A different economy

I’m going to talk about introversion and it’s wacky brother extroversion. But first, a brag.

I left the apartment at 5:15 pm and manged to take the bus to the bank, cash my cheque, walk to Pricemart, do all my shopping there, and cab home all before 6 pm.

That’s right  – all that in under 45 minutes.

Right now, I feel like a ninja master of Getting Shit Done. Before I actually got home, I had the vague idea that when I did arrive, it’d be between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm.

So when I got home and say that is 5:58 pm, I was like, SCORE!


Back to our irregularly scheduled programming.

It’s no surprise to introverts that extroverts don’t “get” them. But it might surprise introverts to learn how much they don’t “get” extroverts.

It’s an easy mistake to make. After all, we’re the deep thinking, introspective ones who, it seems to us, understand so much more of the world than those crazy extroverts who are always running into easily avoidable brick walls because they never think ahead.

It’s a kind of snobbery,. albeit a very harmless one. But it blinds us introverts to, to put it bluntly, what they know that we don’t, and the very different energy economy they live by and how it explains so much of why they are so different from us.

Tonight, I’m going to tackle that difference.

Let’s start with introversion. Introverts generate their own energy, and then apply that energy to their lives.

And on an emotional level, what most of that energy goes to is what I am going to call “the force field”. It’s the protective layer we introverts use in order to deal with this hot and noisy world. We need this layer because stimulation drains us and the only way we can deal with the world is if we have this layer of protection between us in the world.

That way, it’s the force field  that gets drained, not us.

But that means that our ability to cope with the world – our ATC – is limited. We have a finite amount of energy we can devote to keeping that force field up, and the more our lives and our environment drains it, the more stuff gets through and thus the faster our ATC reserves are drained.

And when that force fi3eld falls, we have to go. It’s a choice between exiting the situation and staying there and being wretchedly miserable because our entire nervous system is screaming at us to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE  and go someplace with a low level of stimulation while our overstimulated state slowly subsides and our force field’s batteries can recharge.

And let me be clear, I am not just talking about physical stimulation. I am also talking about social stimulation, which tends to drain us even faster than the physical kind.

so that’s how an introvert’s energy economy works. We generate our own energy and when it’s gone, we’re gone. It’s just how we are wired up.

But extroverts operate under radically different economic rules. They take their energy from their environment VIA stimulation. It’s LACK of stimulation that drains their batteries and there is only so long that they can endure that before THEY have to go find THEIR preferred environment : one with more stimulation.

That means that an under stimulated extrovert is every bit as miserable as an overstimulated introvert,. and I think we introverts, if we want to keep our “the more sensitive one” title, should acknowledge and value that, instead of telling them to go read a book and eyerolling at their ridiculous running around like they will die if they get too bored attitude.

That’s what it feels like to them. Sure, it’s not literally true, but then again it’s not literally true when an introvert says they feel like their head is going to explode when they are overstimulated, and we introverts recognize that as a valid feeling.

And this point might seem obviously but I nevertheless feel it has to be made : things that would be very stressful for us are happy occasions for them, and vice versa. If we want their sympathy when we are in a bad place, we have to give them sympathy when they are in one too. and not judge or minimalize their concerns and their needs simply because they are not like ours. In fact, they are usually the exact opposite of ours.

We wouldn’t want them being so insensitive to us, would we?

To me, this ability to not just open to one’s environment but to take energy from it is fascinating and mysterious, and I must admit, it makes me a little jealous. For an introvert like me, it seems like topsy turvy voodoo magic.

And it would be so nice to feel in harmony with one’s environment and look forward to high stimulus situations, as opposed to living in opposition with one’s environment and dreading high stimulus situations.

Then again, our ability to keep going in low stimulus situations in which they would be miserable probably seems just as amazing to them.

The world needs both of us.


I’m experimenting with using those horizontal lines to visually demark changes of topics. It’s a way for me to be able to stop talking about something when I run out of things to say about it nstead of forcing myself to keep going in order to make wordcount.

That should improve content density considerably.

In this section, I want to talk about something weird about today’s blog entry : I am writing it without Windows Ten’s automatic spellchecking.

Not by choice, mind you. It’s just something my web browser decided to do today. That automatic spellcheck that underlines misspelled word in read is working in all my other programs, but not in the browser.

And it makes me feel very insecure. My safety net is gone. It makes me really appreciate how dependent on that damn thing I have become.

The very idea of doing all the proofreading myself seems like crazyness.

I am definitely going to cut and paste today’s article into a window with functioning spellcheck before I post it.

And I get the feeling there will be a LOT of correcting to do.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

A comfortable kind of crazy

In a way, I am comforted by my craziness. On some levels and in some forms, I feel like it keeps me safe. Keeps the world at bay. Gives me a last ditch emergency mode that I hope I never need – after all, I might not come back – but whose presence as an option soothes and comforts me.

And I need all the soothing and comforting I can get. to be honest. I’m an emotionally needy guy. It just doesn’t show so much because I am so bad at getting those needs met that I don’t usually do a thing about them.

That, obviously, has to change.

More importantly. I want it to change.

But let’s not get into that whole “why wanting is better than needing” spiel.

Instead, let’s talk about the killer inside me.

I have spoken in this space before about how the brutality of my elementary school years changed something in me. I became more savage and less civilized. I was forced by circumstance to tap into my most primitive self and while that eventually worked out for me (with help fromk puberty – we mutants love puberty), I still wish I could have kept my civilized innocence instead of having it bashed out of me by rape, then physical abuse at the hands of my peers, then lengthy social isolation.

It’s a wonder that I never went the jail kind of crazy.

But that would be attracting too much attention to myself. I’ll just live in quiet misery out of the way somewhere, and not bother anyone.

Heck, I will even put on a happy smiley funny cute face for the world in order to hide my pain and keep my secret.

And you’ll believe it because I believe it, sorta kinda. When I am being That Guy, I can forget about my problems and my pain for a while. And I am not exactly fabricating anything either.What you see is all me.

But not all of me.Nobody will ever see my totality. It would be too much for the mind to take. Like the science fiction trope where the Clarke level alien tech tries to cram a thousand lifetimes of knowledge and experience into the human brain all at once.

