Backs Against the Wall



There’s an image of me from a day now almost lost. A few years ago, it was. I’m about to leave the house and head down to the shops at the bottom of the road. I can feel myself on the verge of a panic attack but try and block it out. Try and pretend it’s not happening. My hands are shaking. I’m salivating. Feels like I’m gonna throw up. Keep telling myself to keep it together, but as I get to the front door, I collapse into a heap. I’m trying not to cry because I’m not supposed to which only makes it worse. Wish I was more for real. Wish I could be like everyone else. All curled up, this is where I remain for the best part of two hours, not doing anything other than staring blankly at the wall. Looking at the dust. At random stains that would’ve otherwise gone unnoticed. A few years before this, I was supposed to be meeting up with Sarah back when the two of us were engaged. She was getting the train from Harpenden to Luton, and me a taxi from Dunstable. But I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t pick up the phone to call one. The thought of going outside was too much. The idea of being untethered kept growing until it took over completely. Kept thinking the sky was going to fall down, or that the earth beneath my feet was going to give way. Eventually, I phoned Sarah to tell her I couldn’t do it but burst into tears halfway through trying to explain myself. I’m not sure she believed me, but I don’t hold it against her, for not even I myself knew what was going on at the time. For many years, I kept my troubles hidden. Never spoke of my depression. Never spoke of my drinking. Didn’t know how to, and whenever I’d attempted to reach out, no one had ever seemed that interested. My struggles with drinking began at university. Nothing major. Nothing dramatic. Just overindulgence, and a wish to make something happen. When Sarah and I lost baby Bethany though, and when I couldn’t seem to express my sorrow, the bottle was there for me. It seemed at times to be the only thing in my life that ever was. Such a foolish thing. Such a creature of misfortune. But as Bukowski once said, it’s about how well you walk through the fire. Could’ve given up long ago, but stubbornly, foolishly, I kept at it. Away from others, I wrote night after night. Wrote when no one else was looking. Wrote because it was the only thing that seemed to make sense. The only thing that allowed me to deal with the confusion that for so many years had threatened to pull me under. This whole thing is a mess, and yet if I’ve discovered one thing, it’s that there’s beauty in this life. Sometimes you have to dig for it. But it’s there. There’s beauty in the struggle, and there’s beauty in finding your voice and speaking your truth, even if your back’s against the wall every lonesome step of the way.

A Journal for Damned Lovers Volumes 1 & 2 on

A Journal for Damned Lovers Volumes 1 & 2 on

24 replies »

  1. This moved me SO fucking much – for a number of reasons. I am typing and deleting and typing…deleting, because I can’t adequately explain just how important this is.

    “There’s beauty in the struggle, and there’s beauty in finding your voice and speaking your truth, even if your back’s against the wall every lonesome step of the way.”

    Knowing this and writing it down is what changed things for me too. X

    • Thank you, Allane.

      It means a lot to me that you find it important. The struggles we go through are so often brushed under the carpet, because such weakness and vulnerabilities are deemed unpleasant. Not normal. Not right.

      But those who are open and embrace them are the ones worth knowing. The ones worth keeping close x

      • I meet a lot of people through my job and many of them confide in me about the struggles and about how important it is to be open and to embrace each and every emotion. It’s like a cult 😊. I’m so happy that I worked it all out, and that I’ve met likeminded souls on the journey. x

      • That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
        Meeting those likeminded souls.
        Connecting with others who know what it feels like.
        The older I get, the more and more I appreciate such interactions. How people can exist just on the surface is beyond me. It’s scary.
        Scary and sad x

  2. Ohmyfuckinggod this is…. wow… one of the best things I’ve ever read. It’s real and raw and well-thought-out and moving and so…. just incredible. Once again, words fail to express. So, thank you. For sharing. For writing. For being you.

  3. I find it impossible to accurately express how this touches so deeply. So I’ll just say thank you and say, however simplistically we don’t grow while things are going well

  4. this is heartening. I expect daringly heartfelt & honest POVs when reading your work, but good health advice too? A good read, thank you sir. g.r.

  5. Thanks for sharing your struggle. We all got our stuff to deal with and reading your honest, beautiful writing makes it easier for others to find catharsis through it. Happy new year, mate. Stay strong.

  6. Raw. Honest. Beautiful. These open windows into the human condition, where we find that we aren’t alone. They are why we’re here, right? Thank you…for sharing your open window, and doing it so beautifully.

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