The last ten years have taught me two main lesson that I feel qualified enough to pass on.
The first is that you will adapt. You all have natural skills to adjust and work within almost any situation that life puts you through. If you ever catch yourself thinking to yourself or even expressing out loud that you could never imagine yourself surviving a certain event, or that you could never pick yourself up after some traumatic experience, or that you could never live with a certain physical condition that you try not to stare at as you pass someone in the street. Trust me, you almost definitely could. I’m a weak willed toxic mix of Generation X’s chronic apathy and the Millennials’ fragile narcissism. I wasn’t able to survive two days without my phone while it got fixed last week, so had to desperately insert my SIM into a friend’s spare phone just so I could WhatsApp my latest vacuous opinions to as many people as possible. I couldn’t survive anything. And yet here I am. Will you like you’re new circumstances? Maybe not. But you’ll survive. Your dumb body and your subconscious mind will force you to make the best of the situation, even if you’re not consciously trying to. You’ll survive.
The second lesson is that things get better.
That photo above was…
OK, yes, the photo’s terrible. But this was 2013 and it was taken by my 63 year old Dad, you’ll have to trust me that this is the best picture possible that could be taken by a Boomer using the technology available at the time. It was taken on July 1st, exactly two months after the fall, and it was celebrating the fact that I’d been physically able to be moved out of bed into a wheelchair for the first time. Soon after this picture was taken, I was told that based on the severity of the injuries I’d received, I would likely never walk again. I remember that conversation with the doctor vividly, and it was actually the first time that I shed tears since the incident. And the only time I would ever cry over my condition. I’m not saying this as a vapid, macho boast – I have cried at many far less important things in the last decade. Hell, in the last week. Day. This very morning I had a little cry while thinking about how badly WCW fumbled the ball at Starrcade 97. On my birthday! I honestly can’t overstate how much of a fragile little snowflake I am. But life changing incidents like this don’t often inspire multiple bouts of tears. It’s just how it is now, and you quickly learn to get used to your new status. Was I happy? Certainly not. But I’d survive.
Anyway, I’d later learn to walk again just fine, so that was a load of wasted emotional energy. Thanks a lot, Dr. Buzzkill.
I would soon move to the spinal injuries department at Sheffield Hospital and learn the basics of putting one foot in front of the other again. After being released from hospital I was in a wheelchair for a long time, but you really notice how poorly configured our world is to people who don’t properly fit into the expected physical configuration. The whole world is steep roads and two inch curbs that you’re unable to traverse. I could not be arsed with it. So I just leaned to walk again because I was too lazy to learn how to properly navigate the world in a wheelchair.
When I left the hospital I also had no control of my own bladder, something that was never likely to change considering the damage the surrounding body had received. The only way I could possibly have any control at all was to three times a day slide a sixteen inch tube down my urethra so it would eventually pierce the walls of my bladder. This tube would be attached to a plastic bag, and I would just empty my bladder that way when I imagined it might be full, as I otherwise had no other way of knowing. I remember once meeting an old friend at a pub near my Mum’s house around this time, rolling my way in on my wheelchair. At one point I looked down and noticed that I was absolutely covered in piss, but my friend had just been too polite/British to mention anything.
So that had to go. It was just too embarrassing. So I decided to potty train myself for the first time in 29 years, despite the doctor’s explaining that would be an impossibility. I was told that I’d be relieving myself by stabbing a long, sharpened lollypop stick down my dick lips until it penetrated my prostate for the rest of my life. Fuck that, right? You might also imagine you lack the mental fortitude, or the inner strength to do something like this, but you do. Trust me, it’s amazing what you can will your own body to do to avoid inserting a 40cm pipe into your urethra. By the way, the prostate will always resist entry, so you’ll have to push a bit harder once the tube reaches it to properly get through. I promise that you will never forget how this feels for the rest of your life. Your body can do amazing things in order to avoid feelings like that.
And is this always the case? Am I arguing that things always improve? Am I about to tell you about how God chooses his strongest soldiers to most completely lose control of their bladders? Am I some dopey, George Harrison hippy looking motherfucker attempting to convince you that all things must pass? Am I about to try and sell you my herbal product that guarantees complete dominion over your body using only the untapped potential of your own mind? Does everything just work itself out in the end? Respectfully: No, no, no, yes, absolutely yes (there’ll be a link to my Vice City Market shop at the end of the post), and no. Some things just get fucked forever, but you learn to live with it.
