That fateful day…

Nine years ago, virtually to the day, I took a fateful decision that would have far reaching consequences. I got married, to someone I believed would honour, cherish and obey. 

The day was glorious, sunny and warm, and I thought this sunny beginning would herald a new chapter in my life. What transpired was lots of dark clouds and eighteen months of ever mounting difficulties.

Was I naive? Was I gullible? Yes to both. I believed, as anyone does when they’re in love, that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There was no grass, just weeds, and certainly not green. 

The day itself was something I would never change. It all went very well indeed. There were scores of people there and I didn’t have the slightest inkling of any trouble that lay ahead. With the drinks being consumed, the music being played, and everyone having a good time, what could be better?

Oh that we ever should be imbued with that mystical quality called clairvoyancy. oh that we can look into the future and stop ourselves from making fateful decisions that will cause is great harm. But back in the real world again, everyone takes the plunge, then regrets it later.

So it’s an anniversary I look back on with some fondness, but also with mixed feelings. Was just wishing a trap door would open in that church and I would fall through it, an escape. That didn’t happen and the problems of that murky union are still there. There will be an official escape one day… you can be sure of that.

Allen Brooks xx

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A word of warning….

I had a rather peculiar message sent to me on here today, that bore no relation to the blog post that I put up in the first place. In fact, it was a diatribe about racism.

If anyone is to comment on any of the blog posts, please make it relevant to what was actually written in the first place. I do occasionally write about politics on the blog, but not to excess. The blog is essentially about my life and the everyday battles with anxiety, depression and autism. 

I certainly wish to have no truck with people who use this media platform to propagate their views on race, whatever they might be. Being an author of my own scribblings, I can act as a censor as well. The comments that are deemed offensive or irrelevant will be put in the trash can, where they belong.

Just so everyone is clear!

Allen Brooks xx

Christmas 2010…

Several months earlier, my world was in turmoil. Mum had passed away in June of 2010, and I was struggling to come to terms with that event and others that were going on at a similar time.

Usually at Christmas, I go to my sister or nephew for dinner. This particular year, it was at sister’s. How would I cope? This will be the first Christmas without Mum. 

The day arrived. I remember the day, it was the tail end of a very cold spell of weather. I wasn’t in the greatest frame of mind, emotions were swirling around in my head. It was time for dinner. I sat there, but there was a vacancy never again to be filled. Normally I would eat my dinner without too many problems. This time, I left half of it. The appetite was gone. I wasn’t enjoying this at all.

At future Christmasses, I tried to shut out all the bad memories, with some measure of success. I don’t enjoy that time of year, and it is very difficult to push myself through to the New Year. But I must have been strong to have lasted this far. Another test of my mental fortitude is on the way in a few months time, and the weather outside this summer’s day speaks only of winter. Dark, gloomy and with foreboding. I have to cope each and every day. There’s no other choice. 

Allen Brooks xx

The homely cottage at the end of the road….

It was a summer morning. I was asleep in a comfortable bed. The first shafts of morning were starting to peep through the curtains. 

Then…..rumble…..roar…..rumble….rumble. What the hell is that at this time of the morning? I’m awake now, wanting to know what this noise is.

It’s the first express train of the day from London to Cornwall, thundering it’s way along the line just 150 yards from the front door. The noise seems endless….and then it disappears….the train has entered the tunnel to it’s next destination. 

It’s August 1979. The weather is glorious. I’m on holiday in Devon. I’m only a stone’s throw from the beach on one of the most idyllic stretches of coastline anywhere in the UK. I struggle to get back to sleep. The roar of the train has woken me up. But I remember. I’m on holiday. This is how it’s meant to be. Then the seagulls start their raucous cacophony. 

I go back to sleep for a while. Mum and Dad wake me up and it’s time for breakfast. The radio is on. Dad has been to the shop for his newspaper. I switch on the TV. I turn over to ITV. Nothing. Just a blue screen stating that are no programmes due to an industrial dispute. It’s been a year of strikes and discontent amongst British workers. But I’m only seven years old. What do I know? Not a lot really.

Then it’s time to get ready, get my bucket and spade and make our way to the beach. Golden sands, clear water. We pitch our deckchairs and stay there for the rest of another glorious summer’s day. I’m in and out of the water, looking a bedraggled mess by day’s end. But this is a holiday. Good times. Good memories. Admiring my Dad’s suntan. Watching Mum squeeze her way into a swimming costume. The memories are wonderful. And on a wet July evening that I’m looking at right now, August 1979 was very memorable. 

