Discharge – 2nd time lucky?

By | 08/10/2019

I’m out, but shaky

Yeah. It’s been a total of seven months. The medics seem to have finally got on top of my mood swings – it’s taken a lot of trial and error for them to find the right dosages of the meds that work for me.

But I have to say I’m still shaky. I was under a lot of pressure constructing the Coal Handling Plant in Zimbabwe for 6 months and after that in the design office in Jo’burg and I took it in my stride. I’m not at all sure I could do any of that now. I hope the pills carry on working and this is the end of this shocking spell of my life.

Living life again

But the doctors think I’m well enough to live my life again. I just wish I was more confident… but not overconfident! The euphoric, invincible fits of hypomania are certainly the greatest fun I’ve had. It’s like some sort of drugs hit, but your own body makes the drugs and feeds them into your mind.

But I know there’s only mental turmoil and despair when you go too far down that road.

Constant hypomania? No thanks!

There are people who do everything to be hypomanic at all times. I can understand that, but I’ll never go that way. I need careful, methodical sanity to hang my life and career on. It’s a much safer path.

Computer programming

As I’ve said, before leaving South Africa I’d identified writing computer software as a possible route into marketing, and ultimately into my own business.


I saw an ad for training in programming and applied to be vetted via an aptitude test for training in COBOL, a computer language generally used for business applications.

I was accepted on the course and for ten weeks spent two and a half days commuting by train to Salford. We were assessed on the quality of our output., mostly done at home and on the train. I was staggered by my eventual score of 90%.

Halfway through, the course director asked around the room how many jobs we’d applied for.

“Two,” said one person. “Four,” said another. “One,” said another.

“How about you, Marc?”


A numbers game

The success of my campaign lay not only in the quantity of my applications but also in my determination that each would be as top quality as I could make them. They’d all look good, they’d be smart, the language would be crisp and each would be tailored to the specific job I sent it to.

You wouldn’t believe how many offers I got to attend interviews. The list follows.

One from British Airways at Heathrow plus one from GEC Telecomms in Coventry.

That’s right: two.

That’s why getting a job is a numbers game.


Well, I managed to persuade GEC to take me on as a graduate trainee software engineer. By the way, the ‘graduate’ referred to was my degree in Civil Engineering, not anything directly to do with software.

I lived in Lady Godiva’s city for ten years. There were ups, there were downs. I was repeatedly forced to pick myself up or just say “Stuff it, I’ve had enough” and give up the ghost.

The lows were often of such depth they seemed impossible to claw my way out of, and the highs were wild, astonishing and utterly deluded.

There’s an ancient curse which goes: “May you live in interesting times.”

I understand that curse.

Plenty more to come, folks!

Best regards, Marc