Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




I reached a turning point this weekend with regard to the way I feel about my looks.

Not that long ago, i.e. less than a year ago I wouldn’t even go outside to empty the bin without putting some make up on.

Since I was old enough to get away with wearing them, cosmetics have been my friend.  I applied a generous mask foundation and powder.  I turned up the drooping corners of my eyes with big ‘ticks’ of shadow, applied layer after layer of mascara, used black/blood red lipstick to distract the eye from my big teeth and general used a whole palate of colour as armour against the name calling, cruel asides and bullying I used to have to endure in secondary school.

Fortunately my ‘clarting my face with make up’ (as my Mum used to say) co-incided with the punk and new romantic era, so I fitted right in and no doubt looked the epitome of those times, with my aubergine hair, blackened eyes, sneering mouth and cold hauteur.


And when the times and make up fashion changed, it still took about 45 minutes of slappery for me to achieve a ‘mininal’ look that I could live with.

Even when going to the gym or staying with family or close friends, I would hastily apply some concealor, a bit of mascara and flesh lip colour so that they thought I woke up looking that way.

As for when A MAN stayed over, well you don’t even want to know the trouble and palaver I went through to look acceptable when he awoke, not that it ever did me any favours really.  Men can smell self hatred a mile off.

But this weekend I, without even wearing my regulation huge sunglasses, not only went out without a scrap of make up, but I did a ‘before and after’ style photo shoot for a women’s magazine.

Not that I love or even accept my face, you understand. That would be far too ambitious a claim right now.

I’m just trying to get over myself and come to terms with the idea that I am more than the sum total of my looks, and that ‘me’ is more important than my appearance.

And I really ran with the experience.  I laughed and joked about it, had a laugh with the other girls, bantered with the photographers and generally had a really fun day. The mood was aided by all the champagne they served with lunch but I was still very proud that I faced my fears and did it anyway.

Quite how I’ll feel when I see the end results (if I can bring myself to look at them at all) is another thing entirely, but I just felt like I needed something of a baptism of fire to get some traction with this issue, so to speak.

And over the last few days, I took it further and went to the shops completely au naturale. And whilst fewer men looked at me, women seemed to be more smiley and accepting of me.  Maybe it’s because I look less aloof or imposing.  But the freedom of just going out and thinking ‘Whatever’ has been immensely liberating. So what if people think I’m ugly? It actually seems more the case that I’m invisible rather than mockable, and that’s alright by me.

So I have been giving myself a bit of a pat on the back today.

Less self hatred?


Less jealousy/envy?


Less angry?


More forgiving/accepting?


It’s all coming together, I thought smugly to myself, I’m evolving more and more every day.

Until tonight.

When I happened to log into Facebook and was met by the most hideous photos of myself that I have ever seen in my life (well for a couple of months anyway) in full glorious technicolor on my friends Tina’s profile page.

I was gobsmacked.

And as I clicked on them in horror, I remember vaguelly that she took some later in the afternoon, when a few of us were a bit, well totally, trollied.

She didn’t drink much that day, so she and the other girl in the pictures look fine.

Well gorgeous actually.

Whereas I look absolutely hideous.

For a start, is obvious that I am pissed.  My eyes are closed in half of them, in the other half I look totally out of it, and in all of them I am just downright coyote ugly.


My response was instantaneous.

My temper soared.

I immediately sent texts and emails to my hapless friend, pretty much saying ‘WTF Tina?!  If you are my friend, TAKE THESE DOWN OR CROP ME OUT OF THEM!  I hate them!’

I was absolutely livid and my hands were shaking on the mouse as I scrolled through them again, again and again. What kind of friend would upload these, knowing how I feel about my looks?  So when she called me on my mobile I was ready to pounce.

Before she can get a word out I hiss ‘What were you thinking Tina? Don’t tell me you thought they were nice photos of me because you know they’re not!’

‘I thought they were, when they were little!  I didn’t have my glasses so I couldn’t see them properly!’ she stammered, clearly in distress, ‘Then when I uploaded them I….’

‘Well of course,YOU look lovely in them!’ I continued bitterly, bristling with self righteous indignation ‘Good for you, and I can see why YOU want them on YOUR page, but the very least you could have done was crop me out of them!’

