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I'm a writer. I write about life with bipolar disorder - also known as manic depression - so my eponymous alter ego is MaNic Grant.

I've written more than 1 million words: it's the world's longest suicide note.

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nick@manicgrant.com

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Not My Finest Work

4 min read

This is a story about doing a rushed job...

Cat flap

Here is a picture of my cat flap. I've been thinking about getting a cat because I miss having a furry friend and I think it would improve my life to have a pet in my life. Undoubtedly, having contact with pets is something which is beneficial to my mental health - I find it really stress relieving to stroke a cat, and I enjoy sharing my life with other living creatures. I think I would find it greatly comforting to have an animal to nurture.

I'm working very hard and my colleagues are super pleased with what I'm doing, but I can't let my job totally define and consume me.

I'm trying very hard to find a girlfriend, but such things can't be rushed. I have very limited control over when and where fate is going to match me up with somebody who's got mutual feelings for me, worth embarking upon a relationship.

I'm trying somewhat less hard to make friends outside of work, because I'm simply flat-out.

My house is filled with mountains of boxes of unassembled flat-pack Ikea furniture and all of my stuff which still remains mostly in the cardboard boxes I used when moving. Some of the boxes have been opened and rummaged through for long-forgotten treasures, but some boxes are still sealed up with tape.

My clothes are mostly organised using the floordrobe system, where dirty clothes are piled up in one part of my bedroom, and clean ones in another.

I have more Ikea furniture arriving soon and I need to at least assemble a guest bed before I have my first visitor.

I'm hurriedly writing this, well aware that my sleep patterns have gotten out of sync with the corporate demands of capitalist society. It's late. I'm tired.

I'm not saying a whole lot that's very interesting or insightful, but these are my thoughts after a pretty punishing - although productive - week at the office. I veer violently from suicidal despair to arrogant delusions of grandeur, depending on whether I'm doing some really cool piece of work at the office, or whether I'm struggling to secure myself a romantic companion via the local dating scene.

I'm spending money like crazy, but it seems unavoidable given my need for a furnished home, plus I need to phone all the utility companies and tell them that it's just me living here in this giant house all on my own, so they stop charging me zillions of pounds for supplying energy, water and other services which I barely use. I'm spending money on dating. I'm spending money on replacing some of my threadbare worn-out clothes.

It seems crazy to get a kitten, but it also seems like something which would bring a flood of much-needed oxytocin, given my rather isolated existence. It seems like something I could be in control of: I just need to find a kitten for sale locally and adopt it, and then I can immediately enjoy my new pet. Having a little kitten to lavish attention on, and to brighten my day, sounds so lovely. I think I would be really overjoyed to come home from work every day and be greeted by a tiny furry friend. I think my life is sorely missing an outlet for my nurturing side.

I'm producing great work at the office and I'm not doing too badly in the dating game, but both things are unhealthy to do obsessively, and neither can be rushed.

Sometimes the sun shines, like it did this evening, and I feel like life is going really well. Most of the time I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of meeting new friends and getting a girlfriend, which are going to be essential pieces of the puzzle if I'm going to have a happy life here in this new city.

My writing is suffering, but I'm trying my best to juggle everything. It's pretty impressive that I've done so much in such a short space of time, but it's still unfortunately not quite enough to have yielded a life which meets my basic ordinary and realistic needs, such as secure relationships, financial security, stability and suchlike.

It's well past my bedtime. I'm struggling to catch up. The extra demands placed upon me have tipped the balance unfortunately to the point where I'm not quite managing to stay on top of everything. I'm balancing on a knife edge.

 

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I'm Sick Of Waiting

6 min read

This is a story about losing patience...

Washer

I suppose I am becoming acutely aware that there has been a very high cost associated with the ups and downs of recent years. The cost is mostly financial, but that has a drastic effect on every single area of my life. We live in a financially obsessed global economy which is reluctant to forgive debts, and in fact enforces its debts to the point of causing widespread suffering and death.

I borrowed from a friend in order to stave of bankruptcy and total destitution. The financial system would have ruined me and left me for dead. The black mark against my name would have made me unemployable and unable to rent a place to live. The consequences would have been unimaginable, unless you yourself have truly experienced the brutality of capitalism, and the harsh reality of having less than zero money.

In order to dig myself out of the hole I've had to work very hard, but unfortunately the value of the pounds and pence in my pocket are eroded by the capitalist system, faster than I'm able to generate income.

The system is rigged.

I'm well aware of how badly rigged the system is because I was caught on the wrong side of history - I was suckling at capitalism's teet, and I was fed by the biggest fattest pig of them all. I was at ground zero during the financial collapse of 2007/8. I had ringside seats. I was part of the inner circle.

I can't feel sorry for myself, because I've got blood on my hands.

I knew that I was involved in something very corrupt and immoral. I knew that I was involved in something that was completely in contradiction of the needs of society and humanity. I knew that I was seeing the very worst excesses of capitalism. However, I didn't quit until it was too late. I put my pride as an engineer before my instinct to reject what I could see in front of me - I had a system to finish building, and I couldn't stop myself. I concentrated on doing my job, instead of stopping and blowing the whistle.

Did I see anything I could've actually stopped? No.

The complicity is so widespread that nobody can stop capitalism. So many people profit so handsomely and benefit excessively that capitalism's an unstoppable force. As my colleagues counselled me: The only person I'm hurting is myself.

Still though, I know instinctively that only a small segment of global society benefits from capitalism, while most people are exploited, forced to suffer and die.

What's staggering is that I can work very hard for 15 consecutive months and effectively get nowhere. It's remarkable how strongly capitalism has resisted me having a very modest standard of living. I simply want to live a debt-free existence, free from the tyranny of slave-drivers. I don't want Damocles' sword dangling over me anymore. I've worked hard enough in my lifetime to be granted some respite from the pressure, the stress and the exhaustion.

Every year a mountain of expenses are rained down onto my head. These are expenses that have to be paid just to be able to continue to play the game. This is the price of being alive, which is extremely high.

I only feel indebted to my friend. I don't feel like I owe anybody else anything at all.

Once I pay my friend back, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

At the moment, I'm not sure I can carry on.

It's been too exhausting to get to this point.

Anyway, it's all hypothetical at this stage. I still have another three or more months before I can fully repay the debt to my friend. I have to keep going so at least the trust and faith that my friend had in me can be proven to not be misplaced.

It shamed me to lose my status symbols - like my house - and it was very damaging to my self-esteem. Now, I simply wish to pay back a friend so I can die with some dignity.

I'm being a little melodramatic. I could have paid my friend back a long time ago, but I've been trying to make life feel worth living. I had a couple of very nice holidays in the autumn and winter of last year. It did feel momentarily nice to enjoy the fruit of my labour, but the choice to do that has delayed the day when I'm debt-free again.

Perhaps my mood will improve as the weather improves. The clocks spring forward at the end of the month and the days are getting longer. Warmer weather will lift my spirits. Perhaps I will even have a pleasant summer.

My weekend has been full of chores like grocery shopping, installing my washing machine, doing laundry and getting my hair cut, but perhaps I'm a little grateful that a couple of major pieces of the puzzle - my job and my home - are in place, even if there's an enormous amount of work ahead of me.

