2012 Continues its Shittery, But Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated

Good evening (or morning, if you prefer). It must have been about three weeks since I last posted, which is pretty much a record absence for me in the almost-three years that I’ve been writing this blog. There are some underlying reasons, I suppose, but primarily my disappearance can be attributed to the usual culprit: that of crippling, fuck you anhedonia. I haven’t been as badly afflicted by the phenomenon since I was a teenager. I mean, depression always carries this demon in its clutches, that much is a given, but it exists in degrees. The depression that has blighted my life so far this year was, initially, relatively free from anhedonia and its cousin, avolition – I blogged quite prolifically around the time of Maisie’s death, after all. I gravitated here when that happened; as it had been, Confessions became my outlet, my place to vent, my catharsis and analysis. In the last few weeks, I haven’t felt that at all.

This apathy and utter dearth of motivation have been compounded by an exhaustion of a magnitude I cannot describe. I’ve been sleeping poorly, and waking early when I do manage to find slumber for a few hours – but it’s more than just that sort of tiredness, for I’ve lived with that for many years. Every step I’ve taken recently has taken the effort that I’d imagine normals would put into a bloody marathon. My head constantly droops somewhere down in my chest – giving the unfortunate impression to the cameras and any other onlookers that I’m orally pleasuring myself – because I have not an ounce of strength to hold it up. My mind is either blank, or thinking repetitive, monotonous, lifeless thoughts. I have, on many days, literally had to tell myself what to do: “move your left foot now, Pan. Good, now move your left. No, no, fuck, sorry! Move your right. Yes, right. Good. Left now. Well done.” And my body aches with this…something. Aches aches aches. And sometimes my mind joins it: it can’t even summon the energy to feel anything with my usual levels of desperation. It currently doesn’t feel raw pain, just like my body doesn’t. It just aches.

[Coincidentally – or not? – the last time I felt tiredness on this scale was back when The Everythinger was here in August. More thrilling musings on that later…]

Perhaps ironically, therefore, I think the depression to which I alluded has abated a little. I’m confident that were I to take any of the usual diagnostic tests that I’d still be deemed ‘severely’ depressed, but, again, it’s about degrees. I do feel a bit better than I did when I last wrote. This could be the normal cyclical run of my supposed manic depression, or it could be down to Lamictal. I mentioned last time that Christine was going to ask NewVCB to increase my dosage of the aforesaid drug; however, NewVCB adamantly refused. Her rationale was something that I didn’t entirely comprehend – something along the lines of not raising the dose when I was planning to cut down on Seroquel, which I think translates as “don’t let her get too used to the stuff just yet, because she’ll need a fuckload more when we start titrating the Seroquel down.”

Why, then, has the drug possibly made a difference? The reason is that effectively the dose has increased. Confused? Well, I’m not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but since I’ve been taking 100mg of Lamictal, that has (theoretically) meant ingestion of one tablet in the morning, and one in the evening. In effect, this has meant one in the evening only – ie. 50mg daily – due to the toxicity that is the infamous Seroquel hangover. Even when I had dezombified five hours later, I simply forgot to take the damn thing. Of late, however, I’ve taken to leaving a strip of the stuff on the bedside table, in order that it is the first thing I see each afternoon morning. With the sun rising earlier, I’m waking (assuming I’ve slept, which is not always the case) earlier anyway, so the morning tablet is taken at a more appropriate time, meaning that the stuff floating around my body is more regulated and less quickly half-lifed away.

So, that’s medication. What else? Ah yes. As reported in the last post, I’d received the brown envelope that all ill or disabled people in the UK fear most: that of a social security assessment form (an ESA50, in this case). I also noted that Christine has said she’d fill it in for me. When I saw her last week, she had indeed done so, the poor, lovely woman. Bless her.

Can you spot the impending ‘but’? To my regret, there is one. To be honest, she’d really written very little about my hallucinations and delusions, referring to ‘hearing voices’ or ‘feeling paranoid’ – and that was qualified by the hideous words of ‘sometimes’ or ‘on occasion’. I hadn’t the nerve to say this to her, but I felt that this wasn’t really an accurate presentation of the issues, so when an brought it home, I modified some of the content, and added stuff in. For example, it asks something like, “are other people frightened by your behaviour?”, and she had ticked ‘no’. I don’t agree with that; I know from experience that people find experiences of those like ‘They‘ deeply disturbing and, yes, frighhtening. Even some cheery ramblings of, “oh, look, that sign’s trying to tell me I’m beautiful!” sees neighbouring eyes widen in horror and concern. And something as ostensibly simple as a panic attack can have people shifting their eyes, crossing the street and then running like the hammers from hell.

By the time I’d modified that which I felt needed alteration, of course the form looked like I was trying to make my condition sound worse simply for the purpose of getting more money, rather than attempting to present reality. I therefore asked my mother to ring the Social Security Agency (SSA) and ask for a new form. “Whilst at it,” I instructed, “ask them why I’m actually being assessed.”

She responded a few hours later advising me that they refused to tell her anything and that I’d have to ring them myself. Cue fucking panic stations galore. Asking me to use the phone, as ever, was like asking me asking me to translate War and sodding Peace or Beowulf into Sanskrit. But needs must, so after perusing the SSA’s website in painstakingly close detail in a futile attempt to obtain an email address for a relevant member of staff, I took a deep breath and called them.

Naturally, this was not a simple process. At first the robotic female who ‘answered’ my call advised me, after talking frustratingly slowly through six years of patronising explanatory shit and in doing so costing me a lot of money, that my call could “not be taken at the minute. We are sorry.” (Read: “we’re on our fag break. Fuck off”). When I called back immediately, after listening to the same initial bollocks, Robot intimated to me that my call was in a queue. How surprising. “Please continue to hold and someone will be with you as soon as possible. Or, if you prefer to call back later, our opening hours are [x, y and z].”

I did not prefer to call back later, so held. Robot repeated the soft and still enragingly slow monologue about 100 times. Why the fuck do they use that voice? Are its lulled t
ones supposed to hypnotise you into compliance? If so, they’ve supremely failed. The only compliance they’ve evoked in me is a willingness to comply with the invoice I’m expecting from the people I sent round to break Robot’s non-existent legs (and yes, GCHQ, that is/was a joke and is not to be taken literally, seriously or as anything other than just a joke. OK?).

The real cunt, though, was fucking Vivaldi. Fuck Vivaldi. To think once I appreciated what I then found to be the majestic chords and melodies for which he was responsible. I swear to fucking God that I nearly rang Matt Smith’s agent to inquire about TARDIS rental. A trip back to 1677 to prevent the birth of the composer seems to be the only solution to this widespread problem; it’s always Vivaldi that is played when you ring any sort of call centre, and so it proved in this case. In between Robot came the first 30 seconds of (I think) Summer. Over and over and over. It would put a sane human being into an asylum.

