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The world's longest suicide note: ONE MILLION words.

I write about life with bipolar disorder (a.k.a. manic depression).

All opinions are my own.

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The Logistics Are Complicated

5 min read

This is a story about three consecutive weeks away from home...

My front door

Despite some pretty serious drug and alcohol issues, having reduced my supercrack addiction to just a couple of relapses in the last 16 months, my life is going considerably better. Before, things were too chaotic and messed-up to manage basic adulting, let alone making complex plans and following through with them.

Poly-substance abuse makes life particularly unmanageable. Stimulants produce excessively, obsessively focussed attention on tiny details, to the point of dismantling a television to see how it works, but forgetting why and not thinking about the consequences, such as not being able to put it back together again. Tranquillisers paper over the cracks temporarily, forestalling the inevitable crash and inducing amnesia, such that the brain doesn't have its natural corrective reaction: "fuck! I should never do that again! that was dumb!".

In the grips of drug-induced mania, I've made a lot of plans, contacted a lot of people, done a lot of hard work and generally laid some of the groundwork for grand schemes, only to let everything rot and wither on the vine because eventually I crash. My ideas are never dumb per se but as we say in the startup world: ideas are worthless; execution is everything.

This weekend I need to wash and pack 3 weeks worth of clothes; 3 wardrobes - work, UK autumn and holiday sun. I need to buy flip flops and sunscreen. I need to get a haircut.

I need to load up my car on Monday morning with everything I need for 3 weeks.

It sounds like an adventure, right?

I've had enough adventures to last me a thousand lifetimes.

My left arm is covered in scars where I've slit my wrists and cut my veins lengthways. My left shin has a humongous scar from when I was trying to escape from my sister's bedroom, where my dad had cornered me, and I picked up a mirror to defend myself - like a shield - which got smashed and a massive piece of glass dropped like a guillotine blade. My right thigh has a huge scar from when I fell through a glass roof, running away from voices in my head; admittedly more obviously a consequence of my so-called bad choices but easily understood in terms of the fucking abuse I had suffered at the hands of my ex-wife and my parents beforehand.

My life is remarkably improved since mostly quitting drugs, legal highs and black-market medications, but I'm loathe to become one of those "drugs ruined my life" idiots, because clearly there was a reason why I was driven to seek something in substances: I was denied a conventional happy contented life. This isn't a "poor me... poor me... pour me... another drink" whingefest. This is simply a statement of fact.

My needs are the same as anybody else's: food, shelter, companionship, intimacy, safety, security.

I'm a pretty basic guy.

Garbage in, garbage out.

If it sounds to you like I'm absenting myself from personal responsibility - distancing myself from my bad choices - then I've got a few questions for you. Where were you when I was lying on the floor dying of a suicide attempt overdose a couple of times? Where were you when I was in hospital all those many, many times? Where were you when I was sleeping rough? Where were you when I was arrested, locked in a cell and then released without charge? Where were you when I was voluntarily admitted to a psych ward, or sectioned? I've faced so much adversity alone. It's true that in the last couple of years I've had the assistance of my guardian angel, but that person is clearly the reason why I've recovered, obviously. I was floundering on my own, but at no point did I ever fully abandon the notion that I was personally responsible for influencing the outcome of my life, or death.

So you think life's complicated doing the school run? Wiping bums, making packed lunches, playgroup, after-school activities, grazed knees, tears, tantrums, sleepless nights, sore nipples and general procreation-related bullshit is a reason why your life is hard? I've got 7.6 billion living breathing walking talking reasons why you're a fucking idiot. I've got over a hundred billion skeletal remains of your failed attempts to clone yourself into immortality you fucking moron. You're at the top of the bell-curve you rutting simpleton.

Life's not a competition but I'm winning.

This is not what I intended to write tonight at all, but I've abandoned all attempts to avoid repetition and any misguided belief that I'm able to project an idealised image of myself, as opposed to baring my ugly soul for anybody who unfortunately happens to be looking in this direction at the time.

You might think that my life is an enviable adventure, but it's actually a fucking nightmare, without kisses, cuddles, hugs, spooning and the comfort of knowing that I'm safely embedded within the crowd; safety in numbers, like a school of fish.

I'm an outlier and it sucks.

 

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Normal Service Has Resumed

7 min read

This is a story about a journey all the way to the bottom and back up...

The Ritz

The year was 2011. I fought with my girlfriend about relocating my startup. The year was 2012. Depression and destruction. The year was 2013. Divorce and drugs. The year was 2014. Suicide attempts and homelessness. The year was 2015. Getting better, but still very severely mentally unwell; quite insane. The year was 2016. Substantially recovered, but not quite; false start. The year was 2017. The worst of all the years.

During the last 7 years, a lot of the cohort from the startup accelerator program I attended in Cambridge, have all gone on to be spectacularly successful both in business and in their personal lives. They've strengthened their relationships, had children, bought houses, yachts and sportscars. They've become much in-demand conference speakers and widely respected captains of industry, with amazing reputations.

I went down.

I went down hard.

I went all the way to the bottom.

I had enjoyed a lot of the material success and achieved a bunch of life goals much earlier than most of my peers, but it didn't take long to undo all that hard work. It doesn't take much effort to give up all the gains you've made. It's a lot easier going downhill, than clawing your way back uphill.

I guess a kind of rock-bottom moment was when I arranged to have high tea at The Ritz with one of my best buddies from the startup accelerator. I stood him up because I was in big trouble. Mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, debt, divorce, loss of assets, loss of my startup, loss of all hope conspired to rob me of all my self-esteem. My buddy is not the kind of person who'd make me feel like a failure or invoke any kind of shame and embarrassment in me, but I couldn't let him see me in the state I was in. I was a complete mess. I couldn't even be seen in public.

I slept rough, I lived in a hostel, I went into heaps of debt just staying alive. I wrecked my body and mind with prescription drugs, legal highs, illegal drugs, alcohol, black-market medications and a ludicrously high-risk lifestyle, which had been so punishing that it had hospitalised me multiple times for multiple weeks.

I managed to meet up with my buddy once, just as I was going through divorce in 2013, before things got really bad, but they were still pretty terrible. I saw him again in 2015, when I was having extreme mania and generally suffering with terrible mental health problems brought on by stress, pressure, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. I stood him up in 2016.

