Tag Archives: Therapy

2020 Sucked: A Year of Personal Growth

In the last post I wrote about how shitty 2020 was from a general perspective, something that everyone could kinda agree with. COVID. Wildfires. A few other awful things. But no one’s life consists only of those things, and unless you sit around on social media way too much you might not even be aware of most of them unless they personally affected you. While bitching about the general vibe of 2020 I had to ask myself, “Was the year awful for me, personally?”

Honestly 2020 was a pretty average year. Sure there was plenty of shit that was bad, but there were a few things that were good. I’d rate it 4/10.

I should first talk about my failed New Year’s Resolutions from last year. I had nearly forgotten what they were, but let me try really hard to remember. Finish writing a book. Record a music album. Write a weekly chapter for my Morrowind Fanfic. Give someone a compliment daily. Get over 1,000 monthly blog views. What did I actually accomplish? Jack Shit. I did make it over 1,000 monthly blog views about halfway through the year and have kept my numbers above that (even breaking 2,000 views somehow) but everything else has fallen apart. I haven’t written anything close to story, gave up the Morrowind project months ago, stopped the compliments in February, and haven’t recorded a single finished song.

Note for next year: let’s not do the resolution thing. Sorry guys, I got excited and thought that maybe 2020 could be the year I somehow prove popular knowledge about resolutions wrong. Nope, I’m a failure like everyone else. Don’t fuck with resolutions.

The COVID quarantines gave a great opportunity for of us to improve ourselves in countless ways. Stuck inside your home, possibly out of work, gives everyone a myriad of ways to self-improve although that could be difficult for some. Others took the quarantine as a blessing and set about working on hobbies or self-improvement. You know, taking up a new skill/hobby, reading, writing, making music, doing something to improve their lives/soul. Others like myself, well, I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

I squandered my quarantine and I’m trying not to feel too bad about it. I wasn’t out of work or anything so maybe my quarantine wasn’t “real” enough for me to really buckle down and do something productive. Most of my days and weeks this year were as typical as always with the slight downside of not being able to go out to eat with friends or shop at Walmart after work.

This shitty year had a few positives along with a ton of negatives. This was the first year I finally started therapy, and while it didn’t act like a magic solution to all of my problems with progress so slow as to be non-existent, looking back over the past nine months it’s obvious I have improved. It’s comforting to know that maybe I’m not the ridiculously flawed and depressive person that I thought I was — someone who’s maybe a lost cause — but that I’m perfectly normal with my own flaws and insecurities and that I only need someone to help me work through my issues. There are bad days, bad thoughts, and bad feelings, but I’m much better at putting them into their proper perspectives and waiting for them to pass. I urge anyone who is thinking of seeing a therapist to just fucking do it. Seriously, just give it a shot, and there’s never a better time to start than the beginning of fresh new year.

I also started taking antidepressants this year. There isn’t much to say here, mostly because I’ve been on them for so long that I don’t recall what I felt like before them. Like therapy, they’re not a magical cure-all to depression, but they sure fucking help. It’s still up to you to mentally walk your way through any issues, but the issues I do face don’t seem nearly as bad as they used to be. As before, this makes me feel much more of a normal person as opposed to some totally fucked up nutjob with depression. Maybe my brain just doesn’t have enough serotonin and, oh well, maybe that’s just fine. If I need something to get me back to baseline, that’s fine too, and it has nothing to do with me being a “weak” or “flawed” person.

2020 also had quite a dark period in the middle where my wife and I had a bit of a falling out and I tried to live in the woods. This didn’t work out too well, especially when the cops found me and took me in to talk with a psychologist/psychiatrist/whatever-psych-term-applies here. Looking back with some detachment from it…maybe it was something that needed to happen. We’ve been going to marriage counseling and like therapy it has helped, albeit in a very slow and almost impossible to notice way. If anything personally sucked for me in 2020 it was this dark period of a month or so in the summer. It was a depressingly bleak time and I’d be fine if I never have to live through anything like that ever again.

I also think of my friends; nearly all of them are going through their own personal shit that makes my whiny rants seem childish. One friend, a friend from high school, had his mother pass away earlier this year. His roommate, mid-30s, also passed away from brain cancer (I think) a few months after his mother passed. I want to say there was a suicide close to him as well, but maybe I’m confusing him with someone else. My sister had her wife cheat and leave her, and a few other friends are going through separations/divorces where kids are involved so the situation is super fucking messy. Nearly everyone I know seems to be seeking therapy which I’m very glad of; at least no one is trying to be toxically masculine about their issues and even my clueless self has noticed improvements in them.

