Monday, 30 June 2008

Bluebeard

Cool space. As soon as achieved
assaults redouble, and again.
Bluebeard, his smug key thigh-hanging.

The tide comes in, leaves beach bare,
when out should be in, when in, out;
gull's eye gleams from climbless roost.

The figures come and pass the window.
Seagreen shutters the house fold-blind;
inside what half-heard laughter means?

A dim hall obscures mysteries,
bulbs have been torn from sockets,
the lamp-click in dark could be teeth.

Cool space is a pinnacle rising out of hell.
It is not found in womb or casket.
There must be air to stretch in.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

From Notebooks Kept at the Bad Time

I should have told you what I do before. I am a successful businessman, a professional in a minor artistic field, or I was. The doctors have effectively banned me from my occupation. Suffice to say the means of self-extinction were there from breakfast to teatime. I should be honest. I used to abseil on oh such thin ropes down the sides of the greatest cathedrals in the world, performing miracles of museum conservation on the ancient and medieval statues, painstakingly glueing, pinning, modelling, millimetre by painful millimeter staving of decay and despair, above a void so wide and deep and dark, all I had to do was let go. Too dangerous. No longer. They have even taken my driving license away from me. Fuckwits. Well, I understand their reasoning. But I've never crashed car yet. Fuckers.

Time for a pause. Time for a fag. Time for time to take over again. God! An American voice, a hallucination, just said so clearly in my ear: "You're not allowed to be a genius. You are, ok?" That's frightening. Clear as day. And she said it three times. What a pathetic attempt at self-shoring... Have to get a bloody hallucination to do it for me.

Fucking scary re: halluc and fucking scary regarding the implications of my thoughts

shit
stop the train I want [illegible and partly destroyed by pen]
off

There are things I write down that I never mean you to see. And that last erasure is one of them. Though it was purely innocent. It was just rage that made me strike it out. It had nothing to do with you, dear reader.

But there are things I write I never mean you to see, nor anyone to see. It is privacy.

There are poems I wrote for myself never sent, and being a blind ox being led to his execution I printed them off and left them somewhere. There were not for you dear reader, I do not know if they were even for me. Perhaps they were for the ME that I can't see. It was ME put on the line the other night and I took all of ME with me. I bet you want to read them now. But I hope they are burned, or used as a tramp's toilet paper. I'm dying through a lack of PRIVACY because sometimes we all have to write thoughts and feelings and sometimes we edit them and repress them. We do so in speech in all manner of ways. These modern times where every thought is spoken to an audience of millions if you are careless DAMN! it is not right but the impulse to speak to yourself to oneself is paramount.

NOW I JUST WANT
TO
DIE

But I have picked up the pen and am writing [illegible - "Christ"?] I don't believe in the fucker but Christ I want to DIE damn it and all of you to HELL

and I find myself still here in the morning, too stupid, too clever, too weak to do it.

--------------

Next Day

Hallucinations: should never take them seriously. Bad for the health for one thing. And after all, they are all lies. My lion. My american voice. They just rub the matted bellyhair of my self-esteem and make me purr.

I wrote that last about finding myself still here in the morning last night although it is the morning now. I wrote it as a prophecy - as if I had spilled the guts of a fat cockerel on the dusty ground and was searching like some crazed haruspex through the entrails for portents - or for something just to give me a little hope when I saw it again in the morning. Now though it doesn't give me hope so much as a vague sense of irritation. Why do I have to fight the universe for every minute or second? Oh yes, oh yes, brain chemistry, a condition, oh yes, I've heard it all from the quacks and goons and daleks, but have any of you tut tutting readers tasted the pleasure of their remedies? I would sooner die than be half-killed for the 'rest of my life' - the bastards!

