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Anyone else look forward to social events like they look forward to being gored by a bull? I’ve got the pain coming today. It’ll be administered at my partners friends’ house in the next village.

I’ve already been told off yesterday by my partner for not taking my tablets and for having a meltdown on Saturday; I’m a bit all over the place at the moment. So, the writing is on the wall, and the ley-lines and hexes are all intersecting on her friends home this afternoon, with its pretty garden and borrowed marquee. The rain will help to dampen the moods of my dining companions. Fuses will be short and nervous glances will shoot at me the second someone mentions politics, or mental health, or death, or…just about anything where the topic can turn serious – which is just about any topic as far as I’m concerned.

The opposing team include a right-wing lizard of a man, a drunk social worker, a tetchy support worker and her cattle farmer husband, a former head of a social services department, her stoner partner, an ‘I’m wacky’ old people’s services assessor, a registered mental health nurse – recently disciplined for punching a patient in a mental health unit, the hosts (nervous and highly strung teacher and insurance salesman), and my old friend – the only one I have left. He will provide the only sense and safety in the whole thing. I genuinely am ramping up with high anxiety right now. Those people are out to get me and I don’t have a hope in Hell. Judging on past experiences I’ll either take too many meds prior to getting there, or drink to much. I’m not popular sober, but whacked on tablets and/or booze makes the whole thing much, much worse. Anything could happen. At the very least I’ll be a huge embarrassment to my partner in front of all her friends. And they will ask her, in text messages afterwards, why she bothers with me. It’s a good question – and one I ask myself many times more than they do – but I can’t bear to think about it right now. Got to keep the anxiety on just one threat. One is enough today.

In three hours I could be walking home in the rain, covered in my own sweat and slime. Soaked and slithering away from what most other people enjoy; it’s just a party.



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The CPN cometh.

She cancelled yesterday because, she told me, the recent global hacking event scrambled their computer system and an ’emergency meeting, vital to safety,’ had been called. She had to attend. Beats listening to me bleating on like a 200lb half-dead sheep at shearing time. Hacking is the new graffiti. Painted in letters ten feet high all over the front of your house – “Infected – and he has secrets”

Which reminds me….. just turned on the anti-virus scan on my laptop. My writing/work laptop, not the battered bedroom one I use for soporific music and audiobooks at bedtime – the one I thought was broken, so kicked it twenty feet across my living room. It survived. It’s like a cockroach. Apart from kicking it against a stone wall, I’ve dropped it on a quarry tile floor, spilled beer on it, punched it, and mashed those keys so hard that sometimes I thought my fingers would end up electrocuted.  And the thing still works. Amazing.

This fancy new one I’m writing this on broke within the first month and had to be sent away for a new hard drive. It lacks the mental toughness to really be in here. Sometimes, so do I. But that’s not anything I can change. I have certain expectations from my laptops: I don’t have a dog to kick.

It’s been raining for three days non-stop. I’ve been drunk, and now I’ve groped for some diazepam to take the edge off the grey day and the visit of my CPN. She will notice my slowed down thinking and speech, but then I have a Psychiatric diagnosis assessed as ‘High’ and risk as ‘Moderate to High.’ I guess that’s a good enough reason to take meds. Therapeutically, you understand. Which leads me to think about the fact I have a new Psychiatrist – the third in a little over a year. And it’s a man. Bad news. Means plans are in place to accompany me to at least my first appointment with him. Terrible really, that I can’t be trusted, and can’t trust myself, in case he provokes or upsets me. What a let down.

And that’s that today. No weird news, no intention to self-harm, or crazy stories from the past, and no sign of Bigfoot. Just me at the same old desk staring out at the rain and watching for the gate to open and my CPN to knock gingerly at the back door. She’ll refuse a drink as always, give weird eye contact, read the riot act, then tell me how well I’m doing. It’s a hard way to make a living.


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Hello. Yes, I think that’s the right tone for the start of this thing. Hello. As you sit on the bus, on your sofa, on the toilet, walking in the street, bashing the steering wheel in a traffic jam home from a job you hate, whatever/wherever. Hello still stands. It might not be reciprocated – and I doubt it is – but it’s a free offer from me. Take it.

