Have you ever had a curry for lunch? If not I really recommend you do, the whole experience is a different one, right down to actual taste of the meal itself. And if you are a smoker then give that up and you’ll be able to taste and smell the meal too! Been nearly three years since I gave up. I am so sensitive now that if somebody smokes near me I get a rush from just the passive inhalation of their smoke. But I think I might have broken some new ground last Saturday: I had a curry for breakfast. I arrange tickets for the Stewards’ Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta each year (I am a member) for some friends and in return they take me for a curry. The tickets are quite expensive actually so they should get me several. We agreed on Saturday lunchtime only I had had a hard week. I had been determined to get up early, have breakfast and get down the gym to work up an appetite. But I did not manage to get up until 11am so it was a couple of cups of coffee and off to have the curry, a rather mild prawn vindaloo in my case.
Today is my Dad’s 83rd birthday. I bought him a bottle of 1995 vintage port telling him 1995 was the year I escaped from Queen Mary’s psychiatric wing in Roehampton. They never saw me again!
Spurious bit of nostalgia time! I had just had my interview to Cambridge University in 1978 or 79. I was changing from my school uniform into my punk gear in my Austin A35 PBD 34 when from the radio came The Tubes doing Prime Time. I would not hear that song again until I chose to find the video on Youtube some 30 years later. I think there must have been another band called The Tubes as, judging by the video, the band were hopelessly uncool (part from the girl maybe). That night I went to see Stiff Little Fingers at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. What a night that was!
I shall finish this month’s diary with best wishes to my Dad who is going to Papworth to have a quadruple heart by-pass operation.
Diary Entry February 2009
What I am watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur5fGSBsfq8
My driving licence has been reissued. Recently I have had to reapply every year meaning that by the time all the procedures had been gone through I often went for months without it. Not that I missed it. I have got so used to having no licence that I feel quite liberated to know I do not miss having a car. I walk around town and if I need to go anywhere else I go by train. Before it expired last summer I did hire a car for a few days and went to Norfolk. I was too worried about my excess actually. I should have paid the extra to protect it. On the back of the licence is a little picture of a car towing a trailer. So if you see a car towing a trailer you now know that the driver might be a paranoid schizophrenic! This time they have issued it for three years. As I said they usually want to see how much of a nutcase I am yearly but it does not expire until January 8th 2012. Might be handy if I get the job of care support worker I applied for.
I saw the swans hanging around where they usually make their nest. Somebody has put down a little pile of hay for them. I was on my long run. Yesterday I did it just 7 seconds slower than my all time record time, in fairly windy conditions actually. My legs seemed to have taken on an existential life of their own and were telling me they wanted to go faster. That’s all the work I have done with my trainer, Gavin.
As I write I have got the offer of the three week work trial as a care support worker: sort of junior psychiatric nurse. Just waiting for the CRB check and references. CRB is no problem. I phoned my brother at the Police station and asked him if I was a known criminal and he was able to confirm I wasn’t, though I once got caught doing 86-92 on the A1(M). They said I would not have to do the night shift (because of my medication) and that provided I gave plenty of warning I could still do my consultancy work.
Diary Entry January 2009
What I am listening to: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=umwQG7fue84
Have you read Dr Webcat’s letter to Laurie and what he said about Dr Shipman? Obviously he did not mean that any psychiatrists were deliberately killing their patients. But personally I suspect adverse side effects would have been a factor in far more suicides than the number of patients he killed.
I forget if I told you about a friend who drank himself to death over the years. I would see him in the shop in the morning when I was getting the paper. He would be buying a few cans then. I would drop into the pub at lunchtime for a coffee and he would be sipping away then too. Then he would be at the bar in the evening, when I still had not thought of an alcoholic drink. He did not even drink strong lager. He never seemed drunk but was always just topping up. The coffee in one of my locals is the best and I drop in at all times of day, and this ‘new’ chap is always there drinking Kronenburg. I can’t imagine he will last very long as that is stronger than what Bryn drank.
Dad has moved back into the house. He is 82 and is going to have a heart by-pass operation. I felt sorry for him as he has to sleep in the room next to mine knowing the state my room is in. Then in a moment of clarity I suddenly thought, wait a minute, I am living in that room! With mental illness your personal surroundings can become a symptom of the illness. I was on the right tracks a couple of years ago when I asked Dad to get me a new filing cabinet for my birthday. But I did not follow through. That is what I am doing now. Part of this involves a deep clean of the room. Most of this is now done including the picture rails, the top of the cupboard, and those cobwebs high in the corners etc. Tomorrow I shall do under the bed and the cleaning will be nearly done. I have made several trips to the Salvation Army and now, just to give you an idea of how bad it was, I can actually get to the chest of draws and not only that but since I have got rid of all the stuff I will never wear (some quite nice expensive stuff actually) I can actually get some sense out of the chest of drawers! I intend to have a grand bedroom reopening when the works are completed. There is not much to do actually now. A bit more cleaning, declutter the study table and the bed settee and I should be just about there.
Diary Entry December 2008
What I am listening to:
This may seem the wrong month to be saying this, especially as, by the time I get it up, it will be 2009 I should think. But as I write it is Hallowe’en week. I was in the pub, just having finished my glass of Fentiman’s dandelion and burdock and was leaving. I told a friend as I left that I was getting back to watch the Hallowe’en week special “Most Haunted Live” which was being broadcast from the disused Denbigh asylum. He said “They are only doing that because it is Hallowe’en week”. I found that remark very amusing. It was like saying the Americans only did the Apollo programme because the Moon was there.
I was appalled by the Pope’s remarks about homosexuals and transsexuals. A good friend of mine is a transsexual and I have friends who are gay. Having had schizophrenia has brought me closer to those groups of the community due to the oppression I have experience. Mind you I should not be surprised: the Pope was a member of the Hitler youth. In any case I am no fan of Christianity. As for Israel. I shall repeat what I said in June. “Correct me if I'm wrong but, Israel is in breach of UN resolutions 194 and 242 concerning the occupied territories. (In fact since the 1967 war the UN has passed 429 resolutions against Israel and condemned it 321 times: source Wikepedia).”
I was saying to a friend I was thinking of approaching Julian Clary with an idea to go on Dragons’ Den with. It would be Julian Clary fairies to go on the top of Christmas trees. I expect Julian would say it would be a bit uncomfortable sitting on the top of a Christmas tree. He amused me when he was on Who do you think you are? He went into his bedroom to get some family documents and said “I have never had two cameramen in my bedroom- well not at once”!
I think my cat (Pumpkin Rumble) is having a midlife crisis. He thinks he is a cockerel and comes into my bedroom before dawn making strange noises.
Diary Entry November 2008
What I am listening to:
This month’s “What I am listening to” is not a musical one for a change. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Weren’t Monty Python just the business? I hope you find as funny as I do!
What is not quite so funny, certainly if you have been affected by it, is the credit crunch. But I have heard some good jokes. What is the capital of Iceland? £5. What is the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon? A pigeon can still make a deposit on an Aston Martin. What is the difference between a pizza and an investment banker? A pizza can feed a family of four.
I had an email from somebody who was worried about the £50,000 he had in his bank account with ING, a Dutch bank. Actually the Dutch guarantee scheme is 100,000 euros so he should be OK. But when it was announced they had lost £500,000,000 in 3 months I worked out they had lost £50,000 every 23 minutes or something during that time. But there is a lot worse. Wachovia Bank in the states had lost £23,000,000,000 in 3 months from July to September which I worked out meant they lost £50,000 every 23 seconds or so. You would have trouble throwing £50,000 from a car being driven down the High Street in that time, let alone do it for 3 months night and day!
There was an article on the front page of today’s local newspaper which has upset me. It says “Security man sacked after sex with patient”. The patient is a patient on the psychiatric ward where I have been held. Nowhere in the article is there any mention of a complaint having been made or the Police being involved. Need I say more?
Diary Entry October 2008
What I am listening to: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mvcoX6EQH2s
I was watching a before they were famous TV programme and they showed a clip of Ricky Gervais in his 1980s pop guise: a little known but excellent band Seona Dancing. I have a 7” single of theirs, More to Lose. The band played live at my famous party in Taviton Street in late April 1983. There were two 12” versions of the song actually. I had only ever heard one of these once actually, at a party in June 1983, which I had gone to with a girlfriend. I can remember it playing at the party and the moment in the song when I realised it was not the mix I had. I had not heard that mix since, until just now. It’s quite a classic and it was a very peculiar feeling to think of the water under the bridge since then. How happy I was that night! A friend was at the party, playing in a band. He might read this diary. Recently he asked me to be a friend on Facebook. I acceded making no comment. In 1998 he saw me begging on the street in Edinburgh but did not say hello. But back in Bedford he told somebody in the pub he had seen me and it got back to me. Oh well. I don’t care. I don’t Nic!
We have not had a spurious bit of nostalgia for a while have we? When I was about 4 the sister of my brother’s friend (she must have been err 10 or something) came round to our house and asked my Mum if she could take me to the park. She did. She had bought a packet of Cadbury’s chocolate buttons for me. I ate them all and when I had finished she called me a pig!
I was in the pub the other night and bumped into a chap who, it has to be said, demonstrated a level of veneration for me, even to the extent that the reason he was venerating me was the reason he knew who I was. Can you imagine why it was? He is the not the only person I have met or whom I know for the same reason. The reason he was venerating me was that on February 29th 1980 I went to the Lyceum ballroom on the Strand in London to see Joy Division. It was the only gig they ever did on a leap day. How anoraky is that? I even had a spare ticket to the (unsold out) gig which I sold for face value to a chap in the queue! Here’s a copy of the ticket and ad.
Diary Entry September 2008
What I am listening to:
I have just come back from my run. I am lucky in that I live a couple of minutes from the track bed of the old Oxford- Cambridge railway line. It has been turned into a footpath all the way to Cambridge. A mile or two east of Bedford a sign appeared recently saying “Circular riverside path to Danish Camp 1.8 miles”. It is wonderful to run along, through the woods for miles. I am probably at my happiest when I am running through those woods. It really raises my spirits!
As I write it is actually October. So I had better get writing or I shall not keep up with the inexorable flow of time. Are you reading this? I have no idea if anyone reads it unless they tell me. Why not send me an email? It would be good to hear from you!
Something just happened which made me happy. But it makes me a bit sad too. There is cat who lives nearby who comes round. I know which house she? is from and, like they often are, they are away and have left their cat to fend for itself. I am sure the cat has not cat flap to get into its house because on a cold, or even freezing night like tonight, October 3rd/4th, she would not choose to bed down on the chair on our veranda where she often is. Our cat Pumpkin Rumble knows the cat and is friendly with it when they meet except in this house where Pumpkin Rumble metes out some pretty rough treatment to it which it tolerates and still comes back for more. I did let it stay the night on earlier occasions but stopped because our cat started making messes around the house and not in its litter tray. It was decided, partly due to a conversation with the vet, that this was a territorial thing on the part of our cat. Now that we have stopped letting the other cat stay the night Pumpkin Rumble has stopped making his messes, I hope. With it getting colder I made the chair on our veranda, where it is comfortable and dry for the guest cat, a little more comfortable. Then this evening I got a couple of boxes from the shop and made it a little camp, sealed up with parcel tape to stop the draughts, with a warm ‘eider’ down inside to make it as cosy as I could. When I got back from the pub (Fentiman’s ginger beer, curiosity cola and dandelion and burdock to finish) I was pleased to see that the cat had taken up residency in its little camp. I put down some food for it having checked that indeed its folk were away for the weekend. Poor pussy!
Diary Entry August 2008
As I write I have reduced my intake of Olanzapine to 5mg from 7.5mg. I have come to the conclusion that provided I do not drink any alcohol I may well not need it. I want to be able to get up at a reasonable time (which I find difficult on it). And you see there are risks attached to Olanzapine which mean if you can do without it you should! Did you notice what I have just said? I said that if I had never drunk any alcohol I would never have got paranoid schizophrenia. Even if I find I stay well without the Olanzapine that will not completely prove that but it will go quite a way to doing so. I have drunk alcohol over the summer. It made me depressed and schizophrenic. Good job I was taking the medication as the next day I could see I had been unwell.
For this month’s “What I am listening to” please go to the Ask Dr Webcat section where you can download my friend Caroline’s song The Fall- FREE! She’s a star.
My personal trainer is moving on (he is becoming a fireman). Good luck to him. He’ll have to see some pretty horrible things. By coincidence there was a big fire in Bedford the day after he told me. I was on the way to Tesco’s and the smoke almost got bad enough to affect my breathing though I was 1/3 mile away from the fire. I have to get a new trainer now. Part of the value of having a trainer is that you have agreed to be there at a certain time and so you are. Your whole week’s training is built around that.
Wondering what is happening with my book? Thought not. But for those of you who are. Please look at my Book Update section which by now should have been updated.
I have decided I will no longer make my evening walk through town. Part of the reason I made it was to get some exercise the round trip being about 3 miles but if you read my diary of last month you will see that walking through town at night even in Bedford, not what you might think is the roughest of towns, is not without its hazards. But it was not just that incident. I looked back over the years and decided, in the light of other recent events on my walk, it would be wise not to make it any longer. I mentioned this to somebody saying I was going to send a postcard to the landlord of the pub in question to explain and they asked me why. I thought about it and remembered that somebody had been macheted to death in his pub last year. But they weren’t a customer. He complained to me he never got anything for the new door he had to get!
Diary Entry July 2008
What I am listening to: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=oDM_VRElgDQ What a classy band. No classier!
So you want to hear about when I got attacked in the street eh? OK. I was walking along Midland Road in Bedford when a chap approached me and walked straight at me to the point where we were facing each other. I know all the beggars along there and have never had a problem with any of them. But this was different. He asked me for money to phone his girlfriend and I knew I had a problem. That is I thought I was going to have to give him money under duress just to get rid of him (that’s defined in law as robbery). I reached in my pocket and found a 50p and a 20p. I gave him the 20p.
The next thing I knew it was like being inside a washing machine. He threw me back and forth extremely aggressively smashing me against a parked car outside the taxi rank. I was caught off guard and it was very difficult to get my bearings back. But I did and next we were wrestling on the floor. I was extremely alarmed by what was happening and called for help from all those watching. I could not hope for help and no help came. I continued wrestling with him. Eventually I got to my feet and this nutcase, half my age, was still on the ground looking a bit flummoxed that he had lost the fight. I gave him a small kick just to show him who was boss. As I walked away I said to his friends “I gave him 20p and he did that. He’s a psycho!” The trouble now was that his whole personal image seemed built around how “hard” he was and I had just shown him up in front of his friends.
I walked off down the street. Near the Nag’s Head intuition told me I ought to look around as I might be about to get a bloody great whack on the head from behind. Sure enough he was following. I was now frightened as to what was about to happen. I considered what I could do. I could go to the Police Station and let him follow me there, or to the Pilgrim’s Progress where I was going anyway and hope he did not follow me. If he did I knew there were video cameras there.
I now made the mistake of not realising that attack was the best form of defence with the result that when he now attacked me for the second right outside the Pilgrim’s he got the upper hand. He was very angry with what had happened, even more angry than before we met. It was very hard to fight back as I was wearing my winter coat (by Chrysallis) and now I was suffering. He had me on the ground and blows were raining in on my head. I started to feel drowsy. A voice in my head said “Clive! You have to get up or this guy might kill you! Get up!” Somehow I did manage to get up. Now I had to get into the pub whose doors he had been loudly and violently smashing me up against to the consternation of those inside. I had him on my back and still he was attacking me. I had the problem that the pub doors open outwards but I got the door open and I walked into the pub with him on my back and his coward of a helper (who had been calling out “I’m lovin it! I’m lovin it” like it was a Macdonald’s ad as he attacked me) on his.
