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Tears of a clown
Tears of a clown
Demons. Everyone has them. Some people don't know it. Some people cant escape them.

For some people they are just something that lurks in the background. A small movement in the shadows occasionally popping out and get in the way for a while before being banished back to the shadows again or shut behind a locked door not to be given a second thought for the next decade.

For some they walk with you every day as a constant companion. An inverted shadow that surrounds you blocking out light you instead of beneath your feet created by light.
This thing, this invisible entity, is an invisible succubus that feeds on your soul with barbs so deeply embedded in you they become part of your physical being. Part of your flesh. The makeup of your bones, eating into your soul.

Usually you manage to hide it from the outside world. Often it's a lonely existence in this twilight world, surrounded by people who can't see inside. You are hidden by a veneer built up from a lifetime of practice. Occasionally a crack appears in this veneer and when it does the darkness comes flowing out like a gushing uncontrollable flow of magma burning everything it touches, turning you into a hateful exhibition of every wrong type of emotion.

I'm one of the latter.

If you are one of the former I envy you. I wish I could be like you. I try, god fucking knows I try. But sooner or later I always seem to end up driving people away and destroying everything around me.
I bring these problems with me. I carry this huge weight on my shoulders like Atlas carrying the weight of the world as a punishment from Zeus, only... I don't know what I'm being punished for.

I characterise my succubus as a thick dark cloud, sometimes as a black dog. Visualising it helps me leash it. Sometimes its just hanging around and I almost manage to forget it but other times the cloud grows and it surrounds me like a thick solid substance. It squeezes me with a force that makes my movements slow. It becomes a treacle through which I steadily move and it invades my head makes thinking rationally difficult.

I don't like myself much. I find I often distance myself from people, I don't see or contact friends for sometimes years at a time. People think I am bad tempered. I'm not.
Sometimes I have tried to explain this to people. The usual response is "You've always been a miserable bastard".

I am seldom at peace with myself. I don't think I am a nice person. I have no love for myself.

I watched an interview with Stephen fry on the TV recently. He was talking about a night when he was backstage with Robin Williams who had just come off stage and in the dressing room Stephen Fry said to him, "That was incredible, Ive never seen a whole theatre laugh like that, you just made two thousand people incredibly happy!"
He looked at the floor and said "Really? Then why can't I make myself happy?"
I understood that...

So how have I ended up on this road? Why am I such a train crash.

Well, in the last ten years Ive been seen by various medical departments had literally years of counselling and through this sometimes very hard tearful guided soul searching Ive learned a lot of things about myself, some of which were difficult to accept. Perhaps the biggest of which is that I AM different to other people.
I have a mental condition that means I don't think like most people, I don't react to or cope with stress like most people.
I have something called Bipolar 2.

I had never heard of this until I was diagnosed with it.
Bipolar 2 disorder is defined as being present if the person experiences episodes of both hypomania and depression but no manic episodes. The severity of the highs and/or does not lead to hospitalisation and is characterised by character traits of cycles of high energy levels and positive mood, irritability, aggression and depression.
Sometimes these cycles can last for many months but they have no pattern. The upswings can irritate the shit out of people around me with whatever it is Ive picked up this time often going way past the borders of obsession. The downswings are more noticeable and I become self-destructive and I push people away from me.

And just to compound that, it seems I have some form of mild Asperger's syndrome. Ive never been fully diagnosed with this and I doubt I ever will be at my age, but I have taken part in some tests and my score is right up there at the top of the spectrum. I often struggle interacting with people and when I get it wrong, which I seem to manage a lot, I usually have no fucking idea why someone is upset and even when it is explained to me, I struggle to understand what it is I've said or done wrong this time. It upsets me that I do this and I cant see the things that everyone else seems to.

Life it seems to me is a small round hole and I am a huge square peg…

Something else I have learned through this process of deconstructing my life is that isn't new. Its not something that has happened in later life, although I have been through life changing episodes that bought everything to a head, its always been there. I just didn't know it.
I know now that when I was younger I subconsciously developed strategies to deal with it.

When I was at primary school I was taken to a physiatrist for my behaviour. They said I was bored and had a reading age far older than the other children.

At secondary school was a handful at best and I clashed with everyone, peers as well as staff. School was a miserable place and I ended up expelled when I was fifteen.

