I’m fine thanks, no really I fucking well am.

Earth Wind and Fire had a classic 70s hit with a song  about the 21st night of September, by the time they had released this classic I was well into my long and on going journey with an incredible foe … my foe … my mind!

I was born the youngest son of a large family of male siblings, I believe due to a large gap in age between myself and my other siblings that I was perhaps the last attempt to have a daughter!

Nonetheless my parents were devoted to their boys, doing everything they could to give us the best in life.To my wider family I became known as one of the boys, to my siblings I was the  baby…the spoilt baby. I have always been “the baby” of the family. My relationship with my grandparents was pretty much non-existent.

And to be honest I never felt any love or affection from them, so rather unsurprisingly I grew into a quiet shy timid child with no self confidence, I think I was even scared of my own shadow, I felt I had anxiety coursing through my veins, I hated to go anywhere on my own.

One of my older siblings even accompanied me during my first few days of school.

Just why was I so afraid? Why did I feel like a coward ?

To help me along my young journey i developed a speech impediment… a fucking stammer !

With no self-confidence, anxiety and a stammer, my only option was to speak extremely quietly so if I did stammer no one would hear, thus reducing my embarrassment and anxiety. I still speak very quietly even to this day with people always complaining.

‘Talk properly you always mumble”

For as long as I can remember when people would asked me how I was I would always say “I’m fine thanks” because who would be interested if I told them how I really felt? Why would people care? Who would be interested in me at all?

As devoted as my parents were, at a young age my Father started his own youth organisation.

Along with most of  my siblings I had to join the organisation, To say this was an all consuming organisation would be a slight understatement !

Not only did I have to share my parents with my siblings I also had a whole host of the organisation members who would be treated as part of our family.

Now I’m not selfish but for fuck sake come on I just wanted some attention just help me a little! I feel lonely like I’m nothing.

Having older siblings I became an uncle at a young age, for a young 9 yr old boy to comprehend how this new baby would affect his life is just crazy!

For 41yrs I have been reminded of how I was jealous and I threw tantrums and was totally horrible. I was a kid who obviously had problems. My mind must have been screaming ‘Please give me a break  I’m drowning here.’
Yes I was drowning in a sea of grey , I was becoming the Mr Grey [ not in the fifty shades style ] I was fading into the back ground, sinking into an abyss.

I felt lonely, a nonentity, a nothing, a total waste of a human life .

At this point I should have asked for help, but who would have listened, who would have understood, who would have cared ?

My mind and body helped by devising a cunning plan, I became obnoxious and arrogant, I put on this fantastic act of being the person I thought the world would like! I would be a somebody! I did what ever I wanted with absolutely no regard for anybody else.

I’ll be just like my big tough siblings, they don’t care about people they don’t know, they can fight, they can be rude to whomever they choose ! [to my young mind this was how I perceived them to think]

How does the real world work ? “who gives a fuck” I’ll get what ever I want  however I like! Totally misreading how people interact with me.

Using every opportunity to my own ends and much to my incredible shame and immense guilt, I have lost more friends and hurt more good people than I choose to remember thinking and behaving that way. To those people I am truly sorry .

My school days were difficult with me predominantly becoming more and more lazy and I just did not bother to go! eventually my attendance record reached zero. The school decided it was time for me to enter the big wide world of work.
My father and one of my siblings had decided that I would go to work with him.
At least I don’t have to grow up and take some responsibility just do what I’m told!!

On a not too cold March evening I happened to meet a nice young girl walking her dog one evening, “ Ding Dong “ as the saying goes ! I liked her.

She turned out to be the sister of a friend of mine. We spoke for a while and the next day and with my usual brave style I asked my friend to ask his sister if she would become my girlfriend? If she said no then I could just act like a dick and put on the arrogant act and behave like it didn’t matter.

She said yes! Bloody hell she said “yes“”.

“As long as he gets his hair cut” bloody women always got to have it their way! So off I went and visited the barbers, my long flowing locks were cut into a smart style.

I stared in to the mirror and , staring back at me was a rather handsome young man. He smiled back at me but I didn’t know who he was,I’d never met him before and it would be many years before I met him again!

Hey I’ve found someone who notices me, she seems to like me! It should all be plain sailing from here?

No I’m afraid not! You see I was still a nobody, why would someone want to be with me when every other person I could think of was infinitely better than me? A horrible trait that I have had for years now raised its ugly head… jealousy!

She was lovely and she would meet someone who was better than me, and dump me and  so on and so on the thoughts and feelings would ruminate inside my head!

This was my way of thinking. This was my normal.

I had my routine, it worked! I woke up feel crap, I go through the day feeling crap, I go to bed feeling crap! But to me feeling crap was my normal .

Nonetheless we turned 18 together and at times I behaved like a complete  arsehole!

For most of my life my father had been unwell in one way or another but during the next few years my father became very unwell.

On a very dark evening in March my father passed away, I was 21 yrs old and my whole life had been turned upside down. My siblings had spent so many more years with my father, had so many more experiences with him knew him so much better than me, they had all grown up and he’d seen them all become men, seen them achieve so many things to make him proud. I was 21 yet still a boy, I was a boy who needed his father! I didn’t know it but I needed help.

My life carried on with me behaving appallingly, hurting people wherever I seemed to go but worst of all and much to my shame I hurt my one true constant in my life, something I can never forgive myself for!

My life has not all been bad, I’ve had a few good days and I’ve had some amazing days.

One particularly amazing day saw me standing rather nervously waiting in a church, while my family sat in the pews behind me whispering that she would not turn up!

