Sunday, 23 August 2015

On Obstacles

Hey, poppadoms. Sorry this is late (like you're sat hammering F5 on your web browser of choice staring in increasing panic at your clock going, "Where the hell is that update from Rob, anyway?"). But still, apologies. It's been a tough week. In typical fashion I got the forms I needed to register with the doctors' near our new flat in plenty of time, then proceeded to fill absolutely none of them in until it was too late to sort an appointment before my meds ran out. Which meant: no antidepressants for a few days. Which meant, it turns out: really bad things. Anyway, I'll let the diary tell you. Onwards!


12:35 -- You know in the Redux of Apocalypse Now when the French woman on the plantation says to Willard, in some let's-be-honest painfully clunky dialogue, "There are two of you, don't you see? The one that kills... and the one that loves"? Well, that's like me, except rather than killing, the fundamental duality of my nature is expressed in a shadow side of me that wants to do nothing but sleep.

I'd set my alarm for 08:00, put it on other side of the room so I'd have to get all the way out of bed for it (the good me clever like that) -- then next I know Morning Rob is in charge and he's having none of my shit. "I'm running this ship now, boyo." He stumbles across the room cursing, gropes for the phone, jabs at the screen until the banshee death-wail desists, stumbles to the bathroom for a piss, then stumbles back into bed, muttering to himself all the while. Then darkness. Then it's hours later and I realise I've totally buggered up the first day of my diary. Then, instead of getting started, I sit in bed on my laptop drinking coffee and looking up quotes from the Apocalypse Now Redux.

13:10 -- Been reading about Updike's Rabbit Redux. Not sure I liked Rabbit, Run -- there was something cynical and cold about it to which I couldn't connect. Anyway! Going to work on an essay for next week's post now.

15:32 -- Did some writing, but also read a Guardian list of 100 greatest English language novels, felt bad about not having read any Hardy, or Dickens, or Poe, or... &c, then ate wraps and made more coffee. Back to work now.

16:18 -- Thinking. What I wrote in last post about pesky demon of procrastination -- maybe first step in defeating him is accepting him. So I slept late today. So what? My usual response would be despair, that it proves everything I fear about myself, that I want to do something worthwhile with my life but I never will. And that leads to shame, then self-loathing, then a black depression that lasts for days and blankets everything. So why not instead just go easy on myself and feel nice and let it go? What's so tough about that, Robbie-boy?

Immediate thought crashes in: You're making excuses for being lazy and weak, making light of it, revelling in it so don't have to take responsibility and can carry on like this. When you gonna grow up?

But hang on. If I don't take that voice as gospel (always take that self-critical lashing voice as Honest Truth) but instead look at it impassively, analytically, then not sure I was making excuses. Wasn't I instead saying that the milk is already spilt, no use wasting time feeling worthless for knocking it over, instead just clean it up and be happy and move on?

Maybe actually it's voice saying "when you gonna grow up" that's keeping me from growing up. Piling on self-loathing talking so venomous because it's scared of change.

Urg, I don't know. To be perfectly honest I feel like dirt. Like dredged canal waste. Like those spirals of mud that have been chewed up and secreted by worms. I've run out of antidepressants because I'm stupid. I've not registered at the docs' yet and it's going to be who-knows-how-long before I can get an appointment. Goddammit.

18:40 -- Done what I can for the day. Off now to watch X-Men Origins, thinking of writing reviews of stuff on Wednesdays. At the least the film will be dumb noise to lose myself in. Need that.


10:44 -- I've done it again. Staggered to phone, switched alarm off, crawled back into bed. I thought writing this diary would create accountability, incentivise me to get up, but of course I can just sleep in and then come here and apologise. Blurg. I really hate mornings.

11:00 -- Okay, let's focus on positives. I've had cereal. I've got coffee. I'm here. I'm musty and hollow and unhappy, but I'm here.

Can feel a spot coming on on my chin, one of those buried-deep ones that you know is going to hurt like all hell. Closing my window. The days are getting colder, the nights drawing in. Is summer over already? Feels like we only had about three pleasant days. Yeah. Anyway. Off to write about stupid X-Men film that was stupid.

11:15 -- Quick thought: strikes me that these posts are getting worse, but that's maybe a good thing. Need to throw away every desire to write well, to impress, and rediscover joy of writing for its own sake. Never used to post anything on old blog that gave away what I was really like -- except it always in the end did, and I'd hate it anyway. Cast off all conceptions of myself, demolish desires, build back up from basics. Might lose a few people's respect, bullshit people on FB might think I'm weird, but also lose all fears of that. Go into darkness but carry on going. Do the blog every week for a year. If still shit after that, at least I finally tried something. Yes. Yes.

16:08 -- Been writing all day. Also reading loads of Wikipedia pages on X-Men and Marvel characters and film writers and directors and loads of stuff. Re-watched scenes from film for quotes and whatnot. Paused few hours ago, did weights, went for a walk, made lunch, drank coffee. Then more writing. Turned into good day.

17:26 -- More writing, then took forms to doctors' and registered. Was easy. Got an appointment for tomorrow morning. Feeling good. Well, feeling acceptable. Hurray.


11:46 -- Been to the docs', got more meds, got some baby shampoo for eye infection I've had forever, done some writing on the X-Men review, and, perhaps most importantly, Co-Op had special offer on Special K cereal. What a day this is turning out to be!

