Bruised and sullen stormclouds…

Photo by Josh Sorenson on

Life is shit.

I say that not because something terrible has befallen me but because, in general, life is shit.

The news depresses me, grinding me down with its repetitive themes of the rich getting richer, dictators starting dumb wars, police officers murdering civilians, mass shootings because America won’t do anything about its ‘rights’ and a general wealth of bad news stories.

And my own life is shit. I seem to sink further into the mire and can barely keep my head afloat these days. Then I wonder why I am bothering and why I don’t simply take all my pills and have done with it. It’s not as though anyone gives a shit about me. Yes, my partner does but I’m so tired of seeing no light at the end of the tunnel and feeling helpless to get her to help herself, and, by doing that, give me some hope.

Yes, we can dream. There are things we could do but her lack of willingness to help herself is destroying me. I’m not asking for the moon but just that she looks after herself and gives me hope that she will be fit enough and well enough to do some of the things she says she wants to do.

We aren’t getting younger and with each passing year, those dreams diminish further. I hate the feeling of hopelessness and anguish that I have to live with. It makes me feel so fucking useless and that everything is my fault. Stuck in this shit hole? My fault. Not working? My fault. Money worries? My fault. Getting nowhere with my writing? My fault. Always something wrong? My fucking fault.

I feel so trapped in my own mind and all the while the storm clouds are gathering, circling overhead, waiting to unleash the storm on me. I know it’s coming because there’s no escape from it. And when it does come, I don’t know if I will have the energy to see it through the other side.

That sinking feeling.

I gave up yesterday.

I gave up and threw all the holiday brochures in the bin. I don’t see any point in tormenting myself anymore. I don’t want to see pictures of places I want to see but know I will never visit. It’s all become too upsetting.

My new suitcase will find a use as a dumping ground for clothes and I needn’t renew my passport, which saves some money. And I feel terrible.

I’m so tired of hearing my other half have this plan and that plan and then give up and do nothing because they lack confidence. We have talked it through time and time and time again. I try to encourage her but it’s no good. Does she think I am confident in my books? I’m not. They are in the public domain but if somebody hates them then what can I do?

She doesn’t want to lose weight or get fitter or take any exercise. She doesn’t understand how important travel is to me yet she should because I have told her so, so often. She doesn’t want something to aim for. She doesn’t seem to care.

And I’m tired.

Living here because it’s all we can afford. Can’t have a dog, can’t travel, can’t do anything.

I’ve given up.

What’s the point in going on?

A New Dawn

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So it’s almost done.

Within a few weeks, a month or two, I will no longer be employed but thrust once more into the unfamiliar and the scary without a clue as to what I am doing or where I am going. I’m not terrified but just, what’s a good word, despondent.

I didn’t expect to go back to my job. I didn’t expect my employer to be that flexible and knowing that they would have had to change so significantly and to such a degree that was almost impossible to expect, I can’t be too upset about the fact they didn’t try.

I think we were both stymied by the Occupational Health report. It gave us no options to work with and although I like things in black and white as they suit my personality this is perhaps the one occasion in which I would have liked some shades of grey; something to give us the opportunity for dialogue.

The difficulty with asking closed questions is that you get closed answers and that’s what happened. Presented with only two options I chose the negative ones and felt there was no room to move; to say what I really wanted to say; to explain.

So now we are here.

Something unexpected. Something I didn’t see coming. Something that I need to take advice on, legal advice, serious stuff.

And once that’s done then it’s the future and whatever that holds or even means. At 56 it’s not something that I look forward to with enthusiasm simply because I don’t know what to do next or how to do it. It’s scary stuff staring again at 56 when you don’t actually have any skills to rely on and everything you thought you were good at seems to have counted for nothing. And when you suffer with mental health issues and depression that don’t exactly make prospective employers want you.

The future is here and the future is scary.

Haunted self


The blight creeps within me. 


Pity the self which endures the slow unstoppable taint. 

Not a battle but a war. A war with no victory in sight. 


No retreat. 

It’s hands reach for me. It’s fingers, nails filthy with the years of taint, into my brain. 

Piercing, stabbing. 


The Self. 

Screaming defiance, manning the blockades, up, up, onto the ramparts. 

Defend me. 

I see you now. See you for what you are. 

You desire me. 

Make me yours. Reduce me to a pitiful thing. Control me. 

I smell the stench of decay. Your fetid smell. Your vile corruption. 

Embrace me. Hold me. Envelop me in your putrid flesh. 

I hear you. Your insidious whispers. Your odious enticements. 

Shall I surrender ?. 

The Self cries “No” 

Begone you loathsome thing, you despoiler, you abhorrent creature. 

Retreat before me. 

Today this battle is for me to win, not you. 

This war, for it is a war, will go on. 

I know you, oh creature of the dark, you who lurks in the shadows and recesses of my mind. 

I know you, I see your face, I know your smell, your voice is known to me. 

And your name. 

I know it. 

To speak it gives me power over it. 

I will fight it. 

The Self fights on. It will not surrender. 

So, retreat now, detestable creature, retreat to those dark corners. 

