Monday, January 31, 2022

Bottom

 Just listened to https://www.ukhealthradio.com/blog/program/the-d-word/ where I was interviewed by the very nice Pete Hill for UK Health Radio. I must stop saying "kind of". Maybe I just did it on the show as I was nervous. Do I say it a lot? I hope I don't. It's very annoying.

I hit a low Friday/Saturday. I'm currently finding typing very difficult too - lots of wrong keys being hit. 

The low was preceded by being very active on Thursday.  I was busy all day and achieved quite a lot. It turned out to be too much mental exertion.

So Friday Ben and Becks came down to visit us from Cardiff. They arrived just before 10 after a very long drive (don't worry - I won't go into details) and we had a nice time. My speech was rather jittery and I found making fluent sentences quite difficult.

I can't actually remember much else about the day. Making new memories is proving to be quite elusive these days.

Saturday I was completely whacked out. Again, I can't really remember much. We all sat down and had a full English breakfast which Ben and I cooked. I made a joke saying that Ben was my minion in the whole operation. Silence. Whoops. Recognising my poor attempt at humour I apologised.

I did quite a bit of shopping. I guess I did okay. By the evening Gabriel had joined us and we all went to a wonderful Indian restaurant 

I found all the chattering and noise quite difficult but I got used to it. Jacqui had suggested I bring my noise-cancelling headphones along which I did, but didn't use. I couldn't really join in very well. I looked the other way, not to be difficult but it's what you end up doing; looking the other way and not really thinking of very much. 

"It'll all be over soon." Almost words of comfort you tell yourself when you're not really able to join in. 

I also tell myself that when someone's talking to me and it's really boring. My attention span was always short for things I'm not very interested in (which is most things) but now it's a gnat's pube in length.

The food was sensational, and with a couple of beers to the good and lovely company I was now able to join in. I was very concerned that evolution should have allowed the soft-shell crab, which was one of the starters. I didn't want to eat it as I felt nature had been unfair in perpetuating such a thing.

Jacqui was really attentive and caring for my well-being - I was good - and I wanted her to enjoy the evening as she had all her babies around the table (plus me of course). Am I a baby now? Oh god...

Sunday we (Me, Jono, Adrian, Jon Higgins and Calum) played Traveller. It was great with Adrian GMing. Great fun. He has a savant-like ability to manage a game. Whilst I like to visually imagine the players in the setting, Adrian says he can't do that but can see the plot of the whole  scenario in some way. Bear in mind that with the players' actions being non-linear all of this can change in an instant. He's able to adapt with anything that's thrown into the mix and there is no drop off in pace or pauses. It's quite an ability. 

So that was great fun. And my belly got even bigger with the wonderful beer Rick sells at The Willoughby.

I got back and Ben and Becks had gone back to Cardiff. Gabriel, R and J were in the front room watching the nincompoops on The Apprentice. I joined in.

DMing tonight so I'm going to prep now. I've done the hard work so it's more of a refresher before we start. 

Wish me luck x



Friday, January 28, 2022

I need to talk about stationery


My lovely stationery

Above is a selection ladies and gentlemen, of my lovely stationery. By sharing this you will now think I am really cool and want to be my friend etc. I need ALL of these pencils and the Post-its but especially the tabs. I love tabs. (As you can see.)

They have to be actual Post-it notes and not imposters as the others never stick or stay put long enough. I despair of stationery suppliers who try to fob me off with 3rd party sticky notes. I mean, what are they trying to pull here? Do they take me for a fool?

The highlighters at the bottom of the shot are Japanese. I took a while to find these. They're not quite the colours I would have chosen but what's great about them is they have a really weird window in the nib so I guess you can see the characters as you highlight so you can highlight individual Japanese characters. Makes sense.

Propus highlighter nib

I use pencils and fountain pens to write with. I am known for my handwriting. I use a Rotring Art Pen 1.1 and a Cross fountain pen for my diary. The Cross has the best flow of a fountain pen I've ever used. Not too much and not too dry - just right. I prefer Waterman ink to Parker Quink. The latter is acknowledged as the best but that's my personal preference.

By the way, I really really hate it when people borrow a rubber at gaming sessions and don't give it back IMMEDIATELY. This is very egregious behaviour and is very difficult to tolerate. They should work on this.

Talking of gaming, most players are pretty OCD (can you imagine!) and like to keep their books pristine. I used to be like that, but I grew out of it and these days - with my brain being what it is - I have to do a lot of background work before a game session.

It's very difficult to retain new information, and there can be a lot of it. For the game to flow I need to cram as much information as I can. The only way I can do this is to precis the whole book along with highlighting and tabbing the information within.

It takes about maybe 12 hours to prep around 20-30 pages.

WARNING! This following image would be considered desecration to a lot of gamers:

Covered in tabs, Post-its and highlighter

An A5 notebook with my summation of the text

I also buy a third party set of notes on the adventure so I can cross-reference those AS WELL and check if I've got the gist right. I have them as PDFs on my iPad when I'm Dungeon Master. It's the only way I can do it. Having all these resources also gives me the confidence to DM. I guess it's like a performer (say, Ozzie Osbourne) going through rituals before they go on stage. It's only before all these are completed thoroughly that I can feel relaxed enough to deliver a good session. I'm a people-pleaser by nature so I want everyone to have a good time, and this will all make me feel confident and we'll get a good result.

Here are some of my dice. I have to buy new ones now and again as they run out of juice and don't roll high enough, so having the new ones lets the older ones recharge. There are a lot of people like me who think like this (although not all of them will admit it) and again, this is perfectly normal.
Some of my lovely dice
So I've done my prep for The Final Enemy and I'm now thinking what else do I need to do? I had a really productive and busy day yesterday but today I feel rather dizzy. I might have overdone it. But sometimes it's worth doing. Poor night's sleep though. One of those where I fought a mighty battle against the duvet.
I guess I'll read through everything on the day and add some more touches - like the characters of the boatmen who take them to the isle, weather, encounters on their journey there etc.

I'll be DMing more next week too - a Sunday session at the club where it can get very noisy and some of the players can be quite disruptive. We'll see how that goes nearer the time. I happened to have prepped this particular adventure - a 3-4 hour one we call a One-Shot  - about a year ago so that will give me a head-start.

But anyway, that's stationery and how it helps me. Aren't I great? YES.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Boring

People with dementia are tedious. 

I know because I can be very tedious. And to prove it I wrote all this myself.

I was irritating before I even got dementia, so I must be bloody awful now. 

I'm also incredibly intolerant. Always was, always will be, and increasingly so with FTD.

I don't know how Roberta, Nikki, Claire and all those in Rare Dementia Support manage it. They're so patient. Angels, the lot of them. I couldn't do their job at all.

I'd be like Mark Baum from The Big Short where he arrives late for his therapy meeting, barges in talking over someone who's disclosing something really personal and rants about his job, then can't see why people are upset.

(I don't think I'm actually like this but it's something to aim for.)

