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Whine

5 min read

This is a story about feeling hard-done-by....

Wine glass

Poor me. Poor me. Pour me another drink. I look back upon things I've written and I cringe because I'm so self-pitying. In the context of my improving situation, it looks rather churlish to complain about my lot in life, however I'm wont to moan because I've spent most of the last 5 years battling to get back on my feet after a messy divorce. I'm repeating myself. Jeeps I'm repeating myself and it's only the first paragraph.

I don't really understand the whole "count your blessings" and "other people have it harder" mindset. Shitty times are shitty times. Unbearable crap is unbearable crap. I don't really care that there's one super unfortunate person who's having the most awful time in the whole entire world. I don't really care that there's only ever one human being on the entire planet, who supposedly has the moral right to complain, because nobody has it any harder than them. This isn't a lack of perspective, or being a spoiled brat - it's human life. Next time you stub your toe, you should try not being in pain by remembering that other people are in far more pain than you... see how that works out for you.

I don't generally think of myself as very hard-done-by.

I get up in the morning pretty early, but not the earliest. I have to commute to work, but not the furthest. I have to do a job that's pretty boring most of the time, but it's not the worst. I don't have housing security or financial security, but I'm not starving and homeless. I'm pretty lonely and isolated, but I'm not raped, tortured and murdered every single day. On balance, my life's pretty good. Perhaps you think that means I should only ever write about how awesome everything is. Perhaps you think I should leap out of bed in the morning with a smile from ear-to-ear.

My depression has definitely lifted a little now that I got through a ridiculously stressful and unpleasant ordeal where I pretty much lost everything and very nearly ended up with black marks against my name that would have made me unemployable and unable to rent a place to live. I very nearly ended up homeless again. I got down to a bank balance of £23 available credit, making bankruptcy imminent. I got through that, but it's taken its toll.

I'm drinking loads. Perhaps that's because I was using alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism - a crutch - when I was battling to beat my addiction to two prescription medications that I had been taking for a year. I was battling to earn money and stave off bankruptcy. I was battling to save up enough money to buy a car, rent an apartment and be able to switch to a job that was closer to home. Alcohol soothed my nerves; calmed my anxiety. Alcohol lulled me off to sleep.

I whine a lot. I drink at lot of wine and I whine.

I release the pressure build-up here on this blog. I come here and I write every day. Writing is my healthy coping mechanism. Whining is healthy. Drinking wine is not healthy. I drink too much wine.

If anybody tells you not to whine so much, they're a toxic person who shouldn't be anywhere near you. Whining is what people do when their lives are shitty and they're going through hell. Whining is a way of coping with some truly awful stuff. Whining is a safe way of venting. If somebody tells you to be positive and pretend like everything's OK, they're toxic and they don't care about what you're going through.

I wish I whined less, but my whining is driven by my circumstances. As my circumstances improve, I'll whine less. When my life becomes sustainable and pleasant, I'll stop whining. The whining is getting me through the long slog. Wine is also helping me get through the long slog.

I'm comfort eating and abusing alcohol, and it's having a negative effect on my body - I'm putting on weight, my liver is having to work hard and alcohol is generally not very healthy. It'd be nice if I could live healthily immediately, but wine and whining are helping me to limp along at the moment - they're the crutches that I need.

I need a holiday. I need to lie on a beach in a hot country for a week. Yes, sure, lots of us need a holiday. I've got to get through another 3 weeks before I get paid, and then I can maybe have a relaxing break, where I won't be worrying about money or losing my job. I hope that the next few weeks are just going to be solid whining, because I even bore myself sometimes, but it's hard going at the moment... moan moan moan.

I have other stuff that I want to write about that's probably more interesting, but I thought I'd rattle off a little essay about whining and about wine, of course.

 

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The End of Privacy

7 min read

This is a story about data protection...

Messenger bag

Congratulations. You found me. Somehow you managed to figure out my real identity and hack my personal data. Somehow you've managed to discover all my most closely-guarded secrets. You've compromised my privacy and discovered all my data that was held securely in the vault.

I'm fast approaching 900,000 words that I've written on this blog. I've written extensively about my childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, losing my virginity, first love, getting engaged and married, getting divorced, my mental health problems, my problems with drink & drugs, homelessness, near-bankruptcy, trouble with the police... I've written about everything. Everything you could ever hope to find out about a person is all documented right here, in unflinching detail.

I repeat myself.

I repeat myself because nobody fucking cares. I've written all this stuff about myself and left it out there for anybody to read, and it doesn't matter - everybody's too wrapped up in their own lives to give a shit about the details of anybody else's messy little life. I've published high-resolution photos of my passport. I've published every single detail you'd need to steal my identity, but nobody can be bothered. Most of us are far too boring and mediocre and average and uninteresting for anybody to give a shit.

