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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


Greater Anonymity

5 min read

This is a story about professional reputation...

Radiator key

I had a game plan for this year, which was to write eye-wateringly boring things about my mundane existence, such that the history of my chaotic and traumatic life would be safely hidden behind a wall of impenetrable tedium. Unfortunately, I have not stuck to the plan. However, I have arrived at the conclusion that the best place to hide is in plain sight.

I once attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting - or similar such thing - which annoyingly was in a building immediately adjacent to my workplace. As I predicted, while I was in the process of leaving the meeting and saying goodbye to people in the street, a work colleague emerged from the office and also greeted me; that was my worst nightmare realised: that my private world and my work world would collide.

Today, I can count at least one work colleague amongst my readers, and over the years there have been a large collection of both present and former work colleagues, who have read some of what's published here, publicly for all to see. Most of what I write is frank, brutally honest and candid, and none of it is the stuff which can or would be discussed in a professional context. Sometimes it troubles me, being exposed in a professional reputation sense, but I doubt I do a very good job of concealing my madness in the workplace.

One thing, I hope, is quite apparent to my work colleagues, versus my readers: that I am highly productive, and making an undeniably useful contribution, with just about enough sanity to spend 40+ hours a week in close quarters with people who, presumably, have no plans to call the men in white coats to take me away.

I'm not so stupid as to think that it's not quickly obvious that I'm mentally ill, if you spend a little time with me. I'm not so stupid as to think that my colleagues don't consider me odd; abnormal; different. But, I'm used to being the odd-one-out and I've got over the initial paranoia, which was caused by mistakenly thinking that I had successfully integrated and been accepted as 'normal' when I so obviously am not. I had begun to believe that I had shaken of my miserable childhood and re-invented myself; that I had integrated with normal mainstream society. When the mask slipped, it destroyed me, because I had worked so hard to hide my flaws.

Retrospectively, I see that the effort I put into making myself as homogenous and unnoticeable as possible - the effort I put into fitting in - was essentially wasted.

People. Just. Don't. Care.

Unless you're actively going out of your way to be a problem, most people are too busy with their lives to acknowledge your existence or take any interest in you. Unless you're a massive pain in the backside, and you're annoying everybody, nobody really knows or cares who you are.

Conversely, if you make an effort to be 'different' you are equally uninteresting. Sure, you might think that your carefully constructed identity, with your weird haircut, purple hair colour, piercings, tattoos, and deliberately unusual fashion choices, is something which makes you stand out. No. In such an individualistic society everybody is attempting to stand out, so you are conforming and fitting in by attempting to do so.

Are you damned if you do, and damned if you don't?

Well, I'm very glad to have made a friend, who's a work colleague, somewhat thanks to this website and my writing. The friendship makes an almost infinite amount of being ignored by the world, pale into insignificance. I'd like to say that I don't care when I have a day with fewer readers, but it would be a lie: for sure, I want to be noticed; I want people to be aware that I am, at present, alive, having thoughts, experiencing feelings.

The massive folly that I have built - millions of words written and published - is utterly disproportionate to the number of readers and amount of income that I make, as a direct result of my effort. However, over the years, the effort has brought me some of the best things in my life.

I don't discourage anybody from going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, if they want to, even if they're not an alcoholic... I too, am not an alcoholic, nor am I a recovering alcoholic, nor have I ever been an alcoholic. My relationship with alcohol is entirely controlled by me, not a higher power, or a bunch of anonymous people meeting in a dingy basement, spilling their traumatic stories out to each other. I'm doing the opposite: publicly broadcasting every innermost thought, and most shameful trauma, and here I am... seemingly as normal as anybody. No need to label myself as anything other than "me".




With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

5 min read

This is a story about reckless misconduct...

Going up

To say that I have great power would be delusional and grandiose. To say that I'm anything other than another anonymous voice in an infinite sea of near-identical voices - constant background noise; static hiss - would be to lose all perspective on reality. I. Am. Nothing.


It has not escaped my notice that ever more thousands of people are reading my blog every day. It seems that I've rather stumbled upon something which many people are searching for, which my website has the answers to. Alarmingly, it's on the topic of suicide.

Stuff I wrote without thinking a great deal about the consequences, now potentially could have very bad consequences. Woe betide me if something I wrote was sufficient to push a person who would otherwise have lived, over the edge and into an act of suicide. How awful it would be if I some how enabled or encouraged or unwittingly aided and abetted in any way - no matter how small - the avoidable death of a person, or indeed persons.

Suicidal thoughts are, sadly, very common. I personally suffer from suicidal thoughts on a daily basis, and suicide plays a very big part in my life; my plans. I have firm plans to kill myself at the moment; I live with plans to commit suicide, day in and day out.

When I wrote what I wrote - mainly the thing about suicide methods seems to be the most popular essay - I thought there was no harm in having a frank discussion about things, given that all forms of media - books, films, radio, TV etc - contain depictions of suicide, and it seems inconceivable that we could have gone through life and not encountered at least one method, even if we expressly avoided anything gruesome and unpleasant.

In the context of writing in obscurity, I could write whatever I wanted, safe in the knowledge that nobody was reading it. Certainly, I never had to consider any consequences of what I wrote.

Now, things are a little different.

Some people write to me. I left an open invitation for people to get in touch, and they do. They're in all kinds of different situations, but they're all suicidal... or at least they tell me that they are, and who am I to doubt them? I'm not a trained counsellor. I'm not a specialist in mental health crises, except by way of my own experience. I'm not qualified. I'm not a professional in the field of suicide... merely a person who's attempted suicide a bunch of times, and who has written over a million words on the subject. I very much feel that I'm the wrong person to get in contact with, for those who are looking for a more traditional crisis counsellor, such as the one you might speak to if you pick up the phone on the Golden Gate Bridge, for example.

Crisis phone

I know from personal experience, that sometimes you don't want to speak to somebody traditional who is going to say all the same old clichéd things. Personally, I've found it more useful to talk to people who genuinely understand what it's like to be suicidal; not in some abstract sense, from training courses and suchlike. I'm sure all the mental health professionals are super great at their jobs, and many of them do have personal experience of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but there's something homogenous about their approach; there are no surprises and nothing useful - personally - in any of the things they've said to me, in the past.

It seems criminally reckless of me to perhaps venture into a world which is the strictly reserved for trained, qualified members of professional bodies, who are - in theory - the most competent and capable people in existence, able to deal with suicidal people.


It's not working.

More people than ever are depressed. More people than ever are anxious. More people than ever are suicidal.

So, I'm making myself, and what I know, publicly available. I've written vast amounts on the subject of suicide. I've open-sourced my experiences. You can contact me, and I'll do my best to reply.

Will I talk you out of suicide? No.

Am I offering something better than counselling, therapy and medicine? No.

Why read what I've got to say? Why get in contact? Well, because maybe you don't want to hear yet more clichéd "don't do it... you've got so much to live for... think of the pain you'll cause" type BS. Maybe you want to hear from somebody who's experiencing what you're experiencing. Maybe you want to hear that it's OK to feel what you're feeling in a way, because somebody else is struggling too. There's a lot of guilt about wanting to die, and I think that's wrong. It's OK to want to die; it's normal... it's more normal than you could ever possibly imagine.

Usual caveats apply: I want to live in a zero suicide world. I do not encourage, endorse or otherwise want to enable and/or aid and abet suicide in any way, no matter how small.




All The Suicide Methods

14 min read

This is a story about the control of information...

Poisonous Mushroom

As is often the case, something I have read or watched has prompted me to write. Today, I felt the urgent need to write about methods of killing yourself. I felt compelled to document every single method of committing suicide, which I could possibly think of.

The reason why I would write this down is that the thing which most often draws visitors to my website is something I wrote about suffocation - asphyxiation - as a means of suicide. People also come who are desperately trying to cure themselves of their problems with mental health, alcoholism and addiction. People visit my website for all kinds of different reasons, but as a source of information on how to kill yourself, my site is one of many millions. Our libraries are full of books which explain in exquisite detail how people have ended their own lives, since we took pen to parchment, or chiselled runes into rock. For those who seek, they will find.

I've noticed a lot of criticism of the owner/operators of forums where suicide is predominantly discussed, and prominent popular indviduals who have large social media followings have been criticised for their participation in the online discussion of suicide which has coalesced around their digital persona.

We have to be very clear about something here: people need and want to talk about suicide. Making it a taboo subject, and ridiculous fantasies about book burning and the modern-day digital equivalent - banning websites - fails to address any of the underlying causes of why people take their own lives.

