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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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Self Pitying Poser

4 min read

This is a story about victim playing...

Skeleton face

Apparently the world is full of attention-seeking malingerers who aren't really sick, but who in fact choose to be depressed and miserable, and to self-harm and attempt suicide, because it's a lifestyle choice. Apparently everybody knows exactly what they're doing all the time and we all have complete free will - our hand is never forced, we're never coerced or pressured into doing things we don't want to do, and we can choose how we want to feel. If we want to be happy, we can just choose to be happy.

Those who are suffering aren't really suffering - they're victim-playing; they're attempting to get sympathy, so they can bunk off school or work. Thankfully though, there are some clever people out there who can see straight through you and understand everything about you in an instant. Thankfully there are clever people who are qualified to immediately judge you, and to declare you fit and well, except you're just too damn bloody minded to snap out of your silly pointless melancholy.

Those clever people who declare that you're so definitely faking it are so clever and infallible that they're prepared to risk your life. They'll call your bluff. They don't care if you die. It's more important that you're unmasked for what you really are - a self pitying attention seeking malingering poser - than you staying alive.

This situation, where those clever people call your bluff, is clearly working very well, because suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. If somebody commits suicide, clearly they were telling the truth, but if they don't immediately kill themselves that then proves that the clever person is really clever and can carry on killing people.

It's a bit like the witch-hunts. If a woman floats, she's a witch, and if she drowns she wasn't a witch. It's a flawless system.

I do often wonder - as I'm programmed to do by society - whether I'm feeling too sorry for myself; whether I whinge and moan too much. I'm certainly not wedded to depression as part of my identity and I wouldn't be sorry to see it go. I can see my part in my problems, in as much as I had ability to make other choices. You really don't understand the pressures and biases and other factors that influence a person's decision making, if you think that life is all about free will and making the right choices.

Yes, it is nice to have a reason for why life is shit. Yes, it's nice to have a diagnosis that says that there's a very good reason why life is harder than it should be. These things aren't excuses, they're explanations. Yes, it's comforting to know that there are very good reasons why I'm predisposed towards certain negative feelings and behaviours, and it's not because I'm lazy, stupid, immoral, bloody-minded, evil or of bad character. Yes, it's useful to think of myself as a victim of circumstances and a victim of disease, rather than some evil bastard who deliberately makes bad choices and is depressed and suicidal out of spite.

If I'm victim playing, fine, whatever - put me down as a victim player. If I'm self-pitying and saying "poor me" far too often, fine, whatever - put me down as an attention seeking poser.

I have some choice in the matter of what happens in my life, but mostly I don't. Most of what happens to all of us is dictated by fate - when we were born, where we were born, the socioeconomic circumstances we were born into, the people we came into contact with, the things that happened to us that were completely outside of our control. Even my choice of what to eat for dinner is heavily influenced by my upbringing and everything else that's going on in my life - I might crave salt or sugar, because my body needs it because of the activity I've been doing. How much do you want to blame the victims?

If you get your kicks from fat-shaming, then you're the kind of person who probably enjoys victim-blaming the suicidal too. You're the kind of person who'd rather see people die, than show them any sympathy. You're a bluff caller. You're a gambler with people's lives. You probably think of yourself as very clever.

Do you think it's worth it, to have suicide being the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, just so that you can feel big and clever?

 

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All Work and no Play Makes Nick a Dull Boy

7 min read

This is a story about relentless monotony...

Sleepy Nick

I fell asleep at my desk today. I haven't had any time off since November. I spent November writing a novel, so I guess I haven't had any time off since October. I was in hospital in October and I moved house, so I guess I haven't had any time off since September. I was in hospital in September and I tried to commit suicide and I lost my job and I was evicted, so I guess I haven't had any time off since July. I moved house and started a new job in July, so I guess I haven't had any time off since June. I was selling loads of my stuff, trying not to go bankrupt, while also trying to get a job in June, so I guess I haven't had any time off since May. I was quitting supercrack, having an episode of medication-induced mania from California rocket fuel and breaking up with my girlfriend in May, so I guess I haven't had any time off since April. I was a drug addict in April. This is what I was doing back in April.

