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I write every day about living with bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. I've written and published more than 1.3 million words


The Boy Done Good

6 min read

This is a story about achievement...


If I manage to slip the bonds of the United Kingdom tomorrow, I will have done extremely well. I know for certain that I do not have COVID-19, of any variety, because I am tested every week by the University of Oxford/ONS study, and I never leave the house except to go mountain biking on my own. Additionally, I literally just received the results of a very rapid but very accurate new test, which is about as good as anybody can ever get at saying "I haven't got COVID".

I mean, it's very simple: I just don't have it.

I don't socialise. I don't leave the house. My cat doesn't leave the house. I don't have children (which is the main thing) and I haven't travelled for 16 consecutive months, so it is impossible for me to have caught it.

The people who have caught it and who have been spreading it, are the people with children; the people who've been going to pubs and other social gatherings, the people who've been circulating amongst their friends and family... basically, carrying on like normal. Of course, then there are the people, for whom direct social contact is unavoidable. There are so many jobs which can't be done from the safe comfy confines of a home office, and those jobs are essential to almost all our lives.

However, in most cases the virus is being transmitted entirely unnecessarily: just close the schools; close the non-essential businesses... and by non-essential, I mean NOBODY'S GOING TO FUCKING STARVE IF YOUR GYM HAS TO CLOSE.

I am, however, a hypocrite. Although I have spent all year as a recluse - a hermit - and I wasn't one of the heaving masses who flocked to the shops when they re-opened, or rushed to the beach, or threw house parties. I wasn't one of the crowd. I wasn't one of the herd. Despite my laudable behaviour, regarding lockdowns and suchlike, I eventually needed a holiday. I am attempting to have a holiday.

I must admit that I was very sneaky. As soon as populist governments started talking about giving people a "normal" Christmas I knew that expectations would be set unrealistically, and it would be politically impossible to do a U-turn, having built up the nation's hopes of enjoying a very brief period of yuletide festivities: basically, to snatch away the nation's excuse to get drunk, spend loads of money, and eat loads of festive food, seemed unconscionable, once the expectation had been set.

It's a logical impossibility to say "we're following the science" and also talk about a "Christmas ceasefire"... let alone make a series of moronic date-based predictions, which were ostensibly not based on any science: nobody possesses a crystal ball. When politicians spoke of beating the virus by Easter, July 4th, the start of the new academic year... are they really so stupid? No. This is modern populist politics, where ideas are tested on focus groups and policies are driven by vote-winning data. Yes, politicians are following the science: the data science of how to push people's buttons, which is usually the preserve of the advertising industry.

So, I booked a holiday, with the dates intentionally matching the "Christmas ceasefire" with the virus, as promised by our Prime Minister. I thought, foolishly, that any U-turn would be such a huge disappointment, and spread such anger with the government's bungling of the pandemic, that they wouldn't dare to break their promises.

Instead, what we have ended up with, is a system so bureaucratically complex as to be unenforceable, and indeed a momentum in the country, which inevitably builds in the lead-up to Christmas, that martial law, curfews, road blockades, sabotaged bridges and other such activity, would not stop the average British family from proceeding with their Christmas plans, which were so meticulously made.

If German and English soldiers weren't prepared to kill each other, during the famous WWII ceasefire, and even played a game of football in no-man's-land, what policeman or solider is going to break up a typical family of otherwise-law-abiding and obedient servants of the crown, for the crime of getting their family together for an event so deeply enshrined in our culture? Even the most officious of policeman and soldier, is also indoctrinated by their cultural upbringing, and so they empathise and sympathise with the plight of those who have been asked to follow insanely complicated rules, at the last minute... so much so that the politicians and their 'power' are shown to be utterly worthless, in the face of two things: 1) a virus, which does not know about any culturally significant events in the calendar of particular civilisations; and 2) a population, which already knows and accepts that many of its elderly will not survive the winter; death is inevitable.

I'm the worst kind of hypocrite, because I know that I am prone to thinking that there's "one rule for me, and one for everyone else". Like the very most despicable people on earth, I know what's good for you. I do not, of course, practice what I preach. Perhaps, for example, I will be the individual who is unknowingly carrying a mutant variant of COVID-19, which will ultimately return humanity to the stone age. Because of my selfish individualism, all the "end of lockdown" partying and other acts of myopic idiocy will pale into insignificance.

The next time I write to you, I will have either successfully pulled off an egregiously antisocial act, which might seem small and inconsequential if considered in isolation, but, we must look at the bigger picture: perhaps I am the patient zero, and the ultimate hypocrite.

In fact, I cannot be the ultimate hypocrite, because I have always recognised the importance of certain festivals and other events in the calendar of different cultures, and I actually agreed that attempting to have a somewhat normal Christmas was the right thing to do. The unforgivable error, in my opinion, was the cynical attempt to do a U-turn, and hide behind an unfathomable rulebook, in the hope that the blame could be deflected onto the individuals, instead of the politicians who made promises they couldn't keep. I, personally, would have held a press release and just said: "you're going to kill granny and granddad, but you're allowed to make that choice if you want: you're not stupid; you can be led by the science too... it's not that hard".

Anyway, spare a thought for your poor author: laying on a comfortable bed in a 5-star hotel, penning this essay, tragically unable to utilise the swimming pool or eat in the award-winning restaurant. Spare a thought for the stress your author has endured, not knowing with certainty whether or not he will be able to board a flight to paradise tomorrow, or not. Your hand-wringing over a paltry 1.7 million deaths pales into insignificance, when compared with my own very real first-world problems.




I Need This Job

9 min read

This is a story about income...


Three strikes and you're out, is standard practice, in the workplace. I believe, for regular salaried employees, they are allowed a certain number of verbal warnings, written warnings, and then they can be fired, without fear of legal repercussions. Obviously the process of getting rid of a bad employee is fraught with difficulties, if you want to avoid employment tribunals, unfair constructive dismissal lawsuits and other such comeback, but generally speaking, if somebody is frequently reprimanded for unacceptable conduct in the workplace, they will find themselves booted fired from their job, eventually.

