never tell anyone anything

Doctor’s again today – I have another infection. This is getting beyond a joke. I have a new nurse coming over tomorrow to teach me how to ‘self catheterise’ – something that I am absolutely dreading. I wish I could tell someone how much I’m dreading it. I keep getting the urge to jump in a taxi and fuck off for a bit in the hope that everything just…goes away (yeah, ’cause running away from things has always helped in the past hasn’t it, you big moron.) Or maybe I could get incredibly drunk before the nurse comes over. Aw Jesus. I can’t put a tube up there four times a day!! I just can’t! THINGS AREN’T MEANT TO GO UP THERE! (And I know that things aren’tmeant to go up your arse either but, shhh.)

Stop it Arthur, stop making bad jokes when you feel like crying.

My shrink said, quite recently actually, that when something really affects me it takes me months to share it, and I’ll only share it in dribs and drabs, one piece of the puzzle at a time. I sort of feel that way about poetry sometimes – I get frustrated that it’s my favourite way of expressing myself and yet I can only concentrate on one theme, or a cluster of observations, and I can never swipe my biro over the whole fucking issue and be done it it. I can never say ‘There. That’s that dealt with.’ Every time I write something about Dee for example, I feel as though I’m somehow letting him down, frustrated that I’m never quite conveying anything truly meaningful, never able to catch him and bring him back, and never able to say goodbye either (not that I want to). Writing helps, and it does soothe me, but sometimes I wish I could let go all at once – crash! Floodgates open! I wish I could stop thinking about how to remain oblique – but pain is oblique, isn’t it? Even when it’s very, very close to your face.

But I can’t escape the way I was brought up. It’s difficult to teach myself (or be taught) how to lay myself  completely bare, when I was told so often that sensitivity was a sign of weakness, or that my emotions were disordered and exaggerated and symptomatic of madness. Where am I supposed to go from here? My shrink doesn’t like me holding back, but she certainly doesn’t want the flood. Huh, the flood is just as oblique as the silence.

I would like to tell someone that I’m angry and sad, but I really feel, quite deep down in my heart, that misery is one thing that should not be shared publicly with the people you love, unless you’re on the verge of something awful like harming yourself. It’s not nice to worry loved ones, and I’m used to my moods veering rapidly downwards so I know when to keep quiet and when to open my mouth. But I keep getting told I’m wrong about that, so I am trying to open up more to my shrink about the Big Things…but why do I have to share everything all at once and hand over the jigsaw all complete? Isn’t there any value in coming to terms with things quietly, or discussing things in my own time? Pain isn’t a jigsaw puzzle – it’s much more fucking complicated than that. It’s an eternal drinking game played alone in the dark, some nights drunk and fuzzy, some sharp as glass, changing all the time, giving way to morning occasionally, edged in sleep and guilt and sometimes even dreams. That’s why it’s difficult to write about – it’s not a ‘thing’, it’s not a ‘topic’ – it’s a combination of thousands of memories and I’m not fucking Proust.

Sometimes sadness makes no sense. Sometimes – telling someone how much you miss a loved one’s hair does not make you feel much better, because that person did not KNOW your loved one’s hair and even if they did, they wouldn’t have loved it in the exact same way that you loved it. Sometimes talking makes things worse. (Or as Holden Caufield put it ‘never tell anyone anything, you end up missing everybody’ or something to that effect. And the little brat was right.)

I’m dragging a lot of stuff around with me, and I know that – but the only solution is staying alive, trying to write (because two years not writing made things a million times worse) and allowing myself to feel sad on my own terms. And coming here to vent.

So why don’t I ‘share’ here then…? Ok. Today my health issues have really upset me, and my stress levels have been pretty fucking stratospheric. I am so sick and tired of my body, a body that I used to love very much and admire in the mirror like a fucking narcissist. It’s not fair what’s happening to me. It’s not fair what happens to everybody. Everything is unfair and frightening right now.

But how can I even convey how I feel? This unhappiness is related to a million different things – my fear of death, my own vanity (of which I have always been ashamed) the terrible fear I feel whenever my (quite deep seated) idealism is shaken, my fear of the future, my fear of a million different things. How many poems could I write about this one single fear?

And whenever someone says to me ‘you’re coping really well, Arthur’ I think – well of course I fucking am! On the outside! I’m not going to just break down and fucking cry about all this am I…? Not unless I’m seriously depressed! Jesus, I try to hide even my worst depressions until I’ve got an arrow on the map showing me the way out – if my loved ones didn’t recognise the little signs then no-one would ever really know I was sad. I just can’t tell anyone how frightened I am of my life right now.  I know it’ll pass. But at this very moment it’s quite profound. Sometimes I try to kid myself and I say ‘you’re only thinking this way because you’re bipolar’ but I know that’s not true. One of my closest friends  showed me a particularly sore hang-nail five times the other day when he came around for coffee. “Look, I don’t know what to do about it…” he said. “It really hurts”.  His ability to wallow in this beautiful childish hang-nail misery made me genuinely smile. It was so innocent. It proved to me that my feelings about my health are pretty much ok – if someone can kick up a fuss about a nail then I can damn well secretly wallow in sadness about my own fucking disease.

