Drinking Sucks: 10 Reasons to Not be a Drunkard

Lists of ten, top-ten lists, or whatever you want to call them kinda suck in their own right, but I want to write one anyways. It seems fun, clickbaity, and will be a challenge putting together ten individual items to discuss here. Since my slew of vacations and my mental meltdown I’ve had one hell of a time with alcohol, and in a way I think I’m writing this post mostly for myself to get back on track. So what better way to make a “top 10 list” than to bitch about alcohol abuse. So I hereby present to you ten reasons to quit drinking!

10. Save Money $$$

The best motivation to do almost anything is to make money/save money; it’s the driving force behind everything in a capitalist society. Despite this, I put saving money as far down the list as possible. This is due to a few reasons. Firstly, people don’t change addictions based on cash savings; no one would smoke, drink, or shoot heroin if this was true. Addiction is one of the few things that exist outside the motivation to make/save money. Secondly, alcohol is actually pretty cheap! Smoking a pack a day will leave you out literal thousands of dollars in a year. If you are an alcoholic you simply won’t save a ton of money by quitting. The benefit it in everything else.

While alcohol is cheap (and probably the cheapest of any substance addiction you can have) it still isn’t free. Even if you won’t save as much as a heroin-addict would by getting clean, you still are saving a bunch of cash. Consider a six-pack, three-days-a-week sort of drunk: a cheap six-pack can cost about $5 (if you’re not buying utter trash beer that is). This would be $15 a week, or about $800 every year! If you drink every day of the week this cost obviously doubles to well over $1,500. While saving money shouldn’t be your primary reason to not drink, it also shouldn’t be forgotten.

9. Not Be Hungover

Anyone who has drank moderately/heavily in a single sitting should be familiar with the dreaded hangover. I don’t need to explain it too much because if you’re reading this you’re probably familiar with the symptoms: the dehydration, dry mouth, rapid heart rate, anxiety, jitteriness, hunger, nausea, lethargy, light sensitivity, and the pounding headache. I mean what else can be said of the hangover? Sometimes I find music sounds better when hungover, but besides that they’re fucking miserable and horrid affairs. Obviously if you don’t drink, you don’t deal with a hangover.

8. Eat Better/Lose Weight

A serving of alcohol (can of beer, shot of liquor, glass of wine, 5 pumps of hand sanitizer, etc.) has some calorie content to it. This varies greatly, but the fact is that alcohol itself has calories means there is no “diet alcohol” or whatever you’d want to call it. By simply drinking you’re consuming extra calories than you normally would. Consider that a shot of vodka has about 70 calories: six of them would have 420 calories! This isn’t a whole lot but it’s the bare minimum you can get drunk from. A can of beer has over 100 calories (usually) and anything with added sugar is even worse. The fact is if you’re an alcoholic you’re probably consuming a fuckton of calories and probably packing on weight. The term “beer belly” has reasons behind it.

This is considering that you’re not exercising or lowering the amount of food you actually eat. If you’re drinking heavily it probably means that you’re not exercising or taking good care of yourself: in fact I’d assume you’d probably be eating horribly! Everyone knows alcohol, greasy burgers, and fried foods fit together perfectly (shout out to pizza here) and the alcoholic isn’t usually stereotyped as deeply athletic. This stresses the point even further: if you’re an alcoholic you’re probably also getting fatter. So if you quit drinking you might lose weight.

7. Sleep Better

While alcohol can knock your ass out in heavy doses, it doesn’t seem to give you a good night’s rest. Even if you pass out drunk and are unconscious for eight hours you’ll wake up feeling like you only had an hour-long nap. While this might not be detrimental here and there, dragging this shit out for weeks and months of fully-fledged alcoholism, you will end up feeling like shit. Even though you’re sleeping enough your body simply isn’t repairing itself and recovering like it is supposed to. By not drinking, you just rest better and feel better during the day.

6. Stave off Insomnia

This is probably a subset of what I talked about in number seven (sleeping better), but fuck you because this is my top ten list. I can break it down into as many or as few sections as I want! I separated them not only to add more numbers to this top-ten list bullshit, but because insomnia usually occurs a few days after bingeing. Since your sleep quality is trash when you’ve been drinking, when you stop you do get a few days where you’re so tired and worn out that you sleep really well. I’m talking nights where you sleep 10-12 hours and wake up feeling energized and refreshed.

The problem occurs after those restful days. I think, and I don’t really know for sure, this is due to alcohol being a depressant and “slowing your body down” or something. The human body adapts, or tires to adapt, to things; if you’re drinking a depressant your body “upregulates” everything to keep you moving. It’s like the reverse of drinking caffeine, a sort of “inverse crash” or whatever. As your body finds itself without alcohol, you find yourself “upregulated” and your mind just constantly keeps running, especially at night. This is especially bad because you might turn to drinking just to sleep normally. Another downside to insomnia is that you’d think if you couldn’t sleep you’d be awake, but you’re not. Alcohol insomnia leaves you tired, exhausted, and unable to sleep. It sucks.

5. Have a Better Memory/Focus

Drinking puts you into a haze while sobriety clears things up. If you drink a lot, you’re basically entering and exiting hazes daily (or whatever) and this makes reality get kinda…confusing. You start to forget what you were actually doing in regards to life planning/projects you’re taking care of. Take writing a book for example: you need to remember what the hell you were actually writing about to make progress at it in the future. I, like many others, have found that drinking greatly improved my ability to write at the expense of having no idea what I had actually written. This leaves you feeling lost in the grand scheme of whatever you got going on. It becomes hard to tie thoughts together into a coherent project.

I’ve also realized that I’d forget what I’ve talked to people about even if I was sober at the time. Like I’d tell a coworker a story and repeat the story days later without remembering initially telling them. I found myself prefacing every conversation with, “Not sure if I told you this before, but…” just to acknowledge that I was at least aware that I might be repeating myself.

