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.