Crispy around the edges

Got lots of sleep last night.

I might actually be getting better at this sleeping thing.

Went to bed at aroubnd 6:30 am, woke up at around 11 am because I needed to pee, discharged my water ballast, then went back to bed and slept till 2 pm or so.

So that’s approximately seven and a half hours of sleep. Which, for me, is amazing. Usually all I can mange is five.

I mean, that’s almost the normal eight hours of sleep. Amazing.

What’s next? My dandruff disappears forever? My eyes correct themselves? I finally develop full spatial comprehension skills?

I mean, I even feel good. I woke up feeling good. Whiskey tango FOXTROT.

I woke up to a lovely sunny day complete with the happy spring sound of someone mowing their lawn in the distance and I feel good.

Not great. But good.

The one problem I am having is that I am so relaxed that I am finding it suuuper hard to concentrate. My mind keeps wandering off and forgetting to come back. It’s taking me way longer to write today’s blog entry than usual because it’s so hard for me to concentrate and make the words when I am feeling so mellow.

Honestly, all I really feel like doing is napping in the sunshine.

But first I gots to blog.

I am wondering if I can extract some kind of lesson from this. I mean, clearly I did something right. At least I’d like to think so.

Otherwise, the only possible explanation is that this is the result of some rare random fluctuation of my ever turbulent brain chemicals, and that is way too depressing a thought for such a lovely day.

I typed that as “suck a lovely day”  the first time. Sounds like a hilariously mistranlated motto for a lemon flavoured lollipop.

So what might I have done right? Well it wasn’t diet or sleep circumstances or anything like that, Those were the same as usual.

Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that I went back to bed after getting up to pee. I will have to try that again. Normally I get up after five hours or so, but maybe I don’t have to, it’s just a habit.

Wouldn’t it be funny if for all these years, I have been suffering from bad sleep when all I really needed to do was go back to bed?

Sounds like something that would happen to me. I am eternally in the position of the starry-eyed visionary who peers deeply into the void and sees the true inner workings of reality before tripping over his own feet and braining himself against a wall that was right in front of him the whole time.

We’re a curious bunch. us visionaries. It’s like having telescopic vision that you can’t turn off. The ultimate in farsightedness. Or being the blind seer who can see the future but not a hand in front of his face.

I am sure that is how I come across to some people some of the time. Like I am some kind of oracular fool who has all these trenchant and powerful insights that,. on a good day, make him seem very deep and wise… right until I forget my wallet somewhere, or get lost on the way back from the bathroom in a restaurant, or some other typically Fruvine act of cluelessness.

I would have been better off in some animistic culture where I could pass the whole thing off as “being deeply in touch with the spirits” and convinced the tribe that I needed some bright eyed young person to help me with the mundane realities of the waking world so I could spend more time communing with the spirits on the tribe’s behalf.

As it is, I am pretty sure the only way I could pull that off in modern society is with a book deal of some kind.

I’ve thought about setting myself up as some kind of guru. The kind that is sort of like a cult leader but without the intellectual dishonesty or the heavy commitment level.

Right now, time feels elongated. Like somehow the moments of my life relaxed and stretched out like a cat in a sunbeam and that is making time pass slowly in a very positive way. I feel like I have been awake for hours but it’s only been an hour. I feel like I could get a lot done in a small time if only I wasn’t feeling so deliciously lazy.

Oh well. Guess I will just have to lay back and enjoy it.

It’s probably a bad idea to try to capture these moments and hold on to them. Maybe it is better to let life flow unabated instead of constantly stopping to examine what is really going on or to figure out where the river is taking you or just because things are moving too fast and it’s freaking you out.

As is, my life is stopped most of the time. And that’s not good. Life is a highway, not a rest stop. Just ask Tom Cochrane.

It’s my fanatical need to feel like I am in control that gets in the way of a more free flowing and healthier life. I freak out when I feel out of control because then life becomes unpredictable and my sense of safety is so shattered that to me, unpredictable is almost, but not quite, synonymous with instant disaster.

The idea that it can be perfectly okay to have no idea what will happen next is an alien and seemingly hostile one to me.

And yet, another part of me can see how much healthier it would be to have that attitude. But in order to get it, I would have to have much more faith in my ability to cope with whatever comes my way.

Without said faith, I am stuck needing a hyper controlled and predictable (in other words, very isolated) life just to make it through the day.

Sometimes I wish I could arrange to get dropped off at some obscure London bus stop with nothing but the clothes on my back and a credit card connected to around $5000 so I would have to firgure out how to get by on my own for a while.

But that’s a lot of money.

So first, I’d have to get a life.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Portrait of an unhappy childhood

Just got back from therapy. Joe was not available to drive me so I had to take a cab each way. That’s $30 I will never get back.

I am feeling financial stress and it is wrecking my mood.

Anyhow, on the cab ride back home I decided I was going to do a kind of rough timeline of my life in order to get a kind of top down view of it all that will help me deal with all the bad things that have happened, as well as  the good things that didn’t happen.

Here we go.

Birth.  I was born In Prince County Hospital in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada at roughly 10 am on May 19, 1973.  I was born to Larry and Betty Bertrand, neither of whom had expected or planned me. I was a healthy baby boy, slightly heavier than normal, but well within the weight range of a healthy baby.  I had very red hair.

Early childhood, ages 0 to 4.  I was a pretty happy kid. I had my chare of the usual traumas of childhood,. like being terribly afraid of the dark and getting assaulted by an over-friendly dog, but nothing more. I had natural charm and I was cute as a button, and precocious as all get-out. I had no fear of adults and I had two friends, Trish from next door and Janet from across the street. I could be quite a handful with my light speed mind and tendency to wander when I was bored. But life was good.

But then the badness started and it hasn’t really stopped since.

Let’s visually represent that dividing line like this :

Later childhood, ages 4 to 6.  Three bad things happened during this period.

