Where the f**k is Mr Right?

 

I join dating websites Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle as part of my quest to find Mr Right or the parent of my frozen embryos. Despite receiving many likes, smiles and messages on the websites I do not meet anyone I fancy

Day 65. Wild excitement as speak to hot guy from Elite Singles who phones me saying he is desperate to speak to me. Turns out he is an Oxford graduate, running a hedge fund and lives in Prime Central London Belgravia. Not only perfect boyfriend material but perfect sperm donor. Also he says he was a computer hacker and hacked into banks as a teenager. This thrills me as I still have a soft spot for criminals due to relationship with ex-armed robber. He becomes a bit nervous when I say he can’t read the blog (no way is any prospective suitor going to be let loose on this collected mass of insanity before they have even met me). But still says he wants to meet me the next day. Have to keep expectations down though as fact is have not fancied a single man I’ve met off the internet.

Day 66. Worst day ever with the online dating. Spent four hours getting ready for hot date  (to artfully contrive “just got out of bed look”)  with Oxford graduate. Alas when I popped into venue saying I was struggling to park he looked very different from his photo and did not fancy him at all. Must have given him a “who the fuck are you?” look as when got back after parking he had disappeared and was studiously avoiding my texts and phone calls. May have to retire from online dating as was so wild with excitement before meeting but now feel catatonic.

Day 67. Have made radical decision to decouple search for Mr Right from search for sperm donor. Will find sperm donor first and though controversial will go to Crete to have sex selection and create female frozen embroyos. Look up California sperm bank where have look alikes of film stars and resolve to call them asap. Also have secret interview with prospective sperm donor (secret because he has no idea) who friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous has introduced me to. He is very intelligent but does have a receding chin..

Day 68. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill obviously in search of man.  Had eye on hot secretary last time I was there although he has blue eyes. But when he turns up his tan has faded and he looks too white for me. Another very dark man does catch my eye but he seems to be dating perfect blonde Barbie who is nuzzling his ear. Still spot other prospective men and resolve I will be back. For no reason kiss man as am trying to speak to hot dark guy next to him which leaves him rather confused.

Day 69. Reluctantly vote for Zac Goldsmith, Conservative Candidate for London mayor, because the Labour contender Sadiq Khan is apparently threatening rent control on private landlords ie me. This anti-landlord bias is why I can’t stand Labour. But feel very squeamish as Zac has run pretty divisive campaign saying Sadiq is an Islamic extremist and trying to set Hindus and Sikhs against Muslims. After voting, go to  Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous in Notting Hill, obviously looking for man. Do spot one very hot guy in crowd but cannot quite stay off phone organising dates with people from Inner Circle and Elite Singles. Amazingly put recovery first and talk to a newcomer female who has eating disorder and OCD after meeting. No luck in the men department.

Day 70. I am now full on political activist and main organiser for Britain Stronger In Europe (campaigning for Britain to stay in EU) for my enormous local borough, Brent.

I become the main coordinator in Brent for Britain Stronger In Europe which is campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union in the referendum on June 23rd. David Cameron the Prime Minister is the head of the Remain camp while former London Mayor Boris Johnson is the head of the leave camp.

Go to Stronger In phone bank in Moorgate in the City of London to rustle up volunteers for events in my local area. Obviously also looking for politically switched on Mr Right.  Alas, white man Apocalypse descends again and I don’t fancy anyone. Will seriously have to consider emigrating to Southern Italy or Greece to find ethnic looking Mr Right as 90% of men in England are not my cup of tea. There are serious problems with our proposed speaker tour of my local area as we had planned to have local resident and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone as our star speaker. Unfortunately after he said, and refused to retract, the fact that Hitler was a Zionist he is now too toxic for us to touch.

Day 71. I have had disastrous dates before but not actually ones where I feared for my personal safety. Met someone whose identity I will have to disguise in case they stick a knife in my back. He was very attractive but it became evident, as the date progressed, that this was in an American Psycho Patrick Bateman kind of way. He was involved with so many conflicts with politicians and the police and had such elaborate conspiracy theories about people being planted in his flat by secretive enemies that I almost offered him a dose of my anti-psychotics.  I said after an hour that I would have to leave as his life was “too complicated” for me. He said 100% correctly that he had scared me and that I was running away. Spent whole journey back home looking over my shoulder in case he was following me.

Day 72. A joyous OCD day! Spent whole day locked up in my house not seeing anyone or even opening the front door. When the OCD was on me and I had to do crazy rituals 10 hours a day this was the only type of day I enjoyed.

Day 73. As part of efforts to re-start freelance journalism career went down to library in Kensington to read several weeks  worth of newspapers. Noticed a lot of incredibly good looking dark men on Kensington High Street (probably Arabs who are living there) which was incredibly annoying as I didn’t have any makeup on. Resolved must spend more time in Kensington as part of quest for Mr Right. If only parking wasn’t so difficult!

Day 74. Back down to Kensington Library again to read more newspapers. Man hunt was unsuccessful as was pouring with rain and I had my gym stuff and no makeup on. Pointlessly put on loads of makeup as went to Ladbroke Grove Sainsburys. Although there was a very good looking Arabic guy he was extremely young and rather short.