Dark Web

Here I am looking at the dark web a little over a year ago. I'm probably not buying anything that would be illegal because I already had enough supercrack to last me 2 years. The fact I'm wearing clothes and sitting in my lounge, taking recognisably normal-ish photographs suggests that a little over a year ago, things were going OK.

Night vision

Oh no I spoke to soon. This night-vision photograph indicates that I was going bat-shit insane while high on supercrack. I took this photograph only a couple of days after the one before, where I was sat in the lounge browsing the dark web. This photograph was taken about a year ago.

Barricaded door

What the hell is THAT? Well, it's pretty obvious that I've barricaded myself in my bedroom. This photograph was taken one year and one day ago. This photograph perfectly illustrates my subconscious fears of privacy invasion - that people are going to burst in on me, shame me and violently attack me. I don't come across as very paranoid in day-to-day life, but I'm very traumatised, and this is my reaction that that trauma: I barricade myself in to protect myself from my parents and ex-wife. It's bat-shit insane, of course, but this is my underlying psychology.

Tray of food

Looks like I was eating some food. I'd probably barricaded myself in my bedroom for days. I'd probably not slept for days. My life was a horrific mess a year ago. I had a virtually unlimited supply of supercrack and my addiction was raging out of control. Clearly I was paranoid because of drugs and sleep deprivation, but what was the seed of that paranoia? I wonder if it could have anything to do with having the rug pulled out from under my feet - being muscled out of my own home; being horrifically injured in my own home; being punched in the face or suffering a horrific injury to my leg, at the hands of my ex-wife and parents. I wonder if it could have anything to do with them. I was trapped in a corner for so very long, with no means of escaping my tormentors, who were demonstrably vile, violent and abusive. Fuck them. That kind of trauma has a lasting effect.

Bathroom barricade

My paranoia reached such ridiculous levels that I barricaded the door to my ensuite bathroom using my laundry bins and some clothes storage boxes. Clearly I just wanted to be left alone. Clearly I didn't feel safe. Yes, it's paranoia that's come about because of drug abuse and sleep deprivation, but there's got to be a seed too. Nobody gets this paranoid unless they have their ex-wife kicking doors in and screaming abuse at the top of her lungs. Nobody gets this paranoid unless they have their parents humiliating them and bursting in on them, and dragging them out of their own home. There's a seed for paranoia. There's always a seed.

Uppers and downers

Something to help me sleep (zopiclone) and something to help me cope and function (dexamfetamine). You can't end a horrific addiction instantly. There's no cold turkey when you're in as deep as I was. I was too dependent. To attempt to suddenly quit overnight would have caused me unbearable withdrawal symptoms and would have required me to be hospitalised. This is what I prescribed myself - two medications for harm reduction. Two medications that I used to wean myself off the dangerous and highly addictive supercrack.

I flushed that big bag of supercrack a year ago. There was enough to last me a couple of years, easily. I can't remember when exactly I flushed it, because my life was chaotic, but the evidence suggests that it was at this point I decided to get clean, using substitute prescribing.

Things didn't go smoothly, but it's very difficult to deal with a major addiction as well as mental health problems and all the practical problems that came about because my life had disintegrated. I needed to get money, get a job, get an apartment I could afford. I needed to move house, move city. I needed to get a new girlfriend and a new group of friends. I had a false start in Manchester, but I tried again in Wales... I'm trying again in Wales.

