The words have stopped popping out of my head.

It’s a slow trickle, like everything else.

It may have started when I weaned off of Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I’ve been off for eight weeks now, and only the last two have been at all bearable (although that seems to be changing). I didn’t even figure out the probable cause of all the trouble til five weeks in, after my third visit to the GP, when I saw a locum, also bipolar, who experienced the dreaded Cymbalta withdrawal herself.

Google it. I’ve lived it (although the word “live” feels too optimistic).

Diarrhoea for five weeks. Vomiting for four. Nightmares. Paranoia. Malaise. Anxiety and panic. Impending sense of doom. Restlessness. Fever and chills.

I do think it may have killed a few brain cells.

So at the end of this, I signed on at a temp agency and was placed at a combined Council/NHS department housed at, coincidentally, the local mental hospital. Hated, hated, hated the job. Angry people. Conflicting demands. Tedious work.

I am to see my beloved psychiatrist this Friday. I rather suspected she might sign me off sick. I am colossally unhappy. I am afraid to fall asleep because it leads always to the morning.

Yesterday after work, however, I get a call from the agency — I am apparently “not suitable” and am being let go immediately. So obviously, they hated me too. Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean I am wrong.

Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean I am wrong.

I am pleased to not go back, but the money thing, and oh!! the husband thing.

This morning, just now, in fact, I got another call from a different agency which has found my CV on Monster, presumably. They want to interview me for a software training job, development and delivery.  One door opens. Should please the husband. Don’t think I’ll get it, but, still.

The fact remains that I am desperately desperately unhappy. Rolling in stinky piles of misery unhappy. Hate my life I wish I was dead unhappy.

But maybe I don’t.




I’ve added a few more sonnets.  Most are the result of insomnia. I wrote the newest (Sordid Mess) in my head whilst having marital relations when I wished I wasn’t.

So, sonnets. I’ll explain what they actually are and why I seem to be drawn to them.

A sonnet is a particular type of poem. In English poetry, a sonnet has 14 lines. There are rules about both the rhythm, or meter, of the poem and also about the way it rhymes.

The first 12 lines are all written in iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is best known as the rhythm that Shakespeare most often used in his plays. An iamb is a two-beat unit, like a heartbeat — “ba-dum.” A line written in iambic pentameter has five of these two-beat units in it. Count it out on your fingers as you read along:

“Now is the winter of our discontent”
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

As I mentioned above, sonnets also prescribe a certain rhyme scheme. Lines that rhyme with each other are indicated by the same letter in the following schematic: ABAB-CDCD-EFEF.

But the last two lines differ from the first 12 in both rhyme and rhythm. If we carry on our scheme from the last paragraph, we would list lines 13 and 14 as “GG.” In other words, the last two lines rhyme with each other. In addition, those lines are in iambic quadrameter, meaning they consist of four beats of two. Two line pairings of verse following this pattern are called rhyming couplets, and are often used at the ends of scenes in Shakespeare’s plays. The contracted rhyming and the shortened rhythm can convey a sense of pithy finality. A listener could be certain the verse was at an end, in any case.

The above-mentioned “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is arguably the most famous sonnet. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” is a famous sonnet as well. One might be forgiven for thinking sonnets were usually love poems. Even staying with the sonnets of Shakespeare, readers can see this is not the case. Many of his “Dark Lady” sonnets bemoan the feelings of torment and lack of control stemming from relationships. My favourite has always been, “My love is as a fever, longing still.”  In fact, at an audition where we had to recite a sonnet, and I recited that one, my top fell completely down. At the conclusion, the director said, “Damn. Now I have to cast you.

Thank you all for indulging my inner English teacher. My point is that the sonnet is a very specific type of poem. Why am I, now, composing them when I can’t sleep? Or when distancing myself  from my current realities?

It used to be haiku. Gotta love a haiku: three lines with five syllables on the first, seven on the second, five on the third. Composing haiku with insomnia makes sense to me. But after reading my explanation about sonnets — it’s clear, I hope, that these are very different beasts. Does this switch mean I need more distancing? More structure? More obstacles? Or just more, more, more?