But I would like to kick and scream and wail, that’s what I’d like to do. With an audience. I’d like to sit Toscar down and say ‘watch me – I’m so ANGRY’. I mean – he punches walls all the fucking time so why can’t I? Why can’t I? Why can’t I?


Jesus Christ, WordPress really is my psychiatrist.

ps – I’m aware that I did break down and cry in a public waiting room not long ago but that was different as I was in a lot of physical pain and I truly wanted to strangle several small children.


8 thoughts on “never tell anyone anything

  1. Well Arthur, I think that is an example of sharing. And the weird thing with life is that as fucked up as it is, the days to look out for are the sunshine days, or even the beautiful misty days – because the crap is bad, and the feeling shit seems to last forever. And pulling hand over hand out of that is really hard…..though I have never had to self-catheterise, or whatever that is. eek. Even when I get people to hurt me, I have never asked for that….which means it really is a kind of no go area. So sorry it is so rough for you just now….take care my wordpress friend!

  2. “Pain isn’t a jigsaw puzzle… It’s an eternal drinking game played alone in the dark.” Really felt this one. Sounds like you’re going through a lot, which I’m sure is probably almost comical in how much of an understatement it is. I say, do whatever makes you feel better. Writing, getting angry, actually allowing yourself to show more on the outside of what’s going on on the inside. It’s not really something to be ashamed about, you know? Feeling small or angry or frustrated or afraid. It is what it is. When all’s said and done, Arthur, you’re human, too. Good luck with the self-catheterization, too. I think it supposed to get easier with time? Hopefully

    – Meg

  3. Thankyou both, so kind. Writingthebody – apparently some people really do *like* it. I wish I was one of those people, Jesus Christ! And to Meg/Julia – thank you for the luck -turns out I didn’t need it today, so it’s going to be a rollover… x

  4. Great writing. I have the same kind of issue, so much easier to get to the gritty stuff in writing. I don’t suppose you have considered printing out some bits of your writing to show to your psychiatrist? This could be a good piece to start with. And if you don’t want to, maybe have a ponder of why you wouldn’t want to. Does the psychiatrist know you write? I imagine they would be very supportive of it, even if they don’t get to read any of it and you could talk about that process, if not the content of the writing. Just an idea. (One I am sure you have already considered anyway.) 😉

    And by the way, these infections – that’s not fair. Did you buy your Mistress-Of-Health a nice Hermès scarf or make her a daisy chain?


  5. She knows I’m writing, yes – and she is extremely supportive of it.
    I think my emotions are far more analysed and judged than most people’s because of the BP – so I’m constantly screening and censoring myself.
    Maybe I should show her some writing… I’d much rather write my feelings than talk about them – a lot of the time I don’t find talking much help, but writing…y’know, at least you’re creating something at the same time as being miserable, you’ve got something out of it, like a reward for opening up.
    Health Goddess has her original garland back! It was under the bed (can only guess that Lucifer stole it, he does have a history of hating Gods) so by all accounts I should be feeling much better…

    Thanks very much for the advice, it’s *always* appreciated. xxxx

  6. I know what you mean about feeling like you’re letting people down or not quite getting it quite ‘right’ with poetry. I feel like that, all the time, like there’s one ‘perfect’ piece of writing that I just need to coax out and then I’ll never need to bother again!

    I tell you what though, and I’m sorry if you get sick of hearing it, but I can’t help it – you are one talented motherf***** Arthur, your writing is beyond amazing. There are people out here who can’t wait to read the next thing you write – poem or blog, prose, or comment!

    I hope your infection clear up soon and your misery starts to lift. And I’m glad you can ‘share’ here. xxx

  7. Thanks so much Amanda – I don’t even have the words to reply to a comment like that! *basks in flattery like a gecko*
    Anyway – if we ever did write the ‘perfect’ poem, we’d probably give up writing – and what would be fun about that? Let’s be thankful that we never quite get it right 🙂 xxxx

  8. (What a coincidence, scrolling through your old posts and the one post I click on to leave a comment, I see I’d already commented on a year ago.)

    Arthur, come back. We miss you. Hope you’re well. Hope you’re happy. xx Meg/Julia, like Julia from John Lennon

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