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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.


Do No Harm

11 min read

This is a story about helping people...


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.




The Relentless Manipulation of my Moods Using Every Means at my Disposal

9 min read

This is a story about music...

Out clubbing

The only things that seem to be capable of making me cry at the moment are Disney movies and a 90-second passage from The Tempest, which is about dreams and sleep. I quote it now for your interest, and as I write this big salty tears are rolling down my cheeks:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air: 
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep.

It seems remarkable to me that I'm not able to resist the mawkish and emotionally manipulative thrust of the Disney movies, and I blub in all the right places and even some of the wrong ones. To accuse me of being emotionally unstable or having a tendency towards inappropriate emotional responses to situations, is grossly inaccurate and untrue. I would agree that I'm unguarded; trusting... a little vulnerable and certainly quite naïve, although I would argue that I prefer to be naïve than cynical and guarded.

In terms of protecting myself from whimsically falling in love and getting hurt, I would say that I don't protect myself at all. My emotions go where they want to go and I let them. I use the "L" word very sparingly and tend to distrust strong emotions, viewing them as transient; fleeting. I favour loyalty above everything else. I've got no time for game playing and wimpy wusses who are afraid of getting hurt.

Under a railway arch in Vauxhall, I experienced what the children of doting parents must experience their whole lives - to be loved, cared for; adored. I felt a sense of contentment and security that had been absent throughout my bullied childhood. I felt the warm embrace - the hug, if you like - that had been absent in my life and had turned me into an insecure person who completely lacked self-confidence and a sense of identity. I'd been through 8 schools and lost countless friends due to my druggie alkie loser parents not giving a shit about the damage they were doing. The experience of clubbing under the railway arches was curative - this was the love that had been sorely absent in my life. The catalyst? MDMA.

Fifteen years later, my marriage was collapsing. I needed to go to hospital. I was admitted to The Priory thanks to my private health insurance.

It's actually unremarkable that I grew out of a brief period where I dabbled with recreational drugs - ecstasy - and went on to have a 15-year blemish-free career, before the stress of a toxic and abusive relationship tipped me back into the very state I was in when I was a child: in desperate need of some unconditional love. It seems obvious that depriving a person of their identity and security, and bullying them, would result in trauma and psychological damage. It seems obvious that the same negative stimuli would elicit the same negative response.

While I was in The Priory, I handed in my iPod after a couple of weeks. I had decided that I was using music as a way of manipulating my moods, in a similar manner to people drinking, smoking and using drugs, in response to stress and other negative situations. I decided that if I was going to take treatment seriously, I would have to avoid things which I could use and abuse to alter my mood.

Presently, we seem to think it's virtuous to deny ourselves all the things we enjoy. Cream cakes (too fatty), fizzy drinks (too much sugar), beer and wine (alcoholic), masturbation ("wanker", "tosser" etc.), spending money (too fun) and all the other things that make life mildly bearable are given up for January, while we run on a treadmill in a gym, or lash ourselves with a bunch of nettles or whatever the f**k it is that 'virtuous' people do these days.

When I was seized with the notion that pure devotion to a 'natural' life would lead to happier, healthier times, it became as obsessive as anything else that might be characterised as an addiction. I became addicted to making every single tiny health tweak in my life that I could. I cut out dairy and gluten. I washed out my sinuses with saline. I probably would have done colonic irrigation if I'd thought about it at the time. The whole thing was dumb - pure superstition and pseudoscience.

Today, I take dietary supplements - 5-HTP, tyrosine and magnesium - which are supposed to provide my brain with the building blocks it needs to restore normal mood and improve my sleep. However, I've also abused simple amino acids and even pure dopamine - in the form of L-DOPA - to put my brain into a completely unnatural state, with the intention of achieving an otherwise unattainable euphoria or level of performance.

I've abused stimulants to stay awake and give me the energy to dance all night. I've used prolactin-suppressing medications to allow me to have multiple orgasms. I've used erectile dysfunction medications to allow me to sustain an erection for priapic lengths of time. I've used drugs to move my mood up, down and sideways - attempting to 'play god' if you like.

How many drugs and medications have I tried? Two hundred? Three hundred? More? This is not hyperbole - I had the time, the money, the determination and the means.

If you think I'm an idiot who makes bad choices, I ask you to look again. Imagine what my upbringing was like before I discovered that there was this chemical - MDMA - that unlocked me from that miserable prison. Of course I was going to mistakenly believe that it was a trick that could be repeated. In my desperation to escape a toxic abusive relationship 15 years later, I tried heroin, crack and crystal meth - amongst innumerable others - and none of them grabbed me. I methodically worked my way through everything I could get my hands on - illegal drugs, legal highs and black-market prescription medications.

The net result was not a predictable one. Instead of being dead in a ditch due to poly-substance abuse, I'm now quite averse to any psychoactive substances. I'm one of the few people you know who doesn't drink caffeinated beverages. That I'm unmedicated for my mental health problems is not because I think I'm "well" but because I know that I prefer to suffer the symptoms - very few people you know are prepared to tolerate depression and anxiety, but I do so on a daily basis without medication to assist me.

There's a part of me that wants to quit carbs, quit booze and join a gym, but frankly I've got enough shit on my plate just trying to get up in the mornings and not kill myself.

I loosened the purse strings and bought a few new clothes at the weekend. I went on a couple of dates. I'm listening to euphoric dance music, eating what I want to eat and drinking quite a lot. Fuck it. Life's too short to be miserable.

Last night, a woman ran up behind me as I was crossing the road and started asking for money. I said "sorry". She launched into an escalating level of abuse, accusing me of saying "no" and for toying her when she was "begging [for my] help". She was too busy yelling and screaming horrible names at me to be interested in the fact that I would've helped her, absolutely. In fact I still would. Fuck it, even if she was just rattling for "B and white" (heroin and crack, also known as "dark and light") and she was short for the score, I'd have helped. You've got to acknowledge the complexities of life and human nature if you want to help anybody. Expecting everybody to be gym-going, kale-eating, alcohol and drug free totally fucking ridiculously 'virtuous' people is absurd. Most of us have a vice.

