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Ma ei taha praegu inglise keeles kirjutada, aga ma ei taha ka oma eestikeelset keskkonda sisustada. Selle jaoks on teised plaanid. Seega.

Taipasin täna, kui pehme ma olen. Kui ääretult pehme. Ma vist ei tea kedagi, kes oleks nii pehme kui mina. Mul on kahju, kui teistel kellelgi ei ole. Selles on lausa midagi ebanormaalset. Kindlasti olen ma selle tõttu oma elu tohutult raskemaks elanud, et mul on inimestest kahju.

Mul on kahju joodikutest ja prükkaritest. Kui nad minuga räägivad, siis ma räägin enam-vähem viisakalt vastu, mõnikord natuke nipsakalt ja tõrjuvalt, aga siiski viisakalt. Ükskord sai mul sellisest käitumisest kõrini. Teised naisterahvad ei tee nii. Nad käivad nina püsti mööda. Proovisin minagi siis seda nina püsti käimist. Tuli üks nooremat sorti mees ja kõnetas mind oma ängihoos, vaatasin mööda ja ei teinud kuulma. Hiljem oli mul kahju. Tal paistis päriselt halb. Lorajutt loraks, äng oli ehtne. Edaspidi ma ei ole sedasi käitunud. Kui, siis ärevusest.

Mul on kahju minu ülemusest. Ta on klassikaline ettevõtjast tikkpea. Ta valetab ja ta joob. Kõik vihkavad ja põlgavad teda. Minagi ei pea temast lugu, aga vahel on mul kahju. Ta ei paista mulle päris halb, vaid nõrk ja selgrootu inimene.

Tean meest, kes petab oma naist. Ta on saripetja ega tunne süüd. Ma põlgan tema hoiakuid, aga ta on kõige selle sees nii eksinud ja õnnetu, et mul on ka temast kahju. Ja Michael Jacksonist samuti. Ka tema oli kunagi ohver. Mis me teeme minusugustega? Ma ei tea. Saadame sordiaretustehasse praagina tagasi.

Kui inimesel on halb, siis mul on temast kahju. Ükskõik kui kehvasti ta käitunud on, kui tal on oma supi sees väga halb, siis mul pisut on.

Neist, kes uhked on ja rõõmsalt lulli löövad oma halbade tegude juures, nendest ei ole kahju. Neid tambin koos pööbliga, vahel esireaski.

Siis – näiliselt karjuvas kontrastis eelnevaga – mõtlesin veel seda, et ma olen ikka paras troll portselanipoes ega sobi ilusa hingega inimeste sekka. Neis on sarnasusi ja korraks selle sarnasuse vahel seistes, tundsin end sobimatuna. Ma ei ole nende moodi. Nemad kuuluvad kokku, aga mina olen väljaspool üksinda. Ma olen nagu Martin Eden, kes tahaks nende ilusas maailmas elada, aga ma ei kuulu sinna. Ma olen tahumatum, mul ei ole lihvi. Ma ei julge ilus olla. Selles tundes pole miskit uut ja see vaevab mind vahel, täna siis taaskord. Kõik tunduvad sarnased, ainult mina olen üksinda kusagil väljaspool, sest minus on nii habrast ilu kui tahumatut trolli.

Kui aus olla, siis ma meeldin endale sellisena. Mul on päris lõbus, mulle meeldivad minu trolliasjad, ainult selle va kuuluvusega on raske. Ma eeldan, et ilusad inimesed mu trollikülgi ei taluks. Hinges kisub siiski rohkem ilu poole, nii et võib ju püüda vähem troll olla. Ainult siis, kui kahte sellist kõrvuti näha, nagu täna, tuleb iseäranis esile, et mina olen teistmoodi ja nood seal on match made in heaven.

Trollidest rääkides on mul enda meelest hirmushea raamatupealkiri + tegelaste nimed välja mõeldud. Võib-olla ma kirjutan neile loo juurde ja lõbustan end. Nemad on ka trollid ja elavad võpsikus, aga nad pole muidugi üldse minu moodi.

