Twitter addendum

I neglected to mention. My twitter username is darkentries, strangely enough. Please do follow me. I never tire of peoples inane chirpings whilst bored at work. 

Stephen Fry is following me. I would feel honoured, only he is following 20,000 other people too.

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End times

I. Wherein I ponder the fact that the world has gone ‘effin crazy

Possibly it’s just me (not for the first time) but there’s a whole bunch of stuff happening recently that to my, albeit neurotic mind, could maybe herald the apocalypse. We’ve all become so media-saturated with our 24 hour news blogging, twittering commentary live from some bloke on a mobile at the scene, that perhaps we are inured to the crazy shit that goes on, and have missed the salient details like, the end of the world is nigh.

 (yes that sentence could have done with some more punctuation, or rather other punctuation besides the blessed comma, but I don’t care.)

 

Not grasping the concept of camouflage

Possibly the gray camouflage would have been better

 

Ok, so maybe not armageddon, but really… a militia squad armed to the teeth wanders through Mumbai, spraying chaos wildly and taking over a couple of hotels. It’s not something you expect to happen outside of a William Gibson novel, at least, not until recently. 

Add to that the fact that you can’t turn round without some natural disaster blowing up in your face, wars going on in every little corner of the globe and invading other countries becoming de rigour rather than generally frowned upon. It used to be that when you invaded another country it triggered a world war. Now we barely bat an eyelid. 

Although impressed by Obama’s oratory style (and what fan of the West Wing hasn’t been waiting for the day when a President could actually deliver a speech that both made sense and made people excited?) I can’t help but harbour some vague doubts that he could very well turn out to be the antichrist. I mean, come on. Nobody is that smooth. He just popped up out of nowhere, and was miraculously nominated as the Democratic candidate over The Clinton? Then as fortune would have it, the Republicans decided to pick a walrus shooting, retard as their best choice for vice-president, backing up someone who in all probability would be unlikely to make it through the excitment of inauguration day. No. Sorry. It smacks of mind control to me.

Or collusion.

Or something.

Antichrist. 

Anyhoo. Just warning you. Best stock up on bottled water and peanut butter cups…

 

II. Wherein I twitter and speak of pipes

Speaking of twitter, which I was earlier, go and check if you don’t believe me, I have joined the ranks of twitterers. I had an account I used for work, but have set up a personal account so I can update the world of my mindtootlings even when I can’t be arsed to open up wordpress and write something sensible. Which is most of the time. 

I used twitterfeed (dot com) to feed my blog updates to twitter, then got the twitter rss feed  so I could plonk an rss widget in my sidebar. WordPress (dot com) arse-achingly failing to have produced a twitter widget despite there being one squillion users now. However I was unhappy with the rss feed displaying only the date and no time, and also rather redundantly displaying my blog updates to the twitter updates on my erm, blog. 

Not to be defeated, I played around with Yahoo Pipes for the first time, which are one of those scary things that I avoid because they involve complex programming jiggery pokery, whereas I am happy only doing pleasant things with html and css and images. Anyway, as is customary I found someone elses work to steal, and then proceeded to adapt it to my uses, i.e. removing the blog updates and hiding any @replies, and keeping the time in there. 

If anyone wants to use the marvellous darkentries twitter pipe you can find it here: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=a91386bd4a85cc29d0a484359d19f185

My twitterfeed prefix is blog update, so you’ll need to change that in the pipe to whatever you use as a prefix for your twitterfeed blog updates. Other than that, you just enter your twitter username, run the pipe, and get the resulting rss url. Slap that into an rss widget and the jobs a good’un. 

None of that made any sense to most of you did it? Never mind, I am sure many confused wanderers will happen by searching for ‘twitter yahoo pipe for wordpress’ and then leave all happy and with a shiny new widget. How benevolent I am. 

Anyway, soldiering on, for those of you who fiddle with such things, understand what a mashup is, and have basically not wandered off to read something else yet, Yahoo Pipes is really really cool. Which is a shame because they’ll be bankrupt within a year or so I’m sure. 

Twitter Updates will live in the top right, unless I figure out a way to get them to post themselves as real posts.

cake or death reprise – Cake, then death please.

I forgot the point of the previous post in my tangential ramblings. (tangential – word or not?) 

I was talking about not going on about the inner whinings I have endured regarding the existence of my blog. I guess I succeeded by then forgetting what I was not going to talk about. But, to summarise. As with any recovery blogger, I feel a certain pressure to keep talking about the stuff that my readers originally came here for, i.e the depressing stuff. 

