What the fuck is wrong with me?

Caveat : It’s a rhetorical question,. Please do not answer it.

That said, lately I have been wondering what exactly mky major malfunction is. The eay answer would be “depression” but that is a functionally meaningless label at this point in my life. Yeah, I’m depressed…. and…?

It was very important when I was first diagnosed and put on Paxil. Before that, I was only vaguely aware that there was a mental disorder known as depression and that some people suffered from it. but if I had thought about it at all, I would have been imagning people on ledges with cops trying to talk them down, or people in mental hospitals who aren’t allowed near anything jagged.

I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it applyinjg to myself.

But that’s how my particular flavour of depression operates. It hides itself under distractions and diversions and a superficially bright and cheerful mood while on the inside, I am in terrible pain and falling apart.

The problem is. I rely on that game of pretend to be happy to make me happy. Fake it till you make it, I guess. When I have an audience, I can escape from myself and pretend to be the person I want to be.

So to me, it’s not entirely fake, or entirely real. Instead, this persona I project exists in the grey area between real and fake, and I’m very comfortable there.

Reality is too much of a commitment. Fantasy is too ethereal. Things that are in between are perfect for those of us who like to have our options open so that we always have more than one escape rouite.

Otherwise, we feel trapped. Even when we are perfectly safe. Because we’re crazy.

All part of the deep down inability to feel totally safe that comes from early childhood trauma. The world has always seemed hostile and dangerous to me. I’ve always thought that my only defense was my ability to anticipate and control events. I’ve always considered my brain to be the only weapon I had against a cruel and rejecting world that had no place for me in it.

And that’s no way to live. It’s bad for any mammal to have that kind of permanent, long term stress. Physically, stress damages people because it causes our bodies to act like it’s an emergency and to make decisions as though it’s in a fight for survival.

That’s mpore or less the recipe for poor long term decisions. The stressed state is not meant to last. IT’s meant to save you when the saber toothed tiger is about to eat you. Then it’s supposed to go away.

Psychologically (and neurologically), the situation is even worse, because a haunted mind like my own never truly rests. And that makes the psyche inherently unstable because it can never fully shut down for maitenance and repair.

Not even when I am asleep.

So that’s one thinjg that’s wrong with me. Another, and this one is key, is that I do my best to keep from being alone with my thoughts.

That mind sounds odd coming from a thoughtful person like me, but that thoughtfulness is just one of the ways I keep myself distracted.

When there is no other option, I think about stuff. This began when I was a hyper bored bright kid who spent most of classtim, shall we say, unengaged. Listening to the teacher took only a tiny bit of my massive mental bandwidth, and when we switched to doing the classwork, that wouild divert me for a very short time as those mental muscles of mine made short work of this stuff that was far, far beneath my abilities.

That’s one thing. But for some insane reason, I was not allowed to read when I had completed my classwork. Can you believe that? Telling a kid NOT to read?

What harm would there have been if I had read quietly while the other kids did their work? I was perfectly willing to be a happy little bookworm and fade into the woodwork while I escaped into a book, But no, it was important that I sat there with nothing to do, bored out of my gourd, as punishment for being too smart and making the other kids feel bad. I guess.

Anyhow, my response to that situation was to travel inwards, so to speak. To disppear into the world inside my skull and think long and hard about things, mostly on a subconcious level. It was like a rather cerebral form of meditation, and it made the time pass a lot faster.

Remember that, because making the time go faster has been my pattern for my whole life. That’s a big part of why I am addicted to Skyrim.

When I am playing it, the hours go by withoiut friction or fear. It solves the problem of what the hell do I do with myself so well that it’s become the default thing I do.

And why wouldn’t it be? When I am playing, I am more or less happy.

That reminds me of another issue : being kind of dead inside. By that, I mean that I go long periods without amy real motivation or awareness of my situation or curioisity about what life is like outside my cage.

I am not a lively, healthy animal. I’m lethargic, incurious, and passive.

And I know this is not right. I can feel the wrongness of it all. I want to be a more lively, vital, engaged person,

But I am too addicted to that inner anesthetic that is depression to be able to reach my life-spring on a regular basis.

It’s just so much easier to stay asleep and let the days go by. I’ve been out of VFS for five months now, and I have done very little with my education and qualifications from there. The one really good opportunity I had was with Secret Informant, and I let that die on the vine, and since them I have been sliding deeper into the abyss.

And some days I have the energy and the wherewithal to pulls myself further out.

But on others, it feels too damned good to just…. let go, and let gravity take over.

And then I have to find the nerve to start the climb again.

And that takes a very long time.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

That sinking feeling

Lately, I have been feeling like I am going down, down, down. No end in sight. No changes of speed. No thought of stopping the process. Just the feeling of a slow, calm, and easy death,.

The problem is, I’m enjoying it.

Dunno what that means, but it can’t be good. It’s like a slow and stately suicide where all I hve to do is sit back and relax and enjoy the show. And it comes with a rather sick sense of relief, as though part of me is saying, “I’m sure glad THAT is over and done with. “

“That”, of course, being my life.

A quick reminder : this is all metaphorical, I don’t think I am literally dying.

That said : death is the ultimate, final escape for us escapists. The last word in running away from our problems instead of facing them. The definitive way to remain untouched.

I’ve thought a lot about remaining untouched lately. Of going to where they can’t get to you. Of always dancing out of the way of their touch and remaining pure unto yourself.

It’s not a very good life strategy.

I wish I could explain what I mean by “untouched” in this context. Part of it is empathy based – being able to avoid the mental touch of others which can seem very invasive to those of us who experience the feelings of others very keenly, and who don’t necessarily have the strongest sense of our own identity as a result.

There’s always been a lot of people in my head, only one of which was me.

And this has its benefits. It gives me deep insight into the deep emotional lives of others. Every person I interact with leaves an impression behind and on a deep level, I process that impression and turn it into an understanding of that person and where they are coming from.

It all gets added to my deep model of humanity, which I can consult freely. This then informs my humanitarian impulses because the more you know about people, the harder it is to hate them because you understand their struggles and know that they are just as much of a bewildered monkey as you are, no matter how they may seem within the confines of social reality.

