one step forward, two steps back

I’m looking at my phone, waiting for a reply. I was vulnerable, tried to meet up with the a guy I know we have a connection with.

Can we meet after 4? I called at 4. Benefit of doubt, there might be a good reason for not picking up.

I numb my brain, distract, some anime that I’m really not interested in. It’s convoluted, I don’t know what’s going on. Alone in my apartment, I always am. I don’t remember the last time someone else was here with me.

What the fuck? 6 o’clock. I hear japanese but I’m looking at my phone. A weight on my chest and neck, breath shallow. I don’t understand. What the hell are they talking about?

text message – really? A text message? I fucking called you over 2 hours ago, and you send a text message? I’m tired … blah blah … tomorrow?

coward! child! you’re not worth my time!

But I want this, his beard against my cheek, to sleep next to him, his snores disturbing my sleep.

You’re not good enough, what’s why he didn’t call you back. You’re only worth a text message. He doesn’t want to talk to you. Look at you, you’re scared.

Ranting uncovers my insecurities

Ranting can be cathartic. I think people who journal or write know this well. I read somewhere that stream of consciousness writing has been proven through studies as an effective tool for people experiencing a mood disorder. But it’s hard for people supporting someone with <insert disorder> to cope through a rant. In my life, they just don’t know what to do.

A close friend got an eyeful tonight. Circumstances triggered my insecurities. This friend has more than enough to try to cope with, and I feel selfish to send the email. But I did and now I’ve posted it here. I am going to write more for this blog: it is evident that I need to.

Hi.

I felt like I needed to share this article with you. But I don’t know if I’m sharing this for my own reasons, or for you. Typing this email, I’m reminded of when I spoke to my supervisor about self disclosure. She asked me to reflect on the intention of the self disclosure, is it for me, or for the other person. Does the desire to share come from a place to validate my own experience/feelings, or is this really about a positive impact for the other person?
I probably over think this kind of shit. I think we talked about this earlier today, but I have come to judge myself for being negative, or, for talking about my sadness or pain. I feel that to maintain relationships, I have to either self censor my emotions, or, put on a brave face. I have experienced people close to me drift away or look uncomfortable when I talk about what goes on in my head.
And I really do admire how you are changing right now. Your focus on gratefulness is a perspective I’ve not been able to maintain. And I don’t, for not even one second, want to disrupt your positive reframing of your perspective. This strategy seems right for you at this time. You’re a kinder person, you draw strength from spirituality and you see goodness in people, even if you sometimes don’t see it in yourself.

I Didn’t Know How To Answer “What do you do for fun?”

Small introductory talk is hard at the best of times, but today I didn’t know how to answer the innocuous question “What do you do for fun?”.  The inquirer was a person I had just met in my friend’s backyard. It wasn’t a date or an interview … just two strangers who happen to be in the same space. My inability to answer the question honestly dropped my mind like a rock and the following rapid negative (yet realistic) thinking ensued.

“What do I do for fun? I can’t remember the last time that I had fun. I do do stuff, but I find those things fulfilling, engaging, necessary, but not fun. Am I too serious? Do I not know how to enjoy life? Et cetera …”

I was already feeling awkward: the host is a new, yet very deep, friend and it was the first time I had met his friends, family and partner. I had come alone to the party. None of my other friends had met him yet. I spent a lot of time inspecting the garden and staring at the view of the valley, masking my social anxiety with appreciating the view.

Things that I enjoy doing … they are … For the past 3 years or so, since this period of major depression started, I have lost interest and enjoyment. Anhedonia is the clinical term for it, but I prefer “meh” or the french word “bof”. I used to love to cook, I even made a successful career of it, but I hardly cook at all now. I study a subject that I find engaging, sometimes fulfilling, but it’s not fun. I work to pay the bills. Fun is just not a priority when I’m trying to feel like my life is meaningful, so I can go on, when I don’t feel like I want to stay on this planet. By being so engaged, have I lost the ability to be care-free? I suppose that’s the essence of it, I feel like I need to care, otherwise I won’t care about anything at all, including myself. I need to see the aesthetic and scientific beauty in the clouds above me or the leaves of a plant.

I don’t know if I am ready for fun yet. My studies give me meaning and are fulfilling. I hope to be able to help other people in the future, but I don’t do it for fun. But to have no fun? To not feel giddy, cheerful or amused? This isn’t a sustainable way to live.

