now that's what i call _free_writing

song for today

do you believe in free will? i know it’s a complex topic, and (as per usual) i’m not equipped to do it justice. but you don’t need that much intellectual sophistication to be able to tell whether you, personally, on an emotional level, find the concept convincing.

i know i don’t.

for the sake of clarity: i’m not talking about your freedom to choose how you take your coffee or the friends you keep. i’m talking about something… larger. not just how you choose to live out your true nature, but your true nature itself: your personality, intellect, interests, inclinations; the very way you interact with the world.

you might have some influence over the environments / situations / contexts you find yourself in, or put yourself in, but you don’t have as much of a say in how exactly you respond to them. you can try to “curate” your repertoire of behaviors, but even then you’re limited to the pitifully small range of possibilities that occur to you.

similarly, no matter the particular details of the circumstances you’re under — no matter what, exactly, is happening — you can react in a number of ways, but they will always have YOU written all over them. i suppose this is less true the more self-control and discipline you have. then you can feign emotions, flirt, manipulate people, make jokes, act more like somebody else, do all sorts of things. but they will still be specific to YOU.

true free will would mean having access to an infinitely vast pool of possibilities. in reality, however, our freedom has very real physical limitations. how can you speak of free will if you can’t even will your own brain into approaching life with a sense of humor instead of the earnestness and fatalism that you know to be so unhelpful? you can teach (train?) yourself to always look on the bright side of life, but it will always be an uphill battle.

what if you’re emotionally unstable by nature, and the thing you want most in the entire world is to achieve a sense of balance at last? or — do you think I like being stuck up and condescending? Do you think I wouldn’t rather be spontaneous and generous?

I don’t intentionally act in ways that make me more miserable, any more than those of you with healthier personality profiles intentionally act otherwise; we kind of just… do. Most people probably don’t have to have their well-being at heart at all times, not explicitly, anyway; it’s more like an assumption on which they operate; a given, not a variable. and then they can fully commit to also factoring other people into their decisions.

My laziness and selfishness are patterns of behavior, individual instances of which i can rarely recognize for what they are in the moment im exhibiting them. and even if i were able to recognize them, i wouldnt know the first thing about how to change them.

a sense of self that is predicated on identifying as anything is bound to be unstable. why must i insist that people are monoliths… archetypes, or emblems, of such human concepts as kindness or cruelty? yes, some people better fit what we understand to be the definition of “kind”. but words themselves have their limits. i know that that’s kind of the point, but more than just limited, they end up also being limiting.

even constructs such as personality profiles, traits, etc., are only helpful to the extent that they give us a general idea of qualities otherwise nebulous & elusive, so that we can communicate & assume that we mean more or less the same thing. neither words nor images, nor our minds themselves, can comprehend or convey the entirety of the thing were trying to describe.

but if not with labels, how else (if at all) do you define yourself…?

and sure, some people are more creative, open-minded, flexible. by extension theyll have more free will, because they can act more freely, more spontaneously. it’s not that the options aren’t there for some people. (well, sometimes they aren’t. but lets not get into that whole mess right now.) potentially everything can be turned into an opportunity. it’s just that some of us see the opportunities more often than others.

who’s there to tell any one of us that we can’t start a career as singers? whether we’re any good at it or are lucky enough to get discovered is a whole different question. i could build my whole identity around being a singer, but that self-perception wouldn’t at all correspond to reality.

so, what if you want to see yourself as a “good person”, but some of your behaviors could be construed as evidence to the contrary? well, then you’re fucked & my previous post happens. you’re selfish, evil, and you’re facing a grim future of suffering imposed on self & others.

but yeah, never mind that a large portion of your choices is actually dictated by external factors. Even controlling for those outside influences, you’re still little more than a statistic, happening to fall some place on that goddamned bell curve at some point in time.

sound familiar? “Where am I going with this????” Fuck knows. i think it’s just my roundabout way of saying that im not happy with the fact that significant chunks of life go way over my head, and there’s not much i can do about it.

and that overwhelming feeling that free will is an illusion and my story has been written for me, long, long, long ago and it doesn’t really matter what i choose, because while the stage design might change, and i might deviate from the plot somewhat, im still destined to repeat those same tropes & mistakes & dilemmas that my ancestors struggled with.

regardless of what i do and how i get there, i’m still going to end up in pretty much the same place. Sometimes it feels like I’m already there, and i cant change the outcome because it’s sort of imprinted on my genes. everything feels pointless because try as i might to get better, i will always go back to my old ways and my original outlook on life, which is… not good.

i’m kind of all over the place today, sorry about that.

