Some sort of lid blew off, and I lost the last few pieces of the spurious muddle-through optimism that had been sustaining me for the previous few years. Like most depressions that plague people who have been more fortunate than most, I was ashamed of mine because there appeared to be no convincing cause for it; I just felt as though I had come off the rails somewhere.
I had no idea at what point this might have happened. Indeed, I wasn’t even sure which rails these were. I had loads of friends, including girlfriends, I was in work, I was in regular contact with all the members of my immediate family, I had suffered no bereavements, I had somewhere to live … I was still on all the tracks that I could think of; so what, precisely, was the nature of the derailment? All I know is that I felt, inexplicably, unlucky, cursed in some way that would not be immediately apparent to anyone without a job or a lover or a family. I knew myself to be doomed to a life of dissatisfactions: my talents, whatever they were, would go permanently unrecognised, my relationships wrecked by circumstances entirely beyond my control. And because I knew this beyond any doubt, then there was simply no point in attempting to rectify the situation by looking for work that would stimulate me, or for a personal life that would make me happy.