Cheating Death

Is it sad (as in pathetic, as in petty) if I consider my Chromebook’s ability to function at half capacity an analogy to myself and my life?

moronYou see, I am an idiot. People say I’m smart, they tell me I have all these wonderful qualities and characteristics, that I’m hilarious, that I have common sense and a gift for connecting with people who also hurt internally. But in the grand scheme of things, I must be an utter moron.

What do I expect to happen when I leave juice next to an electronic device, and then decide to flop down on the bed like a whale?

The keyboard is shot and I’m hoping I tipped it upside down, stuck it in rice, and hair-drier-ed it quick enough that the motherboard won’t be affected by some sugary, monstrous after-effect.

It’s a touch screen, luckily, and that still works. But it’s not the same.

Its short life flashed behind my eyes the moment the liquid slid over the flat keys and seemed into all the little crevices. I remember the first day I got it and the freedom it provided me from this over-sized desktop.

But essentially me and it are connected in another intimate way. It looks like a 700 dollar laptop (it wasn’t anywhere near that price) but it functions at the capacity of a 40 dollar laptop now that half of it is disabled.

Generally, when I try hard enough, I can look like a million dollars. But I function at a capacity worth less than a penny.

I realize I am generally a disappointment to the people around me–whether or not they are willing to say it to my face. I realize I am a bit of a burden to people. I can’t handle much noise or people and I often shut down if I’m put in that situation–or I just embarrass myself trying to blend in to the crowd. I say odd things, make odd jokes, and have trouble relating or connecting to people on an emotional level. I’m not exactly the kind of person you bring home to your parents, either, because chances are I won’t talk to them.

I’m essentially the human version of y=sinx:

maxresdefault1

And regardless of whether or not I enjoy that, I’m aware it creates a kind of pressure upon people I’m around.

You can say “well, those are the people you shouldn’t be around”.

But that’s every person. Whether they are willing to say it or not, whether they let it bother them or not, they are taking on extra baggage by simply being involved with me.

I weep randomly like an abused toddler.

But if you asked someone who knows me in a general sense, they would tell you I’m always laughing and cracking jokes and the majority of them have probably never seen me shed a tear, even if I hurt myself. And they may call themselves my friend, and I may call them my friend as well, but the connection they have with me will always be undoubtedly more shallow than others they may have.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because for them, they have many kinds of connections with many people.

'Why must you keep building barriers between us, darling?'Through my eyes, I see myself distanced from everyone, consistently cut off from humanity. I agree I may contribute to that consciously a bit, but I believe a lot of it is unconscious behavior that I know nothing about.

So naturally I’ve contemplated suicide many times in my life, and I still do.

I think it’s a normal behavior for many people. Some people want to end it because of a job, because of an issue at school, because of an issue with their family . . . none of them are ill, or disordered for God’s sake, they just want a way out; they’re feeling trapped.

I’ve always felt trapped and I believe to some extent I always will be. Humans are not exactly a species I understand on an emotional level. I try to relate but I can’t. I think the act of trying so much as made me even more distant.

So when I’m feeling claustrophobic within my own mind and my own space, and when I’m planning the best way to leave earth without much pain or gruesome clean up, and when I’m contemplating what day and time I should go, who my belongings should be inherited by, I try and think about the things I will miss.

I ignore the thoughts of all the people who would supposedly miss me, not because I’m insensitive and not because I don’t care for those people, but because I want to find a reason to live for myself. I’m sick of having to endure things for the sake of others, and life is one thing I’ve been enduring for others.

I live for everyone else, constantly. I do what they wish me to do not because I’m comfortable but because I know it makes them happy and I would like to make as many people happy as I can.

Don’t confuse this with being a push-over. Ask anyone I know and they will tell  you if I don’t agree with something I will give a full hour lecture on the stupidity of it all. 

But when it comes to actions, things that I know other normal people do, I try and agree to them because I want to lessen the burden of my “oddness” upon others and instead place everything on my own shoulders. I suck at giving gifts, but if you want me to go to a movie with you on premier night, I probably will.

e08701a15e288ec622a52e51ef4f5ad2I try and think about the birds and how weird it would be to never hear them chirp again. I try to think about the clouds and the sky and how weird it would be to never feel rain on my skin again, how weird it would be to never feel a headache again (of which I have right now), how weird it would be to never heard another laugh or to laugh, to never hear or feel wind, or thunder, to never pet another cat or get licked by another dog.

Do I want to give up an opportunity to experience all of that?

This doesn’t stop me from feeling trapped or like a burden or useless or any other negative thing I associate with myself, but it does stop me from doing anything rash.

And isn’t that what life is about anyway? Aren’t we always trying to find new ways to cheat death?

My brain has been living in emotional survival mode the moment I spotted another human being outside of my immediate family. That’s 21 years of constantly fighting, and it’s tired.