My strategy as I got older for dealing with my highs was to pick up various aggressive sports like Thai boxing, white water kayaking and windsurfing and I would immerse myself to the point of complete total all-encompassing obsession and my strategy to deal with the lows in between was to force myself into the centre of attention by any means possible because that was how I made people around me laugh.
At a party I was the one who would light a firework on the kitchen table. In a burger place, I was the one who would start a food fight. In the street I was the one who would throw things through a window. In the park, I was the one who would get pissed until I puked and then dance on the roof of cars and I seemed to collect other dysfunctional people around me.

In short, my strategy was to become a horrible little cunt who wanted to fight the world and head-butt life.
I didn't know then why I was doing what I was doing. Hindsight is a powerful thing, but when I look back now, knowing what I know now, it was all there.
The inside of my head always was a dark place.

Recently, I met the mother of someone Ive known since I was 13 years old but lost touch with for many years. I was talking to her and she told me that she remembered me as a very angry and extremely sad young man.
I have thought about this conversation since and it brings a tear to my eyes. She saw me for what I was. If only she had found a way to tell me.

I wish that I could go back and meet that young man. I would take him by the shoulders and explain to him that he didn't have to live like that. I would tell him what was wrong with him and take him to someone who would help him. Things could have been different.

I managed to fuck every relationship I ever had, but then I met someone. She was the sweetest kindest, most gentle caring person Ive ever met.
I have no idea why she liked me or what she saw in me.
Whatever it was that she saw, she somehow managed to control whatever it was, and still is, that drives me. I almost fucked things up many times, but never quite managed it.

Then she got ill. It was horrible. Then she got better for a few years, and then she bcame ill again.
We went to hell and back. I became her carer. Then we got married.
It was the happiest day of my entire life. It rained on my wedding day. Torrential rain. But I didn't even see it. All I had was sunshine. A year later, seven years after she first got ill, she died…

This was the worst, lowest, most miserable broken wretched time in my life. My succubus came hunting for me, got its claws into me, dug its teeth deeply into my soul and started to drink from it. I picked up a shovel and I started to dig a deep dark hole. And when I got to the bottom, I got down on my knees and dug with my hands.
That was when everything came to a head. That's when I ended up with the beginning of my counselling regime, two hours, thrice a week for two years, twice a week for the next year. My councillor got me referred through various doctors and that's when I was diagnosed.
After years of guiding me through unravelling my life, I found out I was such a burden, my councillor needed counselling to cope with me… Yes... I really am a fucking basket case.

People say "I've had depression. I managed to pull myself together" "I got depressed after my dog died" People mostly don't understand depression. It's a very misused term.
Unless you've ever had it, I mean really it, you don't have a hope of understanding it. It's a mental condition that you don't have. How can you understand. Sure you can have sympathy, some form of empathy even but if you have never experienced it, you can never know.
Its not something that ever goes away. You learn to live with it and you learn to manage it one way or another. I learned through all my counselling to be able to put my succubus, my cloud, my black dog on a leash. But sometimes no matter how hard I try, it slips its collar and comes tearing down on me like an invisible screaming banshee sucking the colour out of my life taking away my ability to function like a normal rational human.
I dont think I know how to be happy. Apart from my wedding day, I dont really remember being truly happy. Being unhappy has just become normal.
So here I am, riding the eternal train crash that is my life and I cant get off. Maybe one day Ill meet someone that can show me how to get off and teach me to be happy again.
Or maybe that boat has already sailed when the reaper found her...


I think Ive only ever met one person who really saw my succubus.
His name was Phil Terrett.
I didn't know him that well. He was a friend of a friend and he knew my sister. I used to see him around. He had never met Christine so he didn't know her.
A week or so before Christines funeral, she was in the chapel of rest. I went to see her.
Afterwards I walked out and crossed the road into the pub. I wasn't feeling any emotion, I was just kind of numb.
He was in the pub and without saying a word he walked up to me and gave me a hug, walked over to the bar with me and put a drink in front of me and he just sat there in silence shoulder to shoulder for a while and he cried.
He cried for someone he didn't know, or maybe he cried for me because I couldn't. Or maybe it was both.
We never spoke a word, but when I looked at him I could see his own Succubus sitting on his shoulders staring right back at me. I knew then that he could see mine and for a few brief moments, I wasnt alone.
I doubt he will ever read this, but if he ever does, he should know that on that particular day, he was probably the reason that I lived that week.
Maybe Ill meet him again one day and be able to tell him. .

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