Better days, and other Springsteen songs

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Mental Health
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The titles a bit of a joke, but only a bit. In my deep musings over life the universe and everything BPD in recent days I have adopted a soundtrack. To my own chagrin I am listening to my favourite back catalogue of Bruce Springsteen records, theyre not called that anymore sorry, tracks, all of which hold something of a memory for me. The early stuff came to me later than it should as I became a fan in the mid eighties and didnt delve back until the nineties, so Born in the USA and Dancing in the dark were my first introduction, these remind me of being a gawky fourteen/fifteen year old with issues but no idea what they were. I was pretty cheerful most of the time, my sarcasm was flourishing and I was writing jokes and humorous stuff so historically it would be written down as a happy time but I know things were fraught at the time and I did have periods of dark moods and aggressive behaviour, well lets not put any spin on it , I was violent.

I had a girlfriend from about fifteen onwards and we had our ups and down, as teens we felt every emotion tenfold and I was jealous, a lot which would make either of my wives laugh now, I am not that guy anymore and havent been for decades but back then if she was talking to a classmate of mine I would get angry and this would sometimes result in a fight, which I was still developing my technique at so winning was by no means guaranteed, in fact I would happily take on the meanest kids in school to prove myself not a coward, I dont remember anyone ever suggesting I was but I seemed intent on ensuring it never got said, strange to think of it now but it was a predominant issue in my head back then.

Times move on and the Boss changes tack, I remember the CD Tunnel of love as a bittersweet thing, I love the songs, and can still remember them word for word but it was bought for me by my Mother, anyone who knows me will see the contention there and it is still as fresh and raw now as it was back then, I took the gift because it was a rarity and believed I should get my share of what was being offered, I knew I was never getting equal measures so crumbs was supposed to suffice back then. Again I remember the friendships I had and the issues I suffered with, the whole too brave for my own safety thing took me to strange environs to mete out violence, for reasons that fail me now I was entrenched in the idea that my worth would be measured in the bloodstains and scars I gained than my good side. I was still very sociable, happy to be at it all the time, I loved the football and everything that went with that and while other friends went for opiates to gain some satisfaction I held true to alcohol and violence as my drugs of choice.

The Boss then brings out two CD’s at once Lucky Town and Human Touch and I am less sure of when this was or how many tracks I can remember, I bought them together on the day they were released and I was alone at the time, quite literally, I had been all but abandoned by the family to my own devices, Dad remarried and went off with his new family, my siblings were spread out around London and surrey so I stayed in a three bedroom flat, paying nothing towards the rent or poll tax and spending all my time drinking and fighting. There was so much violence at this time I shudder to remember the things I got up to, I have always satisfied myself that I never went looking for trouble, except at football and that was pre-arranged trouble but in truth I put myself in harms way, allowing so called friends to initiate altercations and I have always had a talent for calming situations down usually with humour but I never tried in these situations so literally every weekend was a brawl in some pub or club, I was a known geezer and that was great for me, no one would ever think I was weak or scared of anything and that was my sole aim in doing these things.

I can remember some of the violence like a movie, watch the action, marvel at my skills or the strength of my opponent, I was never one to hold a grudge and usually ended up on good terms with anyone I had a fight with, if they lasted long enough to do os, there were ambulances involved far too often but I wrote that off as part of the game, which to me it was. My unbridled anger came from somewhere untouched by my conscience and there were very few indicators it was about to burst forth, again this wasnt queried by myself or the few friends I had around me, my family at this point had all but forgotten about me and I felt like a visitor, an unwelcome one when I did go to my fathers house which was less than five minutes from my own. the songs from these albums playing in my own home now remind me of what everyone else forgot or ignored, that I was a very troubled young man who was lucky to avoid any serious implications of my actions. In many ways the luck that allowed me to avoid jail also allowed my BPD to grow and fester beneath a veneer of normality for years. I married and settled down, or appeared to but when things went pear shaped psychologically I bailed and went native, the protection of my young family from the Jekyll and Hyde character I was becoming was all important, I never spent a single moment considering what it was costing me and no one was aware enough to say anything to the contrary, the whole episode passed without any intervention.

In my darkest days my now wife took me in and we started to make a life, my constant guilt over my behaviour kept me at arms length from everyone and the next episode was always on the horizon. Again the Boss was there, I had gone back to the early stuff by then so The River and Born to run were on my player, I can remember many bad things and constant guilt when I hear these songs but also the beauty of the songs touched me when I was down and spoke of better things to me as well. Now my strange behaviour was being noticed and I was finally sent to a psychiatric professional who quickly decided I was under the influence of something, the list of possibilities is like an acronyms convention. PTSD, ABD and so many other I forget, the telling one was sociopath which stuck for a while and when I came out of the long period of anguish and seemed normal again everyone, including me thought I was sorted and left me to my own devices again.

The world turned the kids grew up and my third child came along, the boss was there still, emotional tracks about life and how great and hard it can be would touch me and I carried on blithely unaware of the danger that was creeping up on me. The fall was as dramatic and exciting as it was unexpected, my poor wife was thrown into the realms of mental health crisis and intervention from many agencies failed to reveal what was going on, then while in hospital under a voluntary section a resident psychiatrist offered his opinion and the this time it stuck, BPD. the rest is very nearly history, I was sent for treatment and this seems to have worked wonders, the boss is still here and the memories are often painful but they connect me with memories I dont have access to in normal circumstances, whether because of the drugs, the illness or just expediency I have blocks of my life held in a fog of confusion, so I should be thankful to the Boss and some of the other artists who can evoke these memories, good and bad, who knows they might one day reveal the whole truth to me and I can get some closure as our american friends call itt, not holding my breath for that anytime soon though.

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