One, I was denied kindergarten. There were more kids than slots available and I was clearly way, way ahead of my peers intellectually so it was decided that I did not “need” kindergarten so I got left out.

So the lack of proper socialization began before I even went to elementary school.

Two, Trish and Janet went to school. They were both a year older than me so they started Grade 1 when I was only 5.

So boom, there went my two best friends. Wow, even less socialization.

And of course, three, I was raped. I had this massively traumatic experience that I couldn’t possibly have articulated and my sense of safety and innocence was forever taken from me.

After that, I was still the same happy go lucky precociously charming kid but at a much more subdued level and underneath I was very, very fragile. That’s when I started isolating myself in my room.

But I was still relatively okay. Until, of course :

The elementary school years, ages 6 to 12.  Then I went to school. Did you know that nobody bothered to even walk me to school on my very first day? I went there alone, even though I barely even knew the way and had almost never been out of my own neighborhood on my own before then.

And for the first semester, things were okay. I didn’t make friends – presumably that is something I would have learned to do in kindergarten. But I was fairly popular in the times when we were in class but could talk freely.

But then some little asshole named Trevor, presumably jealous, started making fun of me for being fat, and I ended up wounded and socially isolated and so far down the pecking order that I was nearly pecked to death.

Then, the serious bullying began. Predators can’t resist a wounded animal. I guess. I was beaten, harassed, stolen from,. pushed into mud puddles, and so on.

The last straw was the day I got bullied on the way to school. Before that, it had only been school that wasn’t safe. Now I wasn’t safe anywhere but home.

That’s when the agoraphobia began.

Junior High, ages 12 to 15. Things got somewhat better. I had friends, Jason Heisler and Michael Copeland. They weren’t exactly reliable, as they would turn on me and make fun of me sometimes. But we hung out and watched videos and talked about comics and through them I played D&D and other RPGs with a wider group of people. So it was vaguely like proper socialization.

But they rapidly outgrew me. By Grade 9, I was alone again. But puberty had happened and straightened out some of the kinks in my coordination and made me big and beefy, and I had my period of learning to fight which ended in my throwing a person down a flight of stairs and getting freaked out by how much I enjoyed it.

Still, in Grade 9, I was relatively confident and sure of myself.

That all changed in…

High School, ages 16 to 18.  Once more, I was overwhelmed and alone. The bullying stopped but I was a ghost that spent his recesses reading and his lunch time in the library  reading some more and then went home to read in his bedroom, sometimes coming downstairs to watch TV, preferably alone.

I did none of the “normal” teenage things. No dates, no dances, no hanging out at the mall with friends, no parties, no drinking on the sly, no boundary-pushing, no big arguments with my parents, nothing.

College, ages 18 to 20.  Then, college happened. I fell in with a group of nerdy people a lot like myself and we got together regularly to play video games and tabletop games and generally nerd out together. Between classes, we hung out in a crappy little cafteria called The Pit, and so we called outselves the Pit Crew, and we always had some card game going, so I knew that between classes, I could go to the Pit, hang out with my friends, and have fun.

And I was pretty happy. I was still more or less in the closet, so I wasn’t exactly going on hot dates, but I had friends and classed and my brother and things were pretty cool.

Then my parents defunded my education and everyhing went to hell again. And I am still in that hell today, 24 years later.

Thus endeth my crappy childhood.

I will talk about my shitty adulthood some other time.

I am sure you’re all looking forward to that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.







Stop making sense!

I had a revelation today and, as seems to be the case nearly all the time now, it came while I was writing a Facebook comment.

I forget what prompted it and I lack the Facebook and/or Google skills to find out, but it came to me like this :

“There is so much more to life than that which makes sense. ”

And the second I finished typing it, I could feel what a huge revelation that was for me. I am talking massive, blinding light, shifts the very foundation of my being level eye-opening insight here.

Suddenly I grapsed what was meant by all those “Stop making sense!” posters and buttons were talking about.  Until that moment,. I hated that stupid expression. It seemed to be a call to chaos.

And making sense is what I do.  I figure shit out. And when I do, it becomes part of my integrated body of knowledge that all fits together like Tinkertoys.

And that’s why the very idea of ceasing to make sense made no sense to me.

But now I get it. Today, I got a glimpse of just how limited my mind and my life were by this rigid cage of rationalism. There is a whole universe of enlightenment and wonder outside the walls of my cold prison, and my insistence on things making sense before I accept them as true has denied it to me.

Let’s call this world the Rainbow Connection.

Because honestly, Kermit has the right idea here and it has taken me till the age of 44 to realize it and get a glimpse of what I am missing.

The song has always had a huge emotional resonance for me. I only have to hear that opening banjo riff and I am reduced to a puddle of nostalgia, warmth, and wonder, as well as a lot of other emotions that I could not name.

All I knew before today was that this song, and other things like it. contain something – some emotional nutrient – that I desperately need and that I therefore treasure above all other potential stimuli.

I can see that nutrient now, and it could go under a lot of names. I could call it warmth or wonder or joy or a lot of other words that would certainly apply to what I am talking about but which would not really get the idea across.

There is, in fact,. only one word which applies to this emotion, and it is a word with which I have a very troubled history.

That word is innocence.

It is the touch of the wholesome, healthy, happy world in which I have never belonged. It is the warmth of pure innocent joy. It is a place where dreams really do come true and where things always work out for the best and where the only limit is your imagination.

Little did I know just how limited my imagination was before today.

As patient readers know, for most of my life I have had a “sour grapes” attitude towards innocence. I told myself that innocence was just another word for ignorance and ignorance was nothing to be proud of so why should I want to be ignorant?

What an ignorant view!

But deep down, I was jealous, and wished I could be part of that good strong healthy robust world that I saw in other families. Even though I could not have named it, I was keenly aware of the difference between my life and the life of my classmates, and I longed to be part of their world, which seemed so much warmer than mine.

