I have just been out walking the dog. The night is still and cold but I stubbornly keep wearing shorts though I do compromise with knee length medium thickness wool ski socks. After twenty minutes or so my left hand, the hand that was holding the lead, is starting to loose a bit of circulation and the backs of the finger are beginning to feel cold but I am back in the house now so all is fine. During the walk I consider the way the lamp post light the leaves that are still clinging to the trees and it occurs to me that that might make an interesting project, capturing the autumn at night time. It would be nice to compare colour and black and white photography. The relatively low level of the lighting highlights the leaves in a different way to daylight, possibly a new way to look at the familiar.

Aside from taking a few photos with my mobile phone and the odd word with other dog walkers, I am left to my thoughts.

I think about describing the ghosts of emotions that sometimes seeps into my consciousness. Times I recognise that my depression wants to trigger weeping but though I sense the need to cry, it is too far away to actually connect with. There is a ghost of it, but for the most part it is an intellectual emotion connected to through past experiences. I am left a bit bewildered with what to do. I carry on with life knowing that I haven’t sorted anything, I soon forget the sensation because that is how I seem to be wired but logically I know the emotion will break through in one form or another (anger or tears) at some point in the future.

There are times when the immediacy of the situation can break through the emotional dampening field I am contained in. Last week I met my musical friends, one of which had had an extra strong dose of chemotherapy the week before. They were in a bit of a chemo fog and I gave her a hug partly because I felt she could do with that support but partly because I had lost a friend to cancer two days before and I really didn’t want to lose another one. She told me she had read my post about my friend dying  that morning and how sorry she was. That moment the grief nearly overwhelmed me as tears sprung in my eyes. I see sawed between being the host offering tea and coffee and a man barely holding himself together gulping down the grief and wiping away the tears. All three wanted coffees each with their own complexities, I really had to concentrate on getting that right.

There are advantages to this remoteness of emotions. Tomorrow I am leading the writers support group for the first time. Normally I would be nervous and anxious about this, but as I type the overwhelming sense I have is of control and being completely capable. This is not how I would normally picture myself. Again I have a sense of anxiety in the background, what happens if they don’t have A4 paper, or black gel pens for instance, but I know that this is not really important and easily solved by a quick visit to the stationary shop in the morning.

Equally I know intellectually I am fearful of the operation on Friday. I remember talking about it and admitting it was there when I went to my pre-op assessment accompanied by a friend. I know the fear is there but there is only a slight sense of it in the background. My main concerns are in fact about the logistics of getting to and from hospital and how sore will my throat be afterward. The logistics have been solved today. I have been offered a lift there which takes the pressure off my wife, and there are two friends that can give me a lift back in the afternoon with the fall back position of my wife covering the evening. As for a sore throat, I see this as an excellent opportunity to get more ice cream in  and indulge in justified comfort eating.

Wearing shorts allows me to connect with the sensations of a cold night that clears the head and wakes the body without being overwhelmed by the chill. My emotional dampening field allows me to cope with everyday life that otherwise might be overwhelming. However I would like to feel more and to do that without taking drugs, only then do I think that I will be truly alive and creative.

 

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