Loss in Change

Hurt

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

Written by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails)

and covered by Johnny Cash


Recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. Less recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. And I will continue to experience a lot of loss. The difference between drowning in grief (I keep trying to convince myself) and short-lived sadness, is that loss is a part of change and if I look hard enough, I can see the beauty in my loss and in change.

My 2 best friends from my school days now live across the globe, one of which only moved to London a couple of months ago. I realise that in the year prior to M’s physical departure from my current life, I could have been a better friend; I hardly saw or spoke to M in that year. I mourn the lost time with M in that year now that M is in London. I mourn the time that I currently don’t have with M. But I know that M is where they need to be and appreciate that M has far more courage to face change and to step outside of their comfort zone than I do. Mourning seems to me to be a selfish emotion, which is not necessarily a negative. There will always be loss in life and now I know the importance of cherishing my connections and the importance that I nurture these people: my family.

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The Racing Mind that Aches

see-flick-ing flickers headlights

too fuck loud dakka rain voices drunk cars too many cars

eyes down voices can’t see

pain good fury scratching nails neck wrist scalp

twitch cigarette hitch throat

run frozen RUN stuck hide shame


I’m over-reacting and dramatising, I’m sure of it, but I think that I may have (am) experienced a mild episode of paranoid psychosis. I’m safe at home now, but the first part of this post describes how I felt less than an hour ago. I had just walked out of the cinemas after watching Mad Max: Fury Road. There are scenes in the movie where Max has short intense psychosis. Those images really impacted me – intense flashes of disturbing images. Then I was extremely over stimulated with all the action and flames and cars and guns and and and and. I probably shouldn’t have driven home in the dark rain with headlights constantly coming at me, but I couldn’t stay on the street. I had to come home to safety. I’m still anxious as I write this, I just had to try to focus my brain to make words and sentences. I need a cigarette …

I’m pacing a lot when I stand. I tried sitting down as I had my cigarette. My toes twitched till I got a cramp in my foot. The rain heightened my anxiety instead of calming me. I keep feeling itchy on my scalp, neck and arms. My toes are twitching again.

I don’t know what is going on in my brain lately. I’m functioning okay in the day, but the nights are messed up. Anxiety just sets in, or I just get this slow headache that lasts all night. A fleeting thought: is this withdrawal? I’ve not had an episode like this before. Today was the last minimum dose of my now old antidepressants. Tomorrow I won’t take any meds and the next day I start a low dose of the new ones. I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting a really low mood with withdrawal and lethargy, but not anxiety that has no impetus.

Bed. I can’t sleep now, but if I’m in bed maybe my body will think that it is time to sleep.  I can ride this out. It will be better in the morning.

Oh, and this is how I describe those slow headaches. I wrote this earlier before I had my little episode.


Cotton ball storm meanders around the brain.

Dull and obscuring, it pushes on the backs of eyeballs, furrowing brows.

Scalp tender, bruised from the inside.

Taking Away The Safety Net of My Meds

I just realised that I’m scared. I thought that that it was just normal anxiety, but the root of it is fear; the fear of taking away my safety net.

Today I started to gradually lower my dosage of the antidepressant medication that I have been taking for the past 2 years. It is the only medication that has worked; I have only taken 2 types. This transition will take 3 weeks: 1 week to gradually wean off the current meds to no meds, and 2 weeks to gradually get to my estimated new dosage of the new meds.

I have been feeling really anxious for the past month. I have been very busy with work, commitments to a men’s workshop that is now over, and also lots of assessments due for the end of term for the course that I’m studying. I had a lot on my plate (I study full time), and my psychiatrist and I have been planning this change since 2 months ago. But I submitted my last assessment this morning and I’m still feeling really anxious. My jaw is constantly clenched, the point in the middle of my brow tense. I think my tongue has been clenched too; it is now. My body feels weak and my appetite has disappeared over the last couple weeks. I hardly eat and sleep is scattered and poor.

Cognitively I am okay with changing my meds. I made the decision because I was frustrated with the side effects of the current meds that I’m on. The new meds belong to a different family of antidepressants, so I expect the side effects to be different. I don’t know if it will be better, but I don’t know until I try. Side effects affect each person differently. But I couldn’t keep going on the same meds wanting a different result. I think that I was even optimistic and hopeful about the new meds. But now I’m just scared.

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