I toss ideas around in my head, like starting dating again, or getting a kitten. I'm not completely depressed and suicidal. I can picture a more pleasant and bearable life in the not-too-distant future, but it's going to be stressful to get hold of what I want.

Why shouldn't I have everything I want right now, I sometimes ask myself. Why haven't I got everything, when at some point in my life I've had all the things, which cumulatively add up to everything I want. Why hasn't everything come together at the same time?

It's a bit spoiled brattish and unreasonable to expect to get everything, but I always compare effort and suffering with payoff. Where the effort and the suffering don't result in any payoff, then I question what the point of being alive is.

I know there are lot of people in the world who don't seem to be getting a fair payoff for their effort and suffering, but still they carry on. Some of them are happy. Good for them.

I suppose I'm unhappy being exploited and I'm unhappy doing the exploiting, which puts me in rather a difficult position. How does a person avoid either?

My assumption has always been that one day I'll see an opportunity to live my life free from exploitation, but increasingly I've come to recognise that it's impossible, except through suicide. Perhaps my outlook will change if I fall in love or find some purpose, but at the moment I'm just sitting and waiting, and I don't like what I see happening all around me.

I think I'm deeply depressed, which is understandable given the stress and the trauma of recent weeks.

 

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Made it this Far Didn't I?

5 min read

This is a story about yesterday's weather...

Food bank

Past performance is not indicative of future results. In the long run, we're all dead.

Do you know what actuarial tables are? I'm going to tell you even if you do. Actuarial tables tell you the probability that you're going to die, based on your age. Life insurance salesmen know that provided their average premiums received exceed their average payouts - which can be calculated from actuarial tables - then they will most likely make a profit. You would be foolish to not purchase insurance, because if you're unlucky enough to suffer death or other catastrophic loss, the risk you have indemnified your family or yourself against is a tiny fraction of the premiums you've paid. However, there comes an inflection point - the coefficient - where the premiums are the same or worse than simply putting that money aside each month, as your own insurance against the loss of something of unimportance, like your mobile phone.

The pension age of the United Kingdom was enacted into law in 1908, to be paid from your 70th birthday onwards. Only 25% of people would reach pensionable age in 1908, and those who lived to collect their old age pension would only live for 9 more years, on average. The pension was means tested, so it was not paid to anybody who could have been reasonably expected to support themselves. Most people born in the first decade of the 20th century lived through two world wars, further altering the demographics of the time.

Contrast that with today, where life expectancies have rocketed, but yet the baby boom generation have wrecked the planet with gas guzzling cars, atmospheric nuclear testing, irresponsible parenthood in the age of the contraceptive pill - plus high quality condoms & sex education - and an attitude that has generally mortgaged their grandchildren. Now, the insufferable hippies of the 60s and 70s are sitting on huge piles of assets - property that far exceeds their needs - while there is a housing crisis, refugee crisis, and the prospects for young people are diabolical. "Don't borrow any money or be profligate" these absolute c**ts chide, whilst having enjoyed limitless energy, well paid jobs for life, cheap housing, free university education and the expectation that they would retire on a full state pension at the age of 60 for a woman, and 65 for a man.

This is a repeating theme for me - I've often aired my views on the dreadful lack of respect that is shown to hard-working young people, by the older generation who had it all and then still asked for more. Today, this older generation tries to snatch unearned and undeserved money from a finite pot of wealth they didn't help to create.

I've lived in a little bubble, having been a sharp enough cookie to see which way the wind was blowing. I was raised with no respect from my parents or acknowledgement of my efforts in the face of the same adversities that we all face. So, I took myself off to wherever would pay me the most money, doing whatever I was best at, despite the personal hardships I incurred for supporting myself independently.

Wandering around Waitrose supermarket in the relatively newly-created private estate of Canary Wharf - where any undesirables are asked to leave by pretend policemen - one might argue that I'm some sort of investment banking spoiled rich kid who has no conception of the Real World Out There (not actually a place).

While depositing unused canned and dried foods into the local food bank collection point, a friend - who I also fucked in the dark while high on drugs (she has asked me to acknowledge this publicly for some reason) - rummaged through the items that your average Canary Wharf banker had donated. These included household essentials such as cashew nut butter.

There seems to be an orderly queue of people forming, who would like to claim individual credit for my existence. If we were to apply the strictest and simplest possible attribution of accreditation, my parents could claim 17 years and I could claim 20 years. If we take into account the undeniable fact that state institutions raised me from Monday to Friday, for at least 30 hours a week, from the age of 4, years old then we can see that my parents' claim is vastly diminished. I'm the reason I'm still alive; not anybody else.

"I suppose they should've let you starve then" you sneer.

Actually, I'd have preferred to not be born at all. To starve is to suffer. Why create life if only to make it suffer? It's immoral.

My parents clamour for adulation for achieving their detestable petit bourgeois rentier class aspirations of amassing a property portfolio that has negatively contributed to the fact that my sister - ten years younger than me - cannot afford the security of owning her own property. Notable is the hypocrisy that my parents will not lend my sister the deposit to buy a house, even though their parents gifted them the cash to buy their own first home. Now this bunch of self-congratulating smug old shits have arrived in a position of demographic dominance. These coffin-dodging c**ts outnumber the productive members out our society, and will continue to do so, like an infestation of fleas or other parasites, sucking the life blood out of a tiny kitten.

If you really thought about it, you'd fucking kill yourself. I certainly consider suicide every day.

 

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Being a Grown-Up

6 min read

This is a story about inevitabilities...

Essential consumables

If you stay alive long enough, sooner or later you're going to have to fend for yourself. You might have been lucky enough to have fallen in love with your childhood sweetheart and gotten married young. Perhaps your partner took the baton of domestic duties from your childhood primary caregiver, in a kind of relay race that has insulated you from household drudgery. Perhaps you were born into a wealthy family with a maid and a cook and a cleaner and a nanny... so the items above are as alien to you as anything that was tossed out of a passing flying saucer and into your hands.

In all likelihood, most people in the UK will have the misfortune of having to purchase and use a variety of products that are not glamorous or fashionable, but are essential for the functioning of a clean and hygienic home. The products pictured all belong to a family of consumables that will need to be used until the day you die, to clean up after yourself.

To say I lived a sheltered and cosseted existence as a child is untrue and unkind. However, I learned how to change the filter and engine oil of a car before I learned the importance of defrosting a freezer and cleaning a fridge at reasonably regular intervals. I'm not sure if I've ever cleaned any windows or dusted any cobwebs in my entire life, but I'd probably mowed more acres of lawn and collected a mountain of grass cuttings and leaves bigger - at the family home - than almost any boy in the United Kingdom.

I'm no working-class hero but I'm no pampered and spoiled brat either. I defy all simplistic attempts to classify me with a label of convenience. Even the word "manic" is something that I have taken ownership of - therefore it's me who uses the word ironically, mocking people's prejudices, as opposed to it being a pejorative that could be used against me.

You might believe that nature is 'in-balance' and that the 'top dog' or alpha males will have the best genes, but you'd be wrong. I'm sorry ladies, but if you decided to cash in your chips early with that popular and attractive boy when you were young, you've played a losing strategy. Like chess grandmasters, the most intelligent animals wait for the opposition to make a mistake and have planned several moves ahead, so that when the orgy of juvenile copulation is completed, those geeky boys who didn't get any attention in their teens are able to cherry pick the very sweetest, juiciest and most succulent fruit. Revenge is sweet, if you don't turn bitter.

