“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #28 – David E Gordon

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My alarm goes off, yet again, for the third time this morning. I have already pressed the snooze two times and I know that I have to get up. I have work today and people are counting on me, or so they say. With a deep sigh, I let my eyes adjust in the early morning dawn light. I rub at them hoping it will help me focus, but the darkness seems to push in from all sides. The silence of my apartment is all around me, so thick that it feels like a heavy weight is sitting on my chest.

Slowly, I turn and let my legs hang from the side of the bed, my feet not quite touching the floor.

I rise up and steady myself against the wall just a mere six inches away. My apartment is small and the too-big bed takes up a lot of room. I had thought about leaving it with her and getting a smaller one, but, I just couldn’t handle the idea that she would be using our bed with him. I lower my head, my chin resting against my chest as the tears begin to fall. I sit back down on the bed as the sobs fill my very being.

After several long minutes, I draw in a deep breath and several short ones hoping to settle myself. It doesn’t take much these days to get me bawling my eyes out. I guess in some ways she was my safety net. What was it she had said? “This is too much for me. You are a wonderful man, but not knowing what I will find when I come home is… just too much.” I didn’t blame her. Some days, I didn’t know what I would find in the morning when I woke up either.

I get up again and slowly drag myself into the bathroom to get a shower and get ready for the day. Some days it can take quite a while for me to get ready, so I usually start earlier than I need to. After my shower, shaving, and brushing my teeth, I walk back into the bedroom to get dressed. One of the things my doctor has suggested is that I pick out clothes the night before and force myself to accept them, to not change my selection. Today the navy blue slacks and plain white shirt fit my mood.

I walk down the short hallway to the kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. The smell of the fresh brew reminds me of days when I cherished my first cup. Now, it is just one more chore that I have to muddle through. My doctor told me that doing these types of small chores consistently would help me return to my old self. While I wait for the coffee I check my cell phone. No texts and the handful of emails are of the upcoming weekend sales. No party or night out invites for me. Nothing for me to do or read here. Just nothing.

I sit down heavily in one of the two chairs at the small café-sized table. Some days I just can’t see the future at all, like the winter dawn barely breaking outside of my windows. It all seems very dark. I can feel myself slipping back and closing my eyes, try to reach for the ledge. I remember his “tricks” to reach for the next rung on the ladder. Not to look up at the top – just to look at the next one. Just one. Then one more. But with my eyes still closed I try to remember happier days gone by. I know they were there because she and I had been happy once upon a time. I can remember every detail of her. The way she smiled so easily and laughed all the time. The way the sun lightened her long brown hair and made her hazel eyes sparkle. I swipe at the tear as it begins to slip down my cheek. Damn! It is going to be one of those days.

I focus on the scent of the fresh coffee and manage to open my eyes. Standing up I lift my travel coffee mug and place the lid tightly on. Turning to leave the kitchen I pick up my backpack, which contains some tissues, a few pens and pencils, and a journal. My doctor says every day I am supposed to write down something positive and then share it during our sessions. Some days the best I can say is that my coffee tasted good. I know it’s not much, but it is something.

He says finding something positive every day means that I am doing well. I guess a good cup of coffee is better than nothing. And that also means that I got out of bed today, that I was able to get dressed, get through my morning routine, able to take a breath and keep breathing.

Like football players who smack the champion sign on the way out onto the field, I have my own sign. ‘They say I am doing well’ it says, with butterflies and flowers all around it. Do I look like a flowers and butterflies kind of guy? No, I don’t think so. But as I pass by the sign, I run my fingers across the words, trying to pull them into my soul, into my heart, and most importantly into my mind. Maybe that will help. Today, I need all the help I can get.

As the door closes behind me, I say it over and over in my mind – they say I am doing well. With a deep sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and then another and another. Maybe they are right. Maybe I am doing well. I hope they are right.

David E Gordon © 2016

author bio

David E Gordon is a suspense writer, his first novel called Cutter, available on Amazon.