In the end, the call itself was very straightforward. The girl was friendly, if clueless – when asked why I was being reassessed, she said, “um…well, I think they do this every year, I’m not sure though.”

“Even for people in the support group?” I checked (interruptive spluttering and stammering not included. You can obtain these with my all-singing, all-dancing in-blog purchase function, denoted by a button displaying the word ‘Donate’, at the bottom of this post).

“The support group?” The poor cow sounded genuinely mystified. “Uh…uh, yeah, I think so.”

It was a futile effort, so I told her I’d lost the ESA50 and asked if she’d send another. She cheerfully told me that this was not a problem, that she’d get someone to do it forthwith, and – apart from checking if Mum could ring on my behalf in future (yes; I just need to give details on the form) – that was really that. A simple, inoffensive, unconfrontational discussion that still left me hyperventilating. I wish I could overcome this fucking terror. My only other serious phobia is the old formulaic one of spiders and, as a general rule, that doesn’t interrupt my daily living. Sadly, if I ever want to work again – and I do, I do so much, when I’m well enough – my farcical and excessive anxiety about phones will significantly interfere with my everyday functioning,

Why should it? Why can’t people move into the 21st century and use fucking Twitter or email for their communication needs? Fuck phones.

I can’t believe I just wrote eight paragraphs about a phone call. I become increasingly ridiculous by the day, dearest readers. Moving on, I have now been back under the watchful eyes and perked-up ears of everyone’s favourite psychotherapist, the inimitable Paul, for three sessions. I will actually discuss these in more detail, though to my abject alarm, I’ve lost the notes I kept on sessions two and three. Now, the reason for my apprehension is to do with the fact that they could easily have fallen into the wrong hands, if I am in correct in my assumption that they fell out of my bag or something. However, I will admit to also being irritated for an altogether less ethical reason: I will not be able to record these two appointments here in the fashion to which I’ve become accustomed. Fuck’s sake. This blog has taken over my life. Incidentally, that’s something that actually came up with Paul – in session two? – but I’ll leave you veritably on the edge of your seat in anticipation of that. I’m sure you’re on the brink of self-immolation because you simply can’t stand the wait any other way. Burning ‘grounds’ you, to use modern therapeutic parlance.

What else? I suppose before getting to The Big Thing that I should apologise to many people on Twitter. I dip in and out of it erratically; even if I’m sending tweets, I am not necessarily reading others’ messages, or their @s or DMs to me. I often tweet by text message, and now have a quirky little iPhone app that allows me to tweet under this identity whilst being in another account. So it’s not that I’m ignoring you; I just don’t always see you. Every so often, I log in and see a few messages to me, and sometimes reply, but I’m pathetically incapable of catching up on everything. I don’t know whether this is social anxiety, increasing apathy, an identity crisis or just my being a total knob. Whatever the case, I’m sorry.

Right, then. I live in Northern Ireland, as most of you know. People on this island like to drink alcohol – a lot. Once a year, something comes up that seems to grant them complete impunity to engage in this pursuit: St Patrick’s Day. Perhaps it wil not shock you to hear that I loathe this occasion with a fucking passion; I have a pretty low tolerance for the obnoxious behaviours that many irregular drinkers display when inebriated out of their skulls, and I can’t cope the busy-ness around the place. This year, the event fell on Saturday past. A and I went out for dinner but had to come straight home, which is not at all common for us on that evening of the week. We’re usually in our local.

Anyway, the silver lining around the cloud of St Patrick (who gives a fuck about him anyway? He sounds like a bellend to me) is that A gets the day off (or gets it off in lieu when, as in this case, it’s at a weekend). Monday was therefore free, so we went out on Sunday to make up for our inability to do so the previous evening.

Exactly 51 minutes after we’d left the house, A’s phone started ringing. When he withdrew it from his pocket, we were both perplexed to observe that the caller was my mother. Thinking she was trying to get hold of me, but that my phone had lost its signal or something, I answered it (yes, yes, phone phobia notwithstanding).

The alarm was going off. If they can’t get hold of A or me, they ring my mother first, as she’s closest to our house, and then A’s mother second. A worked out the purpose of my mother’s call, and got ready to leave. I hung up and told him I’d stay in the pub; I would only hold him back by accompanying him (he’s a much faster walker than I am), and anyway, I reckoned it was a false alarm. That used to happen all the fucking time, to the point where I’ve wondered of late how the company responsible for running the thing had managed to improve their product so vastly. So A went back himself, advising that he’d call if anything untoward had happened. Otherwise, I supposed, he’d just return.

A few minutes passed, during which I caught up on some blogs on my Google Reader. In the middle of this, though, I was interrupted by a phone call incoming from my brother-in-law. Truthfully, at my core, I knew why he was ringing – but I let myself pretend that he was calling about joining us in the bar, especially given that he and A had exchanged a few messages about the outing earlier in the day. I duly ignored him.

When my mother-in-law’s name appeared on the screen of my phone, although I again tried to ignore the ramifications of this telephonic confluence of events, I really knew the game was up. This time I answered. She told me that they’d also called her and that my brother-in-law, who was at her house as it transpired, had called the police. In return, I advised her that A had gone back to the house to check that things were in order.

I’d only just hung up when A phoned. It wouldn’t be the last discussion via this medium that day…God, I wish
I believed in exposure therapy. I got a lot of potential practice with it on Sunday.

I knew as soon as I answered that he was horribly distressed. It doesn’t take a skilled conversationalist to decipher the first intake of breath before a single word is spoken; cheer, shock, thrills, anger – they and many more moods besides can be deconstructed in that split second. I’ve often heard parents say that when their kid reaches a few weeks or months old that they can tell by the ‘type’ of cry it emits that it wants x or y. Maybe this is a similar type of thing.

A’s gasp was one of shock and panic. Jesus Christ, I thought within the nanosecond left to me. Not again. We were burgled last only back in June, for fuck’s sake!

“They’ve taken the TV [42 fucking inches! In a heavily-populated terraced street!], the X-Box, the PS3, the iPad…” he was gasping. “They’ve smashed the door between the kitchen and the living room in…”

“I’m coming now,” I said. I hung up and called a taxi.