And once more, I have wandered away from myself and into cerebral pontification.

If only there was a WordPress plugin to detect THAT.

I will drag myself back to the point now.

When you have my kind of empathy, it can be hard to get some alone time, so to speak. I think this fuels my tendency to isolate myself. I can only truly calm down if I am completely alone both inside and outside my overstrained cerebrum. What company I do get tends to be via the moderating medium of the Internet, which vastly reduces the amount of psychosocial stimulation I get from people

.
Plus, I pretend to be an anthropomorphic fox. That helps too.

Anything to take me away from myself. That’s a form of escapism too. I hate being me and which I could be someone else. Things which occupy my mind fully let me forget that, and that’s a big part of what makes me so addicted to video games.
I get to be someone other than myself there too.

And this deep and primal self-loathing is not based on any particular fact or memory. It’s deeper than that. Like a lot of survivors of child sexual abuse, I carry with me a profound sense of disgust for myself and view myself as a disgusting, dirty, violated thing that reeks of corruption and unworthiness.

We end up feeling tainted and toxic, even though we are the victims and it’s our assailants who should feel totally worthless, not us.

But if someone dumps a bucket of shit on your head, it doesn’t matter that it is their fault and not yours. You still feel dirty and disgusting.

And my incident happened when I was a preschooler, so its effects went very deep. I think that might be why I got so good at concealing who I really am. So good that I can even fool myself sometimes.

And it’s why I have a deep down terror of people really getting to know me. If they did, they would see what a horrible shit-monster I am and they would run away forever.
It’s much safer to present the world with an illusion. One I can control. And like any good liar, I keep my illusion as close to the truth as possible so I attract the minimum amount of suspicion.

I could be wrong. Maybe it’s the projection that is the real me and the filthy and unworthy scared little critter inside me that is the illusion. I know I have done nothing to deserve this feeling of profound toxicity and the painful self-rejection that it engenders.
Nobody can be healthy with that level of self-hate. No wonder I don’t like being myself.

Or maybe that filthy little beast is the real me, but all it needs is someone to patiently and carefully and gently clean it up, and give it a hug, and tell it that it’s a good little beastie and that the dirt was never truly part of it and that it is loved and accepted and wonderful.

I’d like to be that person for myself. The ultimate pet groomer. The kindly kindergarten teacher I never had. The adult willing to take me on despite my troubles that I never found. The gentle but firm parent I needed so badly to give me both comfort and guidance.

But I don’t know if I can do it. I know that I will need to tackle that sense of being inherently horrible in order to do so. Otherwise I will not be able to generate the energy to do it. The deep conflict of self-rejection takes up too much energy for that.

It’s like I have a swamp inside me that needs draining,

And I’ve lost the keys to the pump.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

This is my “life”

It’s starting to get to me.

I spent the vast majority of my last 24 hours playying Skyrim. That is what my life is now. Skyrim is my default mode. When I am not writing, sleeping, or socializing with my freinds, I am playing Skyrim.

And that covers an awful lot of hours.

It’s not that I am not enjoying myself. If it was that simple, I would simply quit playing it and go find a better game.

No, the problem is that as I am happily engrossed in the ham, there’s a restless and dicontented voices screaming in an airless closet somewhere in my soul.

It’s both a very fun way to spend time and a kind oif addiction, and I don’t feel like I am fully in control of my life.

I’m way better off than when I felt into the deep dark hole at the beginning of my experience with Skyrm Remember that? When I stopped doing almost anything else but playing and tinkering with Skyrim/.

And that including some surprisingly optional things like eating, sleeping, drinking water, showering, and putting on pants.

IAnd I have to wonder what put me in such a sensitive and vulnerable state to begin with. What made this game different than all the others I have enjoyed but did not feel compelled to play for 12 hours plus a day.

It’s gotten so bad that I have to constantly remind mysef that my life is not supposed to be about maximizing my Skyrim time.  That’s what I have been doing,. I am a natural born optimizer and that coupled with this hole I am still digging myself out of makes for a very unhealthy kind of efficiency exercise.

But the thing is, while I am playing, I am happy. Or at the very least, not unhappy. The game keeps me mentally occupied, stimulated, and entertained with surprising reliability. As long as I am doing my Skyrim thing,  the hours slide by effortlessly and I am getting through life wuith a minimum of friction and pain, and I am not anxious, depressed, scared, sad, confused, or in pain.

It’s the perfect drug.

At the samne time, there is a growing discontent that gnaws at me from the inside and makes me feel like I am going yo explode. Playing the game suppresses the voice but by no means kills it. So while the vast majority of my concscious mind is busy and happy and engrossed, a sma;ll but very potent part of my psyche is in terrible pain and wants to stop and do anything else.

PReferably something involving a lot of physical activity so I could reduce my stress and bodily tensionlevels.

But my depression weighs me down and makes me stay there in that seat, playing that game. because it doesn’t want to go back to having to figure out  what to do with all my free time and energy.

So I hide in the game while my life passes me by.

I’m not sure what makes Skyrim all that different from the hndreds of other video games I have played, There’s tons of very good games that did not have this effect on me. Games that I loved to pieces but nevertheless would only play for a couple of hours, get tired of it, and quit to take a nap or read for a while or switch to my other mode, which was doing stuff on the Web while chatting with the fuzzies.

Nothng has sucked up my free time like Skyrim does.

Partly it’s the game itself. Theamount of content in it is staggering. I have played for hundreds of hours and I am still finding new stuff that I had no idea existed.

Also, there’s so many ways to play. I have mentioned builds before. You can play is a ninja. Or a big beefy warrior. Or a sly and powerful mage. Or a dark and treachorous necromancer. Or a cunning archer who strikes from the shadows. The possibilities are endless, and which each incarnation, even the very familiar quests becomne fresh and new. as you solve the same prob;lems via different abilities.

For example, my current character is a necromancer. By myself, he is not all that strong. He has good combat magic but that is it. If I were to charge into battle like I did (and enjoyed) when I was a big beefy Orc, I would be slaughtered.

Instead. I summon dead’y and powerful creature and let THEM do the fighting while I stay on the sidelines lobbing the occasional spell into the fray.

