Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Everbody's changing....

This last week has been a time of beginnings and endings for all around me it seems. I have been carried away with this wave of change and tried to be there as solid ground for those caught up in the motion. Many have done the same for me and I have learnt how much it means.

Baby Rudy seemed wary of what was ahead, he arrived a full two weeks after the world had been expecting him and now he is here making up for his absence. He shocked his parents by not being a girl and wakes every hour to remind them.

I saw two other shattered faces last week, but these were broken with sorrow not joy. Their 29 year old sister, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, was taken away by a cancer only just discovered. They are being so brave and trying to stay positive. ‘She has done what she came here to do’ said my friend,’ it was time for her to go’. Tomorrow is her funeral, I hope they manage to set her free.

Yesterday, after four long patiently lived years, my friend was released from the high security hospital which had become his home. His room in the hostel is tiny and he has more clothes than sense. Last night I helped him to move some of it to his mum’s so he could at least get in the door. I left them to enjoy their first dinner together as a family. My friend waved me off with his 13 year old nephew’s arm draped tightly around his shoulder. So proud and happy to have his uncle back.

Other friends have fought through a terrible year with their beautiful daughter born with a physical deformity. She is a cheerful smiling little angel who can entertain me for hours. They have decided that Palmers Green is not the place to bring her up. This week end they packed up their house and headed to the sea. Excited and scared, they are off to start a new life, one in which their daughter will hopefully thrive and grow. They have not gone far but it seems like another world. I will have to start planning my road trips and getting over the mental block of the distance.

So apologies for the quietness. My brain has been taken up with taking it all in. There has been no space left with which to write.

Next week a rest by the sea for me, I am counting down the days.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Knife culture hits home

There is a teenage boy I have known for many years who, last week, admitted to his dad that he carries a flick knife.

This is a boy who snuggled up on my knee aged five years old and affectionately stroked my arm with his hand. Out of nowhere he asked ‘Do you like being white?’ flabbergasted by this from someone so young I stuttered a response ‘Of course’. As I composed myself I was drawn to ask the same, ‘Do you like being black?’ I said. He looked up at me with his beguiling brown eyes and sadly answered ‘no’.

It was ten years ago that this exchange took place yet it has never left me. It pierced my heart that someone so young could already sense the injustices of life. I wanted to hold him and protect him and tell him that everything would be alright. But he had a point, in the scheme of things he was right, my chances were better than his.

I proudly sat in church as I watched him and his bother serve as altar boys for many years. I was there at his confirmation as he stood shyly in his suit. He is a teenager now (and taller than me!) but has never lost that open affection. I am still greeted by an all-embracing hug, even if he only has a grunt to say. He is a boy I love dearly and he is carrying a knife. It breaks my heart and strikes fear inside.

He doesn’t have a great relationship with his dad, he hardly ever sees him in fact. Yet still he was inclined to tell him. Is this because it has become such commonplace? Was he saying it with pride? Or is this just what kids do now?

I can see how it happens, the peer pressure building up. If all your mates do it you will too. They all say they will never use it, but you never know. It only takes a moment, a second of blind panic and someone’s blood could be on your hands.

I am sending his uncles to try and talk some sense into him, but I fear it will take more than that to break the culture that is surrounding him and his friends.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kitchen update

Just returned from a very grim few days up north, more on that later.

However, I am pleased to report that a semblance of normality is in sight in my kitchen...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Firework frenzy

It’s time again for the annual month long explosion of fireworks in our streets. They seem, these days, to begin before Halloween and extend long after the celebration of the rumbling of Mr Fawkes.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to love fireworks. I remember, as a kid, the 5th November was cold, I mean properly cold. It was a Michelin man quantity of layers and still toes go numb kind of a cold. Not this dark soggy humid pretend sort of cold that seems to have come hand in hand with the noughties. That is fine by me, as I am not one of those people who relishes my blood being unable to heat up my furthest extremities. Give me heat and humidity every time.

It is not the apparent change in temperature which has marred my enjoyment of these colourful explosions. It is, I think, what happened to me on that tube last year. I wasn’t very close to the bomb, the explosion I heard wasn’t shocking or deafening, but now I am pathetic with any sort of sudden noise. They do not have to be loud, or even unexpected. Last week I watched as a bottle of Champagne was opened in the office. I have cracked open enough in my time to know it will result in a noise, a pop and a fizz kind of a noise. I watched, I waited, the cork flew out and simultaneously, unexpectedly, I screamed. The shriek was met with surprised stares followed by nervous laughter. ‘Holly that was pathetic’ someone said and don’t I know it, but it’s beyond my control.