‘I didn’t mean to upset you!  I’m sorry, I’m taking them offline now, I’m so sorry…’

‘Sorry, I have go, I’m going out, ‘ I snapped briskly in reply, ‘speak to you later.’

And I put the phone down.

And seethed.

Some friend!  Of all the selfish, vain, stupid….

…she always looks stunning, it’s alright for her…..

…didn’t give a shit about me….

…all over Facebook…..

Uh oh.

Let’s go through that check list again:

Less self hatred?


Less jealousy/envy?

No.  I was jealous of my friend because she looked nicer than me.  And I’m ashamed.


Oh fuck.

More forgiving/accepting?


This was where I rallied a bit, because once I realised how unreasonable I was being, I immediately called my poor, long suffering friend and apologised for my tirade, my paranoia and my endless self obsession.

And she was lovely.  She fully got why I was upset, was mortified that she upset me and that I still hate the way I look and promised me she’d warn me if she was going to upload photos of me in future.

Especially shit ones.

Oh, balls.

Do I really want to come from under the wing of ‘Big Sista S’?

Seems like I’m not a very nice person without (much of) her.

But I’d have never even tried to do this shoot if I was still huddled up in the cloud of her 100mg a day embrace.

Onwards and upwards.

Tines, I’m a jealous, self hating arsehole, and I’m sorry I flew off the handle.

I’m trying to improve but have to acknowledge that my shit runs deep and change will only happen gradually and not overnight.

And doncha know that Rome wasn’t built in a day……

Hey, hey, hey….




Yoga and detox don’t much care for anti depressants.  They see them as something toxic to be removed from the body and do everything in their power to do so.

It’s not like they work anymore anyway.

I’m starting to think that they never did in the first place.

My recent brush with suicide happened when I was still taking them.  Then I took double dosage because it alarmed me so.  Then I skipped a day because I was so out of it, and then of course, the nightmares start.

It’s official.

The things you feared, the things you couldn’t bear at that time, the things that caused you to crash and burn never really go away when you hit the meds.

Meds are like pretty, fluffy white clouds that obscure the ominous dark, ones behind them that bloom and swell, rumbling and crackling with electricity.  Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they are not there.

They hover there, waiting patiently for that unguarded moment when you forget to take your pills, and then they swoop down like Dementors and start to suck away at your sanity.

But rather than keeping me on them, this time I’m rather inclined to bite the bullet, and go and see Dr B to talk about coming off them.

Because if I thought I’d done myself a kindness living in stoned limbo for the past two years, I’m sadly mistaken.

True ‘Big Sista S’ did help me stand up for myself and kick my ex employers ass.

True I haven’t had to work for 18 months.

But also true, I’m two years older, unemployed, running out of cash and right back where I started again.

Actually I’m significantly less employable and the market is even tougher so I’m actually worse off for having done it.

On them, I live in the drug fug of whiling my days away, playing scrabble, watching TV and planning my future without taking any real defining steps, bailing as soon as anything looks too challenging.

Without them, I’m a paranoid, angry, fucked up mess that no one would want to employ.

But I have fire and passion in my heart, and I guess however mental and unpalatable I am, at least I’m allowing myself to be me, warts and all.

Either way it’s going to be tough getting out there again.

Dr B will be super pleased about this decision, if cautious.

Aunty C (my counsellor) will have a bloody orgasm. 🙂

I am however going to have to have more counselling and may even do group work as I’ll need more support than ever if I go down this road.

And speaking of which, who knows, maybe my sexuality might make a reappearance but I don’t want to think about that too much right now as it certainly isn’t a priority for me.

In the meantime I’m drinking loads of water as pre Bikram yoga preparation and even if I take my meds or not, I know the nightmares are poised to pounce as my body sluices whatever it can out of it’s system.

I guess I’m just gonna have to bear it.

And maybe buy a baseball bat.

I’ll keep you posted x




I’m playing this for you because (a) I’m lonely, (b) I’m doing NOTHING to help myself, (c) I really love this song, and best of all (d) this dude sure has some MOVES on him!

My dance goes like this: Three steps forward, two steps back, one to the side and dosey fucking doe, at least his looks like FUN…..

Arrghhh! Bored of myself and bored of boring you, bet you’ll be glad when the end this year AND this blog comes….

