here is distant

brains thrown up living room walls

We're on the same page

Different book

Same genre

Yeah, horror

I will never ever jump out on you. I will lie about your sofa, ceilings and mind, if you don't mind. I'll creep in circles for longer than I'll linger under your thumb or arms. I'll say nothing. The only way you can be sure I'm even there, is because I'll consume your toast.

Online arguing culture lacks tone, indifference and commenters who aren't sure about what's right and who's wrong. So I prefer arguing offline, where I've made a hobby of always advocating the hell out of the devil. Having no passionate opinions, I challenge any idea put forward, facetiously switching between viewpoints, at the whim of a desire to get under the skin of anyone exposing that they might care about something. My intentions are playful, and at best so will be the response.

I don't deviate from good nature, but my tendancies to search for character flaws and belief contradictions are received better by those who can reference their own weaknesses. I get no cruel pleasure from upset, only from frustration or blind indignity. This lack of conversational wholesomeness remains unknown to many who know me only as uncomfortably shy. To find out what I actually think, they'll need internet connection to read how my humour is reactive, conversationally redactive. I'm just not attractive, when I'm interacting.

Every afternoon chunks of lethal metal spill out of the city, and they're all mad at each other. The evening commute can be frustrating behind the wheel, nose to nose in traffic. But here I find escapism, next to Sat Navs telling poor people to take the next left towards ludicrous APR. Here I find adrenaline, aside the rich in leather seats they love more than their ex-wives. My bicycle peddles are my window of life, away from days reserved at a desk and nights of undeserved rest. That is, unless I turn left.

If I don't, then I power ahead into the cycle lane, passing Ubers who are stuck up each other's asspipes. I feel the wind in my face as I dart by cars and buses crawling in some slow motion notion. It feels good overtaking something 10 times my size. I know where the potholes are so I can avoid them with skill. They all want to be me or I just think they do. I don't care which. Turning left avoids the traffic. It's the same distance home, but it's via empty side roads that aren't exactly captivating. I can turn left for three reasons: 1) It's raining 2) I've been drinking 3) I'm blue. At worst it's three, today it was just number three because I've nothing to get home for.

Weep that you weep that you can't quite find the anything needed to leak any of the one thousand pieces still left inside somewhere important. To navigate wellness better is to myth the gently caressed plastic bags, candy floss, held tightly upon the decades ago sea front. Was it selfish to care so deeply about my core or did I misunderstand perhaps the beauty in the never? I don't think I'll ever know.

Throw acorns at tree trunks, you growing dandelion. Show to a stranger your strength, for it finds a natural conclusion to something now quietly fantastic. Let emerge your elephant lighter, burn a goofy napkin, and watch it ash to the dreams of another duckling. For this catches neither the start nor the end of the tethered lily pads floating hard on tarmac. It's more tarmac of shiny dust than of crying labourer hearts. We find coverage in some unknown. Until we loose it, again.

Someone I met recently suspected I was depressed because my Instagram pictures are a bit ambiguous and don't tell an obvious story. Another time it was suggested by a reader I may have depression. I do feel some unease in my life so join me in a tour of my mind informed by anecdotes and pop-psychology. This is an exploratory post to ask

Am I ok?

Psychology says to look at mental health before mental illness. The secret of good mental health is doing more of the things you love, with the people you love. It's about eating well, drinking responsibly and looking after yourself. Good mental health is not blaming your external situation, but looking what you can change about your own outlook and behaviours. It's not always easy to remember that other adults sometimes feel like shit too. Life can be difficult because

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone.

Which is grim unless

through our love and friendship we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

How I feel isn't controlled by reacting to either half of a proverb I once heard. It's more complicated and happens in real life. The crux of my own problem is that I tend to feel uncomfortable in social situations, which is disrupting my life as I can't easily make friends. I'm quite reflective and know what makes me happy so I don't think my attitudes need reframing. More relevent to me would be positive proactive behaviour. I attempted such last year by leaving my girlfriend of three years. I was unhappy in the relationship, so although I'm lonely for it now, it was the right step to make.

It didn't solve everything, of course. I feel in a position where I don't know what the next positive proactive action should be, less how to take it. So considering if this stagnantness was the onset of mental illness, I went back to a facebook conversation I had in 2014. I often remember it, as it shaped my reasons for not self-diagnosing myself with depression. A girl had told me in earnest she felt completely hopeless, and that I could never understand how it felt to think that

no matter what I do, I will always go back to feeling like shit for the rest of my life.

She was right, I couldn't know. I had my down days but I never felt an existential hopelessness. Another girl I used to see once skyped me as she scolded herself with hot water. However low I have felt, I have never considered self harm. Another friend told me about his diagnosed intrusive thoughts, how he thought his mother would die if he didn't follow his routines. I like to touch the door handle as I pass, but if I don't, my life continues as normal.

No two versions of depression or OCD are the same, so the philosophy that I'm not as bad as them, so I'm okay, isn't a great one. So I thought about it on a pragmatic level: was low mood disrupting my life? The answer was no. There was never a time when my mood stopped me getting out of bed. I thought broadly about my life, and where my problems originated. It was mainly a feeling of social inadequacy. Googling social anxiety I read it's the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people. As shy as I am, I love being the centre of attention, and have a quiet confidence that can veer dangerously towards arrogance. I imagined what would happen if I took medication. It wouldn't give me friends or life direction. Mental illness doesn't seem to fit with me.

