Lost Mind, Lost Soul: A Diary Of a Sickness (Pt. 5)

More than 3 months after my last post, I come back to dust off this blog, with the same old hope that I may be more constant with it. Actually, I have to admit the recent increase in likes and comments has helped setting my mind on it again, although I never really forgotten about it.

Things are definitely better. Better, not good. I think this is how I was hoping to feel by July, on my way to recovering for university. That year is gone, and the only thing I can do is make these months count the way they are.

The phobia is mostly gone. The sensation I have is that it’s only temporarily gone, because there are next to no insects with the winter’s cold. I’m doing my best to use this anxiety-free time I have to work on everything. The depression that was hidden beyond the anxiety is showing itself, though, with all its charge of sadness, self-contempt, lack of will, feeling of absolute, universal loneliness.

I’m noticing a few things, as I’m writing. One is that I’m not used to writing anymore. For some reason, I lost all my e-pen friends, so I haven’t written a word (besides some simple IM chatting, and note-taking – more on that later) effectively since my last post. But it’s not just rustiness in word-choice or syntax: I have trouble identifying my intents, thoughts and desires with lexicon and then organizing them in sentences. It’s not simply a linguistic problem, it’s psychological confusion (see the title of this diary), although I’m sure more writing would certainly help with it. It’s a subtle feeling in everyday life, at the same time a sense of many contrasting thoughts and a lack of a clear dominant direction.

I’m also noticing how I repeated twice in two paragraphs that I’m doing my best with what I have; which feels a lot like compensation for feeling guilty that I’m not, and afraid that I will not. With my main psychologist, it always feels like every session is very productive and useful, like I’m always making some kind of progress. (I may try to write short follow-ups to those sessions, as a way to encourage more regular posting) But, I’ve started seeing a psychologist specialized in gender identity in September, and I can’t recall one question she asked me that is somehow related to gender identity. Still, while that may be her fault, I haven’t made any progress in that area by myself either. I tried, at times, but everything scares me so much. For instance, I had started studying voice feminization techniques, but they look so hard, and I get discouraged easily these days. I’m sure I would start seeing some results if I just tried an hour a day for a couple of weeks, but when, at day 2, I start thinking I’m worthless and I’ll never get anywhere with it, or with anything else, I just get depressed. I know I should endure it. I feel so damn guilty.

Other things are better, though. The last couple of weeks I’ve studied almost every day, played the guitar often and read as much. I’ve been exposed to some interesting ideas, from Colin Wilson’s The Outsider to the plot of Metal Gear Solid 2, just to mention the very last ones, and it’s exciting, nothing less. This is definitely the side of my life that is progressing better. It was also the only part of my life that was remotely successful, before all this happened. Feels like ages ago, honestly. One of my major problems, though, was that I had this, and nothing else.

I’m still incredibly lonely. My best friend is also my only friend,  and she does her best by seeing me every week, and it’s not her fault, but for me it’s not enough. I still have no satisfying outlet to discuss ideas, exchange thoughts, comments on random stuff, jokes, or simply to give and receive affection in any way that feels meaningful. Even if I started posting more, I feel it would be just a second rate solution to only a few of these problems. I spend 6 and a half days every week in my room, mostly alone, so much so that when my father is around it feels a bit awkward.

My impression is that I’m recovering from the major crisis, and in doing so I’m going back to how I was before everything happened. Which was, tautologically, the same situation that made me develop the phobia as a defence in the first place. The true process of getting better has yet to start.

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Lost Mind, Lost Soul: A Diary Of a Sickness (Pt. 3)

I have stopped hoping to be as constant as I’d like to be with this. It simply isn’t within my capabilities right now. And that’s ok, I guess. Maybe I should say, that’s not too important for now. (‘Cause, of course, it’s not ok) I’m trying to keep my diary updated more often at least. But I’d like to outline the most important things that are happening in my life right now.

I’m getting closer to the root of my phobia. I’ve found a very good psychologist, although he only sees me every other week, because I’m just not feeling sick enough. (…) Anyway, in my conversations with him, I seem to be getting to the same thought pretty quickly, no matter where I start from: I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough at/for anything, I don’t believe to be good enough at/for anything, and I don’t deserve anything. We’re still working on how and why I learned to think like this, but I do, and it’s everywhere, it affects everything, to the point that I distance myself from the only thing I’m undeniably good at (school work), or I wouldn’t be able to do it like I do. (Admitting that I’m good at it is not a possibility)

The other side of the matter is that I expect a lot from myself. I need to be “good above average” while I think I’m the worst there is. If having high expectations can put pressure on yourself, well, this way of thinking at least doubles that pressure. Failure moves from the realms of fear and possibility to that of near certainty.

There are a few things that I care a lot about.  They could be categorized as “self-expression”, or “creation”, making something that is undeniably mine, to share with others. Mostly, this means writing stories, or music, although lately the thought of making a game is starting to appeal to me. And obviously, there’s another “big thing” for me, which is gender transition. Well, everything concerning these two worlds is something I think about every day, and something I have been avoiding for years.

The avoidance is usually unconscious, while the pressure to apply myself to them comes from my rational, self-conscious and purposive side. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy those activities, but they have been so emotionally charged with expectations and fears that the thought of simply enjoying them as I should sounds impossible. In practice, it all translates to a simple formula: the more I care about something, the more I avoid it.