Medication taken today: Pregabalin (found a tablet down the side of the sofa – yeah, desperation), Codeine, Flupentixol, diazepam, ethyl alcohol.

Is that ok?

I doubt it. But it feels good. And, yes, I know that alcohol isn’t strictly a medication. ‘Self-medication’ they call it. Not gallons of the stuff, just a couple of cold beers while I’m typing and watching a guy spraying some noxious weedkiller on the hillside. He’s wearing a blue boiler suit. The chemicals must be a real doozy. Can’t get them on the skin or his curly hair’ll fall out and his testicles wither and shrivel up like walnuts. But no weeds, eh. It’s no wonder I haven’t seen a hedgehog for ten years.

But that’s all superfluous. The world is swinging now under my own chemical intervention. Bad synapses cut off at the pass by GABA-inducing, serotonin pumping, actions from the tiny tablets and swigs of Heineken. No weed in me, yet, hoho. I’m High. This old desk has never felt better. The little red keyboard – bought as an add-on because the laptop keyboard is shit – is soaking up the heavy finger stabs. Just a great slab of forgiving plastic meat.

This hubris in here won’t last. I’m not that high.The first rule of any real chemical user is you know this is the one great truth: things never last. For now, though, don’t begrudge a guy surfing on the warm wave of his own personal understanding of neuropharmacology. The beach is golden and inviting, and the water friendly and shark-free. It beats the sharp rocks, fins, teeth, and rusted steel of any other given day. Tomorrow I’ll know different, as always, but while the sun is out and the dopamine flowing I’ll take this ride until the offshore breeze ruins the wave sets.


In the Village

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Here in the morning candlelight. Grey outside. Gypsies have moved into the area at the bottom of the rocks up from my house. The villagers are scared but I walked through their caravans and couldn’t see why. Polished milk churns. Fake squares of grass outside immaculate doors. Smiles. No fear.

I failed yesterday to convince my CPN to mediate with my Psychiatrist to get me on an experimental LSD microdosing programme. Nice try. At the end of her visit I thanked her for always taking the time to listen to my bullshit. I wished her luck and a peaceful weekend away from the crazies. When she left I locked the gate and took my meds. And prayed up high to something. Same words every time – ‘Stop the wars, the killing, hatred, spread love, care for the frightened, protect my loved ones, protect me.’

The prayer failed. War is still rank and carefree, missiles and bombs, and people burned alive in cages like rats for reasons I can’t make sense of. Humans stink, and the lock on my gate outside isn’t ever going to be strong enough to stop the stench and the terror from getting to me in here.

Is anyone out there, or is everyone in Subway reading facebook on their IPhone? Kittens falling over. Dogs laughing. Hideous motivational quotes dreamed up by assholes with no sense of shame or reality. Banter and the shitfest of unsophisticated communication rammed down throats till you can’t speak for yourself any more without saying ‘So,’ at the beginning of every sentence. A stolen and copied verbal tick. The right language to be in control and self-assured. Using the accepted verbal cues. These things are vital if you want to fit in – if a banal communion is your goal.


I ask myself: what can I do?

A: Nothing.

Train of thought gone. Concentration fucked after, what, 312 words. Awful.

I’m going back to staring out of the window and watching for something that’ll never turn up. Blasted on meds, keeping a lid on it all in this tiny village high up in the British hills, dodging my elderly neighbour who only wants to talk. And to stop feeling lonely too.


Robert Pamperin was eaten by a Great White shark off the coast of California back in the late 50s. His last words were to his dive buddy, shouted at the surface: ‘Help me!’ Then he was swallowed. Imagine it. That is a moment in time imprinted forever on the two people who witnessed it and lived to talk to the newspapers about the ‘thrashing’ and the ‘crimson water’. I have tried to kill myself four times but even at those points of emotional distress I’d never pick Pamperin’s method of death. Not in a million years. Which is why suicide attempts, in my case, were selfish and weak. I sought a slow trip into unconsciousness, then respiratory collapse, followed by a gentle stopping of the heart. An easy way out with no jagged teeth and no thrashing. Cowardly. I know Pamperin didn’t commit suicide, but you get the point.