today was my first appointment with a therapist. my last post was the one she read when i showed her my blog, and it’s actually an accurate representation of my state of mind pre-psych meds. i’ve come to the conclusion that, among other things, they allow me to compartmentalize in a way i never thought possible. the day i wrote that post I was feeling kind of shitty, so i vented, and proceeded to go about my day as if nothing had happened. i smiled, i laughed, i joked around.

normally if my mood is shitty, my whole day ends up being shitty as well. right now, though, i can set my own feelings aside for a while and focus on the task at hand. not always, and not to the same extent as others around me usually do, but more than typical for me. also just because i can do it doesn’t mean i always choose to, but still. 😀 which is to say that i can now feel like shit and be in a great mood at the same time??

so anyway, because i feel like i could go on forever and somehow manage to still not say anything of substance, ill end here and hope i haven’t bored some of you to death by now.

i’m off to do my therapy.. homework.. assignment.. thingy 😀

doing a 180

🙃

you’re not fooling anybody you dumb bitch.

you can take all the pills you want, but it’s never going to make you likeable. the only thing it does is it keeps you in this delusionally narcissistic state where you’re artificially, superficially, mindlessly “happy” and completely oblivious to other people or even what’s going on in your own mind.

whatever made you think it was a good idea to unload on the internet, after all this time spent marinading in your own toxic bs??? nobody. cares.

and you dare pretend you’re getting better, all the while following those same patterns that got you here in the first place? and climbing onto shelves tempting fate to let you fall to the floor?

who are you kidding? you know full well you have nothing to offer. you’re empty inside, you’re mean, and you want to see people suffer. Youd take everyone down with you if you could. you’re not “kind” “deep down”; youdve been kind a long time ago if youd genuinely wanted to.

some people are just destined to be miserable, and they dont even really want to be happy. if you want to change, why dont you make some fuckin effort for once in your life, you entitled, lazy fuck????

all you can do is make excuses. you’re too stupid, too ugly, too boring, too annoying, or you’re not enough this and not enough that… to just do your best. thats not how life works, you absolute twat.

if you can be counted on for anything, its one more stupid mistake, you thoughtless, good-for-nothing waste of oxygen.

really you were trying to do the impossible all along; trying to accept the unacceptable.

but im done with that.

im done pretending i can ever like myself. what kind of stupid goal is that, anyway? whoever said you had to like yourself to survive? i never did like myself, and yet im still alive. easier that way.

less internal conflict if you can come to terms with simply being a shitty human being.

Paxil™ is bae

This post is emphatically not brought to you by GlaxoSmithKline! 😀

cw: suicidal ideation … physiological functions? sorry, i’m not good at TWs

youll know by now that i dont have that many opinions. and even when i do, they’re rarely some firmly held beliefs. the controversial statement above, i’m not particularly attached to, either. but it is the way i feel, at least for now.

antidepressants can cause weight gain. true. also? irrelevant. they can increase blood pressure + sugar. the list of possible side effects goes on and on. for me right now, it’s memory problems and dry skin. oh, well.

now weigh that against the deepest, most profound and absolute sense of hopelessness and worthlessness you have ever felt in your entire life. a loneliness and insecurity so severe, for the first time in your life you start vaguely contemplating suicide not because you want to die, but because the thought of going on like this indefinitely simply feels unimaginable.

I shudder to think about the depths of depression people have descended to who are physically incapable of getting out of bed. That they live to see another day is an achievement in and of itself. I didn’t have it that bad, but it was still getting too much for me.

and i didn’t see a way out.

I remember going to Open’er Festival last year, excited to stay at the campsite for the first time ever and to see The Strokes, Interpol, LP, The 1975, Tom Walker… Vampire Weekend, who are one of my favorite bands of all time… I was going alone, but that was normal for me, I usually travel & go to concerts alone.

but when I arrived, I immediately wanted to leave. not go back home, but bury myself in a deep dark hole and never get out. i was surrounded by people who were all happy to be alive, enjoying their time together with their friends, and i felt like the loneliest person on earth.

and there was no way out.

obviously I couldnt leave. so i stayed. i stayed, and i forced myself to get out of my pitch black tent… sometimes. i had to summon all the willpower i could just to put one foot in front of the other, and there were times i almost stopped in my tracks and lay down on the grass. i had to keep going though, because if i stopped, it felt like i might never ever get up again.

at times i found myself going through the motions of “having fun”. i’d be standing close to the stage, mouthing the lyrics to my favorite song, and then a minute later it’d be like i wasn’t even there.

i was completely isolated and detached from what was happening around me. i ended up only seeing parts of the acts i wanted, and none of the “fillers”, even though i usually go from one artist to another and try to experience as much as i can possibly cram into one short day.

this time, though, I lay motionless in my sleeping bag, hardly registering Kylie Minogue and Swedish House Mafia performing at the main stage. To me they were just background; just noise, cancelling out my own thoughts.

and still no way out.

