introspection |ɪntrə(ʊ)ˈspɛkʃ(ə)n| noun

the examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes:

My nature is pretty well described by these dictionary and thesaurus definitions of the word.  I seem to spend a lot of time examining the possible outcomes of a particular situation where the impact is on me directly. I don't think I'd ever be described as a 'detail' person, more likely, I think, I'd be described as a 'big picture'  person.  In my day-to-day life, when things are functioning "normally" this mode of operation seems to work for me. I'm able to make decisions with reasonable speed and clarity and see things before they emerge.


introspection noun



navel-gazing .

In my current situation though, this skill (if it can be termed thus) is much more of an impediment. Introspection leads to a huge amount of circular thinking which, if left unchecked, is unhealthy and ultimately very damaging.  The mind, my mind, gets stuck in feedback loop from which it seems impossible to escape. Computer programmers will recognise this as a nested gosub with one sub-routine calling another which calls the first and creates an infinite loop.  The answer in that case is to perform a hard re-set and amend the code.

But I'm not a computer so that option isn't immediately available to me (oh, how I wish it was). Instead one has to try to understand the underlying mechanisms and use any and all available tools to break out of the loop and re-establish a healthier thinking pattern.  The tool set it's suggested I use is called Cognative Behaviour Therapy or CBT. The basic premise of CBT is to recognise, trap and deal with negative thinking before it becomes an endless loop of cause and effect which leads to depression.

The literature I've been pointed towards describes the loop as a vicious circle which is initiated by an external event. Quite often the event is something over which you have no control, but even if you do have control negative thinking through too much introspection alters your mood and feelings which in turn leads to physical symptoms which then changes your behaviour.  The example used is forgetting an important birthday which might make you think that you're useless (altered thinking) which leads to feeling guilty or down (altered feelings). Physically the old churning stomach routine makes you feel ill, sick, whatever which makes you want to hide away (altered behaviour). The hiding away - something I'm really good at - is the most damaging aspect of all of this. Without external input your mind goes into overdrive, the circle more and more vicious.

For me it's usually the combination of a number of things that starts the cycle. Difficulties at work knocking my confidence and self esteem combined with the ending of an important relationship and a myriad of other small, almost insignificant, events have lead me to the place I'm in at the moment. Medication stabilises the situation and therapy helps with the underlying cause(s). The rollercoaster of the past few days has, I hope, been halted and by applying some (or all) of the things I've learnt over the past couple of months and will be easier to prevent in the future.

The key, for me, was to take the time to talk. Not to hide and fear the worst imaginings of my mind will actually happen or are true. 

The Man with the Dragon Tattoo

I have a tattoo on my upper right arm that's been there since I was 19, it is faded and frankly needs something doing to it. The tattoo artist who did the job didn't actually complete the design but it took me a few years to notice to be honest.


It says Norton 750cc

Anyway, I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the cinema the other day. I thought the film was superb and I really hope the second and third installments are just as good, but I digress. The lead female character Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, has a tattoo (well, duh!) of a dragon on her left shoulder blade. This is the best picture I could find of it .

So I got to thinking that perhaps a dragon tattoo of my own, in a similar style might just be the answer to the problem of covering up my exisiting effort and give me a nice new piece of artwork as well.

The idea I have is to get the dragon's head placed on my shoulder blade with it's neck going over my shoulder. the wings and tail etc. would then form a sleeve around my upper arm that covers the existing tattoo. Finding a suitable tattooist will be the next step so I can discuss my idea and discover whether a cover-up is feasible. Assuming all is OK I'll then have to find a suitable design.

A cursory search yesterday came up with thousands of candidates, of which there were half a dozen or so that I liked (fussy? me?). A decent artist should hopefully be able to come up with something as well I hope.

So, what do you think? Will it work? Do you know of any really good tattoo artists? Any better designs?

Let me know in the comments box below.

This one with wings would be OK

This could work if reversed but would need shading to make it less flat.

Ditto this one as the above. I quite like the styling of this.

I really like this tattoo. Something along these lines would be ideal.

This is my second favourite and is somewhat appropriate given that this is the Chinese year of the dragon.

Blowing Bubbles

Back in October 2006 whilst on holiday in Tenerife I did a PADI Open Water scuba diving course. It was truly amazing and I was hooked. Being practically weightless in a completely alien, albeit slightly familiar, environment and interacting, in an observational sense, with all sorts of marine life was fantastic. I qualified reasonably easily and went on to take an advanced course in the UK a couple of months later which I also passed.

Scuba diving is all about trust in the people you're diving with and team work. The folk in Tenerife were (and are) great but looking for a dive club in the UK, in the West Midlands, was a bit daunting. After a bit of searching I came up with a couple of possibilities but for some reason wasn't able to get a response from them on the telephone or via email. Suitably discouraged I decided that I'd probably just leave my diving to holidays in Tenerife.

Me at Neptune's Cave 100707

Me @ Neptune's Cave, Tenerife, July '07

In the Summer of 2007 I went out to Tenerife again, for a week or so, and logged loads of dives and completed another 5 specialities as well.  So, all looking quite positive then really except I was still facing the same problem - who was I going to dive with whilst back in the UK? The short answer was nobody. I still thought of myself as a diver and had every intention of going but I never did. Eventually my kit ended up in the loft, still loved but now sadly neglected.

Fast forward four and a half years and a friend has got the bug. He's just qualified as a PADI Open Water diver and, just as I was in 2006, is keen and excited about progressing as a diver and wants somebody to dive with. Yay! So last night I donned my gear once again and in a swimming pool belonging to a school in Wordsley I'm pleased to be able to say that I sucessfully re-qualified and can now, legitimately, call myself a diver once again. This time though I have somebody to dive with. I'll just have to make sure I keep it up, eh?

