By Ash Pryce
Next week, Freaky Friday will return to the 21st Floor. I felt, as author of the column I should take an opportunity to explain the absence and new direction of the weekly look at things that go bump in the night. I have written pieces on the supernatural and paranormal with a sceptical look at stories of ghosts and ghouls and psychics. Looking back at a history of psychics for example, or addressing the myths of Spring Heeled Jack.
I enjoyed writing the articles and from what I understand they were rather well read and popular upon the site. But over the last year I’ve been battling a demon more terrifying and far more real than anything I wrote about in Freaky Friday. Moderate/ Severe Clinical Depression. As a result of this my motivation for doing things I formerly enjoyed started to sap.
I found it increasingly harder to find things to write about. There is a wealth of subjects I could have tackled but “there’s nothing to write about” seemed better than “I can’t be arsed”. Lack of motivation was one of the most damaging symptoms of my depression I used to undertake a number of projects: directing award winning theatre pieces, acting in shows and producing community work showcasing new talent. I’ve published plays, appeared as a ren-a-skeptic “expert” on the news, founded Scotlands first Skeptics in the pub, co produced the massive Skeptics on the fringe, travelled the UK giving talks, lectures and shows, written my own blog articles, designed and managed events, staged theatrical séances for international cosmetics companies because I’m worth it… …and generally done so much that looking back at my CV I sometimes surprise myself.
This isn’t to boast. These are things I’ve done but I don’t really see them as big deals- I mention them simply because earlier this year all that came crashing down and stopped dead. I wanted to give you an idea of how much I tried to do, how much I enjoyed and how much my life was fulfilling. As my depression took hold entirely these events began to slowly stop. Talks and lectures dried up as I refused to get involved in events or I simply stopped networking with people. Blogs disappeared quite quickly, I haven’t written anything resembling even a monologue in the past 18 months (my depression has been slowly creeping up for years). Everything started to crumble. I pulled out of all public speaking events for the rest of the year and productivity ground to a halt.
But now I’m starting to come out of the tunnel. Motivation is starting to creep back in, my diary is starting to fill up again and theatrical ideas are buzzing around my head.
Already I have talks planned for several skeptics groups and I have several events planned for the end of October, I have become involved in Project Barnum and a new on a new magic show dealing with séances and a new theatrical project are all in the works. Which brings me back to Freaky Friday…
I felt the need to write all of the above not just as an explanation to you the readers as to my absence, but also to myself and to those who may simply have seen me pulling out of events and disappearing from time to time. Next week Freaky Friday returns. The column will focus not just on the usual supernatural phenomenon but I want to also look at myths and legends, address the claims of the bizarre that also lay outside of ghosts and ghouls. Address hoaxes such as those that spread throughout Social Networking sites, to look at more contemporary claims of the here and now and not just those of the past, and who knows, maybe some interviews might take place.
As DC Comics re-launch their brands of superheroes back to issue #1, with new stories, arcs, characters and costumes, so to do I hope to do that with not just Freaky Friday but with other areas of my life. Thank you for your patience- and may all your Friday’s be Freaky.