I came back home, and I… immediately asked my Grandma to get me a psych appointment. i couldn’t go on pretending any longer.

My doctor first prescribed duloxetine. It’s a strong SNRI, and it took the edge off. …across the board.

On my third day on the drug, I went to Berlin, to see AnnenMayKantereit live: a concert I’d been waiting forever to go to. The concert itself was great, though I would have enjoyed it much more fully sober. But at least that poignant feeling of loneliness wasn’t quite as bad.

Adjusting to the medication took a while. I would sweat like a pig, have heart palpitations and anxiety attacks, wake up very early in the morning. I would get dizzy just standing up, and have unpredictable mood swings. I also had really bad constipation. (Sorry!)

But…

god, the clarity.

it didn’t come on immediately. I was in Berlin for four days, and I spent most of that at a nearby Starbucks, reading research papers on antidepressants for seven hours at a time. i was in some sort of hypnotic trance where that seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to spend your time. And anyway, I also got tired easily, so i liked the not moving part.

But I was starting to see a way out.

Cymbalta wasn’t perfect for me. In the end it made me impulsive and sort of crazy. But in a way it saved me; it did exactly what it was supposed to do: it dulled the pain. It alleviated many of my physical symptoms, and there was a short period of time where it gave me some insight into my mental states.

Because i was so bad at expressing myself, I accidentally offended my psychiatrist when trying to tell him that I wanted to try something else. I stayed on it for two more months, and then, after hearing some of my symptoms, he complied with my wishes…agreed that duloxetine wasn’t good for me, and switched me to something else.

and that something was paroxetine, and it made a world of difference. it’s not perfect either. perfection doesn’t exist, you see. but its pretty fucking great.

it made me gain weight… and those hands, ugh, i need to moisturize like 24/7.

but it is so worth it.

Because now, I can see a way out.

and for the first time in my life, i can understand that the road to recovery is long and bumpy and far from linear… and be okay with it.

I owe it to Cymbalta that I was able to tell my doctor that I wanted to go off Cymbalta. It started to happen often, me recognizing my needs and not being afraid to tell people about them. I owe it to Paxil that I finally did what I should have done years and years ago, meaning starting this blog.

Continued use of antidepressants over several years may or may not be harmful, as anyone in certain facebook groups and some professionals disillusioned with their own field will tell you.

Moreover, I myself don’t believe that they’re the solution to the underlying problem. I would gladly stay on them forever, if not for the side effects and certain health concerns. Not because they solve the problem, but because they help. Simple as that.

Because there is a way out.

and now i can see how good life could be. and it’s like the negative experiences in my life hadn’t affected me. and i feel less anxiety. less shame. less dependency on other people. and things aren’t as black and white anymore.

i had absolutely no idea how many of my most basic assumptions about the world where wildly inaccurate. it’s kind of insane how one small pill a day can change your perception of everything that happens to you (or not even to you, but just in general). in very subtle ways it reduces the feeling of being inadequate, a burden, incompetent, that sort of thing. finally i can take criticism and not be tormented by it, or by whatever mistakes i make, for days afterwards.

i feel it’s important to keep in mind that the meds have changed my personality in some small but significant ways. contrary to what some of you may believe, though, it’s mostly been positive, and im far from the medicated zombie that some might make me out to be.

i feel as though i’d been deprived of an inner life before, and it’s now that i can finally process all my negative feelings. take a step back and assess them more rationally, because it doesn’t hurt as much.

What’s more, I’m not afraid of being vulnerable. coming off as silly. making a fool of myself. because i just. don’t care. and i know this kind of disregard for your own … dignity? migh be dangerous for someone who’s naturally more open about their feelings, idk, but for me it was eye-opening.

it’s now — on Paxil — that I wrote those notes to my family. it’s now that i started the blog. it’s now that i’m affectionate towards my loved ones, i sometimes joke around with friends from work, and i occasionally giggle (out loud!) when i read something funny. all of these seemed impossible just last July.

I can still (genuinely) laugh. I do still cry. And, to my own surprise, i find it easier, not harder, to empathize with people; possibly because I’m not burdened by my own emotions all the damned time.

and i can finally see how far up my ass my head has been all this time — and, importantly, still is. you have to be comfortable acknowledging your flaws if you’re ever going to change. damn right i’m narcissistic. and lazy. i can work on it.