I have seen glorious displays of fireworks all over the world. I greeted each explosion with a whoop and a laugh whilst revelling in the thud deep beneath my ribs. One day I hope to rediscover that exhilarating joy but this year I fear it will remain far from sight.

I know what they are when I hear the boom, it doesn’t even help when I can see them. Each bang and blast hits me with a sickening horror and fills me with terror and sadness. It’s stupid and irrational but I cannot overcome it. Fireworks take me back to bombs and death, sadness and guilt, all wrapped up in a beautiful display of glowing colour.

Last year I barricaded myself behind closed doors, turned the TV up loud and hit the bottle. This year I will be in a craggy fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall. I hope to join the locals at the mouth of the harbour and watch the explosions amongst the rapturous crowds. Perhaps the excitement will be contagious and they will help me to dispel my fears. I think it’s too soon to hope for enjoyment, but I am not going to run away and hide. I will force myself through because I want to overcome it. I don’t want to be a firework fearing casualty for the rest of my life. I want to be able to ooh and aah with a smile across my face that is true and heartfelt.

I don't know when that day will be or if I will ever find it. I don't want to forget but I want to move on and fireworks still take me back. I wrap myself in the comfort that others will be going through the same. Not only those from the tubes that day but our troops coming back from Iraq. The dogs will not be the only ones cowering under the kitchen table on the 5th November, and I will be thinking of all of you who will be down there with me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now the Home Boy is breaking ranks

Yesterday the Independent reported that even John Reid has realised that his back is up against the wall (a situation sorely familiar to him from his days as enforcer for his comrades in Glasgow I’m sure). A huge about turn is occurring out there and I take my hat off to General Sir Richard Dannat for sticking his neck, and his job, on the line and adding much needed fuel to the fire:

‘Sir Richard said the presence of British troops in Iraq was exacerbating the security situation. On Monday night, the Home Secretary, John Reid also broke ranks by admitting for the first time at a private meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that foreign policy was contributing to the radicalisation of young Muslims in Britain.’

We tried and tried, at our meeting with Dr Reid , to persuade him to accept the contribution of British foreign policy towards the ever increasing threat of terrorism in this land:

“The question of the influence of Iraq came up and was, again, dismissed. 4 terrorist attacks have been prevented in this country in the last 15 months, he told us. I asked him how many had been uncovered prior to 7th July. I was hoping for it to be less and that giving me an opening to ask him why he thought that was. He was one step ahead though (that is why he is Home Secretary and I am not) and didn’t answer. Instead he told us that the first al Qaeda plot to be foiled in this country was in 2000 in Birmingham. He kept doing that, throwing in facts that we were bound to not know thus tripping us up on our way. In his opinion the first war in Iraq had a greater radicalising affect than this one. ‘Jermaine Lindsay, at the time was 4’, someone helpfully pointed out ‘I doubt he was radicalised by it at that age, do you?’”

We tried, without success, and yet he too is now beginning to accept that it is undeniable.

Today we are told by the front page of the Guardian that , according to anti terror chiefs Britain is now the No 1 al-Qaida target in the world.

I may have been tempted, some months ago, to dismiss this as propaganda and scare mongering, but now I’m afraid that I believe it, and I am scared. Scared, not really for myself, as we who have been involved in incidents of terrorism before are statistically the safest people in the country, but scared for others. The thought of the lives that could so needlessly be lost and destroyed fills me with fear and despair. I cannot bear the prospect of watching what we have been through being replayed in front of my eyes with others as the victims. It hapens every day in Iraq and God forbid it should happen again here too.

One senior counter-terrorism source sums up the threat in a terrifyingly simplistic way. "It's like the old game of Space Invaders," he said "When you clear one screen of potential attackers, another simply appears to take its place."

Where are all these Space Invaders coming from? What is the cause of their radicalisation and the endless supply? We have been so busy throwing our men into Iraq that we have taken our eyes off the ball. Al Qaeda have been free to replenish and create a more formidable structure than ever. According to the Guardian report today they are now a group united by far more than just ‘an idea’, they are becoming an organisation as formidable and professional as the IRA was in its heyday.

