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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

www.facebook.com/manicgrant

 

Discipline

4 min read

This is a story about routine...

Random image

I don't have my laptop with me at the moment, which means I've had to download a random image of mine from the cloud. I'm not really sure what the image is supposed to represent - perhaps that some people lack the discipline to piss in the toilet rather than on the floor, or perhaps that some people lack the discipline to clean up their own mess. Anyway, this is the image I've chosen. I'm not even sure what I'm going to write about. There's one thing that's been really bugging me, but I'm not going to write about it because I'm disciplined.

To be trapped into an unpleasant situation, but to impassively observe and endure; to keep your lip buttoned - that taked discipline. To see wrongdoing and hear unforgivable things uttered, but not respond. To be passive and impassive; to be an observer - that takes discipline.

To continue to grind my axe would push things too far. I need a period of reflection. I need to get back to writing what my readers want to read. I got derailed, and I haven't really known where I was going, except that a lot of what I was saying was falling on deaf ears. My intended audience were not getting the message, or if they were then they were resistent to it. I tried softly softly, then my patience ran out. I bottled stuff up for too long. I remained in an intolerable situation too long. I was trapped in close proximity to a person who was really winding me up, but I think the feeling was mutual - time to move on; time to bury the hatchet.

Of course, I'll never be able to just bury the hatchet on command. Of course, to say that I'm going to change and suddenly start writing about other stuff, would be to suggest that my emotions, thoughts and feelings can be changed to be whatever I want them to be, whenever I want.

I want to write shorter pieces. I want to write stand-alone pieces that are accessible to anybody. I hate having to self-censor. I hate having things which are off-limits. I hate talking in riddles and putting heaps of effort into making absolutely 100% certain that nobody could ever make any connection - no matter how vague or unlikely - to the people I'm writing about. I hate that contraint. I hate that it ruins my writing.

I want to write shorter pieces.

I want to write pieces that anybody can read, and understand perfectly well what I'm talking about; relate to.

I want to get back to good honest straightforward writing, for everybody.

I'd love it if this blog post was a clear demarkation between a phase that I've been stuck in, and a new period where I get back to the good old writing that I was enjoying so much, where I could breezily explore anything and everything that took my fancy. Maybe I'll get back to that good place eventually.

I'm disciplined. I write every day. If I'm not writing, then you should worry - it means I'm very sick, or something terrible is happening in my life. If I'm not writing, something is wrong.

I'm disciplined. I write. Every day.

I'm going to try to become more disciplined about writing less. I'm going to try to become more disciplined about keeping to topics that anybody could relate to - no more cryptic stuff; no more guessing games.

My routine got messed up by a thoroughly unpleasant set of events, but hopefully that phase is drawing to a close. There's still stuff that has to be done to close that particular chapter, but then it's done and dusted and the curtain can fall on that particular unfortunate period. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new beginning.

Things don't end neatly and cleanly. Breakups are messy. People and human relationships are complex. Emotions can run high.

I don't need that kind of drama. Time to get back to good honest simple writing. No censorship; nothing cryptic; no guesswork.

I enjoy being open and transparent. It's healthy to be open and transparent. I'm going to continue being open and transparent and writing about everything that goes on in my head, in a candid and unflinching manner.

Time to get my healthy routine back.

 

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A Cute Little Italian Thing

5 min read

This is a story about reading between the lines...

Splash

I don't really understand why it's necessary to guess and extrapolate. I don't really understand why somebody would want to reinterpret the scant available evidence, and reach outlandish and ridiculous conclusions. I don't really understand why somebody would want to pore over the pages of my blog and read all my tweets, looking for hidden meaning that doesn't exist. Why can't you just take things at face value?

I texted somebody who'd been quite an important figure in my life, and I asked them if I could take them out for dinner. In the last few weeks, I've gotten settled in a new job and moved into my own place - there's plenty to celebrate. This year has been very stressful, with cashflow problems, a boring job, commuting across the country and living out of a suitcase, dating, getting a new job, renting an apartment, security vetting, tenancy vetting, credit checks, buying a car, taxing & insuring the car, moving house... it's been stressful. Naturally, as I'd gotten through most of that stress, I wanted to celebrate with that person.