High spirits

Where does a good mood end and hypomania begin? I’m not quite sure anybody knows but I do know I’ve been walking on that line the last two days.

Today I was thinking that perhaps it isn’t so bad to be able to do so little useful in these moods. It’s a celebration. Isn’t it after all perfectly natural that I’d want to celebrate getting a pause from depression sometimes?

I went for a starlight walk by the seaside, remnants of snow were still hanging around by the road. It’s the 16th of March. This means there’s only a month more of winter. I felt sorry for the first time in my adult life, if not for the first time in my entire life, that the winter is leaving us. It’s been my spring. I’m going to miss that time. Once in the future when all the things I now feel are within my reach have turned out to be phantoms and castles of air.

Please don’t, of course. Leave me some.

Hehe.

wahgahjaphjsph

I’ve been feeling very restless since Friday, grumpy, irritable, unable to do anything but unable to sit still. I had no idea what caused it at first, but later figured it’s an excess of my amazon energy (I’ve switched to that term over saying masculine energy because I’m about as masculine as a tomato). I haven’t had a struggle in a while and I’m somewhat used to there always being some serious unpleasantness breathing down my neck. So when there isn’t, when all I can do is sit back and be chill, some days my brain starts missing my battles.

It’s not a healthy longing but there it is. I only cheered up this morning when I remembered I could make myself a boat licence and discovered they had course material up online. Then I wrestled with that some, full of spirit and dreams, but it seemed so hard for a total outsider to enter into that world, so the excitement soon wore off and was replaced with the conclusion that a paddle board is my limit.

On a good, even great and awesome, note: I discovered I got a button to turn off anxious responses. I cannot use it, of course, but who’d have thought I even had it? It’s like this: I start thinking of something I want to do, then a cascade of anxiety drowns it out, I’m terrified and decide “I can’t do that, oh no way!”, and then, one time I glimpsed a new path, a path that completely cut the anxiety and made me feel brave and able. Just a switch of a button and the thought changes, with a parallel road opening up.

This vision has appeared to me twice recently. It’s no more than a pretty vision at this point, I cannot press that button to take that path, but it’s a new hope. I’m so very convinced that recovery has to be a bottom-up process. I could never have made any progress with my social anxiety if I didn’t build up confidence first. It was always completely ineffective, these countless times I told myself “You be brave, you talk more, don’t be a coward, don’t be shy, you go and do this hard thing”. It never worked. I tried and I failed or immediately went back to the same level after my feat of bravery. It was just operating on a fight or flight mode. It wasn’t doing anything to the source of my fear. Now when I’ve dealt with the roots of it for the past years, things are showing improvement. Not massive great improvement, of course, but it’s at least hopeful.

Also and furthermore: I haven’t been depressed since December. I remember how astonished I was last summer about getting a depression-free month. Now I’m going on my fourth month and I don’t know which is the normality any more. Is that a good thing?

Back in June I was certain I’d be losing it and pinched myself every day – mentally – not believing it is still there. Maybe I did that in December or January, but I’ve stopped by now. I still don’t dare to think it will last because I’ve been struggling with depression my entire adult life, but there are moments when this depression-free state feels like the new normality, whereas the times of depression have acquired the taste of slight alienness. Oh, I remember them well, but there’s an element of looking back sometimes.

Of course I still feel negative emotions and anxiety but that’s a different matter and much more bearable because it doesn’t last very long.

I think I just have to keep myself away from new “battles”. I’m quite certain I’d be depressed in no time if I started car school in April.

