Sprawling Under The Magnolia Tree Petals

Have to stop these late nights before Therapy Day.  Not that it was by design this time round.  Cleaning up the floor, the wall and the radiator of vomit, and making sure the home was properly fumigated was an unexpected and obviously unwelcome way to spend the early hours of Friday morning.

Not to worry, what’s done is done.  The clothes, towels, and bathroom mats were in the wash, being cleansed, and almost as good as new as I wandered off to see Lesley.  Another day, another fitting metaphor for my own mind.

As ever, another route as well.  Take a turning at a crossroads or go straight ahead.  Easy choice.  I’ve been up and down the other two turnings so it’s full steam ahead.  It’s nothing exceptional, apart from some fairly pleasant housing.  It is different though.  Different is good.

I’d mislaid my ‘homework’, only finding the sheet of paper late last night, which I’d put in my tablet cover and forgotten.  It was a journal of an event, the initial feelings and thoughts you felt, what you said to yourself, what may be a more reasoned take on it, and how you felt after that reasoning.

I’d quickly scribbled about an obvious event in the fortnight, going to see my doc and being told something unexpected.  I duly wrote down the details, how I felt and thought before and after the ‘reasoned’ view of it.

Lesley, to my pleasant surprise, said there was nothing to add to it, that it was a great usage of the thought journal, so instead started reading through the blog.  After the comparatively easy start to this session, it became tougher and more difficult with each passing minute.

We focused on my suicidal thoughts, what I feel immediately after it.  She told me that, in the end, I am in control of these thoughts.  That may be in a literal sense, with them being from my own mind.

There’s definitely something out of my control at the moment, though, otherwise I’d gladly filter these suicidal thoughts completely.  If I indeed have this control, then the control panel itself has been fused for a good number of years.

It doesn’t get any easier.  One thing that is touched upon is when I become distant to my friends.  It’s a recurring theme.  I meet up with people, start to go out socially, see them in between and keep in touch, yet before long I start to drift apart from the friendship and eventually stop meeting up altogether.

I look for reasons for it to happen.  The most recent example of this, I convinced myself that they included the children in most conversations, and took them to places that were unsuitable socially.  There’s perhaps a tiny bit of substance to it, but it really is a minor irritation.  It’s used by me as an excuse for how I behave towards them though.

Lesley asks me why I do that.  I think hard and come up with something along the lines of ‘Somewhere along the line I think it’s going to go sour, so perhaps I’m cutting my losses while I’m ahead.’  My lack of self esteem is painfully evident.  I take a gulp or two.


She then asks about what negative traits I see in myself.  I talk about my apparent lack of enthusiasm about things.  A lot of it stems from the media these days.  Whether it’s to do with sport, or political goings-on, there’s encouragement to be loud, brash and bold.  We live in a world where, whatever you do, it has to be done with “passion”, where enthusiasm has to be seen over and above any other quality.

By contrast, while not shy, I’m introvert, only coming out of myself when I’ve gained the confidence of those around me.  I don’t like parties, and on the rare occasions I go to one, I try to stay in the background.  I enjoy politics and sport as much as anyone, I just don’t like shouting it from the rooftops.

When I confess that I’ve stopped exercising as much as I’d done the past few weeks, and hadn’t thought about any successes in my life for a while, Lesley asked if the unenthusiasm has stretched to my job searching.  For the first time since we started therapy, she’s irritated me.  The question was misjudged.

It may be suitable for a tiny minority of people, but for me, and millions of others, depending on a tiny welfare allowance, something for which I paid into for decade after decade, is far from a lifestyle choice.  I struggle to make ends meet, and often don’t, going without food or shoes with no holes in the soles if need be.

I search every single day, scouring websites, looking through papers, walking around shops and industrial units, searching for that place who can and will take me on.  So no, I am not unenthusiastic about earning my keep providing for family, to make a living, to feel the pride of being in work.  And I feel damn insulted for even being questioned about it.

There are one or two other things talked about, notably being dumped on my 18th birthday and how I coped with it as well as I did, but I really just want to go home now.  Lesley means well, and has to ask these questions to help me get well again.  But I am annoyed, though I hide it well.

Time to go, and Lesley talks about the petals on her magnolia tree falling off now.  I venture that if she wants something online to go viral, she might want to be covered in nothing but magnolia petals and roll around, just like that woman from American Beauty.

I’m glad we end on a fun note, both of us laughing.  Lesley has already done me a lot of good, and I’m not going to let one question I didn’t like spoil the great work she’s doing with me.  I have a million more far more difficult questions ahead to answer in this life.  Thanks to Lesley, it’s a life I’m starting to take control of.

And onward to home.  Via the shops.  More vomit to clean, more washing to be done, no washing powder left.  Sometimes life is good, but when it isn’t, you have to get through the drudge.  Via a washing machine surrounded by magnolia walls.

I can live with that.


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