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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

twitter.com/ManicGrant

nick@manicgrant.com

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Feed and Water Regularly

13 min read

This is a story about looking after living organisms...

Drooping house plant

My drooping castor oil plant is the perfect visual metaphor for what's happened to both of us in the best part of a week - we've been dying.

I can be a little paranoid, even in perfect health. I wouldn't - for example - walk around naked without the curtains or blinds fully closed, even though there's a fairly small chance that somebody might get an eyeful of full frontal nudity, unless I was stood right by the window for ages. My ex-girlfriend throws open her bedroom shutters, often times much improving the day of the workmen retiling the roof of the house opposite. Something like that would change my behaviour, but not her - even with hard concrete evidence that a little paranoia is justified, she continues to flash her knockers at strangers every morning. There's also a school opposite her house too, so it'd be just my luck to end up on some kind of police register because an eagle-eyed kid caught a glimpse of my willy as I darted past the window to get my garments and cover up.

The blinds in my bedroom are shit - as I've said before - and one thing that's really bad is that they offer even less privacy at night, when it's light inside and dark outside. I'm not exactly thrilled at the thought of putting on a light and shadow show, which would unmistakably advertise to my neighbours that I'm having a wank to pornography. It's bad enough being single again, but most of us reserved Brits are a bit ashamed of our masturbation and porn habits.

Just ask somebody to show you the history of everything they searched for on a porn site, and you'll see that it's not just me who's the paranoid prudish freak: there's something so personal and confidential about the porn that you like and the words you use to find it. When you're searching in the privacy of your own home, with nobody looking over your shoulder, you assume that nobody will ever see those words other than you. It's one of the most unpleasant experiences to have somebody judge those words you typed, especially as nobody else was ever supposed to see them.

So, I can be paranoid, even at the best of times.

Sleep deprivation, dehydration and hunger can take a little seed of paranoia and turn it into fully-blown bat-shit insanity.

My windows were taped up so nobody could see in. Then my doorbell started ringing and ringing. I could hear my landlord hanging around. I could hear footsteps right by my bedroom windows. I could see silhouettes of people standing right by my bedroom windows. "Fuck!" I thought "what am I going to say if he knocks on the door and asks why I taped up the windows?". So, I stayed awake all night, watching shadows and not wanting to use the rest of my apartment or turn on a light. So far as anybody could've guessed, I wasn't in.

If you're "not in" you can't flush your toilet and you can't run the taps, and you have to rely on night vision and tiptoeing around, feeling your way as you go. If you're "not in" you can't be spotted through your absolutely massive windows in the living areas, which you can't draw the curtains of, because that makes it look more like you're at home, just not answering the door.

If you're "not in" and you can't flush the loo - which is right by the communal hallway - because you're paranoid somebody'll hear it, then you can't drink too much. Besides, you can't be seen filling up a glass or a bottle, through the massive window right by the sink, especially when the landlord's main hobby is hanging around by people's windows.

If you're "not in" you can't go and prepare yourself a delicious hot meal - again because you don't want to be seen or heard.

Eventually, you get like my wilted plant. Your body starts to eat itself, which would be OK ish if you were drinking to get rid of the excess creatinine by pissing it out, but you're not pissing because you can't and you're not drinking much. All that shit in your blood which your kidneys would ordinarily filter out hasn't got any carrier fluid to push it though the filter and into the bladder, so your blood gets really toxic. Your muscles start getting damaged, and the bits of damaged muscle block the tiny 'filter holes' in your kidneys, and then you couldn't piss even if you wanted to - you're blocked up; kidney failure

Once you end up in urinary retention, your body will get waterlogged, but the most worrying thing is that your potassium levels will keep rising until your heart stops, because there's no way to get rid of it and it's hard to have a potassium-free diet. Anything over 5ml of potassium in a litre of your blood means you're at pretty imminent risk of a sudden cardiac arrest. You've only got 5 litres of blood in your body, so that's 25ml of potassium. And yes, this is potassium not potassium cyanide. Bananas would be a bit of a shit way to kill yourself - you'd have to eat 51 plus extras because your body is not 100% metabolically efficient. Avocados could be a good novel suicide method though - you'd only have to eat 23 of them to reach hyperkalemia. Ironically, replacing your salt with "healthy" low sodium salt could be a fatal mistake, and it'd certainly be a lot easier to swallow a few of spoonfuls of salt than eat more than 50 bananas.