Well, at least that’s the idea. SOmetimes I have to lob spells at the things which is trying to eat me and ergo it’s a very short lob.

Plus there’s the massive amount of free content for Skyrim.

But I also think that it came along at a point in my life when I was particularly vulnerable. I had lost all the forward momentum I has after graduation and I was adrift. A big void had opened up in my life, and this amazing game was there to fill it.

And now, I have experimented. successfully, with refusing to judge myself for my current polarized lifestyle. I’m spending my time doing something I enjoy. I spend my days mostly happy. So what’s wrong with that?

But I have moved past that now and I am left with this feeling that I want more. That I am increasingly discontent with how my life is going but too scared of the xistential void of infinite possibilities to acknowledge and act upon this disconent.

The discontent grows, though, and eventuially it will overwhelm the fear and spur me into action. I can hasten his by doing what I can to act on my impulses more often and rearrange my life around my desires, not my limitations.

I am a grand and powerful person and I deserve a chance to flourish and bloom in the full and wholesome light of day.

I just have a lot of fertilizer to get through first.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

What I really want

Hell if I know.

That’s the thing… when you suppress almost every impulse for a long enough time, you get so far out of touch with your emotions that you don’t even Like each other’s Facebook posts any more.

Not even the one with the baby hugging the puppy at Burning Man!

But I am certain that the answer to that key question will open a lot of doors in me, and so I dig diligently like I am looking for gold or treasure.

And I am. In the form of sanity.

Thje hot and cold sides of my personality have to meet mingle, and unite. My goal is always integration in all things. I am a uniter, not a divider. I want everything to function as one gloriously efficient and healthy whole, without any more suffering that absolutely necessary, everyone in the place that’s right for them, and all working towards the same amazing future for themselves.

Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

In order to enabkle this great integration, I have to make it safe inside me for me to want things. To have desiires and to act on them. To let at least a few impulses through the border gate without being thoroughly vetted by the logic police.

As it stands now, even the suggestion of doing that sets off the alarms in my head and makes me feel dizzy and anxious. Acting on pure impulse without trying to think it through and check for intellectual contraband, like non-obvious negative consequences and future feelings of risk or anxiety?

I am not exaggerating when I way my entire psyche is built to prevent that.

It’s like at some point,. I acted on impulse, and it went very badly, and I decided that the problem was acting on impulse and that therefore I would never ever do that again.

I am stunned by the sheer magnitude of that kind of overgenerelization.

It’s ;like that thing I have talked about before : when a child burns their hand on a hot stove, the normal and healthy reaction is to learn to be cautious around hot things.

The unhealthy.and  neurotic reaction is to develop a lifelong fear/hatred of stoves. Or cooking, Or kitchens. Or the color red.

The completely psycho reaction is, of course, to blow up a Bed Bath and Beyond.

And yet I think that very overgenerlization haunts the lives of a lot of intellectual types like myself. In order to obtain the sort of clear symbolic logic and abstract reasoning that marks an intellectual, a person must learn to suppress all the other things going on in their head. and focus entirely on the cold-circuit task at hand.

Thus, the act of developing that high IQ requires a great deal of suppression. And a willingness – even a preference – to live in a cold, cold world.

Sure, we intellectuals have our pleasures and our drives and our passions. But they are all driven by cold-circuit emotions like curiousity, the search for clarity, the drive for perfection, and so on.

These are all real emotions – I am not saying intellectuals are emotionless robots. Far from it. We have the same emotions as everyone else.

The difference is that intellectual’s drives come from that cold citcuit that makes us seem like aliens to others. Hot circuit emotions, like anger, lust, and jealousy, are inherently mistrusted and suppressed, and in general can only express themselves in an intellectualized form.

So an intellectual will have lust – and express it through writing, pictures, or bizarre fetishes that exist because they are based on existing symbols in the mind that are powerful enough to make it through the intellectual bottleneck at the border by generating such a strong and deep emotional response that it overwhelms all inhibitors and floods the mind.

Not going to post that song again.

As a result of this odd setup, any given intellectual can end up living a strangely mismatched life driven by a motely collection of intellectual interests and absolutely unstoppable compulsions and aversions, with nothing in between.

In other words…. they have a hot side and a cold side that need to be united.

Hey,I made it back to the point!

I’m as surprised as you are.

In order to figure out what I reallyh want, I will have to ease back my border restrictions. And that’s going to take time. I am too rigid for transformational change. I can only do the kind of incremental change that eventually leads to small transformational changes once things reach a certain critical mass.

Wow, my imagery is all over the place tonight.

I think I may be building to one of those transformational moments.I told me therapist that I felt like something large was detaching itself from the main body of my psyche, and that eventually, it will fall off into the void of forgetting and never be seen again.

I’m rather looking forward to it. I don’t fear transformation, I just lack the flexibility to initiate it myself. I am ready for it to happen because I have total faith that I will be better off once the floodwaters recede and I am birthed naked onto that strange new shore.

I’m a poet who is too lazy to put it into poetry.

I wish I could run one of those :tune up your PC” programs on my brain. Get rid of all the junk files. Reconnect unused resources. Defrag my memories.

Anyhow, in order for this big transformation to occur, a big p[art of me has to die, and I think that’s why I have been feeling like I am in mourning lately.

Part of me is going away, and while I hate that part of me and want it to die, die, die, it was still part of me for a long long time. So I mourn.

It’s like excising a tumour. No matter how cancerous and metastatic and toxic that tumour was, it was still a part of you and still leaves a void where it once was.

You don’t have to approve of the crime to cry at the execution.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

Eat the pain

Pay attention, because this might turn out to be my “lean in”.

I was conemplating my issues while urinating, and the phrase “eat the pain” popped into my head, along with a sense of what that meant.

It’s not quite sane. In fact, I am pretty sure that it comes from the same circuit that lets aa coyote chew its leg off in order to escape a trap, and that allows a harmless critter like a rabbit to suddenly turn savage and strike out with blind fury like they are possessed by a demon when cornered.

But the idea is basically that  through this act of metaphorical cannibalism, you both triumph over the inner enemy by defeating and devouring it, you also take the truths contained within those demons and that the demons were, in a sense, created to convey to you but got frozen in your inner vault for so long that they had to grow progressively more brutal and twisted just to stay alive.

