I Can See Clearly Now

I Can See Clearly Now

How do I start today’s blog entry?

When you don’t know there is something wrong with you…

Nope.

Before I write the piece that starts “That night to my wife I was a completely different person”…

Nope.

That morning I woke up on a building site on the outskirts of Marbella…

Nope.

The music started and I gleefully stripped in front of around 300 fellow students in the Union Bar. That was the first and only time I’d been in drag…

Nope.

I was not at the airport catching a flight home, I was in a holiday apartment belonging to fuck knows who on the other side of the island. I think the night before had gone astray. I put on my jeans and calmly walked back to where I should have been leaving from twelve hours before. I decided to buy a shirt along the way so I did not arrive back at Ted’s completely dishevelled. My host was not impressed and was going to put me in some ancient irons…

Nope.

This one time I got pissed and overslept the next day and missed work. I was on a bit of a high, so I lived the next four months convinced I was an alcoholic. Then I came down and realised I was not. More of a fitness nut actually. Not easily confused, but that was my head for you. The haze had gone…

Nope.

Next thing I know, I was walking the streets of SoHo around 3am looking to get a drink. Fuck knows why. I had a beer that probably cost me £50 in some seedy shit hole then went home. Strange ending for a work night out.

Nope.

I was dancing so manically the bouncers in the club were asking my mates what I had taken. About four pro-plus and five or six pints was the truthful answer, but they were having none of it.

Nope.

One of my favourite songs growing up was a cover of I Can See Clearly Now by The Hothouse Flowers.

That works.

One of my favourite songs growing up was I Can See Clearly Now by The Hothouse Flowers. It was a cover of a Johnny Nash Jr. song. I haven’t a clue what the original lyrics were about, but to me they mean a lot:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

For many years I hadn’t a clue what was wrong with me. No, that’s a lie – I did know what was wrong with me – I was a freak. I was the oddball. I was the man who would die alone having lived a rocky, but unsubstantial life. That’s a shitty outlook to hold on to for over thirty years.

Throughout my life, sometimes I was happy and other times I was closed and insular and somewhat unhappy. Not too abnormal though most of the time. 

As I got older this unhappiness started to amplify and I’d often end up in a pit of despair. Or on the odd occasion an actual pit. The happiness I felt before falling into a low ebb was fun though. You could perhaps consider my ‘happy’ blips to be my manic periods. I’ve not thought of them as such until now, but I’d be stupid not to make that assumption. Often a right laugh, but when the curtains came down the after party was always shit. 

If you were to ask me what have been some of my best nights out, just re-read some of the opening sentences above I didn’t want to use.

What were some of my worst nights out? Just do the same.

I lived fifty years with an unknown beast inside me, more like a werewolf to be honest. On a full moon I’d morph into someone else; except my moon didn’t follow a lunar cycle – when I went out for the night it was entirely pot luck as to how I’d behave.

Sometimes I was funny, I was entertaining. I was this man Scully – a persona I lived behind because I could detach this identity from who I really was.

Sometimes I was quiet. I was disinterested in life. I’d go home and hate myself to sleep.

But most of the time I was just plain old Paul.

Can I remember when I first felt a little odd? Yes. In the library at school in the seventh grade.

I had been painfully shy between the ages of 10-14 when I lived in the States after my family relocated there from Henley-on-Thames. It was an absolutely incredible place to live so there should be no violins playing in the background right now. We lived in a place called Los Altos. If you Google Los Altos one of the first results is “Los Altos is the second most affluent small city in America”. You can put the orchestra away – we lived in a great house with a pool. I just didn’t get on with the place most of the time.

That time in the library I suddenly felt as if someone had sealed the room and sucked half of the air out. I was looking at everyone in the room and thinking they were inhabiting a completely different world to me and that I had to get out. I felt panicked. I can’t remember what happened next, but I do remember I would go and ride my bike a lot and then lose myself in computer games. That was what most kids did at that age though, so I think I just bottled up my feelings until such time as I became an unemotional wreck. Not emotional – definitely unemotional. I don’t remember feeling love or affection at that age, or indeed at any time up until my late thirties when I ended up in a mental health clinic for treatment. After that the skies did really clear up for me and I began to live a much better life. I became much closer to my family and some friends. I will always feel somewhat aggrieved that I missed out on this earlier on in life.

When my family moved back to the UK – possibly because my mother was suffering from depression – I landed the most incredible bunch of friends anyone could have asked for. None of them was really shy, and most were incredibly outgoing; even extroverts you could say. I hitched a ride and along the way managed to shake off my shyness. Of all the turns that I could have taken in life, starting to hang out with my mate Nick was one of the most rewarding I could have made. I still felt I was very different though, and my gauge of being friends with people was if I felt happy or unhappy around them. There was however, a bunch of lads – most of whom I played rugby with – that I got to hang out with and have a lot of fun. Almost the whole time when I was growing up at this age I felt that my life was about to absolutely fall apart – almost as if the sky was going to cave in. It was a fantastic time, but at the same time my nerves were shot to pieces.

During my teenage years, I was in equal measure seen as the sensible one, the eccentric one and the funny one. I was the only person that would ever know me as the tormented one as I was an incredibly secretive person. I inherited this trait from my father.

I lived a privileged life – I went to a private school, I went skiing every year and without being spoiled too much, never really wanted for anything.

I still saw everyone through a haze though (not quite rain). The haze was something that differentiated me from everyone else. When I walked into a room I would see myself from the outside and be able to tell that no one actually wanted me to be there. This did not really come and go – it was always really there. Sometimes I would overcome this feeling and enjoy myself. But on other occasions I could not. At the time I had no idea what differentiated the two outcomes, but looking back on it now, I think sometimes I was up and sometimes I was down.

From my teenage years through to this day I have not managed to get rid of the haze fully, but I am now learning methods on how to deal with it and that’s fucking amazing for me. Throughout my entire life one of my coping mechanisms was to think that at some point in the future I would be happy – and so this day shall pass and all that shit. These new methods are making it even easier for that to come about.

I have heard others say, or have read other people’s written down thoughts alluding to the fact that you can’t tell someone with depression to pull themselves out of it. This is absolutely true. It really pissed me off when I was told this (only on a few occasions, and once by a medical professional). What is possible is for me to try and fix my thoughts – that’s how you sort yourself out. 

Sometimes I may have created financial woes for myself, or I may have messed up my job. I could have split up from my partner (although this is no longer a possibility as she is amazing) . I could have done any number of things and would be panicked to hell about what would happen in the now, but I would always cling on to the knowledge that I was the most utterly stubborn bastard in the world and that I would eventually be ok once I sorted my head out.

Every time my haze cleared:

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone

All of the bad feelings have disappeared

Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Wonderful lyrics.

Scully

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