Back in 2017, one of my posts received a few comments from someone which, after much thought, I decided not to publish as they were a bit too personal from the writer's perspective. I therefore consigned them to Spam mail. However, I was checking through my Spam file earlier (you should see the multiple vitriolic attacks I received from a couple or so disgruntled morons) and re-read them, which has made me decide to finally publish them to see how any of you Crivvies might have responded. Although I didn't at that time publish the comments, I did leave a couple of responses to them, which I've included in this post. Any thoughts? Feel free to contribute.
John Smith said...
Again this is more of an email to you rather than a public comment on a specific post. The decision on whether to publish or not is yours - I have no preference or interest either way.
I haven't done the things I said I'd do - revisiting and commenting on your old posts. I haven't even managed to comment on more recent ones, even though I've wanted to. Sometimes (not always) your posts feel like I wrote them or they're about matters that are important to me. But the last few months have been difficult, to say the least.
In fact the last year has, for me, been a year of hell - a phrase which reminded me of the Star Trek Voyager episode "Year of Hell" where, ultimately the Year in question was "erased". Unfortunately, my last year is unlikely to be erased and, even if it were, it would make little difference, given that that the previous 10 years have actually amounted to a "Decade of Hell" for me.
I'm not going to get into the details, although my previous blog documented some of it, but I just wanted to express the new realisation that I have reached as a result of it.
Throughout the last 10 years I have experienced all of the following:
Employment issues; grievances, tribunals, solicitors, unions.
Job losses via "redundacies" and dismissals;
Reduced income leading to massive credit card debt and financial hardship;
The death of my mother, my dogs, my marriage;
Estrangement from my brother, my only close relative;
Loss of all friendships and social contacts from work;
Hostility from several sets of neighbours, culminating in police involvement etc;
Worsening health conditions both physical and, ultimately, mental ones.
Depression, anxiety, social phobia, withdrawal, self-harm, addiction.
Complete dependence on the benefits system and loss of self-esteem, confidence etc.
Through all this I have survived by over utilising the fantasy aspect of Avoidant Personality Disorder (which I may yet be diagnosed with when my psychiatric referral comes through). Simply put, I avoid the problems of the present by living only in the present and/or in fantasy. I should explain that.
By living in the present, I don't mean living normally and dealing with everyday problems and issues as they arise. I mean developing memory problems which prevent me from acknowledging that the outstanding problems and issues even exist. I see and hear what is immediately around me but block out letters, phone calls, conversations, tasks and plans which need to be addressed. I live in a constant and permanent "Now" with the "Past" and "Future" of even a few hours away as just vague and foggy impressions that have no basis in reality. Instead I seek out fiction, through either books, music or movies (film and TV), including any that have an association with the 60's or 70's, in which I can escape.
In the past, when credit was easy, I tried to spend my way to oblivion by buying books and DVD's - movies and complete TV boxsets - to the extent that I now have thousands of the things and nowhere to store them. More recently I discovered torrent downloads and, since I have no money, I now download everything instead. The advantage is that several thousand movies and hundreds of complete TV shows take up zero space and cost nothing. The downside is that it has become a compulsion and I have GB's of stuff that I haven't even watched yet.
3 December 2017 at 12:08
John Smith said...
The other aspect of fantasy is the future. Fantasies of how, one day, I might live somewhere with space enough to put all my movies and books on shelves where they can be organised, accessed and, yes, admired. Fantasies of how my days might be spent reading, writing and viewing without outside pressures trying to crush me. To this end my physical hoarding, for that is what it is, has pivoted toward selective things - limited editions of Books, CDs, Vinyl and Steelbooks and nostalgia items from my childhood and earlier times. I am surrounded by many columns of Really Useful plastic boxes all stacked to the ceiling and packed with these things, all waiting for that future day when they will be unpacked and appreciated.
The realisation I referred to earlier, is that that day is never going to come. The DWP have tried twice over the last year to withdraw my support and I have fought them, even though it meant having to admit publically that, yes, I am suicidal. Despite that they are still intent on hitting their target savings by declaring me ineligible for support, on a technicality. They gave me a three month 'grace' period which is up at the end of this year and I'll find out then if they intend to enforce it. If they do, I would be able to appeal, and I would be confident of success, but it would take too long and I am not strong enough to fight anymore.