I may have learned to walk and (on and off) gain control of my toiletry instincts again, but my spine is still fucked. I say I can walk, but only as a cripple in a straight line, an imitation of dignity. I have lost feeling in roughly a third of all my body, my right leg is now a deadweight I’m forced to lug around and my right arm has never fully recovered (it was also paralysed for a part of my six month hospital stay). A large portion of the third of my body that I have lost feeling in is my groin area. You know what that means? You know what that means?! You know what that means.
To quote noted sexologist Dr Abel Makkonen Tesfaye: I can’t feel my cock when I’m with you (and I guess I’ll have to get used to that). I’ve just got nothing going on down there. I also haven’t ejaculated in a decade. I can’t even say what the last time was. Was it during a passionate session with Hejjy? Or was I just knocking a crafty one out to whomever was the designated hot girl in early 2013?(Reeva Steenkamp?) I had no idea that this rope would be worth documenting. People, make a note of each time you blast one out, you never know if it will be your last. I’ve written before about this crushing blow to my whole understanding of love and validation, and if you’d told me (or, honestly, most people) before what would happen to me I would absolutely not consider it a life worth living. I don’t know if I was more sex/masturbation obsessed than your average guy in their twenties, but I definitely was. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would have considered this to be a fate worth than death. You know that completely, 100% true – and not at all carny bullshit – fact that Rick Rude killed himself because steroid misuse had forced his penis to be removed? Well, I felt that. Only more so in my case, because I was a far more legendary shagger than Rick Rude.
So that’s the end of it, right? The sex is gone, the love has gone, the life is lonely, the road is long? No. You adapt. You learn about your body. You learn about yourself. I still have sex. Pretty amazing sex. It’s like the pleasure zone has been moved from my undergarments and into my actual brain which, let me tell you, is pretty fucking hot. I’m probably a better lover now than I was before, as my enjoyment comes more from the (results based) gratification I am able to provide for others. So, actually, sex after the fall is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better, because…
It’s not better. It’s not as good. It’s worse. Not significantly so. But worse. It’s nice to have an orgasm every now and then, isn’t it? I get that not having an orgasm for a decade is to be expected for many married women, but not a handsome young buck like myself. Hoi-yo!
It is, however, what it is. And I have learned to live happily with it. And it is something you learn. Like walking. Or not shitting yourself. You’ll all be able to do it. You’re human beings. You possess surprising powers of survival and adaption.
Whoah whoah, I’m saying every human possesses these powers, nothing for you to get proud about. You’re amazing ability to weather every storm comes fucking naturally, you ain’t special, get over yourself, yeah?
I’ve also gotten over any doubt I ever had over what I could offer another person in that sense. Honestly? If anything I’m overconfident. I will fuck any reader’s partner, parent, sibling better than they’ve ever been fucked in their life. I’ll be out the door before they wake. It’s nothin’ new to them. ‘Cause I think we’ve seen that movie too. Because they could be mine, but they’re way out of line (as a side note: with their bitch slap rapping and their cocaine tongues they get nothing done. Sexually, I mean. Absolutely nothing. Wait, what was I talking about…?).
Thanks for asking, Stuart. And the answer is…
Just about existent? I dunno. For longstanding reasons unrelated to my cock’s validity, I have no idea how attractive I am and have no sense of my own allure. I was in hospital for six months, then living with my Mum for perhaps another eighteen (where I wrote my unreleased memoir of the incident, soon to be published exclusively on this blog! Hit that ‘subscribe’ button as hard as you can! This blog is brought to you by Raid: Shadow Legends! I have no soul nor artistic credibility!), then my own council house for a year or two before I ever even conversed with a woman I wasn’t related to. I kind of forgot how that even worked. Sure, a female friend came up to visit me and we got drunk and fucked, but both myself and definitely her would prefer that canonically never happened. I eventually just got so bored sitting alone in my flat living off my Disability Living Allowance that I would sign up for employment courses with the Job Centre just so I could go out and meet people. One of these courses had female lecturer about my age who I felt a real connection to. A connection that I was so confident in that I didn’t even care that she had a boyfriend, I just knew that she liked me more. After the course, I actually asked her out. The affection was not reciprocated. I can still see her eyes bulging with shock and horror as I confessed my feelings. It hurt bad, and I did actually cry about it later (see? I’m a fucking wuss and this is the kind of shit I usually cry at! Imagine the powers of persistence and recovery powers of someone who actually has a spine! Oops, sorry, bad phrasing). Since that moment I haven’t trusted any feelings I ever imagine someone might have for me. But I do enjoy the presence of people presenting as women, so how to square this particular circle? Dating apps, right? Well, I hate dating apps, which absolutely makes me different from literally every other person on Earth and nobody has ever had that thought. And anyway, the one time I seriously went on dating apps I ended up freaking marrying someone, so if anything I’m probably too good for dating apps, I wouldn’t be able to keep up. And introducing yourself to people over text? How do you introduce your disability? I mean… I’m not that disabled… I’m not disabled enough to mention it in my bio…? Or am I? On the Ian Dury to Steven Hawking scale I’m closer to the former… And what about the… ‘sex stuff‘…? Do people need to be warned about my disability. Literally every person in the world would say it isn’t an issue, which clashes with it actually being an issue for literally every person in the world. Do I just straight away say I’m disabled put put people’s minds at ease by saying that I would fuck any person’s partner, parent, sibling better than they’ve ever been fucked in their life? That I’d be out the door before they wake? That It’s nothin’ new to them? That I think we’ve seen that movie too? That they could be mine, but they’re way out of line? Surely that might come across as a red flag? A little problematic in this day and age.
