Niall’s virtual diary archives – November 2000

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2nd November 2000

Bad day

7th November 2000

Things getting better

9th November 2000

I admit I'm still having mental problems

15th November 2000

Things getting better again

27th November 2000

Questions, questions, eating my mind away

Thursday 2nd November 2000: 11.24pm. Have you ever had one of those days you wish never happened? Today's been a day like that. I moved into my flat today permanently, I'm sitting there now typing. It's cold - I don't have any heating, and I might go put another jumper on in a minute.

Today I blew up at Ruth's father, mainly because he was being very helpful. Why? Originally, he was being too helpful and was doing things which I wanted to do later, not now and he was throwing everything I had planned out of kilter. I kept trying to tell him, but was scared to as well because I didn't want to offend him, so for the most part I assisted even though I knew I'd have to undo much of the work later. It seemed easier to do than to attempt to explain it to him.

And then he "helped" with more and more, and eventually I blew a gasket and shouted at him in English. And then he left. And then, when talking to Ruth and she was saying how I kept hurting her parents because they kept trying to help and I kept getting angry, she kept saying it over and over and I lost it again, I screamed at her that I was just a bad person and kept hurting everyone around me and hung up.

Yeah, well done Niall. I've just sunk all my boats. What Ruth had said really had got to me, I felt bad enough before I talked to her but she really drilled it in and after hanging up I just fell apart and sobbed for a few minutes. And then I had a bath, a long one during which I didn't answer the phone a fair few times.

I really have fucked up today. I've fucked up big time. I have managed to alienate everyone who has tried to help me, and I've hurt the people who have helped me the most tirelessly. I feel really really bad. The day itself has been one of those where every single thing which could have gone wrong has - for example I dropped one of those energy saver bulbs (vast expense) through sheer stupidity. Whoosh, there goes another fiver! As though money grows on trees. The cooker has stopped working. It was there, cooking, and I tried changing the time on the front. Click, off she goes and I've been totally unable to awaken her since. Fantastic! What else? Oh, I got nearly assaulted by beggars for whom "No hablo espanol" just wasn't enough. It's been pissing rain all day, I missed the supermarket by like five minutes so I have no food. More? Yeah, plenty, from cutting myself with the razor to the cash machine going mad it's been a real corker of a day. I really wish this day hadn't happened.

Well, I'm off to watch something on the computer, then I'm retiring for the night. I think I need a few days alone, but probably when I wake tomorrow I'll feel a lot better and since it's Friday, I'll probably end up going out. See you all later, hope you had a better day than I did, and be happy!

Tuesday 7th November 2000: 1.11am. Today's the first day since the last entry that I could say I've been remotely happy. Today was very good in fact - I feel my mind clearing at last, and I'm getting back some of that sharpness.

Me and Ruth have had a very bad week. After the events of last Thursday, she has barely talked to me, but it has eased up a little during these last two days since our long chat on Sunday night. I'm not going to go into details here, it involves too much about the inside of her head for it to be public and I don't write about other specific head insides here - only my own. Suffice it to say that she has really hurt me, and I really hurt her, and like two balls bouncing off each other we've been very distant since. A lot of trust has been broken on both sides, and it'll require some rebuilding.

I'll say now that these last five days have been truly miserable for me. I've felt very guilty, and very alone, and very out of my depth because now I had no one to help me - so I had to start relying on myself. Which is exactly what I wanted ultimately, but by god I wish I could have done it a lot better without hurting people and less suddenly. Anyway, I've found myself pleasantly surprised at what you can buy with basic broken spanish and a lot of hand-agitation. I managed to try getting a unidirectional water valve today - the chap didn't have any, but gave me directions to a place which does. If you're wondering why I want one, try imagining me explaining the same in spanish and you'll see why I'm happily surprised: it's for my bathroom. It had the washing machine emptying pipe open to the air because it provides the pressure relief air hole for (as it turns out) the entire bloody apartment block. Every time someone caused water to go down the sewage system air gets sucked through my bathroom! Problem is, because it's open, lots of nasty smell comes back up.

