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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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Leave my Art the F**k Alone

4 min read

This is a story about bullies and abusers...

Thought bubble

I only have a couple of months left to go and I'll have hopefully achieved my ambition of writing a million words in 3 years - the world's longest suicide note - and the most comprehensive, candid and unflinching glimpse inside the mind of a dead man walking.

"We didn't know" and "he seemed fine" and "what could we have done differently?" are the kinds of things that haunt the people after somebody has committed suicide.

Well, there are no excuses here - I've made my very best attempt to write on a daily basis, all the things - most of which are very practical - which have driven me to attempt suicide. Eventually, I will die at my own hands.

To imagine that there's a doctor, psychiatrist or other charlatan out there who's got the f**king cure, means you're more delusional and insane than I am. Take a good look around you - things are getting worse not better; more and more people are feeling depressed; suicide has gotten so bad that it's the number one thing that's gonna kill a man like me, yet there are no pills that work, psychological treatments which are available to anybody but the extremely wealthy or indeed any offer of safe sanctuary for those of us who can't guarantee our own safety... we're a danger to ourselves. Check the data - we are suffering an epidemic of mental health problems. Every piece of objective data you can gather says the same thing: so-called 'medicine' is not making people better, and things are getting worse and worse.

Writing this blog is my therapy. It's the rock I'm clinging onto, shipwrecked in a storm as the rain lashes down and giant waves threaten to drown me. This blog gives me pride in what I've achieved, despite the adversity I've faced. More than anything else, this blog is MY PRECIOUS ARTWORK which is 90% complete, but it's fragile... don't fuck with it.

I was attacked by proxy. A horrible person got a muscly bully to invade my home and force me - with threats and intimidation - to delete quite a lot of blog posts. That coward is using their macho friends, colleagues - whoever - to coerce me to submit to their will. You can beat the living shit out of me if you like, vandalise my car, smash up my stuff, but don't f**k with my motherf**king art. If you're hiding behind your muscly bullies, thinking you can fuck my art up and you're safe because you're protected by your macho 'protectors' then you've underestimated how much it's hurting me... beyond a certain point you'll have hurt me so much that I don't care if your thugs kill me; the treats and intimidation won't matter any more. You're such a coward and you're so horrible for trying to f**k up the one thing that's most precious to me, via your proxies.

Hands off my art. It means so much to me that I'm prepared to suffer whatever the consequences are for standing up to the bullies and those who threaten me; invade my home; intimdate and force me - literally standing over me making threats - to destroy my art.

I'm not sure how many thousands of words were lost when my home was invaded and I was threatened, intimidated and forced by a macho proxy to delete parts of my artwork, but even a single word is too many. I was forced to delete a picture of a sausage, for f**k's sake. Having that level of control over somebody's 3-year project, while thinking you're safely protected and your macho proxies are doing your dirty work... that's despicable. Words don't come easily. 1 million words don't come easily. 3 years on a single project is not easy. If you f**k with it you're hurting me more than you can possibly imagine.

If you think there's a vindictive vengefulness bubbling under the surface here, think about how you'd feel if somebody took a knife to one of your children and left a scar across their face - that's how I feel about this artwork being f**ked with. Every time I look at this blog, I'm reminded that there's a scar... when a thug forced their way into my home and threatened and intimidated me, and wrecked my artwork.

I'm a desperate man with nothing to lose. All I've got is my art - my 3-year project - so the hurt you cause me if you f**k with it is incalculable.

 

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Good Job

1 min read

This is a story about decay...

Decaying plant

Here is a photo-diary which records the decay and decomposition of my little local life. It's the perfect metaphor.

The plant was a gift, meant to cheer me up when I was unhappy in London. Soon after receiving this gift I got a local job - a "good job" - and I kept the plant on my desk.

You can see that by the third picture in the sequence (bottom left) that my plant was struggling; unhealthy. I tried to revive it by putting it on some wet tissue paper, so that it could suck up some much needed moisture.

I think the combination of air conditioning and no natural light eventually killed my plant, just like it drained all the life out of me, just like it killed my local relationship and just like it somehow killed my "good job".

I now have neither the relationship, the plant or the "good job".

Somebody should chuck me on the compost heap.

 

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I'm Sick of Moving

9 min read

This is a story about putting down roots...

Cardboard boxes

It looks like the smartest short-term decision for me right now is to go back to London. Third time lucky, maybe.

London was amazing the first time, so I guess third time lucky is not really accurate.

London was pretty amazing when I went back, but my damn acrimonious divorce and evil ex-wife conspired to disrupt and destroy my chances of re-establishing myself back in the capital. I'd reconnected with lots of old friends, incorporated a company and had started doing business. The last thing I needed was the distraction of the divorce, so I went and sold my house to a cash buyer - I had the sale organised within a few hours, and should have completed with cash in the bank in about 6 weeks.... except my evil ex-wife sabotaged the whole thing and put it back on the market with the worst estate agent she could find, and accepted an offer - for the same amount as I'd already agreed with the cash buyer - from some clueless idiots who were part of some horrible chain.

Said same evil ex-wife then tried to screw me over with the division of the house sale proceeds, which was a more than fair and reasonable 50:50 split. The contracts had been exchanged and the deposit had been paid. I was quite happy to have us both get sued if she wanted to drag things on any longer... she'd already delayed everything by 3 or 4 months. My final signature was needed for completion and if I didn't give it, we'd have breached our contract. So, I didn't give it until I had it in writing that she'd take her 50% and let me get the hell on with my life. She's an idiot, because I'd have gladly paid more if she'd just let me get on with rebuilding my life in London.