But alcohol is killing me too, isn't it? Slow but sure. Well yes, of course it is. But at least it is a subtle drug, and one can administer it in the dose one requires. One can vary the dose according to need. Oh yes, it aggravates the condition, oh yes, heard it all before thank you very much. But I have to try to manage myself - it is a fact of the utmost importance to me to be damned or succeed on my own terms. Anything else is not worth living for. I could understand them putting me away if I was roaming the streets scaring people with a machete or with my eyes or something, but as it is, I am fairly harmless, and I don't see why I should be loaded onto a cattle truck and shipped to the mental equivalent of Belsen.

I thought I would be calm this morning but I am not calm. Deep breaths. Time for a smoke. Look at the green things. Oh don't they make you feel hopeful? Lilacs from the dead ground? Cruellest month is yet to come. Enough. Smoke. No smoke without fire. There is enough fire in me today to burn down a Cathedral.

The green things. It is raining hard and the western wind is kicking up a gale. The trees in the Cotswolds are such a dreary colour. Don't you find the vegetation takes on the colour of the underlying stone? Cotswold is synonymous to me with the colour of a dried out cat turd.

My psychiatric nurse is a bit of a twelve steps man. Twelve steps forward, twenty-four back. They want me to go through life like a humbled dog, kicked into submission. It is that or Papa Hemmingway and the shotgun. The latter is a more attractive proposition. It is no coincidence that writers ceased writing when medication became the norm.

I have gone upstairs. Into my 'cell'. I am doing her head in this morning. I do her head in all the time if I'm honest. She prefers me black and bleak and suicidal because then I am not such an imposition on her attention. I can't blame her. She already has three children to take care of. I'll not be a fourth. Poor Nymph. Chased around day and night by a randy satyr. What is that condition called? Satyriasis? This morning when I woke in my 'cell' I had the horn so bad I wanted to seek her out right there and then despite the agent of the landlord's imminent arrival... fucking therapy... it's the best of all the available therapies. Oh I wish I had a whole harem prescribed... Doctor, a repeat prescription if you please... Fucking... it is the only act that pretends to meaning in this world and it is precisely because it is full of potency and potentiality and also precisely because it is so utterly banal. Actually, there are two other acts: creation, and love. Creation, love, fucking. Oh I suppose they all add up to the same thing. The banality: that is part of the joy of it all. The rituality. The animality. Dionysus.

One has to go with one's manias I think. Obviously there comes a moment when it is all too much for everyone and then yes, put out the light, and then put out the light. Or clout me over the head with a hammer. But while one can hang on and feed it through the pressurising valve of the tip of a pen, best to go with it. I know every word I've written these last hours is complete crap, but it is the only way to divest the poor bedraggled dove of my soul of its heap of droppings. Far better this than the drugs which simply put a cloth over the birdcage, or the worthy simple people who recommend doing the ironing to help me sleep at night - irons must make such satisfying dents in fools' skulls, I've always thought.

I was going to talk of green things. I was going to waste a pen of ink and a book of pages on a disquisition on the nature of the shimmering halos of colour that trees and hedgerows take on, and how the halos are tan, buff, green or grey on limestone, and purple, red, blue on igneous landscapes. I prefer the latter: the trees, while greyer and more miserable, have such vivid halos there that they quite make up for everything. I hate the Cotswolds. Everything has a halo of shit. Then again, if I lived in Wales or Dartmoor, or somewhere igneous I'm sure the beautiful iridescent nimbuses would lose their colour and just as surely turn to shit too.

People like me need perpetual change, but are terrified of it. So they hang on, encase themselves, weigh themselves down to stop themselves flying away on the breeze. I would give my right arm to see Greece, and my left arm to see Italy - hum. I'm running out of limbs. Have to think about the legs.

How strange. I've come to a stop. I wonder why? She has gone out to fetch the middle boy from playgroup. I must make more of an effort to appear normal in front of her. I don't like frightening her. I'm sat in the garden, in the rain, although it's quite a soft rain at the moment. I'm sat on a stone, under a tree. The swing I made for the children: scaffold poles, car tire, is gleaming in the rain. Oh god, I must not crash, not yet. I must devise strategies for coasting down, like a herring-gull, or a kittiwake, or a guillemot coming in to land on a tiny ledge on a sea cliff. Strange to think I started hanging myself from that swing a month ago. I was weakcleverstupid though and tied the knot around my neck with a bight that released if I pulled the free end. I pulled the free end. It was a near thing, mind. It was soon after that that I realised we always have more cards in our hands and up our sleeves than we realise. Writing this is another card of sorts. I really should have started writing this long ago. Why did I ever stop? Because I thought writing - especially such talentless writing as mine was a sign of extreme weakness.

