Writing to Una back in South Africa yesterday I admitted that I was feeling depressed and flat, very demoralised about the writing going so slowly and feeling isolated over here, the future very uncertain. I have never suffered from clinical depression, but years of blotting out emtions with alcohol have taken a toll.
I am not very good at living a balanced life even if I share a life with somebody who has established a routine of meeting others and spending time with friends, hard work and plenty of outdoors exercise. The need to write takes up hours each day, and when it goes well I feel energised and happy. When it goes badly I want to crawl into a hole.
Moving here was not a geographical escape but it hasn’t been easy — sometimes my life now feels very unreal and uncertain. I don’t miss the Cape — well it is early days for that — but it is an effort adjusting to this society and the climate, the very different way of life.
There seems to be something missing at times and I can’t seem to access my deeper feelings except every now and again there is intense despondency or fear. I need to persist and try different ways of establishing a life and working on finding that balance. Making friends, talking more to others in AA. Perhaps I could speak more to Polly tomorrow when we go up to the cathedral gardens after the meeting.
I am afraid something will happen to Una, that things are not working out here. But the fears seem unbalanced and not unlike chimeras, erratic and fleeting, not grounded in realism.
Sunshine outdoors, the garden needing to be watered. I will go down and tidy the kitchen shortly. Have breakfast and read the Guardian. Then come back up here and try to write. Line after line, paragraph by paragraph. So many false starts and dead ends. Breaking stones, that is all, and I have to keep going.
This inner flatness is something I don’t quite know how to deal with — it makes me realise how I depend on my fertile imagination and the abundance of energy usually there early in the morning. This is the way I often feel towards the end of the day. But somehow to keep going and hope for a breakthrough.
Staying in the day, sober and learning to live sober, learning to write in a long-delayed apprenticeship, learning to live with somebody else while living with this dull self.
Perhaps a walk by the river might be a good idea — or some gardening. Mundane but life-restoring routines. Or perhaps I should find somebody to talk with, break the loneliness. The mood will pass, it is just a question of patience and common sense.