Wednesday, 6 July 2016

I sprained my mental health

I recently sprained my mental health, twisted it badly. I'm on crutches for a couple of weeks, possibly longer.

"What happened?" they said.  

Happened out of nowhere. I was driving home one day, pulled into the driveway and then BANG! It just went from under me. I managed to get inside and to sit down and have a look.

It was swollen and ugly. Bruised and delicate. The slightest touch and slightest movement just too much to handle and I was worried I might cause more damage.

"It doesn't look too bad" they said.

Most of the strain can't be seen, the damage is on the inside and it's very slow to recover.

"There's a couple of exercises you can do to help" they said.

They do help but once I stop I can feel the pain again and it gets worse as the day goes on. By night time I'm curled up in agony and I struggle to sleep with it.

I was told to wrap a bandage around it for support if I'm going out. That will keep it stable and no one will notice. I leave the crutches at home too and try not to hobble because I don't want to bring any attention to myself.

I hope it gets better soon, I want to get back into things properly but it seems to be getting worse. I'm reading loads of stuff about how to make it better and I've asked a couple of people for advice.

"Have you talked to anyone?" they say

Well I'm talking to you.

The swelling isn't going down so I keep taking painkillers which stops the ache but only for a while. It's gotten so bad now I haven't gone to work.

The lads have been onto me about playing football later: "I can't play I'm injured" 

"You'll be grand sure run it off".

I went for a scan. "There's nothing broken" they said.

It's getting worse now.can't move at all and I'm uncomfortable all over. The pain is on my face and I'm complaining all the time. Telling everyone and hobbling around.  

"Does he ever stop?" they say "sure there's nothing wrong with him"

I'm ashamed now. I'm embarrassed. I'm can't handle the pain. I'm weak. 

I'm not going to work. Not going to football. I'm going nowhere because the person who is going nowhere will always get there.

The swelling is going down, but there's plenty of marks and scars. I'm left with a limp. 

"What happened?" they say.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Mindful sparring with the beautiful great

With gratuity and respect I shuffle once more through the treasures and moments from the wonderful life and times of 'The Greatest', Muhammad Ali. 

The death of a symbol, a superior ideal with a Greatest Hits collection most affirming and beautifully attained across sporting, cultural and civic disciplines.

His actions, his words all gave me prime to curiousness towards a mans knowing in stance; challenging firmly a childful anima to work an understanding on what it must feel like to know you are in fact, truly the greatest. 

A child throughout the 1990's, knelt innocent in reverence to a sport under many lights and many more dollars in the loom of a pay-per-view era. Boxing inspired. Tyson; Holyfield; Lewis; Benn tagged lovingly with preceding battlers Dempsey; Marciano and Durán. 

Far from complexity was the joy in re-runs; the commentary on style and worship in execution imitated through soft fists and flailing arms in front on a TV screen.

My Dad stepped in, adamant that above all discovery unearthing history and panache behind the 'sweet science', quite simply 'Muhammad Ali IS the greatest'.

No past tense. Stated. The old mans artistic devotion already held pedigree; Phil Lynnott; David Bowie; Clint Eastwood and George Best all A-listed so there was no doubting the principle of his announcement.

So began the fascination as Ali eased into my heart. Posters, books, rough-hewn VHS of famous moments inside the ring. Primary tokenism in teenage obsession as my prying mind expanded to grasp 'greatness' in its true form. 

It was in the context of his sporting profession in which Ali kept me guessing; the decree in promised conviction trumping predicted victory delivered upon a crystal podium forever risen above all others. The athletic shrewdness, fighting precision and prudent nous pronouncing 'greatness' alongside maladroit rapping and intelligent rhyme that bowled opponents down before a glove was yet undusted. 

This was an insight to confidence I had never experienced.

The political relevance escaped me. The wonder years of young felled me pure only to gaming excellence and boxing fulfilled the mystery of greatness in greatness. Latter years allowed me acknowledge Ali's humane eminence with knowledge of the power in principles cast in faith and desire to stand for what one believes in.

I fell short in the attempts to understand fully the non secrets behind the obvious fantastics of Muhammad Ali. The celestial reach of his greatness slew me due to my want to understand it all too much. 

Two decades later, two weeks on from his departure, the meddling presence of my mental quests rest well in admiring the great from a great distance, his spectacle is forever.

Words taken from the book 'Approaching Ali' by Davis Miller comfortably calculate and result the adoration held by me and many in growing up in the after years of his achievements:

"There are so many ways to think about almost everything. And none of them is nearly as round as reality".


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Local boy in a photograph

Measured by the directives of vulnerability in which meandering hesitancy has controlled a lack of action, I've been led back to bowers in my mind that I thought were buried and heavily overgrown. It was a bad week.

The inspiring quotes, self-help techniques and online links that encourage engagement, pride and ascetic stance in the face of what someone somewhere may define as 'weak', all insignificant in setting my feelings in line over the course of three difficult days.

Hashtags and trends on the front foot of what was a busy run in relation to mental health progression in Ireland did little for comfort and instead stood merely as a platform for finger-tip acknowledgement disjointed from positive mindful function geared towards personal goodwill.

No amount of talking heads in the Dail could have changed this.

I went for a walk. An April evening hung across from a setting sun, dimmed beautifully in celebration of brighter nights. A stroll in byword to 'clear the head' was deplorably tumbled to a drag that filled my head to the brim. Like a knotted blacksack bursting with routine of doubting questions, essence of worth uncomfortably topped and squeezed with hatred.

I stopped at a bridge, a flyover between Killester and Harmonstown DART stations. Red bricks topped with slabs, ancient to me as they've forever stood there to the best of my recollection. 

Slighting just above my forehead, it would have been easy to climb despite best efforts of a soaring green railings upon the slabs. This a necessary deterrent to prevent the mischief of youth or to discourage lifelessly desolate males in their 30's from climbing above train tracks to consider all options.

The path sufficed with my heels risen. I stood high on my toes holding the railings and watching through the grids as a train made its way. It's bright light torched towards me as the noise in my head settled allowing focus and effort to brutally assess the weight and time that would be required in falling perfectly as it rolled on by. 

The train passed along with my mathematical curiosity. I stayed on high on my toes with my forehead pressed hard against the fence. The squared embrace of its wiring shaping squares against my skin.

Starring down at the tracks, a song played in my head: 'Local boy in a photograph' by the Stereophonics;

'There's no mistake, I smell that smell,
It's that time of year again,
I can taste the air.

The clocks go back, railway track,
Something blocks the line again 
And the train runs late for the first time'