So, that changed the complexion of my second jaunt back to the capital completely. Gone was the momentum of my new business. Gone was my new girlfriend. Gone was a holiday I'd been planning on treating myself to. Gone was every bit of optimism and energy, wasted on worrying about cashflow and legal wranglings with one of the most thoroughly unpleasant individuals I've ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

I never quite caught up. You need a lot of money behind you if you're going to get ahead in London. If you haven't got the working capital - the comfortable financial cushion - you'll never be able to handle the challenges of the city AND fret about money.

Out of pride and stubbornness, I tried and failed and tried and failed again. I kept almost but not quite reaching the point where I was financially comfortable, only for the stress and effort of it all to finally scupper me, plus some bad luck too. I lost a contract simply because I refused to kiss the arse of one guy who thought he was indispensable. They terminated my contract, and then the guy who did it got the sack for getting rid of me. Another time, I was just too exhausted from living in a hostel while working on one of the most demanding projects - and indeed important projects - I've ever worked on in my life. I got myself out of the hostel and into my own apartment, but the stress and exhaustion of it made me very unwell. I tried to get myself sacked while I was on holiday in San Francisco, so I could stay for longer, but they didn't take the bait - I got sacked as soon as I walked back into the office, which I knew I would.

I took a shitty contract in a shitty part of Greater London. That was awful, but I did it out of necessity.

Finally, I got a great contract, great team, great project, great company... then my kidneys failed and I was on emergency dialysis on a high dependency ward for weeks. DVT in my leg. Nerve damage. Unbelievable pain.

That was me done for. Broke. Game over. I was lucky to escape bankruptcy.

Now, I've had a little taste of small town provincial life, and it's OK. I liked it when I could drive to work and walk to my girlfriend's house. I liked it when my income was 20 times as much as my rent, and I was living like a king... or at least I'd have been able to if the gravy train had continued to run on it's scheduled timetable.

There's no opportunities here. It's a small place. I was lucky to have a few months when I had it all, but I always knew that when it came to an end, there wouldn't be anything else here for me that's comparable.

No girlfriend. No job.

Gone off the place a bit.

I had a look at what London has to offer and I'll be increasing my already obscene income by 50% if I go back there. Make hay while the sun shines. Get rich quick, or die trying. The number of jobs I'd be a perfect match for was quite staggering... so reassuring to know that I've got the right skills that still command such high remuneration.

There's nothing round here. At least, nothing for somebody who's trying to get ahead. I'm sick of being behind. I'm sick of playing catch-up.

If I go back to London and keep this Welsh seaside town as my primary residence, I can live on expenses - my rent, meals, travel... all that will be reducing my tax bill as well as giving me a lovely lifestyle. No more shitty AirBnBs and pot noodles. I can have my own little central London apartment and eat takeaway every night. I can take black cabs everywhere and even reclaim the expenses of having my suits dry cleaned, shirts laundered and shoes shone. What the hell am I doing, having to cook, clean and do laundry, in this sleepy seaside town where I don't know anybody except for my ex-girlfriend and some of her friends, who all hate me.

I can go on Tinder and there will be gazillions of drop-dead gorgeous highly educated well travelled professional career women, who are pretty up-front about what they want. Tinder in this Welsh seaside town has 15 identical looking Snapchat filter photos of women who look like they've put make up on with a trowel and can't string a sentence together, and then that's it - you've swiped them all left, and there's no more to swipe.

I shouldn't do the place down, because it makes sense if you've got your wife & kids sorted and mortgage paid off, plus a big fat wedge of cash in the bank, but it makes no sense at all for me to be here, single and still struggling to get back to a position of financial security.

So, at some point I'm going to push the button and the calls will come flooding in and the contract negotiations will start, and before I know it I'll be on the train back to London, except I'm not slumming it this time.

When I sign on the dotted line for my third attempt at making things work in London, I'll be going to live in a serviced apartment, and I'll be living there for the duration of the contract. I've got my little seaside retreat - my second home - where I can leave most of my stuff, but I'll also have a permanent base in the capital, where I can leave my suits and shirts and smart shoes and everything else I need midweek.

If I hesitate, I'll just burn through all the cash I've managed to tuck away during the last 6 months of nonstop hard work. If I hesitate, I'll lose all the ground I've gained. If I hesitate, I'll lose momentum. If I hesitate, self-doubt will creep in and I'll dither and dawdle.

I might be sick of moving, but as long as I'm able to keep on sending my invoices every month, and every month my net worth moves rapidly from the negative to the positive, there's a tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I might be sick of proving myself over and over and over again, and having the stress of yet more reference checks, security vetting, credit checks and criminal records checks, but in London if one contract doesn't work out, there are literally hundreds of others. If one relationship doesn't work out, the London is literally jam-packed with mind-blowingly beautiful intelligent women who have dedicated themselves to their careers, and are making themselves known to be single via the Tinder app.

I have friends in London. I know my way around. There's a drinking/socialising culture, instead of the "going home to the wife and kids" culture of the provinces. What am I doing here in this place where I suddenly feel so out of place?

In the blink of an eye, I'll be available again - back on the market.

In 2 or 3 weeks, I'll be meeting my new team and learning about my new project; my next opportunity.

It's actually quite exciting. It's a fresh start in a place I already know and love. It's another opportunity to stick two fingers up at my ex-wife for ruining my chance to have a clean break and rebuild my life back in London. It's another roll of the dice - maybe I'll be lucky this time and I'll prove I can make it work. I've certainly tipped the odds massively in my favour.

