Tag Archives: Therapy

Personal Flaws or Personal Strengths?

I see my therapist every two weeks now. It happened by accident a few months ago when she was off on vacation but we’ve kept to a biweekly schedule since. I think this is the plan all along, although I’m still new to all of this stuff. It makes sense if they think you’re improving that they ween you off of their support. As you grow stronger you don’t need them anymore and can function all on your own.

(Fun Fact: ‘biweekly’ can mean either twice a week, or every two weeks. I guess rely on context clues to figure out which one is being implied!)

I was surprised when I was able to stick to this biweekly schedule after the past two weeks. When I was picked up by the cops and hauled to talk to a counselor two weeks ago, they suggested I make an appointment with my therapist to help me work through my current predicament. I agreed to this but mostly so I could get the hell out of there. Not like they had any leverage over me once I left. After I hauled my camping supplies back home and started to drink heavily, I did think about scheduling another appointment. But no. Something in me was stubborn and wanted to face reality and my problems on my own, even if I was limping along in life with alcoholism. Maybe that says something good about my mindset; even in the depths of feeling like total shit I still had confidence that I’d get through it and I could talk to the therapist about it in a week and a half. That’s what I did and I saw her last Friday.

The thing I like most about therapy is how she doesn’t bark commands at me or tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong. It’s easier to get people to listen to you if you feel like they’re learning shit on their own. This is why arguing on social media never works; calling someone out on their flaws, even if true, won’t make them very receptive to your views or opinions. The therapist does this wonderfully and I wish everyone would someone adopt this technique. She guides me along and kinda hints at solutions but never tells me exactly what I’m doing wrong. She allows me to realize things on my own which really helps a person interalize their realizations.

This post is about one of these realization friday. Something about one of my flaws. About how I’m never happy and at peace. This is most relevant with relationships in this case, but it applies everywhere. I’m not happy at work; I think I can be happier elsewhere. I’m not happy writing because I think I could do a better job at it. Take this blog and my views over the past few months for another perfect example. One of my goals this year was to have 1,000 monthly views which I finally cracked last month. I think I ended with 1,200 or so. I was happy for a few days but then it disappeared. I did it, sure, but now what should I do? This month has over 2,000 views already, and think about that. I doubled my goal for this year and how do I feel about it? Perfectly fucking blah. I’m so happy and thankful, but I know it’s a temporary feeling. Those two writing awards I received years ago in college? Cool at the time, but so what? I haven’t won any awards recently so it seems silly to still feel good about them. Oooo, I finally got my commercial pilot’s license last July? Same thing as always; I felt good for a few days and then stressed out and wondered what my next step should be. As soon as I achieve something the happiness wanes and I need to do something else. I’m seriously never happy.

Now that I think of it, a friend at work asked a question that most people seemed to find very enlightening to think about. It went something like this. “Imagine you are 50. You’ve made all the money you’ve wanted to make. You’re happily married or in whatever situation you hope to be in. You’re drinking your favorite beverage on the porch in your dream home watching the sun either set or rise, whatever. Life is perfect. You’ve made it. What music are you listening to? What are you feeling at the time? What are your current thoughts?” I think there was more to it but this was a month ago so I forgotten about the details. The general gist should be fine.

The few people I heard answer the question actually answered it. I kinda frowned thinking about it and when asked said the premise was totally off for me. I knew I’d never have that singular moment where life was totally complete, finished, and I was content and happy. If I was in this spot I’d still be antsy always looking for some other project or goal to work towards. I’ve basically accepted this fact about myself: I’ll never be happy because I need goals to chase and such. Or maybe since I’m never satisfied I need goals to chase. I don’t know which one drives the other really, which one is the carrot and which one is the horse.

Enter the therapist appointment. I don’t know if she said anything, but I’m sure she did, and I came to the realization that, hey, wait, what if this major flaw of mine is a good thing? Something bothers me when I see people totally stagnant in life with no goals, dreams, or hobbies. I wonder if this bothers them. Do people really sit around and enjoy the weather? Do others really rest, relax, and chill? Really? You can even view it in a darker way as well. Think of hopeless alcoholics who drink daily working a job they hate and they just exist in that environment for literal decades. Does this bother them? And does it bother them enough where they want to change it? For some people this answer is certainly “no,” and this is frightening to me. It sounds like someone whose soul is dead and they’re only physically alive. Honestly, this was myself last week, but it wore me down. Something seemed off. Something within me didn’t like the entire affair. I was giving in to being lazy, giving into my current situation, giving up on life, and content with just existing as a drunkard with no dreams or goals. And I don’t want to be that way.

This flaw I have about always needing something else, if viewed correctly, or as the therapist mentioned “directed,” it’s an amazing gift to have. It keeps me from giving into the dreariness of life, or the blandness of not moving forward. It manifests in negative ways in relationships obviously, but knowing my tendencies could help me redirect the energy into a positive way. What I always thought was a flaw — maybe I just had to learn to be happy with where I am — also can manifest as a drive for more that if used right is an amazing gift that many others might not have. Sure this causes me a great deal of suffering, but so what?

Usually we view our traits as totally positives or totally negatives with little thought about the contexts we apply to them. Being “giving” is usually viewed as a good trait, but it can also be a flaw. If you’re so giving to others that you gladly give money away to bums at the expense of yourself or your family, this is bad. “Greedy” sounds bad, but it might also allow you to save money and have a large safety net of cash on hand. This might be old information for those wiser than myself, but I’m pretty happy I stumbled upon this little gem. So think about the traits you have, whether positive or negative, and try to see them from a slightly less biased perspective. Many of the negative ones might be awesome traits that can be used to benefit yourself and others. One of my flaws, always needing more, might be a blessing in disguise that I only thought was a flaw. It’s all on how you view and use your traits I guess.

Now the question is how to use this apparent gift of mine? Well, I have this blog post to show for my efforts. That’s a start…

Self-Hatred Sucks: How to Move Forward?

The past week and a half has sucked. My mood and motivation has cratered. I didn’t write my Morrowind story last weekend. I tried and only wrote on singular uninspired sentence: “And in the doorway stood an average Argonian.” Poignant, huh? I haven’t wrote anything for this week either. I’ve been silent on this blog despite writing two drafts that I didn’t think were good enough to post. I wrote another short story but didn’t think that was good enough to post either. There’re two other story ideas floating around in my head as well, but nothing that I feel is good enough to even start writing. I bought an entire 1.5 Litre bottle of vodka last Sunday — a mistake to be sure — because I was hell-bent on having vodka/juice cocktails and that’s the only bottle they had in stock. Four days of drunkenness ensued. “But don’t you only drink on Sunday? Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are not Sunday!” Yeah. I know. I’m a fuckup in multiple areas of life.

But when a friend at work was shitting on herself about eating a quart of icecream on the first day of her diet I promptly pointed out, “No one is perfect, everyone fucks up. Just acknowledge you goofed up and get back to your goals when you can.” It’s easy to tell other people that than believe it yourself. I do believe it, I just don’t think it applies to me. I actually am a fuckup.