Maybe you think my life is easy and everything is sorted out, because I earned bit of money, which I spent renting an apartment and buying a car so that I can get to my new job. Maybe you think my life is easy because I get up and go to work every day, and I'm doing a good job and my bosses are impressed with me. Maybe you think my life is easy because I've 'bounced back' from losing two apartments, running out of money three times and being hospitalised twice. Maybe you think my life is easy, because I've made it look so easy, quitting supercrack, Valium, Xanax, tramadol, codeine, dihydrocodiene, pregabalin, zopiclone and zolpidem, which are all highly addictive. Maybe you think my life is easy, because I've gone 7 months unmedicated and I haven't had a single mental health episode that's caused me to commit suicide or do something else drastic to fuck up my life. Maybe you think my life is easy because my finances are improving and I've got a girlfriend. Maybe you think none of what I went through in the last year was very hard. Maybe you think none of what I've been through in the last year has caused any lasting damage.

I'm in my 5th consecutive month of full-time work without a holiday. I'm working my bollocks off. All I do is work work work, because I'm running as fast as I can to get myself into a position where my housing is secure - nobody can evict me - and I'm financially secure. I constantly have to ignore my physical and mental health, because I so desperately need to get myself into a position where I can collapse in a heap and have a minor nervous breakdown.

Yes, I can do stuff like this - I can save myself; I can come back to life; I can return from the brink of destitution and make it look very easy.

It's not easy.

 

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Vindictive

4 min read

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

View out to sea

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

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

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

It was a huge mistake to censor my blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publish or perish.

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

 

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Devolution

7 min read

This is a story about overcrowding...

3D Printing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The geeks are inheriting the earth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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April Fools Day

3 min read

This is a story about a prank...

Hostel laptop

Surprise! It was all a joke! I'm not really mad. I was just pulling your leg. It was all a big April Fools Day prank. Ha ha ha.

Except it's not.

I've genuinely been very sick.

The fact that I'm in a strong position today is incredibly promising. Usually I start sorting my life out far too late each year, and then I get clobbered by autumn and winter. Usually Christmas and New Year wipes me out and leaves me absolutely screwed during January, February and March. Usually I need April and May to recover from the winter and get myself back on my feet. The seasons screw me over.

I was working over the festive period, which meant I had a job to go back to in the New Year. I've managed to finish one contract and start another one with no gap, which means no loss of earnings. I've got the seasons on my side - the days are getting longer and the weather's improving. All of this bodes well.

It might look like I can snap my fingers and get everything I want in an instant, but it's not easy. It's incredibly exhausting, repeatedly digging yourself out of a hole. It's incredibly stressful having to repeatedly rebuild your life. I've solved these problems a million times before - getting a job, earning money, getting a place to live, re-establishing myself somewhere new - but that makes it harder in a way... there's no novelty to it, it's just hard work.

At face value, it looks like I'm not sick - I'm working, moving house, doing practical things that require me to be very functional. It's hard though. I'm always a hair's breadth away from disaster.

I could almost convince people that my whole crazy off-piste escapade was made-up - that I invented it for literary purposes. It would blow the mind of my work colleagues to know the journey I've been on.

I don't want to pretend that nothing happened. I don't want to pretend like everything's always been A-OK. I don't want to pretend like I haven't got stuff in my past that was pretty insane. I want to stop running away from my past and pretending that it didn't happen. I don't want to pretend like all this is a joke.

It's 12:03pm, so it can't be a joke... it's gone past midday.

 

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Sleepless Night

4 min read

This is a story about peak stress...

Dunes at night

Unsurprisingly I didn't sleep last night. I was too stressed, rehearsing all the arguments that I was going to have with the letting agency and the tenant vetting people, trying to rent a damn apartment. I was thinking about how I was going to react if the worst-case scenario happened: that there's no way that I'm able to rent an apartment because I don't fit neatly in the boxes.

In the morning things were just as bad as I feared. I got an email saying that the only way I was going to be able to rent the apartment was if I paid a whole year's rent in advance - £8,100!

I managed to compose myself and wrote a polite reply explaining that the whole rigmarole was vexatious and I would pay rent in advance if it was a reasonable sum of money, but to ask for an entire year of rent was ludicrous.

To my surprise I received a pleasant reply saying they were doing everything they could to make things happen for me to be able to move in on Saturday, but that I did need to ask my accountant for my tax returns, even though they show I pay no income tax.

