The next day was my day for agoraphobia therapy so I set off several hours early and then just hung around uselessly for ages. Another very poor day, all in all. Though it was interesting being on a bus at 8.30 in the morning, something I haven’t experienced for some years. It was full of people going to work, and none of them looked very happy, which is understandable.
I haven’t been to work for many years, though I was employed full-time earlier in my life. My last job was as a clerk for the local council, and before that I was a library assistant, a clerk at the Brixton benefit office, and also a manual labourer.
When my first book was published, Milk, Sulphate and Alby Starvation, I kept on being a clerk for the council, but next year, 1988, when Lux the Poet came out, a magazine phoned me up for an interview. So I thought, well if magazines are phoning me up for interviews I must be close to being a famous and wealthy author, so I’d better just stop working. Which I did. And that turned out to be a mistake at the time, as I’d neglected to consider that I didn’t really have any income, apart from puny royalties of a few hundred pounds per year.
However, have studiously avoided work ever since then. Indeed this is my main reason for being an author, and always has been, so I don’t have to go to work. This has gone well, in terms of being able to lie on the couch doing nothing for days at a time, but has sometimes been a problem in terms of income. However, I’m doing better now. There is no need to send food parcels.
My Prozac experience is going okay so far – but I am worried that it will become a dependency. The first time I was on this med, I made the mistake of not refilling my prescription before going to work on Friday. By late afternoon I was jittery and sweating and took an early finish. Then it was a sprint from Leeds town centre (where I then worked) to the doctor’s surgery in deepest Hyde Park. Then nearest pharmacy. Dry-swallowed twenry milligrams. Relief.
A few weeks later, I was at a party at a house a few minutes away from mine. It was a great atmosphere with loads of good friends around, but for no reason I started getting increasingly tense and edgy. Then I remembered I’d forgotten to take the medication that day. Quick jog home, quick twenty milligrams, back. The symptoms disappeared, but I felt like a junkie. Even the most beneficial drugs can be addictive.