"But he was so hunky and so good at sports" I hear you wail, neck-deep in housework and childrearing duties.

"But she was so sexy and good at blowjobs" I hear you grumble through gritted teeth as you sit in traffic, collecting your offspring from after-school activities before ferrying them to their next engagement like an unpaid taxi driver.

If your other half is male, does he have a beer gut, hairy ears, man-boobs and think that foreplay is rolling you over and shoving it in dry? If your other half is female, does she have saggy tits, a vagina ruined by the brats you spawned to replace yourself, and bingo wings?

Do you think pornography, prostitutes and rent boys are used predominantly by single people? You need your head examined if you do.

One of my most beloved science teachers - Mr Laithwaite - was reduced to tears when his wife gave birth, because of some emotions that were beyond his describing. These were definitely not tears of sadness though, but neither were they clearly tears of joy. A puppy is not just for Christmas, and a child is not just an inconvenient consequence of 30 seconds of copulation, which can merely be suffocated in a plastic bag and tossed into a canal.

Do you think I don't feel anything when I see a little kid hug their mummy or daddy? Do you think I don't desperately want to have a dog that licks my face and wags its tail in sheer delight when it sees me? Do you think I don't miss my cat, and my eyes don't prick with tears when I think about him?

Men don't have a menopause and erection medications have extended my 'use-by' date. My scrotum will continue to be full of sperm until I die, and if I froze some sperm today then I could virtually guarantee that I would be able to complete a vanity project - the raising of a chid who inherited half my genetic material, instead of adopting a malnourished child with no access to healthcare, or at least a child whose prospects would otherwise be fairly dire without adoptive parents.

"Fuck you, you sanctimonious prick!" I hear you vociferously snarl.

I adopted a kitten and raised him to adulthood even though this clearly made no sense - to bond with an animal that has 38 chromosomes when I have 46 - and I was so concerned with giving this pet the best possible life, that I fed him every day, even when I was skipping a week of meals myself. I care so much about the wellbeing of my cat, that I have only ever made him move house once in his entire life, which was unavoidable due to the actions of my ex-wife - she forced an innocent animal to suffer the upheaval of divorce [my cat, not me... but I suffered too].

They say that for men, moving house and divorce are the two most stressful things that can happen to you in your life. Anybody who's seen my two hand-drawn maps will know that I'm no stranger to moving house, and that a succession of house moves started before I was even 1 year old, and continued regularly at the whimsical behest of my parents, throughout my childhood... despite my childhood one might say.

Thus, we arrive at the present day. Fucked up childhoods create fucked up kids. Quelle surprise!

All I can say is, that when I left home before the age of 18, it was a great relief. Even though I have had to cook, mop floors, hoover carpets, make beds, wash, dry and iron my clothes - it has felt like a privilege, not a chore.

Also, I've used contraception, which has been available since well before the day I was conceived. There's no fucking excuses for any 'accidental' or 'unplanned' pregnancies - we're not baboons or amoeba, reproducing without sentient intellect.

 

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So Lonely

10 min read

This is a story about isolation...

One Shoe

I've had 3 attempts at living in domestic bliss in my lifetime.

The first attempt, I was way too young. At just 21 years old, what the hell did I think I was doing living in a Surrey commuter town? Taking the old slam-door train into Waterloo every day and having to ride "the drain" which is the packed tube that carries you directly into the heart of the City of London. I played golf on summer evenings and at weekends. I generally acted as if I was 50, not 21. Also, I was with the poor girl out of a desperate desire not to be alone, rather than because I was attracted to her, which is never a good reason to be with somebody. Our flat was nice enough, but somehow bland; faceless; soul-destroying. Leaving central London for that life, was a huge mistake.

The second attempt, I picked the wrong girl. I was certainly attracted to her, and she was smart - a science graduate from a good university - so she ticked almost every box. However, she was mean; just plain mean. There was a vicious aggressive streak to her and she managed to rub most people she met up the wrong way. My friends called her "the poison dwarf". We bought a suburban house and tried to make it work. Getting a kitten was the only thing that was successful - we bonded over looking after our cat. Perhaps - although reckless - there's something to be said for doing what my parents did, which is to have a child even though your relationship is a load of dog shit. I ended up marrying this girl. It did not last long. You can't pair a mean aggressive person with somebody who's a sensitive needy soul like myself: I'm fragile; I'm easily hurt, if you want to hurt me; I'm a pretty easy target - I'm open and unguarded.

The third attempt happened very naturally. Perhaps it's an age thing - we were both getting to the point where, how did she put it? "It's time to shit or get off the pot". She was very committed and I loved that - it made me feel so loved and secure; wrapped up in cotton wool. I'd look for her hand, and hers would be there, ready to hold mine. If I felt like I was going to fall, she'd reassure me that she was going to catch me. The thing is, I was broken and sick - there was so little left of me to love. I was ridiculously needy, but she seemed to take that in her stride and make incredible allowances and forgivenesses for all kinds of transgressions.

How it came to pass that my latest attempt at domestic bliss fell apart, I shan't go into the detail of out of respect for her, and an agreement to leave each other in peace. However, there are a couple of things that I need to write about, just because I need to clarify them in my own mind. There's a certain amount of lunacy that led to the downfall of that relationship, and I need to unpick it a bit... to untangle the mess.

We hadn't had an argument for months. We got along so well. We were best friends and we were mostly inseparable. She had social engagements, and I didn't suffer FOMO or jealousy. We got through a family Christmas and some other stressful times, without so much as a cross word. In a way, that made me feel uneasy. We were not well practiced at resolving conflict.

As my health failed and my career faltered, all of our optimistic dreams of the future were under threat. She was supportive, but I was losing what little identity and self esteem I had; I was becoming ever more dependent on her. It emerged that I was full of bitter regret that my path through life had led me away from interesting things, smart people, daily challenges: my career had become little more than stoically watching projects get bollocksed up by total morons, in return for obscene amounts of money - a bribe, if you like, to rubberstamp the wrongdoing I had to witness. Her career reminded me of everything I had ever aspired to do with my life - to make the world a better place.

I became deeply insecure. Not insecure because she left me with any doubt that she would be committed, loyal and supportive, no matter how bad things got. No... I was insecure about my worth; my value as a person; my contribution; my career choice; my ability to deliver on my end of the bargain of the domestic bliss dream. I was on a hair trigger.

She didn't know how to debate; how to argue, as it turned out. We still live in an age where sexism is working out its kinks, and our intellectual women have been excused from having to back their assertions with evidence or logic, or refute a point with a well constructed counter-argument. Contradiction was all she knew, and I had to walk away in frustration, the first few times we argued.

Because of my loneliness; my isolation, when we argued - over something that was deeply distressing to me - I turned to social media to arbitrate. I didn't know where else to turn. When you have the evidence in front of you, but somebody is arguing that black is white and refusing to back down, what do you do? To post up the transcript of an argument on Facebook, and let the crowd decide is not a great thing to do, but I was being tormented; driven mad.

