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The world's longest suicide note.

I write about life with bipolar disorder (a.k.a. manic depression).

All opinions are my own.


Why Bother?

4 min read

This is a story about being put through the wringer...


Why did I fly to Warsaw to start a new job - 1,200 miles from home - and then live out of a suitcase in 12 different AirBnBs in London? Why did I put myself through the stress of spending every single spare penny I have on flights, hotels, AirBnBs, train tickets and other business-related expenses? Why did I have the miserable lonely experience of commuting hours from home and living in temporary accommodation, most of which was throughly dreadful? Why did I work so damn hard to impress my new boss; my new team? Why did I go through all the stress of going though security vetting and background checks? Why did I put up with all the anxiety of having the details of my life pored over by so many gatekeepers?

Having narrowly avoided bankruptcy and a nervous breakdown, I managed to reach the end of one contract and start another one. I managed to get through the transition from one job to another. I managed to deliver one project and start the next one. I did a good job and my client was happy. Now I've started in a new job and I've managed to make a good first impression yet again. I bought a car. I got myself into a financially OK position again.

Now I'm trying to rent an apartment. I'm not asking if I can practice open heart surgery on somebody even though I've got no experience or qualifications. I'm not asking for a favour. I'm offering to hand over my hard-earned cash so that the landlord doesn't have to work. I'll be paying rent up front and a deposit up front AND buying a tenant liability insurance policy, so the landlord is 100% de-risked - there is absolutely no risk in renting the apartment to me. It's my hard earned wages being handed over, because the landlord has wealth and assets and I don't - that's the exchange. My labour and their capital. I'm fine with this. That's the way of the world. That's capitalism, and I'm part of capitalist society so that's just the way things work.

The thing that's really upsetting me is that I'm going through yet more gatekeepers. There are all manner of checks and things that are being done on me - my credit rating, my previous landlords, my birth certificate, my DNA, my sexual preferences, my subconscious thoughts... my private life is being thoroughly poked and prodded. I'm not asking for a fucking favour. I'm exchanging my hard-earned wages for a place to live is all that's happening.

I hate the language of the whole thing - that I'm applying to be a tenant, like there are landlords out there who don't want to earn money for nothing... my money's no good for some reason. I hate the implication that I could be found wanting and rejected. I think it's inhumane. I find it offensive.

What happens if I AM rejected? Presumably it means that I'm well and truly stuck being homeless. If I can't rent a home from one letting agent, who's to say that things would be any different with another? They all have more-or-less same process of weeding out the bad eggs - those who are deemed unfit to be able to return to civilised society. There are significant barriers to entry. It's remarkably difficult to simply get a job and a place to live.

In short, why bother? Why put myself through such a degrading and horrible existence? Why should I beg and grovel and kowtow? Why am I being put through the wringer? Why is it so awful, when all I want to do is work, earn money and hand it over to somebody else for a place to live? Why bother? Why suffer this shit?

It's making me very upset. It's keeping me awake at night. I don't need this shit. I don't deserve this shit.




One Two Skip a Few

2 min read

This is a story about daily routine...


I'm a little superstitious. When you've been on the journey that I've been on you can start to have some pretty strange ideas about what makes the difference between success and failure. If I'd ever been so afraid and desperate that I'd turned to religion you can be pretty sure that I'd now believe that the sky monster is responsible for the improvement in my situation. If I'd sold my soul to the devil then I'd be Beelzebub's biggest fan right now. It's easy to attribute credit to the wrong things when you're in a desperate situation.

Should I credit my veganism? Should I credit giving up sugar? Should I credit drinking 2 litres of water every day? Should I credit jogging? Should I credit yoga? Should I credit mindfulness? Should I credit antidepressants? Should I credit mood stabilisers? Should I credit a faith healer? Should I credit acupuncture? Should I credit homeopathy? Should I credit quitting alcohol? Should I credit my voyage of self-discovery? Should I credit being single for years? Should I credit my vow of celibacy? Should I credit my vow of silence? Should I credit any of the myriad charlatans who claim that they have the cure for the agony of human existence?

I'm writing today because I'm superstitious. I believe that I've got to write every day, because my daily writing habit provides stability in my life. Who are you to say I'm wrong? You probably believe in sky monsters or have weird eating habits. You're just as superstitious as me. You're just as much of a creature of habit.

