A little milestone. Over two weeks without a suicidal thought. It goes to show I’m doing something right at long, long last – as well as getting that one lucky break.
It doesn’t need an Einstein, though, to work out what’s been going right. My mind has been filled up with preparing for the new job, getting things done. Buying work clothes, and a bike to get there, as well as – oh joy of joys – tearing up my job search book in front an amused adviser in the local jobcentre when I signed off. My, that felt good.
One thing I’m acutely aware of now, though, is that I need to get a lot fitter in body as well as mind. The couple of bike rides I’ve had to get myself used to saddle sores and uphill gears has ended with me flat out on the bed, doing nothing except gasping for breath for a few minutes. The bike won’t be used for the work journey until my legs stop turning to jelly and heart no longer feels like it’s about to burst through my body.
Having said that, I’ve loved the exercise itself, and exploring the local cycle paths, especially those by the seafront. Any therapist will tell you that exercise is a great way to combat depression and, despite my physical agonies when finished, the feeling of the heart pumping, legs rotating, and wind flowing against my body in the late summer sun has felt so, so good.
If it seems to be all going swimmingly, hmmm, well, not quite. I’ve been troubled by some bad dreams in the past week. The most vivid of them was seeing a plane crash. It’s one I’ve encountered often before and it always betrays a lack of confidence in me over a current issue. It has to be, this time around, self doubts that I can do the job I’ve fought and battled so hard to get. This time though – no, mind, you’re not going to destroy me, no matter what you make me dream.
Another dream involved a dog talking to me, which I remember I found quite disturbing at the time. Not as disturbed, though, as being punched, as I was in another. They’ve been deeply unpleasant, and when I’ve woken up have felt more tired than when I went to sleep, as well as anxious and a little down. The reason why they’ve appeared in my dreams I have no idea, other than my subconscious worrying about something.
The main thing, though, is that I didn’t dwell on them, and spent the days getting myself ready for a new career. Which is perhaps something I share with Alex Salmond now.
For the uninitiated, he is Scotland’s First Minister (Prime Minister or President in everyday English) and was at the forefront of the campaign to make Scotland a sovereign, independent state and break away from the United Kingdom. His campaign fell short, and within 12 hours, he had resigned.
It’s something that’s affected everyone’s mental wellbeing, the referendum. The full circle of emotions have been felt by everyone. From those campaigning to keep Scotland part of the UK, for long spells there was complacency, assuming victory without lifting a finger. That soon turned to panic when those in favour of independence whittled down a 20% lead in the opinion polls until, with a fortnight to go, the Yes vote took a small lead.
As for those wanting Scotland to break away and stand on its own two feet, there was determination, and then excitement as the effectiveness of their campaign began to reap its rewards. It almost turned to triumphalism when that rogue opinion poll had them as the majority just days away from voting, after years of struggling way behind.
In both camps, the mood became progressively more negative as 18th September grew ever nearer. The exchange of views between politicians and activists became intransigent arguing, with a hint of menace occasionally rearing its ugly head. People went beyond animated, and became angry when discussing independence, whichever side of the vote was supported. Despite what the media may tell you about the exhilaration of political debate, Scotland was a depressing place to be the past few weeks.
In the end, rather surprisingly, it was a comfortable victory for those wishing to stay British. 55% to 45% may sound close, but 25% more people voted no than the 1.6m who voted yes. 28 out of the 32 Scottish districts, regions and cities also voted to stay in the UK, indicating that 25% extra was spread over the whole of Scotland, and not reliant on one or two areas.
I felt for Alex Salmond. He’d spent his entire political life for this moment and, despite what was acknowledged to be a superb campaign at grassroots level, despite all his achievements, his vision fell much further short than the opinion polls had indicated.
His eyes were raw from crying, clearly, when he made his resignation speech. His face looked red and puffy, and his whole demeanour was someone who’s just had his heart ripped from him. I still am nowhere getting over that with my ex, so I really felt for him. I hope he gets help because he really did look on the verge of depression.
The vote itself has left me relieved. Not that is in any way related to the result, just that it’s all over now, and we can get on with life. The sadness, with the continuing undercurrent of bitching in some quarters at how it turned out, is that Scotland is a fractured nation at the moment. At least that’s how it feels. Which is something nobody wanted or campaigned for. Still, what’s done is done. We’ll get over it and get on with it.
Preferably with a new job and a pain free bike ride.