I'm not really sure what happened afterwards. I was completely isolated and completely exposed. I had laid out my position: the irrefutable evidence. Maybe I needed the strength of the crowd behind me, to follow through and end a relationship with somebody who would put their intellectual vanity ahead of my feelings - be prepared to lie and twist the truth just to 'win' [in their mind, at least]. Maybe what I really wanted was this misbehaviour to end, and for the relationship to be repaired.

We finally reached a point of communication where the unjustified contradictions, the lies and the twisting of the truth was replaced by apologies and kind words, but I'm not sure whether I was just being humoured - this was the endgame. Having gut-wrenchingly lost my best friend, my lifelong companion, the love of my life - albeit a whirlwind romance - I briefly thought that these words of contrition showed a willingness to try and fix the relationship. Alas, no... I was mistaken. She swallowed her pride privately, for my benefit, but to do so publicly was unthinkable for her.

She might not understand that I resorted to social media, because I have no sycophantic courtiers to prop up whatever ill-founded notions I want to believe - I have no "yes" men who tell me I'm right, even when they only know half the story. I've lived most of my life feeling isolated and alone. I couldn't be much more alone than now: estranged from my family for over 2 years and all my contact with my friends is through social media. When I'm not working, I have almost zero face-to-face human contact. Social media is the only place where my side of the story gets told. Social media is the only place where my friends can give me support, making me feel a little less isolated, alone, and vulnerable. It's easy to beat up a person who has nobody sticking up for them.

She's not a bully, unlike my ex-wife. She's a nice person and we were best friends. It's just that I became very fragile when I lost everything - my family, my regular social contact with friends, my job, my financial security. Her inflated ego brutally squashed what little security and happiness I had, as she foolishly boasted about being a public figure; a minor celebrity; at the centre of the universe.

There were periods of humility, and I thought we would get through the problems we'd had, but instead, she has thrown herself back into her career with some gusto, and I must satisfy myself with the sole and unintended benefit of now being at liberty to consider opportunities outside London.

I write this, largely driven by fear. Fear of being alone, but also knowing that loneliness and isolation are deadly. It's more fear of death - through suicide, obviously - that's caused me to write this today. I feel alone and I'm mourning the loss of that all-to-brief period where I felt I'd met my lifelong companion. It's taking longer to come to terms with and comprehend how it all fell apart so quickly, than one might intuitively believe would be necessary: to grieve for the loss and move on. Isolation breeds isolation, and I've had almost nobody to talk to about the breakup; nobody supporting me; nobody on my side.

Having learned from my mistakes of the past, I don't want to be with somebody, just because I'm afraid of being alone, but I had to write this today, because my last relationship was as close to perfect as I've ever imagined it possible to achieve... but yet it still ended, and it ended badly. I guess the lesson I learned is that there are really great girls out there, but there's going to be irreconcilable conflict where their delusions of grandeur unfortunately collide with a collapse in my own self-esteem.

Feeling as alone and isolated as I do - connected to the world almost exclusively through social media - makes it frighteningly easy to seriously consider suicide as an option. I think about a handful of people who regularly ask how I am, on Twitter and Facebook, and a friend who has helped me immensely with a number of practical matters: these are the fragile little hooks on which I hang, suspended over the precipice. Many suicides will be a result of a failed relationship, but the effect of my latest breakup was counter-intuitive: now I feel safe to discuss the complete collapse in my self-esteem, without somehow laying blame at the feet of my ex. I don't want people to feel responsible. I wouldn't kill myself to spite a person. I don't even want to die angry with the world.

My ex's productive output is out there in public and it causes me great pangs of pain, as it reminds me what I loved about her, but also I am able to see that I was damaging her career... an unwelcome distraction at a time when big opportunities were presenting themselves for her to demonstrate her very best work. "If you love them, let them go" is an oft-quoted platitude, and I wish I were able to claim in all honesty that I was acting so selflessly. In truth, it's more like "I can see that she's better off without me".

This is the seed of the suicidal: "the world is better off without me".

 

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Nice Place to Die

12 min read

This is a story about fear of death...

London panorama

I had 3 major admissions to the Royal Free Hospital on the hills of Hampstead, overlooking central London. I snapped this shot after waking up with canulas in both my arms, 10 cables attaching me to an ECG machine, a motorised drip pump shoving fluid into me as fast as it could go. I was a pincushion from all the blood samples that had been taken.

Doing a quick body scan, my right leg was horrifically swollen. My right knee was damaged. The operation to reunite the two halves of my calf muscle, repair 4 severed tendons and reconnect 2 nerves, was still healing. I had a big burn on my lower abdomen. There was throbbing dull pain just under my ribcage at the front, and either side of my back, where my liver was torn and my kidneys were failing. There was fluid on my lungs. My chest was tight and constricted.

Was I scared? Did I call out for a loved one? Did it bother me that my prognosis was pretty grim? Do you think it even crossed my mind that I might die alone, except for one or two strangers in the mostly empty ward?

The photo captures the sun low in the sky, not long after dawn.

As long as I die in London, I know I tried my best to find my way back to the land of the living. I have no fear of death in London. Nobody dies of shame in London. If you can't find your will to live in London, you can slip away peacefully. You're never truly alone in London.

I had a 4 hour operation under general anaesthetic to fix the injury inflicted upon me by my parents. I travelled home on the bus on my own after a few days recovering in hospital. My leg was in plaster cast, held in severe dorsiflexion and was not weight bearing. I was as weak as a kitten. I let myself back into my friend's house, hopped up the stairs to the guest bedroom and collapsed in bed.

I had already spent several days in Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital in their high-dependency care unit, while they tried to stabilise my muscle damage and save me from kidney failure. I'd made my way back to London with a blood sodden bandage that was little better than the field dressing that I had improvised with sanitary towels and a dressing gown cord, before paramedics arrived. I had assumed that despite the wound being down to the bone, it was nothing that a couple of stitches at a minor injury clinic couldn't fix. It wasn't me who called 999. I was just trying to get back to London.

Back in London and finding myself with a spare evening before my operation, I had gone to a adventure sports film festival, hobbling along with my lame leg. The severed tendons meant that I was not even able to raise my foot any more, and it dragged and caught on kerbs and steps, causing great pain.

Having never experienced a general anaesthetic, I felt the same trepidation that I felt before my first skydive or another extreme leap into the unknown. However, there was never any doubt that it was something I couldn't face on my own. Just go along with it. Trust to fate, skilled professionals and technical equipment. Blind faith.

You should see the way I ride my bike. One slip and you're a goner, when you thread your way in-between the massive heavy goods vehicles, transporting steel beams for the construction of Crossrail. The double-decker bus drivers are amazingly skilled and seem to manage to not squash too many cyclists. However, when you mix together the debutanté Über drivers in their Toyota Priuses, hard-up black cab drivers, various small delivery vehicles, plus the unpredictable mix of abilities of people driving around central London, it's no wonder that paramedics call bike riders "organ donors".

When I hear that yet another of my fellow commuters has hurled themselves under a tube train, I burst into tears. It's too much to bear, thinking that some of my fellow Londoners have reached the end of their rope too. Perhaps those less personally affected by suicidal thoughts are the ones who tut about how selfish it is that a huge underground station has to be evacuated so that the human remains can be bagged and carted off to the coroner. The disruption to the capital's transportation network seem huge, but there are so many other veins and arteries in the heart of the nation, that people find alternative routes quite easily, with minor delays.