Somehow I managed to see my buddy in 2017, when he was celebrating the culmination of 6 years hard work on his startup, at exactly the same time as my life was well and truly beyond any hope of saving; my entire world was imploding. My dream of rebuilding my old life in London completely collapsed and I had nothing but debt and the threat of imminent eviction, which at least forced me to temporarily act with a little bit of self-preservation instinct, but I soon ended up in such a dire situation that I decided my life was over; I tried to kill myself. In summer 2017, the directions the lives of my buddy and I could not have gone in more opposite directions. I had failed. I was a miserable failure.

This year, what had been originally been planned as a holiday with my girlfriend turned into a bromance weekend with my buddy. Things were looking up. I'd been working for almost 7 consecutive months without a major disaster. My life was still pretty wrecked, but at least it was improving. I was in a bad state after a messed-up May, where I'd had a relapse, but thankfully it didn't ruin everything.

I had a bit of a lapse a little over a week ago. The instability which ensued prompted me to spend money. Some of that money got spent on a weekend visit to see my buddy again. Things have continued to substantially improve, although my life is still pretty wrecked, by all reasonable measures. Annoyingly, my buddy has seen me right in the middle of a period of bad mental health, immediately following a relapse. Annoyingly, I'm not seeing my friends when I'm at my best, but instead they're seeing me when I'm destabilised and a bit sick; exhausted and stressed.

It should be noted, however, that there is a significant difference between today and the time I decided to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Today is much more like the optimistic period I had in 2013 where it looked like I was going to get out of a bad relationship and start rebuilding my life. Today is not at all like 2017, which was a total train-wreck; I was a complete mess.

I feel like I must have trashed my brain. I feel like I must have fried my mind. I feel like my mental health is utterly wrecked and people are probably just humouring me, like I was ever one of their peers.

I would love it if I've gotten back to enough of a healthy state that I'm doing OK. I would love it if I'm somewhat getting back to normal, and not too much lasting damage has been done.

I know it's no use wanting to go back in time; wanting to get back to exactly how I was at some point in the past. That's impossible.

My biggest fear is that I'm some sort of washed-up loser; that I'll never recover any quality of life; that I'm irreparably damaged and any spark of brilliance which justified my presence amongst that cohort of 2011, has long since been extinguished. I fear I'm a has-been.

My brain feels sluggish and slow. I feel somehow inferior. Not just to the brilliant people I met in Cambridge, but somehow to almost everybody. I've spectacularly completely and utterly failed at life.

I'm about to board a flight back to the UK. I have a good job and my cashflow is OK. I have a holiday planned. I have a place to live and other life essentials. Things are not that bad but I'm aware that I've barely begun my journey back up from the bottom. It's worse than starting with nothing. What I'm talking about is starting deep in negative territory.

It's ridiculous and unhelpful to compare myself to the man I was in 2011 and imagine what might have been. I am where I am. I should be pleased I'm not destitute; dead.

I should be dead.

But I'm not.

My life has entered a very surreal phase now. I'm living a life which should lead towards health, wealth and happiness. I'm moving very fast in a positive direction, but the journey I've been on has been very extreme in every conceivable way.

Things are seemingly normal, but also not normal at all. Nothing ever was normal in my life. Nothing ever will be. I suppose at least things are abnormal in the right kind of way now, at the moment.

It's hard re-adjusting to the new [old] normal.

 

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The End

4 min read

This is a story about the writing on the wall...

Drawing

Life has become an agonisingly slow experience, like watching each individual frame of a movie film being shown with a slide projector, with a narrator who's intent on painstakingly explaining each frame in minute detail long after each new image has been well and truly absorbed and digested by the audience. It's like death by Powerpoint where the fucktard presenter insists on reading out every single bullet point of their pitiful presentation, long after the audience already read all the fucking words.

If you can't see death coming I don't know what's wrong with you. Death is one of the few certainties in life, so why would you hold out any hope of your childen becoming the next Einstein or Mozart, when it's far more likely that you'll all die in a road traffic accident, and you're certainly going to die anonymous and unwept by 99.9999% of humanity.

My own mortality is something quite palpable to me. I've spent enough times in my life where I've literally had to make life or death decisions regarding my own survival. Whether it was through a leisure pursuit gone wrong, such as finding myself in the mountains or the sea when shit's gone awry, or lying on the floor of my bedroom with lungs filled with fluid, arrhythmic heartbeat and failing organs as a result of drug overdose, I've had plenty of time to contemplate death and the decisions that led up to it.

With extreme sports, it was fucking awful at the time but I laugh about it now. With extreme drug abuse, it was fucking awful at the time but I laugh about it now.

The point is, we can all imagine the worst. It's easy to say "told you so" with the benefit of hindsight.

I've survived so many things which should have killed me that I've now developed some foresight. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I'm going to die.

None of this should be shocking. People die every day. We treat human life incredibly cheaply. We even train our doctors - the people who are supposed to treat life as sacrosanct - that we can't save anybody. Everybody's just going to fucking die so take the money and fuck those guys; screw those losers.

Nobody cares about zero suicides and zero deaths. Nobody cares about deaths at all. We're somewhat resigned to our fate.

Yes, here's me who has more years than I deserve. There are people out there with terminal illnesses who're dying (sic.) to have another day on this earth. Who the fuck am I to irreverantly dismiss my "gift" of life and good health?

It's not good health.

It's not happiness.

I reject it.

When a parent screams at their child that they should be grateful for the "gift" of life, they're just screaming because they're afraid that their genes aren't going to survive for long enough to be replicated. Life is not a gift. Life is a curse. Being trapped in a flesh prison on a journey to an inevitable painful death is not a gift, you fucking cunts. Passing on that curse to new generations is not a generous "gift" just the same as getting people addicted to crack or heroin is not the answer to your own addiction, although it might provide the income to allow you to keep getting high. Perpetuation of the cycle of misery is not a "gift"

Somebody's gotta be the last one. Somebody's gotta be the final one. Somebody's gotta say "enough".

 

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Relapse

6 min read

This is a story about the easy option...

Pill packets

I took a sleeping pill last night. Sunday nights are hard and so are Monday mornings. Lots of people struggle but I've got a fairly legitimate set of reasons why I'm struggling: mountainous debts, soul-destroyingly boring and slow work, social isolation, mood disorder and having recently gone gold turkey on a zillion addictive drugs and medications. Normal people who've been through the ordeal I've been through - including the homelessness and the hospitalisations - are not working a full-time high-pressure demanding job. I find my job pretty easy, but it's still a lot of pressure and very demanding to turn up and appear like I've got my shit together as opposed to having just dragged myself off the streets and gotten clean.