When I think about how long I lived without my cat to stroke, and without the pleasure of snuggling with a girl I'm really into, I'm surprised I made it this far. What's the point of life without a good healthy dose of oxytocin? Is life even liveable without the bonding hormone? I really don't think it is.

So, as we approach the end of Jinxed January, I'm throwing caution to the wind little by little. I'm buying myself new clothes and having a haircut, because it's great for my self-esteem. I'm dating and having sex because it's fucking awesome. I'm letting myself do a million little things that just make my day a little bit more bearable, because that's what life's all about if you don't want it to be suicidal misery.

There's a chance that all the little changes in my life will destabilise me. It's all quite stressful, even if it's also fun. I'm quite well aware that something as simple as a late night can throw my world into quite a lot of chaos, but sod it, life's too short and I've waited and been sensible for long enough.

I don't think I'm going to go clubbing and take any MDMA any time soon though.




Dick Pics

1 min read

This is a story about unsolicited photos...

Pill and injection

As I browsed through my photo library looking for a suitable image to accompany a boring blog post about economics, instead I noticed that I had a lot of photos that girls had sent me showing me what their preferred method of contraception was. I'm not a psychologist, so I don't really know the significance of them sending me pictures of their contraceptive method.

I really must re-iterate that these pics were sent to me without solicitation. I may have to create a folder to keep all the pictures in, in case I'm browsing through my photos and somebody was to see them.

If anybody's an expert on female psychology, they might want to drop me a line and tell me what it means when a girl sends a guy a picture of her contraceptive pill and/or the plaster when she's had a contraceptive injection/implant.

It's all rather mystifying.




Body Parts

6 min read

This is a story about unsolicited pics...


I'm kind of an asexual being, which is unusual for somebody with bipolar disorder. Of course, I have my moments of madness, where I'm convinced that I'm irresistible to the opposite sex, but it's life experiences that have inflated my ego. With a seemingly unending stream of positive examples that I can draw upon, there is no pin to prick my ballooning self-confidence and self-assured manner. Similar to irritating arrogant idiotic cocaine-snorting men - puffed up with grandiose notions of my own importance - I exude something that draws susceptible creatures in, like attracting moths to a flame.

It is with some guilt and worry that I search my conscience to see if I have become a sociopathic narcissistic conman, out to take advantage of anybody who's ensnared in a web of self-delusion that I have not acknowledged until now. Perhaps, I have lied to myself so successfully, that I believe my own bullshit. I've adopted a strategy of unrelenting introspection and examination of the morality of my behaviour, accompanied by complete heart-on-sleeve emotional openness and vulnerability. However, I must admit that making myself vulnerable appears to have the opposite effect to that which the most masculine of men would imagine - that of bringing out protective instincts and something feminine in women who no longer need protecting from wolves and sabre-tooth tigers... not that I ever believed in such patriarchal fables anyway.

Am I a feminist? Absolutely no way. I prefer boobs that have spent their life supported by a brasier, so that their youthful protestations against the force of gravity have been assisted. I like long hair, not short; I like skirts, not trousers & dungarees; I like giggles & heart-melting eyelash batting, not being told I'm guilty for all the sins of those who share a Y chromosome.

Every female friend of mine reports the phenomenon of receiving - via the medium of electronic communication channels - pictures of the erect male member from somebody with whom they have engaged in the preliminary stages of the courtship ritual. Not a single woman I can name has found this either desirable or sexually arousing, but yet the practice seems to continue unabated. Perhaps these men would have better luck on Grindr, with those of their own gender.

I'm a passive observer. It's as if by having my sexuality neutered by stress and chemicals, I'm able to see the bizarre nature of human behaviour in the same way that you would impassively and objectively view a BBC television documentary about the mating of birds or bees.

When I was younger, I couldn't imagine being in the navy or on some kind of seagoing vessel, oil rig or working another kind of job where I would be away from the steady supply of sex, on demand. It was unthinkable to me that hundreds of men might be confined inside a metal hull, surrounded by seawater and lashed by the waves - for weeks or even months at a time - without the comfort of kissing, spooning and the joy of pure unadulterated fucking.

Even today, as my virility declines, I am still insistent on proximate co-location with any prospective sweetheart, despite the fact I'm lonely and single.

It's probably true that free high-quality pornography, streamed over the Internet for instant gratification of any sexual peccadillo that takes one's fancy, has contributed to a world where every male fantasy is fulfilled - rule 34, which states that porn exists for everything you could possibly imagine, and more that you can never un-see.

What a world we currently live in, where sex tourism is openly discussed without shame, despite it being a form of slavery. Craigslist advertises rooms that are available to young women 'rent free' - the payment being made in kind, not in cash. Webcams and stripping become irresistibly attractive income sources for female students looking to fund their education.

We have become culturally indoctrinated by a myopic and ill-educated worship of money - fiat currency - where we obsess over salaries, bank balances, the cash in our pockets and the value of our homes and other assets. We worry about pension funds and funding our kids through college/university. Yet, we are not smart enough to perceive our own obsession over the ridiculously abstract concept as exchanging pieces of paper with numbers written on them, all day long. The entire globe has been perverted by 'wealth' into a place where girls and women are preyed upon by lecherous disgusting old men. I hope you're happy, with the 'value' of your stock portfolio, while your daughter parades herself in front of an unthinkable number of horny tossers, masturbating furiously... your obsession with 'money' made this happen.

Who am I to talk about such things, when I've been so close to ground zero? There's an easy answer to that - I'm the guy who's well read in economics as well as having first-hand experience of every aspect of banking... I know what money actually is. There really is a magic money tree - the stuff just gets invented out of nothingness.

I have no right to talk about moral bankruptcy when I'm a white male, living in the developed world and after enjoying a life that so many people dream of having - it's a terrible hypocrisy. I glamourise and glorify things that are truly atrocious, don't I?

Perhaps I will be vilified after my death, like those who profited from the more conspicuous forms of slavery and human trafficking of the past. My only defence is that I did not choose the time or place of my birth, nor my parents or my gender - this defence is fairly watertight until when, exactly? At what point do we become culpable for our part in some global conspiracy to enslave the vast majority of humanity? At what stage in life do we accept responsibility for our conscience, our decisions and our moral compass?

