Daily Archives: August 14, 2016

Going Out

Haven’t been doing much of it honestly and I truly am missing it. I didn’t realize that I would until well here I am.

Actually gonna see if I can talk hubby into going for a walk in a bit. I need some poke balls.


Reaching the End of My Cope

Helpless Woman Holding RopeAnymore, I don’t very often have days when I can’t get out of bed, but this week I had one. It doesn’t matter now what caused it, but I am feeling the lingering aftereffects. Today I had no choice but to get out of bed, and I thought as long as I’m up, I might as well blog.

(Actually I can blog in bed too, since my tablet will take dictation, but it’s not optimal.)

I had been headed for bed-bound all week – the slowly creeping whelms; the feeling of being nibbled to death by mice; the recent trauma of two pets’ deaths; a game I couldn’t win, couldn’t break even, and couldn’t get out of. Expected relief came three days too late.

Aside from not eating, not getting out of bed meets many of my needs – quiet, rest, naps, not having to fight off the numbness and care about anything. And yes, there’s some feeling sorry for myself in there too. I won’t try to deny it. Staying in bed is a big messy wad of self-pity, anhedonia, lack of energy, trying to stave off thoughts, and generally not being able to give a shit about anything. It is more than sadness. It is as J.K. Rowling described the Dementors: You feel as if you will never be happy again. In other words, there’s nothing worth getting out of bed for.

When I was searching for images to go with this post, I entered “end of rope.” I guess I expected to see cute kittens dangling and inspirational quotes like “Hang on Baby, Friday’s Coming!”

Instead, what I found were endless images of nooses. Nooses by themselves or with people in them. Overturned chairs under nooses. Photos, illustrations, every conceivable image of nooses. According to the visual imagination of illustrators and photographers, “end of one’s rope” means suicide. There were some images of frayed or broken ropes, but the nooses were in the lead by at least four to one. (There were also a few nautical pictures with coiled ropes, but they weren’t statistically significant.)

That’s not what I mean by “end of my rope” – not dangling kittens OR nooses. Staying in bed all day, being unable to function, is a long, long way from suicide. Indeed, I find it a mechanism that staves off thoughts of nooses. Staying in bed admits of the possibility that tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I will have the wherewithal to drag myself out of that bed. Or that something will force me out of the bed and I will have to respond, as it happened today.

Hence the title of this piece. I have not reached the end of my rope – certainly not to find a dangling noose at the end of it. I have not reached the end of my hope, because I believe that some day (I hope soon) I will be out of the bed (at least as far as the sofa, and then who knows?). But when I stay in bed all day, I have reached the end of my cope.

This is not exactly the same as reaching the end of my spoons, because I don’t use up any spoons by lying in bed. And I don’t really know, or perhaps don’t believe, that I will have a new supply the next day.

I expect that some people will beat me up for being so useless as to give up for even a day, to be unable even to try. I know I’m beating myself up over it too. But today I am out of bed, for at least part of the day, and I am writing. That means there’s at least an inch of rope left. An inch of cope.

Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: being overwhelmed, bipolar disorder, coping mechanisms, depression, mental health, mental illness, my experiences, Spoon Theory

30 Days of Sandy Sue Altered: 20

poe quote

A Poet

And I Isolate

Breathe Barrel

Groping for the Truth

On the House (Part 2)

Pub sign, York

Pub sign, York

Part 2 of some Sunday fiction for you, from my alternative version of Doncaster; click here for Part 1

“Elizabeth’s taken in a cat?” Harry interrupted. “George hates animals, always has, ever since the school guinea pig bit him, when we were six.”

“I think she got it just to piss off Dad. It’s only thing she’s ever done to stand up to him – that, and give our Betty some money so she could marry Peter.”

Harry looked at Gary Sanders, then at his mate Tim. Then the landlord took a clean glass from under the bar, and filled it from a pump that said ‘Sentient Stoat’, and had a picture of a brown, furry creature with a fag hanging from its mouth. Harry didn’t say anything as he placed the pint glass in front of Gary. The latter’s face was a puzzle.

“No spit, honest,” said Harry.

“Or bullet?” Gary asked, looking at Tim.

“No bullets. If someone shoots you, or your dad, it won’t be me. I don’t like guns. I prefer using sturdy Russian novels, or the collected works of Conan-Doyle.”

Tomato shelfie: York

Tomato shelfie: York

Downing his pint, Gary noticed the collection of hard backed books which stood on the shelf above the bar.

“But what if someone gets to the complete Shakespeare before you?” he asked.

Tim pointed to a yellow rucksack, which was sitting on the bar next to him.

“Three notebooks, a pencil case full of pens, the collected works of Rudyard Kipling, and a hardback of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. Enough wallop to make a powerful impression on almost anyone.”

“You’re a good bloke, Tim,” said Gary.

