Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year of Spiky Introspection

Having come off Fluoxetine which was keeping me functional, if subdued, in mid-2010, after five years, 2011 has been a vivid year of intense highs and lows.
I am bitterly disillusioned with my job, which fails to engage me on any level. I actively dislike an improbably large number of the people with whom it brings me into contact. I’m in the wrong profession for my sensibilities and it is far too late to do anything about it.
My political awakening has accelerated. I joined the committee of the Edinburgh branch of my party, and worked on the campaigns for the Scottish Parliament election in May and the City Centre council by-election in August. Much of politics seems to involve running just to stand still, but I am fascinated to continue discovering what I believe in and what I think is worth fighting for. I remain inspired by the Green activists I work alongside.
Helen and I moved house in August, to a detached bungalow a mile further from the city centre than before. It better suits our needs, but I miss the community we left, and sense it won’t feel like home for a while. I took the opportunity to divest myself of a significant number of possessions, and am continuing to thin out my belongings. I feel lighter and more agile as a result.
Shortly before we moved, our cat Poppy died from renal failure. I cried every day for six weeks afterwards. The new house feels very empty and quiet at times.
Having started the year with an injured Achilles’ tendon, I followed a prescribed path of rehabilitation, and by the end of the year had run the Liverpool and Edinburgh half marathons, and the Edinburgh and Liverpool marathons. I’ve now run five full marathons, having never before run two in the same year. I ran Liverpool faster than I’ve ever run a marathon before, after a demanding training regime, which saw me out of bed before six, six mornings a week. There were a few more tears as I crossed the line.
I'm quite proud of my running, and also quite proud of my progress as a self-taught pianist. This year I passed my Grade Two and Three exams, and even bought a piano for our new home.
2011 was my seventh year without alcohol. Watching others dispassionately, I am ever more surprised at the damage it wreaks on individuals and groups.
Abuse of alcohol is one of the reasons I made 2011 the last year that I would go to watch tribute bands performing my favourite music. Contempt for the occasion from audiences mean that celebration has turned to desecration. Enough.
I still follow live music, though, and was lucky enough to be in the audience for Roger Waters’ performance of “The Wall” this year when he was joined by David Gilmour and Nick Mason, reuniting all the surviving members of Pink Floyd.
Like Pink himself, I am subject to funny turns, and without Fluoxetine, I had felt my underlying depression start to reassert itself, and have been referred for very helpful psychiatric counselling, which I continue to follow. I’ve also dipped a toe into meditation, thanks to the Edinburgh Sri Chinmoy Centre.
If there’s a theme to 2011, it’s been introspection. I’ve looked inward and audited my own assets. I feel less reliant than before on external possessions and approval.