There are acts of gross misconduct, gross negligence, sexual misconduct, workplace bullying, discrimination on the grounds of a protected characteristic, conviction for a crime, and other extreme circumstances which are grounds for immediate dismissal, but those are not the topic of this essay.

Most people are grateful to have a job. Most people are grateful for their salary. Most people need their salary to pay their mortgage, bills and to buy food, not to mention school uniforms for their spawn, petrol to put in the car to drive their progeny to school in a massive gas-guzzling 4x4, and regular delivery of cotton wool in which to wrap their precious darlings in... and other associated costs of being a fully-paid-up card-carrying member of the "I'm a mindless animal, no different from a slug or a wasp" club.

Yes, for most people, the worry about losing their job is second only to their worry about their child being harmed or killed.

That's normal. That's been the same for so long, that we have started to believe that it's natural and perhaps even a law of the universe which cannot be defied, like the speed of light.

I have some shocking news for you: we don't need jobs, mortgages, money, exams, certificates, qualifications. If, as you all have demonstrated en masse, your only intention is procreation, then your car hire-purchase of an expensive shiny new 4x4, which you lovingly wash every Sunday, looks ludicrously absurd. "But I need that car to drive the kids to school, and to get to work" you protest. No. You do not need to take your kids to school. You do not need to go to work. "But if my kids don't go to school they won't do exams and get qualifications so they can get a job". Correct... you're just repeating what I just said: you do not need to take your kids to school. "But how will they get jobs?". They don't need jobs. "I need a job. I will lose my job if I don't go to work. I need to go to work to get money, to pay my mortgage". No. None of this is necessary.

You have been indoctrinated into a weird cult, where a person gets a job as a baker, so that they can get paid a salary, and use the money to purchase a slice of one of the loaves of bread that they baked.

Are you fucking insane?

"But I don't know how to build a house! I don't know how to harvest wheat!" you wail.

Well, guess what, if you weren't so fucking busy with your mortgage-car-loan-drive-kids-to-school-for-pointless-exams-going-to-pointless-job laughable existence, you'd have plenty of time to learn how to build a house, although you already have a house so that seems pretty pointless. You'll be able to learn how to harvest wheat... less than 1% of the population is involved in agricuture: 1 person can feed 1,000, so the labour is not going to be difficult or back-breaking, escpecially with agricultural mechanisation.


You cannot comprehend any other way of life than your current absurd one..

You have been indoctrinated into the weird cult, so successfully, that you can't imagine any other way of life, other than the miserable merry-go-round, which condemns your children to abysmal living standards; depression, suicide, poverty. Your refusal to open your eyes and see that we are heading in the wrong direction is condeming your children and grandchildren to a dystopian nightmare; a horrendously horrible life of suffering, pain and discomfort.

The point of my essay is this: I don't need your fucking job, OK?

I want to help people. I want to do useful stuff. I want to make a valuable contribution. I want to work hard, for the betterment of human society. I really really really really want to have the opportunity to use my skills and experience, to make the world a better place.

I'm bored and unchallenged and under-utilised and, frankly, I can't fucking stand it when I see idiotic shit happening, and I'm not allowed to go and help out; to go and fix things. All I want to do is build brilliant useful stuff and I fucking hate it, when because of organisational political bullshit, I'm not allowed to go and put my skills to use, where they would be most usefully employed.

Okay, I'm an arrogant arsehole, but I'm the arrogant arsehole who's made massive contributions to absolutely massive flagship projects for global organisations on many occasions. I'm not yelling "listen to me; do what I tell you to do, immediately"... I'm yelling "what the fuck are you doing, not using my extremely expensive and valuable talents, which I am desperate to give to whoever needs them the most". I'm yelling "I am extremely competent and capable and productive... what the fuck are you doing, wasting my valuable time, having me sitting around bored all the fucking time?".

I don't need your fucking job. I don't need your fucking money. I have a plan: if my contract is terminated, I'll just kill myself, because I am absolutely fucking sick of corporate organisational bullshit; I am absolutely fucking sick of the rat race, where the rats are 'just about managing' and everything is a colossal clusterfuck cock-up, and the fucking 'talent' are kept in the dusty trophy cabinet, untouched.


On the flip side, I'm sorry that I take out my frustration on people, sometimes. I'm sorry that I 'lose the plot' and go on big rants, in an environment which is supposed to be purely professional, but there's FUCK ALL professional about massive incompetence. There's FUCK ALL professional about massive FAILURE. I didn't go into a profession to be a FUCKING FAILURE, OK? I want to work on projects which are massive SUCCESSES, and the way I make that happen, is that I work REALLY FUCKING HARD on whatever is on fire.

So, I've taken out my frustration on various unfortunate parts of the organisation, which have felt the sharp end of my tongue, and that will probably end up with my contract being terminated early. FINE. FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING MORONS. You don't need my help to fuck everything up, but you DO need my help to make things a success... so please understand that I'm REALLY REALLY SORRY that my frustrations have boiled over and I've been raging and ranting. PLEASE understand that I'm really sorry, and I'm doing everything in my power to fix that.


However, also.

Please understand, that I am BEGGING YOU for the opportunity to help make things a success. I'm not applying for a role, with a committee to decide on whether I'm the right man for the job, in the hope of having my job description changed, and some pointless fucking announcement from a waste-of-space middle manager. What I'm basically saying is: STUFF IS ON FIRE... LET ME PUT THOSE FIRES OUT. What I'm basically sayings is: YOU'VE ALMOST RUN OUT OF TIME... LET ME CATCH YOU UP.

It doesn't seem like an unreasonable request, to be begging to save your fucking project from being an utter shitshow.

And yes, I know "utter shitshow" is not tactful and diplomatic language, but maybe ALLOW ME TO STOP THE SHITSHOW and then I'll tone down my language.

On a personal level, everyone I work with is really nice and the project is really cool. But, seriously, I'M HERE TO FUCKING HELP.

I know that going mental at everyone could be [wrongly] dismissed as 'unhelpful' but somebody has to be Cassandra here. Also, I'm bringing you SOLUTIONS not PROBLEMS.