I stumbled into the pub with the two of them on my back and we all fell on a table which broke under the weight and they left. One of his friends, a woman, reached into my pocket and took my debit card as my head bled! Can you believe that? That’s what happened. I took it back from the *******. One of the barmaids identified him. The next day he attacked somebody else believing they were me and committed an armed robbery. A week or two later, a few seconds walk from where he attacked me the second time, somebody died in another street fight. I think the flowers are still there. One of the troubles of the world is that when you watch TV people don’t tend to die from a single punch and often soak up a lot more than they would in reality. People don’t realise how easy it is to kill somebody.
I told you about the £1,000 compensation. It was because the attack made my schizophrenia worse for a few weeks: temporary mental anxiety they called it. Even months later in a moment of ‘clarity’ I thought it might be best to just leave Bedford.
Diary Entry June 2008
What I am listening to: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=MKJgjyvTWPk (N.B.Libyan Secret Service figures in foreground),
I thought I should say something about last month’s diary and my comments about “terrorism”. Whether or not Laurie had an Osama bin Laden t-shirt you would not find me wearing one. But what I was getting at was that people do not have it in their genes to go and commit “acts of terror”. They do it in response to what has happened to them. I had to go up to London on Friday to work at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I feel to some extent I am taking my life in my hands when I go up to London, especially if I need to pass through a main station like St Pancras. Why? Well one of the reasons is Gordon Brown’s recent visit to Israel when he stood on a podium and said what friends Israel and the UK are. But, correct me if I'm wrong but, Israel is in breach of UN resolutions 194 and 242 concerning the occupied territories. (In fact since the 1967 war the UN has passed 429 resolutions against Israel and condemned it 321 times: source Wikepedia).
It seems to me that, not for the first time, the leader of my own country has put me in danger. At least I did not vote for him though. I did vote for Maggie though and one of the things she did was allow the US to try and bomb ‘some bloke’s’ tent in North Africa. And what effect did that have apart from killing a relation of his? A friend of mine, Jo Hudson, had her plane, the Clipper Maid of the Seas, blown out of the sky at Lockerbie. So it was all my fault you see. No, seriously, people in this country do not accept their responsibility for the wrongdoings of their own country. The lack of aid during the potato famine in Ireland (which killed one million people) is an example for which all Irish can feel rightly angry. Perhaps they should feel more angry though that this country still very much does not take responsibility for some of its its criminal actions in history. We are not as good as we often think we are.
I’ll say no more but just imagine this. Germany won the second World War, the US did not come to the rescue, and the UK is living under Nazi rule. Who would not be fighting alongside IRA units in the war against occupation given the chance? And what acts might we commit in doing so?
I’m back from my annual trip to the Isle of Skye. This year I actually ran the half marathon without any serious comeback apart from a bit of stiffness in the old Achilles tendons. I did have a problem the night after the race though. I got separated from my medication and spent a couple of hours walking miles back and forth near the Talisker distillery to try and find it. There was no point in trying to go to bed without it you see: I just would not be able to get to sleep because of the withdrawal symptoms.
I drank a few rare whiskies on holiday. The most memorable in that I was not impressed too much by it was a 1983 Port Ellen Berry Brothers' dram which cost me about £15. 1983 was my graduation year and I wanted to celebrate it you see. It might as well have been a Bells 8 year old it was so unremarkable. The 25 year old Talisker though, now that was really something. I also like the very pale shots: for example the Rosebank.
The bloke who attacked me in the street (he also did an armed robbery) pleaded guilty and is being sentenced in a couple of weeks. I got £1,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. I meet some real nutters in town. Somebody threw Coke or something at me from a passing car the other day and thought it funny.
Diary Entry May 2008
What I am listening to www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BTomqsanSM “The starling flew for days”
I had an interesting week this week: I worked on 4 days! On Tuesday and Wednesday I was working at the schizophrenia guideline development group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Research and Training Unit. I stayed in a nice hotel overnight (The Sloane Square). Excitingly I had received an invitation to the Houses of Parliament on the Wednesday night. The reception was for Build Africa (ex ICR), a charity I support and I felt very privileged to be there. I discussed my book with the fundraising manager and we are going to meet for coffee. The nibbles and wine were both awesome. As I was leaving I bumped into Mike Penning MP. He was showing a group of youngsters around the House. They were award winners from Kids Count (www.kidscount.org.uk). I asked if I could join in the tour and was kindly allowed to. We went into the House of Lords and then the House of Commons (where he explained to the well behaved youngsters that they could not sit on the seats!). I saw two MPs in there I know but only one I can put a name to: Lembit Opik.
A friend of mine, Laurie (who wrote a letter to Dr Webcat elsewhere on this site) died this month aged 45 (of cancer). If you knew him, or even if you had just read that letter, you would not have been surprised by any slightly unusual aspects to the funeral. I went with two old friends (Jamie and “Skid”) and before the ceremony we each had a large Talisker (the only whisky from the Isle of Skye) in the local in memory of him. Arriving at the church I saw that he had a wicker coffin: the first ‘surprise’. The next ‘surprise’ was that as we entered the church we were served wine to drink as the ceremony took place. As Laurie came in I imagined (correctly) that he had been a fan of the film, The Wicker Man). The vicar spoke of Laurie’s love of The Clash (you don’t often hear of them in church I should think). They left the church door open during the ceremony and you could hear the birds singing outside cheerfully. I felt sorry for Laurie to have to go so early. I remembered the night I gave him a Capstan Full Strength cigarette, which he took very long and deep drags on. He really liked that. To show you what sort of a chap Laurie was Jamie had come all the way from Hong Kong and Skid all the way from San Franscisco. I wonder who will come from the furthest when I die. Will anyone come? As Laurie was lowered into his grave “Bunger” read a poem of Laurie’s entitled Suicide Bomber as a plane circled overhead. That was to be expected. I wondered if we were all being photographed by MI5 from the plane as I was told that Laurie had been known to wear an Osama bin Laden t-shirt, but I think it was wise to be buried in the tweed jacket he bought in the Sinn Fein shop in Kilburn. All I have to say there is that when you look into the eyes of a so-called terrorist you see a reflection of yourself: you have to conclude you share some responsibility for his or her actions. That's why I think Orange (the phone company) are enlightened. How many German civilians died in Bomber Harris’s attacks on Nazi Germany and who would not have fought in an IRA-like unit if Germany had succeeded in invading England? This is why you have to talk to 'terrorists' (like e.g. Jonathan Powell did with the IRA). We ended up drinking from one to midnight! I had not drunk any alcohol since last June on Skye.
You know the run I do along the route of the old railway line? After about 2 miles a new path has appeared adding an extra mile to the run. It is a real joy to run along, especially the last bit where the trees provide wonderful shade if the sun is out. Only 18 days now until the Isle of Skye half marathon. I’m hoping to actually run it this year- and drink some rare old Taliskers! Will tell you about it next time.
Diary Entry April 2008
What I am listening to www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n2V8YouPhg from Talk on Corners
Hey, have you noticed? Everyone thinks there is nothing wrong with their opinion. If you go back through history it is littered with such people. Look at Adolf Hitler. He was a great example. And Genghis Khan. Even on the scaffold Saddam Hussein was venting his opinion. But it is not just tyrants and despots who share this characteristic. I can’t think of anyone I have ever met who thought there was anything wrong with their opinion. Sure some people put their opinion forward a little more reluctantly. But who’s to say they did not hold their opinion even more resolutely?
I shall be restrained in making assertions as to why, on the first day of British Summer time, Rumble did not want to go for his patrol until ‘later’ tonight!
What a ridiculous diary entry! I shall go straight on to May. It’s almost as if I had forgotten what an opinion is.
Diary Entry March 2008
What I am listening to
Hey! Have you seen my video blog on Youtube! Click here if you want to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM7tRRbNdJI
Rumble ailment! Rumble (aka Dr Webcat) was on my lap and started to shake quite violently. Luckily the vet lives next door and he came round straight from work and took a good look at Rumble, who had stopped shaking by then. He noticed Rumble was a little subdued. He reckoned he might have a thyroid problem and so took him up this morning for a blood test. He’s in good hands as the vet is the big cat vet at Woburn Wild Animal Safari park. Rumble is fully insured you’ll be glad to know. Will keep you informed about how he fares.
Yes it seems Rumble has hyperthyroidism or Grave's Disease. He has to have a pill twice a day. The vet gave me a device to give Rumble his pill but I think you need three people to do it! A friend suggested I hide the pill in some Dairy Lea cheese and let Rumble eat it out of my hand. It works a treat- twice a day for Rumble.
I complained to somebody that the chicken they were eating had come from a battery farm and the full said “But you know what you’re getting”. Well obviously he didn’t because he would not be eating it if he knew. One quarter of battery chickens (the breed is usually the Ross 308) cannot walk properly because they have grown too quickly. Hence they have to sit in their own urine causing burns to their skin called hockmarks. You can pick up chickens in supermarkets and easily spot the burns on a proportion of them.
Now if you have seen my Youtube video blog (search Youtube for Clive Travis if you want to see it) you will see I am a bit of a topee-wallah. What’s one of those I hear you ask? It’s a slightly derogatory word for a European or hat wearer used in India. Now I don’t know if you are a topee-wallah too but if you are you will know that nowadays it can be quite dangerous to wear a hat at night in town. What a shame made even sadder when you see old film and the ones not wearing hats are the odd ones out. Bring back the headwear I say!
Diary Entry February 2008
What I am listening to (believe it or not): Both Sides, Phil Collins
Spurious piece of nostalgia: I was on the dance floor at the first disco of the year at UCL in 1980 and the dj announced there had been lots of requests for Joy Division and then played Atmosphere. Happy Memories.
Another bit of spurious nostalgia? Ok. When John Peel had just played Joy Division’s Decades for the first time he hardly said anything about it just commenting that when he played a longer song it gave him time to read some post: a master of the understatement!
I can’t remember if I told you this but I was in Eastbourne in December 2006 wearing my mini Karrimor. It had my shaving foam in it and the way I had put it on meant the button was being pressed down. I walked into a restaurant to get a coffee and I unbeknownst to me I had shaving foam in large amounts pouring out of the bag behind me. I must have looked like a failed suicide bomber!
I can’t believe what I saw today. A guy in the gym broke off from his weight training to go outside and have a fag! It reminded me of the Monty Python Upper Class Olympics sketch.
Ooo I’ve just realised. It’s only about 6 weeks until the clocks go forward and British Summer Time starts. Seems funny considering it’s about freezing out there as I write. Which reminds me, Rumble has not always wanted to do his full nightly patrol recently, apart from disappearing into a hedge down the road and digging a little hole! I must tell you what he does in summer when it’s a hot night and he has been on his walk. He’ll get back to the garden path and then standing still just fall over sideways. He does not realise how funny it looks! We call it the Rumble Flop.
I’m excited because a friend has invited me to her party at which she is going to play her knew “Control” DVD, the film of Joy Division. Have you see it yet? Let me know what you think.
There are only 120 days or so until the Isle of Skye half marathon. Well I have trained regularly, with weights twice a week, and have done special exercises for my Achilles tendons. This culminated in my running for an hour in the country the other day. The smart bets are now on me running it in June. For those I go with the whole exercise is just a weekend’s alcohol abuse. I grew out of that some time ago you’ll be glad to know!
I’ve just got back from my walk to the Grafton Hotel (aka The Irish Embassy) and back. On the way back it began a light shower. You know that beautiful fresh smell of rain on the pavement? I could smell it. This is not to be underrated. I have not smoked a puff since April 2006. Moreover I did another 1 hour run tonight without any adverse effects. Yipee!
Send me some emails won’t you!
Diary Entry January 2008
What I am listening to New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and Sparkle in the Rain, The Simple Minds.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I’m afraid I feel more religious about the Pogues, the Pretenders and Greg Lake than I do about that guy Jesus Christ. Doesn’t religion just cause wars? I think I’m with Richard Dawkins.
A funny thing happened today. It is a good job I am well or I would have made deluded inference. I could not find my beloved Harris tweed trilby. I looked high and low and asked the girl at the gym to look in the lost property. She said she already had and it was not there. I was beginning to think I had left it and it had been swiped. But who would dare wear it? I did my hour with my personal trainer, Dave (he used to be in the Royal Marines) and went home for lunch. I went back later to swim for an hour. After a sauna and shower I changed. I had packed up ready to go and I glanced back into ‘my’ locker to make sure I had not left anything (you use a swipe card so can use any locker that’s not locked). There was my hat in the locker I had just used and it had been there since yesterday! So I have my Harris tweed trilby back.
Shall I let you into a secret? In my book as well as looking for Prince Charles’s dog I look for my other beloved Harris tweed hat, except the artist who painted my book cover painted it like a Donegal tweed hat. I thought Donegal tweed would probably fit in the story better so now it’s Donegal tweed.
Spurious piece of nostalgia: I was on a family holiday in Sussex and in the garden of The Lamb pub on the A259 near Bexhill. My Mum said “What a beautiful view!” and my Dad replied “Pylons in sight”.
Were you one of my friends who got my Christmas newsletter? Do email me if you did. What’s sad is that the chicken house I bought you would be in Kenya or Uganda. Uganda had been doing so well recently with peace breaking out between the Lords’ Resistance Army and the government of President Museveni. But I never imagined what has happened in Kenya. Oh dear. It would be a vital present for whoever gets it.
Talking of beloved possessions I have just got my watch back: made by J.W.Benson of London (probably with a Swiss movement my watchmaker says). It had need to go to a goldsmith, who happened to be a black man and very skilful too he said. To think it was made in the 1920s!
Diary Entry December 2007
What I am Listening To/Watching:
I was watching TV the other night about the Royal family. Apparently the Queen gets 27,000 letters each year and her ladies in waiting reply to them as though she has read everyone. So up and down the country all sorts of people are deluded into thinking the Queen actually read their letter: e.g.“The Queen was touched by your poem”. I wondered what might happen if I wrote to Prince Charles about The Layman’s Guide To Prince Charles’s Dog and I got a letter from Prince Charles suggesting he knew about my book. Would that be likely? Let’s say he gets 5,000 letters a year or 100 per week. It seems a little unlikely, maybe 50/50, that he would have heard of my book.
I spent 5 hours in the Police station a few weeks ago. “Oh no, Clive has been ill again and got himself arrested” I hear somebody saying. Well I am happy to say that at no time whilst I was at the station did they make me see a psychiatrist and I was free to go any time. Why? I was walking down the street at about 11pm when I was attacked by a stranger. It’s probably a good idea for me not to say anything more until the court case is over. I will let you know. He is in court in April charged with ABH and robbery.
Just over 4 years ago was the last time I got put away. My solicitor was unhappy about a letter I sent him. But he has kept me as a client! I was given a Risperdal Consta injection. When given that you don’t get any side effects for several weeks. In fact the drug has not clinical effect for 3 weeks or so. I remember the first night in hospital. My mind was racing all night long and I got no sleep. I just kept on thinking and it was like I had been given speed. I thought I had been by MI5 at the Police station in my food. I was supposed to take Respiridone which is the oral version of the injection and it acts straight away. I was not prepared to go through the process of pretending to take it and spitting it out. I just refused to take it which resulted in some heated arguments with nurses. I just smoked my way through the next 3 weeks and on Christmas Day the injection had kicked in and oh my God did it feel terrible: depression and akathisia in suicide-inducing quantities. If you bear in mind that I did not get off the section until April you might realise the next 4 months were serious misery. My mental health solicitor is Chinyere Inyama and he persuaded the hospital managers to release me. If they did not release me I would have had to go straight up to the ward for an injection of another month’s depression and akathisia- terrifying as everybody has their limit and God knows how close how many times I was to mine during that decade. Chinyere is an Arsenal fan and I’m a Chelsea one- that did not stop me from giving him a bear hug when we came out of the hearing. So I went back up to the ward and promptly, as was now my right, refused the jab. Hooray! Thanks again Chinyere.Hi there.
Diary Entry November 2007
What I am Listening To: Rust Red September by Eyeless in Gaza
Hi there. Winter is nearly upon us. Don’t you just love those still overcast autumn days that remind you of Robert Frost’s My November Guest? Still with a little mist gathering in the corner of the park? Well I must tell you something. Cherry Red Records in their infinite wisdom have re-released Eyeless in Gaza’s Rust Red September! Fancy buying a new CD? Well get yourself a copy and listen to it whilst toasting crumpets on an open fire and you will have known real living. But be aware that Stealing Autumn is the real last track on the album. The stuff after that is just odds and sods the record company decided to add at a later date. I really think that if a record company is going to do that it should indicate that the extra tracks are just extra tracks and not supposed to be, artistically, part of the original statement.
Fancy an Indian? Have you noticed how the desserts are generally pretty poor? You are lucky to see more than a kulfi. Allow me to let you into a secret that Bedford has: it’s called Bala Sweets and Tandoori. I went there tonight and had a lamb curry, the mutter poneer (potato and cheese curry) and their excellent and unique chutney and salad to go with the chapaties. I asked Mr Bala what I should have for my pudding and twice he said something which failed to register in my dim English head: “Ras Malai”, pronounced “Rarrss Malla” I think he said. It really is worth driving 50 miles just to try it!
Still on nutrition my personal trainer is always having a go at me for not using protein whey so I have finally succumbed. I bought a £19 tub of the stuff. By trial and error I have arrived at the following recipe: one scoop of whey (the one I got is chocolate);one glass of fully skimmed milk; 8 ice cubes; 8 sweeteners and mix in the liquidiser (itself from the freezer). It really does make a shake as good as McDonald’s and with far fewer calories, with 157 for the best part of 2 pints of shake.
I have just been passed a paper entitled “Partnership between service users and statutory social services” by a colleague at the University of Bedfordshire where I work part-time. Interestingly in the actual text they use the expression “mental health service users/survivors”. Why not just drop the “users” altogether? That would be a fair description of my experience at their hands!
I am feeling excited about my book. I hope to approach my first literary agent very shortly now. Do please have a look at my Book Update and Book Review section, the latter of which has some new reviews (not all by friends) and the former what I hope to have on the back cover including the blurb itself which I have done quite a lot of thinking about.
Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot!
Diary Entry October 2007
What I am Listening To: Unknown Pleasures and Closer, Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures has to be one of the most well-formed albums ever recorded. It really has no weaknesses when you consider all the tracks and the message is consistent all the way through: a representation of a journey to the heart of an industrial northern town on a dark night finishing with the breaking of the remaining unbroken glass in a long deserted warehouse. If it wasn't for the album which followed it in 1980, Closer, I'd describe it a monumental because if ever there was a monumental album Closer is it. I'll always remember one night in May or June of that year at my digs in my Great Uncle's house in Bexhill-on-Sea. I was 19. John Peel announced another track from the new Joy Division album and I sensed something massive and yes, monumental, was about to insinuate itself from my radio. So I lay down on my bed in a sort of yoga position. I'd have called it the corpse (which is a known name for the position where basically you just lie on your back, savangasana I think is the yoga name). The track was Decades and those spectacular few minutes will stick in my mind until the day I die. I was repaid for my reverence.
When I (as I sometimes do) tell New Order fans that I saw Joy Division they quite often visibly salivate (for as you probably know, Joy Division became New Order after the suicide of their singer Ian Curtis on May 18th 1980). I was at their gig at The Lyceum ballroom, on The Strand, London on Friday 29th February of that year, a few months earlier: http://www.joydiv.org/c290280.htm. Showing my age a bit! When I arrived right at the back upstairs Joy Division had already begun (their intro, Incubation). I had spotted Siouxsie at the bar. Blimey she had a foul mouth: you'd never have thought that she had written the lyrics to, say, Jigsaw Feeling. I made my way downstairs and amongst the crowd moved forwards until I was near the front for the three piece. Then, two thirds of the way through Ian Curtis walked out from the right of the stage until he was in front of the drum kit. Then he turned like a soldier to face the front and walked forwards. When he got to the front of the stage he began to dance in the weirdest way you ever saw somebody dance. The next 50 minutes or so are as memorable in life as those moments listening to Decades that following Curtisless summer.
What usually has the New Order fans frustrated is that I had a SPARE TICKET for the concert which I sold at FACE VALUE to somebody in the short queue outside!
Diary Entry September 2007
What I am listening to: Who's Next- The Who.
I told you about the complete failure of all the swans on my stretch of the river to breed, including the two who at least managed to hatch some cygnets, all of which died. But you'll be glad to know I have seen three two thirds grown cygnets on the river. They must have come from further upstream. They could not have come from downstream unless they walked overland and I don't suspect that cygnets that young will have flown yet.
My niece, Olivia, got married to Chris. The wedding was superb and, after an appalling summer's weather the weather for their nuptials was absolutely perfect. Furthermore I am minded to classify the wedding as a "Campaign for real weddings wedding". I say this because whenever I walk past the Swan Hotel by the river in Bedford on a Saturday night they seem to be having the same wedding and, horror of horrors the dj always seems to be playing that awful record by the Nolan Sisters. Thank God I cannot remember how it goes or the title: thanks heavens for small mercies! It's almost like the people who have their wedding there are having a McDonalds takeaway wedding.
Their wedding was in the lovely church of St Mary at Keysoe. On the back of the steeple is a quaint plaque in archaic English announcing a miracle which took place at the church in the early 18th century. A worker was pointing the spire and fell hitting the battlement of the steeple as he descended. He was heard to call out as he fell "What's the matter Lord?! Have not ye mercy upon me!" Amazingly he survived and lived to a good age.
I liked the bit of the ceremony when the newly married couple faced the congregation to present themselves and everyone clapped. And back at the village hall you could not have got further from the Swan Hotel McDonalds wedding. I mean how many newly married couples have ever danced out to Nic Drake singing Northern Sky? I never new magic crazy as that! In fact I was quite jealous of them that it was not me getting married and dancing out. That's what it's called isn't it when the newly married couple are announced and take to the dance floor alone?
Olivia and Chris asked everyone not to buy them wedding presents as usual but instead buy presents for people in Africa through the newly married website. I was too late! But not to be outdone I said I had other means to procure goats: Build Africa formerly known as International Care and Relief. I bought them the whole farm: chickens £6, tree seedlings £10, goat £12, farming equipment £35, ox £50 and chicken house £70. It was a pleasure for me as the stuff will be in Uganda which I visited in 1984 when I travelled from London to Nairobi in Kenya taking six months. Might I suggest you do the same for your Christmas presents? Here's the link:
I am going to buy a flock of chickens at £6 a go for all my Christmas presents. That's everyone sorted and no dreadful Christmas shopping! Sorry this has not be updated for a while. Marcia has been busy with her new job.
A conker fell on my head this afternoon. I felt like Isaac Newton!
Diary Entry August 2007
What I am listening to: I Love It When I Feel Like This- The Twang.
I am sorry to tell you all the cygnets are dead. I don't know exactly what happened to the last one but I was told by someone that a man in a van came and took away the bird and pen (female swan) perhaps for ringing. There seem to be no cygnets now on the whole stretch of river.
Have you noticed how if you ask somebody to do something they reply by saying "You're alright Mate" meaning "Bugger off!"? Somebody asked me something I was not interested in and so I said "No thanks, you're alright mate" and they replied "No, you're alright"!
An amazing thing happened in June. It was very nearly totally unbelievable and even as it is I find it hard to believe. I was 3 strokes from winning the pub golf competition! I think that, rather than being a "bandit" as they say, my true handicap is a bit more than 28 but except for veterans there are no bigger handicaps in golf. If there were I could have had a trophy to go with my rowing pots! What a day it was! I chipped in on one hole.
Fancy a spurious piece of nostalgia? When I was about 4, before I had been to school, I was in town with my Mum in Bedford. The dustbin lorry was in the High Street and this excited me. Mum was going into a shop and I said I wanted to watch the dustbin lorry. So she went into a shop and left me to watch the lorry. When the lorry drove off I went into the shop I was next to to find my Mum. It was a woman's clothes shop and I could not see her in there. There were changing cubicles and I tried looking under them to see if my Mum was in one but no luck. So do you know what I did? I walked all the way home on my own- over a mile. On the way back (to 1 Chiltern Avenue) I had to cross several roads. At one point I crossed the exit from the north wing hospital and a VW dormobile was coming out. We invited each other through first but eventually I crossed in front of him. When I got home the door was open (not sure why) and I went into the garden and climbed the tree from which I could see the bus stop where Mum would get off. I can't remember if I saw her but do remember her finding me playing with my toys in my bedroom. What a happy childhood I had! A bit frightening changing schools though!
The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness will soon be here. Do get in touch! You can always email me.
Diary Entry July 2007
What I am listening to: Walk In My Shadow, Free
Sorry to say but as I write the cygnets are down in number from 5 to 1. Two disappeared over that very wet windy weekend. Have you ever seen that swan up a tree on the Queen’s Ride on Putney Heath? It’s where Marc Bolan’s girlfriend crashed their mini and killed them both in 1977. Ride a White Swan was one of his. I wonder what he’d have made of the three hoodies I saw today. This fashion whereby the crotch of the trousers has to be around the knees seems really pathetic to me but I’m probably just showing my age. He had two mobile phones: one in each hand. That is ridiculous.
Spurious bit of nostalgia? When I smell diesel fumes it reminds me of an ice cream van outside my house one day in about 1968.
I’ve been asked to join the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (known as NICE) Schizophrenia Guideline Development Group. This is quite a turn around for me from being carried away kicking and screaming by eight psychiatric nurses in a Victorian Lunatic Asylum to be injected. My work will actually, I hope, affect the treatment of my fellow patients. Did you know that the very word schizophrenia was only first coined in 1912? That’s only a lifetime or two of schizophrenia since the Lunatic Act of 1845 and the Criminal Lunatic Act of 1860.
Did you hear about the slimming drug which is being withdrawn because it causes depression? Wait a minute! Is there one rule for paranoid schizophrenics and one for everybody else? I was prescribed most of the older so-called "typical" antipsychotics and they all caused me suicidal depression. I was not even warned beforehand let alone given some/any sympathy. All that I noticed was the word “depression” amongst the long list of possible side effects with that beastly effect which often comes with these drugs: “akathisia”- a sort of horrible-beyond-words restlessness. I was told about an illness called post psychotic depression but when given the few newer (so-called “atypical” antipsychotics) did not get depression, except with the one which did list it: Risperdal Consta. I had to ask myself if there was such a thing as post-psychotic depression.
Just back from the Isle of Skye where some friends from Bedford go every year in June for a weekend of alcohol abuse justified by running the half marathon, I did not drink anything like they do but it was still too much. I can’t believe I am saying this but having not smoked in over a year I think that’s it for me and alcohol, it depresses me too much. Furthermore I am beginning to suspect I might never have developed schizophrenia in the first place if I had not drunk any alcohol. Here’s what I wrote on the journey. I’m off to the Isle of Skye for the half marathon. I can’t really run as have had a bit of a relapse of the Achilles tendonitis. My barber has the same problem and he has given me a modification of one of the exercises a physio gave me for it. I have to stand on one leg and bend it as far as I can then shutting my eyes. Try it and you’ll see it’s not easy.
I’m taking the 1st class train (called “The Highland Chieftain”) from King's Cross and as I write am sitting in Starbucks on the Euston Road admiring the work going on at St Pancras station (architect George Gilbert Scott who also designed the red phone boxes). In 2009 it’s opening as a 5 star hotel. I shall be one of the first to stay. As my train from Bedford pulled into St Pancras probably the very first Eurostar was pulling in on the brand new CTRL track. I say the first as it was full of engineers in helmets and safety tops.
Now on the train and am having lunch in the dining car: Craster smoked salmon starter: sliced smoked salmon from Alnmouth served with potato salad and mustard dressing. For my main course sautéed breast of free range chicken with a spicy Moroccan couscous and a dressing of curried oil and harissa, sprinkled with chives.
As we came into Scotland over the high Tweed bridge I saw the biggest number of swans in one place I had ever seen: 60?
Hope you are having a lovely summer. Don’t forget to reduce you carbon footprint.
Diary Entry June 2007
What I am listening to: Unhalfbricking by Fairport Convention
I buried the hedgehog I told you about the other day before its rotting body stank the garden out. I wonder how many other people buried a hedgehog this month.
I’m afraid I still have problems with my Achilles tendons so the Isle of Skye half marathon will be attended by me but whether I run is quite another thing. I could do it right now but would be walking like a penguin the next day.
Where I walk to the gym, along the Oxford-Cambridge cycle track, I saw two swans hanging around looking like they might want to make a nest. They did and the cob and pen have been sharing the duties of brooding for a couple of weeks now. They have some way to go yet as the incubation period is about 5 weeks. What is strange is that they have made the nest in such an unprotected place. I was thinking about this and how the swans even knew what the egg was and two thoughts occurred to me. Firstly it seemed they might know what the eggs were because they remembered being in one themselves and secondly the place where they built the nest was not in the past a busy place and in fact was quite secluded. Their family may have been in the habit of nesting there for some time.
I had a call from a lady at the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health inviting me to become a member of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Schizophrenia Guideline Development Group. I have some pretty well formed opinions of shortcomings in my treatment between 1994 and 2004 so feel I shall have something definite to contribute there.
Hey the swans’ eggs have hatched. One cygnet seemed to have drowned, what happened to one of the eggs is a mystery and the cob and pen are showing off their three babies. By the way did you know that the word pen (for writing) has the same source: the mother swan? I had never seen cygnets riding on their mother’s back. What a fine sight!
Diary Entry May 2007
What I am listening to: Swamp Ophelia by The Indigo Girls (again)
You know I told you about the cat playing with the hedgehog in April? Well the hedgehog is dead. I gave it a last meal of cat food and then it expired. It was looking in a pretty bad way. Apparently hedgehogs had trouble hibernating properly because it was too warm due to global warming hence they ended up distressed.
I did 6 laps of the park tonight with little or no Achilles tendon pain. Next thing to build up to is a run down the old railway line trackbed to Willington and beyond. If they hold out it will be heaven. There is a guy in one of those electric chariots I see around town. He has no legs. I wonder if it was due to smoking as I hear that smoking causes circulation problems. If that is the case his lack of legs and my Achilles tendonitis may have the same cause. Well it’s nearly a year since I smoked and I think I’m 10% faster on the running. I suggested the link without saying what I thought it was to the vet who lives next door and he made a smoking gesture.
Even as I write I have built up to the Willington run- about 5 miles with no problems. I reckon if I just stretch these tendons well I will be on for the Isle of Skye half marathon on June 9th (a memorable date for me actually, I met a girlfriend on that date. It was election night). What about a spurious bit of nostalgia then of a more recent variety? Ok. When I got back from my week in Scotland last summer Pumpkin Rumble jumped on the bed and came over and rubbed his head against mine to say “hello back!”. He had missed me alone in the house at nights (though Lizzie came round to take him on his nightly patrol). Lizzie is Slovenian. Did you know that in Slovenian there is an “us two” form of verbs! I think that is wild.
Diary Entry April 2007
What I am listening to: New Order live at the Bradgate Road Boys Club Saturday 21st March 1981
As I write it is the 26th anniversary of that famous night when New Order played Bedford. How excited was I when, on a rare lunchtime trip to UCL Union a friend from Bedford who was there per chance advised me of the concert that Saturday. We have not had a spurious bit of nostalgia for a while so here goes. As soon as he told me I was on the phone to a friend (“Skid”) in Bedford who promised to get me a ticket. That Saturday was the Reading Head of the River Race and I only got back to my London digs early evening. After the train from London I found myself at the door to my parents’ house at about 9pm. At that moment I heard the phone ringing inside and knowing nobody was at home I pictured my key to the door on the floor of my digs in Taviton Street, London where I had seen it earlier. I frantically reached into my pocket and it was there! I opened the door and picked up the phone. As I thought it was Skid and he had left the venue after the support band sure I would make it to call me. I raced down to the Fox and Hounds to meet him and quickly knock back a couple of pints of Abbot. The rest is history. I was in heaven.
I’ve built up my running in the gym to 3x15 minutes and did not have the penguin walk the next morning. Well not badly anyway. So did four laps of the park without any serious backlash. And then today I did 3x20 minutes in the gym. Fingers crossed for the Isle of Skye half marathon. My lung capacity felt awesome not having smoked a puff since last April or May. In actual fact I am not sure my smoking was not partly to blame for the Achilles tendonitis to start with. I know of people who have had limbs amputated due to circulation problems. I’ve noticed that my gums bleed a bit when I clean them since I stopped smoking and my dentist says this happens in ex smokers due to the improved circulation when they stop. But they did not bleed before I smoked so I don’t know what the full explanation is.
Pumpkin Rumble went out into the back garden last night. He has a new friend in a 2-3 month old kitten next door which comes over to see him. It had found a hedgehog on the lawn and was messing about with it. Pumpkin Rumble has met hedgehogs before on his nightly patrol with me so was not arsed about the hedgehog. He just watched them messing about.
I read the following article in the local newspaper: http://www.bedsonsunday.com/bedsonsunday%2Dnews/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=77532 What is interesting about it is that the chap in the picture is walking two Cavalier King Charles spaniels (as are featured in my book by the way). You see King Charles II laid down a decree which is still in the law books today to say that this type of pug should be allowed in any public place including Parliament. Did you know that?
Tell me something: has Wayne Rooney ever done anything for you?
Diary Entry March 2007
What I am listening to: Treasure by the Cocteau Twins
I keep hearing of a Fairytale of New York being played on the jukebox in the pub and it's March. I find this very unnerving actually. Maybe it should be a criminal offence! But honestly it is confusing. I feel like a hedgehog that cannot hibernate because it is too warm. I look forward to hearing it at the right time (no earlier than November please). Talking of the pub I have not drunk any alcohol since December 16th. DVLA said, in a mass-produced letter that I was either alcohol dependant or that I had abused alcohol. They made me get a liver function blood test done. I think he said it was “gamma globulin”. The level came back as 20 which my GP said was normal. Now I have stopped drinking I had it done again and it was 16 which he said was even more normal. I hope I get my licence. I quite fancy going for a drive. Or do I? It is clear that not having a car makes me greener by far. In fact I don’t use any transport but my legs when moving around Bedford. I don’t use a bus and only use public transport when travelling outside Bedford. It really irritates me when there is a constant stream of cars going by preventing me from crossing the road.
I’m still running but am not convinced that my Achilles tendonitis will not just get worse in direct proportion to the length of time I run however slowly I build up and however assiduously I do my exercises. Still I have now got up to 3x7 minutes without getting the penguin walk the next morning so fingers crossed for the Skye half marathon on June 9th. Next I am going to try 3x10 minutes and, on another day, run around the park 3 times. The path is good and flat but not so bouncy of course as the treadmill is.
Did you know this website is ranked 1st in the UK by Google for paranoid schizophrenia? It is. And 6th in the world! I'm quite proud of that.
Spring is on the way. Talk to you in April. Do remember to send me an email with your news! Love from Clive
Diary Entry February 2007
What I am listening to: Atmosphere's for Dreaming by Bill Nelson.
What a mild winter it has been so far. I got into bed one night a while ago and a mosquito was buzzing around me. When I woke the next morning I could hardly see out of one eye so it seems it had fed on me and caused an allergic reaction. It came back for more the next night but I managed to kill it this time so there was no repeat. If mozzies in winter are a sign of global warming then it does not look too good as that was not the only one I have seen in this house. Are you doing anything about global warming? I have one of my pensions invested solely in an ethical fund and this year I am planning to use my ISA share allocation to buy an ecology fund. I wonder how it will go. Three weeks ago my GP put me on an antidepressant, fluoxetine (Prozac). I feel so much better and now have the energy to apply for jobs. A true miracle drug.
Talking of drugs, what do you think about legalising them? It seems to me that that if you could go to your GP and get a prescription for heroin or even any other so-called recreational drugs then the criminal could always be undercut and so the pushing would end.
After a year without much running because of Achilles tendonitis my GP sent me to the physio. I got an appointment the next day! He’s got me running again for 2 minutes at a time now. It will be interesting seeing if he gets me to do the Skye half marathon without any relapse. By the way, if you do a search for Clive Travis and a time for the Skye half marathon comes up it’s not actually my time but that of a friend who took my entry when I was ordered not to run. I would have done it a bit faster. The only trouble being that I would have had to walk like a penguin the next day because of the tendonitis!
I watched Click on BBC News 24 last night and saw a device I need. It’s an adaptor socket with a place to plug your PC into and other places for your peripherals. When you power down your PC the adaptor detects this and switches off all your peripherals. Likewise when you switch on again it also powers up your peripherals. Anything to help global cooling. Please tell me if you know where to get one.
Diary Entry January 2007
What I am listening to: Comfort in Sound by Feeder
What a ridiculous thing to do! Go thousands of miles to throw stones at a pillar. That’s what Moslems do on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Almost as ridiculous as taking so-called Holy Communion isn’t it? Though at least, I suppose, Christians don’t go in their millions half way across the world to do it. Then there is the Ardh Kumbh Mela, when millions of Hindus go and bathe in the Ganges. How daft! Sorry, no idea what brought on that burst of atheism.
Have you made a New Year’s resolution? It’s quite easy for me. You see I have not smoked since May (not a puff) and have not drunk any alcohol since December 16th. Not smoking as already saved me well in excess of £2000 at 10-15 Hamlets a day. But not drinking has had an amazing effect. Generally I had only been drinking 2 glasses of red wine per day every day. It was making me suicidally depressed. Trouble was I could not accept it was the alcohol. Now I have not drunk for a good two weeks I feel so good. So that’s going to save me more. I shall still go to the pub but it will be slimline tonics and Becks alcohol free lager which tastes very good. Hopefully they will let me have my driving licence back in March. In case you have forgotten I got it back for a year at a time but they said I was drinking too much and I got a mass-produced letter to that effect. I had put 63 units/week down which is what I was drinking then (two large glasses of red wine and a can of beer per day). I cut down to just the wine but still felt awfully depressed. Not sure why. I used to drink and feel fine. They tested my liver function and it was said to be “good”. I suppose it’s just that I am getting older.
You know I was saying about peoples’ security lights going on as I walk past their house with my cat? Well talking of extraneous effects we had a new door bell fitted. It would go off mysteriously even though nobody was at the door. Do you know why it went off? We reckon somebody else had one nearby within broadcasting distance and when theirs was rung it set ours off too. It was useless anyway as it started playing some tune and did not stop even by the time the door was answered.
New of book progress is in my Book Update section. Talk to you in February.
Diary Entry December 2006
What I am listening to: Swamp Ophelia by The Indigo Girls. It reminds me of that wonderful time when I first got ill. I enjoyed being ill you see almost all the time except I suppose when tripping on antidepressant drugs I should not have been taking. But even that was at the very least interesting! It was the treatment for schizophrenia that was horrible.
As I get older I find myself questioning the whole value of Christmas a bit like during the years when I was realising there was no Father Christmas. Did you know that the image of Father Christmas in red and white came from a Coca Cola marketing campaign in 1931? Up until then Coke had been a summer drink only and they wanted to sell more of it in winter. So they dressed up Santa (who came from what is now part of Turkey in reality) in the Coke colours and portrayed him as a Coke drinker. This evening (Christmas day) I learn that Jesus had a brother James- a new one on me. Why would he have been airbrushed out of history unless he was inconvenient to the image of divine process?
As the year comes to an end it seems 2006 was a year of Achilles tendonitis for me. I do a lot of walking and have decided my ‘walking’ shoes were not helping. I have taken to wearing my trainers all the time. They are nice and bouncy so fingers crossed!
Does it annoy you when security lights go off on houses you pass on the pavement? It does me! If I (or Pumpkin Rumble my cat) were walking up the garden path fair enough. The leader of Turkmenistan, who died the other day, would probably have a law against it. Did you know he renamed April and bread after his mother as well as banning beards? What a laugh!
As I write I have not drunk any alcohol for 11 days. It is true to say that whereas before I stopped drinking (two large glasses of red wine- 2/3 of a bottle) per day I was in danger of killing somebody, probably myself, now I feel not too bad to the point of being almost jolly and that is despite the fact I am still trying to shake of ‘flu and so have not been to the gym since 17th. I am griefstricken! Where is the fun in life without alcohol and tobacco? But I do feel so much better and Becks alcohol free lager tastes great. I saw a GP today to get a prescription for my Olanzapine and he told me he had seen people hospitalised with depression due to the drink. I think that really did it for me. Happy New Year!
Diary Entry November 2006
What I am Listening To: Rip The Calico by Paul Dooley
Spurious Bit Of Nostalgia: I was going through my stuff having a big clear out in an attempt to sort my life out when I found a copy of a computer program I printed off on Friday February 22nd 1980. A week later I went up to London to see Joy Division (with Killing Joke) at the Lyceum Ballroom, London. People’s jaws sometimes drop when I tell them I was at that gig. It was a nice feeling finding the old program and remembering those days.
I have not smoked a puff since May. I was getting through ten or fifteen Hamlets per day. Apparently when you give up your lung capacity improves for six to nine months so perhaps there’s still some improvement to be had. I drink in the Grafton Arms, a local Irish pub. Part of the reason I drink there is that it is quite a way off (takes about half an hour to get there) so it’s good exercise. I try to limit myself to two small bottles of red wine per night- that’s 6.8 units per day. My GP said my liver function test was “good” but the DVLA did not let me have my licence back for the next year saying I was persistently abusing alcohol. Surely if I was persistently abusing alcohol I would not have a “good” liver function test? I can reapply in March unless that is they were saying I was “alcohol dependent”. It was not clear from the mass-produced letter. Anyway the landlord, Tony (he was friends with Kevin Lynch, the 8th IRA hunger striker and a bit of a Bedford man) told me that when you give up “the first ten years are the hardest”! I seem to have become an inveterate passive smoker enjoying others; smoke when I can. It’ll be harder next year when the ban comes in.
Anyway I have been training quite hard and have got somebody to train with now. He’s a bit of an expert so it’s really helping me. I still can’t go for a run though and do wonder if I will ever run again due to my achilles tendonitis (which I have in both legs). So I have taken up swimming. I am a really crap swimmer and can only really do breast stroke (with head out of the water) or back stroke. It takes me about one minute to do a length of 20m. I worked out it would take me thirty four hours to swim the channel in that pool and I had a look on the Internet to see if anyone had done the channel breast stroke and they had but nobody had done it backstroke! But apparently if you do not swim fast enough in the Channel you get hypothermia. Somehow though I fancy my chances- and maybe I could wear a thermal suit! I don’t know what the rule is there.
I spoke twice in one day last week to the final year Social Work degree students at the University of Bedfordshire (which used to be De Montfort University). Funnily I felt more nervous the second time for some reason. The lady who organised it put up a flipchart and got the students to write on it what they thought. So please have a look in my Consultancy section if you want to know.
I seem to be a bit behind with my diary but hopefully you will read this before Christmas. So my best wishes got out to you, your family and friends: have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! And please do email me. It’s always so nice to hear from you folk, whether I have ever met you or not!
Diary Entry October 2006
What I Am Listening To: Technique, New Order
I was watching television with my brother the other week. On one programme or film he noticed there was a picture in the background which we also had in our living room. I was thinking about this today and more to the point how little I had been thinking about it. You see when I was ill it may well have fired off all sorts of delusional ideas. Just shows how well I am actually. Actually we have another picture in the house which I have seen on the wall in the Queen’s Head in Sedlescombe but again that fact is giving me no strange thoughts. Only nice memories of Sedlescombe actually.
Fancy a bit of spurious nostalgia? When I first went to boarding school my Mum had put a packet of McVities jaffa cakes in my tuck box. I remember that packet and how they did not last very long!
I had a phone call from a nice lady at a PR company about World Mental Health Day. SANE and Lilly are launching their Think Twice Campaign: “Leading Mental Health Charity Calls for Immediate Action to Prevent Relapse in those Affected by Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia”. She wanted to know if I would be prepared to appear on TV that day. So if you see me on TV on October 10th don’t think you hallucinated it! I suppose I must be glad I did relapse otherwise I would not have got the material to write my book and the worst consequence of my being ill was the loss of my London flat. But that is a retrievable situation. I don’t know if I told you this but most of the time I enjoyed being ill – no seriously, I did. It was only the treatment I found terrifying.
My book edges closer and closer to publishable form. At the moment somebody is looking at it with a view to a theatrical performance of it in some form at the Edinburgh fringe. But you know if it was to be next year’s then plans would need to be in place by this November. Please watch this space.
Dr Webcat (aka Pumpkin Rumble) had a bit of a shock- he had 9 teeth out and now has no teeth but a few incisors. Still, he seems a much happier cat now. Cats conceal their discomfort and if that many teeth were bad enough to have to be removed he must not have been able to enjoy eating properly. Cost me £219 quid!
Watched the Monty Python evening. Did you know that one of the mooted names for the series was “Owl stretching time”? Weird or what?
Did you hear that Lily Allen song over the summer? In it she sings “You messed up my mental health- I wasn’t well at all” You don’t often hear about mental health in songs to my recollection though New Order’s All Day Long is a Churchillian/Conollian piece about child abuse. Do you know who Lilly Allen’s Dad is? It’s Keith Allen the comedian who wrote the lyrics to New Order’s World In Motion. Bye for now.
Diary Entry September 2006
What I Am Listening To: Tsvimbodzemoto, The Bhundu Boys
There was a dramatic incident in the garden tonight. I heard the commotion from two birds and immediately suspected my cat. I looked and he was indeed there. But for once he was innocent of murdering fledglings.
One bird flew off on my arrival and there, on the ground with its wings spread was a sparrowhawk with a fledgling in its talons, the fledgling calling in terror for its life. To no avail. The sparrowhawk took off with it and it was carried away to certain death. It’s the natural world. But would you believe it, this spell checker thinks sparrowhawk is misspelt!
My Mum inadvertently took me in last weekend. It was the river festival and on the Saturday I noticed a crane waiting ominously with its arm fully extended, oh, 350 feet? I learnt that the next day there was going to be base jumping from it. In case you don’t know base jumping is a dangerous sport which involves jumping off things and opening your parachute often with little time to spare. BASE is an acronym for the buildings, antennae, spans and earth used as a platform for daredevils in this extreme sport.
Since 1981, there have been at least one hundred BASE-jump fatalities around the world, according to the World BASE Fatality List, a Web site maintained by a BASE jumper.
I did not think much about it beyond the mere idea of going up in the small cage to the top of the crane’s reach and jumping. The next morning I was hardly awake when they started jumping. Mum came in the room and started asking me if I was going to go up. I took a look and sure enough brave folk were indeed jumping from the crane and immediately opening their parachutes giving themselves about one hundred and fifty feet at most to glide down.
It took a while for the penny to drop and realise this was the one feature of the fair which you could not just roll up for without considerable amounts of training. But why should I bring your attention to the World Base Fatality List (http://hometown.aol.com/base194/myhomepage/base_fatality_list)? Well you see quite early in my treatment for paranoid schizophrenia it became terribly apparent that I was walking, quite literally, in the footsteps of the dead. The only logical deduction I could make from the utterly horrible side effects of the drugs I was having forced into my blood stream was that others before me had been driven to their deaths by suicide due to the treatment the NHS forcibly subjected them to. Things, I am sure, have improved. For example I am voluntarily taking this Olanzapine.
Some doctors do recognise that many sufferers from paranoid schizophrenia have killed themselves because of the clinical depression and, e.g. akathisia the drugs for it cause. See what my CPN says about this in the new section "Stopping My Medication". I was recently interviewed about my experiences suffering akathisia for the Royal College of Psychaitrists. When the results are published I shall let you know. It seems to me there should be a book of remembrance for all the psychiatric patients the NHS (and private clinics) have killed with their treatments. Know somebody? If you do send their picture with some words about them and I will put it up. I have also mentioned this on the BBC Action Network under suicide.
Diary Entry August 2006
Phew! Isn’t it hot? The hottest July day ever was yesterday and Pumpkin Rumble (my cat, please see the Ask Dr Webcat section) scarcely knew what to do with himself. Previous to this year the hottest July day recorded was in 1911- “The Perfect Summer”. It was such a good summer that somebody wrote a book about it called The Perfect Summer. Some believe it was the most perfect summer of the 20th century, even compared to 1976!
Shall we have a new feature to go with my spurious piece of nostalgia section? OK. We’ll have a what am I listening to feature and this month it is Richard Ashcroft, Keys to the World.
I remember a perfect summer’s day about 1965. Consider this the month’s spurious piece of nostalgia if you like. I was at the open air swimming pool at Newnham in Bedford. It’s not there anymore though there is an indoor pool at the same site. I don’t know when the pool closed but it was still open in the 1970s. I was about 4 years old and remember a steam train go by behind the poplar trees on the line to Oxford and Cambridge. There is no track at this point now and that is where I go on my runs (at least when my Achilles tendons are not sore).
I was highly excited by the pool and especially the water shoot into it. As far as I recall I had found myself alone. Well I must have been because nobody would have let me do what I now did as I could not yet swim. I went down the water shoot! I remember being under water but there did not seem to be a problem. The next thing I knew I was hauled out by the female lifeguard. She must have just saved my life! I was reunited with my Dad. What he must have thought.
I see my psychiatrist again in August. My CPN (community psychiatric nurse) said there was no longer any justification in my seeing her and she has discharged me saying that at some point the psychiatrist will too. Every time I see him I ask him the same question, which is “How long do you want me to take this [the Olanzapine] for?” Every time I asked him this he gave me the same reply which was “That is a very good question”. But last time I saw him he said something different. I forget what he said but it was something like “Not for ever”. I’ll tell you what he says next time in September. I do wonder if, just supposing, I had never drunk any alcohol maybe I would never have got schizophrenia. So maybe a prerequisite to him stopping the treatment would be that I do not drink. Well I have not smoked in three months and have now cut right down on my drinking to the point of not drinking a drop on most nights. Hooray. I feel much better for it.
Diary Entry July 2006
I'm back from the Isle of Skye and have a very well tanned complexion. It was good for old times sake to get up there. I travelled first class on "The Northern Lights" which is the train that goes from Kings Cross to Aberdeen, quite a journey but very good value as I had a pre-booked ticket for £50.50. I only tried to get accommodation the night before and everywhere was booked up it seemed. I was told this was because all the oil workers had taken the rooms. So I had found somewhere to stay just down the line half and hour at Montrose, which was nice to spend the night in. All I knew about Montrose was that they had once built Vale Of Leithen 12-0 in the Scottish FA Cup once many moons ago! As I write I am feeling somewhat bereaved not having had a cigar for some 6 weeks. Everyone was standing outside the pubs smoking like they will be here next year. I thought it was going to make it easier going to Scotland but being on holiday made me feel quite like relapsing- but I didn't! I know an Irish pub landlord in Bedford who was friends with one of the IRA hungerstrikers. He told me the first ten years are the hardest!
I ate some lovely food on my holiday, but what was I doing in Aberdeen I hear you ask, if I was going to The Isle of Skye? Well you see when Prince Charles's Dog (the nominal subject of my book) went missing in April 1994 he placed an ad seeking information in The Press and Journal (a newspaper in Northern Scotland published in Aberdeen). I wanted to get a copy to go with my promotional file for the 24 literary agents who accept autobiographies and whom I shall approach with my sample. It was in the second day's paper I looked at on the microfiche and I just had to press a button to get the copy.
A while later I was getting a coffee when I found that all my rail tickets for the round trip to the Isle of Skye and my medication (Olanzapine) for the week (which I had put in the wallet GNER gave me the tickets in) had disappeared. This was a potential holiday disaster though I suppose getting the tickets reissued might have been easier since I had booked them rather than buy them over the counter. To get replacement medication I would have had to go to A&E and explain my predicament- I would have had very nasty withdrawal symptoms if I could not get my Olanzapine. But I retraced my steps first to a hotel lounge I had been in and then to the library. Explaining my predicament to the librarian she asked me my name and Hooray! Somebody had handed the tickets value £159 plus the medication. I left a £5 reward should they enquire.
Apart from the Isle of Skye half marathon, which my physio had told me not to race in, the weekend itself (I left Wednesday and returned Tuesday) was just two full half days of alcohol abuse. After a wonderful train journey from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh I sat with coffee looking across the water from the Kyle of Lochalsh Hotel to Skye. It was very sunny and hot. When my friends had not arrived to meet me at about 4pm, the arranged time, I decided to break my usual rule not to drink before 10pm and, by the time they did turn up, telling me they had all had 8 pints already, I had had 2 pints of Tennants "Ember". Then they wanted £20 off me for the kitty and another £20 by the time the evening was out to give you some idea of the financial quantity of ale going down!
One of the superb meals I had over the week was at the Stein Inn, Stein, on the Isle of Skye. I started with the hand-dived Sconser Scallops (Sconser is a place on Skye) followed by the Sea Bream in a garlic herb butter. Mmmmmmm! Seeing the langoustine salad was only £12 I decided to have that for pudding! Never had langoustines? They are like 8"-long king prawns and I got more than a whole plate of them. God knows what that would have cost in London
Do you watch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I have observed some stupid behaviour on that programme several times. It occurs when people ask the audience (and more particularly when the question is one a minority know the answer to). If you ask the audience what they think the answer to such a question is having already told them what you think when you are wrong you can affect the distribution of answers to the point of the audience giving the wrong answer. So if you go on there don't say what you think the answer is if you are going to then ask the audience!
Henley next week. Hooray!
P.S.I have only had two pints all week. Quite an achievement for me.
P.P.S. Have a look at my Book Update section. There is some action!
Diary Entry June 2006
I've been a bit depressed. The reason is the trouble I have had with my Achilles tendons, which began in January. I rested the one that started it (the right one) for a couple of months and then got running again. Only trouble is they are now both sore. So I went to see the physio everyone recommends. He charged £33 and told me I had Achilles tendonitis in both legs and that I could not do the Isle of Skye half marathon on June 10th. A load of people go up from Bedford you see. Back in 1994 I happened to be up there being ill with schizophrenia and suddenly a load of people I knew were walking down the street towards me in Portree town centre. The feeling, rather delusional as to why they were all there, was nice. This year would have been the first time I made it for the run itself.
The physio gave me load of exercises to do. It seem there are two main alternatives to the running. One would be cycling and the other the cross country skiing machine at the gym. I need alternatives because I have put on a stone in the last year. If this continued then by 50 I would be 20 stones so really must do something about it! I have failed to cut back my drinking as promised to two pints a night and four on Friday. I will have another go. But even though I had not been planning to give up my cigars completely the plan having been to have just one a day I have not even had one for three or four weeks now. The money I have saved!
Diary Entry May 2006
I did the nicotine cold turkey. It was very unpleasant and I felt suicidal in my sleep it was that bad. I've managed to go for a month now with just one cigar per day but still have this breathless feeling which I hope is just my lungs calling for a drag. This, I wonder, is what is meant when somebody says they are "gasping for a fag".
I was in the pub one day drinking my diet Pepsi and this old bloke sat down opposite me breathing in a very laboured and heavy, deliberate way. Then what did he do but light up a fag! This was one of the moments which determined my cutback to just one cigar per day. Maybe I should cut that one out too.
We've not had a spurious piece of nostalgia for a while so here goes. I always remember how my friend Billy Bristow was full of chagrin when the shop was out of Galaxy Ripples when they first came out in about 1968 and, irritated, he said he'd have a dipped flake!
Diary Entry April 2006
Have you noticed how I am always talking in my diary about what happens at the pub? Well I was already worried about this when on Sunday night I had a life changing experience. But I had already decided to at least address the problem. And this was the problem. I wrote it down every time I bought a cigar. It worked out that I was smoking 14 Hamlets on the day I counted though at least I drank no alcohol until after 10pm.
Total cost £32.19. But what was the real cost? A few nights later, unable to pull out of this I was walking into town for my alcohol. Near the Embankment Hotel I went into a terrible panic. I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I stumbled into reception gasping for air and holding my chest. I believed my number was up. Lucy was on reception and called the ambulance 999.
The ambulance arrived and they gave me oxygen and got me in the ambulance and wired me up. They showed me the ecg and said they were pretty sure I was not having a heart attack but would take me to hospital just to be sure. On the way they tested my blood pressure and said it was very healthy. I got to hospital and again they wired me up and soon seemed sure it was just a panic attack. They took blood and sent it to be tested (they can tell from your blood if you have had a heart attack). I was pleased when they seemed to lose interest in me for other patients.
The blood test came back and it was confirmed, to my amazement, that I had not had a heart attack. It was a very convincing illusion.
I was waking up in the morning with a feeling like one hundred people were standing on my chest. So the next day I decided to test out my Achilles tendon with a lap of the park. It's still a bit sore but I built up to a forty-five minute run though was still getting this terrible heavy feeling on my chest like I was being crushed there and was frightened it was angina. But all the doctors I saw said it could not be angina if I could run that far or even walk.
Yesterday, I had pains in my left arm and chest, and was very panicky. So I called the surgery and the receptionist said that I must calm down and that panic attack could give very similar symptoms to heart attack. She asked me to come in immediately and the nurse wired me up again, took my blood pressure and again said I looked very healthy. I even saw the doctor immediately too and he said he was sure it was not my heart, like the nurse had.
Leaving the surgery all the symptoms had gone dramatically. I decided to take all this as a warning and was already on the strongest nicotine pill I could find. And I solved the mystery of why I woke up with the ten ton wait on my chest. Sure enough, when I woke up in the morning I had the pressure on my chest. Still lying there in bed I took the nicotine lozenge and as it dissolved on my tongue the pressure lifted from my chest and went completely. This proved that part of the problem had been nicotine withdrawal in the morning.
As for my drinking, over 80 units a week, I am cutting it back to two pints a night max and four on Friday (that's 32 units max I think, still a bit more than recommended!). I am still allowing myself one Hamlet at the end of the evening (so I miss one lozenge). This will save me a good £20 per day. My lungs feel clearer already. I have decided to invest the money in high risk AIM shares. Makes sense doesn't it!
Diary Entry March 2006
I was walking back from the pub one night. Pumpkin Rumble, my cat, was waiting as usual for his nightly perambulation and came running alongside as soon as he heard my call. Some Christmas revellers were walking past and one of them called out “Hey look! There’s a bloke taking his cat for a walk!” They seemed to think it amusing but as if suggesting they did not believe what they were seeing another called out “Hey mate! Is that your cat?” It was indeed my cat and I told them it’s full name to much derision.
I saw an extraordinary program the other night. Perhaps you saw it. The psychological illusionist, Derren Brown, took a group of people announcing secretly to his viewers that he was going to brainwash them to the point of four of them holding up a security van!
He spent two weeks on the mission selecting the four, none of whom had been told what they were to do at any time, at least explicitly. Amazingly three of the four did (separately) actually hold up the van successfully, on a street near the Bank of England, the whole area, unbeknownst to them having been sealed off by the City of London Police, who cooperated fully with the exercise. It was quite staggering to see the success he had with his brainwashing and I was reminded of how my illness affected me.
What do you think of the blasphemous cartoons and what has happened as a result? I feel that many of the results were unIslamic and nothing to do with that religion, which they made look a little precious to be euphemistic. I felt that many of those speaking out did not really represent the religion. In the pub I know an Indian guy who told me a joke. Actually between himself and his friend, also Asian, they told me it three times. A bloke goes into a sex shop and asks to buy a love doll. The shop assistant says “Yes sir, we have three. Would you like an Asian, West Indian or English love doll?” “What do you recommend?” asks the shopper. “The Asian one- it blows itself up”. This of course endeared them to me as if you can’t laugh at yourself there is no hope. But actually one of the bombers was not Asian but West Indian.
I seem to have forgotten to include a random piece of nostalgia in the last two months. Ok, then! I was sitting on the back of an ex-army Bedford truck in Kenya in 1984 when a monkey appeared and grabbed something off me. It’s angry reaction amazed me with its similarity to human behaviour. And since I forgot here’s another. I was dancing to the band, Railroad Earth, in an open-air night club under the World Trade Centre, when Michael Stipe, from REM, turned up. Our eyes met!
I learnt a new word the other day: “hard-bitten”. It means “steeled by difficult experience, tough”. After what I went through trying different drugs for schizophrenia I feel there can be few more hard-bitten than me!
Tonight in the pub a friend of mine cracked me up. I told him I still had his book (which he had leant me a couple of years ago). The title of the book was “The Looney Bin Trip”. He replied “Well it went to a good home”. I found that extremely amusing (under the influence of alcohol).
Today I watched the Parliamentary debate on the new smoking law. I was interested to see if my MP said anything relating to the letter I sent him asking him to vote for the blanket smoking ban and to include an amendment to ban smoking in psychiatric wards. He did speak twice but said nothing about psychiatric wards. What was spoken about was smoking in prisons. Drinking alcohol is not allowed in prison, so why is smoking? A serial killer is allowed to carry on killing by making prison officers passively smoke his smoke.
It seems likely that before very long it will be a criminal offence to smoke on the moon. After all nobody has been allowed to smoke in space. So how long before it becomes a criminal offence to smoke in, say, The Ship, Bedford? If that were to happen then the criminal fraternity would take control of the selling of cigarettes. I therefore propose that it become legal to attend one’s GP and obtain a prescription for 20 B&H or maybe a large Habanna, to be smoked on the cricket square in Bedford park. This way the NHS would always be able to undercut any criminals wishing to sell tobacco!
A friend in the pub who is a professor of Mathematics, has invited me to do another Phd with him. He even gave me two subject areas: antigravity and cryptography. I don’t really feel I have it in me but if I did I would then be Dr Dr Clive Travis, I suppose!
Diary Entry February 2006
I was sitting at home drinking a glass of wine and noticed how relaxed it made me feel. “So what?” I hear you ask. Well you see in the pub I would not have felt anything like as relaxed. I thought about why this was. I suspect that part of it lies in conditioned reflex. You know like the famous Pavlov’s dog which salivated when the bell rang because it knew this meant it was meal time. When I was in hospital the smoking room had a loud extractor fan going and there was a concomitant degree of tension in the room brought about by the aberrant behaviour of some of the patients. They did my head in. Most pubs have an extractor fan whirring away and I suspect this is it. The fan subconsciously reminds me of those fraught times. But its not just the extractor fans in pubs, there is also the noise from fridges and even a fan in the internet juke box. Pubs are often noisy unrelaxing places I find, especially if the music does your head in too!
I have been searching Bedford for a pub which is as quiet as the church. The Swan Hotel comes first at the moment. No music. Little or no fan noise, the only trouble being the wine is rather expensive at £7.10 for a large glass!
I also decided that since one burns some 70 calories per 10 minutes walking I would be best walking to pubs which are further afield when I go out. I have put on a few pounds since I ended my diet last March. I think it would be unfair to blame it on the Olanzapine though but rather all the beer I have consumed since then. I have not had a beer yet this year!
I heard how mice are being bred to suffer clinical depression. I was already alarmed at the possibility animals had been given all the drugs I had to try during those years of failed treatments. The poor mice! The poor things don’t even have suicide as a way out. Surely there is a better way of developing new drugs.
I have not been able to go for a run for a couple of weeks as I have strained my Achilles tendon. This is very frustrating and it seems slow to heal. I have no idea how I did it. Talk to you again in March.
Diary Entry January 2006
There is another chap called Clive who is a regular in my local. The other night the barmaid said something about “the other Clive” when I was at the bar. It was quite an amusing moment as I thought for a moment she was talking about me when I was ill! Phew! I think I’ve really done it. I’ve been on the Olanzapine for some 18 months now and have no real urge to stop taking it. That’s a miracle in my book!
Over the last year I have given some lectures on my experiences of mental illness and specifically for the treatment of it. Easy money. By the time you read this there should be a new menu section “Consultancy” (There should also be one “Causes of Schizophrenia”. Hopefully I will be able to pick up one or two extra lectures. Please do have a look. I hope you find them useful
You may be wondering what is happening with my book. Have a look at my Book Update section for news of that.
Hooray! I got my driving licence back, quite an experience after what happened on September 7th 1994. What happened? You’ll have to wait to read my book. It took about 9 months to come through. First the DVLA sent me to see my psychiatrist, Dr Zaman. The months went by and then they sent me to my GP. More months went by and then they asked me to see an independent doctor in Rushden. Finally after a further long wait, it arrived! Only thing is I can’t drive a 3.5-7 ton truck without a further examination for which I have to pay. But I can have a trailer. Paranoid schizophrenics are allowed to drive trailers. Maybe I was never really a software engineer and would be happier just driving a little van around. We’ll see.
In the pub there is a polar bear’s head called Mr North Pole. When you switch it on it sings Jingle Bells and ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly and its mouth yaps, whilst its ears flap and its eyes open and shut. It makes me feel like I have a mental age of about 3 and makes me crack up laughing every time! The barmaid showed it to my brother and he pissed himself laughing to. Also in the pub tonight I saw a young friend in the Navy. I felt his handshake could have been a bit firmer and gave him my best advice. Have you ever had your hand shaken by somebody you might otherwise have respected, finding your hand crushed? It occurred to me that he could have been my son. Why was I not advising my own son on etiquette? I’ll see what I can do.
Got a nice email from my CPN today pointing out how brilliant it is that I’m not in hospital for Christmas again. You know one of my main problems when I was ill was that I sent off huge volumes of post. When I was last in hospital 2 years ago by December 28th I had about 160 (no kidding) letters to go out. 2/3 of them were for Bedford and Lerwick (yes Lerwick!) police stations and the rest for Chubb Fire and Security. You should have seen the look on the faces of the nurses when I put them in the out tray. A few days later a nurse beckoned me with her finger and said Lerwick police station had called and asked that I send them no more. So I stopped. But Bedford police station and Chubb did not so I carried on. One of my brothers is head of intelligence at the local police station so all my bizarre letters landed on his desk. He later pointed out that at least I never lost my respect for the Police! The patients cracked up laughing when they saw what I had done. It was an incredible bout of writing. Every few minutes I had the overwhelming urge to write and it all seemed perfectly normal to me. I was also writing and making calls to the GMC.
By Christmas day the Risperdal Consta had kicked in and I felt so miserable with no appetite at all. It was horrible.
What are you favourite Christmas songs? Here are my top five:
A Fairytale of New York, The Pogues and Kirsty Macoll
The Saviour’s Day, Cliff Richard
2000 Miles, The Pretenders
Stay Another Day, East 17
I Believe In Father Christmas, Greg Lake
If you have read my “Book Update” section you will see that I got a letter from Prince Charles. This was quite an achievement for me actually. You see when I was ill I wrote quite a number of letters to the Royal Family. The secretary who opened them would have had little problem in discerning that I was barking mad. But this time (at last!) what I said was quite sane. Prince Charles apologised for disappointing me by declining my invitation for him to write a preface for my book to go with Professor Liddle’s foreword and sent me His Royal Highness’s best wishes. I’m quite proud of that! Happy New Year!
Diary Entry December 2005.
A Happy side effect-free Christmas and New Year to all my readers!
In the pub tonight I was watching the top ten 80's indie chart. No 1 was The Smiths' "There is a light that never goes out"- a worthy No 1: "And if a double decker bus, runs right over us, to die by your side, what a heavenly way to die!". I always remember a flyer I was handed during my final undergraduate year advertising "The Smiffs" (sic) at The Lyceum and the fact that I have two copies of their "Hatful of Hollow" album. She did not seem to love me so I never got to give it to her!
As I write it is Hallowe'en and I made sure I had some treats in. But none of the kids actually said "Trick or Treat". One just said "Happy Hallowe'en"! All these kids knocking on the door made me feel a bit broody. But I'm not sure anyone would want to have a baby with a paranoid schizophrenic. Anyway I have a feeling that I no longer have the ability to develop that kind of responsibility. There was a window in my life when that could have happened, but I think it has passed about 15 years ago. On the other hand if I was a woman at 44 then my chance would have passed. It's just a question of finding a younger woman. Perhaps I might try Dateline!
At this time of year in this part of England you can hear little squeaks in the air overhead at night. My younger brother is quite a twitcher and tells me these are the calls of the redwing as they arrive for the winter from Scandanavia.
Do you get those spam emails which always mention some figure of around $20,000,000 in some dormant bank account, often mentioning some African dictator who was killed in a plane crash? I have sometimes had three in one day. You get punchdrunk with them. Then one morning Mum came in and said a lady had just been on the phone to say I had won an award. I told Mum not to be so gullible as it was obviously just a wind-up. But then I remembered that months ago my CPN, Alison, had asked me if she could nominate me for the Lilly Moving Life Forward Award, 2005. So I phoned up the lady who called and she invited me to Claridge's for lunch to accept the award. Lilly paid for a taxi all the way there and back so Mum could make it and what an experience it was. You have not lived if you have not dined at Claridge's. Everything was so perfect. One of the judges was Dr Thomas Stuttaford, The Times' columnist. After my acceptance speech he gave me his home address and asked me to write to him listing all the side effects for the drugs I had had during my ten year battle with schizophrenia, or rather with the treatment for it. Here is what I sent him:
Dear Dr Stuttaford,
Thank you very much for asking me about the side effects of all the drugs I have been given for paranoid schizophrenia. It is with a strange pleasure that I can tell the horrible truth about what the NHS put me through from 1994-2004. Many before me, I believe, have endured or succumbed to the type of misery I describe attached. My experience in the last 18 months gives me hope that less will suffer in the future like I did during those years, though I must say I am mindful of the possibility that test animals have suffered greatly from psychiatric drugs.
I feel I should say that my psychiatrist says there is an illness called "post-psychotic depression". It would be unsurprising if somebody felt low after coming out of a psychotic episode. However based on my experience alone I would have to question if there really is such a thing as clinical post-psychotic depression rather than clinical depression caused purely as a side effect of the drugs forced into the patient by the NHS.
Why do I say this? Well you see on the one occasion when made to take an antipsychotic which did not list depression as a side effect and, whilst still in hospital having that changed to another drug which also did not list depression as a side effect, I found I was released from hospital not suffering from depression!
I do not believe my experience is unique and therefore I am forced to suspect that since the introduction of chlorpromazine, a drug derived I am told from an insecticide, many patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have been tortured to the point of taking their own lives, not because of their illness, but because of the treatment they received for it. Having not given up the ghost, a ghost I have a duty to, I feel I am a very good witness as almost without exception I enjoyed the illness I have been diagnosed with.
When I was ill I indulged in the delusion that I was a member of the British special forces, the Special Boat Service in fact. The only truth in this delusion was that I had been in the Naval section of the school CCF and stroked the school 1st VIII to victory over the GB National lightweight VIII in a practice sprint at Henley Royal Regatta one year. This delusion actually helped me to keep going as it enabled me to think that the torture was part of my training! Others may not, I feel sure, have been lucky enough to have had such a protection mechanism. It seems to me that there are people buried all over the country and indeed the world who were driven to suicide not by their illness but by the treatment for it. I believe this to be a national and international scandal.
Might I illustrate the extent of this scandal by telling you of two ladies I met in hospital? I feel the GMC and Police are desensitised to the appeals of psychiatric patients though I suspect neither of the two I refer to called them like I did on many occasions. They were both lovely people and grew up together on the same street where they played together as children.
One day, on the ward, one of them asked to be on one-to-one. Diagnoses can be wrong, but I had seen the same look in her face as I had when I was suffering the effects of, e.g. Depixol. The psychiatrist, who is my psychiatrist, refused her one-to-one treatment. Does not the fact that she asked say something? A while later that same psychiatrist called all the patients on the ward into the smoking room and explained that she had just hanged herself in her room and that it was "nobody's fault". Just what happens at these inquests when it is "nobody's fault". Has any coroner ever said "The deceased was driven to suicide by drugs they found totally intolerable to take"? I don't think so. I feel my own psychiatrist was responsible for her death. But what is the point of complaining, except to The Times' medical doctor? You see I hardly suspect he's any worse than any other psychiatrist, though at least Professor Liddle read my book and told me something I should have been told the very first time I was sectioned, 11 years ago, namely the recovery statistic. Before that nobody had ever told me anyone did recover (to the point of requiring no medication). In fact, and I don't like to say this, but one psychiatrist I was treated by did not have a very good grasp of English and what sort of prospect of good treatment did that entail?
Is it any surprise that her friend since childhood took a fatal overdose a year later? No doubt, I feel, the coroner smoothed over that just like he had done with the death of any other psychiatric patient.
Yours sincerely Dr Clive H.Travis
P.S.Thanks for your interest in my book. I shall send you a copy when it is published. P.P.S. Please be under no illusions as to how extremely hard I had to be to survive this treatment below. But then how hard does somebody have to be to commit suicide?
List of adverse reactions, though not comprehensive
Chlorpromazine. Suicidal clinical depression. Inability to concentrate. Nasty akathisia. Painful retroejaculation. Loss of appetite. Numbness in the arms on waking. I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide. All the side-effects, including the depression went when I myself stopped the treatment.
January- February 1996
Clopixol. Suicidal clinical depression. Inability to concentrate. Inability to have sex. Loss of appetite. Numbness in the arms on waking. Strange effects to the muscles around my eyes related, I believe, to ocular gyric crisis. I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide.
My memory of this time (when I was out of hospital) is of three drugs though I am not sure if they are actually just one or two drugs. They were Thioridazine, Droperidol and Melleril. I recall no distinction between them only endless months of nasty restlessness (akathisia), inability to concentrate or have sex and suicidal clinical depression with loss of appetite. I also recall numbness in my arms on waking. I was left in no doubt that these drugs had driven many to suicide. I find it hard to believe I took them all voluntarily. All the side-effects, including the depression went when I myself stopped the treatment.
January- February 1999
Clopixol. An absolutely terrifying experience to have this drug forced into me again. I begged and begged not to be given the injection knowing what it was going to do to me. I was prescribed Olanzapine at the same time but spat the drug out secretly every time for a whole month. As well as the same side-effects as before I found that the Clopixol made me speechless by, I think, paralysing my vocal cords. This side effect was cured in minutes by Procyclidin. All side-effects went after I absconded and the injection wore off. Again I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide.
Depixol. Oh my God. Truly a drug of death. Wholly unbearable restlessness and inability to concentrate. Desperate, desperate clinical depression. Not only did my appetite go but I suffered the most impressive inability to recognise food items for what they were. A plate of food seemed, I assure you, more like a plate of greasy bicycle chains, rusty razor blades and nuts and bolts! How could anybody imagine the level of injustice I felt! I thought: Why oh why are none of the nurses on their hands and knees in front of me begging me to hold on and not bite a fatal hole in my wrist? Because they do not realise what they have done to me with the injection the psychiatrist ORDERED them to give me. I begged out aloud to God to help me but all he did was give me the strength to somehow carry on. I KNEW HE HAD GIVEN OTHERS THE STRENGTH TO KILL THEMSELVES. I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven very many to suicide.
Piportil. The nurse who gave me this injection told me it was a "nice" drug and that the managers had discouraged them from prescribing it for reasons of cost. I carried on feeling the same as I had on the Depixol. Hooray! The section finished and was not renewed. I could refuse the next injection. Thank God for that! ! I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide. All the side-effects, including the depression went when I myself stopped the treatment.
September 2000-January 2001
Piportil again! "Why are they doing this to me!" Please just try to imagine the level of injustice I felt! Again I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide. All the side-effects, including the depression went when I myself stopped the treatment.
Seroquel. I could not believe this! At last I was given a drug which did not make my life a complete suicidal misery. In fact it raised my spirits and I read 3 books! Only side effect I recall being rather severe constipation treated I cannot recall how well by Senokot. But trouble was ahead. After I had been on it some 3 weeks I started to get abdominal pain. Please let me explain how the nurses tell you not to complain of side effects as they want you to get out as soon as possible. It is the most horrible Catch 22 situation. So you have to put up with them rather than tell the psychiatrist as he might want to keep you longer whilst he tries something else. So the situation is terrifying and extremely lonely. You just have to put up with it and hold on until you can either gain release, abscond, or escape. I both absconded and actually escaped on occasions. Nothing in the world mattered more to me than getting away from the people doing this to me. I told a patient about my stomach pain and he mentioned irritable bowel syndrome. The pain got worse over a couple of days and then I started vomiting one minute and literally the next minute suffering diarrhoea. As usual I did not tell the staff as I felt they might soon release me. I noted nobody else had a stomach upset and that no bug was going around. In the end I was in so much pain in my gut (which had completely evacuated through each end) that I could cover it up no longer and collapsed in agony on the shiny ward floor. An A&E doctor came and injected me to stop me vomiting and gave me some Boscopan. After days of this I decided to secretly spit out the Seroquel and surprise surprise I got back to normal! Except the drug left my upper lip paralysed and I could not speak properly for months. It gave me a stiff upper lip! Unbelievably the psychiatrist had gone on holiday before all this happened having phoned my mother to tell her he was going to put me on Clozaril (without even discussing it with me).. Because they had put me on Clozaril there seemed no harm telling the doctor about the irritable bowel syndrome and she said "It could not be that, you have to have that 6 months". So I replied "What would it be after 5 months 30 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes? A teddy bears' picnic?" The Clozaril made me terribly tired. I had itchy rashes and huge swellings all over my body and would wake up with my arms entirely numb and my head in a sodden pool of saliva about 2 feet across. But like the Seroquel, at least before the IBS, it did not make me suicidal. Hooray!
October 2002-January 2003
Risperdal Consta. Hooray, I thought. No side effects at all. I was deluding myself as there is no clinical effect from this drug until weeks after the injection. This is why they start you with oral medication too. But I was secretly spitting that out. Once it cut in it was the same old horrible story of akathisia, clinical depression, loss of appetite and on this occasion insomnia. All very horrible again. ! I was left in no doubt that this drug had driven many to suicide, though not as many as the others simply because it is a newer drug.
