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.

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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.