I could go into my usual level of detail about this, but it’s late and I’m tired. So…

  • The cops had been when I got home, but had apparently spotted some potential culprits, so legged it after them before talking to us and examining the house.
  • Without touching anything, I managed to piece together what had happened. The burglars – or, rather, a burglar – had crawled through the tiny window we keep open for the cats; I know this because it was completely fucked. Then he (and I use the male pronoun for a reason, which I’ll detail) saw the keys hanging up, opened the back door, and let his companion in.
  • They tried, I assume, to simply open the living room door – but, as we have done since the last burglary, we had locked it before leaving the house. They smashed the poor thing in with the Dyson, which was sitting in a corner of the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, they broke that too.
  • Entering the living room would have set the alarm off, and given all that they took and the bloody mess that they’d made, it was obvious that they knew the layout of the place. They couldn’t have got away with all that they did with the alarm (which itself calls the police) curbing their time had it been any other way.
  • They shoved the smaller items, which now seemed to include my old laptop, in bags, exited through the now-open back door, and onward through the gate at the back to the entry (which they’d also used the keys to unlock).
  • They hadn’t gone upstairs. Thank fuck I’d taken my current laptop up to the office; it was safe there. Curiously, they also hadn’t taken my Kindle. It was behind the door they’d smashed in, so perhaps they didn’t see it, or perhaps they didn’t identify it as a piece of expensive electronics because it was in its case, mimicking (to a point) a normal book.
  • Before we’d left, I’d deliberately moved the Kindle and A’s iPad out of view of the window. I neurotically checked the back door was locked about seven times, as I almost always do since the last break-in. Fat lot of good my caution did us.
  • The peelers returned. We were advised that they had taken two blokes into custody (hence my use of the male pronoun in reference to these criminals), and as I detailed my theory of their entrance to the female officer, her male colleague went to look around the back entry for further clues.
  • ….
  • …..
  • I am writing this post on A’s stolen iPad.
  • …..
  • ….
  • The policeman found everything out the back!
  • It seems that when the wankers were spotted, they unceremoniously dumped everything – or perhaps not quite everything? – and ran like fuck. But they were too late 🙂
  • The police were here for quite a while. In short, they took statements, got the forensic people in and liaised back and forth with their station colleagues. The girl from forensics was extremely thorough – much more so than any of her colleagues we’ve previously met (bearing in mind that this is the fucking third time we’ve been burgled). Although she didn’t say much, it did appear that she had got some evidence from various things.
  • The male peeler had been around the entries of the surrounding area, and came across a small but slick, and quite evidently new, flat screen TV – in a bin. He reasonably enough supposed that it would be unlikely to have been chucked out by its owners, and thus brought it round here briefly for the forensics woman to dust. He and his colleague also revealed that other burglaries had been reported in the area that day.
  • As the cops were rounding things off, the bloke said, “just to check, you didn’t happen to have any wallets here, did you?” We responded in the negative. He nodded, but added, “any foreign currency, no?” It then occurred to me that yes – we did have a wallet in the house after all. We go to down to the Republic every so often, and there’s always leftover Euros. A has kept them in a wallet in the kitchen for months. I relayed this information to the cop as I went into the kitchen to see if it was there. It was not. The cop asked how much was in it. “At least €50, plus coins,” I told him. “There was a €50 note in it; I’m not sure if there were additional ones, but there was definitely a fifty.”
  • I watched with interest as the police exchanged satisfied glances. The wallet with the Euros had been found on the person of one of the personnel that their colleagues had in custody. A couldn’t contain his delight at this wonderful revelation; he jumped up and down screaming, “YES!!!” with the peelers standing there watching. In later conversation, the man said to me that he’s always thrilled in cases like this – both for the victims of the crime, and for officers themselves. “It’s always really nice when we manage to get a conviction,” he smiled. Indeed it must be. They don’t get very many of them for offences like this.
  • After they’d left, I ran down the street to a lovely lady, the only one in the whole area we’ve ever really spoken to, who’d offered us tea when she first realised what had happened. I wanted to let her know what had transpired, and also to apologise if we’d appeared ignorant in refusing said tea. That was weird, because I have never been in a neighbour’s house since I moved in with A, and have only ever exchanged pleasantries and cat-related anecdotes with this woman before. But I appreciated her kindness, and enjoyed the tea and cake that she was decent enough to serve me.
  • I came back and joined A in the clean-up operation. There was glass everywhere. There were strewn bags, clothes and other assorted pieces of fuck also everywhere.
  • Thankfully, the cats were both safe. Srto Gato was here when A got back, and sat down on the sofa, right in the middle of the carnage, and went to sleep. Mr Cat was, however, nowhere to be seen, and we both worried that, twisted as these fucks clearly are, they’d hurt him. H
    e turned up about about an hour after I got home, which was a relief, though he did seem unsettled all evening. Whether he merely sensed our moods, or whether he’d borne witness to some frightening events, we are of course unable to tell.
  • Another set of cops turned up after 10pm, when things had got vaguely back to normal. They had brought the wallet, the €50s and the various Euro coins in separate evidence bags for us to identify as ours. Needless to say, we confirmed that they indeed were. The bloke said as he was leaving that he had “no doubt” that the case would come to court, though he added drolly, “and then they’ll get their 25p fine and get back to their games.” He stressed, assuming as he erroneously did that we completely lacked any knowledge of legal infrastructure, that things were out of their hands then. People can be imprisoned in Norn Iron for burglary, but it’s rare. Even when it happens, custodial sentences tend to be pretty low.
  • The worst thing in the aftermath of all this was that the house wasn’t secure; a bollocksed window and a cunted internal door require supervision. The upshot of that is that I’ve had to stay here when A’s been at work. I don’t mind that, but it does inhibit our ability to live our normal lives. Determined to buy fags before Gideon’s shite budget whacked the price of the vile things up by 37p per packet, I ran out at lunchtime today. In the half hour or so that I was gone – I dropped into a few food-ish places as well – I was panicking, panicking, panicking that the little cunts were out on bail (as they almost certainly are by now) and would break-in again as revenge for our part in their apprehension.
  • On Monday, A rang an “emergency” glass fitter and then The Everythinger (to whom I alluded millaria above). The glass people came out later that day, removed the window from its frame and stuck a temporary board up in its stead. They said they’d be back on Tuesday to fix the window itself. They weren’t. They weren’t today either. They eventually contacted A to tell him that it’ll be at least tomorrow, as they’re waiting on hinges. What double fucking glazing company runs out of hinges?! “Emergency” my arse. At least The Everythinger, who was horrified to hear we’d been burgled only months after he was here the last time for the same reason, is coming tomorrow (later today, whatever it is).
  • Hilarious incidental. The peelers speculated that the theiving scum were on a drunken bender as they went about the area pilfering what they could. As such, they nicked beer from our kitchen. In fact, the one bottle that was open seemed to have been drunk out of, thus meaning potential evidence. Anyway, the burglars were clearly pissed off, as evidenced by their smashing of a few of the bottles and dumping of other ones. This, we’re all pretty sure, is because they had they discovered that they contained Becks Non-Alcoholic beers 😀 Hahaha!

