Feel not real.

Over the weekend I did things to be celebrated.  I celebrated them because they were mastery experiences–things that I was afraid of but did anyway. (People who have read some of my other blog entries will know about my anxiety issues)  I hadn’t been on a bus by myself (a 2+ hour trip to Boston) in over 15 years.  I factually knew there was little danger, and so I spent the time managing anxiety with breathing and strong thoughts.

Between this, staying at my brother’s place, walking everywhere (my elliptically-trained muscles didn’t prepare me for the fatigue I felt a lot of the time), going to see the Red Sox (an amazing game, though the physical seats themselves were and are positively terrible comfort-wise), going out to eat a few times, all in the presence of my brother and my cousin…I was managing a good deal of stress all the time.  I did a good job of it too.  I didn’t panic.

When I got home Sunday, I was so relieved I started crying a little.  Mostly though I was very fatigued but glad I did the weekend.

But right now I feel not real.  Fuzzy.  Like I’m in a cloudy dream.  Anxious, mostly in my tummy (the fact that I strained by back earlier today isn’t helping).  My ability to read at much speed and my comprehension is a bit off. (So much for getting some more work done tonight).  I think all the stress of the weekend is finally affecting me.  I feel like I could either cry all over the place or sleep for 2 days.  Thoughts are coming in of “you did too much this weekend”, but they are secondary to the not-realness.

I’m listening to soothing music and working to do things more slowly tonight, like typing this at a slower speed.  Deeper breathing too.  I have a medication I can take if things get worse, but I’d rather see if I can manage this with skills.

I’m not going to die.  This isn’t a panic attack, but I’m experiencing some of the accompanying unreal-ness.  It could lead to one.  But I’m not going to die.

Closing my eyes and resting between sentences.  Slow.

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It’s a men’s issue (addendum)

This is a verbatim comment I wrote on the TEDx talk by Jackson Katz (I posted the talk and some thoughts on my previous blog post, similarly-titled):

I wondering: do his clients listen to what he says? Getting men to listen when their minds have been programmed to regard this as garbage has got to be difficult. Some of the comments on this talk seem to represent that kind of blowback. So what if Katz is promoting himself and making money at what he does if he’s good at it? The world could use a lot more male emotional health. It’s only parents from my generation who I’ve personally seen allow their sons to feel emotions in healthy ways and don’t instruct (by word or act) them to bury their emotions. It’s my opinion that the burial of emotions can easily lead to violence, particularly with regard to men. It’s no accident that the sex that commits the most crimes and the most mass shootings and bombings is male. Men are still socialized to suck it up and deal and not be emotional and that, when they are emotional and hugging male friends, they somehow feel the need to write #nohomo. Nationally, globally, the majority of men are insecure about themselves and uncomfortable with emotions. Personally I think it’d be great if men hugged each other regularly and shared personal stories/conflicts as women do, and didn’t feel bad about it.

You’re free to hate me now.

Im reminded of George Carlin’s rant about how the rich (or, my take, the government) keep us fighting among ourselves so they can run off with all the money.

Right now, people are fighting among themselves and being extremely territorial and sensitive about it. I’m the first person to admit I’m very sensitive. But a ton of people are hurting. A lot. It is the emotional responses, usually to written words (lack of inflection, eye contact, tone of voice, etc), that can be problematic.

Recently I said I wanted facts about that photo. You all probably know the one. When the photo was first shared, there was no context except that it was taken very recently in Baton Rouge. Other than that, no context. I made the “mistake” of stating that I wanted facts instead of assumptions (the cops could’ve been removing the cuffs? Unlikely, but I wanted more information. Turns out they weren’t, but at the time all I had was a still photo.) I stated that, without context, the photo was essentially worthless. Journalists do this all the time: take quotes out of context to serve themselves.

Now that I have context, it’s not worthless at all. But people jumped all over me nonetheless. Somehow I’m the bad guy for distrusting the media and wanting more information.

Even now as I write this, I’m expecting to get flak. But here’s my overall point: we’re all, still, fighting amongst ourselves. Instead of attempting to understand and communicate.

I’ve lost so many friends due to misinterpretations, and even when I apologize if I offended someone I get silence or insults in return. I now therefore have zero close friends, and it’s a lonely fricking world.

Can people learn when they are in their emotion minds and acting from that instead of “wise” mind? Yes. Will they? I’m losing faith that most people will even try.  A lot of people I see are more interested in winning an argument than the communication and understanding that can come from the argument.  A lot of people see life as a pissing contest.

To take it a little further personally, what’s the point in being myself if people don’t like who I am? I have so much empathy, I love hugs (and desperately need them from someone I feel safe with, whoever that is), I’m very self-aware though I reassess this all the time…but what does it matter? There’s entirely too much sugar-coating running rampant in this country.  Am I blunt sometimes? Yes. Do I go out of my way to try to allay others’ fears at times anyway? Yes.

Do I need to love myself? Yes. Do I know how? I’ve studied it, tried tons of different things, but keep reverting to depression and self-denigration. I trust so little that I think people are going to leave me if I let them in.  I’ve had a few close friends before, and I let them in, only to be told after years “I’m sick of your bullshit” and been written countless passive-aggressive comments (which I’d ask about, via PM, if I’d done something wrong…only to get silence).

So, in short, I’m lonely, hurting, people are leaving/have left me, and the world is hurting so much that we’re fucking ourselves.

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?

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.