Also, it's summer again. Blue skies, clouds ambling about, insects at work. Why was I so maudlin yesterday morning? Though it does worry me that I had no meds for a few days and I've been feeling so much better. Are they actually helping? Maybe I'm just forgetting how bad things were before I went on them. I don't know.

17:13 -- Rushing to get film review done. These constant deadlines are good. Same old desire to slack off, but no time. Like lifting a weight, like turning a screw. Just gotta -- nnnrrrghh, tighten the muscle, strain, and do it. Either that or carry on how I was living, working chain pub and drinking too much and spending days off in bed staring at nothing feeling like been fuckin hit by an oil tanker or something. To hell with that.

18:49 -- Review is done and posted. Don't look back. Enjoy having done it, meet friends for drinks tonight, and move on.


13:27 -- No desire to do this. Charlie and I stayed round friends' last night, woke up this morning to work stress Charlie had to deal with, not nice at all. Missed my tablet last night because of staying out drinking, right after getting more meds as well. Stupid, stupid. Like I'm purposefully doing the dumbest stuff. Why am I like this?

Need to get back on meds, start getting up early again, sort myself out. Just... I don't know. Last night's post seems so awful now. Disgustingly, painfully crap. Why did I put it up?

14:17 -- Everything feels so fragile at the moment. I'm writing all this stuff and it seems so shit and I'm swinging between feeling like it's what I have to do to make progress and like it's all an awful embarrassing mistake. Thought it was a good idea but I was mistaken and everyone is laughing at me or else bewildered like what the hell is that weird guy doing, or else couldn't care less, that I'm shouting into a void and old voidy is staring back silent waiting for me to expel all air from lungs then going to swallow me up anyway. No sound, no art, no love beats that void.

Urg. Shh. I've enjoyed writing the previous posts. I have. Especially the X-Men one. So what if it was loose and rambling? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.

Don't know. I can write that. I can't believe it though. The positive thought is there and I just can't hold it. Feel so lost. I'm sorry, I don't know. I'm having a panic attack or something. Can't catch breath. Everything is too much. Had the worst nightmares last night. Drowning in distant lightless caverns, groaning walls, peristalsis throb of furious insectoid bodies... then racing angles, tall worlds at every turn, foamy shores of crab-like movement, basin dripping in empty room, bone dissolves and blooms in lichen and explodes and blooms again. Galaxies, lives rushing by, and something of myself awake, aware but without control, one eye watching trapped in terror racing down pulsating clay passageways through electric sandstorms wanting to scream but able only to realise what it was seeing and all the silent horror was but the contents of its own brain.

And I awoke soaked in sweat. Lay in bed thinking over and over that this is what it'll be like when I die. Tried to calm myself but that part of me very small, far away. Most powerful people on Earth, wisest, richest -- none of them know the answer. All of us are alone, I thought. Fell asleep again and don't remember dreaming but must have because when I woke up I'd been crying and my eyes were wet.


08:54 -- Is this the first day of the week I've been up before 9? I think so. Yesterday was bad. Spent afternoon and evening playing GTA: San Andreas, something old and comfortable, falling into familiar routine, driving back and forth down streets I know so well, finding solace in the systems, warmth in the simple digital rules, hiding from something terrible and unnamed. First antidepressant back on was awful, all evening last night nauseated, confused, misplaced, like a wraith watching my life from the outside.

Don't feel much better now. Nausea has receded but everything still feels cold, bleak.

09:28 -- Just burnt my coffee. Got to it before it boiled over, but the taste is gone. Can't cope with this. Want to fling mug against wall. I know it's stupid. I know I'm overreacting. Can't get a foothold though.

Is the act of writing this diary making the depression worse? Making me concentrate more on it? Or do I always go through these days and now I'm just letting people in on it? I DON'T KNOW.


15:40 -- Been at my mum's since Friday looking after her dog. Not been writing. Come back to this now and looked it over, need to put it up. Conclusions? I'm all over the place at the moment. I guess I have been for a long time. This week especially bad because of missing antidepressants, but I think there's a constant battle like this going on even on the meds, though guess the meds have been giving me just enough space to plant my feet and fight back. Been on them eight months now. Think I'd forgotten how bad things were before them -- this week has reminded me.

Plenty of acceptance and change looking back at this diary as well though. Problem is that reach a sensible conclusion (like spilt milk thing), then sort of lose awareness, fall into ingrained negative thoughts and it's only later looking back that realise it's happened. Like I put on Tuesday that I needed to focus on positives, then I immediately listed a load of negatives! It'd be comical, if it wasn't so obviously not (also just realised: might not be a coincidence that all this happened the week I'd said I would write a diary. Like something in me attempting to sabotage myself).

But in the end I got through the week. I wrote a post on Wednesday and I've written this one now. I had a few of my worst days for a long time, but I'm still here, tapping away on my keyboard, listening to the patter of rain against my window. I've not quit yet. That has to mean something. Hold onto that. I don't know where I'm going, but I know I am still going.

And, in fact, screw it. What I'm going to do for next week is carry on writing a diary, but every time I'm negative I'll force myself to come up with an alternative interpretation for reality that is a bit nicer. I won't say that's the truth or anything, I'll just jot it down, like an exercise, and move on. And I'll do film reviews and stuff on Wednesdays so this isn't all self-involved (though personally speaking pretty necessary) navel gazing. See you soon, then. Love love.

1 comment:

  1. To make any progress at all you have to start from somewhere, and being honest about where you are is half the battle. I think all of us recognise some of these feelings but lack the means to articulate them. I hope you keep on enlightening and entertaining us. Love