On a train, sitting across from a nurse who is reading a pop psychology book. She is wearing ballet pumps and she has her legs crossed. She arches her foot until the pump is held on by her toes. I don’t have a foot fetish and wonder if this display is erotic.
It’s early October and very mild.
The withdrawal symptoms from escitalopram continue to be awful. My moods change frequently.
Strange day: walking to the station the air is still and the sounds seem flattened. It is very eerie: it’s the stillness, I think. And the strange light. On the train, the passing landscape disappears into the grey.
The mist is now lit red.
In Sheffield, people stop and look up at a red sun. Sahara red.
The world is off-kilter today.
I’m sitting in a café drinking tea. Suddenly, I feel an overwhelming sadness. I feel distressed and anxious. I go to the bathroom and take a Valium.
Doctor’s surgery. I feel anxious. My mood drops, I feel it physically in my chest. During my appointment I behave erratically, or rather, I feel I am being erratic.
October has passed quickly.
Hallowe’en: grey morning, mild. A chill wind blows half-heartedly. The train is too hot.
As I eat lunch in a café there is a girl with her boyfriend at the next table, she has her arms folded and is pulling her top further and further down, her breasts are almost exposed. I feel awkward. I get up and buy a Hallowe’en cake.
I rush to the station to get an earlier train. It leaves late. It’s sunny now.
The low Hallowe’en sun lights distant mist and makes me squint behind my Ray-Ban’s. The landscape is silhouetted against the sky. The temperature is starting to drop.
I feel empty today. I think I used all my emotion yesterday. I’m listening to Grouper but I can hear people discussing Kevin Spacey.
The sun has gone down now. The horizon is soft yellows and pastel peaches. Scott loves Jamie has been etched into the train window.
Out of the other window, the sky is blue-grey.
A flickering fluorescent light at Meadowhall indicates the presence of evil.
Hallowe’en 1991, Religous Education, the teacher Mrs Cockerell (not her real name) tells us about the Devil. For the first ten minutes, I think she is describing another of our teachers and I am amused. However, the talk gets pretty dark when she starts telling us about children who’ve gone out on Hallowe’en and come home different: distant and withdrawn, trapped between two worlds. Despite my apathy towards religion, I go home suitably terrified. That night I barely sleep.
Among the commuters waiting on the platform there are devils and witches. The twilight is bluey and strange. Trees and spires black against the sky. It’s cold now and I pull scarf tighter around my neck.
So, I have dreamed of the same house three times now. It is not a house from my past. Nor is it a house I ever remember being in. The house is haunted. To get to the house I have to pass a railway station and it is located where my old high school used to be.
The withdrawal effects of the escitalopram have lessened over the last week. I still have the occasional brain shiver but my moods seem more balanced.
6.35 am. Grey morning: raining and humid.
Two thunderstorms have passed over this morning. Huge cracks of thunder, torrents of pissing rain but they haven’t cooled the air. The temperature remains resolute. My sinuses are blocked.
I dreamed of the flats I grew up in. I tried to get to the top floor to take photographs out of the window on the landing but I felt vertiginous and couldn’t let go of the handrail. The smell, the feel of the handrails: the smooth black plastic on twisted white metal, the echoing sound of my shoes on the hard marble-like floors were all painfully familiar.
I am underwater. I can feel my ears filling with water. I can hear my breathing. I am underwater. The bath water smells of cinnamon.
I am reading Joe Orton’s diary. Joe has just fucked someone in a derelict house. My generation fucked and sniffed poppers in partly built new build houses of expanding suburbia. We drank white cider, smoked and felt the fleeting warm buzz of amyl nitrite where the nouveau riche now live. But the houses were skeletal when we used them to escape the weather, do ouija boards, get high and talk about girls and bands, all away from the prying eyes of the locals. Furthermore, they provided shelter for 14, 15 and 16-year-old girls to give handjobs and blow jobs to 18, 19 and 20-year-old men with cars from the council estate next door. Well, that’s if the graffiti and playground rumours were to be believed.
I remember when Kris Akabusi came to our school. Me and six or seven others had forgotten our games kit. We were put in a large storeroom in the drama department. Throughout the morning we were visited by four or five teachers who told us we had shamed ourselves and the school. Funny, there were no troublemakers among us, we had all genuinely forgotten to bring out kit.
If that happened now, with social media, I imagine we would have been the victims and the school would have been shamed!
As punishment, we didn’t get to meet Kris Akabusi and be photographed with him. I did meet him, however, in the car park afterwards, I asked if thought we had shamed the school and he just smiled and laughed awkwardly, then drove away in a middling sports car while a bunch of knobheads yelled racist abuse at him. You could tell he wanted to drive over them but he just waved. He didn’t do that stupid fucking thing he used to do with his fist though.
