But you’re better on your own for awhile

It would be unnatural to make it an entire calendar year without doing some sort of writing on UM, so here I am, less than an hour left in 2017 attempting to frantically elicit something of meaning.

I’m not really sure where I went this past year, and I mean that in more ways than one. Primarily, I mean “why the fuck haven’t I written anything about my life in damn near a year,” but I also mean “what kind of crazy journey have I been on in the last 365 days? Well, I’m glad you (I?) asked.

Sometime in the middle of January 2017, I got food poisoning at a Mexican restaurant which led me to losing 7 pounds. Because said 7 pounds was such a hard-fought victory, I decided it would be a shame to regain them after my illness passed so I ended up “cleaning up my diet a little bit” to “avoid gaining those 7 pounds back.” I’m proud to say that nearly a year later, I’ve kept those 7 pounds off, lost an additional 103lbs, lowered my resting heart rate by 20bpm, lowered my blood pressure, developed a love for HIIT cardio, and started exploring an interest in lifting heavy weights. It’s weird how the smallest things can lead to the biggest life changes, but here we are. I’ve got another 40-50lbs to lose to reach what I’m thinking of as a potential goal weight range, but more than anything, im just excited to have found a new hobby in fitness and to be cultivating an interest which benefits me physically. It’s certainly not something I planned to do this past year, but I’m glad I did. The best thing that came out of this was probably gaining faith in my ability to radically transform some aspect of my life and transcend my own expectations; this has been just as impactful to me as the physical changes which I have undergone.

As much as things have changed for me physically, they’ve held steady mentally and emotionally. I’m still fighting a lot of the same wars within my own head which I was in years prior, but I certainly feel like I may have won a few battles this year. Ultimately, I am still possessed from head-to-toe with this urge to run away from my life and start over somewhere new, as someone new, primarily out of fear, I think. I’m not entertaining it with any degree of seriousness, but having that escape fantasy is a comfort.  Things inside my head are certainly better than they were in years past, but I’m not as unflappable in the face of storms, internal and external, as I wish I were. Maybe this will change, or maybe I’ll learn to live my life around it.

Cetainly 2017 was a year in which I worked hard and saw some of the benefits of that hard work, but I think there’s more hard work ahead in the coming years. I am not going to set any sort New Years Resolutions, though. A content creator whose work I greatly enjoy introduced me to the idea of a “word of the year” — a point of focus for the coming twelve months and I think I like that better than boxing myself into a set of goals which may or may not become obsolete with time. As of this moment, I don’t know what I want that word to be, what I want this upcoming year in my life to represent. After a few minutes of rummination, I feel like “Enough” might be my strongest contender: I am enough, I will stop when I have had enough, and I have had enough of carrying around a caravan of ghosts inside my head and enough of drowning under the weight of the same water.

I do not know what 2018 will bring and it feels foolish to herald in a year which carries with it who-knows-what, so instead I will bid farewell to 2017: you were a year during which I did many things which scared me and many things which I thought I’d never do. I am glad to have had this year to begin to build a better self.

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, waiting to take you away

Right now, I am struggling to break out of this downward emotional spiral and feel something resembling normal.

I wish that I could just walk away from the things in my life that frustrate me and cause me so much displeasure, but that isn’t the way adulthood works. When I am less emotional, I need to analytically sit down and figure out what mistakes I am continually making that lead to me putting myself in situations where I am not respected; I think that I do an okay job of voicing my frustrations in situations both professional and personal and working to find mutually agreeable solutions, but for whatever reason that I have yet to determine, I seem to always find things slipping back to the status quo, leaving me in the predicament of either accepting being unhappy, speaking up again, or walking away from the situation at hand. It’s frustrating to find myself dealing with this personally and professionally at the moment, but so it goes. I just need to figure out what my attempts to reason with people to solve problems in a way that benefits all parties do not ever go as planned. I refuse to become the sort of person who exists as a doormat, but I also refuse to become the sort of person who only cares about their own interests: I must find balance between being firm and being rigid.

