Losing friends

No, not in the death kinda way.  In the “just sorta melting away into the night, I’ll-call-you-soon-but-never-do-again” kinda way.  I know paths diverge.  I know people have issues (oh boy, do I know that).  But it still hurts.

And it’s difficult not to blame myself. (Granted, it always has been.) I am generally not happy, and my emotions are very strong–particularly anger, and fear can get out of control if I don’t stop the train from flying off the tracks.  At times I have acted out of emotions instead of wise mind, and this has meant snark and/or dismissiveness or sometimes even outright personal attacks.  Mostly online.  Which means I can be that guy I despise: the internet jockey who takes pot shots.

That last point is pretty apt.  I don’t really like myself.  I try to do positive things for myself (exercise and being proactive with regard to certain of life’s necessities), but I don’t feel them as positive most of the time.  When I post these positive things on social media, the intent is supposed to be that I celebrate what I’m doing.  Instead, I’ve noticed that I desperately want validation.  The validation I never got growing up.  The validation that will somehow calm these rough seas of emotion.

But that isn’t realistic.  Getting validation is great, but as I’ve been told repeatedly ad nauseam happiness has to come from within me.  But how does this come in, basically, a vacuum? Having no friends I hang out with, and having no people I know that I *want* to hang out with who are actually talking to me, means I need to start over.  It’s much easier to make friends in school, work, and other regular social settings.  I don’t have those social settings, so I need to create them, through the fear and anticipatory anxiety and pre-judgment that invariably come up.

So, as I rhetorically asked so eloquently a couple days back on social media, why does everything have to be so fucking hard?

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Dreams (or, How Do I Truly Live?)

The tags on this are gonna be fun.

Ok, where to begin on this fully-sleep-deprived morning (getting zero sleep has never happened to me before).  I guess I need to purge this out on the blog before I go rest.

My dreams generally fall into 2 or 3 categories.  The halfway fun category involves me kindling light sabers with my breathing (it doesn’t always work) and/or having a Gandalf/Dumbledore type mentor following me and protecting me (hmm…daddy stuff?). The more common ones however involve me fucking up, through no fault of mine–being blamed for something that is utterly unreasonable or simply factually wrong.  And there’s almost always a girl(s) in there somewhere.

Example: Two nights ago I dreamt I was at Ithaca College (I’ve never been there, but my brain simply knew it was Ithaca), and I couldn’t find my classes, my books, my schedule, and the place itself was a massive labyrinth of distractions: dark corridors that led downstairs into cobwebs, or up into dorm-like areas; cliquey areas I felt insecure in (though I felt insecure most of the time as it was), indoor campfires…it’s like the whole place had no electric lighting and was built in the Middle Ages (complete with serving wenches serving beer I cannot drink in real life due to health problems.  And yes I play too many RPGS).  I was frustrated and didn’t know where to go.  Once I found a place to go, something became my fault, and none of my protests mattered even though I knew I was correct.  As usual, this grew into me futilely shouting obscenities and death threats…when I could get the words out.  This type of dream, maybe 65% of the time, comes with this wonderful feature: the louder I try to be, the more choked I am, the less air passes through me, the less I can actually form words.  It’s like someone is clamping over my mouth and twisting it, yielding gibberish.  Quiet, inconsequential gibberish too, since I can’t seem to put air behind what I’m saying.

That’s the second type: college/high school setting, not knowing anything, getting accused and reviled, becoming mostly verbally paralyzed.

The third type is quite similar to the second type, only the setting is work.  95% of the time, it’s Borders, even if it’s not recognizable as such (again, I know it’s Borders in the dream).  Somehow the POS terminal isn’t cooperating, I can’t type, or I’m not doing something right, and then I get accosted so hard that I quit in a fiery rage and try to destroy everything around me.

And then there are the girls that show up probably 90% of the time, in the latter two types. I say “girls” and not “women” because that’s how I grew up saying it.  To me “women” feels stuffy, “girls” feels playful and young.  That might be unfair, and I take care with my distinctions when discussing the sex with others, but that’s simply the semantics that have always felt comfortable to me.