"No thank you" came the reply. Polite enough. Strange, but whatever. I'm not in the business of speculating.

Then came the accusation that I'm some sort of monster who people need protecting from. This followed relatively hot on the heels of an accusation that I'd identified that person, which I hadn't. There was the accusation that a load of my tweets were about specific identifiable people, which they weren't. I fail to see the evidence for any of it. I haven't deleted any of my tweets - they're there for all to see. I'd be very surprised if anybody except me knows who I'm talking about, because how would you know what's going on in my head unless you're telepathic? How would you know who's tormenting me and causing me untold stress?

I once mockingly used a turn of phrase that my friend Posh Will used to refer to an ex of mine as a "cute little Italian thing". This became a running gag. I'd have probably only said it once, but this person just kept on saying it and saying it. Whenever I talked about a girl, this person would ask "is she a cute little thing?". This person asked if my mum's cousin who lives in Chelsea is a "cute little thing" which I found very weird, but whatever. Whenever there was an opportunity, that person would refer to girls as "cute little things". It was our running gag... or rather theirs, because they kept using that phrase so much.

The phrase "cute little Italian thing" is now forbidden. In a rather melodramatic and completely unnecessary confrontational moment, it was confusingly and aggressively put to me that I use the phrase "all the time", which I don't. Further, it was put to me that I'm a sexist male chauvinist pig who has zero respect for women, hits women, rapes women, abuses women, sexually assaults women and generally attempts to marginalise and oppress women, as part of my patriarchal one-man crusade against women. Naturally, this was quite a surprise.

I'm using the forbidden phrase now, because I've been told so many times that this person doesn't read my blog, and now that person has told me in no uncertain terms that I'm a danger to them and the people they love; I'm a menace.

I guess it's over between me and that person, but I can't understand why. I never wrote about them online. I never identified them, or their loved ones. I'm really not sure what I did. Their accusations that I wrote about them, connected them, identified them, attacked them, repeatedly used the phrase "cute little Italian thing" and generally carried on like the world's biggest arsehole, are frankly complete and utter codswallop. What I write is there for all to see - I don't delete stuff. If any of this stuff was there, show me where the hell it is!

It's a nonsense. It's misplaced paranoia. It's more than misinterpretation - it's a complete warped perception of reality bordering on the insane.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend often worries about me posting images of previous girlfriends, which I haven't. My girlfriend will see the image above which IS of a previous girlfriend - the "cute little Italian thing" no less - and she'll see that her very worst fears have been realised.

Yes, I'm a monster. I did once say "cute little Italian thing" when I was aping the mannerisms of my investment banking chum for comedic effect. I have just posted a picture of my ex girlfriend, which I'm sure you'd be able to recognise her from if you saw her in the street now that I've disrespected her privacy. Damn me for revealing such personal identifying stuff that would allow any member of the public to immediately make the connection. Damn me for being so damn evil. Yes, lock up your daughters and hide your valuables... Nasty Nick is on the prowl.

On the final matter of sexist disrespectful language, perhaps it was wrong of me to even say something in jest. I'm always prepared to consider that I might be in the wrong. Just don't make a running gag out of it, and for god's sake don't start imagining stuff that's SIMPLY UNTRUE.

There's no need to read between the lines. What you see is what you get with me. If you're unsure, just ask.

 

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My Mask Slipped

6 min read

This is a story about keeping up appearances...

Semicolon tattoo

I have a tattoo that I can't cover up, which tells the world that I've had problems with suicide attempts, self-harm, depression, bipolar, alcoholism and substance abuse. I have a blog which puts me on page 2 of Google if you search for my name. I have a Twitter account that has the most followers out of anybody who shares my name. I'm hardly being shy and retiring about my dark past. I'm hardly keeping my skeletons in the cupboard.

One of my work colleagues has already found my blog - by Google'ing me - and has visited a few times. I can see that he uses the WiFi at work and I can see that he uses his Apple iPhone Plus. That's happened waaaay too soon.