I am suddenly willing Tony Blair to stay on, the tide is beginning to change so fast now, he may have to finally admit that mistakes were made. I don’t think he should be allowed to escape from this, he should stand up and apologise to his country. For he, who is ultimately charged with ensuring our safety, is putting our lives at risk.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Let's pretend

I’m holed up in my bedroom playing make believe. In the days when I used to travel incessantly on business I loved retreating to my hotel room at the end of a day and decadently eating my room service dinner whilst lying on my bed and watching movies.

Tonight I am doing the same. The difference being that I am surrounded by an in orderly heap of everything I own. The rest of my flat (‘the rest’ being one other room) is a building site. The downfall of open plan habitation is that when you have your kitchen re done your entire living space is wiped out in a single blow.

I have managed to blag dinner at friend’s for the rest of the week. But the rag doll exhaustion which has been afflicting me since I cut down my anti D’s makes that a surprisingly unattractive prospect. I am quite revelling in the debauchery of slumping on top of my duvet, fag in hand, with a glass of red teetering on my bedside table.

I am old enough to admit publicly to my anal tendencies. My flat (with the help of my ever faithful cleaner) is usually immaculate with everything having a place of it’s own. My built in wardrobes are my pride and joy. My (abovementioned) cleaner infuriates me with her inability to learn, after four long years, that there is one pigeon hole for long sleeved tops, one for T shirts and another for summer vests. It’s not that difficult. She slips those vests into the long sleeved hole on purpose I think, to try and lighten me up. She fails every time.

The deep rooted cause of these anal tendencies, I suspect, is total disorganisation and a non functioning memory. If I don’t keep everything in a constant location I will lose it in a flash.

I am trying to maintain order throughout this chaotic existence, if only to maintain my sanity. Once I start losing things I will lose my mind. I am playing at make believe to the best of my ability, I’m in Milan, in a hotel, room service is on its way.

It will all be worth it when my gleaming kitchen is in place, I’ll have a dishwasher and a laundry room (cunningly disguised as a broom cupboard). I will feel so grown up I won’t be able to look myself in the face. I feel a domestic goddess in the making.

Eight days they said, but then they are builders.

What a Bore

Do people not read books in this country any more? David Blunkett has published his recorded diaries, as a book. Fine, if you want to read it buy it. But it seems there is a countrywide mission to ensure that they cannot be escaped….newspaper serialisations, radio serialisations and last night I caught a TV serialisation! What a load of self pitying, self absorbed, not to mention badly written, and unbearably dull old twaddle it all is.

He is clearly looking for the sympathy vote, God he has had two chances and messed them both up, now he’s threatening to come back for more. Are we supposed to forget his dangerously draconian days in office? Are we to believe that he was really against invading Iraq and so was Gordon but Bair bullied them into it? Is he trying to get into bed with Brown so that, should he be the next to lead the party, it might actually be third time lucky for the Blunkett Boy?

And then there’s the sycophantic, almost maternal, voicing of his concerns about Blair’s health. I am not even going to credit him with spending the time to find the stuff and quote him, but along the lines of ‘I am worried about him, he looks exhausted, I fear he is pushing himself too far’….blaah blaah. Whilst at the same time telling us how he himself was crumbling under the pressure.

So the Cabinet is composed of a bunch of over tired, over worked, over emotional yet over egotistical politicians. It’s hardly news and hardly worth a book.

I hope the press interest crashes and burns..fast…I had already heard enough from that man before he chose to throw himself into the public eye yet again.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Speaking your mind

This morning I passed a young man in the street happily chatting away. Initially I assumed he was on the phone, but as I overtook him I realised he was chuntering away to no one in particular.

When my friend was at his most ill he talked to himself almost incessantly. It was hard work to break through, to get him to focus on you and to hold a conversation for a moment or two. I have never known if he was conversing with himself or the voices in his head.

He was living in squalor, never washed or shaved, hardly slept and ate almost nothing. For someone usually so proud of his outward appearance he seemed oblivious to his shabby attire and skinny frame.

Despite his total lack of conscious awareness something seemed to kick in when he spoke aloud in public. Somewhere within his muddled mind even he knew that it was not right. He was unable control it or to stop his constant mutterings but he did his best to disguise it. He held a clenched fist to his right ear, cocked his head to one side and chatted away as if talking on the phone. It was an ingenious act of deception and totally subconscious, I think.

The old saying tells us that ‘talking to yourself is the first sign of madness’. This is not strictly true as you can be extremely sick without engaging in the act of solo conversation. Something about this anecdote from the past has stuck with us throughout the centuries and talking to oneself remains a social taboo. This was the only piece of social etiquette that remained with my friend throughout his illness so strongly was it ingrained.