After the discovery


He has since confessed to sleeping with two prostitutes on five occasions. One became emotionally interested in him; the other he began to fall for.

I don’t know exactly when these joyous couplings took place. I do think that he has confessed only to the tip of the iceberg.

He strayed because I am uninterested in sex (apparently!) and because I am a poor housekeeper. He felt taken advantage of. Poor baby.

I offered: divorce. I offered: an open marriage. I suggested: counselling. All rejected.

Money troubles seem very much at the fore. Finances are still kept secret from me.

At the moment I am visiting my parents in America. I am very unsettled.

I feel hollow.

Did I just say “it’s what makes me a whore”? Did I just say that?

Astonishing, then, that it turns out my husband, at the very least, considers himself quite the connoisseur of the working girl. His interest in them may well have cost the family rather a lot of money.

I stumbled upon a porn-star pseudo-named email account on Sunday. I made note of the name and googled it later that evening. And lo and behold, there he was, posting in an adult worker forum with great authority on the subject of sex in general but mostly on sex with ladies of negotiable affection. He held forth on subjects including the most memorable place he’d had sex (one of which was with me, which confirmed his identity further), the pros and cons of reverse bookings, what he looks for in an advert for an escort, his physical preferences (he even mentioned a work colleague he’d praised in my presence). Perhaps most wounding of all, for some odd reason, was a thread in which some poor prossie asked for recipes to help her learn to cook. He gave her one of mine! My own delicious customised version of grilled haloumi with lemon and spring onions – offered up to a strange sex woman, like an offering – on a plate, as it were.

And when I told him what I’d learned, he denied it all. He told me it was merely a joke, a wind-up, with one of his old Army mates. It may have turned into a bit of role-play, he conceded. I remain unconvinced. I am even less convinced now that I have perused all 41 of his posts at leisure, as some of them contain  a great amount of detail on the booking process.

He has not said he is sorry. He did not say he loved me. He turned it all into a discussion about our money problems.

The night after next, he tried to have sex with me. I shrunk myself into the smallest of balls and cried until he turned away.

So what happens now? I will finish reeling first, and then decide what to do, after a bit more consultation. Many options — but I’m wondering if this isn’t my Get Out of Jail Free card.

What happens in a marriage? What happened in mine?

After a few years, sex is a different beast, but not a sexy one. It’s another grisly chore to finish before sleep.

“Paying the mortgage” is what I privately call sex with the husband. It’s part of my job, like the meals and the wan attempts at housecleaning. It’s earning my keep.

It’s what makes me a whore.

It’s not sex Against My Will. But it is sex Against My Wishes.

And when I think what it once was – night and day, apple and orange, cliché and other cliché. Could I change back? Do I even want to?

And is this just me, or is this pattern familiar to other women who think too much?

I went today to my favourite hippy-crystal bookshop. I was really looking for a book that might be called something like The Goddesses’ Guide to Making Your Husband Dump You Whilst Thinking It Was His Own Idea All Along.

I didn’t find it. Can you imagine?

I’ve lost track of what I need. It feels like I need too much.

Never mind, then,  what I need. What do I actually have? Mainly, it seems, I have children – four of ’em. Ages 17, 15, 6 and 6. Girl, boy, boy and boy, the last two being twins, as you’ve no doubt gathered. I have credit card debt and an overdraft. I own half of the paid-for portion of a Victorian terraced house in an English seaside town. I have an American accent – for the perfectly logical reason that I am, in fact, an American, though I’ve lived here for twelve years.

I have an ex-husband who made me cry every day for years. I have a rather newer husband who began as a knight in shining armour but has somehow morphed into some subtle sort of enemy. I don’t quite know how, but cannot quite look into it, because I also have a genuine fear of confrontation, which clearly frustrates him. All I can see is the hate streaming off of him.

I have a psychiatric diagnosis. I’m bipolar, diagnosed 15 years ago, before Stephen Fry made it trendy. And, like many, since then, there’s been a merry-go-round of medications, a workplace breakdown… I’m still not working, in fact, which the husband detests. So I continually feel I must earn my keep, despite being a mother to four, running a house where the spouse is away on business more often than not.