An old friend who I know from the kitesurfing community recommended me for the job. He's friends with another colleague on Facebook. I don't use Facebook much, but when I do, it's usually because I'm having suicidal thoughts and it's a cry for help. If my friend commented on something I put on Facebook, my other work colleague might see it.

It's a small world, so that's why it's a good idea to be open and transparent. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

Of course, people who suffer from mental health problems - including addiction - are heavily stigmatised. If I didn't think I was able to do my job highly effectively, with an excellent level of professionalism and reliability, then I'd be slightly more reluctant to publish the inner-workings of my mind, and make my struggles a matter of public record.

I take my readers on a journey on me, and some of them will become sympathetic towards me and my story. Generally, if you read forwards and follow along with me, you'll gain a positive view, but if you read backwards then you'll dislike me and imagine that I enjoy the benefit of hindsight, which I don't.

It was particularly telling, the difference in reactions to my attempted suicide last September. My colleague who had followed my progress on my blog was sympathetic and caring. My colleague who read back through my blog, starting from the point where I believed I was going to die, was so unsympathetic that he sacked me and evicted me from my home, because I was on a life-support system and therefore unable to phone and say that I was going to be out of the office for a couple of days. He literally didn't care that I was in a coma with a tube down my throat and a machine breathing for me. That's the difference that it makes, reading my blog backwards versus reading it forwards - it can make a person not care that I'm dying, or it can elicit a sympathetic response to my plight.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I'm through the worst of my suicidal moments, now that the stress levels in my life are subsiding. Naturally, being homeless, close to bankruptcy, jobless, friendless, single, new to an area and generally having nothing and nobody is pretty damn awful for a person's mental health. In the space of 6 months I've made some friends, got a girlfriend, earned some money, bought a car, rented an apartment, got a local job and gotten myself a bit more settled, although I'm still a long way off having security and stability.

What might annoy my colleagues is thinking they've got a bargain - that I'm an expert in my field and I've got talent and experience - when in actual fact they've got a homeless bankrupt junkie alcoholic with mental health problems who never even knew how to switch a computer on until yesterday. Surely I could have been bought for minimum wage, because I'm desperate and vulnerable? This was certainly the case with the guy who didn't care that I was on life support - he felt ripped off, when he discovered the truth about me, even though I had nearly completed the first phase of the project I'd been working on, and the results had been fantastic.

I think really horrible people are few and far between. I think unethical exploitative bosses are few and far between. I really don't think it's going to be a problem that my real identity doesn't quite marry up with corporate expectations. I'm always well presented at work. Nobody would be any the wiser about my dark past, except for the aforementioned tattoo, of course.

I'm mentioning the tattoo and putting up a picture of myself without my infallible disguise quite deliberately, of course. Of course I know what I'm doing. I'm not exactly unhappy about anybody knowing about who I am, because I find it too exhausting to wear the corporate mask and pretend I'm perfect. It's not nice to have to live a lie and cover up any struggles I might have in my personal life.

It's been nearly 8 months since I had any problems with my mental health. I don't take any drugs or medications. I drink in moderation. I'm not suicidal. I'm not self-harming. I'm delivering high-quality work to the satisfaction of my bosses. My finances are improving. I've got my own place. I've got my little car. I've got my girlfriend. I've got my friends. Things aren't perfect, but they're improving and they'll continue to improve as long as I'm allowed to keep working and earning money.

It's a big gamble to keep this big digital presence alive. I obviously can't write about anything that would be unprofessional, breach my code-of-conduct, bring my profession into disrepute, breach confidentiality or any any way shape or form be considered unacceptable behaviour, but to delete my blog and my Twitter and Facebook account and expunge myself from the internet would be a considerable loss to me, and would be likely to negatively affect my ability to cope and function.

I hope that if my colleague(s) continue to read this, they can see it for what it is - my healthy coping mechanism, and something I need, because it brings me great comfort and a lot of care and support.

So far, I only know for definite that one work colleague is reading my blog. I hope to make friends at work. I need friends. I don't see it as a bad thing that somebody's reading.

