Friday, 20 April 2018

Skindred, CKY and Danko Jones Gig Norwich 2018

I had the pleasure of seeing Skindred live again last night, along with CKY and Danko Jones. I'm really shattered from standing for so long but I wanted to write a little something to mark the occasion.

Danko Jones got things up and running with more energy than I really expected for the first band up. I thought they were really good.

CKY were up next and I felt a bit indifferent towards them. I was very tired by that time though, so it could have been more about me than them.

Skindred were up last and rocked the place, as they did when I last saw them. Benji is a cheeky chappy, and their ragga-metal sound infected the crowd from the get-go. They played a good mixture of songs, and new track That's My Jam is certainly growing on me.

All in all a great gig, and thank you to my friend Paul for getting me a ticket as my birthday present.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Dark Fiction - Ruptured

Dark Fiction - Ruptured

By Casey Douglass

Ruptured - Written By Casey Douglass

(It's horror, so stop now if you don't like gore or sex.)

I’m a lucky son of a bitch and I don’t mind admitting it. The swarm, when it appeared and started turning people into fleshy water balloons, sure had good timing. I was balls deep in a motel whore when things went south, my aching bones bouncing on the knackered mattress springs of the shitty bed. Luanne was astride me, wriggling and jiggling as I cupped her lovely titties. She was a gem, a good fuck, and, now I come to think of it, didn’t charge me as much as the other drivers. Sometimes she even let it slide until next time.

‘You’re too cute to charge honey,’ she’d said once. I’m really not. I’m an ugly pot-bellied truck driver who’d never get sex if I didn’t pay for it, and I know it! Shit, I’m getting maudlin now. Where was I?
Oh yeah, she was fucking my brains out when she yelped and rubbed her arm. ‘Some dang thing just bit me!’ she pouted.

‘Aw don’t pay it no heed, just another fan wantin’ a piece of you!’

She giggled and set to her rocking again. She stopped a few seconds later though, her cheeks flushing ruby, along with the rest of her face, her neck, holy shit, her everything.

‘I don’t-’ she managed before she popped like a water-balloon.

Shit man, it was like someone had dumped a bucket of slop over me, and thrown a raggedy old towel on me after! I was covered in Luanne, her gore and burst skin. I didn’t even scream as it was all in my mouth, my eyes, my hair. As it turned out, it was lucky I didn’t holler as it meant I heard the buzzin’.

A lone midgie circled near the stained ceiling fan, lazy and plump in a really strange way. It’s body looked wrong, that’s the only way I can really describe it. Another joined it and they diddled around and around. Shocked as I was, I remembered Luanne’d been stung, but I was frozen. Well, another one joined the first two, and before long the room was infested. I braced myself, waiting for the bite that would likely see my slop added to the bed, but it never came. I must have passed out because they were there one minute, gone the next. The light had changed though, so yeah, I’d passed out.
Along with being ugly, I’m not a smart man. I don’t mind admitting it. Is what it is. I did realise that maybe they’d left me alone because they couldn’t find me though. On account of Luanne’s... erm, remains. 

I got up, feeling the slick stuff slide down my body like day old jello. I looked out at the dawn through the smoke encrusted curtains and swore at the view. Blisters of gore were scattered around the parking lot, flaps of skin and crimson blotting the gravel. I ran to the bathroom and puked in the bathtub, didn’t have no time for getting to the toilet.

It was a rough day after, but I got through it. And the next. And the next. I was haulin’ food in my trailer when the outbreak happened, so I was set for a good long time. The radio told me the world had gone to shit, so I did the best I could. It was grim, but I had a plan and I stuck to it.

Now I’m sitting pretty in my tent, miles from anywhere, with enough supplies to last a good six months by my reckoning. I’ve learned that I’ll do anything to survive, and survive I will.

I don’t sleep that good, but I think it’s the tent. You see... using my head, I collected up the bits of skin left by the popped people, and stitched them into a three season tent I managed to steal from a sports store at the mall. I thought that was bad enough, but that didn’t quite keep me safe until I found I needed to re-wet them with gore each day. It was lucky I noticed the midges getting closer to the sides each night as the flesh dried out. I went back to town and used a carpet cleaner to collect people juice from the ground. The sun had baked most of it outside but in homes, well, rich pickings. It’s sitting in big plastic drums at the back of the trailer now, ready to baste the skin. Uggh. It stinks, but I’d rather struggle sleeping than turn inside out in the night!

