Sunday, 30 December 2007

Resolving The Resolvable

My New Year resolutions always take the form of fears that need to be overcome. This year it's simple 1) overcome my fear of people, 2) overcome my intense claustrophobia, and 3) overcome myself to make music.

It seems that to do all of the above, I first need to redeem myself in the eyes of humanity, as in the eyes of many, solitude and misanthropy is practically a crime. To do this I need to be chastened and humble, which isn't something that comes naturally to me, but isn't something that's beyond me either. What I do struggle with is maintaining it over an extended period of time, and this is crucial in being accepted by "adult" humanity" that works on the basis of conditionals. If anything goes wrong and you revert to "the bad old ways", you're out. That's the rules of the game as I understand them, and there has to come a point at which I cease to question that and kid myself that I can do better. I don't like conditionals, but they're not going to go away. I know I can do it, but can I make it stick?

Happy New Year to one and all.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Wearing The Genes

One of the things I think many of us struggle with, but not many of us will accept, is the notion of weak-mindedness. That we, as people with mental health disorders, are quite simply inferior to those of sound mind, and especially those of sound body and mind. Not many of us will admit to this suspicion, myself included. For one thing, it flies in the face of what many of us are taught in therapy, and also such an admission isn't particularly good for self-esteem. But what exactly is weak-mindedness, and must it necessarily be a bad thing?

When I think of weak-mindedness, I think of my dad. My dad was an alcoholic, but the weakness in his case wasn't the alcoholism itself. It was the fact that he never attempted to fight it, surrendering the initiative and all possibility of redemption. My dad knew that he had made the wrong choices in life, and I think he figured that a little weakness and indulgence at the end wasn't going to make too much of a difference. It cost us a dad, but then he'd never really been a proper dad. So in reality it didn't cost us very much at all.

Then there are the "weakness" traits from my mum's side of the family, which have more to do with obsession, greed and lust. Too much that was repressed; too many atomic bombs waiting to go off. Last night I was talking to my brother for the first time in a long time, and I saw a side to him that I hadn't seen before, and that I really hoped wasn't there. It was the side of me that I wish wasn't there, and I honestly hoped that my prolonged exile from the family would have meant they weren't "contaminated" like I was. But what can you do when the genes get involved? Surrender free will completely?

If I'm honest, I quite like my weak-mindedness. I find that the "softness" enhances mental flexibility and dexterity, and that this in turn enhances creativity. But the real world does not concur, and the real world is right. Strong-mindedness isn't an achievement; it's a basic prerequisite to partake of the real world. When I find myself in "real" situations with "real" people, I become daunted and panic for an escape. I try to act humble, but the faux-humility is merely masking the weakness. I get scared, profoundly so. And when I get scared I get weak, and when I'm weak then I get sick. So I stay home. For now.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fearing The Worst

Jeez, I really should update this blog more. I get so pissed off with it, and pissed off about how I come across. But I am well aware that there are people with similar disorders who are reading this, and there is kind of an obligation, once you've started a blog like this, to follow it through. Hope everybody's well.

Regrettably my fears are plaguing me badly at the moment. The mental tricks and techniques I use to keep them at a distance don't work anymore, so my fears are right on top of me. I'm not getting out much, because I have to walk everywhere as the public transport claustrophobia is too bad right now. I'm reluctant to walk as it's making me feel so heavy and fatigued, so I'm staying indoors, smoking too much and putting on weight. The housing situation is not good either. I'm trapped where I am, next door to an ex-soldier with a grudge and a mouth as big as his ego. I'm desperate to get out, but I have nowhere to go. No friends or favors to call upon.

The one bright spot is that I've managed to get regular counselling sessions at a time that suits. I'm nervous as hell when I walk in, as my mind is doing cartwheels just being around people. I'm tense, head down, sat up straight, no eye contact...but generally once I've found a groove I can keep talking, even if a little haphazardly. The nerves are terrible right now, but maybe there are ways of casting it out with nervous energy. Trouble is, I think I've tried them all and I'm right back where I started. And I don't want to sound like a miracle curist. I've encountered a few of them online recently, and it makes me despair of how I may come across.

Finally, I've just discovered the genre of post-rock and I wanted to share it with you. Don't know how this music passed me by for so long. Anyway, this is the first thing I've ever embedded so I hope it works!

Stay safe everybody :-)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Facing The Front

Right then, time I faced this blog again. I've probably lost the handful of readers that I had, apologies that I've not been keeping up.

The hospital thing didn't happen. The only hospital within walking distance couldn't help me, and the only hospital that could help me would have meant getting on public transport which at the moment I can't do. I guess I'm relieved that I didn't get taken in, as I'm sure it would have been a bad experience and I probably would have been put on antipsychotics, which I'm determined to avoid as I figure there's no way back from there. And in any case, I've started having psychotherapy at a local mental health charity, which I figure will help me far more. I've been offered the tantalizing promise of being better able to integrate the internal world with the external world, although how this might work in reality I have absolutely no idea. But it's worth a shot because I have never felt as bad as I've been for the past 2 months or so, and I am determined to get out of the hole that I'm in.

One of the reasons I've not been able to face this blog recently is that I've been making endless resolutions about how to create a new and better me, get my head in the right place and keep it there. "Working the borderline" didn't quite fit these resolutions, so I figured that a "new and improved" me might necessitate a new and improved blog. But, alas, "working the borderline" is me. This is my stop; it's where I get off. "Working the borderline" is what I do, and is what I will continue to do. Even if it's not a valid thing to do, or even a thing that is done at all. It's what I want to do in music, and what I know I will do in life. It's what brings me to life, and that is good enough for me. So the blog stays, and I'll stay with it.