This is why I write: when I am dead you will have a corpse, but you will not have the contents of my mind. I'm uploading myself into the cloud, so that you may judge both my inner and my outer self.

You could be the world's expert on human anatomy, but the fatty tissues of my brain would be virtually indistinguishable between my cadaver and any other.

These corporeal vessels which we temporarily inhabit tell us nothing about our minds and our personalities, although I cannot deny that I sometimes receive a sexual thrill when I see a woman's nipple.

"Send nudes" is the precursor to 'Netflix and chill', so I'm told.




I'm Her Bit of Rough

5 min read

This is a story about fragile male egos...


Insecurity. Wrenching away my self-confidence, my self-esteem, my sense of value. Insecurity is degrading and causes me to say things through fear and pain, further undermining my decaying self respect. Those sensitive subjects; the nerves; the over-reaction. What am I even arguing about? I can't admit it, because it's too shameful and it leaves me even more exposed. I feel so vulnerable. I can't tell anybody what my weaknesses are.


She never said it, but she could. It's not normal to like sex. I'm a freak; a weirdo. I'm a dirty old man for wanting sex. I'm too much of an easy target. It's too much fun, to knock somebody back when they're vulnerable. What power! What fun!

I haven't worked since September and I'm rapidly running out of runway. I feel pretty useless. I can't risk spending money on holidays and eating out. I don't feel like a provider. I don't feel very manly.

Without work or hobbies, I don't have any projects to feel proud of. I have this blog, but it's easily dismissed as a ranty diary, with no real substance behind anything I write. Anybody can voice their unqualified opinions on the Internet, can't they? Just another ignorant stupid voice. Nobody cares what I've got to say, because I'm not speaking in a professional or academic capacity.

The antidote to the fear that my chequered history might be discovered, is to write candidly about it. However, I'm no more than a couple of months away from being bankrupt and evicted onto the streets. I'm no more than a few clicks of the mouse away from relapsing into drug addiction. I'm months - if not years - away from financial security, luxury holidays, fine dining and the rest of the trimmings of wealthy urban lifestyle.

It's been so long since I had all the pieces of the puzzle: the job where I'm an expert, the income that exceeds my expenditure, the savings that give me a safety net, the comfortable and secure place to live, the friends who give me a social life, the hobby that I'm good at, and the girl to share the good times with. Who wants to share in my misery, depression and the unravelling of my life?

Every insecurity - am I fat, ugly, stupid, worthless? - becomes amplified the longer I languish in obscurity. I'm a hermit, writing in my bedroom and pushing my words out into the ether. Who even knows that I exist? Who am I? Why was I even born?

My entire existence is fixated on financial income. Without money, I'm nobody. Every failed interview is a disaster and depression threatens to consume me. I drink copiously to cope with the stress and anxiety, but it's a flawed solution. I know I could take a low-paid job that I could do with my eyes closed, but it would pain me to be so undervalued; under-appreciated; unchallenged.

On Saturday night we meet some people; I'm drunk. Making polite conversation, I'm asked what I do. Nervously, I say that I'm an IT consultant, but it feels like a lie. I work for less than half the year and it makes me unwell; I hate it. My debut novel is mentioned and a dam is broken; I'm gushing forth with rabid enthusiasm about my writing. I can sense that my eyes are wide open and there's an intensity to the way that I'm speaking. My speech is almost pressured; rushed. Then, I think that I've become horribly egocentric. I regret talking expansively about myself, in response to polite middle-class smalltalk. I'm embarrassed about how narcissistic I am.

She tries to reassure me, but I struggle to believe what she says. She's a famous bird off the telly and she even passed her O-levels without cheating or nuffink, so what does she see in me? Surely she's dumbing herself down, so that I don't feel as intimidated?

Gender roles are reversed. She takes me out for dinner. She says she'll protect me. I could easily become her cheerleader; idolise her; put her on a pedestal.

I dig into my archives, looking for things that I'm proud of. The problem is that most of it was years ago. What am I doing at the moment that I'm proud of? I haven't yet managed to find a publisher for my novel, let alone a new IT contract. What opportunity do I have to strut my stuff?

A game of Monopoly: now's my chance to demonstrate my entrepreneurial business talents!

But, there's too much pressure on this rare opportunity and it's a game of chance. Luck doesn't go my way and I'm losing, despite playing a winning strategy. The board gets flipped over and the pieces go everywhere. What a bad loser!

What can I do? I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't.





5 min read

This is a story about compatibility...

Bath salts

Very often, when you're acutely aware that there's something that you need to avoid crashing into, you'll end up staring at it, unable to tear your eyes away. When riding a board or a bike, flying, driving or otherwise in motion, you tend to go in the direction you're looking. If you want to avoid a crash, you should look at a spot away from danger.

Is this the reason why we don't talk about taboo subjects, because we're worried about tempting fate? We turn our back on the ugly truth and try to pretend like everything's OK.

My Christmas stocking included some bath salts.

White lines

Clearly, Santa has the same dark sense of humour as me. That's great. I think humour is a fantastic way to exorcise the demons of the past. First comes talking, then understanding and finally you can laugh and joke about a topic that was originally quite painful and difficult to remember. Repressing memories and walking on eggshells is no way to move forward.

If we don't have honest conversations where we can talk about how we really think and feel, then we build up a load of sensitive topics. Secrets and lies lead to paranoia and weak relationships. Keeping schtum about my parents' drug use - when I was a child - was too much of a burden. Writing openly has been liberating and has allowed me to move on from shame and regret, to regain my self-esteem and confidence.

I remember a desperate scramble to cover up my admission to The Priory. My psychiatrist had made a referral to a "private hospital" for treatment of an acute episode of bipolar disorder. All perfectly true, but there was a certain economic use of the truth. What would most people think, if they found out that I was spending weeks in the UK's most notorious treatment specialist for drug & alcohol abuse? They would leap to the wrong conclusions, surely?