I'm sick at the moment, of course. My mania must be plain as day to anybody who has any dealings with me. My colleagues kindly and patiently indulge my endless stream of ideas and words, delivered so fast they can't keep up, but it's good timing: things are late and everybody's stressed. To the uneducated eye, it just looks like I care a lot about the end of the project, as opposed to being in a fully-blown manic episode in the middle of an office full of mild-mannered civil servants, who normally move at glacial speed, as is the way of the public sector.

I'm sick, but I haven't pissed anybody off or burnt any bridges yet. I'm sick, but I do remember to shut up and try to act normal once in a while. I'm sick, but I obviously made enough of a good impression that I'm being given the benefit of the doubt.

I'm sick and I'm sick of moving, but move I must. I must move and I must maintain momentum.

 

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Break Up With Bad People

4 min read

This is a story about relationship strategies...

Image is not related

If somebody treats you really badly, break up with them. If somebody is disrespectful about the times in your life when you nearly died, break up with them. If somebody makes character slurs and generally trash talks you, break up with them. If somebody talks shit about you behind your back, break up with them. If somebody treats you like a second-class citizen - like there's something wrong with you - then break up with them.

I really can't recommend it enough.

In fact, sometimes I don't know why I don't do it sooner, when all the warning signs are there. When somebody starts getting abusive and horrible and vile and disrespectful and insulting, and starts to say humiliating and untrue things, those are the warning signs. When somebody implies you're broken and you need to be fixed; that you're faulty; that you're a freak... that's a warning sign.

I really can't urge you strongly enough to break up with those people who give off those warning signs.

If somebody's not introducing you to their family, but they're happily talking about you behind your back; if somebody's talking about you behind your back with their work colleagues; if your emails and text messages and other things like that are getting shared behind your back; if they're stalking you and gossiping about you and generally judging you, comfortable and cocky in their gang, while you're completely isolated and alone.... break up with them.

I can't emphasise this enough: if it feels wrong, break up with them as soon as you can.

Nobody could accuse me of not working really hard at my relationships. Nobody could accuse me of not being tolerant and kind and having a range of different strategies to deal with the various ups and downs of a relationship. I've had relationships that have lasted years and years. I've spent more of my adult years in a relationship than I have single. I know about relationships.

My big mistake has been in trying too hard to make things work with bad people.

Bad people are the ones who make us feel distressed and humiliated; who make us feel worthless; who make us feel insecure; who make us feel like we're a freak or a weirdo. Bad people are the ones who tell us we should be grateful to have a partner, because nobody else would have us. Bad people are the ones who keep bringing up the worst things that happened to us, again and again and again and again. Bad people are the ones who imagine us at our worst, rather than seeing our full potential and imagining us at our best.

Bad people will attack the thing that's most precious to you, and pick on you using your most intimate vulnerabilities.

If somebody's reading the really personal stuff I choose share - because I'm brave - and using it against me, they're a bad person. If somebody is taking advantage of the fact I'm vulnerable, they're a bad person. If somebody's got a problem with my blog, which is 3 years of daily writing and 900,000 words - it's my labour of love - then they're a bad person.

I was very angry and hurt about the way I was treated by a bad person. I'd let things build up. I should have broken up with them sooner. I should've walked away. I let things build up, and then the distressing, humiliating, traumatic, threatening, alarming aftermath, where I was ganged up on... that was truly awful.

I should've broken up with them before things got so emotionally charged. I should've broken up with them before I ended up - unfortunately - with a lot of unresolved resentment and pent-up frustration about the unjust and horrible treatment I'd been a victim of.

I've got a lot of work to do. I have to repair the damage to my blog - done by threats and intimidation, unwanted visits, stalking, harassment. A lot of damage was done to my blogging project by that horrible person and their gang, and I have to repair it, because my blog is the thing that keeps me alive; it's my proudest achievement.

I need to find my voice again: The voice that isn't tainted by the distress I've been feeling; the voice that isn't controlled by the threats and intimidation: My voice.

 

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Lone Wolf

4 min read

This is a story about desperate men...

Doggo

If you ever wondered about the origins of extremism, you probably think it has something to do with religious fanaticism, indoctrination or some underlying hatred of a certain race, gender or other form of identity. You'd be wrong.

People strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up because they're marginalised and they feel like they've exhausted all other avenues; their voices are silenced; they're oppressed.

Think about the "lone" part of "lone wolf" and you can see that at the very core of disturbing behaviour is loneliness, isolation... and in a lot of cases discrimination, stigmatisation. Lone wolves are pariahs. They are so often described as "loners" but do you think that loneliness was their choice?

The more we demonise and profile certain groups, lumping them together as probable perpetrators of atrocities, the more we isolate and marginalise them.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You think you can bully and abuse somebody until they do what you want? You think that the solution to the so-called bad eggs in society is to filter them, block them, ignore them, threaten them and marginalise them? You think that through fear and intimidation you'll achieve anything? You think that by excluding people from the conversation - denying them a platform - you're making the world a better, safer place?

You think you can put locks on your doors and hire muscly men with pointy sticks to keep you safe? You think you can build a wall? You think you can create an impregnable fortress, where you're safe from the dangerous fanatics; the lunatics?

I think it has the opposite effect. The more Islamophobic we get, the more at risk of terrorism we are. The more we perpetuate the lie that all men are violent murdering rapists, the more at risk of incel extremism we are. The more walls and barriers and so-called 'security' and 'defence' that we surround ourselves with - marginalising and excluding members of society - the more lone wolves we create.