OK, so I lived and, I suppose, forty little white tablets and a load of alcohol can have the same results as a ton of marine animal with serrated teeth and a vicious blood-lust, given the right circumstances, but one way equals savage misadventure and other is simply pathetic. In the jaws of too many opiates and benzodiazepines there is no screaming, or panic. You just eventually close your eyes and drift away. There is nothing you can do. No shouting for help, or gouging at the beast’s eyes with a diving knife. You just accept the choice you’ve made and are thankful for it.The rest is up to fate. In my case, the first three times I hadn’t taken enough medication to kill me – though it did damage my liver – and the last one I survived because I threw up when I was unconscious, after ingesting enough meds to kill two or three people. I’d made sure that time, so I thought. And when I woke up, 36 hours later, and realised I was alive, I sobbed that I was such a failure I couldn’t even die properly.

Is there a moral here? Is there anything of value at all? I don’t know. I guess I can safely say I’ll never put myself in the position where I can be eaten by a shark, but that’s not a moral choice, that’s just a preference. There’s not enough control in the final seconds of being consumed by an animal; too many vague parameters. And, speaking postmortem-wise, it’s better to be slumped on a sofa than be shitted out the ass of something huge and hard to capture. People/family need closure even if you’ve got yours when the hammer dropped and the lights went out for the final time.

I won’t be swimming off the Californian coast today, or any other day, but my own pathetic, selfish, Great White shark attack could be at any time. I have the meds (my shark) and the soupy sea of a mental illness. It’s just luck or the random direction of a blood slick in the current that decide when the jaws bite down.

Take care out there all of you.

The Convert

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OK, the grim reality of next week is starting to bore into my head. I’m going to look after my mother until next Friday while she has the fallout from her final bout of chemotherapy. Not something anyone wants to have to do, much as I emotionally owe her. AND I’ve just had a quick count up and found out I’ll be out of meds by Tuesday evening. That means no pregabalin, no codeine from Wednesday until possibly the following Monday – depending if my five and a half hour train journey gets me back before my Doctors closes. I can’t say I laughed when I realised, because what I did actually do was throw what tablets I do have across the room and start shouting ‘You fucking idiot,’

There is no way of getting the tablets today – I’ve checked – so I’m wracking my brains to see what plan B I can come up with.

  • Buy over the counter Co-Codamol and step around the fringes of a paracetamol overdose for a week – The poxy 7.5mg of codeine is accompanied, by some cruel joke wrongly aimed at preventing a whole nation of opiate addicts, by 500mg of paracetamol in each tablet. There is no way of even cold filtering out the paracetamol. Helloooo liver failure..
  • Scrimp on the meds – savagely cut down my dosages and pray I can get back on the shitty Rail service before four PM next Friday.
  • Take lots of diazepam (which I have) with me and provide a very ineffectual week of caring to my Mother.
  • Start taking my anti-psychotics again – at least I won’t get angry while I’m withdrawing.

It’s a menu of hate whichever way I look at it.

With cup of Early Grey teas in hand, I raise my tin mug to you all, and to a week of good fortune and of comfort and usefulness to my Mother. She is beyond my shitty mental health and I’m determined not to let her become the victim of my own poor planning.

Some people mock those on heavy medication, I was never one of those who sneered but now I can see people have a point. It’s hard to care for others when your bones feel like they are trying to leave your rotting body. Meds are not to be fooled with, or taken for granted. O Lord, grant me one last stroke of luck in my miserable life. Help me out just once. We both know it’s about fucking time.

To the future. And to my religious conversion, which may or may not occur in a blinding flash of opiate bliss and righteous doses of serotonin. See you in Church.

Peace has a price

Yes. It was me half an hour ago standing in the street offering to kick the shit out of two delivery men. I kind of want to say it was their fault – one of them mouthed something at me when he thought I wouldn’t stop and deal with it – but ultimately the thing lands with me. Their faces dropped when I came back and started shouting. They didn’t fancy the job. Luckily.

I was all ready to fight there in the street. It was pathetic. An aged Rocky carrying on like a gorilla in the winter sunshine while cars stopped and people took out their phones ready to call the cops. The men locked themselves in their van. Terrible scene.

