The Negative Key


These last few days have brought me to the point of being able to say without any exaggeration or deliberate over-dramatization that my complete mental disintegration is within sight. It is a reality – I can ignore it no longer. I can no longer pretend that it isn’t happening. I can try to pretend but it just isn’t very convincing. It isn’t convincing at all. My attempts to tell myself that everything is fine have become apparent to me as hideous lies. The lying is the worst thing. I wish I could stop the lying.


In the absence of some unforeseen factor that might come to my aid I wonder how much longer I can manage to carry on. One can always struggle on no matter how bleak the outlook, I tell myself. Whilst there is any strength left at all there is always the will to survive, the urge to hang on to what you have and carry on doing whatever are doing. One cannot do otherwise in this case than to struggle on – no matter how pointless it may be. This is not a good thing however, although some may see it as such. I do not see it as such. In my view it is a horrific thing. The survival instinct continues to operate long after there is any point to it. It continues to operate – in whatever bizarre or counterproductive fashion it can – long after sanity has fled.


It is not something I like thinking about


For a long time now, at least during the days, I have been in the grip of intense neurotic energy. I cannot perform the simplest task without being wracked by agonies of indecision. I am beset with misgivings regarding the outcome of


I have become obsessed with the details, the routine, the minutiae of ship life. My obsessive observance of these minutiae takes up every moment of the day. Checking this, checking that. Adjusting things that need adjusting, replacing tools in the right place when I have had to use them. Every now and again I deliberately leave something in the wrong place, or leave some trivial task uncompleted to try to break the hold this thing has on me. The awful deadly hold. It does no good me telling myself that these things are of no importance whatsoever. That they don’t matter to anyone, not even me.


I have since last week forbidden myself to obey the compulsions that have come to dominate my life, but it does no good. They still prey on my mind. They are lining impatiently up to get their bit of me. They eat me alive. They flay me daily. This is an empty victory if ever there was one – the enjoyment of the few pleasures I have left to me, such as taking food, have been ruined. I am too caught up in my obsessions. I am caught up in the inner conflict – the war against my own mind. It is a war I cannot win.


I have entered into a whole new level of neurosis. If I relax my concentration even the slightest bit I find myself mentally rehearsing the tasks that, physically, I have forbidden myself to do. In my mind I am adjusting things, attending things, going over the steps of my daily routine over and over again. As time passes I lose the strength to say no to this mental obeying of the compulsions. I can’t stop myself. I no longer know whether I am imagining that I am going through the steps of fulfilling my various duties or whether I really am. I’m lost in the fantasy. Drifting in and out of the fantasy; moving from one level of illusion to another.


That’s nothing. That’s only a tiny part of it. Maybe not even a real part, for all I know. What I have just described is just a subscript to the main narrative, a tiny strand of the story which has by now broken up into untold decaying filaments. I’m trapped in one of those filaments and its getting nowhere. It’s come to nothing. It’s come to a dead-end. It was crap anyway and now it’s finally petered out altogether. The little bit that was left in it. Which wasn’t much anyway. Hardly anything.


In another strand I could perhaps be a comedian whose gags are no longer funny, or a fisherman who can no longer catch any fish. Or I might be a writer who can no longer tell interesting stories. Or a soldier who can no longer shoot straight. Or a policeman who can no longer apprehend any criminals. The criminals are all getting away. They’re having a hay day. These are only my thoughts, you understand. There are thoughts of a peculiar self-mocking character, it is true. Useless thoughts. Inane thoughts. Thoughts that don’t get me anywhere. I don’t know the details – only that each filament of the thread is in its own fashion coming to a kind of a dysfunctional end. Each filament is coming apart in its own way. Nothing’s working out for me.


There is a key. There is a solution, which is


There is no key, no solution


The answer is that there is no answer. The solution is that the situation can’t be fixed. The mess which is my life is beyond repair. That is the answer I have arrived at.


That’s it. That’s all.














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