Fuck Anxiety.

Maybe I should read a book.
(No. You should be revising for your exam in two weeks. You’ve hardly done any revision over the last few weeks and you’ll fail at this rate.)

Maybe I should revise for my exam.
(Yeah, but you could look for jobs, so you don’t look like a failure and lazy to your family.)

Maybe I should look for jobs.
(What’s the point? You’ll only apply for a job, wait for two days, get the “Sorry, you’re not good enough” email and then cry yourself to sleep, and do the same thing in two weeks.)

Maybe I should talk to friends.
(But they all have busy lives. They all have jobs and relationships and you have fucking nothing. NOTHING. Besides,  they don’t want to talk to you. You’re really awkward to talk to, and you distance yourself from them all of the time. No wonder they never talk to you.)

Maybe I should go for a run, calm myself down.
(But it’s too hot to go for a run. And it’s half term so there are more people around to see you and you could get stabbed or worse someone might laugh at you and then you’ll get upset and then you’ll have a panic attack and you’ll never go running ever again)

Fuck Anxiety.

Terrorism Will Never Win

I know it’s not normally something I would post on my blog, but I have to say something.

Last night, on the 22nd May 2017, the UK experinced one of the most horrific terrorist incidents of all time, after an explosion was detonated outside an all-packed Manchester Arena.

At around 10:30 pm, 21,000 Ariana Grande fans began to gather their stuff and leave the arena, when the explosion happened. Confusion quickly led to terror, as people started to leave as fast as they could, climbing over chairs and one another, trying to get out as fast as they could.

And this callous and shocking event has injured 59 people, and taken the lives of 22. Two of those lives lost were 18-year-old Georgina Callander and 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

That’s what makes this attack even more heartless. THESE WERE FUCKING CHILDREN. Who thought it would be a good idea to ruin the lives of children, INNOCENT CHILDREN, who wanted to have an amazing time with their favourite artist? It makes me sick that there are people out there who would do this.

But terrorism hasn’t destroyed us. It’s brought us closer together. We’ve shared images online of people who haven’t returned home yet, making sure that they are safe. We’ve expressed our condolences towards the victims and their families. That’s the power of social media – it’s brought billions and billions of people together, uniting against terrorism and giving it the middle finger.

No matter what happens, we will always stand together, as a society, and because of this:

Terrorism.
Will.
Never.
Win.

Book Review: Crime Song by David Swinson

*I won Crime Song in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so before I start my review, I’d like to quickly say a massive thank you to Hodder Books for running it and allowing me the chance to read this book 👍*

Synopsis:

Frank Marr was a former cop in the D.C. police after he was forced into early retirement due to his drug addiction. Now a private investigator, he takes on a case close to home – to spy on his cousin Jeffrey as a favour for his aunt, who suspects that he was dealing drugs. After a long night of surveillance in a nightclub, he returns home to find that his house has been burgled, and his possessions have been stolen – his laptop, his flat-screen TV, his turntable, his vinyl and CD collection and his .38 revolver. At the crime scene, a body has been left on the kitchen floor, and it doesn’t take Marr long to recognise who it is. It’s Jeffrey. In Crime Song, Frank Marr unravels the mystery towards what happened to his stuff (and Jeffrey), taking him deeper into a network of thieves, crooked cops and drug addicts, in a mission which could get him killed.

Review:

Crime Song is different to most crime thriller novels that I’ve read recently. It’s more of a “let’s cut the bullshit out, and get down to BUSINESS”, one man solving a case with virtually zero fucks given. Like some nitty-gritty crime series that the BBC would show (just without 99% of the swearing)

The pacing of this story was really good – everything didn’t happen at once, nor did it become so slow that it became unbearable to read. It was right in the middle and was consistent throughout the entire story.

The main character, Frank Marr, was also easily likeable, despite his flaws, such as his drug addiction and saying ‘fuck’ every other sentence, which was annoying to read at first, but you get used to it eventually.

The side characters were pretty interesting too – even if they have their flaws like Marr, I noticed that I started to feel empathy and anger towards them at the end. I suppose that being an ex-cop himself, Swinson knows about this stuff well, and how good people can get themselves involved in bad situations, and his previous knowledge as a cop really showed in Crime Song.