At least I think I am. I know I’m not, but I can’t stop from viewing myself that way. People occasionally like to toss out the line that “everything happens for a reason” and I usually have a dim view of it. I take it meaning something like there is someone or something actually in control of everything forcing us to places so we can learn and grow. If anything I think people are just very flexible and can deal with anything that happens to them. If you’re happy, you feel good and get shit done, and if you’re depressed you introspect and naturally try to “learn” something from your shitty mood so it wasn’t for naught. Even if I’m not a big fan of the hard “everything happens for a reason” outlook, it does seem to be partly true. Even if depressive moods are shitty, they give you a prime opportunity to examine why the hell you even feel that way in the first place.

I’ve known for awhile that I’m a stupidly insecure person. I always feel like I’m “not enough” or “a problem” or whatever other negative adjective/adverbs I like to use for myself. I’m constantly over analyzing the smallest and most insignificant social cues always searching for signs that I’m either appreciated and loved or really despised and hated. I also have zero self-esteem and confidence. Like myself not being good enough, the things I do are also not good enough. The shit I write? Good, but not great; there’s always someone more creative, more descriptive, or more whatever. I’m constantly measuring my own self-worth against others. And others are always better than myself. Logically it’s wrong — you weigh yourself against the best you see in others while shit on yourself for your worst aspects — but that doesn’t stop it from occurring. I’m always searching for approval that I’m worth something, that my work is worth something, that my life is worth something, and am constantly searching and asking others to approve of me. My happiness is always based on the opinions of others — how I’m perceived — and I have nothing to offer myself.

I did the writing exercises that I was procrastinating for two weeks from the book It Didn’t Start With You. I was dreading them greatly because I realized before I started (from just thinking about the topics) that there would be some uncomfortable shit to uncover; just the though of working on them nearly gave me a crisis. And I wasn’t wrong. I suppose I did learn something though: I hate myself. It’s like the knot that ties everything together, all of these individual strands of self-esteem issues, self-confidence issues, and my constant seeking of social approval all stem from the fact that I really, truly, and deeply despise myself. That’s where it all comes from. I want others to appreciate me because I don’t appreciate myself. The people I hate and the traits I despise: they’re all projected aspects of myself that I hate. I hate people like me. I hate people that do the same things I do. It’s like a key puzzle piece has found it’s home.

Knowing you hate yourself makes you hate yourself more in a way. I’ve hated myself for most of my life and only in tiny flashes here or there do I actually feel happy and comfortable with myself. But if I haven’t learned to truly love myself over the past thirty years, how am I supposed to learn now? People are hopelessly stubborn and unwilling to change. Take my dad for example. Overweight and diabetic with severe sciatica and sky-rocketing blood sugar. His life is literally in danger yet he still tells me about the potato chips he bought from the store and hasn’t made any serious effort to lower his weight. His bones and joints are literally wearing away from the weight he totes around yet he cannot change his habits to literally save his life. How the fuck am I supposed to learn to love myself if he can’t learn to eat better and exercise?

It’s a form of helplessness that has many layers. I don’t like myself. I don’t want to be this way. But I am. But I am unwilling to change this fact. I’ll always feel this way. And what do I do about it? How do I move forward? Given the realization I think, “So now what?”

Frustrated I asked my therapist this question, “What do you do? Do I try my hardest to change myself or just give in and accept who I am?” She gave the typically vague answers that I had to really think about on my own to make sense of. I don’t even recall what she said exactly. I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, like most things are. You probably can’t wage a war against yourself desperately trying to change who you are at the core level. I’m a quiet and reserved person and I doubt no matter how hard I try I could ever become outgoing and talkative; the shyness is at the core of who I am. But by acknowledging the traits you have you can learn to deal with them. Just because you are shy doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people, you only have to make a dedicated effort to work with yourself, acknowledge you’re shy, that you’d like to say something, and do what you must do. So maybe the way forward is acknowledging that I do fundamentally hate myself and trying to work with that fact. Not force myself to love me, but work on not hating myself as much.

Maybe I do have something to offer the world, or maybe I don’t need to offer the world anything in the first place. Maybe I shouldn’t hate on myself quite as much. Maybe whatever I do try to do I have a good chance at succeeding. My computer is currently being powered by solar power, as well as the WiFi router. Isn’t that something to be proud of myself for? Isn’t that something that I don’t need to tell people about and have them clap their hands over how proud they are for me? And isn’t it something that after binge drinking for four days I’ve realized I fucked up and am only going to drink on Sundays again? Can’t I feel better about myself that despite not writing for a week or two I’m finally creating this post? Can’t I feel better about this blog and how I actually got off my ass and did something when I could’ve sat around and did nothing the past five years? Despite my slow progress in nearly every aspect of life, can’t I feel good about making progress at all?

I feel somewhat better now. Not confident in any way, but feeling like I should just get off my ass and do what I want/need to do and stop moping around so much. “Is this thought useful to have?” The therapist said I should try to notice things without an emotional attachment to them; if someone says or does something maybe acknowledge it without any connotation that it is somehow “bad” or “good” and that makes some sense. I don’t know why I put that there because it doesn’t seem related to this post at all, but maybe someone can get something from it. Or maybe that’s what the entire post was about in some vague way. Fuck if I know. I’m ignorant about nearly everything, especially this entire “self-growth” bullshit, but let’s not pretend that’s good or bad. Being ignorant (“bad”) is the first step towards learning something new (“good”), and maybe that’s something to be proud of. To close with that bullshit explanation that I’m skeptical of from earlier: EvErYtHiNg HaPpEnS fOr A rEaSoN.

Streak Day #32 Sucks: A Values Checklist

Sunday, the last day of the WordPress week, and what do I write? I’m feeling some pressure now; I need about 25 more views today (in the remaining eight hours…) to have another record week. I don’t think it’ll happen. And if I pull off about 45 or 50 a day I can crack that 1,000 views in a month goal I’ve had. I don’t think that’ll happen either. I didn’t even have much hope for it the past week but the past few days has (once again somehow and I don’t know why) had quite a bit more views than usual, giving me just enough hope to have it totally crushed by Wednesday.

I’m tempted to try to write another “masterpiece” blog post but don’t have it in me. I haven’t made any progress on the Morrowind story this week and finally got around to a rough draft about two hours ago. That must be edited and posted and has priority over any bullshit I want to write here.

So what to write? I don’t know. Let me sit here and think about it. I’ve already talked plenty about this stupid coronavirus and don’t want to do it anymore. Work? Work sucks. I hate being at work but I hate being anywhere else. You trade work for boredom mostly. Any projects at home? Well, I bought a massive 100 Watt solar panel from Amazon that arrived today; not that I can do anything with it because it’s been perpetually cloudy. I think I’ll rig up some extension cords to make the system “plug-and-play” or something like that. I’m just sick of soldering shit, using alligator clips, or whatever else I can conjure up to connect wires. My last panel was a tiny 10 Watt panel; this boi is ten times the power! I can’t wait to get started.

But the Morrowind story hangs over me like these damn clouds in the sky. That’s the goal for today and as much as I want to fuck with this blog, Dark Souls, or my new big boi solar panel, I can’t until that is finished. Or at least finished enough that I can put it together before midnight or before I’m too drunk to edit, whichever comes first. That’s why I’m doing this now, to get it out of the way.