Day 75. Date with man who lives near Sloane Square in Chelsea who’d been on £10,000 holiday. Was pretty sure would not fancy him as his face in the photos had a slightly froggy look. But actually had a fabulous conversation about politics (must get politically interested man) and decided he had a nice face. But of course, in common with all online dating, did not fancy him.

Day 76. I discover from my research that there are record numbers of women having their first child over 40 and decide I will use this as a news peg for a feature to relaunch my journalism career. I was previously a correspondent for the BBC, the Sunday Times and the Guardian before crashing out of my career in Jamaica due to my cocaine addiction and mental health problems. My career has been dead for 11 years which will take some world beating efforts at resuscitation. But now I have had almost 23,000 hits on the blog and am 11 years clean and in recovery from all my mental health problems, I have the confidence to try. Tea with cousin Miranda (one of only two members of my family I am actually speaking to) in which I discuss the over 40 story. Then rush to Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous in Notting Hill, obviously looking for man. Only spot one Arabic looking guy but he is very young and wearing white trainers so might be in the ex-armed robber faction of the fellowship.

Day 78. Start doing interviews with leading fertility experts as part of the over 40 1st time mothers story. Another angle I want to work in to the story, which will allow me to do a comic diary similar to the blog, is why virtual babies, which cry repeatedly at 3am in the morning and need to be “fed” “changed” and “soothed” are not available to older first time mothers. This comes after a Titanic struggle to get hold of a virtual baby in the UK which ultimately fails. As someone who has 9 hours sleep and rolls out of bed at 9.30am I genuinely want the virtual baby to see if I can cope with a child. Spend the whole evening frantically phoning all Brent volunteers for Britain Stronger in Europe events at the weekend. Alas having organised whole political meeting around which volunteers I fancy could come, call hottest volunteer, perfect boyfriend and sperm donor and find out he is abroad.

Day 79. Meet a close friend who I have had a falling out with and been avoiding because of her crazy behaviour around men. She tells me her wildly unsuitable boyfriend has hit her again and tried to strangle her.  Am so terrified that something terrible is going to happen to her that I feel sick and I have to call psychiatric crisis line for the first time in 2 years.

Day 80.  Feel calmer but tell friend I will not be in contact with her this week as I try to relaunch journalism career. Have multiple conversations with friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous about how to talk to newspaper people. He says I should delete the blog as newspaper people will think I am crazy if they read it. I refuse to take down the blog. After numerous desperate requests on Facebook I have finally got hold of a Virtual Baby from eBay in the United States. I get card from Hermes (crap courier company) saying she has been left behind the bin. I rescue her from the bin. Obviously I had to have a female virtual baby due to obsession with having little girl.

Day 81. D day with the virtual baby and the virtual babies story. I unpack the virtual baby study the instructions and set the baby to demo which is supposed to be easy to care for. Baby starts shrieking every 5 minutes necessitating constant attention.

I obtain a virtual baby or Think It Over Doll from ebay in the United States. This is after the main distributor for the Virtual babies in the UK Lifechoice has point blank refused to hire me a virtual baby.

As every phone call I make to newspapers about the virtual baby story is interrupted by the howling of the virtual baby herself I realise a crucial fact: it is not possible to work while you are looking after a baby. After 2 hours of interruption I cheat and remove the electronics box and batteries from the virtual baby.  The baby will be kept on silent until I get a commission to do the story.  Am amazed at my confidence as I cold call the newspapers and get some positive interest in the story.

Day 82.  I am on a tight rope wire as it seems there is a lot of interest in the story. I send through various facts and figures but have to be patient and wait. My interest in the online dating has totally expired and I haven’t logged in to any sites for ages.

Day 83. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill obviously looking for man.  Fortune favours the bold so I shamelessly approach two men I might fancy after the meeting. One is the blue eyed secretary who I thought was too white but actually realise is very hot. Not sure his economics would add up to large expense of child but will am definitely interested in exploring further….

Day 84. Day of heart attack inducing stress as I try to juggle spending whole day doing Britain Stronger in Europe work with blogging and continued search for Mr Right. Decide to go into Stronger In phone bank (although really don’t have time) in quest for politically switched on man. The coordinator of Stronger In is very dark and rather attractive but alas too short. Start wondering how I can find out if secretary for Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous is single and whether, by any chance, he want to parent my frozen embryos. Also think Palestinian Doctor with hair issues similar to mine who I never met as he cancelled date could be perfect sperm donor. Not sure how to approach him though as text along the lines of “although we’ve never met you sounded great and I want your sperm” could meet a mixed response…

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Next week: I can’t predict as I don’t know what’s happened yet!

 

 

 

Kicking the serial killers out of my house – my recovery from 30 years of OCD

I recover from my chronic 10 hour a day OCD where I thought there were serial killers in my wardrobe, chest of drawers and laundry basket. This started when I was 8 when I saw a very frightening scene from horror movie Friday the 13th

At the worst point of my OCD, April 2014, I was spending more than 10 hours a day on crazy OCD checking rituals that involved more kung fu poses than a 3 hour Jackie Chan film and more texting than  a teenager with textitis. I would also have to take about 1000 photographs a day, which meant my Iphone would run out of storage space after an hour. This had happened because I had had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of having no income as my rental property needed major work and I couldn’t rent it out. Also because the “love of my life,” an ex-armed robber pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail, was having a baby with someone else.  When the building project on my rental property started in December 2013, the OCD was taking only 45 minutes a day. But by the end of the year, after I’d found out about the ex-armed robber’s baby, the OCD had escalated to 5 hours a day. By March 2014 it had gone up to 9 hours a day.