It's not personal. I'm not attacking the individuals. The problem is endemic in all large organisations. It's me who's the weirdo; the misfit. It's easier to get rid of me, and carry on with the shitshow, than to accept my help.

For my side of the bargain, I'll stop going apeshit when I'm no longer bored shitless, forced to watch an enormous about of stuff being horrendously botched, but not allowed to get involved and sort things out. When I'm busy fixing stuff, I'm happy, content, and I have no time or inclination to explode with frustration and annoyance, at the shitshow all around me, because I'm working as hard as I can to turn things around.

Just, please, for the love of god, let me do what I'm good at.

On a personal note, I've found out that people have taken things I've written very personally. It's not personal. I know everyone is working hard. I know everyone is stressed. All I can say is, that I'm very sorry; I'm full of remorse that upset was caused. But, please let me help you. I can't excuse the fact I upset you, but I can assure you that if you let me help you then my tendency towards screaming "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS UTTER HORSE-SHIT?" is somewhat lessened... although such outbursts are never directed at any individuals.

This probably won't make for great reading, but what does it matter? The choices are simple: either I'm able to occupy myself productively, sorting out problems, or I'm booted out of the door, and my plans to commit suicide arrive a little sooner than expected. I'VE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE. I WAS GOING TO KILL MYSELF ANYWAY.





5 min read

This is a story about being unpleasant...


We like to think that niceness, and conversely, nastiness, are innate inherent personality traits, which are fixed immutably at birth. We like to think that the world divides neatly into the nice and the nasty. We might, for example, lazily assume that all criminals are nasty, and that all nurses are nice... to take two very simple examples of commonplace simplified thinking.

While we might all agree that the world would be better if we all aspired to be as nice as possible, and that the world would be better if we all vowed to never be nasty.

Sorry. Nope. Won't work.

Less than one month from now, every gym in the western world will be crammed full of fat people, who aspire to be thin, and who have vowed to lose weight; who aspire to eat less and who have vowed to get fit. Almost all of those people will fail. They will fail, not because they are bad people but because the circumstances around them, exert such a great force pushing them towards being fat and unfit, and away from being thin and fit, that their limited willpower will not last very long. The short-lived nature of their willpower is not a character flaw, but something which is integral to all of us, psychologically.

Imagine that I am very fat. Imagine also that I am unhappy about being very fat. Then, create a single hypothetical day of the year, where everyone in the western world all decides, en masse, to join a gym and start getting thin. Most of the reasons for becoming thin always existed: to be more attractive, to be healthier, to live a longer life, to be able to be more fit and active; able to exert more energy doing fun stuff, and not just shifting blubber from one place to another. So, what's different about New Year's Day? Nothing. Nothing except that millions of other idiots are all having exactly the same idea, at the same time, so there is an immense social movement, carrying a fat person on a wave of delusional euphoria: "this year I'm going to lose weight!" they all declare, as their New Year's resolution.

Why almost all of them fail, is not due to personality flaws, weakness, laziness or even because they are nasty people. They did intend to lose the weight, but if it was easy then they wouldn't have waited so long to do it, would they? If it was easy, then there wouldn't be smug thin people, rubbing everybody's faces in the fact that they're so thin, would there? Being thin would be nothing to be proud of, and to parade around, if it was easy.

We might then, re-evaluate the way we think about fat people. Fat people are nice, because they are just minding their own business, doing what comes naturally to them: eating. We cann't ever say that eating is a nasty act, because we all have to eat, otherwise we die. There is no malice in eating.

Equally, we should re-evaluate the way we think about thin people. Thin people are nasty, because they are deliberately doing unpleasant things, like dieting and exercising, which are not at all natural, in order to feel superior to everybody else. Thin people are maliciously motivated to parade their thin bodies around, figuratively screaming "look at me you fat fucks... I'm so much better than you are, you bunch of lazy porky cunts". That's pretty nasty.

Looking around, we can find other examples of niceness in unlikely places. Crack and heroin addicts who only steal from rich people and/or from large corporations, like retail chains, in victimless crimes like shoplifting. Ethically, there is no difference between shoplifting from a multinational corporation, or buying their products: neither one harms or benefits anybody. In fact, if anything, the presence of shoplifters creates many jobs, for security guards, police and the manufacturers of anti-theft devices. We can think of crack and heroin addicts who commit acquisitive crime, so long as it's just shoplifting, as an essential part of a healthy economy; job creators. What about the crack and heroin addicts who have sex with ugly men? How would those ugly men get sex otherwise?

As you can see: so called 'nasty' people can actually turn out to be very 'nice', and vice-versa. Anybody who's ever had to deal with somebody who actively thinks of themselves as a saint, will know that they're invariably an insufferable cunt... like a doctor who likes to think of themselves as "saving lives" when actually they work as a GP and all they do is make the process of accessing medication into a slow and painfully bureaucratic process, adding zero value and costing everybody a lot of time and money, plus meanwhile preaching holier-than-thou bullshit about how slightly overweight people should lose some weight, unsolicited, to all of their patients, who have no other choice but to listen to the nasty person give their lecture, lest they be refused a handful of pills they could've just bought from a pharmacist, cutting the nasty full-of-themselves so-called doctor out of the loop altogether.

I was going to write, also, about how nice or nasty you are is dictated by how rich you are, and how much pressure and stress you're under... but that will have to wait for another time. Meanwhile, fuck off.




I Recant

5 min read

This is a story about irresponsibility...


I did something which I knew was wrong. I looked at my website visitor data and it went to my head. I acted irresponsibly.

I'm just one guy, writing in my spare time.

Even if I worked full-time at this, there's a very finite limit of what I can offer people one-to-one.

With the power of the internet, I can reach vast numbers of people, but there's not a lot I can do for them as individuals. The power of a website is to broadcast, and the ability to meaningfully reply is a problem which hasn't been solved by technology yet: there is no machine which can pass the Turing Test, let alone provide effective crisis counselling.

