Posts Tagged ‘ Life ’

C14H19NO2 (They’ll tell you it’s not a real illness).

This is the result of a mad flurry of typing after spending the early hours of this morning fretting terribly about the direction in which my life is going. I apologise for incoherence, badly constructed sentences, spelling errors and so on. I also hope none of you are offended at all, it was certainly never my intention. This is unedited, hopefully some of the distress and concern that went into writing this will be reflected in its form.

~

In much the same way that someone suffering from depression looks to anti-depressants for respite from what ails them, so it is that I should look back to Ritalin for a similar result.

Having been off the drug for almost a decade, I find that when I look back on my achievements, the way I’ve handled taxing situations and the mistakes I’ve made, I can’t help but feel that I could have avoided most of these issues had I been medicated at the time. I originally came of Ritalin due to a desire to join the army as an officer. The army requires their recruits to have abstained from class A drugs for a minimum of three years before being accepted, so I cancelled my prescription and flushed what I had left down the toilet.

Those three years came and went and I’m still not an army officer; far from it, I’m a student working part-time selling mobile phones to people with more money than sense. At present I have absolutely no desire to peruse a career in the army, far from it. I plan for a long stint in education and to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can and for that I need to look to my old friend Methylphenidate.

I do so with a sense of excitement and apprehension.

I was prescribed Ritalin toward the end of my primary and throughout the years of my secondary education. When I was very young, maybe eight or nine, my grandmother paid for a series of tests to be conducted at an ADHD specialist center in Horsham, West Sussex. Two or three days later and my parents were told that I definitely suffer from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. There are lots of children who are diagnosed with just ADD, I was not one of them. Apparently there was now a medical reason for why I was such a shit as a child, why I was a relentless when it came to disrupting classes and why I was so miserable throughout my primary years. I was given a prescription of Ritalin and was told that this would solve all my problems. It did.

Every few months I would visit a lovely woman who’s name escapes me who I now believe to have been a paediatric psychologist. She was awfully kind and her office was a lovely shade of yellow with a duck egg blue frieze running along the wall. She once asked me if I understood what ADHD actually was. I told her I didn’t. She asked me if I tended to take the long way around when performing tasks. I nodded and said yes two or three times.

Here’s what she told me.

There once was a large band of merchants who travelled the land selling their wares to all and sundry. Each of them had a wooden caravan in which they lived and stored their goods, all except one. There was a merchant called Matthew (I assume she used my name so that I could relate) who had ADHD, he didn’t have a caravan, rather his horses pulled a large cart filled with bricks and mortar, and every time the merchants went to set up their camp, Matthew would build himself a small home in which to live.

Now, at the time I wasn’t really thinking about how much of a logistical nightmare this would have been; building and taking down and entire house whenever the band decided to make or move camp, but I was a child and I didn’t give a shit. I’ll continue.

The other merchants laughed at him for his ways, but as far as Matthew was sure he was doing the right thing. Then one evening, just after Matthew had finished building his house, the sky turned dark grey and a great storm approached. All the merchants ran into their caravans and were blown away by the fierce winds, but Matthew was safe in his house with his belongings and he was safe.

So it’s a story to make children suffering from a mental illness feel better about themselves. It made me feel better about myself, certainly. It meant that I wasn’t so ridiculous when I took the long way around a problem as opposed to the short. It meant that, while I was probably thinking about the problem too much, I’d always come to the answer eventually, even if I happened to be a little slow to get there.

I wasn’t an idiot, however. I excelled through the later years of primary school and my eleven plus examination, I managed to get unconditional offers to the three best schools in the county and to what was then one of the top three schools in the south of England. I don’t mean to brag, not by any means but I do want to show you the profound effect that Ritalin had on my standard of living. Not only was I doing well in school, I was doing much better at home. After being prescribed Ritalin I rarely, if ever fell out with my parents, the relationship I had with my brother and sister became much better as the years went on and I was making more friends than I ever had un-medicated. It got me through secondary school and the resulting examinations and, after school, got me through my first job with a reasonable amount of success. But then I stopped medicating.

The difference was remarkable. I was flagging at work who got me into a lot of trouble. I stopped reading and went to playing video games or the majority of my spare time. I stopped wanting to learn about things and, where I once would have spent an evening reading, writing or something of that nature, I’d spend hours in front of a screen chatting to idiots on the Internet or on, dare I admit it, Faceparty of all the horrific and poisonous places to be. In short, I was wasting my time.