Anyway, I couldn't see why I should have to put up with this, so I blocked it good and proper with a big globule of Blu-Tack, thinking it'd all be fine cos the main pressure relief hole would take the load. Well, it hasn't, because now every time someone in the block flushes their toilet there's an almighty racket as air gets sucked through baths, sinks and toilets in flats throughout the block. Now I'm counting on that no one knows it's my fault for this recent change, but at the same time I'd prefer if my bathroom also didn't gurgle like this. I think it's fairly obvious why I need one now ...

Anyway, things are better now. I knew that when I was at Ruth's I had lots of mounting inner guilt because they're all so damn nice and keep doing things for me, and then I feel guilt because I didn't feel I was repaying them in kind and hence I was a burden to them. Also, that day, I felt control of my life had vanished which was why I did what I did - this comes from so much happening by surprise because people kept deciding and doing things for me without asking - okay, quicker and easier for them, and previously I had allowed it because I wanted their lives to be easier - but I have a need to do things for myself. If I don't do things for myself, I feel (a) guilt because of the above (b) self-loathing because I'm a burden and (c) a lack of self-esteem because I'm not able to prove to myself that I'm any good - something which needs to be done fairly regularly in my case - idle hands make the devil's work as they say.

Here, living totally alone, I am now of course doing pretty much everything for myself, and it has removed all those inner tensions which had been building. Now I feel very lonely a lot of the time, but I can salve that with cheap beer and (at last!) joints whenever I feel like them. Things are definitely better now.

One thing which has become very clear is truly how difficult is has been so far to move to Spain. I've moved to England, Germany and Canada before and I would certainly consider myself very adept at handling foreign cultures, especially European ones. And the troubles I've had here have been nothing exceptional - the difference here is that initially I couldn't speak much spanish and there's no english speakers wandering around like in Germany. Okay, harder, but still nothing like what I've gone through here during the last three weeks. The big difference of course is that on top of all these, I'm entering into one of the most important long-term relationships I will ever have, irrespective of its eventual outcome. I knew before I left England that this would be one of the more mentally testing experiences any human could put itself through in the modern age, but I have to say that I have been surprised at how truly difficult this is. This has pushed me further than 99% of all my drug experiences. That 1% remaining has set a tidemark which I've not come far off reaching naturally here, and I am very very grateful to the drugs for pushing the boundaries back enough so now at this time when it really matters I don't panic and somehow manage to keep things fairly together. I have to say though that I expect the next four weeks to be even more testing than these past four weeks - like a chess match, the initial moves are very important but the real test comes later as the pieces begin to line up. I feel the pieces beginning to line up. And I expect things to get much much worse yet.

Anyway, for now the storm is over and until the next one, we get a quiet spell. I feel much mentally stronger now than say a week ago when I was deliriously happy because Ruth and me were doing so well, but my head was quite foggy because of all the subconscious crap swimming around and lack of subconscious thinking space can really slow down conscious thinking speed (my theory is that in part at least, the conscious mind is merely a converter of subconscious thoughts into inner monologue - which then can be spat out through the speech centre if desired. All you ever do really is "tie in" the conscious mind into a particular subconscious thought thread - then the subconscious thread is slowed to allow conversion into language - this is why sometimes your thoughts are faster than your ability to speak them (even internally - I often say only fragments of sentences in my inner monologue)). Now that that has begun to clear through, I'm definitely getting back some mental acuity. Which is good.

Okay, it's 2.06am, I gotta upload this, order books on internet and then get to bed cos I have to go to Getafe early tomorrow (it's a town outside Madrid). All be cool, and be happy!

