Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wow - a good day

Mildly up, no downs, calm, reserves of strength... blimey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even made bread, had blood took, saw CPN, played with kids, watched half of Andrei Rublov with six year old, me reading out the subtitles, and a pleasant evening.

I'm not used to this.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Yet another delightful GP assessment for Incapacity Benefit

Due to various shenanigans caused by me when mad forgetting to pay a month's stamp duty back in the late autumn or something, I had to go through the whole Incapacity Benefit thing again. I think I talked about it some months ago.

Anyway, got to waste the poor doc's time this morning. I don't think he saw the tears. I swore far too much. I ripped him off a strip because to date no-one has ever offered liver-function tests while I'm on Depakote - at the beginning I suggested it, and the results were fine, which was pleasant to hear - but six months down the line, it might be worth checking to see if it's eating my liver, and lo and behold he looked in his little book while I yawned and tapped my foot and told me "Certainly, you should be monitored," - Well, what happens to all the poor fucks who don't hear about this sort of thing and don't think to demand the test??!! Oh well, blood tests tomorrow morning...

I only felt like throttling him at one point, when he showed me the symptoms he'd written down on the form, and I thought it worthwhile adding extreme anxiety, irritability and agitation as the normal baseline or transitory state... he peered at me over his glasses and ferret-like whiskers, and said, "Shall I put down 'prone to mood swings'?" I'm sorry to confess that a ghastly cackle escaped me.

He seems a good sort. It just seems bizarre that I have to be assessed by a non-specialist as to whether I'm fit and capable or not...

And what is the most degrading aspect of all of this... I would be off these disgusting benefits like a shot IF I WAS WELL!!! But speaking honestly, and pragmatically, I am not well yet. I would not last a day in 'employment' - and self-employment at the moment would be doomed to bringing in an income certainly inadequate for the needs of a family of five.

Oh, bollocks to all of it.

Friday, 15 August 2008


Empty box, no wine in the skin
You told me, the eggs were addled,
The nest of the house outlived.

The dressing screens: was the velvet brown,
The oak stained black or dinge?
They regard me vaguely.

A whiff of talc and compact;
Rain on the lucarne panes. Flash ~
I saw the tower fall, sea-wave of bricks

Strobe the lawns to a knuckled shore
Wrecked with an aluminium galleon.
There was no television for a while.

"And Lo! I saw an angel
Come down from heaven"
You used the chamberpot, for

You were afraid of storms, at six,
A fan of Thor back then, I was not.
His chariot of wind howled cliches.

Today I saw a golden spark
Transfix a far-off ash,
A needle of heat, was it that

Sent me back: a ghost of bones
In clear water, clear muscles of wax,
Smoke blown through a straw in a glass

Like the poached-egg mushroom cloud
Bolus, convecting, concealing a scalpel
In our bedside water? Another challenge.

Or was it you crashed the thunderbolt
When your bronze-bone-jigsaw pushed brute
Squawk of 'hello' through New Year's slot?

Our lives, a naive installation
Of tissue paper and broken mirrors,
Glued by blindness. One touch tears down.

My ruin-tint spectacles are bolted on;
People break apart. Mid-life judgement
Day for all of us. Thank god we all dance well.

Cast as smolten agonist, fiery lead
In the plays of a hundred dramatists,
I transform into a glitterball.

Not the last time nor first, from banal rooftop
Receivers, lightning combed across my hair,
The concrete of a suburban pavement slammed me.

There is thunder in the air, perhaps.
That black night, that god-face of ash,
And the ditch-love drumming in the night,

The air as hot and heavy as tar,
The trees as oppressive as black coral,
The dread as deep as the sea,

What else to do but link hands
And flounder through, make love
In the breathless stasis of the skies?

You were hot and dark as dark
Gulped on our way up. Did you see
The pillar of fire, the burning bush?

Man, woman, which?
Brains embrace in sympathy.
It matters, says the world.

Cat of nine paws, my silly,
A nightsweat,
An ocean in bubble of sheets.

Love, friendship, which?
Resolve is all that counts.
It matters, says the wife.