I never promoted myself as a crisis counsellor, but I did very vociferously talk about the need for people to be able to talk about their suicidal thoughts, without being shouted down with "YOU'VE GOT SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR" clichés. I did write, at great length, about the vast numbers of people who can't find anybody to talk to who's going through what they're going through, and isn't some well-meaning busybody whose misguided good intentions are actually driving some suicidal people away. It's undeniably true: people are searching for stories which aren't bullshit fantasy make-believe nonsense about how everything's going to be OK and "this will pass soon" because people know that's not true: they've lived with suicidal thoughts for so long, that they know that it doesn't pass, a lot of the time.

However, I am not equipped. I am not equipped to read and respond to vast amounts of people's tragic stories, all day, every day. I very badly want to be able to, but my mood and energy fluctuates wildly, and so does my ability to read and respond. I can't promise to always be available to chat. I can't promise to always be able to read and respond in a timely manner.

I'm not sure if I ever made a promise to anybody, but I suppose I got carried away, and I had increasingly encouraged people to write to me. I don't discourage it, but I think it was irresponsible of me, to be reaching so many people in crisis, but yet to be so ill-equipped to deal with that deluge... it's heartbreakingly tragic that there are so many people out there in the world, searching for the "easiest" way to kill themselves.

I'm not a wishful thinker. I'm not an idiot either. Although I applaud those who say "if I just save one life, that's enough" and indeed that attitude is theoretically enough to save everyone who needs to be saved, if we all adopted that attitude... unfortunately, the statistics and data points that it is not enough. That's not to say that those who volunteer to work on crisis counselling phone lines aren't working hard enough. It's a simple statement of fact: whatever we're doing in the world of suicide prevention, is not working.

So, I'm taking an unorthodox approach. I'm writing about my struggles, without trying to create any Disney Hollywood fairy-tale fantasy happy ending. There's no happy ending to my story. My story doesn't have an ending like: "and they all lived happily ever after". Nope. This is not a rags-to-riches story. This isn't a story of recovery. If you came here looking for that, you came to the wrong place. In fact, I know why people came here, and they are not looking for saccharine-sweet sugar-coated false hope, because there's plenty of that already in the world. So many people write to me to tell me that they're so glad that they found somebody writing with honesty in a relatable way, that I'm never going to stop doing that.

My mistake; my irresponsibility... that's been in getting greedy and actively trying to get more readers. My crime is in letting the huge number of readers go to my head, and starting to think that I was doing anything more than simply telling a relatable story, with honesty.

In short, I'm sorry. I don't have anything other to offer you than my story. I'll stop being so arrogant and pretending I'm anything other than an ordinary guy, telling his own story of depression and suicide attempts, for anybody who wants to read it. I'm sorry I got big-headed and thought that I might be making a different. I'm sorry for my delusion of grandeur.

I'm going to now delete one of the blog posts I wrote, which was definitely straying into the territory of delusional; written when I was thinking that I was making a difference, in some way... when I thought I was doing something useful. Now I see that it was irresponsible.

I'm sorry.




The Expectation of Better

5 min read

This is a story about strategy...


We might say, unquestionably, our lives are better today than the lives of our grandparents; our quality of life is vastly better than when our grandparents were the same age we are today. Infant mortality and deaths in childbirth are vastly reduced, antibiotics and vaccines have virtually eradicated major diseases, food is abundant, high quality, tasty and nutritious, war is almost a forgotten memory; certainly the horrors of war are long forgotten... the proliferation of jingoistic moronic idiotic imbecilic poppy-shagging flag-shagging brain-dead meathead pillocks, is alarming, and those utterly brainless waste-of-space people think that war is glorious; they romanticise war.... however, there is only a tiny fraction of the war we once had, and that's a really good thing.

Thinking about things a bit more, however, we cannot say that universally life is better. It depends what you value. If you value a job for life, a good pension, community spirit, lifelong marriage, affordable housing, pleasant and rewarding work, beating your wife, beating your children, beating homosexuals, beating Black people, beating Brown people, imprisoning homosexuals, murdering criminals, oppressing women, murdering, beating, and oppressing the native inhabitants of the far reaches of Empire, and other 'old fashioned' values, as well as watching a substantial number of children die before reaching maturity, women dying in labour, masses of people dying from preventable diseases, shorter lifespans... if that sort of thing is more your cup of tea, then yes, maybe life has got worse.

We might consider, on a shorter timescale, whether our own life is getting better or worse. My own situation is mostly unchanged: I would have been able to afford an apartment in very central London as a twenty-something, and I could still afford that same apartment today, but it would swallow a larger proportion of my income, and I would have to cough up a larger chunk of my life savings as a deposit. We might consider the realistic prospect of me retiring: in my early twenties it looked likely that I would retire at age 50, in considerable comfort. Now, retirement at 75 would be possible. I suppose my options have not disappeared altogether, but I am a highly unusual individual; highly atypical.

Perhaps it is my expectations which are wrong?


The range of my expectations includes committing a victimless crime - defrauding a bank or other parasitic organisation out of such a tiny fraction of their exorbitant profit that it wouldn't be missed by anybody - and either netting myself enough money to retire, or a custodial sentence to provide food and lodgings for the rest of my natural life: a win-win situation. At the bottom end, my expectations also include homelessness, and indeed sleeping rough, both of which I am all-too familiar with: they hold no surprises for me; I know what to expect. At the top end of my expectation range, there's nothing more than owning a dwelling of some kind, and having enough money to eat and pay the mandatory minimum bills... better than a prison cell or whatever shelter I could manage, sleeping rough.

This, again, is very atypical.

If we study most of humanity, we see that the strategy is very different. Most people are engaged in the bestial pursuit of making copies of their genes through offspring. Most people are in denial about the decline in living standards, and are attempting to use their sharp elbows to barge their way through the crowd, in the delusional belief that they'll be able to - through sheer willpower - bend reality to meet their psychotic hallucinations. "This will make for a great anecdote during your interview at The University of Oxford, dearest little Joshua" parents will be saying to their children, as they scavenge through a burnt-out supermarket in the shadow of derelict skyscrapers, unable and unwilling to ever accept that thrusting their progeny into the middle of the post-capitalist collapse of global civilisation, was perhaps the most stupid and selfish act ever committed by a supposedly sentient creature.