If this sounds threatening, I don't mean it to. I'm sad. I'm sad that we have a society that grows more and more fearful, and more and more mistrustful. I'm sad that the net result is this unpredictable, unstable, dangerous world that we live in. I'm sad about it.

If you want to defuse and de-escalate a situation, don't bully and intimidate. Apologise first, ask questions later. Communicate. Lower the defences. Lower your weapons. Take down the fences; the barriers.

Think about who is strong and who is weak. Think about who has the power and the force, and who has none. Imagine the example of the Palestinian children throwing rocks at an Israeli army with tanks, guns, drones, missiles and the rest of its military might. Think about how pissed off those poor people, who are basically unarmed, are about being tyrannised by those with so much power. It's a pressure cooker; a tinderbox.

Why not offer an olive branch; make a peace offering? Why not be the bigger person and back down, even though you know you're far stronger, far mightier and you can crush your opponent in a humiliating defeat whenever you want?

The route to a safer more co-operative and more stable world is not bigger and better weapons, and more henchmen to threaten and bully, it's surely got to be communication, diplomacy and just downright being nice to each other - apologise first, ask questions later.

You might feel self-righteous in your insular bubble. You might feel like you have the moral high ground. It's dangerous territory though. So many tyrants in history thought that they were justified in their actions; their atrocities.

Friends close, enemies closer and all that, eh?

 

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Drop Out

6 min read

This is a story about life falling apart...

Pile of stuff

I've started to put my life back in good order, but I still have to get well enough to go back into the office sometime soon. I look like a tramp at the moment. A very tired tramp.

My bedroom carpet has been deep cleaned. The walls really need a wipe down and there's a bit of decorating touching-up to do. Considering I barricaded myself in there for days in very unsanitary conditions, it's not too bad. I need to buy a new bed, but I hated the old creaky one anyway. It's alright, but has a very ugly repair to one of the bars, which I decided I needed for my barricade, so I bent it in half until it broke.

As you can see, my temporary window coverings have been taken down. The low-tack masking tape I used hasn't left any marks or pulled off any paint. However, in the very worst case scenario, I could replace the underlay and carpet, replaster and repaint all the walls, and re-do all the caulking, which'd cost me about £1,000, plus the cost of replacing the bed. Frankly, if I stay for a couple of years and do a bit of touching up with roughly colour matched paint, nobody'll really notice - there's a huge patch where the paint is a whole shade darker, because I moved the wardrobe out of my bedroom and into my dressing room.

As for me, I'm exhausted. I had to get up and tidy my bedroom before the carpet cleaner arrived at 10am. I slept on the sofa. I probably didn't fall asleep until about 3am, even though I had sleeping pills and tranquillisers.

I have a mountain of towels and bedding to wash. The bathroom needs a good clean.

I need to re-stack up all that crap that's on my bed behind my second, superfluous, bedroom door. Perhaps I could get things a bit more organised while I'm at it, but I'm too tired.

During all this craziness, there's been a Royal wedding and apparently there's a big local music thing that all the locals are going on about, like it's not just some random concert. So many people have told me that "the place will be gridlock". London can put on a marathon all round the centre of a city of 10 million people. I think the Billy Ray Cyrus cover act playing "Achy Breaky Heart" headlining Wales' "Big Weekend" isn't going to cause too much of a problem for a city which is about 1-2% as big as London.

So, I've dropped out at the moment. I'm not going to the office. I'm not seeing anybody. I'm not leaving the house. I'm not leaving my apartment. Sometimes, I'm not even leaving the same room for days.

Problem is, in London you can pretty much shove your thumb up the Queen's arse and get away with a slapped wrist, but here it's a proper community and people stick together. You can't misbehave without getting in serious trouble. People gossip. Messages and emails get forwarded again and again and again. Faces get remembered. You bump into people you know.

If all else fails, try Wales, but I still need to be careful not to shit on my own doorstep cos what I got away with in London FOR YEARS just will not fly round here. I wanted a clean break, a fresh start, but I've already fallen out with a GP who was partially responsible for a young man's suicide, and a girlfriend who seemed to think the worst of me, despite evidence to the contrary. I've been accused of writing stuff on my blog about people and their families and generally sharing private stuff. Bullshit.

I need to act a bit differently now I live in this tiny city, so that I don't fall out with any more friends and break up with any more girlfriends, but you know EXACTLY who I am and EXACTLY what I think, without naming names or sharing private things... of my friends. If you're not my friend, you're fair game, except I'm not nasty and vindictive.

I'm feeling a bit sad that I've only got 2 non-work friends in the city, and that a great opportunity to socialise is currently a bit difficult because I don't want people from work seeing me when I'm looking so unhealthy.

I went on a site to find drinking buddies, and meetup.com. Jesus, that's depressing. My ex-girlfriend was always worried that I was "downdating" because the pool of available hotties in this tiny town is nothing like London, where Tinder brings an endless stream of stunning intelligent and cultured women.

If the work dries up here and I fail to find a social group I like, I think I could end up going back to London, now that I have the money to do it in style. Being able to drive to work is brilliant, but I'm so worried that I'm not going to find friends and a girlfriend who have similar values, goals and ambitions.

You know what I really miss? My cat and my girlfriend's cats.

It's amazing how quickly I went from viewing a yacht, drinking in the sun at a food festival, having a picnic in the sunshine, and finally getting a bit of a tan... to losing my girlfriend, risking my job, wrecking my bedroom, losing my mind.