Yet we all do it, every day I suspect, well I certainly do. Only yesterday I opened my broom cupboard as a plastic bucket crashed to the floor. I squealed and cursed out loud. I talk to myself as I walk through the streets, particularly when I am lost. Little words of encouragement; ‘this must be it’ as I near the next turning, or a telling off for losing my way.

I wonder if we would all do it rather more if we weren’t so conditioned into thinking it was weird. You don’t find dogs inhibited about barking if they are alone for no one to hear. Birds joyfully chirp from the top of a tree ‘It’s time, I’m horny, come shag me!” So why do we humans fight so hard to keep it in? Perhaps we should let it out more. It only seems to come out when our guard is down, whether from shock, frustration or illness. This might lead us to believe that our natural instinct is to talk away whether in company or not.

The voice in my head is always there. I think in words as well as emotions and the voice is definitely mine. Sometimes I wonder if, when I speak, it is really that voice coming through. It may always be influenced by company or situations and adapt itself each time. I am certain that my sentences, when spoken to clients, are constructed slightly differently to when I am in the pub with my mates. The words in my head however are constant and true.

A part of me envies those with the freedom to let this voice out. I am not sure I ever do when I open my mouth. The only way I feel able to manifest my true words is to write them down in silence. Perhaps that is the pleasure, the joy and the release of composing your thoughts into written words. Words that are ultimately pure and unaffected in every way.

So maybe we should all learn a lesson from our uninhibited friends and chat and chunter a little more to ourselves. Try it tomorrow and see how it feels, go on, be brave and speak your mind.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Drastic action is required

This morning I forgot to straighten my hair. Let me repeat that in case it failed to sink in .....

This morning I forgot to straighten my hair!

I will put this into context for those of you unable to grasp the shocking nature of this small but significant occurrence. I am a hair straightening addict. The day I brought my hot irons home was a turning point in my life. No longer would I fling my overheated hair dryer across the room in frustration as I tried to blow out every crimp and curl.

No price is too high for these ceramic babies which glide across my frizzy locks transforming them into a glistening mass of straightness. I never leave the house without them packed in my overnight bag. I favour hats over umbrellas for guaranteeing immaculate hair at the end of a rainstorm. A bandana never leaves my head when sailing or swimming, for although I cannot fight the curling affects of salt water, I can at least hide it.

My hairdresser recoils in horror as I present him, every few months, with a burnt and shriveled excuse for a hairstyle. ‘It just needs a little trim’ I try to convince him, ‘then it will be fine’.

This morning, as I sat on the tube, nose buried in my paper, a lone ringlet floated before my eyes. I swept it aside and seconds later it sank it; that was MY hair…and it was CURLY!

I had confidently emerged from my house with a curling mass of locks adorning my head and been oblivious. I had left the building without a burning piece of ceramic coming within sight of my hair. What was I thinking?

This is too much, it’s gone too far. It’s time to call my shrink.

UPDATE: Sunny et al, you will be pleased to hear thatI have given my hair the freedom to curl as it wishes all weekend and the unanimous feedback has been positive. The ceramics will come out again tomorrow though I'm afraid, the ringlets are not quite ready for a weekday appearance yet!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We're all in this together

Ruth Kelly today announced that she is going to, ‘in the future’ increase funding for ‘organisations that are taking a proactive leadership role in tackling extremists and defending our values’.

I am getting tired of this Government’s continuing message that it is up to the Muslim community to sort out extremism. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, of course they have a responsibility, but so do we all.

In the same speech to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, established after 7 July, she says’ In our attempt to avoid imposing a single British identity and culture, have we ended up with some communities living in isolation of each other, with no common bonds between them?’

So on the one hand she is advocating cohesion and on the other she is telling Muslims to sort it out themselves and if they’re good she’ll bung a bit of cash their way.

How can she complain of ‘communities living in isolation’ whilst at the same time advocating faith schools? The phenomenon of extremism is deep rooted, there is no quick fix solution to this, we need to be looking at long term solutions, not headline grabbing policies. Whilst tackling the current problem in our midst we need to look to the future, to the next generation, to the children.

I was born, bred and schooled in London. I am used to living and working with people from all sorts of ethnic origins. My parents and my grandparents, however, are not. It is ignorance and unfamiliarity which grows the seeds of prejudice and fear. My parents have come out with some clangers in their time. If I ever have children I will want them to grow up in an even more multicultural environment than I did, I will want them to be familiar with those that are different from an early age and to learn judge people by what is inside.

