Thursday, September 21, 2006

I picked a hell of a week to give up drinking

So I woke up and my flatmate had me pinned me down. He was crying and shouting 'I have to adam, I just have to' and he took the knife he was holding, cut off my ear and ran down the hallway. I was pressing my earless head into the pillow to try and stop the bleeding... and then I really woke up. It took a good 20 seconds to have the courage to put my hand up and feel that my ear was still there.

I put this down to watching the Stephen Fry documentary on Manic Depression that night. While I was watching it I was sort of nodding along and thinking that didn't everybody feel like that a little bit, that didn't everyone have visions now and again? Extremes of euphoria and depression accompanied by excessive self-medication to even ones state of mind out is surely just called 'being human'. Apparently not. Oh well.

And then on top of that, last night I sat through two films. Firstly 21 Grams probably the most harrowing and relentlessly depressing movie I've ever seen. I liked it a lot. Then The Descent one of the most seat-jumpingly scary films I've ever seen. I liked it a lot.

I've not been self-medicating this week and everthing has been sharper and more focused with greater clarity but as David St Hubbins might have said, a little too much f***ing clarity. Intense visions of altered states coupled with spending all day doing two months worth of petty cash receipts and putting old invoices onto the software programme I think it may well be time to indulge in a wee libation or three. I have tomorrow 'off'.

(My dream reminded me of the opening to I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, a spankingly great novel about a man and his scizophrenic brother. It's a hell of a start...)


  1. Actually, I really enjoyed the Stephen Fry programme - couldn't help but admire his honesty. And anything which brings mental illness (which many suffer from in varying degrees in silence) out of the closet (sorry!) and into the same arena as physical ailments is seriously good news.

    Think you're right about the seeing visions aspect etc. We held a "Hearing Voices" conference at out university recently, which proved very popular and also interesting. And there was something about it on TV recently - in which Hilary Mantel gave a very good interview about the voices she hears when she writes. An eye-opener, and very true of course!


    Anne B

  2. Anybody who has met Adam's flatmate will realise it is pretty unlikely this particular nightmare will ever come true - he's a lovely bloke!

    (I was once threatened by a flatmate with a knife - but that's another story. Let's just say it's best to keep on top of the washing up...)

    As for mental illness I think there is a lot more of it about than anyone admits. On the other hand there was a study published about mental illness in children recently that claimed levels in this country were at an historic high. But what about the days when children routinely worked for a living? As chimney sweeps? Down mines? Cleaning dangerous machinery? Was there really less mental illness around then or was it just not recorded as these little "urchins" were way below the social radar?

    Mental illness is hard to measure I suppose. I would hesitate to state I was mentally ill as I have never suffered the kind of crippling depression that stops a person from functioning. (I have witnessed other people suffering in this way and it looks, from the outside, like Hell on Earth)

    One thing I am certain of - if your aim in life is to be "happy" you will be mostly disappointed. Everyone has highs and lows. It's just a question of recognising that and finding ways to deal with it...

    BTW running a bookshop is probably one of the best ways to drive yourself crazy ever invented!