Perhaps you've been so stupid as to share personal information in a way that's easily harvested in vast quantities. Maybe you're just another idiot who made their date of birth public on Facebook, or told some other popular website personal details about yourself, where you completely ignored the messages that told you exactly what data would be shared with 3rd parties.

You've got free email. Free photo sharing. Free messaging. Free document storage. Free business contacts. Free marketing. Free social networks where you can connect with your friends and meet other likeminded people. How the hell did you think any of it was funded? If the service is free YOU are the product.

The email address on the bag pictured above is my business email address. You can email it and your message will be delivered to me. I've been very careful to not mix my professional identity with my Nick "manic" Grant identity, because I work in very boring corporate environments which don't take kindly to people with mental illness who've recently been destitute and locked up on psych wards. There's a fundamental incompatibility with my true identity and the persona that allows me to get good jobs and get ahead in a corporate environment.

To write that email address in text form on the pages of this website would mean that Google would index it and make it searchable, such that my email address would be added to spam lists and my inbox would be inundated with crap. To write that word - the name of my company - on the pages of this website would tie me to any search that included my name and my company's name. I'm already on page 2 of Google, and I'd hate to make it any easier for me to be found. People already find me very quickly on LinkedIn, so heaven forbid what it's going to be like if people start digging for me on Google and stumbling on this blog.

A colleague of mine has already found my blog. I can see that he has an iPhone Plus and he uses the WiFi at our workplace to read my blog. I can see what pages he looked at and how long he spent reading them. Perhaps he doesn't know that I know this, but maybe he does now... if he's just read this. If you think I'm spying on my readers you should know that every tech company collects analytics on its users. Of course, I can't know who every individual is, but I can make very good educated guesses by looking at the IP address they visit from - which tells me their location, their ISP or workplace - and the kind of device they're using.

If you think it's unethical to spy on the people who consume content for free, you should consider whether you'd be prepared to pay for Facebook, Twitter, news websites, funny comics, interesting blogs, videos, games and all the other content you regularly consume. Would you pay for email? Would you pay to keep your photos and documents safely stored in the cloud? At the moment, you receive so much stuff for free, because your data isn't private - you consented to give it to us tech boffins so that you could get free stuf. You made the deal with the devil.

If you think you have privacy you're incredibly naïve. The details of your confidential medical consultations are discussed casually around the dinner table. The details of your life are pored over by the guardian class, who present themselves as protectors of your privacy, but are in fact terrible gossips who share all the lurid details of your most embarrassing moments with all their guffawing chums. There's no privacy - it's an illusion; a fantasy.

Having dealt with GPs, psychiatrists, hospitals, the police, security vetting people, tenant vetting people, credit check people, proof-of-identity people and numerous others who've sought to invade my privacy, I can tell you from first-hand experience that information washes around quite freely and there's very little protection of your precious privacy. The most sensitive information is casually chucked around in the most careless fashion. You're delusional if you think your data's protected.

I became disillusioned with data protection and privacy, and I decided to go public. I decided to write 900,000 words that give complete transparency about who I am and what I've done. I have no privacy. I live in the public eye - everything you could ever want to know about me, including my very worst, most embarrassing and most unflattering moments, are documented here in unflinching detail. This is what happens when you embrace the post-privacy world that we live in.

What do you want to know? Do you want to see my pornography viewing habits? Do you want to see secret webcam screen recordings of me masturbating, or maybe just picking my nose and scratching my testicles while lying on the sofa in a pile of my own filth, watching crappy TV shows? If you want to know what a person's really like behind the mask, I'll give it to you. Guess what? We're all a bit pervy and none of us is perfect; we all have flaws and stuff that we'd be embarrassed if anybody knew, but it's there - we're all basically the same.

Google does not yet read the text on images and make it searchable in the same way that it will for this word: googwebcamasturbdex. Try searching that word tomorrow, and you'll see that it's Google's top search hit. Try searching my email address and you won't find this website, however... which is how I want to keep it until the world finally accepts that we're living in a post-privacy era and we can see that we ALL have flaws.

I'm taking a HUGE risk having all this stuff about me out there on the public internet. I risk my reputation, my business, my income, my livelihood. I risk becoming unemployable. I risk being black-balled, because nobody wants a homeless bankrupt junkie alcoholic with mental heath problems working in their precious corporation. I'm risking it because it was exhausting, trying to keep my privacy in the era when privacy finally became a thing of the past; a relic.

Does privacy help you? Is it a big deal that Facebook leaked 4% of their users' data? Would you have paid for Facebook if it meant that your data was secure?

I think in time you'll come to see the world like I do - secrecy is hard work and life is better when you're transparent and open. I can highly recommend uploading yourself to the public cloud for safekeeping.

 

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Vindictive

4 min read

This is a story about having a chip on my shoulder...

