there if I do manage to get to the social club.

Joe messaged me today to share a song by the singer who does the Getting On theme tune. Here it is –

https://youtu.be/M9QSCd-UNlQ

Nice relaxing song. I said that I had done the same thing before and discovered The Rembrandts who do the Friends theme tune. I remember sitting by the Rayburn at the barn listening to their CD (which I had found at a car boot sale there) and reading the lyrics. I wanted to feel as close to the music as possible and it really helped me. I miss having that kind of deep immersion in music, even though I did it because I felt lost. I travelled with their music and loved The Other Side Of The Night, even more so for being such familiar voices but singing in a new way. It felt hopeful and simple and I loved the fact that so many people had only enjoyed one song by them, and yet here I was getting all the songs they were missing out on. I felt that my curiosity had been rewarded and I liked hearing the theme tune within the context of the CD and imagining what it might sound like to me if it had never been chosen as the theme tune. Imagining what another theme tune for Friends might sound like. I couldn’t imagine another song being better for the sitcom but felt that that was because it had been chosen. Maybe it was a less good choice but I had such positive associations with it that it only seemed like the perfect choice. I like the lyric ‘seems you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to be me.

Emily started hearing voices and called Annie who said ‘You better not be!’, which surprised me because Emily used to hear them all the time. We had been listening to Madeleine Peyroux which Emily liked, but it didn’t stop the voices so she decided to go home. I gave her a lot of change so that I didn’t have to give her my £10 note. Logically I should have given the note to the taxi driver when she arrived, but I’m not a logical person!

Good to get back into my blog and feel like it’s worth writing again. Every day has a shape to it which is unique, and blogging helps me to be aware of this. When I’m not writing it sometimes feels like I’m living the same day over and over again. I like walking in the park but it’s the same park each time, but writing that I did helps. Even if it’s pretty much the same sentence I write, it will have a unique context.

There’s even something relaxing about tapping at my phone and feeling the block of words growing. Blogging means that I have a hobby at a time when I really need to have one. So for now I’m less bothered about the quality of what I write and more bothered about the routine of doing it. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.