However tired I was I had to do this endless checking – in fact the more exhausted I was the more fearful I was of making mistakes so the checking would take much longer. So many days during the nervous breakdown I just wanted to fall to the floor of my rental property and start screaming and thrashing on the ground. And so many days I thought there is no way I will make it to the end of this day without relapsing and ending up drunk. I was being treated by the local psychiatric crisis team and I would ring my social worker repeatedly saying “I want to cut my throat.”  I knew what I was doing was totally irrational but I just couldn’t stop.

I’d been prescribed Sertraline,  an anti-anxiety medication, by my doctor.  But after going psycho on a similar drug Paroxetine, I didn’t want to take medication. Eventually, as I was threatened with losing my home or my rental property as I couldn’t complete the building project because the OCD was so bad, I went on the lowest dose of fluoxetine, another anti-anxiety medication.  The sertraline had terrified me as it said it could provoke seizures in people who’d had epilepsy which I’d had as a child. I’d taken fluoxetine before with no ill effects and it had a much lower seizure rate than Sertraline.

The OCD had started when I was a child of about 12. I would repeatedly check under the bed, in the wardrobes, the shower room, bathroom and even the deep freeze for serial killers who I was convinced were going to kill me. They were resilient and flexible creatures these serial killers I thought that could shrink to the size of a packet of Birds Eye peas. Checking wasn’t enough I also had to find hiding places from the serial killers and practise my escape routes which involved sprinting along the roof. My mother had become very threatening towards me, saying quite calmly that she was going to put a contract out on my father, that I was just like him and wasn’t even her daughter. It was only recently that I realised there were no serial killers at my boarding school they only existed in my mother’s house.  I’d had a phobia of serial killers since I was 8 when I’d seen ultra violent horror films such as Friday the 13th and Halloween on American cable TV in Jamaica. I think the reason I was so frightened by these films was that I had almost died twice by the age of 2 – firstly as I was born and then because of a massive epileptic fit when I was 2. I was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic stress disorder.

The OCD disappeared when I started drinking as a teenager. But as soon as I got clean in 2005 it flared up again.  I was behaving in such a crazy way in 2006, jumping out of bed at 3am to iron the leaves of thousands of artificial plants, that I had to go on respiridone an anti-psychotic. After my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction at the beginning of 2005 my OCD flared up again and I started jumping out of bed at 3am in the morning to do crazy OCD rituals This stopped the manic surge I had always had at night which the doctors said could be cyclothymia, a milder form of bipolar.

I also developed a phobia of dogshit and became unable to walk down the street at night (in case the dark patches concealed a poo) but instead would hop, like a frog on speed, from one lighted patch to another. When it snowed I was completely housebound as it could conceal a poo.

The OCD improved after this but then spiralled out of control when I had the nervous breakdown at the end of 2013.

At its height the checking consisted of the following.  Every action had to be precisely described (with the number of repetitions) in texts that were pages and pages long.

At my rental property  (where the central heating had been disconnected and it was minus 5 degrees)

Forensic and repeated examination of the roof terrace to make sure the builders had not left anything behind which could fall on the heads of my expensive neighbours in Notting Hill leading inevitably to a lawsuit in which I would lose everything.

Checking all the windows and doors were locked hundreds of times

Checking and photographing that the boiler and all the central heating controls were off multiple times. I feared the builders had damaged the boiler and if it was on the house would burn down.

Unplugging everything in the house then shouting “checked off” with multiple karate chop motions in the direction of every socket in the house. Repeating this 5 times.

Shouting “dark dark dark” (if the room is dark) or “off off off” (if the room is light) at every individual light in the house. Repeating this 50 times.

Taking multiple photographs of the unplugged convector heater, kettle and microwave, photographs which had to show the plug clearly lying in the middle of the floor. (fear of fire) Repeated checking that all the machines in the kitchen were switched off and that the knobs on the gas stove were at the maximum off position. Photographing the stove to prove the knobs were off.

kettlegasstovecollagefinished

Cleaning the stove for half an hour (in the filthy building site) as I thought if one speck of dust was on the stove the house would burn down.

Checking all the floors forensically (while shouting “nothing left behind”) to be sure that I had left nothing there. I feared if I left an empty wrapper of chewing gum on the floor the builders would clone my identity.

As the builders had drilled through some electricity cables (although they had been repaired) I had to switch most of the breakers on the fuseboard off each night then photograph the two fuseboards 20 times. If the photographs weren’t clear enough I had to start again.

Set the alarm  (which had to be set again if there were any problems with the text message or the beeps weren’t loud enough)

Lock the door and check it 400 times.

Stand in front of the darkened house saying “dark dark dark” and making multiple karate chop movements in the direction of all the lights.

