I’m afraid I’ve started out this year about as miserable as I’ve ever been. And not even the worst that could have happened has happened to me...thankfully.
I have nightmares in my waking hours of the worst but yes thankfully, hugely thankfully that isn’t the case, and equally as thankfully as happened for the first time this year last night I can still dream!
When I mean dream, I mean wonderful, life enhancing, mostly always Unfathomable, far fetched and near impossible & quite impossible things, but at least I can still dream them. At last too, because I’ve been suffering from insomnia something rotten this year and when I have slept it’s been for an hour or two at most, usually about 5am, that sleep that you’re body makes you do from being overtired, but isn’t a restful sleep and certainly not a dream filled deep sleep. Snoozing as my mum calls it. I was always faintly irritated by mum saying that she hadn’t really slept only snoozed. This mainly with mum was in the depression she was suffering the year before last. But now I can fully see what she meant. It’s the worst kind of sleep that denies you the most pleasurable thing about sleeping, dreaming, as well as awakening completely unrefreshed.
Of late I have been more aware of my own mortality than ever before. I have always like most people been scared of dying and perhaps unlike most people thought more about it, or rather it was the fear or rather extreme fear of loved ones leaving me, just as I was scared of my dear old dad dying long before he did. My dad was 44 when I was born, which doesn’t seem a lot now, but I remember being teased at school, people saying is that your grandad?! Stupid, dumb kids always take against anyone that doesn’t fit a boring normality. I was proud to be the only one in my school who had a dad who fought in WW2. My mum is 9 years younger than my dad, so I only started worrying about her after my dad died and many, many times I’ve worried about my mum over the years, if I can’t reach her on the telephone or if she was late meeting me at the station etc.
In the house I grew up in Poynton, and I want to stress that I had a very happy childhood, I do remember being scared if I was ever left alone even if it was a few minutes or thought I was on my own, and no I didn’t have irresponsible parents who left me alone when I was very young, but when I was old enough to know or cope better.
I have I believe suffered from depression for a long time now and only in the last week admitted this to a doctor who prescribed me for the first time some mild anti D’s mainly to help me sleep. Particularly things have gone bad since last summer. The play I did didn’t meet expectations and although I got myself an agent out of it, feel just about as far removed from acting as I’ve ever been. Also I’ve become worried about mum again as she had a relapse into depression again. Added to that there was of course yet another woman who I liked having met online going pear-shaped and I'm not talking about her figure!
Also I developed an anxiety particularly over my sisters insensitivity so much so that I had to block her and couldn’t speak to her for months and then when we did have a truce over Christmas it was soon broken with an almighty row just after Christmas. I am ridiculously over sensitive and my sister ridiculously insensitive, we are just bound to keep falling out sadly. But I wish that wasn't the case.
Another huge blow recently was Maisie my mums dear little shih tzu, a member of the family and I felt her loss as acutely.
Dear Maisie, died suddenly a few weeks ago and I felt her loss terribly. It hurts even writing about it.
Maze, an absolutely gorgeous dog, a real member of our family. We lost her after a potential cancer was spotted and she went under anaesthetic for a biopsy to test for it.
It still breaks my heart to talk about it, but I had noticed she was terribly uncomfortable on the night before and even came down to check on her in the night before, rubbling her stomach as she loved, but I didn’t really believe or couldn’t believe that she’d leave us. It still breaks my heart that mum was buying food for her in Morrisons when we’d left her at the vets to collect her later. Mum never gave up hope on her and that makes me cry the most. Mum went up to Scotland with my sister a few days later as had been pre planned. She told me couldn’t cry for Maisie even though she was terribly upset and I understood completely and empathised but that made me cry too. I buried her in the garden, left two candle lit lanterns where I had, and buried her with a love knot of Christmas tinsel to symbolise the wonderfully spirited effervescent little dog she was and how well loved and missed she was. Like missing Christmas like I always do when it’s gone in January, the light and the sparkle and even more so with the loss of such a beautiful and hugely characterful dog. After mum left for Scotland I was sobbing like a baby pretty much all the time so much so my eyes hurt and my stomach was as upset. I even left the Christmas tree up lit up long, long par twelfth night because so much was gone from the house that I couldn’t face that going too. I realise that in Maisie I was seeing the end of an era, mum has had dogs since a long time before I was born. I have never known a time without a dog and for almost 50 of my almost 56 years mum has has owned and bred them. Maisie was the last of the line and a huge part of my sorrow at not just losing a magnificent little dog is my concern for mum and her future well being too. I realise, I’m scared that in my current predicament that I couldn’t face anything happening to mum and am scared beyond belief that when mum leaves me I will have no one and will simply not be able to go on.