I'm not going to write much because I'm busy. I'm having quite a nice time at the moment. I'm stressed as hell that something's going to go wrong - such as my attempt to rent a place to live failing spectacularly - but perhaps that's because things are going OK and I'm a little paranoid. I'm loathe to change anything. I'm loathe to stop doing something that I've been doing regularly, because I've become a little superstitious.

I take a photo of the plant on my desk every single day. Routines are awesome.




Hidden Homeless

6 min read

This is a story about having a place to call home...

No fixed abode map

Here's a picture of what it's like being of no fixed abode. The pins mark the 12 places where I've stayed in the last three months, with the exception of a hotel in Warsaw and my friends' place in Wales. You might not think of me as homeless because I've not been sleeping rough, but I've not enjoyed the security of owning a home or having a tenancy agreement. The process of evicting somebody onto the street is not that difficult if they're in rent arrears or defaulting on their mortgage, but things are even more insecure if you're no fixed abode. You have no rights if you're sofa surfing. This is not a criticism of the wonderfully kind and generous thing that my friends have done, letting me live with them, but it's still a form of homelessness to not have a home of your own.

It's really expensive being homeless. If you can't raise the money for a deposit you'll pay a premium for a hostel bed or to rent a room. It cost me an absolute fortune in train fares, travelling back to Wales every weekend because Friday and Saturday nights are more expensive than staying midweek in London, and there's less availability.

You might think it's laughable that I consider myself to be homeless, but I've slept rough and I've lived in hostels. I know what homelessness is. I know what being down and out on the streets is. I've lived it. I'm still homeless - one argument with my friends and they could ask me to leave. I don't have secure housing. That makes me homeless. Yes, my friends are incredibly kind and charitable, but can you imagine what it's like living without the legal protection that you take for granted? In Maslow's hierarchy of needs shelter and security are the foundations on which our entire sense of happiness and contentment are built. Can you imagine not having a home of your own, but instead being reliant on the ongoing charity of perhaps one single person? Can you imagine how insecure that would make you feel?

Undoubtedly my life has been saved by my kind friends taking me in and making me feel incredibly welcome in their family. Undoubtedly my recovery, my stability, my improved situation can be credited to the kind family who took me in. Without their love, support, food and shelter I'd have been shoved into to some godforsaken B&B in the Greater Manchester area and probably have gotten stuck in the revolving-doors of the mental health system, seen as a basket case and a drain on society; an undesirable. With support I've been able to get myself back on my feet, almost.

I'm really not biting the hand that feeds me. I'm incensed that it's so hard to find security in British society. All I want is a secure place to live and a tolerable job that pays enough money for a modest little life. Why is it so hard to re-enter civilised society? Why are there so many gatekeepers and obstacles, stopping people from pulling themselves by their bootstraps and getting themselves back on their feet?

The stress and anxiety of the bureaucratic nightmare involved in getting a job and renting an apartment is a utterly dreadful. I've had to produce so many documents, fill in so many forms, answer so many questions and have my life poked and prodded by an army of nosey parkers, intent on discovering any black mark that might give them an excuse to reject me. I don't know why people even bother subjecting themselves to such an ordeal. I can see why so many people find themselves homeless - it's just so awful and stressful to keep the plates spinning and the wheels turning and remain a member of civilised society. There's an enormous barrier to entry, and I'm one of the lucky ones because I don't have a criminal record or a bankruptcy that makes me one of society's rejects.

One week today I might get the keys to an apartment that I can call my own if I'm lucky. I'm going through a tenancy *application* process. It should be noted that it's seen as an application - I'll only be allowed to hand over my hard-earned cash to somebody who's not going to work for it if I'm lucky. I'm only allowed to be a slave of the rentier class if I'm lucky. I shall have to doff my cap and kowtow and pray to the sky monster that I am allowed to have something that should be a basic human right.

It's awful that property is seen as an asset. It's awful that we have to mortgage ourselves up to the eyeballs or pay rent for all eternity, to line the pockets of the capitalists. Property isn't something we should profit from. Property is essential for life, and to attempt to profit from it is wicked and evil. It's no different than buying up all the insulin and then price gouging, because the alternative to not having it is death. Profit and capital gain is not driving efficiency, it's driving misery. Property speculation is not rewarding hard work and useful contribution to society... in fact it's rewarding the most antisocial people in society.