Forensically check the ground outside the house to make sure I had left nothing behind. If I’d dropped a key the house could be broken into or a credit card my identity would be cloned.

Fielding the extremely bemused looks and questions of neighbours as to what the f**k I was doing.

Driving off in my car, then leaving the engine running, leaping out of the car into a kung fu pose, staring fixedly at the space just vacated by the car while shouting “nothing left behind.”  This is as above to prevent my identity being cloned, my rental property being broken into or my home being invaded by miniature serial killers.

I would get home at midnight, freezing and starving then slump in front of the TV with my dinner (no news because of my paranoia) before starting the rest of the checking.

The car

I would go out in my dressing gown at 1am to check the car, which would take an hour, ignoring the curious questions of my neighbours.  The main thing about the car was to check (as if my life depended on it 5 times with a torch) that I had left nothing inside it (which could obviously provoke a break in). And check that all the windows and doors and boot were locked 1000 times.

At home:

Repetitive checking of windows and doors at least 400 times. Banging on the garden doors to check they were locked 900 times. As this happened after 1 am I was reported to the council for noise nuisance more often than a ghetto blasting crack house. If I didn’t do this I thought I would be exposed to immediate rape and murder by miniature serial killers.

Photographing of the boiler to confirm it was off. I forget my precise anxiety about the boiler, something like a screw fixing it to the wall was the wrong size, but I feared if left on overnight the house would burn down.

Checking all the machines in the kitchen are off and the kettle is unplugged multiple times

Cleaning the stove for half an hour as obviously if a speck of dust was on the stove the house would burn down.

Doing karate chop motions in front of the burglar alarm panel then rushing upstairs and leaping into a kung fu pose before the two beeps go off confirming the alarm is set. If there is not enough gap between assuming the pose and the beeps going off the alarm has to be set again.

Doing 50 karate chop motions in front of every light.

Checking the laundry basket, wardrobes and chest of drawers in my bedroom for miniature serial killers.

Checking the alarms are set a hundred times and that my phone and the alarms are switched off 300 times. (fear of not waking up and of being woken up)

After this I would slump into bed exhausted at 5am not knowing how I was going to go on. You will not be surprised that the only difference between someone with OCD and psychosis is that the OCD person realises they are irrational.

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It was the day my anti-anxiety medication fluoxetine went up to the maximum dose of 60mg a day that my recovery from OCD started. I immediately felt a reduction in the desire to check. I was doing cognitive behavioural therapy for the OCD. Every week we would have “goals” in reduction of the OCD. I would write these goals down in documents that were 20 pages long and update them with my progress every couple of days. I have always been an achiever and although these goals were modest, such as reducing the car checking from 1000 to 980 a day, they gave me a sense of achievement. I would discuss my OCD goals with my best friend Susanna and neighbour Diane a therapist in hour long chats every day as well as other friends from recovery. It was vital that whenever  I tried to achieve a breakthrough I had enough support. Gradual reduction of the OCD was essential to my recovery. If I tried to do anything too dramatic I wouldn’t sleep that night and, if I was tired, the OCD would take double the length of time the following day.

As the OCD improved I was able to resume the building project on my rental property and get it ready to be rented out. But I was still checking 7 hours a day.  As the new tenant didn’t want to move in for another month I decided to harness my desire to move into my rental property – which was looking fabulous after the building project – to break through a major barrier in the OCD. I hadn’t left my home overnight for over 5 years because I feared if I did the house would be burgled or burn down. I decided I would go to stay at my rental property.

This involved scanning thousands of documents in my home (in case of a fire) and taking a suitcase of paperwork with me.Because of my chronic OCD when I leave my home overnight for the first time in 5 years I have to scan thousands of documents and put dozens of smoke detectors into the house and do extensive checks on all the electrics

I had to have 20 new smoke detectors installed in my home, all linked the fire station. I checked the electrics and every electrical item in the house umpteen times.  And installed a hundred new locks on the bedroom door and shutters of my rental property. Before I left my home I had to unplug everything and switch all the sockets off, check the doors and windows hundreds of times and do the karate chop thing with all the lights. This took over 4 hours. I had my neighbour Diane on speed dial 24/7 to calm my anxieties about the house.

I stayed at my rental property for almost 2 weeks, still checking 3 hours a day, and got into trouble when I was checking the car for an hour with a torch as everyone thought I was stealing it.

When my tenant moved in, and I had an income for the first time in a year, I decided I would continue looking for an EMDR therapist, convinced that the OCD was a symptom of PTSD. I had had EMDR but the therapist had been very critical and reminded me of my wicked stepmother so it had had almost no positive impact at all.

I decided I wanted a therapist with foreign roots who looked ethnic like myself and my main therapist Mei Fung Chung. I found a clinical psychologist called Raquel Correia on the EMDR UK website. When I met her she was perfect, almost Jamaican looking, with long dark hair and dark skin. Of course I fancied the pants off her. But once we’d got over that hurdle the EMDR was amazing and had a dramatic impact on the OCD.