Alas, most of the time, these days I am just not very depressed. Whilst depression might suck, it does tend to give one a certain fire in the belly to whine about how crap life is. Thats good, it gets it out into the open, where it can’t fester inside like a tumour of misery. 

however, without that fire I find it kind of difficult to motivate myself to write in this blog, because, as I mentioned,  I feel a certain obligation to write only from the pen of doom, and not the quill of contentment. 

I don’t know why. Hardly anyone reads this thing, so it’s main object is just to be a place to let me write stuff. But there’s always a part of me that fears boring the crap out of people. I think it’s that way for many bloggers. We want to write interesting stuff. Dramatic stuff. Well-researched stuff. We don’t want to write myspace-like drivel about what we did at the weekend. Which is weird considering most depresso-bloggers ™ want nothing more than a nice quiet boring non-depressive life. 

So, those are the things I have being considering. On the one hand, I feel this blog would be difficult to turn into a normal blog about whatever the hell comes into my mind. On the other hand, I don’t particularly want to start a whole new blog. This is me. The bad and the good. I don’t want to keep two blogs. That would just be doubly stressful and leave me with two things to worry that I’m neglecting.

In other news, this month has been a bit of an action-packed whirlwind, so much so that I haven’t really had a chance to take stock yet. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Made friends with my stepmother who I haven’t spoken to for about three years due to a massive argument we had. 
  • Hugged my father for the first time ever, well, since I was too young to remember anyway. This is a big one. My father is emotionally distant. I am therefore emotionally distant with my family. I bit the bullet and did it anyway, as it became clear that expecting him to do it first was just childish. Yes, I am the child, but I am not a child. 
  • Hugged my father a couple more times. Seemed churlish to stop after one. 
  • Got a job. After a couple of months of interviews, fear and loathing. Rejection. More interviews. Fear. Loathing. 
  • Getting aforementioned job means I can now make the move to a new and more interesting city (well, to a city) that I have been wanting to do for some time. Scary. Exciting. 
  • Put on some weight and exercised a bunch. I should post a bit more about this, but long story short, eating well and exercise helps mood disorders. Who knew! 
  • Some other stuff that made me happy and was exciting and life-changing that I am not going into in this blog.

 

So basically, before my psych has even completed his interminable assessment of my maladaptive schema I am solving most of my long-standing issues. What the hell am I paying him for? 

I’m moving anyway, so I am going to be seeing a new psych in the new city. hopefully this one will move a little faster. I may as well just charge myself £75 an hour.

cake or death

Another nearly two months slides by, like a slightly greased piglet sneaking through the undergrowth. 

This isn’t much of a recovery blog is it? Haha, I am feeling much better, and I will take my secrets to my grave with me. See you in hell suckers! 

To be honest, I don’t see much benefit in sharing the secrets of my success with those who come after. I am me, and you – I fear – are you. What is good for the goose… and such. 

I won’t recapitulate the ‘shall I shan’t I?’ conversations that have gone in my head (sorry, but having one of those things where a word looks all weird and I can’t figure out if it is actually a real word or just something my mind made up on the spur. Shan’t. Can’t be real can it? What is it contracted from? Oh, I just gave in and looked it up. It is real, and is contracted from Shall not. So thats alright then. got to kill these parentheses….’Shut it down!’ – Dark City, 1998) about stopping blogging althogether, or starting a new blog in which I no longer feel the pressure to blog about the inner workings of my mind for fear everyone (i.e the two people who probably still have me in their feedoramas) gets bored and wanders off. If nobody reads your blog do you cease to exist? Like Gods? On a tangent, wouldn’t it be great if God/Goddess/Gods/Whoever had a blog. ParticuIarly God. Gods and Goddesses have it alright. They’re pretty hip right now. I think it would endear such an outdated figure like God to a whole new audience if God himself gave regular updates on his thoughts about his creation. Perhaps weighed in on the big political debates of the day. Maybe I should suggest it to the pope?
Does the pope have a blog? I must investigate.  

roflbot-iahmApparently not. But he should have. My point exactly. They’re not even trying to engage with the youth of today are they? Is it any surprise that teenagers are all flopping around with funny coloured hair being all angst filled.

I ran out of steam on this blog post. I just had a two day break, which mostly consisted of me having a migraine. Had to spend the day in bed yesterday. Still had a headache when I woke up this morning, but dragged myself into work anyway. I necked a handful of paracetemol driving into work, trying to enjoy the new chumbawumba album that my dad sent me (but failing because it’s folky…folky!) washed down with freshly ground coffee (because thats how you fix migraines goddamit!) 
I envy the people who arise early in the morning, wash, shave, perform the daily ablutions, sit down to a civilised breakfast, drink coffee whilst watching a little CNN or some such. They drive into work humming a little song or something pondering their days tasks. 