I don't want the secret identity thing. I don't want the double-life thing. I've got nothing to hide; nothing to be ashamed of.

 

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Sorry Not Sorry

6 min read

This is a story about crossing a line...

Blurry pic

To say I'm not sorry, I'm unremorseful, I don't live with regrets and I've never made a mistake, would be completely untrue. My life is fairly simple - work, eat, sleep - so I have a lot of time to think about things. I'm always prepared to consider the possibility that I've overstepped the mark; that I've gone too far.

The level of isolation I live with is something that 99% of people would find intolerable. Humans are sociable creatures. I'm quite a sociable guy, but my life completely collapsed and I haven't rebuilt it yet. I started a new job a little over a month ago and I'm starting to build a good relationship with my colleagues, but it's early days and I have to tread carefully because I really need the job and I don't really want everyone to know that I've been really unwell. I only moved to the area a little over 6 months ago, and I've spent half that time working in London, so I've not had much opportunity to make new friends yet.

I wake up, I drive to work and I think about what I'm going to write. My job's pretty easy, so I spent lots of time at work thinking about what I'm going to write. I get home and I write. I then spend a lot of time thinking about what I've just written. I often think that what I've just written doesn't accurately reflect how I'm feeling because I feel differently after writing. On reflection, I often feel like I've gone too far - I've been too passive-aggressive and critical; I've been a little negative and cynical. However, if I let my frustrations build up I'd explode or be driven mad.

You probably don't realise just how much you use your support network every day, because you take those people for granted. If you're feeling upset about something, you can pick up the phone or talk to somebody face-to-face. I often don't have that. At work I put on my corporate mask and pretend like everything's perfect in my personal life. With people who I rely upon for my money and my accommodation, I have to present a fake front, because my life depends on it. I'm very rarely able to be myself, and when I am able to finally talk with people who I can be honest and open with, they tend to be my social media contacts, because of my isolated life.

I have a girlfriend and she's great, but I can't have a dependency on one single person - that's too much pressure. My girlfriend suggests seeing a therapist, but that's expensive and you can only talk to them for an hour a week... provided you even like and respect them, of course. Finding a good therapist is a hard enough challenge in and of itself.

If you imagine the amount of traumatic experiences I've had in the past few years - a horrendous leg injury, suicide attempt, kidney failure, police, sleeping rough, crisis house, hostel, police, lost job, evicted, hostel, police, psych ward, DVT, kidney failure, dialysis, homeless and virtually bankrupt, suicide attempt, police, psych ward - then I hope you realise that an hour of week of speaking to a therapist isn't really going to cut the mustard... hence the blog.

I arrive at the point I'm at today, heavily traumatised.

You can't see the trauma, but I know it's there because I keep getting invasive thoughts that stab me like a knife in the guts.

The shit I've been through doesn't give me an excuse to be shitty to people and not be sorry when I upset people. The shit I've been through doesn't give me an excuse to say and do whatever the fuck I want. But, I've only got a limited amount of patience for anybody who makes my life any harder than it needs to be. I've only got a limited amount of patience for anybody who thinks they've got quick fixes and easy solutions. I can only humour people for so long.

Dealing with this post-traumatic stress is taking a long time. There's a lot of shit to work through. There's a lot of stuff I'm getting over. I only just managed to get myself into secure housing and start a job that I can tolerate. My finances are still shitty and I'm only just getting to the point where I'm a couple of weeks away from a cash injection I desperately need. There's been a mountain of practical stuff to sort out, on top of the psychological damage; the trauma.

Frankly, I'm surprised that I'm not more vindictive and nasty, because I've been through a right load of shit and I'm still deeply traumatised. It's true that people have been hurt who don't deserve it, but it's not true that I'm not sorry... in 99% of the cases, I'm sorry when somebody got hurt by me lashing out.

I don't really have anybody who regularly provides some kind of checks & balance on my behaviour. Most of us talk to our friends and family and then our initial anger and indignation dissipates... we feel like we're being unreasonable, when we voice our frustrations to our trusted confidantes. My blog is my trusted confidante, because my life collapsed and I'm dealing with a clusterfuck of post-traumatic stress.

