• Callum Holgate

Addressing Some Issues

As always, my return to my own website comes well over a month since I was last here, and frankly my excuses for this are poor. I was uploading some more of my work to another site and focusing on preparing for another stint at the open mic I visited a while ago. Though valid, these excuses aren’t great, and I was disappointed with my lack of update on the page, and as such, I thought I’d wake up a few hours earlier than I needed to on my day off so flood my page with a lot of new content.

With that, I thought I’d upload a poem that I wrote for a competition on AllPoetry.com. Awarded the honourable mention of the competition, I was proud of ‘A Councelor’s Incubation’ and being forced by the contest into writing on the theme of ‘transition’ made me take a step back to consider what kind of transitions I have experienced this year. Obviously, my most personally notable transition would be my experience with the university counselling system that I undertook earlier this year. Now, I’ve hinted at my experience in other poems, and may have even mentioned that the creation of this very site came about as a result of discussion in counselling, however I’ve never taken the time to truly journal my experiences in an upfront, personal manor on my website, and thus I thought I’d take this opportunity to do so.

Simply put, I was a mess at the start of this year. Recurring mental problems, unbearable over-thinking, and very self-destructive tendencies led to the unravelling of a fairly long-term relationship I was in, which then acted as the catalyst for my the inevitable breaking down of my mental state that had been deteriorating for months. Having now witnessed my own enthusiasm for multiple relationships, friendships, and personal interests die before my eyes, with no logic other than an unrelenting argument in my own head, it’s safe to say I reached my lowest point in life early this year. I was away from the comfort of home, struggling with the stress of the work load at university, contemplating the direction my life was in, locked in battles with friends, family, my ex, and most importantly; myself. Without going in to too much detail, I began to feel that my days carried little meaning, and that I required constant distraction to keep my head at bay; loneliness was a breeding ground for ugly thoughts. It was clear I needed some kind of help. I had flirted with the idea of counselling years prior but was always too nervous to mention it to family, too afraid that my own personal issues held no weight in comparison to those with serious mental health conditions, and that simply I was too embarrassed to ask for professional help.

I fell into the typical depressive clichés, spending all day in bed, starving myself out of a stress-induced disgust for eating, I totally changed my appearance, completely counter-acted the starving with bouts of gluttony, put on weight, pushed away friends, secluded myself in lectures. It was all very generic. The one thing I did gain from my dismissal of life, however, was a sudden feeling of “who gives a fuck what people think anymore.” Hilariously, this became my saving grace. This new outlook single-handedly led me to approaching my mum with the reality of my situation. It meant I couldn’t care less about who saw me cry; stranger or brother, it didn’t matter. I knew I was in an awful place, and this acceptance pushed me into the arms of counselling.

I had been scouring my university website, just curious as to what their support system was for people who were struggling, and as it turns out, it was incredibly helpful. After maybe the third or fourth time of opening the same tabs and reading the same information, I called my parents and told them I was going to try and get help at uni. I came out of that conversation ready, and that same day I went to a drop-in session at the student services building. Following a short chat with someone who was the epitome of ‘Lovely grandma-type’, I was given a sheet to fill in, gave my information over, and was sent on my way.

I took to the library to fill in this sheet, and upon reading it, had this sudden realisation of how seriously I was taking my situation. Reading questions like “In the last few weeks I have had suicidal thoughts” and answering in the affirmative seemed so much more real when it was written in pen ink on an official pierce of documentation. Trying to contain the source of my problems in the box on the back of the sheet was a trial, but when the sheet was filled in, I gave it back, and within two weeks I had a confirmed time slot for counselling every week.

I’ve already gone on a bit, so I won’t describe the entire six-week counselling experience, however I will say that it is honestly one of the best decisions I have made. Simply having a 50-minute slot of your week set aside to vent, to reflect, and just have another person listen was honestly life changing. My counsellor pushed me to do the things I wanted to do but had mentally restricted myself from doing. She got me to embrace my writing, convinced me to share my poetry, to talk to new people, and simply to accept that yeah, occasionally I’m going to feel like shit. By the time my counselling was over, I was a changed person. Though I would certainly not say that at this current time, I’m ‘cured’ of my anguish, and I obviously still have some pretty bleak days occasionally, but in those brutally difficult months at the start of this year, the transition I made from pre to post counselling was enormous.

I hope this didn’t just come across as a big ego-stroking post, as that certainly wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to be transparent with anyone who might read my site. This website exists for me to document and save the writing I have created, and with it, the story and the emotion that comes with them, and as such, I felt as though the impetus of a lot of my writing, and certainly the emotion behind it should be addressed on my site.

So yes, sorry for this awfully heavy upload to kick off the chain of content I will be uploading to the site today, I ensure you the rest will be easier to digest. I thank anyone who has read anything I have uploaded to my website this year so far, and certainly thank the people who have taken the time out of their day to tell me they enjoyed my ramblings and inspired me to continue. Writing has had a counselling-like effect on me this year, and I only hope that what I’m doing can also benefit even just one other person as it has me.

#blog #writing #poetry #poem #personal

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