Back Pain and the Art of Mental Health Maintenance


This has been me waking for the last week.

As you can plainly see, I am transparent.

As I write, my neck is telling me of the resident pain it is experiencing. It’s in the crook of the neck, a dull, consistent nag that only goes away during deep sleep, but then returns with  needle-sharp reminders during the witching hours.

I am a man, fully-grown, and well-practiced in the art of exhibiting the symptoms of pain when they frequently occur. My wife has similar talents in the field of exasperated eye-rolling. We tend to fulfil all the outward attributes of a normal situational-comedy couple.

Life is not always funny.

Me, Prometheus above, has reached a juncture in his life. The choice between continuing to be pegged out on the side of a mountain whilst having my eyes pecked out by crows, or leaving the mountain, waving it fare-thee-well and starting again.

This morning, I am taking my last lung-full of mountain air and I am preparing to move on.

My friend is on the phone now. We are talking about the way we are going to set up our joint business-venture. I will be going out and finding a van to buy. I will kit myself out with a box of tools and a set of suitable working clothes. I will become a newer version of myself and discard the ‘what-if’ memories of the past. And I will be travelling to North Wales to learn my trade.

North Wales and Prometheus has an echo. I always think of it as the back of beyond and then a little more. It’s a kingdom that shares more with the medieval than the modern. There lay dragons.

It’s a big decision for me to take and one that I have been putting off for quite some time. The last time I made a decision like this, I flipped a coin. A Luke Rhinehart moment. I still don’t know if that one paid off, but it did leave an indelible memory with both my wife and myself. It was a good memory, one that we return to on a regular basis to sustain our belief that once we were carved from adventure.


I hope he was right.

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This is the story of what happened to me when anxiety took a grip. I lost my senses, I lost my job, and I lost me. I then turned to writing to find those things that had gone missing. How can you teach when you believe that education is a business that is failing in its primary remit of helping to create a better society? Indeed, how can you teach when you believe that you have nothing of value to pass on? The book/blog is the story of my recovery from the absolute darkness of the early days. It is an Odyssey through my life over the last twelve months and a retracing of my steps to discover how I found myself there. More than all of that, it is a re-evaluation and a rejoicing of all that which I call life. Happy reading and I hope it helps. There is madness, Everyday Madness, and not all of it comes from within.

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