Proofreading is for proofreaders: A rough timeline of a series of events revisited.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the twitter adventures of Peter Hitchens in recent months will have noticed that I have been hovering around posting lots of his articles, maybe I was using the name Henry Pace, BroadHurst, Simpering Warmonger, D:Ream Delusion, The Yolk in Me, Frank BroadHurst or Liable Clerk.

There is much madness in my methods, but fortunately for me it turns out that there is much method in my madness too. I am surprised that not one member of the various twitter lynch mobs has yet accused me of suffering from P.H.O.D (Peter Hitchens Obsessive Disorder).

There may have been a slither of truth to the accusation that was never made. If you could have seen the crazy emails I was sending to him at the back end of 2016, I doubt you could imagine I’d be writing these words now.

I was blocked by PH on twitter back then, and understandably so. I eventually apologised without lame excuse. The apology was kindly accepted.

I have been experimenting with different ways of using social media as effectively as possible, whilst behind the scenes in the real world I’ve been a data entry clerk, a cook, an avid reader of mainly out-of-print and long-forgotten books, and a man with a very private life. Over time I hope that my tiny readership will see that I am not a PH worshipper. It just so happens that of the modern living scribblers in print right now, he is the one I agree with the most. He interacts with us mere nobodies. I would be a certifiably crazy to not want to get involved.

But I do not want to just be sitting on the sidelines cheering others on forever. It’s time for me to up my game.

Below is a copy of a electronic letter I sent to PH last year when mild flu symptoms inspired me to take a couple of days off work. I have not edited it, so it will be a bit of a proofreader’s idea of hell.

Or heaven, if you are one of those ‘weird-ohs’ ***(see comments)*** that enjoys proofreading.

Not long after sending the letter I am sharing below, I receive a short reply with very encouraging advice.

(I hope that the editors of a certain publication who rejected my pathetically awful attempts at pitching my ideas can forgive me of my unprofessional naivety, and forever delete the occasional emails I send to them from their spam boxes.)

If I don’t ever become the writer I aspire to become, I hope it will at least’ve encouraged a few more people on the sidelines to up their game like I am trying to.

I intend to spend a fair amount of time writing things that are critical of writers I respect who are of the supposed right. They need to up their game more than anyone.

In so many ways the supposed Left have won. The cultural revolution has gone too far to be reversed without much misery.

I believe it’s time to stop with all the whinging, and to stop demeaning ourselves by attempting to beat them at their own dogmatic game.

It’s time to be original and embrace being ignored and mocked, and to make sure that the next generations have a chance to survive the dark abyss that faces them.

Let’s not let this period of history be looked upon as the Dark Ages like the mysterious Dark Ages are looked upon by us now.

Let’s make sure that a future renaissance is possible long after we are dead and gone. And let’s do it peacefully, with dignity and with love for our neighbours.

Sermon over.

Here is the electronic letter:

 

19 Sep 2018, 10:37

PH

I find it alarming that you seem to be the only person prominent in the mainstream media who is writing about the correlation between mind-altering drug use and violent acts.

