Society

This month has been wobbly. I need to watch my all time favourite film but I’m not entirely sure I’m strong enough today…

Society

Eddie Vedder

Lyrics

It’s a mystery to me

We have a greed

With which we have agreed

You think you have to want

More than you need

Until you have it all you won’t be free

Society, you’re a crazy breed

I hope you’re not lonely without me

When you want more than you have

You think you need

And when you think more than you want

Your thoughts begin to bleed

I think I need to find a bigger place

‘Cause when you have more than you think

You need more space

Society, you’re a crazy breed

I hope you’re not lonely without me

Society, crazy and deep

I hope you’re not lonely without me

There’s those thinking more or less less is more

But if less is more how you’re keeping score?

Means for every point you make

Your level drops

Kinda like it’s starting from the top

You can’t do that

Society, you’re a crazy breed

I hope you’re not lonely without me

Society, crazy and deep

I hope you’re not lonely without me

Society, have mercy on me

I hope you’re not angry if I disagree

Society, crazy and deep

I hope you’re not lonely without m
Here’s a song for you… Society by Eddie Vedderhttps://open.spotify.com/track/4kRGpTEcDdZTAbc645OL2U

Bubble

When I started to write a post about mental health the other day I deviated. I was supposed to write about mental health in general and ended up just pouring my heart onto the page. So back to the original post…

I have many wonderful and talented friends who my life crosses with for fun, creatively and also with work. A few years ago a former student of mine introduced me to Katie, as we both had Lupus in common (I guess the disease is good for something). Immediately we got it, the whole chronic illness thing and everything that comes with it. To make it even better she’s a fellow creative soul.

We collaborated a few times in our quest for invisible illness advocacy and creative therapy. Over the past year Katie has been away studying for her screen writing  MA. We’ve missed having her around but the best thing is that she’s been growing her amazing talent. I know it’s not been easy with battling the daily illness thing and the lack of support she’s had. That just makes it more inspirational that she wrote and directed an amazing short film, Bubble.

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In Bubble we meet Erica and Paul, a couple struggling. ‘Erica’s desperate to burst Paul out of his depression, but on the first day he takes medication, she pushes too hard.’ The film is not really about the depression or how it manifests. It is about a couple and how their relationship copes with the the effects of depression.

Katie explains:

‘The representation of Depression in modern media is so often the sad person, who takes medication, and is sad. The human experience of a mental health problem, for both the sufferer and loved ones observing, is much more complex.

When spending long periods of time with a loved one experiencing Depression, I realised I had no idea how to help, or how to act around him when a black mood descended. I realised I was making things worse, but had no guidance on how else to be. It was then that I realised that there are no examples of stories or films that I knew of which exemplified what I should or could do for my loved one who was suffering so clearly but so internally.

Bubble endeavours to be one such example.’

I knew a little about what had inspired her and she told me a little more :

‘Two things really. Firstly I watched other short films and wanted to have a go to see what I could manage. And secondly I struggled to know how I could help friends  with their depression, so wanted to explore that.’

The film is a snapshot into understanding mental health from all angles. It cleverly puts emphasis on the couple rather than the illness. I think this comes from Katie’s innate understanding of invisible illnesses of all kind. After all we all live with, and experience the the illness someone has when we are close and care. We all learn to cope with it and don’t always get everything right. Invisible illness needs to be talked about, accepted and challenged.

Ohh and I almost forget to mention it, Bubble is up for an award. It’s part of the  Nottingham International Microfilm Festival Audience Award. You can watch and vote for it here:

Sharp enough

A friend posted that they could see me ‘developing an edge sharp enough to cut through this’ and carve a new beginning.

There’s been a lot of soul searching going on inside this skull over the past few weeks. But it’s all felt like a dull bladed knife trying to cut through lead.

You feel that you know yourself so well and can see your path. In a heartbeat it changes. A few cruel words that bring your world crashing down. Everything is bought into question. The smallest of routine, even the way you make tea or breathe.

The problem is all the destruction is so silent. Everything has changed for you yet the world still silently remains. It carries on without you. I’ve been walking the streets with voices muffled and blinkers on, yet inside a war rages.

All the rituals you made no longer have purpose and you carry on performing them till they are redundant and ridiculous. I caught myself hanging your washing on the line and didn’t know why… energy wasted on you. Taking two mugs out instead of one for coffee. Every word spoken has to be corrected. ‘We, I mean I.’ ‘Us, I mean me.’

