Sunday, 27 June 2010

Pass the Bucket

Dear readers - please humour me for using this blog-space as an outlet for my sentimental simperings. I am presently sun-struck and moon-struck hence soft-in-the-head.

What happens when 2 manic-depressives get it together?
There's a punchline there somewhere but I still haven't thunk it.

Actually, what happens is this: They get along like blazing, forget to sleep, run for the hills where they take all their clothes off and do unspeakably silly and naughty things. In a nutshell - they thoroughly and outrageously enjoy themselves (and one another).

The author of this blog - my lover, my confidante and above all my friend - is a seasoned loon of excellent bearing. In fact, and most enviably, he is a paragon of composure and self-control (he will dispute this). If he truly is mad then he does a sterling job of concealing it or percolating it through every available finely meshed filter of wit and drive and productivity.

(- my dear, you can harness galloping wild-horses and command them expertly over the hills and troughs whereas I can barely get my leg over. Thanks for the lift -).

In temperament we are of the same blend; 1 part choler, 1 part black-bile to 3 parts blood (sanguis, sanguinosity or wot-not). Not a gobbet of phlem to be seen. Stir thrice and the mixture is frothy yet soothing - a fine tonic with a hint of green-tea. Together, we are spectacularly silly and supremely sensible. We wove the fridge-door word-salad into an intricate patchwork of wit and absurdity (of course he was far better and quicker at this than me). We put bins on our heads whils reciting rhyme and the washing up still got done! I'm not even going to mention libido (Oops! I just did).

Do two synchronised manic-depressives cancel one-another out? Could it be that the alleged lack of insight specific to maniacs is mutually combined and deployed so that the lunacies go on unchecked? More likely I believe it's a case of abundant empathy, compassion and concern - concern without alarm. We have a fine faculty for recognising each fleeting cloud, each glint and flicker of mirth or madness. It's practically unconscious, quite possibly infectious. Whatever it is we do - unravel one another's fraught knots, distract the other from deleriums or simply offer a share of the warm cloak when feeling exposed and raw - it works. Every possible metaphor or analogy that comes to mind for this synchronised, empathetic, telepathetic cog-work is unpalatably cheesy or cliched or both.

I don't doubt we encourage one another at times. I took my shoes off and squelched through the bog. Thus he did the same. He plunged into the glacial lake naked. I soon followed. Oh there was that moment of prudish hesitation when the hikers appeared. Two pristine, people-less days then, just as I tentatively stripped off my kit, that prat in lederhosen turned up to pitch a tent. He (D) has convinced me that it is perfectly reaonable, not to mention refreshing, to submerge oneself in freezing waters almost to the point of cardiac-arrest. As for snow-bathing - I doubt it somehow. We'll see - come January.

I'm not sure what I've done in return; talked, smiled, mocked, consoled? I certainly didn't rescue him from the wretched marital purgatory. I just offered some space, a quiet corner of peace and quiet, a cup of tea. And it has been a privilege, a delight and sometimes a worry to embrace someone recently released from a protracted and thoroughly undeserved house-arrest. It's none of my business to speculate on the sins and crimes of the past, but I'll put money on his future prospects of enduring happiness and sanity. Mine too I hope.

So long as I'm about to enjoy it, I don't believe either of us have the heart or mind or the bad-manners to drive the other mad.

X ? - Oh come on! As if you haven't worked out who I am ;-)

Thursday, 24 June 2010


What causes me anxiety? Dread? Angst? That sick and boiling feeling of complete flittering despair in the belly? When one flaps and prevaricates over the simplest of things, such as leaving a room to go for a piss? It is immensely aggravating, when it seizes, as I am generally very good at overcoming those feelings and crushing them before they unfurl and bloom into the vile corpse-grey, moth-dust-pollenated blooms of ghastliness that they have such a thuggish prospensity for achieving. Even when I am not confident, I can usually do an act of it. But sometimes I can't.

What causes it, in me? Or what has caused it of late?

  • i) the threat of random violence from people emotionally close to me

  • ii) not knowing where one is living / not having a room to escape to / no privacy

  • iii) the sheer ignorance and stupidity of people who don't understand what mental illness can be like, and being forced to live constantly in their company

  • iv) sympathy

All right. So a random selection there. The first two are completely understandable. Anyone would find those stressful after a while, especially if they rely on doses of peace and quiet to keep their galloping faculties in check. The second two are more interesting, and related either in similarity or difference.  Take the last one first. Sympathy is deeply disturbing. I find it is a horror, because it can break down my delicate barriers that keep my ghastlinesses in place. True, heartfelt sympathy is bearable. Uncomprehending sympathy is horrible, because it is always missing the point, and attributing some other alien reason to one's misery that needs to be refuted as well as the well-meaning of the sentiment acknowledged. I wish people would just fuck off sometimes. Actually, there is another point: the malice that often comes out in people when they sense you are having difficulties. They say people with mental illness are often attacked and abused. I can well believe it. There must be a psychic-fart-smell that begs for a verbal or physical kicking. It is so irritating - because any attempt to counter it involves baring one's heart - and that makes the situation worse, more often than not.

