It’s been one of those odd days. A regular and well worn path of traipsing the streets looking for paid work finally gave me an opening. An interview, no less, tomorrow. The walk home in the rain felt that little bit better.
Yet, as soon as I was home, I plunged back into a feeling of real sadness. Thoughts of my ex then came streaming back to me. I felt low, enough to just hide away in bed. The afternoon was then punctuated by troubled dreams and, of course, I woke up feeling more tired and depressed than before.
Why is this? Why does my mind do this to me? It’s so frustrating. The opportunity of earning a living would, 99.9% of the time, leave anyone feeling happy and pleased with themselves. This damn mind.
Anyway, I did actually force myself out of bed, and as I looked out of the window, the thought occurred to me. Is it where I live that’s somehow making me feel that way?
Now, we have all been told how essential it is to keep your home clean and tidy, something which I’m on top of again. What if, however, in the streets surrounding you, it’s not quite so well kept? Perhaps the grass is overgrown, or rubbish bags left outside, or the building itself looks dank and dull.
That’s definitely the case where I live. If I don’t go home via the seafront, which is what happened today, I have to go through a part of town that is best described as run-down. The buildings are in a state of disrepair, and the shops have gaudy fronts, ruining any modicum of style they may have had.
On the road leading to home, there are people hanging around drinking, any time of day or night. Earlier this year, residents were woken up to police sirens as a wife succumbed to the murderous intent of her husband. It really is a horrible area.
It’s not confined to the outside streets either. In the small block of flats where I live, some of the doors are grubby, with tyre marks over them. Late last year, police done an undercover operation in the flat below and nabbed the next door neighbour in the process of drug dealing. Another former resident is now also at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, after a spate of thefts, including from The Magnolia Tree House.
With such a beautiful seafront a few hundred yards away, and a lovely park a leisurely quarter of an hour stroll, it really is depressingly sad that beautiful old buildings here have been vandalised into endless flats and bedsits, with not a care of who lives in them. The park and beach used to be a part of town. Now it’s a sanctuary from it.
It can’t be good for the mind to be in that environment 24/7 and it had me thinking back to the times when depression has taken me by the scruff of the neck and taken me into the dark recesses of despair. Was where I living a part in it all?
Perhaps. When I was suffering the horrific experience as a teenager in my first job, that was situated in a then dilapidated part of North London, with my home a part of an unremarkable, unfriendly, ugly concrete jungle. The next time it got me really bad, guess what? Yep. I lived in an ugly urban sprawl, with an air of menace and a high crime rate.
I’m not saying for one moment that the homes we live in or around, and the general population of its residents, is a direct cause of sinking me or anyone into depression. There’s no doubt in my mind, though, that it’s been a contributory factor in how deep and how long lasting my bouts of them are.
This time especially, too, as because of financial constraints with my ex and I, I’d been forced to move to where I am now from an idyllic apartment. Great transport links, beautifully manicured gardens, quiet and tidy streets, and a lovely beach a short way away.
The stark contrast from there and a few short miles down the road can’t be overestimated. It really is chalk and cheese. And living in the chalk is clearly making me crumble, even on days of the cat getting the job interview cream.
So there we are. One simple solution. Buy a houseboat and I’ll be able to actually enjoy getting a job interview. Until then, even if the door will stay locked, the ambiance will continue to eat away at me.
So I’d best get that job.