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.

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another year wiser…

Yes. So. I made it. Another year. Etc.

Maybe, for the first time ever, I can look back and think I actually made some progress this year. That my life is better than it was. That there is some hope. Which is nice.

I have learned a lot in the past year, mostly the hard way. Is that the only way we ever learn anything? I think so.
I’ve learned that recovery from depression is harder and longer than quitting smoking, which I did 3 years ago (I guess, because my memory is apalling). It is so much work. Eternal vigilance, slapping oneself around a lot to avoid slipping into lazy thoughtforms to which one has become accustomed but are no longer the only alternative.

I feel a lot like it is only until the last year, kickstarted by the stability brought on by dedicated prozac swallowing, that I have had the chance to start becoming the person I have always felt capable of being, that depression prevented me from being. Sounds nice, but there is something terrifying about no longer having an excuse for being useless. Well, I have an excuse for finding it difficult, but not for failing completely.
Everything I do is now a distinct choice. If I feel tense, angry, miserable, I know now that there is probably something I can do about it, however hard it may be, to shift my mood to somewhere else. Previously I didn’t have that option. Nothing I did could break through the depressive fog. Or I was too messed up to even want to try. Willpower is not something that is in plentiful supply amongst the depressed.

So recovery is a huge responsibility, especially as I have a relationship I actually care about, and therefore am required to make some effort. Every time I manage to switch mental gears and break out of a stupid moood something clicks inside though. The next time is a little bit easier. Of course there are still bad times, times when I have neither the ability or the will to break out, but I try to ride through those now, try not to take them as signs of the ineffeable pointlessness of all things, but merely what they are, a mood, that will pass.
I am helped in this by my partner. Who understands, but does not enable. Is there when I come out.

So this birthday is something of a new feeling. Not just a waypoint of hopelessness. Something to pin my misery on.
This year I can actually look back and smile (in my mind obviously; if I actually smiled my face might crack).
Things are getting better.

blogdeath – part one

and so that time rolls around again where I ponder killing the blog, for it’s inevitable decline is like a cocktail stick being repeatedly jabbed in my eye, very very slowly, i.e every few days when I remember that it exists and that I never post, and that I miss my blog friends, but really, truly no longer no how to communicate what is going on in my head these days.

Writing about everyday tedious crushing depression is easy. It goes like this ‘lalalala life sucks, I suck, there is no hope of life or me ever not sucking, what is the point of it all, oh the anguish, fuck it all I’m going to listen to some Sigur Ros and cry’…
Repeat.
A lot.

You’d think one would get bored of writing various versions of that essential nubbin, but really, not so much. I managed it for months, and never really seemed to tire of it. It was an outlet, I explained to the world at large my pains, there were some oohs and ahhhs, and I felt justified that my life was indeed a bit crap and there was no hope for anything other than a tortured disappointing half life.

Now, things are a little different – I feel I am actually on the path of ‘recovery'(as gabe terms it, but I prefer to think of it as learning how to manage the crap). I have a full time job, which I am actually managing to not only keep, but almost enjoy, and be involved with. Granted it is exhausting at times, but compared to how I was two years ago, it’s a minor miracle that I can keep going for 8 hours a day never mind doing it 5 days a week.
I have a partner, and am slowly learning how to not let my moods, anxieties, selfishnesses, and general craziness interfere TOOO much with the general enjoyment of the relationship, although I still manage to fuck things up royally from time to time, but you know, who doesn’t?

The problem is, I had built up a whole lexicon of suffering, a dictionary of despair – I knew how to eloquently express my vague sense of disatisfaction with the world, my angst, and my heartache. It rolled off me like so much miserable water.

I have no idea how to communicate what is going on in my life now, I don’t have the words, or the eloquence to effectively portray the more subtle rhythms of recovery. The small triumphs when I avoid anxiety ripping me down into depression, when I breathe deeply and tell myself I am being an idiot, and these thoughts are the result of insecurity and fear. It’s easy to describe the violence and power of a tornado, it’s more difficult to lay down a soliloquy of sanity.

Do I even want to, or need to keep a blog about how things are improving?
Should I start writing about my favourite recipes instead? Was I ever writing for anything other than to reach out to others? Or is it just for myself?

I don’t know. I am pondering it.

Imaginary computer people, you’ll never leave me will you?

(Where did you all go….)

I have abandoned the blogging for a while now…mostly too much time at work and then too much time with C when I’m not at work. It’s been mostly wonderful. I haven’t missed writing out my miseries in this sodding thing, although I have missed the comraderie of the melancholic brigade. We pour out our anxieties, our twisted silent screams, our failures to fit into this world that absolutely nobody fits into, even though most of the time it feels like everyone but us fits in. And there’s acceptance. Understanding.
Granted, mostly we accept and understand because we don’t have to spend any actual time in each others presence because then we’d no doubt just annoy the hell out of each other. Nonetheless, the acceptance and freedom to blurt out our pathetic fears without wreaking judgement and criticism is nice.