With the support and encouragement of a friend, I got my accountant to send over whatever he had. My friend thought that it was just a box-ticking exercise and it didn't matter what was on the documents.

In the afternoon I got an email saying everything was fine with my references and I can sign the tenancy contract and collect the keys on Saturday. Most unexpected.

After having received emails that contained all the words I dreaded - "delay", "can't proceed", "pay 12 months up-front", "no other way" - I was sure the whole thing was doomed to failure. I was extremely distressed. To pay the whole 12 months rent would've wiped out every penny I can lay my hands on and leave me nothing for food, petrol and other living expenses. I thought the ship had sailed. It was a miraculous turnaround.

I feel a little stupid for raising the alarm so early, but I knew that my mood was going to quickly blacken when all avenues had been exhausted and there was no way forward. I wasn't kidding or being melodramatic when I said I was at my wits end. I know it sounds like a disproportionate response, but it's taken so much out of me getting to this point. I can't suffer any major bumps in the road - I just don't have the spare capacity to soak them up.

I can celebrate a little now. I've got my feet under the desk in my new job and I've got confirmation that I'm going to get the keys to my apartment on Saturday. Things are going well. It seems a little crazy that things could've swung in a drastic and deadly direction if my hopes were dashed, but all those sleepless nights add up to complete desperation; unbearable stress and anxiety.

There will be bumps in the road and sleepless nights ahead, but every time I overcome an obstacle life gets a little easier. I'm slowly re-entering civilised society. I'm slowly rebuilding my financial safety cushion that will allow me to deal with bumps in the road.

Of course I feel a little like I've blackmailed the universe to give me what I want. Of course I feel quite like a petulant spoiled brat child who had a big tantrum. I'm a little embarrassed. I don't care, because I need a job and a place to live and other essential things for a normal ordinary modest little life.

I'll believe it when the ink's dry on the contract. I'll believe it when the keys are in my hand. I still haven't been paid from my new job yet, for example. I'll count my chickens when they're hatched.

I'm not being negative. I really am looking forward to moving into the apartment. I can relax a little now. I've paid the rent and the deposit. Perhaps things will work out OK.

 

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Suicide by the Numbers

4 min read

This is a story about not fitting neatly inside the boxes...

Contractor parking space

I'm trying to rent an apartment. The apartment rent is £675 a month. I earn approximately £7,000 a month after tax, although my take-home income for the last 3 months has been a mere £10,716.91 because I've had to work in London which has been awful. Yet, I'm still not able to rent an apartment that costs just £675 a month.

To prove my income I've provided my full bank statements for the last 3 months. To prove that I'm a reputable individual who will have no problem paying the rent, my chartered certified accountant has provided a reference. I've provided proof of address, proof of identity, proof of residency, proof of eligibility to live & work in the UK. I've proven everything, yet I'm still not able to rent an apartment that would cost £675 a month.

I don't pay any income tax. I pay £0.00 income tax. It might seem a bit morally objectionable to not pay any income tax, but I pay plenty of corporation tax and dividend tax. My productive endeavours bring in 20% VAT, 20% corporation tax and 7.5% dividend tax for HMRC - the taxman - so the UK benefits quite handsomely from my work, but still... I don't pay any income tax. Income tax is a very bad way to prove my income.

I currently earn £600 a day, which is £3,000 a week, which is £13,000 a month, which is £156,000 gross per annum. It really is gross just how much I earn. Of course, I have to pay my VAT bill, corporation tax bill and dividend tax bill. I get to keep 4.5% of the VAT and I can earn £11,500 without paying any tax at all.

With 8 weeks of holiday and sick leave per year, including bank holidays, my gross income works out to be £132,000. After tax, that gives me an income of £11,500 salary plus £68,820 in dividends, which is a take-home pay of £6,693 per month. I'll pay £51,680 in tax this year.

That's worth repeating.

I'll pay £51,680 in tax this year.