Now I can see that part of the equation was that they felt things without restraint, and validated their emotions by acting on them. They gave love and got it without any part of them worrying about whether it made sense or could be somehow justified.

Even typing that made me feel the cold bite of my rational restraints. How fucked up is it to need a rational reason to love somebody, or to let their love in?

It makes me feel like a monster. Not in the moral sense, but in the sense of being so very dead inside that it’s like I am a zombie. A monster in the sense of realizing just how fucked up I am, not to mention just how fucked up my childhood was.

The two are related.

Heartbreaking memory : I remember one time, when I was very young, when my family went to a old-fashioned tourist trap on PEI called Rainbow Valley.

And as usual, I was wandering on my own. And I came upon this family that, to me, seemed perfect. They all radiated such warmth and goodwill and happiness. The parents were smiling as they watched their kids (two boys and a girl) have a good time, and the kids seemed to me like they were having all the fun in the world, and this touched something deep inside me that I was far too young to understand.

So I just kind of…. followed them around. Basically, I stalked them. I stayed as close to them as my shyness would allow so I could continue to drink in the wonderful vibe I was getting from them.

And I am pretty sure the mother saw me because I am pretty sure she smiled at me one time. I imagine she wondered who this odd little redheaded kid was that was following them like a needful shadow.

Of course, eventually they left and I drifted back to my own family and sat with them having a picnic and everything seemed normal.

And yet, the emotional image of that other family lingered on in my mind.

I was far too young to ask myself why that other family felt so different than my own. In fact, that’s the kind of question I was unable to ask until my late twenties because to question one’s family is to question the very foundations of your reality and it takes a certain amount of maturity and detachment to do that.

And besides, I was far too “sensible” for that. I would never had trusted the feeling of lacking something long enough to come to understand it. I would have cut off that negative emotion long before it could have told me anything.

And it’s that kind of intolerance for unpleasant emotions that has kept me in this bullshit rationalist cage for so long.

So here I am, a blind man suddenly given sight, and I really don’t what to think about this whole experience.

But that’s okay.

I’ll just feel about it instead.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


The saga continues

Still feeling fairly depressed.

I’m beginning to think that my sleep apnea is to blame. I am not getting enough oxygen in my sleep and the effects of that are persisting into my waking hours.

What I need is to get some fresh air and sunshine and become at peace with my environment and in sync with my surroundings.

But odds are, I will end up doing the same stupid shit as usual. Whatever it is I need, or want, or just think sounds like a good idea, I still have to have the spoons to do it.

And I don’t have a lot of spoons right now.

I feel scared. And small. And overwhelmed. I feel like I am one tiny defenseless creature in a world too big, too hostile, too cold, and above all too LOUD to cope with.

And it makes me want to run away and hide forever.

Which is, more or less, what I have been doing for my entire adult life. That’s the inevitable end stage of all the fear and anxiety that my depression creates. If you always feel hunted and exposed, the only solution is to remain where you feel the most safe, or rather, the least unsafe.

I wish it was different. I wish I was whole. I wish I was sane. I wish I could face the world with strength, confidence, and enthusiasm, but I just plain can’t.

There is too much fear in me.

All I can do is try to make it through the day, I suppose. But that’s not enough for me. I can’t just turn off the rest of my human desires in order to “make a life” for myself.

Especially when my life has been so goddamned broken and incomplete.

I have never gotten the emotional nutrients I have needed and I still don’t.

I mean, here I am, brain the size of a planet, and all I do is play video games all day. Why? Because mental (and physical) illness has rendered me so fragile that I can’t even bring myself to look for work over the internet,  and my romantic prospects are less than nil because I never go out and meet new people.

And sometimes I feel like I am drowning at the bottom of a deep dark sea. I feel like there is the world of the good and the strong and the pure, and then there’s my pathetic world where the best that I can hope for is to live long enough to die in my sleep.

And I want more, dammit. Man can not live on video games alone. They help me pass the time and they keep my mind busy, but they are no substitute for love or a job.

It feels like I am locked out of the whole god damned world and I will never, ever become an actual adult and I am doomed to be 13 years old on the inside till the day I die. All the things that mark passage into adulthood have passed me by and right now, it’s hard for me to believe that I will ever catch up.

SO honestly, what’s the goddamned point? What do I have to look forward to? More years of pointless and meaningless survival?

Where am I going to be ten years from now? The exact same place? And what will I have to show for my time on Earth? The exact same nothing?

It’s not fair. I didn’t do anything to deserve this crap. I’ve always been a very nice person. I’ve made the best choices amongst the options available to me. I try really hard to extricate myself from this miasma but it never seems to do me any good.

I even got myself a huighly valuable diploma from VFS, but my mental illness was stronger. It bided its time and then stung me when my defences were down by convincing me to quite the Daily Uno job and then take “a few days off” before hunting for another job.

Well it’s been quite a few days more than a few days off and I have lost all momentum and I feel weak and scared and tired all the time and I am goddamned sick of it.

Maybe I should take a vacation of some sort. New surroundings might just stimulate me and help me open up inside instead of remaining in my canoptic jar all the time.

I long to bloom. But I have this cramp.

Admittedly, it would have to be a very cheap vacation. It’s not like I can book a cruise to Alaska or anything. I might be able to scrape the money together for a gfew nights at some Airbnb in a nice neighborhood and that would be about it.

But the point would be to get myself out of this dank and dismal dungeon and try to connect with life and find my place in it. Give myself a chance to find out who I am outside of my current context and maybe even tarpaper over all those big gaping holes in my soul so I can get on with my life.

That sort of thing is why I keep coming back to the idea of moving out on my own. Find some acceptable little bachelor suite near the Skytrain and get a cat and set everything up exactly how I want it and find some very good reason to get the hell out of the apartment every day.

The point would be to start over again with a clean slate so I can reinvent myself. I need to reboot my life and I can’t do that in my current context.