I think that’s why this book stood out for me – it’s not just a simple case of finding out “who dunnit?”, it actually goes much deeper, and if it wasn’t for exams, I could have easily finished it in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I need to read The Second Girl in the near future too.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Anxiety Thoughts

Alright, so I previously wrote this a few days ago, and it was shit. I kinda rushed it, and I thought I would re-write it, and now… it’s slightly better. :)

Short synopsis: A couple of days ago, I felt terrible, and I thought I would try a different way of expressing my actual thoughts and feelings down, onto a piece of paper… now onto my blog. 

Okay…so… I don’t really know how to explain how I’m feeling at the moment, but I’ll try my best…

So I want to go outside and leave the house and talk to my friends, like any normal person would… but I can’t… I can’t do that, because it’s raining and that means I can’t wear my new shoes because I don’t want them to get ruined… and that ruins how I look and already my self-esteem is WAAAAY low even after that course I went on… actually that reminds me… I haven’t updated my panic diary, my positive notebook OR my running diary in the last seven days… fuck.

I suppose I’ll have to stay indoors then… but if I stay indoors, I won’t do anything productive like reading a book, talking to friends or revising… I’ll just sit at my fucking laptop all day staring at a blank wall, watching YouTube videos or playing on my PlayStation CONTEMPLATING WHY MY LIFE IS SO SHIT, BECAUSE I KEEP DOING THE EXACT SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN EXPECTING SHIT TO CHANGE EVEN THOUGH IT WILL NEVER CHANGE BECAUSE. I. KEEP. MAKING. THE. SAME. FUCKING. MISTAKES. AND. NEVER. LEARN. FROM. THEM!

alright… I’m calm… it’s good to get things off your chest every now and again… breathe… 3/5… remember…

Maybe it’s a good idea I’m staying in… fuck knows what could happen if my friends see me like this… no doubt I’d have some mental breakdown in front of them and have a panic attack, or say something completely stupid… and then I’d come home crying, because going out was a mistake, and I’d never want to leave the house EVER AGAIN.

Fuck it, maybe I should go and write something to put on my blog, or that book that I won from the Goodreads giveaway, which is sitting on my bookshelf (Crime Song by David Swindon – review coming soon :D)

No… I can’t… I can’t concentrate… I can’t focus on anything apart from going out I want to go out BUT I CAN’T… I want to talk to my best friend but she left me on read about 229 minutes ago on Snapchat but now I’m worried because all I asked was how her exam went and she’s not replying… so that means A) she’s busy, or B) she’s crying and doesn’t want to talk to me because her exam went terrible and I upset her OH GOD OH GOD… I can’t read or revise because all of these thoughts are giving me a headache I can’t concentrate…

So now, I’M SAT HERE wondering WHAT I CAN DO WITH MYSELF TO DISTRACT ME FROM THESE THOUGHTS… AND IT’S KILLING ME BECAUSE I’M DOING NOTHING PRODUCTIVE AND I NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING AND I CANT AND NOW I FEEL LIKE A FUCKING FAILURE AGAIN!!!

3/5… 3/5…. 3/5… 3/5… 3/5…

i suppose this is normal for me nowadays, to feel like this… lost… hopeless… depressed… a failure… a waste of space/time/money/oxygen… suicidal… and it seems so long ago when I felt normal… like I’m not some passenger in my own body, or someone who feels disconnected from their emotions…

Seriously, how the fuck did I become like this? How is it that everything can go from :) to :( in a matter of hours? At what point does your mind go “Enough of this shit, I WANNA BE SAAAAD. Let’s think about how you’re a failure in life and ways to commit suicide” when you’re full of confidence?  Because a few hours ago, I could achieve anything I wanted to… I could go to town, talk to friends, even climb a fucking mountain if I wanted to, but now… sending ‘hey’ to someone on Snapchat is like climbing Mount Everest… 

I will never understand my own anxiety… but one thing I do understand is that I fucking hate it… and I want things to be normal again… I want to be like the old Matt again… but then I question whether that’s even possible anymore…

Fuck this is getting too deep. I should probably stop now.

