A letter to my future self.

Dear Future John,

You have been living in a fleshy husk with some unreliable grey jelly in your head on a wet rock in outer space somewhere in a potentially endless undiscovered universe. More important than that, if you are reading this, you have survived for more than 34 years!

Well done. That’s a good achievement. I don’t know who you are, or where you are now, but I hope you are doing ok. Whether or not they still label you with Schizoaffective Disorder is beside the point. Life is tough and you’re a good way through yours. It’s time for a pat on the back.

Writing to you today, I will begin to steer a course towards you, to put in place the groundwork to become you, the person I will talk about below.

You have helped yourself by letting life flow through you like water down a waterfall. Yes, this sounds like impractical, poetic nonsense, so look at it this way. Water stays to the lowest possible path, a bit like a depressed person seemingly unable to climb to a higher mood, but it feeds plants and replenishes the soil around it, like the empathy and experience of a depressed person. It is completely yielding and weak, yet it lifts up rocks and carries branches down stream. This is you, still achieving survival and self care, even helping those around you. So, put in a more straightforward manner, with an open mind you can adapt to changes. You have learned this. You have conquered episodes of depression with acceptance and flexibility. By letting yourself be low, you can draw upon empathy for others, then help others to improve your self esteem. You have proved this by enjoying being there for your closest friends again and again. By staying to the lowest places you have met people like the heroin addict on the psychiatric ward who taught you about resilience. She taught you against all odds the worst situations are not permanent and can improve. She demonstrated the most immense strength and power to recover and become a loving mother to her child and a dear friend to you and many more. By treating her as an inspiration instead of a lowlife, you have learned from her, you nurtured her and helped her recover. You are the flowing water, John. Continue this practice and you will only grow more comfortable and content.

Learning to listen, to really listen, to focus on only what I can hear at any given time, is a skill I’m working on now. Hopefully if I keep doing it enough you’ll be a master by the time you read this. Sensory experiences are often overwhelming. So let’s try and make it a skill! A rare gift, even. By simplifying experiences into component chunks and being aware of what they are, you can control your responses to them, and tame the irritation caused. First we do noise, sounds, nature’s song, music, and everything the ear likes. Then we can do smells, the residual sweetness of this morning’s aftershave, a slightly damp cat, and the musty warmth of the blankets on my settee. By processing and analysing them one by one we can make these skills transferable. First you must finish off with senses with tastes and physical sensations. Then move on to thought, feelings, and behaviours. I believe if I can control my reaction to one thing; I can improve all of them.

Allowing yourself to be caught up in the moment can make you feel like a monster. It’s ok to feel things. Let life happen! Your best friend and her Emotional Instability Personality Disorder has taught you how to laugh when you want to cry and cry when you want to laugh, and that that is valid and makes for an attractive personality! You have got the gift of an extraordinary imagination and an extreme emotional bandwidth; use these things, enjoy them while they’re there.

Self forgiveness is like taking a shower after a run. It is self care for the mind. I already use what you could pretentiously call ‘a dialectical diplomacy with myself’. I argue and debate ideas, thoughts, and therefore feelings and behaviour with myself to process and accept then return a base of unknowing unexpectation. A happy ignorance of letting things be. I would like to expand these practices to my interactions with others. I hope I’ll be able to feel more comfortable with the things I do and say. One could argue that will happen naturally with ageing and gaining experience. I don’t really know but I hope so. Nevertheless, continue doing your thing.

Only worry about your own thoughts and actions. Everything else is out of your control. Resilience is every bad thing that has happened to me can be flipped to show the other side of the coin. It isn’t just pain, vulnerability, uncomfortable experiences. It is strength, sensitivity, and flexibility. If you are reading this aged 50, remember how I already have this and how much I am growing through all the ups and downs, hour by hour, day by day.

The further back or forward you look the more uncertain life gets. Try to remember this before beating yourself up for something bad you did once twenty years ago or worrying you’ll die alone, decrepit and lonely. It is not possible to see things from every angle when you only have two eyes in your head.

Put others first. As much as your dreams might crave it at times, you are not the most important thing in the world. Practise compassion, love, and kindness. Forgive mistakes by yourself and others who show remorse and love. Practise simplicity in living, prioritise what is essential to you, live with these concepts, ideas, and things and don’t replace them unnecessarily. Humility is important, accept you don’t know it all, you will never know it all, and the biggest delights are in the smallest things. Moving forward try to learn how others see me, but ask for feedback from your most trusted friends and family only, there is no need to entertain bitter jealousy from those who don’t care about you.