I should shave. I am a complete mess. People will give me funny looks. They already are giving me funny looks. It's not helped that we've all got conjunctivitis - my eyes look like jokeshop horror eyeballs - it's not what you think, ladies and gentlemen - we really have had conjunctivitis.

These modern times we are all so scared of visions and of madness. These days, of course, there really is no excuse for it. None whatsoever. Take a pill. Bury yourself under concrete. Bore yourself to death. But whatever you do, You MUST remember to put your trousers on in the morning especially if you want to go out to the shops. I can't even do the shopping. I cannot drive. They've taken my license away. But the straitjacket is not here yet, though I've seen its ghost half hidden behind the backs of the goons, and waved once in seeming beneath my nose, just so I could scent the smell of the frenzied sweat of the previous occupant. "See what we have in store for you my boy if you don't get a grip, pull yourself together, and accept the hammer on the skull like a good grateful ox." Except they would not say it quite like that. Rather, they would say: "Put the soma-bolt gun through your bovine forehead you idiot."

I hate their eyes, so full of pain and understanding without comprehension. I will have that shave now.

It is strange. With madness one feels a compulsion to be fastidious about one's appearance - ha - who am I fooling? But even so, it is true. Like the morning shave on the morning of one's execution. Must look one's best.

I am boring myself, dear reader, so no doubt I am boring you too.

There are so many forms of escape to escape the big escape. The Big One. It never has to be taken. But hell, it is the comfort beyond comfort.

I think I am escaping into madness now. I am pretending I'm escaping into writing, but it is probably madness. Oh why must I smoke in the rain! Oh that I were in my true love's arms and in my bed again... O Western Wind, when thou wilt blow, the small rain down can rain. I have avoided talking of escaping into love. There will be a time for that too. That reversed fragment is anon. fifteenth. I'm getting soaked: anon. twenty-first.

The fire has gone out. Must relight it. And we're nearly out of coal. My poor darling, how hard it must be for you. How hard I must be for you to take. My heart breaks. In sickness and in health. Well, I'll not hold you to it. And til death us do part won't be my opt-out clause. I love you: heart, soul, spirit, and balls. I absolve you of all and any sense of responsibility and guilt. Snuff, like a candleflame.

Snuff, like a candleflame.

Snuff, like a candleflame, and see, my darling, the curling loops of grey and waxen smoke climb ceilingwards and dissipate, and you are free, and your life is yours again. You'll never know how much I've loved you. What was I doing? Oh yes. Lighting the fire. I was distracted there for a moment.

Writing is hard. The pressure of images is coming too fast, and one has to select, because until they invent the brain dictaphone that records everything simultaneously there is no time to get but a tenth part down on paper.

I was cynical last night. Or striking a pose: an abject pose of mock defiance - it doesn't really matter. This morning I am either flying or in freefall: hard to tell the difference. My hand is cramping, but it is important to use a pen. I don't know why.

My clothes are all coming apart at the seams. My jumpers are full of holes. Why does no-one castigate me for looking like a tramp? I suppose it must suit their purposes to keep me looking like a tramp, to let me dress as I do. It is like a signal, a warning sign, a silly placard hanged around my neck: BEWARE!

There will come a time in the future - well there could hardly come a time in the past could there? - so future it must be - there will come a time again when I'm sick of myself again. But at the moment I am in freefall and it is lonely and delicious.

