If a massive global pandemic should have taught us anything, it’s that we’re all vulnerable to mental health conditions. They’re not just the preserve of an unfortunate few.
Yes, I agree it would be nice if we’d figured that out before, but we didn’t notice our governments were incompetent capitalists whose sole interest is maximising their earnings and those of their paymasters. It’s fair to say we’re slow learners.
This is Israel’s opinion. I assume he believes it with every fibre of his being and for my part, I hope he’ll be crushingly disappointed when he arrives in the afterlife, realises intolerance is a unwanted by-product of humanity and that he’s about to spend eternity with the drunk gay fornicating atheists who know how to throw a decent party.
It’s been twenty years since I pressed a piece of broken glass into my forearm and drew a line. Watched blood flooding the wound, temporarily obscuring the puckered white flesh beneath. Felt dopamine flood my mind, soothing the frayed edges of my nervous system, the perfect agony driven into abeyance for long enough to make it seem worthwhile.
Unfortunately, the reflexive recoil that self-harming prompts – and that you may well have felt while reading those words – is one of many reasons why we do it. There’s no language to effectively convey the inescapable roaring in my ears back then. No words to describe the excessive energy coursing through my veins like an orchestral surge. The only way to get it out – let it out – is to cut a hole and feel it leave. The blood and the gore, the shock and the awe. The inside turned outward for the world to see.
Given the response to his club’s tweeted status last weekend, you might have expected Cristiano Ronaldo’s entourage would be keeping a closer eye than usual on statements about their charge emerging into the public domain. Cristiano is used to golden breezes caressing his bronze and chiselled cheek so the harsh blowback from the press and social media over Juventus ‘great professional’ comments will have chapped his face quite badly.
I’ve just realised how mentally ill I was in my twenties. Not via the conventional channel of therapy, upon which I’m frantically paddling after waves of mental health, but by listening to a podcast about serial killers and an old Oasis B side.
My subconscious is definitely smarter than I am. Unfettered by me, it would probably have passed loads more exams than I did, gone to uni, been a proper person, made good contacts and given itself the best possible run at a career in writing.
My subconscious had it easy though. It was able to see life clearly, assess it and identify a sensible, well lit path for it to follow to the required destination. Sign posted and everything.
I emerged onto that same path in the midst of a fistfight with a foe I wouldn’t get a good look at until I was in my early thirties. Every step I took, every decision I made was taunted by this relentless, petty creature, who liked to lounge on my back and critique my progress, desperate for a misstep so it could remind me how the whole thing was my own fault because I was crap.
Some books are bad. Not in a Mein Kampf sort of way, although there’s plenty of that about. In this case I mean the ‘if my parents catch me reading this trash, some non-specific unholiness will envelope my family and I’ll be ostracised from the community’ way.
In my early teens, these books were generally located on my Gran’s bookshelf.