You’d think hyper advanced alien races would be able to factor in such a basic variable as mental bandwidth into their fancy knowledge machines, but apparently they really do this kind of thing to burn out people’s mind and laugh at how stupid they are.

Aliens are such dicks.

And when I say nobody will glimpse my totality, I am very much including myself. I couldn;t handle it either. H. P. Lovecraft said that the most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. ”

I’ve resented that statement ever since I first read it when I was a teenager. And I didn’t even know what a racist POS Lovecraft was!

What I resented was the implication that I, personally, couldn’t handle that level of total consciousness. (I never said this was sane or reasonable. )

But then I got a little bit older, and I realized that old H. P. Sauce Lovecraft was right on the money with that one. for me especially.

I have layers upon layers upon n-dimensional layers of knowledge, emotion, opinion, reasoning, and everything else built up in my mind. No indexing system in the world could keep up with it all.  The whole damn library would collapse under the weight of all that integrated data.

And that’s probably a bad thing.  Overall.

 


 

Time jump! From this point on, everything I write will have been written between 6:30 and whatev. The stuff before now was writter aeoun noonishly.

Fun fact : I have slept only two hours out of the last 24! And yet,. I feel fine. Super, thanks for asking.

So clearly I am in that even more hypo than hypo-manic that I fall into every now and then, and eventually the walls will come a-tumbling down and I will sleep for like, twelve hours or something.

Or at least eight hours,. which is three more than I normally get. Even with the sleeping pills, I only get five.

But seeing as before the sleeping pills I couldn’t stay asleep for more than 90 minutes. the sleeping pills  are much, much appreciated.

They don’t help me get to sleep (dammit) but they keep me asleep.

What I dream of is something that helps me get there. I have tried a bunch of OTC stuff as well as Zopiclone and my current pair, Quetiapine and Trazadone. and none of them offered much help in the actually getting to sleep bit.

For that, it seems, nothing will do but the long packing up process of my mental circus My brain runs at such a high rCPU ate and at such overwhelming horsepower that it takes a long time just for it to slow down enough to get off the fucking train, let alone doss down in Sleepytown.

Earlier I was thinking about how much it would suck to be a teenager in a community built around the sort of facility where the patients are there for rest in a quiet. uneventful, soothing environment with gentle pastoral splendor and plenty of fresh air.

It would have a name like SoftWillow or Glittering lake, and everyone in the community works there,. either directly or as part of the business that serve it.

Because of this. there is a very strong connection between the community and the facility and everyone considers it their duty to make sure the patients are not disturbed.

Into this setting would come our teenaged protagonist. who just turned fifteen and is starting to realize how much he hates all the peace and quiet because he’s has a lively mind and a decent IQ and thus craves STIMULATION.

I mean, can you imagine? I mean, sure, my home town was dull and boring, but this place would be dull and boring on purpose.

Hmmm. This is actually a pretty good setup for a TV series. It could be part teen drama. part medical drama, part ensemble comedy, with plenty of room for “quirky” one-off characters, as it’s a huge facility and most of the patients have mental issues of one sort or another, whether it’s from mental illness or from brain damage or whatever.

God damn I am brilliant. I create stuff like this without even trying.

Now I just need a friend in the biz…

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

reality.sys error : object(s) missing

I’m currently experiencing a reality issue, and it’s a lulu.

I can’t find my drugs. Last Friday. I got all my psychiatric drugs refilled, and now I can’t find some of them.

Note that “some”. If they were all missing, that would at least be logically coherent. But no, only half of them are missing. My sleeping pills, Quetiapine and Trazadone, are present and accounted for.

That means that the batch of meds I got definitely made it home and into my bedroom and on to my desk. But some time after then, the more important ones, my antidepressants Wellbutrin and Paxil, went missing.

And I am trying to stay calm about this and think things through logically and methodically, but I am prone to freaking out in situations like these which is the whole reason I need the fucking meds in the first place.

So I am not a happy camper at the moment.

Memory : when I was in grades 1 and 2, gym class consisted of a nice old lady playimng this ancient children’s exercise LP for us and encouraging us to do the xercise by doing them herself, with us.

God, I hated that thing.

And the thing I hated most was this part where the voice on the record said “Is everybody happy?” in a plummy chummy kind of voice, and we the chillun’s were supposed to reply “Yes, we’re happy! H A P P Y!”.

That’s us poor saps spelling out the word “happy”.

So you see, me and gym class started off as enemies and it only got worse from there.

Sometimes I wonder about how I got to be such a smartass kid who never really participated in the innocent group reality of my surroundings. Part of us must be the early childhood trauma of being raped by a stranger at the age of 3, and of course being the youngest of 4 probably played a role, but I feel there must be more.

I think I was born this way, to a certain extent. I mean, my reaction to that form of gym class was by no means typical. The other little kiddies enjoyed themselves and, looking at it from my current perspective, it was lame but it was harmless, and actually a lot less traumatic than real gym class.

But there I was, rolling my little eyes at how lame the whole thing was and doing the absolute minimum I could get away with as a form of protest.

It’s like I was never innocent. Maybe it was a function of my IQ, I don’t know. But I never had an imaginary friend. I never had a toy animal I dragged everywhere with me. I never played with toys and I never used said toys to create little dramas. I never thought the Easter Bunny was real. Ditto the Tooth Fairy.

And my belief in Santa did not last very long because my high torque little mind produced such an intense battery of questions about how Santa got in and how he did it all ibn one night and such that my siblings had no choice but to admit he was not real.

And this went down before I was even school age.

So yeah. I was a weird, weird kid on all levels. And I was so sensible. No flights of fancy for me. Not in the traditional “dreamer” sense. I didn’t go on Spaceman Spiff style journeys of the imagination. For me, the walls between imagination and reality were rock solid, and I never believed somethibng because I wanted to believe it.

It’s always been an evidence bnased world for me.

And I think I have suffered for it. I have talked in this space about how the capacity for self-delusion is necessary for a mind to stay healthy. I think my lack of imaginary friends etc is an expression of that.

I never had the ability to invent a way to satisfy my emotional needs.  And that bothers me, and not just because I have figured out that being that way has been bad for me.