This is related to drinking but I don’t know how to explain its direct relationship to it. Obviously you forget shit when you’re actually drinking, but a general effect on memory seems to exist and is especially scary. Everyone expects to forget shit when drinking, but when this effect spills over into the weeks after drinking it is especially frightening. Quit drinking and you might have a better memory and won’t feel like you’re on the verge of Alzheimer’s.

4. Have Better Teeth

I don’t know if this is really a thing, but whenever I’d go to the dentist for a routine six-month cleaning they’d always ask me if I drank a lot of pop. I’d always say “no” and they’d give me a look of complete and total skepticism. The dentist and the hygenist know exactly what the effects of sugar look like on teeth so they’re the last people you want to lie to about what you actually drink, but fact is fact: I didn’t drink pop hardly at all. I’d have a can of pop once a week, maybe twice, but this wasn’t nearly enough to cause dental trouble. And I’d brush everyday! What the hell was going on here? Why were they looking at me suspiciously like I was telling a lie?

It might be alcohol. As we know, alcoholic drinks have sugar and starches and whatever else and this can’t be good on your teeth in heavy amounts. This is another one of these “I don’t know this for a fact but I assume it’s true” things: drinking probably fucks your teeth up just as much (if not more) as heavily-sugared sodas do. I did tell the dentist/hygienist that I did drink a lot of beer but that I didn’t, in fact, drink soda ever. I mean if they’re going to accuse me of dietary habits that were fucking my teeth up they need to at least get it correct: beer was fucking my teeth up.

3. Anxiety

I was sober for a span of 5 months this year, and holy hell, I didn’t have any anxiety. I mean there was still a background level of anxiety, but it was nothing like the physically-shaking-before-going-to-work style of anxiety that I was used to. This was surprising because being a total alcoholic lead me to believe that maybe I just had anxiety that badly naturally. Sobriety made the anxiety just disappear. It was a slow and easy-to-miss process, but after a few months I’d find myself not worrying as much about stressful upcoming events. I’d still be stressed and worried, but for some reason this didn’t translate into anxiety. You might drink to help relieve your anxiety, but in reality it is probably making it worse. By not drinking you might find that your anxiety slowly vanishes, or turns into something manageable.

2. Motivation

I like to think alcohol works by moving happiness from one point of your life to another, usually from the next day to the present. You drink and you feel better, but you pay for it the next day by feeling miserable. This “sum of happiness” never changes but it’s just shifted around and isn’t a scientifically quantifiable amount at all, but it makes some sense I guess. I think this happens with motivation too.

Drinking for me gets my ass in gear. I love drinking on the weekends and doing dishes, cleaning the house, work on blog posts and stories, and generally just knocking out projects I need to do. The problem occurs the following day when I seemingly moved motivation to the previous day: I’m lazy, uninspired, and don’t want to do a damn thing. This can obviously lead to problems where you drink just to get your motivation back and this snowballs quickly into alcoholism.

By not drinking you can have motivation!

1. Not be Depressed

This one is very similar to #3 (anxiety) in that drinking probably makes a problem worse that you’re trying to cure in the first place by drinking. I think many people have a sort of “background level” of depression and if a notably shitty day happens, they drink to make themselves feel better. But like with anxiety, you end up shooting yourself in the foot because over time drinking just makes you even more depressed where you need more alcohol to feel better. And so on.

And like anxiety it’s hard to notice it happening. Over months and years of periodic drinking you accept your current depressed state as just how things are, and that not drinking can make things worse for you, and even make you feel suicidal. It’s this that keeps drinker hooked and coming back for more with almost zero choice in the matter. While it’s true things usually get worse when you initially stop drinking, hanging in there can prove beneficial.

Months after not drinking your mood is just lighter and you feel better. And like anxiety, it’s hard to realize this and one day you discover that your perpetual depression has just kinda melted away. You stop thinking that people hate you and are trying to avoid you or that everyone talks bad about you behind your back. You stop feeling bad for the shitty state of your life, and with no alcohol to feed the self-doubt and self-hatred, you find yourself making progress towards improving things. I know this might not be true for everyone, but after not drinking I have found zero downside and all upsides to it. And when you find yourself in the clear you wonder why you tortured yourself for so long, because sometimes you realize that life isn’t too bad and in some ways it’s downright enjoyable.

So if you’re a drunkard, maybe consider these ten items and maybe attempt sobriety. It’ll take some effort and it won’t be easy, but usually immensely beneficial things take time and effort and this is certainly one of them. Drinking sucks.

Goofing Around (In Video Games) Sucks

In my last post I mentioned that I 100%ed Super Mario 64. This is a heavily nostalgic game for me and countless others and while it hasn’t aged magnificently over the years it still remains a classic. It retains its charm and is still an enjoyable game to play if you can look past the shitty grafix from the late 90s. But I realized something upon completing the game that I didn’t realize before: Mario 64 is a really short game. Surely part of this is due to me having played it before, but I don’t think this has much to do with why it feels so short. It’s been so long since I played Mario 64 to completion I had almost forgotten where most of the stars were and had to “rediscover them” even if I had a vague hint of a memory where the star was. (I still remember the Turok master cheat code though: nthgthdgdcrtdtrk. Looks like something out of a Lovecraft story.) So while the game was easier than it was when I first played it, it wasn’t just a feat in repetition; I really had to discover the game all over again.

I found myself wondering how, as a kid, I was able to pour so much time into this game as I did. I was able to knock out all 120 stars within a week as an adult, and even if I had played the game before, I assume a new player could still beat the game quickly. It’s just not a long or complicated game. How did my childhood-self find this game so massive and consuming that I could literally play it for hours after school, day-after-day for months on end? Bowser had his ass kicked and I had all 120 stars, so what was I doing endlessly playing the game?