Enjoy xx

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OK <deep breath>, this is where I stop skirting around the subject and get down to brass tacks.

I think, well, I know I’m going through the menopause.

(Men you are permitted to leg it if this is all too much for you.)

I’m not sure what the stages are, I know it starts with peri, then you’re then smack bang in the middle of it, and you’re only done when your periods totally stop.

Mine haven’t yet. That said, I went on HRT the minute I thought it was happening, so I haven’t had that much in the way of hot flushes (flashes?) or night sweats, mood swings are par for the course for me, as for vaginal dryness I haven’t test driven her for a couple of years so not sure really, but I don’t think so….

There’s a well know adage that says ‘move it or lose it’, well clearly I haven’t moved it enough because I went into this quite young, and now I’m being deprived of something that has been seriously important to me all of my adult life.

So what’s actually bugging me apart from the pending loss of my periods, which have incidentally been the bane of my life?

Well, apart from the message from the gods to tell me that I might as well kiss my sexual attractiveness to men goodbye (for what its worth), along with my waistline, skin quality and libido, my orgasms are, well, fucked.

One minute they were still earth shattering, the next, barely worth the bother.  From a bang to a whimper.  A massive earth shattering expulsion to a tiny mouse like nearly-sneeze, you know, one of those ones that is all ‘Ah-ah-ah-ah…’ and no ‘Tishoooo!’.

No one tells us about this part, do they ladies?

This was and is a big deal; whilst I don’t date that much and I haven’t had a lasting relationship for a number of years, I do masturbate, I’m very good at it, and it was very good for me.

Concerned, I went to see my gynaecologist who hummed and haa-ed and eventually came up with ‘Well sometimes that’s what happens, it’s part of life.’

WHAT?  I was incensed.

‘Would you say that to me if I was a man?! Would you forgo yours just because ‘it’s part of life?’’

He swallowed and fiddled with his specs, clearly flustered.

‘Would you say that to your wife?  Or is it not a problem to her?’

Clearly stung by my implication that his missus didn’t get off, he just upped my progesterone prescription and wished me luck.  Twat.

I went back to my GP decrying this misogynistic quack, and she, equally outraged, sent me to a new one, whom I saw for the first time (oh the irony) on Valentines Day morning.

Whilst I suppose a lot of women might be intimidated about talking about the quality of their climax with strange men, I went in feisty, belligerent and determined to be taken seriously, but I did not have to worry; Dr FG was a very different fish indeed.

Rather suave and dapper with a little smile ever hovering around his lips, Dr FG had the air of someone who held a woman’s gratification in the palm of his hand like a glowing little pearl that he may or may not hand over to you.

‘You do know that your anti depressants are likely to be having an adverse effect on your libido don’t you?’

‘Ye-es, but this isn’t my libido, this is what happens or rather doesn’t happen when I actually masturbate.’

‘So, what happens when you try?’

‘Well…it’s like being on an ancient roller coaster creaking to the top of it, then the car breaks down, you’re stuck, agitated and disappointed, and you wish you’d gone on the big wheel instead.’

He smiled a world weary smile of a man that has heard far too many ‘women’s problems’ jokes, then took out a box and handed me a small tube.

‘I suspect your testosterone levels are low, so let’s put you on this for a while and see what happens  I’ll write you a prescription.’

Testosterone?  I look at the instructions and read aloud ‘Apply one tube daily’.

‘Ignore that; this isn’t normally prescribed to women so they are the instructions for a man.’

Huh?  What am I, a fucking guinea pig?

‘You just need to apply a pea sized blob every day and one tube should last you a week.’

I try to sound casual ‘So this is the, erm, only solution?’

Dr FG breaks out his best reassuring, urbane smile, and tilts his head ‘What is it that concerns you Ms Sertraline?’

Facial hair.

‘Erm, are there any side effects?’

A big, sticky out Adams apple.

‘There shouldn’t be as long as you use the prescribed dose, but any that materialise are totally reversible.’

A huge clitoris like those steroid fuelled female bodybuilders get.

‘OK, I’ll, well I’ll give it a go!’

He smiled and shook my hand, holding it a couple of seconds too long, leaving me in no doubt that Mrs FG undoubtably gets off as regular as clockwork.