As I’ve grown older I’ve become far more aware of the importance of educating oneself for the sake of education. I’ve also become convinced that my problem with ADHD has followed me well into adulthood. As it stands now I’m just itching to learn as much as I can about everything around me. My brain is crying out for information, yet my lazy, bone-idle self is denying it the one thing it wants. I’ll do it later, I’ll read that tomorrow, Ill finish that essay once my Hunter’s level 45; all perfectly shit attempts at procrastination which all work perfectly. I need to break out of this cycle of doing nothing with my spare time and start doing something worthwhile.

Ritalin will help.

However there is a downside to all this; the apprehension I mentioned earlier. I haven’t been on Ritalin for so long that I’m worried about what it’ll do to me. I seem to remember being much quieter and calmer as a medicated child, more reserved and pensive. In short, a whole other person.

My mother would give me time off the drug every once in a while just to run around like a fanny and be, well, a child. Mum would make sure to keep the Ritalin away when I went out to play football or rugby with my friends. Matron (yes, yes – “Pongo’s off to get some tuck from the dorm”, rah-rah-rah etc.) would keep me off Ritalin when hockey or rugby matches were scheduled for the day. I suspect it was their way of letting me loose for a while, giving me some space to be myself, to be a child again. I don’t quite know if I’m prepared to make that level of change as an adult. A lot of people like me because of the way I act around them. They’re seeing the real me and I’m not sure if I want to change.

But to continue the comparison I made earlier; someone suffering from depression can make a choice to take anti-depressants in the hopes that he or she may be able to enjoy a better quality of life, I look to Ritalin to give me a better standard of living. I don’t want to be worried about whether or not I’ll lose my job tomorrow because of just how lazy I am, how many corners I cut and how many risks I knowingly take. I don’t want to live in constant fear of my lack of dedication to anything. I don’t want my education to be washed away just because I’m lazy. It was laziness that got me into trouble in the first place and it was Ritalin that got me out of it. I want a better quality of life.

Maybe I’m just inherently lazy. Maybe I can be the change I wish to see in myself without Ritalin and maybe I can become a better person if I choose to ignore the drug. I think there’s only one way to find out.

I’m off to see my GP.

Nah und Fern.

~

I found myself lost in Gas for what seemed like an eternity.

I spent months wandering around the forest, lost and confused. Often scared, always overwhelmed. It made me feel alive but brought me down to Earth like nothing else ever has. But it is never this Earth; it is always another, a strange alteration of this one. A hyper-real, infinitely intense world – A world that feels like it could tear itself asunder at any moment, that all it would take would be a single misplaced footstep or the slightest of knocks to throw the world out of balance. It is a distorted world, twisted in such a way that you wouldn’t know that it were at first glance. You would need time. How much time, I cannot say. You would need to look hard, harder than you ever have in this world, and study your surroundings. Only then do you notice the shifting in the fabric and the hightened intensity of your surroundings: the colour, the shape, the air against your skin.  I felt always off-kilter. My shoulders were burdened with the feelings and emotions of others, people whom I’d never met, people whom I wasn’t sure had ever existed. People whom I wasn’t sure would ever exist. I didn’t know if I wanted to escape. I didn’t know if I ever needed to escape.

Occasionally I dip my big toe back into the lukewarm, glass-like water and I see my reflection. But it is always distorted, always misshapen in ways I can never comprehend.

I now find myself perpetually scared by Gas. I am scared because I know just how easily I could get lost all over again.

A half-life.


07:45

I wake with a terrible hangover, a splintering headache, a strong sense of regret, embarassment and an awkward feeling in my stomach that I can’t seem to shift.

08:15

Unsettled glances across the living room.

“I’ll see you after work.”

The door slams shut. Bloody thing’s always slammed nomatter how gently I try to close it. The people below must hate me.

Back to sleep.

10:00

Start. All Programs. Steam.

Username: Cohaagen
Password: ******

Half-Life 2, starred, Metascore: 96.

Right-click. Launch Half-Life 2.

12:15

Stomach is paining me. Time to put the kettle on. Food: a luxury I can scarcely afford.

Or can I?

CTRL+D
CTRL+SHIFT+F

Firefox.