Conversely, you might think that I am stupid for not having children and shackling myself to a job that I hate for the rest of my life, in the hope of receiving a measly pension in the twilight years of my life, which I won't get to enjoy because of heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. I am prepared to consider that maybe it's me who's got things wrong. Except, you'll have lots of time to think about it, until your dementia sets in, whereas I won't have to think about it at all, because I'll be deliberately dead at my own hand, having avoided my own suffering, and having avoided inflicting life's suffering onto any innocent children.

These are not original ideas, of course, but we would be wise to consider the alternatives to what might appear, at first glance, to be the obvious answers.




Minor Discomfort

4 min read

This is a story about unrealistic expectations...

Cleaning cupboard

I'm not sure where this 'unrealistic' thing came from. Realistically, we will succumb to a horrible disease, and then die. This much, our parents knew for certain when they decided to have children. Realistically, our parents knowingly condemned us to a life of deprivation and want; disease and death. Realistically, our expectation should be to die in fear, agony and discomfort, after struggle and suffering.

Is there any point in counting our blessings? Why not count our curses? Either option is comparably meaningless as a mortal creature in a godless universe.

I wonder how frequently a minor inconvenience seems sufficient grounds for suicide, to me. Certainly in the past few years, I've been so consumed with horrendous anxiety over 'trivial' life events, that I've lived with near-constant suicidal depression. I've lost count of the number of times that I've promised myself that I'll end the suffering if a certain unfortunate event occurs. I've lost count of the number of times I've felt, for a moment, on a knife edge about to end my life, triggered by seemingly the most minor of things; the most inconsequential and hard to fathom, for those who aren't troubled with such extreme sensations.

It's hard to know if things are getting better or worse. Certainly, I overcame problems with moving house, potentially losing my income, some invasive background checks, plus the hurricane-strength headwinds of debt and other money worries, which completely eroded any hope and sense of wellbeing, constantly. I dealt with breakups, losing my cat, a car which had to be scrapped, another car which got crashed into, multiple organ failure... you know, that kind of stuff. Normal everyday ordinary kinda stuff.

I'm no fan of the contrived platitudes about counting blessings, or suchlike idiotic nonsense. However, it did occur to me that I'm grateful that, for example, I have no need to deal with doctors or dentists; I have no need to deal with solicitors; I have no need to deal, on the whole, with the general public. I suppose it's a somewhat charmed existence, certainly versus being one of the oft-mentioned starving African children, or indeed the one any only person on the entire planet who's got it worse than everybody else, and therefore by extension is the only person out of nearly 8 billion, who's legitimately entitled to complain or feel sorry for themselves: everyone else has to suck it up and "count their blessings".

I reserve the right. I reserve the right to complain. I reserve the right to feel sorry for myself. I reserve the right to kill myself, whenever I want. I reserve those rights.

It seems to me, that the only way that humanity's self-awareness can be balanced, along with the curse of intellect which allows the perception of the futility of existence, is with the ability to end one's own life. Sure, vast swathes of humanity are too stupid and ignorant to be cursed with the comprehension of the awfulness and meaningless of existence; afflicted by angst, ennui, anxiety, depression and other horrors visited upon those who are elevated above the level of rutting beasts. Sure, it would be soul-soothing to be swept up in the mass hysteria; too busily acting like a slug or a wasp, intent on passing on its genes, like a mindless beast... sure that would obviously be better, in terms of personal suffering, but it's unethical to knowingly inflict such awfulness on an innocent victim: namely those children who did not consent to be born, nor indeed should have been born into such a dreadful world. There is no excuse for the crime of bringing children into this world, to suffer and die afraid, in pain, after a life of struggle, discomfort and unmet want.

I suppose it's an incredibly unoriginal and banal observation, that organised religion provides a convenient but provably wrong fantasy for those who wish to justify and forgive their own wicked deeds. You might argue that morality is the sole preserve of organised religion, and in a way you are right: there are no supernatural entities who sit in judgement over any of us; there is no objective morality; everything is permissable, within the confines of the universal laws of physics.

So, in conclusion: commit suicide, or commit murder, or don't. Nobody gives a shit. Nothing matters. Life is meaningless and all human history will be obliterated such that any and all existence of humanity's existence will be utterly undetectable; totally and irretrievably destroyed.




Useful Idiot

5 min read

This is a story about technocrats...


I wish I could tell you more about my day job, but I can't. I can't even tell you who my main client is, or generally what the project is that I'm working on. I mean, technically I could tell you the organisation and project, but then anybody searching for my name and that project or organisation would be brought right here, immediately, which wouldn't be helpful. I can't tell you any detail about my day, because it would probably breach code of conduct, and possibly some laws too, depending on what I told you.


I hate when people try to be super mysterious, and generally allude to the fact that what they do for a living is exciting; like they're James fucking Bond, or something. No, it's much more boring than that, as this quote that I love explains very well:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." -- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

What I'm working on for the majority of my working week, is benign, most people would agree. A colleague reads my blog, openly, not secretly, and they said that they agree with me: the project, and indeed the work of the organisation is benign in their opinion too. It's hard to see how what we're doing is not benign, but we should explore the topic with a little more of an open mind.

Something which you might pay little heed to, but will be well aware of if you've ever been unwell, is that there is a vast mountain of administrative headache, which has to be ploughed through, simply for the privilege of being alive. Even though all my bills are paid via direct debit from my bank account, or auto-renewal straight from my debit card, or some other way of money disappearing constantly from my pocket, still that's not enough. The council will write to me demanding that I tell them who lives in my house, even though I already told them. The car insurance company demanding to see proof that I've never claimed on my policy, even though it is them who administers the policy. Somebody, somewhere, at all times, is expecting me to do something for them, on pain of fine, prosecution... prison even.

The United Kingdom is ostensibly a very difficult place to live, unmolested. If you were hoping to live here, simply paying your rent/mortgage and bills, and expecting that would be enough, you are very wrong: an endless stream of bureaucratic obligations will bombard you, every single day. There are reams of forms which need to be filled in in triplicate; numerous permits, licenses, notices and interminable obligations, which are met with extremely harsh penalties if these constant intrusions into your life are not dealt with immediately.