I might not remember anything about my childhood, but I do remember feelings. And there isn’t a moment from my childhood I remember feeling comfortable with the world around me or the people around me. I was aware I wasn’t like them and no one told me that was alright. That’s a lot to deal with as a 4, 5, 6, year old.

They told me I’d grow out of it all.

I’m still trying to figure out what they meant.

Cats

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

How come no one told me there are such things as “emotional support” animals? Why is this not a thing I was immediately aware of at the moment of my birth? Why have I been living my life absent of the cuddly preciousness that is a kitten?

dwarf-kitten-01You see, I’m a huge sucker for cats. I lived twelve years of my life with one until she passed and ever since I’ve been trapped within the confines of an apartment which requires a hefty 250 dollar deposit if you have the slightest inclination of bringing a feline or canine into your house that you pay over-priced rent for.

BUT.

You Guys.

If you register an animal as an “emotional support” animal, your apartment complex (as long as it’s larger than four units) can’t deny your animal, nor can they legally charge you a fee to have it.

I would like one order of a nice, fluffy, indoor little buddy who can keep me entertained enough not to stab myself in the throat. Is that too much to ask? IS IT?

I know they have trained service dogs that, in terms of mental health, can help comfort you when it senses you’re having a panic attack, which would be awesome. But a dog would not be happy in this tiny complex and I couldn’t force it to live a claustrophobic lifestyle just so its fluffiness can ease my pain.

I would gladly claim myself “mentally disabled” if that means I can acquire a ball of happiness from an adoption center and not have to pay my apartment complex a cent.

fluffy-puppy-pictures-cuteimages-netI do think an animal companion can be really useful. I bet many of you have animals (lucky bastards) and I’m sure you are much happier when your–insert animal here–jumps on your lap or licks your face or whines at you or jumps on you when you enter the house. At least you know as long as you keep feeding them and you don’t abuse them, they will always love you.

You could feed your human friends all you want and they’ll still drop you faster than you drop a hot skillet.

It’s summer here, and you know what that means: isolation, isolation, and more isolation. I don’t want to be alone in this, I want a kitten to be isolated with me. I can play with it and give it food and watch it learn the world around it.

Summer here for me has and always will be hell. Tourists from the south and the north come and converge in the middle, where we are, along the coast, where we are, and they get their vacation rentals and plug up our hotels and clog our streets and I can’t step out of my apartment without getting engulfed by a group of preppy short-shorters who stare at my sweats and baggy sweater and hood over my head like I’m crazy.

So essentially I’m trapped.

I’m starting to feel it, it’s weighing in on me too. The only time I’m comfortable leaving the house is at night now and what the hell am I going to do at night besides drive around? Eat at Denny’s and pray I don’t get food poisoning?

I can’t even cycle without feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of people, and that’s the only form of exercise I can happily do outside so no matter how much I don’t eat, I’m still putting on a few extra pounds. So you know damn well I’ve thrown the contemplation of taking medication again out the window: I’ll blow up like a balloon.

anastasia-638x0_q80_crop-smart

I don’t think I could juggle a class and work this summer, so I’ll be dropping the class. I also think I registered for too many units this semester and will be splitting them over two semesters. Which means I’ll be here for another year.

At this point, I feel the all too familiar claws of failure gripping my neck. My nightly panic attacks are returning, so that means I’m repressing something. It’s probably all of the aforementioned things, the beginning of summer, the reminder that I can barely sustain a manageable amount of discomfort around two people let alone ten every two feet.

I try to believe that people aren’t automatically harboring some wicked agenda against me, but it’s not feasible 90% of the time.

I won’t go into a rant tonight.

I could really use a cat, though.

Hired . . . Now What?

It Never Stops

A few days ago I watched the first part of a two part documentary on Agoraphobia. It featured a man who hadn’t left his house in six years, a woman too afraid of her panic to walk her eight year old daughter to school, and a pregnant General Practitioner who couldn’t stay in a house alone for more than four minutes but couldn’t walk past the parking lot of her apartment.

While each of them had in common their fear of having a panic attack in public, they had individual reasons for their panic. The GP couldn’t handle being alone outside or inside and motorways/highways were a serious trigger for her. She’d start shaking, crying, and spewing words a mile a minute.

With the man I most identified because he had some social anxiety. His was relatively mild compared to mine, but significantly impacted his level of agoraphobia. While he walked down the street with a psychiatrist, his eyes constantly searched the sidewalks across the street for people staring at him and he immediately assumed, as we all do with social anxiety, that something was wrong with him, that he looked weird or dressed weird or something. The psychiatrist took a very “exposure therapy” approach from the beginning, so I wasn’t surprised when he had the man lay in the middle of the sidewalk with him and force him to feel embarrassed over something real. They then sat on the curb and walked around while the psychiatrist started shouting gibberish into the air or just generally screeching right next to people.