Take a look at the people who are getting clean and recovering from a severe mental health crisis. Take a look at the people who are recovering from suicide attempts and addiction. Take a look at the people who are getting back on their feet.

Are they working full time jobs, miles away from home?

So I took a sleeping pill.

So. Fucking. What.

It's not the slippery slope. It's not the thin edge of the wedge. It's not the beginning of the end.

I will have a proper relapse at some point. I'm bound to. It's inevitable.

When I've finally got my debts paid off and I'm finally free, the relief is sure to be overwhelming. I've struggled so hard for so long to reach that milestone of repairing the damage of divorce and everything that went with it, that I think I'll be happy to sleep rough at least knowing that getting off the streets and working to earn money was the easy part which I've done a million times before. The hard part has been that it's been so unrewarding. I've worked so hard for so long and I've got nothing to show for it. Where's the payoff?

I took a sleeping pill and I slept well.

I woke up feeling refreshed.

It was easy to get up.

Dread = gone.

That was amazing to wake up and not be filled with dread about the day ahead. In fact that reduced feeling of dread lasted all day and I was reasonably happy at my desk, rather than bored out of my mind. Is that a co-incidence, or is it linked to the fact that my brain was getting something that it was missing?

I don't really want to go back to being dependent on all those pills, but I did go cold turkey very abruptly, and the re-adjustment has been brutal. So many little things make me stressed and anxious, which is not a choice to catastrophise, but a perfectly rational and logical thing for a person who's suddenly found themselves living life without copious quantities of nerve-soothing tranquillisers, sedatives and painkillers. Medication adjustments aren't something that can be done in days, weeks and months. It takes a very long time to adjust to harshness, and the world is a very harsh place.

It's so tempting to pop pills at the moment.

Pills don't have any calories. Good quality sleep is so valuable. Life without anxiety is so much better.

Why would I want to suffer?

I need to sleep well, wake up refreshed, not dread going to work, not be anxious and miserable at my desk and not feel hungry and wanting to comfort eat all the time. Of course I want pills.

The rebound insomnia and rebound anxiety were terrible, and it's still a problem, but without tea, coffee, energy drinks, cigarettes or some other vice to overcompensate with, I've snacked like crazy and put on weight. I'm stressed and anxious about my weight, which is a self-perpetuating vicious cycle.

The solution is to not have to get up at the crack of dawn every day and go to an office and be bored out of my mind. The solution is to not be in debt up to my eyeballs and unable to stop working as hard as I can. The solution is not to live with job insecurity, money insecurity, housing insecurity, social isolation and all the other problems which come about as a result of the pressure on me to simply chain myself to my desk.

Those options are not available to me.

Those solutions are denied to me.

Make hay while the sun shines.

I never know when I'm going to lose my job, lose my mind, suffer health problems or get fucked over by somebody. I never know when I'm going to get totally fucking screwed so I've got to work as hard as I can for as long as I can, because somebody always screws me in the end.

All I can do is take pills.

I take pills so I can keep going in the fucking miserable merry-go-round which is my life. I take pills to prop me up. I take pills to pep me up. I take pills instead of taking a holiday. I take pills instead of taking a break. I take pills because I can't afford to stop pedalling as fast as I can. I take pills to help me cope with this never-ending nightmare.

I take pills.

I hate taking pills.

I'd rather take a break.

But I can't.

Not yet.

The day never seems to come.

Always just out of reach.

Round and round.

On and on.

Forever and ever.

If I do come out the other side of this, I need to make sure I'm not too fat, not too addicted to things, not dead. It's pretty hard, balancing things. It's pretty hard judging things just right.

This is the last time I do this.

If this time doesn't work out, I'm through with life. I'm done. I've had enough. Either it works out for me this time or I'm checking out. I'm history. The end. See you later. Goodbye.

 

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Compensation

5 min read

This is a story about maintaining equilibrium...

Handful of pills

I started the year £52,000 in debt, with no home and no car. I started the year addicted to painkillers and sleeping pills. I started the year in a very dire situation. The odds were stacked against me.

I managed to quit those addictive medications. I managed to avoid bankruptcy. I managed to rent a place to live. I managed to buy a car. I managed to earn and save enough money to repay half my debt.

That's right. I'm halfway there.

In actual fact, I'm being a bit premature. My total outstanding debt is £43,250 and I've managed to save up £23,400, which is more than 50% but I haven't actually made a substantial repayment yet, because I'm terribly afraid that I'm going to get sick. I'm on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. It's been unbelievably stressful and exhausting to get to this point.

Did I mention that I quit addictive painkillers and sleeping pills?

A little over a year ago I was physically addicted to vast quantities of Valium and Xanax, as well as everything else.

How the hell does a homeless, bankrupt, drug addict, with mountainous debts, go from being sectioned in a secure psych ward, to being able to repay nearly £25k of debts as well as renting a house, buying a car and holding down a good job?

Compensation.

To compensate for the horrific withdrawal of all those medications, which caused massive problems with anxiety and insomnia, it has been necessary for me to compensate. To compensate for the stress and the misery of being flat broke and having the threat of bankruptcy, homelessness and destitution hanging over me; the stress of having to work really hard to service debts and save up money to get back in the black - that's required me to compensate.

I've been compensating for the horrendous things going on in my personal life; the incredible stress.

I've compensated by over-eating and drinking too much.

The stress has been off the fucking charts.

My drinking has been out of control.

I've put on weight.

If you think I should eat less, eat healthy, exercise more and generally look after myself, I ask you to re-consider what I just told you. Somehow I've managed to quit 5 physically addictive medications, move house twice, service debts of over £50k, save up £24k, work 3 jobs, please my clients, zoom all over the fucking country and generally live a miserable austere life with no reward for my efforts.

My mealtimes and my alcoholism are all I've got to live for at the moment. Getting fat, unfit and destroying my health with alcohol isn't my idea of a great way to live - it's a reaction to my extreme circumstances, and the horrible suffering associated with the stress of being massively indebted, skint, insecure and withdrawing from very addictive medications.

A lot of people aren't able to tolerate the horribleness of the anxiety, the insomnia and generally feeling like you're going to die, when you stop taking medications like Valium and Xanax. A lot of people will be hooked for life on their antidepressants, sleeping pills, tranquillisers, sedatives, painkillers and other such medications, because they can't stand the withdrawal.