I'm not emotional when it comes to my own death.

I have fantasised about going on a scouting mission to a nearby tower block that has an open-air balcony with a 40 floor drop. My only concern would be landing on some poor unfortunate on the pavement below - hence the need to check the drop zone in advance.

I would never throw myself in front of a train. It would be too traumatic for the driver and the people on the platform. Even people on the train would feel a bump and judder as the wheels crushed bone and flesh. I know they would. People have described to me exactly what it's like for a tube train to run over a passenger, and I've had to run out of the office crying. Strangely, I don't cry for myself.

Jumping off a bridge in London would be pointless. None of the bridges are high enough, unless you were able to scale Tower Bridge.

Killing yourself in a public place is a bit selfish though. It's bound to leave a big mess to clean up and cause distress for an unpredictable number of people.

I didn't want to commit suicide while I was staying with friends. I felt that it might have been seen as some negative reflection on their hospitality, and would leave bad memories in the guest bedroom where I had been staying, which would tarnish their home.

I'm mindful that whoever I'm living with is burdened already with the uncertainty over whether my resolve to keep myself alive and well is not slipping.

When I am seized by the sudden urge to take myself and a sharp knife to the bathroom and open my radial arteries into the bath, I worry if I would cry out in pain as I dug into the joint on the inside of the joint of my arm, searching for the blood vessels with the sharp point of the blade. Then I worry whether I would be able to contain the mess within the bath, as my heart pumped my circulatory system dry.

Before I have gone any further with these thoughts, I realise that it would be grossly unfair to leave the discovery of my body and handling the police to a friend who doesn't deserve such a responsibility.

I think about setting myself aflame with petrol, in political protest at capitalism, inequality and social injustice, right in the centre of Canada Square. I think about how desperately agonising it would be to be burnt alive. I think about how suffocation would be as deadly as the heat, as the flames consumed all the available oxygen. Gasping for breath, and in unimaginable agony, death would be neither swift nor immediately assured. Dying of the burns over the course of the coming days would not be a great way to contemplate any last regrets.

It's the halfway situation that's the problem. A failed drug overdose so often results in organ failure and a much slower and more painful death than originally intended. Being knocked off your bike while wearing a helmet could mean paralysis rather than death. I know what it's like to score my arms with a razor blade. I know what it's like to wonder what the scars are going to look like when they heal. I know what it's like to experiment to see how deep you have to cut to reach the veins. However, so many cuts will stem the bleeding enough to preserve life, despite leaking profusely at first.

If you spend any time in psychiatric instituions, you meet suicide survivors. Most have had their stomachs pumped or filled with activated charcoal. Many will have their wrists bandaged. Scars from previous half-hearted failed attempts and self-harm, indicate a certain revolving doors nature to our treatment approach. Some of my fellow patients confide in me that they are saving up the very pills that were prescribed to them to prevent their suicide, so that they can have another go. One guy saved his tablets for 8 months and had things well planned except for an unexpected visitor. He was in intensive care for several weeks. He now faces a life of dialysis because his kidneys failed due to the toxic load. He was planning on attempting suicide again at his earliest opportunity.

I met a beautiful young Australian paramedic in hospital. You would have thought that she would value life higher than anybody, but the lesions to her neck indicate that she'd used her medical training to attack her jugular veins.

I read that media coverage of suicide can trigger a spate of copycat suicides. Newspapers are discouraged from reporting on the suicide method used. It's said that jails are like universities for criminals to swap tips and make connections. Could it be that mental health institutions are the same for the suicidally depressed, with more people being likely to end their lives using ideas gleaned while in hospital?

Frankly, there isn't much stopping a resourceful person from finding a way to kill themself. I've considered everything from inert gas to the application of an electrical current across my chest to send me into ventricular fibrillation. The one that is most appealing is drifting off to sleep and not waking up.

There's a famous quote by one of the few people who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, where they said they regretted it as soon as they had let go.

When I once took a drug overdose, there was a momentary twinge of regret that could have lasted about as long as it would have taken me to fall and hit the water, having jumped off a high bridge. There was a period where I would have been able to eject the toxins from my body, if I was suddenly determined enough to save myself. Instead, I then found myself accepting my fate, and a strange calm came over me before the chemicals hit my bloodstream. I was resigned and relaxed about whatever happened next. Death or organ failure. I didn't care.

It was only after a couple of days when my paralysis temporarily lifted and it was clear that the only way I was going to die was very slowly through the accumulated damage to my body, malnutrition and dehydration. I was pissing copious amounts of blood, and I knew I had to make a choice: an agonising slow death where I could be discovered, but it would definitely be the end of my kidneys, or a trip to the hospital and re-evaluate the situation.

I tidied my room. Took a shower. Packed my bags. Called a taxi. Sat in Accident and Emergency for hours.

When I was examined I was immediately admitted and I spent nearly 3 weeks in hospital.

It wasn't the right time to die. This was before I had worked my contracts at Barclays, HSBC and my current client. This was before I had somewhere nice to call a home of my own again. This was before I put together a 370,000 word document that explained who I was and how I arrived at the decision to take my own life.

I lay on the floor, semi-paralysed, and I thought about what kind of message I could scrawl in my incapacitated state, that would make it clear that I knew what I was doing. The circumstances leading up to that moment were a mess. It was too ambiguous. Even a suicide note would be seen in the context of great misfortune and stressful events in my life leading up to that point.

I had planned on starving myself to death or in some way doing myself in on the 1st of January, as some kind of protest at the way that we surmise a suicide with a neat soundbite that's supposed to explain all the reasons why somebody took their own life:

  • "depression"
  • "financial worries"
  • "drug problems"
  • "broken heart"
  • "loss of status"

Take your fucking pick.

Without a conversation, we desecrate the memory of a dead person, by trying to oversimplify the complex problem of what could drive a person to arrive at the decision to kill themself.

In Japan, suicide is an honourable thing. The act of seppuku might be a protest over a decision or a preferable fate to torture. Preparation for the act includes writing a death poem.

Do you really want to be that crazy old homeless guy, yelling "I used to be somebody" as the world pays no attention and the streets finally swallow you into anonymity?

All glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

 

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What Do I Tell My Kitten?

6 min read

This is a story about bad news...

Frankie the kitten

First and foremost, I'm a member of the human race, living on planet Earth. We all have the same needs: oxygen, food, water, warmth. The needs of our species are no different, depending on where you were born. We are virtually genetically identical, no matter what your passport says, and what colour your skin is.

Secondarily, I belong to the continent of Europe. I could probably swim across the English Channel to get to the mainland, and I'm certainly considering it in light of recent events. I don't know if you remember this, but we even built a tunnel under the sea, so that we could be connected with our nearest national neighbour.

What even is a nation anyway? What are these fake divisions that we create? What are these lines on maps?

Do you think I can tell Frankie - my kitten - that he needs to stay within some kind of imaginary zone, whenever I let him out into the garden? Do you think he'll understand that he's allowed to play with cats who were born on a certain patch of dirt, and not others? Do you think Frankie feels proud when he sees a Union Jack flag?

How do I explain recent political events to my cat?