Emotions are information, after all. We fall into inner conflict when the part of our minds that maintains our sense of reality – call it the truth center – battles the part of our mind that doesn’t want to feel negagive emotions or face to face unpleasant truths – we will call that the Inner Animal.

Or in my case, the Jagoff.

We’re all familiar with the concept of delusion and the ability for the human mind to fool itself, and this causes people with more intelligence than vision to declare that there is no such thing as truth or objective reality and it’s all one big delusion.

I hate those people.

Because if that were true, we would never have survived as a species. We wouldn’t even be able to communicate, let alone function. We would all be schizophenics, unable to distinguish between the inner world and outer reality. And no two people could ever see anything the same way (unless by blind chance) because there would be no objective reality for them both to see in the first place.

Clearly, then, there is a counteracting force, and that’s the force I have labeled the Truth Center. That’s the part of our mind responsible for constructing our sense of the reality of things, our consciousness, out of things like our sensory input, our memories, our associations, what we’re used to experiencing, and so forth and so on.

And this part of the mind might get suppressed, but it never gives up. It doesn’t understand the meaning of the term. If the Inner Animal halts a negative emotion or unwanted fact at the border, it doesn’t disappear.

It waits. And as it waits, the impulse that propels it – call it the truth engine – pushes it into a higher and higher state of agitation as it continues to be ignored.

Think of it as water pressure rising behind a boulder that is blocking a river.

And as that pressure builds, it changes the emotion/information packet. It becomes increasingly desperate to be expressed and its voice becomes more and more savage, primitive, and LOUD.

Still, by itself, it would never have much of an effect. But when suppressing the bad stuff becomes a deeply ingrained habit – when our emotional shutoff valve is being wildly abused – the blocked emotions build in number and strength till there is a massive army of them waiting at the border station, all wanting through at the same time.

And if the repression continues, the state has to spend more and more of its resources just to keep this growing mob at bay. As it does so, life on the other side of the border gets worse and worse because necessary resources can’t get through either.

And with both sides pushing as hard as they can, the mostly deadly form of pressure builds up – the tension of the conflict – and threatens the entire structure of the psyche if it is not resolved.

So unless the individual realizes (on some level) that they need to resolve the tension, eventually, their mind breaks down and they have, if they are lucky, just a ndeervous breakdown and nervous collapse, or if the problem is truly intractable, they will go crazy for reals and at that point, anything can happen.

The most obvious answer is to start letting emotions through. Even the negative ones. That requires changing the paranoid beliefs that have been used to justify this “no access” policy. Beliefs that are outdated, maladaptive, extremely painful, and that melt like a snowflake when subjected to even small amounts of the pure light of reason.

That’s what recovery is all about. Reducing that pressure at the border by letting some of the negative emotions through. Either one at a time, and with great caution, like in my case, or by just flinging the gate wide open and letting everything through all at once, and dealing with the consequences as they come.

KInd of like this:

I think I went long enough without posting that video that I can do it now.

My god, that song has deep spritiual meaning for me. I connect with it so deeply it’s scary. It’s like it was written by a part of myself far wiser than the rest.

And what do you know, it’s full of water imagery. Quelle surprise.

In case you haven’t’ figured it out yet, the “situation at the border” that I have described is a metaphor for depression. As the border suppression system deals with an incresingly large number of waiting emotions. it uses up more and more enery and makes the person involved more and more lethargic, unmotivated, and depressed as their inner world starves.

And if it gets bad enough, the pressure will be released explosively, and result in anything from a nervous breakdown to an unspeakable act that the person would never do when sane, to a suicide attempt, to a full on psychotic episode.

Luckily for me, I have therapy, and I have this blog,. Both give me a please where I can let those emotions in – slowly – and thereby reduce that terrible inner pressure.

It’s all about release, man. Your legal immigration policy.

Find yours or you will pay for it, one way or another.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

Stop worrying about North Korea

Sorry if my soapbox leaves splinters on your floor, but I need to rant.

I can’t believe I have to explain this all again, but here goes : North Korea is not a threat to anyone in the USA or Canada.

Why? Because all it has is a piddling few nuclear devices that use all the uranium and/or plutonium that the South Korean government has been able to purchase and produce over the lifespan of its fifty year nuclear plan.

So say the worst possible scenario occurs and the Un One thinks that maybe that one solider with the natural good looks and charms was looking at him funny, and this time, having the man and all this family tortured to death just isn’t going to cut it. This time… the whole world has to pay.

So he launches all his devices while stroking a non-existant mustache and cackling evilly, or at least, what he thinks is an evil cackle but sounds more like a frog with the hiccups about to barf.

And all those devices are heading for major cities in the USA. Oh no, surely this must mean we are all doomed!

 

Well guess what? There would be ZERO DOOM, at ;least in the Western Hemisphere. In order to get to us, the devices would have to cross China (who is a nuclear power too, remember?”) and then cross the Pacific Ocean, which is, ya know…

KIND OF LARGE

and that would give the world plenty of time to intercept the missiles and cause them to splash harmlessly into the ocean where they can be picked up later.

Meanwhile, the entire world would have invaded North Korea and in record time Un would be Un-employed and his country would be absorbed into South Korea and become New Korea, or looked at another way, Korea Classic.

And why would Un the Great and Mighty bring that on himself?

Remember, it is never only a question of what the enemy can do. It’s always a question of what they would do.

I mean, you could punch your boss in the face tghe next time he talks to you like you’re in fifth grade. You have the capacity. You have the fists and the rage and the opportunity to put both of those things together for a moment of punchtastic glory.

But you wouldn’t. DO I need to explain why?

And for heaven’s sake, people, don’t make fools of yourselves talking like the world ending in a nuclear holocaust is a possibility. It ain’t. Korea isn’t the Soviet Union. A nuclear exchange between it and the rest of the world would not bring an end to all life as we know it.  Un just plain does not have enough nukes for that, and it’s not like we’re going to blow ourselves up just to make up the difference.

