Tilting at Windmills

The personal wafflings of Cyran Dorman

Me, my head and the NHS October 12, 2010

Filed under: Journalish — cyrandorman @ 10:32 am

It was 6 years ago that the intermittent pain in my head became permanent. I’d told my GP about my ‘headaches’ on a number of occasions. He told me I was depressed. I didn’t buy it at the time and so took no antidepressants instead letting him counsel me on a weekly basis. Of course this didn’t work and the pain became worse. He prescribed pain killers. They didn’t work, my ‘headaches’ were getting worse. He prescribed stronger pain killers. These didn’t work either. Eventually I became so disenchanted with this approach to my health that I started to take ibuprofen which worked as well as anything else (hardly at all) and stopped seeing my GP. Besides his counselling skills had run out after the first few weeks.

When I moved back to Liverpool in 2008 I saw a new GP. She asked me if I’d like to see a neurologist for the pain. I wanted to hug her, I genuinely had to stop myself. Of course I did and a few short months later I had an appointment. The neurologist examined me and asked questions and diagnosed me with migraine. In that moment it was a huge relief to have a diagnosis. Millions of people have migraines and so I assumed that the end to my pain wasn’t far off (the end to my migraines seems a million light years away, but that’s another post). But then she told me something else. She told me that I was addicted to Ibuprofen. This was quite a shock. It had never occurred to me that I would ever be addicted to anything. I’ve just never seen myself as that sort of person. But it seems that addiction to pain killers for headaches is different. Less an addiction as we usually perceive it, more a case of the brain being so weird and mysterious that given too many pain killers it has the tendency to turn relief signals into yet more pain signals. Whilst I’m utterly fascinated with the brain, it does have it’s down side.

I accepted this explanation and asked her how I went about ‘getting off’ them. She told me simply to stop taking them. Forever. That was that, no help, no alternative. Just a label and the promise that things would be fine from now on.

I did stop taking them. I was rather proud of myself for ending my addiction. It was hard not to reach for the ibuprofen every time I had pain, which was every day. But I did and for the last two years I’ve been suffering alone, waiting for the next neurologist appointment, checking the internet to see what the latest developments in migraine relief are.

But the pain didn’t stop.

So, this morning when I went to see a new GP and explained my history with head pain I was surprised to say the least on being told that Ibuprofen can’t cause bounce back headaches and therefore I could never have been addicted to them. My frustration got the better of me and I cried, right there. Two years of my life wasted. Two years with pain and no hope of relief. It’s no wonder I cried. And so, he’s referred me back to the neurologist, the one who told me not to take pain killers, and has prescribed some pain killers.

I’m still going no where, but at least I can hope again to have one, just one pain free day.

 

Security Risk? August 13, 2010

Filed under: Journalish,photography — cyrandorman @ 10:30 am


Security Risk?, originally uploaded by CyranDorman.

Taken by the shops by Central Station in Liverpool. Not a particularly good photo and I was about to take another shot at it when a security guard appeared and told me that I wasn’t allowed to take photo’s in there. I suffer from anxiety and have trouble speaking to those in authority, yes even security guards and so a stammered “Why?” was all I could manage. “Security.” was his response. I wish I’d responded further but my anxiety meant that I put my camera away and left. Needless to say it was the last photograph I took that day..

 

“This Milk’s Bad.” June 7, 2010

Filed under: Fiction,Journalish — cyrandorman @ 8:43 pm

This year has been rather kind to me. I’ve gone from being an aspiring author to being weblished thanks to the Liverpool Daily Post Live Read Literary Festival, and now I’m about to have the first chapter of my novel “Down To Hades” published in an anthology thanks to being a finalist in this years Writing on the Wall Pulp Idol Competition.

And so not for the first time I return to the first page of Down To Hades, the first line, the first word and ask myself, is this a good enough opening?

I can still remember when it was all white pages. When these 80,000 or so words where nowt more than just a trickle of an idea. I can’t remember the exact first words that I typed but I can remember where I was. It was all so exciting then. The idea was like nothing I’d written before and so there was also a great deal of trepidation. At that time my main character was called Rachel and she was utterly alone. I think that she may have even been human then, but let’s not spoil things.

Since then Rachel has become Hanya. She’s skipped dimensions, attempted suicide 67 times, owns a dog, has a best friend and is just about to kill her boyfriend. And yes, I say that she’s done it. It’s an odd thing when you get so immersed in a piece of work, the things in your imagination start to take over and almost develop a will independent of your own. There are constant surprises as you find characters acting in ways you wouldn’t imagined them capable of just the day before. Taking great personal journeys and sometimes making heartbreaking sacrifices. Others trick you just when you thought you knew them best of all, and we constantly find ourselves falling in love with our antagonists and wanting to make her or him just a little more human. It little wonder that this is the part that I, and most other writers that I know like most of all. If only this was all there was to writing.

