Intermission/Declaration of War

Did you ever feel like things were going amazingly, but it was all an illusion? No, it wasn’t an illusion, the good times are really real, the adrenaline-fuelled adventures and mad social can’t stop-talking, grabbing life by the balls intensity. But then you have to pay, and the comedowns are really real too, the soul-crushing immobilising depression, unexplained crying, meltdowns and hysteria (yes, I hate that word, but fulfil the stereotype pretty well sometimes). Not to mention, everyone eventually gets tired of full-on emotional intensity turned up to eleven. God knows, I get tired of it. I’m so tired right now that every movement is a battle of wills, just focusing on this blog is really difficult and I’m too hot right now and there are so many more important things happening.

So, that’s where I’ve been, where I am. Oh what a thrill, to be mentally ill. Except for everyone around me. That’s the Intermission, that’s where I’ve been.

Intermission Song 

Declaration of War

Maybe war is not the best metaphor. Maybe this should be a declaration of trying. A declaration of trying to fulfil my potential, to contribute. War on ones own shadow rarely ends in meaningful victory.

Today we drank a toast to my Grandad, the first person to ever help me write a book. He spent ages printing the front cover on glossy photo paper, putting it in a folder. It was for High School English class, and I got the highest grade possible. The school still had that book, years later. They’d get it out on open evenings as an example of the sterling work of their English students.

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I’ve lost a lot of time and money that way, but I still believe it.” – Ron Hunt.

So now I’ve got two books, but there is so much more to do. I’m determined not to let this illness mess with performing spoken mic at City-Zen for Rojava on Friday night. Leaving the house is difficult, and maybe I’ll cry, but better to go outside and suffer than build my own bedroom-sized prison.

And I know it will be so, so much harder now I’m intermittently paralysed by free-form anxiety, but ABSEILING is happening. Saturday, Jury’s Inn Derby, 12:00-2:30pm. Come watch. I will wear a cape. For some reason the sponsorship website is down though, so I can’t link to beg.

Often I feel like a failure, for missing out on so many things because of BPD and whatever other mental issues I’ve got. I don’t want to be known as the flaky one, but in some ways that’s inevitable. I’m working on it though. I try. Seriously.

I hope that I can be even one fraction of the man that my Grandad was, a unique and wonderful man. He was a writer, of a different kind, but I can only aspire to his conscientiousness one day. His love of stationery lives on in me. (P.S. please send left-handed fountain pens.) He was a wonderful wit, a genuinely humane person who saw the good in everyone and did a lot for charity. He was a role model and inspiration to so many. Tonight I lit a candle and me and my mum drank to his memory (a quality Port, I assume he would approve), but I hope to show true love and honour by my actions in the world. For Ron Hunt, legend.

This was not a declaration of war. This was a declaration of love.

Intermission/Declaration of War


The music video is out! Hope in dark times. There are so many of us with mental health problems. We can support each other in this struggle.

WATCH THIS! [CW: depression, self harm]

Hope you like it. No shame in scars. I’m just glad they could be useful, turning the signs of self-destruction into creative vision.

This video was so fun to make, despite the serious subject matter. Massive respect to JD, Sire and Self Taught for making this song, and Evil Unicorn for the amazing video. Thank you for letting me be a part of something amazing.

DOWNLOAD THE EP HERE, NAME YOUR PRICE! Five excellent tracks, well worth it. All proceeds go towards setting up a youth group providing mental health support. Young peoples’ mental health treatment is horribly underfunded, and although the majority of mental illnesses begin during adolescence, 50% receive no treatment whatsoever. (I recommend you read this report, there are some shocking statistics in there.)

I was lucky to be seen by CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) as a teenager, which was about enough to keep me alive. I consider myself lucky even for that, because I know plenty of people whose teen years were blighted by undiagnosed or clinically neglected psychological issues. I wonder sometimes how my life would be different if I’d been diagnosed earlier. Maybe my young adulthood would have been a lot easier. Maybe I’d have a few less scars, and would never have been able to be in this video. Which is just one of many reasons that I don’t want to change the past. I’m thankful to be where I am right now. I just acknowledge that it is much more difficult, now I’m finally in treatment, to break habits and thought patterns that have been part of my being for over a decade. I don’t want any other kid to have to suffer so much.


Exciting Stuff: I’m a video star!

No, not that kind of video. A music video for the song No Surrender, by Derby hip-hop artist JD.with Darren Graffman and Self Taught. Check out JD’s Bandcamp or Youtube for some hard hitting tunes . His lyrics are conscious and real, bringing higher ideals than the objectifying money-worship of too much music of all genres (not to mention the rest of our culture). This video has a point and a story, raising awareness about mental health, the pressures we face to hide our problems and put on a happy face to satisfy the world. You just don’t know who is wearing a mask to hide their suffering…

A still from Sunday. Photo credit: Evil Unicorn

I got this gig after being recommended, because I fit the bill for the character. Sunday was my first shoot, ever. I’ve never done any acting before (or at least not since Year 9 drama) and definitely never on camera. The guys making the video are hella cool though. They are Evil Unicorn, and they know what they’re doing. The whole reason I agreed straight away to be in this video, was because I’d seen what they made for Simon aka …pr@xis? The Road Less Travelled is a fucking moving video, again with a serious message as well as a raw expression of grief. So I trust this crew to present mental illness and distress with dignity and avoid prurience or cliche.