Tonight is not a good night. I am having a silent fight with C.

You know those?

I guess you either do or you don’t.

She was kind of manic when I got home – I was kind of tense after a day of reading intensely boring research and a way too stuffy office which made me feel like I was living in some kind of fever dream.
Seriously it was about 2 degrees C outside, I had the window wide open, and I was still slowly baking to death.
The radiators must be powered by some kind of top secret fusion reactor.

I digress. Probably because I don’t want to talk about this, but if I don’t get it out I will surely implode.

C gets kind of brusque and impatient when she is being a little manic. with me anyway. She generally manages to be very polite and charming with other people, but with me, its mostly the impatient, not a huge amount of consideration for our emotional ties, and my immense insecurities and emotional issues. My problem she would no doubt say. Maybe so.

Anyway. I was trying to explain to her what I had found out during my hours of tedious research, and she was being all terse and impatient, and I was getting all defensive, not in any way prepared for anything other than a warm and welcoming partner after a depressing day. I tried to say she was being all spiky, and she responded with saying it was all in my mind (which is pretty much guaranteed to annoy me, and by now she must know that), and that didnt go down well at all. I would be the first to admit that I am prone to emotional messiness, but when C gets manic, her mood changes, she gets slightly aggressive, curt, bullish and impatient. She tries to make out that I am the only person in the world who has ever witnessed this. That everyone else finds her charming and terribly efficient. She points this out in a way that is designed to make me feel confused about my own perceptions and that my opinions are ill informed and pretty worthless.

This of course is somewhat infuriating.

When C is manic, she doesnt seem to care much about the effect she has on me. Its just me and my inability to deal with the world and my insecurities. She is of course flawless.

I am too shaken by this to want to have a fight. I am already pretty depressed by a day of boredom. I spend the evening in agony at our seperateness, wondering why my feelings matter so little. She spends the evening chatting to a friend and playing a game online.
Obviously, I am the loser here. I end up more depressed and miserable. She is all dandy.

Often I find it impossible to talk to C about my depression, my anxieties and idiocies because she just pushes through such things, doesn’t ever have them in the first place or has techniques to deal with them. I don’t like listening to myself talking about stuff that she finds so easy to push aside, or feelings that are alien to her. Her way of dealing with my problems often leave me feeling worthless, more depressed, or worse, trigger deeper emotions that set off defensive anger, that she retaliates to with soul destroying effectiveness. I can’t fight with her, because I already feel worthless. I have lost before I begin.
If I can’t share my fears and insecurities with my lover without fearing it ending in feeling worse, or a fight, then what is going wrong there?

Sure you can look back, If it means moving on

Sure you can look back
If it means moving on
And you can take me back
But you must come home
We are both a in maddening cloud

[audio:miserybutterfly/008maddeningcloud.mp3]
(Blonde Redhead – Maddening Cloud)

Been a while huh?
Admit it, you missed me…

Really. Its been like 2 months or something. You must have noticed.

Whatever…

I apologise for my absence for those of you who have come to enjoy my stumbling efforts to make sense of my world. Or just steal my salsa recipes and claim the glory for yourselves (you know who you are).
As one or two of you already know, life happened, and I have been busy with living, rather than writing about living. I enjoy writing about living, but recently its been changing so much, and so many changes are going on in my mind that I have been at a loss as to how to describe how I feel, or what the changes actually are.
I say that as if I have somehow reached a point where I can describe it. Alas, you are to be disappointed.

I can’t recall what I have said or not said about recent events in my life, so a quick recap…started new full time job in June, wife left same week to move to different part of country. Spent couple of months learning to work full time again after 5 years self employment. All I pretty much did during this period was get my head together, work, and pay the rent and the large pile of debts I had accumulated. I drank some…I reconnected with friends. I breathed again, and thought a lot. I recognised how much happier I was out of the marriage. I moved on a whole lot.

Then I had a visit from a new friend. It was supposed to be a short visit, a few days…
She is still here.

That time has been spent in a crazy blur of discovering another person, discovering myself, discovering what love actually is, and what it is not. There is so much more I could write, need to write, but finding the time and the right words is so difficult. The process is ongoing, and wonderful, and stressful and new.

I just wanted to get this post out of the way because its been sitting in my drafts for weeks, in one form or another, and I need to break the logjam. I have stuff to say.