Yes, my blog is public, but I also avoid using names or other things that might identify people. Yes, my blog is public, but how else am I supposed to get the support that I need, when I'm in such a dangerously low and precarious situation? Yes you might feel personally attacked, but are you absolutely certain that it's you I'm talking about? If you think it's you, is that because you've got a guilty conscience?

So, sorry I'm not sorry. But I also am sorry too, in those cases where I overstepped the mark; where I was unnecessarily unkind.

 

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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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Nasty Nick

5 min read

This is a story about isolation...

One finger salute

The school I briefly attended in France and the final 2 years of my full-time education were alright, but from the age of 3 to the age of 16, I was bullied every day at playgroup and school. I was bullied badly. 8 different schools. 6 different houses. 3 different countries. It all takes its toll.

The job I ended up doing earns me instant abuse - the geek, the nerd, the pimple-faced anorak, the dork, the dweeb, the spod... the list of insults is endless and it seems to be socially acceptable to casually toss these terms of derision around, as if us computer experts don't have feelings.

Poor me.

Of course, to think of myself as a victim - even though I clearly am - earns me further disdain. To pity myself is apparently not allowed. Perhaps I'm victim playing for attention or sympathy. Perhaps I should just get over it. Perhaps I should man up. It's all my fault. I'm to blame for everything.

Poor me.

Only not poor me, because I'm the one who's to blame. I've got a punchable face. I've got an irritating voice. I was born to be a punchbag. I'm here for you to use and abuse - that's my function in life.

I decided to say fuck it. I became a homeless, bankrupt, alcoholic, junkie, benefit scrounger, soap dodger, mental health problems, work-shy layabout, lazy, bone-idle, no-good, waste-of-space, undesirable, crusty, scumbag, useless, drain on society, piece of shit. Death's too good for me. String me up. Don't even piss on me if I'm on fire.

I'm quite familiar with being picked on; ganged up on. I'm quite familiar with being universally hated; spat upon. I'm quite familiar with being everybody's favourite person to bully, torment, persecute and generally shit on.

The net result is me.

I'm Nasty Nick.

Hello pleased to meet you how do you do?

None of what I've been through gives me the right to be shit to other people, by way of revenge. Despite what I've been through, I don't think that it's an excuse to treat others in the terrible way that I've been treated. What I've been through gives me a lot of appreciation for how awful it is to be ganged up on and abused, which makes me want to avoid similar situations - I'm highly attuned to any abusive language, and I avoid anybody who has a bullying manner. I choose to surround myself with sensitive, empathetic, kind, compassionate and caring people, who speak and act respectfully.

If you think I'm a nasty person, that's because I'm Nasty Nick, pleased to meet you. If you think I'm a vicious, bully who says abusive things, I'm sorry you think that. I don't think that kind of behaviour is justified - ever - for the reasons outlined above.

I write.

That's what I do - I write. I write because I'm a writer. I have a blog and I have a Twitter and a Facebook page. I write online. I'm a geek, a nerd, a dork, an anorak, a dweeb... etc. etc. and what I do is I write online. I write online because I've always written online. I've been writing online since the dawn of the internet. I've been writing online since before the internet, when I used to write stuff on bulletin boards with a dial-up modem. I'm not a troll. I write under my own name. You can see what I write and you can judge for youself whether what I write is nasty or not.

I'm Nasty Nick. Judge for yourself. Is Nasty Nick nasty? Almost everything I've ever written is available online, so it's all there for you to read. Nasty Nick has nowhere to hide.

I'm going through life the only way I know how. Do you think I wanted to be bullied all those years and years at school? Do you think I want to be abused because of the job I do? Do you think that anybody would choose bullying and isolation? Do you think anybody would choose to be called all manner of names under the sun?

I look isolated - I am after all the homeless junkie alcoholic bankrupt with mental health problems - but I have connected with so many people online. My online friends are my friends. I don't make any distinction between online friends and people who I see away from the keyboard. I don't have two personas. I don't have a fake identity which I use online. I don't hide behind the screen - what you see is what you get.