So, if it isn’t death, cancer scares, missing cats, depression, NHS cuntery (and the destruction of that already flawed system), a potentially impending financial desert (and the macro implications of that too), or other assorted nasties, it’s fucking burglary. Thanks, 2012. You’ve brought me the bleakest start to a new year that I can recall.

Yet, comparitively speaking, I’m OK, and thus must sound a note of optimism. Well, not optimism as such, but perhaps a little faith. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Sunday, and I was very touched that the lady from down the street had offered the basic but important kindness that she did. The hard work of the cops and the generosity of this sweet stranger reminded me that sometimes when you see the worst of humanity, you also see the best too.

Thank you to Mental Healthy, their judges, nominators and sponsors for their very kind short-listing of this blog for the 2011 Mental Health Heroes awards (in the ‘Creative – Writer’ category). It’s a big honour to be featured alongside such people as the wonderful Kayla Kavanagh, her partner and carer Nigel, and the lovely Fiona Art, so thank you again 🙂

Anyone want to volunteer for TWIM or TNIM? You know you want to. Email me.

I can’t be arsed to proof-read this right now, sorry. It always mortifies me that my narratives could be error-laden, but I’m too tired to care as much as I should.


I have a lot to discuss here. Fortunately for you, dearest reader, I am not going to do it now.

Had Maisie (or her medical personnel? Probably the latter, given her virtual death sentence thanks to the fatalistic, useless hospital in which she was forced to go. That’s two members of my family and one of A’s that they’ve now whacked) not made herself deceased, A and I would presently have been traveling round Ireland – much as we did last year (though probably in the opposite direction). Since she did die, obviously we have been denied the opportunity to pursue that course of events. Self-evidently that’s not Maisie’s fault, but whatever the case A’s week of leave has been rather fucked up.

Anyway, one ought to make the best of what one can. We have nothing booked, but are nonetheless going to go away for a few days tomorrow, returning on either Saturday or Sunday. I know some of you were vaguely concerned about how I’d cope at Saturday past’s funeral – for which you have my sincere thanks – and I’m posting this as a courtesy to let you know that I will discuss it all, but – given the proposed trip – not until next week.

Suffice to say it’s been a nasty week. The funeral was as ‘successful’ as such things can be, but it was psychologically (and, to a lesser extent, physically) exhausting. Then Señorito Gato went missing (though he’s since been found, but that was a story-and-a-fucking-half). A and I have both been unwell (quite possibly it has been psychosomatic, but I don’t know). Aunt of Evil has been…well, there (more on that in a future post).

I was due to see Christine on Thursday coming (19th January), but will postpone it in deference to our get-away. I really, really needed someone to talk to over the last week, but since the bulk of the hideousness has now passed, I can wait another few weeks. I’ve dealt with the immediate stresses, and whinging at her can’t change them anyway.

On a related note, I finally emailed Nexus again to check up on the progress of my request for continued therapy with Paul. I didn’t get an answer to that specific query, but Nice Lady That Works for Nexus did respond offering me a consultation with Paul on Tuesday, the purpose of which will be to discuss my “present circumstances” and to see where we go from there.

Things aren’t good, overall. The new year has started really, really badly. I could optimistically chime out a cliché of “well, at least it can’t get much worse” – but I know and expect that it can.

Anyway, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. A few days away from it all should help, and A is an incredible support.

See you next week, lovelies. x

You Know You're a Self-Harmer When…

A little vignette for you.

I’m wearing the same black dress tomorrow to Maisie’s funeral that I wore to the awards ceremony back in November (what a varied experience that dress will have had in its short life). Unfortunately, I didn’t have a jacket to go with it, nor did I have an appropriate pair of shoes (I don’t get this ‘thing’ women are alleged to have with shoes. I wear a comfortable pair of boots for almost everything. Still, they’re tatty and would not go down well at a funeral; nor, indeed, would the preposterous high heels I wore to the awards, not that I can stand on those fuckers anyway). I ergo drove to the shops this evening in an attempt to procure these apparently requisite items. Having succeeded in said endeavour, I finally went into Boots to obtain steri-strips and scar-reducing plasters, thanks to an as-yet-undiscussed-on-this-blog incident of self-harm last weekend (I blame my GP’s “surgery” for completely fucking up my Lamictal prescription. Wankers).

As I was dithering in the first aid aisle, I spotted this:

I was alone in the area, which is fortunate, because, initial head-cocking completed, I visibly started at this product. “Pre-cut knee application”, it said. What the fuck?!

I crouched down and examined it more closely. I even squinted at it to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks with me. But yep, it really did say “pre-cut”.

I was aware that my facial features were contorted into an expression of complete and utter astonishment. I mean, I liked the idea – but I thought it was shockingly niche at the same time. Too niche, surely, for a mainstream, walk-in shop.

My mind asked the following questions:

  • Could a well-known and respected pharmaceutical giant such as Boots really allow themselves to stock – and therefore endorse – a product designed specifically to aid a self-injurer in advance of an act of self-injury?
  • The knee thing. Why were the manufacturers so sure that you’d want to cut yourself on your knee? I’ve never self-harmed on my knee. Have you?!
  • The bandage is suitable for “two to three day wear”. Surely you’d need to take it off sooner than that to attend to the wound you’d inflicted upon your poor knee?
  • As I left the shop, I wondered why it was called a “bandage”. Surely anything you would use in preparation for an act of self-harm could not be a bandage? Are you meant to wear it for “two to three” days in advance of an act of self-harm, so that it does something fancy to your skin to stop scarring/bleeding/dying/vampirism/whatever? Is that what they meant when they alluded to the “two to three day wear”?
  • Assuming that the bandage were to be worn in advance of an act of self-harm, aren’t they catering to a even more niche market? I mean, I know a lot of us do plan cutting and other injuries – but two or three days in advance?! Surely there can only be a very small demographic of cutters to whom that would apply?

I got into the car, where A was waiting for me. I apprised him of the details of the bandage, then raised my afore-listed concerns and queries about it.

Imagine my surprise when he threw back his head and started laughing.

“Well, I suppose it is kind of darkly funny to have such a thing on the market, but…” I started.

“No, you idiot,” he laughed. “It’s pre-cut!”

“Yes, that’s what I said…”

“It’s a bandage that has been pre-cut in advance of your fucking purchase! It itself has been cut by the manufacturers to a certain size to support existing knee injuries!”


For someone with a high IQ, I can be remarkably ditzy. DUH!!!

As noted sagely in the title, this is when you know you’re a self-harmer.

