Thanks, but no thanks for the memories (Memory: Part 1)

Brief analysis of the impact of memories

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Memories have been at the forefront of my mind this week. We all remember things in different ways and those memories are evoked through different means. Places, smells, sounds, colours or even words can send your mind into action.

Earlier in the week, I was looking back at some photos of a holiday from a few years ago. I thought “Mmmm what a lovely restful time” but my wife, Tammy, felt uneasy looking at the photos. They reminded her that this was a particularly stressful time for us as a couple and she let me know this for the first time.


This was a great shock to me. I was truly upset with myself for my responsibility for that hard period as a couple. As a man with a negative default all I could think about was that I’d tarnished this place and these photos, possibly for life.

The revelation shook me to my very core.  I was a prisoner of this guilt and shame again for at least 2 days.  My body became heavy and it ached.  I was so angry with myself.

Thankfully Tammy was not revealing that information to make me suffer.  She just needed to express her feelings to me.  She worked hard to remind me that for every sad memory there are many more happy ones in her mind. That helped me so much and gave me ammunition to fight off the negative thoughts.

The battle I overcame draws parallels with a song I wrote last year so here is an acoustic version of it which I hope to play at an open mic sometime when I pluck up the courage.

When the fear descends upon me
All my hopes and fears
Feel oh so far away

All my fun becomes a pressure
And all that pressure
Makes me want to run away

This burden on my shoulders
It builds and builds til

I get that sinking feeling
My torment
So unappealing

I don’t believe that I can do this
My genetics say
I’m just not made that way

I start to think a little different
I slow things down
And take it one step at a time

Step by step I claim the victories
My momentum builds until I find

I beat that sinking feeling
My torment no longer steering

The world is not my oyster

Negative Default

I won’t get up this morning,
I can’t get out of bed.

No point in making effort,
My life is doomed to fail.

The gloom and the worries and fears
I can’t leave behind.

The gloom and the worries and fears
Consuming my mind.

The world is not my oyster,
It’s the shark that swallows me.

The day I wrote this song I was in bed and overwhelmed by life in general. It was a day off from work but I just didn’t have the energy to get out of bed.

I get those days on occasion and it’s not anything to do with having the flu or a fever. I suffer with depression. It’s a very heavy thing.

A big part of depression for me is constant battles with negative thoughts in my mind. I have a negative default therefore it takes a lot of effort to go against my instinct and find positivity. This particular day I rolled over to get the laptop up and I recorded a demo using only the laptop’s microphone the keyboard and recording software.

It ended up sounding a bit muffled but still it was a little progress. It was also a way to slowly help me back up. The next day came and I wasn’t feeling as heavy.

*Disclaimer: I don’t always manage to recover from my down days but this particular day ended up being a slight victory! It isn’t always straightforward from my experience*

Eventually over time I recorded the song again using some slightly better equipment. It’s not exactly Bohemian Rhapsody, heck the verses don’t even rhyme! However it serves it’s purpose as a expression of that suffering.  Also this particular time I could use the song to acknowledge what was happening. Recognising what is happening can often be the first step in recovery.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and I think anyone suffering needs to know they aren’t alone. There is help out there if you think you need it. Go see your GP and they can discuss medication or speaking to a therapist.