While the headline news for the best part of two weeks has all been about a man who got sick but hasn't actually even died, have we forgotten how many people are living in poverty? Have we forgotten about the mental health epidemic that's ruining so many lives and causing so many suicides? Have we forgotten about how many people are just about managing, or in fact are not managing at all - those who are on the brink of financial ruin, poverty, destitution - and are having a thoroughly miserable time? Have we forgotten about the tens of millions of British people who are living lives of quiet desperation, because the media has an agenda to push - that we should supposedly give a shit about one former spy who hasn't even died yet - instead of the very real suffering of a vast and ever-growing proportion of society?

I can understand why they call the magazine sold by the homeless The Big Issue. Why aren't homelessness and housing issues top of the political and media agenda? I couldn't give two fucks about a half-poisoned spy when so many people are freezing to death on the streets.




Conservation of Energy

5 min read

This is a story about working...

Phoenix rising

I want to be busy. I want to have the distraction of being engrossed in a project. I want to feel like I have a purpose and I'm working towards a goal. I want to feel like hard work will get me to the end result quicker. I want to feel like there's a relationship between the effort I put in during my waking hours and the net result. The rewards should feel commensurate with the energy expended.

I'm writing less and that's because I'm making some progress. In the absence of another outlet for my creativity, all my pent-up energy gets poured into writing. In the absence of another more productive distraction, I write a lot.

I've still got a lot to say but I don't feel the pressing need to write about anything at the moment. I have a huge list of blog post titles that I could use to get me started, but I'm actually feeling fairly content to have a period of lower output. I expect that if something upsets me I'll be pouring my heart and soul out, but I'm feeling alright at the moment.

Work is going alright. I'm in the process of renting an apartment. My cashflow is OK at the moment. Things are going OK with my girlfriend. I'm seeing friends and doing activities. My life's generally a lot healthier and happier than it was a few weeks ago.

Writing doesn't feel like it's very energy-consuming, but it's exhausting living with a lot of anxiety and in fairly dreadful and toxic circumstances. It's awful living without much hope of life getting better. I feel like things are improving and I've got some hope for the future, so I don't need to write so much. Things are not so desperate.

I need to learn how to take it easy and plod along at a steady pace. I need to stop working as hard as I possibly can and travelling as fast as I can. I've been rushing everything because I've been under so much pressure. I've been so close to disaster for so long that when there's a window of opportunity to fix my life I have to be quick. Things are going alright, so I need to back off the gas pedal and engage the cruise control for a while.

My life has become quite sensible all of a sudden. I go to bed early. I get up early. I'm in the office on time and I work less than 8 hours a day. I take my time and I don't rush my work. I'm working at a sustainable pace, rather than burning myself out.

It's been incredibly draining to get to this point, but hopefully I can limp along and I'll slowly recover from the ordeal that led me up to this point. To all intents and purposes my life appears to be getting fixed up very rapidly, so you might find it offensive that I talk about the struggles I've been through, but it's true - it wasn't very long ago that I was absolutely screwed and had no hope of fixing my life.

It's going to take months and months before I'm well and truly in a good position with an apartment of my own and a pile of money in the bank. It's going to take a long while before I prove that my stability hasn't been just a fluke. I can't really believe that I've managed the best part of 4 months at work without a major incident, despite it being the crappiest time of year and there being a heap of stress in my life. I need to keep going and get into a really good routine. I need to get back to position of financial and housing security and regular social contact, and maintain that for a good long while. I'm slightly nervous that I might be experiencing the calm before the storm, but I've managed 6 months without a destructive mood episode or any self-sabotaging behaviour, so it's a good omen.

The next challenge is to get the keys to the apartment I'm renting and move in without having some kind of breakdown. When I rented the place in London on the river it nearly killed me. I don't want to repeat past mistakes, but everybody needs somewhere to call home. No more sponging parasites trying to ride my coat tails and ripping me off for thousands of pounds of unpaid rent and bills this time. No more Klingons.