As noted briefly above, it’s Maisie’s funeral tomorrow. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m not looking forward to it, and – entirely selfishly as usual – I’m particularly concerned about seeing Aunt of Evil (who arrived surprisingly quickly, which is the reason I managed to stay at home, rather than remain comfortingly at my mother’s, for the last two days). I’m not sure when I’ll be able to detail tomorrow’s events (should they merit detailing), or discuss the back-story to her death, but I’ll update you all as soon as I can.

Thanks to all of you that have commented here, tweeted, emailed or whatever. I know I’m toss at responding but I do read everything and I appreciate it all greatly. Thanks for being there for me. xxx

Absolutely Damn All Squared

I’m still in the land of the living. Or the existing, as you prefer. I know I haven’t written anything in what seems (for me) like ages, but there’s not a great deal to report.

I had written an entire post and when I went to upload it, my WP application crashed. So I won’t bother to recreate it; I’ll just make the basic points I was initially going to.

One: voting is still open, until midday next Saturday, in the TWIM awards; just click here. Thank you to those of you that voted for me, thank you: I genuinely appreciate it. However, in the interests of impartiality, I’ve disqualified myself so the votes won’t count – but thank you anyhow. I still don’t understand why you read or like this blog. But that you do genuinely touches me, so thank you.

Two: I probably won’t be writing here much until at least January; I’ll try to do my traditional “what happened this year” round-up, but I won’t promise. For one thing, I’m very stressed (and also disproportionately upset – I so need to get a fucking life) about something I can’t (at least yet) discuss here. More importantly, I have a major piece of professional writing deadlined for 2nd January, and of course that will take priority over my usual garbling bollocks for here. So I have, for once, a genuine reason not to crap on on Confessions, rather than my failure to post being attributable to anhedonia, avolition or laziness (though I must admit to the presence of the former two nevertheless).

Also, please note that I will not be doing anything TWIM-related until at least Tuesday. I’m even temporarily removing the relevant email account from my phone!

I haven’t been on Twitter for days (other than to tweet the odd article via third party apps, or to text a random observation or something), and probably won’t be for…well, some more days. If you’ve @mentioned or DMed me, I’m honestly not ignoring you and will catch up before too long 🙂

Three: after seeing NewVCB on Wednesday, I am now taking 100mg of Lamotrigine. Unfortunately 50mg of this is in the morning, which doesn’t sit especially well with my daily Seroquel hangovers. On the latter, by the way, I am going to be a fat bitch for a good bit longer than anticipated because she NewVCB wants to increase my Lamotrigine dosage again in the new year, and isn’t keen on modifying two medications at the same time (which is fair enough).

Four: A and I are at my mother’s; we’ll spend Shitmas Day here, and then head to A’s father and step-mother’s house for Cocksing Day. It is a good way to spend Christmas, insofar as that’s ever possible, because it’s so delightfully fucking quiet . A pity about the cunt TV, but you can’t have everything I suppose.

Five: the important one. I may hate this time of year, but it doesn’t stop me from hoping that you don’t. For those of you that celebrate Christmas, have a very happy one. For non-Christians celebrating concurrent festivals, I’m sending equally good wishes to you too. In case I’m not here again before January, I’ll also take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

I don’t say it enough, but I sincerely appreciate every one of you. Thanks for your unending support and friendship. I do love you.

Be safe everyone, and take care.



Crash, Bang, Wollop

This week has been shit. My mood took a nosedive on Monday, and really only started recovering today – though that could be wishful thinking, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

It started on Sunday. I don’t know if I mentioned it on this blog or not, but a while back my mother bought A and I a joint birthday present of a weekend away in a hotel, and said weekend finally rolled around last Friday (the first time they had availability in months). We’d only had one proper day of ‘normal’ life between returning from London and heading off again, and as someone used to doing almost fuck all with her life (partly as a I’m a slave to the hangover-inducing demon of Seroquel, partly because of a crippling type of agoraphobia, partly due to Christ knows what), burning the candle at both ends in this fashion was distinctly unusual for me.

It’s not that I didn’t have a good time either in London nor in the hotel – it really, truly isn’t that, and how could it be? – but I will admit that it was draining nevertheless. Up early, do stuff, meet people, live late, sleep poorly, do it all again. Drive 90 miles, have dinner, have a drink, talk to people (in rural areas of Northern Ireland, people love to talk to randoms. Having been raised near a town, this is alien territory for me), sleep poorly, up at something vaguely approximating a normal time, do stuff, eat, drink, have to put up with the mad drunkard who wants to tell you her life story and how she gave up benzos on her own but still snorts coke, go to bed, sleep poorly, drive 70 of the 90 miles, have car throw a fit, carefully drive remaining 20 miles whilst convinced car is about to blow up, get home, ruminate on potential vehicular disaster, feel ill, go back out because you’d forgotten there was a concert that night, don’t enjoy pre-gig dinner and drinks, go to gig, enjoy gig but find it tiring, leave gig in icy, pissing rain, wait for taxi, come home, sleep poorly, sleep all next day.

You get the picture.

Regular readers will know that I positively revere my car. I love the thing with a passion unsurpassed anywhere else in the material world. If I had to choose between the car and my iPhone, or the PS3, or this laptop, or my gong – I think I’d choose the car. I live in a low-level but constant fearful dread of the day when he finally dies on me. (Admittedly, and quite obviously I’d hope, that terror is nowhere near the sky-high level at which I perpetually frighten and torture myself regarding the hopefully long-in-the-future prospect of my mother’s death. I am distinctly and completely petrified of that, and think I’ll have such a major breakdown when it ((hopefully finally)) happens that I might die myself. So no, it’s not that bad – but it is highly significant nonetheless).

So when the car started going mental on Sunday afternoon, I was terrified. Chug chug, roar roar. It was like something out of fucking Formula One. It was so loud that it made every millimetre of the vehicle shudder and vibrate, which caused us as occupants nausea and headaches. Worst of all, there was damn all that I could do about it on the motorway. Well, I could have pulled over and had the RAC come out or something – I do have such cover on my insurance – but (a) how long would they have been? Sitting at the side of a motorway for hours on end would not only be soul-destroying, it would potentially be dangerous; (b) unless my life was actively threatened, I wasn’t willing to lose my no claims bonus; and (c) it was clearly an exhaust problem, and I’m not sure the good people at the RAC go about carrying the exact exhaust parts for a 12 year old and actually rather rare model of Peugeot on them.

So I drove it home. It was the least worst option. It was pissing it down when we got back to the house, so my attempts at looking underneath the car were somewhat hampered. Still, I had something of a go. No tailpipe was visible, but the rest of the fucking exhaust lay at an angle, so I suspected the former was still there, just tilted so that it was under the bumper.