I think I just want to drop out completely. I'll empty my bank accounts to pay back my guardian angel, and the taxman and the banks can go fuck themselves. I'll leave the country and go live and work somewhere you don't have some god-awful experience every time you just want to get a bit of money or a place to live, somewhere laid back. It's stressing me out too much, the pressure of staying in the rat race and keeping squeaky clean - one black mark and you're f**ked.

My ex-flatmate who owes me about £6,000 in unpaid rent and bills, also owes thousands to basically anybody who would give him any kind of credit agreement. The red bills - final demands - and debt collectors started appearing soon after I threw him out (I gave him SO MANY chances, but he kept lying and the debt kept getting bigger). Now, if his Instagram is to be believed, he's living the high life, so maybe there's a lot to be said for being a thoroughly disreputable and immoral piece of shit.

Personally, I've contributed the best part of a million quid to the economy, and I've worked my arse off to never default on a debt and always honour my commitments. Maybe that's where I'm going wrong. I need to just be a flakey drop-out. I think it'd be more fun. It'd certainly be a lot less stressful.

 

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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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Domestic Bliss

9 min read

This is a story about insecure housing...

Paying rent

She said she wanted to be a widow. She marked my suicide note with red pen, filling it with abusive language. I didn't feel safe in the house with her - she would rage and kick and punch the door I'd put between us to protect myself. I was afraid to use the toilet or otherwise leave the room I'd barricaded myself in for my own protection. I wasn't eating. I wasn't afraid without good reason - she'd battered my face not once, not twice, but three times. She'd had her three strikes and I'd had to go to work saying "I walked into a door". I'd had to make excuses for her violence to her parents... to explain away my black eyes, my broken nose.

The abuse had caused me to start self-harming. Later, I started smashing stuff up. We had blazing rows, but, it was always me who ended up locked in the spare bedroom, afraid for my own safety. It was her who got stronger and stronger, while I got weaker and weaker; sicker and sicker; more and more afraid; more and more isolated. I was suicidally depressed and I was trapped. How was I going to escape this abusive relationship? Where would I go? I'd lost so many friends because of her. I'd lost my identity. I'd lost my self-confidence.

She said she'd rather that I died rather than go into hospital. I needed to go to hospital. I was suicidally depressed, but she said if I did go into hospital she'd divorce me. I said that it was life or death... that my suicidal thoughts were so bad I couldn't keep myself safe. She said she'd rather be a widow.

My friends in London took me in. They tried to keep me safe during an incredibly acrimonious divorce. They supported me. They cared for me. I stayed in their spare bedroom until the house was sold and the divorce had been through the courts.

Then I tried to kill myself.

I moved out of my friends' house and I immediately tried to kill myself.

I couldn't kill myself while I was living under their roof - it wasn't right, because they'd helped me so much. They'd helped me escape my ex-wife, but I'd lost my house and what little self-esteem I had. I'd nearly lost my new business. I nearly lost everything. I had just about enough money and energy left to move out, but then I tried to kill myself because I was jobless and sick, living in a shitty shared apartment in a crappy part of London. I was all alone.

Things got worse. The hospital discharged me into a hotel. I said I didn't want to go back to that town where my ex-wife lived. There couldn't have been anything worse psychologically than being forced to go back to that town where she lived. The hospital took pity on me. They discharged me to a hotel. I had 2 weeks to sort out my life.

Inevitably, I became homeless. It was impossible. I was sick. How was I supposed to navigate the complex bureaucratic nightmare that is the UK housing system? I was refused a hostel bed. I was refused supported accommodation. I was told I could get housing benefit, but no landlord will take somebody who pays their rent with "DSS". Housing benefit doesn't pay enough to rent a place in London anyway. What was I supposed to do?

I ended up sleeping rough in Kensington Palace Gardens, and later Hampstead Heath. I bought a tent and made camp in dense undergrowth far away from the main paths. I used all my expeditionary experience to hide myself and sleep under the stars.

I lived in hostels. The hostels brought me into contact with a social group. Socialising made me feel better about myself  - people liked me; I was popular. My self-esteem started to improve.

I rented a little room in a student apartment. It was cheap, for London. They were nice kids, but they were messy students - they were trashing the place. They were partying all the time. It was hard for a thirty-something man with a full-time job at a bank to mix those lifestyles. It was hard when I left the homeless community. It was hard when I transitioned from being homeless to re-entering civilised society. There was a culture clash. I lost most of my friends.

I went back to living in a hostel.

I rented an amazing apartment on the River Thames with panoramic views over London. It wasn't my idea. A friend thought it'd be a good idea to spend a hefty portion of my monthly income on a super-luxury apartment. "You deserve it" he said. Seemed like a good idea at the time. He wanted to live there rent-free, of course. Other parasites came, wanting to live there rent-free too. I found it hard to turn them down, because I'd been homeless. I was a soft touch. I was taken advantage of. I'm owed thousands and thousands of pounds in unpaid rent and bills.

I spent the best part of 2 years living in the same amazing apartment. It was stable, but it wasn't. I had to have an incredibly well-paid job to pay for the rent. It was well beyond my means when I wasn't working. When I was well enough to work, it was a nice reward for my efforts, but the pressure to maintain the lifestyle wasn't sustainable. I got into debt, just so that I could have a place to live and not end up back on the streets. Moving is stressful. I didn't want to have to move again. I had the threat of financial ruin hanging over me the whole time.