A lot of people are destroyed by their debts. So many suicides are precipitated by financial problems. When you're deep in a debt hole and bankruptcy seems to be like the only option, that's a life-ruining thing to happen, because a bankruptcy is a black mark against your name for the rest of your life. Try renting a place to live as a bankrupt. Try getting a good job as a bankrupt. Try living any kind of life in this modern debt-driven society as a bankrupt.

My way of compensating for the difficulties in my life has been to comfort eat and get drunk.

I hate it.

I'm getting fat and unfit. I'm destroying my health.

It's a race against time.

I need to clear my debts before my unhealthy eating and abusive drinking kills me.

Don't tell me to eat healthy, eat less, drink less, exercise and otherwise make my life any more fucking miserable than it already is. I know what I'm doing to myself and I know what I'd do if I wasn't under such extreme pressure and stress; so distressed and living a life of such abject misery. I'm taking a very calculated but extreme risk, to escape from the trap - the trap of debt, the trap of addiction, the trap of homelessness, the trap of poverty, the trap of mental health problems, the trap of misery and hopelessness.

That I've managed to almost escape so much that threatened to destroy me, is remarkable. The only way I've managed to achieve it is by compensating with over-eating and drinking too much. My health is getting fucked up. My appearance is getting fucked up. I hate everything about my life, but I'm halfway to freedom.

I did intend on writing this once I've finally managed to make a great big £24,000 downpayment on my debts, bringing things down to an amount I can pay back in 3 or 4 months, which seems much more achievable.

I've achieved the fucking impossible.

I had to write this now, because I can't hold on much longer. Every week is unbearable, but every week inches me a little closer to freedom.

Getting to the end of September will be a huge milestone.

October I need to take some well-earned and very overdue rest.

November and December I need to make sure I stay sane and healthy and keep my job.

2019 is potentially the year I turn my whole life around.

Still so far to go.

It fucking sucks.

But there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

 

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I'm Killing Myself

8 min read

This is a story about numbing the pain...

Wine bottles in the cupboard

I remember a time when I used to plan my weekends to make sure I was busy and socialising. I used to throw parties, take friends out on my boat, go out for dinner and otherwise ensure that I was engaged in the lives of the people around me. I put a great deal of thought and effort into bringing people together. When I had free time I'd scroll through my list of contacts and phone people who I hadn't spoken to, to maintain the bond of friendship.

I don't do any of that anymore.

My life became chaotic and collapsed, due to relationship breakdown, mental health problems and drug addiction. I was highly embarrassed that my picture-postcard perfect little life had become pockmarked and blemished. I was deeply ashamed that I was seemingly failing; fucking up. As addiction began to dominate my life I was no longer reliable. I bailed out on attending the stag do of one of my best friends, simply because I was too deep in addiction hell. I nearly bailed on my own stag do because I was struggling so much with addiction.

That was a transformative period of my life, from around 2006 to 2012 or thereabouts.

Friends travelled from all over the country for the combined birthday and engagement part of my [now] ex-wife and I. She threw a tantrum, because I had a huge number of great friends and perhaps she was feeling insecure, who knows? She said it was the worst night of her life, so I called a cab for us to go home. She wanted to stay. Why does anybody want to stay at the "worst night of [their] life"? It didn't make any sense to me.

My whole life no longer made any sense. Instead of being the guy who arranged for huge groups of people to come together and travel all over the world; instead of being a socialite who arranged gatherings and generally threw wild parties, I slowly allowed myself to be beaten - quite literally - into submission. I curtailed my gregarious and outgoing nature, in the face of the stroppy tyrant who I was trying to placate.

Of course, I should have walked away.

I was trying to change to please somebody. I was in love and I thought that it was the grown-up mature and sensible thing to work really hard to please the person you love. I thought that hard work would conquer the day. I was wrong.

I tried so hard, sacrificing so much that was important about myself, and becoming more and more isolated and depressed, because she took such objection to the fact that I was generally liked by a lot of people and seemingly able to inspire get-togethers. She threw tantrums about all the things I loved doing: organising group holidays all over the world; arranging to meet up; arranging parties and generally being a social butterfly. She worked hard to socially isolate me and break my spirit, and I let her do it. It was my mistake. I messed up.

I didn't realise that you could just break up with awful people.

I didn't realise that you should just give up on horrid people.

I didn't realise that walking away was an option.

I ignored my friends when they told me to dump the "poison dwarf".

Writing this now, I sound a little bitter and twisted about it. It happend. I can't change it. It's history and there's no point dwelling in the past. I need to move forwards and get on with my life.

There's a whole clusterfuck of stuff to do with my loser druggie parents and their selfish fucked-up selfish shit that they perpetrated agains me, ruining my childhood, that I'm very bitter about. I'm never gonna get to re-live my childhood. It fucking CUTS ME UP that I speak to so many people who fondly remember their childhoods and generally reminisce about things from their childhood that were completely denied to me because my parents are a couple of selfish bullying druggie alcoholic fucktard losers, completely devoid of any sense of responsibility towards their children or otherwise able to act with a shred of human decency. That shit FUCKS ME UP. But, whatever... it was a long time ago. I need to move on. I'll never forgive. I'll never forget. But it's no use clinging onto the bitterness and knowledge that my childhood was unnecessarily and brutally fucked up by that pair of selfish self-centred druggie cunts.

Don't talk to me about personal responsibility.

I take personal responsibility to a level you couldn't even comprehend.

You have no idea how much I lay awake at night thinking about my place in the world and how to make things right and do the right thing. You have no idea how much I deny myself my bestial instincts to rut and reproduce, like the rest of you filthy fucks, not giving a shit about the consequences. You have no idea how hard it is to live a life with as little hypocrisy as you can muster, and the guilt for the hypocrisy that you're fully aware of but is seemingly unavoidable.

The only way to live a life free from the original sin of being born a white man in wealthy western middle-class society, is to kill myself. The guilt I feel because I'm not a starving African paraplegic lesbian, is enough to drive me insane. I genuinely feel empathy for anybody I come into contact with, and I want to make a difference in the world, but I'm also cursed with a rational mind and a kind of brutal pragmatic realism, which means I cynically see every attempt to improve the human condition will be quickly thwarted by the ubiquitous greed and selfishness... but that doesn't mean I don't try really hard, through the avenues which are available to me.

Ultimately, I earn a lot of money which doesn't feel like a fair reward for my contribution to humanity. I'm cursed with cynicism and a realist's depression at the state of the world. I drink. I've drunk for as long as I can remember. My parents are alcoholics, so why the hell wouldn't I drink?