When we do the monthly chats sometimes my brain is going at a thousand miles an hour and we all have to wait patiently as each person relates what they've been up to. And it's usually something quite mundane - few of us work anymore - so there's not a great deal to say. I'm one of the youngsters (which is nice...in a way) and listening to the old folk and even some of the younger ones is sometimes difficult. It's dependent of course on the individual's level and type of dementia.

For example Mrs Brady always tells us about what they're doing to the pavements and the biscuit aisle at Tescos is in a terrible state since they got that new manager. Someone else has trouble speaking so that's difficult for everyone; them especially. Another person doesn't stop speaking, and someone else always mentions a famous person they speak to regularly who I hate and we all have to suck it up.

Welcome to Dementia support groups. We're all completely different yet bound by an umbrella term. Should be a sitcom. Ricky Gervase would do it justice, as long as he's not in it.


Peter Andre

I'm having a bad week. Sorry to carp on about it. I can't start anything: even D&D stuff. 

We walked the dogs this morning and I walked down the road to Charlotte's to get some bread. I say that like they're achievements. That's where we're at. That's dementia. It's giving yourself a pat on the back for achieving almost fuck all.

Why is this happening? Executive functions are manifestly offline and I want to achieve some stuff but all I can do is watch YouTube clips and write this crap. I am engaged in an almost entirely passive capacity to everything. 

I know I should be doing something, just something. I could roll that character up or make notes from the next part of the adventure, or vacuum the house. And then those thoughts vanish into the ether and hours roll by watching YT clips.

Actions, a to-do list; like helium balloons rising higher and higher, they're just out of my reach or I can't grab or if I do I can't hold onto them. Can't quite make out what the tasks are - vaguely here or there then the writing fades away, and the thought is erased.

Another thing with dementia: standards of hygiene and dress-sense erode. I now need to make a concerted effort to take a shower everyday. Sorry if that's TMI.

This was my favourite jumper which I was still wearing but shouldn't have been. I did buy 2 new pairs of jeans the other day, but my shopping trips are militaristic in their execution - in and out with no deviation - so I didn't even think to look for jumpers, nor did it even occur to me that I needed new ones.

I slightly drool out of the right side of my mouth. This is a dementia-related thing - v standard. The tongue is the only organ directly controlled by the brain (cool fact, eh?) and is responsible for swallowing so it all correlates with brain shrivel.

Heard some awful news about a poor woman who has FTD and is behaving completely inappropriately in front of her 2 year old daughter. So cruel isn't it? Her poor husband. 

One of these days there'll be drugs to prevent these dementias from taking hold. As advanced as our medicine is it will be too late for the likes of me. I'm resigned to that fact though, but I think the future is good for dementia treatment.

Btw (stands for 'by the way'), I couldn't think of a title for it and then the image of Peter Andre appeared like a vision. What a genius that man is. Remember Insania?



Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Complete and utter garbage

I just cannot get going. My brain is a foggy soup. Like someone put a blender in my head.

Really tired on Monday. J says it's all the activity last week - friends staying over, socialising, gaming, drinking. I must admit that I was really on good form last week. This week I'm paying the price for that though.

Yesterday (that is the Monday) I was pretty crap. I accomplished a supermarket shop, not just for myself but for my friend Larry who lives in Surbiton and is isolating with Covid. That made me feel a little better.

Other than that I'm going round with random things playing in my head - Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band for one, the memory of which is better than the actual reality of listening to them. This is their best work however and still worth a listen. 

Talking of Vivian Stanshall, all my heroes are mavericks. People who did what they wanted and went out on a limb to do so and refused compromise. The antithesis of me. 


My typing is crap today. It's coming out in Polish. It's always the case when I'm in a trough period. I'm just going around making stupid jokes up, with random comedy skits like video clips playing in my head. I wish I could be of more use to Jacqui but instead I'm imagining Blakey from On the Buses, where he takes loads of angel dust and says "I'm gonna fuck you up Butler!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."

I'm also watching tons of stuff on Youtube which is my new job. (Doesn't pay very much.) Yesterday was Televangelists. Zappa used to call them 'Video Religion Preachers'. They were huge in the 80s and I thought most of them had died out, but there's a significant bunch siphoning money from the poorest people in the bible-belt. Scum like Kenneth Copeland and Peter Popoff.

Then it makes me angry. 

So today was Dr Michael J Burry, Steve Eisman and Michael Lewis. The latter wrote The Big Short which was made into the movie about the banking crisis in 2008. I didn't pretend to understand it all but it was fascinating listening to what they had to say

There is now a fucker outside with a petrol-driven leaf blower -"wahh-wahhh-wahhh-wahhh". You do not need to use a leaf blower on a concrete drive - just use a fucking broom like anyone else!!!

Where was I? I did some D&D last night. It was the D&G lot (dyslexic gamers). Only 3 of us but good fun. I was quite glad it was a short session as I've had trouble knuckling down to prepare due to the following:

  1. I got distracted with YouTube
  2. I got distracted with YouTube
  3. I can't remember
  4. Something about YouTube
  5. I just can't start anything
  6. I started, but I'm now on YouTube again
  7. I've now read the stuff which took forever because someone keeps putting YouTube back on, but I can't remember any of it
Do you see what I'm up against here?

Maybe I've got a devil in me and I need to see Kenneth Copeland and for a nominal fee towards another private jet I can be exorcised? It's a thought though, innit?

J says I need to explain more about my trouble with sequencing and planning. Stop ranting about stupid stuff. (The latter is my speciality, you may have noticed.) 

I shall have to think about this and write it another day. I'm just not in the self-analytical space right now (management-speak).

(...and stop putting the witty bit in brackets all the time...titter.)


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Brain fart #2

Mark stayed for 2 days. It was really nice. We walked the dogs, drank a lot of beer, made private jokes we wouldn't want anyone else to hear and played a game of D&D with 2 other friends who are neighbours. It was good fun.

My last post "Darkness' caused a bit of a stir with people asking if I should have written it at all. I'm feeling a little guilty over it but I have to be authentic in my own experience. Having talked to J about it she may well be writing her own response to it as her experience was of course markedly different from mine. We're perfectly over it of course. She may even write a parallel blog to this from her point of view as the long-suffering partner of an FTD(sv) patient. 

The thing is one of the main things in my condition is a lack of empathy, or the erosion of that part of my brain which is responsible for it. So I can be totally inappropriate in certain situations as I don't pick up on the mood or tone of the situation, then act in a completely contrary way to how I should. Then I get upset at the reaction. A lot like being a teenager in other words.

Yesterday Jacqui and I watched 'Nobody' which we really liked. J loves John Wick as well. We love a certain type of ultra-violence but not the other.

Today I am putting lots of hyperlinks into this blog, but the novelty is wearing a bit thin.

J is currently having a hair-do. I am writing this. This is as existential as it gets. 