Now don’t get me wrong – he could do a lot of damange with the nukes he as, especially to countries way closer to him than us. If he decided to take out Beijing or Tokyo or Ulaanbaatar[1], he might be able to do it. And not only could millions die in the initial striek, the environmental impact would be felt for hundreds of years. In fact, fallout would take even more lives than the initial blast.

But that’s not going to happen, because no matter who he attacked, the world would wipe out his regime before the ground has even stopped glowing and why would Un want to do that?

But people will go right on believing that we are on the brink of total annihilation, and you know why?

Because it’s fun.

It’s fun to imagine that we’re at risk of losing it all. It makes life more exciting and dramatic and the fun kind of scary, the kind you get in a horror movie.

And like in a horror movie, it’s safe to get scared about North Korea’s nuclear proigram because you know, deep down, that it’s all fake, there’s no real danger, and at the end, it will all go away and you will go on with your life.

It’s the attractive bullshit of popular delusions, and I am sick and god damned tired of it. So here I am, being the “no fun” guy who tells people that the Emperor, despite what you read on Twitter, actually IS wearing clothes, and any gimpses of his genitalia you thought you saw were only the products of your fevered imagination.

Nark my words. Were this article to be seen by a large number of people, I guarantee that I would receive dozens of angry letters in which people would be making superficially logical as to why I am wrong wrong WRONG, but the subtext would be clear, and it woudl read “”you’re no fun!”.

How dare I insist upon reality when we’re all having such a fun time being scared?

Because real world things are happening and our priorities are all fucked up because of the media pursuing what they think is the best story, instead of looking for the truth.

And social media only makes things far worse because now it’s not about rating, it’s abnout clicks, and everyone is competing to share the stuff that will get likes and shares and that kind of intellectual populism is going to favour the sensational falsehoods over the unglamorous truth  most of the time.

It’s all reality television now. Everything from the biggest news program all the way down to your auntie’s Facebook feed is just as trite, just as manipulalative, and just as “real” as Toddklers and Tiaras and Survivor : Atlantis.

Clearly, the public mind needs a better immune response to bullshit.

I have no idea what that would look like.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. You mena, those two Klingon chicks from Star Trek? Actually, it’s the capital of Mongolia. Don’t worry about not knowing it. Neither did I till I looked it up just to make myself sound smart!

Sometimes, my depression is like….

(This was originally going to be a poem. But  FUCK poetry. I have way too much to say for that shit .)

Sometimes, my depression is like….an invisible straightjacket that restricts what I do in a way that makes no sense to those who cannot see it. I don’t believe I can escape it, so to save at least some of my sanity, I’ve  learned to ignore it too.

In fact, when I am performing socially, I can fool myself into forgetting that I am sick and believing that there is nothing really wrong with me, I have just been in a bad mood.

For my entire adult life.

And I am 44

It’s a nice place to visit, but I can’t exactly live there.  I wish I could become the person I pretend to be, and I am working on that.

But it will take a long time. I just have to remind myself that the person I pretend to be is me as well.

Sometimes, my depression is like…. a twisting, crushing, spaghetti-fying black hole at the center of my soul. A brutal inward tide that draws everything into its maw of annihilation and despair. It devours all, leaving me hollow and empty and sad. Attemptds to satisfy it work for a while. But the void in my soul is patient. It knows it will win in the end.

Sometimes, my depression is like….a terrified beast hunted by long, dark demons and driven into a state not unlike insanity where it wants to get away,  get away, get away before the bad thing happens!

This animal knows, in its heart, that it is going to die, because it’s only one little animals versus a galaxy of monster that all want to eat him, crunch crunch GOODBYE.

He also knows that before he dies, when he knows there is no way out, he is going to snap like a dry twig and murder every single fucking one of them he can before they eventually put him down.

He doesn’t want this to happen.

But the thought makes me feel a little better.

Sometimes, my depression is like….an endless dirfting through dimly lit subterranean canalls, where the only sound is the lapping of the waves against the hull of my gondola and the tiny bumping sounds from the gondola’s smooth passage through a canal barely wider than it is.

And behind it all is a slow, even, strong, masterful rowing.

And the real mystery is not why I am in this canal…

But why I like it so much.

Sometimes, my depression is like….being the outermost planet in a vast solar sytem, pathetically dependent on the tiny amount of energy it gets from that hot and wonderful star at the center of it all, and worried that nobody even notices or cares about it because it’s so far out.

And on that planet is a robot. And that robot’s job is to monitor signals from the inner planets, and report what it finds.

And it spends every day monitoring as hard as it can. It has to try so hard because it is barely picking up anything. And the signal he picks up are so faint that they barely make any sense and seem random and thoughtless to the robot.

So the robot has concluded that nobody is transmitting, that the signals he picks up are all in his mind, and that he would be better off shutting down and going offline.

But what this robot does not know is that it has a broken antenna. That therfe are, in fact, many stations broadcasting to it on every channel and at full power, and that are desperate to make some kind of contact with him.

It thinks that nobody cares.

But it’s just a broken antenna.

Sometimes, my depression is like….a chill fog that fills my mind and makes it so hard to think and plan and do complex things. An artificial lobotomization that renders a n otherwise highly intelligent person from being able to cope with even the most basic levels of life. The things healthy people don’t even think of as tasks, let alone understand wbhy someone would find it hard to do them.

So it leaves me drowning in plain view of everyone but nobody can throw me a line because they don’t even see what is killing me.

Sometimes, my depression is like….a deep rage that burn all it touches and most of what it touches is me. An impotent rage that takes out its frustrations on the one available target : ,me.

It’s a ravenous monster, and I have locked myself in with it in order to make absolutely sure that it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

So it eats me instead. And that only leads to more rage. So it’s like I am constantly punishing myself for the crimes I have committed against myself when punishing myself for the crimes…. and so forth and so on.

And the great thing about this self-torture is that it’s conflict free. You don’t have to challenge anyone to a fight over it. You can do it whenever you like, because your victim is always right at hand. And you know he deserves it too for being such a pathetic loser and sucking so bad at everything and basically being horrible….BECAUSE of the self-loathing and self-torture.

The punishments is part of the problem.

And sometimes, my depression is like….being a kid who is all alone in front of the school because everybody forgot to pick him up and now the shadows are getting longer and the people who live across the street from the school are starting to wonder what is going on and the people driving by wonder too, but not for very long, because they have to get on with their lives.