Because of this realisation, I have started selling. Everything. The vintage items, the replacement childhood toys and games, the things of beauty, the autographed one-offs, the books which meant so much to me (just a few months ago I acquired an almost complete set of William Horwood 1st Editions which I was hoping to get him to sign). It has started - I am selling things I thought I never would. The money is helping to keep me afloat but it will take years for me to dispose of it all.
My goal is to be possession free within 5 years. That includes property and vehicles too. I am trying to clear all debts and claims on me and give everything that is left to my wife, who will possibly be able to salvage something of her life. That's the best I can hope for.
I don't want to outlive my father and I will commit suicide at a time and place of my choice. It will be a relief. I don't really want to wait 5 years but I've put up with so much shit for twice that length of time that it shouldn't be a problem.
So, goodbye Kid. I just wanted you to know why I disappeared. I don't like many people and I don't make friends easily but, I think, we might have had enough in common. Ultimately though, I was never supposed to be in anyone's life. I just wish I'd known all this 35 years ago. This is not a suicide note btw, so please don't rush off and report it to the police or anyone! I've accepted my situation and made my decision and I'm 'happy' about it.
Good luck with whatever you do, and thanks for the memories and stories.
BTW - I chose this post to 'comment' on as I couldn't resist. I love the Likely Lads. And I was chuffed to meet James Bolam 15 or 16 years ago through a work/charity do. To be honest though, he was a bit grumpy and didn't seem to like being reminded of Terry. As a character I preferred Terry over Bob (who was too much like my brother for my liking) although as a person, Rodney Bewes seemed to be far more likeable. I'll still watch TLL and stuff that Bolam has done but I think there's too much truth in the idea that he sees himself as more of a 'serious' actor and wants to distance himself from the earlier stuff. Bit of an ego in my opinion. I'll never forgive him for not reconciling with Rodney or doing an updated 'old man' version of TLL which I know Rodney would have loved. Reality should never be allowed to intrude into fantasy.
3 December 2017 at 12:09
JS, I must confess that your comments caused me some concern, and I'm unsure whether to publish them or not. On the one hand, there's a lot of personal stuff in there which is nobody else's business; on the other, if other people read it, they might be able to say something that might make you change your mind. Something to remember is that you're under a lot of stress at the moment and, while in thrall to your depression, might not be making entirely rational decisions. I'd advise you to see your doctor, or someone sympathetic who you can talk these things over with. You'll know yourself that, however 'down' you get, there are times when things don't seem so bad. I'd urge you to look forward to that next moment when there seems a glimmer of hope in your life. As for selling off your possessions, I'd advise you to hold off on parting with what you consider your real treasures. (Sentimental as opposed to monetary value.) I've done it myself before, then regretted it after a while and then spent years acquiring replacements. If I withhold your name (even though it's not your real one), would you mind me publishing your comments as a post in the hope that someone might respond in a way that might be of help to you? It seems unlikely from what you say that things could get any worse for you, so hang on to the thought that they can only get better. I really hope you can work through this and not do anything drastic. Incidentally, there's a lot about your own situation I can relate to, but I'd urge you to seek help from those who are in a position to do so. Sometimes just talking things over can 'let some air out of the balloon'. Don't give up.
3 December 2017 at 12:58
John Smith said...
Thanks for being concerned but, really, don't be.
As for publishing, feel free to do whatever you want with anything I write. I hide my id through a fake email address and I mask my ip via a vpn whenever I post/comment on anything. But I really don't know if I'd even be able to reply to any comments.
I don't really see any need to change my mind though. I just worked out the latest date that I'd have to die by to make sure I'm younger than my dad was when he died. I don't know why that's important to me but it feels good to have a definite 'end date'. It's over 9 years away yet btw, so I have a 4 year window between 2023 and 2027 to make my move.
It doesn't really matter whether I'm being rational though (although I believe I am being more rational than many people who don't want to face the inevitable fact of their deaths). Everyone is going to die. I'm just planning for it more although, of course, I could always end up under a bus tomorrow!
My response to the idea that "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem" is that a permanent oscillation between temporary elation and temporary depression is still a permanent problem, and a solution is a solution is a solution.
Regarding the stuff, I'm trying to sell less sentimental stuff first but I'll get there soon enough. It's the furniture (that I grew up with) and which I always wanted to take 'home' before.. The house I consider home (for the first 15/16 years of my life anyway) just came onto the rental market again. It's given me hope that, if the DWP do shaft me in the next couple of weeks, I'd always have the option of accessing some of my pension to rent it for 6-12 months. Long enough to make my farewells anyway.
