There is something going on….

Hello. A good indicator if I’m feeling ok is the fact that I go out and enjoy some activities, like cricket umpiring, or enjoying this very fine and hot weather that is here.

Well, my enthusiasm for cricket umpiring, or just cricket in general, has ebbed away for the time being. This has been the case for the last few years, and I’m unable to think of a good reason why. For the first two months of the season, April and May, I was throwing myself into the cricket and largely enjoying it. Now that has ended abruptly. Last week saw myself pull out of scoring duties within an hour of the scheduled start. Anxiety was the main cause. This weekend, numbness and shock seem to be the overriding emotions. Again, at a loss to explain why. 

Why aren’t I going out and enjoying the hot weather? Why aren’t I indeed? I don’t want to. Whereas I usually leap at the chance to go to the beach and relax, I’m sitting in the flat, unmotivated, unenthusiastic, uninterested. My brain is operating on a reduced level. I’ve gone backwards, again. 

I don’t know how I managed to go out to do volunteering or the peer support group the other day. Maybe there was a glimmer of light, a glimmer of hopefulness that this may be a blip, and I will return to normal soon. In fact, it’s a pattern that reflects the last few years. Enthusiasm and enjoyment to start, overtaken by loss and bewilderment. Perhaps my counsellor will shed some light on Monday afternoon. Perhaps.

Sorry that I can’t be more optimistic or positive. That’s how I feel today.

Allen Brooks xx

Numbness and shock….

Hello, and good evening. Well, you can take the word good out of that sentence.

Not been a brilliant day if I’m being honest. I decided not to go to cricket as anxiety had me in it’s iron grip, and this evening, a feeling of numbness and shock has hit me, as though I’ve experienced some kind of trauma.

Very bizarre feeling of just sitting here, in a daze. My brain isn’t functioning at all. Trauma? What trauma? Well, it could be this feeling of solitude that I have on a daily basis, and have done so for seven years. On most occasions, I shut things out and function reasonably well. Yesterday and today, it’s though some kind of bereavement or grief has taken over.

Don’t ask me why. I really don’t know the answer. It’s been a lonely weekend, you could say of my own making. I can hear people saying “Why don’t you go out and do things?” Well, the fail safe option is to shut myself behind closed doors and have little dealing with the outside world. Counterproductive, but it’s the only way to cope at times. 

Aimless, hapless and clueless. That’s Allen Brooks’s weekend.


A rest is as good as a change…

Just mangling a well known saying there. Afternoon folks. Spending a quiet Sunday at home and I think the rest is in the process of doing me some good.

As I alluded to in other posts, fatigue combined with an anniversary has seen my enthusiasm and zeal drop quite markedly since around the middle of last week. I have been in the middle of a busy spell with presentations and umpiring cricket, and I think it caught up with me. My mind and body were telling me to take it easy. 

This I have done. Yesterday wasn’t a great day, but slowly and surely, I’m starting to feel ok again today. Just by resting, that’s all. Drawing from that experience of dealing with mental illness, I’m able to recognise what works for me and what doesn’t. Also, the weather has been very warm and humid and quite energy sapping, so though I’ve missed out on umpiring this weekend, I think I’ve done the right thing by taking a back seat. Sometimes throwing oneself into too many things can have a detrimental effect. 

As I said, this afternoon I feel somewhat brighter. That wall doesn’t look as daunting, and I’ve been getting some good wishes from friends and acquaintances, which is always a good pick me up. Having a week off from stuff isn’t always the worst idea. The mental health toolkit does work sometimes!

Knowing the mind and body….so key to wellbeing!

Allen Brooks xx

3rd June…Anniversary Day tomorrow¬†

The anniversary of my late mother’s passing is tomorrow. It has been on my mind this week, but tomorrow, I have to travel to a game of cricket and umpire it like normal. It will be a difficult day, but the techniques and experience that I’ve learned will help to get me through the day, I’m sure.

It won’t stop me thinking about Mum, seven years may be a fair old time, but the memories are still fresh and all the other stuff that was happening at the time, will also be there in my mind. 

I have to be strong, I have to block it out. Time is a great healer, and once tomorrow has ended, I can then move forward after that day of reflection. 

Allen Brooks xx

Seven years on…..Part One

I remember the day very clearly as if it were only yesterday. June 2010. It was a hot summer’s day. My mother was in hospital, with her life about to end. It was expected, but that doesn’t stop the grief. 

