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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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Kitten Food or Rope?

8 min read

This is a story about broken dreams...

Cat things

Here on the former site of Mount Cardboard are some of the various kitten-wrangling devices which I've purchased this week. I had been planning on collecting my gorgeous little bengal kitten tomorrow... perhaps at lunchtime. I've been wanting to get another cat for years and years. I've missed having a house and a cat. I've missed normal domestic life.

The only thing I'm missing is kitten food.

I need to go to the supermarket to buy kitten food.

In the small hours of this morning I decided I was going to buy rope instead.

Stairs

Here's where I was going to tie the rope. I checked the height - there's enough.

Whether I bought kitten food or rope hinged on whether my life was "ruined" or not.

I've been through some ridiculously rough patches of my life. I've solved some ludicrously hard problems. I've overcome some incredible obstacles. How on earth could my life be "ruined" when there are so many good things which have been happening lately? How can my life be "ruined" when I've been talking so positively and with such excitement about the future? How can my life be "ruined" when I've gone to such extreme lengths to get myself into a secure position, financially, in the esteem of my work colleagues and in terms of settling in a great house in a great city?

Water bowl

I was so excited about getting a little bengal kitten and I knew that they love to play with water, so I bought this ridiculously expensive water fountain thing. I enjoyed assembling it. I took great pleasure from having such a nice thing for my kitten, hopefully making her life a little better. I want my cat's life to be as happy as it can possibly be.

I cannot have a kitten and kill myself. If I get a kitten, I'm staying alive to look after the cat; I'll be staying alive for my pet.

In the small hours of the morning, I decided I wasn't going to get the kitten anymore. I was going to buy rope, not kitten food.

How can this be? How can I be so unstable, when I seem to settled and secure?

To get to this point, where I was in an exclusive relationship with a girl who I'm absolutely crazy about, in a beautiful house, doing a job which I'm really good at, working on a flagship project for a massive organisation, with plenty of money flowing in... to get here was really f**king hard.

I cannot over-emphasise how hard it was to get to this point. I cannot stress enough just how difficult it has been to put all the pieces of a brand new life together. I cannot be excessively hyperbolic when I say that the journey to this point has exhausted every ounce of cunning, patience, perseverance and various other things, that I possess. I'm spent.

When I should have been thinking about buying kitten food, I switched to thinking about buying rope.

My life could collapse like falling dominoes. The plan to go and collect my kitten with the girl of my dreams, and bring the kitten home to the house of my dreams, all paid for with the job of my dreams... it would collapse so easily. The relationship has been damaged by events outside of my control, which threatens to ruin what had been an absolutely amazing thing up until last night. Losing the relationship means I can no longer keep myself safe, so I would have to hospitalise myself, which in turn jeopardises my job, which in turn jeopardises my house... and everything crumbles to dust.

I'm not being melodramatic. "The world's longest suicide note" exists because my life has been in danger for so long. I thought I was getting to a safe, secure, stable, sustainable place, but I suddenly realised that I had used up all my emotional reserves and I had no capacity to absorb a catastrophic event, such as losing this girl I'm crazy about. Yes, I'm scarily over-invested. Yes, it's dumb to make myself so vulnerable to events beyond my control, but I had allowed myself to believe I was going to get everything I want.

Then, suddenly, I was going to lose everything.

Of course, to you, the outside observer, you can't imagine losing everything but I really can because I've had to rebuild my life from scratch. Like, I've had to start from zero, zilch, zip, nada. I literally don't have any salt in my house, for example - I haven't run out... it's just one of a million items that I haven't yet replaced, because I had to start my life all over again, from nothing.

I know how it goes. I know how one thing leads to another. I know how a health problem - for example - can snowball into a catastrophe that destroys an entire life.

That's why I was going to buy rope, not kitten food.

I'm not prepared to lose everything again, and unfortunately I didn't feel like I had the reserves to be able to deal with a major setback. I really f**king like this girl, and it's unfair that the relationship got messed up by some outside actors. It was completely ridiculously crazily awful that this s**t got rained down on my head, just as my life was starting to come together.

It might seem crazy to throw away so much because of losing one "small" part - something which could be replaced - but I think you're failing to understand how vulnerable it's made me, working so hard for so long, in order to restore myself to health, wealth, love and prosperity. I've had enough of endlessly battling and struggling and striving. Time for the rope.

I'm not going to buy the rope. I'm never going to buy the rope. I know that it'll be incredibly hard if the relationship which was totally amazing is irreparably damaged, and I'm lonely and single, and my beautiful bengal kitten is almost a reminder of what might have been but I know that if I collect the kitten tomorrow, I'm going to look after her for the rest of her life. Yes, it'll f**king suck that a couple of dicks maliciously f**ked up my relationship, but I'll have to take things philosophically: if my relationship was so fragile that it couldn't withstand those malicious dicks, then how long could it have lasted anyway? Yes, I genuinely believe I'll never find another girl who's as perfect as this one, but then that's a lot of unhelpful pressure, isn't it? Better to try to get my feelings back under control and stop getting carried away.