Don’t take yourself seriously. You are one of over seven billion humans on this planet, and one of countless more living things, keep that in mind. Don’t let your ego want all the things that aren’t there. There is no point chasing perfection when you could chase something easy and achieve whatever that is. You can achieve more by lacking ambition and finding value in the things you can already do. That said, achievements aren’t everything, if you are happy then surely you have won where others fail every day.

Tomorrow will probably be the same as today so don’t put things off. You might feel unable to get things done but jumping to unhelpful conclusions about everyday problems will just slow you down. Try to make a small start on things right now even though conditions might not be ideal. Encourage yourself to get things done and don’t stall or criticise your motives. You’ve got this, John. Dismiss the excuses. You can do things when you need to and that is worth remembering. Yes, you can feel great anxiety before trying to do something but once you’re doing it, it doesn’t seem as hard. Tolerate discomfort, life is hard and this is a reality, even if you just do a little bit, you are doing well. When you’ve got something done, don’t stop there, do some more and promise yourself a reward for later.

Value yourself and your self care. Please. This is something you find difficult but if you apply value to the things you find difficult you can use truth as a reason for getting it done.

Never stop running. The high you get is great. Getting out of breath, and I mean really out of breath, it’s uncomfortable at first, but it really gets the endorphins flowing and makes you feel unstoppable.

Keep doing things you enjoy. You love making music, painting, walking in nature, writing, reading, cooking, and eating. Use these things to your advantage. There is so much pleasure to be had creating. Don’t focus on the end goal, that is of no significance as long as you enjoy the process, just keep putting that paint on the canvas and express all that pent up emotion. You do these things because they are essential to maintaining your mental health. Think of new ways to do things. Don’t just draw the same old things, make something different every time, be curious enough to experiment without fear. If you get stuck creatively, call a friend, tell some jokes, have a laugh, forget where you are, listen to the sound of someone’s voice and let them inspire you.

Let yourself trust people and trust yourself. Grab the opportunities you have so often missed in the past. Take more risks. Gain confidence, accept compliments, yes, it IS possible for people to see you differently to how you see yourself. Do it all. Live for love. Live for heartbreak. Live for life.

Get a job when you feel ready, maybe be a postman, walking, mostly by yourself, it’d be perfect. Consider getting experience as a support worker, you have been in the mental health system for years, you know the system inside out and have more than enough empathy and love to help others start the journey you are on.

Education is a lifelong pursuit. Until free tuition fees are a thing and you feel like university, don’t forget you can follow your desire for learning right now, read, listen, and learn. Be brave enough to read opinions of people you don’t agree with. Understanding different perspectives is vital for gaining wisdom and creativity.

You might not have achieved all your goals or even shared many of them here but that’s ok. I hope future me looks back and feels ok with the guy writing this letter and myself throughout the past. Whoever you are. Whoever I become. I wish you all the best, lots of hope, much love, and the ability to cope.

If you can, do all of these things. You are well on your way. Stay on that way and I’ll be proud of you. Of me. My future self.

The Clock

What could I say?
She let the clock do the talking.
I can’t listen to the tick.
Desperate to hear words

My mind won’t click into gear.
Cogs turning
Racing thoughts
Subdued response.

I ask myself what I want to say.
Metronomic, predictable
My mind isn’t that.
Constant chaos. Fire leaks through me.

I hope you are well.
And I do
But is it enough
Does it really matter?

Hope is the water that calms my fire.
Ticking is my enemy that winds me up.

Fate is fickle

Everything is changing.
Nothing is certain.
So
I’ll ‘hmmm’ like the Witcher
Because isn’t life a bitcha?

If you turn to stone
You’ll get weathered and old.
But if you flow like water
Your youth will never falter.

Destiny is waiting
For you to grab the reins
So I ask you my dear,
Please keep me near.

The Crocodile with Curly Hair

She’s fierce.
Set in her ways.
Knows exactly how she likes things.
And has fantastic taste in music.

The crocodile with curly hair is an amazing creature.
Unique in her outlook; she is quite friendly once she’s comfortable.

There’s an entire universe in her head.
In that vast space lives a young cat.
With her nearest and dearest; she is loved by everyone.
Quiet, but caring, she can snap at those less understanding.