Yesterday when Mark and I were walking the dogs, we decided to go a certain route in the park and this old guy was about 100 yards (91.44 meters) ahead of us. His old dog was lagging behind and did its business. The old guy was completely oblivious.

I called out "Hey, your dog's just done a shit there!" Shit was the only word that came to mind. Don't worry - it's only Old English so it's not swearing.

Fucker  looked at me then continued walking. The steam was rising from the turd in a most beautiful way in the low sun, clearly marking its position.

I saw red, then said to Mark that we should go a different route as I was going to be making a massive scene by screaming right in the dog-owner's face, and the park was very busy. So we veered off towards the ponds.

I'm glad I headed myself off at the pass, but equally I hope the dog owner falls over and hurts himself badly by sliding on a dog turd.


I also stopped myself going to the ponds as there are signs everywhere telling people to have their dogs on leads as the wildfowl get injured. Loads of cygnets have died recently as people's dogs have attacked them and there is a hospital which deals with the park animals who have suffered overwhelmingly from dog attacks. 

You point this out to people. Some ignore you. Now I can't deal with that, and there is a level of entitlement with people - especially in SW London - that rules are for little people and obeyance is for proles like you and me, but not them. Jacqui always leads me away from the ponds now, for the potential damage I will do to humans.

Maybe I should go on a lead?


That's enough for now, playmates.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Darkness

 I was in such a good mood this morning; bright and sharp and had all my wits about me. I had all my references to hand and could remember quotes and didn't have a word out of place, perfect recollection of facts, names, dates, places.

My friend Rupert was here. We had a lovely walk in the sunshine on a cold, frosty winter's day and then we said goodbye. Everyone had remarked on my lucidity. It's as though there was nothing wrong with me.

I'm high as a kite. I'm in the kitchen with J and I sing one verse and one chorus of a silly song called Jollity Farm (the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band version) and I'm promptly told to shut up. 

This could well be an annoying song for a lot of people, but I was only singing a song in my moment of joy. Why spoil a minute of daftness if someone is enjoying themselves?

Frontal-lobe overload. This was enough for my mood to swing in a very dark place.

4 hours have passed and I'm still unhappy. It's destroyed my upbeat mood for the day. I was always sensitive but now I can go ballistic in a heartbeat.  This was just sour.

I had to leave the house. I was swearing openly under my mask at the supermarket. I tried to rationalise why you'd be rude to someone just for singing. After all, R sings a lot and no one tells her to shut up quite as abruptly as that.

It was also the fact that I could remember the lyrics - that made me feel good. 

Shut up.

I start to analyse why I'm here in this house. What is this marriage? Are we still together because J has a sense of duty to care for a sick husband rather than actual love? As Prince Charles famously said, 'what is love?'

Like a lot of marriages, a cheery front can often enshroud underlying misery or stress. We reserve our dark sides for our loved ones. Not fair but who else can we vent on, if we don't have a therapist, or even if we do?

I won't be right for the rest of the day. I know that. At least I'm going out tonight. Maybe tomorrow I'll be cheery again.


And now it's the next day, and I've broadcast a private matter to whoever's listening. Odd that my mood can be cut off in such a trifling way. It so happened J was very stressed with work and I just happened to be very irritating to her. Just people, doing their own thing and jarring for a moment. I should really get some thicker skin, though I've been telling myself to do that for an awfully long time now.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Cheese-enhanced dreams

Drank too much and ate too much cheese in the evenings. I dreamt I was married to another woman and that was  - I was realising - a big mistake. I dreamt heavy smokers started turning into orcs in the street (just outside of Bentalls, as they do) , and I intimidated a cheeky person smaller than me because I could. God...

I did drink too much though. I need descaling. Joan, Jacqui's mum, left us today. She'd been staying with us since Thursday. It was nice to have her in the house. It sometimes feels like me and her versus them.

Being the outsider (Jacqui's second husband) to Jacqui and the kids is a, well, it's a different situation to being the father. It hasn't all been plain sailing. Everyone has their way of doing things, and routines, the hours they keep and so on. Anyone who's ever parachuted into a family will know what I'm talking about. I can be quite cranky but I'm pretty good to live with: I'm tidy and stuff. I try to do my best. Try to help the kids where I can - it makes me feel good to do something dad-like for them now and again. Less so these days as they're all adults (technically).

Why am I talking about this?

I guess I'm quite different to J & R in certain ways, and it comes to a head sometimes, and I can find myself in a minority of 1. It's nice to have J's mum here to put a different perspective on things. To see things from another point of view. None of us are necessarily wrong - the world isn't binary - just different, with different priorities and motivations. Sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees, and our minor differences can become big bones of contention. We take umbrage at perceived motivations or untidiness (my bugbear) but it's almost always benign. No one's doing anything deliberately evil.

Or maybe that's what they want me to think?


My friend Mark is coming on Wednesday to stay for a couple of days, which will be good. He is the funniest person I know. He also likes beer. I am conscious of the fact I'm drinking too much at the moment. Doesn't help with frontal-lobe anger management issues. Neither does it help with waistlines. After drinking some pretty weak beer yesterday afternoon I had a stronger beer in the evening, then a limoncello, then a Baileys. Pretty weird combo. At least they weren't in the same glass.

We're going to play some D&D with 2 neighbours on Thursday afternoon. Should be a good one.

I hope it goes well with Mark as I know I can be very quiet and solitary for long periods these days, which is possibly/probably quite disconcerting for other people. I hope it's not too boring for him.


Things I am watching on YouTube at the moment:

  1. Rugby league videos of Andrew Johns and Adrian Morley, although there is not enough footage of these guys.
  2. Abba
  3. Zappa - especially reactions to Inca Roads - my all-time favourite piece of music
  4. The Time Team -  I was considering becoming a field archaeologist before I retrained as a stonemason, as a result of watching The Time Team's first series. Funny how both of these professions deal with historical structures and also pay fuck all. One of my favourite programmes of all time.
  5. Bullshido: Bullshit martial arts. No-touch knockouts using Ki. Check it out. Hilarious. Less so for them when in their delusion they challenge mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighters. 
  6. Dungeon Dudes - best D&D discussion/break-down channel
  7. Dr Todd Grande -  psychiatrist speculates and hypothesises on a variety of people and subjects from a scientific standpoint. Wryly humorous and brilliantly insightful.
That'll do.






Saturday, January 15, 2022

Permanently knackered

Bloody Wilbur. Every morning he wakes me up between 4 and 5 with his front paws on the mattress, and I lift his carcass up off the floor onto the bed. I sleep until 6.30 - but he's getting up earlier and earlier as he equates morning with breakfast. He sits up pawing my head, then jumps off the bed, and in the darkness he paces up and down, claws pattering on the wooden floor, pushes open the anteroom door which creaks louder than I'd like, and he continues pattering around with an added whine.

The earlier he gets up the quicker he gets breakfast - dog brain. 