Drinking today means a trip to the store. I need extension cords for my project. I can’t believe I bought a 2 x 4 foot solar panel for $100 so I can charge my phone with solar power. It’s such a simple goal but one that is taking on a life of its own. I’m dreading a trip to the store. Last week was pretty comfy — Meijer was all but deserted — but I’m starting to have anxiety about being around people in public. Who is infected and who isn’t? Has this box of tomatoes been handled by someone with The Disease and by picking up the box I’m going to get myself and my family killed? Every person that drives by or walks by, I wonder if they’re infected or not. Everyone is a hazard, every object outside of the house is a hazard, and if you let yourself think too much about it in a careless way it’s nearly impossible not to feel frightened by the world. Remember I think I’m doing well with the COVID anxiety too. How is everyone else doing if I’m becoming this way?

I suppose there is that paper the therapist gave me from Thursday, something about discovering your values that I haven’t even looked at yet, so maybe I can check that out. Fuck, let’s do it together. I’ll type it out here and if that takes too much effort I’ll take a picture of it.

Exercise: A Values Checklist

Below are some common values. (They are not ‘the right one’; merely common ones.) Please read through the list and write a letter next to each value based on how important it is to you. Of course, some values will be more important in one area of life (e.g. parenting) than in another area (e.g. work) — so this is just to get a general sense of the values that tend to matter to you the most.

  • Acceptance/self-acceptance: to be accepting of myself, others, life, etc.
  • Adventure: to be adventurous; to actively explore novel or stimulating experiences
  • Assertiveness: to respectfully stand up for my rights and request what I want
  • Authenticity: to be authentic, genuine, and real; to be true to myself
  • Caring/self-care: to be caring towards myself, others, the environment, etc.
  • Compassion/self-compassion: to act kindly toward myself and others in pain
  • Connection: to engage fully in whatever I’m doing and be fully present with others
  • Contribution and generosity: to contribute, give, help, assist, or share
  • Cooperation: to be cooperative and collaborative with others
  • Courage: to be courageous or brave; to persist in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty
  • Creativity: to be creative or innovative
  • Curiosity: to be curious, open-minded, and interested; to explore and discover

Okay well this list is forty items long, so I’ll just put the values and omit the explanation. If you need them defined: Google them.

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Fairness and justice
  • Fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom and independence
  • Friendliness
  • Forgiveness/self-forgiveness
  • Fun and humor
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Industry
  • Intimacy
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Mindfulness
  • Order
  • Persistence
  • Respect/self-respect
  • Responsibility
  • Safety and protection
  • Sexuality
  • Skillfulness
  • Supportiveness
  • Trust
  • Other:________
  • Other:________

Apparently the list is from Russ Harris at this website right here. So I didn’t steal it, okay?

Hopefully you guys got something out of that. It sure does seem like something you really need to sit down and think about that’s for sure.

So as I was typing that, I realized all sound really good and I think I hold nearly everything as a value somewhat. There aren’t any that I noped away from: everything sounds great! Maybe fairness and justice can get the axe: life simply isn’t fair. I think we should strive for fairness but claiming something is unfair doesn’t mean shit. Anyways, this only complicates the matter. I think it’d be easier to ask what values you don’t hold than to ask what values you do hold. Trim the paper until you’re left with a shape that is actually you, in a way.

Basically on Thursday the therapist said that maybe if I had a clear value system it might be easier to define my actions, to uphold my values in a way that gives my life some integrity and meaning. Not that I don’t have integrity or am a total heathen, I’m just lost and confused to where I’m aimless. She said to give myself some goals to give myself direction, and when asking about what goals I should set because I don’t know what the fuck I want to do she said to figure out my values. What I hold dear in life. The shit that I think is important. So basically values -> goals -> direction, something like that. More layers to the onion, I suppose.

Now my issue is I’m not sure how to live according to values exactly. An obvious one I have is curiosity; I’m always surprised that some people, maybe most people, simply don’t seem to give a shit about anything around them. Is anyone curious? Given the COVID-19 example you’d think maybe a large chunk of the population are reading about viruses, immunity, ventilators, exponential growth, RNA sequences, the flu, or vaccines, but most are probably reading questionable articles from Facebook (and spam-sharing them) about how maybe shoving some herbal supplements up your ass might make you immune to the disease. I don’t know this for a fact — luckily most of my friends don’t seem to be raging dumbfucks — but in the 2020 post-information/disinformation age curiosity and critical thinking in general appear to not be a huge priority to people.

Rant aside, how do I live according to having curiosity as a value? Just be curious? That’s it? I think another value I have is “helping people” or “spreading knowledge” but how the fuck do you help people be curious if they aren’t already? How do I leave by example? And even if I figure this out, how does it apply to a life goal? What job can I get that values curiosity and teaching people? A teacher? Is that what I’m supposed to do? What about that minor dream of being a flight instructor? Well, shit, maybe all of this therapy bullshit does make some sense if you think about it enough.

And that’s enough thinking about it for now. Onto the store, a six/twelve-pack of Claws, and editing that damn Morrowind story. Maybe perseverance is one of my values as well…

Streak Day #30: Untitled

“So, how have you been the past two weeks?”

Perfect. Happy. Depression was a thing of the past. Totally conquered. I had finally discovered myself. A toolkit of ways to fend off the bad vibes and thoughts. Perfectly comfortable in my skin. Cool, confident, and quiet. Problem solved! Problem solved…Problem solved?

Two days ago. Spiraling. Pointlessness. Anxiety. Depression. Dread. More sleeplessness. 5 a.m. with the sun coming up wondering what exactly life is. Benadryl to sleep; a drug to crutch along. Sleep at any cost. Where’s the purpose? The point? What am I meant to do here? Wasn’t I out of the woods? Wasn’t I happy? Weren’t those damn pills magical and finally fixed me?

“Where do you see yourself in the future.”

I shrug. “I don’t know. I feel like I’m floating through life too scared to make any choice.”

“Sometimes it helps to visualize where you want to be in the future. This will give you purpose and something to work towards.”

Every path is miserable, only changing certain pros for cons. More money, less happiness. More possessions, more responsibilities, less freedom. More attachment. More stuff. More freedom, less security. The grass is always greener everywhere else. Not knowing what I’m meant to do. Knowing there is nothing I’m meant to do and it’s up for me to decide. Being unable to decide anything for fear of what misery each path holds. And all paths hold misery; I always make the wrong choice. Is floating such a bad thing? Is pointlessness such a bad thing? Is there anyone that knows what the hell they’re meant to do, even if there is nothing we’re meant to do? Is anyone as blindly confident that they know where to go? Is this another form of blindness? Is blindness happiness?

Five steps forward and six steps backwards. Seven, perhaps. No progress. No sense of empowerment. No moving forward. Self-discovery? No. Self-confusion and self-loss. When I think I find myself it disappears. Too much effort, too much work. The tools in the kit take too much work to use. Constantly being on-edge, looking for the next crisis. Playing chess with your own brain, trying to bring up thoughts as pawns to try to stop yourself from checkmating yourself. And the opponent is so much more motivated than you, the bad vibes are effortless. The chess grandmaster in your head; checkmated in less than ten moves. When are all my pawns gone? When do I run out of motivation to fight? When does it become easier to give in?

