I'm far too aware that it's far, far too long that I wrote a proper post, any post at all in fact, but particularly a proper one. I haven't even finished showing you photos of my holiday, but it's even longer since I actually wrote anything. Part of my absence is because I've been trying to gather myself. This year has been tough, very tough, in many different ways. I've shared some of the depression here, and some of the physical illness, and some of the other stresses, but there's been a fair bit that I haven't shared. Some of it I can't talk about here, not yet anyway, but I think it's enough for the moment just to say that there's more going on behind the scenes than most are aware of.
I've needed a bit of space. My holiday helped, but there's always a certain amount of post-holiday gathering that needs to be done to get one back in to the real world. That can be tough when the real world has been tough.
I still have a fair amount going on - difficult things/situations to deal with - but I'm slowly beginning to feel a bit more ... more me. I think the start of term has helped somewhat, not that I'm a student these days, but choir (Flotsam) only runs through term time, and it just feels like there's generally a bit more structure around with other things going on. Having said that, I did sign up for a short writing course at Newcastle University again. It's actually a course - Memoir Writing - that I did as a module towards my MA, but the short modules are open to the public too. After not having my brain function in the right way for 'proper writing' almost all year, I was feeling closed up, blocked, trapped, and I thought that the short course might help to open things up again. It did. Six weeks of prompting, encouragement, recapping on technical aspects, etc really helped, and I wrote close to 10,000 words towards my book. After almost a year of practically zero words, that's a huge improvement. I hope I can keep up the momentum, but finding motivation for anything is still challenging at times.
One major difference between now and a few months ago is that I am able to look forward to things. I was trying to keep putting things in the diary before, but mustering up a sense of excited anticipation for anything I would ordinary have looked forward to wasn't happening. I'm a way up that hole now and can enjoy the anticipation of good things ahead. Last weekend I went over to a friend's for chocolate fondue with a few others to help R celebrate her birthday. I had a lovely evening with lovely people, lovely fondue, and a fun game of Apples to Apples, which I'd never heard of before.
On Tuesday a couple of us went to a local fireworks display. Twenty to thirty minutes or so of colourful explosions filling the dark November sky really does help to blow dust from the brain - that and friendship :o)
Tomorrow afternoon I'm joining some friends for a workshop in glass work. I'm not quite sure what it's going to involve, but I'm really looking forward to it. The anticipation of fun with others, learning something new, something creative, making something, it's all good, and I love that I can enjoy the anticipation.
There's been some health stuff going on over the past couple of weeks. I don't really want to discuss it at the moment because I don't have firm answers yet. I've had various blood tests, and have another - hopefully the last for a while - on Monday, after which I'm hoping my GP will give me some of those answers. When he does I'll tell you about it, but to be honest, I've been finding it all rather overwhelming lately and haven't wanted to think about it too much while I still don't have a truly confirmed diagnosis, even though the doctor is 90% certain of his preliminary diagnosis.
Part of the process of gathering myself has been evaluating where I'm at in a slightly more general way than just the immediate present. For quite some time I've had ideas of possibilities for myself and my life, but they all ground to a halt when I got trapped in the great pit of depression. In reality, the possibilities never really disappeared, but I was so far down the pit that I couldn't see the possibilities over the top of the hole. I'm climbing out of that pit now, and every so often I get a little glimpse of things that are waiting at the top. I've caught sight of one of those possibilities, and after failing to believe it for a while, I'm now thinking that maybe it could happen - maybe I'll get out of the pit, climb over the edge, and have those possibilities become realities. I'm digging a foothold in to the edge of this hole to give me more of a grasp to the edge. I'm trying to climb up and eventually out, and one of the things I've done that I'm hoping will get me out is arrange a meeting. I have a meeting next week with one of the professors in the English department at Newcastle University to informally discuss the possibilities of doing a PhD in creative writing. There are a lot of things around it to discuss, with funding being a major issue, and my health not being insignificant either, but it's something I want to do. I do. I really want to do it. You know, even ten years ago I didn't think I was intelligent enough even to do an undergraduate degree, but I got a First class honours in my BA. I actually started my post graduate studies during my last year of my undergraduate degree so got my Post Graduate Certificate in creative writing within a month of undergrad degree ceremony. A year later I got my MA. I want to go further. I want to do a PhD, and not just for the sake of it, or to prove anything to myself or anyone else. I want to do it because I love learning, I know what my proposal would be, I know what I want to get out of it, and there might be possibilities for me once I've done it. The earliest I could possibly start would be next September, but I know too what I would do between now and then - the book that I've been working on for a while. The meeting next Wednesday is one huge mass of possibilities, and the outcome of it could have a huge impact on the rest of my life, even though it's informal.
This, all of this, the possibility of a PhD, the love of education, what I get from writing, what I hope I give through writing, my music, my singing, my health, my creativity, my friends, my friendships, fireworks, games, fondue, and words, these are the things that help make up me. These are my possibilities. These are all important in rediscovering myself. Gathering them all together again, back in to the pot of me, takes time because they've been spilled out and scattered in dark corners of the pit, but I'm finding them again, and I'm more hopeful that before too long I'll be standing at the top of that deep hole and shouting, 'Hello folks, I'm me again.'