So that is that, I have to apply this stuff every day and risk ending up looking like a pre-op trannie, and for what? Vanity?  Sex appeal?  Physical gratification?

Whilst I would never admit this to anyone in real life, I think it’s about hope.

Because right now I feel like a battered little rowing boat stranded out in the middle of the lake, trying to ignore God on the megaphone shouting ‘Come in No. 6, your time is up!’ because I’ve blown all my chances of a happy loving relationship he has given me so I need to come back to shore and hang up my oars so to speak.  Any sexual powers I ever had are rapidly diminishing, the market is narrowing and I still haven’t met someone with whom I can share my life.

I know I’m being a bit hypocritical here as the whole premise of my doing this is to rise like said Phoenix from the ashes of my old life and embrace and develop the new, but in reality the thought of losing my womanhood makes me feel like a wizened old air dried duck.

Questions fill my head at night; will I ever snog anyone again? Will anyone need me again?  Will I ever have sex again without the aid of lube?

That said, a friend wanted to fix me up with a friend of her lover (who demands and gets sex from her up to five times a day) and instead of jumping at it, or at least being open to it, I was horrified!  What if he’s like U (her man) and paws at me morning, noon and night like a whining toddler?

I know, I know, I’m very, very confused…..

I know being single isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I know I’ll never be a mum now, and I’m OK with that but I don’t want to be on my death bed not having had another significant love in my life thinking ‘Was that it? What was it all for?’

I have so much love inside I just need someone to give it to in some way, shape or form.  But I guess I need to fix myself before releasing it upon an unsuspecting world.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on my man juice medication and the hopefully imminent return of my mojo.

Look out world, ‘cos one day this is gonna blow…..




After another day of being stuck in my own sticking black pit of sadness, I have admitted defeat and upped my meds again.  Now is not the right time to be a hero.

The artists will have to go on their way without me.

Comatose v caring?  Comatose wins.  By a country mile.

Unfeeling v fear?  Take a wild guess.

Sertraline-induced-something-like-serenity v self hatred?  No prizes here.

This stuff is sticking and clinging to me so tight that it takes more effort to struggle free than I’ve got.  As I sink deeper, I’m trying to keep it out of my eyes as it’s hard enough to see a way forward as it is.

I have friends, family, therapy, happy pills, self help, books, what the fuck else can I do? 

What do I have to do to want to be here?

I hate it.

I’m tired.

I want to go home.



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So 2013 is flying by, and that frickin’ date in February that so many of us ladies dread is looming like a threat. Oh joy.

Nowadays it even pops up on my calendar as a reminder!  Everyone is talking about their plans for it, but I’m lying as low as I can so that no one asks me what I’m doing….

I’m trying to enjoy the days leading up to it, but one thing’s for sure, next week, there’ll be no escape.

Yes folks, next week heralds the start of Lent, every (lapsed, in my case) Catholic girls worse nightmare, as we have to decide what we give up for 40 days and nights until Easter Sunday, when, invariably we lapse back into a good 48 hours of indulging in that which we sacrificed.  I say girls as I don’t know one male who does this, more’s the pity, as, whilst I’m sure a lot of you out there are thinking ‘What is the point?’, it is a good opportunity for us to examine our lives, habits, diet etc. and figure out what we might miss the most and why, and maybe, just maybe, it might be good for us to do without it for a while and see what happens.  Whilst we do this for holy purposes 😉 , it’s also ace for losing weight before the summer holidays hit.

Over the years, I have done without cakes, desserts, chocolate, white carbohydrates, artificial sweetener (harder than you might think), and dating.  The latter was the most interesting as the minute I gave it up, more attractive, eligible men started to approach me, (cue that old bus analogy, yawn), and of course subsequently disappeared into the ether 40 days later, and I’ve not really got back on track with dating since and have been more or less content without it.

So, as you can see, keeping up this little religious tradition can be quite educational and useful, that said, completely eliminating men from your life may be a mite excessive, I must admit 🙂 .

This year’s sacrifice is going to be a tough one.  I am going to, officially, for 40 days and nights, from abstaining from any form of alcohol.

Just for clarification I am not an alcoholic; I am pretty much a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so it affects me markedly after just one glass which can lead to awkward situations, bad decisions and inadvisable Facebook posts and tweets 😦 so there are benefits to trying this out for size.