And you can touch me there
Just don’t leave me alone
And you can call me softly
When I dream and ask for more
You can slow and fold and mold my mind

And she said
I can’t feel my toes
And she must be alone
And far too cold

And he stares
Like he doesn’t see
He must be scared
And far too lost

Under and over
We must have glanced
Face to face
We’ve had to dance
We’re both in a maddening cloud

Sure you can step back
If it means moving on
And you take me back
But you must be alone
You can choke and smoke and rock my mind

Simulacra and Simulation

[audio:donotwanthis.mp3]

Sometimes, only sometimes, you realise that the map you use to find your way around your mind is of equal size and complexity, and possibly even containing more layers and levels than the plane you try to exist upon at any given time.

That one we call reality. You might have noticed it.

I am nihilistic and twisty.
Sometimes there is a core of anger in me that rises with no reason at all. Self-hatred, futility, weakeness. Bitter fucking hate.
I hide it well. I take it away from those I care about. Or try to. Which is ridiculous because the only thing that can stop it is to be held until the anger has no fuel.

Sadly when I am like this, I don’t let anyone near me.

So instead of bothering people, instead of asking for help, I will drink, and pretend I am fine, and it will be buried, and squashed down, into that layer of silt at the bottom of my mind. God help me if if gets disturbed by some giant footstep some day.

Tasty beer. You will never leave me…

The original is unfaithful to the translation.
(Jorge Luis Borges)

the divine mockery of words

Its quite a moon. I am a little lost in it. Not in a bad way, although the line between good and bad is a little blurry on nights like these… things just, are…

This is what I am drinking to keep the ghosts away:

Its the key ingredients of the Darkarita!

Viz:

The Darkarita

  • A jigger of Sauza Tequila Blanco
  • A small jigger (pony) of Cointreau
  • A splash of Blue Curacao (for the darkness you know, plus drinking blue stuff makes me smirk)
  • A healthy squoosh of fresh lime (about a third of a small lime but go with your tastebuds)
  • A smidgen of lemon juice (just a brief squeeze)
  • half teaspoon of palm sugar
  • Coarse ground salt

Chuck everything but the salt in a blender, with ice, blast the hell out of it.
Rub lime juice around the rim of the glass, grind the glass into a saucer of salt so the rim is coated. Pour tasty goodness into glass. Sit back and be endarkened.

So now you know the secrets of my success. Ignore. Avoid. Hide in the cellar until they go away. Scraping fingers at handle, whispers, curses.
Its a waiting game. Its only when you’re relatively sane that you know that they do go away, eventually, and you just have to let it play out. The ghost dance in your head. Some of you will understand what I’m talking about, some of you won’t. It doesn’t matter. The divine mockery of words…

No one leaves magic mountain

[audio:inbetweendays.mp3]
(The Cure: Inbetween days)

I have literally no idea what is going on in my mind right now.

Its almost amusing, how blasé I seem to have become about, well, everything.
I spent so many years simply surviving, lurching from one horrible phase to the next, that this ever-increasing not-miserable period has imbued in me a sense of ‘what the fuck’…I’ve been in the shit, and I survived, and yes it smells bad, but I can survive it. Why bother emerging from the shit simply to spend your life dodging shitpools?

Alright, so I am not terribly eloquent today. I don’t care…I aint here to impress you lot with my highbrow repartee.
Here have some Dylan Thomas, should keep you quiet…

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light…

(Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas)

[audio:feelinggood.mp3]
(Muse: Feeling Good)

And I think you all know where I’m coming from now…

What do you mean ‘haven’t got a frickin’ clue mate?’ I bare my soul, and you just sit there picking your fingernails? Heathens.

Ok. Look. What am I saying? I am having a hard time concentrating. Its been a busy week at work, I seem to keep accumulating more and more side projects because I am hyperfocused and hyperactive at work, so get at least 5 times as much done as would be expected of me.
Its also a dark moon weekend. This messes me up quite a lot. Normally a dark moon will make me quite emotional and prone to melancholy, but throw in hyperactivity and it seems to blend up into a big jazzy frothy intense brain blowout confusion smoothy.

I need to calm down. I am making coffee.
Those two don’t seem to go together do they?

I have no control over myself at times like these. Its when I most understand what manic-ness must feel like. I do whatever I feel like, I lose all caution and could care less about consequences.

Fortunately these moods last only a short time. I’m sure this one will have dissapated by the morning, or possibly the start of the week, it being a dark moon.

I have coffee. I have no idea what I was going to write about when I started this post. Thats awful. Another casualty of manic me. My short term memory, never the best in the first place, falls apart completely.
Strangely, I feel tired as well. Tired and manic. Is that normal? I can’t even remember if that is normal or not now. I can’t remember anything, ahhhh, who am I? Whats going on?

Fuck it. I’m giving in…

I might edit this when I come round.

At magic mountain
Nothing changes
Everything stays the same
Cross my heart
And hope to live
All the time
With a little fever…
(Magic Mountain:Blonde Redhead)