Awake after twelve hours of sleep: still tired. Still groggy. Still sleepy. Five cups of coffee, eight cups of coffee: still tired. But shaky. Just enough semblance of being awake to function. Nicotine, caffeine, give me any -ine you can find, maybe I’ll eventually wake up. Constantly shaking and tired. Constantly anxious. Enough awakeness to write low-quality posts. Not enough motivation to work on a story. Writer’s block that never ends. The constant fight towards some goal you don’t even have. And the tiredness. And time always moving forward. And you not moving anywhere at all except towards old age, failing mind, and death. Float along the river until it’s too late to change your course.

And sleeplessness at 5 a.m. once again. Still tired but awake.

“Is it possible that I like being miserable? Is that a thing?”

“Yes. Misery is easier than working to be happy. It takes less effort.”

The comfort of depression. Not caring. Knowing you don’t care. Knowing you’re functioning as a basic animal just staying alive. Food not for enjoyment but so you don’t feel more miserable. Water because your mouth is dry. Work because of bills and money. Write because there is nothing else better to do. Silence around people — you’re a piece of shit and are miserable to be around — why make everyone else miserable by being a piece of shit? Blaming your mood for being a failure. The comfort of depression. The comfort of giving up. Thirty years of nothing. Thirty years of zero progress. Thirty years of depression. Of never knowing yourself. Of never knowing anything. Of being totally lost, blind, and stumbling through life. How many more years?

“I woudn’t say this if it wasn’t true: you are making progress. I can see it. You just need to keep discovering yourself and moving forward.”

Values. What are my values? I don’t know. Blank slate once again. I am a nobody. The blank whiteboard waiting to have a purpose. The blank piece of paper waiting for a story, a picture, or spilled ink: waiting for anything.

I’m not cut out for self-discovery. I’m an idiot hiding under a mask of being smart. Maybe I shouldn’t know myself. Maybe I should stay blind to everything. The trivial defines me. Deep down? I don’t know. Why do I do the things I do? No clue. Ram through another wall and find another. The wall is well-constructed this time. Smash through this to find an iron gate. And another taller iron-gate. On and on from one problem to the next.

“Self-discovery is like an onion; it has many layers.”

Infinite layers. The radius never shrinks, the circle never gets smaller. One layer leads to another layer. There is no core. There is no bright and shiny center. So much goddamn effort to peel anything away. Years of grime and dirt that doesn’t make any sense. If it does makes sense you can’t do anything with the sense it does make. One more layer down and onto the next. More confusion than before. More paralysis than before. More dread then before. Why am I this way? I hate myself for being this way. Helplessness knowing I can’t be anything else. This is me, and I hate it.

“Bring yourself to the source — whatever that is — and bask in it. Recharge.”

“Think of the love you hold in other peoples’ lives. Think happy thoughts. Think how you’re part of the whole.”

“Decide where you want to be in the future. It’ll help give you something to work towards.”

“Break a large goal down into smaller goals. Take small steps towards the goals.”

“Decide what your values are.”

“Think, ‘Is this thought useful to have right now?'”

“Maybe set boundaries with yourself in your interactions.”

It’s Friday. March 27th, 2020. 5:09 p.m. Now what? Always: Now What?

Streak Day #29 (and some stuff about therapy)

Time? 11:34 a.m. My therapy appointment is today at 1 p.m. and I’m dreading it greatly. With work at 4 p.m. that will give me around two hours to kill in between. Not enough time to really do anything (especially since everything is closed) but too much time to easily pass. I think I started the post a few weeks ago like that when I was sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot typing. I’m tempted to do that again, but McDonald’s WiFi is shit. Typing in the car is shit. Might as well get #29 done while I can.

About three or four weeks ago I mentioned in one of my posts (to hell trying to find that one to link to it) that I was thinking of keeping track of my mood twice a day. It took a few days to start it up, but I’ve been doing just that over the past three weeks. It’s been really boring actually. The antidepressants, while not supposed to do anything for nearly a month, have had me feeling really calm and out of it nearly constantly. I don’t know if it’s them causing my mood, but I don’t know what else it would be. The past month my mood could perfectly be described as Blah. I just don’t care enough to be happy or depressed. I guess. That’s how it feels in my head at least. I wish I could explain how this works because I sure would’ve liked to know before getting on meds. Not a list of side-effects, but how people’s moods change on them. What it actually feels like I guess. Maybe that’s why I keep writing about this stuff.

That was good and all until yesterday when my mood totally cratered. My consistent list of 4 to 6s out of 10 turned into 2s and 3s. I know what caused it but don’t feel like elaborating here. It’s another crisis, and a crisis that I’ve had my guard down over for the past month or two. When you’re feeling okay you forget what it’s like to struggle and I guess I was thinking maybe I found the fix and I’d never be depressed ever again. It hit like a sledgehammer. I’m not ready for this and I don’t want it but here it is.

I don’t even know what I’ll tell the therapist today. I feel so goddamn helpless and worthless right now. Not just depression, but depression like I haven’t made any damn progress on anything. I want to go in there and tell her, “Remember the first time I came here? That’s where I am. It’s like the last three months haven’t existed. I feel the same. I haven’t learned anything. And the things I have learned I suck at putting into effect. I suck at growing as a person. I’m lazy. I’m a slacker. I’m worthless.” Like I’ve learned what I should be doing, but can’t bring myself to do those things. Coping techniques. Happy thoughts. Shit like that. Maybe that’s what I’ll make the theme today, I don’t know though.

My dad is now over bitching about Pelosi and her $45,000 gold pens for the impeachment hearings, supposedly. Jesus Christ I can’t deal with this right now. 11:49. Less than an hour left.

Like she told me a few ‘coping techniques’ I guess, like try to bring yourself to a safe/happy place which sounds great in theory but is really hard to practice. Or to visualize and plan for where I want to be in my future. I don’t want to choose anything to do because I have this feeling that no matter what I pick for my future I’ll be miserable. It’s only differing degrees of misery that I still don’t know which one will be less miserable. It’s hard to move forward on anything when each path ends in misery and doom. Or to think if a thought I’m having is useful to have at the time. No thought at 2 or 3 a.m. is ever useful but try making yourself not think that thought at the time. Try to shut off your dreams somehow so you don’t wake up in a shitty mood.

Maybe the festering but subtle coronavirus anxiety can get a mention too. I’m not panicking or anything, but I’m slightly on-edge all the time.

I don’t know what else to write but I also want to piss time away until I need to leave so I don’t have to think. I hate sitting around waiting for anything.

I think after therapy I’ll go sit in the park for an hour and zone out. Or something. Listen to music, write, brood, whatever. Maybe if things really go downhill I can write a cathartic post and have it ready to go for tomorrow. Then I won’t have to worry about that at least. I’m dreading this appointment so goddamn much, you have no idea. I want it to be 1 p.m. so I can get it over with. Part of me wants to simply not show up, but I think if you do that someone will get suspicions. Depressed person doesn’t show up for therapy and doesn’t call or anything? They’d be on me instantly. Probably not, but that’s what I’m going to think so I drag my ass there and talk about how fucked up I feel.

