Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cars And Girls

Well I have been busy. Happy and busy. Busy reorganising my wee studio and setting up my new monitors. As well as recording tracks for my next album I am also engineering and mastering a CD for a friend. I'm in the process of re-releasing an old CD on Amazon in the hope of selling some copies. I've also been busy with my radio show reviewing a lot of material sent to me by PR companies. I've been interviewing local artists. For the first time in ages I've been out. Three times! Once to the dentist, once to the cardiovascular clinic and my pal took me out hillwalking... a very short distance and a very small hill!

The shrink arrived at the house this morning. I was in great form and told Moonstone how well I'd been doing. Despite my good news, she asked all the usual boring questions at the pace of dripping treacle which seemed to last a century. I told her it was all good, I was happy, busy doing stuff, making sweet music and enjoying doing the radio stuff. How we'd been on holiday, how I was reading for the first time in ages. That I now listen to audio-books in bed so I'm not restless through the night. Despite all this, Dr Moonstone Woodstock sat smiling, pausing ages between questions. It was all I could do to contain myself, she was like in slow motion. She obviously asked about my drinking... and I obviously lied... "21-28 units per week". She asked how I thought my mood was, "fine" I said... "between 1 and 10?"... "right in the middle I replied". She thought I was "a bit on the edge" and asked about my usual warning signs of buying guitars, lack of sleep etc. I told her I was absolutely fine. "Well when do you want me to see you again? Six months? Or do you want me to discharge you?" she asked... Yowza!!!..."Discharge sounds good". "If you stay on the books you can contact the team directly for support, if I discharge you you will have to contact us via your GP". "Support?" I asked incredulously. "The only thing I've ever asked for is medication and you all invariably deny it. While you are more than happy to prescribe me drugs which make me grossly obese or give me diarrhoea or headaches, if I ask for anything that might actually make me feel a bit better you say I can't have it because it's addictive or not while I'm drinking or let's wait a while longer because you're stable at the moment or there's not much evidence for it helping". Subsequently I opt for discharge... then remember my pending DLA application and ask if maybe I should stay on until that's sorted out, "no, they don't ask me, they ask the GP about that"... zoiks, OK, bye! Moonstone then spoke to Mrs Mo, asked her if she thought I was high at the moment, Mrs Mo sided with me and said no it was just my normal exuberance although she did express some concern about my overactive imagination. Moonstone asked her if I should be discharged or reviewed in six months (can't a psychiatrist make a fucking decision based on her own observations...errr.... duh... it's not my job). Mrs Mo opted for the 6 month review and agreed to call the team should she be concerned in the interim. I just want my fucking  benefits and be rid of the psychiatrist forever. Get outta town you muthas.

The shrink left and then Mrs Mo went to work. At lunchtime the letterbox clanked and there was a thud on the carpet. I danced along the hall and glanced down just in case a CD had arrived. No, no CD, just a pile of mail, mostly junk, election flyers, supermarket leaflets, white envelopes, all the usual trash. I was about to ignore it, I don't bother with mail nowadays. However, one brown envelope caught my eye, I stopped and looked down.... DA DA DAAAAAHHH.... four letters caught my eye... oh no.... "DVLA". I bent down, picked it up and did something I haven't done for ages... I opened the letter.

"Dear Insignificant Bastard
We have decided that your current driving licence will be withdrawn from 26 May 2010"

Absolutely no explanation why. Am I too mad to drive? Who the fuck knows. According the Norwegian bloke that sends these, "Mr Drivers Medical Group", I can apply for a temporary licence which will run for one year. However, they are not giving me this automatically. As well as filling in fucking forms, I have to go and have a photograph taken and have it signed by someone who isn't a relative. I hate all this shite. I don't want to do it but I know if I don't jump through their fucking hoops they will make it even harder for me to get my licence back in the future. I'm not sure what I'll do. Oh what the fuck, maybe I should follow Springsteen's superficial creed, who apparently thinks that life is just about Cars And Girls... well that is if you believe the crap that Prefab Sprout.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Personality Crisis

I had just been reading about Kate's celebration
When the postman delivered my new application
I should have been annoyed. I should have been paranoid.
The envelope's brown should have made me frown,
But Her Majesty's letter didn't get me down
I was expecting a ban from the DVLA
But it was a request for my own DLA
The DWP sent a whopping great form
Asking me to prove that my mind had strayed from the norm
My wife filled in the huge application for me
Hoping taxes we'd paid would be money we'd see

My Disability Living Allowance doesn't run out until September so I was a bit gobsmacked to find they were asking me to re-apply now in April (I say I was gobsmacked but there was a delay, I don't open my mail anymore, my wife does, I have no interest in mail or anything else from the outer world)... I just know they will ask me to fill it in again in August... "just in case your circumstances have changed". The bastards. It is a fucking huuuuugggge formidable form and is totally inapplicable for a condition like mine that varies. Do I need help getting out of bed? Well yes and no, sometimes not, sometimes I need encouragement. When I'm down I don't get out of bed at all and when I'm high I don't go into it at all. There is no answer. How the fuck do you fill in a form that is asking for details of a permanent disability when you have a permanently fluctuating condition. probably the most pertinent question for me is... WHEN should you fill the form in? At the moment I feel great, I am full of energy and raring to go. However, in October I was depressed, hallucinating and delusional. Today I couldn't give a toss... benefits schmenefits. We went out today and I blew more of our dwindling savings on a DVD/HDD recorder, you only live once... or is it twice? I can't remember.