And just knowing that I was at least taking care of myself now instead of ignoring everyhing because “I can’t even” would do me a lot of good.

Somehow, in this life, I have to find a way to make a place for myself where I can find my niche and make myself useful.

But I am so damned scared all the time.

So I guess I am fucked.

And not in the good way.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



The rain inside the sunshine

I feel pretty decent right now.

But also quite depressed.

It’s a very strange feeling.

I think it’s a good sign in that it is a sign that my divorcing of my mood from the random chemical bullshit that goes on in my head.

I can feel the depression in me quite clearly. It’s a weak, collapsing, despairing kind of feeling that I know all too well. It feels a bit like dying and makes it clear that the center cannot hold and that I am at risk of losing everything I have built up in my head since the last time this happened.

I have a lot of “works in progress” on the go.

It is the eroder. The destroyer. The dissolver. It is the angry tide that washes away all my sandcastles in the air, and break apart all of my hopes and dreams.

But to be honest, it’s no big deal.

Because for once in my life, I don’t feel like that force of destruction is in charge. I am not helpless before it. It wants me to think that I am, but I am not. There is my mind – strong and pure – and there is the depression that I am holding out at arm’s length like it is a soiled diaper.

Only I have more respect for the diaper.

Like I said, it’s jjust chemical bullshit. I have felt this way all day and yet I managed to get through the day I even got some productibe things done.

So I can feel this cold wet wad of despair inside me but I will deal with it how I see fit. I won’t let ot take charge just because I am too scared to take responsibility for my life.

That’s all it boils down to sometimes. Not wanting to take responsibility for myself. And I am defibnitely not the only one. I think this issue of self-possession is what holds a hell of a lot of people back.

So they blame their parents (like me), blame their lousy childhoods (ditto), blame all kind of outside entities and trends, but deep down, all of that is just smokescreen for a a fear of growing up and having to be responsibile for oneself.

Imagine that you were told that you were going to be held responsible for every single thing you do from now on, with no excuses and no deflecting blame.

SOunds really scary, doesn’t it? And yet, that is the true definition of adulthood : taking full responsibility for your own health, happiness, and success.

I’m working on it.

The thing is, if you are an adult, you already have that responsibility, and no amount of blame and retreat tactics will change that.

Take it from someone who has been hiding from reality for his entire adult life.I realize that nobody is responsibile for the outcomes of my choices but myself. I realize that nobody can fix me but myself because I am the one whose hands are on thr controls and with my taking action, nothing happens.

So I go to therapy every week and I take my psych meds and I try to pluck the shrapnel from my flesh one painful piece at a time on this here blog and I do what I can.

But I still don’t feel like I am in charge. Neither is anyone else. Story of my life, really. I can’t look after myself and neither can anyone else.

So I live a pathetic, fucked-up life devoid of meaningful content where I am more or less just passing time till it’s time to die.

I was left to my own devices and assumed to be fine taking care of myself (or not… whatever, as long as they didn’t have to think about me)  at far too young an age, and I think that burden crushed a vital part of me.

And I have still not recovered.

So what to you do when you can’t help yourself and nobody else can help yiu?

How do you deal with a disease that can prevent its own treatment?

How do you heal a lack of love and nurturing in your life when you are 44, 320 pounds, large of body, abd heavily bearded?

I want to live so badly, but I am broken and wounded inside and I have no form limb to stand on and sometimes it feels like if I was an animal, I would have been put down by now so that people didn’t have to hear my whimpering any more.

I was forced into the “real world” when I was only halfway through blooming into the adult I was supposed to become, and I have never recovered from that.

And it is so frustrating waiting around for my life to finally start. I thought VFS would be the startbut then they told me they wouldn’t recommend me for anything ever and that kind of took the wind out of my sails right there.

I’m still angry about that. Sure, I was a space case and fairly gross because I was on too low a dose of Paxil when I was there, but all that should matter for a writing program is how gooes I am at writing and I am a damned good writer.

I can see them not wanted to send me to job interviews, kinda. But not even recommending me for jobs done over the Internet?

That’s just plain cold, man. And cruel. And WRONG. I proved, over and over again, that I was a better writer than most of my fellow students and that should be all that matters.

But no, I was weird, and gross, and out of it, and so I am not worthy of even mentioning in passing because to them, I could be nothing but a massive embarrassment and god forbid they should take any kind of risk for a student they didn’t even like.

I keep toying with the idea of logging on to the alumni message board and asking if it’s been long enough since I was there for them to remember what a goddmaned wonderful writer I am.

I could go whole hog and tell everyone what I REALLY think of my education from VFS.

They would hate that.

And who knows, maybe some day I will. Blow the lid off their fucking scam.

Then they would regret how they treated me. And who knows, it might just get me noticed better than any of my usual bullshitting myself in the dark.

At this moment, I really don’t care about the consequences.

But I might later.

So I will hold my tongue…. for now.

I will talk to you nice peop[le again tomorrow.


Nothing to see here

Erf. Just woke up from the Bad Sleep, ergo my mind is not fully online.

In fact, it’s barely powered on.

So right now, when I look for inspiration as to what to blog about, all I get is a blank space where my thoughts should be.

Oh well. I am sure I will get something soon. Until then, I will describe the phenomenon, like a true post-modernist.

Still don’t know what comes after post-modernism. For now, the placeholder answer is “the new earnestness”, but that’s not even remotely satisfactory.

Post-modernism is all about context. It marked the end of art unto itself, as isolated objet d’arts, and ushered in the era of examining art in the context of history, other media, fashion, politics, and all the rest.

And surely we must be past that now. but even a bold and original thinker like me is a product of his era so I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what comes after that.

I should find some bright young person to explain it to me, because I am dying to know.

Right now, I feel pretty crappy. I am experiencing the usual combination of dizziness, disorientation, lassitude, and confusion.

