It’s been a while, either too down to write or too woolly of brain and strangely averse to sitting in front of computer screen. I sometimes feel “what is the point?” when it all seems so self-indulgent and I am conscious of having spent God-only-knows how long boring the pants off various friends and therapists with my insular ramblings. It is so much easier to stay quiet.  To sleep. I am constantly tired and sleep so much these days that I can only schedule things to do on alternate days, in order that I can sleep inbetween or risk falling into the most exquisite exhaustion which renders me incapable of any meaningful functionality. I am not young anymore but not especially old either, certainly not old enough to be this shattered.

Have joked for a while that I’m going prematurely senile, but too often can really believe that, cannot concentrate, cannot think clearly,  cannot remember things that happened days ago. My mind dances off in a hundred different directions simultaneously, thoughts frolicking around and jumping off at tangents, refusing to be ordered and checked.  Insomnia equals a veritable tumble drier of leaping thoughts, falling over one another in their haste to be heard, yet never managing to form any useful conclusions about anything and leaving me ever more wakeful and horribly frustrated.

Taking too high a dose of happy pills to be really depressed. Something is still missing.  Maybe it always will be. Perhaps people see me smile and think that all is well in my world. Can even fool myself for a while if head buried deep enough in sand. Doesn’t last. Never lasts.


I can’t remember the last time I actually worked on a photograph, produced a finished item, too scared to actually try it right now as it seems as if all creativity has atrophied. It will be like seeing the blank page of a sketchbook demanding work to be inscribed upon it, as I remember from my art school days when it all started to go wrong for the first time in my life and I found I couldn’t work anymore.


Two nights of raging insomnia, waking late with sore eyes that water painful tears, still exhausted despite many hours of sleep stolen from the morning, half a day squandered in guilty catch up, yet another stick with which to beat myself. I’m scared, close to the edge, such a fine line between sanity whatever-that-is and losing it completely, assailed by that sensation that something is deeply wrong, that I am all wrong, that I could completely unravel at any given moment and that all I can do is wait to see what that trigger is going to be.

My outward face when I show it to the world is reasonably competent and coping, bantered small talk abounds and an expression of pleasure that has become as rigid as the countenance of a shop window dummy, a mask that slips as soon as I am away from it all, relieved to be alone once more.

Talking tires me. You cannot begin to imagine how much. After all, it is only words, it is hardly strenuous exercise: climbing a mountain, running a marathon, swimming the channel – and yet all these analogies have come to mind as easily as ice cream falling off a hot spoon, because to me having a conversation requires the same amount of energy.  How feeble, how pathetic, and how sad, avoiding the people that I love and that love me back, not phoning anyone, avoiding social engagements, hiding in the house day in and day out, my weakness is an affront to the part of me that I once considered caring, unselfish and generous. A good friend. A good girlfriend. A good daughter.

None of this applies in this Black Hell, where the rules of good social engagement are smashed against the walls and lie in crumpled heaps, folorn shadows of their former selves. I am alone and unreachable in the far away place, glad of that solitude yet at the same time yearning for some warmth in the darkness, the touch of a human hand, even though I know this will offer no comfort to my deep frozen core. No one else can make me feel better. Even the pills don’t appear to be making me feel better anymore. I am the only one who can do that.


I am empty, hollow, carved out on the inside like a Hallow’een pumpkin, whilst everything around me feels strange and edgy, seen through eyes that are not my own and are coloured with grey fur. The sense of unease, of something being very wrong, persists and will not go away, dogging my every move with lingering doubts and anxieties. I was doing well – now this is all dissipating and hurrying away like water down a plughole, gurgling with spiteful laughter at my naivety in daring to think that I was over the worst, that I was the master of this and not the other way around.

A hollow victory indeed.


It’s come back and I feel all wrong, like I don’t fit. How can this be? A daily dose of Citalopram should keep the dog from barking at the door, yet recently I have been assailed by that strange pressure in the air, the nagging sensation of someone behind me, heavy, weighing upon my shoulder, greyness clouding my vision and a sag in my step that makes each one feel as if I am dragging boulders on the end of my legs.

I am stupidly, tediously tired the whole time, sleeping shameful amounts every day that I cannot bear to confess here, feeling useless and pointless and non-functioning and so exhausted I want to cry but I can’t, it takes too much effort.