New Anthems

Walking the dog, iPod plugged in as you do, the chorus of the the following Snowy White song seemed to strike a chord.

All My Money - Snowy White

Whilst I was looking for this song I found the next one. More apt in a lot of ways and certainly more descriptive of how I feel about things generally.

When You Broke Your Promise - Snowy White

Yeah, I know this makes me sound like some sad fuck. But I can't help the way I feel and if that means I'm just pathetic then so be it. I still hurt, I'm still shocked. Sure I'll get better in time, of course I will. But when you've experienced the best why would you settle for anything less?

Dreams or Nightmares?

Do you ever have dreams that seem so real that you can feel and taste and smell everything contained within them?

I do. Not all of the time, that would be too weird, but once in a while. Last night's dream was one of those occasions. I can't go into too much detail about the substance of the dream, partly because I don't remember it all, partly to protect the innocent and partly because I don't want to. Not yet anyway. Suffice to say I was transported back to a time just a few months ago when my world felt complete. The dream had all of the ingredients of a really great day. All of the 'right' people were there, offspring too and really it was a magical day. I think, actually I know, the dream is based upon a real day back in October, a day that crosses my mind most often when I'm walking the dog as it did, quite strongly, yesterday.

Waking up, then, is a bit of a shock. Back to earth with a crash as the reality of life kicks in.

Windmills in my mind

Five months ago I embarked on a path that, had I known where it was going to lead, I should have avoided at all costs. Part of me wishes I had the benefit of foresight but then with that I'd probably just avoid everything and not have the experiences that make me, me.

Why is it that that some people come into your life and hardly make any impact, they're just there, but others can just turn everything on its head and, even if they're there for the least amount of time, seemingly irrevocably change everything? Time, it's said, will heal all wounds. But, really, will it? Does a person really ever fully heal? Experience tells me that time makes things easier to bear, that new experiences, new people, old people even, will all come into the mix. But the hurt doesn't really ever go away.

Finding my 1997 journal, the one I mentioned a few posts back, was illuminating and shocking in equal measure. Illuminating because it showed that no matter what I thought about a particular situation things kind of worked out in the end. Where I thought one person was somehow irreplaceable in my life other people came, and went, that showed me this was not the case. This gives hope and with a rational view of things it makes complete sense. The journal was shocking because the events I diaried 15 years ago mirror the events of today. Names and places may have changed, how things started may be different, but the before and after are identical. Then, as now, I'd reached a comfortable plateau in my life, I liked who I was, I liked the life I was living and I felt secure within myself and my world. Cue then the person that's going to come along and completely rock your world. At the time they turn up this person is the cherry on the icing on the cake. For a while you believe that you can have your cake and eat it. Of course, when you do all you're left with is crumbs.

And so it is for me. I love with all my heart and soul. I give absolutely everything of myself and pay for it.

The Air That I Breathe / My Immortal

There are two songs that in many ways define the past few months for me.

The Hollies with their 1974 hit 'The Air That I Breathe' and 'My Immortal' from Evanescence's 2003 album 'Fallen'.  Both songs developed a meaning for me in the last third of 2011, both for the same reason.

Seldom does a song describe the feelings and emotions that are present. I've known this song for the greater part of my life but, at one moment, whilst travelling up the M5 towards home, I really heard it for the first time.  

The Hollies - The Air That I Breathe

If I could make a wish, I think I'd pass. Can't think of anything I need. No cigarettes, no sleep, no light, no sound. Nothing to eat, no books to read

Making love with you, has left me peaceful, warm and tired. What more could I ask? There's nothing left to be desired. Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak. So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe. And to love you. All I need is the air that I breathe, yes to love you. All I need is the air that I breathe

Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak. So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe. And to love you. All I need is the air that I breathe, yes to love you. All I need is the air that I breathe

Mike Hazlewood / Albert Hammond

The following song is bittersweet. Initially it was a song that I kind of knew but hadn't ascribed any particular sense to. That changed in the summer and it took on various meanings for me over that time. Seeing Amy Lee perform it live at the Hammersmith Apollo in November added something else. Today it fills me with sadness and I can barely bring myself to listen to it without tears. It was witten by Ben Moody and, according to Wikipedia "Moody said that the song talks about 'a spirit staying with you after its death and haunting you until you actually wish that the spirit were gone because it won't leave you alone.' ".  I know the feeling although in my case it's the stuff in my head that won't leave me alone.

Evanescence - My Immortal

I'm so tired of being here. Suppressed by all my childish fears. And if you have to leave, I wish that you would just leave, because your presence still lingers here and it won't leave me alone. These wounds won't seem to heal. This pain is just too real. There's just too much that time cannot erase.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears. When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears. And I held your hand through all of these years. But you still have... All of me

You used to captivate me by your resonating light. Now I'm bound by the life you left behind. Your face it haunts, my once pleasant dreams. Your voice it chased away, all the sanity in me. These wounds won't seem to heal. This pain is just too real. There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears. When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears. And I held your hand through all of these years. But you still have... All of me

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone. But though you're still with me, I've been alone all along.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears. When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears. And I held your hand through all of these years. But you still have… 

All of me ahhh. Me, ahhh. Me, ahhh

Ben Moody

First Post

Here we go then.  I've finally succumbed to blogging.

Today is my birthday. A birthday I haven't really been looking forward to and now it's here.  I can't even bring myself to say which one it is so horrified am I by the fact it's finally arrived.  Maybe later, yes, maybe later I'll reveal the truth of today.

So, this is a start at least and I've run out of things to say already.

Ho hum - pig's bum.

Twitter @siwhite  -  © Simon White 2011