Sunday, 22 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 22


Day 21 – Seal – Kiss From A Rose



I started to mellow out in terms of music in the mid 1990’s. I loved heavy metal and rock music but I also needed a little mellow music to balance it out – you have seen this in the last couple of days and you will see this in the next day or two as well.

I think Seal is a great artist – something you may not expect to hear from somebody who champions Rammstein and Dream Theater. I can’t help it – I love to chill out to a decent mellow ballad.

Kiss From A Rose is my favourite song by Seal – with the possible exception of Crazy.

This period of my life was almost like a soap opera and I certainly needed some calm music to relax to.

There were a lot of things going on between 1996 and 1998. The highs were very high – I had two marvellous, beautiful and fabulous sons. The lows were extremely low – work was all-consuming and my relationship with W was deteriorating.

As far as work was concerned, I found myself jetting to and from Hong Kong on a regular basis. I was working on a building site and that, combined with the stress of the project I was working on, conspired to make my life almost unbearable.

Stephen was a young toddler and Micheal was a baby who kept us awake most of the night.

To add to the ever increasing stress, I was leaving home for up to three weeks at a time on business trips to Hong Kong. While I loved the city, I really didn’t get much chance to see it. The days were long and arduous on site and when I returned home, the pressure of work was immense as the deadlines were becoming more and more difficult to achieve, which meant having to work longer and longer hours.

Stress was building up and I was struggling to cope. I was tired constantly and I wasn’t sleeping. I found myself not wanting to wake up in the morning because I knew what the day would bring. Life was a chore and a mess – long haul flights to a sweltering city and working in dust and sweat while trying to deal with some very belligerent people all mounted up.

The pressure began to have an effect.

Finally something happened. I began to have chest pains and dizzy spells and, of course, Captain Paranoia was really helpful:

“You are dying!”

Being a hypochondriac, I listened to him and convinced myself that I was going to have a heart attack. And that caused even MORE stress. Memories of my dad’s premature death were starting to haunt me – causing me YET MORE stress.

It was like I was tumbling over and over inexorably in an unrelenting avalanche.

W was unsympathetic: “Of course you’re not dying: pull yourself together.”

I finally plucked up the courage to go to the doctor. He found nothing wrong but sent me to a heart specialist – just in case!

I ended up having an ECG and a thorough examination from a cardiac specialist.

The conclusion? All of my symptoms were caused by stress – every single last one of them.

I was in perfect health.

Something changed within me because of this little scare.

How could I be in such a bad way that my anguish was giving me physical symptoms?

Of course I was delighted to have been given a clean bill of health but it made me take a closer look at my life – almost from the point of view of a person watching me in an intimate way.

And I didn’t like what I saw.

Something had to change – my whole life seemed to be heading in a direction that I didn’t like – hence the stress.

That was a major turning point and it also eventually had dire consequences.

The first plan of attack was work. I began to stand up for myself and cut down on the trips and the hours I was working. I began to look for the positives and promised myself that I would start enjoying my life in the way that I wanted to enjoy it.

The work pressure finally began to ease off and I managed to reduce the number of trips to Hong Kong.

Sadly things weren’t alright at home, despite my wonderful kids. And with my new found positivity I had to do something about that. I thought that I could beat that too.

I tried – but it didn’t work. It was clear that W and I were drifting further apart, despite the kids, and when I opted to change my own direction, she resisted because her plans were sacred to her – and mine simply didn’t fit in with hers.

And she didn’t care. She didn't even consider my problems - as long as she was happy, everything was fine.

It wasn't.

It was the beginning of the end for us.

Again, I’m aware that I have selected a mellow and romantic song to remind me of a dark period of my life but songs like this really helped take me away from the pain – there is more of that to come. Equally, heavy metal provided an escape for me – two extremely diverse forms of music.

But I did find comfort in them both..

And it is that comfort that I remember when I hear Kiss From A Rose, rather than the increasing anguish.

Music is powerful and therapeutic, from beautifully mellow songs like Kiss From A Rose to powerful rock songs.

They both help.

11 comments:

Kath Lockett said...

"Kiss From A Rose is my favourite song by Seal – with the possible exception of Crazy." Same here!

Sounds like a terrible time for you and the physical symptoms of stress are pretty frightening, aren't they? (I can honestly relate to that, circa 2004-2005).

How could W not see how debilitating stress is to a person?

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

They are - and since then I (mostly) recognise the symptoms of stress. I've had nothing like that since - I was amazed to be honest.

To give W the benefit of the doubt, she knew I was a hypochondriac and probably thought I was exaggerating. And of course, she wasn't stressed at the time. I guess, eventually I did "pull myself together" - so I guess again it can be done - but only if you have gone through it yourself.

I think since then, sadly, W has suffered from stress herself. But she is a determined person (perhaps a little TOO determined sometimes).

I think the late 90's changed both of us.

Cheers

PM

drb said...

Hi Mr PM, I would not guess this is one of your fav song! I like it too.
Unlike you, I cannot link songs to the stages of my life. I only distinctly remember a couple of songs and the incidents associated.

The Elephant's Child said...

Stress is such a frightening and debilitating thing. My smaller portion threw up before work every morning for years. And he believed it was weak to ask for help so he didn't. An awful time for both of us.
I am sad that your relationship with W broke down but from all you have said it became inevitable. Which doesn't mean it hurt less.

River said...

"Music is powerful and therapeutic"
Yes, it is and I've used it many times to soothe and calm myself, also to lift my spirits when necessary. my favourite mellow song is "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" by Tom T Hall.

I like Kiss From a Rose well enough, but not so much I'll search it out just to listen to.

My stress usually hits my tummy not my heart. I've lost count of the number of times I thought I must have appendicitis.

River said...

"Music is powerful and therapeutic"
Yes, it is and I've used it many times to soothe and calm myself, also to lift my spirits when necessary. my favourite mellow song is "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" by Tom T Hall.

I like Kiss From a Rose well enough, but not so much I'll search it out just to listen to.

My stress usually hits my tummy not my heart. I've lost count of the number of times I thought I must have appendicitis.

Anji said...

I love Love's Divine. There's a glipse of the RĂ© Island prison in the video. Now you've decided who to listen to this morning for me.

Not everyone realises they've only got one life. We wouldn't be here now reading your blog if you hadn't done someithing to change your direction. Thanks.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Never heard the song so I just listened to it on YouTube.

Not my style of music at all but the lyrics are fab - and I love great lyrics.

Being a hypochondriac, I've often thought that I too have had appendicitis.

Strewth - what are we like?

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I love my music - so it is a great way to open up my memory.

Even dreadful songs (though I won't be posting any of those any time soon).

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Stress is bad but I can cope better with it these days. I think once you have gone through these things it prepares you for the next time - which improves things.

Sorry to hear about your smaller portion - it is never weak to ask for help - but sometimes it is scary.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

Not heard that before - nice song.

He's got a great voice hasn't he? In fact, I think Mrs PM has recently picked up a relatively new album from him - I might give it a spin.

:-)

Cheers

PM