Well, I’m done. Fuck it.

Streak Day #15 Sucks (and something about finding direction in life)

I’m writing this post in the McDonald’s parking lot, mostly because they have WiFi and I want to post something before work. It’s also a hell of a change of scenery. I have never written anything on a computer outside of the house, usually resigned to typing stuff on my phone via Google Docs if I’m out and about when inspiration hits.

I didn’t intentionally come to McDonald’s to write, let’s be clear about that. I had a therapy session today (for some reason she wanted to do Thursdays instead of Saturdays. Luckily I’m indifferent so it was fine with me.) and have about an hour and a half to kill before the next part of my day is scheduled to begin. What to do? Enough time to go home but not enough to get settled. And slightly too much time to sit around in a parking lot eating food passing the time. When I left for my session today I brought my laptop along. Part of the appeal of a laptop is its portability which I never utilized before.

After therapy I went to Subway and grabbed a footlong turkey sandwich. On italian herb and cheese bread if you care to know the details. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and mayonnaise please. Then a quick drive over to McDonald’s for the WiFi. The sign in the parking lot says “Parking for McDonald’s customers only” and this had me slightly worried until I realized the sign was surely a corporate requirement; the people actually working McDonald’s most likely don’t give two fucks about who’s in the parking. They have bigger fish to fry, and I almost mean that in a literal sense. Maybe not fish, but I’m sure they go through a ton of fries.

This McDonald’s is located in a dismal and bombed out stripmall on the north side of Rockford, technically in Loves Park. Close enough though. The retail apocalypse is evident here; the only shops remaining are questionable and shady. There’s a furniture store (probably a money laundering front), a Save-A-Lot, an abandoned movie theater (abandoned for at least a decade), North Town Liquor (with tacky neon signs in the windows), a payday loan place, a budget insurance business, and to cap it off fittingly, a plasma donation clinic. The parking lot is massive and the cars parked here are sparse, barely filling up 5-10% of all the available spots marked by fading yellow lines. Potholes dug by subtle and slow landmines of freezing ice and snow are placed randomly around. The cloudy skies today make the mood of this place even more dismal than usual, if you even imagine it being more dismal.

Therapy was unproductive, and I knew it before I even left the house to drive there. Nothing had been discovered or accomplished since I last went and I told her so as soon as I walked in. “What’s been going on? How have things been?” she asked. I shrugged and said, “It’s been a boring week. Nothing has happened. I’ve been thinking about what you said last week, but I haven’t made any realizations or progress on anything.”

Last week she asked me where I see myself in the future. Not in any specific sense like with a job or a hobby, just a general “Where do you see yourself in the future?” It was a big red flag when I didn’t have anything to say. I never really thought about it. I’m a reactionary: life throws stuff at me and I react. There is no me dictating my life, just going along with things. Sometimes I feel like a kayaker on a river; I can paddle here and there somewhat but in the big picture I’m floating wherever the river takes me. It’s not a bad thing to do I guess, if you’re perfectly fine with being directionless, which apparently I’m not. Remember the last post about needing a “grand adventure”? That’s probably a way of asking for a direction and a goal to follow.

So this is what I was supposed to work on: finding a direction for my life. I had nearly a week to think of something, but my mind is blank. I don’t know what the hell I want in life, and I don’t know what direction I want to move in. It’s frustrating and I think that’s the entire point of this post. I thought I might end up saying more, but there doesn’t seem to be anything more. Obviously all of this makes sense — if you don’t have a direction to move towards you’ll feel adrift in life — but that doesn’t help me know anything about the direction to choose.

I really appreciate how the therapist basically tells me shit that I’ve known all along in a way. I sit there and think “duh” but I haven’t figured any of this out on my own so it’s not a sarcastic “duh” at all. It should be obvious to me but it isn’t.

This reminds me of a conversation we had at work last week. Something about how easy it is to see everyone else’s faults and flaws but yours are hopelessly hidden by your own complex personality. I’ve mentioned before how I feel like I don’t even know myself even though I’m sure I do a ton of things that don’t make any sense or undermine my own happiness. But I’m blind to them. One friend said something like, “I don’t want to live up to other people’s expectations; why do I have to always try to please them?” I replied with, “But they’re not your expectations for yourself, so fuck what they think.” A few of them laughed and then I also added, “Even though I’m the same way. Maybe I should take my own damn advice.” Then I frowned. Taking your own advice is hard, harder than dishing it out to others.

I wish I could see myself from an outside perspective because then maybe I’d make more sense. I wish I could get out of my head. I wish I knew exactly what I did want out of life without being so confused over it. Do people like that exist? Are there really people who wake up daily and know exactly what the hell they want out of life? To view life as a tool to be happy with and not as a river they’re floating in and unable to navigate? It makes me jealous, but I guess I am the way I am. Not that I can’t change, but changing is a hard thing to do.

Streak Day Five Sucks (and some stuff about therapy apparently)

When I published my last post I was surprised to see a notification from the WordPress app on my phone. Truthfully I never use the damn thing to do actual writing/posting and only use it to constantly and obsessively check my daily views which probably isn’t productive or healthy. Anyways, what this app told me was something along the lines of, “Congratulations! You posted four days in a row!” I did? Wow, okay. And thinking back to the past half-week made me realize that, yeah, I did post four days in a row. Somehow.

It was a total accident though. I didn’t plan a four-day streak. The stars aligned and…I don’t even recall what I had written about. Oh yeah, I bitched about the Android Keyboard — post #1. Then I somehow had a magical burst of inspiration on this post, which I honestly think is one of the best things I have ever written. I’m really proud of it. And on the third day I finally posted my vaping post; that one had been completed about a week earlier and only required touching up. And finally, the rock climbing post. It was the day after we went climbing and I was so excited to talk about it that the post basically wrote itself. Four days, four posts. Maybe it isn’t that hard after all?

I see other bloggers do these “streaks” where they try to post a single thing everyday for like a week or a month or whatever. I’ve always been weary of actually trying it though for fear of burning out. I know it’s an unfounded fear, but when you naturally churn out maybe two or three posts max during a week the idea of posting every day is terrifying. I usually struggle through my regular posts so what the hell would I find to write about everyday?

And I still have no idea what I’m supposed to write about here, but the temptation of a five day streak is too great to pass up.

People always recommended that any aspiring writer writes something at least once a day. I try to do that, but hell is it hard when you have nothing to say. I think the problem is that you think you have nothing to say but upon writing you discover that, hey, you do have stuff to say. I don’t know if it’ll happen here, but once again writing every day is supposed to be good according to like everyone I ever talk to.

Antidepressants? Therapy?

I met with a psychiatrist (Maybe? I don’t know what her degree is. Let me look it up; I want to be accurate. Oh. She’s a ‘certified nurse practitioner’ apparently.) with the sole purpose of evaluating me and seeing if I need to be plopped on drugs for my issues. Somewhat reassuringly, she didn’t seem to think I needed them. I was terrified I’d walk into the office and leave with about five fucking prescriptions. Maybe something for depression, anxiety, to help me sleep, etc. but nope, nothing.