It was now time for a bigger challenge to my OCD and I decided I would leave London overnight. This required scanning another mountain of paperwork and also finding a hotel where the bedrooms were like Fort Knox and neither the staff nor aliens could get in at night. But unlike the trip to my rental property I didn’t unplug anything and only took 10 minutes to check the house before I left. I was so unconcerned about the house I didn’t even call my neighbour Diane once.  I went with my 12 Step sponsor, Ellie who said she would accompany me on all my OCD busting trips.

After the success of this trip I decided I would go abroad which I had not done for six years. My sponsor wanted to go on a writing retreat in Greece but at the last minute pulled out saying the timing was wrong. When I  questioned her she dumped me as a sponsee.  This, as well as the fact that my sponsor in Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous made me ill by encouraging me to come off psychiatric medication,  has left a bad taste in my mouth about 12 Step sponsorship.

But all my friends said I had to still go to Greece even if it was on my own. A friend of mine in recovery told me there were English speaking Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous and Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous meetings in Athens. He gave me the number of several recovery people there who were very friendly when I spoke to them. I decided I would go away on my own for the first time in my 10 year recovery.

Of course this required scanning a mountain of paperwork and finding a hotel where the bedrooms were like a bank vault. I demanded a room with no balcony or view in case agile Athenian serial killers could put a ladder up and enter on the 4th floor.

My close friend in recovery, Sarah, took me to the airport which helped to calm me down. I was terrified on the plane not only because I was leaving the UK for the first time in years but because I thought the plane would crash. But I had a magic weapon in my hand lugguage – a Bible, my falling apart toy Bunny and 100 portable locks I’d bought off Amazon. I had bought them in case the security arrangements on the hotel door were not up to scratch. I tried to lock myself in on the plane but was not successful at all.

Because of my chronic OCD I had not left the UK for over 6 years or got on a plane so was terrified of flying

The trip was a roaring success – I was not only welcomed with open arms by the Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous people in Greece but did my first piece of journalism for my entire 10 year recovery. I covered the Greek elections and the refugee crisis, interviewing dozens of refugees camped out rough in Athens. On the OCD front, I also managed to move to a room with a balcony where the bathroom window didn’t even close. I got round this by buying enough wire to cut off the border of an entire European country and wrapping it round the window. Even when disaster struck and I got a call from my burglar alarm company saying my house had been broken into I was able to get a friend to call the police and stayed relatively calm. Luckily it was a false alarm or I would never have gone abroad again.

I had another breakthrough at Christmas when I went down to Somerset to spend the holiday with a group of recovering addicts in various 12 Step fellowships. For a start I didn’t scan anything before I went as I was confident the house was not going to burn down. Also, although I had to leave the room at night to go to the loo as there was no ensuite bathroom, I did not do my usual trick of checking the wardrobes for miniature serial killers when I came back. This required turning on the lights and ensured I never got back to sleep. Also, amazingly, I was able to share cutlery and plates with all the people on the trip without the presence of a Proton Particle Purifier (aka dishwasher) to sterilise all the utensils.

I recover from my chronic OCD which meant I could not share cutlery cups and plates with anyone without them being sterilised in a dishwasher and manage to share all these implements with people I don't even know

On top of this I drove on a motorway, on my own, for the first time in my life, challenging my OCD fear of death on a high speed road.

I still have OCD but it has been reduced to a few minutes a day and no longer controls my life. My scanner is now printing out plaintive automated messages saying “YOU DON’T NEED ME” at 4am in the morning.  I have ejected the serial killers from all the of the following locations in my house: the laundry basket, chest of drawers, wardrobe and the deep freeze. After I gave the serial killers their P45s they all retrained as psychiatrists instead.   I have been unable to have a relationship for years because the OCD was so bad.  But now I am actively dating. I am practically cured!

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Next week: Where the f**k is Mr Right?

More than 20,000 hits on my blog in a year after trying to make it as a writer since 1999..

I score more than 20,000 hits on my blog on WordPress US addiction site Addiction Unscripted and LinkedIn in less than a year

With some notable exceptions, my comedy writing career hasn’t been much of a success till now.  I started in 1999 with a sitcom based on the psychedelic antics of the acid dropping Buddhist monks, hippies and resident Clown of The Happy Hippie commune I’d stayed in when I was nineteen in California. The action was translated into inner city Peckham in South London, which in 1999 was far from gentrified. The main character, Helga who was brought up on a snail farm in Germany, had been dumped by her husband and reluctantly decamped from Prime Central London Belgravia to Peckham. When she’d got into her rented flat, she’d discovered Buttercup, an ageing hippy and tech nerd drop out from MIT,  meditating in a cupboard.  He’d been living in parks for seven years before that. They set up a Hippie magazine Ecology and soon word goes round London that anyone who can provide a service to the commune or magazine can get free accommodation. Various oddballs such as Kirk the “body guard” a former US marine who’d survived a nuclear explosion in the Pacific but said sayonara to his sanity afterwards and Dick a gay stripper turn up. Those of you who’ve read my post “Dropping acid with a bunch of Buddhist monks in California” will recognise the scenario. But the sitcom was much more political lampooning various left wing and politically correct activist groups.