But, I pay zero income tax, so I can't rent a £675 a month apartment. I've been through the arduous tenancy checks and I don't fit neatly in their boxes. They can't wrap their head around the fact I don't pay any income tax, even though I've proven that I have an obscene amount of income.

The whole process of trying to work my way out of poverty, get myself off the streets and get back into civilised society has been exhausting. I'm fucked off with it. I've provided the most intimate of personal details. Every single item of my spending has been pored over and gone through with a fine-tooth comb. I've been poked and prodded and examined and found wanting, because I don't pay any income tax and the closed-minded drones who are responsible for determining whether I'm eligible to no longer be homeless have decided that I'm not allowed to have a home of my own for some reason.

It's made me really suicidal. Why did I put myself through all this shit? Why did I work so hard and struggle? Why have I been subjected to such an ordeal? Why bother?

I'm presently considering various suicide options. This shit is keeping me awake at night and I'm fucked off with it. I've had enough. This isn't acceptable.

It's not acceptable to block somebody from working their way out of poverty. It's not acceptable to stop a homeless person from getting themselves back on their feet. It's not acceptable that society should marginalise people like this. I've had enough.

I've had enough and I can't stop thinking about killing myself.

It's pushed me to the brink of suicide.

 

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Frayed at the Edges

7 min read

This is a story about being run down...

Pile of rusty bikes

I'm tempted to have a moan about the various ailments that have been hanging around for a couple of weeks, and the fact I'm really exhausted. I'm tempted to compare myself to my work jumper that was attacked by moths and is full of holes. There's something tired and tatty about me. My laptop has taken a battering, just like my poor body. There are plenty of clues that I've had a rough few years, but I'm feeling like I've gone on about it far too much. I've written so much about my distress that I'm reluctant to write any more - I'm aware that I've been a broken record for far too long.

I feel like I've overstated the case. I feel like I've protested too much. I feel like I have been unfair; unkind. I feel like my response has not been proportionate; reasonable. What about the starving Africans? What about the other people who have it so much harder than me?

I pretty much only have one strategy for getting out of a bad situation, and that's to work. Most of the time I'm not able to work at work - I'm underemployed - so I write. I write a lot. The amount of writing that I do is inversely proportional to the amount of actual paid work that there is to do. The more I'm writing, the more indicative it is that I'm distressed and trying to keep myself occupied. It might not look like a useful endeavour, but it's a kind of productivity that I can derive some satisfaction from, even it it's a bit counter-productive at times.

I wonder how run-down I've got. I sleep a lot, but I also have lengthy periods where I'm in a state of anxiety that's very exhausting. To be on high-alert all the time demands a lot of energy - it's draining. I can't explain it. I don't have much to do at work, but somehow that's worse than being really busy. I don't know why I've arrived at a point where I feel so run-down, but there's plenty of evidence - my immune system's really low, I'm prone to random bouts of crying, I'm tired all the time, I'm not coping.

I'm tired of being miserable. I'm tired of writing about depression and anxiety. I'm tired of worrying my friends. I'm tired of writing the same old things. I'm tired of the repeated themes; the monotony.

Some things are better. I have a lot more people to talk to at work. I'm managing to get through 7 or 8 hours and it's bearable for quite a lot of the day.

Some things are worse. I have to get up early. I have to prove myself in the new job.

Some things will get worse before they get better. I'll rent a place of my own soon(ish) but it will be stressful. I'll take a holiday, but I need to get through the first few weeks at work before I can have some time off.

I know that the days are getting longer and spring is on its way. I know that I have a huge head start this year, versus all the terrible winters I've had in previous years. I know that I'm very lucky that multiple important things in my life are going alright at the moment. In theory, things are looking up.

In practice, I'm battling to get into my new routine and get my body clock used to early morning starts. I've started from a run-down position, due to a rough couple of months working in London. I shouldn't complain, but it's a bit of a struggle.