People don't kill themselves because they're encouraged by others, online. People don't kill themselves because they're able to easily find the information about the methods of suicide. The reasons why people kill themselves are as complex as the individuals who end their lives prematurely, and to point the finger of blame is pointless; futile.

While it might be true that we see 'outbreaks' of suicides which cluster together geographically, almost like a conventional viral, bacterial or parasitic infection, passed from person to person, this does not mean that newspapers, magazines, TV & radio stations and the modern digital equivalents, should never talk about suicides, or the methods. There is no evidence to prove that journalistic guidelines have in any way reduced the likelihood that fellow friends, classmates and other people in the vicinity of a suicide, will commit suicide themselves. We are missing the point: if one person in a particular area of the country, of a certain age, living a certain lifestyle, is compelled to end their life, then why should we be surprised that there are many others who are living on the edge too? It is absolutely untrue that the media and the internet is in any way shape or form responsible for pushing and/or prompting people to end their lives.

We also have to answer the difficult question: is it ethical to force a person to live a miserable and unbearable life? Is it unethical to force a person to endure unending suffering?

A documentary I was watching particularly annoyed me when a so-called expert came onto the program to say that suicidal thoughts are usually fleeting, and quickly pass; they essentially said that depression is temporary - in a particularly dismissive manner - and that we should shut up and put up with it. This made me furious.

People don't end their lives whimsically. Suicides are meticulously planned. The formation of the idea of killing one's self is something that has taken place during years of terrible suffering. I say that it is unethical to act in any kind of way to prevent a suffering person from achieving relief from the terrible torments which they have decided are too unbearable. It's their life at the end of the day. It's selfish to ask them to keep living an intolerable miserable suffering-filled existence... for what reason? So that you don't feel sad? Get over yourself. Get a grip. Have some compassion. Show a little empathy.

I believe strongly that suicides are 100% preventable, and that we should aim for zero suicides - nobody should ever commit suicide. However, the solutions are well beyond the scope of this essay, and ask the reader to think the unthinkable, such as improving people's lives, instead of fobbing them off with cheap anti-depressant tablets and abysmal "behavioural therapy" courses developed and delivered by a group of people with the collective IQ of a slug. The evidence is clear: suicide is the number one killer of men under the age of 50, and the suicide rate in young girls and women is growing faster than ever before. Yet, the approach remains unchanged: ineffective medications and ineffective psychological therapies. Also, the circumstances get worse and worse: youth unemployment soars, personal debt soars, global warming and climate change rages out of control, and the chance of having a fulfilling happy life diminishes by a vast amount every single day.


So, you came here for the good stuff, right?

OK, here are all the ways you can kill yourself, separated into some different sections.

Poisonings and Overdoses

Almost every substance which a normal person can obtain will result in a slow and painful death. Anybody can find a poisonous mushroom or plant - such as deadly nightshade or hemlock - which will kill you, but it will be extremely unpleasant. It's possible to purchase a large quantity of paracetamol, for example, which will easily cause fatal liver failure, but this is a particularly slow, painful and unpleasant death.

Deaths by overdose are hard to achieve with so-called 'safe' modern medications. Your doctor is unlikely to prescribe you enough opiates to allow you to kill yourself, unless you stockpile your supply, and slow-release formulas can make it hard to commit suicide using swallowed tablets. Barbiturates, which are the number one choice of doctors who wish to commit suicide, are never prescribed. There are deadly medications, such as warfarin, but to obtain them is almost impossible.

Were you able to obtain a poison such as strychnine or cyanide, your death would be surprisingly slow and painful. Potassium cyanide particularly, would not be a pleasant easy death, unless combined with a large dose of sedative and a painkiller, because it essentially induces a heart attack.

Blood Loss and Other Trauma

The body has developed very advanced mechanisms to cope with severe lacerations, and blood vessels will spasm and contract to contain loss of blood. The arteries are generally well protected by the anatomy which has evolved to keep us alive.

Generally speaking, cutting the jugular vein(s) is a reliable method of suicide, but there are many variables: the blade must be sharp, the aim must be true, and the cut must be made with force and certainty. It's more likely that you will end up with a profusely bleeding laceration than a lethal wound.

Cutting one of the carotid arteries must surely be the most reliable way of killing yourself with a knife or razor blade, but detailed anatomical knowledge and a willingness to undergo immense pain, while conducting this surgery on yourself, makes the task almost impossible.

Plunging a sharp object in-between your ribs and into your heart or one of the biggest blood vessels in your body will kill you very quickly, but the chance of you hitting your target is low.

The Japanese Samurai favour disembowelment as an "honourable death". Do not recommend.

Self-immolation would be incredibly painful, and your death would be caused by suffocation: the flames would consume the oxygen from around your body, and your lungs would be burned so badly they would not function. Definitely do not recommend.

Falls From Height

Yes, these will kill you. There is a well documented case of a man who survived a fall from the Golden Gate Bridge, which is about 67 metres (or 220 feet for those who prefer imperial units). In rock climbing terms, that's about 1 rope length, and there are lots of documented cases of rock climbers who have fallen from the top of a cliff and survived.

This is all about the height, and the surface you're landing on. Maximum height and solid landing surface = more certain death. I would say that 8 storeys or more, landing on concrete, rock or something similar like that, would guarantee 'instant' death. Bear in mind that you would need to jump and also endure the fall, which would both be very traumatic, but it would be a 'quick' death versus a poisoning or overdose, for example.


Most people who have hanged themselves have died from asphyxiation, and have suffered an incredibly awful death. Death by hanging has a high success rate, but we should be mindful that the final period of that person's life was unimaginably terrible. To asphyxiate elicits one of our most primal panic responses - the hypercapnic alarm response - and we know that many people who have hanged themselves have taken 30 to 90 minutes before they have finally expired. This is one of the most unpleasant deaths I can imagine.

For a hanging to be a quick death, the neck should be broken or the body should be decapitated - either outcome achieves the desired outcome, which is a quick death. It would be advisable - although I advise nobody to commit suicide, of course - to err on the side of caution, and ensure that the 'drop' is sufficient to break the neck at the very least, and if decapitation occurs, then it's far preferable to the alternative: a lengthy asphyxiation.


Most modern domestic and commercial electrical systems are fitted with systems to prevent electrocution, and as such you would be unlikely to be able to electrocute yourself by, for example, dropping an electrical appliance into the bath-tub while you were in it.

In the interests of a full and frank exploration of all the available suicide options, I must tell you that it's possible to obtain a lethal electrical current by simply removing the cover of your fuse box, where there are live parts which do not have the protections which you have throughout your house or other premises.

Touching a live electrical conductor will hurt, a lot, but it won't kill you. In order to kill yourself by electrocution, you must first grip something which is earthed - such as a copper water pipe or the earth clip for your house, usually marked with green and yellow striped insulation - and then touch the live source of electricity with your OTHER hand. Then, the electrical current will flow across your body, through your chest, and your heart will either be very badly damaged or at least enter ventricular fibrillation, where it is unable to pump blood, causing you to lose consciousness immediately.

It's possible that you might only receive a 'mild' electrocution, leaving you with very bad burns, tissue and nerve damage, but otherwise alive. For this reason, it's probably inadvisable for anybody except a trained electrician to commit suicide using this method.

Asphyxiation, Drowning, Suffocation etc

As I wrote before, the hypercapnic alarm response, which is your body's natural reaction to high carbon dioxide levels in your bloodstream, will cause incredible panic and suffering. As such, drowning yourself by attaching weights to your body and jumping into water, would be a terrible, terrible death. Do not recommend.

To attempt to suffocate yourself, perhaps by putting a plastic bag over your head or other somesuch thing, would result in the elicitation of the hypercapnic alarm response and you would tear the bag off your head, driven by instinct. Your primitive survival instincts would override the neocortical modern brain, which we have unfortunately evolved, leading us to want to commit suicide in the first place.

In order to asphyxiate in the manner which we would all wish to die, which is painlessly and peacefully, the solution is simple: we must breathe a gas which contains no oxygen or carbon dioxide. To breathe the gas from your oven puts your neighbours and firefighters at risk, because a gas explosion will be the likely result. Instead, a bottle of helium can be purchased inexpensively, for the usual purpose of filling baloons. Instead, the helium should be used to provide a steady supply of gas to some kind of 'hood' which you wear. By breathing an inert gas like helium, you will quickly lose consciousness and death will follow within some minutes, as your body and brain are deprived of oxygen.


There are things which might work, but are more likely to cause you incredible pain and injury, such as injecting yourself with a bubble of air.