Thursday 9th November 2000: 12.40am. Last night I was tormented by some terrible dreams. Everyone in my dream turned against me, and I was all alone, and in danger. I woke to the sound of the telephone ringing, and the images of the dream imprinted in my mind have stayed for the rest of the day - mainly because I couldn't properly think about them whilst in the company of others. I should have really just gone home, but I wanted to be polite even though I ended up being very distant for the meal.

One thing which really got to me when I woke was an amazing sense of being a hair-breadth's distance from a solution but not quite there yet. And I have spent the day wandering through what it all could mean. Let me elaborate ...

Since coming to Spain, these last four weeks have been some of the most difficult of my young life - you have seen some of it here in the diary but most of it I have left out. One important thing which I have left out, for Ruth's sake, is that the hallucinations and voices have not stopped entirely since leaving England. I speak of it now because tomorrow I'm going to tell her, I think that not telling her is causing her more pain than it is saving. Anyway, I have also been tormented by dreams much like last night, and here is the key point - the troubles intensified when me and Ruth became closer, and disappeared when we became more distant. This needless to say pretty much guarantees that all these problems have been due to something to do with Ruth.

Now I've said this before, but my prior conclusions in this diary are clearly imprecise if I am still having the troubles that I am. So clearly there is a need for me to try and refine my self-diagnosis to see if we can cure this. What I will say now is that what I have experienced here is much weaker than what I experienced in the UK, so I'm guessing I've already reached most of the answer but not all of it. So here's my latest attempt:

When I have paranoia attacks, they are a sense that people around me are going to hurt me. Is it possible that they are subconscious worries that Ruth is going to hurt me? I have a lot of subconscious doubts regarding our relationship, I have had them ever since last Easter and they are largely doubts I rarely speak of to myself let alone anyone else. My desire to be in a relationship with this girl outweighs petty concerns about whether we'll work or not ;)

But after four weeks in Spain with her, I cannot fail to notice substantial and severe faults with us. I have tried to correct them, but I have failed and am continuing to fail. And if I fail, I hurt me far more than I think I have ever done because I will have hurt her. Indeed, during these last four weeks I seem to have repeatedly hurt her. Things aren't going well here, not in the instantaneous moment nor in the long-term. For every moment of time that passes, we are moving further apart.

The paranoia that I've been experiencing has shaken my confidence, caused me to do things which I wouldn't have normally done and generally caused badness. I have written down here on some paper everything that she has said she needs from me and I now realise that I can't provide them without her committing fully to our relationship because I keep wigging out through fear of getting hurt, trampled over or whatever other internal fear. So it's a mutual stand-off - she won't give, and I can't because without her giving I'm too shaky.

Why not be strong and solid and just do what's necessary for her? If I love her, shouldn't I do that? To do this would fly in the face of all my studies and observations of relationships, and believe it or not I have actually tried to forget all that and just do what she needs of me. But I can't, I get very very shaky inside if I do this, so I backed off.

I can't see much of a way out of this. Tonight I asked her for help as a friend (this was before I had realised all this stuff and I needed someone to talk to), but I said it would be intense for her. I really needed a friend tonight, but for the second time she wasn't there for me. Now I'm not saying this out of spite at all, but more to show how we, originally soulmates, are now so far estranged that she isn't there for me anymore even as a friend. I know I keep hurting her, and that puts her defenses up higher and higher, but unless she commits 100% to being in a relationship with me, I will keep hurting her out of my own fears of being hurt. And the more I hurt her the less she wants to commit.

I can't see a way out other than a leap of faith by both of us. Do we really believe that we should be together? This I think is the test, if we truly believe we should be together then we've both got to take this leap of faith together. Otherwise, it's a stalemate, and everyone loses slowly and messily at that. Better to either take a leap of faith or have a clean break. Is that yet another ultimatum I've set for us? It does look like it.

