If I told John I've titled a blog 'Badly Drawn Man' he'd think I was having a relapse back in to Body Dismorphic mirror dodging hell. Thankfully this is not the case.
However, it is how I see myself and have done as far back as I can remember. But these days I can just accept it and laugh it off.
I live in relative isolation. I have one genuine friend and soul mate who remains one of the only people I trust on this earth. But I still spend 95% of my time solo. Don't get the violins out. That's not the purpose of this blog. This is more about the long term effects a lifetime of depression can reap on you and how difficult it is to shed.
For five and a half of the past 10 years I lived alone and spoke to no one apart from when I was at work. I wonder how many people you know who know no one ? I ended up living like an elderly person who had lost everyone. It wasn't a choice. It was a fear. You fear people when you are depressed. You fear rejection, not of your physical self, but of your depressed self.
I'm trying to use this space as a confessional. It might be uncomfortable to read and I can promise you it is uncomfortable to write. I've not had a physical relationship in over a decade. I was never popular with the girls when I was a boy growing up - the teenage sweetheart passed me by. This continued into adulthood and would explain some of my disasters in the relationship department.
When I first met John, my therapist, 5 and a half years ago, I was, in his words, one of the most complex cases he had come across. You don't get 5 years therapy on the NHS for nothing. My diagnosis sheet was long. He couldn't box me. All the other therapy I had had in the previous 15 years was barking up the wrong tree. According to John I should never have had the ECT treatment.
John had to teach me how to do simple things like going out shopping - I couldn't function as an adult anymore - I avoided any social occasion for years. The idea of being in a room with a group of people was horrific.
Even now I have to build myself up sometimes to do what most folk would consider easy and everyday. I'm ashamed to write this stuff but it is important because I know that some who will read it will be able to relate and, I hope, not feel so fucking alone with it.
I can write this and face people I now know because for the main part I don't give a fuck what folk think of me and that's a massive sea change.
It has cost me jobs - relationships - fun - laughter - but it hasn't beaten me and these days I'm much stronger and want to be able to hammer the point home that if you know someone with a depressive illness then please don't shun them. You can't catch it. They won't do anything horrible to you.
They just belong in the family of badly drawn humans. Something doesn't click. Something was broken many years ago and it's not a quick fix.
We live in a very shallow country so image rules. Of course this is utter bollocks. Just one look on Facebook or Instagram and you'll see a very modern mental illness - narcissism!!
I don't have or want a social circle - I don't give a damn if someone finds me unattractive - boring - geeky - or a cunt even. I like being an outsider now - with John I've managed to turn this into an art form. He would much rather I had a massive social life and a band of friends but I always told him this was a battle with me he'd never win.
As I stated - I don't want violins - this is not a woe is me exercise. It's an account of a depressive. A mainly former depressive but a depressive all the same.
Isolation is not always a prison sentence. It can be a very welcome break from the vacuousness and vapidity of modern life.
Tim - London - 2015