Frankie was rather fond of the French and German cat treats, but now that we have to import them and the value of the pound has plummeted, he may have to settle for bland English cat snacks. How do I make him understand that somehow this is because a bunch of people voted to cut themselves off from our neighbouring nations? How do I deal with his sad eyes, when he sees that he's not getting his favourite food anymore? Do you think he's pleased that I'm "buying British" and feels proud when he sees the little Union Jack on the can or packet of food?

Also, people are starting to be mean to poor Frankie, because he's half black. Just because of the colour of his fur, people are shouting angry abuse at him. He doesn't know why. He poops on everybody's garden equally - he doesn't discriminate based on fur colour. In fact, he's kinda colour blind because he's a cat.

How am I supposed to console poor Frankie, when he comes home meowing with sadness, because he feels less welcome in his own home than he used to? It's not fair that he lives in a world of black & white, when he is neither pure black, or pure white... he straddles a border that has been invented by people who want to divide us all.

Shouldn't kittens everywhere be free to roam, as if there were no borders between one garden and the next? Isn't it better for a kitten to be able to play with whichever cats he wants to, without having to check their pet passport, and ask to see their family tree?

Where do we draw the line? I'm not even sure of Frankie's ancestry, because he's a cat, and we don't keep a record of the births, deaths and marriages of cats. For all I know, his parents were Pakistani stowaways and here in the country 'illegally'. He doesn't look like an alien, he looks like a cat, but perhaps he's not welcome, because of which particular bit of dirt he happened to be born on at any one time.

Cat attack

How do I explain to him, that because of his fur colour, people assume that he's not British, and he's therefore unwelcome in the place of his birth? How do I explain to him, that a bunch of people want to "send him home" when he's already home? Where the hell is his home, anyway? Where do you want to send him, you beastly idiots?

As the parent of a kitten, how am I supposed to explain any of this to such an innocent creature? He doesn't want to hurt anybody. He just wants to eat cat food, sleep in the sunshine and shit in your flower bed. He doesn't even want to hurt a mouse - he just likes playing with them and leaving them as little presents outside the back door.

Chucking Frankie out of 'your' country, because he's got a bit of black fur won't help you. Discriminating against my cat is not going to get you a job, it's not going to get you a council house, it's not going to reduce the queue at the doctors or reduce the class size at your school.

I have a cat because he improves my life. All those fluffy cuddle times. The relaxation I get from stroking his lovely soft fur. My life is better with a black & white cat in my life. I'm glad he's here.

Yes, sure, I'm scared about my job security, and whether any human children I might have will have everything their heart desires. But, I know that being mean to a bunch of innocent kittens isn't going to solve the problems in this country.

Cats enrich our lives, wherever they were born. Cats come over here, eat our food, take up space in our favourite seat, don't even work. But, I'm certainly grateful for what cats bring to my life. I'm happy to see their little whiskery faces, no matter what colour their fur is and where they were born.

Yes, OK, maybe it's not you who is being mean to cats, but your actions certainly legitimised the abuse of poor kittens. Because you sided with the bunch who want to discriminate against cats of a certain fur colour, you ended up supporting their cause. Because of your selfishness, cats like Frankie don't feel welcome in their own home, just because he's got some black fur.

You might think that you voted in the interests of your own kittens, but all kittens are equally fluffy, cute and loveable. Why do you think it's OK to be mean to my kitten, by trying to put the needs of your kitten ahead of the whole of the rest of kittendom?

All cats should be treated equally, and dividing them along lines that they can't even understand is barbaric. Cats can't read the nationality on their pet passport. Cats can't read maps and understand the concept of national borders. Cats can't sing national anthems or salute the flag. Cats are scared by the sound of guns. Cats aren't able to stupidly glorify war and killing.

Can't we all just celebrate the joy that cats bring to our lives?

Think of the kittens.

Garden Frankie

Look at the sadness in those eyes. Heartbreaking

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Advent Calendar (Day Fourteen)

16 min read

This is a story about libido...

Cum Road

You're probably not aware of the role that your sex drive plays in your thoughts and actions, but it's the most fundamental force in your human behaviour. It's programmed into your DNA to procreate. It's essential for the survival of the species.

Ask yourself the philosophical question why are we here? What is your answer? If it's something about watching TV or getting fat and dying or going to work, then you're clearly not a very elevated thinker. If it's something to do with children, then you're at least able to identify that you're basically just an animal under your fancy clothes.

Personally, I want to figure out as much as possible about how the Universe works. I want to answer questions about the fundamental nature of reality. I want to know the answers to unanswerable questions. But how do we know they're unanswerable unless we search for answers?

Theologians from all religions were content to come up with some hand-wavy claptrap theory that wasn't backed by any experimental evidence. They attempted to come up with convenient ideas that dumb people could grasp, and could be neatly packaged into sermons and soundbites, so that the ideas would spread like a horrible virus of stupidity.

People like to spread ideas, just like they enjoy spreading their genetic material. Being influential, being a thought leader... it brings you more power & status, and therefore the better potential mates. If you are a powerful thought leader, you get to have a pretty girlfriend or a hunky boyfriend. It comes down to sex, again.

Every time you get a new Twitter follower, or a retweet, or a like on Facebook, or a post shared, or a friend request, or a comment that engages with something you shared or liked or posted yourself... you get a dopamine hit. Your brain rewards you for spreading seeds.

Blue Balls

Internet memes and email chain letters. These kinds of things are just somebody wanting to test the reach of themself as a cult personality. You see loads and loads and loads of pictures of teachers being shared, holding a piece of cardboard that says "Let's see if I can get this shared in Australia. Do it for your kids!" or some other lame patheticness.

If you don't have kids of your own, you feel acutely aware that you're dying, and you're not going to leave any mark on the world. Yup, you'll be gone and forgotten, because you have no genetic heirs who might carry on your name and your teachings. Parents are very influential in their kids lives, beyond the genetic material they give to them. They shape their values and their fundamental ideas.

Because I don't like my parents, I reject their ideas and values. Instead of history, I studied geography. Instead of religion, I study science. Instead of the piano, I learn the guitar. Instead of being a Conservative, I'm a socialist. Instead of being a selfish c**t, I'm a humanist. You get the general idea.

So it looks like I'm very down on parents, but really I'm not. I see lots and lots of great parents out there who give their kids a brilliant life. I see lots and lots of parents out there who love their kids and make them feel loved and cherished and cared for and happy. I see lots of my friends with smiling happy looking children, and I know that because my friends are caring and nice, they are caring and nice parents too.

It looks like I'm being down on teachers, but I'm really not. I had some amazing teachers who I can still remember the names of, and loads of really important things that they taught me. I had teachers who really went the extra mile, and taught me the things that are really important in my life and allowed me to distance myself from my parents and escape a horrible life.

I'm a big believer in planned parenthood. If you're not going to go the distance with kids, don't get involved in their lives. Kids need consistency, reliability, inspiration, praise, love & care. The world has plenty of things that are going to kill kids and injure them and knock their confidence and destroy their self-esteem. It's not a parent's job to add to a child's woes.

In the UK we have a nanny state. However, that doesn't mean that you're a rich Victorian who has employed a nanny to rear your children. What it is supposed to mean is that there's a safety net there if you f**k up. You're not supposed to f**k up. Having a safety net there does not mean you can just take drugs and not work, and spawn as many children as you want.