Clearly there is some level of introspection and skill building that I need to do in the near future. But not today and probably not tomorrow: for now I am just sad and emotionally exhausted.

Aside from the aforementioned existential crisis, I guess I’m doing okay. As obnoxious as things are right now, I cannot abandon hope that in six months or a year, my life will be more suitable to me. The dream of earning my comfort in a job that leaves me with the emotional bandwidth to spend my downtime pursuing hobbies which fulfil my brain and heart doesn’t seem so extreme. I am still overwhelmed with the desire to withdraw socially right now, but logically, I think I will get over it with the passage of time; for now though, I just want to be alone with my thoughts about the present and my hopes for the future. Right now, the best thing I can do for myself, and by extension those around me, is to do a soft reboot and hope that it is enough to shake off this weighty sorrow.

This is the part of me that needs medication.

I have finally deactivated Facebook for what will (hopefully) be one of the last times. I still need to see if I can login back in and setup device passwords for Spotify (which shares an account) on my phone, iPad, and computers. As far as actually using Facebook for its intended purpose, I am officially over it.

Once again, life has led me to doubt the veracity of my interpersonal relationships. Humans, myself included, are nothing more than self-serving animals and to delude oneself into believing otherwise is a recipe for platonic heartbreak; I cannot really judge anyone for being this way, because I am too, in every aspect of my being. Knowing what I know now doesn’t invalidate the feelings I had for the parties in any of the friendships that I previously believed myself to have experienced, but it does effectively nullify my desire to partake in any in the present or immediate future. Ironic, because exactly a week ago, I was smugly content in the now-proven-false knowledge that I had some solid relationships in my life. It’s a shitty lesson to have to learn, but I guess I was just desperate enough to force myself into seeing things that didn’t exist, but I should I have known better. I feel stupid, sitting here having learned this at nearly 30 years of age, but once the pain subsides, I believe I will be better off for having learned that, in the words of Modest Mouse, “no one’s going to play the harp when I die.”

Perhaps at some point when (if) I have gained enough social value to be truly human, I will be worthy of being known, of being respected. For now, I will try to swallow the nagging guilt of burdening others by continuing to live and attempt to find beauty and happiness through things which are within my control so as not to further impose my unwanted presence upon others. As part of this desire to keep my pain from impacting those who I hold/held close, I will “fake it until I make it.” No one has to be privy to the intellectual and emotional turmoil within, not when I have this silent and unknown digital void to bleed into; I do not think anyone suspects how far I have fallen, so I am doing well in my endeavour to date. I will redouble my efforts to pretend that everything is fine so that no one, with the exception of my doctors whom are paid to entertain my problems, will suspect a thing. Perhaps this theatrical ruse will have some positive impact upon my mood as a side effect, life imitating life art and all that.

In the interim, I will lick my wounds and bury myself in literature and my seemingly-eternal pursuit for better as far as intellectual and physical fulfilment goes. At the very least, I have been productive today: I filed my state taxes, updated my LinkedIn to reflect a promotion I got almost a year ago, and shovelled snow until I almost lost consciousness. It feels good to have done something with this day even though I am now exhausted and extremely hungry. My plans for the rest of the day include February’s budget, reading, and shovelling more snow.

I am not okay, but I will pretend to be in hopes that some day, some how, I may be once more.

Blogvember 2015 : 6/30

I missed yesterday’s post so I will make it up soon, hopefully tomorrow.

For whatever reason, I am really uninspired to write today, too. There is plenty that I’d like to say, but I don’t have it in me to write it down. I guess day after day of constant blogging is already starting to wear thin on me! Also, this week felt painfully long for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the result of daylight savings time or maybe it’s because traffic has been horrendous in the evenings, but every day has felt like a month in and of itself. It is also way too warm outside for November. All of these things combined have made me feel like I am existing in some weird sort of limbo in which I just want to read books and watch documentaries and nap.