Bookmarks. Personal. Online Banking.

Balance: -£1,650.00
Available Balance: £0.00

No. No I can’t.

Earl Grey again. The bergamot makes my stomach churn and my brain tick over. It’s all I have. Back to my desk, Gordon Freeman’s right hand bobs from left to right. The tea is lukewarm now. I gulp it down. The longer it stays in my mouth the worse it tastes.

My stomach groans.

13:00

A phonecall.

13:30

A second phonecall. My heart has sunk. Back to sleep.

ALT+F4
CTRL+ALT+Delete

Tab. Hibernate Computer. Space.

~

That was the worst day.

I tried playing Half-Life 2 again today. I couldn’t last for any longer than fifteen minutes. It was too much.

Far too much.

Robot jobs got no balance or cadence.

I certianly think that there’s something to be said for keeping a clean, well-presented and all-round balanced home.

My parents are quite house-proud and I’m often jealous of how wonderful it can look. I suppose it’s just a matter of pride, age, or maybe it’s just something they like to do, but whatever it is I don’t have it instilled in me.

Mum generally keeps her home very clean, to the point where people often comment on how it can look like something from the pages of ‘Ideal Home’ magazine. She takes pride in her posessions, making sure everything’s either in a state of good repair or replaced before it finally breaks.  She uses special cleaning products for her, quite frankly, gorgeous leather sofa and keeps the cushions aligned when people aren’t sitting on them. She takes special care of her rugs and has them professionally cleaned three times a year; it’s good for the pile and keeps the colours vivid. She mops the kitchen floor several times a week, sometimes even once a day in the Autumn and Winter months. My parents take the family dog, Dennis, for extended walks through forests and he always manages to find a pool of water in which to swim. Afterwards, he’s hosed down in the garden but always runs into the kitchen to shake the excess from his coat.

Mum works in the local school which can run her into the ground at times, but she puts everything into it and generally works damn hard. Her job involves lots of number crunching and being self-admittedly “shit at maths” hasn’t helped. Spreadsheets by the ton, her workload seems endless and she’s always thinking about the deadline. Somehow she always manages to pull it off, but like Dad, Mum can be under a lot of stress from work at any one time. She still has time to do all the things that need to be done about the house, as well as joining my Dad with his daily Spaniel walk, going to see all the bands she and my sister enjoy, as well as all the other things she loves to do.

Dad takes care of the bedrooms, his study and the car. He’s nowhere near as anal as my Mum as far as the rooms are concerned, but when it comes to computers he’s just as bad if not slightly worse. He tears his computer to bits and uses can after can of compressed air making absolutely sure his computer is as free from dust as it’s ever going to be. He oils the fans and re-tightens to bolts that hold everything together, re-applies thermal paste to the CPU once every two months and and individually wipes each power cable with a dry microfiber cloth. He’s just as intricate when it comes to the car. Even after all this, he still finds time to build and repair computers for people in the area, walk the dog for at least an hour a day, as well as keep up to date with his hectic working schedule and spend time with my brother and sister. He even gets to go away on exercise with the Army; sailing expeditions, rock climbing, skiing, the list goes on.

Dad’s role in the Army is particularly stressful and I definitely saw it taking its toll on him while growing up. With each promotion came new, untold levels of stress. He’s handled it superbly for the most part and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished. He’s worked damn hard to get where he is today.

Not only have they managed to keep on top of all the above, but they’ve also had to go through the hassle of raising three children which is no mean feat. I sometimes stop and wonder how they managed it all and I’m always left aghast at how difficult all this must have been. It’s any wonder they’ve not both collapsed under the pressure of it all.

Both of my parents will be the first to tell you that they don’t by any means enjoy their jobs, but while I’m proud of them for everything they’ve accomplished, neither of them are doing what they’d originally hoped. I don’t by any means respect them any less for this. Untimately, work is work. It pays the mortgage and puts food on the table and as my dad says, any kind of gainful employment is respectable. Dad spent his late teens riding, as well as crashing, motorbikes and designing posters for concerts, even designing for the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. He doesn’t talk about this very often, but when he does you can tell that he loved it. Mum wanted to be in the police, riding about on a motorbike all day. She especially loves the Honda Goldwing, and if I won the lottery tomorrow it would be the first thing I’d buy her.

