Small Update 002

So it’s been six weeks since my last confession. Post. Same thing.

I was in a downward spiral for part of it.

Then the last couple of weeks have been utter lunacy. My son had sudden seizures, which revealed themselves to be febrile, i.e. from a fever, though the seizures happened first. Upon returning from a day in and out of the emergency room, our whole family came down with fevers and horrible viral-type symptoms that are only now letting up.

I can almost see the light again. Almost. The way I see it, it’s not good to miss six weeks, but six weeks of absence is far far better than sixty, or six years of the same.

So let’s talk.

I’ve had difficulty with the Live Your Legend prompts all along. It’s difficult to talk about things I’m proud of when pride is something I have difficulty finding. My difficulties with pride are indicative of my general difficulties.

The post after pride was supposed to be my “elevator pitch.” I may get to it eventually, but every time I’ve tried, I’ve found myself desperately frustrated.

So what do you do?

Nothing.

Most sincerely.

I sleep during the day. I watch television and the baby monitor at night. Especially in post-hospitalization weeks. It’s too terrifying to have no eyes on him at all, and it only makes sense for me to sacrifice my daylight to be the one making sure my child is always watched, no matter what.

But the problem is less that I don’t do anything and more that I don’t know what I want to do.

What do you do?

What should I do?

What can I do?

What would I like to do?

I’ve reviewed lots of television here, and I’ve watched a lot more that I have thoughts on that I could share, but I’m not sure I want to invest a lot of energy in this. For me, the television reviews are just prompts. I want to talk, but I don’t know what to talk about, but I know I’ll be able to say something more than nothing if I use television. I don’t love television. I love story, and television has lots of story, but to try and stake my claim as a reviewer? I don’t think that’s something I want. It’s something I could do. It’s something I’m capable of, but I’m capable of a lot of things.

That’s not something everyone can say. That’s not something everyone in my position can recognize. I am capable of a great deal of things. My problem is I have no idea what I really want to do. I like to draw. When I put my energy into artwork, and I find flow, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Should I try to find that place regularly? I don’t know. Something about it just doesn’t seem me. I like cross-stitch. I could put energy there. I could find a niche and make a tiny sort of business out of it. I like reading. I could review more seriously. I like video games. I could review those, too. I like a lot of things, but there’s nothing I love with the sort of passion that makes it obvious that I should send my energy in that direction to the exclusion of other things.

I also don’t really have much energy. At all. This comes up frequently in therapy. Making it from one day to the next is usually the best that I can do. I regularly sleep more than ten hours out of every twenty-four.

Lately, I’ve been considering streaming the games I play. I fear I don’t have the personality to make such a thing successful. However, the concept has distinct possibilities, while my current state of inaction has absolutely none.

So what if someone asked me what I do right now?

I would probably answer “stay-at-home mom,” because unlike some moms, I would find that a point of pride. Unfortunately, I really don’t mom. I sleep. His father and grandparents do the mom stuff.

I could mom. I could possibly even get excited about it. Maybe I should do that? Maybe that would be best? Maybe I should write multiple elevator pitches envisioning several possible futures in which I have the energy to do any one given thing.

Small update

Since that last post, my judgmental attitudes and self-hatred (i.e. my angry dogs) went into overdrive. I haven’t been able to write a single word, not even about the Netflix series I have, yes, continued to watch. I’ve spent the last two weeks in distraction and shut down mode.

I’m not sure why this happened. I’m not sure there even is a why. I think I was afraid. I got too close to something that scares me, and walking further into it was just not plausible. I had to run.

Even that result explains something about why and how the last ten years have gone the way they have.

But after today’s round of therapy, I do feel better. Nothing was really resolved, per se, but continuing the metaphor, the dog cage is at a more comfortable distance, and maybe I can find a keyboard voice again. I do have a lot of thoughts in my head that could use a little exercise.

Avoidance and Angry Dogs

I have angry dogs in my head.

That’s how my internal voice manifested in therapy. (This recent post details where these angry dogs came from and what they sound like, without using the dog imagery.)

It’s interesting, because the angry dogs in my head have little to nothing to do with how I react to real dogs in real life, but I’ll get to that later.

All day, every day

Having angry dogs in my head means my goal in life on a day-to-day basis is to escape or avoid those headdogs.

The easiest way to avoid the headdogs is to hyperfocus on something else. Anyone who knows me well (not many people) knows I’ve always been good at obsession. If I can find something external to obsess about, or just get into in a really intense way, I’m capable of wholly ignoring the headdogs’ rage. It’s not that I don’t hear them, or that they’re not there anymore; it’s just that I can face away and pretend they don’t exist for a while.

The easiest ways to avoid the headdogs are activites that lend themselves to the exclusion of any minor thoughts, e.g. video games, books, television and movies, even writing sometimes. When you’re into a really good story, the kind that suspends disbelief, your real world fades into the background. I seek that fading action constantly.

Continue reading Avoidance and Angry Dogs

Pride?

What’s one thing you’re proud of?

(LYL again.)

I’m proud of my son, but he doesn’t really count. All of his accomplishments (at a whopping one year of age) are his own, not mine.

I’m proud that I’m still alive, but that’s fraught with so much negativity beneath the positive, that it seems unhelpful to dwell on it.