So I put myself out there in person. Here I am, here I am, here I am, waiting to hold you. But I don’t go to bars and just talk to people like a fucking maniac. I put myself out there by going to singles nights and speed dating events, pretending that I’m a lonely middle aged man for lols. And I have a lot of fun. But dating when you don’t drink is impossible.
Oh yeah, the whole ‘not drinking’ thing. That’s been a big thing. In terms of my mental health and general wellbeing, the biggest.
I wish I had properly marked the last time I had a drink of alcohol. Almost as much as I wish I’d marked the last time I’d fondled the fig to fruition. I wish it happened the day of my injury so that there would be a more interesting ‘rock bottom’ story to tell. I wish I had one of those ‘1000 Days’ buttons. I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat. And a six-four Impala. The sad, pathetic fact is that this ultimate evidence of the degenerating mental effects of alcohol didn’t even convince me to stop drinking. I was eager to start drinking again once I left the hospital, eager to drown all these demons (though, as I’m sure you know, those motherfuckers can swim). That night spent in the local pub with my friend drowned in my own piss didn’t convince me. Another night out which lead to me falling outside my Mum’s house on the way home and splitting my head open didn’t convince me. I would spend countless nights sat on my Mum’s sofa drinking through a Tesco’s 12 cans of Strongbow for £10 watching shit like The X Factor. I became really invested in the story of Fleur East. It was a dark time. I projectile vomited all over my Mum’s sofa many times, lacking the physical competence to get to the bathroom. There was no great need to stay sober. At that time I saw nothing but a black void in my future.
I didn’t even talk to my doctor about my crippling depression until I was living in my own house around 2015. I didn’t tell anyone about my crippling depression until I was living in my own house around 2015. I never admitted to anyone out loud that I had attempted suicide until I spoke to my doctor when I was living in my own house around 2015. Even then – and I am deeply ashamed of this – I was only trying to get my hands on some antidepressants to see if they could get me high. I did not do my research. Citalopram, what the WTF?? I’m sure I could have got my hands on some Xanax or Paxil if I’d just read the script of the right subreddit. These days, I swear by Citalopram and (as I’ve recently proven) couldn’t live without it. But antidepressants aren’t the magical ‘happy pill’ that they’re often lazily portrayed as. Antidepressants will fix the neurotransmitters in your brain, give you as much chance of being happy as a neurologically normal fellow human has, but it doesn’t just create reasons to be happy. They don’t suddenly make you forget about your lack of future or hope, they don’t wondrously convince you that suicide isn’t the only feasible option. Because often it is. That’s just a fact.
No, another drug entirely convinced me of all that.
I have mentioned Morning Glory seeds on this blog before, though perhaps not as much as their importance to my life would justify. For the longest time I was seriously scared that to bring to much attention to them would increase the likelihood that the government would catch on and it would be the latest harmless legal high to be criminalised. Nowadays… I’m not so stressed about that. Partially because so few people could read this blog that I could assiduously map out Rishi Sunak’s daily itinerary in detail for years and repeatedly explain how to 3D print a working rifle and still nobody would shoot the cunt. Also, I very rarely take it these days. I no longer need them like I once did.
Yeah, so Morning Glory seeds contain D-lysergic acid amide (LSA), which as the name might suggest is a very similar compound to D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Are you with me? You can take as few as a dozen of these seeds for a small buzz or as many as 200 for a ‘Universe Understanding’ high (though the intensity of the high seems to cap off at 200). You can buy 600 Morning Glory seeds for a couple of quid on Amazon. Good times.