I left and raged to myself for a while, then remembered I hadn’t had my medication. I stopped the car again and put on the radio to take a breather. They were talking about the costs of medication in the UK. I’d never considered it, I just go, present my card, then leave. So I looked it up when I got in – taking the meds first with large gulps of cheap sugar-free energy drink. I don’t drink those kinds of drinks but I figured that I couldn’t get more high.

Here are my meds and their cost to the NHS for a years worth of my dosage:

Pregabalin – £772.80p

Codeine – £59.04p

Flupentixol – £55.00p

Diazepam – £3.18p

My total yearly medication cost = £890.02p

Cheap? Expensive?

Life saving, life-affirming, comforting, numbing, safety net, painless, calm, helpers…all of them. I’d say they were worth every penny.

And now I’m going to relax as those tablets kick in and I leave the threat mode and enter the world of flat-line. No emotions for me for a couple of hours. Saved again until next time. In a while all I’ll feel is guilt, and that can lead to self-harm sometimes, but it’s less destructive to the community at large. Safer to be unsafe sometimes, weirdly.

The Frying pan and the meds

“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.”
― William S Burroughs

“Do do do, come on and do the conga” – Black Lace

The above two quotes sum up the operating level of the world right now. On the one hand we have a superficial gibberish that provokes disbelief and rage, and on the other the stark truth in the fragility of life; in our case the frying pan has been picked up by the worst person possible…..and he’s heading your way with it raised above his head, bloodlust in his eyes, and a permanent erection.

I’m sick of the racist diatribe pounding out there in the ether. I’m sick of the politics of, well….hatred. I’ve lost faith in humans to do the right thing. I’ve even lost faith in my vocabulary to adequately explain how I feel about it all. At first I put it down to the more regimented medication routine I’ve been half-forced onto, but I think, if anything, the meds (Codeine, Pregabalin, Flupentixol, Diazepam) are helping, not hindering. Some might say it’s almost a dream medication ticket – Willy Wonka Gold, for a few really rabid med freaks – but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s helping me out of a hole at the moment.

Boo hoo, you say? I’ve got it tough too, Ben, you self-indulgent twat. Yeah, I get it. I make no apologies for it. In fact, fuck you. Empathy is the way forward if we are all going to get out of here alive. We have more important things to think about than horror story comparisons and league tables of the bad things in our respective lives.

There will never be another time like we have now to make things happen, to change the wheel and give the World a chance. Aliens may be on their way to put us down, and I can already hear Satan masturbating. The land is growing desolate while we grow fat and blind like lab mice waiting for our masters to chuck us another biscuit. Take notice of what’s happening before we end up in the grey goo of progress, or the searing heat of exploded plutonium.

No medication will help you then. Not even mine.

In case of Emergency

The box is walnut, I think. I guess it was a little tea chest or something. It cost me ten pounds from an antique shop in Matlock. The shop is a few doors down from the jewellers where my old Breitling watch is sitting in a safe. The watch is worth something, so I’m told. Enough to make me want to stop wearing it, anyhow, and to think about selling. In the old days that sort of cash windfall would have never seen a bank account; drunk, smoked, squandered. But those are the old days. I don’t even own any snide fentanyl patches to chew now. Really.

I was advised to buy a box – didn’t have to be walnut and stinking of tea – by my Clinical Psychologist and my Community Psychiatric Nurse. I think my Psychiatrist would have been all for it too, but he’s fucked off to Warrington to oversee an Adult Mental health unit so I can’t tell for sure. The only place I’ve been to in Warrington is a Traveller site. I could take you there in the dark, blindfolded. I guess it won’t have been the first time. But I’m always treated well there by good people. One of the few places, in my experience, that things always go well for me. My Psychiatrist will never set foot there, unless he strays from the beaten path in many ways. That much I know, with more clarity than I can say I’m sitting and no-one is truly out there watching me.