I’ve finished three post-secondary schooling programs and I should be proud of those, but I’m not really. It’s not that they weren’t challenging, but it’s more like if I start something, of course I’m going to finish it. The reason I’m not proud of them is because I feel as though I’ve done nothing with them, because I went into them in order to move past them, but in the end, I never did move past them.

This is going to sound ridiculous to the vast majority of people, but I think as far as accomplishments go, I’m proudest of my time leading a raid group in World of Warcraft. I had to be organized. I had to follow a schedule. I had to do research. I had to communicate with people. I had to resolve conflicts. I had to make hard decisions and stick by them. I believed in what I was doing and, while both enthusiastic and apprehensive at the time, I enjoyed it every week. I also actually believed I did a really good job both while it was happening and after it was over. The group accomplished a lot with me at their head, and came out victorious over some really tough struggles.

It helps that it all came to an end under circumstances that were out of my control. I didn’t regret it coming to an end because of that, as opposed to most things I start out being proud of that I then regret choosing to put a stop to. I would have liked it to continue, sure, but it was just one of those things.

I felt most in control of my self when living a vicarious life. Go figure.

Danger to Myself

The title to this is probably more concerning than it needs to be. I’m not writing about a concern here. I’m being analytical about how I’ve ended up in the place I’m in mentally. It’s going to be far from pleasant, but any concern is also far from immediate. If you want to read that analysis, please continue.

Continue reading Danger to Myself

Ungrateful?

Another question from LYL:

What do people thank you for?

Well, that’s easy.

Nothing.

Don’t mistake this statement for a lack of gratitude on my part. It’s based on the simple fact that in order to be thanked for something, you need to do something. And I do so little that even if someone wanted to thank me for something, they’d be hard pressed to find anything.

The only thing I’ve been thanked for in recent memory is my presence. Given that that’s about all I can offer in my usual state of mind, that’s not a surprise.

But something about being thanked for my presence causes a sting of pain rather than the warmth of appreciation. Like I’m capable of more, so being thanked for doing nothing feels like a frequently repeated reminder of my lack of value, my failure to use my own abilities.

In truth, I’m thanked almost daily. In my video games. Yes, by other real people. For my presence, as usual. But also for skill. For effort. For contribution.

My skill, effort, and contribution just don’t leave my keyboard, which makes it difficult for people outside of it to thank me even if they wanted to.

Trying to be more positive and get to the point of the question, I think the idea here is to discover what you’re good at through external expressions of gratitude. I have been told what I’m good at.

I have amazing copyediting skills. Truly. As others put it for me, editing is my “superpower.” I know what the English rules and intricacies are. I know how to use and abuse them for both function and style. I have edited professional writers’ works and when there were no true errors to be found, I offered endless marginal notes about why they might consider different phrasings for possible emphases. I could be tested, licensed, maybe study further, see where it leads, but I’m not sure I want to. While I enjoy such work, the expectations that go along with it tend to be more than I can handle, sending me fleeing as soon as things begin to go well.

I can draw. With a pencil and paper. I’m not that good at it, but I know exactly why: a lack of practice. I’ve done well enough that I’ve amazed myself in the few attempts I’ve made. I know that if I were to put in nothing more than time, I could find great joy and nurture a very real talent. I was once told by an instructor I respected that I should make sure that whatever I do, I don’t stop drawing. I did, though. I stopped. I don’t put in the time. My lack of practice comes from a lack of passion, but the lack of passion comes from a disorder of the mind.

I don’t do any of the things that make me feel better. Drawing is simply one of many.

Those are things I’ve been thanked for in years long past, things that echo through to the present and ripple off the shield of my absent enthusiasm. The repercussions of this are decades of lost time, and a dark fear of a colourless future for myself and those chained to me.

Here I am again.

Well, that didn’t work.

I was very hyped up for a while, but in waiting for the next e-mail to come, two, then three days passed, and I lost all momentum. Then after several days, all the e-mails showed up at once, but by then it was too late.

I’m going to try something a bit different. When I was a teenager, I used to write something like this. I’m not sure why I stopped, but I think I can pull it off again. Once I’ve got that momentum, I’ll see if I can keep it going.

First, let’s talk about the elephant in my room. Or rather, in my brain.

I recently made a book purchase, then added Jenny Lawson‘s Furiously Happy to get the free shipping. I’d acquired her previous book in audio form and looked like a lunatic going for walks in my quiet suburban neighbourhood while cackling at nothing.

I haven’t read more than the first few pages, but something clicked as I read her escapades with her non-functioning sleep schedule. While I recognized that it’s highly unlikely I have any of the diagnoses she received, I also recognized that I am not alone.

I am not the only mother with depression.

Jenny is far higher functioning than I am. Obviously. She’s published very successful books and writes regularly and frequently for several massive audiences. But she does mention not getting out of bed for weeks. And she mentions her daughter learning about her situation. (I might have a more enlightened discussion on this once I finish the book, and I’m looking forward to it.)

My son is too young for me to explain to him why there are so many days when I just don’t see him. I fall asleep as he wakes up and wake up after he has fallen asleep.

This is not because I’m third shift or even because I’m a night owl. If anything, I’m a morning person. I hate being awake at night. The days I manage to wake up in the morning are my best days, the days I enjoy the most. They just seem so few and far between.

So why not just wake up in the morning? What is it they say on Tumblr? Oh, my sweet, summer child. If only I could.

Continue reading Here I am again.