He doesn’t notice any of this, though, because as the minutes tick past he gets sadder and sadder till ihe feels like he will crumple in on himself at any moment, because that screaming void inside him just keeps getting bigger and bigger because it’s clear that he doesn’t matter and doesn’t count and nobody cares about him enough to do one single thing to help him.

And he deserves it all, because he’s terrible.

His harried aunt arrives just in time to see he has attempted suicide… again.

She rolls her eyes. Nobody nobody likes the kid. He’s such a drama queen.,

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

Easy to love, hard to respect

The title refers to me, of course.

For many years, I more or less ignored the concept of respect as it pertained to me. I felt like loosely tied sack of shit (still do, sometimes) so I figured respect is something that I would never have.

You know…. like someone who was sexually attracted to me, or love.

And besides, respect seemed very dull to me. Very staid, and dignified, and dull dull DULL. I would rather have people love me than respect me.

But as I have been going through the process of recovery. my inherent human desire for respect has surfaced and bveen hooked up to the main rig. And now I find I want people to respect me.

At least enough to listen to what I say, anyhow.

A lot of what I am describing as “respect” goes by other names, like “the recoignition of one’s peers” and “a place in the community” and so on.

But it all boils down to one thing : people recognizing and validating one’s worth.

At this point, the knee-jerk pop psychologists would leap to their feet and tell me that you shouldn’t look to others for validation, that you need to look within for validation, and that the only person’s opinion of you that matters is your own.

Yeah, well, I think I suck. I was kind of hoping to get a better opinion somewhere else.

Because I want respect now. Not the staid stuffed shirt “respectable” kind of respect. Or the much worse kind of respectable that haunts the middle class.

 

 

That’s the kind of respectability I actively avoid.

No, I am looking for a more basic kind of respect. Essentially, I need validation. Some positive input about my worth that I can use as a defense against the ravenous demons that attack my self-worth on a near-constant basis.

There’s a problem with that, because I don’t expose myself to situations where that might happen very much. I don’t send my writing to potential purchasers. I don’t job hunt and go to interviews. I don’t even go to industry events.

In fact, I have a very strong pattern of fearing and avoiding the exact kinds of situations where I might get my validation due to my fear of rejection.

Hence the writer’s dream version of a literary agent as someone to whom you can send your work and then THEY do all the socially scary work of finding people to buy it.

We writers are an introverted lot. Who else would be willing to invest all those lonely hours that writing takes? Extroverts would be so bored they would fall asleep.

Although the image in my mind of an extroverted writer super excitedly typing the adventure in their heads into text on a page and completely emotionally engaged with the story they are writing, like Jo from Little Women, is a pleasant one.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Respect and stuff.

The thing is, I crave respect and validation, and while the validation is available – I have enough evidence in my memory banks that I am a very funny writer, for example – the respect is hard to come by because basically, I’m a mess.

It’s hard to maintain respect for someone as clumsy, absentminded, and cowardly as myself. At least, that’s how I perceive it. I have a lot of gifts, and so the validation is there, but as a person, there’s not a lot of hooks to hang respect on.

I have done little to prove my worth to the community. I have a tendency to wimp out and look to others to solve the crises caused by my clumsy and absentminded nature. Over and over again I find myself helplessly apologizing for makling yet another stupid mistake that no normal person would make and that I can’t even explain except to say “I guess my brain doesn’t work”.

The learned helplessness from my childhood is still there. My first thought when things go wrong is to look to someone to help me out of it.

And that’s damning for either gender but especially bad for a man. Men are supposed to keep it together and be competent and tough and strong.

I am none of those things.

Oh, I have my areas where I can be all three. Most of them rely on my being inspired by my deep protective urges that mean I absolutely must act to protect people, whether in a physical situation like an altercation or on a more ideological level.

when my sense of injustice is activated, I’m a goddamned lion.

When it comes to my own interests and feelings, I am a particularly feeble lamb,

Sometimes I envision a scenario in which I could be “The Man”, the guy who is in charge of everything and whom appears to be totally awesome and in control and brilliant as fuck.

But it would be a bit of a con game. Essentially, I would be desperately trying to avoid revealing my incomptence, so I would be using my powers of persuation to convince others to do the things I can’t do while I retained my status by being a very good, fair, loving kind of leader who can guide the group (whatever it is) away from danger and into the green pasrures of safety and coimfort and happiness.

It’s that eternal problem of mine : what if you would make a good Chief, but a lousy Indian? What if you are much better at knowing what needs to be done and how  than actually doing it?

As the world is set up, you generally have to be a good Indian before they will even consider making you a Chief. In a system like that, I am screwed.

But if being in charge was recognized as just another skill and not some messed up status game which makes it seem like management is a special breed or person as opposed to people will jobs like everybody else,. then people like me might go straight from the aptitude test to the lowest level management position.

Because that’s what I’m good at!

But no, we are sutck with a system where people like me never get to do what we do best. And yet we still sometimes claim it to be a meritocracy.

The only people who actually believe that are the ones who have done well by the system and want to imagine it’s because they are extra magical special.

The rest of us knows that it’s all about who you knoiw.

Well then I’m fucked.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

Um… uh… skyrim?

No idea what to write about, so what the hell, I will talk about my Skyrim life.

The first thing you have to know is that in RPG style games like Skyrim, which have a lot of options as to how your character develops, there are what are known as “builds”. Basically, they are ways of playing the game that result in a certain kind of character by using and improving the right set of skills and by choosing the right weapons and armor and other accoutrements in order to turn your character into a very effective version of whatever build you are following.

Confusing? Well here’s an example. One of my builds I called The Ninja. I really wanted to play as a ninja, so I  found a mod that added ninja weapons and spells to the game.

I installed it, and had fun for a while as a ninja, with skills in stealth so I could glide silently up to enemies and take them out with a katana to the back. I had ninja powers that let me do things like disappear and leave three identical copies of me behind, which attacked the enemy while I snuck around to stab the enemy in the back.

Actually, a loit of it was about stabbing people and creatures in the back. It’s even more fun than it sounds. And it forced me to adjust my play style. Normally, whatever sort of character I am playing. I almost always just charge into battle and kick some ass.

