First Class

Edit: Speaking of writing, here is a piece I did for One in Four on the subject of mental illness and humour: Continue reading

My Greatest Moment

Long time readers will know that the highlight of the week is my sloping down to the newsagents in my pyjamas to return victorious with my Thursday Haul of trashy magazines. Then I spend a glorious hour flipping through them all (for an hour is all it takes to read them), and then they spend the next week in the bathroom to salve the stigma of suspiciously long sojourns there.

Well, in this week’s, “Real People” (released today, folks, go grab your copy!), me and my friend Jenna are in the problem page. We are the hallowed, “Pictures Posed by Models”.

Fun fact: the coat I wearing smells of cat wee, although I didn’t know this until I was on the tube. Shame it’s not scratch-n-sniff.

BBC World Service are looking for people who’ve spent time on a psychiatric ward

I was contacted by BBC World Service looking to speak to me about the following programme. Considering I’ve only spent four days on a mental ward, I don’t think I’d be much help. But one of you may be, so if you’d like to speak to her, email her at lucy.williamson (at)

I work on a programme called ‘Witness’ – it’s a new kind of programme for BBC News; more oral-history than factual analysis. Each ten-minute programme is based around one person’s unique memories and perspectives of a particular event: the images that stick with them, the feelings they felt, the actions they took. This is then interwoven with some archive material for atmosphere, and a light script to give a bit of context to the topic and the speaker.

To mark National Health Day next month, I’d like to make a programme with someone who’s spent time living in a modern-day psychiatric unit. So much of our audience is still reliant on a kind of Ken Kessey image… it would be really good to get someone who’s spent a proper amount of time there, to talk about the good, and the bad, and the obstacles to adapting (and leaving)

Mood Diaries

Edit: No iPhone over here!  No smartphone at all, just a wee cheap one.

I’m looking for a mood diary.  I’ll fill it in with Robert’s input considering there are a fair amount of times I wouldn’t be able to recognise my own mood.

I want a computerised one because- well, they’re fun!  I like ones where I input more numbers (mood 1-10, hours of sleep etc as I’m very aware that sleep impacts massively on my mood and I exploit that) than words because, at a glance, it’s easier to see where I am.

So if you have any recommendations, hit me up!  If you use one, how useful do you find it?  I’m still feeling fairly low but some self-deception, making sure I don’t sleep too much and attempting to keep busy is helping.  My plan, I guess, is have an emergency stash of medication in the house so when my mood starts to get too high I can knock it on the head or at least sleep.  If I even bother to think it is too high, which is why I’ll need Robert’s help.  In my current Regime, it’s unlikely I’m going to be on any mood stabilisers, and I’ve (genuinely) forgotten to take citalopram in the past few days (I’ll go back on it today), so, self management it is!  I’m mostly fairly self aware and years of practice have meant I’m a lot better at being pro-active in managing my moods than I ever used to be, so I can do it.  I’m trying to organise things in other ways, too.  I have a chalkboard in which I write things to do on it, which makes me feel a bit more like a human, even if I seem to totally neglect the, “Have a Wash” command (but really, I’ve also neglected, “Wash the Towels” so what can you do?)  And I have a year planner in which I’ve written my writing hours in and my class hours.  In glittery pens like a fecking ten year old. Hooray!

I’m very keen not to get unwell.  In December last year I was signed with a literary agency and it seemed like 2010 was going to the Year For Me.  Instead, it’s virtually wiped out by not being entirely well. I don’t want another year like that; there has been far too many already.

On bullshit, psychics and prayer

So, loaded question here and one I’ve always resisted asking on this blog: where do you stand on religion, alternative medicine and other such spiky subjects?

I wrote this on my other blog (which I forgot existed, whoops) and am reposting it here. It explains my stance on such matters.

I’d marry James Randi, if he weren’t such a funny colour. He’s had the skin of a cadaver since he was born.  The reason he grew that beard was to discourage people poking him on the chin to see if he moved.

He’s also gay, three times older than me and about a thousand times more clever than me.

Here he is in an exquisite takedown of Uri Geller and Peter Popoff:

And in a lovely lecture:

I’m a skeptic. I’m an atheist. I often tone down my opinions on such things in polite company, just as I try not to rant about atheism into the face of theists. I especially toned it down on my other blog, leaving nary but one huge rant and a few subtle links in the sidebar to give me away.  It was mostly to avoid showdowns with people who had mental health problems who felt they were helped by such things.  I have no right, and no interest, in doing anything to despoil that.  Even if every other day I received emails- ranging from well meaning to what the fuck- exhorting me to turn to god to be healed, or have I tried this homeopathic remedy?  It’s water, but, y’know.  Or the seminal: DIET AND EXERCISE! FRESH FRUIT! EAT IT! EAT NOTHING BUT! I couldn’t be arsed in the end.