The main reason I haven’t given it up before now is that, well….there are various reasons:

  • I absolutely hate going out for dinner and not being able to have wine.  The right wine matched with every course totally enhances the overall experience, and being forced to drink some kind of posh, sugary crap masquerading as an adult beverage spoils it, isn’t worth the calories and quite frankly, leaves me feeling that I should be sitting on a ‘kids’ fold up table instead of with the grown ups.
  • Giving up certain things for Lent can backfire on you; for instance, one year when I gave up all sweets, chocolate and desserts, I actually put weight on as I made up for their absence by eating too many white carbs such as pasta, bread and rice.  What’s the point of that?  Yes, I know I’m meant to sacrifice things in order to suffer for Jesus, but I’m sure he doesn’t want me to turn into the Michelin woman as a result of my devotion and support.  Anyway, anything that encourages gluttony is a sin.  So there.
  • So, as I’ve said, I’m not a caner, but I have to say, there’s nothing fun about being the only sober person in the room whilst everyone else behaves like twats.  Nothing.
  • Having a cold glass of something at the end of the day whilst by the fire watching a good drama, or whilst sat in the garden watching the sun go down is one of life’s greatest pleasures, is relatively low calorie and satisfies something in me that a glass of water doesn’t.  Similarly a mulled wine after a cold walk in the park, a dessert wine if you don’t have pudding, a G&T after a tough day at the office, or a dram of good port with cheese and biscuits.
  • Having a glass of wine when attending a wedding, a formal/work dinner or when meeting new people makes you relax and appear more confident, which for obvious reasons is something I tend to need.

Bloody hell, I didn’t really know of the depth of my love, or need for the odd snifter, maybe I do have a problem after all……notice how I went from ‘I’ to ‘you’?!

That said, the main reason why I am doing this is because of the affect it has on me since taking my current level of medication.  It doesn’t make me feel bad at the time, quite the contrary it makes me feel quite nice, but I have the most bizarre dreams and feel quite stoned of a morning, so I suspect that I’m not doing my body, especially my poor little unloved liver, any favours.

I also think that my alcohol/drug cocktail has kept me somewhat sedated for far too long and if I don’t stop imbibing at least one of these elements, I’m going to end up a reclusive homeless person with a bad habit that I can no longer afford, so action needs to be taken.

The plan is also to take more exercise and improve my diet.  That said I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, but have already taken steps in this direction.  I’m eating less flesh and more plants, less sugar, drinking more water and my yoga is also coming back together nicely so I hope to greet Easter Sunday morn bright eyed, bushy tailed with a nice big Easter egg in one hand, and a Bucks Fizz in the other!

Only joking about the latter.  Honest.

I have three quarters of a bottle of very good Viognier in the fridge which I will slowly, lovingly, reverentially finish off in the form of one glass a night for the next four evenings, then, when Ash Wednesday arrives I will be ready for the off.  Yes I do have other alcohol on the premises, but I will not drink it, I promise.

So there you have it; ‘How to Channel Your Catholic Guilt’ by Sista Sertraline, coming to a store near you soon.  I’ll practically have a halo come Easter if all goes according to plan.

That said all this goodness is going to get very, very boring though, so what can I do/have to take the place of wine, booze, chocolate, cake, i.e. all of these lovely, sensual stimulants?

Hmm, I know what you’re thinking…. perhaps it is time to tackle that, but it certainly won’t be until Valentines Day is done, looking for love/sex in the first two weeks of February smacks of desperation a wee bit too much for my liking and whilst I have my crutches (missus), men have never been one of them.  If anything, resisting them was my fetish.

What’s that I hear? Beautiful singing, a siren song….

Hark!   A harp playing in the background…coming from the kitchen…..a crying, a yearning, a keening……a tinkle of glass against plastic….

I’m coming my darling!  Just let me get a glass…let me pour….

Oh the fragrance, the chill, that cold wet condensation around the bowl….

I cup it gently, momentarily in my palm, then take the delicate stem, so firm and proud in my fingers…..

My precious, let’s cherish our final moments together before love tears us apart.…

it is here I close this entry, as some things are too private to share, even with you.

By the way I’m lying about the milk.  Given all that I’m about to sacrifice, I’m sure that Baby Jesus wouldn’t begrudge me my lovely cuppa everyday, would he?