I don't matter, I am not matter,
I am lightning,
Pure idiot energy of oracle:

Time is arcing to and fro, crackling across
The gloom of my clouded memories.
One of you did it. It's done for now.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Year of Life, an Anniversary of Sorts

No relevance in the image, but a year ago today I was very lucky. Don't really feel like talking about it. Might at some point. Keep safe everyone.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Tune in, turn on, and lock the window

In the Guardian today: LSD for Depression? I can't help but feel dubious about this. However, the mind-expanding catharsis of the trip is supposed to make people come to terms with themselves, especially people depressed by terminal illness.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Selected Aphorisms & Sketches

I've been feeling generally crap the last while, and horrible today. I thought I'd share a few bits written in various bad, bad times. I make no excuses for their quality, they were simply designed to keep me going. Also, while they may seem bleak, they were uplifting at the time.

i) It's the length of the fight that counts, not the outcome, which has been fixed from the start.

ii) If the soul is in constant rebellion against itself, see you find other things to rebel against.

iii) In affairs of the mind, take care you know where your mind is, and do not lose it on the way.

iv) Others need you more than you need yourself: take heart in that and fulfil their needs.

v) All is unhappiness - therefore be happy!

vi) Responsibility gives the lie to the means, the method, and the will.

vii) A facility with words - a brain full of turds.

viii) If there's only one way out, please, tarry at the exit.

ix) The tunnel is long, dark and endless. Light a candle!

x) The matches are wet. The wick has perished. Buy new ones!

xi) The view all lit up is dank, drear and dark. Get plastering! Put up pictures! Wallpaper the slimy stones. Light a fire. Block off the hence and the thither. Have a party!

xii) Worthless thoughts from a worthless man. Then redefine worth.

xiii) I am a state of mind. All deeds are part of my statement

xiv) 1st man: "Life is not worth living."
2nd man: "No, you are wrong. Death is not worth dying."
3rd man: "You are both right: both states are meaningless, life is a bad joke, but that is no reason to kill myself. If life is meaningless, death is too, so carry on, carry on..."
4th man: "You are all wrong. Life is worth living and death is worth dying. The first attitude is despair, the second escapism, the third ostrich-like. Mine, the fourth is the attitude of the fool. But at least it is better to be a fool than stupid."

xv) God was sitting in his study, groaning. He'd been on the piss for a couple of thousand years, celebrating the last job, and his head was killing him. If Michael and Gabriel hadn't poured all his drink down the bog, he'd still be at it. But, sobering slowly, he reached for his diary. The page was blank, apart from the date: New Year's Eve, 1999. "Well bugger me," he muttered. He looked at his watch. "Oy! Get those bloody fires ready you bastards!" He stood, swaying slightly, and picked up a bundle of newspapers, firelighters, and a can of petrol. He patted his pockets, searching for matches, then looked on the mantlepiece. "Christ Almighty! Where the hell did I put me bloody lucifers?"

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Hediphuk, Torpafil, Hazidaize, Aguetrip, Floppidong, Trembulsheik, Sluggadam, Ristislice, Klyffidyump, Skydikrash, Sementopherkoate.

(I'm sure it's been done before, but feel free to add with your own special favourites...)

Friday, 8 August 2008

New Psychiatrist - Same Old Same Old

Don't like him. Pfff. Another inscrutable little so and so, fresh from school, full of faith in the rulebook, and of course the glorious efficacy of expensive pharmaceuticals. Just like the first one I had, in fact.

I mentioned that I thought it a pity to have the continuity of my relationship with my previous psych curtailed, and to have to start from scratch with someone new. He gazed blandly, patted the thick folder that comprised my notes, and said that all the continuity I needed was there. Bastard.

I replied that I knew myself better than any of the rough sketches in that file, and if I couldn't get an adequate handle on whether I was up, down or inside-out, then all my various explanations, interpretations and extrapolations in the file were bound to give a misleading impression that was no substitute for developing a therapeutic relationship. Well, I would have been pleased to have been as clear as that, but I'm afraid I got distracted into a couple of different topics by the end, and was brought up finally by him telling me that I was in a "mixed affective state". Well, thanks Doc! I was actually told that seven months ago. See what I mean about starting from scratch?

Oh well, grin and bear it I suppose. If they don't like you, they don't listen to you, so I had better set about trying to win him over. I'm not hopeful though.

Actually, "inside-out" as a description seems quite apt for mixed state, senses all pointing inwards at the dark while all your innards and brain and muscles suffer the abrasions and glare of the light.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

We were welcomed by a dead sheep in the toilet.

Running backwards in time from now in a whirl: broke my finger yesterday, on the trampoline with the boys - middle son did a kamikaze under me - evasive action was taken by me at my expense. (It's quite pleasant having an irritating minor injury to take my mind off myself).

Been away in Wales for two weeks, mountain stream, no post, road, phone or electric, just an old unmodernised farmhouse. Very bleak at times. Found the best cure was to lie in the raging torrent in the pitch black in the middle of the night - shock to the system and short-circuits the survival mechanism. Thunder of the womb. Too many damn ropes and beams at that place. Mountains were climbed by all and sundry. Lakes were swum. Rocks were mindlessly moved. Some good thunderstorms and floods.

And yes, we were welcomed by a dead sheep in the toilet.