I mentioned that my insect phobia is caused by fears and anxieties that have been transferred, mental energy that has been redirected from its proper place because of blocks that prevented it to express itself as it should have. Well, these are the fears behind it. I have yet to be sure whether my gender transition is, in fact, part of it (I believe it is) and to what extent, but this is what the picture looks like as a whole.

About a week ago, I was feeling better, and I decided that I would try to write. I was calm, I was ok. There was no real pressure on me except the one I was putting on myself, it was a simple choice I made, to spend my time in a certain way, to try and write after a year of silence. Well, it took about 30 seconds to go from calm to extremely anxious, just with that one thought. I tried to stay with that thought for about 20 minutes, then I let it go and started worrying more about my reaction than about trying to write. But the pressure is there. It’s there, even now, only, I don’t even notice it anymore, because I’m so used to it. Pressure to do things, even trivial things, and pressure to do important things, and to recover so that I can do those things again as soon as possible.

I’m not quite sure where to go from here, though. I’ve found my block, and I felt it strongly and clearly as I took a seemingly innocent decision. How to get past it, though, is beyond me.

Lost Mind, Lost Soul: A Diary of a Sickness (Pt. 2)

I haven’t kept my word with this diary. I haven’t been very constant. At all. Almost 3 weeks after I said I would keep a diary, I’m here writing the second page. But, the diary is not the only thing I should have done and haven’t. There’s a lot of confusion in my days and in my mind, a lot of dis-order. I can’t even express myself in words, I can’t vent with someone, I can’t confess my thoughts: it’s all too tangled up, blurred, hard to name, difficult to organize. I often disappoint my own resolutions, even in small, simple things, and I’ve mostly been escaping from all the depression, as well as escaping the awareness that I’m escaping. I’m that good.

The depression is one half of my days, the other one being anxiety. And of course there’s the emptiness from escaping both.

I started off with a lot of constant anxiety, but that numbed down little by little, day by day, for lack of external stimuli. I have anxiety attacks, when something triggers them, but otherwise my days are fine, and I haven’t felt so bad as to need psych drugs again. Luckily.

As anxiety subdued, the latent depression came up, bigger than ever. No motivation to do anything, just sadness, videogames, all that escapism I hate, and the guilt for allowing myself that with the reason (excuse?) that it wouldn’t be a good moment to pressure myself. But my depression runs a lot deeper than that, I can tell. Or, to be exact, I can feel it, but I can’t tell it. There’s a few things I could list (guilt, sense of losing my place, my future, sense of failure for giving up etc) but somehow it feels like I’m always slightly missing the mark, as if I couldn’t find the right name for the elephant in the room, only some of its body parts.

My personal progresses, so to speak, have been halted too, and indefinitely so. I can’t progress down the transgender road with very little time and space for myself, and even less so if I can’t ask for almost any money from my father because the psychologist is already a big weight on our finances. That’s surely affecting me as well, my thoughts keep going back to that, even more often than usual.

Not all days have been so totally flat-lining. At random times I felt some sort of motivation, some desire to work to get better, some will to do something. But, every night I have nightmares, and every day has a bad start, leaving me feeling like I already have something to make up for the moment I wake up. Sometimes I remember the dreams and sometimes I don’t; I‘m afraid my idea of the mechanism of repression and forgetfulness concerning dreams is too simple, but it does seem to make sense of why the days I remember my nightmares seem to be a bit better than the others. Still, even if I go to bed with some kind of energy, it’s always gone in the morning, and I have to start again. I have to start again with nothing in my hands, not even that small will to start again, and fight again.

One of my objectives for the next few days is to make order in my days, find a new routine, so that hopefully my mind will get clearer too. Obviously, writing more of this should help too.

Reflections on “The L Word” Finale

So, I’ve just finished watching the entire 6 seasons of “The L Word”, faithfully, one episode a day. Except for today, when the last disc offered me the last episode right there and I couldn’t wait for tomorrow, so I watched two. And I have to say, it’s been a wonderful show, and I’m happy to have spent the time I’ve spent watching it, as it became my mourning routine, to watch one episode every day, over breakfast.

The finale (I wouldn’t call it an ending) was perplexing at first. I mean, who killed Jenny Schecter? After the end of the last episode, that didn’t make me cry as I was expecting it to (I cried for some seasons finale, especially the ending scene of Season 1, with Bette cheating on Tina with Candace and the beautiful “Roads” by Portishead playing in the background – that scene changed the way I listen to that song now) I spent a few minutes seeing what a google search would come up with regarding people’s thoughts and reactions to it, and I’ve seen that many try to forget an ending that doesn’t end anything, and instead focus on how “the other 69 episodes have been so great”.

“But years from now, will it even matter how the show went out in its final hour? It was really the other 69 episodes that made The L Word a TV milestone. As the retrospective that aired beforehand reminded us, its impact expands far beyond its barrier-busting stories: TV’s first deaf lesbian, its first regularly occurring transsexual character, bisexuals of both genders, drag kings, the US military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, biracial identity, gay parenting, sex/drug/alcohol/gambling addiction, sexual abuse, midlife sexual awakenings, breast cancer…this show took on a lot. Judging by the frequent erraticism of its storytelling, it probably took on too much. In the end, I say, thank goodness it had the guts to take them on at all.” (Source)

While I couldn’t agree more on the deep significance of the themes presented by the show,  I’ve decided to offer a more positive viewpoint about the finale of the series. Continue reading