I'm pissed off when strong healthy happy people gang up and pick on me, because I'm a vulnerable person - I'm an easy target. I'm pissed off when strong healthy happy people pick on other vulnerable people. Those bullies can go and suck a bag of fucking dicks. Those cunts are responsible for suicides.

There we go. I'm Nasty Nick. I'm an easy target. If you gang up on me, you'll win. Well done.

 

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Poison Pen

7 min read

This is a story about pseudonyms...

Front door

I've moved house. I now live at the following address:

Mr Nick "Manic" Grant
Number One
Wales
United Kingdom

Send me a letter. I'm sure it'll get delivered. Pay me a visit sometime. Search for my address on Google Maps to see where I live.

The man who has nothing has nothing to lose.

I got used to the anonymity of London; the urban solitude; the crowds. I got used to my life being completely destroyed. I was always closer to death and destitution than I was to recovery and happiness, so I didn't care about my privacy. In fact I really did care about my privacy: specifically I didn't want to have any privacy, because I wanted the world to know all the reasons why my life was falling to pieces. I wanted witnesses. I wanted people to understand why I was dying or dead.

Things are different now.

When I recovered in London and got off the streets and back into civilised society, I still wasn't part of a community. In fact, I lost the community that I belonged to. I used to be a member of the homeless community, but then I got a nice apartment and I was no longer homeless. Twice I got myself off the streets and into a place of my own. Twice I dug myself out of a deep hole and sorted myself out... perhaps even three times. Each time everything fell to pieces.

I leapt at the chance to move to Manchester because I was homeless and bankrupt. I found a kind of community in Manchester... a community of addicts. That wasn't good.

When I was offered the chance to move to Wales, I was homeless and running out of money fast, and I was a patient on a locked hospital psych ward. In Wales I have found a community. It's a small place. People know each other. There are fewer degrees of separation. There isn't the anonymity of a giant city with millions of inhabitants. London has 9 or 10 million people. Manchester has the best part of 3 million people. That's more than the entire population of Wales.

I've made numerous assumptions about people's ability to make connections. I've assumed that by not mentioning names, places, dates etc. then I've managed to obfuscate anything that would allow anybody to be identified. I've assumed that nobody would have any idea who I'm talking about - or ever be able to discover who I'm talking about - when I write "my friends" or "my girlfriend" for example. I've steered clear of using the initial of the first or last name, or anything else that might be vaguely identifying.

Having lived out my life publicly on the pages of this blog for the best part of 3 years, I'm quite used to having visitors from all over the world reading my stuff. It's quite normal for me to tell the entire world all the gory details of my murky past and dodgy deeds. I'm pretty transparent; an open book.

Somebody from where I work has found my blog. I've upset some people who are very important to me, inadvertently, by writing something that I have subsequently deleted. To refer to these events is a risk. Those people will be able to identify themselves even if nobody else would ever be able to discover who I'm talking about. I guess my work colleague - for example - is thinking "how the hell?" and feeling a little spied on. My justification for writing whatever the hell I want has always been that you chose to come here and read all about me, which kinda means I'm allowed to know that you've been reading. If you have an opinion about me, I'll have an opinion about you... and I might share that opinion, although anonymised so only you know who I'm talking about.

Upon reflection, I've got too much to lose. I like my friends, my girlfriend, my job, my apartment. My life is going OK and we're coming into spring. My mood is improving. The future looks really great. Things are going really well now that I've overcome a whole heap of super-duper stressful stuff. Upon reflection, I'm no longer the man who has nothing, who has nothing to lose.

When I was down on my luck, I had no responsibilities because I couldn't handle any responsibilities. I didn't owe anybody anything, because I didn't have anything. I'd lost everything, which liberated me. I'm no longer liberated. I have to act responsibly.