You can forgive me getting carried away, can't you?

Literally the last thing I had to buy to make my life complete was some kitten food (oh, and maybe some salt) and then my life was ready to welcome a little kitten into it. All the pieces of the puzzle were finally falling into place. My life was seriously awesome, and getting more and more awesome all the time.

Then how on earth could I have seriously contemplated hanging myself in my hallway then?

I might look tough, I might have survived against incredible odds and I might have achieved unbelievable things, but it all takes its toll. I didn't even realise how close to the wind I've been sailing until I burst into tears in the office car park, despite the fact that I was planning on buying rope, not kitten food after work.

I know what I'm like. I know how calmly I would have just gone about the business of hanging myself. I know that I wouldn't have hesitated for a second.

I'm sick and tired of working so hard, and having my life ruined by things which are beyond my control. I'm sick and tired of getting so close, only to have some major shit which didn't need to happen - shouldn't have happened - spoil everything.

Perhaps it's ludicrously frightening to think that I would have gone and bought rope - instead of kitten food - and hanged myself, seemingly over something relatively inconsequential and solvable, versus almost every other major problem I've overcome in my life.

Does this mean I'm dangerously unstable; at risk of suicide all the time? No.

I'm under incredible pressure at work. Dating has been exhausting. Moving house and furnishing the place has been excessively demanding. There's been a perfect storm in my life, and yet I came so close to having everything work out, that it was an intolerable cruelty to have a malicious vindictive act perpetrated against me, causing so much damage. But, hey, s**t happens.

I need to go buy kitten food and other things now. You probably shouldn't worry about me. I'd be dead by now and I'd never have warned anybody if I was going to do it. You definitely won't get any warning if I'm going to kill myself, but you should be reassured that the plan is to get the kitten at lunchtime tomorrow, and then I'm damn well staying alive for that cat's whole life.

 

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Home Improvements

4 min read

This is a story about nurturing...

Houseplants

My lounge is a place of contrast. I hate the style of the fireplace, but I love having a log fire. I love the parquet floor but it's completely different from the parquet in the rest of the house. The room is cold, but I wanted this room to be cosy - I spend a lot of time under a blanket, when the fire's not lit. My big sofas are super comfy, but I find all my furniture a little bland and generic; functional and practical. I hate the curtains: they're revolting and need replacing, but I do like to close the curtains and feel like I have good privacy.

Getting some houseplants has transformed how I feel about my lounge. Having some greenery really makes me feel many times happier about this particular room of my house.

The shelves were looking a little bare, as I lost a lot of my books during my divorce and many subsequent house moves. The weight of books that I was lugging around didn't seem to be worth it after I had moved for the millionth time, so the only books I have on my shelves are ones I've recently bought and read, or been lent.

I feel like it's a bit of a crazy idea to start accumulating more and more material possessions, including bulky items like furniture, and delicate things like houseplants, which can't be simply thrown into a box if I needed to put my stuff into storage.

However, I needed to put down some roots. I needed to feel settled and at home somewhere, at long last.

Did I mention I'm getting a kitten?

I've had enough of being young, free and single. I want to be comfortable and content. I want to be settled and secure.

This doesn't mean that I'm in some desperate hurry to find the woman of my dreams, marry her and start a family. I'm just enjoying simple domestic pleasures. I'm enjoying ordinary life. I like loading and unloading the dishwasher. I like doing my laundry. I like buying houseplants and other things to make my house look nice. I like mowing the lawn. I get plenty of novelty and pleasure from pottering around the house. That's not to say that I don't very much enjoy going on lovely dates, eating in amazing restaurants and watching arty movies, but I derive an unusual amount of satisfaction from making my house into a home.

It seems like I'm doing everything all at once: moving to a new city, getting a house, settling in, getting a pet, going on dates. Perhaps it seems like I have an end-goal that I'm rushing towards, like so many people do: either rushing towards having children, rushing towards their retirement and death, or both. I'm pretty content to have things settle down for a while. I really want to savour the next few years - I'm hoping that I can keep things steady and routine, enjoying the pleasure of foreign holidays, mini-breaks and fine dining. It might seem like I'm constantly yearning and striving, but as my quality of life improves, the pace at which I live my life is calming down.

Entering into an exclusive relationship might seem like I'm desperate to move my love-life forwards, but it felt like a very natural part of winding down from my rather frenetic period of activity, and was something I was overjoyed about given how crazy I've been about one particular special somebody.