I'm optimistic. I'm enjoying my new job. My finances are in reasonable shape, although cashflow's going to be a little tight what with buying a car and renting an apartment in the space of a few weeks, plus buying some clothes I need for work and other unavoidable expenses. You have to speculate to accumulate.

I thought I was going to write just a few hundred words but I seem to have written much more than I was expecting to. Oh well. Better out than in.

It's Friday and I feel like I've worked hard to get to this point and I'm seeing some rewards. I know that I don't really 'earn' my money per se, because my job is very easy and I'm overpaid, but there are lots of ways that I DO work really hard, so I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for what I've achieved. I know there's lots more hard work ahead, but I'm going to celebrate a little bit - another working week completed and more money on the way, hopefully. I'm digging my way out of the hole little by little.

It's frustrating that hard work often doesn't pay off, but I feel like I've always been rewarded for my efforts.




On This Day

3 min read

This is a story about anniversaries...

Leg in plaster cast

Today is my niece's 5th birthday. A year later I woke up from my general anaesthetic to this - the emergency repair of a muscle, 4 tendons and 2 nerves, when my leg was guillotined by a huge piece of broken mirror glass. The start of 7 years bad luck, perhaps.

My leg was mostly repaired and back to normal. I went kitesurfing in July 2016 and my leg was fully recovered. Then I got DVT and it caused that leg to swell up to twice its normal size and both my kidneys stopped working. Since then my foot has either been numb or very painful, although the nerve damage has started to repair itself again since I stopped taking powerful painkillers.

This day isn't about me, but in some ways it is. It's my niece's birthday, but I haven't been a very good uncle because my life's mostly been in bits since she was born. Divorce, moving back to London, rehab, homelessness, near-bankruptcy, two suicide attempts, more hospitalisations than I care to remember, psych wards, breakups, people owing me thousands of pounds, getting jobs, working jobs and getting sacked, moving flats, moving to Manchester, drugs and medications, trouble with the police, mental health problems... it's been a rough ride.

How does anybody escape from a shitty situation and get themselves back into civilised society? It takes time and it's really hard. I'm trying to rent a flat and it asks whether I'm renting or living with parents at the moment... the answer is neither. The form asks if I've ever declared bankruptcy... no, but I've been living with the threat of destitution for a very long time. Presumably if I managed to get a couple of black marks against my name I wouldn't have a job or a place to live - a criminal record and a bankruptcy would mean I'd be jobless and homeless and unable to get a job or rent a place to live. I've been so close to finding myself completely shunned by society; marginalised.

I write this stuff and it's really risky. I'm taking a big chance writing this honest stuff about the difficult journey I've been on, but people need to understand how hard it is to get back on your feet after a destructive event like a divorce. Why should I be punished? Why should I be marginalised; rejected by society?

The gatekeepers would have a field day if they found this stuff out about me. I'd be unemployable and homeless, for sure. I'm pretty undateable given the fact I'm not your average regular guy who collects stamps and works in the glue factory. I don't fit neatly inside a box. I'm a "computer says no" kind of guy, if I was to give the honest answers to the questions on the forms, not that I'm exactly lying or being misleading either. I wrote "OTHER: Living with friends" on the damn form.

So, happy birthday to my niece. Maybe I'll be a better uncle in subsequent years if I can get back on my feet.




Living Out of a Suitcase

4 min read

This is a story about three snapshots in time...

Pile of clothes

Here's a picture of what my life looks like tonight. That pile contains almost everything that I need each week. In a single holdall, I can transport my work clothes, my regular clothes, a few toiletries and a handful of other things that I use regularly. I live out of this bag. This is my mobile life.

Psych ward bags packed

This is what my life looked like 6 months ago. Here are my bags in the psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) where I was locked up for a week. I was discharged from my section at tribunal after 12 days. I stayed in the psychiatric hospital for about 3 weeks in total, most of it voluntarily. Note: it's the same black holdall as pictured at the top.

Wheelie suitcase

This is what I managed to reduce my life to so that I could leave my apartment in London, when I was forced to take a job in Manchester because I was close to destitution. This is everything that I took with me when I left the city I've lived in for most of my adult life - in fact longer than anywhere I've lived in my entire life - to go to a city I'd never visited before and a flat I'd never set foot inside.