View out to sea

Seemingly out of nowhere a huge grudge has reared its ugly head. It felt like I'd been biting my tongue for a long time, and sadly it seems like I'd been unable to forgive and forget a big list of transgressions. I don't know why I've been carrying this unhelpful baggage around. I don't know why my own less-than-perfect behaviour doesn't cancel out the occasions which have upset me. I don't know why I haven't been able to resolve problems amicably. However, I blew up; I got mad. A huge tsunami of anger hit me and I've raged about all the stuff that's been bothering me for a long time, which I'd bottled up.

Every time I censor my blog, it's a huge mistake.

My blog is where I come to write, as a coping mechanism for some awful stuff that I've been through. My blog is a healthy coping mechanism, when so many others would resort to drugs & alcohol, or perhaps be driven mad by the torment of their suffering. My blog has been miraculously therapeutic at getting me through so many episodes of relapse, hospitalisation, homelessness, lost jobs, near-bankruptcy and other financial distress, and very difficult struggles with drink, drugs and mental health problems. I depend on my blog. To be denied the opportunity to write freely has dire consequences.

It was a huge mistake to censor my blog.

I took down a blog post as a goodwill gesture. It was a mistake. There was nothing in the blog post that was offensive or in any way problematic.

I had days of hell where I had absolutely no idea what was wrong with what I'd written. I had days of hell where there was an impending confrontation linked to somebody who had quite routinely tormented me and had been very aggressive. I thought things got resolved, but my Twitter was later examined with a fine-tooth comb and the unpleasant and extremely stressful confrontation - far worse than I had been expecting or prepared for - was completely pointless because the goodwill gesture achieved nothing. In fact, deleting my blog post and then being unable to write because I had no idea what was problematic with it, was incredibly disruptive and ultimately futile; pointless.

Unintentionally, the dam burst and I wrote about all the things that had been bothering me, but I wrote in a way that was stoked up by the unpleasant nasty confrontation and the censorship of my blog. It was a stressful and confusing situation, and ultimately it was utterly pointless - I should never have censored my blog or attempted reconciliation. As a result, things have come out with a lot more anger than I'd have liked. Things have come out a lot more forcefully than I'd have liked.

I can totally understand why I was Tweeting so desperately, having gone through 4 sleepless nights and had nothing to go on except an abusive phonecall... plus all the other unpleasant stuff that had gone before, of course. What had gone before could perhaps have been shrugged off as "a clash of personalities" but ended up crystallising into the firm belief that I didn't want anything more to do with a person who'd caused me a great deal of distress. I don't want to make things personal. I don't want to take someone to pieces and destroy them on social media and on my blog. What you have to understand is that this blog is my coping mechanism - this is where I come when I'm hurting, to work stuff out.

I'd like to stop being bitter, angry and vindictive, but I know that this fire's gonna burn for far longer than I want. I really want a clean break; a fresh start. I really want to move on. I want to forget all about the whole dismal episode.

I may end up re-writing the original blog post that I deleted, and publishing it in its edited form, as some kind of closure.

Publish or perish.

You have to understand that's why I write: because it's a life-or-death situation.

 

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Emotional Instability

6 min read

This is a story about borderline personality disorder (BPD)...

Bipolar diagnosis section

If you've ever wondered about being detained against your will in a mental hospital - on a locked psych ward - then this is how it all begins... a 'section'. Being 'sectioned' means you're being legally detained under a section of the Mental Health Act (1983). The police can section you for 24 hours under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. After an initial assessment you might be sectioned for 28 days, under section 2. If you're assessed again you might be sectioned for 6 months, which is section 3. As you can see above I was sectioned under section 2.

I've been diagnosed and treated by 13 different psychiatrists. I've spent 10 weeks under lock & key on psych wards and a total of 18 weeks as an inpatient, receiving treatment for my mental health problems.

All the psychiatrists agree: I have bipolar disorder.

One unqualified doctor has been so bold as to ignore the fact that they completely failed their psychiatric long case, and ignore the fact they're utterly incompetent when it comes to making a sound mental health diagnosis. This unqualified doctor apparently read a book about borderline personality disorder and then tried to diagnose me, despite their obvious shortcomings and prior failures in the area of mental health. That pissed me off. That idiot doctor ignored all the years of evidence and the unanimous opinion of 13 specialist highly experienced and fully qualified psychiatric doctors, because their ego is over-inflated, and frankly, they're a bit of an idiot arsehole.

So. I have bipolar disorder. That's beyond question - it's been confirmed and reconfirmed. I've had a second opinion. I've had a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth opinion.

I did not ask for a fourteenth opinion.

In fact, I made it expressly clear that I DID NOT WANT another opinion... especially one from an unqualified doctor who skim-read the first few pages of a book. Especially an opinion from somebody who I think lacks empathy and compassion for vulnerable people. People with mental health problems aren't safe around that unqualified doctor, who doesn't seem to have taken on board the fact that they failed their psychiatric long-case and are therefore unqualified to be practicing psychiatric medicine.