Outside of a few other minor things (being a bored kid, no internet, etc.), I assume it was because I dicked around in the game. I should explain that a bit more. This means that outside of the actual game-dictated challenges I would find other bullshit challenges to set for myself. It was total immersion in the world where you’re just playing around and having fun with the game itself. Grabbing the stars is what you’re supposed to do but dicking around is ignoring what you’re supposed to do to do random bullshit. Somehow kid-me excelled at this while adult-me is pretty terrible at it.

Bob-omb Battlefield

The first level, the iconic Bob-omb Battlefield, had a turtle whose shell you could ride like a skateboard. It was fun as hell to grab his shell and challenge yourself to do stupid shit with it: could you surf up to the top of the mountain without hitting anything and losing his shell? Could you use the shell to race Koopa the Quick? You could also grab the Wing Cap, jump into cannons, and fly around for the hell of it. Each level offered so much to do but only if you’re creative enough to play around with the game. This was even better if you had friends to play with. You could all take turns having races to the top of the Bob-omb mountain, or see who could get Baby Penguin to his mom is the fastest time possible (or who could drop him off the cliff in the most cruel/hilarious way). Your imagination was the only limit to the fun you could have in Mario 64 as well as any other game.

Shell surfin’. I crashed a few seconds after this attempting to make it to the top of the mountain.

Something changed because now I don’t have the time or patience to fuck around in video games. I don’t know if it’s adulthood itself or aspects of adulthood like having a job and a tighter schedule that changed things, but I find myself being very “goal oriented” when I play video games. It does take all the fun out of them too. I view the game as just that: a game. Games are now just a big and sometimes complex puzzle: you figure out what you need to do to achieve a goal and you do that. Find key, go to the next room. Kill enemies, get to the end of the level. Find enough moons to fight Bowser. Etc. It’s basic problem solving now: discover problem, research the problem, conquer the problem. Complete the quest and beat the game. And then onto the next game. It’s depressing.

Flyin’.

As I was writing this post, the word playing popped into my head. Dicking around in video games, as I’ve been explaining it, sounds a lot like playing. Kids will grab toys and play with them not for a purpose but just because. I even looked up the definition of the word play and guess what it is?

Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

-The Damn Dictionary

So, fuck, it’s not that adult-me is overly goal-oriented or that kid-me was better at making up random shit to do, kid me was better at playing while adult me fucking sucks at it. Making this even worse is that when adult-me is “playing” video games, I’m probably not actually playing them. I’m always chasing a set of goals or in-game challenges and am not playing for the pure enjoyment or recreation of it. Or my personal enjoyment and recreation while playing a video game is in beating the game and not playing the game. Holy fuck, I didn’t think there’d be an epiphany in this post, but there it is. Kid-me played video games and adult-me beats video games.

This entire post reflects back on the last post about 100%ing Nintendo games. In that post I argued that Nintendo is kinda badass by not giving you any real rewards for going above-and-beyond in your video gaming duties. They rely on your own self-motivation to accomplish all of the extra bullshit you need to 100% one of their games. They’re going to give you the shit to do but not reward you for it. This post is sort of the same thing: to properly play a video game you also need to go outside of what the game itself gives you for goals/accomplishments and find your own way towards fun. This is the essence of playing — doing something for your own enjoyment with zero practical reason to motivate you — and is a huge reason why I enjoyed video games and could pour hours into them as a kid. I was playing and not simply trying to chase goals. As adult gamers we might become overly “goal-oriented” and miss the whole reason for playing a game: to have fun! But to have fun you need to be creative and do something for the sake of doing it, just like 100% video games entails. So the next time I play a video game I’m going to try to sit back, relax, and actually enjoy the experience instead of checking off a list of items that the game wants me to do. Being an adult is kinda shitty in case you didn’t know that yet.

100%ing Nintendo Games Sucks

“Thanks for playing Super Mario 64! This is the end of the game, but not the end of the fun.”

-Yoshi

I said in this post how Nintendo games have a deep and rich history of having “collectible” items that tempt the dedicated/addicted/completionist player to obsessively play the game until they find everything there is to find. This is always after the main game/quest has been beaten and is always optional to do. For me this started with Super Mario 64 with its 120 total collectible stars (with only 70 needed to complete the game) and seemed to hit its absurd peak with Wind Waker’s picture figurine quest. Famously, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned it up even more by giving you its own picture quest (Hyrule Compendium: 350+ entries), beating all 120 shrines, and — heaven forbid — getting all the Korok seeds (of which there are 900 of!) which is probably the worst and most anticlimactic completionist quest in any video game ever.

You have to admit this is really cute.

The “problem” with these 100% quests is that they occur after beating the game where there is no real incentive for doing them. Nintendo doesn’t wave shiny rewards, fancy weapons, new endings, or even shitty achievement badges in front of you. Even if Nintendo has started to plop “rewards” into their games for 100% completion, they’re pretty shitty.

Let’s give some examples of these “rewards.” Mario Odyssey puts a hat on top of Peach’s Castle and gives you a firework display! Breath of the Wild’s shrine completion quest gives you Link’s classical tunic (which doesn’t offer anything unique and is a bitch to upgrade). BotW’s compendium gives you…uh…idk? Pride? And the Korok seeds? Fuck that: you are rewarded with literally a piece of shit for finding each seed. It has no use or purpose and is, well, a piece of shit.

Yay. 999 moons.

