I haven’t been taken ill, or shut down by unfriendly fire from governments or lawyers.
In 2003 my life collapsed around my ears; I was hopitalised several times and I had neither time nor capacity for personal administration. Over the next couple of years I lost job, income, home and marriage. I was simply unable to face the mountain of correspondence those crises generated. Unless the address was handwritten, I didn’t open it, and sometimes not then. Being bipolar, one of my problems in depressive periods has always been a terror – and I use the word carefully – of opening mail. Then I moved into a tiny flat with nowhere anyway to file anything.
The upshot is that 90% of seven years of correspondence lay in almost thirty cardboard boxes, perhaps a third of it unopened. Much of it is indeed very unpleasant. To give just the example of life insurance policies, 27 different letters saying direct debit payments were missed, and subsequent letters detailing the cancellation of these policies. Plus matching letters from the bank detailing payments not made and fines imposed for “administration”. 17 letters from British Gas threatening disconnection, 11 from Thames Water. 54 letters from debt collection agencies threatening court action. 62 letters from the Inland Revenue, who pursue me with a zeal they never display about Lord Ashcroft or David Mills.
Then there are the 48 solicitors’ letters about the divorce, the letters from the Foreign Office about my sacking, the letters from the Treasury solicitors trying to stop publication of Murder in Samarkand…
You will have gathered that, my life being very much together again, and finally having some filing cabinets and somewhere to put them, I have spent the last week ploughing through the whole lot, sorting it and chucking or filing it as appropriate. I shut myself off from the world and got down to it. It has been tough, as of course it evokes starkly some very, very hard times and difficult emotions.
There is of course also stuff which brings a warm glow. Memories of Nadira’s support in times of despair, little bits and pieces belonging to my children. The loving emotions are the most disabling of all.
Anyway, good news is I am almost finished. It will be a huge weight off my mind.
Most cheering of all were the over 400 letters of support, mostly from complete strangers, many of whom outlined their own experience of injustice and persecution. Many real apologies to the large majority, to whom I did not reply. They have all now been read.
Back to blogging by the weekend, I hope.