Furthermore, when we are thinking about a borderline personality disorder diagnosis we have to consider co-morbidity.

If a person is under a great deal of stress due to housing, job, finances, relationship and other external influences, it is not possible to diagnose borderline personality disorder, because of the co-morbid adjustment disorder. Adjustment disorder is just a fancy way of saying "your life is hell right now". Naturally, it's not possible to unpick mental health problems from the stress and anxiety that anybody would be feeling when their life's in tatters.

Just as a little reminder... I'd been through a breakup with my girlfriend, had to leave my apartment in London, move to Manchester, start a new job, I broke up with another girlfriend, tried to kill myself, lost my job, lost my apartment in Manchester, moved to Wales to live with strangers, ran out of money, got another job, went to Warsaw, went back to London and ran out of money again. That is more than enough stress to give anybody adjustment disorder, making any new diagnosis impossible. There is too much co-morbidity.

Also, when alcohol and drug abuse are co-morbid, diagnosis is impossible. This does present a bit of a paradox, because alcohol and drug abuse are quite often present in cases of borderline personality disorder, but they are also very often present in bipolar disorder too. There's a specific diagnosis for that co-morbidity: dual-diagnosis.

I know a lot about dual diagnosis because I spent 4 weeks in hospital seeing the country's leading specialist almost every day, and I continued to speak to that specialist regularly for a long time after I was discharged from hospital. While substance abuse was a problem in my life, my diagnosis was quite clear: dual-diagnosis (bipolar disorder & substance abuse disorder).

Finally, we must consider loss of status.

There are excellent data showing that loss of social status causes emotional instability. If you think about it, it's pretty obvious. Imagine that you lost your wife, your kids, your job, your house, your car, all your money, the respect of your friends & family... do you think your self-esteem would be intact? Do you think you'd be fine with that and you'd be carrying on with your life like normal? Of course you'd be emotionally unstable - it's a normal human reaction to that devastating loss of social status. You can't just say "it's just stuff" because it's not - it's intrinsic to your identity and your sense of wellbeing.

It's not possible to diagnose borderline personality disorder - also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) - when there are concrete and undeniable external factors that would contribute to a person's loss of self-esteem, social status and consequently make them emotionally unstable. It's simply not an appropriate diagnosis for somebody whose whole life has collapsed and is in ruins.

The arrogance of Dr Death to attempt to give an unwanted and unqualified fourteenth opinion, ignoring the unanimous verdict of thirteen highly qualified and experienced specialist doctors, is highly offensive and antagonising. This opinion was aggressively thrust upon me when I made my wishes crystal clear: "do not diagnose me, Dr Death, because your opinion is worthless unqualified irritating tosh that will only upset and anger me". The fact that Dr Death proceeded to do what the f**k they wanted anyway only serves to further prove how arrogant and lacking in any compassion they are... this is a person who's not even my doctor.

So, please don't play pretend-psychiatrist and give me your amateur diagnosis... I've spent 10 years in and out of the mental health system, and I've done extensive research of my own. Shove your crackpot theories about me up your ass.

I dearly wanted to get to the point where I've been symptom-free and medication-free for long enough to declare I'm 'cured' but for now I reluctantly accept the opinion of 13 very experienced and qualified specialist psychiatrists, who are experts in their field and highly respected. I accept their opinion - that I have bipolar disorder - and I reject f**king idiots who skim-read a few pages of a book and hardly know me. F**k off Dr Death.

I was disappointed to learn that I probably have type 1 bipolar disorder, not the milder type 2 that I thought I had, but I've had 6 months without medication and without an episode, so I seem to be managing the illness very well, especially considering the fact that I've moved 4 times, been in hospital twice, attempted suicide once, had 3 jobs, been through 3 countries, bought a car, narrowly escaped bankruptcy three times and finally managed to rent a new apartment and have a healthy happy relationship with a lovely girl. I mean... sheesh... that level of stress would send anybody insane, wouldn't it?

So...

I have bipolar disorder. That's it.

 

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Devolution

7 min read

This is a story about overcrowding...

3D Printing

In the animal kingdom resources are scarce. Food is hard to come by so the best areas to hunt and gather are highly sought after. Defending your territory requires a constant battle with other individuals who want to encroach. Controlling resources gives a surplus of food, which means that surplus can be used to rear offspring. Having a food surplus means you're attractive to a mate - you clearly have the genes to protect your territory, which means you should be a good provider and your offspring should reach genetic maturity and be able to pass on your genes.

In the animal kingdom, what's good for the individual is generally good for the species. Territory disputes will result in fights, some of which may be fatal, but self-preservation instincts cause animals to prefer to avoid conflict. There is no 'delicate equilibrium' - the animal kingdom is a constant battle that ebbs and flows, and whole species are regularly wiped out, for no other reason than pure bad luck - the starting conditions and what happens thereafter are decided by the roll of a dice.

