Rattle And Hum – Depression, Personal Growth and Learning to Listen

When I sat down to write this third post of what I called in my head The Depression Trilogy, I felt I needed to begin with something upbeat and positive. With fingers poised above the keyboard, waiting to align with the words queued in my head, the mood didn’t feel right. I couldn’t force happiness.

I sense that something good is coming, but it hasn’t arrived yet.

I needed a way to get this post started without diving into a pool of misery and darkness. I’ve had a stomach full of that shit. Yet, adding colour for the sake of appearing to be lively and on top of things would be false. So I needed a balanced approach. A blend of positive and (not negative) realistic.

Music would help me get started. I’ll explain.

Musical Landscape.

I can’t remember the last time I listened to good music. I don’t mean a quick flick through YouTube chart music drivel on cheap mobile phone earbuds. I’m talking about using headphones to submerse myself into an ocean of music. It hit me that I had been craving that sonorous and rich audio landscape that would help my mind and fingers sync.

I believe everyone has encountered a unique moment where they experience a sudden profound connection with music.

Some who share their story, should you care to listen (and why not, right? Everyone has a story to tell) will tell you their moment came during a live performance, a deep and spiritual moment. The crowd, the music, the people – everything and everyone around them came together to form that perfect moment, one seldom, if ever, repeated.

Others may reveal they found the best way to find that connection is to get high first. Only then will music mean so much more.

I know that feeling, trust me.

My preference is headphones that block out the rest of the world, an album I know and cherish, new or old isn’t important, and making an effort to actually listen. Not just hear, like vaguely noticing something in the background, but listen to every nuance of a song. And how an album can take you on a journey, not unlike a book.

The music takes me places. I explore Imaginationland when I drench my brain in musical goodness.

I read an article recently that explained that “reading” is a skill we seldom recognise as equal to being able to spell, add and subtract, dance, cook, run, paint – you get the idea. Not everyone reads. Some actively seem proud to admit they never read. Personally, I find that weird, but hey, the world is a wild and groovy place.

Listening is also up there with the important stuff.

These days we seldom take enough time to listen without prejudice to the world around us.

We all go with the flow too often, and it’s difficult to focus on a single element of the rushing roar of the river.

Difficult is good, dear blog reader. You can take that shit to the bank.

Life is Strange.

In my previous posts of The Depression Trilogy I have said my emotional state is Flat, and even with the Drop and Rise, it has remained grey and lifeless. That is all true.

I want to say I’m feeling positive. Fuck it. I am. Tentatively. Realistically.

My plan is to find Happy Dave, who’s lost in that dark riddlesome maze, and drag him back to the surface of the well inside me. Then I’m going to brick that fucking thing up. I know this is all possible and I can return to the fun-loving, easy-going, happy chappy I used to be.

And why the fuck not? I figure things could get worse, but I feel privileged to be able to see myself from the outside as if I’m able to pop up to the 4th dimension and look back along my own time line. I can see the good parts and the bad. It could be argued you can’t have one without the other, but there’s no harm in trying to shun the bad and cultivate the good.

The Flat, Drop & Rise.

For too long a grey veil has shrouded my world.

I found an amazing meme on Pinterest I’d like to share with you.

A year or more ago I wouldn’t have understood or appreciated it.

I do now.

This is how I’ve felt.

You know, I cried when I first saw that picture.

It was like someone had captured exactly what I had been going through, extracted it from deep inside me and drawn it with total perfection just so I could understand what was wrong with me.

2017 has been a dark and emotionally raw year. That being said, there has been a surprising amount of unexpected personal growth, a silver lining indeed.

2018 will be a year of illumination, wonder, laughter and love.

Anyway, Back to the Start.

To write this post I needed to withdraw from the world. I needed solitude. I craved a musical comfort blanket.

It has been several years since I last listened to U2’s Rattle And Hum in its entirety. I play my fave tracks here and there, but not as a complete work. Everything about that album is amazing and worthy of any music lovers time.

I settled in my chair and listened. After Helter Skelter it hit me. My post title.

Rattle And Hum.

Dark Dave is going to be killed off soon. Happy Dave will replace him.

My life will be alive once more. It will vibrate. It will shake and move. I want it to be lively, colourful, rich, exciting, memorable and intense.

On the flip side, I will enjoy the balance of the rattle, by appreciating the hum – the quiet moments where reflection doesn’t lead to loneliness or dark thoughts, but a calm state of peace and tranquillity.

That is what I mean by rattle and hum.

I want it to rip apart the Flat, Dip and Rise.

Realistically, there may be times when this plan doesn’t quite go to plan. But there’s always a tomorrow, and there will always be more rattle and hum to enjoy.

The Big Step.

I finally visited my doctor the other day. Pheweee!

That was a big step. No joke. I’d previously made and missed two appointments because I didn’t know how to talk about myself without feeling like a fraud. I couldn’t face a situation where my voice might crack and I’d sit there trying to choke back tears. And also feeling like a complete fool.

There was also a fear that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I needed to be listened to without judgement.

What I don’t want to hear is shit like “just get over it” or “pull yourself together” because that’s about as helpful as an ice-cream frying pan.

That was the first time I’d ever been nervous about seeing a doctor.

We spoke at length about my dark, shitty year. He asked some good questions, even made me laugh, which was an unexpected joy.

It was difficult for me, talking about myself in that sense. It didn’t feel right, still doesn’t, and I wonder if it ever will. I’m not comfortable talking about my feelings and emotions. I’m not sure why. I tell myself that this is who I am, that my emotional states are private, and no it’s no one’s business if I’m feeling sad, down, or lonely.

Yeah, sounds a little childish, right?

Maybe one day it won’t.

We discussed medication. Pros and cons. Right now I’m thinking “whatever works dude” so long as it helps shift me toward the path I want to be on and away from the chasm of darkness where the anguish and hurt live.

Now there’s a plan. Meds first to even me out. Then talking to someone.

I wanted to avoid both those things. Again, not sure why. Maybe because it meant admitting there was something wrong that I couldn’t solve by myself. Part of that personal growth has been recognising when to ask for help, and that in doing so doesn’t make me any less able or propper.

The meds are sat in a neat box beside my keyboard. Waiting.

I do have a fear. That they might alter me in some way. I’d hope not in a bad way.

What if the chemical stuff in them changes the chemical junk in my brain and the result is a very different me? What if it’s like being on LSD or something? And I’m all spaced out and freaky?

I guess I’ll soon find out.

Anything is better than right now. Probably.

See you on the other side.

[smiley face]

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