No one can plead ignorance of these shitty rewards because it’s 2019. The internet exists. Before any sane person actually attempts any 100% challenge they’ve certainly researched what they were about to get themselves into. They’re undertaking the quest all on their own knowing well there is no actual reward. But there is some reward because people still 100% these games: the reward is accomplishing something you’ve set out to do, with zero outside influence or persuasion, with no rewards or shiny things dangled in front of you. Nintendo 100% completions are something to note because, outside of there being shitty “rewards,” there is nothing to actually motivate you. You know that you’re doing something for zero reward outside of your own fulfillment, you do it, and that’s the end of the story. You get a star next to your save file. You get a speech by Cappy. You get a shitty suit of armor. You get a golden piece of poop. You get a gold-colored sail. Or a fucking hat on top of a castle. Nintendo 100% completions are kinda admirable in a way because of how anticlimactic they are and how people still chase after them.

100%ing Mario 64 was one of the highlights of my childhood (yeah, no joke). I’ve kept that memory and accomplishment with me over the past 20 years! I’ve also sort of 100%’d Goldeneye but this achievement is tarnished by cheating. That game was fucking difficult to 100%. (Go check the par time for the Facility level to unlock the cheat: 2 minutes on the hardest difficulty. Fuck you.) But the Mario 64 100% was 100% legit and 11 or 12-year-old me pulled that shit off with no guide, no cheats, no internet, or anything. It was pure dedication and skill, a genuine display of video gaming prowess, even if there wasn’t much else to do after school.

Today I 100%’d Mario 64 on a PC emulator and was looking forward to the moment greatly. This was what 12-year-old me experienced years ago as my first 100% Nintendo completion, so how would it hold up? It was even worse than I remembered! The last star I got was the infernal Rainbow Ride 100-coin star: the level branches like a tree and has no obvious route that is better to find coins on (outside of the group of blue coins that is). If you fuck up and fall you need to start over. There is no saving mid-level in the game. Making this even more fitting is, while I don’t remember certainly, I’m confident this was the last star I got back in the late 90s as well. It’s such a bullshit star to get that I know 12-year-old me also procrastinated the star as long as possible.

Once you get the 120th star, you’ve beaten the game 100%. There isn’t anything left to do. What surprised me was how nothing actually happened in the game to signal the Grand Feat: no notifications popped up, no music played, and the unknowing player wouldn’t even realize that they’ve just found every star in the game. Nothing obvious changes at all. Since I’ve done this before I knew where to go: outside the castle and near the pond is a cannon that is now accessible. You naturally shoot yourself to the top of the castle (there’s nowhere else to shoot Mario to) and find a very low-polygon Yoshi. You talk to him and he says some uplifting shit and jumps of the castle. I screencapped some of the moment, grabbed the wing cap, triple-jumped off the castle, and flew around the castle. And that was it: game complete. Mission Accomplished! You’ve won.

“Hey, Yoshi! So, uh, is this it? Not that I’m complaining or anything, but it was a lot of work to get all of these 120 stars…”

So now what? As a kid I would make up shit to do and just dick around in the game, playing for hours and hours doing nothing, but as a goal-oriented adult my goal was to get 120 stars. I did that and I’m done with the game. It’s nice to see Nintendo being consistent with the existential crises that arise anytime you 100% one of their games. You get no reward outside of the pride of accomplishing it, and while that’s good because you only have yourself to motivate you, it still is a hollow sort of victory. What’s surprising is how Nintendo has even improved the rewards over the past few decades as Mario 64 gave you almost no pat-on-the-back for completing the game. It was pretty shitty and I’m surprised my 12-year-old self kept the pride of 100%ing the game in his mind as long as he did.

So as stupid as 100%ing Nintendo games is as there is no reward, you gotta give Nintendo credit. They don’t give a fuck if you want to complete their games or not: that’s up for you to decide. They’re not going to give you a reward or a participation trophy to plop on your xXxGamerDood69xXx profile so your friends can see. No, Nintendo gives you jack shit to show for it except pride in accomplishing something without being forced to do it. It’s fucking free will. While it sucks, it’s kinda badass in the way. Like Nintendo, the friendly kiddy video game company, is trying to teach you some deep life lesson about goals, rewards, achievements, and enjoying life.

The “Valley of Despair” Sucks

I sometimes frequent the blogging subreddit, but not too frequently. The sub seems to focus mostly on increasing viewers, finding topics to write about, and doesn’t seem too concerned with the “art” of blogging. It isn’t too active of a sub with most posts getting at most between 20 to 30 comments. Compared to some subreddits (like the famed r/wallstreetbets) it isn’t really active even if you can find some decent information from time to time.

I still check it out sometimes and one comment resonated with me this past week. The actual discussion was about how many blogs actually “make it.” (which is an unexplained victory condition: what the hell does “making it” blogging mean? Make money? Keep it running for more than two years? I mean eventually you’ll die and your blog will end but that doesn’t seem like you’ve “failed at it.” Anyways, /rant #1.) There were varying answers but the one that stuck with me was one that mentioned “the valley of despair.” [Big Fucking Note here: I went and found the thread I was alluding too and the poster in question referred to it as “the dip” and linked to blog describing “the dip.” I really have no idea how I came upon the term “valley of despair” in regards to blogging, but apparently the term is real. Who fucking knows. Maybe my mind just connects dots on its own and doesn’t notify me that it’s doing so. Or maybe I’m losing my damn mind. I just wanted to stay accurate with what I’m actually writing.] I didn’t officially know what the hell the valley of despair was but something in the back of my mind knew it too well. Even if it wasn’t explained to me I already knew exactly what it was.

I suppose it’s easy to see in retrospect, as everything is. This blog right here had a “dead period” (actually two of them) not too long ago and since I’ve gotten my act together I’m finding some success. It feels like I’ve hit a stride where all I need to do is to keep working at the blog and it’ll be successful. I’m quietly confident about it and while I don’t think it’ll ever be a super-popular monetized thing I know it won’t be a “dead blog.” Looking back at those dead periods when I wasn’t writing, wasn’t posting, and felt about deleting the damn thing was, obviously, the dreaded valley of despair. And according to that one resonating Reddit comment, is the primary obstacle to successful blogging.