All the things I'm really pleased about sound really ordinary and mundane, in a way: a slowly developing relationship, a steady working routine, minor home improvements. Getting a kitten sounds exciting, which it is, but I want the kitten to feel settled at home with me, and to become part of my day-to-day existence. I eagerly anticipate feeding the cat and watering the plants, as well as cooking ordinary meals for the object of my affections when she comes to visit; watching movies on TV, curled up on the sofa with the cat.

Have I lost my adventurous side? Of course not. I had a rough time when I lived a chaotic adrenaline-filled life without any structure or routine. I'm managing to gradually restore myself to sustainable health, wealth and prosperity. I'm bound to start doing lots of really exciting things - it's in my nature - but I'm going to be smart and keep my love life, my work life and my home life settled, secure, scheduled and sensible.

Future planned purchase: a watering can and some plant food. That pretty much sums up my attitude to life at the moment.

 

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Be Careful What You Wish For

4 min read

This is a story about girls, girls, girls...

Sleeping kitten

Life is always so filled with trepidation and uncertainty. My employment contract expires soon. My housing contract currently stipulates "no pets". My relationship status is still very much "dating". I can picture some kind of nightmarish scenario where I find myself homeless, jobless, single and with a hungry kitten to feed - that would be the worst-case outcome, which is of course what I imagine will happen when I'm feeling anxious.

On the flip side, everything could work out nicely for me. My contract could get renewed. My housing contract could be amended to allow me to keep the kitten I'm getting. My romantic interests could develop into a serious committed loving relationship. All these things are within the realms of possibility.

You could characterise me as somewhat of a control freak. I like to have things nailed down. I like to have certainty.

Perhaps I should have made different choices. I could have chosen permanent employment, instead of doing consultancy. I could have bought a house with no covenants or other contractual legal sticks to beat me with. I could have married the first girl who'd have me. Perhaps all these things would give me more certainty in my life - more security - but in my experience it's not possible to use legal contracts to guarantee anything: Life is intrinsically uncertain.

Empirically, it's obvious that most marriages will end in divorce. "Forever" is not something that anybody takes very seriously when they say their solemn marriage vows, nowadays. Perhaps it's always been the case that most humans are liars and cheats, and it seems to me like there are very few guarantees that you're not going to get your heart broken.

Our lives are based upon an immensely complex and surprisingly fragile economic system, which is liable to threaten our ability to house ourselves at almost any moment. Most people live lives of economic precarity, with very little money saved up in case they lose their job - two missed paycheques and the majority of people would be in a great deal of financial difficulty.

Humans are incredibly adaptable creatures and things which seem like catastrophes are often not as bad as we initially think: we so often find a way of overcoming adversity.

A considerable proportion of my time is spent worrying about losing my job, losing my home and having my heart broken. I suppose I've already had everything bad happen that could possibly happen - losing my job, my money, my house, my wife - and it felt like the end of the world; something I'd never be able to recover from. My life is certainly not fully repaired but occasionally I dare to dream that I'm going to end up in a far better situation than I ever would have been if I hadn't lost everything and been forced to start again from scratch.

It's not particularly in my nature to be risk-averse and I think I'm happier that I'm not trapped in a bad job, a bad marriage or a bad mortgage. My life is kinda scary, which isn't great for my anxiety levels, but there's no way that I'd be in such an enviable position if I hadn't taken huge risks. I'm glad that I'm taking risks and they're paying off, although obviously I'm aware that the more risks I take, the more chance there is of something bad happening.

Empirically and anecdotally, I do seem to get everything I want though.

One week from now I should have a gorgeous bengal kitten, all things being well.

 

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I'm Impatient

4 min read

This is a story about being in a hurry...

Wrigglebottom

Wanting a girlfriend, a kitten and a house could hardly be said to be whimsical decisions that have I suddenly made with little thought put into them. I've wanted a girlfriend, a cat and a house for my whole adult life, and probably a lot of my adolescence too. My wants and needs are pretty basic; fundamental.

The amount of elapsed time it's taken me to get a house, furnish it, start dating, meet some prospective love interests and find a kitten, has not taken me very long at all... by most normal people's standards. According to my perceptions, time has been almost at a standstill: like watching a 3 hour long movie in ultra slow-motion, or perhaps having each of the 24 frames per second shown by a slide projector, one every minute. The last three months of my life have lasted 72 months, according to my warped perception of time.

I by no means want to make a hurried decision about important things such as embarking upon a serious relationship, but equally I am not a person who wishes to spend a vast amount of time, effort and money, eternally dating and never thinking about making a more earnest commitment.