So, anyway, I started pissing blood, but at least I was pissing. It's when you stop pissing, you've really gotta worry.

I got brave and went on a raiding mission to my fridge where my friend had left me with two bottles of fizzy drink. I treated it like my ex-girlfriend's lack of paranoia about people seeing her tits when she opens the shutters - I was so quick, that I minimised the chance of being seen.

I then had to shake up the drinks and really really slowly let the gas escape, because I can't stand the bloated burping they cause... but, my body had a sugar boost and much needed fluids.

I hadn't slept for two nights at this point, and I was too paranoid to rummage for food which could be eaten cold - I knew everything in the fridge had gone off, and there simply wasn't anything that I could eat without cooking.

I passed out for a couple of hours and when I came to, I had no idea where I was. I was uncontrollably shivering: my body just hadn't had the calories it needed to power my cells and keep my blood at a toasty 37 degrees centigrade.

I wrapped myself in my duvet and warmed myself up as best as I could, but I'd ripped though the soft drinks. In my boldest and most daring feat of anti-paranoia bravery - perhaps with that time unconscious giving me a 'rest' and a sugar boost from the fizzy drinks - I grabbed two bottles of squash and a can of baked beans. I made 3.5 litres of very weak squash in the bath, where I couldn't be seen, although the noise of running water was a concern... but the bathroom is at least a door further away from the front door than the toilet.

As I guzzled a seemingly inexhaustible supply of weak squash, I told myself "this is the best lime cordial I've ever tasted". I greedily scooped cold beans in tomato sauce out of the can I'd grabbed, and I had to pace myself, because my stomach had shrunk so much after 4 days not eating. Also, I had to remember to chew - I was so desperate to fill my stomach that I think I could've just gulped the can down, like lumpy soup.

The food and drink started to vanquish my paranoia, and I moved away from the bedroom door, where I had been a sentry for 5 nights. I lay in bed snuggled under the covers, and my exhaustion finally revealed itself to me - I was trying to write a few messages to say I was OK, and I probably didn't need to go to hospital cos I'd sorted myself out, but I'd keep falling asleep and being woken up by the sound of my phone dropping onto the floor.

I had a longer, warmer, more comfortable sleep in an actual bed, and when I woke up my paranoia was vastly diminished. I felt brave enough to turn lights on, have a shower, use the kitchen and generally no longer have to pretend I was "not in". I was also famished and I desperately wanted to eat a hot meal and use a spoon or a fork, and a plate or a bowl, instead of a laminated business card as a makeshift way of getting beans out of the can and into my mouth.

My bedroom looks every bit like it's been lived in for 5 days by a person who's too paranoid to leave, turn on a light or flush a toilet, but that's a problem for tomorrow. Being well enough to go into the office on Monday looks dubious, but I don't look as bad as I thought I did. I'm overwhelmed by the prospect of sorting out my bedroom, but perhaps I can get a pro-cleaning team to give it a proper deep clean and a decorator to tidy up the marks on the paintwork, where I stumbled into a wall in the pitch black, while sleep deprived, dehydrated and hungry.

I'm so sad that my life was so close to almost perfect - a holiday booked, plans to go sailing and a girlfriend who was alright when she was being nice, rather than trying to unmask me as some kind of god-knows-what, by asking the same rude, impertinent questions that insinuated and alleged that I'm Hitler, Stalin, Osama-bin-Ladin and every serial killer who ever lived, all rolled into one. I would've got away with it, if it wasn't for her pesky asking the same identical question over and over again. Actually, I dumped her - you can't treat a person like they raped, tortured and murdered their whole family, by constantly making untrue horrible allegations about past and future. I really see no justification for being horrible, assuming the worst and treating a person like they'd smash up all your stuff and burn your house down unless you told them not to and supervised them at all times.

So: situation vacant. I'm looking for a girlfriend who doesn't say "don't murder anybody today" instead of goodbye in the morning. I'm looking for a girlfriend who sees my potential, trusts me, respects me and imagines me at my best, not some over-active imagination version of me at my worst. I value loyalty and tactility - somebody who likes hugging and snuggling and spooning - and I have a very strict 3-strike rule if you use withholding of affection, silent treatment, sulking and other negative behaviours which are abusive, instead of a combination of physical reassurance of the bond, and non-aggressive communication.