You could obviously starve or dehydrate yourself to death, but this would be time-consuming and result in a slow and painful death, with much suffering.

For those who live in places where firearms are easily obtained, I don't know why you're even reading this: if I could get hold of a gun I'd already be dead, I'm sure. That's not to say that gun control is preventing my suicide; merely that there are easier ways to kill yourself in a country like the UK, but I foolishly have opted for methods which were unlikely to kill me, such as poison, overdose and cutting veins.

The number of ways to cause your body a traumatic injury are innumerable, but an example might be to turn off the airbag on your car and then drive without a seatbelt at 100mph into a concrete pillar which is supporting a bridge.


As you can see, the options are multitudinous and you really don't need me to list them. You already knew almost all this stuff, and if you didn't, it was available on a million websites; it was one single Google search away.

As for the charge that I am encouraging, endorsing, glamourising or enabling suicide in any way whatsoever, you are barking up the wrong tree. Look again at the suffering. Look again at the causes of that suffering. Look again at the options available to the victim of that suffering. If it was possible for a suicidal person to endure any longer, they would. If there was an easy option, like a magic pill from a magic doctor who lives in a magic building, then we would see suicide rates falling not climbing. The medical establishment claims to want to preserve life, and it claims to be empirical and evidence-based, yet all the evidence shows that medicine is failing abysmally to deal with the number one killer of men under the age of 50; the fastest growing cause of death of young girls and women. Medicine can f**k off - it's had plenty of chances to do something about the suicide and mental health epidemic, but instead it has rested on its laurels and dished out useless pills, and allowed intolerable living conditions to grow, flourish and proliferate.

If you think my article is somehow dangerous and irresponsible, I suggest you seek your first recourse with those who claim to be practicing so-called medicine, when all the evidence shows that the medications and treatments prescribed are entirely ineffective, and the mental health epidemic and suicide rate are the number one public health emergency, yet your doctor is doing nothing about it - they have their head buried in the sand.

For those of you who came here looking for information on how to commit suicide, I empathise. I've attempted suicide several times. If you want to talk to somebody who lives with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis and has tried every conventional treatment you can possibly imagine, who won't try to "talk you out of doing anything" or otherwise patronise you, my Twitter DMs are open and my email address is publicly available.

If you're suffering, I'm sad about that. I wish people didn't have to commit suicide, but sometimes they do, because the suffering is too unbearable.


Still thinking about killing yourself? Please read my essay on how to kill yourself.

Want even more? Please read about why I am planning on committing suicide.




Open Source, Open Data

6 min read

This is a story about hacking...


How do we reconcile the concept of privacy, and our supposed desire for it, with the moden practice of sharing images of ourselves and our loved ones and publishing intimate pieces of information about ourselves and our identities, so publicly on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook?

Some people choose to maintain several versions of themselves. They have decided how they wish to present themselves - digitally - for different audiences, and they presume that the computer systems they use have sufficient privacy safeguards so that those worlds will never collide. Incredible trust is placed in those who build those computer systems and guard that data.

Those of us who are living double lives, or perhaps even triple, quadruple, quintuple or more lives, must have a shape-shifting and highly demanding existence as they constantly context-switch between their different identities.

How do they remember the different lies they've told to different people? Which parts of their life are common to all their identities, and which parts belong only to one distinct segment? How must it affect these people - psychologically - to maintain so many alter-egos, avatars and characters that they have created, which add up to a life with extra pieces left over if they were all combined into a single identity? Which are the pieces that don't fit? Which bits would that person have to give up if they were forced to unify themselves into a singular entity?

I can speak only for myself.

At work my identity is an open secret. Any of my colleagues can quickly and easily find this website, which contains every bit of information that most people would consider worthwhile keeping private. We generally don't want our colleagues at the office knowing about the less flattering things which have happened to us in our lives. We generally seek to avoid the prejudice which is still prevalent in a society where we live with the mistaken belief that our data is held safe and secure in computer systems, and the foolish notion that secrecy is assured.

Secrecy is not assured. Quite the opposite.

My knowledge of the limits of what is possible with a computer system, in terms of keeping data safe, comes from the place which society would deem most important: the bank vaults where all our money is kept. Capitalism's biggest fear is that a hacker could penetrate the inner sanctum of the banking sector and annul all our debts. The banks quite literally have all the money in the world to keep that money 'safe' which means they have manyfold more resources than any would-be bank robbers or philanthropic debt-erasers, keeping everybody out of their vaults.

I often wonder if my stance is due to the fact that the man who has nothing, has nothing to lose.

However, the origin of my exhaustive efforts to document the most private details of my life, came from when I had a lot to lose. In fact, the fear of loss is what nearly drove me insane. I realised that the threat of the dreaded event - losing my money and damaging my reputation - was sufficient to create a great deal of paranoia, which was impossible to control because of the insatiable appetite of people around me for the gory details of my private life. I became a human interest story and the only solution I could see was to take control of the story by writing it myself.

Writing a little bit isn't going to help.

Writing your version of events isn't going to help.

Writing the story of your life isn't going to help.

I decided that the only way that I was going to regain my sanity and my dignity was by making myself into a publicly accessible resource. I have emptied the contents of my brain into the public domain, but this is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, I can't just upload everything in my head to the cloud. I have to type it. Even if I typed until the day I die, there will still be things that die trapped inside my head, but at least I tried.

The more I have gone along with this journey of emptying out my head onto the pages of a public document, the more I have seen the benefit of doing so. The more honest and open I have been, the more candid and frank, the more comfort I have felt knowing that the greatest amount of data generated which pertains to me and my life, has come from my brain via my keyboard.

Before I started to write this blog, the bulk of my private intimate personal data was held by private companies and government institutions, who knew where I spent my money, where I travelled, who I spoke to, what I went to the doctor about, what medications I took, what my credit score was, where I had lived and where I was living and an enormous amount of other things too, such as how frequently I visited websites, what kinds of things I looked at on the internet and just about every single word of communication ever exchanged between me and another human being.

This sounds like paranoia. This sounds like insanity.

All I know is that I'm glad that I live a single life with a single identity and I've made myself publicly accessible. I'm glad I've published all my so-called secrets. I'm glad I've put my unflattering side into the public domain. I'm glad that those who would like to quickly and harshly judge me, so that I could be easily dismissed and cast aside, have a repository of all the dirt they'd ever possibly want to find, if only they weren't so lazy and stupid as to not bother to think to look in the most obvious place for it.

I enjoy living my life in plain sight. I enjoy having open secrets. It gives me pleasure and a sense of security.

I'm in the process of migrating my website and all my 1.1 million words to a new home, which will hopefully be a seamless transition for my readers - I've decided to utilise my technology skills to cement my digital legacy. I hope that I can move what I've written to a place where it can be easily migrated to newer technology platforms as and when they emerge, much like old cine films were transferred to VHS tapes and then transferred to DVD discs, to preserve those memories for posterity.

It might seem horribly arrogant and conceited to think that anybody gives a damn about what I've written, and that my writing should be preserved, but there it is: The modern age, where we take photographs of our food and share them with the other 7.6 billion people on this planet via the internet.

I've found the internet to be a place of friendship and connection, and of people who do care about what I write, so it's with little embarrassment that I admit to my efforts to preserve my own legacy.




His Funeral is on Friday

5 min read

This is a story about slow motion...


"He looks respectable..." began a work colleague of mine, talking about me. I deliberately walked away and somehow closed my ears, managing not to hear what he was about to say. I'm well aware that I do a very good job of keeping up appearances. It takes a lot of hard work to project a professional image, hide my mental health problems and leave any personal life problems at the entrance to my office. It's incredibly exhausting maintaining the illusion that everything is A-OK in my world.

The last thing I need is extra problems. The last thing I need is something or somebody, throwing a spanner in the works.

"He looks respectable, but underneath..." my colleague managed to say, before I successfully got myself far enough away to not hear the end of that sentence. I don't need anybody chipping away at me right now. I have plenty of reasons to feel like an imposter, without anybody actually calling me out as one.

I stopped writing.

I need to write.

I was at work when my friend phoned me to tell me how he was going to kill himself. He called me to say goodbye. He called me to thank me for keeping his secret. He thanked me in advance for not calling the emergency services. He thanked me for bearing the dreadful burden of knowing what he was going to do.

I was at work when I made the phonecall... the phonecall to have his door kicked down and his body taken away to the morgue. I was at work when I received the phonecall back: "We have his body".

I went back to my desk and carried on as if nothing had happened.

I've carried on for more than a month like nothing has happened.

Finally, my friend's funeral is going to be on Friday.