So we are trying to give the dogs breakfast later and later in the mornings - usually after 8am. Of course  being a dog, Wilbur sleeps for 15 hours a day and goes straight back to sleep, leaving me ever exhausted to stumble through the day like the cantankerous zombie I am. Once I'm up I can't get back to sleep until night. I have a neck and shoulder problem too - goes up to the temples too, and tinnitus. Cranky old bastard already.

I've got work coming in as well. Nice jobs. I can't kickstart myself to do anything about them. I have no incentive whatsoever to start a new project. I have to be realistic about what I can manage though.

Rupaul is on in the other room. Very loud and bright. I'm really not in the Drag Race space today. 

I need to buy a chicken later.

That's where I'm at: chicken purchasing. That is all I'm capable of. It is at least an achievable task.

Inertia has set in. Executive functions are offline. Someone else can do things. The light is very dim in me today. It is emergency lighting. 

Chicken purchasing and blogging is however multi-tasking in a way. Maybe I'm over-achieving?



Thursday, January 13, 2022

Optimist, pessimist or other?

As someone who was a year ago diagnosed with a rare dementia, I have been told when stating a fact - that death occurs 2-20 years from diagnosis - that I am being negative. If being negative is looking facts square in the face and accepting them, then I am guilty. My condition is the elephant in the room and I have to live with it. Mindless US-style positivity rings hollow in mine and most British ears, "Have a nice day!" from an American shop worker sounds unerringly upbeat. In a British accent the chances are the tone is more nuanced, more sardonic or even grim. It is not in our nature to be relentlessly upbeat. The positivity industry (for that's what it is) sells a lot of books and is a result as James points out, of a rare pocket in history of comfort and denial of others' suffering. The most egregious example is probably Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'. 

Pessimism is ok if you always expect the worst, as at least you will be pleasantly surprised from time to time. I prefer stoicism myself. 

The brilliant James Marriott elucidates better than me:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pessimists-are-not-immune-to-positive-thinking-ftsjx7xzl?shareToken=6b6308a13b0ef7ba8fd0dcff824abe62&fbclid=IwAR3s2muyNr39SM8OcCBqNTCvL-_v0jSg4-TAqbDWXJcr4mfVENfODZlgwcg

Monday, January 10, 2022

I'm not mad, I'm demented

I drive Jacqui and R nuts by shouting out 'No' at the breakfast table, as memories I'd rather not have suddenly barge their way in to my consciousness. It's my response to that 'monkey brain' which tries to trip me up most days and put a stick in the spokes. However, my New Year's Resolution to say "So what?" seems to work.

As well as "no" I also say 'Winkle' a lot. I'm not quite sure why I do this.


The other day I was in the supermarket discussing the ripeness of bananas with an elderly lady. (Lol) She said she liked them green. I said these bananas were too green, and that they ripen at 4.33am then turn to mush. By this time she was ignoring me, so I said "I'm completely mad of course. HA HA HA HA!" 

Well I had nothing to lose at that point. And I'm right about the fruit.


So sometimes the dementia is funny. I think that's the thing to remember. It is a crap disease and like Derek and Clive say, "If I'd been creator of the universe I'd have left that out." 

It's easy to look at dementia and be horrified and depressed, but a lot of the things we laugh at are dark and 'gallows humour'. At a grandparent's funeral a family friend who was an undertaker told some hilariously funny stories but he apologised because they sounded better in Welsh - my sister and I don't speak it but the rest of my family do. They were still really funny. Death is a great source of humour. I assume it must always have been the case.

I love taboo humour, and bad taste. I like it when you can't help but laugh rip-roaringly at something you know you shouldn't be laughing at. Those are usually the funniest moments in life.

So perhaps we should laugh with the person who's suffering with the disease when they say something unintentionally daft. And we should laugh at the disease as it's a piece of shit.

I'll continue to try and keep my pecker up and make conversations with people in supermarkets, as I assume my new calling as that resident mad bloke. But remember, I'm really just demented๐Ÿ˜œ

Friday, January 7, 2022

Highs and Lows

One of the things about my dementia is that you get highs where you are much more functional and you feel almost as though there's not much wrong with you. It's brilliant. I feel almost back to normal again. I feel energised and bright and in love with the world. It's as though I'm on the mend.

However high the high it still means I have the eternal head-fog (which made me initially think it was long-Covid until the MRI scan said "NO!") where in your cranium you feel the physical pressure of being at the bottom of the deep end of a swimming pool, as well as the (comparative) numbing of your cognitive abilities, although I try and avoid staring reality in the face on this point.

And then there are the lows.

Every morning I read The Times and yesterday read pretty much the whole paper. I also read a book on Noam Chomsky and saw lots of other stuff on Youtube. It was an attempt to kickstart my brain and try and get up to speed again, to see if I could. Well, it was good fun but I could feel the physical effects  myself when I was trying to assimilate the information. I got headaches, I almost fell asleep a few times, and my temples were throbbing. It's so frustrating. All the stuff I wasn't taught in schools but  now wish to learn about but I'm impeded by my condition.

I guess it's like taking a drug and getting high and then getting the midweek blues afterwards. It doesn't stop you taking the drug if you're that way inclined, but it means for the brighter, more cognitive days you then drop and your abilities drop. I'm thinking now in Dungeons and Dragons terms, but it actually helps to think of your abilities like intellectual capacity, cognisance, temper, etc like a bar chart or a graphic equaliser composed of numbers.

The effect of all this is especially prevalent when put on the spot or asked to make a decision right here, right now. The stalling of the brain is matched by the frontal lobe kicking in and you instantly feel the frustration (anger) of your total failure of being able to do something relatively straightforward in your mind, which you could do without any conscious effort a couple of years past or so.

I'm having dinner on my own as I can't cope with R's hyperactive babbling. At least, that's how it sounds to me. It may not be at all.

I was asked if I wanted to watch the new series of The Apprentice. The idea of watching a bunch of arrogant arseholes whose abilities are outweighed by their egos 20 to 1 in my present state it will drive me nuts, and in turn I'll probably annoy everyone else. And probably make me angry, if I don't walk out on the programme before hand.

Trying to read when you're on a low is not difficult. I can read. But taking in the meaning is another thing entirely. The same can be said for listening. I hear all the words, in that order. And that's it. What was that you said again? Oh, I'm supposed to take in the meaning of those words in the sentences? Ah...not going to happen.

So FTDsv like a lot of things has ups and downs, good clusters of days and bad. Please don't ask me to do much on a bad day. And this is why I can't work anymore. The effort involved is just physically and mentally exhausting and I end up paying for it and on a job of a few weeks that would be in the middle of the job, and it's just not feasible.

So I write a blog instead. ๐Ÿ˜œ




Fame

 I'm being interviewed on UK Health Radio, and people have already suggested I turn this blog (which so far is at a fledgling state!) into a book. I'm not sure even after a year there'd be enough material. I feel compelled to write now on a more frequent basis. 

However, perhaps like any creative output (I'm thinking of Frank Zappa's awful albums in the 1980s) I should concentrate on the quality rather than the quantity. 