For the record, I think psychics, dowsers, fortune tellers, faith healers, aura readers and their ilk are all either deluded or charlatans. Continue reading

Quick post: hooray!

I haven’t slept and have barely eaten, and I’m finding citalopram (mixed with caffeine, let’s be fair) somewhat activating, which has made me faintly giddy.  Which is a good state in which to receive the news that I got onto the course at Birkbeck!  Yay!  It’s just a part time access course but it’s something at least and rights the deep wrong of my lack of A-levels.  I hope I can manage, and also fund it!

Today has been the best day I’ve had in a while.  I spent the whole day out of the house and had a good day without bawling. I watched a manic rendition of mediocre Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor at the Globe. I took photos for the first time in ages.  I got home to two good emails that I have good responses to, and my letter.  I always just feel better when I’m doing *something*, so I hope I can manage!

Happy birthday, Orlaigh!

C’mon everybody, please say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to my favourite baby sister Orlaigh.  She’s 18 today, which should frankly be illegal as in my mind she’s still six and sleeps in the bunk above me. Now she’s a beautiful, cheeky, clever woman who posts Facebook status updates that disturb and delight me in equal measure.  I can’t threaten to deck her boyfriends anymore, nor can I tell her off for swearing. And her now being an adult when a second ago she was in nappies reminds me that we are all marching towards death.


The Fine Molloys: Michelle (28), Paula (27), Liam (20), me (25) and Orlaigh, now (18).

Stop being taller than me!

The end of the crisis

Continue reading

A shit two days, and your experiences with citalopram

The past two days have been shit. No poetics, they’ve just been very emotionally draining and I need to get into some sort of sleeping routine.

Today I’ve done almost nothing but sleep and cry (and ate a piece of cake in a cafe Robert took me to, but I was crying while I ate it, so it was 60% sobbing, 40% tiramisu. All my cigarettes have been 90% tobacco, 10% tears). I’m writing this largely to distract myself from crying, as within the gaps of doing nothing, I start to cry again. Which is why, “Come Dine With Me” is minimised in the background, ready to go. It’s necessary crying, it will pass. Continue reading

God farts upon you

I’ve been sitting here waiting nervously for the crisis team, who were due at 12pm.  At 12.30pm I thought, “You know, the last time they were here, they didn’t even want to sit on my sofa because it was such a mess, so let’s straight up Reggie and maybe open a curtain so they don’t think I wallow in my own dusty poo all day long”.  I’m mannered, y’know?  And I want them to leave me alone.

Pluffed a pillow, had a fag, sprayed some no-brand Febreeze pretender, and by 12.40pm,

*Ring ring* That’s my ring tone.


“Hello, this is Nurse YoungPerson from the crisis team.  I know we had an appointment at 12.  It’s now 12.40…”

Why do people who ring you in a professional capacity always tell you the time?  It’s handy, like the other day when I couldn’t for the life of me remember what date it was.  I was reminded.  I thanked them.  And earlier when I tried to access my online banking and utterly forgot every detail, including my address when I tried to reset the password.  I would have appreciated someone ringing up to tell me where I lived.  I’m now waiting for a new one by post.  Handy, yes, but why?

“I was on your road, but a strong gust of wind suddenly blew the paper with your address and phone number out of my hand right onto the road, into the path of a car”.

“I had to go back to the office.  Sorry…”

*from behind my hand* “No worries…”

Just wanted to share that with you all.

And the fate of my first love

Not my only love.  But my first, and possibly my last.  I am lucky, I shouldn’t forget that. Continue reading

The fate of my first (and only) suicide note

I’ve never composed a proper suicide note.

The one time I tried to was when I was fifteen and I didn’t really understand what death was. I thought I’d be there to read my own obituary and wanted to make sure they had something poetic to put in it. Adrift in agonising over words that rhymed with “loneliness”, I put on a CD to help me channel some of the pain and became rather distracted. I sneaked a fag out of the bedroom window and watched the smoke drift off towards the moon. In the glass was reflected the padding figure of my baby sister, still in her school uniform, batting her fair hair out of her drooping lids and groping a hand towards her bed. Friday was the day it was okay to sleep in your uniform. She nodded at me sleepily before climbing onto her bunk and, very quickly, her little butterfly breathing began. I shut the window so she didn’t get cold, then turned out the lights. I always marvelled at Orlaigh’s ability to sleep under the brightest of bulbs. We hadn’t had a lampshade on our light for years.

I woke up the next afternoon in my drenched school shirt and reached one arm down to turn the pages of the notebook I’d written in. There it was, half-composed shite. I tore it out and then shoved it in my mouth. After chewing on it for a little while, I spat the inky wads onto the door where they landed with a pathetic slap. I resolved to just cheer the fuck up. It didn’t work, but I tried.

