It’s not great when…

Adam J Marsh
3 min readApr 28, 2020


You have an affliction.
A real sadness fucking you up. The big one.
And you remind yourself,
One day at a time.
Just like the junkie and alcoholic do,
without any of the heroics they receive for getting clean,
or even relapsing.
When you wrestle with black dog,
you’ll get scorn & derision,
from the surrounding crowd.
Car crash theatre.

Don’t act like you’re above it.
We’ve all laughed. I have… but,
It’s not so great when it’s happening to you.
When you’re in the thick of it.
Battling with it.
Driving to work, with it in the back of your mind.
Sometimes in the front of it.
It’ll be there in conversations with the barista,
It’ll be there when the police officer tells you, that you’ll be receiving a fine in the mail,
It’ll be there when your dogs bark and yelp, when you return from work,
It’ll be there when your girl tells you she doesn’t have time for you any more,
It’ll be there when you’re in bed at night, finding new, inventive ways to avoid sleeping because you’re alone and afraid.
It’ll be there when you hate yourself for wasting a full day, and trying to salvage whatever is left of it.

“Why can’t you just get over it?”
Well pal, I ask myself that a lot. More times than it’s been worth.
Thought about it, philosophized, still no great revelation.
That’s the rub. It’s the thinking. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
I’m second guessing my instincts, and lacking one for the next move.
What should I do? What am I meant to be?
I’ve reduced my daily life to these essential nags.

There’s been a whole lot of staring in the mirror,
And no wiping of the turp-soaked rag,
getting the grime, blood and soap scum off.

I’ll tell you something, I don’t tell many others.
When I’m building myself up with the constructive, healthy things…
I’m still caught with that feelings.
Rushing. Nervous energy. Tensions. In the guts. Emptiness.
God, it kills me. It kills me so.
The trap of feeling like I’ll never be healthy again.

It leaves me constantly making two choices.
One; I complain and bemoan my predicament in my thoughts.
Two; I press on and endure.
I make one of those two decisions, thousands of times a day.
It’s beyond exhausting.
Utterly exhausting.

I really don’t like this prose.
At all.
Because the words, as I write them, they feel healing.
… yet as I read them, they sting me.

In my head, all the women in my life, come flooding in. I hear the cruelest of put downs. The yelling. The screaming. Then the I love you’s. I hear the thoughts in the heads. The unkind ones. The ones they keep to themselves, biting their tongue.

What hurts the most amongst that wall of pain… is that I’m the one who mixed the concrete, and handed the women who loved me those bricks.


That’s the most awful, sorry feeling anyone will have in the world. The realisation that they’re to blame for the situation they’re in. Not out of neglect or malice, but out of garden variety ignorance, a lack of discipline to enact the necessary wisdoms to avoid it, and a coward’s mind.

It’s ok. Though. Really.
I have nothing better to do than work on myself.
There’s no plan.
No one’s handed me a set of blueprints, permits and the finances to create it. It’s just me, alone doing the work.
The back breaking, knee aching work.
Shoveling hot tar-like asphalt by hand, and only by hand,
Day in, day out —
hard, soul strengthening or soul crushing, work.
I have the choice in that.
There are no shortcuts.

If you ask any man,
why they work so hard
on growing out of their failures
and into their successes
it’s because they don’t want to die alone.
Even Bukowski kept writing amongst the shit.

It’s not great when it’s happening to you.
It’s just not great when it’s happening to you.