I'm gutted, because I'd almost taken my 'conversion project' and turned her into somebody who wanted the same kind of secure, loving relationship, packed full of affection. 99% of the time we had a nice time, and when she was being shit with me, we never had an argument... I taught her how to use affection to produce a more effective and quicker resolution, instead of passive-aggressiveness, open hostility, arguing and withholding of affection.

I'm gutted, because I'd been generous and attentive and taken my time in the bedroom and turned her into a little sex addict. We had a good sex life. Not every girl can relax enough and forget the lazy and incompetent lovers of the past, so she really wants sex and initiates it, because of the months and months of investment, making sure she's super satisfied every time and spending lots of time on the pre/post affection aspect, which is arguably the most important thing... way more than a rushed bit of foreplay, ram it in dry, two pumps and a squirt and then immediately roll over and go to sleep.

I'm actually angry I had to dump her, because rules are rules and the last couple of times I didn't stick to my rules, I got domestically abused. I'm a sensitive guy; vulnerable; I'm emotionally unguarded and I leave myself exposed, because it creates a much more bonded happy relationship than two people who just make smalltalk and never really know each other and what they want.

I feel so much more upset about the breakup, because it's a really small city I live in, and it's hard to find somebody who'd love nothing more than to watch an arthouse movie, or eat something really exotic. It's really hard to find somebody who's cultured and well travelled enough to feel like a good match. Damn, I'm fussy, aren't I?

I also feel 100x more alone, even though it's just one person, and I still have local friends Gail and Liam, plus my sailing buddies (only met one - and I work with him) and all the people I work with, some of whom are proper friends too.

It's kinda 'final straw' stuff though. Life's so hard on your own. Everything's easier with two of you, backing each other up.

I haven't got the energy to woo another girl and go through that super intense bit at the start again. She's really pissed me off, that I wasted so much effort, only for her to make yet another horrible allegation, and crossed the threshold - I spent 8 years in a relationship where somebody spoke to me like shit, and it was hell on earth. Walk away. Walk away. Walk away.

I really think I'm going to suffer without regular hugs and cuddles, and reliable companionship. It's a bit like plant food - they don't need it, but it does make them thrive.

Anyway, that was most of the past week. Please look out for me; I'm super fragile.

 

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Paranoia? Problem Solved

2 min read

This is a story about peeping toms...

Window coverings

What goes on in my bedroom is not a spectator's sport. I'm really not a big fan of people peeking through my blinds, which is actually a pretty regular occurrence given how the landlord, his handyman and his gardener all seem to love hanging around by my bedroom windows. Haven't they got anything better to do? I've lived here a month and a half, and the landlord is hanging round like a bad smell nearly every day. If he loves the place so much, he should live in it himself and leave me to enjoy my apartment in peace and quiet.

Ordering a custom roller-blind which would be wide enough to fit the biggest bedroom window, and fitting them, would require permission from the landlord and further intrusion. I don't know who the hell fits dodgy blinds to a ground floor bedroom, but that's what they've done. My apartment in London had blinds AND curtains. I don't mind blinds, if they're the the roller kind, but the slatted ones are only made for the benefit of peeping toms, if they're used in a ground-floor bedroom.

This small paranoia gets magnified when 1) people are hanging around by my bedroom window all the time, just like the landlord, his gardener and his handyman are, and 2) when I'm not very well, which isn't helped by feeling so exposed in my own home. Home is supposed to be a private sanctuary, but it's not when you're being spied on by all and sundry.

My behaviour must seem very strange, but I felt so much better about being in my bedroom with the proper privacy that would be expected of the place where you get naked and have sex. Call me weird, but I'm not in the business of putting on a sex show for the public.

I guess I'll find a proper permanent solution eventually, but my temporary one worked well enough.

 

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Periodic Paranoia

6 min read

This is a story about justification...

Bathroom blockade

What do you suppose this stack of laundry baskets and boxes full of clothes is? Perhaps this is a new modern art installation at the Saachi Gallery?

200 days ago - April Fools' Day - I was so paranoid that I believed that somebody was going to break into my ensuite bathroom on the 4th floor, and invade my bedroom. I was also so unwell that I believed I could secure my bedroom by tying my dirty laundry baskets to the door handle.