It's so bloody exhausting keeping up appearances. One must be aware of how things can be [mis]interpreted and people aren't likely to share their true thoughts and feelings: "better keep him away from the kids if he's mentally ill" or "I bet he's a raging alcoholic behind closed doors if he's been in The Priory".

We're brought up to believe that our reputation is like a balloon: one little prick and it goes pop. We're scared to take time off work, because we'll have gaps on our CV that need to be explained. We're scared to share details of our private lives, lest our employers decide we're unreliable and judge us on preconceived notions. Who wants to work with a madman?

When it comes to dating, the same applies. Who wants to date somebody with flaws; defects? Who wants to take a risk on a ticking time bomb; an unsteady ship? And so, I should have found myself unemployable and undateable. "Take your pills, sit in the corner and shut up" says society.

However, if you ever meet me in a work or social context, you may gain the [false?] impression that I'm pleasant company: a healthy, happy and capable member of society, engaged in productive endeavours. Strangely, you might have the wool pulled over your eyes so much that you actually mistake me for a normal human being.

Surely this is thanks to the excellent medication that I take?

Well, no. I don't take any medication. I don't do therapy. I haven't had a course of electro-convulsive shock treatment. I don't even have a psychiatrist at the moment.

"But you're going to murder everybody if you don't take your pills."

Yes, that's right. I'm your worst nightmare. I'm out there, on the dating scene, luring unsuspecting vulnerable young women into my web. I'm a dangerous fantasist; a con-man. I'm so good at living a lie that I've constructed an elaborate fable that looks, smells, tastes and sounds very much like an authentic real life, but it's all fake. It can't be real. What about the secrets we now know?

If you take your secrets and turn them into jokes, you defuse that ticking time bomb... or at least that's my working hypothesis.

I certainly feel a lot happier knowing that I've met somebody with enough of a good sense of humour to make a joke on Christmas Day about my chequered past. I feel less sensitive, paranoid and insecure than ever before. I feel like I'm myself, and that's OK.

Maybe it's just a getting old thing: the realisation that we're all flawed in some way. We're all human. We all have weaknesses and strengths, and we all have history; baggage even. It seems better to wear my heart on my sleeve than present myself as some whiter than white, holier than thou saint who never put a foot wrong in their life.

I doubt I'll ever unify my professional and private identities, but I certainly don't regret jettisoning the traditional approach to dating. Honesty seems to have been the best policy in this case.




The Mum's Network

9 min read

This is a story about being in touch with your feminine side...

Me with butterflies

When I was a pre-pubescent boy, I read a book by Judy Blume about girls getting their period and having their first kiss with a boy. Before you boil over into a fit of inexplicable anger (as women are prone to do because they're completely ruled by their emotions) I'm not actually saying I know what it's like to menstruate, have boobs and to carry a baby inside me for 9 months and deliver it into the world through my vagina.

My education and upbringing was pretty heavy on the whole sex-ed thing. My sister was born when I was 10 years old, and so I clearly remember her birth and my Mum's pregnancy. My teacher at school was pregnant when we were being shown childbirth videos, and the schools in Oxford are actually pretty progressive. We were taught about the reproductive cycle in the first year that I went to middle school, when I was 9 years old.

Of course, I will never have the first-hand experience of having my cervix dilated by the large head of my child, to the point that it tears, and other painful sounding childbirth related stuff. I know that I would get yelled at with hormonal illogical female rage, if I was to suggest that other stuff that's happened to me has been painful. The muscle on the front of my calf was sliced in half, severing 4 tendons. The hospital in Oxford kept me for 3 days to re-stabilise my kidneys - no painkillers - and then sent me back home to London for the operation 2 days later. My whole journey on the train and across the capital was done without crutches or pain relief. My bandages were soaked with blood. I'm sure those 5 days where my calf had a muscle that was sliced in two down to the bone would give me no capacity to imagine having my vagina ripped to bits by a baby though.

I genuinely don't want to insult mothers. You're right, I'll never know what it's like to have a bad back from carrying round all that weight of a baby bulge for 9 months. I'll never know what it's like to have my internal organs being squished by the life growing inside me. I'll never know what it's like to be woken up by my unborn child kicking. I'll never know.

If you think I'm being flippant or sarcastic, I'm sorry, but I'm actually being genuine. I've often given consideration to the things I'll never know.

What man hasn't given consideration to how much fun they might have, if they got to swap bodies with a woman for the day. Of course, we'd like to play with our tits, but we're also fascinated to know what it feels like for a girl. There's a <blush> slightly kinky element. What does it feel like to be penetrated? Are multiple orgasms as good as they sound? Errr... did I just say that? Moving swiftly on.

Yeah, it's pretty shameful to admit this stuff, but I've made it my mission to vicariously experience what I can of the feminine. I don't think I'm one of those men who thinks that they're a woman who got born into a guy's body. I've just made it a goal in life to empathise. Empathise with everybody. Including the opposite sex.

When I was a teenager I read female erotic fiction. I tried to get into the mind of what women want. I tried to learn how to be a generous lover, so that I could please my girlfriends. I put a lot of effort into my 'research' and I have to say, I got a big kick out of it. However, I read an article recently where the author - a woman - was actually offended by how much of an ego boost guys get by knowing they've moved the Earth for their lover. Well, guess what? That's been added to the long list of considerations too.

So am I painting this picture of me as some sort of perfect guy? No. Don't be ridiculous. What I'm saying is that I'm an information gatherer, and I was born as a sensitive little soul who takes in a lot of what people say, how they feel and whatever I can divine from the media I have consumed. I guess I figured out from an early age that I wasn't going to learn everything I needed to know from pornographic magazines and videos.

It's laughable isn't it, to say that I empathise with women, mothers. and it's actually not true, I don't. I try to, but of course I fail on so many levels. You can't possibly know how much you don't know. Dunning-Kruger effect. Blah blah blah!

But, if you can have a tomboy, can you not also have a tamgirl?

I remember when a friend was talking about her hen do. I enthusiastically gushed "OMG! When is it?" without thinking that I would not actually be invited. I just kinda assumed that I would be. It was a strange situation, because she was a "one of the lads" kind of girl, and I'm a "comfortable with my sexuality" type of guy, so the gender exclusion of the event didn't even register with me.