It sounds like I'm having a go at a tranche of society, but I'm not. I'm aware that there are a huge number of young people who just smoke dope and play computer games. It looks to the untrained eye like they're lazy and idle, but the fact is that they have no prospects, no opportunities.

Those kids who sit around smoking dope and playing computer games have been failed by parents who decided to have children without thinking about their future. The time to plan for a child's future is before they're born. You line up your ducks and then you shoot them down. You don't just risk it and hope for the best, unless you want to go back to living in caves and bashing each other over the head with clubs.

Pregnancy Test

Earlier this year, I was sent this photo from a girl I knew. I looked at the date stamp of the image. The photo was taken in 2006. I put the image into Google Reverse Image Search and found that she had taken the image from another woman's blog. That's rather strange behaviour.

The strangest part was that she claimed to be pregnant by me, even though I hadn't ejaculated in her vagina. The thing about being pregnant is, that it usually involves ejaculation into a vagina. Some sperm have to be ejected near enough to the cervix for those little tadpoles to swim to an egg and fertilise it. I'm not sure if I have super sperm, but I'm pretty sure they can't travel through time, get another woman pregnant and then transport the foetus forward in time and implant it in a different womb. Maybe I'm just a bit too heavily reliant on this science stuff though?

Yeah, I put my faith in technology and science, rather than religion, and it turns out that I was right. You do have to ejaculate in somebody's vagina for them to become pregnant. It turns out she wasn't pregnant. What a bizarre turn of events. Who would have thought that I could have planned to not get somebody pregnant like that?

Not Pregnant

There have been other times when there's been a risk but there's this thing called the morning after pill, which is an exceedingly unpleasant thing to have to take. I'd never recommend or suggest a woman should take it. I imagine that you wouldn't take it unless you want to be really careful that you don't have a baby after a moment of drunken madness.

Babies are for life, not just an inconvenient mistake.

Yes, if you decide to keep your baby, you should really prepare yourself to go the distance. You might have to look after that kid for up to 18 years. That's a long time. They're also not cute like a kitten or a puppy. They scream and shit and vomit everywhere. Your fanny will get ripped to pieces and all your nice things will get covered in snot.

Babies also grow into little children who need trainers and a tracksuit or whatever sub-culturally appropriate clothes they need to wear in order to not be beaten to shit for non-conformity. They can be your special little angel, who is unique and is going to be a brain surgeon. Yes they can be your fantasy, but only in your f**king dreams. At least let them not be bullied their entire f**king childhood if you send them to school rather than locking them in a basement.

Snuggled Up

I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but I wasn't very well. I had been sleeping rough on Hampstead Heath. I bumped into this friend when I was looking for a warm bed for the night and she was very keen that she get this photo of us together. I was very keen to get some sleep. Sleeping rough is hard.

So why on earth would a woman want to get pregnant by a homeless guy anyway? It seems ridiculous. Probably the very least likely person to be able to provide a happy stable home for a growing infant. Well, my theory is that women's caring instincts are activated by seeing a proverbial bird with a broken wing.

It does work to a certain extent. If you can't find Mr Perfect, you can find somebody who's heartbroken and in trouble and help to fix them up. You can fix a man and make him happy and healthy. I don't recommend or condone faking a pregnancy though. You shouldn't take things that far.

Because my parents lied about supporting me, I had to turn to friends and girlfriends. My parents told me they would help me get through my difficult divorce, until my house was finally sold and I was back on my own two feet again in London. They are liars. There was no support. They just lied. They liked saying the words "we'll support you, we'll help" but they had no intention of helping anybody. They are liars and c**ts.

Luckily, there is a peer-to-peer support network. Friends and girlfriends helped me out when my parents lies were exposed as nothing but hot air.

My parents are always looking for an excuse not to help. They are masters of the reason why they aren't going to do what they committed to doing, or just lying. They will say something and then deny they ever said it, if it's more convenient to just lie. They figured out that it's easier to just tell the world you're a good parent, to lie about being a good parent, than to actually do the hard work of being a good parent.

Being a good parent is hard work. Alternatively, you can just concentrate on lying, then you don't have to do the hard work. If you just concentrate on sitting around taking drugs and lying and training your kid to hide your guilt, then you have a lot more time & money for drugs and alcohol.

The problem is, that you are dumping your child onto the state. The child doesn't expect it, because your child trusts you and believes your lies. The state doesn't expect rich middle class parents to dump their kids on the state either, which means that those kids end up stuck in a precarious position.

The state can't really afford to support any broken homes. I don't feel entitled to state support, but I do feel aggrieved when people who supposedly care about me break their promises. Especially when those promises are repeatedly and insistently made. If you make some throwaway remark about "just let us know if there's anything we can do to help" then I understand that you just like the way those words sound. You just like the warm fuzzy feeling you're giving yourself by making some empty offer you have no intention on making good on.

My parents work very hard to demonise me. To ruin my good standing with people. To blacken my name. Family life is much easier if you've picked a black sheep to be the one you blame for your own shortcomings.

Unhappy Family

My Dad had previously used his own brother as the black sheep. He liked to spread negative gossip about his own brother, and generally ostracise and antagonise him. When his brother sufficiently distanced himself from my unpleasant father, he moved on to me. I'm now the guy who he likes to bitch and whine about, while with his other face pretending like he's a supportive Dad.

The fact of the matter is that he perpetuates a co-dependent abusive relationship with my Mum. He's horribly abusive to her. They managed to numb themselves to the destructive nature of their horrible relationship, by taking loads of drugs and getting drunk all the time, but they're horrible spiteful people when they're together. They hardly have any friends because they're so horrible to be around.

So, I've decided to break the cycle. Because I have a brain. Because I have self-awareness and I can self-direct my actions, I have decided that I'm not going to pass the buck. I'm not going to pass on the blame. I'm going to shove it right back to where it belongs. My Dad needs to stop abusing his girlfriend (my Mum) and stop being such a critic and a liar and a spreader of malicious crap. He needs to support my Mum and her kids or f**k off and die.

Obviously, it would be pretty hard on me to force his hand on this matter, so it's probably best if I just distance myself from him. However, I do worry that he will make my Mum's life even more hellish, or find another victim for his abuse. I feel responsible for stopping him from spreading any more human misery.

One way I have decided to stop the spread of his influence, is by considering my own potential fatherhood very carefully. It's very important to me that I'm absolutely nothing like that complete c**t. It's very important to me that if I do decide to have kids, that they have a really happy childhood and they're well supported when they need support.

Just having sex and then lying about taking responsibility is not acceptable. Abandoning your kids onto the state is not acceptable, especially when you have promised to help and misled your kids into believing they can count on you.

I've always planned around the idea that my parents are a complete waste of space and I'll need to make my own way in life, which is why I paid for the deposit and mortgage on my house and fully furnished it and spent loads of money on it, all without a single penny of parental support.

However, when I was going through a horrible divorce, moving from Bournemouth back to London, trying to find work, working on a new startup idea, reconnecting with friends and my business network... my parents were interested in earning money from me, while I waited for the equity in my home to be released. It was easier than going to a commercial lender. The problem is, that my parents are liars.