On Friday it will have been 50 days in-between my friend first calling me to tell me that he was planning on committing suicide, and the day of his funeral. That's a long time to wait for some kind of conclusion.

I've been waiting to grieve.

I've been waiting to cry.

At work, everybody thinks I'm just fine. At work, everybody thinks that everything is A-OK in my personal life. At work, everybody thinks I'm "normal".

I've been having a manic episode most of the last week. I've been letting my mask slip a little. I've been unable to completely cover-up my inner turmoil. However, nobody really knows or appreciates how much effort and energy goes into wearing my mask. Nobody really knows how hard it is for me to turn up at work, day after day, and to hold myself together.

The world is a shitty place. Shitty things happen every day. People are born into shitty lives. People have shitty luck.

I am by no means claiming to have the shittiest life out of anybody on the planet.

By all relative measures, my life is pretty peachy. If I were able to directly compare my life with the most unfortunate wretch in the entire world, it would be pretty obvious that I've got relatively little to complain about.

I can't write. I can't grieve. I can't move.

I just need to get to my friend's funeral. I owe him that.

What I've written about the past few times has been about me as much as it's been about my friend. So what? This is where I come to work stuff out when I'm hurting and/or confused. This is where I come to say all the things I can't say anywhere else. Writing is my therapy. Writing is my healthy outlet.

I said to myself I wouldn't write any more of "the world's longest suicide note" until after my friend's funeral, because it seemed disrespectful.

I've often asked myself if my words perhaps made it easier for people who were feeling suicidal, to feel less guilty about ending their lives. I've often wondered whether I'm being irresponsible. I've had to face accusations that I glorify, glamourise and romanticise suicide. I've had to defend my actions and my beliefs. I've had to defend my words.

When another person who crossed my path committed suicide and I wrote about it, I wondered whether I was co-opting his story. I wondered whether I was using that young man's name in vain. I questioned the legitimacy of writing about another person's suicide.

My friend was close. My friend expressed his wishes clearly and concisely. I know with certainty that I'm not a grief tourist and I take no ghoulish sensationalistic sick pleasure, or derive perverse benefit from writing about suicide. I'm not morbidly fascinated by suicide. I'm not reckless or careless. I'm not thoughtless or inconsiderate.

I started writing so that I would not die misunderstood, and an unexpected consequence has been that suicidal friends and strangers have contacted me to have frank, candid and brutally unflinchingly honest conversations about ending their lives. I've intervened - calling the emergency services - and I've advised - on therapy and medical help - and I've listened and I've responded appropriately. In the three and a half years I've been writing this blog, it's kept me alive and it's played a minor role in keeping some friends and strangers alive, where otherwise we would have perished: We'd have killed ourselves.

I haven't been able to write. I need to write to look after myself. If I'm not writing, I'm not looking after myself.

I haven't been writing.

It will be a relief when the funeral is over.

I hope I will be able to write again, after the funeral.

I need to write.




My Friend Killed Himself

7 min read

This is a story about suicide...

My friend

On December 6 my friend phoned me telling me he was going to kill himself. I knew he was in a dire situation but I also felt confident that he wasn't in immediate danger. We spoke again every day. We stayed in close contact, messaging frequently. I kept a close eyen on him and his mood. I was very worried. I was desperate for a solution. I was desperate to help. I was desperate to improve his situation. Then things briefly improved: We made a positive plan. He sounded happier.

On December 10 my friend told me how he was going to kill himself. I took detailed notes, knowing that it was a credible threat and that this information would be vital to emergency services, in order to save his life. I spoke to my friend several times that day. He told me every single detail of his plan. I repeatedly asked him if he would consider getting help, having me or another friend or family member visit him. I asked him how he would feel about me contacting emergency services. I suggested every alternative to suicide that I could think of. I told him he'd see the world differently if he was getting the help he needed. I told him he would be missed. I told him he was loved. I told him he was wanted.

On December 11 I knew my friend was dying. I knew that he was killing himself. He did not need to tell me that he had commenced committing suicide.

On December 12 I knew that my friend was dead. I knew that he had killed himself. Nobody needed to tell me.

Whether my friend died on December 11 or 12, nobody knows precisely. I imagine that at roughly this time at night, exactly one month ago, my friend was in limbo-land, dying. My friend was in the process of committing suicide exactly one month ago. He was beyond the point of no return. He was beyond saving. Nobody could have saved his life.

I did not write off my friend.

I did not abandon my friend.

I did not give up on my friend.


I did the hard thing.

I spent 6 days knowing that my friend was going to kill himself and there was nothing I could do except listen and 'be there' with him, in the figurative sense. I don't think I could have been there for him any more than I was. I don't think I could have been any closer than I was. What I mean is, it would have been impossible to better know my friend's mind in his final moments. What I mean is, it would have been impossible to more closely relate, empathise and sympathise with his plight, with his decision, and be his close companion during the final days of his life with him.

I was with him the whole time.

It would have been wonderful if he could have died under medical supervision, surrounded by his family, friends and colleagues. It would have been wonderful if he could have been afforded that comfort, but it was impossible. It would have been an affront to his dignity to die like that. He chose how he died, just as he chose how he lived. I understood his wishes. What he wanted was clear and unambiguous. To impose what we wanted onto him would have been selfish of us.

I gave him what he wanted. I gave him what he explicitly asked for. I carried the burden of knowing what he was in the process of doing - killing himself - because he had a right to self-determination, and he knew what his options were. His options were sadly limited. I wish he had more options, but he didn't and no amount of wishing was going to create a miracle.

I met my friend when he was my age now, 14 years ago. He saw a younger version of himself in me, and I saw an older version of myself in him. We recognised that we were kindred spirits: Our values and outlook on life were almost identical.

The final time we spoke, he was so grateful for the life he'd had. He was so happy to have experienced so much. He was utterly content that he had made the most of his time on Earth and been so fortunate to have had so many amazing experiences. There wasn't a single hint of regret for the choices he made, but instead he expressed absolute conviction that he would live his life exactly the same, were he to live it again.

This is a heavy burden, to say that you're going to kill yourself and explain all the reasons why, and for it to be coherent, credible, rational, reasonable and compelling enough to convince a close friend to not intervene, until the deed is done.

December 11 was unbearable. My friend was in limbo: technically alive, but rapidly dying. I was the only person who knew.

On December 12 I could finally unburden myself. I knew he was dead, before the emergency services even entered his property and confirmed that his life had ended. The official confirmation of his death meant I no longer had to keep the most dreadful secret; the almost unbearable responsibility I shared in the execution of his final wishes - through my inaction and silence - was carried through to its ultimate conclusion.

Since then, I have had the title of this blog post in my mind incessantly, and I have written so many words in my head, attempting to do justice to what happened; attempting to give sympathetic treatment to my friend and his final end.

I haven't written, because to write a hurried off-the-cuff blog post would not be fair to my friend's legacy. I haven't written, because of all the many pitfalls I feared. What if it wasn't good enough? What if it was offensive to the decent and dignified treatment that the dead should receive? What if I fucked it up?

I haven't written, because I'm trying not to kill myself. Perversely, I've written this whole 1.1 million word blog in an attempt to delay my own suicide plans, when in fact my friend was reading it the whole time, and it was the reason why he felt he could open up to me. My blog is the reason he phoned me 6 days before he died. My blog is the reason we had such frank and candid discussions. My blog is the reason why his death has not left me with any unanswered questions, or a sense that I could or should have acted any differently.

Of course, I doubt myself at times. Perhaps he was suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems which impaired his judgement. Perhaps he might have seen the world differently, in a different state of mind. Of course he would. However, I know his thoughts and wishes intimately. Ultimately, the decision was his and his alone. I cannot be responsible for his decisions, but I could have been responsible for denying him what he clearly and concisely requested of me; I could have ruined his opportunity to exercise his free will and right to self-determination. I could have denied him dignity, for the sake of my own doubts.

The situation is an incredibly difficult one, and my response has been considered with every ounce of spare brain capacity that I possess. If I have mis-stepped and mis-spoken, then I am sorry, but I don't think I could offer a better alternative.

My friend rests in peace now, and I find that comforting. I know that his friends, family and colleagues are reeling with shock and grief, but I am glad that my friend died with dignity in the manner of his choosing.

RIP my friend.




Vile Hateful Little Man

8 min read

This is a story about misanthropy...

Lift selfie

On this day 5 years ago, I tried to help a homeless alcoholic called Frank. I made a lot of notes. As my divorce disrputed my attempt to get my life back on track in London, dragging me back to Bournemouth to empty and sell my house, it destroyed my fragile new life and plunged me into the very world of homeless hell, which I had usefully compiled notes on. I did manage to help Frank, but ironically crosssed paths with him later on - as I was descending into hell, he was well on his way to recovery.