I went to watch cricket, somewhere locally. I had my phone on constant watch, waiting for news. I tried to shut out the inevitable, but without success. Then, sometime around 7 or 8 in the evening, my sister rang me to inform me that Mum was no more. Dazed, I got in the car and drove to the local hospital.

I made my way to the private room. I took one look at my mother, and left the room immediately. I couldn’t look any more. Her life was at an end. I wept, as anyone would do. Her pain and suffering was at an end. My pain and suffering was continuing, unabated.

I spoke to both my sister and brother-in-law, then I left to go home. I then phoned the relatives to let them know. It didn’t sink in, despite the grief. I know that sounds weird, but it took a while for the enormity of events to sink in properly. Everything else seemed to be crashing in on me, at a tremendous velocity. This only added to it. 

Time is a great healer. I still miss my parents, of course, but at times like the present, my brain has tried to shut things out. There are times when my thoughts turn to why they went so quickly, why is cancer a horrible disease that claims so many, why, why? They won’t come back, but some days when I wake up, alone, looking at the four walls, I wonder how I reached this point in time.

But the world still turns, still spins on it’s axis. Life moves on, and this year is turning out to be pretty good, thus far. But events such as seven years ago still remind me of those dark times, stuck down that deep abyss. I’m sure as this week progresses, I’ll be busy so that I don’t think about seven years ago. Doing well to shut it out, but it isn’t easy at times.

Allen Brooks xx

Out with the washing….

Seven years ago, almost to the day, my life was turned upside down in the most spectacular way. I won’t go into the reasons why, except to say that I ended up living in my late mother’s old house, as a “legal” trespasser. I had walked out on my marriage, my mother then passed away, and I was left with virtually no money and the self esteem, which has always been low, was now through the floor.

The washing machine in the old house had broken, and I had no money to get it fixed. I had a pile of washing to do. There was a local laundrette that I went to. It was a hot day, and I was flagging. There was a huge amount of washing, and I managed to get it done. But the thoughts going my head were these “Why? Why has this happened? Why have I allowed myself to hit rock bottom? Why am I here, alone and afraid, watching my washing going round?” So many questions, and ones I didn’t have the answer to.

A few weeks later, I found myself in the doctor’s surgery, literally bawling my eyes out. That is a story for another day. The day I walked to that laundrette, weighed down with clothes and the events of the previous few weeks, was the day I was out with the washing.  More on that terrible period of my life to follow in future posts.

Allen Brooks xx

Creative Writing – Part 3

The end of the platform….


1976. The hottest and driest UK summer on record. The family had just been on a brilliant holiday to the coast. 90 degrees most days, sun cream slapped on, bucket and spade at the ready. I was only four years old at the time. But amongst the joy and fun was heartbreak, especially for my father. 

Back in London, his Dad, or my Grandad if you prefer, wasn’t well. News was trickling in on his progress. Still, my father got on with his holiday, trying to ward off the bad news. 

But then, came the news that all people dread. My Grandad had taken a turn for the worse and we all had to cut our holiday short. We stayed in a guest house, about 300 yards from the beach. In between the digs and the beach, was the main rail line back to London. Every morning, the place used to shudder with the first express speeding it’s way towards points west.

So, came the day we were all dreading. There we all were, on the station platform. I don’t know what Dad was feeling, being four years old, I didn’t know about bad news and grief. We all stood, with our cases, looking down this long platform, waiting for the London train. It was like an adventure coming to an abrupt halt. What should have been a continuation of the joy and fun, had to be cut short, due to that dose of reality. 

I was daydreaming (no change there). All of a sudden, the loud horn of the train sounded its arrival. “Is this it?” I mused. Indeed it was. I shall never forget that day. It’s indelibly imprinted on my mind. The best family holiday cut short. My Grandad passed away a few days later, if memory serves. I’m not sure how my Dad coped. I was too wrapped up in things to notice. I’m sure it was difficult. I would love to ask him now how he coped. Sadly, he has passed on too. 

All I have left is memories. Memories of sand, sea, bucket, spade, cricket bat, tennis ball, sun cream, egg rolls, seagulls, trains, hot sun, endless members of family. 1976. The end of the platform. 

Allen Brooks.