The magazine is focused on various good causes  such as Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and trees. But is actually a load of rubbish based on a misunderstanding of Buddhist, Hindu and Native American philosophy. They engage in missions with various groups such as the Animal Liberation Front where they attempt and catastrophically fail to liberate 20,000 gerbils who are having bad perms on their eyebrows. Fuck ups are fundamental to the group. After printing a solid gold issue commemorating the death of the Dalai Lama (who’s unfortunately still alive) the magazine is stormed by hordes of angry Buddhists and they have to flee for their lives. The story charts the dot.com boom and bust as they set up a website in hiding, masterminded by Buttercup, who transforms from a downtrodden hippy to an Internet Entrepreneur.

The characters set up a hippie website that deals with various good causes including Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and Tree Conservation. They still spend their days dropping acid in the commune

The website with chanting, hallucinogenic effects and various new age philosophies becomes a massive cult hit with clubbers who are so stoned they think it’s really deep.  After the website is valued at £100 million pounds Buttercup launches a coup trying to sell it to Google. This is thwarted by the dot com bust but a talent war breaks out with companies trying to poach Buttercup who ends up earning a million pounds a year.

I sent the script to Curtis Brown, the premier TV writing agency in Britain and got a personal letter back from Ben Hall the man who’s now their CEO saying he had greatly enjoyed the script and that he was “very impressed with the craft” with which I wrote.

Ben Hall CEO of top London literary agency Curtis Brown writes me very positive letter about my comedy script

I also sent it to a friend, a senior TV comedy producer who’d worked with many big names, such as Lenny Henry, who said I “definitely could write” but that the sitcom would not be commissioned as it was too similar to existing sitcom Hippies.

But reading through the synopsis I wrote in 1999, now in 2016, I realise that the story was very funny, quite political and very topical.  If only I had had the persistence that I’ve developed in recovery plodding on with my writing career despite multiple setbacks I had enough material for a comic novel.  I bitterly regret all the energy and good ideas I wasted that came to absolutely nothing because I didn’t plough on with the idea.

My next project in 2001 was completely different – a short film that was a gothic horror story about a young couple who, while having sex for the first time in a romantic woodland setting, realise they are next to a corpse. The corpse looks exactly like the girl. She falls apart after the discovery unable to touch her boyfriend or share a bedroom with him. The girl is later haunted – or imagines – the voice of the dead girl echoing around her bedroom begging her to come back to the wood where she committed suicide. There are hints that the ghost may be that of the living girl’s sister. The girl goes back to the wood, after her boyfriend fails to stop her.  When she is in the wood the ghost suddenly says that she does not want to leave the girl. She invades the girls head saying she will never be alone again for a second, and the girl starts screaming realising she is going mad. The film ends with a flashback of the living girl gloating as she pushed her little sister out of a top floor window as a child.

People who read this short story said it was “gripping” and “a real page turner.” When I sent this short film into the National Film and Television School in 2002 they immediately rang me in Jamaica to ask me in for an interview.  Unfortunately as my mother was devastatingly ill in Jamaica I could not come back to England for the course.  Again, although I had had such good feedback on the film, I did nothing to get it produced.

The height of my comic writing career came when I had a series of 10 short factual comedy dramas about Jamaica broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to an audience of millions. These dramas which featured up to 15 characters, each performed in different accents by myself, were broadcast between 2001-2004 while I was living in Jamaica. But when I crashed out of my journalism career because of my cocaine addiction this avenue was permanently closed. In any event although I could arrange and perform the truth artistically in these dramas (which were broadcast on the “From Our Own Correspondent” programme) they had to stick closely to the facts.

My next fictional project was more ambitious: a feature film script called “The Fish Tank Babies.” This was based on a short comic story I’d written detailing my reluctance to get pregnant as “you waddle around like a walrus whose eaten too much dairy milk and can’t even pee or have sex properly afterwards.” Modern women I said were “badly designed” as “Thousands of generations of harpy-like fashion editors have liposucked our hips from the requisite 76” to 36″ inches. The solution I said was either to “return to a deeply unfashionable Stone Age sillouette or “Start growing babies in fish tanks”

The film is a satire on a glamorous driven career woman in New York, who is incredibly obnoxious but has a “perfect” life who wants children but is horrified by birth. Until very recently because of my lifelong eating disorder I could not contemplate getting pregnant and wanted to have a surrogate birth. The film also takes the piss out of the American pharmaceutical industry, as the main character is the Creative Director of an ad agency that produces glossy ads for products like “Nolaze” that treats a condition called “Morning Attention Deficit Disorder” or MADD and “Perfect” that deals with the symptoms of an epidemic disease called Limited Imperceptible Friction Energy or L.I.F.E.

Conned by the perfect commercials she creates, she decides she wants children and discovers that scientists in Japan have grown goats in artificial wombs. This last fact is actually true!  In my film the Japanese government are engaged in a top secret project to rescue their national economy by raising the IQ of the population by ten points.  By removing the element of pregnancy and birth they are trying to persuade the most intelligent and successful people who have the fewest children to have the most. The fishtank babies can also be mentally stimulated twenty four hours a day with Einstein’s theory of relativity piped directly into the tank, alternated with bursts of Mozart and soliloquies from Shakespeare. She emails the project and is amazed when three scientists from the Tokyo Ministry of Technology turn up at her door the following day. One of these is actually an undercover white supremacist, Smith, who has infiltrated the project trying to spread a blond haired blue eyed gene throughout the world. She goes to an Elite sperm bank to hand select the sperm donors who all produce glossy “dating videos” to attract the women. Of course everyone she chooses is over 6 foot, has been to Ivy League Universities and successful in their chosen field.