A couple of cousins have been recently diagnosed with autism and it made me think of my ex-girlfriend telling me I follow too many rules. I googled it and matched up loosely. I can understand how someone feels but find it difficult to express that understanding. I take the stairs to the third floor to avoid social situations. I often seem blunt or rude without meaning to and find it hard to say how I feel.

Yet I'm not super clever, I don't massively obsess about things and I can't monologue excessively. So maybe I'm very slightly autistic. But I'm I can function fine so what's the point of wondering about it? Thank you for taking the tour of my mind in which I went round the houses just to find out I'm nothing more than a Sisyphus. And there's still a long way to go.

When an April day suggests summer is coming, the aroma of expectation is often sweeter than the warmth at the season's height. I took advantage of the promising and beautiful day by staring at a database with Julie from accounts, unironically saying things like

that's the 7k we need to isolate

Julie would nod like a prick. So I left. There's no better place to escape the city than the square in the centre that badly masks the grey with a patch of green. And there she was, the centrepiece to this love story, sitting on the wall like a lonely flower. I sat down at a distance too close to her for a stranger, but too far from her for a friend.

“I was in love with you, you know.” She continued to stare at the ground, as I nervously ran my fingers in between each other, not knowing where they should settle at a time like this. It had been around two years since I had last seen her, so I was nervous. I started uneloquently blurting out sentences like a donkey with stage fright.

“I've seen you. I've seen how sad you are on twitter. I always thought we could have been sad together. Or we could have been happy like you are on Instagram. Have you noticed that I like your pictures sometimes?”

The tourists and pigeons that were everywhere weren't constrained by a lunch break. They ambled around, avoiding each other, aimlessly searching for food. I looked up, to hear what she had to say about my madness. But she wasn't there. Because she never was. And neither was I. Because I was on the way back to my desk.

It's the reason I get out of bed in the morning and the reason I have a bed to get out from. But what if my salary is too low? I don't mean too low to afford life's essentials like ice cream and 2gb monthly mobile data. I mean too low compared to the cash value of my mind, body and curriculum vitae.

My boss said I'm underpaid for the work that I do in a this-is-your-six-month-review kind of way. He said I was employed in an admin role, but doing the work of an analyst. How fantastic, I thought, when he went on to say my salary will be increased, so I don't run off with a more attractive and charismatic company. According to the marketplace, my raise should be 30%. Sadly though, it turns out all small companies have a policy whereby any raise this big has to be approved by Santa who, as we all know, is notoriously slippery. I've been waiting a while now.

But what if my salary is too low? I don't live extravagantly, nor do I enjoy spending money. The worst case scenario is that I put my extra money aside for a rainy day, then end up buying a fucking conservatory in 30 years. I'd rather cover my apartment in gold coated wallpaper, then pay a stripper to strip (it all off again). How depressing would it be to slave my life for bullshit, only to die slowly in a state-of-the-art conservatory? How awful would it be to get all angsty over waiting for a raise, just to fund another layer of glazing?

Eight months into this job and my contract is still like an asexual man in a brothel. There's nothing rising. Yet, I'm being asked if I can project manage this, and put my neck on the line for that. At this point I don't know if should Dress for the job I want, when I'm getting Less for the job I don't even know I want. If only I could get salary to write shit like that. Let's please raise a hashtag to post-work society.

No one likes being fucked by their employer, right? Honestly, I'm not-so-secretly enjoying that my growing responsibilities are undermined by the word Trainee in my job title. Through my outraged red face I manage to quip daily that I'm just a trainee. I'll go up to a random colleague spouting the catchphrase, I'm just a trainee with my tongue firmly in my cheek, emphasising what a joke that is. I yell in their face so they know how much I'm worth. I tell them my value in cash like I'm a vendor selling milk.

What are responsibilities anyway? The ones at the top blame the ones at the bottom and the ones at the bottom blame them straight back. Climb the ladder to get power, delegate the power, then point the finger at any rung away from yours when everything goes wrong. My new job title is going to be Shift the Blame Executive and I'll aspire towards Shift the Blame Manager then I'll retire towards Too old to shift the blame effectively.

It actually turns out the benefits of being underpaid feed my superiority complex. I have a postgraduate degree and I could walk into any job I wanted right now (Except I couldn't challenge myself if I tried). I don't want to fail then improve, or ever leave my comfort zone. All the thirty-and forty-something wankers have hit their ceiling. I'll apologise to them when I use their heads as stepping stones, on my way to becoming a corporate God, or whatever the fuck they never managed to achieve.

If I had a clearer sense of self, I could portray more happiness online. I'm embarrassed to share success on Facebook and scared to attempt wit on Twitter. I'm missing the flare needed for Instagram and the friends to flaunt on Snapchat. Even the individuality needed to follow a subreddit is somehow beyond my grasp. So for your consumption I present an idealised self that, although filtered to support creativity and dignity, is merely a medoly of melancholic moments.

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and no matter how many times I refreshed newsfeed, it said We have nothing to show you right now. I thought this was weird because I have three hundred thousand friends. I worried I was missing out on bespoke brand content and humorous reinforcement of my political views. I started to shake as I worried how acquaintances were, if they were doing good in their lives.

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