So much of being well involves telling yourself you're well. It gets tiring. And sometimes one can't convince oneself. This is only a very minor blip. I am keeping myself to myself because I tend to reply with far more dislike in my voice and manner, or perhaps too volubly. The woman on the phone from the jobcentre who I was consulting over the exact rules of permitted work under IB was treated to far too much information regarding my life-history. She seemed to be somewhat entertained, at any rate. But easier by far to stitch one's lips, draw the curtains, avoid, avoid, avoid.

I went out earlier. Only nearly got run-over three times in ten minutes! Damn it, I will make them slow down! I wish I knew what has got into my landlady. She has obviously taken an intense dislike to me. She won't say why. Oh well, soon be out of here, and whither, who cares?

Hmm. Two posts in a day. Like the buses. Take care all.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Slowly hearing the word on the ground from various friends and acquaintances. So it is all because I am 'mad' or 'ill' is it? All those years of making the best of a deceitful, abusive, paranoid and controlling relationship were only in my head, were they? Well, strange how since we split I've felt obscenely sane. Hands up anyone who feels half their problems were propagated by their partner (or parents)?

Random question and answer: Q: What action in my life do I most regret doing while drunk? A: Proposing to my wife when we should have split up in 97. But... non, je ne regrette rien...

Other news: I'm about to become footloose again in a couple of weeks. Footloose is a much nicer word than homeless, don't you think? I'll survive. And it is the summer, after all. But what would I give for my own kitchen?!!! Reminds me of a silly purchase - having left my favourite kitchen knife behind, and getting so fed up with using other peoples' blunt ones, I've just ordered this:

Other news, rather stupidly, as I'm feeling ok, the DLA finally got round to awarding me middle rate til 2013. I won't grumble or feel guilty, but will think of it as owed for the last years when I really needed it. Pragmatism? Maybe. I've had enough of my own stupid idealism and doing everything by the book when I only end up shafted every which way.

Health? Ok, apart from the occasional crack. I've been under a fair bit of pressure I suppose, the last three months. Maybe being 'mad' actually helps me handle it, when many people would have lost it completely? Who knows. Maybe there is something wrong in me that I haven't lost it. I don't know. I don't know if I care, to be honest.

And last but not least: love and hope. I have a feeling in my marrow that it will be a wonderful summer, despite any vicissitudes that the world may throw at me.

Take care all,

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Five Random Incidents, Sunday 13th June.

We set off on the long and tedious drive back from paradise, even if paradise seems hellish and incomplete. Immediately we hit a trail of cyclists, triatheletes, racing. It takes twenty minutes to pull onto the main road. They are all going our way towards Bala. I overtake, heedless of the admonition of the double-line, a buffeting and concertina sway of speed and slow, speed and slow, an eye always on the sudden overtaking manouvre of the racers, another eye on the blind bends and hills, a dance of sorts, a cha-cha, a strange mixture of danger and consideration. I wish them all the best as I pass each one. One chap is a mass of scabs and scratches. He must have taken a fall, or been unlucky in the swimming, or something.

Standing beside the car, the children sleeping, I roll a cigarette and smoke, gazing over the valley that extends from Bala towards Corwen, between Bethel and Glan-yr-Afon. The trees are moving strangely: there is a breeze, but the trees move in slow-motion. They undulate and whip as if the wind was strong, but the wind is not strong, and their motion, although exaggerated, is unduly slow. They are not trees, they are underwater fronds, strange coral-tendrils, or anenomes, seaweeds, curling and swaying in the bellydance of the waves. The light too, is subaqueous, despite the sudden honey-coloured sunlight. A grey-green-yellow, dappled, chill. The wind pushing gently on my back has an insistent tangibility that is incommensurate with its force, again, a push and swash of spectral water. I cast my eyes down, expecting to see my clothes defying gravity, and rising and falling around my limbs. It is true, and not-true, simultaneously. It is beautiful, and terrible too. It is the precise sensation of watching a gorgeous animal that you know could turn on you and you would be helpless to defy its rending. I take a deep breath, finish my cigarette, and stare through the windows at each sleeping child in turn, focusing my attention on them. Glaucous angels, in their submarine. Drive safely, or steer thy boat to shore.

Another halt, the dreary miles between Oswestry and Shrewsbury. I leave my phone on the roof of the car and roar away, and recollection hits me twenty minutes later. Damn and fuck and blast. My whole life at present is stored on that damned bit of plastic and silicon. I pull a ridiculous u-turn: the boys loved it. Any cheap seventies crime series would have smiled on me. I speed the way back to the lay-by. Not quite the ton. Don't know the cameras or traps. Another screeching turn to spin at rest to where my scrubbed into brown-smear fagbut humiliates me as I stare at the empty tarmac. I hunt the verge, well past the distances of likelihood. I restrain my headbutts to gentle backbutts on the headrest as I swear at myself sotto voce again and again, before setting off. An hour and a half later, through squally showers, wipers flicking furiously, I see the first phonebox between that point and this. I decide on the offchance, that whoever had picked up the phone from the lay-by was worth a chance at calling, even though I knew they would be the most malicious blackmailing bastard in the whole of christendom, who also would dedicate their entire life to phoning everyone in my contacts, reading my texts out loud on the radio, publishing my entire drivel stored there on the internet... The phonebox took neither cash nor cards. I did not vandalise it, but stood and stared it into its elementary particles. I walked back to the car, and there, balanced on the hub of the rear wiper, my telephone. It had stayed there, poised, for over two hours of violent driving. One touch and it slid down to be caught by my other hand.