Anyway, my wife filled out the ridiculously long form, God Bless her. She decided to fill it with examples of my extremes such as lying moribund in bed for days or racing the neighbours dog down the hill till I fell head-first and knocked myself unconscious. I guess these sort of examples are honest and bode well for claiming benefits but a more typical picture of my existence would probably fluctuate between long periods of lying on the couch watching Judge Judy, short periods of making records and brief periods of madness. Either way, I cannot conceive of ever going back to work again. If I lost my benefits I dread to think what would happen.

Another big shocker this week was the UK's (2nd) most celebrated (after Fry... even though he is cyclothymic so she is actually #1) bipolar sufferer, our friend Seaneen, being whacked with that muthafucka of a diagnosis... Borderline Personality Disorder. Now sadly, BPD is much maligned and I'm almost scared to talk about this unfortunate mental illness for fear of retribution (In fact I'm scared to talk about most things these days, freedom of speech is fine as long as you adhere to modest liberal views) but there is little doubt that mental health "professionals" aren't particularly compassionate to this diagnosis. Anyway, despite her current self doubts, Seaneen has in the past been prescribed Lithium and Depakote, surely it would have been grossly unethical for a doctor to prescribe these in the absence of bipolar disorder. So just as loads of your readers have commented Seaneen, give yourself a break and try and chill. Fuck the label. It's just one doctor, they all have different viewpoints depending on the latest seminar they were at. We're all thinking about you. I hope I have not upset you, I only wish you well.

The reason I mentioned  Seaneeen's unfortunate experience is that this is a recurring fear of mine. That one day the doctor will turn round to me and say "you're not bipolar" and expose me as a five year fraud. Will I have to reset the clock to 2004 and return to work, to a job I can no longer do, to a person I no longer am. How could I integrate? How could I function in that world? They hypnotised me and injected toxins in my brain when I was in hospital. ECT erased my memories. I am not the man I was. I still dream that I am back at work, it still feels real. It still scares the shit out of me. My dreams are usually more real tham waking life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Uptight (Everything's Alright)

Everything is good. I am recording new stuff. I am buying new active monitors (... £180... which I can't really afford). It's all good!

My pal has brought me new acoustic panels for the studio. I have no idea if he wants money for them or if they are a gift. Who cares? All is well. I am writing, I am productive, I am positive. Magnifique. Uptight (Everything's Alright)!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Holiday Rap

Just back from a scorching week in Lanzarote. Got badly burned the first day (don't know if my meds were a factor?). After this I covered what was left of my skin in Factor 50 on a daily basis. Just wallowed about in the sun, reading and eating and drinking.

Although I never bother or remember, Mrs Mo is always fanatical about me taking my meds. However she frequently forgot when we were on holiday (and I certainly never remembered) and I missed quite a few doses of Depakote. Amazingly this had no ill effects at all... quelle surprise. Perhaps paella and alcohol are also potent mood stabilisers?  

The hotel was lovely with great food and extremely friendly, helpful staff. 90% of the guests in the hotel were Spanish, the children played quietly and were doted on by their large extended families. There was an air of warmth and calm. It was all very nice (and I don't like holidays) until.... on the last day the Brits arrived en masse... loud, angry men sporting gold chains, tattoos and all wearing England football strips... hyperactive, screaming kids (also wearing England strips) who immediately destroyed the giant chess set... mums with Romford facelifts (hair pulled tightly back in a burberry scrunchy) screaming at their kids "FOR FUCK'S SAKE DARREN PISS OFF I'M TRYING TO READ!!!".

Within minutes they were all moaning about all the "foreign stuff" and the lack of real beer and chips.
 The football strips always fascinate me, why do they feel the need to let everyone know they are English (when it's bleedin' obvious from their behaviour anyway). Aren't they ever scared they will be the only English family in a hotel full of Germans? How many strips do they have...7, 14, 28? Do they take one for each morning and a "dress strip" for dinner? Or do they just wear the same on the whole time and ignore the sweat?

Anyway, despite the arrival of our charming fellow Britons, we had a nice time. We had an all-inclusive deal so were constantly overindulging like Romans at an orgy, eating several meals a day plus snacks and Moonstone would have had a fit if she had seen us take advantage of the free alcohol. We only managed to drag ourselves out of the hotel once for a beer in the town. As we spent no money, Mrs Mo decided to run the gauntlet of UK Customs and blow it all on fags which were only £17 for 200. Fortunately they didn't have the Embassy Regal sniffer dogs at the airport when we returned.

I hate going on holiday. It's a shame cos it costs a lot of money and I'm sure there are lots of people who would love to go abroad and can't afford it (unfortunately Mrs mo likes me along with her). I don't like hotels, I hate being among other people, I know there's a high risk I'll offend someone with my "merry banter" or upset them with my snoring. I spend the whole time worrying about things that might go wrong and can't wait to get home. However, this time all went well without any probs.