But being a ninja meant it was worth it to be less direct. And I discovered that. despite my usual impatience with indirect things, it was also fun and interesting to sneak up to enemies sometimes and spring on them and kills them so fast that they are dead before they even know they are hurt.

But after all that misdirection,. I needed something extremelty direct. So my character right now is Malkoth the Maker, a huge orc that uses huge weapons to layeth down the smack on the bad guys.

This is by far the easiest sort of character for me to play. No pondering what spells to use. No need to plan a battle strategy. Not a lot of need to use the Block (as in, with a shield) button as things tend to die realy fast when you hit them.

Just pure fucking brute force applied with all the skill and precisions of a sledgehammer to the forehead.

It is very satisfying to my Taurean nature. Big man hit bad thing very hard. Repeat.

Oh, and he’s called The Maker because it is with this character that I have explored the “crafting” options of the game. Like the name suggests, crafting lets you make stuff in a game. It’s quite popular in video games because it gives people that sense of satisfaction that comes with making things.

And all without having to have any skill in it yourself! Suits me.

So I have made weapons and armor for my big Orc, then refined them, then put enchantments on them to make them even more awesome.

And it must have had an effect, because I have taken this mnagnificent thug of mine further through the game and to a higher character level than ever before. And that’s a good thing, because it means I am not feeling twitchy and restless any more.

Recently, I have had a pattern of starting a new character based on the “build” in my mind, getting them to around level 20 then getting bored and going on to the next idea for a build. There’s nothing wrong with that – after all, the whole point of playing video games is to have fun, not to fulfil a specious obligation to an imaginary character.

But it gave me a feeling like I was missing a lot of the game due to my impatience. And it turns out that I was right. Hanging in there has brought my character to new heights of power that I had never seen before.

He is truly one magnificent brute now. He can kill dragons in 30 seconds. A lot of regular enemies are one shot wonders to him now.

He rarely has to hit anything twice.

And I am having fun with all that power. My guy is Level 34, and I am not quite done with him yet because I am not going to stop playing him because his weapon skill is almost at 100, and apparently something magical happens then. I don’t know what…. something about resetting the skill to 15 and giving me extra powers or something… but I am daying to find out.

After that, I will probably move on to my next character build idea : the Necromancer. I have wanted to explore the other sorts of magic in the game besides the combat stuff (shooting fireballs and such), and I in particular wanted to explore Conjuration magic, which lets you do things like make zombies out of corpses and summon powerful critters to do your bidding.

I have also wanted to play a character thjat works through others instead of throwing himself into battle, and being the guy who summons stuff works great for that. I can just summon some minions and hold back while they fight the baddies, tossing a well chosen and timed spell into the fracas when appropriate.

It will take even more restraint of my tendency to throw myself into battle than the Ninja build did, but that will be part of the challenge and thuis part of the fun.

After that, my next character build idea is The Paragon, who will be a shiny golden example of all heroic virtues and with whom I plan to do every quest from every town.

That’s crazy ambitious, but what the hell, that just makes it more fun.

So that’s the updatge on the part of my life that is spent in a video game. You’d think I would be tired of it by now, but there’s just so many ways to play it and so much content available that it keeps me happily engaged for hours on end.

And it’s way easier than actually having a life.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Feel my power

nk I’ve been making progress on that “owning your gifts” thing that I have been going on about for ages now.

I still feel like there is this massive monolithic machine that is my intellect. and then there’s itty bitty me. cowering in its shadow, feeling helpless before it, even though my hands are on its controls.

It terrifies  me, to be honest. Even though I know it is also me. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like me, though. It feels like a ghost that haunts me.

Or maybe I’m the one haunting it. I don’t know. I just work here.

But on another level, I am improving. I am starting to “feel my oats[1]“, as the saying goes. I have periods when I feel powerful in a good way. Where I am amazed by myself, not just dazed by myself. Where I can grapple with the truth of being considerably smarter than most people (and the ice cold loneliness that implies) for short periods before having to push it out of my mind as something I just can’t handle. Where I can entertain thoughts like “I’m amazing!” and “I’m brilliant” without the demons of my depression immediately tearing that feeling apart.

Because I am amazing, god damn it. Most people would look upon my gifts with envy. I’m a talented writer with a unique point of view. I’m a genuinely nice guy. I’m sensitive and intuitive while also being hardheaded and pragmatic. I have deep an unique insights into what makes people tick and how the world works. I am passionate about my ideals and live my day to say life by them. I have innate charisma that can light up a room. I can project my vision of the world to an audience. I can embody my ideals.

And, of course. I have a brain the size of a planet[1]. I have a powerful mind that cuts through the fog of illusion and sees the truth of things. I retain facts for a very long time – hence my ability to remember stuff I learned in grade 7 science, like the water cycle. I have extraordinary verbal skills and can make words do whatever I like, including things that seem like wizard level magic to the average person. I’m very funny. I can make cutting observations that can really hurt someone if I feel it is needed.

In fact, when it comes to words, I’m a well armed ninja.

I’m honest,  trustworthy, reliable, loyal, patient, and dependable while also – miracle of miracles – being an interesting person.

I am a genuinely deep person who thinks deeply about things and who does his best to look at the whole picture before rushing to judgment. I am always striving to be as fair and objective as I can be. I don’t pick sides or play favorites.

And I am alway striving towards being a better person. My spiritual ambition is limitless. I works towards becoming not just a better person in terms of morality but a purer, stronger, stabler, more enriched soul that has transcended itself over and over until I am the best possible version of myself.

Basically, I want to be secular Jesus. Or at least a secular holy man.

I have a very strong desire to help others. And an even stronger urge to protect others. I will interpose myself between the innocent and the cruel and thoughtless hand of fate every single fucking time.

And for the guilty most of the time, too.

I am a very genuine person. I fabrcate no emotions. The very idea of it disgusts me. I do my best to be diplomatic and considerate and restrain my instinctual bluntness. But I do it via nuanced expression of genuine emotions, not by faking anything.

I absolutely refuse to misrepresent my emotional state. Come what may. I might not reveal all of my emotional state in every situation, but I never,  EVER  project an emotion that I am not feeling.

