a scot in north wales

To Be, Or Not To Be…(outside)

‘Today bore all the hallmarks of A Good Day.  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been signed off work for the past 8 weeks with depression and, well…it ain’t been too much fun around these parts…’

Anyway, after withdrawing from a high dose of meds, going cold turkey for a few days, and then starting on something new, it’s fair to say I’ve been feeling pretty bad.  However, even over the past few months, the thing I pride myself on is not losing my sense of humour.  Regardless of how awful I feel, I can usually find the funny in any situation.

But not today.

My brain, which has never been good with common sense, but tends to be logical and thoughtful, has been reduced to mush.  Last week, I put my kettle in the fridge; put milk in a cupboard, and I spent the whole day walking past a dead mouse, in a trap in my kitchen, and didn’t even notice it was there.  I’m dizzy at the best of times but I’m currently on a whole other level.

Because I’m not at work and feeling shit, I’ve become a bit of a recluse.  The only times I’ve ventured over the door on my own have been for medical appointments.  The rest of the time, I’ve been holed up at home, *thinking* about going out, but never quite getting there.

Making the effort… 

Two weeks ago, I met with a guy from the local mental health team and, after chatting about how I was doing, he made some suggestions on small steps I could take to feel better.  Some I agreed with and others…not so much.

For instance, he thought it would help if I could be more sociable.  So, I told him I didn’t like people.  He thought it’d be useful if I expanded my circle of friends to include people I don’t work with and I referred him to back my previous answer. At this point, he leaned back in his chair, tapped his pen on his pad, and looked at me thoughtfully.

‘You should try joining a local class.  Just a small one.  It’ll get you out of the house and stop you isolating yourself’.  I recoiled in utter horror before explaining that I’ve spent the past 20 years of my life actively avoiding that very situation.  Unless it’s acceptable to drink wine at the 10am yoga class in the village hall, I ain’t going.

Eventually, realising he wasn’t making any progress, he suggested I could simply leave the house and do something on my own.  I shrugged, told him I’d consider it, and promptly drove straight home.

a scot in north wales
actual footage of me thinking about going outside.

Giving it some thought…

It’s not like I don’t have things to do in the outside world. It’s just that I can’t make myself do them quite yet.  I have foreign currency to change, books to send overseas, haggis to buy (it’s Burns Day on Friday) and, most importantly, new doggos to meet.

And so, I spent all last week, and Monday and Tuesday of this week, building myself up for Going Outside Alone.  I boldly decided I’d drive the 30 minutes to Porthmadog and told Les of my plans so I couldn’t bail out.

And today, I did it.  I wrapped my books, grabbed my currency and left the house.  I even got changed out of my jammas.

I jumped in the car, turned my music up to You Will Almost Certainly Be Deaf by 50 and hit the road.  I remained calm and collected when stuck in a lengthy jam at temporary traffic lights and I drove slowly and patiently along winding country roads behind a learner.  This was going well; I was OUT.

Life on the outside…

I made it to Porthmadog and pulled into a space that was sufficiently far away from any other vehicle.  I put my jacket on, took a deep breath, and headed into the supermarket to buy haggis.  This is mainly because they’re not native to Wales and I can’t go out and catch one myself.

I took a short wander around the refrigerated aisles, trying to work out where they might be kept.  Haggis isn’t what I’d class as Cooked Meat, nor is it particularly Fresh Meat.  I figured my best bet would be next to the sausages, but to no avail.  I finally located it on a distant shelf labelled ‘Foreign Muck’ and grabbed one.

Pleased with myself, I shuffled over the to self-scanner and beeped my wee Scottish monster.  And then it happened.

For the love of all that’s Holy… 

I put my hand into the Mary Poppins-style tardis that is my handbag and realised I didn’t have my purse.  I was so busy organising my books and foreign currency that I’d left it on the dining room table.  I never thought it’d happen, but I’ve completely forgotten how to outside.

It’s not like I didn’t already stand out in Tesco, given I was the only shopper carrying around a bag of sheep intestines. But then I had to leave it, scanned but unpaid for, on the till.  No Scottish woman should have to endure such shame so close to the day of Our Lord.

I briefly toyed with the idea of asking whether the store would accept the South Korean Won I had with me, but quickly figured this would make a bad situation worse.  Plus, you know, I’d have to speak to someone.

So, with no haggis, no money to send my books, and no way to exchange my currency, I drove the 30 minutes home.  Despite my trip being a disaster, at least I noticed I didn’t have any money before filling my car with diesel.  I’m not sure I’d ever recover from that.

I have since decided that outside is not for me.


Suz xx




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