We all need to scream and wail
Neil 45. From the west country. Single. Lives in London and works as a Postman.
How are you?
Bored and average. It’s a phase. I have low level depression. I take anti depressants. I am afraid to come off them, which is frightening in itself. I’ve been taking them for a few years now. I have a stigma about it. What is it that I am depressing? What am I missing? What am I not addressing? We are so quick to label depression. One in four of us have depression now. Pills are a quick fix answer; ‘Oh you're depressed, take some pills and we’ll worry about it later’. We have sanitised our emotions through pills. We all need to scream and wail.
How do you see yourself?
How I see myself varies a lot according to my mood. It can range from a total failure to a huge success and if I compare myself to other people. I’ve never been afraid to ask people honest and direct questions. I’m quite honest and blunt myself. I see myself as realistic, bordering on negative although I don’t like negative people.
Recently just before I go to sleep at night, I have been asking myself: How was my day? I find myself going over the days conversations and realising I spend a lot of time talking about other people; analysing and criticising them. I suppose in criticising other people I validate myself. I am starting to ask myself what do I want?
My day to day job as a postman is a mundane job. Every morning at 5am I put on my uniform. It took me a long time to feel comfortable that I am the ‘trade’ - that’s not what I wanted to be in life. Oddly enough I feel more comfortable with it now.
There is a frustration in me. Something that I want to do but don't apply myself. I didn’t go to university. I used to have a chip on my shoulder about it. In our society people prove they’re clever by going to uni. I don't have proof. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised intelligence shows in what people say and how they say it. People see a postman’s uniform and have their assumptions. When I start a conversation, people are quite surprise; they might say something like - ‘Oh that was very eloquent’!
I see myself as funny, melancholic at times. On a bad day I think I am completely useless and selfish. But on a good day I can say; I’ve bought my own home in a time when that’s a really hard thing to do.
My academic and work achievements aren’t great. If I look at my CV I’m appalled. Growing up I yearned for my own space; a quiet, peaceful space with no shouting and interference. There was always a lot of white noise in our house; my dad mainly! No one told me it was possible to own your own home so the fact that do and am independent is a big achievement for me.
Society measures success by how clever you are; how well off you are. Why doesn’t anyone measure success by how many friends would be back and forth to you home everyday if you only had a month to live? It’s about having something solid around you. I was brought up told you cant trust anyone. My sister took that on, I didn’t. I have total trust in my friends and I measure myself as a huge success by that.
My mum is 82. She has life long friends who go and visit her regularly. She’s in a home and has no idea who anyone is. That’s what I call success. She’s won the prize.
What have you taken from this experience?
I've enjoyed it because it has involved talking about me. It’s given me food for thought. I'm wondering what my depression is all about.