Honestly, I was laughing my ass off.

mike-pointing-o

Laughing my ass off while simultaneously thanking God I wasn’t the one having to go through that.

I think the method helped him. Would it have helped me? I don’t believe so; I’m a loud person when I want to be and I’ve laid in the middle of the sidewalk and I’ve shouted random things right in people’s faces. It hasn’t helped me conquer my social anxiety disorder.

I also identified with the third woman, the one with the child. Much of her panic was triggered by loud noises. When a bus passed by her and two psychologists, she hunched down with her hands over her ears and started shaking and panicking. As the bus left, she slowly returned to a base level. In a grocery store a worker made an announcement over the loud speaker and the woman went through the same process.

I’m not completely incapacitated by noises like her, but I rage if they’re near me (like the bus) or flinch and plug my ears if I’m in a grocery store. It’s why I wear ear phones everywhere. I think I’ve said this before.

nicole-is-wearing-headphones-that-match-her-dress

Ha! Can I just point out the address for this picture was literally “Nicole-is-wearing-headphones-that-match-her-dress”. My God. Someone is a creative photographer.

Anyway, the man and the woman with the child both faced their fears exceptionally well and even though they cried and shook and went through the motions of panic during their outings, they took it and felt it and dealt with it. The GP however, did not. She refused to stay in the house for fifteen minutes by herself (she lasted 4 minutes and 30 seconds) and when it came time for all three of them to conquer an obstacle together and hop on a local train without any staff, she refused to get on. The other two were crying and shaking and reflecting on themselves and their fears while they sat on the train ride.

I admire them. I think the GP could have pushed herself harder. That’s not being harsh, that’s being truthful. You have to push yourself, even if it’s to a breaking point. I’ve been the same way, done the same maladaptive behavior, stayed in my house for months and months at a time, and I still do to some extent, but I keep trying. Some days I try harder than others, some days I don’t try at all.

She didn’t try at all at any point. I acknowledge the amount of effort she put into trying to try, but it wasn’t enough. I haven’t watched the second part, because I think it was a stupid idea to take all three of them into a whole new country without acknowledging there may be other mental reasons besides a classically conditioned fear behind their agoraphobia. I saw a preview of the second half where the psychiatrist admitted his work had backfired. It’s one criticism I have about exposure therapy: it’s good for some and really, really shitty for the majority of others.

I want to be like the other two. I can’t hide behind fears any longer, it’s tearing me down.

Today I got hired for that one job. I have to go in for a drug screen and to fill out some paper work this Friday. Training starts every weekend until March in which I’ll be getting a good 20+ hours each week.

I’m worried about the stress. I’m worried about my level of commitment and if I’ve made a mistake. Am I ready?

So I went for a contemplative bike ride. And met this crazy gal:

Cow Grazing

I named her Daisy. She didn’t want to be named and labeled like a human, so I told her I wouldn’t call her Daisy.

Not to her face, at least.

I’m crafty.

66157834

Daisy told me there’s no way to know if I’m ready or not. It’s a matter of action, not a matter of contemplation, and she says that’s how I trick myself into backing out of things. I’m a good thinker, she says, but not a good do-er, simply because I think too much. I think I share that problem with the GP woman from the documentary.

I like thinking, I’m a thinker, and all my logic points to being able to solve problems through thinking alone. The majority of the time that’s not possible.

Apparently. 

Training will be stressful, I’ve already thought about that. Because this position requires I’m responsible for insane amounts of cash (I’m not talking hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, I’m talking the big Mill), the pressure I’ll put on myself to be perfect and never make a mistake will be the equivalent of a primordial dwarf trying to lift three cars stacked on top of each other off their shoulders.

I’m a perfectionist. I hate and love this fact about myself. I love it because it means I do things right. I hate it because it means if I don’t do it right, even when I’m still learning, I’ll tear myself to shreds. 

998ac5e9bfd915601d600fd31b0162e2

Hopefully the fact that I’m aware of it will help me ease the pressure.

I know it will get easier as the weeks pass. The more I learn, the more equipped I’ll be to handle situations that require I think on my feet.

The main thing I’m worried about is the fact that all the instructions are delivered orally. I’m going to be learning hands-on of course, but when they explain things it will be orally and it takes me a long time to process oral directions.

I don’t feel like that’s a good thing to tell my new employer.

I told them I prefer not to work with customer service but I didn’t tell them I have social anxiety disorder, depression, and rage issues. I figured that’s not a good first impression in this day and age.

 

Stress, stress, stress. It never stops. I don’t handle stress well. This job is either going to be yet another disaster, or the best decision I’ve ever made.