(Why I feel the need to defend myself on my own blog…So cognizant of potentially offending someone.  I hate it.  I hate it because it extends into me censoring and censuring myself, as though I don’t deserve to live and be happy.

I read that back to myself, and rather obviously this way of thinking has many of the same roots that my dreams have)

Anyway, girls.  I haven’t been in a serious relationship in a good many years, and have had sex extremely rarely, and have never actually enjoyed sex though I want to (*that* topic is something that I’m not getting into in this post.  Too much shame involved right now). In dreams sometimes the girls are those I worked with (not solely at Borders), sometimes they are women I fell for and had fallings-out with, sometimes they are unknown to me. And often I touch them, yet if they protest, even if I know I’m dreaming, I will stop because it’s upsetting to me.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  “But it’s a dream!” my mind sometimes says.  But it doesn’t matter, I stop and I feel bad for touching them.

I find the interpretations of these dreams to be pathetically obvious.  They are manifestations of the following: a childhood squelched, where it was unsafe to feel or say anything (it was even unsafe to say nothing or even agree with the person picking the fights.  I’m not going to name the person who picked the fights every single fucking day.  However, the tags might hold a clue…).  No one ever soothed me when there was shouting, fighting, broken bones, cops called…no one ever told me I was ok.  No one ever showed me it wasn’t my fault. (There’s psychological evidence that indicates that, in absence of an explanation, a child will often take on the blame him/her/themselves).  This, in addition to be told explicitly all the time “you’re selfish” and that things were my fault (when they weren’t, they were HER fault, the bitch), resulted in my internalizing just about every negative thing I could possibly internalize about life and myself and my place in the world.  The only semi-safe place was my room.  I say semi-safe because I witnessed beatings in there, in my sanctuary, in the only place I felt remotely comfortable.

Alone.  I wanted everyone to leave me the fuck alone.  I was so emotionally wrecked that I was one of those kids who fantasized about shooting his high school up.  Now, I was a coward, I didn’t have access to guns and didn’t know how to go about getting any, and anyway I was a coward who was afraid of EVERYTHING except his own bed.

All the childhood stuff happened, as far as I can remember, from birth through about 15. Fifteen was when the bitch went off to college and she wasn’t in the house anymore.

I expect I’m rambling now, but do you see all the fuel for the dreams? Emotional unfulfillment, self-blame (in the dreams, someone always blames me instead of me blaming myself), sexual frustration, major self-esteem problems, PTSD, depression, anxiety….a family that, in short, could be counted on for one thing: to fuck me up.  Actually, two things: we never lacked for money or material stuff, but I’d have traded that for a loving father.

So now you see the other part: How Do I Truly Live? My interest levels in a lot of things are quite small because 1) I’m just about always afraid of them, and 2) I don’t love myself.  If I don’t love myself, it really mutes enjoyment of anything.  Hard.

No wonder I spent the last 8-10 years getting drunk all the time.

So I need to live, but don’t know how.  Or, I need to live and perhaps know where I might start, but the fear can be so great that I rush to the toilet a lot.  (This is my blog, I had diarrhea, deal with it).  Somehow I have to overcome this and take smalls steps.  But the steps seem large, and all the steps produce enough anxiety for my abdomen to hurt.

But I’m still here.  Which probably means one or two things: 1) I’m still a coward when it comes to suicide–I’ve had suicidal thoughts many times in the past, but in the last decade no actual plan to go about it; 2) I, somewhere buried inside me, have hope for myself.  If I truly had no hope I think I wouldn’t be here.

But I need to live.  I’m not living.  I’m existing.  I don’t know what’s fun (outside of video games), I’m not terribly social anymore–some friends have decided to go on with their lives without me (activating my abandonment issues, regardless of their reasons for moving on, which I usually don’t precisely know), or otherwise I have told them to get out of my life because they became poisonous to me.  It really feels like I have no close friends.  I know I share some things with others, but I see people talk about “besties” and I sure don’t have those anymore: one of them was passive-aggressive repeatedly with me so I told her I was done with us, and the other I’d fallen in love with and couldn’t emotionally cope with her being with another guy (it was like reopening a wound every single time I talked with her).