This has peculiar resonance with my own life at the moment as I want a sperm donor (preferably over 5 foot 10) who has been to a good university to create genius frozen embryos. This is to preserve my ability to have my own biological child as I am 46 and my eggs will soon be past their sell by date. The fertility clinic said a sperm bank in California has donors that look like film stars but I was horrified that you can’t get any photos of them. The honest truth is I would love a dating video of my sperm donor!

As the fish tank baby technique in the movie is experimental they have to create eight embryos in fish tanks to be sure some survive. Unfortunately all the babies survive and Sandra cannot bear to terminate any of them.  This causes her life to fall apart and for her to be sacked from her job after she asks for maternity leave without being pregnant. The children are incredibly advanced, crawling within a few days, speaking after a month and also have special powers like crawling vertically up walls.  She takes her employer to court for unfair dismissal and the babies at three months old give evidence in court to prove that she is their mother. The appearance of the children in court produces a media storm.

The main character softens during the film becoming more and more attached to the babies and swops her TV Executive boyfriend, who can’t get it up, for the caretaker of her building who is an impoverished writer but intelligent and actually cares about her.

After the white supremacists get wind of a plan to move the project to Tokyo they launch a plan to abduct all the babies and kill Sandra. But the babies with their special powers and the scientists outwit the commandos who are arrested by the police. The family including the caretaker end up in hiding but happy in a South American country.

My friend who is a comedy producer said that the central character was not attractive enough for the audience to care about her and that there were elements of the story that were unrealistic. She said the central character needed to be humanised and the slapstick toned down. She also suggested I could write it as a novel, which I did nothing about.

Reading this script in 2016 I see it has many good elements. Again with the slightest whiff of discouragement I abandoned the project and didn’t try to do anything with it.

Despite the chaos and trauma of my life between 1999 and 2005 when I got clean, I have lovingly preserved every one of these scripts that I have written as well as the short stories.

Although I almost killed myself with my cocaine addiction and bulimia and was forced into treatment at the beginning of 2005 by my family I still preserved every one of the comedy scripts and short stories I had written back to 1999

Considering that I didn’t keep a single receipt from the £300,000 building project I did to build my house in Notting Hill this is pretty amazing.

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Once I got into recovery I was so caught up with trying to stay clean and dealing with my mental health problems that I had little time for writing. But the dramatic events that had happened in rehab, including my getting it together with an ex-armed robber pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail, stimulated my imagination. When I moved into a dry house on the edge of Notting Hill, the crazy shenanigans of the residents which my boyfriend referred to as “Lunatic Lane” inspired me to start writing again. But I only made a few notes before I became obsessed with a major building project to completely re-build a house.

After the building project was finished, I started full time on my first novel whose drug dealing hero/anti-hero was inspired by my boyfriend and where the central character was a journalist who had dropped out of her career because of her cocaine addiction.

The story starts with a talented young actress, Aurelia, on the brink of Hollywood fame, ODing in a crack house.  She comes to buried underground and, after a desperate struggle to escape, suffocates.

The other characters embark on a darkly humorous odyssey of addiction to avoid their feelings of guilt around her death.  Her mother, Lady Olivia, realising she has not been perfect as a parent, decides to organise a perfect funeral instead. A cosmetic surgery addict, she has a series of mishaps at the hands of various cowboys on Harley Street.   Aurelia’s father, Charles, a sex addict, who’s sexually abused Aurelia, becomes hooked on violent porn and sex with prostitutes. He persists in believing he’s a decent person, who’s basically misunderstood.

Aurelia’s sister, Charlie, an Oxford graduate, is the only member of the family whose life is not controlled by addiction. She is struggling to make ends meet as a journalist in New York, where she’s a rising star on a gossip column, poking fun at self-important celebrities.

Resolutely anti-drugs, she nonetheless gets drawn into the seedy world her sister inhabited as she investigates her death.  But she leads the police to Colin – the man responsible for Aurelia’s death.

Wracked with guilt over her sister, who she adored but also envied, Charlie becomes addicted to alcohol and starts dabbling in cocaine. After several Absolut disasters, she crashes out of her career in journalism and relapses on cocaine. She starts doing peculiar sexual favours for older men – including a man disguised as a cocker spaniel, nicknamed “Mr Woof.”  But, after a brutal experience with two clients, she gives up cocaine again and goes to stay at the house of her best friend, a loving normal family, to try to sort out her life.

Colin, whose life has been blighted by sexual abuse and his mother’s alcoholism has been caught and goes to prison, where he’s using heavily.  Eventually, the heroin stops working and, overwhelmed by guilt, he attempts suicide. He is introduced to a “listener,” an older prisoner who becomes like a father to him. He starts attending meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and gets clean. He also learns to wash.