I need to treat friends with respect. I need to treat my girlfriend with respect. I need to treat the local community with respect. I need to treat my colleagues with respect. I need to treat my profession with respect. My conduct needs to completely change from the kind of conduct that was appropriate for a destitute homeless guy with mental health problems, into conduct more befitting of the fine upstanding member of society that I'm now supposed to exemplify.

It's a transition period. I need to move from the old world to the new paradigm, where my life is improving and I've got lots of good things that I want to hang onto. I'm bound by the Official Secrets Act, as if to remind me that my old life of writing whatever the hell I wanted is now over.

I'm not sure how I'm going to use my blog as a healthy coping mechanism anymore, but I've just been through one of the most ridiculously stressful periods of my life, and it literally nearly killed me - I'm not being hyperbolic. I hope that I'm naturally not going to need to write "cry for help" or "angry rant" type pieces to dissipate the negative emotions and avoid killing myself. I hope that one day this might change from being a suicide note to something else. I have hope. I'm working towards a brighter, happier future.

There are going to be bumps in the road, I'm sure, but I really don't want to piss off my friends, girlfriend or work colleagues. Obviously, I have those people in my life and it might be unavoidable to mention them using those anonymised monikers, but I'm not going to be writing about them if you know what I mean. It'd be nice if can hang onto some of the good things I've gained in my life. It'd be nice if I can start to grow my group of friends rather than continuing the destructive patterns.

I doubt I'm going to write under a pen name; a pseudonym. I'm loud and I'm proud. This is the journey I've been on and I'm good at what I do. Why should I hide? Why should I be anonymous?

However, I appreciate that most other people are at completely the opposite end of the privacy/openness spectrum from me, and don't appreciate even the tiniest little things being splurged all over the pages of the internet, no matter how anonymised they are. Though I can't fully relate, I can respect those wishes and attempt to change my wicked ways. Sorry.

 

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Oversharing

5 min read

This is a story about high stakes...

Security pass

This time tomorrow I'll have almost everything I need for a happy contented stable ordinary humble modest little life. I can park my car on my driveway. I can sleep in my own apartment. I can drive to my job. I can do my work. I can get paid. I can see my girlfriend. I can pay my bills. What more does a man need in life?

A person who's more risk-averse than me would probably ditch this blog and my Twitter and Facebook pages, and hide their digital identity. It makes sense for me to cover up my chequered past. Nobody needs to know that my path to this point has been non-linear. Nobody needs to know that I've had my difficulties during the last few years. I can erase myself. I can expunge myself from the archives. I can ditch the world's longest suicide note and pretend like I've been fine all along.

I must admit that I Google'ed myself, just to check that I'm safely buried deep in the depths of the internet, in some dark recess that nobody would think to look for me. Sadly, it seems like I appear on page 2. I guess that means that somebody would have to be doing some very determined digging to find me... they'd have to click on the "next page" button, so that's pretty hard to find, right? Also, I'm wearing a disguise in my profile picture. In real life I look nothing like my profile picture, because of my cunning infallible disguise.

I tried hard to bury my blog by writing a whole load of really boring stuff, so that anybody who found it would quickly decide that there was nothing interesting to read. I mean, there isn't but I'm pretty exposed and vulnerable. If somebody wanted to dig dirt on me, they'd find it pretty easy. There's a lot of stuff that would encourage deeper digging. If you want to discourage anybody from looking too closely, it's best to put a layer of really boring crap on top.

I tried to steer clear of putting anything on here that was specific and would make me identifiable. I don't - for example - mention the exact place I live or where I work. I don't mention names, except my own of course. Why would I write under my own name? Surely that's madness. Well... it's something I've always done. I hate that the internet has made people feel like they're protected by the screen, hiding behind their anonymous avatar. I'm me - it's my face and it's my name, except for my cunning disguise, of course.

Things are really high-stakes. I can't afford any major setbacks. I don't want to jeopardise my livelihood; my financial security. I don't want to risk a domino-like chain of events that would cause my whole life to collapse. I've almost got all the things I need in life... so damn close.