But soon the journey ends. You have a finished manuscript. You might want to print it out and hold it in your hands to get the feel of it. You’ll undoubtedly want to tell everyone you know that you’ve written a novel. Some will share in your joy. They’ll be the other writers. Most however, will ask you when you’re going to get it published. No, they can’t just be happy for you.

So, when are you going to get it published?

Well, first things first. Hemingway once said, “The first draft of everything is shit,” and I’ve yet to find a writer who disagrees.

The first draft of Down To Hades was written in 30 days three years ago. Since then it has had one full redraft and numerous partial edits. If I don’t find a way to stop somewhere I could be editing until I’m literally blue in the face.

This time however I have support.

The editing I’ve done solo hasn’t been particularly productive. I can see this now because for the past couple of months I’ve been part of a writing group. They are my first audience and as such they are who I need to please. So when they tell me that they’re rapidly going off my main character I know that she needs some major work. When they pointed out the number of times I used the word had I was shocked. And the overuse of my main characters names is frankly embarrassing. But it would have taken me another redraft to notice these things for myself because I would have been far too busy looking at something else. And these are just a couple of the things they’ve pointed out.

So here I go again, tearing down my work to build it up again and hoping that it’s one of the last times for this novel. Experience tells me otherwise. Happily the last two months experience also tells me that I’m not alone. This time, I may even get something approaching a final draft.

 

No Worries! January 4, 2010

Filed under: Journalish,photography — cyrandorman @ 7:13 am
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3/365 No Worries, originally uploaded by CyranDorman.

So, this is what I take on a weekly basis! I hate taking pills. It’s a constant reminder that I’m sick! Sometimes I don’t feel sick at all, sometimes I have great days when I have to really think about why it is that I can’t have the same life as everyone else. And then my hands shake so much that I can’t take a photo. Or my head hurts so much that it feels like I may pass out from the pain and never wake up. It sucks. And I’ve had enough. By the end of this year I want to take a photo that shows at least half this amount.

It doesn’t help that the NHS has nothing like a holistic approach to health. I see different specialists for different illnesses and never know whether one symptom is being caused by this illness or that and as you can probably tell by now…. it’s really dull being sick!

 

Had a Lot of Livin’ To Do May 8, 2009

Filed under: Journalish — cyrandorman @ 12:20 am
Tags: , , , , ,

From the history of this poor and naked blog you could almost surmise that I had forgotten the password.  This could not be further from the truth.  I am happy to report that, I have been busy.

Number 10 on  the list  was to move into my own flat.  I’ve done it.  Early in March my very good friend Donna drove myself and my sister down to London and back to pick up my stuff and while she drove I took some pics.  See my take on the  road trip slideshow  . (The silly face pics will be on Facebook soon.)

 

So, about the flat, the living room is approx 20ft x 12ft, bedroom approx 16ft x 9ft.  No heating, no hot water, damp in the bedroom and I’ve already suffered flood damage from the flat upstairs but Elvis is on the Itunes and Tilly poos on my settee.  In some ridiculous superstition that has to be ‘lucky’. 

In the meantime I’m becoming strangely annoyed by a women on television who had 60 members in her knitting group.  That’s just showing off, but my friend assures me its simply Songs of Praise syndrome and none of them turned up the following week.  Alls I know is that I want to create a bigger, better knitting club.

In completely unrelated news, April saw me take part in  Script frenzy  for the second time running.  Last year I completed a script entitled Fault 49 easily.  This year the plan was to edit the original screenplay and to write an entirely new sequel thereby creating a two hour TV drama.  It’s still on the table but it wasn’t speaking to me.

t was a long hard slug but with 4 days to go I decided to start on something completely different and new.  Entirely inspired by the films of Douglas Sirk, and doing my research thoroughly (I can’t recommend this  box set  enough) I endeavoured to write a melodrama set in London in the 50’s.  I needed two things, a piercing philosophy and a near fatal accident upon which the injured character is told, “Darling, try not to speak.”

Four days later: FADE OUT, I did it. Another completed screenplay.

Excerpt coming soon.  In the meantime, if you want to see what I’m working on now, it’s up at the new  Scribblepool.co.uk  site 

Have fun 🙂