My mornings consists of re-setting the alarm 15 minutes further on, sleeping some more, re-setting the alarm again. Once I’m good and late, I fall out of bed, stumble around the house pretending I don’t’ really need to shave, pour hot water into a cafetiere which I haul out to the car with me and pour into my thermos cup which has the rancid remains of several days of old coffee in it. I drive to work, trying to clear dreams from my mind, and confusing reality with my demented hallucinations. 

Every day I swear I will get up earlier, have a sensible morning and be on time and prepared. Every morning I fail. 

Still, at least I have a job and make it to work. Thats a fairly major feat I think. 

 

I would write more, but I fear I will wander off for another two days. I’ll just start another post.

even thinking of a blog title seems too much effort

It appears to have been nearly two months since I last posted. Time flies doesn’t it? 

I have been:

  • Looking for a job as my current job expires at the end of December
  • Having therapy for the first time in my life, which so far has been less than impressive
  • Spending time with my soon to be sister-in-law
  • Dealing with the repurcussions of looking for a job – i.e insecurities, self-confidence or lack thereof, panic, fear, denial, fear of change, etc, rinse repeat
  • Waiting for summer to happen, getting upset when it doesn’t, getting down, beating myself up about it, calming down again
  • Coming off prozac, thinking I was going to be drug free and wonderful for two days, and then losing it completely, and going back on prozac very quickly. 
  • Prancing around various gay bars in Soho and being very disappointed with the action, although the Cobb Salad at Balans was great, and there was a girl with a belt-like skirt at BKB that my sister in law was quite taken with. The G.A.Y bar was a dive, and in need of more comfy chairs, but the O Bar had nice wine. 
  • Failing to get a job I wanted, but managing to prepare for, make it to, and not freak out in and run out of the interview shrieking was a victory. 
  • Dealing with old family feuds, fears and bitterness. 

All in all. An eventful two months. I feel pretty good, I have hope for the future, and if patterns are anything to go by, not blogging would seem to coincide with my happier times. I’ve always been a miserable writer. Anguish fuels my creativity. 

Anguish sucks. I long to be bored and fat.

The root of all evil

No, i haven’t gone all religious. Though that would be amusing.

Since my initial psych meeting nearly three weeks ago I’ve been musing upon the changing nature of my mental issues, and trying to remember where their sources lie, when they started, if they’ve changed and why.

I haven’t got far, mainly because I haven’t been motivated enough to sit down and record things, so as soon as I think of something I forget that I thought it. Pretty stupid considering I have a blog, and am paying scary amounts of money for a nice man to fix my head and he would no doubt be helped a great deal if I could actually remember anything that ever happened.

But, it’s part of my problem – I can think all manner of clever and positive things, but getting round to doing anything about them – could take years. Decades. No matter. One does what one can…

Amongst other things, that have now vanished from my mind, but may return at a later date, I forgot that I have Trichotillomania. I have a very mild form, but I have a very mild form of all sorts of weird shit. I am like a mixed bag of mild crazy.

Anyway, for those of you who are far too busy too scurry away to wikipedia, Trichotillomania is an OCD-like activity which involves pulling out hair. Usually individual hairs. On the head, the eyebrows, the eyelashes.In more severe cases you can end up with bald patches, or completely bald. It’s quite common, but very few people report it, so it’s not a well known malady.

Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior. This means that people with the condition feel an overwhelming urge to pull their hair. People with trichotillomania also may have other compulsive habits, such as nail biting or skin picking. Some people with trichotillomania also have problems like depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsive behaviors like trichotillomania can sometimes run in families.

I started yanking out hairs in my teens, around puberty I’d guess, and as it is a condition that is often associated with anxiety, body image etc. I fit in to that category pretty well, and when I started I was at a fairly stressed age. I was socially anxious, didn’t fit in well, totally lacking in confidence. Not something that has changed a great deal over the years, I’ve just grown to care a little less.I was having all kinds of issues with school friends at the time, and spent much of the time between 9 and 16 in a state of total anxiety, stress or downright depression. It started with eyebrow pulling. Scratch that, I guess you could say it started with biting my nails when I was about 8. Yanking out eyebrows was just ramping up the anxiety and OCD a notch. It reached a point where my eyebrows were pretty sparse, and people started to notice. ‘Friends’ would make fun of me, so I pretended I had some kind of condition, which was true I guess… Once I realised it had got bad, I started trying to cover it up, even reaching the weird heights of darkening the plucked at areas with mascara or eyeliner. At the worst stage, I was plucking eyebrows out with tweezers deliberately, as opposed to the absent minded pulling with fingers which I still do nowadays (along with biting my nails). I also graduated to pulling strands of hair out from my head by the root.