Anyway. Blah. After the concert on Sunday night – and it was testament to the band’s excellence that my poor mood and physical (somatic?) illness were temporarily assuaged by the performance – I don’t think I got up until about 2pm on Monday. I then proceeded to do nothing. And then…I went back to bed.

I must have sent my mother a text message about the car, because on Tuesday evening she rang me. I made the mistake of answering the phone to her, and she plied and plied and plied me with questions: was it doing this, did it sound like that, did it swerve like this, did it turn into a Transformer and blow shit up like that, blah blah blah. And I cracked. It wasn’t her fault – as she, in a fit of justified pique at my completely unreasonable response, reminded me, she was trying to help me – but a state of heightened sensitivity and agitation that had been threatening for days finally overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t deal with having to think about anything.

She hung up abruptly, telling me she would call our mechanic.

I paced the room for a bit. I ranted on Twitter for a bit. I chewed the tops of my fingers for a bit (acting out?). I cried, simultaneously trying to claw out my eyes, for a bit. I considered resorting to self-harm for a bit. I banged my head off the wall for a bit. I wrote pathetic, whinging paragraphs overusing the term “for a bit” for a bit.

(The last one isn’t true).

My mother interrupted this phase of mentalism by ringing back with the mechanic’s advice (which was to take it to Kwik Fit ((the closest branch being half a mile from here)), rather than to him ((circa 10 miles away)), in case the peelers ((translation for the Non-Norn Irish amongst you: cops)) heard the car roaring and threw three penalty points at me). I don’t know what she said to catalyse it, but in telling her that I had gone mad again, I ended up blathering incoherently in a dysphoric, crying, desperate stream of grammatically disordered bollocks. At this point my mother developed sympathy; although she didn’t let the conversation desist (how can she not know how much I loathe phones by now?! In this case, she was making calls on my behalf!) – indeed, she came off with the usual CBT-like platitudes at which I still shudder after all these years – she did try to be helpful and kind, and I greatly appreciated that.

Long story short (well, vaguely shorter than Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady anyway), I was still blubbering and blabbering aimlessly when A came home, but his presence helped to enable me to eventually get Mum off the phone. Not having to use the device calmed me a little, but the nasty experience didn’t entirely abate.

Mum rang again yesterday to advise that an appointment had been scheduled with the local Kwik Fit for what is now today. Objectively good, subjectively night-marish. She observed that I seemed capable of conversing in a more standard version of English than that to which she had been subjected the previous evening, and as such assumed that I was ‘better’ (which I was, if you count ‘depressed’ as better than ‘depressed and agitated’).

In the course of the ensuing conversation, therefore, she asked me a lot of questions about the awards ceremony, and I was forced to lie directly to her. So I didn’t win then? Oh no, no [feigned casualness]. But they must’ve mentioned my name? Oh you know… No, she doesn’t know. Well…no… [Outraged and aghast] Good Lord, my name didn’t even crop up?!! [Brainwave] Well, it was a subsidiary award, not one of the ‘main’ ones. Oh right. Well, that’s a shame. [Thank God, maybe that’s an end to it].

So where was the presentation? [Shit]. Er…in South London. South London’s quite big, don’t I know? OK, the Southbank of the Thames. But she wants to know the name of the place. Er…er…[fucking traitorous mind goes blank]…the BFI [she won’t know what that is, so it’s OK]. What does that stand for, she wonders? [Resigned now]. British Film Institute.

And so on, and so on, and so on. I don’t blame her for her curiosity – it’s my fault she found out about the whole thing in the first place – but I hate having to wing this bullshit and keep up the enduring pretence that this persona demands.

I don’t generally have any particular moral conscience about lying; I’m a selfish bitch, and it benefits me occasionally (I should punctuate that statement by saying that this is more historical than current; for example, the old teenage favourite of “I’m staying at a friend’s” rather than “we’re going to an over 21s bar in a dodgy area until 6am”, which was so frequently followed with lies to cover the first lies, then lies to cover those lies, ad bloody nauseum. I don’t often have cause to lie these days, but as observed I am selfish, so I couldn’t rule out employing it as a potential tool of convenience). However, lying about something so (relatively) huge feels like a big, fat pile of fuckery sitting in my mind.

I discussed this a little once before. Look what this blog has become. I’ve been writing it, at times very prolifically, for two and a half years. As was noted in the introduction to it at the Mind Awards, I don’t just a write a few sentences going “life is a pile of steaming wank” every so often; I write essays. Reams and reams and reams and reams. Look at the support network that I’ve developed from this writing and from the associated Twitter account. To use an arrogant word that I thoroughly detest, but which seems apt in context, look what I’ve “achieved”; a versatile array of lovely online recognitions, and, in this particular arena (ie. blogging/social media), what is probably the biggest mental health award in the UK.

And my mother knows nothing nothing – about it. That is fucked. That is seriously fucked.

I mean, she knows I write stuff, and that it’s about mental health. My own idiocy alerted her to the fact that I was nominated for something big for said writing. She knows I do it pseudonymously. But that’s it. If I have any talent in writing – something of which I remain unconvinced – then, in this context at least, she can never “appreciate” it.

It’s a necessity, but it’s one that I bitterly regret.

Anyway, off I go on a pointless and rambling soliloquy yet again. My point, were I ever to sodding well make it, is that this huge, suffocating, grotesque lie added to my distress over the week. London, the hotel and the concert were great, but they were exhausting too, especially given the short timeframe in which they all came to pass. Christmas is closing its sky-scraping, dark walls in on me. The car trouble was a serious stressor. And I had no choice but to shove a gag of deceit down my mother’s throat.

So, although as I endlessly harp on, I believe that my mentalness is largely non-reactive, I think this particular mentalist incident (or set thereof) was (were) attributable to this cosmic confluence of events. Everything just came at once, and, overwhelmed, I couldn’t cope with it all. Whilst arguably my particular expression of the stress – thought/speech disorder, disproportionate anxiety, ruminative propensities towards self-harm as a “solution” – may have been examples of insanity, I don’t think that being upset and fucked off per se was anything other than quite normal. Even for a normal. If you know what I mean. Which would be rather impressive, because I don’t.

Anyfuckingway. Today arrived with the threat of having to see people (and see people without someone with me for support) in the form of having to go to bastarding Kwik Fit (each time I’ve typed that in this post, my fingers have behaved innately and tried to type Quick Fit. Why can’t companies just use the English language properly and stop trying to be “clever”?!).

I rose from my pit with a heavy heart. I went out for a smoke, got dressed (entirely, and quite typically, bypassing the “and washed” part. I never have written about my ablutophobia here, have I? I must do so one of these days) and left the house with the reluctance of a lover of life walking to the gallows. I am pathetic in the most fundamental of ways. Who in their right mind (well…) is filled with abject terror at the thought of getting their car exhaust fixed?!!!