No, it also bothers me because it suggests I might have been born with some kind of psychological congenital defect. Something which kept me from functioning normally right from the beginning. Something that means I was bor wired weirdly.

I find that notion entirely plausible. And it would explain a lot.

Of course, it’s hard to be certain what is nature and what is nurture even under the best of circumstances, and with my primary trauma having happened when I was only 3 years old and hence at a very early stage of my psychological and mental development, the line becomes hopelessly blurred.

It’s not so much a line as a smudge.

But as far back as I can remember, I have had the same no-bullshit mindset. I have always seen through the illusion and known what was truly real and what was merely a thing people believed. I have always had laser-hone razor for a mind and my restless and relentless hunt for the truth of things started when I wasn’t even old enough to need my own movie ticket when we went to see a flick.

And it really seems like there is no way out of this machine for me. I have taken a teeny tiny step by deciding there is such a thing as “true enough” and permitting at least the idea of acceptable bullshit cross my mind.

But that’s about it. This brutal truth machine of mine is my main way of deriving the reality that exists beyond my immediate sensory world. It is like a sense unto itself, and without it, I would be lost in absolute chaos and wouldn’t even know my name.

Or so it would have me believe, anyhow.

Perhaps it can be tamed, though. Pacified. Domesticated. Trained to know when it should restrain its urg to lunge for the jugular all the time in its pell-mell pursuit of the truth. Teach it to make peace with my fragile humanity and recognize that I am as frail as any other human being and there is really only so much truth I can take before shit starts breaking down on an epic scale.

A part of me was wisgusted just to type those words. Admit limitations? NEVER!  I am a truth warrior! I am The One Who Sees! I am the ideal rugged philosopher who will pursue the truth no matter the consequences! I AM VERY SMART.

But even us geniuses are, at the end of the day, still human.

And that means we have to respect our own limitations.

Even when we don’t want to.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

What I should do

‘t lie to you, folks…. I’ve not been doing so well lately.

My depression is getting worse. I feel very fragile and weak and exposed. I find lying down in bed increasingly attractive, and getting out of bed increasingly difficult. Life is so much easier when I just lay there and listen to music and let my mind drift into a half-sleep state where I feel comfortable and cozy and warm, and I am safe from all the world’s harshness and its oppressive sensorium abusing stimuli.

And yet, because it is only half-sleep, I am also safe from my inner demons, who would have the run of the place were I fully asleep.

At this point in my life, I feel like it’s probably best that I rarely remember my dreams.

At other, healthier times, I would crave their insights and feel cheated of them.

But right now,. I doubt they would do me any good.

The bed-seeking is the most obvious sign of my mental health’s decay. And it’s worse than merely wanting to stay in bed, because now even reading seems like a daunting task involving far too much effort and “noise”.

Admittedly, reading the Stephen King stories is probably contributing to that. He’s a brilliant writer but his stories tend to take more out of you than they give back to you, at least in the short term.

Makes me kind of wish I didn’t have this deep compulsion to finish what I start. Were I just a little flightier, I could declare the book to be a net loss for me and put it down and stop reading it, never to look back.

But if I did that, the book would in effect,. hang there in my mind as an unfinished task and continue to take up space until I finally finished the damned thing.

Best not to get in that situation in the first place.

Anyhow. Feeling bad lately. Fragiler and exposed. Talked about it with my therapist today. [1] He has upped my dose of Paxil from 40 mg to 50 mg.

I hope that helps. Right now, I feel like it’s all I can do to fight back the crazy voices that say that I “shouldn’t” need a higher dose and that needing a higher dose means I am “weak” and “pathetic” and yadda yadda sis boom BAH.

The usual bullshit. Fuck that noise. I’d take being a happy weakling over being a miserable manly man every single time.

I still have that feeling that something is moving within me. That all my recent mishigas is part of a larger process of healing that is finite and will leave me psychologically better off when it ends.

But lately, my faith that it actually will end is wavering. I tell myself that all tunnels end and all I have to do is stay on the train till this one does.

That means resisting the urge to despondently hop off the train and end up staying in the tunnel forever.

Like Churchill said, “when going through hell…. keep going!”  Seems obvious, but for a lot of people, their first instinct when they feel pain is to slam on the brakes.

Not always the right strategy.

One of my most vexatious issues came up in therapy today. it’s the issue I named tonight’s blog entry after.

It’s the issue of knowing what I should be doing. And it goes like this :

The issue is NEVER that I don’t know what to do. Not really. I am a highly intelligent and creative guy with a tough but highly flexible mind that bristles with muscles. At a moment’s notice I can name a dozen things I “should” be doing.

So advice along those lines, while gratefully accepted, is essentially useless to me. I will take the suggestions and I will agree that what is suggested sounds like a great idea and probably would help me a lot.

But what I don’t say is that there is absolutely no chance I will actually do the thing. None. Nothing. Nada.

And I can’t explain why, either. So I am agreeable without ever actually agreeing to anything concrete. That’s my solution to that problem.

And the thing is, I sort of half-believe that I will do the thing at the time. It’s always a nice idea that some ideal form of me would embrace in an instant and rush out to implement. It feels good to imagine what that would be like.

But of course, this means I have left so, so, so many disappointed people oin my wake/. People who were sure I was going to do the thing they suggested because I gave them every impression that I would do it and seemed totally sincere when I said I would.

And I was sincere. Sort of. LEt’s just say it’s very easy to sincerely mean something in the moment when you know, deep down, that you won’t mean it later.

That you will, in fact, have given up on the thing before even beginning to think about thinking about doing it because that is was depression does to people.

It robs us of all motivation. And no matter how blazingly brilliant and tenderly well thought out and creatively compassionate your suggestioin is, I guarantee it will take motivation, and hence is utterly doomed to failure.

It’s like suggesting the best route for a car with no gas to take.

And I know that’s a hell of a thing to say to people. It certainly left my therapist at a loss for words. He has a tendency to give me advice, as one does to those younger than yourself. And I listen because it would be rude not to do so.

But I don’t need more fucking advice. Advice is useless to me. No matter what route yoiu suggest, the car still has no fucking gas.

What I need from my therapist is to be asked questions that force me to think of things in a new way, and thus provide the kind of disuptive unsettling of equilibrium that leads to a new, superior equilibrium.