The thing that really threw me off were the options offered to me. She seemed to think an SSRI drug (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor: an antidepressant) might be worth a shot, but left me the choice to either hop on it right away or give therapy a few more sessions and then see how I was doing. I was totally indecisive, as I usually am, and was surprised that it was up to me to decide. One thing that is both wonderful and upsetting is how these mental health practitioners leave it up to you to make choices. Once again, think of a similar situation going to a regular doctor. You walk in, they say you’re sick, and toss some antibiotics at you. You don’t have to make a damn decision really. They say, “Here’s your problem, here’s how you fix it. Goodbye!” and take your money. Mental health practitioners, since they deal with sometimes vague, difficult-to-define personal issues aren’t able to do this. They can have an idea of what’s wrong with you, but the fix is never as easy or as obvious as prescribing an antibiotic or pain pill. And it seems any mental health fixes have to come from within yourself as well. It’s a messy field and I’m glad I’m not in it.

So I didn’t know what the hell to say. Part of me wanted to have faith in myself and remain “strong” telling myself that maybe I can work through my issues without drugs to assist me. Another part, the eager “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it and get it over with” part, wanted to hop on them immediately to see what would happen. But no. Right as I was about to YOLO myself into some antidepressants, Courtney, the NP-C, finally made the decision for my indecisive ass and suggested a few more appointments with the therapist and see how that went. I left with the offer that if I did want to hop on them for me to just call them and they can put the order in. It’s been about two weeks and I think I might call them tomorrow.

I have this impending sense of doom upon me and I really think I’ll need all the help I can get in the next few months. People have called me “intuitive” occasionally and I don’t think I am, but if I think about my ability to not think and actually realize things I actually think I might be able to catch onto certain unobvious things about people. Somehow when playing music at work I can pick up on a “vibe” and know what type of music to play. If everyone is depressed and withdrawn you probably don’t want to play upbeat pop music. If everyone is in a good mood you don’t want to drop Radiohead on them. Anyways, if I allow myself to feel “intuitive” I realize I’m picking up very bad vibes from the future. It’s like I’m driving towards a brick wall of shit and there’s no way to avoid it.

Maybe my tip-off here was that at my last therapy appointment I wasn’t totally honest with her. I avoided certain topics because I wasn’t ready to deal with them yet. They’re there, I’m aware of them, but just another week or two of avoiding them won’t hurt, right? As a friend had said, the most productive appointments are apparently where you’re crying, eating fast-food in a parking lot, feeling totally ripped open and confused about everything. The last appointment was really comfy, nothing was really said, and I left feeling like I had just wasted an hour.

It feels like you’re selling everyone short too. One of the key self-esteem pillars was to be honest with yourself. If you push down feelings it means you don’t value them enough, and yourself because they’re your fucking feelings, to acknowledge them. It’s lying to yourself because you don’t have enough self-worth to be honest to even yourself. If that makes sense. And not sure if I’d written it here or somewhere else or in my journal .doc, but I never understood why anyone would lie to a therapist. The entire reason for being there is to open up and make progress on your issues — and you’re paying them to do so — so be honest. Don’t waste their time. Don’t give them free money. It’s like if you paid for food at McDonald’s but not wanting to actually eat the food just tossed it in the trash. Bad analogy but we’ve been here before with analogies.

So while drunk yesterday I realized that, yes, it’s probably time to face some real shit. The past month or so I’ve been in an amazing period of self-realization and growth, which is nice, but once you feel comfortable with yourself you need to look outwards into the world. You can’t make any real changes until you realize who you even are in the first place. It seems like step one was making some progress in knowing myself, and now that I do, the next step is to figure out what this means for me as a person in the world. Life is a big string of “Now What?s” and I’m asking myself that now. Okay, now what?

Sorry if all of this is rather cryptic. I don’t want to write anything down that might not be truthful. I don’t want to spill too much if I’m not even sure what I’m feeling. My plan going forward is this: wait until next Saturday and get everything out to the therapist. She’s a professional and might be able to tell me if I’m just being insane, or tell me that I’m on the right track.

That post wasn’t too bad, eh? Apparently “just write” means I needed to bitch about therapy some more. Once again, not having anything to write might mean that you don’t think you have anything to write about when you really do.

Who Am I?

“Well it’s a hard road to ride, when you sit right back and realize what you’re not.”

“Realize” by You Won’t

This is a continuation of this post. In that post, I mentioned I was going through a quiet phase, a phase of introspection trying to find myself, whatever that means. In the post I mentioned the word ‘nothing’ in the context of “This is me: nothing.” It sounds depressing and dismal in a way but the more I think about it the more I feel that it’s the most accurate way to describe myself and maybe even everyone else. Nothing.

I think we all have the urge to define ourselves by labels. I have this blog, so one of the labels I’ve defining myself with is ‘a blogger.’ Sometimes I write stories (or try to) and I’ll label myself as ‘a writer.’ Sometimes I draw/paint and call myself ‘an artist.’ The labels for myself are nearly endless: pilot, musician, guitarist, introvert, type 4 or 5, INTJ, quiet, reserved, thoughtful, emotional, creative, and so on. And others might do the same thing, deriving and adding meaning to their lives by calling themselves by their own unique labels. Another label I define myself with is ‘ignorant’ and ‘stuck in my own head’ so maybe others don’t do this and I’m wrong. I’ll always be the first to admit if I’m wrong. It’s a great way to learn things about life.

These labels aren’t really us though. I guess I’m saying while myself as a person is pretty introverted this actually isn’t who I am fundamentally. A shitty analogy: just because a flower is red does not mean the color red has anything to do with the flower itself; red is just a trait of the flower and not the flower itself. While a true descriptor, it doesn’t say anything definitive or fundamental about it; it’s not the state of being of the flower. I hope that somewhat made sense. Forgive the analogy if it falls short. Add a few other labels to the list perhaps: ‘not-very-good blogger’ or ‘bad at analogies’?

So last week while stuck inside my little bubble, silent, trying to figure out who the fuck I was as a person yielded a surprising lack of information. Once again the word ‘nothing’ comes up. That’s what seemed to be there for me as a person, fundamentally, and it was frustrating. I didn’t stumble upon another label — a more accurate or hidden label, some label that was truer than the rest, more ‘me’ than the rest — I came upon a lack of labels altogether. At the time it was depressing and I was rethinking the entire process; am I this bland of a person who has nothing to define who they are? Was there nothing deep down within my soul that was actually me? As a certain Liturgist podcast episode potently said, “Give me something to rely on.” Give me some aspect of myself that is there and that defines me. Something I can live up to and fall back in if I need to do so. Just give me something that is me.

It’s also interesting to note that in this podcast the thing saying “Give me something to rely on” is Fear.

But I think that might be it, the core ‘me-ness’ and maybe the core ‘you-ness’: nothing. The underlying truth. The realization of yourself, the blank entity that exists as is without any concrete labels to define it. Maybe I don’t have any actual desires, wants, or needs outside of survival. Love, companionship, food, water, shelter, and nicotine are all that I require as a human being. That’s who I am and that’s who you are, maybe minus the nicotine: a glorious nothing without labels that simply exists.