Most people take a stable home for granted. Most people have friends or relatives who they could live with if they fell on hard times. Most people find moving house to be one of the most stressful things they ever do, and they don't do it very often.

I was no fixed abode. I slept rough and I slept in hostels. I slept in dorms with up to 13 other farting, snoring people, making noise around-the-clock. I've been either on the streets or on the verge of being back on the street for longer than I care to remember. I've either been homeless or had the threat of homelessness hanging over me for an unbearable amount of time.

Sea view

I viewed an apartment this evening. That's the view from the lounge. Yes, it's really soon to be thinking about renting my own apartment, but I've been on a hell of a long journey. I was born in Wales. I've come home to Wales. I want to live here. I want to put down roots. I want to stop moving from place to place. I want to stop living out of a suitcase. I want to feel like I have a place I can call home that's mine.

I'm incredibly grateful to my friends for letting me live with them. Taking in a mentally ill homeless junkie alcoholic thief beggar bankrupt loser murderer baby-eater was a brave thing to do. It was so kind and generous of my friends to risking having a horrible monster like me in their family home. It shouldn't be understated how much of a big risk it is to take in a homeless person and give them a chance to get back on their feet. My friends have nursed me back to health.

The journey isn't over. I need to keep all the plates spinning. I need to continue to maintain my friendships, keep doing a good job at work, keep developing my fledgling romance, keep my car running and the money flowing... it's not easy. Theoretically, I have enough money to pay 12 months rent. In practice, cashflow is going to be really tight. It's going to be super stressful going through all the hassle of renting a place to live... like, how do I explain that I haven't got a reference from a previous landlord? Perhaps I can show them the excellent feedback that I've got on my AirBnB profile from all those different places I stayed in London during the last few months.

Oh my god it'll be so good to finally unpack. It'll be so good to have my own place. It'll be so good if I can get a bunch of the pieces of the puzzle all in place at the same time.




Step Count

1 min read

This is a story about data...


I'm not going to write a proper blog post today - there isn't enough time. However, I don't want to skip a day so here's a random graph. I'm thinking about how my step count is steadily increasing despite the fact I've had a chest infection for a couple of weeks. I'm thinking about how all the data - such as the consistent daily word count - is indicative of my improving situation.

I've got plans to create a map of every bed I've slept in during the last 4 months, my bank balance over time, the sentiment of my blogs using certain keywords (e.g. "depression") and some kind of cross-correlation of it all.

It's great to collect data. It's great to be able to see trends.




Official Secrets

6 min read

This is a story about spying...

Clear desk policy

I'm not doing very well in terms of burying my blog. I've not been very successful at writing a load of non-contentious stuff that would bore any person who stumbled upon my website and decided to go digging in the archives. I've not done a very good job of being sensible and writing stuff that wouldn't be controversial if it was discovered by somebody connected with my work.

Where I live is a fairly small place. In theory I should be more careful, but I haven't been. It's been too difficult to change my habits. I've written candidly with authenticity and honesty for so long that it's become a habit. I'm unguarded. I'm vulnerable. It's been so long since I kept up the corporate mask and pretended like everything was A-OK for the sake of my job.

This Monday has been completely different from last Monday. I'm starting to become hopeful that life might become sustainable and pleasant. Happier times might be ahead - I'm really close to making a breakthrough. My life is more good than bad at the moment.

It makes me a little paranoid knowing that I've got some things that I want to keep. I'd be upset if I lost my local job and my imagined future crumbled into dust. Without money how am I going to get a place of my own? How am I going to be able to go out on dates and on mini-breaks with my girlfriend? How will I continue to escape from the circumstances that made my life so awful, without some means of bankrolling it? There's a temptation to hide my real personality; to hide my inner monologue; to bury my true feelings; to present a fake corporate-friendly mask instead of my honest self. I'm economically incentivised to become Mr Boring.

Obviously I'm not going to ditch my blog. I need my daily writing outlet. I need the stability; the security; the comfort blanket.