I didn’t want to make this post about blogging though because I’m in a new valley of despair in another area of my life: creative writing. To sum it up quickly, me, lost without any major goals, decided to take up creative writing about three weeks ago. I attempted this years ago and just didn’t stick with it, but this time it’s different. (Really. I’m fucking sticking to it this time.) I took my old blog and started collecting some short stories and chapters to a “book,” made a Facebook author’s page for myself, and started posting and sharing my work (please go check these out if you’re interested). Initially I was met with some warm reception from a few friends and, holy fuck, I was actually doing it! I was going to be Jeremy the Author Guy and sell books and shit. I was riding the wave and on top of the world was king of the world.

It’s funny what two weeks can do to you though. My last few “chapters” haven’t had shit for readers/viewers/likes/feedback at all, and I’m fundamentally wondering if I’m actually cut out to be a writer. Do I even have that “gift” that creative writing requires. (It doesn’t. I’m convinced, logically, that all anything takes is hard work and “talent” is just some bullshit idea people who don’t want to do hard work use as an excuse to not try anything. /rant #2.) Even if I know in my mind that it’s just hard work and dedication, I still feel in my heart there is some vague thing called “talent” that I might not have and will never have it even if I don’t believe it. It’s like some festering, subconscious fear I have, like being scared of the dark knowing well you’re perfectly safe. Hell, and maybe my stories are just terrible. This is a really scary thought because if they were no one would say it out of kindness. I’d like to really know how bad I am so I can either 1. give the fuck up or 2. know what I’m bad at exactly so I can improve on it. But pestering friends and family to read your shit is a whole new level of cringe that just comes across as attention seeking. BUT I JUST WANT FEEDBACK GUYS.

Let’s define this a little bit more though as it makes total sense with writing/blogging/whatever new project you’ve started. Some uninspired Googling has given me a bunch of charts and websites talking about “emotional change” and while that isn’t exactly what starting a project is, I think it’s close enough to actually be the same thing. Like maybe starting a new project is a subset of “emotional change” as you’re adjusting to having an entire new part of your life you’re dedicated to. There also is apparently a Dunning-Kruger valley of despair, but that doesn’t seem to be relevant to the topic at hand.

Since I couldn’t find a site that seemed legit or non-clickbaity enough, I just screencapped everything Google tossed at me. As you can see most charts show the same sort of trend when faced with “change.” It’s kinda like a sine curve or something.

Close enough, right?

And then I went and drew my own so I can talk about each point I labeled, as well as not get any sort of copyright bullshit tossed at me.

Current Mood vs. XP Points Gained at your “project” or whatever you’re doing. It seemed general enough.
  1. This is usually called “uninformed optimism” or some shit like that. Basically this is the point where you’re high off actually making a decision to progress forward at something. You have a goal that you’ve set upon and you start working towards it. Actually doing work towards a goal feels fucking amazing and even if you’re scared of the future, at least you’re taking matters into your own hands.
  2. This is the start of the valley of despair also called something lame like “informed pessimism.” This is where you realize that your goal isn’t going to be all fun and games and that, holy hell, sometimes doing a glorious and noble task like writing a book is actually not that fun sometimes. And sometimes it’s actual work that you dread.
  3. The pit of the valley of despair. I think with creative writing I’m somewhere between #2 and #3 (although I’d like to be closer to #3 so I can actually get over feeling awful about it. I don’t even know how to explain this spot on the chart because it’s like an unexplainable pit in your stomach. It’s a total feeling of shit, like you’re not meant or cut out to do what you’ve set out to do. Like the universe itself doesn’t want you as an author/blogger/artist/whatever. It makes you want to quit and many people do give up their project in this phase. The project feels like a mistake: a mistake that you continue to put time, effort, and resources towards that also feels like a waste of all of these. The general feeling of being shit is also kinda shitty. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward and you’re not happy doing what you’re doing. It’s a feeling of being lost and of wanting to toss the towel in and give up.
  4. “Informed optimism.” After hard work and giving up all hope you find some success but you’re not letting that shit go to your head because you think you still fucking suck at what you’re doing, but there are clear signs of progress if you quit being pessimistic enough to notice them. I like to think you make progress continually at this stage because of giving up in the valley of despair. You simply don’t care if you make it or not and your project just becomes something you do without attachment anymore. There’s something very freeing about not giving a shit, and this allows you to do what you do in the most genuine way possible. I say this so clearly because this blog right here is at #4 I think. I don’t give a fuck if no one reads it or if I fail, and contrary to what you’d expect, I’m actually have some success with it.
  5. Success! (whatever that actually means) I don’t even want to get into this because I don’t know what it’s like to be at #5. I’m assuming this is the point where you feel confident at what you’re doing — a quiet confidence that isn’t cocky — and your project has become a facet of who you are and part of your life. You accomplish things in a determined but carefree manner. I get this impression when I visit successful and mature blogs as well as many YouTube channels. Like go watch a newer SmarterEveryDay video and tell me Destin isn’t at #5 on this chart. That man is in the zone doing what he’s doing and he’s confident and enthusiastic with what he’s doing.

“Hey Black Haired Guy, got any tips for us bloggers/writers weathering the storm in the valley of despair?” No, no I do not because, like I said, I’m not at #5 so don’t think I am qualified to give tips and am kinda hoping for tips myself. But if anything (and maybe to just get myself fucking hyped the fuck up to continue on creatively writing) don’t give up! Because what else are you supposed to do besides not give up? If you give up in the valley of despair you’re fucking giving up. The whole thing this chart hints at is the fact that success might just be making it through the valley in the first place. Like maybe this is where the 80 or 90% of blogs that “don’t make it” go to die; what if the valley of despair is just the great filter between you and success? I just don’t see what you’d gain by giving up because giving up is giving up!