How can we expect children, being educated in all white, all black, all Muslim, all Jewish schools, to name but a few, to be any more accepting than our grandparents? We can’t.

The way to instil common values, is to teach common values, together. Not to separate us at birth then expect us to grow up the best of friends. We need to learn to know each other before we can find respect.

At the same time we cannot ignore the current problems of alienation. We need to embrace that too. We need to work together as a community and let the moderate Muslims know that we are all striving towards the same goals. The majority of Muslims want peace in this land, as do the majority of citizens. The extremists are a tiny percentage. We need to take their target away from them.

When I saw the video of Mohammed Sidique Khan, telling me I had been attacked because I supported this Government and it’s policies in the Middle East I shouted back at the TV ‘I didn’t’. I marched against the war, I voted against this Government after the invasion of Iraq. I fundamentally didn’t support it. And you know what, I can see why they are angry and so can thousands of others. The ‘them and us’ in this battle of wills needs to be between moderate peace loving citizens and the extremist violent ones. We need to embrace the majority of Muslims, tell them we are on their side, we understand their frustrations and fight the injustices together.

That way we start to diffuse the target, we isolate the extremists from their community, take away their justification for their actions. They are not just attacking the values of non Muslims any more, they are up against their whole community. We need to stop this media frenzy of demonisation of Muslims and start talking to them as friends, as allies, as people who are threatened as much as we by this hatred amongst our ranks.

We are all in this together after all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

They’re all coming out of the woodwork

What has Stephen Fry started? Or is it the fact that tomorrow is
World Mental Health Day
? Whatever it is, depression suddenly seems to be the thing. First there was Stephen and Robbie. Hot on their heels came Ulrika. On Saturday David Blunkett told the Independent of his 'madness and depression' caused by the Quinn affair

‘At one point, I really did think I was going mad. My whole world was collapsing around me. I was under the most horrendous pressure.’

Yesterday it was Alastair Campbell’s turn to talk about the devastating affect David Kelly’s death had on his mental health:

‘He talks about the "nightmare" impact of the Hutton inquiry, how the death of Dr David Kelly was his "worst day" - and how his experience of a crippling breakdown in his 20s helped him to cope. He said: "It [the Hutton saga] was one of those episodes where things spiraled out of control... I felt completely confident in relation to the facts but during the whole period it was a nightmare. And you are thinking, 'There's this guy for whom it's been such a nightmare he's killed himself'."’

He goes on to say:

‘Depression should be properly recognised as an illness and openly talked about like "a broken leg".

"There is a lot of stuff in the media which quite frankly doesn't matter a damn. But this area [mental health] does have an impact on how people are treated. The most worrying thing is the constant association between violence and mental illness. Mental illness is not just about risk or violence. It's about all of us."

Good for him, good for all of them. I have always made a point of talking about everything my friend has gone through with his schizophrenia, and I do the same with everything I have been through in the last few months. It is amazing when you do bring it out in the open how many people start to admit what they have been through.

I’ve just watched Channel 4’s Dispatches. An undercover reporter worked in several psychiatric wards over a year and came back with some shocking footage. Shocking, perhaps, to some. Sadly it was all too familiar to me, it echoed what I have seen nearly every Sunday for the last 6 years and what my friend has reported back to me. 3 people have killed themselves on his ward in the last 2 years and one of those was a nurse.

‘One patient sums up her experience by saying: "It's the best way to make someone have a nervous breakdown, being in this place." Another says: "If you're not mad when you come in, you will be by the time you leave."’

We all need to keep on talking and the Government need to keep listening. The way the mentally ill are treated in this country is something we should all be ashamed off. The patients and the staff are being let down by under funding and poor management, and there is absolutely no excuse for it.

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day, so do your bit; listen and talk and share a thought for all those we are letting down. I am going to UCL to help them in their research. They are evaluating the NHS response after the London Bombings, it seems like a fitting thing to do.

And in the meantime here are some stats you may care to ponder:

· In the UK, there are more suicides on Mondays than on any other day of the week.

· 1 in 10 people will have some form of depression at any one time.

· By the year 2020, it is estimated that depression will be second only to heart disease as an international disease and disability burden.

· Around half of all people with depression do not go to their GP. Two-thirds of those who do see their GP present with physical ailments or sleeping problems rather than psychological symptoms.

· In 2002 / 2003, the economic and social cost of mental health problems in England stood at £77 billion.

· Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years.

· 40 per cent of older people living in care homes are depressed.