The other thing that keeps me awake is the buzzing. You can skirt the swarm in the daytime if you are careful and wrapped up in well-sealed gear, but at night, it comes down and blankets the ground. I think they come down to the ground to fuck. The swarm’s getting bigger, much bigger.

Shit, I don’t think I`ll last long, but I gotta try.

I miss Luanne.


Dead by Daylight Haiku No. 2

Monday, 16 April 2018

Undulating Anxiety Waves

Undulating Anxiety Waves

By Casey Douglass

It’s been a few days, and thankfully, my visit to the doctor last week did reassure me somewhat that things were probably okay. I say somewhat, because things are never that simple with anxiety.

Despite my best efforts to relax and be patient, by the time my evening appointment finally arrived, I’d become very tired. This dented any resilience I had to my intrusive thoughts of catastrophe, and so I found myself pretty wound up. Even though some of the tension and fear had gone by going to see the doctor, my mind was still very much in health anxiety mode.

When anxiety hits, it plunges the body into fight or flight mode. Besides the physical changes this brings, such as adrenaline and a racing heart, it affects thought too. After the appointment, my thoughts were still back there, picking things over and trying to find any reason to worry. This wasn’t a conscious thing, more a fearful peeping under the bed to check that the bogey man really wasn’t under there. It was exhausting and upsetting, and my anxiety/OCD being the skilled agent provocateur that it is, it did manage to find areas of uncertainty to latch onto. I felt quite bitter about this, as it’s a sad thing to not be able to find reassurance reassuring, but a common issue with anxiety disorders.

This mental state has improved over the days since, but because it put me into a frame of mind that I’d not been in for some time, it pulled the scabs off a lot of, what I’d thought were, healed mental scars that relate to health. My mind has been like a fly buzzing around a meadow of cow-pats, landing here, then there, then there, rarely settling, but still finding the same old shit to chew over. This general state has also bled into other areas and agitated my OCD to start niggling at things that I was doing well with. Tiring. Fatiguing. Exhausting.

I’ve managed to mostly hold on to my progress in many areas however, which is something. This morning alone something that would have plunged me into despair was dealt with quite nicely. I’m mentally giving myself a pat on the back for that one, hell, a cheeky slap on the backside too. Why not. I did good after all.

Letting time pass is what I need to do, so it’s probably a real bonus that I can’t really delay time anyway, even if I wanted to. The hard thing is doing what I can in the day to not be idle enough to give my thoughts room to wander, but not busy enough to agitate my chronic fatigue syndrome. I get more fatigued as the day goes on at the best of times, and with this comes the lowering of my mental resilience. It’s damned tricky at the best of times, and a balancing act I often feel far too fat for.

Going for a rest now. Thanks for reading :).

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Patient Waiting - Maitri and Health Anxiety

The Patient Waiting - Maitri and Health Anxiety

By Casey Douglass

Blue Buddha - Casey Douglass

I have a doctor’s appointment today. Well, I say today, it’s early this evening, so might just as well be tomorrow. I don’t say this as someone wanting to bash waiting times or the NHS, I’m saying it as someone who knows how appointments can loom over your day, particularly if you suffer with any kind of health anxiety. I’m happy to have it at the time it is, I just need to get there, one second at a time.

It makes me sound like the laziest time-traveller around. I mean, it takes zero conscious effort to move forward in time at the same speed as everyone else. I say conscious because I know that during this time, your body is using chemical reactions and doing other things to stay alive, which is certainly effortful. Unless you are a robot. Hmm, a robot could be viewed in a similar way, using chemical energy in its battery to function. Okay, you might be a human or a robot, it makes no difference to this post I guess. Best of luck to you whichever you are.

I am a patient person. Decades of meditation and living with an anxiety disorder have shown me the virtue of being patient, both for health reasons, and in social interactions. It’s harder some times than others, like when you have a medical appointment looming, but there seems like a whole day between now and then. To top things off, your mind is firmly in the future already, waving from the doctor’s office, speaking to the doctor, getting that verdict on just what is wrong or right with you. That’s the tough part, the continual gentle effort of trying to keep the mind in the present moment. The lure of reassurance fantasies, or worst case scenario horror-fests, is a force that is hard to bear.