On this day 4 years ago, I got myself off the streets, out of the 14-bed hostel dorm, and back into banking. I went to Barclays, which quickly dug me out of debt and restored some long overdue health, wealth and prosperity to my life.

On this day 3 years ago, I went to HSBC and repeated the same magic trick of managing to get myself back off the streets, out of the hostel, into a lovely Thameside apartment, and out of debt. Feeling like my life was going well, I went to a hackathon to create technology solutions to the refugee crisis.

On this day 2 years ago, I was lying to my girlfriend and my guardian angel, because the project I'd been working on had ended prematurely and I hadn't bothered to get another contract. Instead, I had tried to treat my own depression with medication prescribed by an online pharmacy, destabilising my mental health - inducing hypomania - and causing a subsequent relapse.

On this day last year, I woke up as a resident of Wales for the first time since being born here. The day before, I had been discharged from a psych ward in Manchester, England, following a suicide attempt which was very nearly successful.

I'm pretty upset that divorce was such a destabilising distraction at a time when I desperately needed a clean break, and I'm struggling to forgive and forget my ex-wife and parents sabotaging all my hard work; destroying my chance to follow through with well thought out plans which were subsequenty proven to be correct and successful.

I can blame the Barclays thing not working out on a couple of idiots who got fired for trying to screw me over, but in all truth, I wasn't very stable. I was too outspoken. I didn't keep my mouth shut. I made mistakes in my personal life. I had lapses.

I can blame the HSBC thing not working out on the sheer pressure and workload of working on their number one project, while also dealing with homelessness and cripling debt. I can blame a friend who asked me to help him get a job. I can blame a few loafers who benefitted from my hard work. But, again, I was too outspoken. I wasn't at all stable. I was so exhausted and stressed that I was very strung out and very manic.

I can blame not wanting to immediately get another contract 2 years ago on the fact that the project had been so mind-numbingly spirit-crushingly boring, and I'd been so de-skilled, that I'd lost all self-confidence. I really couldn't face any more of the same awfulness without taking a break. However, it was still my so-called 'choice' to relapse and I knew the consequences were likely to be dire, although I kinda "got away with it" that one time.

I can blame attempting suicide and nearly dying on the fact that I knew instinctively that I was in deep trouble. The contract in Manchester didn't pay enough to get me out of debt. I knew I was going to get shafted by a very unpleasant and immoral wannabe Labour MP, who embodies none of the values of socialism. I was working too hard for too little reward, but I also made bad so-called 'choices' such as getting mixed up with a social group who mostly bonded over recreational drug abuse. There was no way I was going to be able to quit physically addictive sleeping pills, tranqulisers and neuropathic painkillers, as well as working a very demanding job which didn't even pay enough to make any kind of dent in my debts. Suicide was my choice, in the face of overwhelming odds stacked against me.

So, here I am in Wales.

What's going to be different this year?

I'm in approximately the same financial position that I've been in all those previous years. My mental health seems to be the same, swinging between suicidal depression and mania.

Just gotta keep my mouth shut.

Gotta make sure I don't go on any crusades, trying to save anybody.

Put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

This year is different because I've been working for 10 consecutive months without a major fuck-up. Of course, there have been fuck-ups, but they haven't caused me to lose my contract or otherwise let my client down. I've delivered a couple of projects quite successfully, to the great satisfaction of my clients.

This year is different because I've had an affordable place to live of my own since March, and I don't have anybody mooching off me or otherwise trying to ride my coat tails. I don't have anybody pressurising me to subsidise their laziness and inability to make good on their financial commitments. I don't have anybody using my gas, electric, water, sewerage, council tax and broadband, and running up thousands of pounds worth of rent arrears.

This year is different because I've had contract extensions and managed to have consecutive contracts, such that I've hardly stopped working at all.

This year is different because I've been working on my skills and making myself more confident and employable. I've felt increasingly capable and good at my job, without getting too deep into the territory of delusions of grandeur.

This year is different because the pressure is markedly reduced and the stress levels are more manageable, despite crushing mountainous debts. There have been really awful times - such as renting a place to live - but I seem to be well established in a good routine now, such that I just need to keep turning the pedals.

I drink too much. I'm unfit.

However, in the space of 11 months I'll have managed to buy a car, rent an apartment, pay off £21,000 of debt, and save up enough money to pay a hefty tax bill. I don't enjoy living out of a suitcase, but I'm not slumming it anymore. I've been able to take a weekend break to see old friends in Prague and I have a week-long holiday to Turkey booked, which will be my first proper holiday for over 2 years. I stay in a nice hotel midweek and I eat in a gastropub. This is the self-care aspect, which didn't really get taken care of in previous years. There's no point working as hard as I do unless it's delivering some quality of life; I might as well just kill myself if life's going to be an unrewarding slog.

I sometimes can't believe what comes out of my mouth, in terms of the fucking rage which is somewhat pent-up inside me. This is a summary of the many false starts I've had, and nearly-but-not-quite moments, where it looked like I was going to make a breakthrough and get properly back on my feet. It's incredibly frustrating to repeatedly do the impossible - quitting addictive drugs, getting off the streets, out of the hostels and back into mainstream civilised society, while also dealing with a major mental health problem - and to see that there's nothing wrong with my approach per se. On paper, everything should go perfectly and quickly restore me to health, wealth and prosperity, but it does require a run of good luck, and that luck is very much dependent on the co-operation of other people.

Who do I want to blame? Capitalism? Banking? Bad bosses? Wimmin? Parents? Even friends?

I spend a lot of time writing very aggressive angry stuff.

I can't believe what I write.

Maybe this year won't be any different, because I'm a spoiled overprivileged vile bitter old man, who doesn't take any personal responsibility; I'm too quick to blame others.

We shall see. The story continues.




A Man Slept Here

11 min read

This is a story about winos...

Cardboard city

If you've ever spent a night in a cheap sleeping bag, you'll know what it's like in the small hours of the morning, when the temperature plummets and you can't get warm - you're frozen to the bone and your body shakes to move your muscles, burning energy to heat your blood, which keeps you awake. All you can think about is how nice it would be to be snug and warm and cosy. A rough night will teach you to appreciate your duvet, blankets, heating boiler or furnace, roaring fire and other sources of warmth, like spooning with your sweetheart.

I've slept on a glacier, and it's horrible how quickly the ice leeches away the heat from any body part that strays off your sleeping mat. Concrete is just the same - without some insulating barrier between you and the floor, the cold seems to rise up and enter you... your lips turn blue and your teeth chatter.

In this city of concrete, brick & cement, limestone and granite, there are far more homeless people than I'm ever used to seeing. I've been homeless and slept rough in London. The UK's capital city is a magnet for those seeking to improve their fortunes, through employment opportunities, begging from rich tourists or simply the high quality narcotics.

"Have you scored?" yells a man behind me, to a man at the other end of the road. It's 9:30am on a Wednesday, and these two beggars look familiar to me. My ten minute walk to the office takes me past almost 15 men, who all congregate along the route between the city's two main railway stations - each with their own 'patch'. Some sit quietly with a paper cup on the pavement in front of them; eyes downcast but intently watching the world go by in their peripheral vision. Some look me square in the eye from several hundred metres away - well aware that I am pretending to not notice them - before timing a polite and muted "spare some change please?" request to perfection... all I can say is "sorry mate". Some linger at an intersection, where they step into my path... "excuse me" they say, and my eyes flick up to meet theirs... they know immediately that the element of surprise has not worked - I saw them before they saw me - and I continue my walk undiverted.

How do I know that it's a man who slept rough in that doorway, and he was probably an alcoholic and/or a heroin addict? If one wishes to be pedantic, I don't.

Speaking frankly, a woman who sleeps rough is is at risk of becoming a rape victim at some point. Another unspeakable and unpalatable truth is that a woman in the grips of addiction is not going to spend her nights having her body illegally violently sexually violated against her will, when she could spend that time turning tricks - there are an insatiable number of punters for blowjobs and sex - to pay for just enough heroin and crack to numb the pain of another shitty day of human existence.

What I say is not sexism, prejudiced or anything other than the situation as it stands in the UK - sadly, there are enough rapists out there to make sleeping on the streets a dangerous thing for a woman to do, so our local government will ensure that they are not complicit in any acts of rape or sexual assault that get perpetrated on the streets, though their negligent inaction.