So I write a blog that becomes popular and it in turn gets turned into book which sells well. Even then there's no money in publishing these days. But...

Can you imagine being recognised wherever you go, being famous? I really can't think of anything worse.

When I worked at the BBC I accompanied a TV presenter known for his flamboyance walking down a street in Fulham (I think). People called out at him from vans and across the road. He was completely non-plussed by it all. I would have wanted the ground to swallow me up.

Those people calling out to the celeb were not being kind. 

I used to really want to be famous when I was young. I wanted it because I assumed it would all be on a level of adoration; the search for unconditional positive regard. I guess that's just to assuage a lack of confidence.

I would never be able to cope with the meanness. The online hatred - the trolling, the faceless mob who judge and call out transgressors.

Look at the casualty rate on Love Island, just for wanting to be famous. 

So maybe a book is not a good idea!





Thursday, January 6, 2022

That Normsky’s doin’ my ‘ead in!

 A dementia friend of mine (I guess I must make a similar distinction as in ‘Facebook friend’) had an MRI scan recently and the shrinkage on her hippocampus and other parts is no longer there. She’s naturally jubilant, but also feels fraudulent at now being on dementia sites and being a spokesperson for fellow sufferers. 

This remarkable woman who seems to have defied scientific doctrine (and who will now most likely be a test-case for neurologists) devised her own thought exercises and attributes that and ballroom dancing to work around the effects of her particular dementia. It seems to have done the trick.

Common advice for sufferers is to do crosswords and sudokus but I’m not very keen on those, so I’ve been reading and reading and playing TTRPGs when I can. Yesterday I decided I didn’t know enough about Bertrand Russell and Normsky (aka Noam Chomsky) so I read 100 pages on Chomsky for Beginners. My brain started to overheat cartoon-like, with steam coming out of my ears, my temples bulging and crazy weird headaches, which a lot of dementia sufferers talk about. I almost fell asleep several times as my brain tried to put a stop to the madness, by shutting the body down.

Still, I learned something about Universal Grammar and his other theories. 

But Normsky is unbelievably dull to listen to. Normally I'd just watch some Youtube clips, but he's dull, dull, dull. Bertrand Russell (1873-1970) on the other hand was a great speaker. He knew everybody and you could listen to him for hours. For example he knew Mr Gladstone, Tennyson, Asquith (who caught him skinny dipping) and Einstein. His grandfather - who he remembered - was born in the 18th century. Stuff like this I find amazing: 3 centuries connected by 2 people. Hearing him speak is wonderful. 

One of my favourite quotes of his is so pertinent now:

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

So I took in all this stuff, and it was great. The trouble is even though I went to bed at 10 my mind was fizzing like a pint of snakebite, and I didn't get to sleep until 1am.

Bloody Normsky (Russell is forgiven).



Tuesday, January 4, 2022

What Holly Johnson said

 With my condition I'm often told I need to be really positive and have hope. Be optimistic! Woo!

Anyone who knows me would know that I'm not that kind of person. Wherein the US that type of super positive thinking would be more commonplace and second-nature, I'm born and bred in the UK and our national character is just not like that.

I remember that scene in Starship Troopers at the recruitment station where the guy behind the desk proudly says being in the force has made him the man he is today - camera pulls back to reveal he is a double amputee.

Years ago I saw Holly Johnson being interviewed after his HIV diagnosis was made public. 

"Any advice for other sufferers?" 

"No, none at all. We all have to deal with it in our own way."

I thought that really profound at the time, and now I'm suffering with an incurable disease it has even more kudos.

To me, cynic and miserable bastard that I am, I have wallowed very briefly in self-pity at times but quickly whip myself out of the mire. There is nothing to be gained and others around you won't want to be in your company either. To me, dementia is an unavoidable thing in my life, and I have to negotiate my life around it. I try to avoid pain and maximise pleasure for the most part, I read voraciously, play games, meet friends, go on walks, and share a bed with my wife and a bunch of dogs. 

Dementia certainly doesn't enhance life, and some of the time it actually impedes it, and it will get worse. So stoicism for me is the way I deal with it. A kind of emotionless 'how can we get from this point to the next point' kind of approach.

You may have another. And that is entirely, equally valid.

Brain fart #1

 4th January 2022

I've been isolating with Omicron. Thankfully I've had both vaccinations and the booster. It's like a mild cold really but Jacqui's mother had to go back immediately so she would be able to see her husband in a care home without fear of infecting him and the other residents, and son no1 had to go as he works in the hospitality industry and needs to work to get paid. So our Xmas was cut short.

Foolishly, I drank on the 5th and 6th nights and it came back. Don't mix Omicron and booze. Bad idea.

Isolation has meant that I have been waited on hand and foot which I am extraordinarily grateful for, and have had to do very little. I have watched half of Netflix and lots of things on Youtube - I'm currently watching lots of debates and discussions with Stephen Fry in. I had a friend of mine who passed away about 5 or 6 years ago, who had a brain like Stephen Fry's - someone who seemed to know everything, had retained more the details of the book you read 5 minutes ago and was able to quote parts of it verbatim despite having read it 20 years ago. The wisdom that comes with that can be awe-inspiring: I just sit down to bask in it, hoping some of it will resonate in me somehow. I miss my friend Martin., There are few people like this and their absence is a very significant one.

I guess with such a colossal intellect there comes the downside, of not being able to turn it off, of it going into realms off-piste as it were, where it creates damage and where depression sets in. That was certainly the case with Martin too.

Maybe being average is where it's at.


Just finished our FTD Zoom group. Alison asked me at the end of the session about stone, as a polite and inclusive thing to do. Being me I started on a subject then got onto the soapbox and ranted. And then it was time for the session to end. I wish I wouldn't do that.

One thing on these Zooms, we don't really know each other but we are linked strongly by our condition. Sometimes it's difficult to listen to other people articulating, or having difficulty articulating. I'm very impatient and more interested in me if I'm honest, but there are certain people I really enjoy listening to and learn from. 

You know who you are.


Played D&D last night. I'd found prepping for the session quite frustrating: I just couldn't knuckle down and do it. However, I had written the bloody thing. However however, I couldn't quite remember it! 

So anyway, I had a vision of the setting and the NPCs. As a DM I tell the story, I decide using rules what the outcomes of the players' actions will be, and I play all the NPCs  - i.e. all the other characters in the story that aren't played by the players.

That can be a bit overwhelming especially when you're impeded by FTD and you brain is easily tripped up or gets into a muddle and stalls.

But I've got a work-around.

If I write Brian Blessed on a character, or Hilda Ogden, it's much easier than going through the list of traits, bonds, flaws etc. I just play the part using my imagination and a piss-poor impression, but it's enough to work in my own way,

It was a short session but I thought it was pretty good. The Boxing day family session was really good and gave me confidence as well. Sometimes you just need a run, but also pride comes before a fall, so one must never be complacent. Always prep and write notes. My adventure books are full of highlighter, notes and tabs - just like a Shakespeare book when you do a literature exam. It's the only way I can make it work. I have to hammer the key points into my head!