Being slightly more specific maybe I do have more ways to get myself siked up more tips for those in the valley of despair. Make small bits of progress: a book isn’t going to write itself in a few days and a blog won’t be successful in the first few months or years. Take things one tiny bit at a time. Write a chapter every two days or post a blog post every few days or every week. Maybe make a schedule and hold yourself to it like it’s a job? Try to summon memories from when you first started and we’re enthusiastic about your dream/goal. Find that passion that surely still lives deep within you. And if you’re really lost? Write down a plan. Writing seems to be a large part in marketing yourself so try doing that for some possible success. Ask people to read and critique your writings and learn from it. Or, to sum up what I said before: don’t fucking give up!

Loneliness Sucks

Since my mood the past few months has been entering a death spiral I figure I should at least try to channel the negative feelings into blog posts. I mean if you’re feeling like shit why not try to do something sort of productive with it? Grab life by the balls and capitalize on it. Lemons into lemonade or whatever that means. Writing has always been a cathartic experience and I find I do feel better after writing. This experience is somewhat minimized when when you write a public blog post as opposed to privately writing, but it still does help.

First it was my near nervous breakdown or whatever it was, and last post was about the anxiety. I suppose this is a good post to follow the anxiety one as many of the themes are similar; I’m talking about loneliness here. Anxiety and loneliness feed off each other and you can feel lonely because your anxious and anxious because you’re lonely. They might be two sides to the same coin really. I haven’t thought about it too much but this post and the last post are eerily similar.

On the surface I don’t even know why I’m lonely and this makes it even more frustrating. How can someone with a loving family surrounded by people who care about them be lonely? How can someone surrounded by friendly people at work feel lonely? How can someone in a world of 7 billion people feel alone? It’s like a slap to the face to be lonely in these circumstances. Like how the hell are you lonely when you’re never actually alone? It makes it worse.

Obviously it has something to do with your mind. If it didn’t the solution would be to simply find people and be around them. I could go to a park, be around people, and feel better. This doesn’t work though. For me it seems there’s no meaningful connections between people, and if there ever is a meaningful connection it is either so fleeting as to not even matter, and in this case it makes things worse because you feel some connection and it’s gone. It makes you want to connect with people more. Sometimes it’s due to not being able to open up fully about your mind and your thoughts with those that are around you. You never want to bother people, especially family members, with the shitty thoughts you have as they’ll worry about you. Or they’ll try to blame themselves. It’s easy to just bottle things up and not talk about it. And this makes you feel totally and utterly alone. Like you’re your own island. Or like a boat out on the ocean isolated and alone. There’s all the other people in the world, and then there’s you. Loneliness makes you think if you disappeared no one would even notice. It’s a bad thing to feel. 

Like the anxiety post I wonder if other people feel this way as often or as strongly as I do. This is another thing you can’t talk about either. You can’t go up to people you know and ask them if they’re lonely. Its creepy, weird, and makes people worry. Sometimes I think we’re all this way and that everyone in the world is terribly lonely and constantly looking for some human connection to make them feel a part of something. And that maybe everyone is too scared to take this risk so we all suffer in our own personal isolated and lonely hell. Like what if it took one brave person to go out of their way to make another not feel lonely? One person to break through to some deeper, hidden, and scared aspect of another lonely person. This person could change the world for the better.

Or it could just be that I’m fucked up in the head. I don’t really know if it’s more comforting knowing that everyone else is also lonely or that it’s just me trapped in my head. It’s a scary but darkly comforting thought to think that everyone is just as lonely and as miserable as you are. At least I got friends that are suffering with me. But that sounds really selfish and dismal, in a way I hope this is just a me problem. I wouldn’t mind being lonely if it meant that everyone else isn’t.

Maybe I should devote some time and energy to make others not feel lonely, maybe be this hero to other people if they need it? Like go out of my way to talk and make conversation to others. Be cheerful and outgoing. This is a pain because it takes self-confidence and motivation, and if you’re writing a post like I am now you’re probably not the most confident person in the world. It’s hard to go out and be a positive influence when you feel like shit. It’s a risk, and a scary risk to take, and might be why no one else goes out of their way to connect with other people. Maybe they don’t need it. I don’t even know what I’m trying to say here. Look out for your fellow humans I suppose. You never know who could be going through a crisis and how any little actions can be the tiny but immensely important thing that makes their day and life just a slightly bit better.

Anxiety Sucks

So its currently 8 a.m. and I’m writing this post on my phone (recall I hate writing on my phone). As I lay in bed. Totally unable to sleep. I typically don’t write posts this way. Usually I get an idea, sit down with a cup three cups of coffee at the table, and type up a semi-pre-planned idea on my ‘puter. This usually happens around 1 or 2 p.m. as I typically don’t wake up until noon. (..and so what?!) Being awake and typing on a phone screen at 8 a.m. is unique and not a good sign at all.

So what’s going on here? As the title says: anxiety. Anxiety is why I’m unable to sleep and anxiety is why I’m writing currently. I’m hesitant to get too far into this post because surely I’ve written about anxiety before, right? It seems like such a general and overarching topic that I’ve had to made a post about it already. But maybe since it’s so large of a topic I haven’t even attempted to write anything about it. It’s just too imposing to even attempt tackling.

Part of this is because I don’t think I actually have anxiety. Being an individual leaves you constantly confused as to what’s “normal” in life, i.e. how similar am I to my fellow humans? I have nothing to compare my internal anxiety to because I’m hopelessly stuck inside my own head and body as myself. All I can know of other people is what they tell me through actions, words, music, or whatever else. Basically, are people like me or am I unique with [insert trait here]? In this case, anxiety. Does everyone feel this way or is it me, and hence, an actual problem?