“Thanks. But think on what I said: you may be the image of your dad,” Tim paused, as he took in Gary’s receding, close-cut hair; and his short, stocky body, “but you don’t have to be him. My eldest, for example, prefers the prose of Tolkein to his poetry, and drinks dry white wine. Never had a single drop of beer, our Terry.”

“Hard to imagine,” said Gary, as a smile twitched at the corners of his mouth. “Although JRR’s prose is quite poetic at times.”

Harry grinned. He poured another pint of Stoat, and passed it to Gary.

“I’m driving,” he said.

“So leave your car,” said Tim.

Not a car: Doncaster Tourist Information Centre

Not a car: Doncaster Tourist Information Centre

Gary hesitated. As he did, Harry passed him a whiskey chaser.

“Leave your car,” Tim repeated.

Gary drank the beer in three quick gulps, then threw back the chaser.

“Careful,” said Tim, and, “Another … please,” said Gary, putting a tenner on the bar.

Harry shook his head. Gary crammed the ten pound note into a charity tin which read “Firefly”.

“Thanks,” said Harry, putting another pint, and chaser, on the bar. “Drink the Stoat stout more slowly this time, though, lad.”

“Savour the flavour,” Tim agreed.

“Looks like I’m definitely leaving the car,” said Gary.

“You could leave it all,” said Tim.


“Car … your dad’s business… your dad, of course. Mum, too, if you need to. The job lot.”

“My fiancee?” asked Gary.

He began to laugh, then giggle, then sob. Eventually Gary’s sobs turned into an extended swear fest that could have turned the sky – now black, and studded with stars – blue again.

Twilight over Doncaster

Twilight over Doncaster

This time, when the cat landed on the bar next to him, Gary barely flinched, though he did stop swearing.

“Everything all right, Jake?” Harry asked.

The cat unflattened his ears., but didn’t stop lashing his tail.

“It is now,” said Jake, as he glared at Gary in the way only a cat can glare. “I could sue you for damage to my ear drums.”

“Sorrry,” Gary mumbled into his pint.

“Oh and the inspector said to say that if you need any help, I can bite him whilst Tim here holds him down.”

Jake turned back to Gary, and smiled a smile which showed virtually all his teeth. “Unless you need him arresting, in which case I’ll go get the inspector.”

A face only cat lovers could love

A face only cat lovers could love

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Harry the landlord said. “But thanks for the offer.”

Tim looked across the tap room toward the small table which held an empty bowl of milk, and two whiskey tumblers.

“Where is Thwaite?” he asked, referring to cat sergeant’s superior officer.

“Janice rang, so he made his excuses, and left,” the cat replied, referring to Thwaite’s girlfriend. “He’s not gone far, yet. I’m sorry I can’t clear the table, Harry,” Jake added.

“No worries,” Harry replied. “And we’re good here. See you again tomorrow?”

Jake blinked.

“We’re off to Ohio in the morning. Sweetheart Springs police want to talk to us both about feline integration and the Donny constabulary.”

“Different,” Tim commented. “Let us know what the beer’s like.”

The cat made his goodbyes, jumped down from the bar, and went out the door of the “Bird & Baby”. His black and white tail was still twitching slightly.

Once the cat had gone, Harry turned back to Gary.

“Do you love her?” Harry asked, referring to the latter’s fiancee.

Gary smiled, slowly drank his pint, and chaser, then said, “She calls me tubby in front of her mates, and only says please when she wants me to do something for her, or give her something.”

“So why marry her?”

Gary laughed. It was sound lacking in humour. He finished his third pint, and put £20 in the Firefly tin, then said, “She’s rich, or will be someday. Soon, at the rate ‘er dad chain smokes. He – her dad – has a chain of electrical shops. My dad fancies a merger: his shops, her dad’s shops.”

Gary looked down at his shot glass, and said, “It’s like I’m some kind of bull, and my father found me a prize cow to go out to stud with. For the sake of a dozen bloody electrical stores, and a few thousand quid. Oh for – “

Gary hiccuped. “Maybe I should have eaten my tea, instead of drinking it.”

2000-02-01 12.18.14

The Lovers, Waterdale, Doncaster

Part 3 of 3 will be published on this blog next Sunday, 20th August. If you enjoyed this story, please buy an e-book of “Koi Carpe Diem: Five Tales of Paws, Claws, and Mystery”, featuring Inspector Thwaite and Sgt. Jake, or contact me for a signed paperback, featuring artwork by Tom Brown. For more on Jake and Thwaite’s adventures in Ohio, click here.

Tagged: A Yorkshireman in Ohio, alternative Doncaster, Books, cats, Doncaster, fiction, Koi Carpe Diem, pubs, short stories, short story collection, Tom Brown, writing

I’m still alive 

I just don’t know what to say.