This conjuntivitis couldn't have come at a worse time. I look completely bonkers when I dare to look at myself in the mirror. The landlord's agent ran away from me this morning when I blundered face to face with him, strange noises that seemed foreign to me were coming out of my mouth: "Take a look at the garden. Be my guest. Etc." Oh well. It's not important. I don't care what a soft plump worm like him thinks of me. He looked like he had been slightly burned, all pink and shiny and soft. Like a peeled prawn. Perspective is a fine thing, especially when it is the perspective of thirty-thousand feet in the air. Everything gets so small and ultimately irrelevant. It is pleasant. It makes a pleasant change from every grain of dirt on the floor assuming monstrous proportions.

Later. I feel a bit calmer. I went to my 'cell' and read quietly which calmed me down. I am shaking a bit. My wife is talking on the telephone to someone about me. I am trying not to listen, but it's hard not to. Medication. Medication. Medication. I would sooner die I think. I think of all the writers, artists and composers I've admired throughout my life and how if they had been on meds they would not have given us anything. I'm not comparing myself with them. I'm a talentless worm with a large vocabulary but my thoughts and ideas are somewhat stunted. Artaud said the psychiatrist as the mouthpiece of the herd sought to murder genius. I think he's right. I know he's right. But so long as I can keep control and not pose a threat to myself or others - but that is impossible in this health and safety obsessed age - I am not Mr Square living in his square house with his square family: they will not deem me safe and well until I become like them, square and dull. It scares me deeply. Like Joseph K I have been accused of a nameless crime, of not being like them. To thine own self be true. Well I am nuts, and I must be true to that to the best of my abilities, marshall my weapons, dance my dance, keep myself in check with my method - because they will have to break me completely if they want me to submit - they will have to section me, they will have to lock me up. Perhaps the wheels are already in motion? Perhaps they are even now putting the manacles in the boot of their too, too-clean car?

Good. I am calming down. Sometimes I think it must be possible to think oneself calm. The aching demon has gone off for a nap.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Rapid Cycling

It's a strange beast to try to get a handle on. Week before last I was flying. Last week was pure black hell, and the nights were full of suicide.

This morning I woke up, happy as Larry, breezy as a lark, full of gentle happiness, racing away a little, but just about perfect. The jangle in the head has increased over the day though, so probably going up.

Oh, the Jangle. Mr BoJangles. It's like a constant electrical current over the frontal lobe and the temporal lobes. Or a giant alarm bell crammed inside my skull. Sometimes I hear it too. I've got used to it. Insofar as one gets used to these things.

There is no accounting for it. That is what is hardest. I do not know from day to night if I'm going to be running naked through the fields or sitting crouched in the corner, frozen-faced, hunchback, grim-mouthed. It is doing my head in, ladies and gentlemen.

I've tried every possible form of mood chart I can devise. Currently rating flight of thought, psychomotor, mood and agitation. Still doesn't have a pattern.

Ok, there is a sort of pattern. There seems to be a rough monthly to five week cycle. Within that is a randomish weekly up and down. Around that who knows what roller coaster that cycle falls on?

One theory I have is that rapid cycling is brought on by one's brain trying to regulate its own mood, and overshooting. Who knows? I just bought a book. It hasn't helped much. It basically says - we know very little, and much more research needs to be done.

Oh well. Excuse me. I just have to go and practice my cartwheels in the garden.

p.s. That book is a damn sight cheaper if you buy it 2nd hand from India - took 2 days to arrive as well!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Evolutionary Benefit to Manic Depression

Or, There Must Be Some Useful Reason for this Shit!

The last time I was at the psychiatrist's, I was rambling again and had somehow got away from the subject matter in hand, which was something to do with "have you been having 'dark thoughts'" and had started wondering out loud about manic depression being an evolutionary driver in the emergence of prehistoric human consciousness. I started to list my reasons: the intense visual experiences help to isolate thing from background*, help form the abstract notion of "thing" as opposed to "whole", which all piles in with language development, etc, and of course we all know that this condition does predispose us to 'talk' and use language in new combinatory ways on occasion, and of course language development probably went hand in hand with the development of higher conscious processes - in fact I said, thumping my knee - in fact I'm just more conscious probably than the norm - yes! (I said, warming to my theme), etc... etc... etc...

