Saturday, 15 December 2012

Working Out What to Work At

I'M IN A FUNNY MOOD TODAY ("today being yesterday, Friday). I got to reading books and listening to music and watching Helen Mirren starring as The Queen (yet again) last night and didn't realize how late it was until I saw the foreign satellite box was showing me a time of 2am. Then I went to bed in hat, coat and scarf (because it's that cold and I can't afford to keep the fanheater belting it out all night)... only to wake again at FIVE A.M. unable to sleep. I thought I needed more methadone so I drank that... and went into a long internal rant of the type I usually only make when I have some serious complaint I want to make (usually to the methadone clinic) or some ranting blog piece I want to post but the computer isn't there and I'm rehearsing what I'm gonna say. Or I'm becoming manic. I carried on ranting in a most irritated fashion inside my head till past eight o'clock and then distracted myself by phoning the DSS ("DWP" as they call themselves now) to find out when my benefits are getting paid. Suddenly, at the sound of a kindly human voice, I was most cheerful and chatty. I'm now getting my money on Tuesdays, not Mondays, which put me in terror of the electricity running out on Emergency, so later that morning Binky lent me a tenner.

When I'm on my own I feel stone cold normal. But whenever the phone rings, or I'm in the company of another person ~ whoever that may be ~ suddenly I'm acting and feeling half-drunk: lively and verbiose. I just wish I could keep this good mood going all the time. [And I'm trying to keep careful track of my moods: hence these notes.]

I got to musing about my True Job Prospects (and not the illusiory ones; I mean, if I truly had my pick of professions I'd go for Head of State (obviously ~ and not for a mere four years like a poxy American president ~ it would have to be a lifelong position to suit me... if not hereditary). And if I put my talents to full use, I'd be a bestselling writer. Plus a magazine editor and publisher. And a maker of fine fragrance. And a jewellery designer with lines on sale via Bulgari (for the real stuff) and the home shopping channel (for cubic zirconia). My other ambitions are to design a bestselling board-game and a computer game. To appear in a French film. To release a hit single and make an album. And to become a great poet with my works appearing on teeshirts, mugs, fridge-magnets etc (far better way of making money out of poetry than books! Who buys poetry books nowadays?) And to make bestselling poetry CDs with the poetry performed against a backdrop of whooshing ambience with chirping birds, whalesong etc in the background. These are just a handful of my ambitions. And they are real ambitions. You can think what you like, but with half a chance I will go for them all ~ and I'm fully intending to contrive that chance myself.

But failing that: working for someone else. How the hell am I meant to explain on whatever form I have to fill in (and surely it's NOT the initial application form; that would be just too brutal) that I'm supposed to be a schizophrenic manic-depressive? Who the hell's going to want to employ me then? That's why I need this chat with the temp agency. I'm going to walk in somewhere and give the unvarnished truth (no drug references though, and no medical details except the names of the conditions, of which I have to inform potential employers, in order to qualify for protection under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. So I was thinking about this, and musing on what the hell would happen if I suddenly became manic enough to believe I can say and do precisely as I please no matter who's watching? Or so depressed I can't be bothered to change clothes or shower for weeks on end? And my life and the prospect of anything better seemed such a morass that I switched off and switched the TV on instead...

Somebody somewhere, please give me some perspective on this. I'm not really mad, (...) right~~? I could go mad again... or I could not. I still hear voices every day, but they're not the ultra-real voices ~ utterly indistinguishable from a real person right next to me telling me things wonderful or irrelevant about myself and the world... I know my voices now are not accoustically real. Example: yesterday the following information beamed at me from the pavement: You are looking wonderful! So I told the pavement, Oh yes I know ~ even if I do say so myself! But I knew this was a psychic dream, not the reality of ordinary people. As long as I can keep the two realities: that of relatively low-grade "symptoms" and that of everyday working people, separate then surely I should be fine enough to work amongst the People myself..?

What should I do? Should I follow my heart, my head or my Dreams? I want to commence writing a novel. But which novel to write? I have ideas for at least four that I could pen tonight. And another ten more ready for next year... I'm only hampered by a wavering sense of morality plus my own inextricable laziness. But ~ ha! ~ come to think of it, I know what I'm writing: VALERIE: THE PRISON EMAILS ~ my "respectable" Australian heroin-addicted narcotics-trafficking housewife and mother's outermost rants.