As I puffed and panted my way up the steep hill, walking home with a bag full of bottles of wine, I felt my chest tighten. I know that I'm killing myself.

I drink and it's killing me.

I drink A LOT.

My heart bleeds for the world. I'm a hand-wringing Guardian reader. I'm a lefty-libtard snowflake. I still believe that a better society is possible, and it upsets me that a tiny elite are stopping the will of the people from being realised.

I'm attempting to deal with my mountainous personal responsibilities, while also reconciling my heartfelt values in a world which economically incentivises me to screw everybody else over. Why not sell deadly drugs? Why not work for a bank which helps launder the proceeds of crime? Why not generally sell your soul to the highest bidder?

It. Fucks. Me. Up.

I've tried to be kind and generous, and all that's ended up doing is bankrolling some of the most selfish fucked-up awful people to perpetuate and perpetrate misery-making onto humanity.

It's a messed up situation.

I drink because otherwise I'd kill myself. I drink because it's a long drawn-out way of killing myself. I drink because maybe I don't have the guts to do the ethical thing, and immolate myself in protest at the shit I see all around me.

It seems foolish to injure myself in this way, by choosing to drink so much, but how else am I supposed to cope? How am I supposed to get through the day and suffer the bullshit which I'm all-too-able to perceive with a mind which has been developed into a hyper-rational thinking machine. I see the cognitive dissonances everywhere. The sickening stench of bullshit is overpoweringly strong.

I'm sorely tempted to make a grand gesture instead of allowing myself to be written off as another "natural causes" death, when in fact the truth is that my physical health has suffered dreadfully because of the awfulness of the world I see around me. My mental health is dictated by the bullshit of meaningless jobs and unfair wealth distribution, and the senesless selfishness; lack of anybody who wants to change the world for the better. The suffering directly correlates with the urge to reach for the bottle - why the hell not?

Why the hell not? I see no reason to be miserable, sober and fit. I'd rather be dead.

I can't imagine anything worse than having to face the bullshit of existence without intoxication, and without the hope that I might suddenly drop dead from a heart attack.

I honestly think that I'll feel relieved when I know I'm about to die. Finally some fucking peace.

 

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I Nearly Died on #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

5 min read

This is a story about a life or death situation...

Golden Gate Bridge suicide

I have no memory of this day, one year ago, because I was unconscious in a coma on life support in the ITU critical care ward of a hospital. My prognosis was not good. I was having a lot of seizures. My kidneys had failed. I was in a bad way.

I've written extensively about the very many aspects surrounding my suicide attempt, so I shan't repeat myself. For anybody who hasn't read about it, the various bits and pieces are here:

  • Surviving Suicide talks about what it was like to regain consciousness in intensive care after days in a coma.
  • Suicide Attempt: One-Year Anniversary talks about my reflections on the final moments which tipped me over the edge, and how I came to be saved by my Twitter followers raising the alarm to the emergency services.
  • The Closest I've Come to Suicide was written only hours before my actual suicide attempt, and gives a chilling insight into my fragile state of mind and shows that my life was balanced on a knife-edge

There's a lot more I've written under the hashtag, which collects together all my blog posts on the topic in reverse-chronological order. All in all I've written more than a million words on this blog, with a very great deal of it talking about the things which were driving my depression and suicidal thoughts, and detailing some of my plans, which included a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the 3 years that I've been writing every day about the challenges I've faced, which very nearly claimed my life, I've been on a secure psych ward twice, I've tried multiple antidepressants and mood stabilisers, seen many psychiatrists and received care in the community with crisis teams and home treatment teams. I'm very well appraised of the full gamut of mental health services which are available in the UK. I know exactly how people slip through the net and wind up dead through suicide.

One of the reasons I started writing was that I was inspired by a campaign called RUOK? which made me start thinking about technology solutions to allow us to easily check up on friends we're worried about. I developed a quick website and Twitter bot which would allow anybody to anonymously ping somebody who was at risk of suicide, and raise the alarm if they'd gone silent - like a heartbeat check. Through developing this idea, I decided that I myself needed some kind of heartbeat-like thing to alert concerned friends if I was in trouble. If I stop writing regularly, I have a huge amount of people who'd notice and talk to each other to check on my welfare. It was through my Twitter followers that the emergency services were brought to my door just in time to save my life, one year ago.

The irony of dying on was not lost on me. That I was saved is quite miraculous, but a testament to the ability of social media supporters to make a real and tangible positive difference in the lives of people suffering with depression and struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Only a couple of weeks ago I was feeling very low and I sent out a tweet which said I hated my life, and the response was so incredibly awesome and supportive that it completely changed my mood. I had been feeling very isolated, lonely and uncared for; unloved. The unexpected flood of messages I received at that low ebb was exactly what I needed.

It's important to note that I didn't phone any crisis services or friends when I attempted suicide. It's crucial to understand that many of those who successfully commit suicide aren't crying for help or otherwise seeking attention. I had every intention of dying, not being saved by anybody or talked out of it. This is why it's so important that we look out for each other, especially living in a day and age when we're highly connected online but increasingly isolated and lonely in our local communities.

If we're looking to prevent suicides, it's worth encouraging those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts to connect via social media, where hopefully there will be caring and supportive people to spot a suicide attempt and alert the emergency services, or otherwise intervene. One of my Twitter followers responded within seconds, sending me his telephone number and the telephone number of the Samaritans, but I thought it was too late as I'd already swallowed what should have been a fatal overdose. That rapid response saved my life.

We might become resigned to the idea that somebody intent on killing themselves is going to find a way, but I'm living proof that even a very well-planned pre-meditated suicide attempt, executed relatively flawlessly, can still be a salvageable situation if the alarm is raised quickly enough. When we're attuned to the suffering of people we care about, we can sometimes catch suicide attempts in the nick of time, and save lives - that's what happened to me, thanks to concerned followers around the world.

There is hope that we can prevent suicides.

 

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Suicide Attempt: One-Year Anniversary

7 min read

This is a story about hopelessness...

Nick Grant suicide

2017 was an annus horriblis like no other that I've experienced. I can't imagine as many issues conspiring to swamp me ever again. Despite being extremely mentally unwell, my rational analysis was correct: there was no hope of me escaping my dreadful circumstances.

There are many inescapable traps in life. Addictive drugs and medications, debts, social isolation, abandonment, stigma and suchlike exert such a powerful gravitational pull that no person - dumped by society - would ever be able to escape their fate without a miracle.