Book Review: Find Me by J.S. Monroe

I wasn’t really expecting to write a review for this book – I thought it was just going to be a book that I read on my iPad, to pass the time, and forget about it forever. NOPE. This turned out to be a LOT better than I had imagined.

First of all, let’s start with the book synopsis (I love that word). Five years ago, Rosa, a Cambridge student who had recently lost her father in a car crash, jumped off a pier. Although the body was never found, the coroner confirmed she was dead, after an unknown caller told the police they saw someone jump.

Jar Costello, Rosa’s girlfriend, believes that she is still alive. Everywhere he goes, he sees hallucinations of her. Only this time, he sees her boarding a train. Was it Rosa? Or is he hallucinating again?

As Rosa’s aunt Amy discovers an encrypted folder called “Rosa’s Diary” on her hard drive, Jar’s quest is to decrypt and find out the contents of it, to discover the truth about Rosa. Except, the truth isn’t that obvious, as Jar discovers, with the help of friend Carl and former freelance journalist Eddie, someone is playing him. But who?

 

There were so many twists and turns in this book, that I had no clue what was going on at times. Forget zero to a hundred, Find Me went from zero to 10,467. It went from a standard “is she alive book” to government conspiracies, and then animal torture to cure… depression as an alternative to tablets…?

(Also, I’d like to quickly commemorate Jon Stock for mentioning my hometown Swindon in the book. As a result, he gets a bonus “Matt Point” – congratulations! :D)

Now, a slight trigger warning about this book. If you’re someone who is an animal right activist, then maybe it’s not for you. Personally, I struggled reading about it a little. Other parts of the book I also struggled to read was when we had Amy’s, Martin’s and Jar’s POV, all at roughly the same time. It took me a moment to work out which person I was reading about every time.

Nonetheless, Find Me is a fantastic thriller, and if you’re a massive fan of other thrillers that keep you up until two in the morning (which is what I did), then there’s a very good chance you’ll love this too!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

 

“Ha…Gaaaayyy”

I woke up today and felt amazing. I don’t normally feel like this every day – maybe because I won a book in a giveaway and was happy. However, it always makes me nervous when I’m in a good mood, because I know that as soon as I feel amazing, I go back to feeling like complete shit, like I’m a failure to society, a waste of oxygen who should jump onto the motorway and wait for a lorry to run him over. So I decided to enjoy this moment of normalness; it’s been quite a rare occasion over the last few months.

I went to college in the morning, did my one-hour Creative Writing lesson, and walked to my doctors to book an appointment with my GP (I’ve run out of propranolol and I was supposed to see him after all my CBT stuff finished, but I forgot). I got an appointment in a couple of weeks, which… should be really interesting. I have an exam next week with no tablets to calm me down, so if I do have a panic attack mid exam, I’m doing students a favour by giving them writing material. :)

Anyway, the GP was only fifteen minutes or so from the town centre, so I thought: Why not go into town? It’s not far away, you’re FEELING GREAT, nothing can go wrong? You’re UNSTOPPABLE. And it didn’t go too badly to start with. I went into a number of shops – New Look, H&M, River Island, HMV, Waterstones. The usual routine. (I didn’t buy anything in them, which always makes me feel guilty when I leave empty handed like I have to buy something there.)

But then, things went downhill after I went into WHSmith. I was looking at some books to buy (as you do), and I was looking at the Clearance section when I heard two girls talking nearby. So there I was, minding my own fucking business when I turned around. I saw them walking towards the exit, and then, one of them said…

“Ha. Gaaaay.”

You know, that shitty fucking meme from 2012. Now, normally it makes me laugh (I’m very easily amused), but this time, I was nearly on the brink of tears. Because even though I’m not gay, I 100% know it was aimed at me.

How could I tell this? 1) I was the only person around. 2) The way she said it – that kind of “I’m going to make some shitty comment to my friend, but I’ll try to say it quietly, in a cunty, bitchy, backstabbing voice, in the hope that the other person doesn’t hear” And 3) They looked at me, said it, and fucking laughed as they walked off. That’s the thing that annoyed me the most. That fucking laugh.