Contact David davidegordonauthor.wordpress.com or facebook.com/DavidEGordonAuthor

 

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Thank you so much for taking part David!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #11 – Lisa Fulham

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New Year, New Me.

The first of January. A new start, a new me, but where am I supposed to put the old me?

Cracking the spine on my new diary with pen in hand I begin my yearly ritual of listing the things I want to achieve, but as my ballpoint hits the page I have a moment of anxiety; I don’t even know what I want for lunch so how can I write a list of things I want to achieve over the next twelve months? In frustration I pick up last year’s diary which was so important to me only yesterday but now feels like a lead brick weighing me down; listed in these pages I see nothing but failures which is highlighted most when I turn to the first page and see last year’s wish list.

The few small things I managed to achieve I crossed out to the point you can’t read what was there as an act of pure joy at having completed something . . . anything. I can’t even remember what those things were even though they clearly brought me a sense of accomplishment at the time. Glaring back at me between the sparse scribbles is everything I failed to do.

  • Take a night course in photography

I’d talked myself out of this one pretty early in the year because who would I take pictures of? It’s not as though I’m a social butterfly who people want to hang out with all the time and there’s only so many pictures of landscapes and buildings a person can take before it’s just seen as sad.

  • Lose a stone in weight

I at least started this one and managed to lose seven pounds. I was half way to my goal when Jon—my boyfriend of two years—dumped me and cake became my solace.

  • Complete a charity run

This one was vetoed due to not losing the weight. No one wants to see a fat girl run.

  • Book a trip to Bali

After Jon left there really wasn’t much point in booking the trip. There was no way I could travel all that way alone, I wouldn’t have made it onto the plane before my anxiety kicked in and that’s if I survived the horrors of holiday clothes shopping. Picking out a one piece while everyone around you decides if they want matching tops and bottoms to their bikinis, or if vogue was right and mix and matching was the way to go this season. Not exactly my idea of a good time.

The more I looked at the list the angrier I became with myself. Seeing in black and white everything you didn’t do isn’t the best feeling in the world, but when you’re a masochist like me you can’t help but keep reliving the pain of disappointment while constantly slicing the knife across your already torn and bleeding heart. Hours slip by as I read page after page about this woman I don’t know; her handwriting is just like mine, but I refuse to believe the words she writes are mine.

The pages of January and February are mostly filled with tiny victories in the diet and exercise area, mixed with uncertainty as to why Jon was becoming distant and unsupportive of the new me I was trying to achieve.

In March I found out why, he didn’t love me. He told me no one would be able to love someone who hid behind a fake illness like depression. He said I just didn’t want to be happy and he wouldn’t allow me to drag him down too so he left. Reading the thoughts and feelings I had during those months bring tears streaming down my face. How could I have ever allowed one person to make me feel so worthless?

Throughout April I seem to have been numb and there’s no evidence of attempting anything on my list of dreams for the year. In fact, I barely wrote in my diary at all and the few pages I did weren’t easy to read through the tear stains.

May was the month my mum marched me to the doctors because I wasn’t coping with life. I wasn’t dealing with my thoughts and emotions and I certainly wasn’t living . . . I was simply alive and present in body alone. Reading back makes me ashamed of myself. The hate and abuse I pushed onto my own mum for doing nothing other than love me and want me to be well makes me sick to my stomach and once again the list of dreams were ignored which is ironic as my doctor had told me I needed to focus on myself.

I make a mental note to spend tomorrow with mum and to let her know I love her always and apologise for the way I treated her back then.

During June and July I took my meds, went to work and moved back into my mum’s house so she could take care of me. What I wrote was that the world could get fucked and I was reverting back to being a small child who needed her mummy to tuck her in at night to keep the bad dreams away.

June and July were slightly dramatic months for me.