She shook her head sadly, and moved on to the next question.

* Apparently this practice of isolating the important from the unimportant is called salience, and interestingly, increased dopamine is supposed to assist it.

----------------
Edit: if I can be bothered, I might pick some obvious holes in this argument.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

If I was a caveman















I'd be the chap hiding away in the deep black depths of the cave, painting pictures on the walls.

Just when you think you are getting better...

I seem to have cocooned myself of late. I can deal with friends, and some harmless strangers. However a phonecall from one of my least favourite clients today was enough to leave me in a trembling rage, a state of tears, shame and murderous inclinations* for an hour or so this afternoon. This horsey lady of the manor, insensitive, ignorant, coiffured, every cliche of the "get my own way" school, rich as Croesus... faugh faugh faugh!!!

What did she do? Oh, nagging, no, demanding I sort out a couple of little things for her. She knows I've been ill.

Lady Muck: "Hooonestly, it's been so long since you said you'd get round to it when you were better, and hooonestly, I can't bear to send an email again..."
Me: "Actually, I'm not allowed to drive, and -"
Lady Muck: "Well, can't you get a little man over for me?"
Me: "No, I have no employer's liability at the moment -"
Lady Muck: "Well, it's not good enough - dooon't you know anyone who -"
Me: "NO! I (strangled suppression of oath) DON'T!"
Lady Muck: "Perhaps you could etc -"

At that point I'm afraid I was dancing on the spot and was going to blister her eardrums which would have put paid to any hopes of ever being invited to a ghastly dinner party, but my wife took the phone. I say took the phone, but actually I threw it at her while saying "Fucking A------ S-------!!!" through my teeth. The damned woman then was trying to get my dear who has plenty enough on her plate at the moment to come out and sort it out for her. Later, when I had calmed down a little, I sent her an email telling her to "LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!!!!!"

Actually, there was another thing that made me sad, but I'm not going to talk about it.

Otherwise, not too bad a day, head-speaking.

Edit: A couple of things struck me - I had a horny dream* about her when I was really manic - god I was bad then. The other is that I have an urge to educate her, let her know just how she fucked up our evening - dinner two hours late - boys witnessing father in horrible state, etc, etc. Either that or burn her house down.*

-----------------------------

* - Any statement of the above sort is, of course, said with tongue firmly in cheek.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Glass World

Back in February, I was getting these strange delusions/or mild hallucinations: basically, the world would click around me like a kaleidoscope, and suddenly freeze into glass, and everything would be fine for five minutes. After a few of these one day I was ready with pen and paper, and kept writing all the way through the experience:


Suddenly the sun comes out and the icy wind is biting less harshly. Everything is becoming clear for a moment. Quick! Hold this moment! Hold it! Suddenly that glass world appears again, that terrifyingly beautiful glass world of freedom. The sun shines on it and my heart is breaking. I know the glass world will break again soon perhaps in minutes, perhaps if I am lucky it will never break. I must preserve it. This time I must not let it break. There is no imperative, no 'I must'. I am free of everyone, perched up here on this wind, looking down at this glass world of such coruscating glittering terror. Everything in this glass world becomes a question of dangerous simplicity of utter freedom, it is just a simple case of selfish freedom. I do not have to choose. Choice can be infinitely deferred. Choice can made at any moment because at this moment soaring above this beautiful glittering world of glassy fields and woods and cities of glass, I know I can do what I want. I am become glass also, I am without any pain, all the agonies reflect off me, I am become a mirror being. I reflect everything back into the glass world and this moment I want to last forever. In this world I can come and go as I please, I can be anything, I can do anything I choose, I do not have to choose. Oh, this moment will pass, but for now I am simply flying, a mirror-bird on the glass wind, with the glass sun reflecting from my wings. Outside this world I can see all the hammers - how can I keep it whole? I cannot escape the hammer men forever. I must find a way of making the glass indestructible, like perspex, so the hammers bounce off, yes, the hammers are made of rubber, that's it, I'll pretend to everyone that the glass is perspex and that their deadly abattoir hammers are made of soft rubber - see how they droop Dali-like in their many-fingered hands - I must pretend to them so they give me time up here - the insane surrealist has bailed me out - I've been given a breathing space - I've been given a moment that could become an eternity, I am not in the world of men anymore. It is stasis with the freedom of praxis ever-present. It is vast, it is dangerous, and it is beautiful. My heart is free and because it is free it is safe.