Be careful crocodile. Your teeth are sharp and strong. You might just eat everything and everyone!

So I remember this rhyme:

Crocodile with her cat in space.
Will always beat you at cards.
She has up her sleeve an ace.
If that doesn’t work she’ll fire a laser from mars!

Use Lemons

I wonder what you are doing. Are you feeling good?
I hope you have a smile on your face. Are you at ease?
Call me in the night and tell me everything.
I don’t want to just live for myself.

Lemon rind. Lemon juice. Slices for drinks. Seeds for a new tree. Don’t waste your time.

There’s nothing better I’d rather do. Than spend my time talking to you.
Watch the waves roll in on a moonlit summer night. Breathe in; breathe out.
‘Sharing is caring’ I now say. Instead of ‘You will be the death of me’.
I have learned this and that. I actually learned most of it from my cat.

She would be a bad idea

Do you believe in the things you can’t see, feel, touch, taste, or hear?
Have you ever had a conversation with the wind only for your words to be blown back in your face?
Confusion and disillusion. Is this from my mood or my past?
You don’t understand anything about me. You’re in for a shock.
How can I speak sentences when you acknowledge my every word?
I get it you are listening. So why is taking an interest so one sided?
When I sleep you seem more interesting but you’re so anonymous I miss you even when you are there.

Fragments

Before we lost it all we had everything but each other.
I hope you can heal and not make the same mistakes twice.
I wanted you to be mine for forever but you assumed I did not.
Yes, you learned I am not perfect. Now you have moved on. Ask him before assuming.

* * *

I can’t write. I wish I could write. I don’t want to write. I don’t need to write. I can put a smile on someone’s face.

* * *

A flicker from a candle.
Steam rising from a mug.
A cold evening with no heating.
I’m not doing everything I should.

* * *

Experience from my fleshy brain doesn’t matter.
Material. Numb. Medicated and subdued.
People are afraid of me. People hate my labels.
I cannot convince them all.
Universal consciousness abandoned.

* * *

Typing on my laptop makes a rhythmic beat on my keyboard. Exquisite, until I need a word I can’t spell.

North Wind

Lets blow our North wind on those in the capital enjoying the fruits of our labour.
We can defeat corruption with solidarity, unity, and fairness.
Educate the masses to the hypocrisy of the ruling class.
Channel this anger into kindness and causes that cease suffering.

Cow Sick (Distance trilogy)

She wants to run away
Into a strangers arms
Weaponised love; accepted

Her parents don’t care
Grandparents say she can cook
That’s her pitch

What will happen once you arrive
Lost and stranded
Strange land; distant people

She does it because she will care
Barely an adult; thin promise
A hope of better quality of life

Cut paper; cut fingers
Blood on her letters
She’s lost control; the words are empty

She wants an empty suit
A man who works
A leaf on the tallest tree

Promises, promises
What is she after
She doesn’t know; she knows that much

Do you believe in radical acceptance?
No?
Oh.
Well think about it. It could help.

The world will be out to get you wherever you run. You cannot hide from yourself. Where can you go to seek shelter from pain? Within. In peace. In constant love. Conceptual romance. No bonds or knots. Alone or together. You will be fine. You will be at rest.

Foul hole bog (Distance trilogy)

Ghoul under my skin
Tell her my secrets
Make me question everything

Ol’ time radio 1998
Worn out side B
Digital watch never ticks

Fuck me sideways
I’ve forgotten my glasses
Lost resting on my head

I let you out
When I shout to you
I say nothing

I keep my mouth shut
Stapled; filed away
Along with the false and fragile

Agonising about the future
I feel pain in my shoulder
No sleep ever again

I slept well
Last night I sewed
Embroidering life lessons

Scarf face mask
I will not steal
Closed shop. Too much wind.

This Miserable Virus (Distance trilogy)

Walls and mazes
dead ends
forgotten beginnings

Just let me
finish licking my fur
Then feed me

Petal in a book
sacrificed
for future reference

Give me a smile
not mine to receive
a delicate frown

Saved from myself
by myself
alone

Patient picnic
the same meal
yesterday’s best moment

With a friend
time passes
quick to react

Weight
gain and loss
seek balance

Playing a game
holding aces
never letting go

Rain

Comatose hair
Frazzled ember
Fire red
Burning November
rain.