Lastly, I would like to point out that initially, being prescribed antidepressants felt incredibly validating. i thought i wasn’t “sick enough” to seek help, but that prescription was proof that what i was going through wasn’t normal. i didn’t hide the fact that i was on them, but i didn’t overshare, either.

well, now i’m all about oversharing, haha. neither bragging, nor complaining, but simply stating the fact: antidepressants can help. they have helped me, and my only hope is that the withdrawal symptoms aren’t too bad and i can keep at least some of that positive outlook when i stop taking them.

i hope a similar peace of mind can be achieved naturally, if you know what you’re going for. that it is within your reach. in this way it’s a helpful therapeutic excercise that can teach you by how much your own perspective can change depending on the circumstances.

i believe the above is true for me. if you feel that you’re always going to need antidepressants, i can see where you’re coming from. they’re more than just a crutch, and i hope with time there’s less and less stigma surrounding them.

you take care of you, and do whatever you need to do. ❤

where do i stand?

The caption says "anti-Polish political slags"
Yesterday’s issue of “Warszawska Gazeta”; it says “anti-Polish political slags”

So I saw this yesterday, and I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys.

I don’t follow politics, i don’t know much about it (yes, yes, ik i should); but it’s not about that.

I believe in freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. But this isn’t freedom. This is hate speech, and a personal attack directed at some public figures in the Polish political arena.

I’m not even saying that that kind of thing shouldn’t be allowed; it’s not for me to say. If some of the people on the cover decide to sue for defamation, that’s their (bloody well justified, imho) decision; if they then lose in court, i wouldn’t be surprised either.

Anyway, let me confess to something that most of you will frown upon: I don’t vote. I wish I would, which I know seems like a nonsensical statement, but I really can’t. I’m so on the fence about everything, I literally physically can’t bring myself to decide when confronted with so many options, so drastically different from one another. I guess I’m more or less a leftie, but even leftist parties have certain qualities that are deal-breakers to me.

But never mind that. There could be a “perfect” party, completely aligned with my own beliefs (which in itself is impossible, because they shift constantly; I’m easily swayed by the mere suggestion of an argument.), and I still couldn’t handle the idea of having contributed to them being elected, lest they fuck up. I would feel too personally responsible, and I don’t much like the idea of choosing the lesser of two evils.

I don’t refrain from voting out of laziness. (Well, maybe intellectual laziness plays a role, but it’s not the deciding factor.) The cause of my indecision is that I know i’m prone to extremism.

Let’s take something as simple as food, which is rather too important in my life but a good example nonetheless: at various stages of my life I’ve gone on so many diets I don’t even remember many of them. I have restricted calories (which in the end led to a variation on anorexia), I’ve been vegan, and then I tried keto for a while. (‽) Oh, and I binge-eat.

And it wasn’t because I wanted to lose weight… not really. It was because “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I thought changing my body would magically solve all my other problems. And I wanted to believe it so strongly, I uncritically accepted all the tenets of whatever new diet I adopted as gospel.

I find conviction off-putting. I don’t claim to be free of it; quite the opposite. Sure, there are certain issues that are pretty much clear-cut. But as soon as we stop talking about filicide or whatever — things that everyone can agree on — it gets much more complex.

Agents everywhere on the spectrum abuse human gullibility for their own ends. The question then becomes, where do you draw the line between inflammatory language and manipulation? What were they trying to achieve, and what part of what they say do they themselves believe?

Was the cover disingenuous or ironic, or purposely over the top? Was it because controversy sells? Were they appealing to a very specific demographic who would readily believe whatever accusations were made in the article? Or maybe it’s not a big deal and I’m blowing the whole thing way out of proportion?

But I don’t think I am. You may think it’s not that serious. But I know that there are people who would wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed in this headline. I know because I live with some of them. They’re good people, but this is what treating religion as the only valid coping mechanism does to you: you start believing bad things, and justifying them with flimsy concepts such as your narrow idea of patriotism.

Please explain to me, because I don’t understand: what good can possibly come of polarizing the discourse any further? What point is there in conflict, hostility and animosity? Why can’t people just listen to each other and reach some kind of consensus, I mean, isn’t that the whole point of democracy?

But every arrangement, no matter how perfect in theory, is bound to be perverted by our countless cognitive errors. We live in such an advanced society, but we can do nothing to override our most basic, tribalistic instincts and our narrow-mindedness. You may be surprised to find that this is also true of people on the left.

Some might argue that being prejudiced against prejudice is different. But it still makes true communication more difficult than it needs to be, because it dehumanizes the opponent in your eyes. It gets harder to see where they are coming from, and concede that they might have some valid points.

In my susceptibility to extremism, I almost became, to use a term considered derogatory by some — though not me — a social justice warrior. But that degree of certainty about anything, and dismissing counterarguments right off the bat, simply doesn’t sit well with me. I actually agree with most of what they say, it’s just how they say it…

I’m not the right person to mediate between extreme world views, which is precisely why I don’t get involved in it. But surely some people would be?? Surely there must be people who would be able to muster the empathy both for minorities, and for those who oppress them?

