“I awoke this morning with the realisation that I am losing my mind.”
I pulled back my curtains and, though the day was grey and drizzly, was blinded by the light. A four-horse removal van passed below my window; the cannonade of hooves on cobbles sent me reeling. Instinctively, I groped my way back towards my bed and only just managed to stop myself. I knew, somewhere at the back of my mind where the old analytical Daladier still lives, that if I returned to bed I would never rise again. I therefore sank onto the upright chair I keep before my dressing table. When I had recovered somewhat I slid the towel from the mirror and surveyed the damage I have done to myself these last weeks.
My beard is now some two inches long. I have never cared for facial hair, even when it was fashionable, but have decided to keep the beard for now. It hides the sunken cheeks and slack neck of a man who has starved himself almost to the point of no return. I will shave it off when – if – I regain a normal, healthy layer of fat.
The hair on top of my head has started to fall out. I now have a distinct widow’s peak. My teeth are loose in their sockets. My gums bleed when I touch them. My tongue, when I examined it, was covered with a mottled grey coating which fortunately yielded to my scraper.
My ribs, of course, are plainly visible, as are my hips and sacrum. My lower legs are covered with a rash which I take to be psoriasis. There is a similarly unpleasant infection on the skin of my scrotum. But nothing, I believe, that cannot be cured by the resumption of a normal diet.
My mental condition, however, is a far greater cause for concern. The conclusion cannot be avoided that, temporarily at least, I have been clinically insane. This was not what practitioners euphemistically call a nervous collapse nor, I can state with absolute certainty, was it the product of the base disease that destroyed G and his brother. What it was – is – I am not qualified to say. I am, however, resolved to do everything in my power to prevent a recurrence.