So off I went, my transport ominously dragging me forth (read: car angrily growling and reverberating), to cross the seas of Acheron (drive up the road a bit). After quite a few irritated looks but, fortunately, no examples of Scylla and Charybdis (police*) accosting me, I duly found myself staring fearfully into the gaping infernos of Hades (Kwik Fit). I withdrew my last remaining hope of rescue from the final good vestige of my soul (took the keys out of the ignition) and proceeded onward to Tartarus, my final destination (the Kwik Fit reception).

(* That one’s quite dubious, but those two did fuck you up if you ran into either of them, just like the peelers probably would, so the crappy analogy works for me.

Oh, hang on. It wasn’t the police that fuck you up. It was your parents. How could I possibly have thought that Larkin had existential commentary on the police to whine out in his musings? They fuck you up, the police. It doesn’t quite work, does it? Hmm. I’m fighting a losing battle with classically depressing poetry here. This is not good. But just for clarification: Scylla and Charybdis are perfect metaphors for the ills of modern policing, and if you don’t agree, then you are wrong. Sorry, GCHQ.).

OK, enough of that pretentiously moronic guff. Terrified, I went into Qu… Kwik Fit. In what should have been an Oscar-winning performance, I confidently and charismatically explained to the bloke why I was there. He was talkative and friendly – and, to my exasperated shock, made me feel at ease. He took and checked the car, returned, and told me what was wrong. What was particularly impressive was that he took me underneath the car and specifically showed me the damage (the centre-piece had separated from the still-present tailpipe). He checked that he had a replacement part in stock, told me to come back in 45 minutes and…well, and that was that.

I went and had lunch…alone. Well, alone except for my Kindle. Result, Pan. Result! I rang my mother – she had made me promise to do so – to report on what had occurred, then I went back to Kwik Fit and waited for the car. In a few minutes, Friendly Bloke confirmed it was ready; I paid him, he wished me a merry Christmas (which, even though I hate the silly festival, was a lovely sentiment), I reciprocated, and I left. With a beautifully silent, functional, darling little car.

And I felt OK.

And the car was OK.

So I felt more OK.

Which is…OK 🙂

Actually, it’s not entirely OK. I’m not really in great form at all (it could be worse, but you know what I mean), and there’s no particular reason anymore. But I wanted to end the post on a high note! So…er…here’s a more genuine one.

Most of you are probably aware of this, but just in case you’ve missed it, voting is now open for the 2011 This Week in Mentalists awards. You can vote for your favourite blogs and discover lots of new ones over here! And if you’re new to TWIM, don’t be shy. It’s a welcoming place.

Apropos of Nothing

Writing is a lonely profession (if indeed it can ever be turned into a ‘profession’). But that loneliness is somehow comforting in its own paced-ness, in its ability to protect one from the perils of the outside (some would say ‘real’) world. The pursuit, whilst thoroughly without guarantees and assurances, is still a safe one – published or not, you still have the pleasure of composition, and of knowing, eventually, that you have completed something that at least has potential, if to no one else but to you.

What this amounts to is this. I’m writing a book. I’m not wont to discuss it in detail on a public forum like this blog, but it is going to be mental health related. Many of you have inexplicably but kindly asked me if I would turn this very blog into a book, but that isn’t my plan at this stage, for two key reasons. One is the simple fact that the intended book’s concept is already very clear in my mind, and I don’t want to deviate from that while it’s so vivid. The second is that going through everything written here – post by post, word by almost-endless word – is one hell of a task to take on, especially when my mental health is still relatively fragile. I’d like to maybe do it some day, but not now. Sorry 😦

Also, you see, in doing all the factual writing of late that I have – here, and in other arenas – I realised that I hadn’t done any creative writing since…fuck, I don’t know. Since I was at school? Maybe even since my GCSEs? That’s a horrible realisation, to know that I’ve neglected a passion of mine for such a disgustingly long period. I used to love writing fiction, and I’ve only recently realised that I miss it.

So, The Book will be a fictional narrative. Whether it’ll turn out to be a novel, a novella or a short (as if!) story, I don’t yet know, but I don’t really mind whatever the case may be. I also don’t really care if anyone is willing to publish it or not; I mean, it would be lovely if someone did, that much is self-evident – but I’m doing primarily for my own pleasure. I had genuinely forgotten what escapism and what joy comes from such a simple pass time, and I’m revelling in it at the minute.

So I haven’t written much here this week, since the idea for The Book came to me. It isn’t just The Book that is keeping me away, though the other factors are still within the literary realm – I’ve been reading voraciously, planning a few pieces of non-fictional writing, and even the odd non-writing bit of so-called creativity too.

I just thought I should post something, drivelsome and dull as this is, to show you that I’m still alive, and that I’m doing relatively well. Since I cut back on the Seroquel, I haven’t been sleeping well (unsurprisingly) and have had to resort to take Zopiclone on many nights. The new neighbours and their screamer are not assisting in my quest for slumber (they keep the strangest hours, especially for a family, that I’ve ever encountered. They arrive home, child in tow, about 11.30pm, then proceed to talk half the night on the phone, child still in tow. What the fuck?). However, beyond that, I’m OK. Things aren’t amazing, and I might be slightly depressed – but I’m managing, and given everything that’s happened over the last three years, at the moment I really think that that’s good enough.

And it is three years. It’s just over three years now since I left my own little office for the last time. I noted above that writing is lonely, and it is. But having your own office, glamorous as it may sound, is lonely too, yet it doesn’t have any of the advantages that working from a laptop on your own sofa does. Nonetheless, I miss it in some ways: at least the people who worked in the offices bordering mine were, generally, good people, and were I feeling a bit lost, I could normally wander in next door and have a quick chat with them, before returning to my own quiet domain. I can’t do that when I’m sitting here typing all day.

To that end, as well as writing The Book, I’m applying for a voluntary job. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I’m finally going to do it, and whilst I’m extremely nervous, I’m also quite excited about its potential as well. I haven’t put in the application yet, but I plan to this week…and then we’ll see. At present, I’m only going to offer the organisation a few hours a week, but for the type of position I’m hoping to get, I suspect that for the moment that’s more than adequate. If not, and if it works out, and if I even get it for that matter, I might be willing to increase the hours a little bit further down the line.

I don’t know why any of you like this blog, but since some apparently do (thank you!), please be assured that none of this means I’m winding it down or anything. I’m trying to plan the final posts on Paul, and a few other bits and pieces, so you can’t get rid of me that easily 🙂 I just won’t promise that I’ll post once a week or more, as I usually try to do. We’ll see how it goes. But Confessions will remain, so worry not 🙂 This is very far from ‘goodbye’; it’s simply a boring “here’s where I’m at right now” update.