This blog is entirely too fucking long.  In my blear I have no idea if this is coherent or even if I covered everything I wanted to.  But there’s always other days.

I ain’t 20 (or 30) no more.

Gonna be 40 in two weeks.  Can’t treat myself now they way I have been over the last 8 or so years.  The results of excessive alcohol abuse, being overweight, and my diet have led to the following procedure, which took place a couple hours ago (as copied from Facebook):

Ok, just had my endoscopy. The procedure itself I have no recollection of whatsoever, and I had a nice nap 😀. By far the worst part was the waiting and anticipatory anxiety. Short-term memory is fairly hazy, which is sorta fun in a weird way–they told me not to make any decisions today 😀

It’s going to be around 10 days or so to check any pathology, but I do have GERD (which I already knew), a hiatal hernia (the former of which my dad’s brother has, and the latter of which my mom has had), and very likely Barrett’s Esophagus (this will be confirmed or not depending upon biopsy results that I have to wait for).

The Barrett’s is potentially the most serious of the three. According to the literature I was given, Barrett’s esophagus can lead to cancer of the area, though the risk is small at 0.4 to 0.5% per year. Antacids may improve Barrett’s esophagus.

I went on omeprazole (Prilosec) after my PCP visit last month, so that’s taken care of. What I do need to do is lose weight and stop eating 2-3 hours before bed–that one is going to be difficult I think. They also recommended using a block or other apparatus to elevate my head when I go to sleep…though I am uncomfortable in that position.

It was also recommended that I get further endoscopies on probably a yearly basis. I don’t yet know whether they call me to schedule one when it nears time.

I’ve already got two of the recommendations covered: antacid, and stopping drinking. I have no alcohol in the apartment except for a very small amount of rum that wouldn’t even fill a shot glass.

Now I just need to wait for test results.

My letter to Sen. Susan Collins

Good afternoon Senator Collins. I am a US citizen and was born and raised in Maine. I, like most of the US, am very concerned about mass shootings and guns, particularly the most recent (and worst) instance in Orlando.

To get to the point (you must be receiving a ton of emails and calls), I must urge you to advocate a national ban on assault rifles. Assault rifles are meant for one use: War. Killing humans. Mateen was able to buy an assault rifle 2 weeks before Orlando, even though he was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for hate-speech in the workplace.

I’m grieving so much for the lost lives, and think “what will it take? What will it take to stop this horribleness from happening?” Every time I see the President or governors come out and condemn mass killings, I am reminded more and more every day of how empty a gesture it is. It accomplishes nothing in terms of reform. It’s token.

Reform would be 1) entirely banning the sale of assault rifles to civilians, with no exceptions; 2) stopping profiling Muslims. Did anyone profile white men when James Holmes shot and killed 12 people in a theater in Aurora CO? Or when Dylan Roof murdered (allegedly, at this legal point) 9 people in a church in Charleston SC? White men commit more mass atrocities than any other demographic, but they aren’t profiled because they are the privileged color/sex in this country.

Gun control actually does work. There is a Washington Post article from 2012 that I’m hoping to post here (dunno if links get removed on this form) that provides facts from the last several decades about gun violence and mass killings; if you do not have time to view the whole article, it has 12 bullet points, backed up by graphs and facts by entities such as Mother Jones and sociologists from Duke and Harvard Universities. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

The NRA has blatantly shown that they will in no way ever advocate for gun controls, fearing one day a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. That is *not* what is at stake here, but given their gun-lobby backers it is unsurprising they have the stance of “guns, guns all the time”.

This stance carries over to fearful members and other citizens, who panicked and went out and bought *more* guns after Orlando, resulting in stock prices of two key gun manufacturers to rise significantly (source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/13/smith-wesson-sturm-ruger-stock-prices-rise-after-orlando-massacre.html).

