My ‘recovery is akin to a sadistic version of ‘Groundhog Day’…

by Pseud O'Nym

Each person, whilst embarking on recovering from some calamitous event in their life, will doubtless suffer numerous minor and not so minor setbacks offset by minor victories before – one hopes – an eventually glorious triumph. That, at least, is how the story goes. Or is meant to go.

However, the person writing my story drew inspiration from the small print of adverts selling financial goods. The ones promising spectacular, risk free returns from a modest investment in large print, whilst right at the bottom, in very small text that one almost needs a magnifying glass to read, a disclaimer disavowing the grandiose claims made earlier warns,

“Past performance is no guarantee of future results and you may not get out what you put in.”

It feels like that combined with a somewhat cruel ‘Groundhog Day’ element. For those of you unaware of the plot of ‘Groundhog Day’ – I use ‘those’ in the loosest possible sense of the word, but you never know, there might be one – it’s plot concerns itself with;

Bill Murray who plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day again and again.

Walking is a good example of this rather sadistic phenomenon. Before the accident, one of the things I prided myself on was the speed at which I would walk. I used to think there should be lanes, like they have on motorways, for pedestrians in busy shopping streets, closed off to traffic and rigorously enforced. Dawdlers, tourists and school groups could faff about to their hearts content in the slow lane, safe in the knowledge that they weren’t being a cause of irritation to those who actually wanted to get somewhere at a pace considerably faster than an old person trying to wade through treacle. Bear traps at random intervals would get the message across. One of my favourite games with myself was to spot someone walking ahead in the distance, set myself a target of how many steps it would take me to overtake them and then to do it in far less. Which I usually did. Oh happy days. How I remember them, as remember them is all I can do now. I know I have a memory of it. The problem is that I just can’t remember how walking like that feels.

Early on in my road to recovery – which at times feels like a dead end – I was able to manage 610 steps unaided. Admittedly, they were small steps, required frequent stops, took what seemed to me a long time and were so smooth and fluid that they made Frankenstein’s monster seem like a ballerina. You might think I’d have increased the distance, that between then and now my motivation to constantly exceed my goals would have been re-energised. This is the where the financial advert’s small print crossed with a sadistic element of ‘Groundhog Day’ kicks in, because what happened yesterday has no bearing whatsoever on what happens today. It’s all reset to zero, so it seems. A lot of effort – even getting out of bed some mornings seems a task akin to Sisyphus’s fate for scant reward. The effect is such that a prisoner on death row has more motivation than me.

One of the recurring themes throughout this blog will be the seemingly perfect storm, of a seriously depressed mental state with no optimism whatsoever coupled with a fatigued and ultimately tired of it all disposition. Added to that a couple of years of trying various strategies and employing numerous professionals to facilitate them to seemingly no end.

I feel it incumbent upon me at this point to draw your attention to the not inconsiderable fact that I am not the best person to dispassionately evaluate my ‘progress’. As I am given to compare me as I am, against me as I was, which is not, as has been oft pointed out to me, such a wise idea, fateful folly that it is. Much more prudent is perhaps comparing me when I got out of hospital against me as I am now. One might think this is clear-headed and sensible advice of the first order. But that thought has to be tempered with the knowledge that the same person repeatedly suggesting this also thinks broccoli ice cream is an idea worth pursuing.

You may well ask ‘How come if his mental state is as bad as he claims, how then is he able to motivate himself enough to write this blog?’ Which is a fair question.

Firstly, it passes the time. It’s as pure and simple as that. And I think, as I hope you’ll discover if you follow with this blog, that I have a somewhat…idiosyncratic way of expressing myself.

And secondly, I live in a house share, and I pride myself on being considerate of others, so in order to achieve that – to me – laudable objective, I try and subjugate as far as much as possible my depression. Which isn’t easy but neither would living with me be if I didn’t. Hopefully this blog will provide a suitable outlet for my varied pet peeves. And new ones, of which I’m sure there’ll be many.

My next entry won’t be as depressing, unless of course you’re an England fan. It’ll be about the World Cup and football generally.