So no more life advice. Fuck THAT noise. I always know a million things that I “shoujld” be doing and it doesn’t make a god damned bit of difference because I am out of gas.

And no advice in the world can fix THAT.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. ‘t lie to you, folks…. I’ve not been doing so well lately.

    My depression is getting worse. I feel very fragile and weak and exposed. I find lying down in bed increasingly attractive, and getting out of bed increasingly difficult. Life is so much easier when I just lay there and listen to music and let my mind drift into a half-sleep state where I feel comfortable and cozy and warm, and I am safe from all the world’s harshness and its oppressive sensorium abusing stimuli.

    And yet, because it is only half-sleep, I am also safe from my inner demons, who would have the run of the place were I fully asleep.

    At this point in my life, I feel like it’s probably best that I rarely remember my dreams.

    At other, healthier times, I would crave their insights and feel cheated of them.

    But right now,. I doubt they would do me any good.

    The bed-seeking is the most obvious sign of my mental health’s decay. And it’s worse than merely wanting to stay in bed, because now even reading seems like a daunting task involving far too much effort and “noise”.

    Admittedly, reading the Stephen King stories is probably contributing to that. He’s a brilliant writer but his stories tend to take more out of you than they give back to you, at least in the short term.

    Makes me kind of wish I didn’t have this deep compulsion to finish what I start. Were I just a little flightier, I could declare the book to be a net loss for me and put it down and stop reading it, never to look back.

    But if I did that, the book would in effect,. hang there in my mind as an unfinished task and continue to take up space until I finally finished the damned thing.

    Best not to get in that situation in the first place.

    Anyhow. Feeling bad lately. Fragiler and exposed. Talked about it with my therapist today. {{1}} He has upped my dose of Paxil from 40 mg to 50 mg.

    I hope that helps. Right now, I feel like it’s all I can do to fight back the crazy voices that say that I “shouldn’t” need a higher dose and that needing a higher dose means I am “weak” and “pathetic” and yadda yadda sis boom BAH.

    The usual bullshit. Fuck that noise. I’d take being a happy weakling over being a miserable manly man every single time.

    I still have that feeling that something is moving within me. That all my recent mishigas is part of a larger process of healing that is finite and will leave me psychologically better off when it ends.

    But lately, my faith that it actually will end is wavering. I tell myself that all tunnels end and all I have to do is stay on the train till this one does.

    That means resisting the urge to despondently hop off the train and end up staying in the tunnel forever.

    Like Churchill said, “when going through hell…. keep going!”  Seems obvious, but for a lot of people, their first instinct when they feel pain is to slam on the brakes.

    Not always the right strategy.

    One of my most vexatious issues came up in therapy today. it’s the issue I named tonight’s blog entry after.

    It’s the issue of knowing what I should be doing. And it goes like this :

    The issue is NEVER that I don’t know what to do. Not really. I am a highly intelligent and creative guy with a tough but highly flexible mind that bristles with muscles. At a moment’s notice I can name a dozen things I “should” be doing.

    So advice along those lines, while gratefully accepted, is essentially useless to me. I will take the suggestions and I will agree that what is suggested sounds like a great idea and probably would help me a lot.

    But what I don’t say is that there is absolutely no chance I will actually do the thing. None. Nothing. Nada.

    And I can’t explain why, either. So I am agreeable without ever actually agreeing to anything concrete. That’s my solution to that problem.

    And the thing is, I sort of half-believe that I will do the thing at the time. It’s always a nice idea that some ideal form of me would embrace in an instant and rush out to implement. It feels good to imagine what that would be like.

    But of course, this means I have left so, so, so many disappointed people oin my wake/. People who were sure I was going to do the thing they suggested because I gave them every impression that I would do it and seemed totally sincere when I said I would.

    And I was sincere. Sort of. LEt’s just say it’s very easy to sincerely mean something in the moment when you know, deep down, that you won’t mean it later.

    That you will, in fact, have given up on the thing before even beginning to think about thinking about doing it because that is was depression does to people.

    It robs us of all motivation. And no matter how blazingly brilliant and tenderly well thought out and creatively compassionate your suggestioin is, I guarantee it will take motivation, and hence is utterly doomed to failure.

    It’s like suggesting the best route for a car with no gas to take.

    And I know that’s a hell of a thing to say to people. It certainly left my therapist at a loss for words. He has a tendency to give me advice, as one does to those younger than yourself. And I listen because it would be rude not to do so.

    But I don’t need more fucking advice. Advice is useless to me. No matter what route yoiu suggest, the car still has no fucking gas.

    What I need from my therapist is to be asked questions that force me to think of things in a new way, and thus provide the kind of disuptive unsettling of equilibrium that leads to a new, superior equilibrium.

    So no more life advice. Fuck THAT noise. I always know a million things that I “shoujld” be doing and it doesn’t make a god damned bit of difference because I am out of gas.

    And no advice in the world can fix THAT.

    I will talk to you nice people again tomo

Parts of me

I’m a complicated man, and no one understand me….period.

Part of me has always wanted to be a kind of secular Messiah. To be the person whose wisdom and kindness and overwhelming good will inspires people and leads them to a new understanding of the world and how they, as human being fit in it.

This new understanding would sweep away hate and distrust and discrimination and usher in a new level of civilization which will make our current level of civilization look to these new citizens to be just as bad as the Aztecs with their human sacrifices or Nazi era Germany during the Holocaust.

I would do this via my message of tolerance and understanding for all that I would put in language anyone can understand and connect with and that in turn connects with the better version of themselves lying dormant in every, and tells it that it is safe to come out now. You don’t have to be scared any more.

Escape from your torments is possible! You have only to look up… and receive!

And so forth and so on. I could probably fill a book with that sort of thing if I just let that inner Jesus rock the microphone for long enough.

And I really wish I could do that. Just surrender to that side of me and live my life according to the highest of ideals.

But the thing is, I would still be a human being with lust and hunger and a thirst for power and all those other “unworthy” emotions.

And another part of me wants to surrender to THOSE emotions. To unleash my angry id and pour my rage into the world like molten fucking lava. To take the attitude that I am finally going to get what I want and fuck anything or anyone who gets in the way because I’m coming through with a white-hot sledgehammer and breaking down barriers like a runway steamroller.