My anxiety doesn’t seem to be life-crippling (like I can leave the house or go to a store) but it also seems to keep me chained up in a way. I hate going shopping alone even though I will if I must. I hate trying out new restaurants. I have no idea how people actually “network” or “ask around” to find jobs, opportunities, or whatever. A good example is finding a possible editor for my two ebooks: how the hell do you find people to read and give feedback on your book? It all seems so difficult to talk to people and most of the time I just do things on my own as much as I can. This totally limits what I can accomplish while not completely crippling me. In regards to my books, yes they’re finally published, but they’re probably not as professional as they could’ve been. Is this normal?

Or is it totally normal to be laying in bed at 8 a.m. after falling asleep at 3 a.m. writing a blog post on anxiety? I love my sleep, am currently very tired, but my mind will not shut the fuck up. I keep thinking of stuff I need to do, and how I’ve been needing to do this stuff for the past two weeks. I need to make a blog post here. I need to work on/post some stories on my other site which is a whole new level of anxiety with people reading fiction you’ve written. I keep thinking of possible chapters and ideas and mentally “writing” them in my head (and forgetting them in the morning). I think of work and sort of visualize how the day will go. (I start at 5 p.m. so have 8 hours before I even need to be getting ready for work. It’s not a pressing matter at all.) I reflect on the past day and continually think about “what people said/did” and if words and actions have deeper meaning than on the surface (“We’re they joking with me or do they fucking hate me?!”). I think of topics to discuss with people in the upcoming day. I think of social media and how I’m trying to create a presence for myself and how utterly stressful that is. I think of the Amazon on fire, the hurricane about to bitch-slap Florida, and the amount of CO ₂ in the atmosphere. I think of how useless I am. I think “Hey, wait. How do wind tunnels work?” and go down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole. My mind won’t shut the fuck up about anything.

One thing about anxiety that sucks is how pervasive it is with the rest of your life; it’s not that you are anxious and, oh well, you deal with it; it seems to subtly or not-so-subtly fuck everything else up. Currently, insomnia seems to be a good example of an anxiety-induced side effect. And naturally, lack of sleep also affects your mood, physical health, eating, and appearance among other things. When I get stressed I usually eat a ton of food. I’m not a stress-eater by far, but I notice it’s difficult to eat healthy if I’m anxious. Anxiety also makes you susceptible to shitty behavior like drinking or drugs which only makes the general problem of anxiety worse.

My anxiety usually comes from worrying about life, and struggling to make progress in life facing this anxiety. So in a way anxiety also makes itself worse by paralyzing my ability to move forward. Consider those fiction stories I want to write/post; the more I think of what to write and how I should be writing the more pressure I put on myself until I’m too scared or terrified to actually move forward. Anxiety is paralyzing and leads to endless procrastination. Earlier I was wondering why I don’t just give up this blogging/writing/self-working/self-publishing “hobby” if it stresses me out so much. It would be easier and comfortable for me to just give it all up, decide it isn’t for me, and to find another pursuit. At least that way I could, ya know, be peaceful and sleeping instead of furiously smashing letters into words on my phone as I lie in bed.

Since I know I have anxiety about being open, writing, and creativity in general that I feel that this is the way forward. Like the anxiety is pushing me out of my comfort zone, being a compass leading me to what I need to focus on. I realize I can’t sit in my comfort zone all day and do nothing and that anxiety is somewhat a part of life. Like if I want to move forward I need to sometimes just deal with the anxiety and press forward in spite of it. It just doesn’t feel good in the moment. 

But, once again, is this unique to me or is this a problem? I’ve really thought about seeing a psychologist or a therapist about this possibly crippling anxiety, but guess what? It makes me anxious even thinking of finding someone to go to! Will insurance pay for it? Will I be put on meds? What if, what if, what if…? It’s always easier to suffer in silence. And am I really suffering or…?

I’m really curious for other people’s opinions on this topic. Do you guys feel exactly like this daily and just force yourself forward? Is this perfectly normal? Is the stress I’m under now what’s actually forcing me forward? Did you use to be this way and finally discovered it was a problem? How did you find someone to help you with the problem? Did they help with the problem? Are you glad that you’ve gotten help with anxiety? Does anyone have any tips on managing anxiety without seeing a professional? I’d love to hear any/everything involving personal experiences with anxiety!

As for me I’m going to pop a Benadryl and see if that helps me sleep.

My (near) Mental Meltdown Sucks

On this blog I try to do proper posts — posts about actual topics/themes — as opposed to the more blogesque type posts of just telling people how I feel. There are a few of those posts here but I try to keep them to a minimum, mostly because I feel that people don’t like constantly hearing how you feel. For example, I try to not be the guy at work that tells people about every miserable detail of his life while constantly whining about the most mundane shit. A conversation is a two way thing and talking about your feelings is very one-sided most of the time. I hate burdening people with it and I feel it also applies to blogging. I’m just some random fucking dude in Illinois so why would anyone want to hear me bitch about things? This is why I try to stay focused on real topics. I think people want to read a directed post about a topic that gives the reader something to relate to, information they might be interested in, or something they will be entertained by. Sadly, I don’t think I’m very good at doing this and that many of my posts are these exact rambly, preachy posts that I despise.

Today I want to write one of these rambly “feelings” posts (It’s my blog so fuck it, right?) mostly because I feel like I’m in the midst of a real metal crisis. Although my mood is slightly better than yesterday, it’s still like a 3/10 if I want to put a value on it. Yesterday I was drunk and seriously considering riding my bike down to the river and tossing myself into the frothy and turbulent water near the dam. It’d say my mood was a legit 1/10 or maybe even a 0/10; I don’t understand how you could feel worse so maybe a zero does make sense here. It was one of those times where you see no real purpose for continuing on. Part of this is surely attributed to my vacation “list of goals” and having accomplished most of them. While my life isn’t “completed” by finishing a few low-tier/mid-tier goals over the past few months I still have nothing to look forward to or to direct my energy towards. It’s easy to limp onto the next day if you have projects to keep you busy and distracted. It seems that I’m in limbo currently.