I don't believe in miracles.

That I had become hooked on prescription painkillers, sleeping pills and tranquillisers, due to nerve damage, kidney failure, lengthy hospitalisation and job loss, was something I had no hope of dealing with on my own, especially when then compounded by financial distress and having to leave my home city for the first job I could find, which didn't pay enough to deal with my financial woes. I wasn't even managing to tread water - I was drowning.

I'd had some help from crisis teams and home treatment teams - care in the community - but all they could do was bring me medication. My problems were more to do with hopelessness in the face of insurmountable odds. I was haemorrhaging cash and in danger of being evicted; losing everything. I was too sick to work. However, the home treatment team at least managed to force me to hand over some of my stockpile of prescription opiates, which I was planning to use for an overdose - that one small thing probably saved my life.

To expect me to put all my possessions into storage, move to a city I'd never foot in before, live in an apartment I'd never seen inside and work a demanding job, was too much pressure to place on a sick person in crisis. To expect me to deal with all my problems on my own and with inadequate support, was signing my death warrant. I was set up to fail.

I managed to withstand a few setbacks, such as a new relationship not working out. However, a second breakup - and the loss of the social group which came with it - was the straw that broke the camel's back. I knew I wouldn't have the energy to pick myself up and try again. I was too lonely and isolated. I was too vulnerable. I was to stressed and exhausted. I knew deep down that the numbers just didn't add up: I wasn't earning enough and I was working too hard. There was no escape. Suicide was the only option.

Of course, suicide was one of two options. I could have become homeless. I could have allowed myself to be abandoned by society and marginalised; demonised. I could have allowed myself to be ejected from the mainstream, never to be allowed to return because the stench of poverty would have seeped into my clothes and coated my skin. I could have accepted the labels which people were quick to slap on me: loser; unemployable; waste-of-space; unreliable; shady; untrustworthy. I could have lived out the rest of my days in a shop doorway, sleeping on a piece of cardboard in a dirty sleeping bag, begging.

I'm a realist. I'm pragmatic. I knew that I'd had my chances but they hadn't worked out, and I was highly unlikely to get any more. Time to die.

I got a pint glass from the kitchen and a box of white wine. I emptied out hundreds of strong opiate painkillers into a makeshift tumbler and tipped the capsules and tablets into my mouth, washing them down with alcohol. There was no hesitation; no regret; no self-doubt.

I set a countdown timer on my phone. I knew that the medications would hit my bloodstream in roughly 40 minutes time and I would soon begin to have seizures and lose consciousness. I presumed that the blood-plasma concentration levels of the medications would peak after 60 to 90 minutes and no amount of activated charcoal or gastric lavage would be sufficient to save my life. I thought that provided the alarm wasn't raised during that brief window, I would definitely die. I'd calculated the lethal dosages and I'd amplified the effects by combining with alcohol.

When the timer went off I was feeling very dizzy and disoriented, but I was able to find my phone and send 3 tweets. An old schoolfriend saw one of my tweets and replied. I replied back:

"I'm sorry Ben. I was looking forward for seeing you in November"

Those were my last words.

We lead lives of quiet desperation and we've been scattered to the four corners of the earth. I have school-friends from Oxford and Dorset, but I've spent most of my working life in London. What was I doing in Manchester? There were no friends or family anywhere for hundreds of miles. I'm cared for by people all over the world, but what can anybody do when we're only connected through cyberspace?

I thought nobody who cared about me knew where I lived.

Online friends raised the alarm. Emergency services got to me and took me to hospital in enough time to save me. I regained consciousness in intensive care on life support. It's quite miraculous that I'm alive today, writing this - the prognosis was not good at all.

The things which pushed me to suicide had eminently practical solutions: housing, employment, finances, social, intimate. There was no reason I had to die, except for the way that our society has become an "every man for himself" barbaric struggle. Our communities have collapsed and we live lives of isolated quiet desperation, where we don't feel like we have the time, the money, the energy, the space, the resources or other very practical things, in order to help the needy.

In the absence of a stable and secure life in the so-called "real world" I've maintained relationships which aren't disrupted by moving around geographically. I maintain relationships which follow-the-sun: I talk to people in all different timezones at different times of the day. My online presence has allowed me to keep a toe-hold in the world of the living, thanks to others' willingness to be part of an online community too.

My "real world" life is not much different today than how it was a year ago, but my situation is much improved. The suicide attempt brought the help I needed - albeit seemingly too late - and I've been able to break free from addictive prescription medications, stabilise my mental health and get myself into a financial situation where there's light at the end of the tunnel. I'm able to work, sleep, eat and generally function with independence - a life which is mostly tolerable. My lack of "real world" social life and romantic relationship is made more bearable by the vast amount of care and support I receive from my many friends who I'm in regular contact with online.

Things are far from perfect, but they're vastly improved versus a year ago, and at least I feel like I've got a fighting chance. I at least have the dignity of being able to work my way through recovery and get back on my feet.

To those who took an interest during that fateful night of September 9, 2017 - thank you.

 

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Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs)

6 min read

This is a story about quality of life...

QALY comparison

Two years ago, on this day, I was writing about how depressed I was. I was researching into how depressed people rated their quality of life - I found out that it was 70% lower than happy healthy normal people. At the time I was trapped in a job which I hated. I had serious doubts about my skills and experience, so I'd taken some work which I knew I could do with my eyes closed, but I was bored out of my mind.

I hypothesised that my quality of life wasn't going to improve until I retired, because I couldn't stand my job but I couldn't imagine being able to get another one that was any better. My job was the reason why I was so depressed, anxious, bored, demotivated and miserable, and the only alternative was to be a penniless writer, which would bring its own problems... not least how to save up enough money to be able to afford to retire.

This got me thinking about retirement.

I presume that the first few years of retirement are excellent, because old age and age-related health problems haven't started to have a major impact on quality of life. Modern medicine, safer working conditions, good diet, better air quality and a multitude of other things have improved massively for the baby-boomer generation, and those retirees will live much longer than their parents. For my generation and people younger than me, we've worked longer hours, commuted further, had far more financial insecurity, job insecurity and housing insecurity, and we have no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - the retirement age keeps getting older and older and the prospect of an impoverished old age seems increasingly likely. Retirement looks like it's not something worth even daring to dream about.

I started thinking about how good retirement would be anyway - sour grapes perhaps - what with the inevitable demise of my health. It seems unlikely that I'm going to live beyond 85 years old, being a man.