I'm very worried that mania is going to rear its ugly head and ruin everything. I'm really worried that I'm going to self-sabotage as soon as I get myself into a better position. It's been so long since I had all the pieces of the puzzle. It's really dangerous when I get everything, because I'm busting my balls and on the brink of a breakdown the whole time. I can imagine that I'll be hit with an emotional tsunami when I finally get the keys to a place of my own, for example.

I can detect a lot of unpleasant aggressiveness in my demeanour at times, due to the fact I'm so stressed about crossing the finish line. I'm super defensive and super protective over the progress I've made. I have so little tolerance for anybody who might stand in the way. I have no time for anybody who thinks they've got any ideas of how I should be living my life, because I've got such a clear idea in my mind of what I'm doing and where I'm going. It's so stressful to be so close, but yet so far.

I'm under so much pressure to make my struggles secret. I can't imagine that my work colleagues would understand the journey I've been on to get to this point. It's too mind-blowing for a corporate drone to think about an atypical path through live. It's too much of a taboo to talk about any off-piste moments that aren't CV-friendly, in the world of business and large organisations.

I'm going to keep the details of my working day secret, as is my professional duty, but it's too much to ask of me to bury my blog; to hide my identity. Yes, it's risky, but I need the stability; I need the consistency; I need the continuity.

By writing, hopefully I'm making myself more normal in the flesh. I think that without this outlet I struggle to deal with people face-to-face. Without this outlet, there's no way of getting rid of the bad thoughts and feelings and harmlessly de-fusing things that threaten to blow up in my face. Without this outlet, there's a greater chance of me losing my mind and screwing everything up. I just did 6 months incident-free. 6 months of stability is an amazing achievement, especially considering the toxic circumstances I've had to deal with. By writing, I hope that I can maintain the steady stable changes that have helped me to improve my life, working towards happier times.

I don't even particularly feel like writing today, but I'm doing it because it's part of my routine. Some days we don't feel like going to work, but we do anyway because we need the money. The routine is necessary. The routine is healthy even. It can be easy to give up and stop... to refuse to carry on.

Keeping secrets is a burden. I can't handle any extra burdens right now. I'll do my professional duty and avoid any situations that would infringe my code of conduct, but I can't afford to go stealth; to bury my identity.

Perhaps I seem reckless. Perhaps I seem like I want to have my cake and eat it. I certainly seem to be getting everything I want. I guess I should be humble. I guess I shouldn't take any risks. I guess I shouldn't take any chances. I should grovel and kiss arses, declaring my undying gratitude for a few crumbs from the cake, shouldn't I?

I've been put through the wringer to get to this point, but that doesn't make me want to hide my personality; it doesn't make me want to put the corporate-friendly mask back on. I think it was the fake corporate mask that made me unwell. It was so exhausting pretenting like I'm the perfect employee... a perfect CV; a blemish-free record - no black marks against my name.

So, the open secret is staying here. Fuck it. If you want to buy 100% of me - my brain, my body, my past, my future - then it's going to cost you a lot more than I'm being paid at the moment.




Mother's Day

5 min read

This is a story about thankless tasks...

White rose

If you wanted a companion animal, you should've gotten a dog. If you wanted unconditional love from your dependent, you should've gotten a dog. If you expected to get more out than you put in, you should've gotten a dog.

Children are not dogs. Children can't be trained to be obedient creatures that adore their owners. Children don't owe their parents anything. Respect is earned. Trust is earned. If you want to be loved, love. The arrow of responsibility is clear - parents are responsible for their children, but not vice-versa. Parents make a selfish decision to bring children into existence, without their permission. Existence is agonising. Unless you can give your children the opportunity to do anything they want and fulfil their potential, what the fuck are you doing creating more mouths to feed on this overcrowded planet? To inflict the agony of existence onto an innocent child is a sin. To bring kids into the world when you care more about your studies, your career, your sex life, your drugs, your alcohol, your cigarettes.... what the actual fuck?

I'm an antinatalist. "There's never a right time to have children" - you're damn straight there isn't. Take a look around. Poverty and suffering is rife and living standards are declining. The reason why you were in two minds about getting an abortion is because you know that you should have done. You should have used birth control. Children aren't accidents. We're not primative beasts. We know where babies come from and how to prevent pregnancy. We know how to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Children know when they're unwanted. Children are receptive little sponges, who pick up on all those subtle hints that they've somehow made life more stressful and unpleasant. Children didn't ask to be born.