Is it safe to even examine it more closely, or should I shut my eyes and retain the memory of this sparkling illusion? No, I must put it to the test, I have sidestepped all conventions and I can act accordingly. I shall have to keep my wits about me - everyone will want me dead, my situation has solarized: positive becomes negative, negative turns positive; from being the one who wanted to be dead and everyone wanting me alive now I want to live and they'll all want me dead! It is a fine joke, no? So be it! They'll lock me up and throw away the key.

So now... now... what now? All the potentialities glisten in a bright morning sun on a dewy morning. Choosing any denies the others. Choosing none denies all. Oh, hang choice. Somewhere in all those potentialities there will be one that is made to accommodate me, one magic fate that will allow my life to expand, or perhaps there are a myriad of beautiful fates for me - it doesn't matter in the slightest. I can swim through life with a good conscience, in good humour, an ironical mirror in one hand and a comb of generosity in the other, my legs have fused into a gleaming salmon tail - I am a mermaid sitting on a glass rock in a shining glass sea: I am Odysseus listening to my own song.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Notes on the Vivids

Just a general suffering
nothing special
nor of note
just an endless banal fizz
my mind is gushing down the pan
I furiously fill it
with anything to stave off... what?

Looking around the world, things in the world seem to take on equal significance whether near or far. Perspective is flattened. Tables, a cloud, people, distant trees, all equal. Everything has a halo, VanGoghVisionTM. It's rather wearing after a while. The brain gets tired assigning ranks of meaning, stacking significance, in an effort to be normal.

As with vision, also sound. The vivids intensify sound. There is an element of the flattening of distance but not so pronounced as with vision. And all the time it feels as if someone has lifted the top of my skull off, and swabs the top of my brain with a burning rag.

There is a sense that my brain is emptying, sloshing too fast down a drain, and there is an imperative to fill it up with information, doesn't matter what, so long as it makes the brain work. I'm afraid of letting it empty. I think that if I do, or if I get too tired to keep refilling it - if it drains away, then that will be that and I'll be down in the deep cold black. But the effort is sometimes enormous. Every morning I wake and hope it'll be a calm day, normal, not this banal intensity. I need the intensity - I'd die without it. But sometimes I need a break.

Dealing with people is strange. I can manage the small stuff, but give me a hint of conflict and I go nuts. Tears if I am lucky, rage, shouting, contempt, banging my head or fist on the wall if I'm unlucky. I've always played chicken with people driving too fast when I'm walking down the lanes. It's funny, especially when they realise I actually do not care if they hit me with their mindless oversized cars.

Writing helps, certainly. Distracts me from my distraction. When will they invent the pill that you just take when it all gets too fierce? Why must it be all or nothing?

But what must that feel like?

A couple of weeks ago, someone, for the first time, actually asked with just genuine interest what mixed state mania feels like. I was so taken aback at first at the shock of realising no-one had asked before that I just laughed for a while. This might give some flavour:

Bad morning

with a word, a closed face
and the jangle leaps up
from the old leather box
where I hid it last week:
a firebell the size of the moon
ringing noiseless in a vacuum

my temples fizz, fontanelle
opens cuchulain-style
and the clamour of the jangle
curdles in my belly
yoghurt, twisted hemp ~

shoulders hunch in
like a choked rat
and sharp bile slices
me open for dissection
groin to throat, a black cut ~

freeze. sit by the fire
until warmth bores me, burns me
and bores the jangle down ~