So, why have I taken a wordplay of Mumsnet, turning it into something that's supposed to sound like The Social Network? Well, because I'm jealous. I feel like I'm missing out on something.

My same friend who I mentioned regarding the hen do was at one time (I'm not sure if she still is) an active contributor on the Mumsnet forum. I actually met her on a forum to do with kitesurfing, many years before. We were both active forum contributors. In fact, I think we competed for the top spot, quite often.

Another friend, a wonderful geek girl whom I very much enjoy the pleasure of the company of, is also another active Mom social networker, who I think also frequents the pages of Mumsnet.

The blogosphere is heavily colonised by mommybloggers, looking for some kind of activity to connect with the world in a way that fits with the demands of family life. Family members eagerly devour every last detail of life of the youngest members of the clan, and will scour the pages of every social media source in order to gather any updates and juicy pictures of the cute little kids as they grow up. Blogging about your family life is a natural extension of that.

However, I imagine that having kids can be a fairly bleak and isolating existence at times. Just as being single can leave you left out from all those couples events - who's going to invite sad Dave to dinner on his own? That'd be weird! - so the stressed out mom who's had to spend all day with fractious children is going to be overlooked by friends who don't want their peaceful child-free existence shattered by the arrival of mountains of childrearing equipment and tantrum-prone toddlers disturbing the peace.

Yes, unless you have a good baby circle of other moms who have kids of a similar age, it's kinda hard for anybody to relate to the particular struggles that you're immediately facing, whether that be teething and nappy rash, or the defiant "NO!" phase as the loveable darlings assert their own personalities. Which of your friends understands that they need to remove all the sharp, swallowable and fragile ornaments from the low surfaces? That bowl of potpourri looks terribly decorative on the coffee table, but to a parent of a young child, that's just a choking hazard. The worlds are going to collide.

And so, sleep-deprived moms get isolated, as social lepers because they're no longer footloose and fancy free. Not only must the children travel with mom, but also the changing mat, clean nappies, wet wipes, sterilising equipment, bibs, blankets, toys, teething rings, potties, spare clothes, medicines, high chairs, carrycots, pushchairs and every other bit of parenting paraphernalia to keep the tiny tots clean, comfortable, fed and watered, in the hope that they'll smile and giggle, not cry.

I have no idea if an Internet forum can provide some of the camaraderie that is necessary to make things seem a little less desperate, when Junior just won't go to sleep and he's driving you nuts with that noisy toy that grandma bought for him. I have no idea if getting together online, as moms who've been through it all too - they know all the shit that you're going through - in some way makes getting through the day a little easier.

I know that I miss my time being a top contributor on a forum. I know that I miss those familiar nicknames. I know that I miss the purpose and routine that it gave my life, trying to read absolutely everything, and make comments in the most active threads. I miss those virtual friends, who actually turned out not to be virtual at all. Some of the best friends I have, I made through forums. Some of the best experiences of my life, were when a bunch of us nerdy Internet dwellers met up, in the evening for drinks, for weekend trips away, or for adventures around the world.

The gender-blind part of me thinks that I should sign up for Mumsnet and join in the discussion and debate, but something tells me that might not go down too well.

There is a considerable hole in my life, without an online community to belong to.




Drug Dealing & Prostitution

6 min read

This is a story about getting rich quick...

Weed girl

Don't get high on your own supply, they say. It's good advice, because weed seems to dull the wits of my friends, and to curb their enthusiasm for anything more than the getting of more weed, and the consumption of shit food and crap TV.

When I meet young people who feel like they're part of a counter-culture revolution, because they smoke a bit of marijuana, I think how easily they have been duped. How foolish you are, to think that you're fighting the establishment, through your choice of intoxicant.

Governments and the police are mightily pleased to have a stoned population, who are too doped up to be bothered to get off their arses and do anything about social issues, or involve themselves in politics. Chuckling at low-brow humour that is designed to appeal to the stoner brain, is never going to change the world.

The energy and passion of youth has been quashed by the dreaded weed. You're not cool or "fighting the power" by smoking dope. You're actually playing into the hands of the establishment. The cannabis leaf - that ubiquitous emblem - sells tons of merchandise. Camden Market is London's second most popular tourist attraction, and it's mostly because of drug culture.

But what hopes have young people got? They're never going to be able to afford a house, pay for a wedding and be able to support a family, without topping up their income somehow. For those kids with wealthy parents, they might be able to go with their begging bowl to Mum & Dad, but it's hardly the independent self-sufficient life that we should all be entitled to live, is it?

You bust your balls all through school, get some grades, and now what? You can get a massive student loan that will only cover your tuition fees, and you still have to figure out how to pay for accommodation, food & books for your 3 years of undergraduate studies.

Maybe you can save up money before you go to University, but under-18s will be paid £3.87 per hour. Do you think a 17 year old is less capable of stacking a supermarket's shelves than a 64 year old? Why on earth should a young person be paid just 54% of what an old person earns, for doing the same job?

While you're at University, you'll be paid slightly more for your bar work, waitressing or whatever part-time job you can get. You'll get a whopping £5.30. That's still 26% less than somebody with arthritic joints and early-onset dementia. Who would you want working behind a bar? The young attractive, energetic student, or the miserable old codger who shuffles around?

So, what do the most enterprising individuals do, to cope with the crippling debt burden that they face, with little hope of elevating themselves from a position of poverty? Well, some of them will sell their bodies, and sell drugs.

If you deny people a legal route to pay for a quality of life that they're entitled to, they will turn to a life of 'crime'.

Got weed

The two bestselling commodities, in the history of humanity, are sex & drugs. Ugly people need to fuck, and people want to get high and forget about their shitty lives. The drive to get intoxicated is not even a uniquely human thing. There are plenty of examples from the animal kingdom of non-human species that get off their faces, using various substances.

You might think that demanding plenty of interest on your life savings and wanting a nice fat pension, is OK, because you're entitled to a cushy retirement. However, your young, beautiful and fresh faced daughter or grand-daughter might have few options to live independently, other than being a stripper, escort or 'flatmate with benefits'.