· Approximately 2 million people of working age in Britain are currently taking psychiatric drugs.

· Job applicants with a diagnosis of diabetes are significantly more likely to be offered a position than applicants with a diagnosis of depression, all other factors being equal.

· One in ten children aged 5 to 15 experience clinically defined mental health problems.

More over here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Take that paper bag off your head before you talk to me!

There are days, and this is one of them, when the thought of venturing out of the house would be so much less daunting if I could throw a paper bag over my head. Peeping out of two, roughly cut, eye holes I would feel protected, comforted and hidden by my anonymity. Much as I imagine celebrities feel when adorned with base ball hats and sunglasses. Some days you just cannot face the world, nor do you feel that it should be subjected to facing you. On days such as this a paper bag would do nicely.

There is something about wearing a crumpled piece of brown paper on your head which is not yet socially acceptable in this country. I yearn for the day when our society is integrated and open minded enough to enable me to walk, head held high, adorned with my chosen headgear without fear of rotten apple throwing, name calling or taunting.

The etiquette of head garment wearing is steeped in history. Hats to a wedding, but not to eat in. Many a time I have munched my way through a five course dinner, chit chatting politely to strangers, with a deep red welt across my forehead and an indented ridge around my crisply ironed hair. Hiding the hat beneath my chair, only to be tripped over by fumbling waiters, I puzzle over the logic. Do your hair, ruin it with hat, remove hat to expose disastrous hair for all to see. It is at this point I long to reach for the brown paper bag.

There is a side of me which has always thought that a burkha was a damn fine substite for a head covering bag. What a relief it must be to wake up with your bad face on and to engulf your body with a piece of black cloth. I think everyone should have a burkha wearing day in their life.

The problem arises, however, when you wake up feeling great and want to proclaim this to the passing world. You plough through every garment in your wardrobe, trying to find the ultimate combination of clothes and accessories with which to accentuate your best and hide your worst. Successfully having achieved this goal, you strut your stuff in front of a full length mirror admiring your handiwork and applying various coloured substances to your face. It all comes together in a vision of confidence and style, you feel like a million dollars. You pick out a co ordinating coat, the finishing touch, grab your keys and prepare to rock the world with your morning vision. As you open the front door, smell the breeze in the air, your husband’s hand descends upon your shoulder. ‘Don’t forget your paper bag’ he says and shatters your world.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's with the moose?

The most common random Google which leads people to this site is something along the lines of 'moose loose about this hoose' which takes them to this post I wrote an age ago.

What's that all about?! It's something my dad used to say when we were young in his Scottish twang. Why so many people are Googling it beats me!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm half way there

It is now seven weeks since I halved my dose.
It’s been a hard slog but I’m starting to win.
I made the decision to do this alone, visiting the doctor seemed pointless.
My mind was set and it couldn’t be changed, I was ready and that was that.

After weeks of fighting the turmoil inside I finally succumbed to the advice of my friends.
‘You can’t do this alone, go get some support or you won't come out the other end'.
I picked up the phone and found a slot that was right at the end of the day.
At least it meant the week end could begin before it usually does.

I don’t really have a GP as such. I usually see whoever I am given.
It is always a gamble and I sometimes I lose.
This time I came up trumps.
She had actually read my notes, for a start, and knew why I was taking these things.

Her eyes grew with surprise as I told her my tale;
‘I’ve been biting them in half for a month!’
‘There are pill-cutters, you know?’ she smiled with despair,
‘I’ll give you a smaller dose’.

I described my fatigue and my aching head and the sleep that was broken each night.
‘Stay on this dose for a while’ she said.
See if it settles and come back in three weeks.

So on I struggled and gave up the booze, it only makes me cry.
I can’t go out as I’ll only succumb, so it’s been a dull old time.
The friends were back on the case again, ‘vitamins are what you need!’
My pharmacist told me B was the thing mixed with vitamin C.
I bought a brown bottle, they stink to high heaven, and consequently so does my pee.

Perhaps that was it or perhaps it’s just time but the gloom is beginning to clear.
In time it will settle and then I’ll go back and cut my dose again.
I’m tired of it all but I know I’ll succeed, this is the only way through.
I need a break, to walk on a beach and fill my lungs with sweet tasting air.

I might go to Scotland and hide on an island; fill my ears with melodious words.
Just be alone with my thoughts and myself and write it all down in the sand.
Wherever I go, whatever I do I'm just seeking peace in the end.
A moment for me away from my life, then come back and start over again.