A single man with an alcohol and/or drug problem is not considered to be vulnerable enough to be housed by the local government. In fact, the alcoholics and addicts who line the busy thoroughfares of this bustling city, are viewed as a liability with regards to giving them money and a place to live. "They'll only spend it on drink and drugs" completely misses the point about cause and effect, but statistically it's proven to be mostly correct. Council houses (a.k.a. social housing) and apartments have been turned into absolute shitholes by so many men in the past, that the local authority treats their homeless adult single male population like a plague of modern-day lepers.

Thus, I can make an educated guess that this almost entirely unused fire exit doorway, was where a man laid his head to rest last night. He was probably a heroin addict, but this means nothing - whether it's a symptom or the cause of his destitution is a non sequitur, because homelessness and addiction are intractable. It is as if we ask "which came first? the eggshell or the egg yolk?" without considering the ridiculous notion of having one without the other, and completely ignoring the chicken.

The United Kingdom was flooded with cheap alcohol during the boom years of the 1980s, when the British pound sterling was strong versus the French franc, and enterprising men and women set off across the English Channel to bring back vast quantities of wine. France grew grapes and fermented them in a country that was predominantly rural and agricultural. England, by comparison with our nearest neighbour, has dense areas of population clustering around factories, coal mines, steel mills, dockyards and other organs that were necessitated for the functioning of an empire, as well as the defence of the realm.

Heroin's quality and availability once fluctuated wildly in the UK. The fields of opium-yielding poppies flourish in Afghanistan and Thailand, but the trade routes - the Silk Road - were at the mercy of incredible geopolitical forces. Now, thanks to the intervention of the USA and the UK in illegal foreign wars and 'regime' toppling, the supply of high-quality cheap narcotics has never been in more rude health.

If you think a homeless heroin addict single man is a fool and a failure, you are wrong; completely wrong. If you think in terms of 'bang for your buck' a £10 bag of heroin is going to get you a lot more fucked up than £10 of alcohol. If you think that injecting drugs is insane, you haven't considered the insanity of putting something you've paid your hard-earned money for, into your acidic stomach, where nearly 1/3rd of it will be destroyed. The rational thing to do is to put 100% of your intoxicant directly into your bloodstream.

If we followed the logic of the homeless man, we would all have a canula in one of our veins, and we would pay £1 for pure ethanol to be squirted into our bodies from a syringe, whereupon we would be immediately intoxicated to the point of near-blackout.


Before we go any further, I should make it clear that I am not advocating injecting drugs - or drug abuse of any kind - nor have I ever injected any drugs, or had another person inject me with narcotics.


If one wishes to consider the desperate plight of an addict or alcoholic, one only needs to think about the period when many homeless men would drink methylated spirits. Methanol differs from ethanol chemically, but methylated spirits - known colloquially as meths - has been deliberately poisoned by manufacturers, in an effort to discourage human consumption, without success. I can buy 5 litres of meths - roughly the same volume as 7 bottles of wine - for around £10, but to drink it would kill me. Out of desperation to avoid delirium tremens, which can cause seizures and death, alcoholics will drink small amounts of meths to self-medicate for their physical dependence on alcohol, despite the fact that it will cause them to go blind.

The war on drugs and the war on terror have now created a reliable supply chain, whereby the most powerful narcotics on the planet are available at unsurpassed purity and at rock-bottom prices, as never before witnessed in human history.

Competitive free-market economics has given rise to a swathe of pharmaceutical giants, vying to innovate with new medications that are 'better' than anything seen before, in a race for profits. Fentanyl and carfentanil were born into this world in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively. Carfentanil is so potent, that an aerosol mist of it could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Although the Russian government does not officially acknowledge it, carfentanil has been used in a terrorist hostage situation - pumped into a building as a gas - resulting in the deaths of 125 innocent civilians in a single incident, from opiate overdose.

The rise and rise of the zero-hours contract McJob and a hopeless future for unskilled labourers, in the face of global capitalism, has created insecurity and the total destruction of the prospect of happy and contented family life for a scandalous number of men. While pram-faced mothers, with gold hoop earrings and their hair held back tightly in a scrunchie, will be prioritised for social housing, our entire welfare system discourages work and parental bonds. Economically, a single mother is better off than one who stays with the father of her children. Dads have been made redundant by cheap Far-Eastern labour. People respond to incentives, and so we have created a generation of children from broken homes. We have created an unacknowledged mountainous scrap-heap of homeless single male drug addicts, in a society that has no better use for them, other than to let them rot.

We are all familiar with the concept of supply and demand, but there is also something intrinsic in our genetic programming that makes us seek out value for money. It seems obvious that given the choice of intoxicants, I would select 1 gram of carfentanil instead of 1 gram of morphine. An amount of carfentanil the same size as a grain of salt is enough to kill me by overdose - carfentanil is better value for money, being about 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

The opium smokers became morphine addicts, then diacetylmorphine (heroin) addicts, then fentanyl addicts and now carfentanil addicts. The subsection of the population who have abandoned hope are always driven to seek the strongest mind-altering substance that they can obtain, for the money which they beg (panhandle), borrow or steal in order to support their 'habit' each day.

1 kilogram of carfentanil could kill the entire population of the United Kingdom. Carfentanil is produced in bulk quantities in the Far-East, where - ironically - all the manufacturing and mining jobs have gone, leaving vast numbers of men economically redundant.

In this city where I now live, the capitalists drove the cloth-making industry into a race to the bottom, negatively affecting the prosperity of nations such as India, which has over a billion inhabitants. It seems apt that the 'payback' for this global suicide pact should be so publicly conspicuous. Homelessness and addiction are openly on display, as symptoms of a world that is sick with an illness that's called capitalism; vulgar greed and hoarding of wealth.

I am full of sorrow that so many of my fellow citizens are left bewildered as to what happened to their once-great nation, and seek solace in all the wrong places. To help even one man (#frank) exhausted my economic reserves. All I have left is the power to spread word to more people than I could ever manage to speak to individually, using the power and freedom of the Internet. I preach to the converted, so often, but to stop and speak to the abandoned men - each in their 'patch' - is impossible in the face of a capitalists waving a fistfuls of dollars in front of a sea of hungry people.

All I can say to my readers who own computers, smartphones and Internet connections - you have a golden ticket that the man who slept on the cardboard in the doorway last night, does not have. He's viewed as trash, just the same as the remnants of his existence left behind when he awoke and moved elsewhere this morning.




Swapping Sanity for Solvency

7 min read

This is a story about looking after yourself...


I'm an incredibly calculating person. When I take a risk, it's a calculated risk. If you want to be a sailor, a rock climber, a mountaineer, you've got to be able to weigh up multiple factors. You look at the difficulty of the route or passage. You look at the weather conditions. You look at your equipment. You think about your crew, your rope party. You consider your own abilities. Failure means falling to your death, or drowning.

Let me give you an example.

I was at a petrol station, and I was paying at the counter when a car that was on fire was driven up to the pumps and then abandoned by the driver and passengers. They fled for their lives. The car was there, going up in flames, right next to the petrol pumps.

What would you do?

There didn't seem much point in standing around waiting for the fire brigade. There certainly didn't seem like a moment to lose, as there were passengers sat in their cars, waiting for the drivers to pay for their petrol and come back to their vehicles.

Selfishly, the best thing to do would have been to stay where I was, at the counter where I was paying, or to flee out the fire exit at the back.

I didn't think "I want to be a hero". I thought "can I put that fire out?". I decided that I could.

I went out onto the forecourt and shouted for everybody to get out of their cars and get the fuck away from the petrol station.

Then I picked up a couple of fire extinguishers and went and put out the fire. It wasn't unbearably hot because the whole car wasn't yet on fire. The whole engine compartment was on fire, but with the wind behind me, it carried the smoke away from me, along with some of the heat. I managed to direct most of the foam from the extinguisher into the engine compartment, and the flames were quickly put out.

That was a calculated risk.

I'm currently working a job that is destroying my mental health. It was a 6 month contract, and I calculated that in that time I could reach financial security. Financial security is an important component in wellbeing, given how shockingly appalling the welfare state is. It's more important that I'm able to support myself financially, than it is that I suffer 6 months of depression, putting me at risk of suicide.

My assumption is that when I have reached the point of financial security, I can have a mini nervous breakdown, and then start to recover without sinking back into financial hardship. If I have financial security, I can recover without becoming homeless and destitute again.

If I have learnt anything about my mental health to date, it's that I can recover from almost anything, given enough time & money.

It's sad to see lives thrown away because we treat them so cheaply.

