Whoa, this is a big post.
I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences with it. And if people get anything out of it, then so be it. Otherwise I hope it's an entertaining read? It's pretty psyched out stuff, so if you are easily freaked out, just continue on with your daily doings.
There's a LOT of it going around at the moment. And not just with me. It's not nice when someone you know has it either. There's not a lot you can do to help them. It's about battling with your personal demons.
Noone else can help you with it because they don't understand it. And no amount of kind words or nice thoughts, well wishes or hugs can stop it. Sure it might feel nice for a little while, and it can certainly help. But as soon as they're gone, you're just sitting there with your brain once again. Sad but true.
The only one that can help you deal with it is yourself.
Let me take you back to the year 1992. The year punk broke.
I was in high school. Year 10 I think. All the other kids in the class were total dicks, and used to pick on me for one reason or another. Mainly because they didn't understand who I was, and I couldn't be bothered trying to explain myself to them.
Ha, like they would have got it anyway.
But anyway, there was this one other guy in my class. Nathaniel. And we struck up a pretty good acquaintance. He was a bit of a loner, and pretty quiet and so I guess we just naturally gravitated towards each other.
We had a lot in common. An appreciation of music. We'd talk about our favourite bands of the time: U2, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd.
And he was always sitting there in class (when he turned up) and drawing caricatures and tripped out pictures on his notebook, whilst the teacher droned on about something or other. And I bored him senseless with my stories about my favourite girl of the week and how I wanted to kiss her so much and that I was going to marry her :)
He also made music. He had an Amiga and he had a cheap strat copy that he could play a few chords on. So I thought he was pretty cool.
And we were both the rebellious typoe I guess. I hated science class because if you didn't end up with 27 spitballs in your hair or recieve threats of violence, you were doing well. So, he invited me around to his house around the corner as a more appealing alternative. Sounded like fun. So I went.
As soon as we left the school grounds, he lit up a smoke. And I had one too. And we descended into the housing trust area of Midlunga.
His house was a half of a housing trust maisonette. You see them in the Parks area of Adelaide or Port Augusta or Whyalla. I haven't seen them anywhere else, but if you know what they look like, you'd understand. And there was that smell in the air. The one that you can smell if you walk down Mersey Road on a summers night.
A cross between fish'n'chips, laundromats, burnt tea, burning eucalyptus wood and lounges that have been left on the veranda for more than one winter.
We went around the side of the house and threw our school bags through the window.
I asked why we didn't go through the door, but it seemed like a rhetorical question. The front door was dead bolted and the back screen hung on its hinges.
BEWARE OF DOG
As I slid through the back gate, I was beset upon by two of the largest dogs I have ever seen. I still don't know what they were, but they backed off when they heard the magic word
So I went through the back door, and his dad was there stirring baked beans on an old gas stove. And he said little. He didn't ask why his son was home, just stood there stirring his beans and listening to the wireless. It was the first at Globe Derby Park. Or somesuch.
As I looked around and took it all in, there were holes in the carpet, and hadn't been washed since it was laid. Holes in the walls, and lots and lots of cats. The dogs circled me like sharks, growling and making me feel very uncomfortable.
Inside his room, there was a Led Zeppelin poster. The one from Houses of the Holy.
And a bong on the floor.
He fired up the Amiga and we had played a few games. I don't remember what they were but I was suitably impressed. I was still in very strange territory however. I had always wondered what it was like inside a poor persons house.
In my family, my mum would do housework everyday. Everything was clean and dusted. Three meals a day.
But this was totally different. I was intrigued. I wanted to experience it all, as wrong and as dirty as it felt.
"Have you ever tried this?"
And he produced a small pillow of greenery in a plastic J-bag.
"No", "What do you do with it?"
"Well you just smoke it through this."
So I tried it. And I sat there for a while, and we played some more Amiga.
"I don't think it's working, I don't feel anything"
And then in three minutes or less, I started to feel something. I had this pleasant buzzing in my mouth. Like I'd swallowed a mouthfull of bees. And I couldn't stop laughing. There was a dog in a nighting gown running across the computer screen like he was sleepwalking. With his arms out in front of him.
When you're a kid you think people do that when they sleepwalk.
"You should try this then."
And he produced a yellow bucket full of dirty looking water with a 2 litre coke bottle floating in side.
And he busied himself with it while I continued playing. It was that game where you were the driver of a stunt car, and you had to do vertical loops. Someone out there might remember it. It was in the arcade too I think.