Unable to stay off drugs, Charlie starts a relationship with a Jamaican drug dealer in Notting Hill. After a while, he says his life is under threat and needs her to bring a parcel of cocaine from Jamaica.  After being forced to return with the drugs, she realises she is pregnant. She leaves the dealer and gives up drugs.  But she continues to drink and, after the baby is born prematurely with a heart defect, it is taken into care.  On the point of killing herself, she decides she will give up alcohol instead.

Just as he’s about to flee the country, her father is arrested and charged with attempted murder after he’s attacked and almost killed two prostitutes.

Charlie cannot stop drinking and tries to get into rehab. Her father will not pay. She gets funding from her local council at a rehab bristling with ex-cons.  After a procedural cock-up, Colin arrives. They clash repeatedly in group.  But Charlie realises Colin has changed and that both their lives have almost been destroyed by guilt.  After they leave, they become much closer and, eventually, kiss.  Charlie’s father is convicted of attempted murder and stays in jail. The baby recovers after an operation on her heart. And, as Charlie is now off the booze and drugs, the social workers say that, if she stays clean, she can be re-united with the baby.

The exciting news with this novel was that the Editorial Director of a major publishing house was interested in the novel and had agreed to read it when it was finished. I set about writing the novel with absolutely no clue how to do. And when I had finished the gargantuan 250,000 word first draft and enrolled on a course in novel writing, realised it would have to be completely rewritten. After doing this I sent it to the publisher where it was read by everyone including the Editorial Director who said:

“It is a multi-layered novel which deals with the desperate consequences of addiction through a complex family drama, successfully weaving the two together. There are convincing darkly comic moments and characters. Despite the appalling situations all the characters find themselves in, there is a sense of hope threaded throughout the novel, which offers an uplifting message to a very serious topic. Overall, I thought it provided a real insight into addiction and exposes the sad truths behind it but it would be too commercial for our list.”

I then set about trying to obtain an agent for the novel. While I was waiting to hear from agents about the novel I started writing the sequel “Hippy Ever After” about the relationship and adventures of Charlie and Colin as they try to build a house and life together in Notting Hill. The blurb for this novel was as follows:

Celebrity neighbours, punch-ups with a minor royal and a basement full of exotic sharks…..

When unlikely couple Charlie and Colin choose to build a nest in one of London’s most fashionable zones they get a lot more eggs than they’d bargained for.

Will their love survive the chasm in their backgrounds and bank balances?

As well as the dark forces that are trying to drive them apart..

And will Colin, whose only home was a crack house, avoid cracking up?

When I showed the synopsis to my ex-boyfriend it was so close to my life with him he said “are you seriously telling me this is fiction.” Those of you who have read my blog posts “When celebrities destroy your house and cut through your bedroom door with a carving knife saying “we miss you” and “Armageddon with the ex-armed robber” will have an idea of the story. Though of course the big difference between my life and this novel is that I did not build my house in Notting Hill, with its constant interruption by celebrity neighbours, film stars and soap star lodgers with my ex-armed robber boyfriend. It was my house in Kensal Green, which had no celebrity involvement, that I built with him. I wrote this novel in a blaze of creativity at the end of 2013, writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks, as I knew a major building project was coming up on my rental property and I would not be able to write for a while.

As I prepare for a major building project on my house in Notting Hill I complete my second novel writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks

In fact I had a nervous breakdown because of the building project and as my boyfriend, who I was still involved with, was having a baby with someone else. So I was not able to write anything for almost a year.

As I wrote Hippy Ever After so quickly I have only just read it now. Although it is a very hurried first draft and needs a lot of work it is funny and has potential. After I recovered from the nervous breakdown I got back into the first novel.

A friend of mine had said that if I wanted to be a writer I should be promoting my work on Twitter. I thought “I’ve got nothing to promote so I’ll start to write a blog.”  I was really only doing it to kill time while I was waiting to hear from agents about my novel. I started posting bloginhotpants on WordPress almost exactly a year ago.

From the beginning the reaction of readers was different to my previous work. I had many hits on the blog from my first post on Facebook and comments such as  “hilarious,” “sad, funny and shocking,” “Lord Byron’s got nothing on you,” and “this is very good you should turn it into a book it would be a best-seller.” Later readers commented that I was “changing their lives by revealing these intimate details.”

I had had absolutely no engagement with social media prior to writing the blog. I was not even on Twitter and never posted on Facebook. When I started I didn’t even know how to send a Tweet but did a social media course.  I gradually learned how to use social media to promote the blog coming up with funny posts on Facebook and Twitter. I acquired almost 4,000 followers on Twitter. I read everything I could get my hands on on how to increase traffic to your blog.

This year I started posting on a US addiction website and Linkedin so most of my 20,000 hits have come in the last few months. The big difference between the blog and my previous writing, apart from the comedy dramas for the BBC, was my level of dedication and persistence. I treat the blog like a job doing a little on it every day. And now I have been writing it for a year I have basically completed a memoir. I still want to get the blog published but feel a tremendous sense of fulfilment from my 20,000 hits and the wonderful comments I’ve got from readers.

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Next week: Clearing the infestation of serial killers from my laundry basket, chest of drawers, wardrobe and even the deep freeze – my recovery from a lifetime of OCD.