She did , she looked amazing she also said “I do “ Turns out not only did she notice me, like me, she loved me and was happy to become my wife.

This young lady not only gave me this amazing day, she gave me many more but there are two very special days in particular I will try to describe.

Both of these moments in my life were quite honestly the most majestic, incredible, awe inspiring and totally breat taking.

We became parents to our two beautiful daughters.

Becoming a father and holding my new born baby girl for the first time really was so special but deep down I still felt so wrong, so crap!

But why? why could I not look around and see what I had?

To  the outside world I had everything you could want: a beautiful wife , two beautiful daughters who I absolutely adored and who adored me, a nice home, but something just wasn’t right.

I felt as if someone was following me watching me, right behind me but no matter how quick I turned around I could never see them, I could never work out what this was.

Life went on until eventually the big red button inside my head tripped!
I wanted out I wanted it to end , I just can’t do this any more !
I want to be anybody else but …ME !!!!!!

Hitting rock bottom hurts but I was so numb that I didn’t really feel the pain or perhaps I just felt so low so empty that I just simply didn’t care.

My beautiful wife whom I was hurting so much with my actions, much to her credit [others would say stupidity] thankfully did not give up on me.

She arranged counselling for us which at first didn’t go well!

I would come out feeling worse than when I went in! But eventually  we found a counsellor who understood me and with her help I was picked up, dusted down and got back into my life.

A trip to the doctors confirmed that I was suffering from depression, so that was what that horrible feeling.

Ok now what ?

It’s SMARTIES time ! Yes I came out with the prescribed medication to stop me feeling like a piece of shit !! [ I eventually referred to my doctor as the candy man, You walked in and was given pills, I really felt like it was a sweet shop! ]

This was how my life went on for a number of years, Me having depression and being moody then angry then feeling good then feeling ok, whilst all the time really feeling lonely and crap!

Eventually I reached my 40th birthday and a few things changed!
I realised that for the past 19yrs I had been using the death of my father as a crutch to get through life, to be a somebody, A somebody who lost his father at only 21yrs of age,
I grew up! I realised that I was a man, Not the baby of the family , Not the spoilt one, Not the silly little kid. With a little bit of understanding of the problem and a lot of hard work things have steadily improved.

My journey has had some bumps along the road since then but over time things worked out ok.

I now have a passion to learn as much as I can about mental health issues and how the mind works. Not only to help me but also and more importantly to help others .

I celebrated my 50th birthday last year along with my one true constant through all of these years, no not depression although I am currently on the ‘smarties’.

It was with my beautiful wife and along with our gorgeous daughters, our family and all of our friends, we enjoyed a big fancy dress party.

We are about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and for the last few years I have been able to look around see that I am one of the lucky ones.

I have found my own ways of dealing with my foe and I have learned that having depression does not make me weak, pathetic, cowardly or damaged goods.

I will NOT be a victim I will NOT use this as a crutch to get through life.

I AM strong , I AM proud, I AM brave.
I AM ME AND I’M NOT DAMAGED!

A few years ago I saw a familiar face that I’m sure I knew from my past.

Yeah I’m sure it was him he looked a fair bit older and he had clearly gained a bit of weight. But there was no mistaking it was that same handsome face I’d seen looking back at me in the barbers mirror all those years ago.[ now come on it’s taken me over 40yrs  to like myself and now I’ve hit fifty I think I’m allowed to say I’m handsome, With my tongue firmly in my cheek! ]

I now look forward to a bright future; I have a beautiful wife, 2 incredible daughters who I am immensely proud of, A nice home, A career I enjoy and self belief and confidence I never new existed, I hold my head up high and walk tall.
You see there is only one person that I need to be better than and that is the person I was yesterday!

So now when people ask me how I’m doing I can honestly say: “ Yeah I’m doing ok I’M FINE THANKS “

Mr Mumbles

By |2018-06-05T09:28:16+00:00June 5th, 2018|Guest Writer, Your Voice|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Richard Crisp 5th June 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Hiya Mr Mumbles…what a brilliant and thought provoking profile of your life and one I am sure many of our growing tribe will relate too. I really do hope that you print it off and give a copy to your closes family, primarily because it will open a whole new level of dialogue from which they will all benefit. Indeed never again will any of them feel the need to hide issues that trouble them and this will ensure that the toxic shit that most of us carry throughout our lives, will not blight their, or their children’s, future.

    I note that you are an excellent writer from some of the comments you have recently posted, and hope that you will regularly use this platform to discuss other critical elements, that undoubtedly will confront you as you journey through life. Like all of us at MANSTRESS you clearly have a desire to use your amazing experiences to help others and I promise you that you will find writing extremely cathartic.

    For 50 years I harboured the ridiculous belief that I was dyslectic so to be part of something that demands that I can write without fear, would until fairly recently seemed a crazy notion. But having learned so much about the human mind and witnessed first hand how it can destroy lives, when it goes out of kilter, I was forced to expose a short-coming that had plagued me throughout my adult life…and in doing so finally laid that particular demon to rest.

    Mr Mumbles you have shown incredible strength in writing so honestly and it is this fact that will make others relate to you. The first time I met Richard Wilkin’s (self-proclaimed minister of inspiration) he told me that he was having a shit day…there was no bull-shit he told it as it was…and I was sold….and that is why our policy for MANSTRESS is to be honest, because that is how we will gain the respect that others need to feel confident enough to contribute. Opening up is the key to the recovery process.

    Thank you once again for sharing your story…and have a great day.

    Take care.

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