The mechanism behind prejudice is quite straightforward. But eradicating prejudice takes more than simple appeals to reason. Hostility is very much emotional. You feel threatened, so you reject everything that could shake the very foundations on which you have built your entire life, worldview, and a sense of comfort and security.

If I can’t stomach blind hatred, i at least have some respect for the deep, imperfect humanity it stems from. Everyone has fears, and everyone copes with those fears whatever way they can. But sometimes eliminating racism, sexism, or homophobia takes years of undoing a lifetime of indoctrination.

I propose something fairly impractical, and extreme, but non-violent: everyone should go to therapy. Of course if everyone understood themselves and had compassion for everyone else, the structures that keep our society as we know it in place would collapse, and civilization would fall apart. But isn’t that the direction we’re headed, anyway?

😉

PS Please don’t treat this post too seriously. I know I’m not equipped to give this topic the justice it deserves, and I haven’t really said anything new… I just wanted to share my thoughts on something other that my emotions, while — inevitably — connecting it to those emotions. I’m interested to know your thoughts on this subject. What do you think of the headline? Do you think reaching a compromise is possible, or is even a legitimate goal to strive towards? Please let me know.

Note to self: objective ≠ neutral.

wait… so most people don't feel this much? or, emotions i didn't know i had

i’d like to explore the idea i brought up in my previous posts of being annoyed, offended, or otherwise hurt by the smallest things people do… also known as being “oversensitive”. and i’d like to connect that to underdeveloped emotional intelligence, lack of self-awareness, and being too reticent for your own good.

One time in psych class, I had to make a presentation in front of the entire auditorium. it freaked me out so bad, i went past nervousness all the way to zoning out. i’m told it went well, but i have no way of knowing because i don’t remember any of it. at the time i thought i had pulled myself together; in fact i completely fell apart, just… differently.

I fall apart a lot; usually in very unremarkable ways. I don’t even suffer from panic attacks or anything like that. Most of the time, my reactions to stress are more… spread out over a period of time. More inconspicuous, more… sneaky.

They have masqueraded as my personality for so long, they’ve been integrated into it. I didn’t do my growing up when i still had the time, so now i’m cranky and bitter at 24.

I admire people who are always kind and generous, regardless of how they’re feeling or even whether they like you. i hate it about myself that i’m only nice when it suits me. when i’m in a good mood, when it’s easy. it tells me that i’m fake and superficial. it means that what ultimately drives my behavior isn’t kindness at all, but a sort of short-sighted self-interest.

if i feel at all threatened, i’ll snap at you. if you say the wrong thing, i’ll become passive-aggressive. It doesn’t even happen on any conscious level, it’s just my natural response, which somehow only makes it worse.

it’s not like i’m rude to you on purpose. but when i’m feeling particularly insecure — exactly when i would logically need people most — something takes over me and makes me push them away.

i constantly switch between feeling for people — an intense, visceral kind of affective empathy — and objectifying them — where cognitively i can comprehend their mental states, i just don’t seem to care; or rather, i seem to derive some sadistic pleasure from causing them psychological suffering. i have to admit, it can be satisfying.

but these are usually people i’m uncharacteristically close to in the first place. like i need to test the limits of their love.

The thing that would have helped me at my worst? Somebody calling me out on my bullshit. Somebody who was close enough, who cared enough, to do what was painful but what was right. But I had no such friend. And I don’t know that it would have solved all my problems or anything. But it would have made a difference.

My motivations are still a mystery to me. I can know I’m being self-destructive, or hostile, but as long as I don’t know why, I can’t do anything about it. and I can’t know why if im so immature and i refuse to talk about my feelings or so much as think about them. i can’t act rationally unless i can understand and accept that my instincts are sometimes wrong.

Back when Mom and I fought about everything, as soon as she started yelling I would withdraw to my room and pout. I would give her the silent treatment… and then, after a while, she would usually apologize for acting out.

That’s the level on which I operate, emotionally: I don’t process what happens or my role in it, I just passively wait it out or find quick fixes that, when applied over the long term, come back to bite me in the ass.

But I didn’t realize all this. I didn’t know that not only do I need better coping skills, but I also need to know what I’m coping with, in the first place. I thought my reactions were normal, and I never gave them much thought.

Only recently did it start to dawn on me that not everyone is so sensitive to external stimuli. That not everyone’s nervous system is so responsive to criticism, rejection, shame. Or if it is, at least they know it and can take steps to counteract it.

My behavior right now might very well be caused by something that happened a week ago.

