Hello reader. I’m going to write a blog about the time I spent in the psychiatric ward last year. I’m not sure why I have decided to write this. Maybe a chance to reflect on where I was and where I am now, maybe because it will be a glimpse into a world not many people get to see
Let’s start at the start. Well, not really the start, but I’ll start where I feel like starting.
I have a problem with depression, alcohol and drugs. The depression started as a teenager, the drugs as a student and the alcohol, probably about ten years ago.
This first blog is probably going to be awful but let’s get it out of the way. So we can move on. If you are depressed I’d like you not to read any more. Thanks for reading but I don’t want to give people ideas or justifications. Not that any of you will pay any attention to that. And neither would I, but let’s call it a ‘salve for my conscience.’
OK? Last year I came up with a plan to kill myself.
I’d tried in 2012, an overdose of trazadone, but to be honest my heart wasn’t in it. I’m not even sure why I tried, when I’m drunk sometimes it seems a good idea and the lack of inhibitions makes it happen. I’d been keeping the stockpile of pills for this eventuality, so it was only a matter of time really. I washed the pills down with beer, sat around for ten minutes then freaked out, tried to vomit – no such luck, then told my wife who drove me to the local hospital. Shortly afterwards I was in an ambulance going to the big hospital. It was terrible, my heart rate was cruising at around, well actually I don’t know, high, they put me on a drip with some sort of sedative to control my heart rate and sent me to observation.
I told the doctors it was a big mistake which by then I was sure it was. OK, not 100%, but enough to believe in it. Also I had my wife with me, she was fairly distraught. Is that an understatement? Yes. I felt so guilty about what I was putting her through. It just felt like a bad dream and it couldn’t be happening, the narrow bed, the wires that wouldn’t let me get comfy and every time I moved alarms went off and nurses came in. I was in for 24 hours then was clear to stagger out holding onto the walls.
Anyway. This blog is not about that attempt, but I mention it to give you an idea of some of my motivation for The Big Plan.
Here’s how the thinking works. I am fucked off with life. I am not a shit. Life is ruled by shits. Have a look at who’s in charge, anywhere you go. Nasty narcissistic scumbags. Not all, certainly there are a few good men/women. But by and large, they are wankers. If you don’t believe this then I’m afraid you too are one of these wankers. So what do I do? Knuckle down, try to be a good guy and make the most of life? Or accept that I am perpetually bored of all matters, and don’t like the way things are going down? Seems an easy choice to me. Death is not scary, it is an absence of fear, of hate. A big fuck you to existence, no easy head-down carrying on. A statement. I’ve had a look at this life business and I think I’d be happier not existing.
Or…yeah…back in the hamster wheel, whether it be getting out of my head or pretending that creativity gives me a raison d’etre, when really it just gives me another knife to stick in myself. Slightly persuading myself here.
The Big Plan had some prerequisites. A fast death. A certain death. A suitable location.
A fast death because I am scared of it. I didn’t want any chance of second thoughts and certainly no period of thinking, “I am past the point of no return, I am going to die and I can’t change it.”
A certain death because I am a coward. I did not ever want to see the consequences of my actions after a failed attempt. The guilt I felt from the overdose made me want to be sure. I would have used a gun if one was easily procured in this country. But no such luck.
A suitable location because although I like to be logical, there is a poetic side of me.
OK. So here’s the plan.
Equipment: Large dose of valium. Mp3 player. Towel.
Location: A section of the railway nearby is blasted out of bedrock. I wanted to die in this wound in the world.
Actions: Take valium. Drive to the parking space near the path I’d seen to the track. Quick over the low gate. MP3 player on full volume through headphones. I’d place the towel on the rail then lie with my head on the towel looking away from the direction of the train. Wait.
I just let a deep breath out. I don’t like visualising that. This is the plan that lead me to be hospitalised. I had been, still am, seeing a support worker – Samantha, who dealt in rehab since I had the suicide attempt. I told her the plan, not thinking that much of it, but to get it off my chest, and she asked me to make a doctor’s appt – think I got an emergency one the next day. This lead to a trip to see a psychiatrist in what I didn’t realise was the psychiatric ward. I was asked about the plan, having to explain it over a few times. I was asked about whether I thought people were following me. No. Thus, I was released, well that and the fact the Samantha had come with me and had said that she didn’t think I should be detained.
A follow-up appointment was planned. After that, I was really ready to implement that plan, I was on for the next bed that came up for a detox. Like some sort of executive club. I arranged with my work that I would be off for two weeks at short notice, made it sound like I needed some sort of operation. Then the phone call came. Two days notice.
That’s the worst part. I assure you there will be less of that sort of stuff in future episodes.
Writing has been taking a back seat lately to music. Here’s the inital results on youtube.
After months of avoiding writing; recording songs, going to art classes, playing computer games, drinking too much etc. I have decided to throw off the covers and get back out of bed. I’ve got a load of ideas buzzing around, and some new techniques I want try.
New poem online at everydaypoets.
My Gameboy Horror Flash read by Matt Cowens.
I’m very happy with the professional job Matt did with the story.
Hope that works. Messy.
Last week I received my first ever rejection email. How exciting. I knew it would be coming, as after submitting the confused mess of a story to the website, I thought: that’s a big load of crap. But I think that about everything I write so I decided to let it ride. The problems pointed out make perfect sense in that I crammed a 3000 word story into 1000 words to fit the entry requirements and my ham-handed attempt at farce did not work at all. I would post it here but it’s plain embarassing.
I feel a little scared about sending anything else out at the moment, I mean, one rejection I can take, but two? I’ve still got a couple of stories waiting for assessment at a couple of publishers, they might work.
So anyway, this is to say goodbye to Luddock’s Departure and may I never send out crap like that again!
I don’t know where I’m at now, at the moment the stuff I’m working on is the truth, ugly or freaky little moments from my childhood and teen years that I’m really just changing the names. I suspect this may be cheating for a fiction writer but they just have such a different feeling about them, true, not contrived. I might try sending one out and see what people make of it.
I think I’ll vomit some more ancient low quality poetry up for any language masochists out there.
Lots of famous people were depressed. Writers, artists, composers. So I have been told by my counsellor. As though to be mentally ill is some sort of badge of honour, some sort of stigmata of the gifted.
Well, I don’t find it aids the creative process, it just makes me feel like shit. At my lowest, there’s no great output, just the hateful ranting of a small child. I’m trying to come to terms with being mediocre at all this stuff. There’s a lot of seriously good writers out there.
Sometimes I can write myself out of the bullshit in my head, but more often I can’t. The problem is plotting, I just can’t plot when I’m not right in the head. I find plotting the most bothersome part of this whole business, to actually come up with something interesting and entertaining and maybe even surprising. The dialogue, description and setting are just joining the dots.
I’m not even sure I like writing. I mean when something works it’s a real thrill, but most of the time it’s just slog, dead ends and head scratching. I’m really positive right now.
This story was published today in Deadman’s Tome – a horror ezine. Again I don’t think it was horrific but it had to go somewhere. First and last time I give away a story for free…it’s a longer piece and I prefer writing longer stuff. It’s about witchcraft, blackmail and greetings cards. It’s all a bit bizzare-o, I’m still not sure about it. It starts on page 63 of the new issue (June 10)
This is a short (horror-ish) story about a boy finding a magic toy with consequences. I wanted to write a story like this ever since I read “The Master Blaster” in a kids short story book when I was young.
You can follow me on Twitter: PaulWGGraham.