Anyway, at lunchtime, Danni Forrest (not her real name) will wank you off for a £1 under the willow tree down by the river. And Vanessa Elms (not her real name) puts out on the first date.
Schooldays, fuck were they miserable!
Last night we went for a walk. We both saw a shooting star but at different times. I took photographs of suburban gardens at midnight. Everything was still except for us and the occasional taxi. Our world was lit silver by the moon.
Tonight, I stood outside looking for shooting stars, I saw two, both out of the corner of my eye. I would’ve liked to have seen more but there was a lot of light pollution and I couldn’t be bothered to walk to the park and besides it’s very creepy after dark with the strange disembodied sounds that travel across the landscape from the hills and distant moors.
The air had an autumnal chill.
I fell asleep before I could finish writing. I wish now I’d stayed outside longer now.
Yesterday, the one-day flower flowered. It breaks my heart every year. The flower that smiles today, tomorrow dies. Today, it is all shrivelled and my heart is broken. Even with the warm sun on the back of my neck.
I feel filled with this oddly muted anger. I feel angry about the situation, the decline in my mental health and failings that led to me being in this situation. It’s a long time since I have felt anger. It was something that was solved easily during therapy: once the anger was legitimised, it faded away.
I am not coping again. I keep trying to bring some sort of equilibrium to the situation but I just can’t seem to keep it together. It’s really frustrating. I feel like I did pre-therapy. The withdrawal effects of the escitalopram aren’t helping, I feel a lot of the mood issues can be attributed to them.
I just want to be asleep all of the time. Dreaming my life away, even the recent nightmares of being shot in the head and cannibalised feel preferable right now.
I hate fucking whining like this. I like to solve problems. It’s the not coping: when trying to come up with a plan, I quickly feel overwhelmed, even small steps feel too much.
Anyway, it’s 1.15 am. I’m lying in the dark. 1.25 am. Still lying in the dark. I’m going to get up and drink some water. 1.43 am. I’ve drunk some water and eaten a biscuit.
It’s really quiet tonight. I thought the window was closed. I have the fan on now.
I remember Coventry. I remember we passed through it when travelling across the country from Kent. I remember Coventry but I don’t remember it well. It exists as a few fading photographs my brain took as I looked for the floodlights of Highfield Road. (I had a habit of spotting football grounds on long journeys when I was young.) I don’t think I saw them, I suspect we didn’t pass close enough to the Hillfields area where the ground used to be.
It is raining. Night rain. The best rain. Not morning rain when you are sitting on the sofa eating your breakfast looking out at the grey pouring rain knowing you’ve got to go out in it and it’s going to be coming down all day.
Often I don’t mind being out in the night rain. I think usually it’s because I am going home, so getting wet doesn’t matter, it is something you can just experience instead of enduring. Also, there is less traffic. So little competes with the sound of the rain.
About 13 years ago, I remember walking home in pouring rain, it was around 2 am. The rain fell heavily and steadily the whole journey. I arrived home, around 3.30 am, drenched. There was a strange comfort in drying off, brushing on wet hair back off my face and putting on dry clothes. I fed the cats while my cup of tea brewed then sat at the kitchen table with the silence and the rain. Then, I went to bed, hair still damp, and fell asleep to Eno’s Music for Films.
No rain this morning. Bright sunshine through the curtains. I have a headache and don’t want to get up. But I keep falling asleep and having unpleasant dreams.
Sometimes the words come easily. Sometimes they are lost in the fog. Some words get so lost that my escitalopram brain decides I must no longer need them severs the path to my tongue. It is starting to do this with memories too. Is that a good or bad thing? Will these missing memories be restored when the escitalopramic fog has cleared?
I am lying in bed. I always seem to be lying in bed. The brown cat is lying with me. I can feel her warmth through the candlewick bedspread. I hear the tumble dryer, one of my comfort sounds. I remember at Oakbrook Road, before I had therapy, when I was anxious I would put the washing machine on and go and lie in the bath. The sound, the normal everyday sound, of the washer would comfort me. When things felt out of control as they often did back then those normal sounds would ground me. Other people need physical contact, I just need the sound of a washing machine.
It is early evening now. Outside it is still raining. The sound of car tyres on wet tarmac. The damp cool air coming in through the window. It smells fresh. Strangely, it smells like Sundays.
Sunday evening, alone in your room, outside it is raining, the light is strange, you sit at your window, bored, the KLF are playing on your tape player. A summer Sunday in the rain. You watch the cars, they are all distinct from each other, you can name each one, the make and model; if you were to see a photograph of these cars now they would all look very dated.
The light in your room is fading. You turn the light on and you watch your reflection in the window as you walk over to the bed, despite your young age, you are vain. You lie on the bed on top of the duvet you left on a bus in a dream the other night and you wonder what to do.
The setting sun is shining brightly through the curtains now, somewhere there will be a rainbow.