August saw me take a trip, not to Bali and not on my own, but a trip none the less. A few friends and I went to Paris for the weekend. Reading the apprehension I felt beforehand brings the feelings crashing through my body once again and for a moment my chest is tight and my breathing shallow, I don’t think I can continue this trip down memory lane, but I know I have to. I don’t know why, but I know looking back on the year gone by is what I need to do to be able to look to the year ahead.

The trip was one I’d always wanted to take, but had thought I would take it with Jon and we would explore the most romantic city in the world together.

Reading the fun the girls and I had while there brought me my first smile from the pages of last year. Seeing the Louvre, The Mona Lisa, The Eiffel Tower and losing myself in the gothic beauty of Notre Dame were a turning point for me; they reminded me there was a world out there and it was mine for the taking. The medication helped me not get too excited, the last thing I needed was to set my sights too high; I was all too familiar with the fall which could and inevitably would follow. My most vivid and profound memory of the trip though was adding my padlock to the hoards of others on the Pont Des Arts or bridge of love as it is more commonly known.

Surrounded by lovers holding hands and making promises to each other I crouched down and made a promise to my heart—never again would I give it to someone unworthy, someone who would not fight to protect it and rather than throw my key in the river, I brought it home and stuck it in my diary.

Fingering the outline of the key the promise I made slips from my lips “One day I’ll come back here with someone who loves me for my ugly parts, the parts I only show him and we’ll unlock you again.”

September always feels like a new start, something probably instilled in me from my school days and last September was no different. My every day routine became just that . . . routine. Things I found hard only four weeks before such as get out of bed or meet up with friends I managed without anxiety. I no longer worried if I made arrangements with friends they would cancel or that it would be one of the days I refused to get out of bed. I could go shopping in the local supermarket instead of driving twenty miles to the next town just to be sure I wouldn’t bump into Jon and fall apart.

It was also the month people began to comment on how well they thought I was coping with life. I think having that kind of external validation was something I needed to be able to see the change in myself.

October and November I decided to get back on track with my diet and fitness. I joined a swimming club, running club and dance class. I almost chickened out on the dance class because of my weight, the fact that I couldn’t dance and I also had no partner, but my never wavering wall of support or mum as she prefers to be called refused to let me quit before I started and she came with me—trust me, seeing a fifty-five year old woman attempt street dancing will have you laughing off the pounds if nothing else. After a few lessons it had become one of my favourite ways to spend my time, the class was fun and I was partnered with a guy called Joe. He was a little younger than me, really fit and a great dancer; he wasn’t so bad on the eyes either.

The dance school hosted a Halloween show and even the beginners like me who had only just realised they had a left and a right foot were involved; because Joe was my partner and he was an experienced dancer we had a dance where we were the leads. We practised every night to get me up to par and each practise session ended later than the last. The night before the show Joe asked me if he could take me out for a drink, at first I thought he meant the whole cast were going and he wanted me to tag along, that was until he kissed me. The page for the thirty-first of October was filled with a flyer for the show and the rose Joe had given me as I walked out of the girl’s changing room.

December read like a love struck teenager wrote the entries, but the truth is I’m still learning a lot about Joe and myself as individuals—he calls us a couple, I call us love buddies.

Having relived the past year in just a few hours I realise how tired it’s made me, the year drained me for twelve months and I just let it take the first few hours of the New Year which lies before me.

I hear Joe walk into the bedroom, I think he’s been doing it a few times while I’ve been reading, but he knows when I need space and respects me enough to give it to me. Looking up at him I know no matter what the year ahead has in store, the lessons I’ve learned with this man will help me steer clear of my darker parts or at least know if I visit them, they cannot keep me for as long as they once did.

Cracking open my new diary once again I write without hesitation.

My goals for the year ahead

  • Live
  • Love
  • Learn
  • Laugh

My friends and family say I’m doing well, but I’m doing so much better than well, I’m doing strong and focused and MINDful. For the first time in my life I’m listening to the warning bells my mind and body send me. I’m learning to live within my own limitations and knowing that having limitations does not make me weak, it makes me human. I now see that asking for help is the strongest thing I can do while living with depression. I know anxiety can always appear without a moment’s hesitation, but I also know the breathing exercises I need to do to fight it.

