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Transmissions From Within A Cloud Of Absinthe

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I took some time out from social interactions this last week, just to sorta clear my head. Still went to work, still checked in on a few things, but essentially made myself unavailable and distant. I've been oddly dissatisfied with a lot of things lately, and for most of the last week, I've been trying to look at everything objectively. A lot of what's ben happening in my social life, good and bad, seems to stem from a rather nasty bought of depression I went through for about 7 years. I spent a lot of those years not really doing anything. there were the occasional bright spots, but most of it was pathetic and bleak. I drank a lot, I did a lot of drugs, and I did a lot of dangerously impulsive things, like driving down I-15 at 85 Mph while sitting in the window sill of my Honda and steering with my feet. I did a lot of dumb shit that should have gotten me killed or thrown in jail. I let myself go from being slim and fit to being overweight and unmotivated by anything other than the prospect of another drink or another joint. On the bright side, I've come back to my senses. All that hedonism has given me drive and ambition. I never want to be there again. It's pushed me to take on a much healthier and more social life( well, as social as I ever was, I'm very introverted). The bad news? even though I'm now I better shape than I was before my nasty years, but when I look in the mirror, I still see what I was. Drunk, high, and overweight. I know that I'm not, but I can't shake the image. It makes me want to push people away before they get a chance to know me. Try as I might, my social life is a lot of acquaintances and only a few real friends. I'm more willing to talk and start to get to know people than I was, but I kinda stall out really early. Self reflection, this is getting tougher the longer I go. Looking at my long walks through the woods and hills, as much as I enjoy the exercise, I'm starting to think that it has much more to do with just getting away from people and interactions. I wondered in a different post what I was looking for, I think I was really just trying to run away. Things in my life are going right for the first time in years, and it terrifies me. I hated living in a one room basement flat with a couple of meth heads, but I knew where I stood in life. At the bottom no doubt, but I had a firm grasp on it. Now? I think that I might lose it all at the drop of a hat, and might be trying to unconsciously do it on purpose, sort of a self fulfilling prophecy. My old depression was brought on by a lot of different things, while by no means a bad first 17 years, I had some pretty trying times. All of it snowballed together and came crashing down when I first went off to university. I've dealt with all of that crap, and for the first time in a while, I've been honestly happy. But there's this gnawing uncertainty that keeps coming around. I feel like its just one or two bad days and I'm right back down the hole. Paranoia? Oh yeah. I tell myself I beat this before, I can do it again, but it still scares me. All the soul searching this last week has helped me feel better about some things, but it's made me worried about a few things as well. Outside viewpoints help sometimes, but its hard to discuss a lot of my anxieties face to face with anyone. My poor self image hasn't left yet, and I'm terrified of being judged by others. I don't know, its late, I'm rambling and tired, and my dog wants me to go to bed. I'll check back in later.
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  1. Marka's Avatar
    Zedd,

    Concern with being judged by others is understandable... however I think the real problem is in how you judge yourself... and further, that the issues you see facing you in the mirror... aren't about the literal view...

    I'm having a moment of Déjà vu while contemplating this...

    What things did you do to pull out of that depression and self-abuse of 7-years? And, how long ago was that...


    Uncertainty is rather inevitable, unless of course you happen to be a top-notch clairvoyant... and yet it seems it's one of those things that we are taught to avoid... I think that in the right context and degree of uncertainty... we can be motivated to explore and learn what we might not be compelled to do otherwise...

    I think that if we change the perspective of seeing uncertainty, and probably other things like fear and doubt... from being those nefarious things that lurk about in the darkness 'dogging' us , to bringing them into the light as it were... make a place for them at your table... as these tend to be things that when avoided will grow and become increasingly pervasive, and when we ramp-up our defenses to avoid these feelings , and then attempt to medicate, and do all that we can to escape such as engaging in activities far beyond a healthy or practical level such as some who may play video games for many hours at a time...etc

    To further speculate... depression may come from anxiety unresolved, and the anxiety may stem from feeling the fears and uncertainty, but not properly engaging them...

    We can only run for so long... and I think that this may be what leads some to contemplate, idealize, attempt, and still a few, to go through with suicide... in the face of all that seems so futile, we have neglected and abused ourselves, we don't eat, or sleep, or do healthy exercise... we ourselves, deplete, and deprive our body and mind from absolutely everything that's needed to live... we can become prisoners in our own imposed solitary confinement... We can even be grief stricken, as any other great loss... though technically, nothing is actually lost, or foregone... it still comes to feel that way, and we may believe it...

    On the other hand...


    If we instead make this place, at our proverbial table... for uncertainty, and fear, and doubt, and all manner like that... they're not so bad really...in this light, they really are quite misunderstood... not pretty creatures, but really not horrifying at all... they're actually fairly helpful...

    How does this help you?

    Hopefully this illuminates some basics... obviously there are a lot of details not covered, but that's too much to cover all at once... and I think that's the point... you may need to get down to more basics, and clear out the clutter. I do understand in my own experience of several years of depression... and the fear of getting sucked back in... the irony for me... it was that very same fear, that threatened to make it's-self my reality again...

    Now I'll attempt to give you something practical to use right now, or at least get you started...

    I'm not a big proponent on the "think happy/positive" thoughts...as I see to much risk in that being another form of avoidance, escapism, denial etc... I am however, big on recognizing and eventually abolishing the negative thoughts... particularly Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) it may sound kind'a cutesy, but it's easy to remember, and can be a very effective tool or strategy for defense and healing...