As somebody who has experienced psychosis first hand in recent years, I have no doubts that cannabis had a large part to play. I cannot prove it of course, and trying to talk to Mary-Janists is quite difficult, as I was diagnosed with manic depression in my teens. Cannabis worshippers will insist that my ‘predisposition’ to mental illness is the primary cause of my recent psychotic experiences.
I am trying to unravel the sequence of events that led to me being locked in a shabby, overcrowded, ill staffed NHS psychiatric ward in late 2016/ early 2017.  It is very difficult, but one must start at the beginning:
Once upon a time, I was a quiet child, who excelled in sports, and could string together good sentences every now and again. I received a certificate at the end of my first year in a boys secondary school in east Hertfordshire, by my departing English teacher called Ms Prole. It was certified that I was  ‘Most Daydreaming Pupil.’
I was a child who lived inside his imagination, thought deeply about things. I had a fair amount of friends, most of them being at least two years older than me. We would break into old bomb shelters, explore hard, found a small woods that contained concrete bunkers, and convinced ourselves we had discovered secret, disused American airbases. I would go on long bike rides, often finding great secluded bodies of water that contained hard to catch fish. I played for a local bottom of the league football  team, on often flooded fields that used to be paddocks.
Then something changed. My granddad died when I was twelve. Losing a wonderfully wise man whose wisdom I took for granted, well, it hit me really hard. My thoughts seemed to constantly focused on death. Over the course of the next year or so, my behavior changed drastically, I became extremely undisciplined, argumentative, I got suspended from school on several occasions. With the help of an Educational Officer – psychiatrists and psychologists took an interest in me. After a few sessions with various medical professionals, my parents were informed with confidence that I had a condition called manic depression, and that it was caused by a  chemical imbalance/ deficiency of a salt in my brain. After being sure that my heart, kidney or liver were free from defects, I was prescribed Lithium Carbonate.
I took the medication most days between the ages of 14 and 18.
At first my behavior did not improve, and it was decided that I should spend time in an adolescent unit of the psychiatric wing of a hospital near St. Albans. It was a very strange place, most of the resident children there were unwanted orphans I seem to remember.  A lot of the nurses were very heavy handed in their restraint techniques, and doctors loved nothing more than to sedate those of us not willing to take part in various happy-clappy group activities. The heavy handed ways, the use of an exclusion room, and the sedation syrup, for even the smallest of infractions. It makes me question the ethics and morals of some of the staff, but nothing I was privy to was against the law as far as I can tell. There was some stories in the news recently about the police investigating historic abuse allegations, I can’t testify to being abused, but it certainly wasn’t the holiday camp that the staff tried to portray to my parents. Maybe the memories of that place would have been a lot worse without a father and mother looking out for me.
After a couple of months I was back to school. I was the shadow of my former daydreaming self, but I no longer displayed as much unruly behaviour. I had lost virtually all my friends, I was increasingly paranoid, increasingly withdrawn. I was already behind in my school work, and I wasn’t able to catch up. By the time I was 15 I had the choice of resitting the year, or joining another school out of the area 18 miles away, to be in a fourth year where nobody knew me. So I opted to leaving a pretty decent boys only comp with a Christian ethos, to go to a mixed comp that used to be a grammar school, but which had become a third rate egalitarian mess.  It is safe to say that I did not respond well to the lowering of educational standards. By the final term of my second attempt at being a fourth year pupil I was asked to leave.  I left the school at the age of 16, without the experience of the fifth year. I went to the regional college for two years and completed a couple of NVQ modules in I.T.   I spent most of my college time in the library or playing basketball in the gym.
The point here is that I am not convinced I was mentally ill. Maybe I was, but I do not think that medication/psychiatric treatment helped me. The major thing that helped me become a less self-destructive force was *time* .  I think death of a close family member really haunted my mind, and I did not know how to deal with it. My childish poetry turned dark and very cryptic, unfortunately the caring adults in my life who were interpreting my private words without my permission, they were totally off the mark in concluding that my prose was a sign of me being suicidal. I was certainly crying out for help, but my words were actually full of fear about death, not a single syllable expressed a desire to die.
I wasn’t sleeping much, and prolonged lack of sleep can effect behaviour a lot, I stopped playing football, I stooped going on adventures, I stopped daydreaming. Lack of exercise can cause serious problems, especially in a child who was once very active. Add puberty to the mix. . .
I do not think Lithium was the answer to whatever was happening. And how did the medication effect the development of my fragile brain?  I guess that question is impossible for me to ever answer.
