The Last Cig in the Packet | Short Story

I wrote this story nine months ago and put off publishing it in case it was too morbid or doleful. It’s certainly a lot different to the silly, whimsy fiction I tend to post. I was also scared of sharing too much of myself. This story is fictional, but it is inspired by own experiences with depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK right now. I figured that sharing fiction like this might help in one way or another.

Ask for help. Lean on your loved ones. Don’t be too proud to admit when things are getting too difficult.


‘What are things like at home?’

I think of the thick layer of dust that sits on every surface in my living room, the unopened mail which carpets my hallway and the stacks of dirty mugs in my kitchen sink.

I shrug. ‘Fine.’

‘Do you live alone?’

I nod.

Dr Taylor looks away from his computer screen. ‘And how do you find that?’

I shrug again. I’ve lost count of how many shrugs I’ve given him over the course of the past five minutes. ‘Fine.’

‘What about when you need support? Who can you turn to?’

Another shrug. ‘My mum, I guess.’

‘Does she live nearby?’

I nod.

‘You see her often?’

I nod.

‘Does she know about the self-harm?’

My hand automatically moves to my forearm so that my fingers can poke at the fresh wound which lives there. It’s just beginning to crust over. The stab of soreness calms me. I’m looking forward to the inevitable sting that will occur later when I peel away the fabric from sticky, angry flesh.

‘Yes,’ I say.

‘So if you were in crisis you could go to your Mum’s house?’

‘I s’pose.’

‘And do you?’

Course not. When I’m in crisis I wallow in it.

‘Sometimes,’ I say.

‘Good. So your mum is an important part of your support network. I’ll make a note of that.’ He turns back to his computer screen and taps away at his keyboard.

I look at the beige walls of the bland office and wonder how Dr Taylor himself isn’t stir fucking crazy.

Continue reading on Medium >

No Such Thing as Can’t | Flash Fiction

‘I can’t do this,’ she whispers.

She retrieves a pair of smart black trousers from the wardrobe and lays them out on the bed. Shirt next. She has one in mind. It’s newish. Plainish. Smartish. First day material. It will help her blend in. But it isn’t where it’s supposed to be.

Hangers screech as she slides them left to right and right to left on their rail. It has to be there. It has to be hiding. It has to be.

She lunges for the wash basket, flips back the lid, and rifles through stale garments. It’s there, right at the bottom, crumpled into a ball.

Tears want to spill but she breathes and assesses the damage. She shakes the shirt out and examines it, front and back. Lots of creases. No stains, at least. A tentative sniff decides it; quick iron, spritz of Febreze, splash of perfume, and it’ll do the job.

She stubs her toe on the bed frame as she gathers up her outfit.

She traps a finger in the stiff hinge of the ironing board as she erects it.

She scatters bottles of cleaning products across the kitchen floor as she retrieves the iron from under the sink.

The iron is dead. The little light won’t turn on. It doesn’t get hot. Something inside it rattles when she shakes it.

She clenches her jaw. ‘I can’t do this.’

CONTINUE READING ON MEDIUM >

An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog

I’ve been AWOL for a while and I felt like I should do a short blog post to explain my disappearance and to make preemptive excuses for any future relinquishing of my website, social media, email, writing and general life responsibilities. Continue reading “An Update that Nobody Asked For | Blog”

Anxiety Girl by Lacey London | Book Review

Sadie Valentine is a beautiful young woman who, upon first look, seems to have it all. She has gorgeous flat in the most sought-after part of Cheshire, a wonderful best friend, and a successful career as an artist. But when things in her life start going wrong, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks begin to take hold and cause her to lose control. Continue reading “Anxiety Girl by Lacey London | Book Review”

Where Monsters Lurk | Short Story

The monster leers at me with dull, sunken eyes, its mouth agape and spittle smeared across its chin.

Its grey skin is plagued with more yellowing warts than unusual. Its long hair is lanker, greasier, and more dishevelled. I’m sure its hooked nose is more crooked than I’ve ever seen it before.

It’s the last thing I want to look at first thing in a morning, but it can’t be avoided. It took up residence in my bedroom years ago; it’s almost part of the furniture.

I turn away, sick to my stomach, and retrieve my day’s outfit from the wardrobe. Black trousers. Loose grey t-shirt. Black, fine-knit cardigan. Black ankle boots. As close as I can get to an invisibility cloak.

I run a brush through my hair and that’s that — I’m ready. I don’t bother with makeup. Couldn’t bear it.

In the bathroom, I brush my teeth while avoiding eye contact with the monster that lurks in there. It’s a little smaller than the one in the bedroom and easier to ignore if I concentrate hard enough.

There have been times when curiosity has got the better of me and I’ve snatched a glance at it. The shortest of glimpses of its repulsive flesh under the harsh bathroom spotlights — its skin pale and thin enough that I can see the blood pulsing through the veins beneath it — is enough to make me retch…

Continue Reading on Medium

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Is He Dead? | Flash Fiction

Why won’t he text? Is he dead?

No, don’t be so stupid. He’ll have just forgotten.

That’s nice, isn’t it? Forgotten the love of his life. I must mean an awful lot to him if he can’t even be bothered to spend 3 seconds texting me.

Seriously, though, why would he forget me? Shouldn’t I be on his mind every second of every day like he is on mine? Continue reading “Is He Dead? | Flash Fiction”

Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or you’ve known somebody who has, the short stories in Concealed will no doubt resonate with you in an incredibly powerful way. If you haven’t, you can treat Concealed as a window into the minds of those who battle with mental illness. Continue reading “Concealed: A Compilation of Short Fiction by V.P. Grey | Book Review”

Off to Sea | Microfiction

The undulating swell of the sea had always put her mind at ease whenever she looked out across the coast. She’d think how peaceful it must be to be rocked by the waves and carried by the tides. How indulgent it must be to stretch out her arms and allow the water to take her wherever it wished. Continue reading “Off to Sea | Microfiction”

This is Why I Suck at Social Media | Blog

Social media interaction is the first thing to fall by the wayside when I’m depressed. Long story short, it’s because I hate myself so passionately that it’s almost funny.

My self-esteem tends to be pretty low on a regular basis, but when depression takes hold it gets even worse; I find myself hating everything about myself and tearing myself down in every possible way. My appearance, my personality, my ability to write – everything about me sucks. I’m the real life Britta from Community – I’m the worst. Continue reading “This is Why I Suck at Social Media | Blog”

I’m in a Trough (Whinge Part 2) | Blog

In February I made a (risky) executive decision to stop taking antidepressants without checking with my doctor first.

It’s kind of a long story as to why, but let’s just say that my faith in my GP’s knowledge of antidepressants had run dry. And I kinda figured that I know my brain better than anyone else. My thoughts on my own brain weren’t really listened to by my doctor in the past, and it didn’t go well for me (Biggest. Understatement. Ever). So, I turned to Google for advice and weaned off the meds myself. Continue reading “I’m in a Trough (Whinge Part 2) | Blog”