Now that would be a deal breaker…

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Sticky mouthed, tired, sore. Numb from meds.

Didn’t sleep much last night.  Dug away at the beastie on my hand with a paper scalpel by way of distraction.  Fun, fun, fun!

Woke up late and cancelled yet another class.  Lord if i could get the money back from every single thing I’ve paid for and bailed on, I’d be living in my dream mill/cottage/lighthouse by the sea and not a flat in Shitsville, Chavland.

This blog has become a lifeline for me, but if it doesn’t deliver what its meant to, then it becomes meaningless and shows me up as the fraud that I so clearly am, so tough love is needed.

So, today, somewhat inexplicably is Yes day, and i have already via email (you don’t actually expect me to verbally communicate with anyone today do you?!) committed to the following:

  • A Yoga class tomorrow
  • A trip to the cinema on Thursday
  • Dinner with a close friend on Friday (the easiest challenge)
  • Dinner with a friend I am mad at, at a restaurant I don’t want to go to on Saturday (harder)
  • A ballroom dancing class on Sunday (hardest, as some bloke/weirdo from the group is emailing me and freaking me out already)

Five days of going out in a row.  Scary shit.  If it happens, it will be a record for 2013 so far.

Enjoy being holed up in your little nest today Sista, because you have officially ran out of ‘tomorrows’, as if you don’t do this, you have to stop blogging.

And leave your fucking hand alone!

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Back here again.  Arms folded, gaze downward, legs crossed, left foot waggling, a metronome of tension and irritation.

Quite why I can’t just go on repeat prescription is anyone’s guess, especially given the fact that I’m always made to feel like I’m wasting her precious time every time I come here.

Tick tock, swish, swish…it’s stiflingly hot in here, even by my standards and I’m always cold.  The perfect breeding ground for all the little bugs and germs that are bungeeing merrily from their snotty little hosts onto me as we speak.

As if on cue, some old boy in a tartan scarf takes in a big sniff then gives one of those hideous snorting/sucking noises that is a clear indication that he has decided against taking advantage of the box of tissues on the table.  He gulps and swallows. 

Better in than out.  URGGHH.

I very nearly heave and rush to the loo, not because I want to go, but so I can change seats without looking like a total bitch.  As I re-enter the room and scan it for a likely spot, the tannoy crackles into action:

‘Sista Sertraline, Room 5, Doctor B’

Relieved, I scurry across the reception, down the corridor and knock on Room 5.

‘Come in!’

Taking a deep breath, I enter.

And there she is, young, smiley, brimming with health, chock full of good qualifications and even better intentions.  The textbook product of a happy, monied, loving middle class upbringing.  I return the smile as best I can, and sit down.

‘So,’ she swivels around from the computer monitor to face me ‘how are you doing?’

I know better than to engage with her on this.


She’s not having any of it.

‘So…it’s been a while since we’ve seen you, how are things on the job front? Are you working?  Had any interviews?’

She knows I haven’t

‘Um, I’ve applied for a couple of jobs….’

‘That’s great!  How many?’

‘Well, um, two…..’


‘…. but one I didn’t get short listed and the second, the company lost budget and had to pull the post.’

The 100 megawatt smile dims ever so slightly.

‘Uhuh, and,’ she scans her records, ‘are you receiving benefits?’

Ha, got her on that one.


She raises her head, eyes full of concern.

‘Only two applications in six months? That’s such a shame.  I know that it must have been a shock to leave your last post, not matter how horrible it was there for you….’

She knows it wasn’t, it was a blessed relief.

‘….but I think it’s a shame that you are sat at home, doing nothing, and wasting your talents.  You’re obviously bright and have a lot to give.  Are you registered with an agency?’

Say as little as possible Sista.

‘Yes, but nothing has been appropriate so far.’


I bridle.

The last job they spoke to me about was in Tunbridge Wells, for a biscuit company…

She beams.

‘That sounds great!’

Oh God, it’s clear I’m going to be here for the long haul.

‘The commute isn’t doable.  I’d spend most of the day on the road, plus it’s a similar role to the one I’ve just left.’

‘Yes, but it’s biscuits, a totally new area?’

I’m getting irritated now.