Sunday, January 2, 2022

Big post of unpublished gibberish

 11.10.21


So TODAY I told the world about my condition. I went viral. I am a virus. But in a good way, I hope.


Let the gossip mongers of Wells weave their shit. But I hope Mum and Dad don’t have to deal with too much stupidity from the usual suspects, and Nerys is going to shield Ben from it.


It was nice to see the kind comments of old friends and acquaintances on Facebook. I thanked them all, hopefully without recourse to misguided attempts at humour. Jxxxxxx couldn’t help but plug his Yoga - I guess we all promote to our friends what we benefit from ourselves.


Amongst all this was a personal crisis where I couldn’t find my recently imported Gold on black ABBA t-shirt (as worn by Mr Grohl of popular beat combo The Foo Fighters) because I’d placed it in the wrong drawer. Silly me! Short-term memory loss is becoming a thing now. Less compartments/pigeon-holes in the brain so more and more work to find various stuff absent-mindedly misplaced.


I just changed the font to Calibri for legibility’s sake, but not before changing it to the lovely Charlemagne ST, which had the unfortunate effect of making me read everything in the voice of Steven Berkoff. Calibri it is.


My day - Watching ABBA videos on YouTube and staying by Facebook to respond to all the kind and concerned messages. Made me feel loved. 


17.10.21

So much for consistency. 6 days is not really conducive to decent full-on blogging is it?

I thought of calling this Apprentice Human, as I feel I’ve never really got the hang of this lark. My behaviour, lack of social mores, legendary faux pas - my life has been a series of these things, hopefully countered by acts of kindness and decency. Saying the wrong thing, taking things too far once people were laughing with me, copying people who were being funny to the disdain of everyone around; that was me, that was me , that was me…


That’s why things never worked out at XXXXXXXX Productions, and why it still haunts me to this day. Almost every day. I made myself so vulnerable in a sea of sharks. Media people tend towards the coke-fuelled arsehole stereotype, with huge fragile egos that require constant attending-to, that work best when there’s someone to pick on. The bullying in that industry is vile. I guess it says a lot about the types of schools they went to where that kind of behaviour is legitimised or even encouraged, and I was such the wrong type of person to go into it. 


‘You’re not a TV person.’ - she was absolutely right the one who said that. I took it as an insult at the time. She was trying to help me.


‘You only need half a brain to work in TV.’ That was certainly true as most people I met had half a brain. The most openly Machiavellian industry in the world, where ability is second to ruthlessness and bare-naked aggressive ambition.

 



Did I tell you how much I enjoy silence at breakfast? Reading the paper over coffee - probably my favourite part of the day. 


Then R comes down to join us. It’s just the volume. I often have to leave the room and come into the dining room for peace and quiet. It’s nothing personal - just can’t bear it.


I’m tired. I’m middle-aged and a physical week (which I’m less accustomed to) takes ages to sleep off. It’s a shock to the system.


I’m drinking less. I had some boxes of beers so I took 8 cans to a friend’s house last night so we could share them. At least I’m losing weight. I look like a bloated version of myself at Linda’s wedding. Probably because I was. Disgusting. One good thing about social media is the constant ability to see oneself and see if you’re going downhill or letting things slide.


And now I’m going to the pub to meet the other goblins (what Jacqui calls the other gamers).



24.10.2021


I’m tired and my eyes are playing tricks on me. It started on Friday when suddenly I was 10 foot nearer Fyfe than I was an instant before. I’ve noticed small things -  movements - in my peripheral vision for a while now. This was different. I told Jacqui over breakfast.


Yesterday we met up with Nikki and Boyd in Bloomsbury and saw the Nero exhibition at the British Museum. It was good, but uncharacteristically - by current standards - crowded. I guess the curators have said ‘fuck COVID.’


I had my noise-cancelling headphones on on the train and read Dungeon of the Mad Mage. I could still hear people, and that was enough to put me off the tube,  so we took taxis to and from Waterloo. 


It was really nice to see Nikki and Boyd. Nikki’s hurt her ankle falling off a horse. We had an amazing Chinese meal at a restaurant which we recommended to Gabriel.


It’s Sunday 12pm. We walked the dogs in Esher Common (the wooded part) and I did a Waitrose shop. Got Traveller (or ‘Goblins in Space’ as Jacqui calls it). Looking forward to a few pints and some fun at the Willoughby.


X from xxxxxx hasn’t paid yet. He said he would after I sent him an email at xxxx’s behest on Friday. Nothing. These people are scum. They enjoy making people like me squirm. I never make much on bay windows and we did an excellent job for him and this is how you get treated. This world rewards bad behaviour.




25.10.21


I’m so fucking exhausted. Despite a lovely weekend. X from xxxxxx still hasn’t paid neither.


I spent the a.m. pointing up the steps, which was nice and easy and the crappy stuff provided by the cast-stone fuckers which usually leaves a hideous residue all over the joint in this case hasn’t as the wet-cast ‘stone’ has a shiny impervious epidermis, so I could work quickly.


Went and saw a client who couldn’t visualise anything, and I couldn’t really explain anything. That went a bit falteringly. 


The last week has really hit me more than ever. I am so tired and I don’t know why. It bodes rather badly as to how quickly I’m deteriorating I would say. 


Jacqui is kind; she said I don’t have to work for the rest of the year and shouldn’t fear retirement. Support is very nice to have.






5.11.21


Wow. It feels like I’m just coming round. Had more energy than I have had in a long time. I guess helping Larry at the Willoughby sort out the games cupboard, then drinking lots of beer on Wednesday was the precursor of today. At least I got off my arse and did something other than watching Abba videos on Youtube.


I haven’t even done this blog in 10 days. How time slips by so easily.


So today I went and saw a client, cleaned large parts of the house (hoovered, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom), did some laundry, ironed and am now going to go to the supermarket to buy some beer for Rob and me  - Rob is coming round this evening. 


I don’t want to drink masses but I thought I’d better have something in to welcome him with.


Walking the dogs with Jacqui is a really good way to start the day. Today 2 dogs belonging to a zombie toff came to play with Wilbur and Stanley. The zombie didn’t engage with us at all. J said she (the toff) kept gobbing. Maybe she had something wrong with her. She didn’t call her dogs once. And when we got to the edge of the park they stopped, like in one of those 1970s kids dramas where you later find out they’re all ghosts and there was an old boundary wall where there’s now a road.


Yes, that’s it.


19.11.21


Amazing how the days fly by. I accomplish far less these days: a few chores, the shopping, some vacuuming. My time is spent mainly browsing the internet.


I get distracted. I forget things. This could be dangerous in time to come.