With partial deafness, partial blindness, mild incontinence, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney problems, back problems, joint problems and a whole host of other things I might expect to affect me in old age, exacerbated by decades of miserable office work, it seems unlikely that I'd be lucky enough to enjoy even 50% of the quality of life in my eighties as I enjoy in my sixties.

These are very conservative estimates of course. I could drop dead at age 70.

With all those things considered, I then started to do the calculations to work out whether it was worth shackling myself to a miserable job or not. I started to calculate if it was worth being miserable and depressed today, in the hope of a better life if and when I retire. My conclusion was simple: NO.

As you can see from the graphic above, I can increase my quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) by a maximum of 30 points if I live for today, or a maximum of 30 points if I live for retirement. Obviously if I was to die at age 80, I'll only have benefitted by 24 points. If I was to die at 75, I'll only have benefitted by 17 points. If I was to die at 70, I'll only benefit by 9 points.

So, I might as well plan on the pessimistic assumption that I'll die early. In fact, I can at least guarantee when I'll die, because I always have the option of committing suicide. In fact, it seems sensible to plan for the day I commit suicide instead of the day I die, because old age, sickness and infirmity seems like an undesirable fate. Why would I be miserable today, so I can spend more years as a geriatric, waiting to die?

I'm hoping to get myself into a strong position by the time I'm 40 so that I can exploit the fact that I haven't rutted and spawned offspring like a mindless beast, and I'm therefore free from any responsibility for brats I brought into existence. Soon, I won't need to shackle myself to miserable boring bullshit office jobs which I hate, because I'll have recovered my financial security and stability, such that I'm free to do what I want without a guilty conscience - I won't owe anything to anybody, and I won't be running away from any responsibilities.

By the spring next year, I should be feeling quite wealthy again, and much more free to be able to dare to dream. Perhaps I'll travel. Perhaps I'll write. Perhaps I'll create art. I can pretty much do whatever I want, once I've finally dealt with all the consequences of divorce which caused my life to collapse. It's hard on a man, losing everything - it nearly cost me my life.

It's been so hard getting to where I am today, and I can't believe there are still so many months before I get back to a truly safe and secure position. I can't believe it's taken so long and it's been so difficult. Perhaps that's why so many men commit suicide. Perhaps that's why rip-off merchants have run off with so much of my money. It's hard to do things right. I've always tried to do things the right way.

I'm now at the point where I've worked too hard for too long to see the chance of breaking free get away from me. I really think I'll just kill myself right now if there are any major setbacks, because I've been trying so hard to overcome a heap of problems and I've got nothing left to give. I deserve a break. I deserve things to pan out for me.

It'll soon be my turn to start enjoying life and the fruits of my labour; the payoff for my struggle through adversity; the rewards for my ingenuity and sheer determination to fix problems. I've overcome terrible obstacles and put up with so much suffering and I've done the miserable work that nobody else would do, because it's awful. Now I deserve to be like those spoiled brats who've been allowed to do whatever the fuck they want - follow their dreams - because they have doting indulgent parents. Maybe I'll be a student. Maybe I'll have a gap year. Maybe I'll take a dead-end job with no career prospects, because it's rewarding. Whatever. I can do whatever I want... soon.

It's been a slog. I can't take much more slog.

 

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The Journey

11 min read

This is a story about three years of my life...

Hotel room

I was living in an ultra-modern hotel in Canary Wharf and working for HSBC at their head office. I was a member of the team working on the bank's number one IT project. Shortly beforehand I had been living in a 14-bed hostel dorm and I'd narrowly escaped bankruptcy and destitution. I was working 12 hours a day, 6 or sometimes 7 days a week. I was exhausted and the tiredness, stress and unsettled life was driving me literally insane. I was suffering with delusions of grandeur, paranoia and my behaviour was erratic and unpredictable; I was extremely tense and irritable. I was on the brink of having a breakdown.

River panorama

I rented an apartment on the River Thames near the office. The rent was obscene - £500/week - but I was earning great money working for HSBC and I was working very hard, so it seemed affordable at the time; it seemed like a nice reward for all the hard work. It felt like justice that I'd been able to get myself off the streets and into such a lovely place to live; to have gone from homeless and sleeping rough in a park, to having a luxury Thameside apartment with panoramic views over London.

My glasses

I was dating a BBC journalist. I was rapidly gaining a Twitter following. I felt like everything was happening for a reason. I felt like it was my destiny to do something important. I was consumed with mania; I was obsessed with the idea of a grand gesture. I had been deeply affected by my homelessness and near-bankruptcy and destabilised by the exhaustion of sleeping rough and in hostel dorms. The IT project was very stressful and I was under a great deal of pressure from HSBC management. My mind was a mess. I was very severely mentally ill.

Psych ward terrace

I woke up one morning and I couldn't go on. I couldn't face the office. I wanted to kill myself. I went to my doctor who sent me to hospital. 13 hours later I was admitted to a secure psych ward. I explained that I was financially distressed and very stressed at work. The psychiatric team recommended I stay in hospital for at least 2 weeks, but I needed to be back in the office if I was going to keep my job, to be able to afford the rent.

Golden Gate Bridge

I discharged myself from hospital after a week and flew to San Francisco. I figured that if I was going to kill myself I might as well do it somewhere iconic. A friend picked me up from the airport and I borrowed a bike. I cycled straight to the Golden Gate Bridge. Seeing old friends, however, made me change my mind about committing suicide.

Sleep out

I lost my job with HSBC and I "slept rough" in the shadow of the head office skyscraper in Canary Wharf. I thought that this would be the pinnacle of my journey. I thought that having been used and abused by HSBC then unceremoniously dumped out onto the streets to suffer bankruptcy and homelessness - having managed to get myself a job at the bank while of no fixed abode and living in a hostel - would be deliciously poetic. It was, but my journey had barely begun.

Self harm

I quit drinking for 121 consecutive days. I starved myself. I thought that I would go on hunger strike. I thought that I would sleep rough on Christmas Day. I was really angry and upset with the world. Self harm and substance abuse dominated my life for several months. I got into heaps of debt just staying alive.

Cruise ship

I survived the winter. I got another job. My life was OK except for persistent suicidal thoughts. I hated the project I was working on but I persevered because I was in a lot of debt. I loved where I was living - every day in my apartment was like Christmas Day because the view was so awesome. Living by the river was an incredible privilege. I took a holiday and went kitesurfing. My quality of life was improving slowly.