As an adult, having read Philip Larkin’s “Aubade” and understanding death’s brutal, modernist reality, it seemed very important to write a proper suicide note. It deserved more than a piece of foolscrap. And it was probably best to use a pencil and not a leaky black biro nicked from my dad’s pockets.

First, you have to hook them in with an opening zinger.

“Fuck! Well, I’m dead, so…”?


What would I say? Whom would I say it to? Do I write to everyone I know, as though I’m composing acknowledgements within an essay, each having their own personalised paragraph? Would my English teacher correct my grammar as she read? What if I left someone out? Would they think they didn’t matter to me? Did they matter to me if I left them out of my suicide note? You can’t just unkick the chair from beneath your cold feet, grab a pen and the Tip-Ex and have another go. Nor can you return from the dead and sheepishly apologise to those who were offended by their absence, if anybody cared enough to be offended at all.

And there’s the matter of tone. Is it best to be short and concise (“I don’t want to be alive”) or is it best to explain, in detail? This is the last thing that you will say to anybody. The last link to earth, the shredded end of the umbilical cord. And what if, by the end, there is nothing worth saying?

The end of life does not have to be profound. In the moments when I have been idly thinking of suicide, it hasn’t been with a lurch in my stomach, a kick of despair. It has been curious, almost blasé. I have visited the end, and turned back. But it is a walk- not a lurch, not a leap- into the abyss for me. It is leisurely, with each step the shrinking of trees, the dwindling of sound, the dampening of colour. Despair- suffocating and constant- leaves, as does guilt. All emotions depart. Emotions in themselves are something of life. Feeling is better than unfeeling. I have gradually felt myself leave what life is. The words that I could have summoned months before, so easily, are a grey little memory, the faces of people I love, lost within the fugue. It’s too painful to try and remember them because of the frustration of being unable to made me feel as though I was inhuman. How could I forget how to say I love you? How could even crying at a sad film be gone now? He still had the same skin he had always lived in. The sound of his voice as he bustled in from work still twitched my lips upwards. But I couldn’t reach him, nor him me. To lie on the bed and say, “I am lonely without you”, while your hand is upon their shoulder. I am here. I am not here. I’m sorry. And suicide was just killing the body.

This was the problem. When I wasn’t suicidal I could write a beautiful note, but they would just be love letters. Best to write them while you wanted to live. When I didn’t, it would be in a fire or a fog. One bought giddied incoherence, and the other, more familiar, a kind of crystal ever present, a feeling that it was time to kill the body (and how? There should be one place, a vein, a certainty in it all), because the rest was already gone anyway. When I made plans I didn’t consider how I’d devastate my family and those who loved me. I thought about Robert maybe having to take a week off work, so I’d plan it for a Friday. I also knew that you were more likely to die if you were admitted to hospital over a weekend, so if anyone found me, then I’d have a better chance of dying. Remember to write the PIN down somewhere. Cover the last month’s rent, and take the rest for yourselves. I call you Judas.

When depression takes hold, the kindest of gestures are a grave (ha ha) insult. Those whom love you- and they do, even if you cannot physically nor mentally conceive of their grief, because depression is self obsessed, so is the recovery- and those whom you love try to include you. But it is in a life that has moved on without you. You’ve already left. (“I am fine…”) It feels almost mocking. A phone call. A trip to the cinema. The effort demanded is bone breaking. The sheer physical effort of it all, to be wandering through a world without limbs, to be smoke, a phantom, and yet to be so heavy. Particle physics, grotesque biology. The kind of thing dug up, leathery skin and half-furred, half-horse footed, the tell-tale autopsy stitching up the bloated gut. Here I am.

I’m still with the crisis team. I don’t want to be- I don’t want anything to do with anything mental health related. Medication, therapy, hospitals and doctors- I want away from that world, I don’t want to know it. I wish I never had. It’s not serious or dramatic and nothing feels like crisis. I was embarrassed to cry so much in front of my social worker- I have never cried in front of her before. I have almost nothing to say to them, even though they are lovely and being helpful. There is not much of a why. I just started slowing down. Maybe it’s my birthday. I know 25 isn’t fun, and I do feel I have come this fair, and essentially failed, and still fail. Today after my ten minute appointment, I wandered around the hospital, ate some chicken, eyed a stall. Waiting at the bus stop I was flanked by old women. People my age were at work. But there is good things- running late, I grudgingly went downstairs to the taxi rank, stated my destination, and the man said, “Don’t charge her. She’s our neighbour”. And that was lovely. But unlovely was the approach to the building. I had never been there before.   I thought it was a test, to see if I pulled on my shoes or if I just flattened the cats and trudged meow up Holloway Road.  I had no idea it was so clearly signed. I shrank in my seat and felt deeply ashamed. I wish I had gotten off and walked. I don’t want the people who I see every day and don’t know to know.  My erratic sleeping pattern at least convinced them when I told them (lied) that I was a writer.  Even if I hadn’t written for days.  They still waved when I walked out at 5am, off for some cigarettes.  I hope they still wave at me.