I’ve been analysing my ‘self’. Why I  so badly lack such confidence. For most of my life (some minor glitches of confidence aside - late teens, early 20s, early 40s) I’ve had to latch on to people who seemed to find life very comfortable indeed: charismatic people. 


Most of the time I’m fine, but in social situations if I thought I’d said something funny and no one laughed, I would repeat it so therefore people hadn’t heard me the first time would get the benefit. Rarely, this would work beautifully.


If they had heard the first time and did laugh I would say it again anyway with the intention of it getting even more laughs. Surprisingly to me, this never worked, but it also never deterred me from doing it anyway.


At school I would copy people. Well, one person in particular. I thought if I looked like him acted like him, I would be as cool as him. I’m amazed he put up with me for so long.


I think maybe I’m more comfortable with who I am now, but like Peter Sellers in that last film he made, maybe I don’t know who I am.


So who am I? 


I am (too) compliant*

I am a people-pleaser.

I am kind.

I am generous.

I am timid/scared*

I avoid confrontation*

I am quick to take offence.

I am insensitive at times*

I am opinionated*

I am funny

I have a unique take on the world

I am frequently puzzled by the world.

I am the little boy pointing at the naked Emperor*


  • why I was never v good at working for companies/why I became self-employed


A lot of those can seem contradictory, but hey, that’s what makes us human right?


I suspect strongly that I have always had an underlying neurological condition, possibly on the autistic spectrum. I’ve never really ‘got’ the game of life.





24.11.21


Lots of bizarre dreams. Last night I dreamt I was a different person. I looked in the mirror and a different person looked back at me. I know it’s only a dream but this is the reality of dementia - ‘you’ leave and the person who remains is no longer you.


Jacqui’s just left for a long drive to work. I hope she slept well. I cleaned the car inside and out yesterday and was rather pleased with my efforts. 


I found that putting work clothes on makes me work (duhh!) If I put lounging clothes on, I lounge. Who knew? I must put workwear on, in the same way Arthur English put on his brown overalls on in ‘Are you being served?’.




I never had kids of my own. I was never happy enough for most of my life to really establish a relationship with someone. You have to love yourself in order to love someone else. That’s what they say.


One of the reasons I didn’t want kids is I believe I have bad genetics. Physically, poor balance, poor at sport, can’t dance, can’t throw, always last to be picked for a team. Emotionally, as I’ve said previously, thinner-skinned than anyone, and so lacking in self-confidence. Would these be traits you would want to pass on to your children?


People say I’m a perfectionist. I’m too lazy to be a perfectionist - my low-attention span sees to that. That at least, is a blessing.



And as I verge on self pity, Paul (Jacqui’s Mum’s husband) is on his deathbed (we think) and little Stanley is at the Supervet’s with meningitis! 




1.12.21


Well, Paul being a cross between Lazarus and Zebedee has risen again. He’s like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable. Bottle it and you’d become a millionaire. 


I’m having trouble these days making new memories. Jacqui and I were talking at the table - it was really nice -  and she told me all the things I’d done yesterday and it was quite a lot: walking the dogs, shopping at the supermarket, meeting Larry at The Willoughby and going through the games cupboard (penultimate time) then making dinner for everyone (all-singing all-dancing curry, with chicken something, dhal, brown rice, naans and greens) then going back to the pub to play Shadowrun. 


Then today we walked the dogs, washed them, fed them, cleaned the kitchen and am now doing laundry. Yet it’s all stuff people who hold a job down do anyway and it takes me all day and wipes me out. Well, yesterday’s beer didn’t help - 5 pints in one day all of which were between 3.8 and 4.3%.


My new obsession is the movies of David Lynch. What a trip they are. From Abba to Erazerhead. Natural progression.


Last night Sean played a new character which pissed me off as his flaw was ‘I’ll always abandon the group to save myself.’ Sean thought this was hilarious and jumped out of the way leaving my character sandwiched in a firefight. I pointed out at the end what he found hilarious others didn’t and you have to ask yourself as a player what group would put up with a character who did that. Mark S then said “I’m just playing my character!” in a sarcastic way, then Trevor said words to the same effect. Sean just doesn’t get it. Autistic spectrum.


3.12.21


Tossed and turned all night. Slept with 2 duvets for warmth then they were all over the place. Like I’d had a fight with them.


Dreamt about Axxx. I was carving his gravestone - 2 parts about 4’ high and 8” wide, 2” thick, and inexplicably in 2 parts, both precariously balanced one on top of the other on an easel. I was doing his face on the front and had put in a row of horizontal dots.


The second part of the dream Axxx gave me a Xmas card back. It was part Xmas card part notebook, with different people addressed on each page, each never fully finished. I guess that comes from the time he critiqued one of the photos I’d taken at his wedding as the focus was soft. I charged them mates’ rates (mates!! ๐Ÿ˜‚) for £300 and after the post production and the shoot it had worked out at £100/day. Who needs mates like that?


Jacqui is sorting out her Mum on the phone. She was nice to the social services person, which he was really taken aback at as - I guess- most people are horrible to him, making demands and ordering him to do their bidding, as people are wont to do these days.


Jacqui says I’m regressing like Benjamin Button, and I’m a teenager again. This is why my family don’t see anything different as they knew me as a teenager but Jacqui didn’t so it’s all new to her. 


My take on all this is maybe I never got passed the threshold of adulthood, and I was doing an impression the whole time, and I was lost in the world of that impression, and now I can’t do it so I’m the true me again?


I was never very convincing as an adult.


7.12.21


I have a horrible cold (not COVID) and yesterday I also had diarrhoea and a migraine. I know. WTAF? as the kids say. 


Bloody Wilbur got me up before 6.30 and we headed downstairs, then headed back upstairs to bed, and of course I couldn’t get back to sleep and Wilbur wanted to come back downstairs again. Hence ‘Bloody’ Wilbur.


I joined the new FTD Zoom group with Alison and Chris. That was nice, chewing the cud on dementia and stuff. Alison is amazing: speaks 4 dialects presumably of  Cantonese, English (of course) and Mandarin. 


I mentioned this blog. They said if it was written like my Facebook announcement then it could well be beneficial for people to understand the illness.


I watched arts documentaries with Waldemar Januzsak but am now watching old episodes of The Time Team. Love it. Gentle programme with great people who all happen to be brilliant at what they do. The communication to the viewer is also first rate. It was a great programme.




10.12.21


Cold subsiding. I feel really good - on top of things. Yesterday I went to have a look at a job - sill replacement on a bay the other side of Kingston for nice Jim and Jules.  Would be a nice little job to do.


Skip arrived today, walked the dogs, bought a Xmas tree and some wine for Jacqui, and watched back-to-back Time Teams, and delivered a scathing review of a Channel 5 doc last night on Stonehenge, as the Times reviewer thought it was good. It wasn’t, and I had to put him straight on that.


Yes, I’m in a good place. D&G tonight: DMed by Tim, then I’m DMing on Sunday here, touch wood.