Each organisation which contacts you thinks that its demands are not onerous, which is true. Taken individually, each task is not particularly difficult or time-consuming. However, when all these small tasks are added together, the demand is huge: I really don't give a shit whether I'm doing my tax return or revising the electoral roll... both tasks are equally irksome; equally intruding into my time, effort and energy. For highly functional people, they perhaps don't notice this burden, but those who are sick - speaking from personal experience - will find it overwhelming, to the point of driving a person to suicide.

While it might seem ridiculous - improbable - that these 'easy' jobs might tip somebody over the edge, to the point that they'd end their own life, if you consider the harsh penalties which are attached to all of these things, they can all threaten to ruin your life. An unpaid parking ticket can lead to £15,000 of court costs and other expenses, which would bankrupt most people. Other minor administrative oversights, like failing to tell the council that your flatmate moved out, could lead to thousands of pounds of fines, and perhaps even a criminal conviction. Cumulatively, I'm sure that you could end up with a very big police criminal record, and be bankrupted many times, simply because you weren't able to open your mail for a few months, because you were sick.

The letters keep dropping on your doormat, and every single one is demanding money with menaces. Every single one of those letters is threatening to lock you up, take away your home, take away your livelihood, take away your children, take away your pets, take away your transport; threatening to bankrupt you, and wreck your chance of ever having a home ever again; having a job ever again. It's a pretty shitty state of affairs, that we can do that to people, who just want/need to be left alone.




All You Have to do is Nothing

4 min read

This is a story about boredom...


What if I offered you a six-figure salary to do nothing? Would you take it? Of course you'd take it, right? Think of all the great stuff you could buy with a six-figure income. Think of what a great house and car you could buy. Think of all the holidays you could have. Think of all the lovely things that money would buy.


Firstly, going on holiday is not "doing nothing". If you're on holiday, you won't be earning your six-figure salary: you're only paid for the time you're doing nothing.

Fine, you say.


You're going to have to spend some time doing nothing, in order to get your hands on the money. How much time do you think you could spend doing nothing in any given year? Assuming that you spend about 5 weeks each year on holiday, that means you'll have to spend 47 weeks doing nothing. That's achievable, right?


It's a lot harder doing nothing than doing something. You might not realise this - because you've never had to do nothing - but it's the hardest thing in the world. Perhaps if you work as a security guard or a solidier, you might be able to legitimately claim that you've got first-hand experience of doing nothing, but that's not true. It's well known that doing nothing is impossible, so security guards and soldiers get paired up or given 'lone worker' tasks to do, in order to break the monotony of the task.

In fact, every time you were bored, you just walked out of that job and went and got another one; every time your situation was uncomfortable, you changed it. Your entire life consists of chatting to people, making cups of tea/coffee and undertaking a variety of tasks. You never do nothing.

Doing nothing pays the most money.

Boredom is directly proportional to remuneration; the more boring a job is, the more you get paid (with the exception of being a security guard, perhaps). Maybe it's like a 'U' shape actually - there are really badly paid jobs which are boring, and the best paid jobs which are boring, and the jobs in the middle are the interesting ones.

The best thing I can do at the moment is nothing. The more I keep quiet and keep my head down, the better. Far better if I avoid trouble and don't do anything - do nothing - to earn loads of money.

It's unbearable.

Most people are led by impulse and instinct, but I have to fight my gut every step of the way. If I did what 'felt' right then I would quit what I'm doing and just figure things out - anything's better than being trapped doing nothing, bored. Of course, I would miss the 'easy' money, so I keep going, because my head says it's the right thing to do. I know that the suffering will yield vast financial compensation, even if the means of achieving it are intolerable.

I suppose you think that it's a nice problem to have but you'd be mistaken. We can all prostitute ourselves, or otherwise do work which is toxic to our dignity, sense of wellbeing, sense of achievement, mental health etc. Of course, some sex workers are happy doing what they're doing, so use your imagination: you could earn a lot of money doing crime if you wanted to.

If you think what I'm writing is entitled and whingey, fuck off. If you're thinking "we all have to suffer a little boredom occasionally" then you're right... "occasionally". When it becomes your full-time job to be bored out of your mind, then it goes beyond 'normal' and moves into the territory of an extreme health hazard; a threat to life.

Of course I can see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I can also see the broken glass and razor blades I have to crawl over to get there. Sure, I probably will get there in the end, but I'm going to whine and complain the whole way, because it's a ridiculous waste of time, energy and talent, to have a person tormented - in agony - with insufferable boredom.




An Apology

6 min read

This is a story about remorse...

My kitty

There's a lot of good reasons why we don't steal people's medication.

Firstly, theft is illegal. There is no defence against the crime of theft. You could rob a bank and claim that you were going to give the money to charity, but I'm afraid that's no defence. You could claim that you didn't know theft was a crime, but ignorance is no defence. You could claim that you were keeping somebody safe, by stealing something of theirs that was dangerous: perhaps you stole a fast motorbike, and your defence is that you wanted to prevent injury or death. Unfortunately, while these arguments might give the court judge cause to be more lenient in their sentencing, the crime of theft is a clear-cut thing: you simply need to permanently deprive the owner of something that they own, and you have committed a crime. No defence. It's a crime. It's that simple.

Secondly, some medications require you to have a prescription to have them in your possession. There are lots of medications which are controlled drugs and as such, to have stolen those medications would mean that you have committed a second crime: possession of a controlled substance, without a prescription. Again, there's no defence for being in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, unless you have signed documentation proving that you are authorised to collect a prescription from a pharmacy, on somebody else's behalf.

Thirdly, some medications will cause seizures and death if the patient abruptly stops taking them. Many medications raise the seizure threshold, and when medication is stolen and the patient is forced to abruptly cease taking the pills, then the seizure threshold is lowered so substantially that the result is very bad seizures - grand mal - which can cause physical injuries as well as death. This would be gross negligence, or gross negligence manslaughter in the event of a death.

Fourthly, while incredibly ignorant people might think that they are being "helpful" by stealing medications, if their fantasies are incited by other people - abusing a position of respect and making misleading representations that they know what the f**k they're talking about - then those people become part of what's called a joint enterprise or common purpose crime. It doesn't actually matter who committed the crimes - all the parties in the conspiracy are equally guilty.

