It was a question that normally we all take for granted, that demanded a positive, unhesitant answer and one usually replied in the affirmative.
But after hesitating with a pause that was so long and wide you could have driven a 192 bus in it, I eventually answered Jeff with a mumbled, "yes, I think..."
Thing was, I wasn't, even though this was his birthday party and I was talking to all and sundry initially at least, was being quite jovial. However as the booze sank in my emotions, or rather lack of them, came to the forefront and the phrase "the lights are on but nobody is home," sprang to mind as I continued my rambling vacuous speaking to friends and people I had never met before. Call it hidden, bottled and tucked away raw emotions, development of acute anxiety, developing dangerous negative thought processes and insularity, but whatever it was, I went home at 6AM that night and self-harmed myself before turning in.
After a couple of days nursing a hangover and living in an emotionless fog, I eventually sought help, first through talking to a close friend of mine in intimate surroundings where we wouldn't be distrubed and also to my mum. They recommended a chat with my GP and I eventually saw him last week. It helped that I had known him since childhood, and although no doubt he was a busy man, he took the time to list, without prejudice and with genuine concern, whilst being calm and making me feel at ease.
To sum up, I have been diagnosed with mild to moderate depression and today I sent forms off requesting counselling sessions which will involve cognitive behavioural therapy. I still haven't got to the nub of the problem properly yet but recently I know I have been very stubborn, set in my ways, formulaic and at times cold, quiet and aloof.
What this self-help and hopeful recovery will do is give me a proverbial kick up the backside, change my thought processes, and be more assertive, confident and give me a new purpose and direction in life, breaking me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone
The ironic thing is that everyone knows and says I am a lovely, humourous and loving individiaul but sometimes I don't know it myself, and I need to rediscover and re-evaluate my positive atrributes to make life easier and managable again. I am my own man and if people can't change me that's their fault, not mine. And if anyone ever tells to "man up" (one of my most hated buzz-phrases which makes me cringe), they will earn a stiff but gentle rebuke from the new positive and assertive me!
Rambling over. The self-help and self-discovery won't be. Watch this space.
Or find out how talking tackles discrimination.