I got a kind of obsession with hair roots. eyebrows that came out with a black root I decided were bad, and it was good to pull them out. (Apparently black roots are more likely to indicate a hair in a growth phase. but we didn’t have google back then!) This isn’t uncommon it seems. I can’t remember how long this phase lasted, but it was months at least. I still pull at my eyebrows now, but pull them out less. My eyebrows look more or less normal.

It’s odd, that I have accepted this behaviour as normal for such a long time, and haven’t connected it in anyway to my general mental health issues.

I will make an effort to list all my weird habits and craziness, in the hope it will help me connect things together, or at least help my psych tell me what kind of crazy I am, other than a bit of everything.

Long and shitty road

Recovery.

It sucks like nothing else ever sucked.

True, recovery is what I was aiming for all those years when I was just freewheeling down depression/disorder hill, but like children, you’re never quite prepared for the reality.

I found depression comfortable in many ways, albeit horrible. I never expected too much from myself, and that in itself lends life a certain comfort level. Obviously I exaggerate for poetic license, but anyone who is in recovery probably understands. Recovery is tiring. You start to expect things, to be upset when your moods crash and burn, if things go downhill. I’d pretty much grown to accept that I was a bit fucked up, and it never really bothered me when I veered into a banking of depression, or tripped over an anxiety molehill and transformed it into a mountain. Yes, these things were horrible, but I was used to it, it was my life. I didn’t expect anything more, so I was never really disappointed. Miserable but not disappointed.

I have longer stable periods now. I can cope with more things. Its difficult, but I can at least tolerate certain things that would not have been possible two years ago. I have begun to expect a certain level of stability from myself, and when it all goes to shit, it really really messes me up, because it’s like a right hook from nowhere. I’m not expecting it. Sucker punched by my own mood disorders. Bastard.

I’ve pushed myself a lot in the last year, to keep a full time job, to keep a relationship, to maintain stability. I want to make the effort, to try and recover. It isn’t just about meds. Its a lot of hard work, determination and many days, just plain old stubborness. It makes quitting smoking look like a sunny day in the park. Trust me, I know.

Some days, my alarm goes off at some ungodly hour of the morning (I spent the previous 6 years getting up whenever I could muster the energy, or not as the case may be) and I just want to cry. I want to know when life will stop being so hard. I want to bounce out of bed with vigour and enthusiasm. Or at the very least, not feel like everything is a huge waste of time, because it’s going to get me in the end. Its the mindweasels talking, yes, but when you’re in their grip, it doesn’t matter. Much of the time I feel like I’m going through the motions of recovery, but I want to believe that thats what I have to do. I have to reprogram my mind, to accept routine, to accept different patterns, to understand that I can do it and that it’s not too hard.

Most of the time I can do that, but come the end of the week, after dragging my mind through 5 days of doing things I don’t have the inclination or energy to do most of the time, I am literally exhausted, and ready to drop. I don’t know where it’s leading to. Is recovery just going to be one long slog until I drop dead? Doesn’t sound a lot like recovery, it sounds like hell.

The other problem with recovery is that now I have expectations, now I can function like a human being, or at least perform a vague simulacrum of such, people close to me get upset when I fail. When I revert to what I see as my normal patterns. Overly emotional, stressed, anxious, depressed, irrational.

Now I am aware of what I’m capable of I’ve introduced a new concept into my life – failure. I have a position to fall from now. I didn’t have anything to feel guilty about before, because I had one mode, awful. Now I have coping, and awful, and not coping and upsetting those close to me introduces, yes, worse than awful.

So along with the general tiredness merely trying to exist in the world causes, I have the constant miserable reminders that I am going to fuck up, and fuck up, until everyone around me tires of me fucking up, and walks away. I wouldn’t blame them. It’s just tiring, the cycle. I feel ok, I feel like I’m making progress, I might even feel a little optimistic. Bam. Oh I fucked up. Shit, well, maybe I thought too soon. Maybe I won’t ever reach a point where I’m not constantly disappointing everyone. Maybe I should just give in and accept that I am going to keep fucking up, because I have these mood problems, and whatever else the hell is wrong with me. Trying to not be a mess is more tiring than being a mess. I hate disappointing people. I can’t even toleratre myself most of the time. Upsetting someone else because I don’t know how to behave appropriately just drives me over the edge into self-hatred. I managed to avoid that previously, because I just didn’t care enough. If I didn’t care about me, I couldn’t care about anyone else. It avoided a lot of trauma.