I was lucky to have a good family GP who was close to retirement, a doctor from an older generation who was in agreement with me that I would be better off without medication. As soon as I was eighteen he helped me gradually decrease my doses, until I was on the medication no more.
I lacked a lot of confidence, but I had no problem finding work with the occasional kick up the backside from my father. After running into a few dead ends, I eventually became a cellarman/barman in an unusually well run small pub that was slightly off the beaten track. In my mid twenties I moved to Manchester with my licensee certificate in hand, but instead of running a pub, I ended up working in a mind numbing call centre on behalf of a royal Scottish bank. By the age of 30 I was a homeowner. On paper things seemed good. I heard from a reliable source that my parents were proud of me.
I was unhappy. The relationship with my supposed future wife was on the rocks. I was tired of being a battery chicken trying to get people into debt. I was drinking too much. I had put on a lot of weight. I think I might have been slightly depressed.
Then one evening there was a TV show on, presented by Stephen Fry, it was about living with Bipolar Disorder (The new name for manic depression.) I think it was on at about the same time that the disability discrimination act came into force. I was struggling with timekeeping and discipline at work. Home life was not happy. I was a little drunk and  somehow became convinced it was a good idea to talk about my ‘mental health history’ with my partner, and to my manager at work. Things went downhill very quickly from there. I went to doctor, got referred to psychiatrist. After a 30 minute consultation, it was decided that I had a mild version of ‘Bipolar II’ And Lithium Carbonate was being prescribed to me. It didn’t agree with me, and I abruptly stopped taking it. Bad idea.
I was a mess. After about 2 years I had split with my partner, took my name off the mortgage agreement. I struggled to stay in regular work because of my erratic self destructive behavior. I was on benefits for a couple of years.
Eventually I got a job  as an assistant manager, in a betting shop of all places. It was an interesting few years, but working  for a morally challenged employer can eventually take its toll on ones spirit.
This is when I ‘gave up’.  I would get a sick note from my local medical centre once a month, claiming I was depressed, etc. I started claiming Employment Support Allowance and Housing Benefit for my ‘disability.’. It was more than enough to exist on as part of a house share in a diverse student area in south central Manchester.  At some point a cannabis smoker moved into the house I was barely existing in. It didn’t become long before an occasional toke turned into a regular habit. It took a year or so, but I eventually became undoubtedly mentally ill. I was not self medicating, I smoked weed because I enjoyed smoking it, I loved getting ‘high.’
My behavior gradually started changing for the worse over the course of about half a year. I went to doctors complaining of  anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia etc. I told them about my cannabis habit too. The young funky doctor referred me to a young hip psychiatrist, who after 5 minutes of questions, decided that   Quetiapine may be the answer to my woes. I wasn’t getting any better, and I gradually stopped taking the medication. I started smoking cannabis again.
I was under the influence of what I’ll call acute mania not long after reading ‘The Cameron Delusion.’ I am fortunate that was the last book I read before I became undeniably mentally ill.
At the height of my illness it was like I was inside a vivid daydream, like I was fast asleep and wide awake at the same time. It is hard to explain. I was aware I was ill though, I sought help. It was eventually decided I should be sectioned, and I disagreed, so a bunch of health workers accompanied by police officers came to my front door. One policeman with impeccable customer service skills  informed me I would have to be restrained with cuffs for my own safety, and I was escorted into the back of a police van. The police chauffeured me to hospital, where I became a reluctant resident/client in a locked ward for about 6 or 7 weeks.
I was forced to take a cocktail of 4 mind altering drugs on a daily basis. A psychiatrist would see me for about five minutes, once a week. I was told after the sixth or seventh short consultation that I could be released under the condition that I carried on taking the drugs. A social worker visited me on two occasions in the two months after my release from hospital. Assured I was taking the medication, the visits stopped. I didn’t mention to the social worker that I was gradually lowering the doses I was taking. Within days of the last visit I had eventually weened myself of the medication completely. It took several months, but eventually I got a job. And I have been well, in full time employment  for about about 8 months now.  I don’t use cannabis anymore either of course.
I haven’t knowingly talked to a doctor since my time in hospital. Mind altering drugs just do not agree with me.
Please keep up the good work. What you write about mind altering drugs is very useful to a lot of people. If only more would listen.
FB

Copyist. Plagiarist. Office clerk. In my spare time I think (it's not illegal yet), write, sing, read, watch, listen, go for walks, and drive my wife-to-be insane.

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