Wednesday 15 January 2020

I'm Not Going Back ...

Am I brave enough to do this?

(deep breath)

I first heard this song about 6 years ago as a pre-release to the coming Stiff Little Fingers album "No Going Back".  The album was released through PledgeMusic, and those who dropped some cash in the pot got a couple of tracks before release.

One of them was "My Dark Places" written by Jake Burns about his previous difficulties with his own mental health.
Originally written as a mantra or an outlet for Jake, with no intention of using it on the album, it took the rest of the band to convince him to properly record it.
The album version was dutifully Stiff Little Fingered and revved up for the commercial release, but for me it is the acoustic version that is the most affecting, and the one that made me think: "eh up, I'm recognising this.  I might have a problem here".

And so - like a normal, right thinking bloke would do - I ignored it and just carried on.
But the nagging didn't go, and then early last year I finally faced up to it and got a bit of assistance.
Only a short number of sessions, but they were bloody helpful in putting "stuff" in perspective and providing "coping strategies" (a posh way of saying recognising the signs and knowing how best to deal with them).

Talking to someone - sounds a bit blasé, but it is the best thing you can do.
Talking "stuff" through, realising it can change with a small effort - or even no effort, just thinking about stuff in a different way, not letting things get on top of you or wallowing in it.
It was (for me) amazing how much strength can be gleaned by someone just listening to you, and encouraging you to speak more and try different approaches.

Is it better now?
Don't know.  I don't think it will ever go away completely, but I am now seeing sh*t coming towards me (rather than just piling up on me).
It takes a long time to re-build, but I think I'm getting there.
Just need to keep reminding myself, pushing forward, and taking strength from any little victory.

So Jake wrote this as a sort of reminder/therapy/mantra for his own struggle - and now I'm doing the same.

My Dark Places (Jake Burns)

Well it cuts just like as knife
Takes away your love of life
Puts out your fire and leaves you in the ashes
And you lay there in the hole
What you loved now leaves you cold
It’s hard to get the strength to face the morning
Some days you really feel like hiding
Some days you swear you’ll never go out anymore

And I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places
I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places

Well the days drag slowly by
All you want to do is cry
Nothing makes sense nothing has a reason
And the world is not the same
And you’re the one to blame
Before too long you feel just like a prisoner
Some days you really feel like screaming
Some days you swear you’ll never smile anymore

And I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places
I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places

It’s something they can’t see yet it seems so real to me
Can’t explain just how I feel when what I feel is no emotion
It’s not a tragedy, yet that’s how it seems to me
I wish that you could see or even for one minute be me

Well, I got there in the end
With the help of many friends
Some who helped by simply just believing
And the days look brighter now
Yet I know someday, somehow
I could end up back there in an instant
Some days I really feel like laughing
Some days I realize I must stay on my guard

And I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places
I’m not going back
I’m not going back to my dark places


  1. Yes you are brave enough and it is good to talk! I wish more people would. I'm very much a supporter of seeking help and removing any stigma surrounding mental health issues. My mum suffered from severe depression throughout her adult life (enough to hospitalise her on several occasions) and perhaps as a result of my experiences as her child and, sadly, the shame I felt about it in those less enlightened times, I'm a great believer in opening up and acknowledging that we are none of us immune.
    Excellent lyrics from Jake.

  2. Good for you, RD. It's great when a piece of music can have that kind of effect on your life. I imagine there are quite a few of us who recognise the words in that tune. Good for you for using this (eventually) as a springboard to do something about it.

  3. Brave of you to put this out there RD.
    I find this blogging malarkey a good stress buster when things begin to get on top of me
    Us West of Scotland men are not good at talking. Hopefully things are changing.
    I work in mental health and there is a lot of work going on to reduce the stigma which I think is slowly working