If I can do it, I will have proved that it's possible to plumb unimaginably awful depths and recover, if only we would take the chance and invest in people. If only we trusted people. If only we respected people.

So many people get written off as if they're as good as dead, and that's disgusting.

It should be a collective stain on our conscience that we prefer to prop up the ideas of the "lost cause" and to discriminate against people because of the mistakes of their past, rather than looking at their potential.

Instead of chucking me into some "care in the community" bucket as an incurable madman, or kicking me into the gutter as a hopeless addict, I'm looking forward to proving what an injust death sentence that is. My parents are reprehensibly disgusting people for abandoning their own son when I was vulnerable and alone. My parents had insisted that they would help, only to renege on their promises at the vital moment.

I've done nothing but try to improve the lives of others. I'm not a thief, a liar. I'm not a violent man. I'm not even a criminal.

My dad's a criminal. My dad has a criminal conviction for his drug offences. The police have seen fit to caution me 4 times for various things, but the police have seen that there is no criminal intent with me that would warrant prosecution. My dad has broken the law and he has a criminal record. Why would he treat me like a criminal? Why would he treat me as if I've committed crimes, when it's him who has the criminal record?

I suppose we judge people based on who we really are. If you're a bad person, you see bad in other people. I've always given people the benefit of the doubt. I've always helped people, and even forgiven them when they've screwed me over.

I don't think I'm necessarily a good person, but I try to be. I try to help people. I try to see the best in everybody. I try to invest in people's potential.

It's a calculated risk, being nice to people. Sure, I've lost loads of money as people have taken advantage of me. I doubt anybody thinks I'm a mug though. I doubt anybody feels proud or pleased that they profited at my expense.

One of the best ever moments I can remember was when a young addict couldn't believe that I'd forgiven him for - as he saw it - scamming me out of a load of money. In actual fact, my risk was hedged. It was a calculated gamble. I just hope that he benefitted in some way. My life certainly wasn't any the worse off.

Anybody who says "don't give money to an addict or an alcoholic because it'll do more harm than good" is simply wrong. If you're poor and you steal from the rich, you don't feel guilty about it. But if somebody is kind to you and trusts you, and you betray that trust, it eats you up inside like crazy.

By helping people to be solvent you can help restore their sanity. For many people who live lives of poverty, this can be surprisingly cheap. I could get my friend Frank a hostel bed so that he wasn't living on the street for £120/week. I could help get Frank a room in a shared house for £500. Nobody had taken that kind of chance on him before.

Fixing my situation has been more expensive, because I'm more leveraged. When my parents fucked me over, I borrowed what I could on credit cards, bought Bitcoins, and made 1,200% profit. That was a calculated gamble. When I was homeless living in the park, looking for a well paid IT consultancy contract, I was using my creditworthiness to stay alive and get back into lucrative work: that's leverage. The peaks and troughs of my debt and my solvency are erratic and stressful, but you'd be a fool to bet against me.

Obviously, the idea is to link two lucrative contracts back to back, or have one last long enough to give me a financial cushion to at last be safe from homelessness and destitution. I desperately need a break from these boom and bust cycles. I desperately need a run of good luck.

The luck is not forthcoming, as my 6 month contract has been terminated 2 months early, but I have a little time to rest before the stress and torment of having to find a new job.

If you put all this into the context of relentless depression, suicidal thoughts, threat of homelessness, bankruptcy, destitution, reputational destruction, and everything else that threatens to consume me, I'm surprised I'm still standing.

All I know is that I'm able to just about make a swap for my mental health and sense of wellbeing, for a chance at financial security. It's a calculated gamble.




Drug Addiction: The Appliance of Science

16 min read

This is a story about fact vs. fiction...


It's hard to defend yourself when you're sick. It's easy for people to take advantage of a soft target, and invent their own version of events. It's easy to discredit somebody, when you've left them dead and buried. The dead can no longer speak up for themselves.

I needed to break up with my abusive ex-wife and rebuild my life in London. London is where all the good IT contracts and jobs are. London is where I have a good chance of reconnecting with significant numbers of friends and business contacts. London is where good stuff happens.

I had an excellent credit rating. I was going to arrange for a bridging loan to cover the expenditure of relocating back to London from Bournemouth. The loan was risk free, because I had such a large amount of equity in my house. The credit risk was underwritten by the fact that as soon as the house was sold, the loan could be repaid.

I was going to arrange credit with a commercial lender, so that I had the security of knowing that I had the funds to cover me until I got a new job back in London. However, my parents insisted that I could count on them. My parents told me that I didn't need the extra stress and hassle of arranging credit, and worrying about money and administrative affairs, when I had the extremely upsetting task of leaving my home and setting up life again in London.

However, when I then said that I needed to borrow the money - secured against the large lump sum of equity tied up in my house that was being sold - they then reneged on their promise. They left me high and dry. They dumped me in the shit. With no excuse, they fucked me over. Unacceptable.

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

Don't offer to support vulnerable people, and then screw them over.

It's not a fucking joke.

It's not fucking funny.

It has consequences.

Far reaching consequences.

I never got an apology or an explanation from my parents for fucking me over like that. I can only assume that they liked the idea of sounding like real parents, but actually they don't have a single shred of decency. They don't have an ounce of honesty. They are untrustworthy. They are liars. They are utter c**ts.

It wasn't like I'd asked them for support. I was putting my own commercial borrowing arrangements in place to cover my relocation. My parents insisted that I could count on them to bridge the gap. It made sense... there was no risk, because the debt was underwritten with the equity in my house, which was vacant and being sold. It made sense that they should profit instead of a commercial lender. I was doing them a favour, because they would earn a better rate of interest off me than they would from any savings interest.


Let's assume that they decided I was going to blow all the money on drugs.

My drug of choice - the one I got mixed up with by accident during the agonising destruction of my relationship and my business - is something that I've jokingly nicknamed "supercrack". As the name suggests, it's highly addictive. It used to be legal, not so long ago.

A strong dose of supercrack is 15mg. That's 0.015 grams.

The length of time that a dose of supercrack will last is about 18 hours. It's an incredibly potent stimulant.

On the dark web, you used to be able to buy 5 grams of supercrack for $150, including postage. That's enough to last 333 days, assuming you sleep 6 hours a night.

If you take supercrack around-the-clock you will not sleep, and therefore your immune system will get very low and you will soon die. The longest I ever took supercrack in a round-the-clock binge was 10 days. That's 10 days without sleep or food. I don't think you could go much longer without dying.

When I moved back to London, I was no longer using supercrack.

If I was using supercrack, from the day I moved back to London to today, I would have spent the princely sum of $450.

In fact, to use supercrack for 50 more years - long past my natural life expectancy - would only require 274 grams of the dangerous drug, which would easily cost me less than $10,000. In fact, I could probably have bought 1kg in bulk for $5,000, which would have been enough for 200 years of drug abuse.

So what did happen to all my money?

Well, I made it to my first Christmas back in London by buying Bitcoins on my credit cards and with my overdraft, which then increased 1,200% in value. I hadn't been able to work, because the stress of not having any money, and having your parents and ex-wife completely dicking you over, while also having to move the contents of a 3 bedroom house into storage and rebuild your life again, was rather too much to ask.

My parents expected me to go to their house for a jolly fucking family Christmas, when they had royally fucked me over. What a joke.

December was all too much, and by the 27th I was in full-blown relapse (which only cost a few dollars in drugs).

However, rehab doesn't come cheap... and guess who was going to pay? ME!

I've paid around £30,000 for private treatment. Guess what? It doesn't work.

Unless you have a supportive environment, treatment doesn't work. Don't bother going into rehab, unless you're going to get rid of toxic people, toxic places and toxic jobs from your life.

My first stay in rehab (The Priory) was long enough for me to see that I was being abused by my ex-wife and we needed to break up. My next stay in rehab was long enough for me to get over being dicked over by my parents. My last stay in rehab gave me just about enough strength to make a plan to cut my toxic parents out of my life altogether.

Since then, I now know the knack of quitting drugs.

Amino acids such as 5-HTP, L-Tyrosine and Phenylalanine replace the depleted neurotransmitters in your brain. Bupropion and amphetamines (like dexedrine) can cushion the cravings and depression, lack of energy and cognitive impairment.

Benzos and Z-drugs are a great way to amplify an addiction. Sleeping off the comedown by taking 'downers' to take the vicious edge off the 'uppers' means that you start to believe you are able to get all the upsides without any of the downsides. However, all you're doing is storing up the mother of all comedowns for a later day.