What else? The Everythinger is gone (YAY!), I’m seeing Christine on Monday, NewVCB at the start of September, and I’m probably going to re-contact Nexus some time next month to re-embark on therapy. Part of me dreads that for what I assume are obvious reasons, but mostly I feel reassured and hopeful about the potential of it, given how useful my last course with Paul was. I’m back into something of a routine now that both Aunt of Evil and The Everythinger are gone, A seems a little less stressed at work than he had been, and I’m relieved that both Daniel and CVM are both alive and well and that the stupid riots in England appear to be over.

And that’s about it really. That’s what’s been happening in Pan’s world of late. I hope your existence has been more interesting but at least equally stable, and that you’re all well and happy 🙂


Pointless Rant of Utter Pointlessness

Will to live = 465,927 Life Points.

Abilities of written communication as of this moment in time = 2,852,937,563,828,445,643 Writing Points.

Decision to go ahead and write a post anyway = + 28,426,384,722,044 Stupid Points.

Wrote the below in the midst of an exhaustive fit of pique:


The Everythinger is a really decent man, and it’s not his fault that I am completely and utterly fed up, but this whole house decoration business is doing my head in. If I have to see B&fuckingQ one more time, I will scream. No, literally: I will actually scream. My formerly held ambivalence towards the place has transmogrified into a demon of bitter resentment.

I know of people who have their houses decorated every year or so. How is this possible? There are no circumstances under which the alleged feasibility of that could compute in my brain. How could you do this on an even occasional basis without putting a bullet in your head? The disruption of routine (such as it is, in my case), the constant presence of someone in your house, the constant trips to the aforementioned shop of doom and woe, the movement of furniture and its intrusion into places of comfort, the fucking smell (admittedly faint in these days of modern technology), the constant “would you like another coffee?”s…gah. Even writing about it makes me shudder. For someone who is mentally healthy, surely this a stress that hardly seems worth it (and yes, for what it’s worth, the apparently sane A is cracking up too). For someone with as much batshittery in her belfry as me, it’s remarkably demanding.

I dissociated a bit on the way back from B&Q this evening. That’s the first time in a very long time, and isn’t a particularly good sign. It didn’t develop into a full-on how the fuck did I get here mode, like it has so many times in the past, but I did notice myself losing a few seconds here and there (or rather I didn’t, but you know what I mean). I know we all do from time to time when driving, but this was different from normal ‘highway hypnosis’ – my experiences of both that phenomenon and more atypical dissociation have taught me the difference between the two, though it’s hard to quantify the distinction in words. Perhaps mentalists develop a sixth sense for mentalist issues over time? Perhaps I am just doing my usual thing of making something out of nothing, or over-pathologising, or any of the other lovely things I could easily be accused of.

People will no doubt read this and say, “get a grip – this is a normal and ordinary life event! God, you are so frightfully immature!” I suppose it is and I suppose I am, and it’s quite probable that I am suffering from a normal, if (I would wager) severe, form of everyday stress. I think, and hope, that’s all it is. But, as noted, everyday stress in those with pre-existing insanity is at best a dubious state.

Ah well. That’s all terribly boring, but then you must be used to that from this blog by now, surely? I don’t think I’m about to be binned or anything. I’m fed up, unspeakably tired and really rather irritable, but I think that’s all reactive to circumstance, rather thank some sort of mental health crisis.

Actually, now (half an hour or so after the above) I’m feeling a little less bollocks, which is particularly curious given that we have just had to move a nightmare amount of stuff out of and around the over-cluttered kitchen. I have an apparent phobia of reorganising things, let’s not forget – and yet I feel more energised and slightly less irritable than I did.

One of the tidier bits of my kitchen right now.

One of the tidier bits of my kitchen right now. It is upside down.

That could be very, very temporary, however. A new family have moved in next door and they have a child, who is – I would guess – about 18 months old. Now, as well you know good readers, I’m not a huge fan of those to whom I will diplomatically refer as little people – however, were they to adequately modulate the noise that they emit, then even I can be tolerant. That, alas, is not the nature of young children (and yeah, I know it’s not their fault, I know I was that age once, yadda yadda yadda. I’ve heard it all before and I have all the childfree responses, so…). Anyway, as I type the wee boy is screeching the entire street of houses down. It’s one of those high-pitched, guttural, throat-agonising screams that children seem capable of producing with gay abandon, yet which would leave someone over five with a 10 week long case of laryngitis. These walls are paper thin. There is no way I can cope with this in the short-term, never mind for anything longer than that.

Will we have to stop swearing for fear of offending the parents’ sensibilities? Are we still allowed to have sex in case we wake the child? Will the Everythinger pottering about cause him upset? What if he gets a scratch and the cats are blamed and have to be put to sleep?

Paul thought that I didn’t like kids because I was forced to grow up too quickly, or whatever it was that was related to my experiences of child sex abuse. I think I don’t like kids because I don’t like kids.

And yeah, the irony of my having thrown all my fucking toys out of the pram in the preceding paragraphs whilst then moaning about children crying is not lost on me. I’m a hypocrite. I’ve never denied it, have I? So meh. My blog, my rants.

(Of course, there is a deeper issue here. I’ve often considered posting my views on whether it would be wise for me to procreate, even if I did like children, even if I loved everything about them, even if they brought me unparalleled joy. Does anyone care or would I be wasting my time?)

Anyway, A has just said, “thank Christ we’re leaving.” Though earlier he said, “if we’re this stressed over getting the house, how can we even contemplate moving?” And, as I continue to type, we are having a conversation about it in which he’s just reminded me that moving is the second most stressful thing a person can do in their life (after divorce, I believe), and that maybe it’s the wrong time to seriously consider it. Plus he’s not in the best frame of mind himself at the minute; he’s under a lot of stress at work, and is suffering from that general life disillusionment which befalls us all at some point in our existences, to greater or lesser extents. Maybe the burglary affected us both more than we realised. Maybe it’s just life, which is often a sucky thing in general. Who knows. Who cares. It is.

The original point of this post was to update the blog with reference to the my most recent meetings with Christine, but it’s nearly 800 words long and I’ve decided to make a conscious effort not to write 4,000 words every time I put fingers to keys, so even though this is nothing but a meandering, idiotic, probably offensive and irritating pile of pointless, ranting, steaming manure, it is getting published now. I’ll write about Christine tomorrow whilst the Everythinger does everything.

The child has shut up. And I think I feel better for ranting.

Maybe it will all be OK.