I took a contract in Manchester because it came with a relocation allowance - an apartment. I never wanted to live or work in Manchester, but I was desperate. Out of sheer desperation - I was almost broke - I accepted the job and relocated. I didn't know anyone in Manchester. I tried to kill myself.

Of course I tried to kill myself. It was all too much to bear.

I ended up in hospital in Manchester. Of course I ended up in hospital again. I'm so vulnerable; my life is so fragile. I needed that safety; that security.

A stranger contacted me via email to say they'd read my blog. Did I want to live with them in Wales, they asked. At the time, I was living on a psych ward in a dormitory. Of course I wanted a bit of peace and quiet; a change from the insanity of the psych ward. Of course I wanted a stepping stone to a better life... the revolving doors of the institutions and welfare benefits have little to offer, except for days spent dribbling while watching daytime TV, doped up to the eyeballs on incredibly strong psychiatric medications.

I rented another apartment.

The stress peaked and I wanted to kill myself. I thought that the local job was going to fall through, I thought that the apartment was going to fall through, there was conflict with some people. Everything was falling to pieces. The stress was too much to handle. I was going to kill myself.

The stress peaked and now I'm lying on my sofa writing this, in my own place. I've got my own roof over my head, which is affordable. I've got the things that most people take for granted: money, a place to live, a partner, a job, a car. I've still got stuff that'll take time to fix, but it's so much easier when your living arrangements are acceptable, rather than impossible. Living in a hostel is OK when you're unemployed and single, but I've tried working a 'straight' job while living in a 14-bed hostel dorm, and it's impossible... trust me on that one.

You might think I'm spoiled and privileged. You might think that it's unfair that things are working out OK for me, when there are so many people who have things so much worse than me. Vulnerability is vulnerability though, and I've been so close to death so many times. How many times have I been in hospital, in the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) or high-dependency wards? How many times have I been on the brink of bankruptcy? How many nights have I slept rough? How long have I lived in hostels? Do you begrudge me my recovery?

There's more work ahead. I still need to dig myself out of a hole. I'm not out of the woods yet. I ran up debts just staying alive, which I need to repay. I need my income, to allow me to pay down my debts and build up a financial cushion in case I get sick again. I've got bipolar disorder, which means depression, mania and hypomania can all cause major problems in my life - there's no cure for this, and it can be really destructive when I have an episode. I need to stay well, but I don't have any choice in the matter.

So much of my precious stuff was lost, stolen, broken or has otherwise disappeared, during my lengthy escape from that abusive relationship. It's caused so much damage to my life, getting away from my ex and that horrible situation. I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Yes, it's true that at times in London I felt like I was making some progress, but there was too much pressure on me... too much pressure to maintain an unsustainable lifestyle.

Here in Wales life seems simpler; easier. There's less traffic, less crowding, less congestion, less pollution, fewer people, less competition, less crime, less noise... it's just a lot calmer. I feel like I'm calming down.

I can see the sea from my apartment. I can see the sea.

I used to own a house by the seaside.

I'm happy by the seaside.

Now, I'm starting to get my life back. I live by the seaside again. I'm not far from the beach. I can see the sea.

This is the journey I've been on. From domestic violence - domestic abuse - to domestic bliss. I'm a lot happier now I'm not having to barricade myself behind doors to protect myself.

 

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Going Underground

5 min read

This is a story about national security...

Flush broken

"I've decided to take my work back underground, to stop it falling into the wrong hands". I suppose any of our creations can take on a life of their own and have unintended consequences, and I'm certainly catching some flack as a result of my 3-year daily writing experiment at the moment, which is not entirely unjustified.

My daily writing habit is a useful exercise for me, so I'm sure I'll continue to write in some capacity, but I'm almost at the point where my blog has given me the therapeutic benefit of restoring me to stability, health, wealth and prosperity, and I have to tread carefully so that I don't undo any of the good work.

I started writing when I had my back to the wall. I started writing when I didn't feel like I had anything particularly to fall back on. I started writing when I didn't feel proud that I'd achieved anything - my life was incredibly fragile. Nobody could argue that this blog hasn't anchored me in the world, bringing me into contact with many lovely people and providing me with a creative outlet, a sense of accomplishment and some routine in my otherwise chaotic and stressful life.

I doubt very much that I'll be able to change my habits completely, but I do need to adapt to my present paradigm - I can't keep writing as if I've got nothing to lose, because it's not true at the moment.

Perhaps I'll have to start keeping a private journal, because I've been using writing as a mechanism to flush out all the bad and stressful thoughts that have threatened to overwhelm me, but a large part of my present worries revolve around imposter syndrome. I make no secret of anything, but I'd still prefer it if my colleagues and other important gatekeepers in my life didn't read what I write - with my defences down - and leap to the wrong conclusions. It's been hard enough to date girls when I'm so easily cyber-stalked.

Given the choice between a digital identity, or a healthy set of local relationships, I would have to choose the latter if I was forced, although having the former is very useful as a fallback option. Three times I've lost a lot of friends due to a break-up, with one of those times very nearly costing me my life, and the other two not exactly faring much better either. I've not been very successful at building robust local social networks in the last few years. I need a group of friends I see and speak to regularly, that wouldn't be affected by any breakups. I need that safety net. In the absence of the time, money, energy, transport and a number of other things, I've not progressed things very far yet, so I'm very grateful for my online social network and I always will be, but I do need healthy local face-to-face relationships too.