It sucks. Hard.

But I know that if I beaver away at this blogging thing, drink my Diet Coke, and eat my lunch, I will eventually cudgel my cerebellum into a waking state.

Last night’s shawarma feast was quite good. Portions were huge and everything was quite fresh. That’s what I look for in that kind of cuisine.

And the great thing is, it’s all quite healthy. Well, except for the french fries. I ordered those along with the shawarma wrap because I had no idea what the wrap came with and how big it would be so I thought I might need them.

Nope. The wrap was the size of my forearm and came with a generous portion of tabbuleh, so the fries were not needed.

But I got to have hummus and fries for the first time since I was in university in the early Nineties. So that was nice.

Just thought of a topic.

The Challenge of Energy

Here’s the thing.

One of the problems with depression and anxiety is that they convince you that you have no energy to spare and must save your spoons for the bare minimum existence

But like I have said in this space before, this is an illusion. A depressive person still has the energy to do a lot, it’s just that depression blocks access to it.

This can be readily found in any depressive’s daily routine. Sure, they may not feel they have the energy to do anything “productive” but they will somehow find the energy to do a lot of the things they feel are “safe”.

But what happens when someone’s energies are blocked off inside them?

It hurts,. That’s what happens. It is not healthy for our energies to be locked inside us and it causes great strain inside the individual’s psyche. Like water backing up behind a dam, the pressure increases constantly.

And this causes pain. In a healthy person, this pain would lead to action. The person wouild become restless and seek an outlet for their energies.

But in a depressive, that is not an option. And the fundamental pattern of depression is to react to pain by withdrawing, so the depressive, instead of finding this blocked energy feeling by seeking release, doubles down on the repression of said energies.

This is the cycle that pushes the person deeper and deeper into depression and/or anxiety. The more anxious kind of depressive will involuntarily burn off that excess energy by freaking out about stuff,.

The more dysthymic deprsssives, like myself, simply withdraw. Such is our anti-action bias that not even the deep pain of blocked energies will move us.

In fact, that solution is almost unthinkable to the dysthymic depressive. Action is the enemy, not the solution, to us. Action is painful because it goes against the enormous friction inside us caused by the depression. And so we do as little as possible, living like energy misers instead of healthy adults.

All while, in truth, action and exercise would probably be the best thing for us. It would release those impacted energies and allow us to calm down for once instead of spending all our time in this locked-in state, seemingly calm but actually in constant pain from our suppressed energies.

The key, then, would be to eliminate the friction. But I don’t know how to do that. I can work on my internal biases cognitively by telling myself that action will make me feel better – in fact, it almost always does. Every time I go out on my own to do something, I come back home feeling a million times better than usual.

So much better that a part of me doesn’t want to come home at all. Which is a pretty heretical thought for an agorapohobic person. But I think that once I manage to free myself from this dusty dirty little box of mine, I don’t want to go back in.

Makes me wonder how much of my depression is a lack of fresh air and exercise.

Sounds like something an old-fashioned doctor would recommend. “The problem, old chap, is that you are stuck in that stuffy little office of yours all day! I hereby prescribe you three hours of pleasant walking in the countryside accompanied by at least three healthy hunting dogs and a hip flask fully of brandy., ”

It was a simpler and more innocent time.

But of course, knowing that exercise and fresh air make me feel a lot better is not enough. There is still a massive blockage in the system and because of that, even the contemplation of simply going for a walk leaves me feeling weak and small and fearful.

It’s another one of those things that brings me face to face with my insanity because they show that I can know what the solution is and yet be unable to conquer the fear that says otherwise.

It means I am helpless in my own mind.

And that’s the kind of thing that can drive you crazy,

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

On the Morrow’s Wind

So I bought and downloaded Morrowind yesterday.

It’s the third game in the same series of games that Skyrim is in, a series called The Elder Scrolls. Skyrim is the fifth (and apparently last) game in that series.

I decided to get the game so that I would have something besides Skyrim to play that would not be too different from it.

And that is sort of what I got. But also, not.

Predictably, it’s a great deal less sophisticated than Skyrim, and I am not just talking about the graphics. It takes way way longer to get around in Morrowing than Skyrim because there is no Fast Travel function which lets me, in Skyrim, teleport to places I have been before.

Nope. You walk most places or you don’t get there. You can pay a mage to teleport between towns and board a giant insect called a Silt Strider to move between continents, but it’s not the same.

But that would not be so bad if it wasn’t for another factor : destinations are not marked on my map. Instead, I get directions to where I am supposed to go and I haaaate (and suck at) following directions.

To me, one of the most dreaded phrases in the English language is “you can’t miss it”.

Want to bet?

And I am not much for wandering and exploring, especially when the landscape is highly repetitive and devoid of landmarks like in Morrowind. That just increases my sense of disorientation and makes me want to flee to the last place I’ve been that was an actual place.

Usually a town.

And this map thing is a major potential deal breaker for me. I am mission-driven to a considerable fault, and to have to hunt around forever to even find the place where I am supposed to do the thing really frustrates and depresses me.

And I play video games to escape my depression.

Sadly, I have played it for too long to be able to return it, so I am stuck with it. And it cost me $20. and that’s big money in my little life.

So I guess I will try to make the best of it. To be honest, in hindsight, this was the perfectly predictable outcome of my purchase. What did I expect from a game that is over a decade old and two games behind Skyrim? Did I really think it would be a comparable experience to Skyrim?

If so, I was a fool. Honestly, I think what happened was that my goal-oriented mind clicked in and when that is active, I do not think about the decision to do the thing in between said decision and doing it.

That explains a lot of the more questionable decisions in my life. I get an idea to do something in my head and that shifts all my mental resources into doing it and, in a sense, I don’t return to the state of reason till I have done it.

Kind of scary, in a way. Like I am not really in control. But it also means I can get things done with great speed and energy, so there’s that.