Now I care.

I am tired of caring.

Apologies for the diatribe. Very dramatic I’m sure. It’s not a new feeling though. I just haven’t been able to express it previously. Suprise.

Diagnosis Murder

I received a wad of stuff from Dr T (psych… no not “Psych!”, I mean, Dr T is my psych, oh for gods sake…) in the mail today. A bill, firstly, which was preposterously large, and no doubt worth every penny. At some point that will be paid I’m sure, hopefully before the next bill arrives in a months time.

The rest of the bundle was the array of psych tests and ‘Am I Mad or Not’ paraphernalia. I think I did one of these things before, but I was erm, mental at the time, so can’t remember what it was for, or which test it was. I also can’t remember if anyone ever read it. Wait! No, I do remember. It was when I was referred to the local mental team, the CPN squad. I had one appointment with a CPN, about a year after I first was referred. For some reason it was the only appointment I ever had. I think they decided I wasn’t about to top myself and fuck up their stats for the year, and let me loose to fend for myself. No great loss I think, they didn’t seem too bright to be honest.

Anyway…

What the hell was I talking about?

Tests! Yes. I am a little hazy this evening. Rough day. Mood low. Fight the good fight and all that.

I have before me an SCL-90-R (Pearson Symptom Checklist, measure of psychological distress), what appears to be a BAI (Beck Anxiety Inventory), a BDI-II, which is The Beck Depression Inventory, an Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (could take a while…), a Social Activities and Distress Scale, and a Body Sensations Questionnaire.

This seems fairly comprehensive to me. I have thus far filled in the BAI and appear to have made a pretty zig zag pattern on the multiple choice boxes. I hope this doesn’t mean anything. It reminds me of the General Studies A Level I took, which I had failed to turn up to , erm, any of the seminars for, because it was a ludicrous and pointless A-Level that nobody cared about. It was multiple choice, A to D, and I did indeed make a zig zag patter, ticking box A, then box B, etc so on. I was done in 10 minutes and day-dreamed the rest of the seven gazillion hours that we were forced to sit in the room. I do believe I had taken some quantity of LSD the night before and hadn’t actually slept at all, and wait – it’s coming back, I think I was still tripping a little because it was a morning exam. So anyway,  I got a C, a free A level. Woot.

Why must cats always trample all over any paper that is put down anywhere? Why I ask you? Get the frick off my psych evaluations you crazy cat!

Ok. So I got bored after that. Or worried. Or nervous. I don’t know. I’m supposed to answer the questions according to how I’ve felt in the last week. How strict is that? I can’t remember exactly when I felt certain things. Am I supposed to be strict about that 7 days? Does it mess it up if I felt something 8 days ago that totally throws the curve out? Is it important? Is the fact that I’m worrying too much about the answers being accurate worth more than the test reults themselves? Arghhhhh. Why must they torture us crazy people so?

Really though. I sometimes go a couple of weeks without any severe anxiety issues, and then go all out and have a couple of freak outs in a week. It depends on whats happening in my life. How am I supposed to give an accurate measure of my levels of anxiety if they restrict me to this week? Should I just answer honestly, and hope therapy will gradually unravel my slow madness, or try to give an average level of craziness in my answers and hope it saves time, and gives Dr T a better handle on what goes on in my mind.

There needs to be a box at the bottom for a personal statement or something. Like you get on benefits forms…


Things that make me go crazy

I am formulating a list. Yes, a list. I gave in.

This is a catalogue of weak points. I thought it would be easy to list all my psych-triggers, mad-catapults and depression-springs, but maybe due to memory problems, mental blockages or other such mindweasels I am having a hard time. I’ll come back to it.

Stuff that more often that not leads to some manner of craziness.

  • My partner disagreeing with me (not always just sometimes. I would need a post to go into this properly)
  • Social Gatherings of more than, er, one person.
  • Being late (usually only for meetings with strangers or business related things, unless I have a friendly relationship with the business related thing people)
  • Being stuck behind slow moving traffic (unless I am feeling calm)
  • Not knowing where something is (not all the time)
  • Too much noise, noise being defined as sound that is both loud and not pleasant to me (most of my music is exempt from this obviously, but it is familiar and therefore safe)
  • Being too hot makes me irritable, which in me pretty much leads to anger problems.

Anyone wishing to share their own particular triggers is welcome. It might help me remember.