Getting a girlfriend can be a quick-fix when you're lonely, as it's so easy to be the +1 and tag along to all of her social events, and ingratiate yourself into her social circle, but it's a dangerous strategy. It's too much of a dependency on one person. It's a mistake. Thankfully, I have valuable and important local friendships that predate any of my dating shenanigans. I need to continue to make friends of my own, and establish a pattern of social engagements which are not couples-only events.

Work colleagues and a great team environment can make a huge difference, and sadly that's been lacking in my life recently. Hopefully that's going to be rectified really soon. There's a slight danger in mixing personal life with work too much, when you're in the position I'm in, where I'm trying to get myself back into the respectable world - some of the recent events in my turbulent life are not office-gossip friendly. I've not got anything to hide, particularly, but I'd rather not challenge anybody to be open minded, if it's at all avoidable.

I'm treading a fine line between trying to do what I have to for my own sanity and stability, balanced with the needs of those who I have relationships with and my responsibilities regarding confidentiality, secrecy, discretion, professional conduct, respect of privacy, not causing shock, alarm or distress. It's a fine line between keeping my support network informed of what's going on during a time when I'm very vulnerable, and saying things that're going to paradoxically make me more vulnerable. It's one thing to confide in friends behind closed doors, and quite another to write publicly on a website.

Me being me, I doubt I'll be able to make a sudden overnight change, and I don't want to lose this valuable therapeutic tool, but I do need to start changing my behaviour in light of my new circumstances.

I doubt I'm going to be writing about what I ate for breakfast and live-blogging about the fresh paint that's drying on the walls, but things might have to turn a little more pedestrian for a while... at least until things are more settled.

Presently stressed out of my mind with the transition from one life to another, but hopefully everything will work out and go smoothly.

 

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Do No Harm

11 min read

This is a story about helping people...

Dialysis

I'm a bit of a work-in-progress. I was on a psych ward in Manchester after a suicide attempt - homeless, jobless, single, friendless (in terms of local friends) and estranged from my family (except my sister). Then, I was plucked out of that dismal life and brought into my friends' family life on a farm in Wales. My friends are aware of my suicidal distress; my depression; my wretched situation. My friends are helping me to get back on my feet.

To leave the psych ward was an immediate improvement to my life. To have a quiet room of my own; a double bed - these were luxuries not afforded on the psych ward, where I was in a 4-bed dorm with only a curtain for privacy. I was unlikely to make new friends on the psych ward - my fellow patients were profoundly unwell and I had no plans to stay in Manchester. I didn't really have anybody to talk to. Now that I'm embedded in my friends' family life I can chat to them and the members of their immediate and extended family - I've been welcomed into the fold... instant social life.

It was my choice not to be sectioned or have the home treatment team - part of the community mental health team (CMHT) - involved in my care. It was my choice to not take lamotrigine, sertraline, lithium or sodium valproate. It was my choice to travel 1,200 miles away on business, and to go back to work in London for an investment bank. I have my reasons for making these choices, but they put my life in jeopardy - the choices are hard to understand. It seems reckless, arrogant and irresponsible to risk my life.

I'm earning money and I'm dating. In some areas, my life seems to be improving a huge amount. In other areas things are every bit as desperate as they were back in September/October of last year. At least when I was on the psych ward I was relatively safe. When I was on the psych ward I'd put myself in the hands of the state - they were responsible for feeding me, housing me and keeping me safe. I didn't feel bad about relying on the state to look after me, because I was so vulnerable. Now, my friends must feel very responsible.

At face value, my depression looks treatable. At face value, my problems look trivial. At face value, I appear to be very functional.

To treat my depression could trigger mania. To protect me from mania - with powerful medications - could leave me unable to work. Without work I will never regain my self-esteem and independence, which will lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Without self-esteem I won't be able to find a partner. Without a partner I'll be lonely and depressed and suicidal. To meet somebody special and start a new relationship could trigger mania, or bring a whole heap of feelings of inadequacy that could trigger me to seek medications - I want to be full of energy and happiness with my new romantic interest. For example, there's a feeling of pressure to have a rock hard dick and be able to have sex multiple times a night. How do I even function without medications? Uppers and downers, antidepressants and mood-stabilisers, antipsychotics and tranquillisers, sedatives and sleeping pills, erectile dysfunction drugs and refractory period suppressants... things to help me feel good. I so desperately want to feel good.

There's another risk that I don't talk about so much: Relapse into drug addiction. This time last year I was pretty hopelessly addicted - in the clutches of supercrack. Foolishly, I was looking for some Bitcoins I hadn't spent and I found them... on the Dark Web waiting to be used to purchase narcotics. I resisted temptation, but I spent a few days thinking about self-sabotage. It's been 8 or 9 months since I was a drug addict, but that's not very much time at all - it was really recently that drug addiction was wrecking me and everything I held dear.

I've got a fairly simple strategy for avoiding relapsing into drug addiction: To kill myself. Addicts die as demons; despised; hated. Addicts are blamed for their bad choices - the architects of their own destruction. My solution is simple: Die while clean, sober and sane, so that nobody can demonise me. I just want to have some dignity. That's all I ask for really... some dignity.

So, my problems are not really mental health, but they're not really addiction either. I don't take drugs or medications, I'm not mad and I'm not bad. I'm just trying to live a normal life: to have a home, some friends, a girlfriend, a job, cat(s)... a few things. Not much; I don't ask for much.

My friends have helped me. I've met somebody who I really like, but it's early days... don't want to get carried away. I'm working and I've done a good job and the client wants to extend my contract. I've battled with my mental health and addiction demons, and to all intents and purposes I'm winning. I'm a bit of a success story, in a way - an example of what you'd hope would happen if you got involved in somebody's life, with the intention of helping them.