On a more positive note, the medication has been indescribably helpful in realizing this, and identifying at least some of the feelings and emotions behind my behaviors. dissociation isn’t a positive feeling overall, but some aspects of it can be very… illuminating.

I’ve only accepted that my unhealthy habits are actually maladaptive coping skills because I tend to do them less the less stress I experience in my daily life. But I still can’t seem to make the connection between unproductive / harmful actions I take and the events that precipitate them; I just don’t understand the causal relationship between trigger and behavior.

I hope i can learn to identify more of my emotions and not let them get the best of me all the time. But i doubt it’s something i can do on my own, if it’s at all possible.

it wouldn’t be so bad if i could limit my acting out to, well, acting in. but no, i have to get everyone else involved in my shitty mood even though they’ve done nothing wrong. damn, it sounds like i’m making excuses for treating people like shit. i believe there is no excuse for that kind of behavior, which is exactly why i feel shit about it.

how i wish i could be gentle and kind. actually im neurotic and irritable.

yay neurodiversity.

clingy

Numbed out by the meds though I am, there’s one fear that I still can’t let go of. It’s that my entire life has been a hoax, each friendship a deception, everyone going along with my exaggerated ideas of intimacy where there was none.

My closest friendship turned out to be like that, and since then I have met so many people who are so good at pretending to enjoy your company, I feel like I can trust no-one. I don’t know if they’re just being nice, or they specifically want you to think they like you… or if it’s just easier.

I fear that people can put up a facade but maintain emotional distance. Endure your verbal diarrhea, smile and nod politely, while screaming internally. Or worse, act like they’re bonding with you, but they’re not actually being vulnerable at all and you’re the only one exposing yourself. I fear I lack the capacity to understand people enough for them to want to confide in me or share anything real.

Either that, or they’re like that with everyone, and it’s the “norm”, and I’m the one who expects or needs too much. Too much closeness, too much exclusivity, too much intensity.

I know I don’t seem intense. Disengaged, more like. But once I open up to someone, I latch onto that friendship with all I’ve got. And maybe it comes off as needy, and it’s more than most people can handle.

I wish people would just be honest. If they find me shallow and unlikeable, I’d rather know where I stand than keep living a lie and be disappointed.

The other option is for me to become even more emotionally detached. I don’t care about getting hurt; what I want to avoid is being the butt of the gigantic practical joke that is my life. Would be embarrassing to find out you were fooled into believing someone actually liked you.

Ah I hate this! Why must I think like a 12 yr old???

how do i feel back

Do you find that regardless of how you feel at any given moment, in that moment it’s hard to remember or imagine what it might be like to feel any other way?

Or if you try to think back to a time when you did feel differently, you end up projecting your current mental state onto those memories, coloring nostalgia with regretfulness or grief with gratitude.

This makes relating to your own past experiences much harder, and pulling yourself out of a dark place — next to impossible.

Whereas the former makes your memories seem abstract, foreign, somehow scattered, or even “fake”, the latter suffocates you with a sense of utter hopelessness. Losing positive associations is bad enough, but it’s the incredulity about any chance of future happiness that slowly but surely chips away at your will to live. Not because living hurts — that in and of itself might be manageable — but because being numb isn’t much better.

That’s what happened to me: I was tired of the extremes, the neverending cycle of hopefulness and motivation inevitably followed by anxiety and inertia. The shame that comes from disappointing yourself once again is draining. The frustration and worthlessness are debilitating. So… I eventually settled for feeling nothing. Hoping for nothing, striving for nothing… doing nothing.

And I have felt nothing for so long, I can’t imagine ever feeling anything different.

Maybe my life only ever had any semblance of cohesion back when I had no self-awareness to speak of, and others were doing all my dirty work for me. My parents, expecting me to do well in school. My best friend, getting me to try new things. Religion, telling me the difference between good and evil.

The moment I start trying to think for myself, I get lost and indecisive. I’m overwhelmed by the mutitude of options, and by how much whatever decision I end up making is going to affect my life. I’m not sure if I’m afraid of change; I’d like to change, if only i could know the outcome of my efforts beforehand. What I cannot handle is uncertainty. Knowing that I might choose wrong.

All my attempts at happiness so far have backfired. Admittedly they were few and far between, but the result was always poor at best. Even things that on the face of it make me “happy”, I have a complicated relationship with. It’s as if I don’t think I deserve to do things I enjoy, so I come up with ways to make them less fun. Or prevent myself from reaping the benefits of the things that I do.

I gave up on running when I was in the best shape of my life. After three years at uni, I didn’t get a degree simply because I failed to write my goddamned thesis, even though I helped some of my friends write theirs (and loved it). No matter what I do, it feels like I’m playing pretend. Like I’m faking a life.