Anyway, I took a toke of this Gravity bong or buckety as its known in the 'burbs.
And I don't know what happened after that.
My pulse rate went way up. I was jumping out of my own skin. People were talking to me, but I wasn't aware of what they were saying. I felt like i was in a cinema by myself watching everything happen around me on a giant screen.
I didn't want to be there all of a sudden. I didn't want to be anywhere. I just wanted it all to stop.
I got outside, and the winter sun was warm but there was a chill in the air. I walked towards my house, though I don't even know how I knew where I was going. Everything that I did required immense concentration.
There was a throbbing in my head. It felt like it was coming from the base of my spine and travelling up my neck into my pituitary gland. I had these visions that I was being impaled. On the devil's pitchfork. And I couldn't shake these thoughts.
As I walked down the street, I saw a woman with a pram. I saw an old couple. I was convincing myself that I was watching my life unfold before me. Like I was dead.
Like I was dead.
It suddenly dawned on me that I was dead.
Even though I wasn't.
But I couldn't help thinking that I might be. And with every thought, it seemed like the logical conclusion. And when you are in that state, you can't convince yourself otherwise. You just can't.
I cannot begin to express the terror that I felt at that moment. The regret,... it was overwhelming.
In hindsight, I think the fact that I had been to a Christian forum at my school recently had me thinking a bit about the metaphysical, and this was brought to
And I got home, and Mum was there, and everything was normal. I was relieved when she talked to me, because it confirmed in my mind somewhat that I might just be imagining things. Plus, I didn't want her to see me in this state, so I went to bed. And tried to sleep.
But the pictures kept repeating themselves in my mind. It was agony.
When I woke up, things had returned to normal somewhat. I was thirsty, and very cloudy. But I was somewhat relieved. Things seemed to be normal again. The only problem was I could never see things the same way again. I had been tarnished. And no matter what happened to me, there would always be that horror in the back of my mind.
For the next three months, I noticed things. And if things were different, I would be very suspicious.
"Didn't that tree used to be smaller?"
"Didn't the sun used to be higher in the sky?"
I don't know if anyone else could tell, but I was very suspicious and paranoid about everything.
I was restless, I always went for walks around the block just to check if everything was still as I remembered it.
One night I walked to a family friends house, and just lost it. I was a sobbing mess. And the more I tried to make them understand what I was feeling, the more they seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. And I cried for hours. I calmed down after awhile, and I had a cup of camomile. I was numb. And that felt so better than what I had been feeling for three weeks.
My mum came to get me at about 11pm that night. It was very embarassing and I couldn't explain to her what I was feeling.
The thing that I remember the most about that time is the music I was listening to. Pink Floyd - The dark side of the moon. I couldn't listen to that for years because it brought all the feelings back. All great tunes, but they were wasted on me.
I remember after this had happened sitting in a bath robe in the lounge looking at the dog and asking him pleadingly what was wrong with me. It wasn't fair. Here he was looking dumb and disinterested and yet totally content. I wanted to know how to be like him. I knew too much.
The psychiatrist prescribed me a little jar of blue tablets. And they worked amazingly. They brought me from the depths of despair back to reality. In a few weeks. I think how lucky I was.
It took me until I was in university to understand it better.
There was a guy in my class I remember, and in retrospect, I think he suffered from bi-polar syndrome. I remember seeing him one day, and he was manically happy. I had never seen him like that before, and I was amazed. He told me that he suffered from depression and I was shocked.
How can someone so depressed be this happy?
He told me he had been reading a book called "Feeling Good"
by David Burns.
And I went out and bought it that day.
It was all about cognitive therapy and understanding the difference between your feelings and your emotions. And it teaches you how to disassociate what you think and what you feel. There's a bit of L Ron Hubbard about it for sure, but read it and then be the judge.
Anyway I found it very helpful, and I recommend it to anyone that suffers from depression. I don't want to spoil the ending.
But there are a lot of great books out there.
And I wonder what I would have been like if I hadn't gone to that house on that day. If I had gone to a different school...
It's changed my brain chemistry. For sure.
To think, I never even had a clue what depression was until this point. But now that I have seen it, I can't forget it. Not entirely.
And the funny thing is that you can be going along thinking that you have it beat, but it somehow tricks you into thinking that it is a part of you until you suddenly realize:
"Hang on, you haven't gone away at all have you?"
And he's back in there trying to ruin your life with his sly trickery and deception.
Now I have to spend the rest of my life trying to figure myself out again.
Well life was too easy anyway...