"What if my child becomes the next Mozart or Einstein?" some mothers might ask. There's a presumption that by choosing not to have children, we might be depriving society of potential geniuses. The truth is that 99.99999% of children will be useless fucktards, tormented by the agony of existence and a total waste of oxygen. The truth is that it's a very flimsy excuse for inflicting existence onto an innocent child, to argue that it's a contribution to society.

There are very good data to suggest that abortions have been hugely beneficial for society. When birth control and abortions became more commonplace in the 1960s and 1970s we saw a huge fall in crime rates 15 or 20 years later. We know that lower birth rates lead to more advanced civilisations. If you consider yourself to be educated and intelligent, you should make the smart choice and not have children, because it's immoral to eject these unfortunate creatures from your vagina into the present harsh reality. The world is a shitty place and it's getting shittier by the day. It would be better not to exist.

If you want a companion animal, get a dog.

Even getting a dog is pretty cruel. Dogs are hungry all the time, bored, and we cut their balls off and cut out their ovaries. Dogs are enslaved for our enjoyment, sitting at home all day in their crates (i.e. cages) waiting for us to return home, patiently waiting for a bit of attention. The life of a child is worse, because a human has greater intellect. A human can better perceive their own suffering. Existence is agony.

If you've got kids, fine, whatever. You did your thing. Whatever. Don't expect me to fucking congratulate on doing what every ancestor of yours did, back to the time when life first sprung into existence. Don't expect a fucking medal for acting just like every other stupid beast that ever existed. There are no medals for acting like slime mould or an amoeba. There are no medals for procreation - it was inevitable that you were going to spread, like bacteria or a parasite; it was inevitable that you were going to act like lichen or moss, or any other kind of fucking brainless organism. No medal.

Being a mother is a thankless task because no thanks are owed. There's no debt. There's nothing to be thankful for. You didn't do anything, except that which every ancestor of yours did back to the first replicating organism that ever existed. No thanks for simply being are owed.

It's harsh, but it's true. I have no reverence for mothers, fathers, parents or any other replicating individual. There's nothing special. There's nothing to be celebrated. There's nothing, except what is demonstrably inevitable given the universal laws of physics and evolutionary biology. I'm sure dads are pretty chuffed that they managed to get somebody pregnant and they've passed on their genes to some unfortunate offspring, but don't ask the children to be grateful. Existence is agony. Existence is a curse.

This is super bitter and aggressive, but this is the fact of the matter. Existence is a curse. No thanks are due. If you had a shred of morality, you wouldn't inflict existence on the innocent. If you had a shred of moral decency, you wouldn't perpetuate the suffering.

Yes, children bring joy. Yes, children have moments of happiness. The point is though, do they owe you any thanks? Are children inheriting a world they're going to be able to have a nice life in? Perhaps there would be thanks due if living standards were improving, but they aren't. All that awaits is a life of indentured servitude. All that awaits is climate change, economic collapse, housing crises, pensions crises, debt crises and all the other problems that have been stored up for the younger generations; the childless.

It's immoral to just hope for the best, when the evidence is quite clear - the world's a fucked up miserable place. Thanks for nothing.




No Fiction. No Fantasy

7 min read

This is a story about novels...

Why I write

I wonder why I don't write more fiction. I wonder why I haven't retreated into a fantasy world. I think it's because my reality has been stranger than fiction; my life has had more drama than any fable I've read. I wonder why I'm not compelled to delve into the realm of science fiction. I think it's because I'm entranced by the mysteries of the universe - the possibilities of scientific discovery are far more interesting and important than made-up stuff, even if it does fire the imagination.

The first novel I wrote was important, because it allowed me to explore the hardest thing in my life: my addiction. I felt like I was trapped into a destiny that could only lead to health problems, getting in trouble with the police, being locked up on psych wards and in prison, and a premature death. I felt like it was all my fault - because of bad choices - and that there was no escape. In fact, the solution was to take things to their ultimate conclusion in a fictional world. In writing the story of Neil and his descent into the world of addiction, I was forgiving myself. By telling the story, I could understand that addiction is not about moral weakness, stupidity, bad character and individual responsibility. By telling Neil's story, I could see that he was as trapped as I was and that it wasn't his fault that circumstances led him to the brink of the most awful death imaginable.