Lick your wounds. 

And come once more to battle. 

I know you. You cannot win. You will not win. 

This is MY war. 

And I will see you conquered. 

I name you. 


Falling into the Well of Despair…

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel!” 

We have all heard it said. Probably it’s been said to us. 

When I first had it said to me it didn’t make any sense. What tunnel ?. Where was it ?. Why was there only light at one end ?. Surely, if I had somehow entered this tunnel I would be able to stand in the middle, look both ways and see light at both ends ?. 

People said it, I presumed, to cheer me up. But I couldn’t be sure. Was it genuine ? Or was it merely something trotted out as a cliche and said because it was expected ?. 

I never see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

For myself, despair was about falling. Like Icarus I had flown too close to the sun and, wings of hope melted, I had fallen. 

Often the reason for my despair is not easily identified. It has an elusive quality. It just exists. It just is. I can almost touch the reason but often it slips away, tantalisingly out of reach, taunting me, inviting me to catch hold of it. 

Despair is rarely based on a single event. It is cruel, it creeps up on me and slowly places it’s clammy hands about my throat and begins to squeeze. I resist it’s torments for as long as I am able before I succumb to the suffocating malignity and I fall, headlong, into the well of despair. 

It is a wicked thing. It exhausts me. 

People tell me that they don’t understand why something, to them, so insignificant, has taken its toll on me. They fail to appreciate the depravity to which despair will stoop. It will stop at nothing to reduce me. The final act might be small but it is the final act. It is the culmination of days, weeks, months of steadily building torment. 

And it casts me down into the well. 

I find myself at the bottom. My mind embraced by the cold feelers of self recrimination I attempt to scale the walls and reach the light that cavorts mischievously above me. Desperately I seek places to grip on the mossy, shifting walls that lead to the light. Often I fall back as fresh despair strikes forth from the wall, a fist of granite hammering me down again. And so I rise again, not yet entirely broken, still with the essence of hope fluttering in my breast and I begin again. 

I may fall back many times. I bruise easily and each fall inflicts further injury upon my ravaged mind but there is hope still. 

And so I climb towards the light. Each agonising step, each barrier of doubt and loathing falls away until I reach the top and emerge once more, reborn, to begin the fight again. 

I am not strong. But I will fight you, oh hideous witch called despair, I will fight you and see you beaten for once and for all. And if the well is to be my home once, ten times, a thousand times, it will never be my prison.  

You cannot capture me. You never will. 

A few musings on life

So where did it all go wrong ?.

Autistic people are supposed to have special interests that are all consuming.

Growing up I had those in abundance. World Cups, Football in general, Alexander the Great, Lego, creating armour and weapons for my Action Man, Dinosaurs, the list went on. I wasn’t interested in making friends although I enjoyed playing football in the park but the idea of going out, going to clubs or pubs (as I grew older) was totally alien to me.

And girls ignored me. Not that, looking back, I should blame them for not wanting to be friends with a skinny, acne riddled, pudding bowl haircut, flared jeans, glasses wearing boy who didn’t really know what women were for anyway. There were far better looking guys out there, I am sure.

So my special interest wasn’t the female form.

As I grew up and worked in the law that became my focus and passion, the cut and thrust of legal argument, the excitement of cross examination, the anticipation of the verdict and the glorious rules and laws we were all subject to.

Outside of work my focus switched to travel. Getting away from the mundane and everyday, being me, being free from expectations and conformity, wearing what I wanted, seeing what I wanted to see, the joy that comes with the planning, the reading up on the next city, the next temple, the next country.

My holidays weren’t holidays. They were escapes. Planned at least six months in advance with research into the airlines, the airports, the hotels and the day’s activities.

Egyptology became my focus. I learnt hieroglyphics to a basic standard, I memorised dates, who ruled when, who was buried where, dynastic order, what was built when and by whom. I collected over 50 books on the topic and then…

It all died.

Three years ago.

I booked a holiday but the excitement wasn’t there. I did some basic research but my enthusiasm had dried up. My mood was lower than ever, I seemed to be fighting inner demons and my brain wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I felt bereft of energy and slowly but surely, my interests were evaporating.

In three years a lot has happened. I had a stroke in 2013 and another “event” in 2015. My father had vascular dementia and died at Christmas 2014. My mother committed suicide in August 2015. I had three fruitless years under the “supervision” of the mental health team who promised much and delivered little. I found a new job after three years unemployed (when I couldn’t get a single penny in benefits because my Autism meant I couldn’t face work interviews so I wasn’t eligible to be paid) but found it was, and still is, the wrong job, damaging to my health and sanity with occasional singling out and past bullying and victimisation. But when you have no money, what can you do ?. And then there’s Diabetes and Fibromyalgia to cope with.

But now my brain won’t work. I scored 100/100 in a memory test run by the Alzheimer’s Society, so I know I’m all there but I can’t remember things, I can’t focus and I literally have no interests. Everything bores me. I can rarely sit through a television programme or a film, I switch channels, I fidget, I can’t read a book because I lose interest. I seem to have lost myself and I don’t know why.

So, where did it all go wrong ?.