If you browse the London property adverts, you will see a shocking number of offers of free accommodation in return for sex. This is the society that has been created, by structuring everything around the pension funds, instead of investing in young people.

Can't get the job without the experience, can't get the experience without the job. That's the Catch 22 that entraps most young people into minimum wage jobs and living in shared rooms in atrocious quality housing in big cities. It's no fucking picnic being young at the moment, and weed is probably the only thing that allows people to forget the hopelessness of their situation.

A pint of beer in London is £5 or more. That means I can buy two pints for £10. For the same amount of money, I can buy a gram of super-strong skunk weed, and get dribblingly intoxicated for at least a day. Two pints would make me slightly tipsy, and because I'm well-off, I could then easily afford to have 3 or 4 more pints and get violent, abusive and urinate and vomit in the street. However, it's more economical - as a young person - to get stoned out of your mind and not do anything.

The girls who have sugar daddies, hustle for tips as waitresses and strippers or even sell their bodies - these aren't fallen angels, forced to prostitute themselves because they have a drug habit. Often times, the drug habit is a result of having to use what mother nature gave them, as a means to make money. These girls have a plan. They're smart. They've figured out that no amount of shelf stacking for a supermarket will allow them to ever escape poverty.

Our prettiest daughters and grand-daughters are living in luxury apartments in the city centre, taking taxis, eating in expensive restaurants and ordering cocktails at the bar... but how is that lifestyle funded? Every gorgeous pouting selfie you see on Facebook or Instagram... doesn't that say something about the sexualisation of an entire generation, through economic necessity, to you?

The boys will grow weed, or cut coke. The girls will strip or fuck. This is what we've wished for. The olds sit idle in their big empty houses, while their sons, daughters and grandchildren have no option but to pursue the most economically profitable path they can: drugs & prostitution.

I'm painting a bleak picture, but I don't think it's inaccurate.

Making a Joint

"It's only a bit of harmless dope" right? Wrong. Can't you see that people's eyes are dulled. The fire has gone out of people's hearts when they're just sitting around stoned. Where is the energy and enthusiasm to change society for the better?



Addiction and Libido

13 min read

This is a story about an unholy trinity...

Foe Pawn

At a hotel I was given a voucher to connect to the internet. As you can see, it was foe pawn. I'm not sure if I used it foe pawn, but I possibly used it for porn, amongst my other general internet browsing.

Let me tell you about something that's a fairly irresistible combination: drugs, pornography and masturbation. Drugs and sex - i.e. chemsex - are bad enough, but there's a limitless supply of pornography out there on the internet, and given a limitless supply of drugs, you can get seriously messed up.

People who are dealing with the chemsex crisis talk about an unholy trinity of drugs: GBL/GHB, Crystal Meth and Meow Meow (M-CAT). These drugs are endemic amongst a group of promiscuous homosexual men, seeking to reach unimaginable highs from drug-fuelled sexual congress.

What happens when the secret is out? What happens when the wider, mostly heterosexual community finds out that having sex on drugs is many, many times more enjoyable than sex or drugs on their own?

Let me tell you, from bittersweet experience, that once you have tried chemsex, your ideas about pleasure and sexual ecstasy will be irreversibly corrupted. You can't un-experience things like that. You can't forget what you know. You can't un-feel what you felt.

Of course, 99% of people know that drugs are bad, and dangerous and will kill you just from looking at them, right? Well, unfortunately, people are discovering that the hard-line propaganda just isn't true, and the warning message is somewhat lost in the prohibitionist bullshit. So every cautionary tale is regarded with suspicion, or completely disregarded altogether.

In actual fact, there is so much taboo around drugs, sex, homosexuality, masturbation, fetishes... even just feeling horny is something we don't talk about openly. We are almost stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to feeling guilty about our sexual desires, and the fact that we are inescapably driven to satisfy them.

At the end of the day, you can't fight hunger, you can't fight thirst, and you can't fight your libido. Those are the 3 things that ensure the survival of humanity as a species of animals. I know a small handful of us try to rise above the level of beasts, and act a little less like animals by using our higher brain functions, but we'll still die if we don't eat and drink, and we will actually devolve if the intelligent members of humanity don't reproduce.

Masturbation and drugs are the ultimate ways to thwart nature though. Once an animal has found something it prefers to eating, drinking and fucking, it's pretty screwed in terms of its survival prospects, and the likelihood of it passing on its genes. You could see this as a good thing: eventually addicts and wankers will die out. However, evolution is ridiculously slow, and chemistry is ridiculously fast. Checkmate, humans.

Meth TV Advert

The above picture is an advertising campaign, suggesting that people don't try Crystal Meth "even once". The advice is quite reasonable. Meth is highly addictive, and the best way to not become addicted to drugs is to never take them in the first place.

By the same token, beating addiction sounds fairly simple. Just don't take drugs "even once" and hey presto, your addiction is cured. But things aren't that simple, unfortunately.

The brain is amazing at making connections between things. I would hope that everybody is familiar with Pavlov's dog, that started to salivate whenever a bell was rung, because it knew it was going to get fed. The brain had connected the sound of a bell ringing with getting food, and something that is normally completely unconnected with food and eating, became linked in the brain of this dog.

I would hardly consider eating food to be an orgasmic experience, but small amounts of dopamine - the pleasure chemical - are released in the brain every time we eat. It's natural that we should have evolved a brain that teaches us to eat... eating is what keeps us alive. Eating food is a kind of addiction, if you like. We eat because we get a pleasurable reward from doing it. We are satisfying a craving.

Sex and masturbation are a bit easier to understand. We get a much bigger dopamine hit every time we are sexually stimulated in a state of arousal, and another big hit of dopamine if we achieve an orgasm. It's much easier to see that sexual behaviour is the same as any other addictive behaviour. We feel a craving for pleasure: we get horny, we want to fuck or masturbate. We then satisfy this craving, with sexual acts, and then we are rewarded with pleasure.

However, the brain has natural systems to curb our enthusiasm for round-the-clock eating, masturbation and sex. After food or orgasm, a protein called prolactin is released from the pituitary gland, which signals to the brain that it's time to take a break from those pleasure-seeking activities. The amount of dopamine that's released if you continue to eat or fuck, is virtually nothing... you get no pleasure out of it, until the prolactin levels drop again.