That’s the part of me that dreams of unleashing my full fury on a world full of assholes with too much power and too little brain and even less conscience and beating these motherfuckers to death with my awesome powers of satire and mockery and sheer verbal violence on an apocalyptic scale.

To be a firebrand hotter than the center of the Sun, and lay waste to all the stumbling fools, limp and compromised liberals, crazy/evil/stupid conservatives. and everyone else in the way of true progress as a species for reasons petty, stupid,. selfish, cowardly, and just plain awful throughout the world.

When it comes to words, my powers are vast – vaster than I can even comprehend – and unleashing them full force to vaporize all the impediments to progress I can find would be an excellent use of them.

But the thing is, using that kind of heavy duty magic is bound to get to feel so good that I don’t notice how much of it is spilling into my normal life and hurting those around me when I react to them with the same intensity.

And that’s not acceptable.

So both Secular Jesus and Satirical Satan have their problems.

And another part of me just wants to be nice all the time.

To live in a world of harmonious and happy emotions with no harsh vibes and no nastiness, just peace love and harmony and real human affection.

A world where I can make people happy every waking hour of the day, just by being my warm, cheerful, kind, loving, lovable, adorable, silly self

A life devoted to spreading sunshine and making the world a happier, healthier, saner, stronger, better place.

A world full of positive vibes of love and affection and acceptance and harmony, with all the harmful barriers gone and people achieving true intimacy with one another.

A world where old emotional scars fall away like shed skin cells and let the true you, the person under all the pain, come out into the light and the sun and the warm glow of being truly valued and accepted at last.

A world I would create. first for a small group, then as we learned more about what works we would expand the group, and keep on expanding it until every human being on planet Earth would be happy in the new harmony.

So kind of like Secular Jesus, but more down to earth and homey. You don’t have to believe in God or Krishna or anything else.

All you have to do is open your heart to the love that’s all around you.

The rest will take care of itself.

Then again, yet another part of me wants to be a brilliant entertainer and universally acknowledged amazing dude whose reputation is so golden that big money is competing to produce my next product before I’ve even finished half of it. To have shows fighting hard to have me as a guest because not only am I a beloved media star but I also give good interview because I am consistently fresh, interesting, .entertaining, witty, and a whole lot of fun to have around.

The kind of guy who makes people’s faces light up when they hear his name.

Someone making insane quantities of money, most of which is plowed into his ever expanding media empire. An empire with a flawless reputation for producing high quality entertainment that has something for everyone and so everyone can enjoy it, from the loftiest intellectuals to the lowliest of lowbrows.

So basically, I want to be like my hero Walt Disney if he had started out as a brilliant writer and performer. So basically Walt Disney if he had started out as Mike Myers.

And without, of course, the Love Guru.

And that’s just four of my facets. I never even touched on the parts of me that want to be the Astonishing Intellectual, the Firebrand Politician,  the Eminence Grise, the Happy Clown, the Coldblooded Assassin, or even the Deranged Lunatic.

I contain these multitudes and dozens more. But as always, I must remind myself :

These are but facets of my personality.

And I am not the facets.

I am the jewel.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

On the process of becoming more real

It’s very….. complicated.

I feel really wretched at the moment. So wretched, in fact, that a big part of me wishes I would skip the entire blogging thing for today so I can spend the day in bed, hiding from reality in sleep and books and blankets and pillows.

It’s called “bed-seeking”, and it’s a known symptom of depression. It happens when our chemicalxs get into such a bad state that any stimulation at all causes pain and the only way we know to deal with that is to retreat into the very low stimulus environment of our beds, where we can cover ourselves in blankets to prevent most physical stimulation and keep ourselves buried in nice safe book which offers very little physical stimulation but is engrossing enough that it shuts out the nattering demons of our minds and gives us a chance to think for a while.

For me, it’s always a sign that things have gotten pretty bad, because if sitting at this here computer and doing stuff is too much stimulation, then my chemicals must be in a very bad state indeed.

Goddamned stupid chemicals. Why can’t they just behave?

All in all, the world has seemed too damned real lately. It insists upon itself intrusively. And that upsets my precious equilibrium enough to provoke the sort of counter-productive primitive response that leads to self-destructive self-isolating behaviours driven by panic, not our long-term self interest.

So we end up doing things like backing out of social commitments, pushing people away. dodging responsibilities and making our condition worse by doing so, and all kinds of other ways to sacrifice long term happiness for short term relief.

Right now, I wish I could dig a hole, crawl inside, and pull the hole in with me. I wish I could escape into my own little pocket dimension where it is cool and quiet and soft and comfortable and nice all the time. I wish I could walk away from my life and go be someone else for a while and escape my self-loathing that way.

Fundamentally , I wish I could die, or cease to exist. But only for a little while.

Just long enough to let my stimulus levels drop to absolute zero and then let me enjoy that long enough to started to get bored.

If I wasn’t so god damned claustrophobic, sensory deprivation tanks would sound really good to me at times like this.

Barring such extreme interventions, all I can really do in situations like this is find something to do which drains my excess mental energies without queering the deal by also stimulating said energies at the same time.

That leaves out video games, for the most part. At least when I am fully in this Code Red state. On a deep level, video games are all about the mental stimulation to me. They provide a rich stream of stimulation and interaction (when they’re good), and thus do a great job of keeping my massive mighty mind too busy to interfere with the delicate mental processes of inner healing.

In other words, they keep my conscious mind busy so that my subconscious mind can get things done.

But when even that is too much for me, I need something that is almost exclusively energy output with very little stimulation in return.

Writing suits that role perfectly.  I should do more of it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about drain lately. That’s the name I have given to the variable that represents how much of my mental overcharge an activity absorbs. High drain activities promote my mental well-being by taking the energy away from all those self-destructive mental processes that tear me apart and break me down and keep me from ever getting anywhere, and making me feel bad about THAT too.

The times when I have experienced the most drain for the least stimulation have been times when I was doing a hell of a lot of writing.

Specifically, my million word year (2011) and the five National Novel Writing Months in which I have participated.