Fifthly, it does not even matter if the crime(s) are actually committed or not. If there was a conspiracy to commit a crime which was never acted upon, then that conspiracy can still be prosecuted as a crime.

In short, don't steal other people's medications, or even plan or advise to attempt such a thing, because you are breaking at least four laws. Criminal law is not based on precedent and interpretation. It's open-and-shut: you clearly broke the law, so you must be prosecuted and punished.

Because I suffer from Bipolar Affective Disorder, I am prescribed lamotrigine, which is an anticonvulsant. Epileptics are prescribed lamotrigine, because it raises the seizure threshold. It is extremely dangerous to stop taking lamotrigine abruptly, whether you are epileptic or not, because you are likely to have life-threatening seizures.

My ex-girlfriend, with incitement from 5 others acting in a criminal joint enterprise, conspired to steal a large number of different medications from me, with no fewer than 3 of the medications being likely to cause seizures, injury and death, when I discovered the theft and was unable to take my pills as normal. The theft was a smash-and-grab, where there was clearly no consideration for the immense harm that was likely to come to me, but also, medications were stolen in a manner that clearly proved that it was an act of incredible stupidity; utter recklessness and shocking ignorance.

Would you rummage through the drawers and medicine cabinet of a home in which you were a guest? If you were so incredibly rude and privacy-invading as to do so, and you happened to find items which were embarrassing, would you tell all your friends? Would you humiliate the poor person who trusted you to act with the duty of care towards their privacy, which they were owed?

It shocked me when a friend sent me a message asking about a particular medication - which it later emerged had been stolen - and was mocking and humiliating me about this. My most private, confidential, embarrassing, secret and sensitive medical information had been abused in the most horrible disgusting way. Without a single care about violating my dignity, humiliating me, embarrassing me and betraying my confidence, my ex-girlfriend carelessly boasted to her co-conspirators about the medications she had stolen from me. This medication can be bought over-the-counter in any chemist, without a prescription, has no abuse potential and has no potential to cause an overdose. Why steal it? Why boast to her co-conspirators she'd stolen it?

I did get an apology from my ex-girlfriend, but I doubt she feels any remorse. I suspect it would take criminal prosecution for her to realise that her actions were wicked and wrong, and there was no excuse for the risk she placed my life in, the violation of the sanctity of my private home, the violation of my dignity, the humiliation and embarrassment she caused me by violating my confidential medical details. She's a horrible person, although I will say that without the incitement of the co-conspirators in the criminal joint enterprise, she would have been less likely to commit the crimes - although this does not forgive her behaviour, nor absolve her of her crimes.

Getting an apology out of the ex-friend who was a co-conspirator in the criminal joint enterprise, who then began to criminally harass me, sending me numerous unwanted offensive messages, emails and letters, which caused me a great deal of humiliation and embarrassment, violated my dignity, and was particularly intimidating regarding the confidentiality of my private medical details.

My ex-girlfriend's mother did feed my cat while I was in hospital, which was very kind of her, and I want to thank her, but when I arrived at my ex-girlfriend's house and demanded the return of my keys, the atmosphere was not conducive to saying thank you for the mother's kindness, which she had shown to my cat.

I suppose when you are faced with an individual who has threatened to pursue criminal charges against your daughter, the parental instinct probably kicked in and she would have denied that her daughter was a murderer, even if she'd seen her plunge the knife repeatedly into the victim's body.

Anyway, this is a simple message: don't steal people's stuff, OK. Especially medication, which is a matter of life-or death. If somebody tells you that it's "OK" or "the right thing to do" then they're wrong - they are inciting you to commit a crime, and they themselves are co-conspirators in that joint enterprise crime too, and will be prosecuted equally under the law.




Step Ten: Don't Suffer Fools

10 min read

This is a story about the hard-of-thinking...


I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. It's worth letting that sink in for a second, and then repeating. I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. How can this be possible? How could I be friends with a racist anti-feminist?

At first, this friend began to announce his anti-feminist views publicly on social media, which was a shock to me, because I had presumed he was an educated left-wing metropolitan liberal elitist, like myself: a product of the university system, and therefore his political viewpoint and stance on such matters as racism and sexual equality could be presumed to be correct. My presumption was wrong. He began by strongly asserting his anti-feminist stance, suddenly and shockingly, in a very public manner. I did not know how to react, except through a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend began to indicate a right-wing viewpoint very publicly, on social media. This was perhaps less of a shock, given that he had shown himself to hold views which I despised, on the subject of sexual equality, but it was still nevertheless, shocking to see somebody who I considered to a be well educated, erudite and thoughtful individual, sharing content which was so right wing that it was bordering on outright racism. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend became openly racist, in public, on social media. This was again, shocking, because I never imagined that I would ever encounter a racist amongst my small group of hand-picked friends, almost all of whom have enjoyed privileged socioeconomic advantages, university educations, professions and share a similar set of politics and values. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

After my friend had spent some considerable length of time espousing views which I found vile and abhorrent, I was faced with a choice: should I cut all ties with this friend? It seemed to me that I was duty-bound to do so. My upbringing had provided no explicit guidance on how to handle this precise situation, but it seemed as though the right thing to do would be to pretend as though I had never been friends with my friend, and to distance myself from them as much as possible; to cover up the fact that we were ever friends and to sever all ties. It seemed like I was supposed to eject that person from my bubble.

I realised that if I did eject that person from my bubble, then I would never have any insight into the mind of an anti-feminist right-wing racist, and I felt that it would be detrimental to me, given the homogeny of the views of my other friends. The views of all my other friends are all so broadly similar, that I had never encountered a viewpoint which I felt compelled to condemn, much less acknowledge existed: in my liberal metropolitan elite world, I thought that racism had been defeated, along with sexism and anti-feminism. I thought that there were only small pockets of knuckle-dragging racists to be found in the poorest and most deprived communities, where the poor brutes knew no better so I was perturbed that a person who had enjoyed such socioeconomic advantage might turn out to be such a racist and anti-feminist.

I invested a substantial amount of energy in condemnation of my friend's views, attempting to persuade him to change his ways, but I made little progress.