2020 was a shit year, but it seems that being put through shit causes you to grow. Sure you can stagnate and fail, but people are stupidly stubborn and able to deal with impossibly bad situations when faced with them. I guess that’s the silver lining to this awful year; people around me seem to be facing the challenges and adapting to them the best they can. We’re all growing and 2020 gave personal growth a heafty shot of steroids; we’re all fucking jacked with personal growth now. Here’s a shout-out to 2021, only a few days away, and I hope it’s a good year for myself, my family, my friends, and everyone in general. I want a year that is boring, doesn’t force personal growth, where the world and the people in it can just have a break for once, if that makes sense. I suppose that’s it, thanks for reading.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Values Suck

Last session the therapist once again stressed the importance of having personal values. It sounded dumb to me — of course I have values — but when I really try to pinpoint what those values are I don’t have much to say. I’ve already written about values and never really followed through with what I said in that post. I figured I’d get around to it later or something, actually pinpointing the values I actually hold, but I never did.

I always loved math for how clear and simple it is. You just follow the rules. Everyone knows how to add, subtract, multiply and it’s such a beautifully cold and rigorous subject that doesn’t leave any room for interpretation. Values seem totally opposite of this and I find myself struggling to find any real values I have. Do I even have values? Any values? Or am I just a blank slate of absolute nothingness? A strong value system seems so nebulous and undefinable that my brain struggles to process it. In some ways I think my brain is too logically-wired to even grasp the concept of what a value is, like I’m doomed to think in terms of logic, rules, precepts, theories, and postulates with zero ability to be abstract and/or creative.

It’s the same as always: personal growth requires you to go outside of your safe zone to make any progress. As someone as insecure as myself I’ve always struggled with this. It’s easier to sit in my safe zone than to take any risks or make any effort to progress, and the way you get over this problem is to have values to chase after.

An example from a few weeks ago. I said I was working the election, and I had reasons to do so, but was terrified by the newness of the situation and was losing sleep over the anxiety of it all. What did I do? I didn’t go. I cowarded out. I totally bitched out and didn’t go. My wife told me to go, that it’d be good for me and I’d grow as a person, but no. Fuck that. Let me sit in my state of failure. I’ll grow as a person in the future, but for right now let me wallow in cowardice.

And the second example: Friday at work we had training on a piece of equipment I’d operated for over five years. I’m basically one of the few experts at operating this thing, and it should’ve been natural for me to take charge and actually teach my 20 coworkers or so. But I’m terrified of people and talking and once again, like the election I cowarded out. I let my supervisor do the training (who had only operated this piece of equipment once) and said very little, hiding the massive wealth of information in my head out of fear of speaking in front of a group of people.

My point? Strong values seem to be the driving force to get you to actually do something new. Before the election I considered my values something like this: doing something for the greater good, serving a purpose greater than myself, etc. But apparently these weren’t strong enough to get me to go outside my comfort zone. The values weren’t powerful enough to make me grow. And with the whole training thing: isn’t one of my supposed values a love of teaching people and passing on my knowledge? Once again helping the greater good by spreading knowledge? And isn’t that why I want to be a flight instructor in the first place? Apparently, but once again these values aren’t strong enough for me to take risks and head out of my comfort zone even amongst people I work with, feel comfortable around, and ‘understand.’ It’s always easier to hide in cowardice and put personal growth and your values into the indefinite future, something that you’ll eventually get around to but never seem to actually do.

I had an appointment last Friday but my therapist apparently lives with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID. So she’s out and I didn’t get to elaborate on what I feel was a minor breakthrough over the past few weeks and I’m on my own for a month or so. But I’m feeling confident going forward.

One thing she always seems to force me to do is make some sort of goal or mantra for the next few weeks/month. It makes sense — if you give yourself a goal you have something to work towards, some direction — and in her absence and with no direction I think I’ve found something to hold onto, something that I can legitimately call a “value” I hold: Don’t be a fucking coward. I hate when others are cowards, seemingly unable to fix even the most obvious issues in their lives, and I silently scream to myself, “Just do what you need to do! Why are people so scared and terrified of progress and change!” Your feelings towards others have a way of forcing you to look into the mirror though; as much as I hate cowardice in others I have the creeping suspicion that I’m the biggest coward of them all. Cowardice is my way to hide in my safe space and to find comfort rather than be uncomfortable and grow. It’s something I’ve been doing for so long that it seems natural, but now that I think of it I hide in cowardice too much. It’s holding me back. Sure it’s comfortable and safe, but this isn’t the way forward in life.