The problem with drugs is, that they're almost always rewarding, provided you take enough of them. Sure, a tolerance builds up in your brain, but you can usually take bigger and bigger doses, and still get high.

If you combine drugs with sex/masturbation, you've got a problem... just like Aaron on his injected Crystal Meth, you might want to fuck or masturbate until the drugs wear off.

Now, if we imagine that Aaron is like that dog that salivates whenever the bell is rung... poor Aaron is going to want drugs whenever he gets horny, or he's going to get horny whenever he gets high on drugs. It's a vicious circle.

The only way that you're not going to feel horny is if you have your sexual functions interfered with, by medication or surgery. Castration for a man, removal of ovaries for a woman... the elimination of the sex hormones: testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone. That goes some way to eliminating your libido, but then, what are you if you're no longer a sexual being? You're certainly no longer human.

Drugs produce a temporary and mostly reversible effect, but the longer that you abuse drugs for, and the more of a link that is made in the brain between drug-induced pleasure and other actions, the harder it will be to undo those drug cravings, given the same stimuli.

When the stimuli is your own libido, you probably don't fancy becoming a eunuch. The only option is to de-link sex and drugs. That means having a lot of mediocre sex and joyless masturbation.

Creamy Coffee

Once you start to realise how the brain works, you can start to disentangle why you do the things that you do. Why do you drink coffee? Because it contains the bitter plant alkaloid called caffeine, which causes dopamine to be released in your brain, which is pleasurable, rewarding. Why do you smoke cigarettes? Same reason. Why did you copulate for 30 seconds and produce a screaming shitting incontinent midget that can't even feed itself? Same reason.

If you truly want to elevate yourself above the level of the beasts, you would have to make yourself asexual and release yourself from the tiresome bother of having to eat and drink. However, you'd probably get so engrossed in some interesting area of research that you'd forget to eat and die of starvation. Plus, you wouldn't have any kids, so you'd just die in obscurity as some kind of eccentric hermit.

Of course you don't have to take things to the other extreme, and test the very limits of human ecstasy, pleasure... to get as high as it's possible to get. I really don't recommend it. It's bad for your health and probably pretty deadly. Everything else in life will be compared to that gold standard forever afterwards, and it's hard to get over the disappointment that nothing in your life is ever going to be as enjoyable.

This is a cautionary tale, but it's more an honest conversation that people are running screaming away from, because they're prudish, repressed, uptight, shamed by taboos and social norms into a culture of silent guilt about normal, natural human things that every person feels.

But there's another reason why some people go down the path of hedonism, while others go down the path of quiet family life: oxytocin. The bonding hormone is released when you stroke your dog or your cat. The hormone is released when you see your kids, and give them a cuddle.

Oxytocin is responsible for curbing our urge to seek pleasure, by giving us a warmer, longer-lasting kind of pleasure. If the dopamine hit you get from an orgasm is like injecting Crystal Meth, then the opioids that are released due to oxytocin are like injecting Heroin. You're happy to sit around, monged out in your pyjamas all day with your kids, because you're wrapped up in the cotton-wool opiate hit of a Heroin-esque oxytocin ride.

Nature wants you to change modes once you've reproduced, from the pleasure seeking fuck machine, into an obedient servant to your helpless infant(s). As a parent, your life is over. It's time to concentrate on stuffing calories into the greedy mouths of your offspring until you finally expire from exhaustion. It's a marathon, not a sprint, so having your brain calmed down and full of satisfying all-day pleasure chemicals while you're fulfilling your parenting duties works perfectly.

The most tragic thing is when these world collide. When children are conceived in the middle of a period of drug abuse fuelled sexual activity, it's going to be nearly impossible for your brain to switch modes. The amount of pleasure you get from your shitting, vomiting, snot-covered offspring is not going to be able to compete with powders and pills.

It might sound unpalatable, but if you're going to be a drug addict, you should be gay or be a wanker. Becoming a parent might provide an incentive to get clean and sober, but you're going to have a tough job kicking a habit and bonding with your child. That tiny bit of chest-swelling warm fuzzy feeling you get when you put your tiny baby on your chest... yeah, you're not really going to notice that if you're on a massive comedown.

Pregnancy Test

It might seem like I'm a reckless risk-taker, and that I've come dangerously close to ruining my life, but that's the whole point: I've got no dependents. I've actually been really careful. The main thing to be careful about is to not spawn any offspring you're in no position to look after, because you're struggling with addiction.

But this isn't a lecture. This isn't me being holier-than-thou. Actually, it's me saying that I understand why families fall apart, why parents don't love their kids enough, why babies get born to junkies and hopeless drug-addled fathers.

One of the main reasons I have such a high metabolism, I believe, is because my Mum wasn't expecting to get pregnant with me, and when she found out she was pregnant, she then decided to lay off the booze and the fags. The withdrawal from nicotine and alcohol while I was in the womb would have meant that highly elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, would have passed into my developing body, through the placental blood.

As an organism, whatever advantage we can get in our environment would have been crucial to our survival in a world that was out to kill us, 10,000 years ago. A baby that is going to be born into a world with little food and many predators should have a completely different metabolism from a baby that's going to be born into a land of plenty. You can't run away from the wolves very fast with a big fat blubbery baby, and there's no point in having a baby that's really good at storing energy in fat reserves if there aren't any excess calories around.

Addiction is just the same as hunger or thirst, and so, babies that are born to mothers who are recovering addicts will be affected as if they were starving: low birth weight, and the epigenetic expression of genes that cause features to create a skinny scavenger, constantly in a state of nervous tension, high alertness.

While it's easy to look upon me with ignorant, stupid eyes, and assume that my life has been directed by my choices, in actual fact, so much of what we think and say and do, and how our body and brain responds to circumstances which are very much out of our hands, is a result of a chain of causation that is far more impenetrable than a trite oversimplification.

What does it tell you that I've been able to take drugs like Cocaine, Heroin and Crystal Meth and not become addicted? What do your simplistic ideas about drug abuse tell you about that particular fact?