Am I fixed? No, I don’t believe I was broken. I’m just wired differently to others.

I do have a new me stepping into the world this year, but where do I put the old me? I keep her inside of me because she is the greatest person to teach me things about myself.

Lisa Fulham © 2016

author bio

I am an explorer of words. I love to create new people and see what adventures they can go on, but most of all I love to write. My words are my passion. 2015 saw me attend my first book signing and I am pleased to announce I will be attending a Leeds signing in 2016 too. Please check out my blog for all my latest news and work

Blog http://lisafulham298.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @lisa298

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Thank you so much for taking part Lisa!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #10 – HA Robinson

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As long as the numbers on the scales keep going up and the smile on my face is convincing enough, “doing well” is what they see.

They can fill me with their chemicals and pump me out into the world with my jaw-aching from the strain of holding that smile in place, and they never need to know about the demon that roars to life in my mind each and every time I open my eyes to a new day. They don’t need to know that where I once saw the world in a myriad of bright, enticing colours that sung to my soul like the most beautiful music, now all I see are increasingly bleak shades of grey. The once vibrant gold of a sunflower, stretching itself up and up towards its namesake, now just pales into yet another dull, lifeless shade.

The sun is blazing in the sky. I can feel its heat against my skin, yet somehow, I still shiver with a cold that seems to run bone deep, as though I’ll never be warm again. The light dusting of hair that covers my pale skin is meant to be one of my body’s new defences against the cold, so why is it that no matter how many layers I wear, how much time I spend soaking up the heatwave they say is creating unprecedented temperatures, even for August, I still can’t shake the ice that seems to have lodged itself deep inside me?

The park is busy, the way it always is when the sunshine drags the pasty skinned inhabitants of the town outside for some much needed Vitamin D. There are children squealing with happiness as they run through the fountain jets that spurt cool water into the air. A dog barks with pure joy as it leaps to catch a Frisbee thrown for it by its smiling master. Footballs fly, ice creams melt, people laugh, and the world continues to turn. People are happy, people are sad, people are angry, confused or excited. Everywhere I look, I’m surrounded by a myriad of emotions, yet I can’t relate to a single one of them.

I can’t feel anything.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not even sure that I want to. Feeling is a little too much like caring, and no good can come from either. So, I sit on a bench, instinct bringing my knees up to my chest in an attempt to make myself as small as I can possibly be. I’m there, I’m present at the heart of a whole park full of humanity at its most… human, yet I’m not a part of any of it. Not really.

With each scene of serene happiness that passes before me – every perfect couple who walk by holding hands, every family with gorgeous, cherubic children, every group of teenagers playing football or giggling while watching them – more fragments of the ice inside me slither their way into my stomach, cutting at it like knives. I embrace the pain they cause. At least it proves that I’m still alive – just the way that the gnawing hunger I crave keeps me focused on reality. I control that pain. I choose when to force it to cut deeper and when to give in to it. With every pained yawn my stomach lets off and every stabbing pain that shoots through my entire mid-section, I take back another sliver of control.

Control is good. Control is comforting, predictable, reliable. And it all flies out of the window the moment I see him. My eyes are drawn to him the moment he sets foot in the park, like they’re a compass needle and he is magnetic north. He might as well be. He is different to everybody else in that park. They all fade into the grayscale monochrome my world seems to have descended into. But he stands out like the sun shining in the middle of the darkest night. He seems to be lit up from behind, his golden hair almost glowing as his speculative gaze scans across the park, looking for something. I desperately want that something to be me, yet the thought that it might be terrifies me more than I can begin to understand.

I curl just a little deeper into myself, my knuckles white with the strain of holding my legs firmly in place against me. But I can’t force my eyes to shift from him, no matter how hard I try to return them to the ground.