Nice to be back.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Checking In

Tomorrow I'm going to check myself into hospital. I need to, my chemical balance is all wrong and I'm a nervous wreck right now. I can't move confidently around my mind any more, I'm having to settle in one key and accept the restrictions and consequences imposed. I'm trying so hard to surrender and feel instead of think, but it's proving so hard. I don't want to become over-reliant on medication, but I have to do something because I just can't cope with it any more. I can't see beyond myself, and I hate that because I want to engage and contribute towards reality. But the fear is so bad that it's stopping me dead in my tracks.

Now normally I would continue the post by analyzing why I feel this way, but I simply haven't got the energy or the inclination to do that now. So I'm checking into hospital tomorrow, because after 5 years of social isolation I deserve a bit of rest and recuperation. I'll address the medication thing later, I just need to feel better first.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

On Self-Consciousness

I went to see my doctor this evening as I have some referral forms I need her to sign. But the self-consciousness and anxiety are so bad, I had to turn back and head for home. There was a big queue and no place to sit, but that's an excuse and I know it. I left because I was too self-conscious, pulling in on myself and tensing myself up rigid. The doctor's surgery is a completely safe place to be, and my doctor is a completely safe person and a thorough professional. But still I felt unsafe, largely because I was aware of the fact that I felt unsafe. Why can't these double negatives cancel each other out, the way double negatives are supposed to?

In an earlier post I wrote about how it's the anxiety that's crippling me, since it's the anxiety that's stopping me from doing things I used to do with ease. But it's the self-consciousness that's driving the anxiety, so ultimately the self-consciousness is to blame. Yes I'm on my own for long periods of time, but so are many spiritual practitioners and they don't suffer from acute self-consciousness. Why am I so self-conscious?

I have 2 theories as to why this may be the case. (I'm aware that having 2 theories may be a part of the problem, but I'll proceed anyway). The first is to do with trying to develop my mind as an instrument, not to make music itself but to enable others to make music relative to my "position". It may well be that in doing this, I have inadvertently divided my mind into the bits that are the "player", and the bits that are "played". In other words, maybe it takes a heightened level of self-consciousness in order to make it work. Now I would argue against this, because when I'm in that zone I experience a sense of "oneness" that I do not feel anywhere or anytime else. But maybe that's the problem: maybe that sense of oneness is costing me any semblance of oneness elsewhere. Also there's the not inconsiderable fact that the rest of the world doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about when I say that I want to play my mind as an instrument. So when I step into the real world I'm effectively stepping into enemy territory, even though I do my best to convince myself that this is not the case.

The second theory is to do with infinity, or a sense and aspiration towards the infinite. My mind is inspired by the infinite and the universal, and wants to achieve things by tapping into that sense. Which is fine as far as it goes, but at the same time I'm perfectly well aware that infinity and reality are not always compatible, and that a "universal" approach to life isn't always the best thing when it comes to dealing with specifics and mudanities. In short, universalism is about potential and realism is about productivity. So what may be happening is that in "real" situations, particularly in confined spaces controlled by other people, the "real" part of me is manifesting itself as a hyper-selfconsciousness, in order to quell and eliminate the "universal" part of me which does not want to accept the limitations of the situation that I find myself in. Universalism and potentialism have always been my mind's defense against the world, and without them I get scared.

Now these are obviously weighty issues to address, and I'm still not convinced that potentialism and reality are fundamentally opposed to one another. But what matters now is that I find something to eliminate, or at the very least reduce, the chronic self-consciousness and anxiety I feel in public situations. I'm sure there are new techniques I could learn, but I'm tired of learning new techniques. I just want some peace!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Surrendering The Initiative

Hmmm, well...bit of a backward step compared with the previous 2 posts. I've still been adopting the surrender mentality, but it didn't work so well today. I walked into town as I couldn't face the bus, and once there I felt so lost and confused. Surrender is all very well and has many virtues, but it does leave one feeling ever so vulnerable and exposed. ANYONE could have picked me off today, and I would have lain down meekly and accepted it.

I believe I'm "surrendering" for the right reasons. "Surrender" to reality, surrender to feelings and think less. But the trouble is that when I reject my thoughts, they get all nasty and seek to punish me. I try to concentrate on something external, but they pull me back in towards them and pile the pressure on until I surrender, not to reality but to them. So reality wants me to surrender to it, and my thoughts want me to surrender to them. I want to surrender to become a better person, but the net result is that no actual surrendering is ever done, because the different modes of surrender contradict each other.

And it is against this backdrop that I'm seriously considering surrendering my liberty. It's not a conscious thing, just a gradual acceptance that I'm sliding towards residential care without really putting up much of a fight. Because that's what we surrender monkeys do: we don't fight. We kid ourselves it's for the right reasons, and cite notions such as "humility" and "humanity". But surrender is still surrender, and like the French we'll probably feel ashamed about it later.

So tomorrow when I go out, I'm going out in potentialista mode. I figure that if I'm going out, I might as well go out in style. Last time I did that I got seriously scared, and it triggered my current crisis with public transport. But if I'm prepared to surrender my liberty then what the fuck have I got to lose? The things that I valued have already gone.

Right, I'm signing off. Have a good night and enjoy this Wiki definition of a potentialist.