In both cases, I was writing over 2500 words a day, and in both cases,. I was a far happier, healthier, calmer person than I usually am.

So clearly, drain works. My violent neuroses can be starved. The raging storm inside my head can be turned into a calm clear day, at least temporarily.  It is possible for me to lay my burdens down.

Paradoxically, it takes a hell of a lot of work.

And yet, when I contemplate making drain my dominant lifestyle, I get scared. It seems like too much. Like it would take me too far from the comfort and safety of my mental refuge and leave me exposed to the world and its harshness. Like that would be the worst thing that could possibly happen because that would turn the volume all the way up on life and I wouldn’t even know who I was any more.

In other words…it would be my annihilation.

That’s how it feel, despite knowing that historically, it has actually made me happy.

It’s that Face of Madness thing I have mentioned before, where you know that what you are feeling and believing is not true but you keep right on feeling and believing it because your bad chemicals force you to.

Makes me wish getting all the drain I want was as simple as plugging a USB device into my ear and charging people’s phones for them.

I’d be so good at that.

But until that glorious day arrives, I am stuck with a mind that generates so much energy that it takes a truly spectacular draining activity to even put a dent in the standing supply, and a soul too weak to make that happen on a regular basis.

There must be some way to get the whole thing working properly. Some way to arrange my life so that I am comfortable in my own skin and happy with who I am.

But I have no idea ghat that might be.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

Risk versus labor

Told you the abstruse stuff would be back.

I have been pondering one of my many perennial subjects today, and that is the two systems of earning activate in the world today.

In general, people think you earn the legitimate ownership of things by paying for them, and you earn the money to pay for them via either labor or risk.

Labor is by far the easier of the two to understand. You do the work, you get paid. Anybody can grasp that. And while everyone in the modern world has some knowledge of why a business pays for labour, that system of paid labour would not work unless it tapped into something deep and primal in our minds.

Namely, the instinct we have to contribute labour to our tribe.

So when people work for a ;living, what they are really doing (in one sense) is fulfilling their duty to the “tribe” of modern society. That’s why people, even quite dull ones, take pride in “working for a living” and “pulling their own weight” and so forth.

Deep down,. we need to believe that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing in society, and the money we earn for doing so is the way society rewards us for our contributions. This is the most “legitimate” way to earn in society.

Risk, on the other hand, is less clear cut. Our instincts can handle the idea of risking your assets being rewarded in proportion to the risk taken.

That’s how gambling works, after all.

What doesn’t track in people’s minds s unlimited rewards for finite risk. Sure, the founder of a business took a big risk by investing money in a new business. And they deserve a reward prop[proportional to that risk.

But the way thoings work in modern society is that the owner of the business gets rewarded via profits for as long as the business exists. In that sense, the reward is unlimited, and hence way out of proportion with the risk.

Then there’s the fact that any business with employees has the much clearer labor theory of value in play. From a psycho-sociological point of view, it’s the people who do the actual work that deserve the rewards, not the people or person who took the initial risk and who now don’t do anything but collect the profits and boss people around.

This creates a definite and distinct tension in modern society. Deep in our social programming we feel that there should be some point at which the person has been rewarded for their risk and therefore should get no more reward out of it.

Society is now set up that way, though. And I am not sure how it could be. We lack even the concept of time-limited ownership. To us, ownership is a fixed value that remains the same until acted upon by an outside force.

So basically, ownership has inertia.

If you own something, you own it till you sell it or otherwise legitimately transfer ownership of it. This is such a solid concept in modern society  that we consider ourselves to still own things that are far away from us in both time and space and which we are highly unlikely to ever see again and for which we have no real use.

These items are still, nevertheless, “ours”. No legitimate transfer of the property of ownership has occurred, ergo it’s still ours.

Back to earning. The superiority of clarity that comes with earning via labor as opposed to earning via risk ensures that the tension between the investing class and the labor class will always be there.

Or at least, it will be there until we enter a post-scarcity world where everyone can get everything they want for free.

That’s  probably at LEAST two decades away.

Let’s look at things from the point of view of the person who takes the risk. I think that even they can get confused by the difference between the modes of earning.

That’s why even the most callous of them will feel some need to “do something” in order to justify their continued rewards. This might be as minimal as checking up on the business via the Internet now and then, or as deeply involved as being the center of the whole shebang and they from whom all authority flows.

It is very rare to find the person who is one hundred percent committed to the “I don’t care so long as the money keeps coming in” philosophy.

And even other member sof the investor class will look down on such a person because they are making money without “doing anything” to earn it.

That’s why society holds a special kind of contempt for those whose wealth is entirely inherited. And I think that the people who are so “lucky” feel this keenly. It’s a big part of what drives them to fairly extreme behaviours when they are younger. Society tells them they should be happy to be so fortunate as to not “have” to work but their deep social instincts drive them to want to contribute labor to society. Not money, not fame, not respectability, but labor.

Only labor really “counts” in our minds.

Compared to that, reward for risk is a nebulous concept that,. deep down. does not “make sense” to us.

After all, a disconnected business owner isn’t “doing anything”.

So where does consciousness of this phenomenon lead us? There is no obvious solution. Capitalism could not function without people willing to take on the risk of founding and running a business. Those people are going to feel a strong sense of ownership of the product of said risk. Having that ownership abruptly end at a certain point would feel highly wrong to most people.

And yet, having that person own the thing permanently feels wrong too.

Ideally, there would be a fixed amount of profit anyone can expect from any kind of investment – for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s triple their money back/.
But how on Earth could you bring that about?

I have no idea. Do you?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frigging Medicine Shoppe

I’m going to deliberate stay out of the deep waters of my tortured psyche and  skirt the shores of matters massive and weighty tonight in order to talk about my life and what has been going on in it.

I am doing this as a way to keep things fresh with a change that was, as it were, not in in the script. I am sure that, were I to go looking, I could find a densely packed plethora of Big Subjects and Deep Thoughts lying about in this capacious cranium of mine just waiting to be unleashes upon an unwitting (and uncaring) world, but I have grown weary of self-absorption and the augury of examining my own entrails, so tonight, it’s biographical update time.

The heavy shit will return shortly, I assure you.

The backlog is mindboggling.