Take risks, take chances, speak your mind, be true to yourself, whatever that means. Looking back on my life I’ve realized that I’m terribly lucky; any crazy idea I end up with seems to have worked at least slightly. There has been no massive failure or life-changing mess that’s occurred. Looking back I have the ghost of an idea that says, “I’ve got this. What’s my fucking problem?” Have faith in yourself and your intuition. Maybe you’re a damn hero in disguise, someone who can pull off whatever they set their mind too, and maybe I’m one of them if only I’d force myself to get around to doing whatever. There shouldn’t be any fear or terror in life. Sure everything is shit, but if it actually is shit, what’s the big deal about taking risks? Why’s the fear of failure so great when failure in life is everywhere? It’s just another thing you have to deal with, something as passive as the weather and rain, not life-threatening or failure-inducing, but only something you have to deal with.

Going forward I’m not going to be a coward. At least I’ll try not to be one. I’m not going to be scared of life, and if I am I’ll acknowledge it and move through it towards something greater. It might be the first value I’ve ever fully established but it surely won’t be the last. Don’t be a coward. Face life with the bravery and fierceness like Samwise and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Alcoholism Sucks: The Slow Descent

So it’s 3:20 a.m. and I’m pounding my seventh beer. I feel slightly better about life but not quite okay with it. It’s a struggle to drink enough to feel okay with life but not drink too much to lose your mind to the drunken haze. And with every drunken day that passes that line becomes thinner and harder to follow with less margin for error.

I don’t even know what the point of this post is but I hope it eventually gains some direction. Typing is hard and I’m hitting the wrong keys all the time. Constantly smashing the backspace button to erase any signs of my drunken typing while desperately trying to stay on topic. Maybe it would be a fun project to let the errors stand as-is and just display it to the world: this is what drunkenness looks like. That’d be fun, right?

I find it interesting that many bloggers have a “recovery blog” where they write about life away from alcoholism while no one seems to document the descent itself, which even in the midst of beI find immensely interesting. No one signs up to be an alcoholic and everyone that ends up as such seems to be totally caught off guard that it could, or was, happening to them for years. I’m in the fucking depths of it and the world seems so damn twisted, confusing, and depressing that I doubt anyone who hasn’t experienced it could imagine it. Here there is no hope. Here there is no progress. Here there is only limping along day after day just trying to survive the best you can, beer after beer. There is no outlet. There is no escape. You wake up hungover and try to get to the evening when you can drink again. One more escape after the last, until something happens, something to change the addiction. Something to change the hell of life.

After the past like two months of drinking everyday I just don’t care to work on anything. I haven’t anything in the past month due to the drinking. Not that I haven’t had anything to write about, it’s just that while being perpetually drunk it’s hard to string any coherent thoughts together. It’s hard to let your mind fester on a certain idea and let it lead to a natural conclusion. Alcoholism seems like a fucking blur: the past few days don’t mean anything, the past few weeks seems like a puzzle, and the past few months seems like some barely recountable dream that you’re not sure you actually lived through. When I try to recall the past couple of months I can’t seem to come up with anything. Sure, I lived through it, but I have nothing to show for it except vague memories, dream-like states and experiences, but it doesn’t seem like it was me experiencing them. It seems like someone else was there and I have no personal relationship with the memories at all.

The Descent

I don’t even know why I’ve been drinking so heavily over the past few months either. Surely part of it was due to my month long vacation and drunkenness, but besides that I have no idea. Well, maybe I am aware of a few other important issues but I don’t feel like discussing them here. There’s a bunch of stress in my life currently, and stress seems to be nearly as bad as alcoholism is. Stress wears you down and drains you, especially over long periods of time, and this is certainly part of it. Alcohol eliminates stress for a time, but it seems you must pay the debt back later. Any stress you eliminate with alcohol comes back the next day and if you continue to avoid it by drinking it’ll snowball into some intense hatred of life and anxiety, which only makes you drink more to avoid it further on.

It’s such a subtle descent that it’s difficult to realize how dangerous it really is. I had my first drink at the age of 17 and have fended off alcoholism until now — 17 years later. I’m 34 and never had any real issues with it — sure there were signs here and there but no obvious problems — until now. 17 years later! Half of my life I survived with a casual relationship with little to no abuse until now? Why did I fall at this time? What happened? If I wasn’t an alcoholic ten years ago, why am I one now?