I considered again, whether the wise course of action was to abandon the friendship and to block him on social media; to distance myself from him and to pretend that we had never been friends. Again, I felt as though I was committing some kind of immoral act, by not tossing our friendship into the dustbin - something I felt a weight of expectation to do without hesitation, the moment that any friend said anything which was remotely incorrect according to liberal dogma. Racism, certainly, is the ultimate taboo and I knew that it must carry the harshest penalty - immediate ostracisation, and denial that we were ever friends; immediate castigation and abandonment.

Yet, I did not abandon the friendship.

Does this make me a racist sympathiser? Do I endorse my friends anti-feminist views? Of course not. Do not be so ridiculous.

Recently I've had the opportunity to probe the origins of my friend's views, and quite quickly discovered where he had erred. He enthusiastically cited the extremely strong link between race and crime, in the United States - particularly that black men are disproportionately incarcerated versus the overall number of black U.S. citizens in the general population. This, for him, was concrete proof that "the races are different" and therefore his racism was justified. Naturally, I pointed out that correlation does not equate to causation, and by far the biggest cause of criminality is poverty - the race argument is null and void: the statistical link disappears when we control the wealth variable.

My friend persists with arguments, born in the time of the eugenics movement, and pseudoscience which is regrettably ubiquitous, which appears to provide legitimate research proving a link between race and IQ. Of particular fascination to my friend was any data which showed that black people had significantly lower IQ than white caucasians. Naturally, I pointed him in the direction of how these dreadfully low-quality academic papers were published in fringe journals, bankrolled by racists, and received little or no peer review; their findings utterly discredited and the quality of the work found to be nothing better than abysmal.

My friend and I have regular conversations, and each one is at least interesting which is far more than can be said for any discussion I might have with fools who hold viewpoints, simply because of anecdotal evidence, or because the liberal media finds the narrative to be particularly popular with its readership. If I was the editor of a left-wing newspaper, read by wealthy metropolitan intelligentsia, of course I would publish news stories about black lesbian disabled homeless women being raped and murdered by the patriarchy, because outrage sells newspapers. However, the anecdotal evidence gathered by those of us who wander around with a bleeding heart - myself included - does not have any validity, beyond our own confirmation bias: we seek out so-called evidence to reassure ourselves that our values and beliefs are correct.

My patience has run out for idiots who waste my time, parroting media narratives instead of using their so-called intellect to direct their energies towards the truly important issues. Racism, domestic violence and sexual discrimination are very real and they cause terrible suffering, but to mistakenly believe - as so many do - that women, for example, are at greater risk than men, is demonstrably absurd and grossly incorrect. Men are 85% more likely to be violently assaulted. 79% of all murder victims are male. Again and again, the exhaustive research has overwhelmingly and incontrovertibly demonstrated the truth all around us, yet there are wilfully ignorant idiots on both the left wing and the right wing, who continue to perpetuate myths and lies. My friend the racist is just as bad as the former friend who chose to block me, because she preferred to live in her bubble, believing that women are the victims of the majority of violent crime and murder, when in fact the polar opposite is true.

My friend the anti-feminist racist is wrong to hold the views that he does, and I hope that one day he might be persuaded by the overwhelming evidence and convincing research, but at least he is still talking to me and I am still able to challenge his erroneous thinking. The woman who I thought of as a friend, who would characterise herself as a feminist, has actually proven herself to be sexist: to deny that male victims of violence and murder far outnumber female victims, is pure delusion, driven by sexism. To block me on social media and to pretend our friendship never existed is quite typical of a sexist or other person who holds abhorrent views which they do not wish to be challenged. Only by remaining in our isolated bubbles can our wilful ignorance persist. I have lost any further opportunity to persuade - with great ease - my former friend, the sexist, of the overwhelming body of evidence which shows the appalling situation suffered by male victims of violence and murder. This is a predictable characteristic of weak-minded fools who rely too heavily upon the media to instruct them on how they should think, in place of an intellect which they sadly lack.

My energies are presently consumed with work, health and of course, having a brief period of sobriety, which these steps partly document.

My point this evening is simple: the world is full of idiots, and one should rely upon high quality evidence and research, not popular opinion within your social media bubble. Of course, one must be careful not to fall afoul of pseudoscience and the temptation to draw incorrect conclusions from raw statistics, but provided you keep a group of intelligent friends around you, then you will at least have a better chance that any mistaken beliefs you hold might be corrected. The ignorant idiots who wish to surround themselves with likeminded fools, are no loss, and no effort should be expended upon them. I am glad that I am friends with somebody who holds detestable views, and I feel no regret for losing the friendship of somebody who holds no views at all other than the media narratives which are pedalled by the limited sources upon which they rely on, in the absence of their own intellect.

In closing, we should be reminded once more: men suffer dreadfully. The life of a man is virtually worthless. That suicide should have been allowed to become the biggest killer of men in the prime of their life, with few tears shed, is an awful state of affairs, and it is accompanied by other terrible things: 97% of workplace deaths, 78% of all murders, 75% of all suicides, 65% of all violent assaults... the list is virtually endless. Men are overwhelmingly the victims, yet this is not the impression which a person would gain, if they keep themselves inside their bubble.

It's vitally important that I maintain perspective, given that my life is at stake. This sounds hyperbolic of course, because we have been brought up to believe that men are strong, when demonstrably a man's life is extremely precarious - the evidence is overwhelming.

During the last couple of days of my "Sober October" I'm particularly mindful of the precarity of my existence, combined with a great deal of stress regarding my work and a matter which hangs over me, threatening to end my career. I feel unwell. I am in need of some winter sunshine. I need to take a break, having worked very hard for a lengthy sustained period. My future hangs in the balance and my health is fragile; my efforts and energies invested to reach this point presently count for nothing - no safety or security has been achieved, and things are as uncertain as they ever were.

With this in mind, it is with very little regret that I refuse to suffer fools gladly and lose so-called friendships, to whomsoever proves to be immovable in the face of overwhelming facts, preferring instead to treat me with sexist contempt and hold little regard for the danger my life is in.

Survival is paramount.