My mood has improved to where it isn’t blatantly suicidal and I’m to the point of thinking something like “I’ll carry myself through this day, sleep, and then worry about feeling miserable later.” I’m still miserable but I’m willing to fight on through until tomorrow at least, even if tomorrow doesn’t offer anything really. It’s a very basic existence, just taking every minute as it is, and hour as it is, until they all pile up and you find yourself making progress throughout the day. And sometimes your mood even changes for the better if you just give it enough time to do so. 

I think why I want to write this post is because others might find some comfort in knowing that others also feel like shit. One of the biggest downsides to feeling like shit is the belief that no one else understands how you feel. Depression is so isolating that you lose sight that everyone else is also human and most likely also feels exactly like you do occasionally. This gives you the feeling that everyone else has it all figured out and is happy, making being awake at 2 a.m. and feeling suicidal even more depressing. It makes your skin crawl. That’s the only way I can think to describe it: it’s an utter and total hatred of yourself and existence that your skin crawls. Like you have on a horrible and ugly costume that you somehow want to rip off of yourself but at the same time it is you and there is no way to escape. Sometimes I just want to black myself out for a few days even though it’s not possible. Just knock myself out for a few days to wait out the worst of it. Even if I do know logically that I’ll feel better in a few days (because I always do), it doesn’t help the awake-at-2 a.m.-and-unable-to-sleep feeling because your skin is crawling at your own existence. Sometimes you just want a skip button for life.

Hence drugs. Or in my case alcohol. That’s my typical skip button along with OTC sleeping pills. Can’t sleep and miserable? Benadryl. Miserable at the end of the day? Drinking. Drinking always helps because it’s like a good friend. That is until it doesn’t help and it manifests itself as a dangerous threat.

But didn’t you quit drinking boss?” Why, yes I did, but the seesawing of work and vacation the past few months has left me unstable and dabbling with the alcohol again. This week, being my first week back to work with zero vacations left, means I am in the thick of the shit until next year. No escape. No reprieve. And our Christmas holiday shipping season is coming up. Total dread of the future. Yeah, pass me one of those beers right now. Thanks.

And as a side note I agreed (because I’m a fucking moron) to do a really shitty job at work this week. I really like my supervisor and wanted to do her a favor at the expense of my mental and physical health. Claire, appreciate it if you read this.

With my vacations being over I’ve taken up to alcohol as a means to “ease back into work” or some other alcoholic’s justification such as that. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all drunken days celebrating/mourning the end of my vacation and celebrating/mourning the return to work. I have no idea why I feel the way I do sometimes because it makes zero sense.

Actually going back to work lead to more drinking because of the aforementioned shitty job I stupidly agreed to do. So Monday was another drunken evening (“celebrating my first day accomplishing the shitty task at work”), and Tuesday was a genuinely horrible day. So I drank then. Wednesday, while I initially had hopes of the day being good, spiraled down the toilet so I begrudgingly purchased another six-pack after work and pounded that down even if I didn’t really want to.

This is when I noticed things were going horribly wrong for me. I didn’t really want to drink anymore but I didn’t feel like fighting the urge to not drink. It was easier for me in my stressed/depressed state to drink than not to drink. Somehow those celebratory beers over the weekend turned into something that I needed in some strange sense. I knew I’d have to quit drinking eventually, but I wanted to postpone that day always to the next day, which would hopefully also be stress-free. If this sounds like addiction it’s because it probably is.

Drinking used to improve my mood especially early on in the binge, but by Tuesday and Wednesday even two beers didn’t improve my mood much, and by the fourth and fifth beer my mood was starting to plummet for some reason. Once again my “friend” the alcohol was severely letting me down. I imagine this is how abusive relationships are; at first they’re very loving towards you and over time they start to mentally tear you apart for some evil and unexplained reason. This is exactly what a fucking marathon week of drinking did to me. It was severely degrading the quality of my life in a time period that I didn’t expect possible. I assumed real alcoholics had their lives slowly spiral down the drain over years and decades, not within a week like mine was doing.

So, hence, crisis time! Despite being totally suicidal and creeped out by my own existence and consciousness as described earlier I took a benadryl to just knock my ass out. Just trying to make it to the next day as quickly as possible. To not think for just a few hours until I was in a better mood. I woke up utterly miserable, tired, hungover, and feeling all around shitty. This is where I am currently. I’m at the fucking dentist’s office at 10:45 a.m. feeling just…who the fuck knows. It isn’t a good feeling but it isn’t as bad as before mostly because I’m occupied with something to do. And the more I’ve typed this the better I’ve felt. Toss a few points up to blogging/writing for getting those evil thoughts out of my head, even if it is partly. A friend of mine used to say that writing has some cathartic powers or something and I believe her. When I feel really shitty I have this strange urge to write and giving in usually seems to help.

Once again, why blog about all of this in such a rambly, emotional fashion? Because other people surely find themselves in a situation like this occasionally. The scary part is that logically it’s hard to remove yourself from the mindset. I know that I’ll feel better tomorrow and know that drinking probably caused it, but it’s hard to believe all of this when you’re depressed. I can know I’ll feel better later but that doesn’t help right now when I actually need it. As much as you might feel alone in a state like this, you’re really not. There are countless others who are feeling the exact same way that you are so you’re not alone. I don’t want to say everyone feels like this because it seems that some people are just immune to being depressed, but I think most find themselves here now and again. If people know they’re not alone, maybe that will help. Perhaps doing what I did can help: go write something, find yourself a project to keep busy, just do something to pass the time until your mood inevitably improves. Don’t give into that dismal mindset that tells you there is nothing left for you to accomplish in your life and that you might as well call it quits. And probably don’t fucking drink nonstop six-packs for an entire week straight. Take care of yourself, because near mental breakdowns suck.