When humans behave like animals, they revere violence, muscle, domination, cruelty, bullying, monopolies, power, control, conquest, shows of force, agression and all the other vulgar traits of a supposedly intelligent creature, which leads to rape and pillage when it is allowed to continue unchecked. We celebrate the rapists in our culture - the 'hero' soldiers and the meathead bullies; the 1% who control 50% of the wealth. We revere the bestial. We worship the animalistic.

When an animal gets a food surplus, it then wants a sex surplus. It's a common male fantasy to want a harem of females. Obviously, with there being an approximately 50:50 male to female population ratio, there are going to be men who are going to lose out. In the animal kingdom, those 'beta' males would fight with the 'alphas' for breeding rights. This is something that we see culturally celebrated - there are various rituals that seem to demonstrate that there's a 'victor' in a simulated 'battle'... it's called sport. It's a zero-sum game: for there to be a winner, there has to be a loser.

We are not animals. We are humans and that is distinct and different, because we are self-aware. We are able to preserve knowledge between generations using spoken, written - and more recently - video as a communication mechanism. We have language. We have reason and logic and science.

Prostitution is an evolutionary advancement. Prostitution allows anybody who is capable of generating value in society to be able to access sex. Prostitution allows sex to be traded with the smartest individuals, and not just the strongest. Having sex with the smartest is an evolutionary advancement, because it allows the species to develop at a rate that grows exponentially, because it is not restricted by selective breeding and genetic mutation - if smart people fuck, they raise smart kids... not because of their genes, but because of their upbringing.

Clearly, we are in the middle of an evolutionary split. If you think about the big 5 tech companies - Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft - then imagine how the founders of those companies would fare in the stone age, you'd be pretty sure that those guys would not get laid. The multi-billion dollar tech company founders are classic 'beta' males, aren't they?

Meanwhile, toxic masculinity has reached such epic proportions that the swollen muscles and tanned skin, that 100 years ago would have shown that you were a farm worker, and therefore poor and stupid, is now revered as attractive.

One branch of society worships agression and bestial behaviour - fighting, war, muscle - while another branch of humanity is rapidly evolving and pulling away from the thick-skulled knuckle-draggers. Who's going to win in a fight? You with your muscles and tiny brain, or me with my army of AI-controlled drones? Who's going to win? The dirt poor idiots, or the richest smartest people on the planet?

The geeks are inheriting the earth.

Meanwhile, homosexuality seems to be the next evolutionary stage. Homosexuality means unlimited sex without having to engage in the bullshit drama that's always created during bestial, animalistic, heteronormative fulfilment of the will of the genes. Procreation is a massive distraction from deep thinking and scientific discovery. A scientist can dedicate their whole life to research and pass on their knowledge through what they write and publish, so there's really no need for any genetic heirs. We all benefit handsomely from the work of the geniuses who have lived and died before, whether they had children or not. Anybody is capable of reading the works of a great scientist and becoming one themselves. The birth of knowledge is far more important than the birth of beasts.

Then, suicide. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

The vast body of discovered knowledge is far greater than the human mind was evolved to cope with. We are not supposed to know the secrets of the universe. We are not supposed to understand that we are mortal creatures who are cosmically insignificant. To attempt to grasp the ungraspable is to destroy our own sense of wellbeing. There's cold comfort knowing that we're held onto the surface of a rock by the weakest physical force - gravity - while we orbit a ball of gas that's a dying star in the vacuum of space, in a universe that's so vast it's beyond comprehension. We weren't supposed to travel in motor cars. We weren't supposed to fly in jet planes. We weren't supposed to live in skyscrapers. Everything about modern life is anathema to us - it creates great anxiety and distress. Just think about how many people have a fear of flying.

Suicide is a natural response for a person who can comprehend their own mortality and see that life is suffering. A smart person can see that their life is meaningless. A smart person can comprehend their insignificance in the universe. Once you've figured out that life is pointless, and life is suffering, then suicide is logical. The smartest humans will quickly assimilate enough knowledge to see that it's not worth suffering and that death is preferable to life. The survival instinct is genetically programmed, to ensure survival of the species. If the individual is suffering, then of course their own individual suffering is more important than the survival of the species as a whole. In fact, the suicide of those who are prone to suicidal thoughts is better for the survival of the species, although the gene persists because it is intellect that makes a person more likely to commit suicide. Suicide is an intellectual's best option, to end the suffering.

Humans are incredibly adaptable, and we have learned to live with the anxiety-inducing awfulness of the modern world, where most of us cram into overcrowded cities for economic reasons. Most of us are living with cramped living conditions, crime, disease, pollution, noise, ugly buildings, bright lights, overcrowded transport networks and all the other terrible things that modern urban living has given us. We like to think we're terribly technologically advanced, but we've simply gotten used to all the bad stuff that would leave stone age man whimpering; cowering in a corner with fear and overloaded senses.