Just got back from a trip to Shopper’s Drug Mart. That had not been my destination when I left the apartment.

My destination at that time was the drug store where I usually get my meds. It’s a branch of a chain of pharmacies called Medicine Shoppe, and it’s just a block from here so it is my go-to place for the hefty fistfuls of meds I take for my various infirmities.

But when I got there, it was closed, and a cheery sign on the door said “Gone to seminar! Thanks for your understanding!”.

This put me in a state formally known as “miffed”, and I chose to withhold my understanding and thus eschew the offered thanks.

“No, I do NOT understand. In fact, I reserve the right to resent both this inconvenience and the galling presumption that I would ‘understand’! I SAID GOOD DAY SIR!”

So I ended up going a block and change further to the Shopper’s Drug Mart. I don’t go there often, but when I do, it’s always for the same reason : my Medicine Shoppe is closed and I need my meds now, not when it’s next open.

Before now, that’s always meant that I needed my meds on the weekend. My Medicine Shoppe is only open from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays,. and not open at all on Sundays. so weekends and my medications don’t mix well on that level.

Because honestly, I don’t know about y’all,. but there only one thing that could get me to leave the house between 10 am and 2 pm on a Saturday and that’s brunch.  And it would have to be a good brunch too. A buffet brunch.

None of this “you can get a burger OR scrambled eggs so technically it’s brunch” type brunches. Fuck that noise.

And it turned out that the trip to Shoppers had some good points along with the bad.

The bad point was that it took them 40 minutes to fill my prescription, so I had 40 minutes of time to fill at the mall. Luckily, in a rare show of forethought, I had brought my current book, the Stephen King short story compilation Skeleton Crew,  with me.

So I just found a seat in the mall and read for half an hour.

The book is a factor in my recent mood that I forgot to mentioned in my recent speculations. Stephen King does not write happy stories and some of the stories in the collection are quite disturbing and unsettling and this may have played a part in my recent feelings of sadness.

I’d rather it wasn’t. After all, I am a writer, and surely I am too sophisticated and knowing to be emotionally unsettled by mere words on a page. After all, I know all about how the sausage is made.

That means eating it can’t possibly harm me. Right?

But no, of course it doesn’t work like that. If anything, being extremely verbal makes me especially sensitive to having my emotions manipulated by writing.

It just has to be good writing.  And despite his reputation for writing lurid trash,. King was a damned fine writer before he got all whiny and entitled and started doing one thing you absolutely cannot ever do if you are in the entertainment biz :

Show contempt for your audience.

That’s how he lost me as a fan. I thought some of his later books, like Needful Things,  while still well written on a technical level, had a kind of snotty disdain for the audience going on under the hood which really came to the fore via their sloppy, unsatisfying, clearly slapped on endings.

But before that era, everytghing he wrote was masterfully constructed and so well engineered that it carried you along seemingly effortlessly. As a wordsmith myself, I know how much writing and rewriting,. not to mentioned blood, sweat, and tears, and coffee, goes into making that happen, and I applaud it.

And the thing is, I haven’t read most of these short stories before. Which is strange. I could have sworn that I had read my mother (the horror fan)’s copy of Skeleton Crew several times as a child, and yet I don’t recognize most of the stories.

So either my current copy is from an expanded edition of the book, or I never actually read the whole thing .

The latter is quite plausible. I was easily distracted by new things as a kid, and it’s quite possible that I read some of the stories, like The Mist and The Raft (shudder) and Survivor Type (dark giggle) , then got bored and started reading something less heavy and more fun.

Or it could be that I read those stories I recognize  in other anthologies and that made me think I must have read this one. I dunno.

A lot of stuff I remember from my childhood does not quite add up when subjected to logical analysis today. Things that I remember clearly and yet cannot logically be true.

I guess that even a mind like mine is subject to memory degradation over time.

And I still remember science from Grade 7!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

Time to bleed

On the page, that is.

Been feeling anxious and sad recently. Not entirely sure why.

I have theories, of course.

I think the dominant factor is that I am simply going through one of those times in the process of psychological healing where I have to process –  in other words. feel – some of the latent emotion that chokes the life out of me with its weight and makes me depressed. The only way to get rid of this burden and clear the way for healing is to feel some of those latent emotions.

Not all of them. That would take years. But a representative sample.
So that’s probably most of what I am going through. The glacier of frozen emotion that lies atop my heart has calved another iceberg, and this one has a lot of sadness and anxiety in it, and as the sun’s rays melt this southward floating block of ice, the emotion within is release into the atmosphere of my psyche.

I must have some of the geekiest metaphors around.

I am supported in this theory in the very distinct feeling I have that this sadness is finite. That there’s a certain amount of it I need to get through in order to move on to the next stage of growth and healing,  and that when that’s done, things will go back to normal.

But a slightly superior normal, because now that glacier on my heart is a little smaller. And I have reclaimed another little piece of myself from the ice age within.

Because that’s the thing about all that ice and snow inside me. It’s not just emotion that is frozen in there. It’s aspects of myself, parts of my psychological physiology, that got caught in the freezing process and have been trapped in the layer of ice ever since.

Thus, recovery is a process of self-discovery as much as anything else. With every layer of ice melted, I can feel parts of me waking up and coming online,. sometimes for the first time ever.

That’s presumably why the process of recovery. from the first time I felt the Paxil kicking in, has felt like a long process of waking up. I look back at even who I was a year ago and it feels like I was asleep the whole time.

Like I am the world’s most high-functioning sleepwalker. See the amazing virtuoso somnambulist live something approximating `a representative percentage of a life while being completely asleep the whole time!

That would be a heck of a racket for a vaudeville act. All you would have to do was get good at pretending to fall asleep and at doing things with your eyes closed.

SO this psychological iceberg theory of mine probably accounts for the lion’s share of my latest mood event. But there are, of course, other factors at play.

Like it could be that my sleep apnea has gotten worse lately and I am waking up with so much un-exhaled carbon dioxide that even awake, my body can’t cope with it, and so it just sits there taking up valuable lung capacity and reducing my oxygen intake.

That’s bound to make a fella feel a tad under the weather.