And it’s not just that the games are so far apart in terms of sophistication and playability. What I failed to take into account was that I have been playing Skyrim for a very long time and thus have added a ton of mods that make the game into exactly what I want it to be, more or less.

To go from that to raw Morrowind was quite a shock. I have started getting mods for it but there are, of course, far fewer of them and that mod scene is not nearly as well developed as the Skyrim one.

So I dunno. I have started a new character who is a mage in Morrowind and that should suit me better than my previous character, who is an archer.

In Skyrim, I like playing archers. But in Skyrim, ammo is WAY cheaper. Mages don’t need ammo, they need magic energy, and that regenerates on its own over time.

So it is possible that I will be able to find a way to have fun in Morrowind despite the radical culture shock I am experiencing.

But if not, I can always go to plan B, which is to re-install one of the 32 or so games I have purchased on Steam in the past and which are therefore just sitting there on my Steam account, ready to be downloaded and installed.

Probably the original Dishonored. I bought Dishonored 2 but found it quite overwhelming. I had forgotten just how complex the game’s controls were and what a learning curve I had to surmount in the original game in order to play.

The difference is that in the first game, you were introduced to the various elements were introduced a lot more slowly. So I am hoping that if I play through the original again, I will pick up the necessary skills to play the sequel.

And if not that, it would probably be Witcher 3, an amazingly deep and fun game that I played a LOT back when I first got it. And back then, I knew neither jack nor shit about modding, so this time through could be a LOT more fun.

Same goes for Fallout 4, which is a lot like Skyrim but in a post-apocalytpic science fiction setting instead of the usual Tolkein fantasy setting of Skyrim.

Modding THAT could be a lot of fun, and I know for a fact that there are plenty of sexytimes fun mods for it, so that could add a whole new kind of fun, and this time, it would be in a somewhat realistic-ish setting.

So I got possibilities. The one thing I don’t see happening is my going back to Skyrim. I am quite thoroughly sick of it now and I really need to move on.

I am sure I will return to it someday, but for now, I am glad to be out of it.

It’s springtime. Time for renewal.

Even for shut-ins like myself.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Fru’s Very Busy Day

Soon to be a children’s book written by me and illustrated by Robin Bougie.

Well I didn’t say what KIND of children it was meant for.

Anyhow, today ois a very busy day for me, at least by my standards. I suppose that by the standards of busy peoiple with complex lives, it would practically be a day off, but I am a nothing person who does nothing, and so for me, it’s a big deal.

Sorry about that. Sometimes I just have to let the bad thoughts OUT.

Today was busier even by my Thursday standards because in addition to the usual therapy appointment (1 pm to 2 pm) and the usual Paragon meeting (leave at 7 pm, home by 10:30 pm), I had my first full eye exam since 2008 between 3:30 pm and 4:50 pm, and that’s a lot to do.

It means today will encompass around 6 “active” hours, which is a lot for me. “Active” hours are hours in which I am out of my room and out of my apartment with and around others who are not my immediate group of friends.

Those are the times that drain my social batteries no matter how good a time I am having. Normally, having two of those in the same day leaves me drained.

So throwing a very long series of eye tests into the mix makes today rather challenging for poor ol me.

To be honest, right now, at 5:30 pm, I ma quite stress out and I am probably going to lay down for a bit before it is Paragon time.

But not before I relate the kick to the nuts I got at the end of my appointment – apparently the province, in it infinitessamal wisdom, has decided that they will only pay part of the cost of the eye exam for people like me so I had to cough up $65 of my own cash money, money the province had given me in the first place, for the visit.

Well ain’t that a fun kick to the nuts. What, did they think we freeloading disabled people were abusing the system by getting eye exam after eye exam because they are free?

Or did they decided that they were just not being enough of a cunt to poor people yet and so they punched down to make themselves feel better?

Now I can afford the fee. So I am not going to go hungry because of it or anything.

But it seems like such a shocking dick move for the province to give me a check then claw that money back for something as medically necessary as an eye exam.

Apparently,. to them, sight is a luxury.

So I am rather pissed off about that. I already have massive trust issues and this boot to the breadbasket from an unexpected place doesn’t help my feelings of vulnerability and despair and btiterness about my life any.

What’s next? Making us pay half the tab in the emergency room? BEFORE treatment?

It’s downright un-Canadian, I tell ya.

Time for rest.

Aaaaaand I am back. It’s 10:30 pm, like I predicted, and I am well fed and in a pretty good mood now that I have completed my Very Busy Day.

Fruvous the fox would make such a cute children’s book character, don’t you think? And be the perfect little innocent scamp who keeps getting into trouble because he has the bad fortune to be both impulsive and clever. But not as clever as he thinks he is!

And I suppose, if people insisted, he could even do it wearing pants.

Tonight’s Paragon meeting ended up not happening. First Farth said he wasn’t feeling up to it – neither was I but I was going to show up anyway – then Amos bailed and that left just me and Felicity.

And so we just drove around for a while then ate supper at Wendy’s. We had a splendid time because we’re both such wonderful people to talk to and I ended up back home at the exact time I predicted earlier, so the evening was, by my standards, a success.

And now I am on the other side of my Very Busy Day, and it makes me feel good. I got through it. I survived it. It honestly wasn’t that bad. And now I can relax knowing that I actually accomplished something today, namely get my eyes thoroughly checked out.

And phew, everything is good except, of course, my prescription has changed. No big deal,. thats been the case literally every tiome I have seen the eye doctor in my life. My nearsightedness has a tendency to drift, that’s all.

I am looking forward to having a new pair of glasses and thus (I hope) experiencing good deal less eye strain and general squitiness. The optometrist said that I can expect my new glasses within seven to ten business days.

So, two weeks, basically. Fine. Apparently, my prescription contains a small correction for astigmatism and so it takes longer to get and/pr make the lenses.

Nice to have an explanation for that at last.