Since my current health anxiety flared last weekend, I have been practising the Buddhist notion of maitri, of loving kindness. This entails gently getting the mind to “stay” with whatever is going on in the current moment, to open up to it rather than to close off or push things away. It is something I’ve done before and have found new interest in this past week. I just sit, focus on my breath, and let myself feel what I feel, breathing it into my heart. On the exhale, I see whatever might help that feeling or state being projected to myself, and everyone else in the same situation. So in this case, I might be breathing in nervousness, and breathing out ease. I’m not doing it for any kind of outcome, to “get rid” of the feeling or to change it. I’m just trying to become friends with myself, as sitting with someone and wanting to change them isn’t often borne from a friendly place is it?

So that’s probably me for the day, doing the best I can to spend my time in a way that is helpful, with periods of maitri and rest. I feel that I’ve embraced the chance to practice “being” with how today is panning out, and I can see how it presents an opportunity to open up to things. Hopefully, and signs seem to point this way as far as I can tell at least, things will be, or are, okay. Whatever happens, I want to use this opportunity to grow as a person, as there will inevitably come a time when things won’t be okay, and I’d like to greet that time in as open a way as possible.

Thank you for reading, and I hope your day is going as well as possible.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Drugged by the Anxiety Rabbit

Drugged by the Anxiety Rabbit

By Casey Douglass

I was trying to decide whether to post a horror story I’ve written, or to write a more personal post. After checking out a particular song, I’ve landed on the latter. The power of music y’all. The song is linked at the end of the post if you want to check it out early doors.

I’ve been having the severest bout of anxiety I’ve experienced in over a decade. It was caused by a health concern that might have some validity, and was something I’d initially dealt with in a skilful, level headed, calm way. By skilful, I mean keeping things in perspective, being accepting, and not going into panic mode with my anxiety disorder. Then, going to sleep later that night, I became very prone to the anxious thoughts hitting home, causing massive whole-body anxiety flushes and agitation. It absolutely wrecked me and kept me awake most of the night. This lowered my resilience in general and left me even more open to my fears.

Anxiety is a bugger. During the day, I can call on more mental elements and tools to balance things and keep myself from chasing the rabbit. Unlike in Alice in Wonderland or The Matrix, following the rabbit when anxious means a topsy turvy adventure into anxiety land. It’s like fake news but more personal, you end up believing your own mind’s propaganda. At night, it isn’t a case of not following the rabbit, its more like the rabbit had chloroform in its little paw, knocking me out and dragging me down that tunnel against my will.

I felt like my mind had been ripped open and become prone to every paranoid fear and thought. I managed three hours of sleep I’d estimate, and none of those were consecutive. I know this shit inside out, have lived with it for more than 25 years, and it still gave me hell. The days since have seen me slowly rebuilding my resilience and perspective, with periods of anxiety rushes, and feelings of fear and doom. Each day has been slightly better than the last in this regard, which I am thankful for, but it all feels so fragile. I am living hour to hour, trying not to think further ahead than that. I’m very tired, very rough, and just trying to gently coax my body out of its sensitized state so that I can make more balanced choices in things. It has also been a balancing act when it comes to my usual Obsessive Compulsive tendencies, not letting myself slip back into old behaviours, as that will just compound things. On the plus side, my anxiety has left me nauseous which has cut down my usual levels of comfort eating. A small positive there at least.

I’ve been trying to write or post something each day, even if it’s just a tweet. I’m not sure how much sense they make as my mind is pretty foggy but at least I’m trying. I’ve had no paid work since 2018 started, and that’s a mixed blessing right now. I’m so so tired. Finding stuff to write purely for myself is helpful to give me a focus without the stress of someone wanting something to be a certain way, but on the other hand, fuck, I hate feeling like such a failure when it comes to making a go of this writing thing. At the moment, I have bigger fish to fry just getting through the day though, so I can think about it and not feel too down.

Thanks for having a read, and thanks to anyone who has interacted with me in the last three or four days on social media, I appreciate it. Social media isn’t the best of places a lot of the time, but it’s always lovely to see there are some nice people on there too.

Oh. The song. Korn’s Jonathan Davis has a solo album coming out, and What It Is is a track from it. Really liking it right now: