Friday, 19 June 2020


Loss - feeling lost to the Machiavellian machinations of my own head.

The ice cold abyss of depression which freezes to the core until I feel... nothing -~

Minutes lost in the hours, hours in the days, desperate to feel... something. 

The crazed ecstasy of mania which burns so bright until I feel... too too much -~

Deluded choices with ramifications I’ll only know later when they arrive as such. 

The ricochet of voices with no corporeal form that haunt me hour upon hour -~

Making the day and the night desperately lonely and so vitriolically sour. 

When I forget to remember; that social engagement, the appointment, how to make tea -~

My executive functioning so buggered it angers others despite my clemency plea.

Loss are the weeks in hospital, the zombie months of high medication not right for me -~

Loss are the times I fall victim to the full throes of my illness, yearning to be free.

But through loss I have fought, myself I have taught -~

A deeper understanding, and with it compassion -~

In order to be free, or at least in a fashion. 

To aid myself in, not in taming the beast -~

But keeping it on some kind of leash, at least.

In loss I have also gained, I can see more of you I can see more of me. 

So that whilst we are cursed we can see that we’re blessed too, you see. 

I am not ‘bipolar’. I am not ‘disordered’, just reordered, nor am I ‘schizo’.

Yes I have bipolar schizoaffective disorder, but is that all of me? No.

For the losses I’ve known or will endure ~~
                                                                      I will find triumphs, of that I am sure. 

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Well Hello World!

It’s been some six years since I last wrote on this blog. Today I do so as a mental health advocate, as I’m a media volunteer and champion with Time To Change, the charity that works to break down the walls of prejudice and stigma. Which is exactly why I believe it's important to talk about mental health - to help educate and enlighten. 

So, me. I’m the card-carrying flag-waving cannon-blasting bipolar schizoaffective disorder boy as some of you know, and I have to say I’m doing pretty damned well. No delusions that I can fly or run faster than a train (been there), no voices frequently tormenting me to the point of yearning my own extinction (they do arise), no sinking into an icy abyss of depression where all one feels is nothing. Yes, ok, I do still have periods of extremity to battle, endure, but thankfully nothing lasting, colouring my life with mortal danger or monumental despair, so if I falter I bounce back pretty sharpish. True, my executive functioning leaves a lot to be desired (please google ‘executive functioning’ if you’re not familiar with the term, as we all operate with it) and this can be the cause of countless headaches. Illogical emotional reactions or indeed eruptions still come to me on a fairly frequent basis, but to the best of my best ability I remain, to quote a favoured poem, master of my fate and captain of my soul.

Now I wouldn’t say I have the bipolar beast tamed; it’s too ferocious for that. But I think I’ve at least got it on a reasonably firm leash. I educate myself continuously through reading, writing and self study (to know thyself is undoubtedly the best ethos of all) which in turn empowers me. I also have amazing family and friends. It was around five years ago now, after a particularly dark episode, that I decided to be completely transparent in regards to my own journey, and doing so has been nothing but positive. It has given me strength and brought new friendships. When you stand up tall, even when full of doubt, you actually, if I may be so bold, shine a light onto others, showing them that they too can do the same. Energy breeds energy. 

With that in mind, if I could offer some advice to anyone in the grips of mental illness or poor mental health it would be this. 
  1. Never feel shame or guilt. Though it is not always plain sailing and you will hit tumultuous waters, remember it was the storm that came to, you are not to blame. You didn’t choose this, and though it plagues you it is not the whole sum of who you are. You are unique and unrepeatable, a mass of intricate complexity that cannot be quantified simply by a label, don’t do that to yourself and don’t let others do it to you either. 
  1. Talk. Talk to those who love you and want to help. Talk to the professionals who have the same aim. Be open, be honest, let your voice be heard. Expressing ourselves is so important - it can bring forward a better understanding and more compassion, and ensure you’re receiving the best possible treatment. It may also, as it has done me through my writing, serve to bring you greater clarity and awareness. 

  1. Take your medications, they’re there to aid you in aiding yourself. That said, don’t be shy in speaking out if you don’t think they’re right, having them tweaked or maybe trying something new - it took me a fair few years to find something close to an ideal regime. At one point in my life, I was virtually the walking dead for the few hours I was awake; I’d wish that on no-one. So know what you’re taking and why you are taking it, take a little time for study. 

  1. Educate yourself. For example, I have bipolar schizoaffective disorder, and my reading has not ended regarding the books and the websites I’ve digested to guide me to a better way of seeing and, hopefully, being. I also write which I know is not for everyone but if you can, do; it has proved to be an incredibly insightful ally to me. 

  1. Be kind to yourself. 

  1. Be kind to yourself. 

  1. Be kind to yourself. 

Monday, 24 February 2014


"I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music." 

Maya Angelou, 1999. 

I could not agree more. 

                  ...upon those two words, judge not, but read her works. 

Night-club Dancer. 
Civil Rights Activist. 
Anti-apartheid Activist. 

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” 

In 1993, Angelou recited her poem 'On the Pulse of Morning' at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. The recording of the poem was awarded a Grammy Award.

She has also received nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award. 

She served on two presidential committees. Awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and in 2011 President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

She has also received over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the World. 

Her son, Guy Johnson, says he is often asked what it's like to be raised by the woman hailed as one of the most influential voices of our time. Did Johnson, a writer and author himself, ever feel he was growing up in her shadow? 

"No, I didn't. I grew up in her light." he says. 

"Sometimes I wasn't worthy of it, but it has always been an experience that expanded me. She thinks that the divine hand is in all things. She has faith that's like a rock -- you can stand on it. She speaks to our humanity and she reminds us that we are both brother and sister to the rest of the human race." 

What a powerful, moving, inspiring and true statement. 

You can see the short clip here:

With one and a half minutes that, I trust, will stay with you always, I leave the final words to The Lady herself:

Thursday, 6 February 2014


First, a little history.

It was, given a decade or so, about three thousand years ago that the first Olympic Games took place; dedicated to the Olympian gods and staged on the ancient plains of Olympia.

By all accounts, Olympia was a place of unique natural and mystical beauty, a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices. So rather akin to Sochi by all accounts, though perhaps with cleaner water and bedding. The many elaborate buildings and sporting facilities were dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it.  

Although the Olympic Games were closely linked to Zeus, they were not an integral part of any religious observance. The Games were a direct outgrowth of the values and beliefs of Greek society, who idealized physical fitness and mental discipline, believing that excellence in those areas honoured Zeus, the greatest of all their gods. So The Games held a secular character, solely aimed at showing the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between cities.

They continued for some 12 centuries, until the Roman Emperor Theodosius, a Christian, decreed in 393 A.D. that all such "pagan cults" be banned.

The first Olympic Games since that time were held, once again, in Greece in 1859, though it was the Athens games of 1896 that were truly international and more as we know today.

Looking back once again to the origins, another notable aspect of the Greek culture, and indeed through much of the Ancient World, was that love between males was not only tolerated but actually encouraged, and expressed as the high ideal of same-sex camaraderie.

Such terms as 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual' had no equivalent in these times, simply because it was assumed that a person would have both 'hetero'- and 'homo'- sexual responses at different times. Sexuality was fluid, and was certainly not a marker of one's worth or standing in society. Over subsequent centuries much has been written to negate this; with a knowledge it cannot be completely denied, many historians and the like have done their best (inevitably fed by their own beliefs) to pigeon-hole it into matters of status and the like.

It wasn't.

Furthermore, let it not be forgotten that for several hundreds of years during this time there were two deities vying for worship. Yes, two.

One was the son of a carpenter from Nazareth who died upon The Cross to save his people, and the other was the handsome young lover of the Emperor Hadrian who drowned in the Nile to save Egypt: The Christians eventually took power over The Pagans, so Jesus won and Antinous (who most people will not have heard of) lost. Incidentally, Antinous was the last Roman to be deified, a practice normally reserved for Emperors, and there were more statues of him made than of any figure throughout the whole of Roman History. He was worshipped throughout the vast Empire for several hundreds of years.

'The Olympian Ideal'

One of the most famous statues is the colossal 'Antinous as Dionysos-Osiris' in marble, which stands in the Museo Pio-Clementino, Sala Rotunda of the Vatican Museums.

This does not open a debate here about religion and faith, but it does clearly illustrate that which character who is most worshipped, be they myth alone or legend born from reality, has deep root as to who is in power as much as anything else.

So the Pagans were, generally speaking. much freer in their approach to sexuality. It goes without saying that same-sex relationships of the kind portrayed by this 'Greek love' ideal were increasingly disallowed within the Judaeo-Christian traditions of Western society, and eventually became highly taboo.

Two of the greatest names in history, both from the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, are good examples of not following such constraint. But there are many more besides.

So, to today.

None of us can be ignorant to what is happening over in Russia, the call for change, for retraction of laws, for boycotts. Russian law bans the promotion of 'non-traditional' sexuality, and yet it could be very strongly argued that the very sexuality they are against is the most 'traditional' of all, particularly in the long history of the Olympics.

What is disturbing to say the least is that even if Putin ordered a complete reversal of his government's stance on homosexuality tomorrow, the seeds have already been sown. People invariably seem to be inspired more by hatred than love, and the mentality of prejudice has now been so firmly set in stone that it will no doubt last for generations.

The Russian government only yesterday called on all warring parties around the world to observe the Olympic truce during the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in a statement that mentions the "...building (of) a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal". A peaceful and better world... quoted... from a country whose government condones the abuse and torture of individuals simply because of their sexuality.

Perhaps rather odd to quote myself here, but I wrote this in another piece about the modern slave trade, and it is fitting to place here: "It is the right of every person to be born in freedom and live in liberty. It is the duty of every person to fight injustice and oppression."

In mind of that, let me set out 'The Olympian Ideal'.

It is a life philosophy, promoting three core values:

Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

All Olympic Ideals flow from these three core values.

The aspects of these Olympic Ideals are:

The balanced development of body, will and mind.

The joy found in effort.

The educational value of being a good role model.

The respect for universal ethics, including:

• Tolerance
• Generosity
• Unity
• Friendship
• Non-discrimination
• Respect for others

Developing a better and more peaceful world by the educating of young people through sport, free of discrimination and in the Olympic spirit.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Having recently endured several sojourns into the depths of our beloved Capital's rush hour, after months of welcome respite from such horror, I have come to the conclusion that 'the stench of humanity' (which, in a brief sentence, can be best summed up as a disgustingly heady waft of excrement boiled in salted water) can only be remedied by a nosegay. Nosegays, a popular accessory that was a bouquet of flowers and fruits since the 15th C, have since fallen out of fashion somewhat; it is undoubtedly time for their return. So expect them to be sold outside your local tube station by young models of Jacob Hall and Nell Gwynn (the Chris Hemsworth and Angelina Jolie of the 17th C) soon. I believe they will bring ease to thousands, and quite possibly make me a pretty penny or more in the process. 

What is 'RICH'?

There are several things that get me thinking in regards to this article as linked above.

First, and perhaps foremost, what is 'rich'? Clearly, this article means rich as in monetary value, and whilst I, like most, would no doubt enjoy being free of any constraint or difficulty regarding the lack of mineral gold in one's back account, I find it a small focus to accept that solely as a valuation of where we stand in life. In family and friends (who are of course adopted family) I believe I am blessed to be rich beyond hope or imagination; and I'd happily challenge Ms.Gina Rinehart to see who is winning on that score.

Indeed, my present circumstances see me at the most financially low in years, yet the balance is tipped by feeling the happiest I have done in over a decade also, so again, being rich is a matter of opinion and feeling as much as, or even more so, than about what buck is in the pocket or the bank.

Again, would I relish in never having to worry about money, in travelling where I wish whenever I wish, in buying whatever I wanted and seeing that all those I loved were, to the best of my ability, in a similar stance? Yes. I'd be a liar to say otherwise.

But then, I don't, for one moment, see myself as 'average' either. Whatever an 'average' person is. I am unique and unrepeatable in being 'me'. As are we all. Supposing for one moment I am average however, the quote that "average people think money is the root of all evil" is wrong anyway - it is that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Nor is it that poor people think selfishness is a vice and rich people think selfishness is a virtue. Mother Teresa famously considered herself the most selfish of all because she gained so much from giving all that she could.

Nor do I subscribe to Steve Siebold's (author of “How Rich People Think”) belief that the road to riches is paved with formal education; I do entirely believe that it comes as - he so states that only rich people do - in acquiring specific knowledge. Should I ever become rich in monetary terms, it will be precisely because of my unique and unrepeatable accumulation of such specific knowledge.

And I do not believe my best days are behind me either. Life, for me, means I have only just begun, and it is because I am following my passion I believe this.

To take a basic overview of the World Population, and to thus divide it between two basic categories of either 'rich or 'average', governed entirely by a set mentality, is as simplistic and as naive an assumption of the human race as anyone could possibly make.

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Much to the chagrin of many of my friends, I will admit to being something of a Royalist. Not completely I must add, though I'll get to that momentarily.

Yes, it is archaic, and when one really thinks about it, having an inherited Head of State is as completely ludicrous as it has always been since the times of Ancient Rome, given that their personality, morals et al are as unpredictable through birth as any such occurrence is.

However, I'm rather fond of our Queen. I can't deny that some of that credit would have to go to Helen Mirren, much like Meryl Streep gave a touch of genteel humanity to  Thatcher in the on-set of dementia, so one could argue that my warmth is inspired purely by fiction as much as fact.

But I also like her for being such a constant. In this ever-changing, seemingly ever-faster World, she is etched and stitched into the fabric of all our years alive. As a child, to me and my family The Queen was as much the 25th of December as Father Christmas himself was. My Grandmother 'knew' her, thus so my Mother , and so in some small way I do too. There is, I believe, something soothing in that continuity. For over half a century she has stood as a through-line connecting every Prime Minister from Churchill to this day, a rarity of which the relevance should not be dismissed.

It cannot be denied, whatever one's thoughts on the matter, that she has undertaken her duty as Monarch with diligent dignity, grace and an unwavering commitment that few could match or let alone surpass in a lesser role. And though she has undoubtedly lived a life of immense privilege, one far removed from that of the Common People, there are a countless many who have been personally touched by but a moment of her personal focus and attention.

So for me, I'm quite patriotic in my thought of 'God Save The Queen'.

On the flip-side, in the majority the rest of them I could happily do without. I'm somewhat charmed by William and Harry I suppose, much as I was beguiled by Diana, but then we live, more than ever, in an age that is beholden to 'The Cult of Celebrity'. And there is Anne, who is truly a toff but a hard-working one at best. But yes, the likes of Beatrice and Eugenie irk considerably, and when we come to one such as the Princess Michael of Kent I swing closer to being a gun-toting Revolutionary.

That particular rather loathsome jade is not, however, to be confused with the more elegant and most 'ordinary' Katharine, Duchess of Kent, who has in many ways forgone her 'Royal' status, including most secretly taking up the decade-long role of a Primary School music teacher in Kingston upon Hull known as plain Ms.Kent, along with her tireless charitable work with the likes of UNICEF and The Samaritans; I like Katherine Kent very much.

Is it ridiculous that our taxes pay for The Queen? I won't try to dispute that. But then the Queen herself favours a gradual shrinking of the Civil List as she tries to trim the cost of the Royal family to satisfy public opinion; and Charles too has long believed that the Royal Family has to be leaner and more cost effective, although his own spending of around £15million a year makes you wonder what he actually means by lean (the Queen is famously - and relatively - thrifty in comparison).

Besides, our taxes also pay for every M.P. to have two homes when most of us cannot afford one, our taxes have paid millions towards the comfort of a hate preacher, our taxes are misused far more frequently and fundamentally poorly than on dear old Elizabeth II, and that remains a discussion for another day entirely. Furthermore, whilst it isn't happening fast enough (such things rarely do) the current centuries old system of grants and Civil List funding is being replaced by an all-in-one payment called the Sovereign Support Grant, paid for entirely by the Crown Estate.

Yes. I'm vehemently against the aforementioned likes of toilet-lid-wearing Beatrice and Eugenie being kept on the Civil List and similar funding, or even having taxpayer-funded royalty protection officers, which apparently for the most part (upon revelation it was costing us £500,000 a year) has now ceased. So yes, things are gradually changing, with their no-doubt disgruntled playboy dad Andrew now having to pay their rent of £30,000 a year. But for a four-bedroom 'flat' in the area of St.James' Palace, I'd say that comes at a snip.

Their cousins William and Harry may be required to have protection, but then they also fulfil their military duties, whilst Peter and Zara Phillips, though unquestionably gifted by the silver spoon, have both built up impressive independent CVs and, significantly, neither of them have police protection, or carry a title.

But here, today, this is where I'm cross as I catch this evening's headline:

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s refurbishments cost taxpayer £1m

This is the cost of converting the late party girl Princess Margaret's 'Apartment 1A' at Kensington Palace ready for them and their new born sometime in the Autumn, after the renovation and redecoration is complete. Oh, so after £1m it still isn't finished yet? And the name 'Apartment 1A' is also a little misleading, seeing as it consists of 57 rooms. Admittedly, it has been stated that all the interior decorating costs are being paid for out of the Royal family’s private income. So what has the £1m gone on then? Roof tiles, re-wiring and asbestos clearance apparently.

Which makes me wonder, is the Royal Household that out of touch, because they're being taken for one hell of a scam with that bill. It smells like a dodgy contractor to me. Someone really needs to call Esther Rantzen, Gloria Hunniford or Angela Rippon on their behalf, because clearly, even The Crown is open to a clever con.