I was asked to fill the box with helpful things to use in case of an emergency due to deteriorating behavior. You see, my behaviour has been graded into three levels – the top level containing phrases like “Increased lack of sense of self,” and the bottom, “Lack of ability to keep self safe….. Delusional thoughts…. paranoia….. altercations….hears voices…..suicidal ideation and actions of self harm.” It’s a smorgasbord of fun. And the contents of the box are supposed to nip it all in the bud. But what do you put in that sort of thing? I thought a lot about that question. I mean, I can’t reward myself – I’m so hateful that I don’t deserve praise or gifts or love – so I was stuck. What would you put in a box so you could access immediate relief when the hammer is dropping fast? I guess a theriac is impossible – I’ve never found a theriac yet. One thing I’ve learned is there is no such thing as a single cure.

For the time being – and owing to the best prescribing that I’ve ever come across in all these hideous years – I’ve put some Codeine, Diazepam, Pregabalin, and Flupentixol, in there. Not enough to kill me, obviously, kind of defeats the object, but enough to take any edge away and at the very least leave me sitting on a sofa without Bigfoot wailing in the trees behind the house, like he sometimes does. There is also a copy of my anti-suicide plan (the official NHS one – they exist for the select few incompetents…like me), pictures of Hunter Thompson, Ernest Hemmingway (maybe both ironically bad choices), and some Cannabis, fags, and Rizla. I will add a picture of Nicola and the Kids when I take one that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve let them down. And that’s it.

On reflection, it’s a little med-heavy. Hmmm, is this the right approach? Aw, fuck it, man, I’d put some acid in there too if I could find a source. Any port in a storm, eh. Distraction is better than action in this case.

And the effectiveness of the box so far?

I’ve had cause to open it twice. And today I’m typing this in glorious sunshine.

Journey quietly, friend.

This one is the last of a long line of meds. The one before was a drool-inducing, sledgehammer. Man, sixteen hours of unneeded sleep, waking up sitting bolt upright on the sofa, drool still wet out of the corner of my mouth and all down one shoulder. How’s that for laughs, one tiny white tablet and your life is static for sixteen hours. It was like an instant hangover, in the dark, with your brain doing hallucinatory leaps through the worst dreams you ever had. Quetiapine. Evil. Not a drug for journeying anywhere except to the black recess of some pseudo-subconscious room, where you realise in terror why the light was always left off.

At Ipswich station – just returning from nursing my Mother after her first Chemotherapy – I took some pregabalin, codeine, and diazepam, as a precaution for the five and a half hour journey home. Travel is good. I like travelling places. But when you put people into the mix the whole thing starts to get tough. I hate people. Drugs help. Obviously..

So, yeah, fuck….diazepam and the codeine blend. I’d been standing still on the windy platform, watching the warped Ark arrive opposite and all the grim animals trudging two by two into the arms of the New Age Noah, bound for London. It was hideous. My train started to pull in. I picked up my bags and started to walk, only I sort of wound snaking along the platform behind the queue onto the ten carriage train. ‘I’m fucked,’ I said out loud. A grey haired guy in front in a long, dark woolen coat turned around and looked me up and down. Inside, he was praying I wouldn’t sit near him – I didn’t. Too many lunatics maketh the man…or something like that. And no-one should ever have to deal with me when/if I feel aggressive. It’s unhelpful, and people go off me very quickly, so it goes… But it’s hard to be angry on my special blend. Safety first on journeys, like I was saying. Be prepared.

The train journey was great – change at Norwich (no toilets on the platform, bursting for a piss), then clear through to Nottingham – until we got to Peterborough/Grantham. Tower blocks, back to backs, sheets hung up at windows, graffiti, poverty, beauty-free land, a thousand human beings rolling in filth and masturbating in single bedsits like hordes of lonely Bonobo Chimps. Jacking off beats sobbing. Beats living in Peterborough, too. More codeine.

Back home; hills and fresh air. Into the prescription arms of my Psychiatrist – he rings and speaks softly to me when he has important things to say – and another med. This one is usually used jabbed into the arse of the uncooperative in tight spots where walls are always painted pastel colours and the doors are locked. As it goes, it’s a med you can reason with – I tried walking quickly yesterday, I couldn’t, but in my experience that’s the least of things. Flupentixol: a yellow tablet, helper to many. Armed and hardly dangerous at all. Too lethargic. Yeah, it’s a traveller’s friend. Open pass to wherever. Slowly. NO harm done.