On Dark Thoughts and Distracting Oneself From Them By Thoughts Of Adorable Animals

Photo on 25-03-2013 at 20.57 #3

“Dark thoughts”. Everyone gets them. Some more than others. Some much more than others. I am plagued by – not continuously – them. I get a lot of them. A lot of dark thoughts.

Violent ones. Really horribly violent ones. Like I’ll be walking down the street and begin to fantasise about all the horrible ways I and the people around me could be maimed if there was a severe traffic accident. Buses and lorries, basically – whenever I see one of either, I find it very difficult to not imagine the body-shaking, jilting feeling of one slamming into me, of half my bones being smashed on impact, of the feeling of travelling, flat, vertical, fixed to the front of the vehicle until it brakes and I’m thrown straight forwards, onto the tarmac, and I slide and I’m ripped open and destroyed and when the paramedics peel my empty corpse off the ground it’s almost impossible to tell who I am because my face has been so torn up by the rough surface of the road.

Dark thoughts like that.

They creep in. Wherever I am. Whatever I’m doing.

Violent fantasies of attack, of gas explosions, of knifings, beatings, blunt instruments, breaking bottles, smashing, destruction, bombs, terrorists, muggers, psychopaths… All the fears of what could/might/definitely will be done to me, as well as the many disparate ways in which I could defend myself in any of those situations.

The (relatively new) constant fear I have whenever I’m on the phone next to a road that a cyclist will grab it from my hand has me imagining throwing my bag like an athlete’s hammer, hitting the thief in the back of the head, the wheels spin out of control, flat, into the road, arms spread, fall off, roll, I watch the left arm twist round the wrong way, watch a HUGE CAR run over, cracking, a shin, walk up to the mess, one foot on the decimated leg and hold a hand out that  my phone is put into and then I strut off, smug, turning up the volume on whatever music I happen to be listening to.*

So I stumble around, constantly on the cusp of bloody mental journeys through my own (and other people’s) Tarantino-esque destructions. Which is unpleasant.

But what keeps me from insanity, from drowning in the buckets of my own brainblood, is how easily I get distracted. By animals. By people walking dogs. By cats on walls. By squirrels. By pigeons. By mice on the tube. By foxes at night. By the idea of penguins, monkeys, red pandas…

Whenever the red smog descends, it abates as soon as my mind momentarily considers the beauty and silliness of the animal kingdom. So the other thoughts I am plagued by, the other fifty per cent of the time, are adorable images of puppies, of frolicking kittens, of talking birds, chimpanzees, goats, seals…

So in here, in my head, I get one of two extremes. And if I can lay any claim to mental health, to being balanced, it’s that I’m exactly as likely to be fantasising about ripping my wrists open with my teeth as I am to be thinking about animals that are friends with other animals. Like the following pictures illustrate:

Photo on 25-03-2013 at 21.56 Photo on 25-03-2013 at 21.56 #2 Photo on 25-03-2013 at 21.57 Photo on 25-03-2013 at 21.57 #3

Yes. I do own a book about cross species animal friendships:

Photo on 25-03-2013 at 21.57 #5

(I’m not going to review it. And I know I have problems.)


*Which this week has mainly been the Broadway cast recording of The Book of Mormon.

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