Eventually I got tired of faking.

But if I truly want things to change, it’s up to me to start making decisions for myself. Where do I begin, when it’s something I’ve never done before? And being as detached from my emotions as I am — past, future and present — how do I know how high I should be aiming and how much I can manage?

I’m gonna need to start small.

mask falls off?

I’d like to make something extra clear. I have explained this before, but I want it to really sink in. It’s this: the last thing I want is for this blog to turn into a smear campaign against everyone who has ever slighted me in the most insignificant way.

I would also like to take back what i said before about having to forgive people who inadvertently hurt me. i’ve thought about it, and i don’t think it’s a healthy way to live.

one prominent feature of narcissism is a lack of insight. i thought that part didn’t apply to me: i’m well aware that i’m self-absorbed. i also didn’t think i had the inflated ego that i always associated with that trait; on the contrary, my self-esteem is practically non-existent. (i’m self-righteous, but that’s different; im compensating.)

but i was missing the point.

perhaps on the most basic level i mightve had an inkling that its not normal to be this self-referential. but i had not the faintest idea how deep it went.

i attribute bad intentions where there are none.

i take everything personally.

and ive come to realize that “a grandiose sense of self-importance” doesn’t necessarily have to be positive. i don’t mean for others, it obviously isn’t that. but you can be very open about hating yourself and still be narcissistic.

because hating yourself kind of implies that you think you deserve to be something more than what you are. smarter, prettier, more likeable. something that would make you stand out.

and perhaps i wouldn’t be so petty and thin-skinned if i didn’t think i or my shortcomings mattered that much to other people.

i’ve lived in fear of being discovered as the awful human being that i actually am. but that’s because i couldnt accept my own flaws. i thought having bad thoughts or behavior patterns made me a terrible person. but there’s a certain way in which it can help me grow:

if i can recognize and truly own the parts of myself that i don’t like, i can start working on changing them. instead of shifting the blame for being the way that i am onto my genes, or my mom, or being hit in the head in gym class one too many times, i can change my behavior to whatever extent possible. my thoughts and assumptions may remain the same, but i can acknowledge that theyre not all correct. and i can remind myself that not everything people do is always about me.

as for being easily offended: it’s not an adaptive trait. but the upside is that it doesn’t exclusively apply to criticism; i just have a low threshold for being affected by any kind of feedback, or anything you say or do, really. all compliments, all favors, are a treat.

it bothers me when people make sweeping statements about personality disorders not being curable. i’m not saying they are; but i desperately want them to be. because i truly feel awful about my sense of entitlement. my lack of empathy. my arrogance, callousness, materialism. and here you’re telling me that i can never truly love another person?

is it really so black and white?

there are times when my concern for others feels genuine (to me). if i can turn it off and on at will, does that mean it isn’t real?

i hate the thought of finding out that… the only reason i want to change is because the way i am rn negatively affects my quality of life, so i want to fake my way to a more fulfilling one. i hate to think that i could get into a friendship for my own gratification, but lack the emotional depth to sustain it. that i could abuse the other person without being able to give anything in return.

and i hate myself for certain things ive done. things ive said to people because i wanted to see them suffer. does it bring me pleasure? i’m not sure… maybe what it gives me is a sense of power. safety. superiority in knowing how to push their buttons, and in that moment being immune to anything they can do to me. … Is that the same as being malicious?

People have been so kind to me. Patient, generous. And me? I wouldn’t want a friend like me. And yet … I have to live with me.

nature or nurture?

cw: alcohol dependence syndrome

i have this family member… he’s around 60, a bachelor… and an alcoholic. it’s kind of off and on with him, sometimes he can go months without drinking, but lately it’s been getting worse. alcoholism runs in my family; both sides.

he’s smart enough, kind, can be funny.

but i’ve only come to appreciate these qualities about him a while ago. before, i overwhelmingly had negative associations with him: him harassing my mom, extorting money, things like that.

but when i forced myself to look at him from a different perspective, i started feeling sorry for him. i can’t read his mind; maybe he’s perfectly content with things just as they are. but if i had to guess, im pretty sure hes pretty damn miserable. no career, hardly any personal life; the three of us are pretty much the only family he’s got. (again, i’m not saying you need other people to be happy; but it seems to me his only “friends” are his drinking friends.)

i know better than to judge or patronize him; that’s the worst part: i see a lot of myself in him (him in myself?), and i know i can’t really blame him for being prone to addiction any more than i can blame myself for my negative attitude.

and i’ve been thinking… can you really prevent addiction?

