- “Stop focusing on who you’re not.  Pay attention to who are.”  -

Ursula is my therapist’s name.  She shares her moniker with the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid.  “Keep Singing!” commands the Sea Witch. One night, off my box at home I listened to the Little Mermaid Soundtrack, and took it as a sign that I should start a band.

Sometimes I’ve prayed to wake up as a girl.  That way at least I could score a straight bloke and give him what he wants. Be part of his world. Damn it.  Damn not being the little mermaid and getting girl legs instead of a fish tale. Damn not being Veruka Salt. Damn not getting my own way.  But maybe that’s a good thing. What a monster I’d be. 

Healing with Ursula is profound. It’s meditative.  Desperation has opened me to all sorts of treatments I would have otherwise dismissed. Ursula is keeping me alive. I attempt to sit with the uncomfortable feelings.

“My wrists…this feeling in my wrists…like I want to cut myself.”  I never had it before.  Sorry. It’s melodramatic. I want to be good.  I want to get onto a good path again. Ursula puts her hands on my wrists. The dark has been calling me.  The dark has been telling me that I’m no good.

Robin Williams is dead.  And I’m devastated. I hear about his death on the first day, and I stop drinking and smoking. This is attempt number… who knows.

In oblivion I’m not so nasty.  True that I may look like a zombie when I’ve had too much of something. But the slow road to killing myself is subtly winding. And no one knows where my head goes but me.  And when it’s over, when everything is all gone, anything is too much to deal with.  It’s easy to get down beyond substances.

How jealous I am of those who bounce back.  Perhaps I’m only seeing their ‘best of show reel’?  But no, not everybody knows depression. They bounce into the day with glee.  I’m 37,  not 17. And now I know too much.

I lasted two months this Summer.  21st of April until 21st of June.  On the Summer Solstice at Body and Soul festival I caved.  Two nights of sleep deprivation and I didn’t succumb to even a whisper of whiskey.  I suppose it helped that many of my friends weren’t e-poppers and a lot of them were off the booze.  But all night car-park techno parties bring no sleep. 

Withdrawl is a bastard.  No sleep, and withdrawl is a cunt.  And on the third day I walked off the site of the festival ranting to the heavens.  Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. The heavens. Like an over-zealous Ben Hur I was losing my shit.  At 6 in the morning the sun was up and tears rolled down my cheeks.  Tormented, I stomped into a farmer’s field and lay down in the muck. “ If you can hear me, Fuck you God.”  He wanted to see me break.

Tim and I would perform that eve as Buffalo Woman. Our band is getting there.  Took us a while - we were finding our voice. “Keep Singing.” I sing.  He does the music.  Despite my desire to crawl into a hole, I wouldn’t let Tim down.  I wouldn’t desert him. Bollox I just needed to not hear the incessant thud of electro for one hour.  A sensitive little lamb am I. I hate being this needy. Sobriety suits better than carnage.

My search for a quiet place within the music festival culminated in expense.  I took part in yoga and I had an hour long massage.  Lovely, of course. And the pals were all about smiling and shining and having a great time.  The gig loomed.

I can be weird before a show anyway. But exhaustion un-buried my corpse.  Tears flowed gently down the stream.  There was no stopping them.  I darted through woods keen to avoid hellos for a compassionate pal. Not a pair of dark glasses in sight to hide the terrible truth.

Backstage at Wanderlust my friend Kathy set me up with a healer called Mari.  She put her hands on me as I bawled.  I felt like a 4 year-old who’d been thrown to the lions. I remember feeling helpless. “You are in control,” said Mari. I didn’t believe her. How could I be? She said what I needed to hear and coaxed me onto a blanket and played a meditation podcast into my ears. Like magic I drifted into a deep relaxing doze.  Thank God.

I was wearing vintage Louis Copeland.  I’d like to say Louis Vuitton. Fuck it. I’m proud to be Irish and wear Irish, Copeland all the way!  It was lamé… gold lamé. Borrowed.  Fine.  Now feeling much better, I had to get back to the van for the pre show prep chat with Tim.  Every 5 metres another angel hugged me. I needed bolstering. At the van I was introduced to a new friend called Christian and the poetry was not lost on me.

A quick rehearsal done and Tim and I grooved on down to the Pagoda stage.  While he set up for sound I danced with whoever had gathered there. There was nothing to do except start feeling better.  And I did.  I felt like I had been broken open.  My mates were all gathering and then it was time for kick off.  And in the state of post-apocalyptic bliss, we relished our gig.  Everything was grand with no need to push. I’m not going to say all the pain was worth it. Ah fuck it. All the pain was worth it. We leapt off the stage at the end like giddy goats and resisted the temptation of one more tune. Mostly because I was exhausted.

5 more hours of wandering around exhausted led us back to the van and the campsite.  Our neighbours were brewing mushroom tea.  “Mushrooms are allowed.” And that was that.  I disappeared. And then a joint. And then another and another.  Ah look... I’ve been smoking everyday.  I know it’s not heroin. But it’s my heroin and keeps my soul stolen.

Here I go again into withdrawl. Easing myself. No weed allowed. A sip of wine. A cigarette here. Coffee. Yoga. And watching my mind. And its ability to send me barking.  Barking up the wrong tree. Clawing at the unobtainable.  I move with some strain from my ego into my heart.  And the death of the ego is painful.  But at the other side is spiritual awakening. And sexuality.  A sexuality that does not know the word “yearning”.  One that is based on trust and connectedness.  One that can happen consciously and in reality. Intimacy. But what do I know.  I’m just trying to change my thinking.  Cause that’s what the text book says. It feels better than being a psycho and resenting my straight mates for not marrying me.