December 2003-April 2004
Risperdal Consta I can't believe I let them give me this again. But then I can't believe what they did to me above and how they have killed so many people with such horrible side-effects. I have no doubt the coroner has been deluding himself (with help from the equally deluded psychiatrist) for some 50 years or so since Chlorpromazine came in.
May 2004-November 2005!
That's 18 months! Olanzapine Relatively mild ongoing depression, perhaps even post-psychotic, or due to my habit of going to the pub every night at 10pm, the fact that my needlessly lost flat in Barnes rocketed in value by £100,000 after it was sold due to my illness and the 5 and a half year and ongoing employment tribunal case I am involved in. I feel this mild depression is not Olanzapine as it does not list depression as a side-effect. Hands sometimes go numb when I lie on my bed to relax. Apart from those two effects, which could well be nothing to do with the drug, nothing: A MIRACLE!!! Thanks be to God! And thank God that, though restlessness is listed as a side-effect, it does not make me restless! 2 Years since last sectioned on December 2nd. Spurious Piece of Nostalgia: Once, when mentally ill and begging on the street in Edinburgh, somebody gave me a fortune cookie they had just got in a Chinese restaurant. The message inside said "Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or last time. Then your time on Earth will be filled with glory" .
Diary Entry November 2005.
I was looking at the start of September's diary and it began to annoy me. It was so unimaginative. Well try this. On the wrapper for a biscuit that came with my coffee it said "Produced in a factory handling egg". Some egg! A biscuit was manufactured in it and it could handle a factory. That's a hell of an egg! I told this to somebody in the pub and they showed me their peanut packet. It said "May contain traces of nuts" on it!
A chap in the pub made me laugh tonight. I told him that I was heartbroken and explained why and he said he had no sympathy for me. At least I laughed and he made me feel good! I was explaining to him that all these people you see on TV who have been bereaved in terrorist acts, car crashes and e.g. hurricanes are matched by many more people who have lost somebody simply because they went and married somebody else. In a way their predicament is made worse because they know that person is still walking about.
It's probably my fault anyway for not asking anyone to marry me. I've had three women ask me to marry them actually. One was an exceptionally attractive lady sharing her name with a newsreader. At school I saw fights over her and never even dreamt that one day she would ask me to marry her. But you see I did not love her, a major problem when you are asked that question. Funnily another girlfriend I had, the first I fell in love with actually, also shares her name with a well-known newsreader. We've just been good friends now for many years, though we have not been in contact for at least ten. It would be great to hear from you Sian!
When I was ill having had two former girlfriends who shared their names with newsreaders was just the sort of thing that got my brain going right out of control! Getting back to the terrorist thing there was one lovely lady in my life. Our relationship never got further than me phoning for a date after she came to my first river boat party. She was not in! I sometimes wonder what would have happened if she was in as she died in the Lockerbie plane crash. If she had been in I might have been on it with her.
But the worst thing about somebody you love marrying elsewhere is that you lose a best friend. Oh well!
Spurious Piece of Nostalgia: I was once driving near the Grand Canyon and picked up two hitch-hikers. One of them was friends with my sister-in-law and came from the same small village as her in South Africa. I only found this out later having, for some reason, got his address. It's a small world!
Diary Entry October 2005.
October is coming and you don't know (unless you are another psychiatric patient!) how nice it is not to be suffering from drug-induced akathisia (extreme restlessness) and clinical depression and on top of that either have to be back at the psychiatric wing at 10pm (if you're lucky) or have to find a warm place to sleep because you are on the run from the NHS psychiatric services and the Police. I have been on the run twice in fact. The first time they did not catch me (but I got arrested again later anyway) and the second time I did get rearrested. But not after some of the happiest times of my life on the run with my girlfriend Emily (at least once that crap the NHS put into me had worn off). I did not really do anything to get arrested for it was just that they changed the law for escaped/ absconded psychiatric patients in 1995 and somebody found out I was arrestable. It used to be that after 28 days on the run you could not be rearrested unless you did something bonkers. But in 1995 they made it the full six months of the section 3. I wish the Police who arrested me could experience what I did as a result of their arrest. I was given Depixol. For me there is no greater horror than that.
As I write it is September 3rd and on the way back from the pub there was a very slight mist, perhaps the first of the autumn. As usual Pumpkin Rumble was waiting for me and we did his rounds. He's more like a hunting dog than a cat. Not many like him I reckon. Bet I'm the only person in Bedford who takes their cat for a walk each night. He has learnt to wait for me nearer and nearer the pub. Tonight, when I spotted him, and started greeting him with kisses, a rather large skinhead appeared along the pavement. He and the cat were now close together. I explained I was talking to my cat and not him and he said "It's alright, I knew you weren't mad". Quite amusing it was.
My website seems to be getting more and more emails. Only Dr Webcat still has only had one! I got one from Bill in Houston, Texas, telling me about his book 21st Century Schizoid Man. I have added it with a couple of others I have found to the "Other Autobiographies" section. I also got an email from James in Seattle. He asked me what I said to the girl on the platform at Holloway Road tube following the New Order gig after I said "We're young" and she said "And?". I feel like saying I said "and when tomorrow comes we can do it all again" like in The Corrs song but they were just kids then and New Order weren't playing the next day!
On the 11th of October I see my psychiatrist, Dr Rashid Zaman. The last time I saw him it was a case of even him thinking I'd cracked it. He didn't even ask me to take 15mg instead of 10 like on all the previous appointments. He did have a go at me about my drinking mind you. He's even got my GP at it! But my CPNs don't seem to think I have much of a problem (after all it is now confined to 10pm to 11pm).
As autumn approaches the sweet, happy smell of summer in the countryside becomes a more august, auburn sort of smell. I've noticed this on my run. I broke my record to the lock and back again: 1 hour 7 minutes and 18 seconds. By the way, I did a competitive run on Sunday: the Swineshead ten miles. I did it in 1 hour 24 minutes and 55 seconds. Quite a relief actually to at least still be able to do it faster than I did the Bedford Half Marathon 21 years ago: 1 hour 27 minutes.
Hey! Remember I told you about the Hague Convention in last month's diary? I found a re-released album which complies with it fully! And what a good album to comply: Llloyd Cole and the Commotions' Rattlesnakes! Clearly the original album with loads of extra stuff clearly marked as such. I like that a lot.
Spurious Piece of Nostalgia: Back in the spring of 1980 I went to see The Cure (supported by The Passions) in Brighton. Before the gig Robert Smith (singer in The Cure) walked past me in the street. He looked normal in those days. September 2005 Diary Entry.
Hello again. The conkers are beginning to swell, the harvest is in, and soon it will be autumn. The cooler weather should make my running easier. Talking of running I achieved my aim of running to the Danish Camp and back in 1 hour. Except it was a bit better than that as now I run further than the Camp, to the lock. I did there and back in 1 hour 8 minutes and 1 second- quite respectable for my age. Only I still think I'm a bit overweight. I should be under 12 stones really. If I was I could probably get to the lock and back in under an hour.
Talking of my weight I have thought of a new way to keep it down. I have noticed that the better golfers tend to carry their bags rather than use a trolley. So I have started carrying mine too. It's quite a long walk to play 18 holes and the bag is quite heavy. This must use up quite a few more calories than if I wheeled my bag round. I have succeeded in getting my handicap down to 27, which I am quite pleased about. 28 is the biggest handicap so 'anyone' can be 28 if you see what I mean!
I forgot to tell you about my trip to Henley Royal Regatta in June. To everybody's surprise a friend of mine has had a sex change. He used to be Richard and now is Rachel with all that entails. Like everyone else I did not believe it when I was told. When she was a he he won a gold medal at the National Rowing Championships. He was a better rower than me by far. It took me a whole year trying to get her phone number from the one friend that had it. Anyway I supplied our tickets as I am a member of the Stewards' Enclosure and off we went. Everyone there thanked me for bringing Rachel back into the fold, and all were pleased to see her (we're very open minded folk you know us public school boys). I fully tested my ability to drink alcohol with my medication by drinking solidly from mid-day to 1am (though I avoided the drinking races) and did not feel the least bit sedated or tired. It was a great day.
I want to let you into a great secret. Is the autumn your favourite season? It was to a dear girlfriend I once had. Do you like hot crumpets and melted butter? Long walks through the aged year kicking leaves beneath the tired trees? You should get yourself a copy of the album "Rust Red September" by Eyeless in Gaza. I hope you do but I once told a friend about my self invented Hague convention named after the record producer who wrote New Order's "True Faith". The Hague convention states that re-released albums with extra tracks should clearly indicate those extra tracks as not part of the original album, so as not to compromise its original artistic integrity. So if you get hold of a copy please remember that the last 6 (extra) tracks are not part of the real album. Here's the best way I could put that album:
Realised rarely are our lovely dreams,
But in a dream it was conceived,
So in hope I stepped out today.
Exulting now, I remember luck and love,
As such as they were first perceived.
And so such weather moves me more,
Kicking leaves beneath the trees,
Through which autumn beams,
Crisp, cold happiness,
As summer's green forsakes the sunlight,
Which we accept,
As did then the opaque sky,
It wrapped us in as time went by.
And time went by for no man,
Who savoured as did I,
As night drew nigh,
Your longing face;
How I wish it longed for I.
So remember the real last track on the album is "Stealing Autumn" Spurious piece of nostalgia: I was once on the platform at Holloway Road tube with a girlfriend after a New Order gig and I said to her "We're young" and she replied "And?"
August 2005 Diary Entry.
I had an interesting email from a TV producer the other day. I told my CPN about it and she was really excited. I wondered why she was so excited and decided she thought he wanted to make a film of my book or something. Actually he just wanted to ask if I'd appear in a TV programme he was bidding to make for the BBC or Channel 4 for next year. Not quite as good as what she was imagining but very good news nevertheless.
I'm a bit of a Buddist you know. I object to fly spray (which suffocates the fly) and the other week I picked up a snail which I nearly trod on on the way home to release in my safe back garden. You know what? I trod on another snail whilst releasing it. But it's worse than that. The same thing happened tonight! Perhaps I should question my faith.
I can't believe I told you in the "Medications, Side Effects and Problems" that none of the 4 atypical antipsychotics I have taken produce depression. How could I forget the misery Risperdal Consta put me through, and that as well as the horrible akathisia (restlessness). So that has been changed now. But I know people who take Risperdal Consta who get no side effects. So the lesson is, if you have not found something that suits you, ask your doctor to try you on something else.
I have been exercising well all summer with my running. Some time ago I extended my long run and now go all the way to Willington Lock, a round trip of some 7 and a half miles. This week I did it in 1 hour 11 minutes and 24 seconds- as much as twenty minutes faster than I'd have done it last year. My weight has stayed down fairly well though I have put on 2 or 3 pounds since I ended my diet in March. The only problem is I can't seem to get the motivation together to go the gym I have joined even though it's only just round the corner!
Guess what I saw the other day. It was an Asian with a transparent rucksack. But you see on the rucksack was a road sign with the image of Osama bin Laden crossed out on it. Get back in your cave bin Laden!
I have been bombarded with one letter asking me what "Hock Burns" are (see last month's diary). I am not an expert on animal welfare despite my treatment at the hands of the NHS being clearly in breach of Human Rights regulations (it was I assure you). Hock Burns to chickens are caused by the chicken having nowhere to roost safely (a basic chicken right) and instead being confined to a litter in which the chickens have urinated meaning there are large amounts of ammonia wherever they sit down. The most popular chicken with supermarkets (it's called Ross 108 or something) has been bred to reach adult WEIGHT in one third of the time of the chickens they sold 30 years ago. Many of the chickens do not have the strength in their legs to stand up and so find themselves sitting in a pool of chicken piss. NOBODY IN THIER RIGHT MIND SHOULD EAT ANY FACTORY CHICKEN!
Talking of Human Rights I am reminded of one particular occasion when I begged on my hands and knees not to be given an injection (of Clopixol). From previous experience I knew it would make me suicidal. I really was absolutely terrified. I don't want to tell you the story in my book here but I shall tell you something I learnt recently from my CPN (who was there). She said she refused to be involved and that furthermore one of the nurses had been minded to give me £20 with the instruction that I should scarper at the earliest opportunity. Well you know what? I did not wait for anyone to give me £20 to evade a blatant breach of my human rights yet again 4 weeks later. I went before they could give me that excrement of an injection. I hope you get to read my story of being on the run for the second time in my book! Talk to you in September. Bye for now!
Spurious Piece of Nostalgia: I was at the Joy Division/Killing Joke gig at the Lyceum on February 19th 1980 and Siouxsie Sioux was at the bar. She was swearing her head off.
July 2005 Diary Entry.
You may have heard about the forthcoming smoking bans in pubs and public places. I heard that psychiatric hospitals are going to be made an exception. This is interesting because my rather severe Hamlet problem goes back to the years I was incarcerated. Actually I don't know how I could have kept going without the tobacco. There were times in hospital I was smoking at least 60 roll-ups per day; sometimes so many my tongue was burnt. Still I haven't bought any rolling tobacco since last summer. The only problem is I am spending more on Hamlets!
I hope you have read the "My Writing When Ill" section on this website. My intention in publishing it is to make the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia look just the same as a sneeze when one has a cold: all perfectly treatable and recoverable! I am sorry for the swear word in the letter! It has now been removed.
Still I think you can imagine that some of my behaviour when ill was quite unacceptable. But unacceptable behaviour in society, I am sure you know, is not confined to those suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. I saw a programme on TV the other night, which only reminded me of what I knew already and gave me new reasons to hold that belief. I am of the certain belief that if you eat non-free range chicken or dine out on chicken in the great majority of restaurants, your behaviour is quite unacceptable. The painful "hock burns" the expert in animal welfare spotted on factory produced chickens in each of the 4 major supermarkets he visited in Cambridge are just one of the reasons. The programme was truly disgusting. So for God's sake, you can get a free range chicken in Tesco's for seven quid. Please only buy free range chicken and eggs or not at all. Not convinced? They even drew a well-known link between factory-produced chicken and mental illness! It's to do with the fats in the factory chicken and the fats in the fish oils I get free from the Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain.
Shall I tell you something interesting about Dr Webcat? (see the Ask Dr Webcat section). He is very dog-like. I have discovered he likes to go for walks with me. It all started when he followed me to the pub. I did not even notice him following and all were rather shocked when I walked into the Devvy with Dr Webcat aka Full Moon LuaLua Pumpkin Rumble in tow! I had to discourage him on later occasions but feeling sorry for him decided to take him round the block for a walk on my return. He loved it. I'm going to try him with 2 laps as he is a rather portly puss and on return he usually flops over on the garden path!
Oh, sorry this July Diary is a bit late. I shall try to catch up in August!
P.S. These uplifting videos remind me of some great moments in my life and the Joy Divisions one is particularly special for me. Perhaps you know that the singer committed suicide and the band carried on as New Order. Look at the well-deserved Godly hues on the skins of the band. For the Joy Division video if you haven't got Realplayer on your machine go to www.realplayer.com, ignore the 14 day free trial and click on the realplayer tab. Download the free basic realplayer and watch the video!
Joy Division :: Love Will Tear Us Apart::
New Order :: Krafty ::
The first is the only proper Joy Division video with the actual band there is and it has always been and will always be, one of the most fantastic things in my life. I hope you like it.
June 2005 Diary Entry.
I was watching The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman last night- a great film. As I watched I noticed a couple of pictures of me just after I graduated myself. One just before I left for Africa on a 6 month voyage from London to Nairobi, described in my book. The other picture was taken about 2 months later in Agadez, Niger, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. In the first picture I was a mere boy, but in the second a man. I was struck by how young I looked and this only served to remind me of the mid-life crisis I am in. Watching the film I felt nostalgic about these times, 10 years before I got schizophrenia, and when I was a truly happy person at one with the world.