But I don’t understand why they said that to me. What made them think I was “gay”? Was it because I wasn’t some fuckboy wearing an Adidas tracksuit saying “Bun dat ting”? Was I standing a bit funny? Was I being really awkward around them? Was it because I was reading, and people think reading is… gay? Maybe I didn’t look them in the eye, but I never look anyone in the eye. It’s an anxiety thing, in the same way where I hide when there’s a car driving on the road. I don’t do it on purpose, I’m just scared of everyone.

Anyway, these girls (who were, I thought, kinda cute, but :/) ruined my day. That high confidence? Shattered. I started getting anxious again, trying to avoid everyone in town. I was looking at myself, thinking “Stop being gay. Stop looking gay. Stop walking weird. Stop acting like you’ve just robbed a bank. Just be normal for once”.

Every laugh that I heard also made me walk faster – I thought they were laughing at me. I wanted to scream and just tell everyone to fuck off and leave me alone. I wanted to go around, punching windows and walls. I was in a mess. I remember just walking around shops, with no destination, no real purpose. I went back into WHSmith, bought a book, and left as quick as I could.

And now I’m writing this, at midnight, trying to make the pain go away. It’s helping, but only just. Now that I’m low, I’m thinking about other things, like how everyone lives are much better than mine, or how I’m not going to cope with everyone (including the girl I like) going to uni in three months while I’m stuck at college, and how things would be better for everyone if I jumped onto the motorway. I questioned why I keep doing the same things over and over again, expecting my life to change when nothing fucking happens.

It got so bad earlier that I was mentally planning what things I should include in my suicide note, although I didn’t get very far. I got to “If you’re reading this, it’s too late”, which even my Creative Writing teacher would argue is “too cliche”

(It’s weird. Some people might be genuinely worried about my wellbeing if they read this, but to me, it’s normal. This is what I feel on a daily basis – up down, up down, up down. Suicidal thoughts are normal. I don’t know if it’s something I should be worried about, but… there you go.)

Anyway, back to those two girls. What pisses me off is that they’ve probably forgotten about me already. But I won’t forget them. I can still remember slipping on the stairs in secondary school about four years ago, and that was embarrassing. I’ll still remember today for years, every time I want to go out. “Oh remember that time when some girls thought you were gay in WHSmith and laughed at you and you nearly cried in front of them? Don’t go into town ever again.”

But again, does that me I have to change myself? Do I have to act differently, walk differently, stand differently, dress differently, look at people differently, just to stop this from happening again?

It’s amazing how one second of the day, with someone you’ve never met saying one comment, which can change someone’s day, and force them to write 1000+ words on it. It’s crazy.

Review: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Honestly, I wish I had found this book earlier.

The first time I had heard about Reasons to Stay Alive was in my Creative Writing class. We all had to talk about a book we had read recently (mine was Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan), and someone in our class spoke about this book, and immediately, I knew I needed to read it ASAP.

In this book, Matt Haig talks about his own personal experience of having suicidal thoughts, social anxiety and depression, and as someone who deals with these issues myself, I felt like I could have used this earlier. It explains depression and anxiety perfectly; it is so easy to understand, unlike most self-help books out there, that anyone could read about it.

But I suppose the main reason why I loved it was because I could relate to 90% of the book. As a man who is going through a dark time at the moment, you start to convince yourself that you’re the only bloke with mental health problems, even if people say otherwise. I don’t know any guy who’s suffering from anxiety and depression like me, so to read this and actually think “Wow, people were actually telling the truth…”, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Not only was it relatable, but it was funny (which for a self-help book, I was pleasantly surprised), and inspiring. As Matt Haig said: “Words – spoken or written – are what connect us to the world, and so speaking about it to people, and writing about this stuff, helps connect us to each other, and to our true selves.” And after reading this, it’s made me inspired to write about my life too.

Now, obviously, it hasn’t cured me. I’m not “myself” again, I’m not perfect. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect it to. However, I know that I will re-read this book in the future, again and again. This book will be my religious text for the next few months, even years, until I can finally get better… if that day ever happens.

Rating: 5/5