The second novel - almost but not quite completed - allowed me to play out a fantasy instead of acting it out in real life. I needed to move from an individualistic to a social mindset. I needed to think about people other than myself. Having a cast of characters to play with was important to take me back to a time when I had healthy friendships and a sense of purpose. I was undecided whether to write a utopian novel or a dystopian one. In the end I decided that it would be both, because life is messy. I was very strict with myself, trying to keep things grounded in reality and not fudge awkward details. It was very hard. Some of the point of writing fiction is to allow the author to fantasise about whatever they want and construct the back story to conveniently fit the world they want to create. I didn't allow myself that artistic freedom - I wanted the reader to understand how hard it would be for somebody to create a better society.

I wonder why I write. In my mind I've been writing every day for three years, but the reality is that I've skipped a lot of days and it's more like two and a half years. In my mind, I've written a million words, but the actual word count is 844,000 and it's more like 750,000 if you subtract the word count of my two novels. In my mind, this blog tells a clear and consistent story of rags to riches, and explains the complexity of mental health and addiction. In reality, I've written 750,000 words of self-centred drivel and a very great deal of it is quite vindictive and passive-aggressive. Undoubtedly though, it's a project I feel proud of, despite the realisation that a lot of what I've written is garbage, spewed out when I was very unwell. It makes me cringe to read stuff I wrote when I was high or otherwise strung-out due to sleep deprivation and drug abuse. It's very difficult to re-live periods when I was extremely distressed, due to bad jobs, financial woes, housing insecurity, depression, anxiety and lots of other awful things.

I have regularly proclaimed that I'm going to make a change, only to fail spectacularly to enact one. When I stopped writing my blog during November of last year to write my second novel, I found it really hard to live without my daily blog post. I write because it's a habit and a coping mechanism, and without it I struggle. I write because it gives me stability in an otherwise unstable life.

It surprised me how little traction I was getting in terms of getting readers and Twitter followers, until 6 months ago or so. My social media engagement - likes, comments and shares - was abysmal. Why on earth was I pouring my heart and soul into a project when so few people were reading? Who would spend two years of their life writing stuff that hardly anybody wanted to read? Turns out there aren't any short-cuts; there's no easy way. If you're not writing regularly then you're not going to get regular readers. It's hard damn work to build something that anybody thinks is worth reading. I don't think that my stuff is "worth reading" but I'm glad that I exist in the form of these words on the page; I'm glad I've put myself out there for the world to judge me.

I regularly read quite a few blogs and I enjoy the sense of participation in the lives of those people. I like knowing what's going on in their worlds, and what the history is that led them to the present day - what makes them tick. To begin with, it's easier if a person writes short and sweet little updates and a relationship is formed slowly over time, but then I'm often left feeling I want more - I wish people wrote more. I'm always surprised by how infrequently some people write and how reserved they are. I guess we can't all have verbal diarrhoea like me, huh?

A friend describes how he listens to the radio or watches Youtube vloggers because he's used to the voices, the personalities - it's company. I hope that if I can be consistent that I'm providing a kind of company for my readers - I'm a familiar voice too. I worry that I'm droning on and that I transmit far more than I receive, but it's helpful for me to keep this regular thing going. At least I'm still here in the land of the living if I'm writing. It serves as a kind of heartbeat if nothing else - if I go quiet then people will worry, and not without good reason. Thinking "what am I going to write about today?" is a purpose, in the absence of another. A purpose is important, in life.

If you wanna be a writer, you've got to write. I'm not sure if I want to be a writer, because they're very badly paid and their artistic freedom is restricted by the need to write commercially-viable pieces. In fact, I am a writer, first and foremost. I have a job that pays the bills and gives me plenty of time to write - I'm one of the best paid writers you know. I'm not sure I'm a novelist, but I'm definitely a writer. I'm definitely going to continue until I've reached my 3-year anniversary and a million words published on this blog, later this year.

I'm not particularly motivated to write fiction at the moment because I want to know how my own story ends. My life is going through an exciting period with some very real "will he?/won't he?" jeopardy. It's a nail-biter.