My life feels quite incomplete without a feline friend. I find it improves my life immeasurably to have a furry face to greet me when I come home, and I never seem to get bored of playing with cats, and stroking them when they're in the mood for human company - the sensation of a cat's fur is instantly calming, soothing and stress relieving.

UK house prices are insanely overvalued, so I must temporarily console myself with a house owned by a bank - with a mortgage - or beholden to some other form of landlord who gets rich at my expense. However, at least I have some say over how I furnish and decorate my home, and I have the right to reasonably refuse entrance to anybody I want and feel safe behind my front door.

I might seem like a very impatient person, but you have to understand that I thought I had my life sorted at a surprisingly young age, but there were bumps in the road and I'm finding myself starting over - clean slate - in a new city and without much to show for all the struggle and effort I put in up until now. That's why I'm so impatient: I very much know what I want and I know how to get it, because I already got what I wanted once already.

I have to wait a while to pick up my kitten because bengal breeders are pretty strict about when people are allowed to have them. The waiting is agonising. I have loads of photos and I get to go back for visits, but I hate waiting. I want to start bonding with my kitten right away.

I have my future life pictured very clearly and I can easily see the steps of how to get where I want to be. I never thought "I wish I didn't get a kitten" or "I wish I didn't buy a house" previously. I'm usually pretty good at knowing what's going to make me feel like a happy, fulfilled, contented person. I'm usually pretty good at knowing what's missing from my life.

It takes time to get everything we want and need, and the waiting is horrible, but I suppose I'll get there in the end.

 

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Distractions

4 min read

This is a story about feline friends...

Black cat

The two best things about owning a house were getting a kitten and having a nice garden. The garden was not in a good state when I bought the house: the lawn was in a dreadful state, the borders were full of unattractive things which had self-seeded, the path was shoddy and the small shed was falling down.

Getting a kitten was amazing. Having a precious little fluffball to nurture was one of the best things I ever did in my life.

Working on the garden, planting an attractive deep herbaceous border in neat mulched flowerbeds, laying a straight path with nice pebbles and later building a summer house in the style of a giant beach hut, was enormously rewarding.

Today, my back garden is full of weeds and my house is empty except for me.

I miss having a cat.

The photo above is of a neighbour's cat who strayed into my garden. I went outside to say hello but the cat ran away before I even stepped out of my back door. I suppose I should leave other people's pets alone, but I see no harm in being kind to the neighbourhood cats, provided I'm not feeding them or letting them come in my house.

I knew that I wouldn't be able to resist getting a cat for very long. I lasted 2 months.

I'm hoping to pick up a beautiful little bengal kitten in a couple of weeks. She has the same name as my niece, which seemed like fate: it was meant to be. If you're unfamiliar with the bengal breed, they're like little tiny leopards - their fur markings or 'spots' are quite unlike any other domestic cat's. I never pictured myself as an owner of a particular breed, but I had been interested in a few breeds: Maine Coons and Savannahs. Everything I heard about bengals made me want to own one, and soon hopefully I will.

I have lots of nice distractions in my life at the moment. Everything seems to be going according to plan.

I'm a strange fellow. Of course I want to chase girls. Of course I want sex. However, I also have a pretty strong nurturing instinct, which seems to take the guise of being a bit of a gardener and cat 'parent'. I'm mad about cats.

I'm sure I can give a little kitty a really nice life. I'm sure no grown cat, having lived in a warm house and had a steady supply of cat food for its entire life, is ever going to tell me that it's depressed and wishes it'd never been born. I can be pretty certain that I'm not going to have chosen the world's first cat to be afflicted with existential angst.

It might seem pretty selfish wanting a cat; another mouth to feed on an overcrowded planet. The amount of meat that my carnivorous kitty is going to need to consume in her lifetime is certainly going to have an environmental impact. There are ethical questions about whether it's right to domesticate wild animals like we do: for food and for harder to define reasons, such as having a feline companion.

I worry about whether my life is stable and secure enough to guarantee that this little kitten - collected in a few weeks - can have a very happy life, where she can be loved, cared for and live in a stimulating environment where her every feline need is met.

I feel like a pretty responsible adult, having taken reproductive precautions seriously enough to reach the age of 39 without having fathered any children who by now would be asking "why was I born into this terrible world?". I'm not ruling out meeting somebody who I fall so utterly in love with that I might be convinced to start a family, but at the moment I'm glad that my nurturing instincts have been mostly curtailed with gardening and kittens.

Call it May Madness, if you like... I'm a little swept up in the joys of spring. I certainly worry that I'm making rash decisions, but I find it hard to be anything other than excited about soon collecting a little bundle of furry joy and bringing her home. You should expect a lot of cat pictures to be shared imminently, hence why I haven't shared one of the cute little kitten today... there's gonna be a lot coming soon!

 

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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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