The team are easy to dodge and I find myself- for once in my life- with the deep need to not speak, to be quiet and still. And all I have ever done is talk, talk, talk- I’m renowned for it, it’s part of my reputation.  “Seaneen?  She’s LOUD!”  I would probably confuse you, if you met me, months apart. Wonder who had replaced the girl, and left the doll. Over and over again.

I’m safe and I’m okay. I am still myself in the world, and I am good at hiding how I feel. I am managing, I am thoughtful. I am concentrating on trivia- little household details, written in chalk (at the moment: TOILET, BEDROOM, MOP, 1000 words, today’s date). And non-trivial things, like love, study, the cats., books from my birthday I can’t concentrate on (I struggled with the Thursday magazines, I dropped them down the side of the bed), chocolate coins in a box that I can.  Threading fingers through fingers.  Being happy for my friend who just had a ginger baby. Even smiling at the fact my social worker was trying to be all serious when, in the background, I could hear her toddler floundering around, chatting to himself.  Making plans. I am okay when distracted. I feel very slow, treacle-blood, often unsure of the day, and very keen to be left alone by doctors, keen to hide from intrusive questions. I have opened myself up to intrusion- here, there, everywhere. To write only of yourself really- it becomes humiliating, to think mostly of yourself, humiliating more. Our links are to each other. Too inside, the link is gone. Worse in mouth-words. In speech, it is too prodding, especially knowing there are answers they want more than others. I am to consider antidepressants, I am sceptical. In the past, they have thrown spanners in the dead-works, made me jittery and rapid, raging and awake. Usually I’d be rubbing my hands at the thought of an unnatural high, but I am just very tired. Even recalling some of the better ones (exquisite happiness, the feeling of being angelic, even muddied Essex light spun by god’s young fingers) , the thought of needing to speak again makes me feel more tired still.  And wondering if I should just stay awake and cure myself- it works, sometimes.  But bed is lovely.  I would like to sleep for months and wake up to eat.  Someone said, it’s a hibernation (I think it was my social worker). These are my seasons. It’s okay to just want to sleep and be still because it’s gathering my energy again, getting stronger, not weaker.  I wish I felt that way.

I still sneak to the shops without socks, whispering, “I love you”, to nobody, and everybody, in particular. Something I have done since I was fifteen. So it’s okay.  I still have, “passport photo” on my list, and Robert wants to do overtime.  The effort is worth it. Has to be.

PS: I need a wee.

This is a Low

This is cut for length and whinging.

Edit: Quick update.  I’m with the crisis team, grudgingly. Continue reading

My Last Day Of Being 24

Holy fuck, I am 25 tomorrow.  Or possibly today.  (Nobody agrees on what date my birthday is.  I celebrate it on the 4th, but it could be the 3rd.  My mum and dad don’t even agree.  And no, I wasn’t born at midnight.  I explain this almost every year.  It amuses me).

25 is my scary age. It’s the age I scoffed at when I was sixteen. It’s when I called people old and thought they stopped having sex and settled into their beehives with their tiny families and their sad evenings.   I remember when I first moved to London when I was seventeen.  I was the baby amongst my friends, and my oldest friend was in his late thirties, but most of them were about twenty three.  And they felt so worldly wise and mature to me.  Now most of the people I know are in their early thirties.  Robert- who I went out with at fourteen, and whose relationship with me partly ended because of our age gap- is the closest-to-my-age boyfriend that I have had in my adult life. Which is surreal.

And here I am, pretty much where I was four years ago.   I started writing this blog when I was only twenty one. Not a lot has changed, except for me. Reading back, I can see some petulance, some arrogance.  A dogmatic way of thinking, a certain dramatic streak.  Now I see flatulence. And arrogance.   I’m quite different in some ways.  I’m more stable, more laid back, infinitely more independent.  No new cuts for a long long time!  Fatter than I was last year, although as part of my whole trying to get better thing, I try not to weigh myself, though I am aware I have put on almost two stone (almost all of that was in the three months after the contraceptive implant!), and it’s noticeable.   And I swear, I’m bloody shorter.

I’m a woman now.  I feel like one, even if I don’t always dress like one.  I feel like an adult.  Which is helped by the fact I had custody of a child for a weekend recently, which coaxes out my schoolmarm side. I have breasts and everything. In that time I have grown a cup size, lost another, then grown it back.  (For those who closely follow my cup size, I am a double D.  I don’t think I’ve ever had less than a B cup.   I came out of my mum in a bra and mismatched pants from Primark).

Ageing is odd.  Insightful comment there, yep. You never stop ageing but when do you stop changing?

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