Riding with Madness
People tell me I’m not mad. I am sat in my flat at the moment, typing, clearly. I mean, it’s obvious that I’m typing, not that the words coming from my fingers are depicting something with clarity…now I’m going down this tangent I can’t wait for the next paragraph.
Packing. I am packing. Why? Because two weeks ago I heard outside a man claiming I was a pouf, a paedophile, a pervert, and a wanker. I believed he had videoed me in my bed and I believed he had taken a photo of me as I fled my flat. I have been at my mother’s house terrified. All my stuff is in Bournemouth and my job very, very close. I think I thought I might have lost it all, although my connection with reality has been under question, by me, for many years.
One week ago I had arranged to come back to this flat with backup. I was worried about my neighbour upsetting my family so I refused help, but I had a friend who offered to come with me. What with his many plans, and his tendency to get “bladdered” he never came. I was at home in fear for the last week about what would happen when I returned. Because I believed this man had been outside until six in the morning shouting abuse, ultimately aimed at shaming me and humiliating me with words and by showing many people an image of me and labelling it with “pervert” and “pouf” and “paedophile”, I was living in fear for the last fortnight about what I would come back to. I believed my neighbour had been complaining about my personal habits, and I had heard him call me an alcoholic. I have appalling personal habits and I can’t drink in small quantities but this man didn’t know that! How did I get here!?
Before I left that morning I left an appalling note. It said something along the lines of “I might be a bit of a perve, I’m am actually a pouf but I’m certainly not a paedophile.” I know. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had been up all night in terror as I’d been listening to this man destroy me outside. I also tried to explain that I was a normal person! I had books! Guitars and all sorts of things.
The courage. I got here about an hour ago. It turns out, if this man’s note is to be believed, that he didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. I am not sure if I believe him. I am scared of both possibilities. He might be lying. Okay, so if he’s lying to me then at least I should feel safer because his lies will be to protect him which means I’m at least safer than I was. My friend, however, thinks I have schizophrenia. I cannot believe that I only have schizophrenia when I am inside a flat. Houses don’t do this to me! I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I don’t believe this is alcohol induced either, unless it’s the long term effects of getting utterly bladdered. I must admit. Whilst I have only got drunk twice since coming here, I did pass out drunk and lose my phone. I was an idiot. I knew what I was doing. But I passed out. I think that’s what happened anyway. I can’t see limits. I just see opportunities to lose control, which I embrace because I’m tired of it. “It.” It being what you and I have as our own perceptions of reality. My Christ! If only I’d known I was mental all this time ago. I might have stayed in Brighton if I knew I was a fucking nutter. I’m just saying.
So where from here? Physically a house.
Actually it’s just struck me. The note was from a female. The man I heard was a loud Londoner. And by heard I don’t mean just on that night either, he was around for all the time I’ve been here. Am I tapping into the dead? Does he still think he has a daughter? Does the lady actually live on her own? It’s a Ms. Maybe it’s a transsexual with a deep London accent. I just can’t work out what to think. The flat makes me uneasy though. I know that much. And packing is slow progress.
I don’t know what to think. I really don’t know what to think. Was she side-stepping responsibility of the man, feeling embarrassed? This is another possibility. People have been telling me since I fled that this couldn’t possibly happen. And I have to admit, it has happened before. But I saw a man I didn’t know call me names the last time. Was he there? I feel like all these questions are never going to be answered. I actually thought I heard someone point me out as a paedophile on the way to the flat. I am scared to go outside because of it and kept my head down as much as possible because if my name’s been muddied, what else can you do? I know I’m not a paedophile, but mud sticks Mr London Man. You better exist or I really am going out of my nut. Some of the voices, both in Brighton and in Bournemouth I have to admit came out of the television of neighbouring flats. I do know what it looks like. I was in fear the last night I stayed here and was worried the man would start insulting me from behind my bed, through a wall, I mean I know he’s not actually inside the room or the wall, but it scared me enough to sleep in the living room with my sleeping bag. This note I’ve received is potentially a gift or a curse. If it’s a lie, maybe that’s a gift. Maybe I can carry on as normal. On the other hand if I carry on as normal and somebody beats the shit out of me for being something I’m not, or looks down on me or spreads this lie like a disease then it’s a curse. If it’s the truth then it never actually happened which leaves me with a whole lot of questions.
Let me, now, assume that what occurred was an entire delusion. If I am to assume that then I am safe, once more, to roam the streets of Bournemouth. It isn’t all that easy to just drop what you thought was reality though. I’m half way through applying for a house because of my reality. Is the new forest a good place for someone who feels like they’ve not yet started living yet? What is it that holds me back? In this case it’s momentary insanity. I want a new life. One without delusions. One with books to read and nice people to talk to. A date once in a while if I’m not too nuts or fat. I want but shouldn’t want a dark room with just candles and a Ginger Baker CD where I can smoke freely. No landlord lets you smoke freely. I want those pink biscuits I only seem to be allowed at Christmas and the occasional spliff. I want to embrace the rain like I’m eating the trees. I want toad in the hole! I want beef joints with parsnips! I also want to find time to write, read, drum, guitar, piano, draw, and be free. And if both of these illusions, assuming both Brighton and Bournemouth were just that, then why the hell do the people outside fixate on me being a homosexual? And how come there’s convincing build-up to the crazy? Why do the imaginary people call me a paedophile?! I am a pouf. I know I’m a pouf even if I’ve never been a pouf in action, but the people outside don’t know that. Apparently it’s not all that uncommon when one is dealing with these issues to be insulted by one’s own inner voice. I suppose paedophilia is the biggest insult my sub-conscious could muster. All this said, I did think someone called me a paedophile on the way back from the train station. Also the note was written by a female where the voice was that of a male. Imagine! Imagine if there is only a single old lady who lives there where I’ve been hearing a whole family. And Him. The man who has this great big loud London voice. Does he exist? Is the the same voice that came from Brighton? I feel okay at the moment but I have to tell you I felt okay when I was hearing a lot of these voices too. And these voices came from exactly where you’d expect them to come from if these people were your actual neighbours. I am not sold. Fuck me, ever heard of paragraphs Ash?!