“Maisie you drive me crazy, but I love you all the same” I would always affectionately sing to you. You kept me company when no one else did particularly when I felt low last year and mum was away. “You’re the best dog in the world I would always say to you when you were sitting on the sofa, and you would look quizzically back me at me grinning that toothy grin I so miss. You were the last of the ‘Fabulous Three’ as I called yourself, Callie & Orly. I know you missed the other two when they went, particularly Callie who you would boss round, although feisty Callie would stand up to you playfully. You would charge around the house in the evening having a mad moment with the spirit of Callie long after she’d gone, and you spirit is still here. I have only just hoovered not wanting to remove your hair from the carpet, your hair once a nuisance has become treasure and I have kept a lock of it.
Dear Maze’s basket is still in the kitchen & the chair in which she sat & I can’t move them, am worrying that I should before mum returns, but don’t want to. Worst is late at night and I’ve turned the tv off and it’s too quiet and I still say goodnight Maze and try to believe I can hear her snoring from the room I sleep in above the kitchen. I am crying just writing this.
A lovely pharmacist in Nantwich Morrisons went through a list of things that might be depriving me of sleep when I asked her to recommend effective sleeping pills recently and after going through everything from no caffeine after 6pm and yoga, she suggested stroking a dog and when I told her you were gone her face met my sadness at saying this and she could offer no more help. I will always miss you, I hope you’re not mums last dog even though I don’t think mum will want another, because no matter how lovely they may be, they will never match you. Your lovely spirit will always be with us wherever we are, wherever we go.
Saving me from bleak introspection in the last week has been Coronation Street….!
This is a sentence I never thought to write. I have been aware of Corrie all my life, grew up with it on the tv. I was remembering my first memories of the street the other day and can remember vaguely a coach crash away from the street. Looking into this as I have been quite a bit in the last week as research for a job, sadly not acting in it, but working as a tour guide showing people round it. The coach crash on a trip to the lakes was in 1969 when the show had been on tv for 9 years and I was 5. I remember watching it through the whole of the 70s, particularly Hilda & Stan Ogden. And then mum has watched it through the 80s and 90s and I have always caught it when with her. But I became irritated with it’s issue based storylines and the trend in all soaps for high drama to increase ratings and compete with other soaps like Eastenders & Emmerdale, when I always thought the strength of these shows were the characters and the small stories that make every day life. So I virtually abandoned watching it and even chided mum for watching ‘this rubbish”. But at the moment the street is helping along with medication from feeling hopelessly lost. Yes I wish my new agent had at least been able to get me an audition for it never mind an actual part in it, and yes I am day dreaming that somehow me guiding people round it will somehow open one of them doors on Coronation street to its casting director, even though I am well aware that those doors don’t lead into a real world at all, even Gareth, the head of tours & attractions at ITV made a point of warning any actors training to be guides that this was not a way into the casting department. This faintly irritated me for the patronising manner he said it even if for all my Billy liaresque dreams I am well aware of that already, but as I have said my dreams, are made of stronger stuff than me!
So this is going to be a weekend job only, as they film Mon-Fri, assuming I make the grade of course as next weekend they will be looking to sign us off. But no false modesty I could do it tomorrow if they asked. I’ve not been guiding for this long, (22 years this year!) without having picked a few things up. Mainly an affliction for guiding at the expense of acting!) I’m more worried about where I’m going to live when I do the job at Media City, and doing some selling on their merchandise stand, which they want you to do as well. Not to mention that my legs ache after having just spent the last weekend repeatedly going round the set practicing the spiel in the freezing cold. In actual fact I am still hobbling round like a crippled old man two days on! So maybe I won’t be able to do it long term, but it’s keeping me sane for now! I am also ridiculously overweight, having piled on the pounds since the summer after barely a month of having lost a shed loads for the play I was doing in July. This time last year I was doing a daily exercise regime & had given up pasta, potatoes & bread as well as most impressively for me, sweets. At the moment I am definitely the biggest I’ve ever been, I daren’t with myself. Well I can’t because the scales are broken, and no I didn’t break them, but I might have. I can’t bring my mind, where my head is today to restart the diet & exercise again, but I should, I need to, I must and sooner than soon.
I have got to get myself together. Life is so precious and while I still have the gift of it, I am doing it a disservice to not live it. I must get out of this depression and not wallow in despair. Mum said to me which moved me hugely do it for Maisie's sake and I will. I will do it for everyone who I loved and lost. I am worried about mum and losing her is something I dread more than anything in my current state. I am scared of not having enough time left myself to matter to anyone. But I must try to and to enjoy life at the same time and hope for a good year for our family and the strength to cope with things and to overcome loneliness by being around lovely people. I must work to make my dreams real and that includes meeting a Marian to my (albeit ageing) Robin Hood!