Even though this has been a long week, it has been one with minimal drama, so I can’t complain too loudly. With all the excitement, both good and bad, that has gone on over the past few months, I will happily enjoy some well-deserved quiet…and perhaps productivity. I have a ton of non-glamorous, domestic drudgery to work through this weekend, but such is life!

Blogvember 2015 : 5/30

(I totally spaced on writing an entry last night, so today will be a two entry day, yippee!)

I somehow do not have any social commitments this weekend or next weekend! I am not sure how that happened, but I’m going to take advantage of it and be the most boring person in the world. I am a simple person and sometimes nothing makes me happier than wasting countless hours alone in my bedroom reading, watching random videos on the Internet, and sleeping without setting an alarm. Sometimes it’s really nice to just…be.

There’s something absolutely beautiful about spending time alone…and who am I to d my beauty? I am grateful for my ability to enjoy my own company. Being content in my solitude has afforded me some of my most cherished memories, so here’s to many more!

Blogvember 2015 : 4/30

Sometimes the best part about stepping out of your comfort zone is developing an appreciation for what you have. As nice as it can be to try new things, I have learned over and over again not to doubt my knowledge of myself and what makes me happy.

Blogvember 2015 : 3/30

Day three, 10% of the way there!

After writing yesterday’s entry, I found myself reflecting on exactly how much better I think my writing use to be when it comes to blogging.  The writing that I did from 2005 to 2009 was so much more passionate and alive. I stumble over myself trying to get entries written lately which is weird because that never used to be the case. I miss feeling like I could imbue some semblance of myself into the words I sent off into the ether. I’m not sure if my gift for doing this has atrophied due to lack of use or due to wilful suppression of any sort of personality when writing emails in a professional setting. Either way, it’s not the greatest and I’m hoping that Blogvember will help me get back in the game.

Being able to sit down in front of my computer and have my thoughts bubble up to the surface of my brain in the exact right order to make my fingers dance across the keyboard, leaving behind them a raw, honest portrayal of my mood and thoughts at that moment in time is something that I took for granted. I sorely miss being able to bring myself to a place of emotional catharsis by just letting go and opening up. Maybe my writing has suffered, not because I have grown lazy, but because I’ve closed myself off — not only online, but in my own head. I definitely don’t spend anywhere near as much time being introspective as I once did. To an extent that is a good thing (one cannot live in the self-absorbed folly of youth forever), but I do wonder if I simply don’t know myself as well today as I did, say, three or four years ago. If that is in fact the case, no wonder my writing feels stiff and mechanical! Words don’t flow about subjects on which one has minimal knowledge.

Even doing this slight bit of introspection has been beneficial: I feel like I’ve at least started the process of putting my finger on exactly what it is about my most recent writing that feels off and figuring out what I can do to rectify that. Hell, even being honest about the fact that I’m less than pleased with my output lately is a step in the right direction, truth be told. After everything that’s gone on with me lately I find myself with this overwhelming urge to just be fucking honest about everything I can possibly be honest about, both with myself and others and getting back to a point where I can write openly and authentically is a first step on that road that’s as good as any other.

Blogvember 2015 : 2/30

We’re only on day two of Blogvember and I’m already feeling lazy about posting. Not good! I guess I just haven’t developed the habit of writing daily yet. I’ll get there in time I suppose. Today I want to reflect a little on how I’ve been doing mental health wise since that has been a major theme in my life lately.

Right around the time I got my new diagnosis, and subsequent new treatment plan, last month, all I could think about was my mental illness: whether I’d ever be free of it, if I actually really had one or if I was just overly sensitive/moody, the social stigma surrounding being on medication for my mental health, and a whole host of other things related to the issue at hand. In the days leading up to going in to see my doctor for a med adjustment and oh-so-scary updated diagnosis, I found myself single-mindedly focused on being sick and being bitter that this is a cross I’ll have to carry for the rest of my life.

