Blog John, Mental Health

Thanks Elle. (John)

My mind is calm. My recent journey through the dark stuff with the demon is over for now, and I woke with this feeling just 4 days ago. (Elle)

Hello! It’s nice to be back. First let me say a HUGE thanks to Elle for keeping content up on the blog while I’ve been off on adventures. I’ve been blessed, bothered and buried by the amount of work I’ve done over the last month. From workshops with young adults leaving care, youth theatre work, live drama performances for exams at university, gigs all over the country and yes doing my show on mental health Delusions at a local theatre. In truth I knew this workload was coming three months ago and I’ve been looking at it with some trepidation, genuinely a bit fearful as to how it was going to impact on me. Elle is great at using analogies to describe things. I can only describe this past month as looking over a vast frozen lake, a lake where I know there are weak spots in the ice and putting my head down and charging across it at full tilt regardless. How very Bipolar of me.

If you read my other posts you’ll know I’m always reluctant to romanticise about my condition…buuuut…this month, that energy, focus and drive it can bring made me achieve a level of work I’m not going to try to repeat any time soon. It all landed in a oner by accident, now it’s done.

The highlight of all this was seeing Elle last night when she came to see the show at Alphabetti Theatre. It was a sell out night and the show was very well received. But being able to confide in her about how I’d had a near wobble right before the last show was a huge help and I was so glad of her company. And she looked well too. I was delighted with she was there and didn’t really feel like spending time with anybody else.

Yup my condition is always there lurking too. Pushing myself like this was inevitably going to have it lean over my shoulder and whisper in my ear. It happened after I’d done the show on Thursday night. I went for a beer with a friend at a local bar and music venue. People know me around Newcastle, not always for the best of reasons, and it didn’t take long for a few faces from my more hedonistic past to start appearing in the bar. It turned out indie dance band Alabama 3 were having an after show party upstairs. I know the manager of the bar and he was saying, “You must come upstairs and join in the fun!” Then about a dozen genuine hells angels appeared and headed upstairs too. So now I’m looking at a party with a very cool band in a room filled with a biker gang. People that know me from the past, and a few that were there that night, will know this is the sort of room I used to charge into, shouting let’s get this party started. Not now. Rooms like that aren’t good for my head. What? A cool band and a biker gang all upstairs for little me? That’s a delusion of grandeur knocking at my door. Despite huge persistence from all assembled I resisted and headed home. But the circumstances had made me wobble a bit. Christ, that would make anybody wobble. At one point one of Alabama 3 came downstairs, stood beside me at the bar, and then turned and said to me, “You know you’d think with where I am at with my life that everything that is happening upstairs would be wonderful…But it’s not…it’s horrible.” We grinned at each other and he went back to his duties at the party. If that wasn’t my sign from whatever Gods you worship then I don’t know what is.

Today me and Elle have been enjoying a tune from the Fatboy Slim LP You’ve Come a Long Way Baby. We certainly have. Enjoy. x

9 thoughts on “Thanks Elle. (John)”

  1. Cheers john! That analogy of the frozen lake is brilliant. As we were saying last night, when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder you can FIND yourself places without necessarily realising all the stages that brought you there. Suddenly you realise you’re flying, or in a high energy state, or crashed out, without really having a sense that there was any place en route you might have controlled things. I’ve been concerned for your level of busy-ness this past month, and am glad you made it across the ice. Rest now! (Elle)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post.
    You’re both getting through it with style.

    (Same scenario: I was working with a band who were once invited to a Hell’s Angels’ party after the gig… I used to be the wild one but managed to wangle out of it- and there’s more to that story, too!)

    Keep on keeping on? Thanks.


  3. I was at your show (John) on Friday where you very generously allowed me to take a five minute set along with a few others from your workshop. I also saw it on Thursday night and it really is excellent – you strike just the right tone in talking about mental health in that context, matter of fact and humorous, not pious or self-pitying which can be such a pain in the arse. Glad to know you have someone like Elle who understands and is so lucid. We all need someone who doesn’t just sympathise but knows what the experience is. We are programmed to comprehend things we don’t otherwise have experience of by analogy and so you run up against the simplistic efforts of the well-meaning along the lines of depression makes you cry so it must be like being really sad. Well, yes but, more importantly, no. It’s a bit like trying to explain the taste of salmon to someone who has never eaten it. You’ll struggle to get past the ‘it’s fish’ stage. With which absurd observation I shall leave you. Margaret


    1. Hi Margaret. Thanks that’s a great analogy. Much thanks for your support on the Delusions show. I’m sure I’ll see you again soon. Am going to propose an open mic night at Alphabetti Theatre so will keep you posted.


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