It’s getting past the point of ridiculous. You know the place; where the other people are starting to glance at you only ever from one side, when they think you’re not looking. And not always when you’re mumbling tricky things in a delicate tone. Sometimes it’s all the time. Do they know? Oh gosh, maybe they know.
I’ve noticed an increasingly pesky pattern to the time that’s unfolding itself all around my humble existence. It’s as if my mind has been split in half, like in a Stephen King novel that’s been ripped off by one of those other ones - Koontz, or Layman; those guys you tend to reverse back over when you accidentally pulverise them in your vehicle of choice.
So, week one, it’s all OK. Things may well be rolling all over the place, but mostly you can see which ones to grasp at. Week two, and everything is broken, mashed and rotting into the floorboards. But that’s okay; week three will roll on soon, and the mess will be covered by a thin veneer of Try Again. Week 17 and the tedium of hopeful week/car crash week is beginning to chew away at the fraying seams of your soul.
And so you’re back inside the working walls once more. You sort of know things are not off to a promising start as now your left eye is twitching along – though not in synch – with your other eye. The right one. But they’re both maddeningly wrong, what with the twitching. You’re probably quite tired, but it’s gone past the point of fatigue and into that dangerous territory that deceives you into thinking you’re hyper awake and ready for every little thing willing to throw itself in your path. Reality is lurking in the sidelines, sneaking glimpses of your symptoms as they stumble over each other in a lovely pile of all that has gone so horribly, horribly, wrong. Your brain has slowed down; concentration has been obliterated; and the twitchy eye thing is lending a menacing air to your not so calm façade. That’s a lie; you don’t have a façade to shield yourself with anymore. You probably dropped it somewhere in the debris of the previous bad week. Twat.
You know things have taken an all more sinister turn when you struggle with the sort of tasks that maybe you’re not meant to be doing anyway, like opening a bin liner and HAVING TO ASK FOR HELP. You know there are more examples of your brain decay meets workplace humiliation that you could list, but they’ve already slipped away into a dark place, where they belong.
Things take a less heartening turn when you start typing things like ‘early onset dementia’ into Google, and in more desperate moments, ‘stop eye twitching’ (they refuse). Turns out that your collection of symptoms - the shoddy memory, shameful attention span, the general slowing down of the inner mind cogs – are mostly down to that delightful mix of tiredness and Gloom. This might also, you hope, account for your seesawing perspective, which is starting to edge its way that little bit closer to a not so temporary species of madness.
So take heart, my unemployed friends; those jobs you’re lusting after are in the reassuringly incapable hands of people just like me. With each day my grip loosens it becomes a tiny bit easier to pry my fingers out of your way, before swooping in to show them how it’s done. You know, by someone in possession of proper IT skills and a peppy phone manner. Things I may have pretended to have at some point, or maybe even did have, but exchanged for the myriad joys that being an idiot brings.
Just wait, five months down the line you’ll start to flag and flail; that spring in your step will slowly slide into a limp, and you’ll find yourself on the verge of a nervous breakdown because you suddenly find yourself totally unable to open a bin liner. My advice? Keep schtum; don’t let them know that it’s taunting you. Try to overlook that fact that it’s not biodegradable and will outlive you by a trillion years or so. That’s a hollow victory, and after all, you’re better than a plastic bag. Probably.
Read more by Sam.