Oh, and something terribly amusing happened when I went to pick out my frames. When I finally picked a pair and gave them to the East Indian fellow who was my salesman, he looked down at them and then said “SIR! THESE ARE RATHER FEMININE! ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT THEM?” in a panicked voice.

I laughed and told him I was pefectly fine with that. I was tempted to add “don’t worry, that will give people the exact right impression. ”

Presumably, in his native culture, the attitudes are far more conservative and a man accidentally wearing feminine glasses could be a massive social catastrophe for the man along the lines of being caught driving a girl’s as a boy in the Seventies.

My first bike was a girl’s bike. But I had no friends so it didn’t matter.

And it’s not like I had a macho male image to protect.

Anyhow, I found the whole thing rather amusing and it was good to laugh after the marathon of tiny indignities and discomforts of all those eye tests.

Then I unexpectedly got charged $67 for the exam and I was depressed again,.

But I already covered that earlier.

Thanks for making me feel worse, province!

I will talk to you nice peopl again tomorrow.


Life without work

Or even the possibility of work. And even the unemployed have that.

Tonight, we are going to talk about work. About what work means, what work is, what work isn’t, and what it is life to feel forever excluded from it.

So let’s start with the basics.

Work, in sociological terms, is, strictly speaking, labour that contributes to the function and well being of our community.

I say “strictly speaking” because in this day and age, the connection between what we do all day and our community is tenuous at best.

This is especially true for those working in the private sector. The ad people and CEO types of your company might be able to sell people on the idea that this for-profit enterprise is a vital part of the global community, but it’s kind of hard to feel that connection when all you do is run the machine that slaps a sticker on the box.

Asides aside, the real definition of work in modern life is something like “exchanging labour for money”, which, as you can see, is radically different from the more basic “contributing labour to the communite” definition.

Plus, there is a subtler level to the sociological meaning of work because implicit with employment is approval. Every employed person has been approved by some gatekeeper in personnel or human resources or whatever, and their continued employment implies a continuation of that approval.

This is vitally important.

This steady, background stream of approval fulfills the human need to contribute to their community because in the modern world, our workplaces are our communities and our social roles are defined by it.

This stream of approval is absolutely invisible to the fish swimming in it because it is “normal”. Practically everyone has a job and therefore gets this reassurance all the time. It’s by far the normal thing to have in your life.

It’s taken for granted on such a deep level that people have trouble empathizing with us sad fish who are forever stranded on the banks.

You get up, go to work, come home, and relax. Thqat’s life. That’s how it works. It’s not questioned or even thought about. It’s what everyone does and it’s the primary source of public identity in modern life.

Why else would the first thing we ask someone we don’t know , besides their name, is “what do you DO?”.

Personal note : I live in fear of that question because I do not have an answer. You tell people you have no job and a vast gulf opens between you and them because you have just surrendered a huge portion of people’s ability to relate to you.

You might as well have said “Oh, I don’t breathe oxygen” or “I never eat food. ”

And even then, they would find it easier to relate to you than to a disabled person.

Your very presence in their lives reminds the fish that they are wet, so to speak. It makes them aware of something that, to them, is the rock solid unquestioned reality of life and that makes them very uncomfortable.

Human beings, as a general rule, do not like being reminded of that which to them is safely tucked away in their background rules of reality. Society is, in many ways, a public illusion, and if you break the rules of that illusion, you threaten people’s suspension of disbelief, so to speak.

And that makes them feel bad.  They can feel the destabilization of their reality and they know it is comeing from you. You are the one making them feel bad. You’re the one who is making them feel deeply scared in a way they can’t explain.

They want nothing more than to go back to sleep/and forget the whole thing, and the easiest way to do that is to exclude you and make up a justification afterwards.

The real reason is always “because you make us uncomfortable on a level that scares the shit out of us”, but human beings are compaasionate by nature, so they must therefore come up with a reason why it is all your fault.

That’s their moral escape hatch.

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is also why people hate on people on welfare. They correctly assess that unemplyed people are not contributing to their community and that basic human ethics considers that a sin.

Where they get it wrong is that they assume it must be a choice. To them, that is the only possible explanation because it is the only one that fits their assumption that, somehow, there is always more labour available than labourers seeking employment.

This assumption is, of course, unfounded. Ask these people what they think makes sure there’s always enough jobs to go around. They have no answer. Just a childlike self-serving faith that it must be true because otherwise, they would have to care.

Ergo, it can’t be true.

That leads us to people in my situation : disability, which we will define as “unable to work”. We make people esepcially uncomfortable because we deny them the easy route of deciding, based on no evidence, that we are just lazy and bad.

They still want to believe it because that’s what is easiest. And deep down, many people will feel like we are getting away with someone. Like we “get out of having to work” on a technicality and that makes them both very jealous of you and gives them emotional justification for wanting to punish us somehow.

After all, that’s how human life works : you do a bad thing, you get punished, are the punishment is justified and even applauded.

This is especially true for whose of us with invisible handicaps like my depression. Somone being in a wheelchair or wearing black sunglasses and using a cane gives out very clear signals that they are part of “those we protect”.

So I understand how, without those signals,. someone might think “oh, you don’t have to work because you’ say you’re depressed? That’s bullshit. ”

It is, of couse, far more complicated than merely showing up and telling someone you are depressed. But I can see how someone might think that anyhow.

And all of this comes down on the head of we, the disabled. We have the same urge to contribute as other humans, but we cannot. We are keenly aware of this failure and it causes us pain, day in and day out.

And we know what society says to us – that it’s fine that you do not contribute – does not compute. No amount of permission can obviate the heartache of a powerful instinct unable to be fulfilled.

For example, imagine that you are completely unable to have any kind of sex ever. The urge is still there but it can never. ever be fulfilled.

Do you think it would make a difference if someone told you it was okay that you can’t have sex? That you have permission?

And even in this day and age, its still harder to endure if you are a man.