Versus Monday morning, things have improved. Monday morning was dreadful. Every morning is dreadful, but hopefully things are going to improve day by day, provided I keep going. It feels tough but I'm sorry for whinging. Hopefully the really bad moments - like Monday morning - are becoming more infrequent.

I worry about tomorrow morning, as I do so often. I worry that I'm going to hit the wall and be unable to face the day. I worry that if I'm unable to face the day, I won't be able to face making my excuses either... I'll just abandon everything and turn my phone off. If I abandon everything then I won't be able to face the world again - it's been too hard to get to this point. I worry that I'll abandon hope, and life. I don't feel hopeless presently, but I worry that I will feel hopeless and that my hopes are dashed. Hopelessness is what leads me to feel like I should end my life.

I'm not sure how I feel about tomorrow - if I can get the horrid morning bit out of the way - but I think it's a little bit hopeful. I'm not exactly looking forward to going to work, but I'm not dreading it in the same way as I was with the previous job. I've got some stuff to do, which is better than having nothing to do. I speak to people at work now, so that makes the day more bearable. I don't feel useful, or that anybody's depending on me, which are reasons to get up and face the day. Perhaps things will improve though. The fact that I think that things might improve shows that I have hope, which is progress - maybe it'll make things a little easier tomorrow.

With lots of tiny marginal improvements, like not stressing so much about arrangements for showering and work clothes tomorrow, and my commute becoming more routine, the anxiety and dread is diminishing. It's mundane but it makes a big difference. I had been routinely bored out of my mind, isolated and lonely at work, which was causing me a great deal of distress, but things are changing. I need to get out of the habit of feeling anxious about the working day, because it's not going to be as awful as it has been in the past couple of months.

It's a shame I'm run down and in danger of hitting the wall, but if I can just muddle through the next few weeks then I should establish a healthy working pattern - things will become sustainable; tolerable.

There have been moments during the last three days that have reminded me of what I've been so desperate to get away from. I've thought that I'm broken and I can never work again. I've thought about getting up and walking out. I've thought about quitting and never going back to work. I think it's just going to take time to re-adjust from a job where there was nothing for me to do, and no way of filling the time that I could cope with, to a new paradigm where I at least have people to talk to. The last job was unbearably toxic to my mental health. This job is gonna be alright probably, but it'll be a little while before I'm busy and into the routine - there are going to be moments where I feel a little bored and isolated, but things will get better because I'm part of a team of people I can chat to.

I'm so reluctant to speak optimistically because I'm scared that I'm going to hit the wall. I feel like I have so little in reserve. I feel like I'm running on an empty fuel tank. On the other hand, I'm getting on with it - I'm managing to take things one day at a time.

Time is the healer. That's what I keep telling myself - if I can just keep creeping along one day at a time, then time will do its work. I just need to keep getting through one day at a time and then easier times will arrive, provided I don't hit the wall and give up.

 

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No More Mr Nice Guy

2 min read

This is a story about being two faced...

Me as a girl

I can't stop thinking what an ungrateful shit I am. I can't stop thinking that I'm a horrible person. I can't stop thinking that I'm not nice and I don't deserve the care and assistance I've received; the love and support. I feel guilty about feeling the way I do... unable to fully appreciate how lucky I am. I should be counting my blessings, but I'm not, which means I must be the most awful person who ever existed in the entire history of everything ever.

Who am I to complain about anything? Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? Who am I to say I'm struggling? Who am I to be anything at all, other than the grovelling piece of dirt that I am; a worthless piece of shit; a beggar.

I must've been like this all along. I must've been hiding my true identity. I must be an ungrateful little turd; a despicable person. I must be unlikeable. I must be vile. I must be evil.

Instead of thanking my lucky stars I'm struggling with feelings that regularly prompt suicidal thoughts. Who the hell am I to have suicidal thoughts? I've landed on my feet, haven't I? I'm living in the lap of luxury, aren't I?

Let's not discuss this any more. Let's just agree that I'm the most hideously horrible piece of shit who ever disgraced the human race and leave it at that, shall we? Alright, I accept it... I admit it... I'm a worthless, abominable, contemptible, disgusting excuse for a man. I'm the shittest of the shit.