When I’m older, I want what my parents have but with a twist. I want to have their lifestyle; A lovely yet modest home in the country, well kept and filled to the brim with lovely soft furnishings with wonderful pictures on the walls. I want a large study covered in bookshelves creaking under the weight of their load, flanking a desk that houses my dream computer along with three thirty inch monitors, allowing for untold levels of productivity.

I want to eventually raise my own children, bringing them up to be well-balanced, respectful, productive members of society. I want them to be well mannered, well educated and cultured free-thinkers. I want to provide for my children the way my parents provided for me and give them a comfortable, happy upbringing. I don’t think I’m even close to being prepared for the physical, emotional and intellectual challenge that raising children will bring, but the prospect certainly excites me.

I think these are the things most people would like.

But then I start to think about my professional life and here’s where the twist resides.

For the past few years I’ve been particularly directionless, flitting about from one idea of what I want to be doing to the next without any clear goals for my future. I have a tendancy to keep my head in the clouds and not really think about things too seriously. This has often been detrimental to my growth as a person but I think that in recent times I’ve really narrowed down on what I want to accomplish. One thing I definitely don’t want is to go to a job that bores me to tears.

I can’t think of anything worse than working a reasonably well paid job which ultimately does nothing but provide a means to an end. I want to do something exciting and challenging, something that requires me to put myself into what I do. I want to move people emotionally with my work and I want to be recognised for it. I want to do something that doesn’t stress me out to the point that my relationship with anyone is pushed to its limits. I want to make sure that I have something to show for the hours I’ve put in that doesn’t amount to several reams of A4 paper stacked upon someone elses’ desk. I want to wake up in the morning and look forward to going into work. I want to come home feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

In short, I want a job that I love and I certainly do not want to be part of the 95% of people who work for the sake of working.

I appreciate that this is a tall order, but I also appreciate that this is certainly within the realms of my abilities. I know that when I put effort into something I love I can succeed. It’s all well and good wanting the nice house and the expensive car, but I don’t think you can enjoy all that to its fullest if you’ve had to flog yourself in order to gain these things. I am in no way discounting the importance of keeping an excellent home, but for me it’s just as important to walk into work a happy man as it is to walk into your home a happy man. I also believe that a stimulating and rewarding career can greatly improve your overall quality of life.

Throughout my years I’ve had the privillege of watching my parents in all aspects of their lives. I’ve seen them at their highest and their lowest and I’ve learned a great deal from them. I’m certain there’s an untold wealth of knowledge they could yet pass on to me, but as it stands just now I think I’ve been set in good stead to learn from both their successes and their mistakes. I’ve watched them raise my brother and sister, both excellent people. They’ve instilled within me the value of hard work and earning your keep, but I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned from them is the importance of being happy. I appreciate that I can’t maintain 100% happiness 100% of the time and that I still have my fair share of trials and tribulations ahead of me. At times I’ll be tested and I’ll need to overcome these situations with the help of others, but it certainly falls within my remit to make sure that I’m as happy as I can be. This means raising a family whom I love dearly, keeping a home I’m always happy to return to and working a job I love.

I think that these are the three most important things a man can work for. I think that in their own way they’re all as important as each other in so much as without one the others will surely fall.

Five.

Neurotron is Paisley.
Lucky Strikes are 50 inch televisions.
Monolake is hating my boss.
Prince of Persia is the West End.
Serge Gainsbourg is growing my hair long.
Blue shirts are an attempt at business dress.
Manitoba is summer & handwriting.
Earl Grey tea is a very dark memory.
Lusine is the RT60 equation.
Black Vans slip-ons are car insurance.
DJ Krush is the smell of the the subway.
Cider is a wooden table & many, many cigarettes.
Burial is the affair.
A barbecue is a summer spent outdoors & birdsong.
Flying Lotus is living alone.
The MMO is a means of continued confessions.
Wisp is the soundtrack to discovery.
Ice cream is holding out ’til the next visit.
Boards of Canada is the soundtrack to realisation.
Gallo white grenache is despairing.
Burial is the end of the affair.
Facial hair is waiting for an answer.
Beyonce is working things out.
Films at six in the morning are remembering why.
Richie Hawtin is a new flat.
Coffee is writing music.
Tycho is remembering.
A letter brings good news.
Autechre is now.