Allen Brooks xx

St Peter’s Gate….

What would be my idea of heaven? I’ve been thinking about this over the last few weeks and have come up with the following ideas.

Turn up at St Peter’s Gate. “Welcome in, Allen. What we’ve got for you here is your dream idea of heaven. A cricket ground, a beach, a pub, endless blue sky and sunshine outside. It’s always warm, there’s plenty of people around, you’d never be stuck for people to talk to. You’d be free of all your mental health issues, but you would be kind to others who were struggling. How does that sound?”

Brilliant. That’s how that sounds. Brilliant. I hope I’ve got my place booked already!

Allen Brooks

My first live cricket match….

Year:- About 1979 or 1980. Can’t be exact on that. What I can be exact on is the first ever live cricket match I watched.

It was Essex (my home county) versus Somerset in the old John Player Sunday League, played at Valentines Park, Ilford.

My parents took me along and the size of the crowd for a relatively small ground was incredible. There must have been 10,000 inside the ground, standing in rows of eight or ten deep. The best vantage point I could muster was on my Dad’s shoulders, until I screamed to be put back down again. 

The two teams playing were the best county sides in the English game at the time. Essex had players like Gooch, Turner, Lever, Hardie, Keith Pont, Fletcher, a formidable and winning line up. But Somerset too had match winners in the shape of Ian Botham, Joel Garner and my favourite player of all time, Sir Vivian Richards. The crowd were bubbling to see these great all stars in action, and I, too, was itching to see the play.

If I remember rightly, Essex won, but my heroes Richards, Botham and Gooch didn’t perform that well, to my enormous disappointment. But having watched the great game of cricket on the TV, this was my first taste of live play, and I was hungry for more.

This Monday, I shall be watching my first live cricket of the new English season. It won’t be as glamorous as that first live match, but I still love the game as much as I did those 36 or 37 years ago. It’s taken a hold on me that I’ve never been able to relinquish. I’ve tried a few times, but failed! 

Cricket – the best game in the world.

Allen Brooks

Dark Days….

Warning:- This post may contain some material that is sensitive and upsetting. The post goes back to a very worrying time in my life when the occasional suicidal tendency tried to take over….

One night, a few years ago, I was lying in bed. I was going through a very difficult spell once again, with the occasional dark thought beginning to take hold. This particular night, I thought about the unthinkable. Then, I thought about carrying out the unthinkable.

In the kitchen draw were some tablets, or so I thought. I just had an idea to down some and take myself out of this unending cycle of misery. I laid there, and I laid there, then I got up and went to the kitchen. I opened the draw and there were no tablets there. Perhaps it was a sign that I shouldn’t be wanting to end things like this. 

I laughed to myself. I wanted to do myself in but didn’t have the ammunition to do so. Typical. I stood there for a few moments to let the enormity of what I was going to do sink in. Then I decided to make a cup of tea and go back to bed.

I went to see my doctor the following day. He was very alarmed at the thoughts I was having. Then he fired a question at me “Do you want to die, Allen?” he said. This deeply concerned me. I mumbled weakly “No, of course not”. “Do you realise the damage that overdosing on tablets can do, Allen?”. I replied that I did not and he proceeded to explain to me, the damage and even fatal consequences if I carried out these thoughts.

To the present day, and those suicidal ideations have gone. I suffer more from severe anxiety these days, though the occasional bad day, when I feel quite low, still crops up from time to time, like the other week for example. But the deep, dark abyss that I found myself in is no longer in my mind. I haven’t had suicidal thoughts for quite a while now. I do think to myself of the people I would leave behind, and the pain and the hurt that would follow. 

I’ve been thinking of this blog post for a while now, and I’m glad I’ve expressed my feelings of that dark moment. It helps to counteract the good moments, such as recently, where things are better and my life gives no sign of returning to the abyss of depression and suicidal thoughts. Some people think it’s a game; I can assure you it’s not a game. Mental illness isn’t a game; nobody wins. It’s a long struggle of crisis management. At the moment, I’m reasonably ok, but this post is a reminder that things are not always good. I treasure the good days, the bad days have to be endured before the good days turn up again.

There will be more stories on this subject, hope it provokes some strong feelings for the reader. 

Peace and love 

Allen Brooks