Finding potential beneath the layers


A year had passed after I began a course of Cognitive behavioural therapy…

A soon to be boyfriend remarked that I had potential and perhaps I ought to seek help. It was buried underneath so many layers.

Relationships had broken down, professional, personal and romantic, career plans in the military had come unstuck. Overwhelmed and underwhelmed, I felt somewhat helpless and somewhat desperate.

I cut off my long shiny hair, abused my body, spent an unscheduled night in a cell and continued to explore points on my moral compass. I couldn’t sustain this much longer. I needed to escape; myself.

I disappeared in the sanctuary of a favourite old friend’s farm in Devon. I wanted to reconnect with myself, discover what was important to me, to experiment. Reboot the hard drive. ‘What are you running away from?’ people would say. Everything. I was running to something new, I just didn’t know what.

It was a beautiful six months of back to basics. Pulling pints in quaint country pubs, washing dishes, apprenticing at cabinet makers, creating furniture in a pal’s workshop, establishing a weekly jazz night, caring for horses and walking the dogs.

I observed life and people from many perspectives. Meeting some enchanting characters, curating memories and forging friendships.

I spent huge swaths of time alone in front of an enormous wood burner, cobbled together notes on the grand piano, until the sun rose over the frost covered hills, with the few jazz chords I’d learnt. I vomited words, about my life, thoughts, poetry and naughty limericks, into my notes.

Losing myself in creativity, nature and solitude was the tonic that I craved; it was wonderful.

That winter was cold, I would shroud myself, like a mummy, under three duvets and a tapestry, so heavy I struggled to move. I felt secure under there in the warmth. Darkness carried the dreams and daylight the nightmares.

I met Mr Potential in a pub that I worked in, we had met prior several years earlier. Perhaps I considered him the answer to my problems or perhaps I was the missing potential in his life.

Either way the therapy finished and with it out relationship…

During the last appointment, ‘my lady,’ softly announced that I had been suffering severe depression and anxiety.

I was speechless. I knew I was in a pickle but never depressed, my glass is always half full. Reflecting now is something of a paradox, happiness and sadness. Sad for how awful I was to myself, and happy for what I’ve achieved since.

But now I find myself in a quandary. When in the shadows my words flow somewhat more poetically and I urge and enjoy to write, but alas, these are fleeting moments.