Shooting a video is fun but hard work. I had no idea what was going to go off when we went to Ryan’s Bar in Derby. The precision of framing shots, the fact that for each shot you are confined to a really tiny space, the sheer work… and then each few-second scene being shot over and over from different angles, different styles, trying to get that perfect emotional gesture down perfectly. I can’t even comprehend the work of editing, especially considering that this video features 3 artists with their stories, as well as my storyline. I’m working with some insanely skilled people, just out of luck, and I am grateful, and so hyped for this video. Also I’m sorry (not very sorry) for spilling a pint over Brent. It was in the pursuit of art, OK? Hopefully it’ll end up in the final cut. Otherwise, I wasted a pint for nothing. (I didn’t even mean to do it. But hey, the camera was rolling.)

Bonus round: Look out for Chris in the video. You can’t see his face. He drove me there, and was a good extra, and sat around while we did multiple takes of everything, and didn’t complain at all. And it was Valentine’s Day. Don’t ever say I’m not a true romantic.

On Saturday we’ll be shooting the denouement, the final emotional crescendo and revelation. I gotta act. I can do that. Heck, I’m hyped for that. Working with a chill, friendly, creative group of people is amazing. I think I’d forgotten that, it’s been so long since I last collaborated with anyone, or even discussed creative work in any real sense. I realise now that’s something I need in my life, and I need to make a serious effort to do it more.

Watch this space: the video for No Surrender should be released at the end of March. It will probably be shown at Five Lamps, Derby. I’m already so excited to see it. Bit nervous; it’s always hard to see the end results of your work, and have it put out there for other folk to judge. But I got faith in this.

Til the release date, listen to some on Soundcloud.


Exciting Stuff: I’m a video star!

Looks bad, when you put it like that…

I’m 26 and have never had a job. So far I’ve known the joys of clinical depression, anorexia, bulimia and self harm. Right now my life is enhanced by Borderline Personality Disorder, Depressive Personality Disorder, and probably some kind of anxiety thing. Oh, and G.E.R.D. (gastro-esophegeal reflux disorder, a.k.a. heartburn all the goddamn time, with plenty puking up for no reason thrown in just to make me look even stupider). I’ve flunked and failed nearly everything I’ve tried, except for university, which I managed to graduate 4 years later than everyone else, after wasting 50% of the whole experience being too depressed and panicky to interact with other human beings. The other 50% I was drunk, which was honestly great, though I wish I could remember more.

I’m getting more and more sad. This always happens around this time of year, but right now it is ridiculous. I’ve pretty much lost all the progress I was trying to make, and can’t stop crying. If I ever had any impulse control or discipline, I don’t anymore, or at least it’s all been used up in making sure I don’t cry 24/7. I know they say you should express your emotions, but when I start crying, that’s a day wiped out. One good thing about having a long history of being a miserable fuck is that I know the signs. Feeling on the edge of tears, but unable to cry, means something bad is coming to my mind, is brewing in the background and will eventually explode and ruin something. Constant tearfulness is a prettty standard symptom of depressive disorders. I keep thinking I might have hormonal problems because it’s like having PMS, but nearly all the time. On paper I’m making great plans, I have a full diary. In the real world, I struggle to move. I do manage, though. I went to a poetry night last week and performed two poems. I went on a 6 mile and a 9 mile hike with my dad. I write bits and pieces. My creative work sends me alternating between suicidal despair and driven joy, and is the only thing that occasionally breaks up the ocean of pathetic derealisation and depersonalisation, which are the main alternatives to feeling like the whole world is as tragically sad and unfair as that bit when Bambi’s mum dies.

I have been told in no uncertain terms that the way I live is not at all good enough. I need to be working, driving, exercising daily, and having some kind of hobbies. I need to eat better and wake up earlier.

I got a sleep timing app and it tells me I average about 6 hours sleep a night. I had assumed that I was lazy and wasting time by waking up late, but on top of that, I’m still sleep deprived. I exercise 2 times a week vigorously, not including strolling round the shops or whatever. I cycled 10 miles today. But I didn’t get anywhere and later had a panic attack because I hate shops. The mildest annoyances make my brain flip out and give me a front row seat to the Experimental Jugular Opening Trial. What will work best?
Luckily this is all idle speculation, this is just how I calm my thoughts. In reality I’m just sitting hunched, chewing my fingers/sleeve/scarf, staring into middle distance away from you. It’s actually great progress and mental strength, that I don’t act on self destructive urges any more.
But that won’t get me a job because I’m still a pathetic mental patient who can’t do normal activities without freaking out, so how do I get job and life and stop being such a loser?

Looks bad, when you put it like that…