Let’s see. What else. This is fun! And I think it will be a very good exercise for my emotional growth and self-esteem.

I feel no need or desire to dominate others and I am in no sense one of those people driven to get their own way all the time.

On one level, life is a game of chess to me, and I will make whatever moves advances my position. I know that sounds so cold it’s sociopathic. but my chess board very much includes morality and the utilitarianism of maximizing the good and minimizing the bad in life. My ethics demand this kind of optimization. Otherwise I would be failing to live up to my ideals, and that would be completely unacceptable.

So the whole chess game is just my rather cerebral way of trying to make the world a better place for humans. Were I less dogmatically objective and determinedly fair, I might have a different approach to life.

But I am who I am, and I do the best I can. If that causes some people to mistrust me, so be it. I am a cold and calculating machine, after all.

Just one programmed to benefit humanity.

I am kind, gentle, and empathic. I want everybody to be happy. And I am very strongly oriented towards peace and harmony. I want everyone to get along. I want to end all artificial divisions between us, especially the harmful ones. And I want people to be able to become the best versions of themselves so they can be happy about themselves. and their place in the world.

Phew! That took a lot of effort. Worth it, though. I should print this article out and put copies all over my room so I can always see it when I want to.

I have all that going for me, plus, I assume, things I am now too tired to think of.

And yet, I still feel like a scared little money with his hands resting on controls he is afraid to use because the effects are so much bigger than him.

Maybe it’s time for that scared little monkey to grow up.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

[[2]] Probably a gas giant. That seems fitting. [[2]]

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Joke :  “Son, it’s okay to feel your oats, just not when they’re inside a horse. “
  2. nk I’ve been making progress on that “owning your gifts” thing that I have been going on about for ages now.

    I still feel like there is this massive monolithic machine that is my intellect. and then there’s itty bitty me. cowering in its shadow, feeling helpless before it, even though my hands are on its controls.

    It terrifies  me, to be honest. Even though I know it is also me. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like me, though. It feels like a ghost that haunts me.

    Or maybe I’m the one haunting it. I don’t know. I just work here.

    But on another level, I am improving. I am starting to “feel my oats[1]“, as the saying goes. I have periods when I feel powerful in a good way. Where I am amazed by myself, not just dazed by myself. Where I can grapple with the truth of being considerably smarter than most people (and the ice cold loneliness that implies) for short periods before having to push it out of my mind as something I just can’t handle. Where I can entertain thoughts like “I’m amazing!” and “I’m brilliant” without the demons of my depression immediately tearing that feeling apart.

    Because I am amazing, god damn it. Most people would look upon my gifts with envy. I’m a talented writer with a unique point of view. I’m a genuinely nice guy. I’m sensitive and intuitive while also being hardheaded and pragmatic. I have deep an unique insights into what makes people tick and how the world works. I am passionate about my ideals and live my day to say life by them. I have innate charisma that can light up a room. I can project my vision of the world to an audience. I can embody my ideals.

    And, of course. I have a brain the size of a planet[1]. I have a powerful mind that cuts through the fog of illusion and sees the truth of things. I retain facts for a very long time – hence my ability to remember stuff I learned in grade 7 science, like the water cycle. I have extraordinary verbal skills and can make words do whatever I like, including things that seem like wizard level magic to the average person. I’m very funny. I can make cutting observations that can really hurt someone if I feel it is needed.

    In fact, when it comes to words, I’m a well armed ninja.

    I’m honest,  trustworthy, reliable, loyal, patient, and dependable while also – miracle of miracles – being an interesting person.

    I am a genuinely deep person who thinks deeply about things and who does his best to look at the whole picture before rushing to judgment. I am always striving to be as fair and objective as I can be. I don’t pick sides or play favorites.

    And I am alway striving towards being a better person. My spiritual ambition is limitless. I works towards becoming not just a better person in terms of morality but a purer, stronger, stabler, more enriched soul that has transcended itself over and over until I am the best possible version of myself.

    Basically, I want to be secular Jesus. Or at least a secular holy man.

    I have a very strong desire to help others. And an even stronger urge to protect others. I will interpose myself between the innocent and the cruel and thoughtless hand of fate every single fucking time.

    And for the guilty most of the time, too.

    I am a very genuine person. I fabrcate no emotions. The very idea of it disgusts me. I do my best to be diplomatic and considerate and restrain my instinctual bluntness. But I do it via nuanced expression of genuine emotions, not by faking anything.

    I absolutely refuse to misrepresent my emotional state. Come what may. I might not reveal all of my emotional state in every situation, but I never,  EVER  project an emotion that I am not feeling.

    Let’s see. What else. This is fun! And I think it will be a very good exercise for my emotional growth and self-esteem.

    I feel no need or desire to dominate others and I am in no sense one of those people driven to get their own way all the time.

    On one level, life is a game of chess to me, and I will make whatever moves advances my position. I know that sounds so cold it’s sociopathic. but my chess board very much includes morality and the utilitarianism of maximizing the good and minimizing the bad in life. My ethics demand this kind of optimization. Otherwise I would be failing to live up to my ideals, and that would be completely unacceptable.

    So the whole chess game is just my rather cerebral way of trying to make the world a better place for humans. Were I less dogmatically objective and determinedly fair, I might have a different approach to life.

    But I am who I am, and I do the best I can. If that causes some people to mistrust me, so be it. I am a cold and calculating machine, after all.

    Just one programmed to benefit humanity.

    I am kind, gentle, and empathic. I want everybody to be happy. And I am very strongly oriented towards peace and harmony. I want everyone to get along. I want to end all artificial divisions between us, especially the harmful ones. And I want people to be able to become the best versions of themselves so they can be happy about themselves. and their place in the world.

    Phew! That took a lot of effort. Worth it, though. I should print this article out and put copies all over my room so I can always see it when I want to.

    I have all that going for me, plus, I assume, things I am now too tired to think of.

    And yet, I still feel like a scared little money with his hands resting on controls he is afraid to use because the effects are so much bigger than him.

    Maybe it’s time for that scared little monkey to grow up.

    I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

     

     

     

    [[2]] Probably a gas giant. That seems fitting.