Looking at myself in the mirror, my skin is rosy, shiny and clean shaven. I don’t think I look my sum total of 43.3 years. I could pass for a relatively cool bloke in his late thirties. Even my eyes are fairly clear, only the grey dips below them hinting at something less wholesome going on beneath the surface.

Beneath the surface.

Like standing on a road and trying to imagine what is 10 metres below your feet. Or understanding what lies beneath the sea.

In the feature length documentary ‘Kingdom of Us’ one woman films and follows a family of several (seven?) siblings coming to terms with their loss of their father while also attempting to cope with their autism. It’s not clear how the father has died until part way but the subsequent home video footage shows 2 different men. One, the dedicated father who writes and sings songs about each of his children and worries about how they will get on in the world, the other a ghost – ashen faced, preoccupied and with those eyes – the eyes of someone terrified, of someone being hunted by something monstrous. That’s not me – thank God – but I feel I know those eyes sometimes.

I can only write this because I can’t work today. In other words I’m not at work. Yesterday I got called a ‘dirty perv’ by a 15 year old girl as a response to asking her to ‘be nice’ – teacher language for trying to get kids to be polite. An hour later a boy threw curry deliberately all over the back of my leg. These 2 incidents brought me to breaking point. I snapped and lost it on a 15 year old who was encouraging the culprit of the curry throwing incident and afterwards suddenly felt exhausted. However none of these feckless youths are the real culprit; they’re just aiders and abetters. The real villain is within. My worn out adrenals have been working overtime to flush adrenaline throughout my system. This is never a pleasant feeling: it’s the opposite of calm, one’s nerves are on high alert, breathing becomes more rapid as does heart rate. Thoughts start rushing through the mind, seemingly without control. They just arrive unannounced and uninvited. Voices that I’ve picked up from TV or radio, snippets of songs overheard 2 or 3 days ago reappear to rattle round and round my head. It’s bad enough feeling like this in the day but when it arrives at 4am every morning it’s almost unbearable.

I’m on one hell of an adrenaline binge right now. It’s been 11 days straight. Before that the last one was exactly 3 months ago. I thought that was intense: the meltdown in Homebase. The childlike urge just to break down and cry over something insignificant. The feeling of hopelessness and the inability to cope with normal every day situations. It’s really bizarre how those feelings and senses which I am so used to can suddenly become like a foreign entity. It’s Christmas but I hardly notice. Everyone is buzzing about in Bristol, the lights blink and twinkle down Park Street and around College Green. There is a festive spirit in the air. I can see it but I don’t feel it. I walked that way yesterday to get out of the house and to try and get rid of THAT feeling, that FIZZ. Walking past shops, I wanted to feel interested or attracted to things. People were disappearing  into the cathedral so I followed them blindly, content to be amongst people even if they were strangers. They were supporting St Peter’s Hospice and had obviously had loved ones who had died and had come to remember them. They all carried an order of service and a candle. I was the only one who sat alone, nearest the door without a candle. Churches are great and are so well designed to bring peace to the soul but again I felt disconnected, not there. I stayed and sung ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ to test myself. This would bring a warm glow, this should remind me of singing the first verse as a solo to the over 60s as an angelic 9 year old. This would remind me of all those Christmases past and the goodness in them…I left after that and walked back up Park St. It was only later after playing tennis for an hour that I regained control and felt in some way back to normal. I am now seeking help in whatever way possible. Blood test this morning for Thyroid, cholesterol, etc. Psychotherapist next week and 1 and a half hour consultation with a nutritionist this evening. I’ll do anything. It’s been almost half my life trying to deal with this shit and never getting anywhere. Now, I want to give myself some hope..

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