I am a conduit for black
electricity, someone
turned the voltage up
the breeze can trip
the slightest switch
which when flipped the wallop
the racking, the pressure
my poor frame cannot bear ~

it will shake me to my fibres
my insulation is all burned out
wires frayed, blackened, melted
no capacity remains

I am a rail, the ghost sponge
of iron tracks, rust-swelled
corroded canker, crushed
with every passing tram ~

living like a leaf
shaking like a web
cracking like a scab
collapsing like a snowflake
on the palm of my hand
healing is too hard ~
curl up, curl in, sleep

if you can.

I can't bear the thought of being
not-me apart from when I can't
bear being me. I am tougher
than I look. See, I've come this far.

Lion

I saw a lion in February. Only for a split second. I see things sometimes. I always know they are part of me. But this time it set the adrenaline racing which must have meant that part of me reacted as if it was an exterior stimulus. Perhaps that is what the doctors mean when they ask about 'losing grip'. But anyway, this lion. I was sat on my accustomed garden bench - an old pew offcut that was made by Martyns, the firm that outfitted (infitted?) the Titanic. It has gone a lovely dirty silver in the rain. I suppose you would call it grey. Well, I was sat on this bench, and out of my left eye I saw a lion with utmost clarity. It had a scarred muzzle. I had probably met it before on some Attenborough documentary, or perhaps it was that lion when as a boy I set myself the task of staring it out: I stood as close to the cage as the fence permitted. It would pace and hurl itself at the bars with a blast of foul-breathed roaring, and pace again, and hurl itself again in a perpetuity of mindless ferocity. And I learned not to flinch, while all the other stupid tourists standing ten feet behind me flinched and shrieked and ran backwards two paces every time it roared.

It may have been that lion, but I suspect it was the Attenborough one. Lions in zoos don't usually have scarred muzzles, do they?

It worried me. Seeing it on the garden path. After that glimpse I knew it wasn't there because it had vanished: no lion, ergo, no lion, and after carefully looking all around myself in the garden, I was almost certain it had gone, but my middle boy all the while was playing by the tree across the garden from me, and that was why I was scared, because I had to rescue him, and that's why the adrenaline started I think.

How on earth did I get onto talking about my lion? I was going to talk about suicide: a far more comprehensible subject-matter.

Sometimes I feel scared when people ask me why I feel suicidal. I don't want to explain, because if true explanation was possible, it would mean I would have to bring them to a state of true understanding of what I feel, and that would be intolerable. But then again, I don't think that it is possible to describe in any effectual form or fashion. We make our own minds up quite young, and then we know, and then we seek out all the knowledge of them that knew over past centuries so that we are not alone. A book never changed anyone. They had to be ripe or rotten for understanding. So many people are unripe. There is nothing one can do about it - nothing that one would even want to do - why change them? They are clinging onto their little pieces of mental flotsam, always trying to keep their faces out of the black stinking water, so why disabuse them of their notions? Whoso harms the hair on the head of one of my little ones, better for him that a millstone were placed around his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.

Not another one...

Oh God, another blog by a manic depressive. I'm only doing it because I can't sleep.

Let's just get the medical bit out of the way: rapid cycling, mixed state, psychosis, the usual. Currently on Valproate. Stopped seeing and hearing things of late, but my head hurts like the devil.

An obscurant's biography: been with the same girl for eighteen years, married the last ten, three boys, 5, 3 and 6 months. Ran my own business (a rare little niche), was doing ok. Knew when to take time out, etc. Then last July nearly killed myself on the spur of the moment. Managed to struggle through until the last boy born, then my head exploded, basically.

The men in the white coats were duly called. Since then, life has become rather strange. Not because of this condition, illness, heritage, whatever you want to call it, but rather for the way the professionals treat me as if I shouldn't be exposed to normal risks, like driving for instance. I'm no different really to how I've been on and off over the last 20 years.

Edit: that last is a lie. I've got worse.