I've already realised that I am losing any sense of meaning in 'things', including activities and experiences as well as objects. For example, in the last couple of days my wife tried to get me to stand outside with her and watch for the geminids. She got something from it but she accepted that I wasn't going to, although she doesn't understand why I didn't care anymore.
I do have some interest in certain ideas which I suppose some people might call delusional but, if I am beginning to accept them as more valid 'beliefs', then it might explain my lack of interest in anything. I've finally been told a psychiatrist will deem to see me at some point, but I don't have a date yet. But I'm already looking forward to a verbal battle about the lack of meaning in anything and the logic/irrelevance of choosing life over death. I just have to be careful not to give him any excuse to section me!
I still look in on your blog every day, so don't stop yet.
15 December 2017 at 20:26
John Smith said...
BTW i came across this from my previous blog - it reflects how I'm feeling now so, again, feel free to use/discard as you see fit.
"I'm sorry if this is incoherent or rambling. It's how I am. it started as a reply to someone else's blog but i just need to post this before i stop functioning..
It never ceases to amaze me how much effort human beings put into fighting the evolutionary processes that put them on the planet in the first place. Medicines and vaccines designed to prolong the life of damaged and weakened human beings, allowing them to survive without any redeeming qualities simply to continue propogating their inherent weaknesses and deficiencies to future generations.
We are systematically using medical science, drugs and social policies to build an increasingly complex, flimsy and unstable support structure which is being used to artificially prop up the human race. We're taking control of evolution, directing it as we think best to build a species incapable of surviving in its natural environment without a full support package of doctors, hospitals, drugs, social workers, benefits, housing, supermarkets and.. celebrity TV.
Let's be clear - we only arrived at this place, Here. Now. where you are alive, after thousands of years of evolutionary development, by the constant reduction and refining of the human animal. And now, you are seeking to subvert that same process by imposing your own questionable moral authority on it? "Human beings are made in God's image, special and deserving of separate consideration".
The destruction of even a single life, even that of a proven sociopath, sadistic pedophile or psychopath is seen worthy of all the protection the law can afford while the artificial creation of millions of genetically modified animals (by specialist breeding if by no other method) for the sole purpose of making money (let's face it - the farming industry isn't a charity and they 'grow' it to sell it) is swiftly followed by the destruction of those same animals in order to protect what? Not humans, who can't really catch Foot and Mouth; not the animals themselves who would ultimately recover from Foot and Mouth; but the industry itself, the market share and subsidies that make this particular trade as profitable as it is. It's all about money.
Where are your moral values now? Now that hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of pigs are being culled. But not just culled or killed, they are being literally buried alive. (Where's that on the BBC?) The Koreans are tipping them fully conscious from trucks into massive holes, where they fall many meters with the inevitable broken bones and suffering involved before hundreds more of their kind are tipped in on top of them crushing them all, until they are ALL. BURIED. ALIVE. What excuse for such cruelty on such a massive scale? None, it's all about money.
Human beings make me sick. Bring on the nukes - let's clear the slate and give the rats and cockroaches a chance."
15 December 2017 at 20:27
Read your follow-up comments, JS, and I'm deliberating on what to do with them and your two earlier ones. I still have furniture and ornaments that I've grown up with and I couldn't bear to part with them, so you must be really down to get rid of yours. The possibility of you living in your childhood house again intrigues me no end, so let me know if it ever comes to pass. Just in case it does, wouldn't you be better hanging on to your furniture so that it can be reunited with the house if you move back in? I once considered offering a woman who lived in one of my old houses £100 if she'd let me 'look after' her house while she was on holiday. My idea was that I could live there for a fortnight and take replacement items from my childhood back there (where I'd first got them) and re-establish the 'connection' between them. Didn't ever get around to asking her, but maybe one day I'll ask the current tenant/owner. Should I ever win the Lottery I'll buy every house I've ever lived in - all six - and take turns staying in them through the year. I'll add a bit more later.
15 December 2017 at 20:57
I never 'added a bit more later'. Instead I continued the conversation over on John's own blog, which he seems to have now discontinued. That means that as you can't see what we said and I can't remember it, it's lost to history. Let's hope things got better for him, eh?