‘I’m sorry but just the very thought of trying to hard sell one brand of custard cream over another to a bunch of hard bitten, budget driven supermarket buyers, and promise a huge percentage of growth to the head biscuit honcho in this economic climate makes me want to take your paper spike and slam it deep into my eye socket.’

Shit.  She’s got me now.  Love 30.

‘That’s one of your biggest problems, you know; you can only see the negative side of things.’

No!  Really? 

I cast my eyes downwards, so she can’t see the irritation and contempt no doubt brimming out of them.

‘You’re still on quite a bit of medication.  Did you try halving your dose, as I suggested?  Maybe then you’ll have more energy.’

I’ve got her on this one.



‘The Fear came back.’


She purses her lips

‘Have you ever thought about taking your own life?’

I smile.  ‘If I had, do you think I would tell you?’

Back to the keyboard.  Tippity tap.

‘So you want to stick with the 100mg?’  I don’t mention that sometimes I take more.

‘Yes.  Please.’

Tap, tap.  Shift. Return.

‘Need any more beta blockers?’

‘Nope, I’m good there.’

‘Two months OK?’

‘Can we make it six?’

She pauses.  My heart sinks.

Just print the prescription, bitch.

She turns and locks eyes with me.  I tear mine away.

‘Look I can just keep writing out prescriptions till the cows come home and keep you medicated to the eyeballs, it’s no skin of my nose but it seems to me like you’ve just given up.  And we can only help you so much, do so much for you….’

‘I have no unrealistic expectations of you whatsoever’ I reply icily, ‘I don’t ask for anything other than….’

‘I know you don’t but I don’t like to see you fester away and you’re not the only patient not to take my advice; I have stroke patients, cancer patients, I tell them what to do to improve their quality of life, but they don’t listen either, and…..’

Oh dear.  I seem to be getting rather angry.

‘Maybe they don’t want to live, have you ever thought of that?  Not everyone has the ideal life, support at home, a lovely normal background…..’

She starts, sensing that she’s gone too far.

‘…has it not occurred to you that I do actually want to be happy?’

‘But if you just….’

‘I’ve felt like this as long as I remember!  Do you think I can just decide to change and everything will fall into place?   Do you think I wouldn’t have done if for C after all of these years of seeing her?’

‘Ah yes, counselling.’

Oh no.

‘I seem to remember that you started CBT with us last year but stopped going after, erm, 3 sessions?’


‘And why was that?’

Advantage B.

‘Because it wasn’t working for me.  I was going through the motions.’

‘Was it the course or the therapist that you took objection to?’

If I close my eyes, I can see him now, prim, earnest and sooo young, pointing with his ruler at the whiteboard full of insultingly simplistic text book diagrams that looked like something from a CIM marketing exam, albeit significantly more patronising.  He would talk me through the principles in calm, modulated don’t-upset-the-looney tones with such reverence that I’d pinball alarmingly between amusement, fury and total despair and if I hadn’t been so out of it, I would have been sorely tempted to lock horns with him and tear him to shreds.  Aunty C isn’t perfect but she’s always had the good sense not to tout that patronising bullshit at me.

‘The course’  I’m not a total bitch.

She sighs.

‘That’s the problem, you don’t have anyone at home to intercept your feelings and then you turn them inwards, and then they……’

Blah, blah, blah…I channel Homer Simpson and tune out.  There is absolutely no way I’m going back to that.  No way.

After about ten minutes she stops. But she hasn’t given up.

‘I know you probably hate me for banging on about this, but you have nothing to lose from trying it again?’

She holds out a leaflet resolutely.  After a moment’s hesitation, I take it. 

Just. Print. The. Prescription.

She smiles.  I return it.  The smile, not the leaflet, alas.

‘I know that you can probably run rings around these people if you want to Sista (I cringe inwardly, but show nothing), but just try it once more. Please?’

I feel for her.  I do.  But she doesn’t know what she is talking about.  Being book smart doesn’t even begin to cut it.  But that’s not her fault.

I concur, pocket the damn thing along with my prescription and escape into the cold afternoon air.

I pass a bunch of kids in school uniform, pelting each other violently with snow, and envy them their frenzied, cruel exuberance.

I can feel the leaflet burning a hole in my pocket like some kind of contract with the devil.

Aunty C is going to laugh her ass off at this.