Drug addiction is a more complex relationship than simply a person and a chemical. Drugs are social. Drugs are sexual. Drugs are societal. Drugs are cultural.

Yes, it's true that the right combination of a drugs and activities associated with drug taking can form a nearly unbreakable bond in your habits, behaviour and actual brain programming, to the point that escaping addiction will be virtually impossible.

However, only a fool would write people off and say that somebody can never change. One thing is for certain about the brain: it's a plastic organ, that can adapt itself in amazing ways. One thing is for certain about humans: they're adept at handling almost anything the world can throw at them.

To stigmatise a huge group of people, to ask them to hang their heads in shame, to ask them to shoulder other people's guilt, to pay for crimes they're not responsible for, to be the black sheep, to be the scapegoats... it's a horrible thing to do, to sit in judgement over somebody who is 99.5% identical to you.

Ok, so you bought a dog, and a house, and copulated and made some kids and now you feel all smug and fulfilled, and you'd like to tell other people how they made bad choices and you're morally superior. Well, guess what? You're made of the same stuff. You'd respond just the same as the people you're judging, if you were put in their situation. Your brain works in exactly the same way.

You should really learn about how to lead people back to the right path, rather than trapping them onto the path they're on, which can only lead to their early death... a death that you share collective responsibility for.

Blue Light

I had to complain to the manager of this coffee shop that I couldn't see my veins in the toilet. Caffeine good, Heroin bad, right?



Masturbation & Pornography

6 min read

This is a story about taboos and titillation...

Big Black Cock

That's a photo of a big black cock. It has been quite hard to pair some photos with this blog post, given its provocative title, but I think I've nailed it with this one.

I'm aware that my writing has reached a level of honesty that pretty much makes it unreadable. It's just too unflinchingly brutally open. It's too gut-wrenchingly, stomach squirming and churningly letting all the skeletons out of the closet. People aren't supposed to say these kinds of things. People aren't supposed to talk about this kind of stuff.

It's an absolutely ludicrous experiment, to write down everything that's in your head, in a public journal. However, it's my belief that the age of privacy is over. We are now too wedded to technology to step back to a previous era, but many people are unaware just how insecure their data is. We are almost living in the age of open data.

My laptop is infected with a keylogger, with the attacker hoping to skim credit card details, passwords and obviously able to see every single word that I type. I have also been the victim of a ransomware style attack, when I was using some Google products (phone, smartwatch) which saw me bullied into doing something against my will, when my privacy was massively compromised. I have even conducted a spot of phishing of my own... only in the interests of computer science, of course.

I imagine that my webcam has, at times, become compromised. I dread to think what that electronic eye has witnessed, but we are all watched over by machines of loving grace, at all times. On my bedside table I have my smartwatch and my phone - 2 microphones and 2 cameras - which are pretty much recording around the clock. Next to my bed is my infected laptop, with its microphone and webcam. Whether the data is persisted or not, I wouldn't be qualified to speculate.

Getting to the heart of the matter, human beings are known to pleasure themselves from time to time, even when they are getting enough sex. It's pretty much a fact of life. There's no sense in denying it, or just pretending it doesn't happen. I'm talking about it. This is happening. I'm breaching the taboo.

Let's talk about pornography. Have you watched any music videos lately? They're basically soft porn. Pornographic content has entered mainstream media. Whether it's more and more explicit sex scenes in movies, or the use of pornographic imagery to sell products, it's there on open display, all around us.

Around 2001 I moved into my first flat with a girlfriend. I also, briefly, had a bit of a problem with the amount of 'video-based art' that I was downloading from peer-to-peer networks. It was unhealthy for my relationship, which subsequently ended. I moved back into a shared house. You could say that it was a brief addiction, given the damage to a relationship and my living status.

Porn is probably the most easily accessible of all the addictions. You can stream all you want via your broadband internet connection, for free. Even a gambling addiction costs money. Even a food addiction requires you to go to the supermarket.

The Monument

The phallic column in the background is The Monument to the Great Fire of London. There are now an impressive array of tall buildings that have been erected in London, in recent years.

We all know that London's seedier side is openly on display in Soho, but actually, there's a lot of willy-waving that goes on throughout the metropolis. On-the-spot fines are having to be issued to the super-rich playboys who cruise around Kensington and Chelsea in their sportscars, with their long bonnets, revving their engines aggressively.

Too embarrassed to go to a strip club? Don't worry, there are now bars in the City that bring the dancing girls into a respectable setting, for you to oggle.

Dancing Girls

This is my [female] agent's idea of corporate hospitality. Tipping cocktails down the client's neck while scantily clad women shake their booty. This is an acceptable night out to put down as an expense claim, when trying to get your client to renew your contract.

The porn industry might be losing money to piracy, copyright infringement and amateurs who seem to want to share their most private frissons with the world, but sex is very much mainstream and an accepted part of daily life. TV shows now get great ratings if they are filled with buxom wenches and nudity. It worked for Game of Thrones.

Personally, chemsex links horribly with an addiction mess that includes porn and masturbation. As I've written before, my libido has started to become my enemy. A natural survival of the species instinct prompts me to now seek out drugs, and with drugs in my system that libido gets twisted into something very shameful indeed.

Obviously, drugs don't change who you are fundamentally. They can only amplify and exacerbate. However, we all like boobs, ass, pussy and/or cock. We are all programmed to try and achieve some degree of sexual satisfaction. We can't shut down and deny that side of our nature.

Why on earth would I write about this stuff? Well, that tightly wound ball of shame needs to unwind. At its core is a seed that dwells within all of us. I might have corrupted myself, twisted myself, become unrecognisable from an innocent starting position, but given the same conditions it could happen to anybody. I took the risks, and it happened to me, so they're my consequences to own. It's my burden to carry. Only got myself to blame, eh? It just so happens that I'm going to write about it all and see what happens.

Writing about this stuff seems more rational than tearing my own genitals off my body, although the life of a eunuch looks enviable to me in some ways.

Flower Power

Do you like flowers? You do know that a flower is the sexual organ of a plant, don't you?