It would basically mean my sleep apnea has expanded to become waking apnea as well. That would not surprise me. Sleep apnea is a serious disease that can really fuck a person up. Smothering in your sleep is no hangnail.

The fact that I completely ignore mine and therefore I am doing absolutely nothing to treat it does not change that fact.

But I can only do what I can do. You cna only play the hand you;re dealt, and I have a lot of psychological issues that keep me from taking proper care of myself.

And beating myself up over that would be worse than useless.

It would achieve the exact opposite of its intent. Instead of goading me into action, it would simply make me withdraw even further from reality and thus become even less capable of taking care of myself.

This things are never simple.

Low blood sugar might be a third factor in my current moodscape. It was one of the first things I thought of when I first realized how bad I felt. So I snacked.

And that made me think it couldn’t have been low blood sugar that was the cause because snacking didn’t change much at all. I felt less anxious and a little more stable, but that was about it.

But now I have hit one of these patches where I am super super goddamned hungry all the times, so it’s now an open question again.

Don’t worry too much about me, though, folks. Like I told my therapist today, I feel sad but not depressed. So I am nowhere near any danger of self harm.

I feel like crying, not dying.

And I know that this shadow will pass and the sun, such as it is on my distant little planet, will return once more. I will reach the end of the process and be better off for it because I will have worked through some of my “stuff” and I am a more whole, solid, sane, and secure person as a result.

Kind of like having a cold,. only you’re stronger after.

I know I have been feeling restless lately. My work isn’t really doing it for me any more. There’s no challenge and I don’t feel like I am growing as an artist by doing it any more.

And that… sucks.

And I think I am suffering from stifled energies in general. I need something more demanding than Skyrim to fill my time and drain my energies more completely.

I have ample evidence from my life that the more of my energies I express, the calmer and happier I am.

More drain, less strain, basically.

And yet my depression has me living  like a miser while sitting atop a mountain of gold.

Something has GOT to change.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

I’m no good at this

Fuck natural talent. Fuck it in the ASS.

And I say that as someone who, by most measures, has an absurd amount of it. I was born with a high IQ, I am amply creative and insightful and witty, and I have a unique and appealing kind of charm.  This means that  there are a lot of things that come easily to me that are an intense and difficult struggle for others.

And that’s the problem, for me and for many others. When important things like schoolwork come easily to you, it sets up an expectation that life will continue to be that easy, and that can inculcate a kind of laziness that says that the important things are the ones that come easily to you and everything else is not worth the effort, and that therefore it’s fine to avoid those things entirely if you can and put minimum effort into them when you can’t.

So basically, it leads to thinking that if it isn’t easy, you don’t have to do it. You can coast on that natural talent for the rest of your life. Anything that suggests otherwise is a grave injustice and completely unfair and cruel beyond all comprehension.

But natural talent only gets you so far.  Sooner or later, you have to work.

No matter how gifted you are, you are going to need to develop the ability to do things you do not feel like doing because they are boring, scary, stressful, or otherwise not the cool easy fun ride you have come to expect out of life.

People – myself definitely included – don’t like to hear this. They continue to pursue the toxic dream of a life without stress, toil, or challenge, sometimes unto the grave.

Life is work. There is no way to escape that. Not even with money – money can make things easier and a lot nicer and more fun, but it can’t maintain a relationship for you, or get you the recognition of your peers, or do any of the other things which fulfill the human needs beyond the two lowest levels of Maslov’s Hierarchy,.

Everything you need to know about human happiness can be found in this chart.

Learning to overcome mere mood and strive to get what you want is a foundational stage in the development of a healthy personality, and natural gifts can delay or even completely prevent this stage of development from occurring.

And that can have a crippling effect on one’s life.

People who know me know that I am talking about myself here. A lot of factors have gone into me being barely starting my adult life in my forties, serious mental health issue being one of them, but denial of the basic truth that life is work is also another of them, and I shudder to think of how big a factor it might be.

The stark truth is, I have wasted a lot of my life’s potential by thinking that if something was hard, that meant I didn’t have to do it.

And it’s truth. You don’t have to do it. You don’t have to do anything at all.

Unless you want to be happy.

For me, it started on my very first day of school. Most of school was laughably easy for me from the very beginning. The things that didn’t come easily, like arts and crafts and gym, were resisted with all my intellect, force of personality, and implacable stubbornness.

I really thought it was an injustice to ask me to do things I “wasn’t good at”.

And that’s the phrase that sparked this little missive of mine. A friend talked about how they were writing something but “weren’t very good at it”, and that got me to thinking about how toxic the whole idea of being good at something can be.

Because when you say you aren’t good at something, what you are really saying is that you aren’t naturally good at it – it doesn’t come easy to you.

That means it is not as immediately rewarding as, on a deep level, you expect it to be. You have internalized this expectation of things coming to you easily, and the implied permission to skip anything that is difficult.

So when you can’t do instantly do something well enough to satisfy this expectation of immediate reward without strain, you conclude that you just “aren’t good at it” and that means you should just stop trying.

Look at this way, it’s easy to see what an utterly absurd and unattainable standard that is. Nobody is so talented that they will produce top notch work the first time they try something. Not even the people who objectively the best at that thing.

Michael Jordan didn’t win his first game of one on one football. Stephen King didn’t write Carrie the first time he sat down at a typewriter.  Even Stephen Hawking did not show up for grade 1 already a scientific genius.

Getting good at something requires doing it without the immediate reward of total success. You have to keep doing it and take your reward for it in the sure and certain knowledge that the more you do it, the better you are getting at it, even if that improvement isn’t immediately obvious.

That’s how I have improved my writing skills. By writing tons of stuff. This thousand word a day blog thing is a big part of it. Some people might be able to learn how to write from books on the subject, but I can’t.

I have learned it by doing it. And truth be told, what keeps me doing it was the fact that writing gives me an outlet for my very deep need to express myself and that makes it well worth the effort and the self-discipline it takes.

So much of life boils down to “just keep doing it”. And people without a lot of natural gifts get this. They fully expect everything to be hard work because that’s been the only way they have gotten anything done for their whole life.

It’s only us naturally talented  types who have the luxury – and the problem – of expecting things to be easy.

Fuck natural talent. Fuck it in the ASS.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.