The ironic thing here is ever since I got back into therapy, started seeing my psychiatrist regularly, and had Lithium added to my drug cocktail, I’ve been happier and more stable than I ever was when my “depression [was] in remission” and I fought tooth and nail through everyday without the benefit of meds, doctors, or social support. Admitting that I wasn’t okay, opening up about how depressed I was, and forcing myself to keep up with treatment, even when I had brief periods of feeling well, has been the key to allowing me to have my life back. I’m proud of how hard I fought to survive while keeping everything bottled up for as long as I did, but I’m prouder that I admitted to myself when I couldn’t keep my head above water on my own anymore.

I am also grateful as fuck for the things and people in my life that have supported me in fighting this illness. Having excellent insurance to dampen the financial burden of continual doctor’s appointments, a job flexible enough to let me attend said appointments, and people close me to talk through things with have all been critical to my ability to get back into care and get re-diagnosed. Although there is no such thing as “out of the woods” for me, the past few weeks have been devoid of the two-ton crushing weight of depression in earnest for the first time in months. Even though it’s not realistic to think that I’ll be fine and dandy for ever, its glorious having this patch of hard-won happiness.

When it comes down to it, I’ll gladly wear the “Bipolar II” label (stigma and all), take four pills a day, keep seeing my therapist and psychiatrist, and get my Lithium levels checked every month if that’s what it takes to stay healthy. I have known the hell that is unmitigated depression. If I can make these inconsequential concessions to keep that pain at bay and keep that monster off my back, I’d be crazy not to…pun intended. =P

Blogvember 2015 : 1/30

And so Blogvember begins!

I feel a lot more grounded than I did four or five days ago. It’s amazing how quickly you can move beyond something once you make your. Ind up to do so and surround yoursf with the entrappings of day-to-day life. I won’t be audacious enough to say I’ve completely gotten over the circumstances that had me a little lower than usual last week, but I have definitely quickly come to realize that there wasnt much to let go of in the first place.

Aside from the above, things have been pretty okay. I ended up having to dump $530 into my car unexpectedly on Friday which was annoying, but I’m glad it’s over and done with (and that it wasn’t more expensive than that). Whenever I find myself face-to-face with an unexpected expense, I am grateful that I’m in a place financially where things like this are an annoyance and not a huge problem. This gratitude, in combination with the rapidly-approaching holiday season, has put me in the mood to  do something charitable;  GoFundMe campaigns are everywhere, so I guess I’ll just keep an eye out for one that speaks to me, figure out what I can afford to give, and open up my wallet. I really should be in the mindset of helping others year round, but I seem to only think of giving as the year winds down.

On the topic of the year coming to a close, I am beyond jazzed that clocks have rolled back and the nights are now longer. I have always been a sucker for winter and fall: something about the seemingly-eternal frigid darkness makes me feel safe and alive in a way that summer never could. Add the fall and winter holidays (and the associated time off work) in there and it’s easy to see why I’m a sucker For the season.

There is a fair bit more I feel like blogging about, but given I have 29 days of daily blogging left, I will save some for later.

How could a person like me care for you?

I did not plan to write again so soon, but I suppose that one of the “benefits” of being in a reflective headspace is sitting down and waxing poetic about random shit seems quite appealing.

Earlier today, I spent quite a bit of time looking at Facebook posts from 2010 to 2012. Doing so made me both nostalgic for the levity of my early 20s and really glad that I’ve moved beyond an existence in which my self-worth was tied up in other people’s perceptions of my value. That said, reading those posts and looking at those pictures mostly made me grateful for the places I’ve lived, the people I’ve loved, and the books I’ve read. As far as my emotional and intellectual development goes, college was a bloody great time in my life and there really isn’t much I would change, looking back.

For all that can be said about not looking back, I sometimes think that the most grounding, comforting thing that I can do for myself is to look back at the things that I’ve accomplished, the obstacles I’ve overcome, the experiences I’ve had, and the decisions I’ve made. Realizing that my life at present isn’t just a work of serendipity is calming in the best way: somehow knowing that I’ve navigated nearly three decades worth of choices and setbacks and still come out pretty damn okay is enough to remind me that this too shall pass. And when it does, I’ll be glad that I wrote about it…even in the vaguest of terms. =P