Devolution - de-evolution - is happening. Humanity has fragmented. The thick-skulled knuckle-draggers will drag themselves back to the stone age, because that's where they feel comfortable. The stupid ones will have loads of children, and they'll teach those children to be stupid. Stupidity is celebrated in the underclass.

If you're smart, you won't have kids and you'll kill yourself.

 

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Closet Tory

3 min read

This is a story about sacred cows...

Police cordon

A closet Tory lives in an ivory tower where they believe they are immune from criticism. A closet Tory is so removed from reality that they'll lecture a penniless homeless person on the virtues of living frugally, while at the same time sending their children to a private school that costs £30,000 per annum, per child.

A closet Tory is somebody who believes that suicide being the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 is an acceptable price to pay to stop a tiny handful of malingerers from receiving incapacity benefit. "Get a job!" they metaphorically shout at beggars, as they spit on them.

A closet Tory is somebody who tells a person who's down to their last £20 that they're not poor... "is that YOUR kind of poor or MY kind of poor?" they ask sarcastically, implying that being down your last few houses, luxury cars, and wads of cash in the bank is somehow more poor than being down to your last £20. A closet Tory is somebody who's so deluded that they believe they're poor, even though they own a huge property portfolio, luxury cars, send their kids to private school and pay for private tutors, and they have a safe well-paid prestigious job. A closet Tory lives in a fantasy world, where they believe that they're hard-done-by, while believing the genuinely impoverished and vulnerable people are having a lovely time.

A closet Tory is somebody who has no compassion for the sick and needy; the vulnerable. A closet Tory thinks that they can read people's minds. A closet Tory thinks they know that they know that people are lying when they say that they can't work. A closet Tory thinks that suicides are an acceptable price to pay, in order to coerce desperate people into miserable McJobs for the capitalists. A closet Tory is a friend of the capitalists, not a friend of the people and not a friend of the vulnerable. A closet Tory puts capitalist profits ahead of human misery. A closet Tory cares nothing about risk to life.

A closet Tory installs themselves into a position of power and authority, and then proceeds to inflict misery on vast numbers of people. A closet Tory is cruel and uncaring about the lives they're wrecking, because they hold the delusional belief that mistreating and abusing vulnerable people is the best way to coerce them into becoming capitalist slaves. A closet Tory believes it's their duty and their right to sit in judgement over others, and decide who's lazy and deserves to die. A closet Tory thinks that suicide is an acceptable risk, when coercing people into miserable McJobs. A closet Tory thinks they're the job police, and they abuse their position of responsibility to perpetuate the perpetration of misery on the British public.

That's what a closet Tory is. They live in their massive house and their kids want for nothing, and they believe their own bullshit... they believe that they earned and deserve what they've got, while the rest of us are fucking scum who should fuck off and die. The contempt a closet Tory holds for ordinary people is disgusting. If you spend much time with a closet Tory, they'll constantly regale you with anecdotes that will make their detestable views crystal clear - they'll mock, belittle, denigrate and disrespect the vulnerable people who they have power over.

That's why I can't be friends with a closet Tory.

 

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Nasty Nick

5 min read

This is a story about isolation...

One finger salute

The school I briefly attended in France and the final 2 years of my full-time education were alright, but from the age of 3 to the age of 16, I was bullied every day at playgroup and school. I was bullied badly. 8 different schools. 6 different houses. 3 different countries. It all takes its toll.

The job I ended up doing earns me instant abuse - the geek, the nerd, the pimple-faced anorak, the dork, the dweeb, the spod... the list of insults is endless and it seems to be socially acceptable to casually toss these terms of derision around, as if us computer experts don't have feelings.

Poor me.

Of course, to think of myself as a victim - even though I clearly am - earns me further disdain. To pity myself is apparently not allowed. Perhaps I'm victim playing for attention or sympathy. Perhaps I should just get over it. Perhaps I should man up. It's all my fault. I'm to blame for everything.

Poor me.

Only not poor me, because I'm the one who's to blame. I've got a punchable face. I've got an irritating voice. I was born to be a punchbag. I'm here for you to use and abuse - that's my function in life.

I decided to say fuck it. I became a homeless, bankrupt, alcoholic, junkie, benefit scrounger, soap dodger, mental health problems, work-shy layabout, lazy, bone-idle, no-good, waste-of-space, undesirable, crusty, scumbag, useless, drain on society, piece of shit. Death's too good for me. String me up. Don't even piss on me if I'm on fire.

I'm quite familiar with being picked on; ganged up on. I'm quite familiar with being universally hated; spat upon. I'm quite familiar with being everybody's favourite person to bully, torment, persecute and generally shit on.

The net result is me.

I'm Nasty Nick.

Hello pleased to meet you how do you do?