For fucks sake, it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. With 17 years of not really having a problem I let my guard down. I decided I could drink once per week in 2020 and was fine with controlling the demon until a few months ago. Then something happened. I don’t even know what it was, but here I am drinking every fucking day. What happened? How did I fail? How did I become this person?

You don’t even notice it. A drink here or there in social situations just to ease your anxiety. A few drinks on the weekends to help you unwind. A drink on a weekday to help you deal with a stressful day. A drink the next morning to let you deal with the hangover. And then a drink after work because it was a bad day. And then another drink the following morning because you’re hungover from the drinks after your bad day. And…and before you know it you’ve been drinking for a fucking month or two struggling day after day just to survive life itself. It happens so slowly that you don’t even notice it, but eventually you realize it’s there. It’s you. You’re the alcoholic. You’re the person you never thought you’d become. But here you are, at 3:47 a.m. writing a blog post after eight beers trying to confess your soul to some strangers on the internet. You feel like you can’t escape and you feel like you’re in too deep. How do you even escape the person you’ve become?

A Way Out

I talked to my therapist about this a week ago. I said I felt fine, that I was doing okay with depression and social anxiety and that I felt pretty damn good really, but that I was drinking every fucking day for some reason. She gave some vague advice that I loved, “Perhaps you’ve gotten over the past issues you were struggling with and now the next problem presents itself. Understanding is like an onion, and maybe you’re moving on to understand the next layer.”

I sat dejected on the sofa and joked asking, “How many layers does this onion have?”

And she replied, “The layers never end…”

“So it’s an infinite-layered onion? Well…Fuck.”

And this gave me hope but also with a slight tinge of meaninglessness. An infinite onion never allows you to reach the core –to where you never fully discover your true self — but maybe I’d moved on from my other issues to confront the next issue: alcoholism. Progress, right? But it’s still strange. You’d think as depressed as I was months ago I’d be drinking a ton then but no, somehow when everything finally started to improve elsewhere in my life the drinking became uncontrollable. So maybe this problem is manifesting at an opportune time, the next problem to solve, the next layer of my personal onion, and it’s up to me to face it.

Two of the supervisor I work with (whom I consider friends) mentioned something about “Substance-Free September” where they elaborated on giving up any substances they struggle with for the upcoming month. They looked at me and said, “Hey Jerm, you want to do this with us? Substance-Free September?”

I gave them a glassy-eyed stare as I knew the one thing I’d have to give up would be alcohol; I was dreading giving up my singular coping mechanism for life. They kinda laughed and I eventually choked out, “Well, I’ve been drinking every day the past three months so maybe I could give up drinking for a month, but…fuck...”

I had been so used to drinking everyday that I wasn’t sure I could do it.

There is a certain appeal to involving others in your life choices. It seems easier to be sober if you haven other people you’ve made a pact with. It’s not just me making choices for myself when I’m suddenly accountable to others. It sounds strange but I’m a very competitive person: if I’m in a “competition” I give it my all just to prove that I’m a badass and if it comes down to me not drinking for a month, I’ll fucking try to prove everyone wrong and beat their asses with sobriety.

And I think this might be a way out, at least a temporary escape from the haze of alcoholism, if even for a month. A competition, a deal, a pact between a handful of us at work that maybe we can try to make it through September without any of the substances we’re terribly depended upon. For one of us, it’s marijuana. For another one, it’s nicotine. Another person is hooked on nicotine and alcohol, but to a minimal degree for each of them. For myself it’s obviously alcohol, perhaps one of the hardest to stop because I’m so goddamn depended upon it, and I think I got the short end of the stick here. But it’s fine because I want a way out. I want to escape, and I think this might be my first step forward. I’m terrified of Tuesday, September 1st, where I might have to face the world in all of its terror and beauty without anything to cope with it all. It’ll just be me and over the past few months I don’t know if “me” can even deal with it without freaking out. But I’m ready to accept it, face the challenge, deal with the struggle, and toss myself into the hell of sobriety after being almost perpetually drunk over the past quarter year.

I suggest anyone who reads this considers getting on board with Substance-Free September no matter what your issues are. Maybe just as a commitment to yourself knowing others are in the same September sobriety boat as you are. It doesn’t have to be anything major either — caffeine, soda, meat, cocaine, xanax, sleeping pills, whatever you use as a crutch — because any tiny act to make your life better can pay immense dividends in the future. We can all be strong by being sober and dealing with live as is without anything to assist us but our own selves. Let’s do this guys and gals.

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.