I could have arranged a bridging loan, but my Mum, on multiple occasions, reassured me that I didn't need to go through all the hassle of arranging a bridging loan. Given the fact that I had a huge pile of equity in my home, and we were only talking about a very small amount of money, and a potentially very healthy rate of interest for them, it seemed to be a win:win situation.

The problem is that my Dad's a c**t. He talked my own Mum out of helping her son and left me high & dry. What an utter c**t. They waited until the last minute and then pulled the rug out from under my feet. What total c**ts.

Don't make promises you have no intention of keeping.

I wonder if it's some Munchausen by Proxy thing. I wonder if my parents like keeping me sick and desperate. They are certainly a couple of irrelevant shrivelled up junkie alcoholic c**ts who should be kept away from the world. They certainly have nothing of value to offer, except to die and finally allow my sister and me to stop being beaten down by their harsh criticism, laziness and unrealistic expectations.

Anyway, I'm exhausted by it all. If they think they have won, and they get to label me for life and die smug, buried with their hoarded wealth but hated by their kids, because they totally failed as parents, then f**k them. I will shame them as much as I possibly can. I've done enough to prove my value. I've done enough to prove my work ethic, my ingenuity, my resourcefulness, my kindness, my caring. I've done enough.

I'm done, I'm through, I'm fed up, I'm p**sed off and I'm at the limit. I'm at the bitter end. I can't take it anymore.

I've been strung along. I've been lied to and had enough promises broken. I've had enough of the smug cunts telling everybody they're doing everything they can when really they're just undermining me and leading me on.

Yes, I've been led on. I was sold a lie. I was told that parents should be respected. I was led to believe that parents care. Throughout my childhood all I saw was that they cared more about having enough drugs and booze and cigarettes. They cared more about sitting around with their few friends or arguing with each other. That's where the time went. That's where the energy went. That's where the money went.

Sex is a dangerous thing if you're having it unprotected and you're not prepared to take the morning after pill or get an abortion for a child who you have no intention of loving and caring for. If you're not going to love your kids, kill them in the womb.

I'm going to abort myself, age 36. It's the abortion my mum should have had.

Cum Coffee

You like coffee for the same reason why you like sex and you like drugs... dopamine is released in your brain. You're just chasing a high, and you might be doing it so recklessly that you're making unhappy little children (October 2013)

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The Grass Is Greener

1 min read

This is a story about London...

Blue Eyes

This is Frankie the kitten on the day we took him home. He's cute.

Keeping a pet in London is probably cruel. He lives with my parents now, in the countryside. I think he likes it there.

I like London. It's great.

 

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The Passive-Aggressive Pedantic Pacifist

6 min read

This is a story about being patronised...

Mad Frankie

This is my cat, Frankie. He was the kitten that nobody else picked. He's the most loving cat you could ever hope to meet. He loves humans. He thinks he's a little doggy, and follows you around and licks your face and stuff.

I think that I provide a nurturing and loving home for people and animals. I don't have a lot of evidence for this, but my friends used to love coming to my house, before it was sold, and Frankie used to call it home, and be a happy well-adjusted kitty there.

I'm going to switch this blog from telling you about me, and tell you the story of two Franks. First, there is Frankie my cat. Second, there is Frank: my homeless friend from Primrose Hill. I promised Frank that I would tell his story, and in telling Frank's story, I inadvertantly became entwined in it.

Climbing the Hill

This is me climbing the hill, where I met Frank. I had no idea I was going to meet him. I was just taking photographs of London's skyline at daybreak. I sat down to rest on a park bench, struck up a conversation with a stranger, and our story began.

Frank's needs were not hard to understand, and seemingly not hard to address. As a firm believer in direct action, I was galvanized into a blur of activity. Who was I trying to save, him or me? Who cares... nobody else was there for Frank. Were you there for Frank? No. A lot of people had let him down. I had the time and the means to be able to try and help him.

Try is the operative word here. I'm going to try and not spoil the ending - which is going to be easy because we are writing the future as we live it - but I should let you know that this is no fairytale. I'm certainly not the knight in shining armour here. Despite my initial patriarchal attitude, it was me who learned from Frank, not vice-versa. He ended up helping me more than anybody could surely have predicted. I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to judge (with your super judgey-judgey face you reserve especially for people like me... whatever box that is you've tried to put me in).

So, what did I do? Well, we had a normal human conversation. Who knew that this is how human relationships are formed, and bonding and empathy can occur when we do such a thing. This so-called 'human connection' seemed to somehow transfer some understanding of Frank's fears and needs, into my brainbox, whereupon I somehow naïvely imagined that with whatever surplus I had, I might be able to help with some of his basic needs.

I defend thinking that I could help. You can't just throw money at the problem, but what have YOU tried yourself? Sure you read in a newspaper that we spend X on dealing with problem Y, and you think "that sounds like a lot of money" but really is it? How much direct support actually reaches people on the streets?

We absolutely can not criticise those who are trying to help, and take it from me, there really are not enough resources (shelter, food, volunteers, money for full-time workers and the real estate that is needed) to go around. This might sound anecdotal, but just use your eyes. Do you think people choose to sleep rough on the street? Are you stupid?

View from Primrose Hill

While you're digesting the fact that I just insulted your intelligence for being so prejudiced about the homeless, here's a photo of the view that Frank and I were enjoying on our park bench. Seems like a pretty sweet life, huh? Imagine waking up to this view every morning.

Have you noticed that it's not sunny every day? Have you considered that it rains a lot in the UK? Are you aware that it's pretty cold for most of the year, especially at night? Have you thought how you would stay warm & dry, if you had to sleep on the street year-round? How would you keep your clothes and sleeping gear from getting sodden with rain and dew? How would you stop your stuff from being stolen? Have you thought how much of your life you take for granted?

Is this too challenging? I know that it is, but I don't really care if you want to bury your head in the sand. I don't actually care if you switch off, disengage. I'm not writing this for you. I'm writing this for me & Frank. Maybe I'm just writing it for me, but it's still about Frank and it's still true. Try and dismiss me, try and dismiss this... go on!

JPMorgan Chase & Co investment bank employee and home owner tries to help homeless guy... coincidentally becomes homeless himself and follows in the footsteps of Frank. This is the true story I'm going to tell you.

God Bless the Met

I asked a member of Her Majesty's Constabulary (a Metropolitan Police Officer) to be a witness to me fulfilling the first of Frank's needs, right there and then, on the spot. Frank did not have a mobile phone, as he had been mugged. Without a means of contact, the Safer Streets team have very little way of finding people, except if they are sleeping somewhere obvious where they are preyed upon by muggers... Catch 22. I gave Frank my iPhone, and had a passing Policewoman witness the giving of this gift, in case he was ever accused of theft.

This was just the beginning of a journey that entangled the tale of Frank with mine, as we travelled on a similar voyage, through the same social ecosystem and his story became our story.

I took photos, and made notes throughout, but you have to believe me when I say that nobody would choose to go through what Frank and me went through. Nobody could plan for it. Nobody would want to experience it. Nobody should have to go through it, and I plan to share our journey, in the hope that people can empathise, rather than dismiss.

If you think "I've heard it all before" please share any links to those stories in the comments section below. Don't you think that the people who fall between the cracks should have their stories told? I do.

Fair Verona

From high up, we see just how far we can fall (October 2013)

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