19.12.21


Was in Wells Wednesday and Thursday - came back on Friday morning. Saw Mum, Dad, Nerys, Ben (briefly as he’s 13 and has much more interesting stuff to do) and also met up with Stuart and Clare Haskins (nee Adlington). 


It was good to see everyone. It was a bit awkward with Clare as we were friends in sixth form but didn’t keep in touch. It was funny to meet up and talk about people. We have become middle-aged in the blink of an eye. 


I’m barely eating at the moment. My stomach feels tender and I’m off my food. Hope it’s nothing sinister.



21.12.21


Got my appetite back yesterday.


Struggling today though. Drank a little too much last night. Last night was D&G (that’s D&D for dyslexics - I’m not kidding) and I had a rant about AS. It’s not fair or right on the others. These days I tend to wind myself about certain things - infanticide which has been in the news a lot of late, certain people I find disagreeable, being called names by R, and various other crap. The poison from the internet is a big one. I know I go on about it but it is Pandora’s box. We opened it and it in many ways it is our downfall.


Got into a spat with ‘friends’ on Facebook. Some people get their information from RT.com, others from spurious websites; pseudoscientific bollocks. Anti-vaxers are a bugbear. Can’t seem to shake the confrontational angst. I daren’t respond how I feel as it will upset and alienate people. But ffs.


Got upset yesterday with a white supremacist who buries his repellant views in his videos on racial origins. His name is Tom Rowsell. Stuff like this disgusts me, and I can’t bring myself to challenge it on his Youtube channel as a. the vitriol I’ll receive, and b. the sleepless nights it will give me. For someone who’s never been good at confrontation I’m significantly worse now.



Maybe the beers I drank are making me feel worse today. I just received 24 cans of Northern Monk Striding Edge - fantastic beer at only 2.8%. Hopefully I’ll keep my head above calm waters with that.


Walked to town this morning with a very tired Jacqui, and took Stanley. We weren’t there very long. I found all the people and visual information very difficult to deal with.


I’ll just go back to watching Time Team reruns. It’s an easier gentler world.



24.12.21


Fuck Xmas.

I queue for 50 minutes to pick up the turkey and stupid-sized ham.

Pick up bread and cheese.

Buy dog food. 

Home with full backpack and bags.

She takes one look at it and I can see the dissatisfaction in her face. 

A dozen questions are about to come out.

I head her off at the pass.

This is the order she placed with the butcher: I picked it up.

I can’t be fucked with this.

Everyone in the queue waited good-naturedly, and I spoke to a very friendly guy. Could have made a friend for life there.

Then back to stress-city.

What is the point? I mean, I just can’t handle this anymore. It was always awful anyway, the post-shop interrogation. Now my frontal lobe goes to full in a second and I have to leave.

I don’t know how long I can hack this. 

Before…?



The things I enjoy get harder and harder to accomplish. Who wants to be the smiling cabbage slumped in front of a TV watching anodyne crap with a pool of their own dribble beneath them? 


What’s the fucking point, and when do you say enough is enough?


I think more and more about suicide, from elaborate contraptions to drowning, hara kiri, self-injecting a lethal yet painless dose of something. Much easier for everyone.


People are disgusting. Kids are disgusting. Behaviour most of the time is abhorrent. We make cliques to exclude, we criticise people’s looks from the impossible perfection and work our way down. We lambast and ridicule everything. Now we’ve destroyed the very planet that spawned us and we do nothing about it. And I am as much to blame for this as anyone. I am guilty - possible more guilty than you. This wanton drug-addiction to money and endless consumption that knows no end.


I tell everyone it’s my temporal lobe, but it’s my frontal lobe that’s the problem.


Then R finds me in the pub and she’s crying. I didn’t feel like picking the phone up to her and J but I’ve upset them. She gives me a hug and cries on my shoulder, and suddenly life feels better. 



26.12.21


Xmas day was actually really nice. G constructed amazing cocktails and a good time was had by all. 


Chatting with J this morning, she asked if moving house would be bad for me. I realised I had areas of comfort which cause me less anxiousness than others: the front room with J watching good TV, being at my computer at my desk in the dining room. These are my favourite places. These can be re-instated elsewhere but I guess these zones are now essential for me, wherever they may be.


In the evening I DM’d a horror D&D session for Gabriel, Ben, Becks, Jacqui and Raphaella, and Jacqui’s mum joined in too. It was really good. I had done a ton of prep and I role-played 5 different NPCs. I was rather proud of myself - it’s given me confidence. Moreover they really liked it too!



28.12.21


Hey, I’ve got COVID - Omicron variant. I got the results from a lateral flow test yesterday. I’m in bed; bored, but although I’m not really suffering in any way I do feel lousy and achy. Hoarse throat and coughing. My appetite hasn’t been affected.


Yesterday Gabriel and Joan took the wise decision to leave. Really unfortunate as Joan arrived on Boxing day via taxi from Bexhill (paid for by Jacqui) and they were going to stay until NYE. So COVID has stopped Xmas. How rubbish.


I’m being waited on by the girls, but I’m ultimately left on my own. 


Concentrating on reading is difficult, but I have watched the following and provide a rating out of 5 for each one:


The Witcher S2 E6,7 and 8 plus extras 5/5

Don’t Look Up 4/5 - overlong and indulged Ariana Grande’s involvement too much, but funny in places and a good ride. Satire is dead, however.

Squid Game - 4/5. Good start. They should introduce proper elimination on The Masked Singer, then I would watch it.

Quentin Blake - The Drawing of My Life BBC 5/5. We all grew up with him and we love his work. I just hope he hasn’t got some hidden unsavoury past they’ll uncover after he dies.

Other, Like Me: The Oral History of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle - BBC 4/5. A good documentary on the unsavoury antics of Genesis P Orridge and his cultish band of misfits who after just trying to shock everyone by being disgusting and filthy, decided they should grow up and actually try and make music people want to listen to. 

Bloody art students



31.12.21


Sleeping lots. When I wake up I always wonder what state my brain is in and if I’m on a high or a low, i.e. am I almost back to normal (as though I ever truly will be) or am I going to be struggling?


I think today, although I still feel a bit rough, I am pretty compos mentis.


Writing later on, 2 low-strength beers to the good, I’m reading some D&D books. It’s quite the uphill battle tbh with regards to concentration levels. What is to blame? Omicron, beer or dementia? How much of each? That is always the question.



1.1.22


Good wine = zero hangover.


New Year’s Resolution: So what?


I get a new memory every morning of something I feel embarrassed or shameful about. I’ve got top the stage where I shout “Fuck off!” out loud when I get one. However, my NY resolution is whenever a negative memory comes up, to say “So what?” instead of beating myself up to a pulp over it. 


So what that people thought I was out of order. 

So what that I was embarrassed.

So what that people laughed at me.

So what that I offended certain people.


It’s done. It’s gone. I have people who love me. I have an increasingly limited time left on the planet. Let’s just get on with being the best version of me I can be in this moment.


It seems to be working… so far.