comments 5

Time off for sad behaviour

The signs were there. Once your mind is unable to fight off an assault by Right Said Fred’s Deeply Dippy, surely a more aggressive attack of the anxieties can’t be far behind?

So it was that last week I ended up in my local doctor’s surgery.

I felt like a fraud. A baloney merchant. At one time or another everyone feels like their job is a shit-fondue. Everyone is sick of circumlocution and indecision and wakes to a tummy-full of nerves. Everyone is frustrated and miserable, afraid of something indiscernible. On a Sunday everyone screams at their adoring partner to leave them the fuck alone.

Objectively everything is fine. I’ve got a great job, I’m lucky. Unfortunately it seems my rational mind is falling asleep on the job. And without that protective layer of certainty I’m exposed to whatever heebie jeebies my noggin wishes to entertain. I feel like a peeled orange and someone’s rearranging my segments.

Like many, my upbringing taught me that boys don’t cry and seeing a ‘shrink’ was just something characters did on American TV shows. The realisation that stress is the real deal hits hard. Especially on the day it decides to kick your crutches away.

Over the years, I’ve read hundreds of articles about about stress and anxiety. But it’s only now that I’m aware of the tightening fist in my stomach and that I’m clenching my teeth again. Stress rarely announces itself. Like the steady erosion of a cliff face, it’s in no hurry.

I suppose when all you think about is work; presentations, deadlines, more presentations, staff meetings, reports, workflow; when nothing is a ‘problem’ and everything is a ‘challenge’; when your mind is overflowing with cursors, folders, files, docs and the remorseless click-clack of Slack, something’s got to give.  And give it has. I’ve got a throbbing boulder where my stomach should be. My hands quiver. I can’t fall asleep and when I do I wake up at 5am. I’m grinding my teeth to dust.

“I’d like to sign you off work for two weeks”, says my doctor. 

I mumble, “okay”, genuinely unsure whether my weedy response is an affectation or a byproduct of illness. Am I The Timbre Swindler? 

So here I am. Two weeks off work. A doctor’s note and everything. For something I can’t see and don’t understand how to control. 

“What do you do to relax?” the doctor said. 

“I like to write rubbish on the internet.” 

“But isn’t that what you do for a living?”

I’m hopeful this time off will help me get a grip. I need to rejuvenate my levelheadedness. I must toss my worries into the mental peddle bin I usually reserve for incel-leaning cab drivers and anything Kardashian related. 

In an effort to go from mental illness to mental menswear, I’ll simply say that for no reason at all I appear to be dressed as a homage to 8 Mile. I’m wearing a Namesake graphic tee over an EG hoodie. I actually find this sulky teen look quite comforting.

I need to screw myself together, for my girl, if not for me. I must be awful to be with, totally unpredictable. Right now I’m like an illegal film site, you never know whether you’ll get pin-sharp 4K, or some twat in a cinema with an iPhone.


Hat: Visvim
Jacket: orslow
T-shirt: Namesake
Top: Engineered Garments
Jeans: Junya Watanabe
Shoes: Trickers


  1. Colin

    I’ve never understood why you don’t get more comments. I mean this is a fun blog. It is very sad to see that it isn’t being fun for you at the moment. Stay safe.

  2. N

    I met you once… briefly at Alphashadows many moons ago. Having already been reading your blog for such a long time…(in fact only knowing about AS because of you)….and feeling like such a gushing fanboy for meeting the legend behind the blog…..your writing has brought me so much joy…i laugh out loud (i rarely guffaw IRL..) as much as i nod my head along emphatically and in complete agreement to your musings on everything non clothing related…the constant meta bemusement you have commenting on how imperative clothing to you is.. in equal measure to how clearly it is not – in the greater scheme of things..a comforting contradiction as we journey thru this life….some stunning pieces you highlight Ive immediately bought or (when scavenging though japanese sites..found and snapped up)…they bring me joy not least cause in and of themselves.. theyre great items..but somehow theyre enhanced from a witty descriptive youve written which i always recall when doing that final mirror check before heading out …  your blog is something i click on as regularly as I click on theguardian website..every day a few times a day when i need to chuckle….the latest article..or something in archive..anything.. everything….its all great….ive alt-tabbed to your site from mundane moments in my life from all over the world….bored at work meetings in milestonic(?) moments ..glaring at my phone in between my wife’s contractions minutes before a new child appears…to stressful moments..stuck in a train overnight in the middle of nowhere in France..all because there is someone out there sharing their thoughts purportedly about clothing but about so much more…the absurdity, the contradictions, the frustrations, the unbridled joy, the childishness of the joy, the implicit snobbery but at the same time the diffidence..its so inviting and so relatable..soothing…I’m sorry you’re feeling down..i just felt compelled to write this to you in a weak attempt to say your thoughts…so generously shared publicly… have probably impacted positively more people than you would ever know…and I wanted to reach out. its not much and no panacea….but Thank You.       

  3. chimlay

    I know it sounds obvious, and I’m certain you know this rationally… but nothing at work is as important as your own well being and greater happiness. Finding a way to make those things harmoniously coexist isn’t always easy, I know, but always, always, prioritize you and yours.

    You’re an incredibly talented, intelligent, funny, and nice person, regardless of what’s going on in the rest of the world outside of your control. Remember that.

    Gah reading what I just wrote sounds so cringe…we’ll, probably not helpful, but at leas it’s earnest.

  4. Adam

    Discovered your blog recently, hope you feel better soon. Take the time you need, we’ll still be here

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