What an ungrateful fuck I am. What an ungrateful fucking fuck.

 

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Comorbidity

10 min read

This is a story about a sick man...

Psychiatrist letter

I didn't drink last night or tonight. I've stopped taking sleeping pills. I've stopped taking anxiety medication. I've stopped taking tranquillisers. I've stopped taking sedatives. I don't take antidepressants. I feel very unwell.

I woke up and I thought about getting some rope and going to find a tree to hang myself from. I've not really thought about hanging much, but it's been on my mind. I think about a last minute change of heart, where I might try to take the weight off the noose, but it would be futile - I would try and I would fail. I think about the uncomfortable final couple of minutes, where I'd be panicking as the hypercapnic alarm response would make me thrash around, trying to get air into my lungs. Hanging would be a brutal way to die, because I imagine that I'd be conscious for quite a lot of it, then I'd lose control of my bowels and some poor sod would find me strung up with soiled underwear. Somebody would have to cut down my lifeless body. Anyway, that seemed like one of the options this morning.

This should be a happy period of my life. I'm not homeless, I have friends, a girlfriend, money and a car. I'm not a drug addict. I'm highly employable. I have my physical health, mostly. I've got a local job which is very well paid.

What's going on? Why am I so depressed?

I'm trapped. I can't go backwards. I can't stay still. I can't go forwards. I need to keep moving forwards, but I've run out of rope; I'm at my wits end.

I should have taken some time off in-between the last job and the new one, but that's not the way things worked out. Make hay while the sun shines, they say. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, they say. Somebody opened a briefcase of money, tempting me with it, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It is a good idea. It's a really good idea to have a really well paid job that's a short distance away from where you live. The problem is, I've got nothing left to give.

I can't fail. I can't falter. I have to succeed. I can't go back. I can't stand still.

I'm so desperate to feel better, but I know that the answer doesn't lie in pills. I know that to take antidepressants would send me manic. I know that pills aren't the answer. I'd love to feel a bit better though. My bank balance would love me to feel a bit better. It'd be nice if I didn't keep writing things that worry and upset my friends and girlfriend. Such is life. These are the cards I've been dealt.

What's important to me? It seems like it's all about work and money, but that's a good place to start. Without work and money there can be no future. Without a future there's nothing to hope for - I might as well just give up. This is the strange situation, where work is making me unwell, but without work I'll get unwell because I'll get into financial difficulties and I'll have nothing to look forward to except bankruptcy.

Just a little bit longer... if I can just work for a little bit longer...

How much money did I lose in January and February to ill health? Was it £10,000? What does it matter? I worked as hard as I could.

I've managed to buy a car. I've managed to get a local job. I've got a girlfriend. I've got some money in the bank. These are major milestones; major achievements. Things are looking up in my life.

I need to impress some new people; prove myself. I've got a new routine to get into. I've got a load of new stuff to learn, and not the fun kind of learning - this is stuff I'm expected to know already. I've got to give a good first impression - I can't turn up to work hours late every day; I can't let on that I'm not very well.

I'm sick but I can't afford to be. I'm sick but there's too much at stake. I'm sick but I don't want to lose the amazing opportunity that's fallen in my lap. I'm sick but my life looks perfect in a lot of ways - why am I sick?

I don't want to accept that I'm sick but the anxiety and depression are unbearable. It's enough to drive me to drink, drugs and/or suicide. I want to run away from the source of stress. I want to hide under the duvet for a couple of months. I need to recover but I can't - there's too much work to do. I need time off but I can't afford to lose everything.

I'm the epitome of functional. I'm getting up and doing the things I need to do, even though it's destroying me. Somehow I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Somehow the things that need to happen keep happening. I'm keeping the plates spinning even though I'm sick. At times, I'm quite happy and contented. At times I'm a picture of good health and carefree joy.