I haven’t seen him since before… Before everything went from simple and easy to confusing and scary. I want to see him closer. I want his warmth to suffuse itself through me the way that it used to when the world was still beautiful and the flowers were still bright and cheery, yet I’m afraid of it. I’m running out of time to drag my eyes away. His gaze is sweeping closer and closer, and my heart rate kicks up a gear, thundering in my chest as my hands go clammy and begin to shake.

I can’t even blink. And then his piercing green eyes find me and they stop their perusal. They stop and he takes one step towards me. I can’t help the way that the corner of my mouth turns up just the tiniest bit, but it seems to encourage him. Steps two, three and four are faster, taken with more confidence, and with each movement of his feet towards me, that twitch of my lips grows into something more. The hairs on my arms prickle to attention as I slowly fall into his shadow. My eyes finally fall from his eyes and drift to his scruffy trainers, the blue Nike tick almost completely faded now. I can see the new signs of wear that have set in since the last time I saw him, and for some unfathomable reason, that smile I have no control over grows. I try to bury it against my knees but I know he’s seen. He never misses a thing. I love and hate him for that.

I can feel his intense green gaze burning into the back of my head where my thinning, ragged hair provides almost no shield against his power over me.

My heart lurches into my empty stomach like a stone when those trainers move. He’s going to walk away without even speaking. Just as I deserve. I should say something, acknowledge him with something more than just a curl of the lips. He deserves so much more than that, but it’s been so long since I had a conversation with anybody that wasn’t a nurse, a psychologist or a parent that I’m not sure I even remember how.

I hold my breath high in my chest, feeling it burn there as I wait for him to leave. It bursts out from me in a surprised yelp when instead of walking away, he sits down on the bench beside me, not too close, but just near enough that I can feel his warmth against my goosepimpled arms.

I don’t move my stare from the spot his trainers occupied only a moment ago, but I can see his denim clad legs from the corner of my eye and I feel his hand landing on the warm black painted wood beside me, the very edge of his little finger brushing against my leggings, as though he’s as afraid of touching me as I am of letting him.

“Hey.” His voice is the same rich caramel I remember, and I want desperately to relent my grip on my legs and turn to face him. But that control that’s become somehow monumentally necessary for my survival keeps me firmly in place.

I allow the silence to stretch out for five seconds, counting each one slowly in my mind before replying. “Hey…”

I can hear the smile in his voice when he speaks again, and his finger shifts, brushing a little more firmly against my leg, sending sunshine coursing through me. “How… How are you?”

The uncertainty in his otherwise smooth tone is my undoing. My hands drop from my legs before I can stop them, and the right one falls instantly to his. My fingers ghost over his, absorbing some of the familiar heat before he turns his hand palm up and curls his fingers around mine.

I glance down at them and smile at the sight of them together – his tan against my pale, his strength against my delicate, his warmth against my cold. Without conscious thought, I find myself shifting just a fraction of an inch along the bench, closer to him.

I gift him with the fullest smile I can muster when I finally look up into his face again, my hand squeezing his. With him there is no control. There never was and there probably never will be. All there is, is that all-encompassing warmth, absolute knowledge of safety, and the sensation of falling over and over again.

My shoulder brushes against his as I lean in and whisper, “They say I’m doing well.”

HA Robinson © 2016
author bio

H. A. Robinson is a jet-setting billionaire with a home on each continent, who spends her free time saving kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings. A graduate of Hogwarts and a frequent visitor to Narnia, she drinks coffee in Central Perk and tames dragons on Westeros. In her dreams… In reality, she’s a support worker living in a small town in Cheshire, who would almost always choose fantasy over reality. She’s been an obsessive reader from the moment she picked up her first Enid Blyton book, more years ago than she cares to admit, and enjoys nothing more than getting lost in new worlds and adventures from the minds of all the amazing authors out there. She’s had the voices of characters in her head for as long as she can remember, and puts them down on paper in order to convince herself and the men in white coats that she isn’t crazy.

https://www.facebook.com/HARobinsonAuthor/

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Thank you so much for taking part Ms. Robinson!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]