I have been helped. I am stubborn and I do things on my own terms, but not without good reason. I'm glad - for example - that I'm not doped up to the eyeballs on medications that would leave me emotionally blunted and anorgasmic. I'm enjoying the pleasure of a little oxytocin as I cuddle my sweetheart. I'm glad I'm feeling stuff.

There's been a suicide. I can relate to the victim. I also feel super bad that my friends are having to deal with the aftermath of that suicide when they know I'm a big suicide risk: it feels like they must be additionally worried about me, and I don't really know how to talk to them when they're dealing with that suicide. It's no secret that I'm having regular suicidal thoughts. It's surely too much for them. It's too much for me. My instinct is to withdraw; to remove myself from the situation.

I feel a bit ineligible for life. I shouldn't have friends; I shouldn't have a girlfriend; I shouldn't do anything, because I'll probably fuck it up. Whether I kill myself or relapse into addiction, either way I end up dead, so I'm not allowed to have nice things, like friends and a girlfriend; I'm not allowed to have self-esteem... I should just sit and rot on a psych ward.

I feel like running away. I feel like I should put every penny I've earned into extracting myself cleanly from the situation. Nice people don't deserve to get hurt and don't deserve to have to deal with the aftermath of unpleasant stuff.

That it would cause pain, whether it's suicide or relapse, is not something that's going to stop it happening. We can't beat people into submission. I need a reason to live - friends, a girlfriend, independence etc. I need my self-esteem and the natural endorphins that lift my mood, through healthy social contact, sex and other things like that. Nobody ever got better without those things. You can't 'get better' first and then build a healthy life.

My friends took a big risk trying to help me. Any girl who'd tangle with me is taking a big risk. The risk doesn't make me less likely to do myself harm. If anything, the risk I pose is something that adds a great deal of pressure, which is exhausting. What should I do? Should I exclude myself from society, just as most parts of society would very much like to exclude me? I'm a modern leper: The escaped mental asylum patient; the junkie; the tramp; the alkie; the washed-up loser.

I look back to September 9th, when I begged the staff at the Manchester Royal Infirmary not to treat me: No activated charcoal, no gastric lavage, no intubation, no resuscitation. When I lost consciousness, they helped me anyway, in the way that they're trained to help people. They saved my life, even though I made it explicitly clear that I didn't want to be helped - I wanted to die, in no uncertain terms. What if I go on to hurt my new friends? What harm would there have been in just letting me die? I'm going to die anyway, one day.

If I seem ungrateful for the help I've received, I'm sorry. This is the truth of the matter: I'm living a part of my life I didn't expect to have, but I'm not automatically grateful for it. It makes it harder, in a way - I didn't plan on being alive this long. I'm not sure who I'm alive for, because it's certainly not for me at the moment.

I'm one of the lucky ones. My situation is improving. It's quite hard for me to mess my life up any more than I've already messed it up. It's relatively easy to make improvements to my life. It seems as if I can fix things up quite quickly, depending on your definition of "quick".

I guess it seems short-sighted to kill myself when I don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. There's always a chance that tomorrow's going to be better than today. There's always a chance I'm going to wake up and feel glad that I didn't die on September 9th.

People kill themselves when they don't think their life is salvageable - there's too much damage: too many dashed hopes and dreams; too much shame and embarrassment; too much loss of status... too much disappointment. A person kills themself when they're a hard worker; a high achiever; they'd worked hard to get where they'd got to, but it seemed like it was all for nothing - they were potentially going to lose everything they'd ever dreamed of having. It can't be overstated, the devastating impact that it can have, re-adjusting our expectations when we're thwarted. You might say "it's only money" or "it's only a job" but you'll find that those things are pretty important in modern society. Try going anywhere without somebody asking you "what do you do?" and "where did you study?" and "do you own your own home?" and myriad other questions that will remind you that you've crashed and burned. Try doing anything when you're poor and you'll find it's really hard - money really helps, and you can get quite used to having it and not having to stress about it anymore. Who'd really want to go back to being poor, if you've experienced poverty and debt, and worked hard to get out of that pit of misery?

Every day I face the same thought that pushed me over the edge, causing me to attempt to commit suicide: I can't do it; it's too much work; it's too hard; I've reached my limit; I can never overcome this. Of course, we feel that all the time, but when there's an event that suddenly creates a huge problem to be solved, or something that's potentially going to be life-ruining, then it's too much to handle. We're all right at the limit. None of us has the spare capacity to deal with some mountainous pile of shit being dumped on us, when we're reached the maximum of what we can tolerate.

Of course, I'm a little fragile. It's only gonna take a few bumps in the road to cause me to push the "fuck it" button. I'm delicate; vulnerable. The only solution is to act positively - to go out there, work hard, keep trying, take risks and aim to regain the things I need and want, hoping that nothing super bad happens. It's luck. I just need a run of good luck. I have to hope my luck holds, because I don't have the spare capacity to withstand a whole lot of bad stuff happening.

It's Valentine's Day, and I'm aware that my sweetheart might read this. It's early days. She should run a mile. There's too much to handle here. I'm putting it out there anyway.

My friends are dealing with the aftermath of a suicide when they haven't even managed to 'fix' me yet. I am I going to remind them of the person who successfully committed suicide, every time I talk to them?

We can't 'fix' anything. All we can do is try to leave things better than when we found them. Should we help? It's hard to not do any harm when we try to help.

 

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