Midway through crisis I saw ‘Things To Come’.

The protagonist’s life was changed in the moment her husband announced it was over, that there was someone else. A few meagre words to change an existence and send a life into crisis. More and more went wrong yet the film seemed so calm. Her life was disintegrating around her like a mirror of my own existence. Love, death, job all at once. Her existence questioned.

We (not the relationship we but the friendship one) waited for the revenge, the meltdown, the affair to match the inner turmoil. But it never came. She got a cat, smoked a joint, cried alone. Were we cheated because of the lack of drama? I felt it at the time because I wanted the catharsis of watching someone else meltdown then make it again. Slowly I’ve realised that there is no instant fix but we quietly feel the pain in order to change.

Inside all this quiet death of a life is a sea of turmoil.  But that’s just it, it’s on the inside and the world keeps on silently turning around us. We have moments of anger in which spiteful words are thrown to try to provoke the world into anger with us. We have reckless moments to feel alive to match the pain in our chests but the world still remains waiting calmly for us. Standing in the field watching the season change and the ghosts of my self harm race by I finally stopped and listened. The world was changing once again, partly dying and going to sleep before being reborn. I would stand and see the ghosts of others before me and those yet to be.

During this time we have the chance to be anything we want to be. We are stripped bare and our inner selves exposed. I’ve cried and stamped my feet, tried to dull the pain, let the blackness from the hurt slip from my tongue. I’ve tried to move this process on without stopping to breathe.

All this has quietly been sharpening my edge. Discovering a self that’s always been here and can thrive. The problem with a sharpened blade is the danger of using it. I need to find and practice new routines. For the first time they are for me.

So I’ve decided to keep it simple. To slowly take little steps one by one. In crisis I did a personality test and found out what I already knew:

To play with the first I’m trying to capture beauty however big or small.

Today we walked on the hills above Barcelona. The view was immense but my favourite thing was this tiny window with its beautiful succulents. Almost overshadowed by the might of the city, someone had taken the time to make it so pretty. My images when I play this game will be captured with the #seekingbeauty

Amy

I always love a story that makes me feel, a story in which the protagonist burns so fiercely that you cannot ignore them. As a child I could not get the Karen Carpenter story from my head. Then as a teen it was the 27 club. Later Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Sarah Kane would haunt me. So naturally I was drawn towards Amy’s story.

Amy first appeared on my radar the same time as most other people were aware of her (maybe rehab?) I don’t really remember. I do remember making a beeline to see her at Glastonbury though. She was playing the Pyramid Stage and we went to see the inevitable car crash. I didn’t really know much about her other than she was bound to play up. And she did, too trollied to perform and picking fights with the crowd. It wasn’t the experience I expected; I felt like a sick voyeur watching somebody self destruct in the public eye. The spectacle felt wrong and the audience were baiting her for a response. She gave it and we left feeling dirty from the cheap thrills of watching someone fuck up.

Only later did I hear her music properly and appreciate what a unique mesmerising soul she was. She sang from the heart and with such raw emotion, she was clearly one in a million. I fell in love with the story that she was singing. But yet again she was too fierce and burnt too bright. Then the news came that she was dead.

Once again the scrum for her story began and missed the point entirely. It seemed like the world was saying ‘I told you so’. But this was the world who had hunted her down and foreseen the demise and did nothing. In fact the world was egging her on, and I had been part of this.

Then came Amy the film, a well told story using original footage by the director Asif Kapadia. I was glued to every second, Amy is mesmerising in her every moment. Moments captured that are ugly and beautiful. Completely vulnerable yet she commands everyone she meets. A true old soul in a youthful media world. So yes it’s a story, a film constructed to portray a one sided tale (one that has been challenged by others). But when we stop pointing the finger of blame and focus on what Amy was truly about it opened my eyes to her music. Her handwritten songs and naive teenage poems sung with a wise and mature ‘beyond her years’ voice. She says herself she’s happiest when making music.

I love Amy as a hero and someone to look up to. Yes I love the romance of her story and the rebel in her appeals to mine. But what she stands for for me is all the fierce yet vulnerable, damaged yet expressive women out there. I know my creativity continues to save me, I just wish it could have saved her. I would love to hear what music she had left to give us. Love you Amy, I’ll fight on for you.