Now I realize that what I’ve written sounds eerily familiar to things I’ve been told/read/listened to many times in the past. I think I’ve hinted at it here on this blog many times. Like this is what everyone has been saying this entire time and I was just too dumb or ignorant to really ‘get it’. Alan Watts, in the first chapter of his book The Wisdom of Insecurity talks about placing water into a box and mailing it to people. It sounds silly, and he acknowledges this, but the chapter partly talks about how defining something might represent the object but isn’t the object itself — people sometimes forget this fact — pointedly stating it by saying, “If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed…To have running water you must let go of it and let it run.” And maybe you can’t package yourself into a ‘bucket’ as a list of words and have that be you. Aspects of you, sure, but not you. Maybe you have to let yourself go, let yourself flow, to really appreciate who you are.

And there’s plenty more. Here’s this text I received in a moment of crisis from a friend months ago:

“When I tell you I love you, I hope you know that it’s you I love. It’s not your exceptional writing. It’s not your witticisms of penchant for the quantitative. It’s Jeremy. With or without any or all of those things.”

And these few lines from The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas:

“Here are some lines that made me feel good, both in times of emotional turmoil and in meditation: I am nothing, I am empty, I am silent.

Or:

“Anything that really frightens you may contain a clue to enlightenment. It may indicate to you how deeply you are attached to structure, whether mental, physical, or social.”

And I’ll toss out the “You are Safe” podcast episode once more with its:

“Fear says, ‘Give me symbols, give me frozen images, give me something I can rely on. Loving Truth says, ‘Only give me this moment.’

Holy shit, it’s been there all along and I’ve been too stupid to figure it out. But let me not be too hard on myself; let’s go with I wasn’t at the right moment in my life to realize this before, but here I am. I’m scared, scared of not having something fundamental about myself to grasp and hold onto. I put up walls and define myself with words instead of being me, which is nothing. And it’s the Fear that causes me to do these things.

Once again, being ‘nothing’ sounds very negative as it’s a lack of something concrete. But I feel lighter now that I’ve realized it. I have no titles to live up to, nothing to uphold because there is nothing about me that requires upholding. I’m here and that’s about all there is to it.

As every realization I stumble blindly upon, I’m not sure what to do with the new information. There’s always the question of how to move forward. My working idea is that seeing as I am really nothing, I’m open to any and all possibilities. If I am nothing — like a blank canvas that doesn’t have any inherent colors — then I’m free to paint myself however I feel. It’s like a game, you can pretend to play whatever part you’d like to play, as long as you’re aware that you’re playing a game in the first place. I’m free to define myself as an author or a writer or whatever I damn well please as long as I realize I’m the one doing the defining. That it’s all a game. There is no universal me that is an author — just a blank canvas — no potential to live up to. No title to carry around. Maybe I’m an author because I choose to call myself one. I play guitar not because I’m inherently a guitarist, I just feel like calling myself one because I enjoy doing so. And that this power to choose comes from being a Nothing in the first place. By being Nothing you can become Something.

And I even subconsciously ripped that off from Lazy Man’s Guide (un)surprisngly:

“There isn’t anything “wrong” with using negative events to define your ego, as long as you do it consciously, because you want to. The only wrongness in any activity is being withdrawn from awareness of what you are doing. We can play these silly games with a lot more pleasure when we are aware of what we are really doing.”

Therapy Sucks: the Second Session

Note: This is a continuation of this post if you’d like to check that out. And also a continuation (more like “spiritual successor”) of this post. Self-discovery is a fucking pain. Also, three posts in three days? What is wrong with me? Geez. Sometimes when you’re bored and depressed you realize there is nothing else to really do besides write.

“You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you can’t go around it; you have to go through it.”

-Some Guy Named Brian

I’m currently sitting in a park eating Burger King, listening to the Dead Kennedys, and crying for no apparent reason at all. Wondering what the hell my problem is. Do I even have a problem or is this how people are? I don’t know. I hate being a person though. I didn’t sign up for this shit at all but here we are. Feeling totally stuck in life even though I didn’t want to be here. But what other alternative is there? I’m here and I gotta play the game.

I got out of therapy a half hour ago. It was the second appointment and I was terrified of it. The first appointment was nice; I knew I was making the right decision and was feeling empowered by finally taking control of my life and mental health in a meaningful way. I acknowledged I had a problem — depression, anxiety, insecurity, self-esteem issues — and finally took an actual step to solve the problem(s) facing me. I think this is more than most people do. I have no facts or figures to back me up, but I assume the majority of people limp unhappily and unsatisfied through life not giving one true and meaningful thought as to who they are fundamentally as a person. They deny their deep inner issues, tuck them away, and go through life as a zombie; a nearly dead soulless person. Living but slowly wasting away. I don’t want to be that. As miserable as I sometimes am I’m aware that my own happiness should be my top priority. As exhausted as I am I know the only one who will fight for me is myself.

The first appointment was easy. You talk about yourself and everyone likes to talk about themselves. We all feel we’re the protagonists of our story surrounded by relatively meaningless NPCs. The hero is going to the therapist. The hero is talking about his problems. The hero is talking about the struggles he’s facing in his grand adventure which is life. Sure everyone else is a real person, but when you’re stuck in your head it’s easy to forget that fact. I find it easy to talk and never understood how some people hesitate to open up to a therapist. It’s what I’m there for, so why hold back? The whole point of it is to get down to the bare issues and facts; holding back is just postponing the entire purpose of therapy.

Visit number two? Terrible. It’s terrifying to think about how the next therapy appointment will probably get deeper into your soul and your problems than the last. I didn’t feel like opening up. I didn’t feel like fixing the problem anymore. I didn’t want to talk about myself or end up crying on a nice and comfy couch covered in blankets. I was exhausted and didn’t want to deal with anything. As boring as my Saturdays are, I didn’t want to go to therapy. Just, no. Remember all that empowering bullshit I said two paragraphs ago? There was none of that today, only dread.

Somehow we talked for nearly an hour which felt like twenty minutes. I also felt like nothing was accomplished. Like I blabbed on and on and she said some insightful things and nothing was discovered or solved. In fact I feel worse now that I did earlier. Apparently being happy means being proactive in pulling yourself out of depressing and negative thoughts and moods when they arise. I learned a few mental exercises to help drag myself out of the dark places. Think if the negative thought is useful to have in the moment. Is it better served to face the thought later? And maybe make a list of five items to focus on when your mood goes down the drain. Focus on Love, the big universal Love, and friendship and simply how you are existing in the moment. Think of something around you, count something. I know these are good and I’ve used them in the past to some degree successfully, but goddamn am I exhausted. In many ways I don’t want to deal with the negative thoughts, I want them banished. I want to be happy all the time. Can’t that happen? Just put me on some goddamn drugs that make me happy all the time. I don’t want to deal with life, I want to be dead and numb to it all if that’s a possibility.

Therapy seems to bring up 20 questions for every one that it answers. It’s still the second appointment but I feel like I’m getting nowhere, or even worse it feels like I’m making negative progress. Like I’m digging myself deeper into confusion and drifting away from understanding. Where’s the supposed progress? Hilariously, the therapist jokingly called me an “a-hole” when I asked her this question: “When will I start to get somewhere?” “Oh, nothing personal against you,” I said, “I just don’t feel like I’m making any progress.” Just more questions and I don’t want to deal with more questions. Why doesn’t anything make sense? Why do I want things to make sense? Can things please make sense just for once?

