Chapter 21

Daniel reflected for a moment. He was acutely aware that the year of his breakdown, Dan’s breakdown, was approaching. He was sensitive to Dan’s every move, even more than usual. How might he prevent Dan’s (Daniel’s – his own!), psychosis?

‘So far we’ve cut Groundswell 2000 to one day, one night, instead of a whole week’, he thought, ‘and thankfully there are two more on the team…Beth and Davina. Dan is exercising well, but Daniel wondered whether he might benefit from a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Dan had taken up Tai Chi on Daniel’s suggestion. ‘But’, Daniel pondered, ‘perhaps a long charity bike ride, or group charity hike in a foreign country, to distract Dan and take his mind off things, so that he does not become permanently obsessed with the project. There are still three years to go after all…’

Daniel persuaded Dan to take a fund-raising trip to Peru in March 1997, and a charity bike ride to Paris in May of the same year. The timing was to override key events which had preceded Daniel’s breakdown when Daniel was Dan’s age. ‘Can I really change history?’ Daniel asked himself, amazed that it seemed to be possible. ‘Dan presumably has bipolar like I did, but it must be latent since it hasn’t resulted in an acute psychotic episode, or breakdown,’ Dan thought. Everything he’d suggested, like the ride, the hike and Tai Chi, was to help Dan focus and be calm, less pressured, less stressed, new rewarding experiences, to help keep his mind on an even keel.


While Dan welcomed the new ideas for the following spring, he’d been looking for change. He’d decided to test the water with acting. He desperately wanted to get out of the mould he’d been forced into, of being a laboratory manager, responsible for other people’s lives, of there never being an end to it. He wanted to regain something of the freedom of his youth.

Drenched in sunshine, he’d packed his car in no time. He’d been renting the house, there was no furniture to worry about, just his bike and several suitcases, one extraordinarily heavy, stuffed with books. He had to take the front wheel off his bike to fit it in the hatchback, forks pointing forwards.

He was driving to London. His journey interrupted by the accident, by a neck brace, managing to stay alive, in spite of having been forced off the motorway.


Dan immersed himself in the school of the CityLit absorbing the spirit of Stanislavsky, a book at a time, and living through rehearsals connecting with his inner child, with first love, with Tara, with inner joy.

Acting made a real difference. He felt as if he was experiencing a new life, everything had yet to be discovered, even his own self.  He was rediscovering his physicality, his sex, as he embraced all that ever could have been, all that mattered, all that ever was…

He became stronger, gaining in confidence. He was more able to root out and express his deepest emotions.

Daniel had admired this change in Dan, but was wary of Dan feeling as if he’d found his true self. Knowing that to imagine you’ve discovered the ‘real you’ can be a psychological indicator of potential for breakdown, at least that was his experience, and echoed the words of his psychotherapist.


As well as finding a flat for himself Dan needed to think of Tara, for when she would move from the country. He decided his pad in Putney Bridge, would meet both purposes, and he posted (via snail mail, as it was to become known) photographs of himself standing outside the garden flat. One bedroom. Sunshine.

Horizon 2040 – Chapter 21 – The Move