My Mrs Robinson turned out to be my record company which I began some 6 years after the photos were taken. I devoted pretty well everything I had to it, sensing I would never have another chance to crack the music industry. In the end I wonder if the effort I expended on it was anything to do with the onset of my illness. People talk about burning the candle at both ends: I threw a whole box of them into a fiery furnace- and was drinking a little bit more than I should have done. Really, together with the record label, I lost 14 years of my life not achieving much. Having said that it was great fun trying to be the next Ivo Watts-Russel (the 4AD record label boss). In fact being ill was great fun too most of the time, it was when I got myself into trouble and the treatment started that it got horrible. Mind you, if they had given me Olanzapine when it came out in January '96 I would not have half my book as I'd have had nothing interesting to describe in it. So I suppose you could say that when I was away with the fairies I was just researching my book.
Having been on the Olanzapine for a year now has left me rather high and dry, and a bit lonely in a way I might not have been if I had devoted less of my time to that record label and more to other aspects of my life.
There has not been too much progress on my book recently. My brother had to stop his work on it for a time whilst he settled his accommodation situation and so another friend has been reviewing it, with not quite the enthusiasm others have. This has led me to perhaps a more realistic view of the quality of the work. However she has said some nice things about it so am still hopeful of getting it published for novelty alone! And tonight I am meeting the artist who is doing the cover. Hopefully the cover alone might attract interest.
By the time you read this I hope Marcia has found the time to put up three new menu sections: Prognosis; My Writing When Ill and Book Cover. Midsummer is coming! Talk to you in July.
Webmaster note: Marcia will be putting up the book cover section but due to pressure of work this may be delayed and will be available as soon as possible. The Prognosis and My Writing When Ill are now available to view.
May 2005 Diary Entry.
Hello again. Perhaps you read last month that the Employment Tribunal awarded me my job back. Well nothing seems to have come of it to date. I will keep you posted.
You may have noticed a new menu section: "Prognosis". For the time being I am assuming I do not fall into the 1/3 to ½ of patients who recover completely to the point of requiring medication. But medication or no medication there are other elements which constitute part of recovery. For example being in gainful employment is one. If nobody wants to employ me because of my diagnosis then a lot would rest on my book.
If you read about the University of Bonn/University of Vermont studies in the Prognosis section you will see it says "Another group was living with their families but still had symptoms, especially the negative ones of lethargy, lack of drive and interest or pleasure in life, these symptoms being those caused by the less modern drugs for schizophrenia then available- as well as some of the newer ones". It seems I fall into this category. But I have been told a lot of this is simply because I have no job. In any case I am trying to do something about it by running more, going to the gym (which I have just joined) and drinking less. Even though I don't drink all that much it does seem to cause me depression. Also it makes me put on weight. I have drunk again since the tribunal and put on some 4lbs of the 2 stones I lost during my diet. Some would blame it on the Olanzapine but I suspect I would have put none on if I had not drunk. And it has to be said I have only been for one run since the tribunal. I really must try harder, though I have not drunk any alcohol for ten days.
In view of the advent of the "atypical" antipsychotics I have said something about the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines on the "Medications and Problems" page as it seems my experience may not be so common in future as the guidelines prescribe the atypical antipsychotics as a first choice. This may not be the only way my experience is medical history: I was almost the last patient ever admitted to Fairfield Lunatic Asylum before it closed (the actual last one committed suicide). I am feeling quite excited about my book and my friend (a former paranoid schizophrenic) has started on the cover. It's going to be interesting to see how it turns out. As a study he has done another portrait of me, a bit more studied than his "Portrait of Hope". You can see it in the Book Review section. I will put the cover up on the site (plus work in progress) so you can see. Meanwhile I am told I am top of the waiting list to see the psychologist. It's getting on for a year since I saw her so so much for government claims about waiting lists! Talk to you in June.
April 2005 Diary Entry.
Shall I tell you something laughable about when I was ill? I was watching some chap interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba. Mr Castro demonstrated how he walked around his desk when he worked. Well I walk around the settee when I listen to my records and believed Mr Castro was mimicking me for a laugh - such was my delusion of grandeur! I have to shake my head in disbelief now when I look back on this. But don't worry my insanity went a fair way further than that. Back in 2000 there was an argument in the pub, The Ship. I decided to settle the argument by writing to the landlord. It was a good letter and I wish I had a copy to put up here. The letter settled the argument and the landlord, and everyone else, smiled heartily. The only problem was I decided the letter deserved wider readership and since I had addressed the landlord as Captain being that his pub is The Ship I decided to nominate a crew of the Ship. So I chose all manner of famous and infamous people for the crew and sent off the letter to them. There were over 30 letters in all and I sent each one to over 30 people from the Chief of Defence Staff to the Rt Hon David Trimble and Martin McGuinness. Mr Trimble wrote back on one occasion. But my letter writing got me arrested on 3 occasions. One of these was when I was going on holiday in Ireland. I booked the hotel room in Dublin telling them I had won some money on a horse and asked if I could put £1,000 behind the bar in their club. They said that was fine and I sent the money off. The only problem was that in one of my letters I said it was a £1,000 bomb. As you may know one definition of the word "bomb" is a substantial sum of money as in "cost a bomb". This did not help me as I got arrested for "threats to bomb and kill in Ireland". At the secure wing I got interviewed to ask why I appeared to have predicted a violent event involving skyscrapers on September 11th 2001 and when I was back in the secure wing a year later a nurse approached me and said "So you're the one who predicted September 11th?" It's very easy to misinterpret somebody suffering from schizophrenia because, in my case at least, what I really suffered was the treatment. Largely I quite enjoyed being ill. But can you imagine how angry it makes you to be locked up in a secure unit over and over again and given drugs which make you suicidal and torture you with restlessness? On one occasion having lost my flat and my job I wrote an extremely angry letter to my CPN describing how I felt others, treated like this, would be round her house with a machete. I got arrested for that too even though there was never even the remotest chance of me being violent myself. Apart from a bit of a scrap in double geography when I was 11 I have never been violent to somebody's person. On the occasions when I was supposed to have threatened to burn down my GP's surgery and "strike down Prince Charles with a black axe at the next full moon" there was, in reality absolutely no danger of either happening. That's not to say I wasn't very ill and justifiably angry. In any case I am a fervent supporter of Prince Charles and the Royal family.
I was awarded my job back at the Employment Tribunal plus over £100,000 compensation. You might understand that I am feeling very apprehensive about returning to work. Be brave and just to it I suppose. The job is in Sheffield. I have cut right down on my drinking but really I think I should give it up completely as it makes me depressed. My diet worked though and I lost nearly 2 stones before calling it off. Talk to you in May.
March 2005 Diary Entry
Hello again. There's lots happening in my life in the next few weeks. I've started a software (C++) course, I've got my Employment Tribunal remedy hearing on March 14th and 15th and most of all in April my two community psychiatric nurses are taking me for a curry. How come? I hear you ask. Well I said to them that even somebody who is very ill with schizophrenia can at least appear to be sane if money is on the table, the reasoning being that money is a very powerful motivating force. Then I said that seeing as the cost to the taxpayer of having a person sectioned under the Mental Health Act is some £300 per day surely there could be a saving to the taxpayer if paranoid schizophrenics like me were offered a bounty not to get sectioned. I reasoned that if paid say £150 per day some patients might be never seen again on the psychiatric ward! Accepting the validity of my argument my CPNs, David and Alison said that if I had not been sectioned by April 2nd of this year, the anniversary of my being released by Bedford Hospital managers from Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, they would take me for a curry. Laughably they said they would get Dr Rashid Zaman, my consultant psychiatrist, to pay for a garlic naan bread for me (I insisted it should be extra garlicky!). So it seems this could be the way ahead: The Mental Health Act (1983) as amended (2005); Statutory Instrument No. 71283: Provision Of Curries As Bounties For Psychiatric Patients.
I had an interesting experience the other day. A chap by the name of Andy Willshire drinks in my local, The Devonshire Arms. He is a professional photographer for the New Musical Express and offered to take some shots of me for the website. He took the new ones on the front page and below the links. He made me feel quite a star as he took them mentioning he had been photographing New Order only a few days earlier!
My diet has been going well and I have now lost 1 stones 3 pounds! This is despite doing my back in getting up one day. I haven't been able to run or play golf for a month but if I had would have lost even more. My target weight is 12 stones. Still 12 pounds to go.
I saw Dr Zaman today. He said my drinking might mean he could not recommend my driving licence be reinstated. This conflicted with what my GP, who also knows how much I drink, said. So how much do I drink? Approaching a bottle of wine a day was a fair estimate in the time since I last had a beer in the pub (New Year's Eve). After two days in which I only drank two glasses of wine per day my depression has already lifted. I'm thinking of going coffee total. Some hope!
February 2005 Diary Entry.
Hello again Folks! Marcia (who set up this website, thanks Marcia) tells me you should soon be able to do a search for, e.g. The Layman's Guide To Prince Charles's Dog, and you will be directed to this site. It's to do with these spiders which crawl the web you see, and they take a few weeks to find out what's on it. This should mean more people will know about Dr Webcat, and that can't be a bad thing. Actually there is a bit of a debate going on about the title of my book incurring fierce argument. In one camp are the die hard The Layman's Guide To Prince Charles's Dogists and in the other The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Muchists. I suppose only Prince Charles or anyone who has heard The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much (a Tim Keegan song, search for Tim Keegan on the net, there's loads of stuff to die for!) could decide. Well I've read the lyrics (thanks Tim) and in fact Tim's said he's happy for them to be in my book and so they are, in the final chapter. They are the musical study of paranoid schizophrenia. Can't wait to hear the tune, I'm a die hard Tim Keegan fan since his days in Railroad Earth and if you like a good tune with unbeatable lyrics just try The Departure Lounge, Out Of Here is the business!
I got a publishing contract in the post. Trouble is it was only for an ebook. If I was only going to publish it as an ebook wouldn't I be better doing it myself? I'm not a charity!
My diet is going well ("So what?" I hear you ask). Well you see the thing is a psychiatrist in the pub told me that Olanzapine, which I am taking, is notorious for making you put on weight. Well I fancied bucking the trend by doing the opposite and I have had some success as since December 31st I have lost 9 pounds. My beer gut is disappearing even as I speak!
If you look at the Portrait of Hope page (which will be up shortly) there is an oil portrait of me painted about 8 years ago. I have to be careful about what I say about the artist. You see the artist, through no fault of his/her own, spent 10 years in and out of lunatic asylums from 1969 for the next 10 years. He/she came out for the last time in 1979, never took any antipsychotic drug again and never returned to any of those gruesome establishments. I have known him/her for some 20 years and he/she has never once exhibited any sign of schizophrenia and so clearly he/she falls into that lucky 1/3 to a 1/2 who recover and never go down the schizophrenic road again. I want to give him/her another commission but will only do so if he/she agrees to tell me his/her story, which he/she has indicated he/she won't. This is due to the stigma of schizophrenia you see. I'll see what I can do.
I found a notebook of mine in which I had written when ill. Amongst the bizarre things I wrote was "Write to Sociology Department of Tourist Office" and "Write to the elephant in the taxi in the Ladybird book about bad driving". Bizarre eh? At least I can now see my brain wasn't quite working at its most productive. My friend the FORMER PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIC artist told me the other day about the barrage of emails I sent him/her when I was ill and was actually full of praise for my imagination expressed therein. Trouble is I wasn't achieving much. I just hope my book does it for me. Talk to you again in March..
January 2005 Diary Entry:
Hello everybody! The evenings are getting longer, not by very much admittedly, but they are! I made a new year's resolution: to lose weight. I think I need to lose about a stone and a half. Apparently Olanzapine is notorious for making people put on weight. Dr McInness, a psychiatrist who lives in my street and who once treated me told me in the pub. But actually I don't think I'd have put on the half stone I have since I went on Olanazpine if I had not drunk any beer. So I have put myself on a slimline gin and tonic diet. So far I've lost a couple of pounds. You can lose weight on Olanzapine! The rest of my diet regime includes no breakfast or lunch and running 2 days out of 3. I have two main runs I go on: round the park 6 times (about 30 minutes) and along the old disused railway line to the Danish Camp. The Danes set up camp there over a thousand years ago. The run to the camp is about 6 miles altogether and I want to lose enough weight to get there and back in under an hour. Today I did it in 1 hour 13 minutes. I really recommend going for a run. Actually being very unfit has one advantage: you get the benefit to your mind by running a shorter distance. Why not try? You could do one lap of the park stopping when you need to and gradually build up. In April I can have my driving licence back so I am looking forwards to that. Also by then my employment tribunal will be over. The remedy hearing is scheduled for March and then I will learn what I get and whether I get my job back. I'm told getting one's job back is a difficult remedy to obtain but I am hopeful. Today I met my CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses). I enjoy meeting them and look forwards to doing so - they really raise my spirits and they do need raising. There was a time when I did not enjoy CPN visits as I had not fully accepted what I am- a paranoid schizophrenic- and it just seemed the CPN had come to check I was taking my medication- medication I hated taking. I am told by my CPNs that I am lucky that the illness has left me with my intellect fully intact. Apparently this is not always the case. We discussed my website, whether the balance was right and if it was too alarming about the side effects of drugs. One point raised was that the newer drugs (Olanzapine, which I am taking, came out in '96) were far better for side effects. However I took Seroquel, one of the newer ones, when in hospital 3 years ago, and the effect was disastrous. For the first 3 weeks I felt great and read 3 books. But then, over several days, a terrible stomach ache set in. I knew it was no tummy bug as nobody else got it and nor did it go after a day or so. In the end I was left writhing on the floor of the ward corridor in agonising stomach cramps with vomiting and diarrhoea. It was terrifying. I cried in agony in a corner and an A&E doctor came and injected me to stop me vomiting. I secretly spat out my pill sure it was the drug and the problem cleared. I had tried to conceal the problem for days in order to obey instructions from nurses to say there were no problems with side effects and everything was fine- which it certainly wasn't! You see such a tactic is the quickest way to get out to a position where you can refuse the drug. The dispensing nurse attacked me verbally in a nasty way at the ward round. What an idiot. He simply had no idea of my position. For some reason never explained to me they were changing my medication anyway to Clozaril. Amongst other nasty effects that left me with an itchy rash all over my body with huge raised mounds on my skin and I woke up in the morning with my head in a pool of saliva about 3 feet across! So much for those new drugs! Still, this Olanzapine seems all right for me. But no doubt there will be others who find it as murderous to take as I did Seroquel. Talk to you again in February.
December 2004 Diary Entry:
Hello everybody! It's chilly outside and I'm sitting indoors with a glass of Jamaican dark rum. Unusual for me to drink before 9pm but I can't go for a run as have a strained tendon in my foot. I find that going for a run really raises my spirits during this mid-life crisis I am in and gives me an excuse to go to the pub at 9pm. Actually I like to go running late afternoon and pop into the "Devvy" for a can of Red Bull. The feeling of elation after the run, a shower and a can of that is excellent. We have a new pet. A note came through the door saying a friendly, trusting cat had taken up residence in somebody's garden. We offered to have it and I went to collect it. It behaved as though it were at home immediately. It's only a moggy but such a nice animal I thought it deserved a "pedigree" name. So I named it "Full Moon LuaLua (pronounced Loo R Loo R after the Portsmouth footballer) Pumpkin Rumble aka Dr Webcat". That's Full Moon Lua Lua Pumpkin Rumble aka Dr Webcat. I believe the name may be clinically effective in the treatment of, e.g. Seasonally Affected Depression (SAD). There, you should be feeling better already. Perhaps I should offer a service giving cats elaborate names and claim a bounty from the NHS for reducing the number of beds they require in psychiatric units!
Talk to you again in the New Year, Love, Clive.