So if I didn’t play Skyrim all day, what the hell would I do with myself?
I still retain a residual memory of the Before Times. I seem to recall that what I did was more or less the same – reading, eating, playing video games, using the bathroom.
So arguably, Skyrim hasn’t changed my life that much. Not on that level. The fact that it’s been the same video game for a long time is unusual, but so is Skyrim.
But on another level. it has consumed a hell of a lot of my energy and time that could (in theory) have been used on something productive.
Like writing stuff, submitting stuff, job hunting on UpWork. and so forth and so on.
But all that hangs on the question of whether I could be doing those things. and that’s where things get very, very sticky.
Obviously I am physically and intellectually capable of it. I know that I have the capacity to do it, at least in theory.
But theory isn’t practice, and there is a great big monster call Depression that sits between my capacities and actions, and blocks nearly everything from getting through because if it doesn’t, the sleeping giant of my anxiety wakes up and I start to freak out.
Or something like that.
It’s like those 70’s horror stories of patients kept sedated for years because when they woke up. they became “agitated”.
If you set the bar low enough, we all wake up “agitated”. Add waking up in a straitjacket and strapped to a gurney in a hospital, and that will fucking agitate anyone.
I know I would be agitated as fuck, given my claustrophobia. That’s the kind of thing that can turn a mild mannered intellectual like myself into the scary biker it takes five cops to subdue in a heartbeat.
Anyhow. Enough about institutional abuse and back to the more personal kind.
This “sleeping giant” aspect of my depression makes it hard to do anything even slightly different from the usual routine. Especially anything new.
New things come with a much higher stimulation level, and my coping mechanism for keeping the giant asleep is to brutally limit the amount of physical stimulation of any kind that I get.
It’s not a good method. It is, in fact. grotesquely draconian. It’s like Procrustes’ bed, where everything that doesn’t fit in the tiny little box of my life is brutally severed.
And as long as I keep myself busy with my distractions, I don’t think about how kmuch I am sacrificing by living as I do. I am too busy to look around and wonder what is outside my tiny little box.
I can even pretend my tiny little box is the universe.
And it works in that it gets me through time without much pain or friction or stress. With Skyrim et all, I can survive day to day life without having to face my problems and actually deal with them.
But at what price? Here I am, brain the size of a planet, with phenomenal capacities that I have barely even tapped into, and all I do is play video games all day.
I feel like this is a pattern I share with a lot of great creators : vast capacities crippled by deep psychological issues.
I suppose that’s why we need agents.
So clearly, my life is not going how anyone would want it to go, especially not me. Time to take this in and begin an aggressive campaign of self-improvement. Right?
Wrong. It’s not that simple. Nothing ever is when it comes to depression.
I am nowhere near healthy enough to be able to set a long term goal and work tirelessly toward it. My interior weather is far too stormy and unstable. There are times when I am feeling good enough to take on that big old world. but they are few and far between.
Mostly, all I can hope for is to make it through the day.
And I can’t take the obvious route, the biologically simple route, of reacting to my state of distress by taking direct action against it and doing whatever it takes to return myself to a state of contentment.
I am not that healthy an organism. My inner workings are too broken. And when you put energy into a broken system, you only end up breaking it further.
Plus, in my case, the very agency in charge of getting shit done is in itself corrupt. punitive, and malign. Anything that has a potential for negative self-evaluation is seized upon by my inner prosector and used to punish me into submission.
Thus, the exact opposite of the normal motivation occurs. The dagger of potential is turned inward and polunged more deeply into my heart.
And as far as I can tell so far, the very part of my mind that is doing that is the part that would be in charge of executing life changing plans via motivating action.
And maybe that is, in effect. by design. Maybe that is how my depression works as a system. The punishing prosecutor is there to keep me in my box because what my depression is ultimately about is keeping me safe.
Dead. But safe.
Well, that’s what you get when a timid child is left to raise himself. There was never anything to encourage any kind of risk taking in my life and therefore I became catastrophically risk-averse and oversensitive to loss.
Had I had a healthier early childhood (one sans the rape), the urge to explore the world and expand my capacities and learn from experience might have been strong enough that. despite the emotional poverty of my life, I would have become a self-starting conquer the world type person.
But I received an almost incalculably severe injury before I had even completed my primary brain growth, and that left me crippled in a way I could not understand, let alone explain to others.
If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and kill whoever did it.
As is, all I can do is cope as best as I can.
And try to remember that, as counterintuitive as it is, before I can make things better, I have to believe that things are okay now.
That means no self-prosecution over all the things I am not doing.
I have to make it safe for the real me to come out and play.
And that is going to take a whole new mindset.
So it might be a while.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.