I've written blog posts where I've given very precise details about my financial situation. Sometimes what I've written has seemed a little vulgar; a little boastful. That's not what it's about. I've been really suicidal because of the ludicrousness of the situation where I can work and earn a lot of money, but I'm being blocked and thwarted. I find it unbearably frustrating when I'm not allowed to get ahead in life. I need to have this record of the insanity of the situation. I need people to be able to understand my frustrations in the event that I killed myself.

For the record, I think my suicidal thoughts are driven by circumstances. I think my depression is driven by circumstances. I think that my thoughts and feelings are a sane response to an insane world. Things in my life are good, and so I don't feel suicidal anymore.

It might seem like I'm oversharing, but it's immensely beneficial to me to have people share my frustrations - my highs and lows - and empathise with my situation. It's immensely useful to not feel alone. It's immensely helpful to have people who care able to see what's going on with me: you can dip into my world any time you want. Most people who read my blog are trying to help me. Only once or twice have I ever suffered prejudice and discrimination because my honesty has been used against me. I think it's unethical to use something like this against somebody. I don't write anything that would breach any code of conduct or otherwise present a problem for my employers. I don't bring my profession into disrepute or otherwise comport myself in a way that would justify being disciplined, dismissed and/or tossed onto the street like a piece of trash.

The ethical dilemma falls on the reader. What are YOU going to do with the private and personal information that you've obtained? It was your choice to come here. It was your choice to read. It's now your responsibility to use the knowledge you've gained responsibly. If you want to use anything you've read here against me, how are you going to sleep at night? It's immoral to cyber-snoop for stuff that you're going to use against people. It's immoral to discriminate.

I'm just like you, but I write my stream-of-consciousness down on a public website. Use it wisely. With great power comes great responsibility.

In the era of post-privacy this is the future. I've got a head start - an 850,000 word head start.

 

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One Two Skip a Few

2 min read

This is a story about daily routine...

Succulent

I'm a little superstitious. When you've been on the journey that I've been on you can start to have some pretty strange ideas about what makes the difference between success and failure. If I'd ever been so afraid and desperate that I'd turned to religion you can be pretty sure that I'd now believe that the sky monster is responsible for the improvement in my situation. If I'd sold my soul to the devil then I'd be Beelzebub's biggest fan right now. It's easy to attribute credit to the wrong things when you're in a desperate situation.

Should I credit my veganism? Should I credit giving up sugar? Should I credit drinking 2 litres of water every day? Should I credit jogging? Should I credit yoga? Should I credit mindfulness? Should I credit antidepressants? Should I credit mood stabilisers? Should I credit a faith healer? Should I credit acupuncture? Should I credit homeopathy? Should I credit quitting alcohol? Should I credit my voyage of self-discovery? Should I credit being single for years? Should I credit my vow of celibacy? Should I credit my vow of silence? Should I credit any of the myriad charlatans who claim that they have the cure for the agony of human existence?

I'm writing today because I'm superstitious. I believe that I've got to write every day, because my daily writing habit provides stability in my life. Who are you to say I'm wrong? You probably believe in sky monsters or have weird eating habits. You're just as superstitious as me. You're just as much of a creature of habit.

I'm not going to write much because I'm busy. I'm having quite a nice time at the moment. I'm stressed as hell that something's going to go wrong - such as my attempt to rent a place to live failing spectacularly - but perhaps that's because things are going OK and I'm a little paranoid. I'm loathe to change anything. I'm loathe to stop doing something that I've been doing regularly, because I've become a little superstitious.

I take a photo of the plant on my desk every single day. Routines are awesome.

 

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Step Count

1 min read

This is a story about data...

Graph

I'm not going to write a proper blog post today - there isn't enough time. However, I don't want to skip a day so here's a random graph. I'm thinking about how my step count is steadily increasing despite the fact I've had a chest infection for a couple of weeks. I'm thinking about how all the data - such as the consistent daily word count - is indicative of my improving situation.

I've got plans to create a map of every bed I've slept in during the last 4 months, my bank balance over time, the sentiment of my blogs using certain keywords (e.g. "depression") and some kind of cross-correlation of it all.

It's great to collect data. It's great to be able to see trends.

 

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