This is why I constantly feel like a failure. I don’t contribute. Not in a way thay counts. Not in a way that is societally rewarded via money.

I want to work. I want that desperately. I have never had it and that makes me feel like the biggest failure in the world. ITtmakes me feel like I have been nothing but a burden on others for my entire life and the world would be better off without me.

But I can’t work because I can’t survive the job interview hell. Especially knowing that I have this massive gap in my work history I would have to explain.

Interviewer : It says here that you have done absolutely nothing with your life for 20 years. Why is that?

Me : It’s…. complicated. You know what? I’ll just leave now.

And it’s a short hop from there to not even trying in the first place.

And what that leaves us disabled persons with is a massive burden of guilt and shame, a desperate need that cannot be fulfilled, and a lot of empty hours to fill.

No wonder I play so much Skyrim.

It’s what I use to soothe the pain of unfulfillable desires.

While I am playing Skyrim, I don’t feel worthless or useless or burdensome. I feel good, because I am, in the game, a hero who accomplishes many worthwhile things and, via experience points and ;eve;ing and such, is rewarded for his work.

If only real life were that easy.

I take Paxil and Wellbutrin for my depression. And those will have to do.

Because no doctor can write a prescription for a job.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




A new dawn is daying

Or something like that.

Writing earlier than usual – as of this moment, it is 12:31 pm. Usually I write when I eat supper, which is usually somewhere nearish to 7 pm. But today, I am writing as I eat my lunch, which I usually do around 1 pm but I got sick of playing Skyrim so here I am.

See if you can detect the subtle differences in range, tone, and style between evening Fru and afternoon Fru. And if you find them, please tell me, because I’d love to know what the heck they are.

Feeling a little restless. Annoyed at a Skyrim mod I added recently. It promised to be 16 long quests, all in the same storyline, and that’s exactly what I want.

But the very first frigging quest is to gather ten Vampire Dust (easy to get, vamps are not hard to find) and ten Daedra Hearts (which are really fucking rare and I have no idea where to go to find them).

I hope this isn’t what makes the quests “long”.  Any fool can make a quest that takes a long time if they just make the goals damn near impossible.

Oh well. Perhaps there’s a trick to it that I am not seeing. I might look up a walkthrough and see how that person handled it.

Feeling relatively okay at the moment. I am still dealing with a lot of free floating anxiety that hovers like a shadow at the edge of my consciousness, waiting to strike. And that is no fun at all.

Most of the time, when it strikes, the point of entry is my obsession with time as a resource. I am a compulsive clock-watcher – I have been all my life – and for most of my life, it’s been a nuisance at worst and a valuable skill at best.

It’s amazing how neuroses and valuable skills can be two settings on the same dial. A neat freak might become a top notch researcher via their impeccable filing system. Another person’s sense of inadequacy might lead them to be a top ranking athlete. A third person might become an excellent marriage counselor because their childhood was forever marred by a nasty ugly divorce.

And who knows, someone’s shyness and difficulty expressing emotions and voicing his needs might lead them to hyper-focus on verbal skills and lead them to being a pretty darn good writer.

Nah. That would never happen.

Anyhoo, back to time. My obssession with time and clock-watching wasn’t a problem until fairly recently and it’s connected to my Skyrim addiction.

Because I’m an addict, I am constantly worrying over my supply. This being a video game and not heroin, the supply in question is the time I have to play it. So I will be playing the game and watching the time to anticipate when the next thing – like going to therapy, or blogging, or whatever – that will take me away from the game will be.

And that’s not crazy. Well, no crazier than my baseline level of lunacy, anyhow.

But the problem is that my neurotic mind takes that “time left” quantity and turns it into a resource in my mind – one which, by its very nature, I lose constantly.

Now here if where this gets tricky because I feel like I have to explain some fundamental things about my psychology and that can be a dicey proposition.

The core dynbamic here is oversensitivity to loss. It is a common problem in those of us of a resource-based mindset – it’s even one of the prime mechanics of hoarding.

It comes from a sense of scarcity and a lack of a feeling of security. The feeling of the world being a dangerous place and of never having enough of what you need combine in a nasty cocktail of fear and paranoia.

So someone like me, therefore, having time valued as a precious resource in my mind is disastrous because it’s a resource I can do nothing to preserve. It will disappear at a minute per minute no matter what I do.

And if I were a healthier Bull, I cojuld be philosophical about that. But lately I have gotten into this very unhealthy pattern of watching my remaining Skyrim time dwindle and reacting as if something very precious was being stolen from me.

That triggers feeling of helplessness and despair and pushed my anxiety level towards the freaking out mode when all is happening is the passage of time.

That’s clearly maladaptive. To put it mildly.

So I have been trying to attack this problem on a cognitive level by telling myself that running out of Skyrim time and having to stop playing is not some earth shattering dislocating trauma but merely the putting down one thing I like in order to go do another thing I like.

And it’s beginning to work but it’s pretty rough going. Addictions don’t die that easy and a big part of my mind still feels like every time I have to return from Skyrim to reality (so to speak) is like being plucked from your mother’s arms and tossed naked into a snowbank in the middle of February.

It’s a harsh image but it’s how I feel.

So overcoming this time torture will take some time. As will overcoming the Skyrim addiction itself. Skyrim sucks up most of my time, and to be honest, I am not getting all that much reward out of it most of the time.

But I keep playing because I am scared of going back to a life where I had to figure out what to do with myself all the time, day in and day out.

It’s so much easier to fill the hours with Skyrim.

But I have a plan to dig myself out, and it started with getting one of the previous games in the series – a game called Morrowind.

That will be my methadone. After that, I will transition to something else in the same general vein, like Fallout 4 or Witcher 3.

After that, I might even try something totally new!

And I will start right after I play through this quest mod… oh, and this archery mod looks cool… plus, I want to go back to Enderal…. and….

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.