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Humpty Dumpty

February 20, 2018

Okay, as a couple of friends who’ve contacted me have rightly pointed out, my last short post was rather dark. Perhaps I could have kept it to myself. Perhaps I should take it down. But, no, it was what it was, that was where my head was at on Saturday.

Shall I tell you what I did after posting that message? Don’t panic, but what I did, for the first time in my life, was go on to the internet to investigate the easiest and least painful ways to kill yourself. Unfortunately (luckily), I did not have any sleeping pills. Nor do I have a garage in which to inhale carbon monoxide. Without that it would have been an incredible faff to empty the water (probably frozen in any case) out of one of the hoses, attach said hose to the exhaust pipe and run it into the car, where I would not be able to fully close the window. Besides, it was night time. And bloody cold outside. Plus, how many days or weeks might pass before someone found me? Who would feed the cats? So I decided to stick around for a while.

What brought all this on? Well, the tipping point was discovering that someone I’ve known for a long time had done something which was bound to hurt me deeply and what made it even worse was the fact that they didn’t even have the courtesy/guts to tell me themselves. I had to find out from someone else. Suffice to say I felt badly betrayed and shattered into a million tiny pieces which all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could never put back together again.

I really do not want to go into the sorry story – not least because, as I said, it was simply the tipping point, the icing on the cake, that straw that broke the camel’s back, the coup de fucking grâce. Humpty Dumpty’s shell was already severely cracked.

The past few weeks have not been good for me. All that optimism at the end of last year, all that determination that this winter was going to be the time when I got back to writing a novel.

Well, that hasn’t happened. Yes, I’ve bought books I couldn’t afford as part of my research and I’ve even read some of them. As for writing? I’ve produced one page. One page. One single fucking solitary page. It took me a month to get to writing that page and I haven’t returned to it for a fortnight.

It seems I cannot write and if I cannot write, what the hell is the point of me?


This was the view from my kitchen door on Sunday morning. There was no snow on the ground Saturday. Snow had fallen overnight, heavy snow, snow heavy enough to bring down trees and cause the power failure to which I woke up. (My stupid, useless generator didn’t even keep going long enough to make a cappuccino, but that’s another story.)

The power failure was a blessing. Not words you hear very often, but for me it was true. The woodstove kept me warm and allowed me to boil water for tea. And the skylights provided more than adequate light for reading, which I did all day. (David Frum’s  Trumpocracy, which is a far more important book than the titillating Fire and Fury.) And why was that a blessing? Because there was no internet, no wi-fi to enable me to waste an entire day playing computer games. Yes, sadly, stupid fucking spider solitaire has regained a toehold, although backgammon can also switch my brain off for hours. And it was in those short breaks I took in my reading – to make a cup of tea or lunch – that my brain started working and I realised quite how many things were going on and going wrong in my head before betrayal ever reared its head.

Even more fortuitous than the power failure on Sunday was the fact that I had my monthly check in with my doctor on Monday. When he led me into his office and asked how I was, I did not say “not bad” or “okay” or (better) “pretty good” or (better still) “just fine”. I said, “bad, really, really bad.” I then spewed out everything, including the fact that my gym membership had expired, I couldn’t afford another one and hadn’t had any exercise for several weeks. (This suddenly occurred to me as I was reminded of him telling me how important exercise is for depression. Plus, my knee is already playing up again and I’ve gone back to the second hole on my belt, rather than the third.) Betrayal, frustration, anger, loneliness, worthlessness, unloveableness, blah, blah, blah. And most importantly my inability to write.

“If I can’t be a writer,” I said, “what the hell’s the point?”

He looked at me and said, “You’ve written novels and you’ve written plays that have been produced, haven’t you?” I nod. “That means you are a writer.”

Nice try, doc. “No,” I said, “that means I used to be a writer.”

He begged to differ, pointing out that even after he retires, he will still be a doctor. Hmm. Even if I disagree as far as writing is concerned, he’s got me there.

I think he’d decided before I burst into tears in his office (something I’ve never done before) to double the dosage of my meds. He told me after I’d finished blowing my nose. So, as of last night I am on 20mg per day. He tells me the effect should be noticeable in days and wants to see me again next week.

Fingers crossed.

From → Black dog diary

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