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Melancholy Star

£14.99

By John Carter

ISBN: 9781847478993
Published: 2009
Pages: 282
Key Themes: depression, counselling, day to day, autobiography, hope

Description

This is the real-life story of John Carter's experience of living with depression. It is not a step-by-step guide to “beat” depression. Rather, this is the actual story of how one person living with depression gets through his days and long nights coping with suicidal thoughts that are never too far away. The chapters are written in chronological order through the author's school years, his first work experiences, and his arrival to and subsequent departure from university at the age of 30. In the last two chapters, the author writes about the rollercoaster of numerous counselling sessions, and about his hopes and dreams for the future.

About the Author

John Carter is 35 years of age and lives in a small flat with his cat in Nottingham. He currently works part-time as a reader and reviewer of books for a literary agency because he loves reading as it takes him away from the hardships of real life and it gives him something to look forward to each day.

Book Extract

CHAPTER ONE

WHEN I WAS A LAD

I was born in 1973 on January the 16th. I sometimes wonder if it was grey, overcast, murky day, in keeping with my life. My family lived in an area of Nottingham called Sneinton Dale - a working class area, not twenty minutes by foot from the city. My dad was just starting a career as an electrician and my mother had to look after two hungry, noisy, young kids.

My mother told me when they first moved into the house in Sneinton, my parents didn't have the money to buy their own furniture. They had to borrow and make do - just the same as the rest of the people who lived in the 'dale'. That's why my dad had to work away from home. It was something he regrets doing because he didn't get to see the family enough or watch is children grow up. My dad got used to being away from home. So did we. In the eighties, he spent 16 months working in the Falkland Islands at Port Stanley Airport.

When I was about two and my elder sister was four, we moved to Carlton, where my parents still live today. Carlton is slightly more 'upper-class' than Sneinton. It's a soft area. Nothing ever happens there. No robbery and no fighting. The atmosphere and environment are leisurely and casual. Carlton is only about a thirty-minute walk from Sneinton - but it’s uphill all the way! Carlton is surrounded by hills. You cannot go anywhere without having to do battle with a hill, and there’s usually only one winner!

I suppose, looking back, I was lucky that we moved into that area. On the road that our house was located were a lot of young families of similar age to ours. A lot of what I remember as a young boy growing up is painful, but there are also great bursts of sunshine and light. I was part of a pretty unremarkable gang between the ages of nine and twelve years of age.

The worst part of my life, at that time, was the bed-wetting problem. It was more than a problem - it was horrendous. The thesaurus defines the term with such words as, dreadful and unbearable. I could have used either of those. All three of them in fact. This period of my life had major repercussions on my life later on - it influenced the way I thought and more importantly, what I thought of myself. The real struggle that a depressed person has is not with the world or outside influences. The real conflict and the real bloodletting lies behind the false smile. The real fight comes maintaining a façade - a false smile here, a false laugh there. Anything to look like you're fitting in. And all the time, there's a tornado causing havoc inside, where it really counts.

I put my mum and dad through hell and for this I'm truly sorry. I cannot convey my love, respect and admiration enough for them. However, years on, I recall having a pretty emotional conversation with my dad, and him telling me that he didn't know how else to handle the situation. He told me there’s no manual or handbook on how to bring up children. My dad's approach was a tough one. He believed that the way to solve the mystery of my bed-wetting, which lasted until I was fourteen, was by punishment. I am living testimony to the fact the punishment wasn't the answer.

The deal was that if I wet the bed, I would bring down the sheets and pyjamas and simply put them in the washing machine, apologise for what I'd done and then go about the normal business of doing last minute homework or panicking about something before I left for school. If only. If only life were that simple!

I went to extraordinary lengths of keep the floods at bay, or to 'build a dam for the night'. I cannot properly put the feelings down in words. I tried a method of placing both hands around my genitals, so if the damn burst, I'd be awoken straight away and be able to react with lightening speed! It didn't work. My next earth-shattering plan was to wait for it, stay up all night! That didn't work either. I was desperate.

While this was going on, I was still living an 'ordinary' little boy's life. My dad was punishing me now on a regular basis, and I quickly learned that the goalposts were moving. The deal was that I would bring down the wet 'stuff,’ and my part would be done. It never turned out that way. I can't remember how it started, but I think I made a deal with my dad that if I hid the 'stuff' or didn't tell my parents, then I was in line for a 'good hiding', as my dad used to say.

The punishment included being given a cold shower. The cold water drumming on my head was painful. It was a horrible. It was even more frustrating when I hadn't broke my end of the deal! My dad was growing more and more frustrated. He told me I was costing him a fortune in washing powder! I think, in truth, he was angry and frustrated at having his son, his only son, blighted by wetting the bed. As I grew older, his feelings of disappointment in me would become like an irritating itch.


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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 07 May, 2009.