Shade of Red | December 2016
“Shade of Red ~ running through my head”.
I’m writing this post around the Christmas holiday, so I hope you have enjoyed the festivities, or if you haven’t, you’re probably glad it’s over for another year, and wish for a change of fortune or circumstances in 2017.
First published on: 30 Dec 2016;
Last updated: 7th October 2018.
Shade of Red | History and an age of austerity
History. The global banking crisis of 2007 and 2008 brought about a period of economic recession in the UK. The term age of austerity, was popularised by the conservative party in 2009, and in 2010, austerity measures were introduced by the conservative and liberal coalition government.
To be achieved within five years’ through substantial reductions in the funding of public services, and tax increases amounting to £110 billion.
Towards the end of 2012, I started waking regularly in the middle of the night with what I described to my local GP (general practitioner) as symptoms of a panic attack. I was 39.
Around 18-months of tests followed (I believe for Crohn’s disease), but their diagnosis was that I had hypertension and I should “watch my weight”, and take prescription drugs to control it, paid for by monthly direct debit. I only had myself to blame.
2013. And under pressure from many conservative MP’s and the rise of the nationalists, the conservative government announced an in–out referendum on membership of the European Union.
Shade of Red | Austerity and leaving the European Union
The Tory’s instigated the referendum, in part to check the rise of nationalist political party’s, whom themselves were driven by the agenda of populist main stream media. The tail wagging the dog if you like. They thought they couldn’t lose.
Early 2016, and the public mood in the UK had reached a new low. The political and ideological ‘age of austerity‘ measures had already bitten extremely hard;
June 23rd 2016. 52 per cent of those who bothered to vote (72 per cent), decided by referendum that we would be leaving the European Union.
The economic burden of the bank bailouts, and rising UK national debt, despite claims that the government were “paying down the deficit”, brought even deeper ‘austerity‘ and under funding of public services from central government.
Shade of Red | Anxiety and depression
The day job became unbearable, which was partly due to incompetent management, feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, hopelessness, and the threat of redundancy.
Between April 2016 and December 2016, I was systematically abused at work by a narcissistic sociopath. There is no other way to describe it. I had two break downs and some time away from a job, that I’d been commended for doing over a period of 26 years’.
At the time, you blame yourself because you can’t get your head around, “how can this (what ever ‘this’ is) be happening to me”? How would you know??
Towards the end of 2016, I reluctantly made an appointment with my GP, who diagnosed anxiety and depression. I don’t believe I was ever at risk of self harm, but it was a weight off my shoulders to finally have a mental-health diagnosis. I was 43.
Since then, and thanks to the support of my family, closest friends, colleagues at work, and a mindfulness coach, I’ve managed to change how I think about myself, and take care of me.
It’s been difficult. I’ve always felt that I have no right to be depressed, and have unconsciously spent much of my life trying to convince myself that I am happy, whilst gas lighting myself about my own depressive tendencies.
Shade of Red | A floating life
My job is well paid. I’m in relatively good physical health. I’ve married the same woman twice, and my children still like to cuddle up with their Dad. Floating on what many would think as privilege and luck, so what right do I have to struggle?
But I have often struggled. It’s normal for everyone to struggle. It seemed natural to be preoccupied with external causes: teenage angst, an unemployed spouse, the darkness of the British winter.
I had been increasingly unable to locate joy, even as the dark winter turned to spring. When good things were happening, I’d have to keep telling myself that I was having fun, and that I was doing things that made me happy.
I would say to myself that I didn’t deserve to feel unhappy, when so many people have it much worse; when even in my close circle of friends and family, there are those struggling with more acute illness, relationship breakdown and economic hardship.
Shade of Red | October 2018
I’m more comfortable talking to my family, friends, colleagues, and even my boss, about my mental-health. Everyone has been supportive, which I give enormous credit to the work of mental-health champions over many years, the ‘Time To Change‘ organisation, led by “Mind” and “Rethink” charities in particular.
Everyone has been matter-of-fact about my diagnosis, taking it seriously, but also pleased to hear that I’m practicing better self-care. I still have down and up day’s.
Anxiety and depression are conditions that you have to work at over a lifetime. Last year, I took a decision not to take anti depressant tablets. They were prescribed but I found out very quickly that they made me feel worse. I don’t need them.
This is what I’ve learned since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression:-
- It’s okay not to be okay
- I’m more than my anxiety
- Perfectionism is a creativity killer
- Talk to someone you can trust
- Let thing’s go; relax and unwind
- Headspace – A useful Meditation app (some of it is free) which helps with mindfulness
- I am loved by my family and closest friends.
Is there anything I can do?
This is a resource I’ve found helps me and I hope you find it helpful too >> Self-care wheel
“Shade of Red” © | Music and lyrics by Simon Edward
“Shade of Red” is a song inspired by my love of music, the colour red and a personal battle with anxiety and depression.
I wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the song at home between July 2014 and November 2016:-
“Shade of Red” ~ Credits and with much love to:-
- Stuart Martin on Drums and percussion;
- Helen Flack on Piano;
- Simon Edward on Bass (and other things).
- Jaydee Supernatural + ‘Infinity’ Custom Basses;
- GP12XV pre-amp by Trace Elliot;
- Yamaha SY85; Korg 05R/W;
- Stuart Martin plays Collector’s Series Drums by DW;
- Drum heads by Evans; And sticks by Vic Firth;
- Cymbals by Sabian;
- Recorded at home with Reaper 5 by Cockos.
The last word
In summary, thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. I wish you joy and happiness in 2017. Take care of yourself!
InfinityBass.com | by Simon Edward | First published on December 30th, 2016.