Letting everyone down again, being like this. Tired of it and tired of myself. Too tired.


There are days when I’m not sure that I know my own mind anymore, or can even comprehend what is going on inside my head. Which begs the question, if I can’t, how can anybody else be expected to? If I won’t say what the matter is because I am too scared of the feelings that I am experiencing, then where do they go, those feelings, the mental anguish which is so inexpressible that I can only stare blankly at the wall and try to let all sensation drain away, or to attempt to displace pain with other activities which bring no peace or satisfaction? I spend so much time alone because it is easier for me to just ‘be’, to not have to wear a mask of interest in life, knowing I have some good days yet equally understanding that some are still too bad and I cannot bear to be in the company of others, infecting them with my gloom and apathy, spreading poison amongst the innocent who don’t need this shit in their lives.

Smile, talk, laugh, socialise, empathise, banter, grin, chat, giggle, interact, joke – yes, I can do all of these things, sometimes to the degree where no one would guess that I am out of whack, off kilter, veering towards oblivion, dropping off the edge, teetering on the brink of darkness and marauding bad thoughts that suddenly swirl unbidden into the deepest recess of my mind and sabotage my efforts whenever I start to do well. I am a fraud of the highest order, and con artist, a trickster – am I happy or sad, up or down, light or dark?  I don’t know anymore. How can anyone else ever understand?


What am I to you? What I am to me? I am fat I am ugly I am boring I am without talent I am not good enough, not enough of anything. I am the nightmare that you run from, the ripple of despair that disturbs your otherwise satisfying life, the lingering bad smell in the corner, the elephant in the room. The black without white, the sorrow without joy, the dark side of the moon, the bottom of the pit. I am your black dog and I bark without sympathy, snapping at your heels, my fetid breath wreathing around you – and you can never escape, for like the worst bad dreams you cannot run away, your legs become heavy and slow, as if trying to run through a mire of mud, each step slower than the last until at last you grind to a halt. You are mine and I am yours, we will always be a part of one another however much you might try to resist, to drug me into submission, to banish me with therapy, to sleep me away, to beat your head on the wall. Get used to it now, for there can be no light without the dark.


I awake slowly, eyelids heavy with fatigue and a deep longing ache for more sleep. I wish I could sleep for one hundred years. Maybe then would I finally feel refreshed upon waking, instead of numb, shattered, already exhausted at the prospect of the impending day, at even the thought of having to propel myself vertical, to support the weight of my own body instead of allowing the mattress and pillow to take the strain. It is hard to adequately describe the sheer overwhelming power of my exhaustion – it seems feeble that I should be so tired when I am not going to work or indeed doing very much at all, and some may wonder what on earth I have to feel so tired about. It is a question I frequently ask myself. It is weariness crushing down on me, I am a modern-day Atlas with the weight of the entire world on my shoulders, struggling for breath under the enormity of merely existing. When it is that bad all I can do is sleep, sleep more, sit in the chair in the conservatory, sit at my desk and look at my hands, the computer screen, the wall behind, and try to make my fingers move over the keyboard to create words, fail, sit, fail, sit, sit, go back to bed and lie down, sleep, sleep in blissful oblivion, sleep.


Had enough sleep last night, fatigue not coming from any lack there, yet can barely move, immobilised by some unseen weight that sits upon my shoulders and presses me down, down, down. Drowning in torpor, thought processes grinding to a halt, everything requires more energy than I can possibly muster, more energy than I feel I will ever again possess in my life. Even the act of holding a book in my hands and trying to read the words takes superhuman effort, it’s too hard, my brain pulses as it tries to process the words on the page that normally I can read so fast, eyes racing from sentence to paragraph, now just wanting to close against the onslaught of crawling black insects roaming in straight lines across white paper.

Am I mad? Will I ever feel ‘normal’ again? What in any case is normal and abnormal? Am I either or am I both? Friends, if I don’t want to see you or write to you or talk to you it is not because I no longer care, it is because I cannot find the energy or mental composure to communicate with you. Simply being in the presence of another becomes something I cannot countenance when I feel like this. Stillness is all I am capable of, stillness and quiet, being alone, waiting for the lifting of the veil which does rise as often as it cascades darkly over my head. No more now.