Paranoia does not generally trouble me during my day-to-day life: nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

I'm about to make a factual declaration that might shock and disgust you.

Men's libido will drive them to relieve themselves - through sex or masturbation - on a relatively frequent basis, depending on each individual. You might consider a man who masturbates every day to be a twisted pervert. You might consider a monk who has taken a vow of celibacy having undesired nocturnal emissions - he ejaculates in his sleep - to be the finest example of a man that is biologically possible, without castration.

Let's just re-iterate this for emphasis: biologically, the human race has evolved a reproductive imperative that is as strong as breathing, sleeping, shitting, pissing, drinking and eating. If you can stop doing all of the latter for a few years, then you're welcome to then argue the point with me.

If you consider the unpleasant combination of being so horny that you need to masturbate, with the belief that you're being watched at all times, then you might understand that it's an impossible situation, assuming that you value your dignity and your privacy. At present there are at least 3 webcams watching me and 2 microphones listening to me. Of course, I presume that no ransomware is recording me without my permission, but such software exists in the wild. How much do you trust the manufacturer of your phone and your laptop, to not co-operate with your government, giving them the ability to spy on you?

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

I'm guessing that you wouldn't want your family, friends and work colleagues, or even complete strangers, to see you tugging your todger; yanking your chain; bashing your bishop, or whatever your preferred euphemism is for masturbating to orgasm. I'm guessing that you'd find such voyeurism to be unacceptably compromising and distressing enough to destroy your mental wellbeing.

Do you note that I'm leaving aside any discussion of anything 'kinky' or not otherwise in accordance with plain vanilla biological imperatives?

Of course, we could all just have sex, and then we've got a partner in crime - we have safety in numbers; at least there's somebody else who's looking ridiculous with us, as we make the beast with two backs. However, this is not always practicable. Natural urges do not always align with the competing demands of the world around us. Sometimes, we are horny and single.

If you're thinking "eeeewww" or otherwise troubled by an undesirable mental image, you understand perfectly that the vast majority of us wish to maintain some privacy around this particular activity. I cannot relate to men who take a thrill from masturbating at somebody, flashing their genitals or sending unsolicited dick pics. I am not writing about the exceptional cases, where men act in an antisocial or illegal way - these matters are excluded from the discussion, because they are unusual and those men do not think and behave like I do.

In short, the only way that my behaviour seems at all unusual, is the exceptional lengths that I will occasionally go to in order to not be spied upon while masturbating. If we consider our desire for privacy, it doesn't seem odd. If we think about the fear of the indignity and shame of having explicit images and videos of us masturbating, shown to other people, that fear is not irrational - it would be extremely distressing, for almost everybody.

Just over 6 months ago my mind was shattered. Today I'm barely troubled by paranoia.

My paranoia doesn't come from nowhere - of course it needs a seed. The internal source of my paranoia is sleep deprivation, hunger, thirst and mind-altering substances: I have a choice over whether I disturb my mind with these things or not. The external source of my paranoia could be explained simply in this way: do you imagine that men in psychiatric hospitals no longer need to masturbate?

Ask yourself where it would be appropriate to masturbate, when you're being checked on regularly by nurses and support workers. Ask yourself whether you think you could quietly do the deed in a dormitory with other men. Presumably, you'd go to the toilet or the shower, wouldn't you? If you're masturbating in an institutional environment, with the noise of staff and patients all around you, does that make you a twisted pervert?

This topic is the most sensitive that I could write about. Nothing could shame me more than you knowing these deeply troubling things, which is why I write about them - I'm grasping the nettle.

If you care to read back through what I've written, you'll see that I stop short of painting an explicit picture - the images in your head are entirely from your own imagination. I'm not attempting to upset anybody, nor am I discussing matters that have no place outside of a basic human biology lesson.

I believe that honesty is the best policy, and I'm taking that to its extreme conclusion, despite the detrimental effect it seems to be having on me and my life. I started the questionable experiment, to publish my inner monologue, and I'm compelled to continue, even though it causes me a great deal of anxiety.

Why do I need to live in fear of people learning who I am and how I feel? Why would I need to wear a mask? Why do I need privacy, when so many are determined to sneak a peek behind the curtain anyway?

What happens when a person lays themselves bare, instead of letting paranoia destroy them?

 

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