Coming off benzodiazepines is the single most awful thing you are likely to ever experience in your life. I'm not sure if you've ever had a panic attack or insomnia. Certainly, you must have experienced stress and anxiety. Imagine having a round-the-clock sense of horrible unease, fear, dread. If benzos calm you down, the payback is in rebound anxiety. What goes up must come down, and living with anxiety is terrible.

Something like diazepam is very long acting, so you find it's in your bloodstream for ages even after you stop taking it. The withdrawal from it lasts weeks: insomnia & anxiety.

Coming off stimulants isn't that bad. You're exhausted, suicidally depressed, physically weak, uncoordinated, slow witted, and cognitively impaired. You might be in terrible physical shape from lack of food, lack of sleep and over-exertion. It's nothing that a month in bed can't fix.

Obviously, coming off all drugs at the same time is a clusterfuck, because you'll have anxiety and insomnia, keeping you awake through your exhausted suicidal depression. But, this is the payback for polydrug abuse. What goes up must come down.

In September 2013 I escaped addiction by swapping from supercrack to dexedrine and then tapering my dose down. I further cushioned the blow by using zopiclone to get my sleep back on track. It was relatively easy and painless, especially as I also completely changed my whole environment by moving to London and reconnecting with old friends. I got a new girlfriend and started helping my homeless friend, Frank.

Drug addiction is a teeny tiny bit about the brain chemistry, and it's a whole lot more about toxic environments. Believe me, the more stress, disruption, isolation and mistreatment is perpetrated against me, the more I'm itching to pull the "fuck it" trigger.

Drug addiction is both an easy and a difficult existence. If you haven't got the guts to actually end your life quickly and cleanly, it will get you to your grave faster than you think. I think every addict knows where they're headed, but they don't give a fuck because everybody else is pushing them down that road too.

You would have thought that addicts would be our most cared for and nurtured members of society, because they're pretty much walking around with a noose around their neck, advertising their intention to kill themself. However, my experience was that my own parents and ex-wife couldn't wait to see me dead and buried.

When I eventually accepted that experimentation had become addiction and I needed professional help, I said to my ex-wife that I needed a 28-day detox. She said she would rather that I died. She actually categorically said that she would rather be a widow. These were her words. This was not a general comment. This was her saying that she would prefer it if I didn't have 28 days treatment and get better. This was her saying that what she wanted was for me to die, not get better.

When I got clean and moved back to London, my parents essentially made the same choice. Rather than honour their unsolicited offer to profit from my need for a bridging loan, they saw the opportunity to pull the rug out from under my feet and plunge me back into chaos, stress and destruction.

When things are going wrong now, I assume that I'm totally alone, and that everybody is totally hostile. I assume that doors are going to be kicked in by an abusive and violent ex or parent. I assume that treatment is going to be withheld. I assume that people would rather that I was dead.

Abuse leaves psychological scars. Calling somebody a liar, and treating them disrespectfully denies them any self esteem. Pulling away a person's means of supporting themself, and generally attacking their opportunities to escape and recover is not proof that the person is a failure and vindication of your decision to fuck them over. Let's take a look at cause and effect.

Drug addiction is a place that a person turns to when their life is unliveable. The more you mistreat a person and deny them any opportunity to recover, the more they're going to say "fuck it" and go back to killing themself slowly.

Recovery can be quick and painless if action is swift, decisive and early intervention is taken. Addiction is like a house on fire. The sooner you put out the fire, the more of the house you save. There's no point sitting around to see if the fire goes out, and then putting out half the fire. "The fire is mostly out" or "we'll just put a bit of water on the fire and see if things improve" is just utter bullshit. You're looking for an excuse to fail that person if you act like that.

I'm angry.

I don't know if this is coming across. I'm really fucking angry.

I'm spinning everything like I'm a victim. Well, that's because I'm sick of victim blaming. I know that taking the position of the victim is not a good place to start, but it's maddening because the facts are clear: the strong have exploited the weak, and tried to kick a vulnerable person into an early grave. Secrets die with a person, and it's a lot easier if a victim is dead.

I made plans for my business and my future based on the idea that I had a loving, supportive partner. I made plans based on a "for richer, for poorer" and "in sickness and in health" marriage vow that we made to each other. I made divorce and recovery plans based on an unsolicited offer of support from my parents. Parents are supposed to support their children. People are supposed to honour their word. Plans are based on agreements.

How can you make any plans or do anything if nobody keeps their word? How can anything function without people acting with a shred of integrity.

I paid for nonjudgemental reliable support, at great personal expense. The rest I did on my fucking own. Who the fuck got me out of the park and into a hostel? Who the fuck got me out of the hostel into a contract and a hotel? Who the fuck got me out of the hotel and into a flat? Who the fuck got me more contracts when the previous ones didn't work out for long enough for me to get ahead?

Recovering from depression, bipolar disorder, the destruction of your business, ruining of your career reputation, divorce, the selling off of your home and the giveaway of many of your precious possessions, having to relocate across the country, having to re-establish your life again. You think that comes easily? You think that comes cheaply? You think that can be done all on your own? You think that can be done while people jeer and take the piss from the sidelines, calling you horrible names and creating additional obstacles for you?

Now, sprinkle in substance abuse.

Drug addiction is the easy part. I should be getting a fucking ticker-tape parade for what I've been through. I should get a fucking gold medal. I should get my picture in the motherfucking paper, with lots of quotes from all my adoring fans.

Some drug addicts are driven to lie, cheat and steal. We are told that addicts leave dirty needles in children's playgrounds and try to sell drugs to your kids to get them hooked.

What exactly could anybody's problem be with me? I've paid for all my own treatment. I've never stolen any money to buy drugs. I never even bought drugs from anybody who could conceivably be accused of putting money into crime and terrorism. All I've ever wanted to do is get back to London, and restabilise myself.

What does stability look like?

Like this:

  • Place to live
  • Income to pay for food & accommodation
  • Social contact
  • Free from debt and financial stress

And I've come to realise it also means:

  • No more toxic people in my life: especially my parents
  • No more klingons: I can't carry any dead wood
  • No more arbitrary measures: being teetotal is unnecessary. I'm going to do whatever works.
  • No more shame: I've got nothing to be ashamed of

The compromises, sacrifices and things that I put up with to keep hope alive are not inconsiderable. My adherence to integrity and personal standards means that I am taking on additional challenges that I could easily circumvent by simply declaring bankruptcy and depositing myself in the care of the welfare state.

I've paid an absolute fucktonne of tax in my life, so I should feel entitled to a handout, but I don't. I don't want a life that's dependent on the state giving me a small amount of the money back that I've paid into the national purse. I'm proud and I've worked hard all my life. I've worked hard to dig myself out of a very deep hole, and I deserve a fucking break.

I'm writing this now, completely free from any drugs. My mind is my own. I have let my brain recover, and now I have nothing but pure rational thought.

Where's my money gone? It's been spent on surviving. It's been spent on keeping the possibility of recovery alive.

Recovery from drugs?


Recovery from the shit that drove me into the arms of addiction.

Will I be able to recreate the past, and get back the things I lost? No, never. Of course not!

So, am I bitter and full of regret?

Actually, I'm working my bollocks off just as hard as I've always done throughout my life FOR THE FUTURE. In 4 or 5 months I could be back in the same financial position that I was in before everything imploded, except I will be in pole position to continue at a much accelerated pace. I have a much greater chance of building a happy new life, now that I am rid of the toxic people who sabotaged everything I had worked so hard to build.

Every day in the rat race is an unpleasant reminder of the fact that I got screwed over, and this is the source of my bitter rants. I am tired. It has been exhausting to rescue things.

But, it's in my nature to build and repair. It's in my nature to look to the future, not look to the past. The only reason I do look to the past, is that I'm saddled with the consequences of being dumped in the shit by people who let me down and broke their promises.

In the world of startups we talk about a pivot. Take your lessons learned from going in one direction, and take them in another to find your sustainable competitive advantage.

Through this fucked up world of pain that I've been through, I've found several important stories that need to be told.

There is the story of the people who are disadvantaged. Those who are discriminated against because they have mental health problems or who have struggled with addiction. There are society's undesirable members. There is the issue of homelessness, and the harsh and uncaring world that waits for single people who fall on hard times. There is the arms race in the war on drugs, with legal highs and the cat and mouse game between chemists and governments. There is the battle that rages inside our heads: mania and depression. There are the differences in perception: who is mad and who is sane.

A rich white middle class investment bank employee, IT consultant, software engineer, homeowner, husband and neatly presented boy with good manners, well educated and well behaved. Young, fit and active. Adventurous, outgoing and gregarious.

If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.

The stories have got to be told.