    For me, it started with just observing these ANTs... and noticing that I had a lot more than I imagined, then I would get to where I would respond to these with "no, you don't know that" "You (Myself in this case) ...feel it, think it, and fear it...and historically have believed it... but, you don't know that!"




    Develop some counter statements that can offer a more realistic and empowering perspective.
    For me...a bit crude yet effective counter statement...was simply to the effect of 'piss-off!' And you may need to say it aloud (careful not to be in earshot of others... it tends to cause a bit of consternation)...

    If someone came up to you, or your most loved one, got right in your face and said anything like...


    The worrier "You may as well give up, there's no use"
    The critic "You'll never be as good as them"
    The victim "You are damaged goods"
    The perfectionist "You only got second place...looser"

    becoming an objective observer of our self
    What would you say to them?
    Something like F-you, F-off, and get the F out of here...??? Yeah?

    Well, then...what makes you the exception? Why would you tell yourself these things, you'd probably defend yourself about...if someone got in your face and told you the same things you're telling yourself?!

    You can get into thought-stopping, distractions or diversions ... skipping avoidance... and if that's more suitable for you... go for it...



    Mindfulness is being fully aware of what is happening internally with our mind and body, and externally in our environment. In essence, it is as if we are stepping outside of ourselves and becoming an objective observer of our self and surroundings.
    You have the drive and ambition now... put it to work, where it'll do some good... not by being depleted from negative thoughts...



    when I look in the mirror, I still see what I was. Drunk, high, and overweight.
    And I'm not surprised, if you haven't in fact resolved what got you to drunk, high, and overweight.... in the first place...

    Maybe as simple as not knowing what to do with fear, and uncertainty... maybe a history of being pushed too hard.... maybe being told that in order to be worthwhile... you have to do this, this, and this... you don't have to be beaten and told that you're no good for any length of time... to still have the same results... there are more insidious ways to receive this, even from well intentioned, and overly fearful others...

    While we aren't looking for blame... we may need to understand cause and effect just the same...

    If you've noticed anything about me... you'll know that I'm going to recommend counseling... you need a 'wing-man'...



    Things in my life are going right for the first time in years, and it terrifies me
    Part of that I believe, is that it is not what you're used to... it's not your normal... and you know how we tend to behave with what is not normal...


    From one country-bumpkin to another (though I'm perhaps not as adventurous as you)... There are practical and good things to do here...

    One step at a time

    I hope that I have made some kind of sense here... feel free to ask me what you may!

    My thoughts for you,
    -Marka
  2. Zedd's Avatar
    The depressed period lasted from when I was 18 till about a year and a half ago. When I first joined adisc, it was part of the process of getting myself back on the right track. I figured that if I forced myself to start communicating and being social it would help. It did, quite a lot. Oddly, the Zedd that started posting on this site is not the same Zedd that posts today. Originally the Persona was created as an idealized version of myself, much more social and outgoing, funny, caring, all that good stuff. He wasn't a complete fabrication, I was buried in there somewhere, and a lot of the real me came out in him. These days Zedd is no longer a false idealization, I'm at a point where I am what I wanted to be when I created him. Its funny in it's own way when I sit back and look at it. I still have my self image problems, but I'm working on it. Just sitting down and putting it to paper (so to speak) has helped a lot. The biggest help though, was just before I joined up here. I was at a really low point. To the point of dry-firing a gun into my temple a few times. One day while looking at the pistol in my hand I just couldn't take it any more. I told myself no more, and just forced myself to start dealing with things. Thank the gods for willpower. when I was feeling bad, I would make myself go and run laps, and be social at local coffee shops around town. I didn't touch a drop of alcohol for nearly 2 years, and quit all the drugs. Slowly but surely I pulled up and out of it. As to your counseling recommendation, that would have ben a good idea. I probably would be much further along than I am now. I still have work to do, but I'm beyond what I would call depression. Issues with anxiety and paranoia? yep, but I'm happy more often than not these days. Some of these posts may take a dive into dark places, but that's the point. I used to just bottle up all my dark feelings and try to subdue them with chemicals. these days, I write. I'm glad that there are people like yourself and Trevor on this forum to help throw things into perspective. I can try all I want to look objectively at what going on in my head, but it really takes an outside view at times. Thank you.

    On a side note, I used to take risks because I really just didn't care what would happen, now I do it because I want to experience life. Not crazy things like the joyride I mentioned earlier, more along the lines of mountaineering and backcountry skiing.
  3. Marka's Avatar
    Zedd,

    I'm about through with my evening...but, I wanted to thank you too!
    Just a few short things, and hopefully I can get back to you soon...
    Counseling isn't limited to the depths of darkness... It could just be the boost you need even now! I'm sure you've read here at least, that there can be pitfalls in counseling, but even better perhaps that you're not in depression now... it will help you navigate to competent counselors early on... And I offer with that...that you can get much further along even now...

    Enough of my preaching...

    Keep writing!

    I'm humbled to be included in your appreciation of Trevor! I'm not putting myself down... I think we have essentially the same goals in helping others...but, I love how he often seems to slay great dragons...with a butter knife lol! I've been watching and trying to learn from his responses too... the bottom line however... is reaching our peers, such as yourself... and giving, in the hopes that you won't have to take that longer bumpy road...but, if you do go that way; we'll try to help you along all the same... Well, you can tell I'm getting tired... so, I hope the spirit for which I intended is apparent...to you both

    Drop me a note anytime!

    Thank you again,
    -Marka
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