Then let’s assume that the note is a lie. Where does that leave me? Still scared to go outside. I just need to make it to the station in the morning if I can pack and clean and everything. I don’t know if it’s a lie or not so I’ll just be being scared anyway. Perhaps I’ll wear my hood. I wonder if I could pull off dying my hair black? I am so old! Anyway. I digress. What I don’t get is that if the note is not a lie, then why the hell do I only struggle with my mind in flats? Is it common? Do I have schizophrenia? Is it the sound that sets me off? Sorry, this should have been in the other paragraph. I just don’t know what to think but I will tell you that I find it distressing. And something I told my mother about today because I was afraid that I was going nuts is that the previous neighbour in Brighton actually sent a note saying they don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about either. How could I believe that though? After the trauma!? If it happens one time, okay, it’s a trauma, if it happens a second time then there’s more to it.
It was a friend who picked up on it actually. He is a friend, though I had him as an internet friend as I was in my twenties as he was an ex of someone I don’t talk to anymore because they get upset if you’re late. Digression once more. A symptom apparently. Anyway. I’ve only met him one time when I was looking for work. Anyway we did a schizophrenia test over the phone. I say phone it was actually a WhatsApp call. Not that you care, it’s irrelevant. Anyway. Right. And I scored 17 apparently which is above 14 where 14 is “Early Schizophrenia”. I won’t put too much thought into that yet, though, as I don’t know where the test came from. He does believe it’s a real possibility. I have to admit, on both occasions I was hearing voices on the train as I fled, but these were the voices of the neighbours which begs the question…was I hearing them all along? OR! Am I being lied to through this note?
If that woman lives alone. And doesn’t have a great big loud London boyfriend and doesn’t have a daughter then I know I’m fucked. I say fucked. Everything is treatable. Up to a point. As long as I don’t go stark raving mad and start setting fire to the furniture we’ll be fine.
One thing it would explain is cognitive decline. I recall in Brighton, whilst at work, I felt like I had dementia at times when asked to recall the previous week. I also have issues remembering what people are saying to me.
All I know right now is that I want to finish packing. I don’t like flats. I was alright in Bath. I mean I was hearing voices but I called them “voices in the wind” because I didn’t believe that they came out of thin air. They seemed to come from fans, or the small noises you get from people talking from afar. Jesus Christ I have so much packing to do, but I wanted to ramble my thoughts away.
Heat Recruitment have emailed. “Now is the right time to advance your career”. Is it?! Is it really because I feel like I’m having some sort of breakdown! The good thing is that there are gaps between my “episodes” if indeed they are episodes. I’ve just had the weirdest thought. I’ve had a false memory for a little while. The house I went to see. I saw the woman that lives there currently. Except I didn’t. I’ve never met her or seen her. No wonder I’m fucking delusional!
There is another alternative and that’s alcohol. I drank so much growing up as I was developing and well into my thirties and when I drink I really do drink like a fucking idiot. I know that can leave you delusional. I recall lying in bed dealing with withdrawals when I had, just for a moment, the belief that I was in the army, I was married to a woman (yuk) and I had a child. It was a nightmare even if it was just for those few moments. That said I want stability, I want a life. Part of me hopes I have got some sort of interesting thing going on in my head that has some sort of interesting label. I could write a book, but more importantly there might be a supplementary benefit! I should look that up actually.
The man upstairs just called me a filthy pouf. Or did he? He said that the night I fled. I really don’t know what to believe any more. I do know I probably won’t manage to sort out my packing tonight. Not all of it anyway. Maybe I’ll end up going home tomorrow evening. I was scared of going out with my friend, or meeting up with him, in case people started yelling at me for being a paedophile. It doesn’t matter that I’m not one. If you get labelled one, it sticks, right? It’s humiliating. But is it a risk? I wish I knew.
I heard him outside the building! Why do the voices come from where I would expect them to if I’m crazy? I am not going to sleep well tonight as I insist on sleeping in the living room again. Because of the voices in the bedroom. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But I will be very pissed off if I don’t get a supplementary benefit. Is it weird that I think there’s a conspiracy because everything’s quiet right now? You can’t answer that. You’re reading. You can’t write. Well you could.
So really, the future is uncertain. I think that’s the meat and potatoes of it. I hate that saying. The only thing I can work towards is the house in the New Forest assuming I feel safe there.
There is another alternative to all this. And that’s that my experience in Brighton is still following me. Maybe I’m not ill, I’m just experiencing the fallout from that? I think I’d rather be ill rather than that as I don’t feel at all safe in Brighton so I’ve never returned. Which is a shame. I quite like bits of it.
I really liked Ginger Baker. His ways and things. I suppose one option is that what I thought had happened actually did happen and the woman who lives inside flat six was so ashamed that she’s chucked him out and that’s why it’s so quiet. I heard, clear as day, I heard her say “He’s not a bad person” and him reply to that “We don’t know that!” But once I left the flat and saw the man who is the concierge, humiliated myself by explaining what I thought was the situation, I was practically fine. I say practically because I believe(d) that the man in question photographed me as I left here in tears. It was fucking real to me.
I’ll go. I’ve had enough and I’m tired. No doubt there will be some sort of update as badly written once I’ve seen the psychiatrist.
Lots of love (and make sure you love one another lots),