Thursday, 14 December 2017

Darkness to Dawn - Day 15

Day 15 (Friday 15th December 2017)
15 years ago the trend for the UK Christmas Number One Single changed, when the support for 
traditional bands ceased and reality TV started impacting the Chart. In the UK the Christmas 
Number One is the single at the top of the UK Singles Chart in the week in which Christmas
falls. Traditionally Christmas Number Ones were the best selling single of the year. 
Often there was intense rivalry between bands to achieve pole position - most notably i
n 1973 when 2 glam rock bands, Slade and Wizzard, battled it out. Slade won with "Merry Christmas Everybody" 
(which has remained their best selling song of all time and is the most played Christmas tune 
as well as being the festive song that nets the most royalties  - at least £500,000 pa)
I'm on my way to Leeds this morning to visit the people in our branch there and then on to the team in Beverley. It's good to get out of the bubble of London and see how things are in other areas. I suspect it will be a bit chillier than down south, but I know that the welcome will be warm. At the end of the day I'm driving on to Durham to fetch my youngest back from uni - I'm beginning to feel festive - the family will be back together. :-)

The writer of today's piece is not antisocial, but they have asked to remain anonymous. Once you have read their piece I am sure you will understand why. I am sure that you, like me, will want to wish them a better 2018. There have been a number of posts this year where people have shared their challenges and sorrows. One of the things I particularly like about the Advent Blog's reading community is the genuine concern and compassion that is shown by the many to the few. Life isn't always easy but it does help to talk and share. 


2017 can't finish soon enough. It's been an awful year. Illnesses, work, and personal issues all fell on top of each other to create the perfect storm and the storm rained darkness. It's no wonder that earlier in the year the wheels came off.

This darkness has always been there but it's always been in the shadows. It's always been part of the shadow. It's always been talking to you. This year its voice has been loud enough to start to, and then take over, the self talk that you're good enough. Not hearing your positive voice but the voice of anxiety and despair is painful.

Waking up several times a night and dreading waking up in the morning is a hateful feeling, only eased by getting so tired that you sleep because of exhaustion, not tiredness. Hiding that lack of sleep behind stories to avoid admitting it to your family and friends tests your creative side.

You read about the fear of public speaking and how people feel like prey. The fear of speaking at all is what dumbstruck really means. When half a dozen faces are turned at you in a meeting waiting for the next words you'll say. Not knowing what to say because you know what you'll say will be the wrong thing is true creeping death. So you say nothing much and become 'uncommunicative' and less of a 'team player'.

Those times in the day when you can't concentrate because the voice is there, reminding you you can't do this. 

The noises in your head are mixed with the noises in the office so you go to the lavatory and sit there for 10 minutes trying to gather the strength to get by. Even getting by for an hour would help you. 

The paralysis that comes from having so many things which haven't been done that you do none of them because you can't imagine doing one over another. And then dealing with the feelings of despair that you anticipate will come from the tasks not being completed.

Some people talk about you in glowing terms and it's difficult. Your self-esteem doesn't exist, you are panicking about what you said or did to create that perception of you and then have to steel yourself to go again and be better.

On a warm summer day you come home at lunchtime and stand in your lounge. You drop your work bag and weep. Deep and painful sobs that wrack your body for an hour. This is too much. This is wrong somewhere. You've felt like this before and you couldn't deal with it alone. 

You call the Samaritans. They recommend you see your GP. And a crack of light appears. You see your GP and they help you realise that you are unwell. It's the same unwell you had 15 years ago and you dealt with that by talking to people. You are recommended for counselling and you spend time with a person who listens. Another crack of light. They don't just listen though. They empathise, they get you to question those strategies and ways of working that are dysfunctional and energy sapping. It feels better and gets better week by week.

It was dark as night but the sun is coming, the sky is a deep violet now with a hint of orange. The dawn of something else is here.

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