OK so it's all settled ~~ but before I get a book advance big enough to buy a four-bedroom flat opposite Harrods, should I get a "normal" job too? And can I even do one? The more I think about it, the more terrified I am. I remember office politics. And I remember the stultifying culture of enforced "normality" that prevails in the corporate workplace (two of my old jobs were with large corporations, the type of place that uses its own custom-made software so a weeks' IT-training is required before you can really begin...) Akh. Ukh. I don't know I don't know I don't know. And the British system is NOT kind or understanding to anybody who ever needs to vacillate between work and benefits (which I really wouldn't want to do, but face it there's a chance I might HAVE to...) plus I haven't even considered the fact that I'm still on methadone, still sporadically chipping at the Heroin, still not clean from that drug. I don't drink. At all these days. And I touch no other intoxicating substances apart from heroin and caffeine (the caffeine gets me way more out of it these days anyway)... what am I going to do? And what if I have a cup of tea at work and it makes me suddenly go bipolar?


Music ~~~~~~~ Barber's Adagio for Strings
I love this tune...

William Orbit/Ferry Corsten mix

Longer version of the same (sans video)

Sung version by the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge with transcendently beautiful, mind-expanding cosmic visuals by NASA

Illustrated: Birds of Paradise animation...



Anonymous said...

Hello Gledwood, long time reader, first time commenter.

In reference to your writing, have you considered self publishing? You can do it for free on Amazon via their KDP website. There is tons of advice out there, but one point I'd make is to start small. No point writing a 100,000 word novel if no one will buy it. Write a shorter piece (10,000 words, say) and publish that. And if people like it, publish a Part 2 and Part 3, etc. And sell them cheap to boost the numbers and your rankings. :)

Amazon has a ready audience of millions and there's sure to be people interested in what you write about.

Let me know what you decide! And I hope you can overcome your struggles and begin to feel better. Everyone who reads this blog wishes that for you, and we know you can do it.

Kind regards.

EVFD said...

Hello again, and I hope I'm not interfering or acting like I know it all, because of course I don't.

You might find this page useful http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/mentalhealth/Pages/returning-to-work-mental-health.aspx - maybe not, I don't know.

I think taking things slow is the key here. I would recommend finding a part time volunteer position. This doesn't have to be in a shop; plenty of organisations need office volunteers too.

If you decide to pursue full time employment, make sure the organisation you choose to work for has good HR and Occupational Health depts. I know you are distrusting of medical practicioners but I think some involvement here would be a wise choice.

Anonymous said...

How about some work in a pet shop, or local cattery or kennels. You do seem to love animals, and they are not likely to make you a cuppa, plus they really wouldn't care if you went all bipolar on them!! So long as you were kind and continued with keeping them clean and fed.
Of course this wouldn't bring in much money, so you would have to get that book, or Valeries' Memoirs written up and published in your spare time.

From Kiwigirl.

Gledwood said...

ANON: o yeah I would love to self-publish. I heard you can actually get a better deal on electronic rights if you publish yourself than go through a big publisher... if so that is RIDICULOUS.

I would try proper publishers first 1 because I should get cash up front which would be v nice and

2 because they ought to have facilities to market and ship out by the multi-million which hopefully will be necessary and

3 because I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to publish in a foreign language and obviously I want to appear in every major language, not just English

on the other hand self-publshing seems so much more exciting, I can say whatever I want, fill my books with utterly tasteless jokes (Valerie is always on the crack and neglecting her kids. When they start climbing the garden fence out of hunger, because she has forgotten to feed them for a couple of days (they are locked in the house next door so's Val and Bruce can have uninterupted piping sessions) Brucie goes out into the back garden and shoots the kiddies down with an airgun... (is that TOO tasteless?? I don't know... you have to be so po-faced about certain issues these days so I never know where to draw the line))

EVFD: thanks for that information. I don't know what you mean about HR and Occupational Health Debts I don't know if we have that here (London) but if the equivalent exists I'll try and do that...

KIWI: I would love to work with animals only I hate getting bitten... would that disqualify me.

Hopefully Valerie's memoirs will bring in multi-millions and get made into a $1 billion-grossing Hollywood film. Who would they get to play her? That drunken Jew-hating Aussie could be her husband Bruce... but who looks like a younger Mrs Thatcher on crack...? O they could make up Meryl Streep for the job (~!!)