Life Has Nothing to Offer

Silhouette of man's head against a patch of light on the wall

Here is a man writing to Mariella Frostrup from the Guardian Newspaper, about life having nothing to offer, and I must say that this is where I am at right now:

I have had a fun and interesting life. At times I have been enormously successful and surrounded by friends, money to do what I want and good times. At others I have been poor, alone and barely able to cope. I have a PhD from one of the world’s great universities and yet frequently feel like a total idiot. I have known intense love and also intense loneliness. Now, at the age of 50, I look behind me and see a life that is not without its good and decent moments, but going forward I look forward to its ending. If I stop taking the medication I am on, it will probably take about three years. Is this stupid? Should I bow out from life when it has nothing more to offer?

Mariella of course says all the right things, along the lines that I’ve always said to people: ‘life can change; you need to hang around to find out how’.

That’s OK in principle; things might change for the better, who knows? Yet when you start to deteriorate such that each moment is hard work, each night is full of pain, to an extent where you’re really only able to write a couple of blogs a day, and unable to engage with anything outside of that, all your hobbies and interests gone, apart from what’s on offer online. That’s OK though, at least you have that; you can write about your feelings on your blog, and read/watch anything from Beethoven’s 4th Piano Symphony, to cats and dogs doing stupid things.

I realised last night just how dependent I am now on my laptop for most of my leisure; even that gets boring however. I have a problem at present that my laptop overheats and shuts down, just when I’m wanting to watch something in the evening. Apparently, it’s a common problem with my particular make of laptop. Eventually last night I managed to watch something all the way through, as long as I paused it every now and then to allow the laptop to cool down.

Sans laptop, I at least had radio on my phone Friday night, but just wasn’t in the mood. I like to listen to my radio dramas when I’m ‘pottering’, but more and more I cannot potter; I’m confined to the sofa. I really panicked at the thought of having no laptop nevertheless, as it’s not as if I can do my artwork or something now.

I’d been feeling pretty low in any case. One can only have so much internet and radio; life should have more meaning than that, so I sympathise with this man. I too was leading the life I’d always wanted to. Doing a masters in experimental film with the real opportunity of accessing the industry on graduating. Then my illness suddenly deteriorated. I carried on in work from that January to the September 09, but it was obvious that I wasn’t going to cope with carrying on, or completing my studies.

I can’t explain the cruel juxtaposition of those 2 lives: one full of creativity whilst also helping and supporting sometimes very damaged youngsters; the other sat on a sofa all day. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t give up at first: I wrote a book; started painting and people loved it and I still have orders for it; playing the piano and classical guitar again; venturing into sculpture; continuing to try to compose music concrete/electronica. It was only tentative, I really didn’t achieve much in these last 6 years, but I did do something.

That’s gone now. Just the effort of writing or commenting on the blogs I’ve posted has completely wiped me out today. At least I’m doing something; I’m sharing my thoughts in a community of like-minded people who feel so strongly about how things in the UK have deteriorated.

I just miss the creativity. I’m in limbo land now, not knowing if I’m going to live or die, and that kind of stunts all creativity. I know some people say that it’s a shame that people only start to appreciate life when they’re dying, but that’s not the case for me at all. Now I’m just too ill for a ‘bucket list’ in any case.

My new additional illness is a whole new ball game. I didn’t think I’d get through last night; I had an angina attack every hour from 12.30am onwards. You’re not supposed to use the angina spray like that; by rights, I should have called an ambulance, but I knew that I’d just be hanging around hospital and they wouldn’t actually do anything until tomorrow. Then I have so many meds to take, I can’t trust that they will give them to me at the appropriate times, which could lead to unpleasant symptoms arising. I know this because they did the same to my mum when she was in hospital.

It’s the weirdest thing not knowing if you’re going to live or die. I know when the attacks are bad, I beg God to please give me a little more time. If that’s the case, I must want to live. The other night though, I asked God to let me die; I just couldn’t take the suffering any more. If it was just one health problem, it might not have been so very bad, but I’ve multiple health difficulties that all cause hard to deal with symptoms. Really. if I was your pet, believe me when I say that you would have had me put down long before now.

That said, I still believe that if you hang on, you don’t know what might happen. My eldest daughter is due to have her first baby in 4 weeks. We didn’t think she’d ever have children because she has cervical cancer that keeps reoccurring; in fact she still has it now. So it’s a real wonder for us that she’s pregnant. I truly hope that I can hang on until then, and who knows what? After that, they might cure my heart so that I can just be ‘normal ill’ again, and normal ill is manageable.

Where there’s life, there’s truly much hope, so hang on in there fella.

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