I realized I’m a deeply complex person and that I don’t understand a fraction of the shit I do. I don’t make sense. It’s so infuriating and hopeless when you realize you don’t even know or understand yourself. How the hell are you supposed to be happy when all you seem to be is a big, fat, random question mark of a person? There’s plenty of mumbo-jumbo about self-discovering and searching for yourself, but how deep do I go? I thought I was getting to the bottom of things a week or so ago, but now? I feel more lost than before. It’s like I thought my soul was about as deep as a shallow pond or maybe a river, and that I’ve discovered it’s more like the Mariana Trench and I’m totally ill-equipped to explore those depths.

Most infuriating is the fact that if I’m going to get over my problems, I’m going to have to get down there somehow. And it’s so damn exhausting. I have a hard time getting out of bed and five cups of coffee still leaves me barely functioning and able to go about my day. Deep soul searching? Fuck me. That’s a lot of work. I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I’m totally incapable of it. But really I don’t know what other choice I have. I think I’m to the point where I’m so deep into the self-discovery process that I don’t think I can quit. I can’t wall myself up and be shallow anymore. It’s already there: this realization that I need to discover myself, that I have no choice otherwise, and it’s going to suck and even if I’m so tired, exhausted, and burned out it’s something I have to do now.

As a good friend of mine said: “You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you can’t go around it, you have to go through it.”

And as always thanks for reading another rambly, journalesque blog post.

Getting Help Sucks

Last week I decided that I should probably go see a therapist. For most of the week and for various reasons I felt as though I was on the verge of a total mental meltdown. It was especially terrible while at work with me nearly going home early because I couldn’t deal with being there. I was antsy, jittery, and my body had sort of a nervous hum to it, like the hum of a fluorescent light bulb if that makes sense. I was shaking and bzzzzzz constantly. Just a total feeling of being on edge and ready to lose it all. My mind was in overdrive thinking (mostly worrying) about a wide range of things where it was impossible to not think about them. I was utterly depressed. I felt lonely. I felt hopeless. I felt like a loser, like everyone probably hated me and only dealt with me to be nice. Despite me knowing that I was overreacting, it’s hard to get yourself to actually internalize it. I knew I was being fearful, scared, and irrational with no way to actually think rationally about things.

It was in this rare mental state that something snapped and I realized something obvious but difficult to admit: I was not happy. Life was not enjoyable. Like at all. Something was not working. I felt on the precipice of something very dark and scary. My drinking had picked up again. I was anxious and terrified of everything. Day after day was a struggle against the dread of existing. And that probably isn’t how a person is supposed to feel. Certainly isn’t how a person is supposed to feel. I admitted to myself that I needed to go see someone about my mental state.

So how did that go? Well, I don’t know. I still haven’t went because getting help fucking sucks.

You’d think the main difficulty in actually getting help is admitting that you need or want help, but this is only the initial part of the challenge. Once you finally admit that you need help, you actually need to find someone. And holy hell is that another shitty adventure all on its own.

The fact is that mental health issues are still stigmatized in the United States (maybe the world, I don’t know) and it’s very difficult to find someone you can open up to between family and friends. After you admit you want to find help, it greatly helps if you have a support system who can support your choice to find someone. I think I’m pretty lucky in regards to having friends and family to talk to, but other people? It’s terrifying to put myself in someone else’s place who has no support. If a person like that did admit they needed help, there isn’t anyone to support them along the way. Finding help is solely on them, and that is terrifying. Everyone needs a support system.

So knowing that you want help, now what? You find someone to go see. How do you do that? Once again it’s up to you to do most of the work. There are no mental health “general practitioners” to go see, no one to recommend you to someone, you have to find them your own. And mental health is different from general health. If you have a physical problem any doctor should be able to help, or at least point you in the right direction to someone who can help, but with mental health? It seems there needs to be a good relationship between therapist and patient and sometimes people just do not bond or feel comfortable with others, even if there is no outward reason to feel so. I guess I’m trying to say finding someone for mental health issues isn’t as easy as going to your insurances’ provider finder, typing in your address, and going to the first place you find. You need to do research and research is not something the depressive person is actually up to doing.

One of my friends directed me to psychologytoday.com. You can search for therapists/counselors/psychologists/psychiatrists in your area. (What are the differences? More on that shortly) This helped a ton as you can still search by insurance providers and you can read their profiles/treatment techniques/see what their specialized in, but there were still too many to choose from! I didn’t want to start limiting my choices based on stupid shit like how friendly they look or if they’re young or old. It seems like I could miss a good person to go see by using such pointless criteria. And once again a person in this mindset probably isn’t the best at taking the initiative or being motivated to continue the search.

And there’s always the question about who exactly I should go see. Therapists and counselors are kinda the same thing (I think. But one has more schooling? I don’t know.) while psychologists have more schooling or something. I think the psychologists are meant for people who have more clinical disorders who might need specific treatments. And psychiatrists? Apparently they can prescribe medicine. (Also, let’s not forget the fact that psychologists and psychiatrists are both spelled similarly and are equally difficult to type. The psych- is so fucking clunky to type out, try it for yourself. Every time I write one of those I get a big, squiggly red line under it.) I don’t really know and if anyone wants to clear these distinctions up feel free to correct me in the comments. I don’t know if my case is serious enough to require a psychiatrist or if I just need someone to talk to, like a therapist. Being depressed means you don’t fucking know. So if I don’t know, how am I going to know who to see? I’m just trying to stress again that a person in a depressed state probably doesn’t want to research the intricacies and differences between certain mental health professional’s titles, schooling, and specialties. It’s daunting at a time you don’t want to face anything daunting.

I think that’s about it (so far). I feel that admitting you have a mental health problem should be the primary key to finding assistance. It should be your ticket to freedom, sort of like a call to 911 in a medical emergency is enough to get help. The emergency room doesn’t require you to select a pulmonologist or a cardiologist because they figure out what is wrong with you and find a person to treat you. With mental health? Nope. It’s up to you to find someone even though you’re as confused as you could ever be. You need to go through a mostly bullshit, confusing, and complex process mostly by yourself to actually find someone to see. It’s a pain in the ass even if you weren’t in a shitty mental state, and being in one only makes things harder.

We have a ton of work to do in the US and probably the world at large in regards to mental health. I’m almost certain that a massive amount of people quietly go about their lives abusing drugs or whatever or hiding behind hobbies, entertainment, and other things to keep busy so they don’t break down. Putting on a mask and struggling in silence. Like everyone is dealing with something and even if some look like they’re fine many might be close to their breaking points without showing any outward signs of it. There is no clear way to get help, no clear way to talk about how you feel or to be open about it, and maybe people turn to suicide as a way to ask for help because mental health is so stigmatized. If you do admit to get help, good job on you. Congratulations, it’s probably the hardest thing to admit! Hang in there. But it’s still going to be a pain in the ass finding someone to go see.