Happy Daft


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123 in stock


By David Willmott


ISBN: 978-1-905610-38-9
Published: 2006
Pages: 409
Key Themes: drug abuse, depression, relationships, suicidal thoughts, recovery


Life for some is torture and suffering. David has suffered. This book is about David’s recovery and documents his rise from a life of addiction to sleeping pills (diazepam), intense depression and suicide attempts. David has been in and out of hospital, experiences that would have ruined a lesser person but that have only served to make him stronger. Anybody who has experience of mental illness will find resonance in this book, it is emotional and dark but ultimately it’s a tale of recovery.

About the Author

David Wilmott was born in 1956, to a catholic family. One of seven children, he grew up in Bedfordshire. At the age of thirteen David left school to train as a priest in St. Albans. David was an exceptional footballer and was expected to become a professional but instead he opted to take up the hippy lifestyle.

David became addicted to amphetamine at an early age and was admitted to an institution at the age of 16 after overdosing, David subsequently spent much of his teens in and out of hospitals as he battled his addiction. During this time David almost died from Hepatitis B and suffered many overdoses. Having conquered his addictions in his twenties, David worked in various sales positions before setting up his own business, a recording studio, in an old hat factory in Luton! After the eventual failure of his business (due to a series of burglaries) and his divorce David suffered a breakdown and became addicted to prescription tranquilisers. He eventually moved to live with his parents in Kendal where, after one suicide attempt, he met his second wife. His second marriage also ended in divorce under the strain of his depression.

David now lives next-door to his wife and six of his eight children. Currently David is unable to work, has no appetite or energy and suffers from extreme mood swings. David has lost all faith in adults and as he puts it ‘society’s (post Thatcher) shallow and sad vested interests and general greed for all things’ he hopes his book will help people to understand that life is not all about attainment and fulfilment through greed, thus helping to right some of society’s wrongs.


It is a very, very wonderful book. It is still so painful and personal (and I am in awe of your courage in publishing it), it is probably one of the most moving things I have ever read.

I am more than a little impressed with how you manage to cope with all the things you do. And what comes over more than anything is the vast amount of love you have inside and are able to give. This is – very obviously – your love for your family (children first and most, quite rightly), but also your love for friends, colleagues and unempowered humanity generally. I always thought you were one of the good guys, and now I know it.

Through all your misery of depression and associated problems (not to mention your poor arse, of course) there shines a huge and dazzling light of wit, charm, intellect, compassion, generosity and understanding. These are all facets of a person I value most highly and I am gobsmacked by your ability (yeah, I know it’s often stretched beyond breaking) to keep hold of them.

Yes – you do!

It is a privilege to know you. Thank you for the book. Do another.
– By Tony Cooke, local health worker

Book Extract

It’s 6am. I get out of bed. Wife is snoring baby on breast and B5 at bottom of bed. It’s hot again. Hot days cold nights. I’m delirious. I’m starving hungry. I eat some cereal. I eat it really fast and when I’m finished I want some more. I’m still tired from the sleeping tablets and this overrides the indigestion. I eat a piece of wife’s cake. I want to eat and eat and eat. I look for chocolate, anything. I stop. The cereal was enough, too much maybe. The cake was definitely too much and too quick. I try to ignore the oncoming pain. I smoke a joint-that’ll help-it doesn’t. Back to bed. Woke at 9am. Baby crying. She stopped crying and we caught each other’s eyes. She’s so beautiful. So tender, gentle, loving. Just beautiful. Loud though.

Wife stirred everyone for Mass. I pretended to be asleep. She just looked at me and said ‘You coming?’pause‘No, OK? See you later’ I suppose she does this often. She spoke softly and gave me no guilt. I wasn’t going anywhere.

Got up at 1 p.m.. G14 was looking on the Internet for churches. The project she is doing was about both Catholic and Protestant. I told her the true meaning of the word ‘pervert’ was someone who had crossed over from Catholic to Protestant. Can’t remember where I heard that but I’d remembered it. I don’t know if it’s true.

Nothing on the net about our local Cathedral. Wife was taking the children for a walk. It’s early afternoon. They’ll go to the park and she’ll walk to the shop. I said ‘I’ll take G14 to the Cathedral’ G14 and I went in the minibus to the church. We parked boldly in the priest’s bit as there was nowhere else nearby. Two priests, one older than the other, both seemed pleased with themselves. I asked the taller of the men if it was OK to take a few photographs. We chatted for a while. A friend of mine used to make meals for the priests. He knew her and liked her. I told the shorter man that I was training to be a teaching brother many years ago. He knew the order of Brothers of the Sacred Heart and knew St Albans (the city).

The taller man made a joke about a Bishop, his Bishop. I thought of Father Ted the TV programme. The taller man introduced me and G14 to the shorter man. The shorter priest had a stain on his suit from his midday meal. He was a content, confident man but easy.

‘This’ said the taller priest ‘Is our Bishop’ he said looking at the shorter chap. I’d forgotten what to call a Bishop; his grace. The taller priest asked me if I came to church. I felt guilty. God, they are experts at guilt the Catholics. I told him no. I didn’t want to tell him that I’d never get out of bed in time or how I hated crowds or anything. I just replied ‘No’ softly.

I thanked them for their time and G14 and I went into the Cathedral. I remember the feeling well. Training to be a Brother involves getting up at 6am, meditating on St Dominic Savio in the dorm for a bit, then a half hour mass in the chapel at the big house. There were two houses when I was training. The main house was where we ate and where the Brothers lived. It was very large house, a mansion really. We, the juniors and novices (novices wore habits and had to have been training for about four years) lived in another house about half a mile away, near to the football and tennis fields. I often wished I’d stayed there. It was safe so safe and life was full. Praying, meditating, mass, cleaning, walking, ironing, washing, playing, everything everybody should be allowed to experience. Love, love all around for God, for each other.


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