And by falling in love, he sets off a chain of events, which are at first, heart-warming and inspirational, and then bleak and horrifying.
That female sixth sense.
It’s that antennae you have.
That aerial. That radar you have. The sixth sense.
You can spot a nutbag from a thousand paces.
Now you’re not always right, admit it, but you’re always on your guard. Always wary, always looking round for the man in the woods, the strange shadow in the corridor, the Bogeyman in the wardrobe with your aerial of suspicion.
Over the years – and you can watch out for incidences of any of these things throughout the narrative – I’ve been called an Arsehole (goes without saying), an Alcoholic (it’s not enough, sorry), a Psychopath (bollocks), a Schizo (has its merits, theoretically), a Split Personality (no such thing), a Borderline (not many arguments with this one), a Narcissist (how, exactly, can someone who hates himself be a Narcissist?), and a Repressed Homosexual (no comment).
Let’s face it, with the internet, popular psychology sites, popular psychology courses and a society-wide oversupply of psychology graduates looking for something to do other than flip burgers and chase shoppers in the High Street with direct debit forms, everyone can be a diagnostic expert.
What exactly IS the point of a psychiatrist with all the stuff available free on the Internet? There are thousands of tests of your personality on the internet as we speak. Free of charge.
Stop reading this.
Flip on your browser and find a popular search engine of your choice.
Type in something like Borderline Personality Test and you’ll find a free test of your personality.
They take about fifteen minutes and they ask you questions loosely associated with particular personality disorders.
Usually multiple choice. A mouse click.
Well, of course it is in today’s hyperfast society. Who can be bothered to fill in boxes full of actual words?
Now. Have you done that? Good. What dides it say? Avoidant? Histrionic? How simple was that huh?
You are now a label. By the way, if you’re an Anti-Social, don’t bother reading on.
I hate you and hope your robot arse rots in hell, the damage you cause. If you’re a borderline, get in touch. We can help each other I’m sure. You understand, don’t you? You can empathise. You know what it’s like to want something so much, so fast, that you can never live up to the intensity of it.
You know that emptiness. That scalded skin. That ever-present sense of nausea. You’ve experienced the cutting.
You would understand that, wouldn’t you?
The point of the sharp against your skin, the soothing sense of it, the understanding that the knife is exactly what you deserve.
The cold sharp blade is your only friend and you understand the peace that can bring, the descending euphoria.
When I was inside, the last time, a doctor from New Orleans, reviewed my case notes and postulated the notion that as well as BPD, I suffered from IED too.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder.
They think of something for everything.
Take this one. You won’t believe it.
Lottery Disappointment Syndrome.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard it but apparently, people become so disappointed at not winning their country’s version of the Lottery that they are referred to a psychiatrist! I said that it seemed a bit silly, another job creation exercise, another opportunity to be published in the journals, but Plunkett said that over seven hundred people a year worldwide are so beset by the injustice and the hopelessness of not winning, and they commit suicide.
Many others self harm. Others turn to drink and drugs.
Anyway, I digress. This doctor from New Orleans called Dupont said that I was probably suffering from BPD with IED too.
Plus an organic neurosis or two (my head really is a shed).
The Unit I had been referred to by my father to keep me out of prison had only twice before treated a sufferer of IED. Naturally, when he heard, he paid to bring in a specialist and of course, I do what I always do, which is have long conversations with the specialist, long, immersive, enjoyable ones, take all the medication they ask me to, talk in the rolling grounds to Abdul, Wrigley and Boyd and Leroy and Felicity (when she’s not on her treatment) and wait for Janine to come to my room whenever she’s on shift.
In other words, I conform to their recovery model and eventually they release me.
IED, according to Dupont, is characterised by instability of mood with unpredictable outbursts of severe anger and violence. Librarians are common sufferers. Nice, quiet people who suddenly, with no warning, and for very little reason, start destroying their work environments like Vikings in a berserker rage. Their family homes. Families look at them in horror.
I can see that. The horror of it.
If you marry a tattooed giant skinhead with a history of pathological violence, you can’t really complain when he starts destroying your country cottage in front of your very eyes because he’s had a bad day. A bespectacled, mousy, quiet, inoffensive librarian, with his satchel and brown raincoat, his tortoiseshell spectacles? Watching him take a sledgehammer to the Plasma and the stereo before turning his slit-eyed gaze to you and the kids – now that’s pretty scary, if you ask me.
Copyright© Mark Barry. All rights reserved.