None of what I've been through gives me the right to be shit to other people, by way of revenge. Despite what I've been through, I don't think that it's an excuse to treat others in the terrible way that I've been treated. What I've been through gives me a lot of appreciation for how awful it is to be ganged up on and abused, which makes me want to avoid similar situations - I'm highly attuned to any abusive language, and I avoid anybody who has a bullying manner. I choose to surround myself with sensitive, empathetic, kind, compassionate and caring people, who speak and act respectfully.

If you think I'm a nasty person, that's because I'm Nasty Nick, pleased to meet you. If you think I'm a vicious, bully who says abusive things, I'm sorry you think that. I don't think that kind of behaviour is justified - ever - for the reasons outlined above.

I write.

That's what I do - I write. I write because I'm a writer. I have a blog and I have a Twitter and a Facebook page. I write online. I'm a geek, a nerd, a dork, an anorak, a dweeb... etc. etc. and what I do is I write online. I write online because I've always written online. I've been writing online since the dawn of the internet. I've been writing online since before the internet, when I used to write stuff on bulletin boards with a dial-up modem. I'm not a troll. I write under my own name. You can see what I write and you can judge for youself whether what I write is nasty or not.

I'm Nasty Nick. Judge for yourself. Is Nasty Nick nasty? Almost everything I've ever written is available online, so it's all there for you to read. Nasty Nick has nowhere to hide.

I'm going through life the only way I know how. Do you think I wanted to be bullied all those years and years at school? Do you think I want to be abused because of the job I do? Do you think that anybody would choose bullying and isolation? Do you think anybody would choose to be called all manner of names under the sun?

I look isolated - I am after all the homeless junkie alcoholic bankrupt with mental health problems - but I have connected with so many people online. My online friends are my friends. I don't make any distinction between online friends and people who I see away from the keyboard. I don't have two personas. I don't have a fake identity which I use online. I don't hide behind the screen - what you see is what you get.

I'm pissed off when strong healthy happy people gang up and pick on me, because I'm a vulnerable person - I'm an easy target. I'm pissed off when strong healthy happy people pick on other vulnerable people. Those bullies can go and suck a bag of fucking dicks. Those cunts are responsible for suicides.

There we go. I'm Nasty Nick. I'm an easy target. If you gang up on me, you'll win. Well done.

 

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Sobriety-Induced Insomnia

3 min read

This is a story about nodding off...

Sleeping under a kite

I was expecting my alcohol-free week to pay dividends, but it's not [yet]. I've had three awful nights of sleep and I've been struggling to keep my eyes open at work during the afternoons. My body clock is all screwed up - I'm struggling to get out of bed in the mornings and I'm struggling to get to sleep at night. The only variable is the alcohol, so I know that my sobriety is to blame.

I'm strict with my bedtime and mealtimes. I dim the lights and avoid using my laptop and smartphone in the evenings. I'm doing all the right things but I'm tired and I'm getting more tired by the day, because I'm not sleeping very well at night.

I've noticed an improvement in terms of weight gain already - my trousers had been feeling a little tight. Alcohol piles on the pounds because it's so calorific. I think it's worth having a break from booze for the benefit of my liver and waistline.

I think I'm having bouts of depression and anxiety as a result of abruptly cutting my alcohol consumption to zero. I keep thinking that I'm bored at work and that I should walk out and go home, because I can't stand sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I keep feeling depressed about the fact that I'm months away from financial security. I feel like I can't yet afford to take a holiday - I need to earn every penny I can to dig myself out of the hole and get myself into a strong situation.

My situation is pretty damn good really. I'm managing to get up and get to work nice and early. I'm making it through the working week without too much struggle. My finances are improving. The weather is improving. I have a lovely home. I'm sure I'll feel a lot better after a restful laid-back weekend watching TV while I lie on the sofa. It'll be great to have some weeks without any stress or disruption, to really get into a good routine.

I took a big gamble in making a big change, by stopping drinking so abruptly. I was sensible when I made all the other big changes, like tapering slowly off various medications, but it was really hard. By stopping drinking suddenly I've risked nasty side effects, which I'm very much experiencing right now. I'm sure my body and brain will be very grateful for having a break from booze, but right now I'm exhausted... I'm not feeling the benefit yet.

I guess things always get worse before they get better.

 

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Alcohol as an Anxiolytic

4 min read

This is a story about self-medicating for anxiety with wine...

Recycling

I keep my empty wine bottles behind the kitchen dustbin. The collection of bottles waiting to be recycled has grown very quickly, given that I've been polishing off at least a bottle of wine every day for months. Wine has been my unhealthy coping mechanism. Wine has helped me to get through 4 solid months of work, living out of a suitcase, dating, courting, buying a car, renting an apartment, moving home, two different jobs, three different countries, 12 AirBnBs and countless other anxiety-creating things.