even if the external environment takes measures against individuals developing alcoholism in the first place, there will still be people who simply can’t do anything in moderation. i know because i’m one of them. you can spread information about drugs and alcohol all you want, and educate people about the dangers of addiction, but there will still be food. online shopping. exercise. sex. STUFF.

going overboard is bad for you, and you know it on some level, but to what extent can you control the signals that your brain is sending you? maybe if you can control them, you don’t have it as bad as some people.

overall, i like him, that family member.

and i wonder — was there something that triggered his problem, or was it more gradual? were any external factors involved, or was it all his poor impulse control / other characteristics & traits you can’t do much about?

and also — i don’t have to hate him, blame him, pity him. but i’d like to help him. …but can i? can anybody?

what if us impulsive people really are responsible for our own suffering? maybe we are just inherently toxic and narcissistic, immature, parasitic, lazy, sefish.

but surely that can’t be the whole story. i know because when his alcoholism is in remission, he can be… fine. considerate, empathetic.

maybe for all my negativity, i’m an incurable optimist about this one thing at least: that most of the time, most people mean well. or maybe that’s what i need to believe in order not to lose all hope myself…

what do you think?

first do no harm

cw: blood; self-harm

i wanna talk to you about self-care. no, not the insta-worthy kind. (i did say, not all my posts are going to be serious.)

i’m not talking about hot baths and candles and wine, or about meditation.

i mean more like, brushing your teeth in the evening, not just when youre going outside.

i mean like, sleeping in your bed instead of on the spongy mattress on the floor.

i mean not drawing the blinds at 4 pm.

im writing this post with two pairs of gloves on, as im trying to do something about this:

this is my hand today.

now, you may wonder, why is she posting a photo of her awful-looking hand for everyone to see? that’s not attractive content. well, no it is not. but this is my blog, and that over there is my hand, unnecessary as it may seem.

(and yes, ive decided to cover everything on this blog, and be as open as possible. because why the fuck not. i hope you don’t think im trying to be edgy or anything… though if you do i don’t really care either way. i used to worry about being perceived as doing things “for attention” or whatever. idk, maybe i am. but you know what? that’s a valid reason. people need attention. and maybe i can normalize something somebody feels uncomfortable about in the process?)

so anyway. ive been on a different ssri for a couple of weeks, and it’s been great.

except… ive been getting these strange side effects. i now have the memory of a goldfish, but i think i could adjust, if that were it.

now… i never used to hurt myself, even if i “wanted to”, if you know what i mean. but a week ago i messed up at work pretty badly. and afterwards, i was closing the cash register drawer, and i kind of slammed it with the back of my hand, and it didnt close properly, so i hit it again and it did close, but then i… continued hitting it?? and then i punched a hole in the wall with my elbow because i thought it was brick but it was actually plasterboard! :/

and then i forgot all about it and it hasn’t happened since, so i thought it was fine.

but my hands have been getting drier and drier, and i was like, pssshhh it’s nothing, i can handle it if it means feeling this good. and i kind of didn’t really think about it. people would point it out to me, oops your hand is bleeding and i would go haha yeah it does that 🙂

but then today, two different customers recommended good dermatologists without me bringing it up. and a security guard at this beauty supply store i go to stared at me as if i were a leper. and that… made me think.

what it made me think about was how these are all just extreme cases of something i do pretty regularly: ignoring my own discomfort, or even making myself suffer, for no discernible reason.

the things i brought up at the beginning of this post — not brushing my teeth sometimes (disgusting i know), sleeping on the floor, depriving myself of sunlight — i dismissed as bad habits stemming from my laziness. same reason i don’t moisturize, same reason i overeat. MY. FAULT. nobody else’s problem.

but this… this was different. mutilating your own hand, or refusing to see a doctor when your hands look like mine do rn, is not laziness.

it’s self-neglect at best.

i have several hypotheses as to why i behave in this way. i had no good role model for taking care of myself. i expect somebody else to take care of me. i don’t think i deserve to feel good. or i do believe that i deserve to suffer. who the fuck knows. not important (right now).

what’s important is how … normal … it starts to feel after a while. which makes me think of what i said in the previous post about adjusting to the negatives. it was like that for me with taking care of myself: i did very little to begin with, but then over time my expectations of myself in that regard grew less and less.

i’m not counting on anyone to come and rescue me. but i am gonna need to find a way to save me from myself (at the risk of sounding angsty). and i am gonna have to figure out what those reasons are for me.

friends have asked me, begged me almost, to go see a doctor about those hands of mine… i think i might listen.

but for now — do you struggle with something similar in some respect? have you found a way to deal with it?

and this — also directed at myself — please take care of yourselves. even if it means just doing no harm. that’s a start. even if it’s just wearing gloves when it’s cold.

we all deserve it.