I've worked hard - even if you don't think I have - to give myself some easier times. I've put up with horrible situations because I knew they'd pay off in the end. There has to be some reward, otherwise it wouldn't have been worth the stress and aggravation at all. It would be a lie to say that my life is purely miserable. Misery kind of stalks me though - I know it lurks just around the corner at all times.

"Cheer up... it might never happen!" somebody might say, but I really wish it would happen, because I can't stand the constant anxiety. I can't stand the fact that it is happening, and I know exactly how long it's going to keep on happening for because it's not very difficult to work out such things. I know exactly what to expect. I know exactly the way things are going to go. I know exactly what has to be done. I know exactly how awful it's going to be.

My mood would be a lot better if I could abandon all responsibilities and follow my mood. I know that time passes incredibly slowly when I'm having to kill time and suffer horrible periods with nothing to do at work. I know that it's incredibly toxic to my mental health to be solving the same problems I've done a million times before, but with a load of constraints that artificially limit me from being able to work and occupy myself - to keep myself busy. I know that isolation - working alone - is really unbearable. The last place on earth I should be right now is twiddling my thumbs, bored but chained to a desk with nothing to do and nobody to talk to.

I'm going through a difficult transitionary period. I should have taken some time off. I'm emotionally exhausted. I'm trying to switch mindset, from the isolation of the last job to the possibilities of a new opportunity. I know that I need to give it a few days, or a couple of weeks, to get settled.

Everything's so stressful and unsettled. I've got a new commute to get used to. Somehow, I've got even less of a home than I did when I was living in AirBnBs. I can't get changed. I can't have a shower. I can't take a shit. I can't make myself something to eat. How did I end up like this, with a stressful job and no place to call my own... no bedroom; no privacy. It sounds ungrateful, but it's just a description of my current situation, at times. It could be worse, perhaps - I could be homeless; destitute. I could be additionally isolated and lonely, living alone. It could be worse... it could be worse... it could be worse. There is gratitude, but there is also a heap of stress and anxiety that's beyond what I can cope with. I am grateful, but I'm also struggling.

What do I want? Do I want everything to be perfect right now? Do I want easy solutions, like swallowing pills? Do I think somebody should gift me everything I need, all wrapped up with a bow? Do I expect somebody to just give me the keys to a place of my own and wave a magic wand to move all my stuff? What about friends? Should I just snap my fingers whenever I need them, and snap them again when I don't want them around?

I don't know about any of this stuff. All I know is that I woke up and I thought about finding some rope and a tree to hang myself. I thought about walking out of the perfect opportunity that's fallen in my lap. I thought about letting everything go to hell in a handcart, because I've reached the end of my tether. I don't know why I think this stuff. Maybe I'm a bad person. Maybe I'm an ungrateful little shit. Maybe I should just fuck off and die.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to have another alcohol and sleeping-pill free night and hope that these awful feelings subside. I'm going to hope for a better day tomorrow. I'm going to grab my black holdall and take the show on the road.

I'm sick, but do I have to be? I think I know where the problems are. I think I know the solutions. I know that nothing's going to be perfect. I know that life is full of compromises. All I can think to do is to keep trying to set things up so that the very least number of things are causing me distress. I keep reducing the number of things that are unpleasant and broken, in the hope that at some point things start becoming a bit easier, because at the moment there are too many times when life's unbearable.

Maybe I need to quit drinking. Maybe I need a drink. I don't know. Too much change and too much that's unsettling. I've lived out of a suitcase for far too long.

Yes, underlying mental health problems are the obvious thing to point to, but what's the solution? Of course the little bit of me that's got some survival instinct left thinks that being medicated up to the eyeballs, living in a council house, supported living or institution is preferable to death. Is being alive without dignity or hope preferable to this life that's a fate worse than death? Isn't it all the same anyway? If the rewards aren't there and the suffering is unbearable, why bother?

I managed half a day in my new local job, and I felt sick, sick, sick.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. If it's not, I don't know if I can carry on.

 

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