It should be noted that during the last 4 months, I also quit a neuropathic painkiller called pregabalin, and a sleeping pill called zopiclone. The net result of quitting those medications was a vicious rise in my anxiety levels, as a result of the rebound from stopping taking them: withdrawal syndrome. It's hard enough to get off pregabalin and zopiclone under normal circumstances, let alone when you have huge upheaval and stress in your life.

A little over 6 months ago, I quit diazepam and alprazolam, which are both anxiety medications. They're better known as Valium and Xanax. They're highly addictive, and stopping them can cause a discontinuation (withdrawal) syndrome that can last for months and create unbearable anxiety levels.

So, the circumstances have created a hell of a lot of anxiety... a ridiculous amount of anxiety.

Alcohol has helped me to wean off the addictive medications and become medication-free. Alcohol has helped me to cope during incredibly stressful times. Alcohol has been my anxiety medication, during a time when my stress and anxiety levels would be unbearable for even the toughest person.

The ubiquity of alcohol is about the only good thing that can be said of it. Alcohol's effects are short-lived. Alcohol is a poor sleep aid. Alcohol is very unhealthy. However, it's not desirable to take benzodiazepines, Z-drugs and painkillers on a long-term basis, because they all quickly build tolerance and require a bigger and bigger dose to be effective. Valium also has a very long half-life, so you are affected by it 24 hours a day once it reaches a steady concentration in your bloodstream. At least with alcohol, you sober up pretty fast when you stop drinking.

The body's ability to eliminate alcohol is very impressive. Tonight is my third night without a drink and I've suffered no ill effects from abruptly stopping my daily boozing. It would be expected that I might get the shakes or something, given my chronic self-administration of large quantities of alcohol over a long period, but that's simply not the case - I just stopped and I'm fine.

My sleep was a little disturbed last night. My body and brain are re-adjusting to life without copious amounts of wine being tipped down my throat. I'm not feeling the benefits, and if anything I'm feeling a little worse than I was when I was drinking every day. That's to be expected: my body's repairing itself. The booze has been very hard on my body.

I've gained weight and I just feel unhealthy from a winter of misery, where I drank vast quantities of wine. I really need a mini-detox. I thought about having a sober April, but I don't see the point. Drinking in moderation is what I'm aiming to do, so I'll have a little break and then I'll try to drink less.

Having a break from drinking is important, because I need to get into better drinking habits now that the shitstorm of stress has passed. There was no way that I was going to be able to do anything healthy while I was still heavily dependent on alcohol as a crutch, during a really horrible period of my life, but now things are improving and my life is a lot more manageable.

Perhaps I'm one of the lucky ones who can take it or leave it. Perhaps I'm just normal - I'll use whatever's available and my behaviour is dictated by my environment. During stressful times of course I'm going to hit the bottle. During happier times, of course I'm able to make healthier lifestyle choices. Seems obvious, doesn't it?

So, alcohol's not great, but it's not all bad either. It helped me get to where I've got to today.

 

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Boredom is Profitable

3 min read

This is a story about tedium...

Wristwatch

I left work at 4:15pm. I got home at 4:30pm. I'm lying on the sofa writing my blog at 4:45pm, having gotten changed out of my work clothes, fixed myself a drink and a snack and opened my post. This is the life, surely?

Night owls would hate my job. I aim to be at my desk at 7:45am.

Anyone who's a people person would hate my job. I can spend days, weeks and even months without having any human interaction - if the specification is clear, I can just sit down and churn out software without speaking to a single soul.

There is absolutely no room for creativity in my job. If you're a creative person, you'd hate my job. There's no room for artistic expression or artsy-fartsy waffling in what I do - it's binary. Right answer; wrong answer - nothing in-between. No shades of grey.

If you like being busy and you like variety; stimulation, then you'd hate my job. I've been solving the same few problems over and over and over again for the whole of my 21-year career. I already mastered all the skills I needed to do my job well before I started my career. In fact, I already mastered most of the skills I needed to do my job before I learned them in formal education.

If you want to work doing something you're passionate about, you'd hate my job. The kinds of things I'm asked to do will achieve nothing. Mostly, my clients want me to write systems that are just like their other systems, which have already demonstrably failed to effect any meaningful improvement to the human condition.

I like* money though. Money is good*. Money is useful*.

If you want money and you want it fast, you should definitely get the most boring job imaginable. Banking is boring. Accountancy is boring. IT is boring. Get a boring job and money will quickly follow. Where there's boredom there's money.

So, I've spent most of the day trying not to fall asleep at my desk, and I've been bored, but it's been a profitable day. There aren't many jobs where you can earn so much doing nothing.

I don't love my job but I don't hate it. It's a good job. I'm lucky to be able to earn money being bored.

Boredom sucks, but it's profitable. I'm paid very well to be bored.

 

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* - money is actually evil and completely useless. We should return to barter.