The next round’s on me

It’s going to be a social day.

Tonight, I will be going to a Stand Up For Mental Health graduation show in support of Felicity, who will be performing as an alumni.

Or is that alumnus?

And I am looking forward to it. I have been to these events before and I have always enjoyed them. Watching people with mental health issues stands in front of an audience, bold as brass, and tell us the jokes they have been working on for six months always makes me smile and there is a very positive vibe to the whole thing.

Plus, they are, in general, quite funny.

So I am really looking forward to the show.

And I am also dreading it.

Can’t be helped. It’s like this whenever I am going to leave the apartment and be social. It doesn’t matter that I know that I will enjoy myself once I am out there. It doesn’t matter that I know it will be good for me and I will feel better about myself afterwards. It doesn’t matter that I will be with my friends, who are the people I trust the most in the world.

I will experience panic and dread nevertheless, and will have to overcome myself multiple times in order to go out and have fun.

And let me tell you, you really get a feeling for your own insanity when you are struggling to convince yourself to do something you know you will enjoy.

It’s my depression that I am really wrestling with. The unhealthy part of my mind. It reacts to the prospect of a radical increase in social stimulation like someone was going to burst in the door and drag it into the cold harsh world, and all it wants to do is cling to its tiny comfort zone like a barnacle until the bad thing goes away.

And were I to succeed in evading the nightmarish horror of social exposure,  I would be “rewarded” for it with a massive sense of relief that would, in a “baby wallowing in it’s own filth” way, reinforce the behaviour.

That’s how it works, folks, and it ain’t pretty.

So each time I am going to go do something social, I have to pry that baby barnacle out of its comfy crevice and push it out into the harsh light of the sun. Even though I know for a fact I will enjoy myself, part of me will always feel like it’s being violated.

And let me tell you THIS, folks. You really, REALLY get a feeling of your own insanity when you feel and believe things you know are not true.

I still feel like nobody ever wants me around. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine someone actually wanting my company. I live with a constant fear and shame that is in no sense backed up by facts, but nevertheless persists. Even when I am having a lovely time out there in the world, the fear and shame is there, whispering thoughts of escape and concealment into my ear.

Go home!” it says. “Run away and go home. Home is wonderful. Home is safe. Home is the best place in the world because home is the only place where you do not feel this fear and anxiety. Home is the only good place in the world. It would feel so good to have that feeling go away. So go! Go! GO!

That’s the struggle I face every day. It’s the force that forces me to isolate myself most of the time. It’s the gravity well I must generate the thrust to climb out of every single time I step out of this bedroom of mine.

Because I am ashamed to admit it, but there are times when even the prospect of encountering Joe and/or Julian fills me with irrational dread. Not because of anything to do with them whatsoever. They are, like I said, two of the three people I trust the most in this world. This has nothing to do with them.

And everything to do with me. My issues, my damage, my broken and spastic insufficiently elastic Mr. Fantastic brain.

That is the millstone around my neck that makes life hard for me. It is my burden, my baggage, my cross to bear.

And over the years, that millstone has gotten a whole lot lighter. I’ve let go of a lot of that god damned baggage and left large pieces of that cross by the wayside.

SO it no longer crushes me like it used to do. When my depression was at its worst, it was so heavy that it rendered me nearly immobile.

If it hadn’t been for the need to cash my welfare check and buy groceries, I would never have left my bachelor suite at all.

Even going to the communal bathroom was hard.

So I have come a long way since then. But my journey isn’t over yet.

In fact. in many ways I have been in decline since I graduated from VFS. I feel into a deep dark hole where I pushed the world away again now that there was no external force pushing me up again.

The Daily Uno gig at least preserved my self-worth by proving to me that my skills were worth something. But then that ended and I have had a hard time convincing myself to go onto UpWork and job hunt again.

It’s just so much easier to do my words every day and spend literally the rest of my waking hours playing Skyrim.

Skyrim makes the time pass smoothly and easily and allows me to escape the problem of what to do with myself as the hours stretch out to the distant horizon.

I know that I am addicted. I know this because I increasingly feel like my life is measured in Time Spent Feeling Safe Playing Skyrim, and Everything Else.

And the Everything Else could be 72 hours away and I would still be dreading it because that’s when I will have to stop playing Skyrim and go back into the real world where I have to work and function and cope.

Once I am there, it’s not so bad. It’s not as good as my Skyrim time, at least as my depression measures it, but it’s not so bad,

It’s the transition that really kills me.

It’s the transition that makes me hungry for more.

It’s the transition that lingers in my mind and makes me long to rush back into Skyrim’s warm and comforting embrace.

It’s the transition that is killing me.

It’s the transition that makes me a junkie.

It’s the transition that makes me want to die.

(I’m not suicidal, folks, just expressing a feeling. -Ed. )

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.