Okay, I'm changing that decision, I've been using ultimata a lot - laying all the cards on the table and asking for a decision. This hasn't worked, I think she sees it as a "do this or else I'll do this nasty thing to you" which is of course a threat. Maybe a different approach is better. Exactly what, my dear readers, I can honestly say I have no idea. Let's hope it comes to me in my sleep

Righto, off I go. Until next time, all be happy!

Wednesday 15th November 2000: 1.38am. Today's been my second really wicked day here in Spain since I came here. I went to get a computer table off the landlord with Ruth's father today, and I was saying how annoyed I was because I hadn't seen Ruth in like four days and even though she had hurt her leg on Monday I was willing to come to her but she didn't want me to. Indeed, last night I had given Ruth shit on the telephone because despite what I had told her on Friday (essentially the last entry), she was doing it again and additionally, she had broken a promise to me on Sunday that she didn't want to see me that day but would make up for it by seeing me some night of next week. How can I not feel shaky when she doesn't seem to want to see me and breaks promises?

Anyway, amazingly, Ruth's father came out with this big spiel about how Ruth did love me, she needed time because she was experiencing a lot of change and it was difficult and besides, Ruth's mother and he had taken ten years of seeing each other before marriage, so I needn't worry. I'm not sure which is the more amazing, that I understood pretty much all he said or that he said it!

Next, it turns out Ruth's leg had become unwalkable upon, mainly because she had refused to rest after Monday and was now laid up at home. Would I like to accompany her to visit a specialist? Oh, okay. Came back home for food, a friend of Ruth's rings and asks if I'm in - first person other than Ruth to visit me. Excellent!

I'll just diverge now and say that after the revelations of Friday night, there was a complete sea-change in Ruth towards me. On Saturday she actually turned up to visit me for the first time, and not only that but actually spent hours with me and me alone - also for the first time. I then wandered alone into Madrid to go to a club called Soma which is the Madrid sister of the famous Ibiza nightclub. I thought there might be lots of drug-addled people who might remind me of home ... and there was. Standing in the two hour wait queue I finally got in at 2am after two hours of watching people constantly skin up, pop pills and indeed sell a fair few of them. They were discreet, as there's a major police station two doors up, but anyone standing in the queue blatantly saw everything. Once inside, well, it's a nice club, good atmosphere and catchy music - shit loads of people skinning up as though the stuff were legal - I won't mention the entire basement of the club which is a massive chill out area with lots of little hollowed out mini-rooms for extra feeling of security - and plenty of tables to skin up upon. Two problems - outrageous beer prices, 500 pesetas for a bottle when I can buy a litre for 125 pesetas - oh, you have to stand in one queue to buy the beer coupon and then at the bar to actually get your drink - I don't think they encourage it much. The other seriously major problem was that I swear they were underplaying the music - as in, about 20% slower than normal speed. And everyone danced 20% slower too, except the blatantly sped off their heads people who were going at at least twice the beat. Anyway, all was well until it became far too full to dance let alone drink a beer, so I went home.

I didn't see Ruth again until today, and I can tell you yesterday I was getting quite shaky again. I warned of it last night, she kept saying sorry but can't see you for the next few days too important to miss sleep and well, today I spent most of the day with her and ... other than an argument about whether drugs are evil or not, it's been brilliant. I really enjoyed myself.

She promises that she'll see me Friday night. I hope so. I have been on such a natural high today it's indescribable. And I can handle two days without seeing her.

Do you know, it occurred to me in the underground station coming back here tonight that she's a kind of drug for me in a weird way. I have all these fears about whether having feelings for her is a good idea and it's like I need reassurance every few days. When I don't get a fix of her, I get really jittery, paranoid and can't sleep. When I do, I feel absolutely fantastic, and it lasts for a day or two. But it's better than any drug I've tried, doesn't have a tolerance loss of effect (well, time will show that one! ) and it's completely natural. Maybe Lennon was right when he said you can get a lot higher without?