If you have no time to read all this, I understand. But for the reasons I’ve described, profiling Muslims is not the answer, and banning assault rifles from the public *must* be the paramount (but by no means the only) step toward decreasing mass killings.

Thank you for your time.

LikeLike

likelike

Confession: sometimes I’ll like a status (on FB) if I feel like I’m supposed to, not because I actually like it. Most of the time I’m jealous. It’s a function of my own lack of self-fulfillment and esteem. I’m gonna be 40 in less than a month and I have a hard time meeting people because I’m Social Anxiety Man. It’s up to me to notice that fear and do things anyway. I have a hard time being happy, thankful, or otherwise excited about my life; this naturally leads to me having a hard time with these things with regard to others. I can relate to pain much more than to happiness.

Like. Like Like. Link killed them with swords, but they took away his shield.

I can’t sing.

No, I’m not tone deaf.  I’ve been known to sing quite well.  But the events of the last near-month have greatly curtailed my range.  Long story somewhat shorter: overindulgence of alcohol for years, combined with the sore throat of a cold I picked up, led me to the ER with a severely inflamed throat…it felt like someone was choking me.  Since I had trouble breathing, I dialed emergency and had EMTs pick me up.  Lemme tell you, those guys were the most beautiful sons of bitches ever.  Not only were they strapping lads, they had a calm, reassuring way about them that I, in my near-panic, desperately needed.  My BP was 171/97 in the fire engine, but 141/80 once I got to the ER.  I used breathing exercises that I’d learned in therapy/DBT skills classes, and that surely helped the BP, but my relief when they took care of me was incredibly palpable.

Anyway, my tonsils were somewhat inflamed, and my throat was very much inflamed. That was on May 10.  Nowadays, my symptoms have all but subsided–except for a slight decrease in hearing and my voice breaking when it shouldn’t.  I’m waitlisted for an endoscopy.  Dunno when that will be.

Two main takeaways from this experience: Firstly,not being able to sing as normal bothers me.  A lot.  So I’m working to accept this, since non-acceptance will produce hell. Secondly, I’ve finally felt some truly scary effects of my overindulgence of alcohol over the last…what, decade or longer? It’d become part of my routine.  But it cannot be my routine any longer.  That said, habits can be very hard to break: I got drunk a few nights ago (3 weeks after the ER visit) and some of the same symptoms returned, and scared me.

So the trick will be to abstain at least from hard alcohol, if not from alcohol altogether.  I might be able to have a beer or two, but at the moment I really don’t want to test those waters.

Do I have an alcohol problem? Perhaps.  But the scariness of the symptoms that led to the ER visit are trumping any drinking right now, and the fact that I went 3 weeks without drinking only to get drunk and have a close approximation of the symptoms return says to me that, for my long-term health, I really need to stop drinking entirely for a long time and let my insides heal after years of abuse.  Fortunately I’m not dependent on alcohol, or else stopping drinking would’ve been a major problem.

So, I await my endoscopy, and I seek other ways to occupy my time, and I need to rediscover how to have fun without alcohol.  Therein lies the rub for Mr Social Anxiety here.  But I think I can do it.

Spoken

Didn’t notice did you

The pillow soaks it all up so well

Nary a drop by morning

What would you know

Of the infarctious incipient

The void miasma

Closing to inexorable seizure

Though no hands be found

Bruised though they would be

If espied by any but the incorporeal

The designs of synaptic deviance

Through the quicksand hours

Interminable reflection

From unceasing dread stimuli

The lords of my creation

Preclusion unthinkable

Rather cut the cords

Extinguish the possibility

In the foul stead of hope

Somehow, I have unburied them

A long dormance ponderous upon their twisted fibers

Tentative timbre

Quick to remonstrance

But, with nourished avail, they shall play as the wind blows

And I bestow my countenance upon you

That you may deliver me from the confines

Of a pernicious actuality

The strength to promulgate madness

And beauty in equal measure

Vehemence unrivaled

Save by the salted, saturated expulsion

So near to your swathe of oblivion.