Cooking with bath salts

I met somebody very special and fell totally in love. She accepted me for who I was, including the all the bad bits, such as my prior issues with substance abuse. She was the first person I'd been in a relationship with who'd been able to read everything about me on my blog and to understand my flaws. We had a good relationship. The project I had been working on came to an end and I was jobless again. I wrote and published my first novel - she proofread it and helped me with the ending and other ideas. She was very supportive and I was confident I'd find work again easily.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve watching the fireworks over London, sipping champagne on my balcony with the woman I loved - it seemed like the New Year was full of promise, but I was worried about getting another job and I was still in a lot of debt. There was a lot of pressure.

DVT

Disaster struck. I got deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg, which swelled up to twice the size of my right leg. My kidneys failed and I ended up in hospital on a high dependency ward having many hours of dialysis every day. The potassium in my blood spiked to a life-threatening level and I was constantly at risk of cardiac arrest. I was very sick.

Drug shrine

My stay in hospital caused me to lose my job. Losing my job caused me to collapse psychologically and become very depressed and despondent. The DVT had caused terrible nerve damage and I had a lot of neuropathic pain, as well as a numb left foot. I started to become dependent on painkillers. I sought powerful antidepressants for my low mood. Pictured on the table are: codeine, dihydrocodeine, tramadol, diazepam, alprazolam, mirtazapine, venlafaxine, dextroamphetamine, zolpidem, zopiclone and pregabalin, which are all highly addictive. Because of this cocktail of prescription drugs I suffered an episode of medication-induced mania - temporary insanity - and broke up with the love of my life.

Manchester flats

I ran out of money. I had to pay a huge tax bill and I had to go even deeper into debt. I was virtually bankrupt. Out of desperation I was forced to put all my worldly possessions into storage and leave London to take a job in Manchester. The job in Manchester included an apartment as part of the package, which was lucky because I didn't have enough money to pay rent or a deposit - I was totally broke. Moving house and leaving London was incredibly upsetting and traumatic. The new job was extremely demanding and exhausting. I was very lonely and isolated in an unfamiliar city with no friends or family; no local connections.

Psych ward fence

I tried to commit suicide. I took a massive overdose: I'd been stockpiling my prescription painkillers and I knew that 8+ grams of tramadol was likely to be fatal. I sent a tweet when I believed I was beyond the point of no return. I thought nobody knew where I lived. I thought there was no chance anybody would get to me in time. I was wrong. I regained consciousness a few days later in a hospital's critical care ward on life support. I was later sectioned for 28 days and admitted to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Hay bales

A doctor from Wales discovered my blog and invited me to live on their farm in a converted garage. I had no money, no car, no job. I had nothing.

Rat race

I almost went bankrupt but a friend got me some work in Warsaw and in London. I was living in AirBnBs and working in the Square Mile from Monday to Friday and living in Wales at the weekends.

Keys

I bought a car, I got a local job, a local girlfriend and I rented an apartment. Briefly, I had everything I wanted and needed, although I went even deeper into debt. The pressure, stress and turmoil which I'd endured to get to this point was unimaginable; just to get to a position which most people would take for granted as the minimum acceptable things for a normal ordinary liveable life.

Papered windows

The local project ended and I was jobless again. The relationship ended. I papered over my bedroom windows and withdrew from the world. The journey had destroyed me. I was spent.

Cashflow

An obscene amount of money flows through my hands, but it all ends up in the pockets of those who I owe money to. I'm desperately trying to keep my head above water. The financial pressure is immense; unbearable. The journey has been incredibly long and arduous. There's still a very long way to go before I reach security and stability; before I'm comfortable, happy and content.

Empty wine bottles

In the last year alone, I've managed to move house 3 times, work 4 different jobs, travel to 4 different countries, date 2 girls, survive a suicide attempt, be admitted to 3 different hospitals, quit addictive painkillers, sedatives, tranquillisers and sleeping pills, be arrested and locked in a cell, buy a car, rent a place to live, stay in 17 different hotels and AirBnBs, and somehow stay on top of my mountainous debts, not go bankrupt and even pay some of that crippling amount of money back. My only remaining vice is wine. I'm completely unmedicated and I don't abuse any substance other than alcohol. It's a remarkable journey for just 12 months, but the journey has been much, much longer than that.

In the last three years, I've written and published a million words and connected with thousands of people all over the globe.

To be precise, to date I've written exactly 1,001,020 words and counting, on this blog.

It's the world's longest suicide note.

If you want to understand why I'm suicidal you just have to read it all - it's all written down in exquisite detail. To save you the trouble of reading all 1 million words I've summarised the last 3 years for you right here.

The pressure; the stress; the exhaustion. Where is my reward?

I've travelled so far and I've achieved so much but yet I feel like it's gotten me nowhere. I should be rich but in fact I'm up to my eyeballs in debt. If you want to know where that debt came from, I just explained it to you. I didn't get into debt buying frivolous things and being profligate. I didn't make particularly bad choices. I'm not stupid. Where's the payoff for working so hard? Why did I bother?

My name's Nick Grant and I drink too much but otherwise I'm an ordinary regular guy. I do my job to a high standard and I'm liked and respected by my colleagues. I pay my taxes. I pay my rent and bills. I contribute to society as a productive member. I do ordinary stuff and have ordinary needs.

I'm 39 years old and I have nothing but debt. I have nothing much to show for my 39 years on the planet.

I'm lonely. I live a double life. The person I am in the office is different from the person I am in the comfort of my own home. Nobody at work would ever suspect that I've slept rough, been in trouble with the police, been hospitalised many times, been sectioned and had horrific problems with addiction. Nobody would suspect that my mental health has caused me horrendous difficulties when exacerbated by stressful life events, like divorce, moving house, losing jobs and everything else that's happened to me in the past 5 or so years.

My solution to the instability in my life was to create a backbone that has run consistently through my ups and downs: my daily writing. To have been able to write a million words has been immensely stabilising and has brought me into contact with so many wonderful kind and caring people. I quite literally owe my life to those who've followed me and my blog, especially via Twitter. Without this connection to the world I would be dead.

Today, I've crossed a seemingly arbitrary imaginary finishing line, in having written and published a million words in less than 3 years. It might seem ludicrous and pointless, but if you consider it in the context of the journey I've been on, you can see why I've wanted to document it.

If you've followed me on some part of this journey, I'm really grateful to have had your support. Thank you.

 

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