Anyway, as said last entry, we're currently in a window of calm before the next storm - I know there are plenty of those just waiting around the corner, some of whom are far worse and far more painful than anything I've seen so far. I've been here nearly five weeks now, and I'm sure in the annals of history much of the events of the past few weeks will pale into insignificance - it is what happens in the not-so-distant future which will really test my mettle. But so far, so good, why not be optimistic for at least today, as I keep saying to Ruth: "stop always trying to be happy, just be happy". I could learn a few good things from myself.

Ok, it's 2.24am now, and I'm knackered so I'm heading to bed. Good night everyone, sleep tight. And Mel, stop reading this and get back to work!!! Haven't you got my replies with my phone number here? Come whenever you want to, if you come before I get work I can help you shop - and you will like the clothes shops in Madrid! Oh, and everyone else expect a mass email tonight, if you didn't get one then email me! ¡Hasta luego, y estad feliz!

Monday 27th November 2000: 3.32am. I've just woken up. I guess I must have been asleep now on the sofa for around twelve hours. Which added to the twelve hours from 2am Sunday night until 2am today when Ruth rang, that makes a full twenty-four hours of sleep with an hour's break for breakfast.

I've been back from Amsterdam now for about twenty-six hours. I enjoyed myself there, no doubt, it was great to be back for Cannabis Cup 2000 and because this time I was on my own, I could much more accurately control my intake and hence this time for the first time I made it round the museums. But there was more to it than that.

Last Wednesday, my father rang to tell me my graduation date (it's the start of February, I'll be back in Hull for then) and we also had a conversation about things here. I have been here now for some six and a half weeks, three and a half have been in this flat. I have been searching hard for work for at least two weeks now, and I haven't had even a reply yet.

My father pointed out that being here isn't doing wonders for my career, and he's right in that I know I would have been made offers within days if I were in England. Also, and let's be very clear with this, what the hell am I doing with Ruth? It's hardly a conventional relationship. Am I doing the right thing?

So as of Wednesday, all those questions about whether I was doing the right thing have resurfaced. I realise now that my father wasn't the cause, he just reminded me of questions I hadn't answered myself yet, choosing to ignore and see what happens. And on Wednesday night, the voices started again, and they have carried through my Amsterdam trip - much to my annoyance and discomfort. How can one relax in a coffeeshop if one keeps getting really negative vibes from all around? Hence I moved location frequently, it stopped me getting too stoned too (weed aggravates the voices - as does lack of sleep - but my thoughts are that neither is a cause, they merely show up what's underneath). And it took a lot of potential enjoyment from the trip.

Anyway, today, when Ruth rang me around 2pm I just didn't want to interact with the outside world anymore. I just wanted to sleep. I didn't want to live right now, didn't want to make decisions, didn't want to do anything other than return to my dreams which now at least offer some form of sanctuary from this madness. I'm tired, I'm tired of hearing voices, constantly questioning myself, constantly on-edge, constantly going going going. Life right now is like a battle, a constant trench-warfare where no one really wins. I want peace now. I want to feel peace, I've had enough of feeling lost and frightened, I just want peace back.

So, here I am, after twenty-four hours of sleep and now I can't sleep anymore. I have to face the world again. I'm going to have to make decisions, take control of my life and point it somewhere where I want it to go. And I'm going to have to carry on for a little bit longer. Things are getting better, slowly, I need to remember that. And I certainly have retravelled the logic paths leading to the decisions which I have taken in coming to Spain enough times - I still can't find faults. Maybe it's just impatience, when you aren't happy and haven't been for some time, it would seem natural to want to make yourself happy quickly and easily. But life isn't like that. It's slow and ponderous especially when things aren't going so well.

Okay, I'm off to go waste some money wandering aimlessly around the internet. It's a bad idea, but there isn't a lot to do at 4.25am. I'm going to try drinking myself into sleep, I have a feeling it won't work and will instead just give me a hangover. Ah well. What's the point of being alive if you can't do stupid things?

All be happy till next time ...

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