I actually read about the seeds’ potential in a throwaway line on the Popbitch newsletter on the 15th May 2016 (“The new craze is to chew on plant seeds with LSA in them, a natural hallucinogen which is chemically similar to LSD. Morning Glory seeds work best apparently, although if you can only get your hands on Hawaiian Baby Woodrose then they’ll do the trick.”) and despite the next paragraph being about yadda yadda yadda hospitalisations yadda yadda, I thought to myself that I had to give that a try. I was desperately searching for anything that could take my brain to places that my crippled body no longer could. I was looking for an easy legal high. The drugs actually put my brain and my life back on track, made me appreciate that maybe I did still have something left to give the world, and kickstarted my proper recovery. It also compelled me to quit drinking, as I came to realise that I no longer needed it to remove those walls around my brain.
At first, it worked a little too well. I began writing books. Multiple books. I truly believed that these books would give me ‘Harry Potter Money’ (I’d be ‘Rowling in it*’, if you will), and would write around 5’000 words a day and then write about as much again on deranged Facebook posts in the evening. I self published two books (which I will not be posting on this blog for a long time, if ever), and was working on the third when – get this** – I took some actual LSD and – get this*** – suddenly lost my belief in the whole project. There was also a bump in the road when I – yep – became convinced that I no longer needed my antidepressants, which lead to a rather nasty bump mentally when I lost my Disability Living Allowance.
(*Back in 2016 this still wasn’t the mark of a socially acceptable fascist)
But everything I have achieved in my life right now – my mental health, my immigration advisor job, my sobriety, my soon to be Level 3 OISC qualification, the spectacular success of this blog – can actually be traced back to that desperate clutch for easily obtainable hallucinogens. Like I said, I very rarely take them these days, but I cannot praise enough the longterm positive effects that my dalliances with them have had on my mental health and general understanding of myself. Talk to me about psychedelic therapy.
So, I dunno, your mind gets better regarding these things? Eventually. Eventually. What was also notable about that embarrassing little sissy fit I had when told about my life without legs was that it was an actual emotional expression. I just didn’t do those, initially at least. I actually became a bit of a friendly joke on my ward as the person who never smiled. I didn’t express any emotion whatsoever. I didn’t talk to anyone, just practiced my Chinese and listened to music. Take a look at that grainy photo above that looks like it was taken by a paparazzi 100 yards way from the wedding of Bernard Sampson to Shelly Duvall in 1970. What a grumpy bastard, aye?! And check out this sourpuss from two days later!:
Cheer up mate, it might never happen! Or, at least, it has happened, so maybe get over it? You’d be so much prettier if you smiled. Or, actually, I’m a man, so maybe I’m so much prettier when I brood?
You’re capable of all this change too, you just might not believe you are. Maybe. I’m still privaliged enough to have a supporting family, a group of good friends, a job that actually makes a difference and is worthwhile (though I volunteered at MRSN for years before any paid work became available), and access to extraordinarily helpful drugs, both prescribed and otherwise. And the NHS, of course. But here I am, it’s taken a lot of work to get to slightly below the physical and mental status of an average human being. But I also accept that’s enough
Oh! And I had a bollock removed at some point! Didn’t have time to mention that…
OK, let’s finish this post by listing a few other things that were in Popbitch that fateful day back in May 2016:
- “The Supreme Court ruled today that the celebrity threesome injunction will remain in force until trial or further order. In the judgment, Lord Mance describes the now-infamous olive oil paddling pool party as “relatively ancient sexual history”‘”. Guess that injunction was still standing. It’s no sacrifice. Could those three people feel the love that night? During the threesome, did they hold each other closer, Tiny Dance…? OK, you get it.
- “Lembit Opik has very soft skin. (“Like a baby,” we’re told…)”
- “The first penis transplant took place in the US last week. One of the doctors leading the surgical team? Dr Dicken Ko.”
- Taylor Swift was apparently experimenting with a new ‘punky’ look, though “According to this extremely well-informed and not-at-all spurious source, Calvin Harris is trying to limit all this punkiness, and has apparently told Taylor he won’t marry her if she ever goes “full Miley”.” #2016
- Regarding the popularity of Morning Glory seeds: “he Police Chief of Seekonk, Massachusetts, said: “Parents should know if their children are into planting flowers or not, so if they see these things in the household, the radar should be on.””
- A link to this channel, which might actually be the best thing on YouTube.
- An otter eating lettuce
- And finally, the closing joke: “I only believe 12.5% of what the Bible says. Which makes me an eighth theist.”
Yeah, of course I’m still subscribed.