Blood drops
You hold it in a dream
With a cry
A stifled supressed scream
silently.

Year of the pig
The cleverest beast
No future is clear
Even looking east
sunrise.

Mountain top
Isn’t my body
Not good enough
Feeling myself shoddy
workmanship.

Grasped chance
Lost ruins
Opportunity knocks
Wait ten mins
later.

Honest broker
Keep in touch
Doesn’t understand
Isn’t much
use.

Forgotten memories
Already missing
I’ll write them down
Still pissing
rain.

What will we do?

A rainbow opposite the sun as the rain patters down on my yellow coat.
As I splash through the puddles rings erupt radiating from the drop’s root.
A brown tree drinks silently in this weather its inhabitants shelter, mostly, from the damp.
The purple plastic pollution that litters the ground looks like a human horror show.

We will wake the mammoths from the permafrost. The lakes will rise from the glaciers. The oceans will grow eroding all before them. Youth will suffer. Their children will suffer more. Will we do nothing?

Let’s drown our hatred and anger.
Seeing red mist float above the ever swelling sea.
No fish left. A bluebottle flies over plastic soup.
Let’s get in the water and swim for our lives.

Equality further away. Social division. Maths ignored at school; replaced by patriotism. Debt ever increasing. The few are taking control. Support is falling apart and our health is taken for granted. Will we do nothing?

Watching the world from your white house on the hill.
We hate you and all you stand for.
Wet from your ignorant spew we can turn you green.
A change from the orange burn of your hostile heated hatred.

What will we do?

Relationship Autopsy

A ghost in my left hand. Air in my right.
A fight for my mind starts and lasts all night.
Why should I do this? I don’t have to do that?
A cat gently breathing. Waking up. Emergency lick of it’s leg! Back to sleep.
I’m sorry if it seemed I didn’t care.
I really did. I just didn’t know I had to lick my leg.

I have new plans but I miss you.

A light is on in the bedroom

A boy watches silhouettes walk around the neighbour’s house.

The light’s on in the bedroom. Are they alone tonight? Or tomorrow or any given night this week?

Night windows show the post declutter calm. A sad anticlimax and an empty room. Lonely footsteps back and forth. A wait of the modern age.

They don’t care if they don’t reply. He can’t see the tears landing on their phone. Waiting for a message while they sleep. It is folly.

Who am I?

In the past I have been described as all these things by friends, lovers, relatives etc.

Pure evil
A gift to womankind
Creepy and weird
A god amongst men
Pathetic loser
Really strange
The most genuine man alive
Cunt
Prick
Dickhead

It’s a mixed bag

Reflective rant

When noisy adoration turns to quiet respect, what can I do except try not to repeat old bad habits, accept what I have and make the best of it. I’m in a good place despite feeling loss and melancholy.

There is something to be said for being alone and happy, even if have the company of my cat, I should appreciate what I have achieved to feel this contentment. It is a great standpoint to fight any unwanted thoughts.

Emotions that were nurtured by a significant other can easily unravel when they have left. There is an argument that God has left us at the big bang or whatever happened back then. Is she dead? Is she bitter and ignorant ? It is of no consequence. Look after what we still have left of that creation and create for ourselves.

Love is from nowhere and if any potential higher power can use it so can we. Plucked from the abyss like a hair from my never ending eyebrows. What is it that smells so good. Something that satiates our satisfaction for life. Petrichor after a summer shower. Or rotting leaf mold in the crispy autumn calm. It’s all worth appreciating.

What the fuck am I talking about? I may be uttering pretentious high powered nonsense but I’m just clearing my throat.

You (me)

You cannot block the flow of life.

You can regulate it or change it’s future course.

You cannot change where it has been.

You can choose to focus on the bits you really like.

Christ’s Emotional Instability

The crucifying pain I carry in my head.
I’d smash it against stone walls until I drop down dead.
The pulsating murder of horror in my brain.
If only it would drown; deep in never ending rain.

I cannot walk. I cannot see.
Humanity’s hatred rules do not dare blame me.
I cannot hear. I cannot pee.
I’m fit to burst with rage; unforgivingly.

I want to die.
I can’t continue.
My mind has gone.
My rotting organs, a congregated retinue.

Let me go. I cannot wait.
My hatred burns all my mates.
I ruin everything. Don’t let me go.
I need you more than you know.