The children greet their mother. I have already said my goodbyes. I hand her the car keys. She hands me a rose. I planted the bush. Complicata. A pink bloom, fragrant and heady. I tuck it in my moleskine, and note it neighbours  a pink hairpin.

Home, hungry, I open the fridge. Something is dead. There is an evil spirit in the house. I investigate and discover a camenbert, sun-cooked for over a week, and now distilled to vileness. I wrap it in clingfilm to the size of a football and put it in the bin. It feels at home.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Cornucopia Of Delights

Hot black peat, oozing between toes. Sphagnum, spongiform, welling cold water underfoot. Rough sedge, reeds, abrasive heather, bastard thistles. Rock, oven-hot, burning soles. Sheepbit grasses, gentle to the tread. Bare feet, winged at the heels, flying up mountains. Breezes, neither too hot nor too cold. Your eyes, dancing in the sunlight; flickering in the candlelight. The gurgle and plash of the stream as we bathed our feet, warm and well-stretched by the day, soles gashed and prickled, sipping whisky and water, feet scoured clean, calves tanned with the ferruginous juices of a hundred marshes. Buzzards and curlews, yelping and sobbing by turns. Newtspawn, frogspawn, dewy flesh-eating flowers. The unbelievable clatter and clap of an irrepressible bed. Coffee and calvados as the dawn creeps bluely against the window.

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Sudden and Startling Pang of Overwhelming Desire

My god, I want my tongue against yours, against your nipples, grazing your belly, and curled around your clit right now.

I take a deep breath to calm myself, but it shudders with the wrongness of distance.

I pick up a shirt I wore with you and intentionally unwashed, and breathe in your smell.

The teeth of love are sharper than razors.


Back To Work & Random Musings

Train, morning.

Back to work. June 7th, 2010. First day since December 2007. First day dangling up in the ethereal godspace of church towers since September 2007. Over two and a half years. My god it feels good, striding down the sunny street, head high and a bounce in my toes.

I suppose looking at the bare facts of the last two months I could be accused of exhibiting mild symptoms of hypomania. Finished my twenty-year old marriage, found new love, energy, less need for sleep, occasional stressy breakdowns, running over hills and mountains barefoot, swimming in freezing lakes (so what is new, I hear you ask... precisely, I reply...), inappropriate risk-taking I suppose. Nothing that cannot be better accounted for than the summer, freedom, and love.

Life is still difficult. Was assaulted on my doorstep on Saturday by the shrieking banshee that is my ex. Had to throw her out and threaten to call the police if she behaved like that again. And my children are being used as weapons against me. Sadness and regret are sometimes overpowering where they are concerned. But I feel no guilt, no shame. I've made a healthy decision for once in my misbegotten life, and by hell I feel healthy with it.

Sometimes it is better to stop bailing and abandon ship. The water is often warmer than it looks.

Life is lived at many levels. Think of a stack of plates, or tiles, or a victoria sponge, multi-layered, tectonic slabs, greased with every variety of jam the Womens Institute can muster; or the painted arcana of the tarot pack, slipping and sliding in motions both complimentary and contradictory, antagonistic, skewed, shrewd, and twisted and straight. Most people only see the top card of the stack. Others are aware of all of the undercurrents, the undertow, the reversed-tide, the treachery of false water, the twin rivers of certitude and doubt. Perhaps that is why faced with this plethora of choices and acknowledged motives and influences, we find it too easy to stick at stasis. Action can become impossible when faced knowingly with a multitude of possible actions and interpretations. Yet not-to-act is an action of its own sort, too. So act, and the world can go to the devil, and to hell with it!

Train, evening.

Well it felt as if I had never been away from the ropes for all that time. I remembered everything: all the knots, safety checks, best practice, procedure, - everything was there, instinctive, innate.

I got over the parapet without feeling the flutter of a single butterfly, and gazed down at the yawning space below with a smile that I'd use to greet an old friend. Did I say it was as if I had never been away?

Somewhat knackered physically: it takes a lot out of your stomach muscles dangling in a harness all day, but pretty damn satisfied with myself.

It makes me wonder now if I was ever ill. Yes, there have been many times when I wouldn't trust myself to go anywhere near a hard object, let alone a high church tower, but all that is by-the-by, in the past, done and dusted, forever, I hope.

I remember around the bad time in 2008 realising that I could always leave my intolerable (as it was then too, most insistently) marriage rather than exit in a rather mortal fashion (oh so strange how suicide can be more attractive than giving up - illogical I know). Now I have left I don't feel fucking ill in the slightest. What is going on? What went on? Misdiagnosis? If I haven't lost it now, during current events, I don't believe I'll ever lose it again, never, ever, ever, never. Touch wood.

Keep safe all, Dx