All this is awesome progress. There’s been regress too. What started out as an effective strategy of not worrying about exams or presentations in advance, by blocking them out of my mind until relevant, has turned into excessive avoidant behaviour with all things I consider potentially emotionally impactful. I simply won’t do them. I push them far far far into the future, ignore them and excuse this behaviour with whatever excuse is available “I’m too happy today to be dealing with THAT” or “I’m anxious as is, I don’t want THAT on top of things”. This sort of thing has gone too far. It’s not good I push going to buy glasses forward a year or don’t read an e-mail I fear I may not like for two weeks. I understand why this behaviour developed. It was the only way to stay sane under heavy stress, but it’s gone too far. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like the most pressing fault, even if there’s a lot to be said in favour of getting unpleasant things over and done with quickly.

Such news to report now.

This troublesome thing

I want to write a hate post on my hypersensitivity. Here goes: I’ve been quite happy in December. I’ve recovered very well and fully from my depression of three months. The stress I’ve had is quite vanished too. Not having any stress to deal with or any active unpleasantness, I have felt very confident and capable, a slightly changed person. Sometimes I don’t sleep so well, because I’m too glowing or unwilling to let an hour of the present good state go. I am a little stupid too. I’ve felt full of spring and ready to take on new difficulties. Example: I wanted to start a new school, with the first one not fully finished yet and fresh memories of how I hate school intact: driving school. The thought of being able to drive around in summer and discover beautiful natural spots was quite powerfully alluring. I planned to do it in as little time as I possibly could too, to minimize the misery months. I felt quite restless but I forced myself not to do it just yet and rest until March/April. So far all was excellent and future looked bright ahead.

But today I get an anxiety attack. In a mental health state like this, it felt like a right slap in the face. There is me feeling so capable and confident as I haven’t felt in forever, and then my nervous system acts up! Whatever I do, however good things get, my biology will always betray me. And there’s not a thing I could do about it. How can I live like this?

To live, just to live at all and have some kind of an enjoyable life, I need to have an iron will to pull myself through it, to transcend biology. People have pointed out to me lately that most of my role models are males and my taste in films is “male”. Fiddle dee dee to that of course, but it’s quite simple really. Male heroes are my crutches. Jean Valjean, sea captains, gladiators and Wild West fortune hunters. They help me keep up the will and the fight. And they are suitably imperfect. With fictional females, I always feel that they are far to good for me, I could never be this good, or that they are far too degenerate and low in idealism to admire. But mostly I’ve turned towards what I needed more. I needed to balance my hyperfemininity and to become an even better fighter.

But alas, today. It was a trivial anxiety episode that’s mostly faded. I got it because I was trying to buy a concert ticket to Finland. I’ve never been there and I haven’t been to a big concert in a decade, so there’s some fair enough justifications. On the other hand, I’ve been through these emotions months ago. It was a formality and I was feeling so capable. But then my biology ruins the blissful hope that I could actually recover and live an easier, happier life. No, it’s forever going to be a gigantic battle to have any kind of positive life experience. If I failed now, now in this state of equilibrium, what hope is there in less blissful states?

Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate.

The hope is that my speedy recovery is illusory. While I may feel very calm and good, months of depression and a preceding month of high stress would have left their mark. While I may feel all good, nervous system underneath it isn’t yet and overreacts. I tend to not be cautious enough either. And it’s not just this phase, there’s years of it. My last little hope really is: what would happen if I got a full year of calm and joyfulness?

Otherwise though, I’m stuck with my hypersensitivity and the various vulnerabilities that come with it. I’m not even convinced daring and bravery makes one stronger. I feel I just get weaker by forcing myself  through things I’m terrified of, but I don’t really see an alternative either if I want to live and do things I want to do. It’s always going to be a feat of will.

Patterns

I think I just have to accept the cyclicality of my moods and energy levels. Previously I’ve hoped I’d find something to stabilize myself a little, but this hasn’t worked out. While that hope was alive, I wasn’t making the best of any state as far as pursuing my dreams went. In total I experience four states:

1) low energy  + normal mood (most common)

2) low energy + depressive slump (happens)

3) high energy + bad mood (rarest; also known as my masculine energy phase)

4) high energy + high spirits (happens)

 

The problem was (is) that when I’m having low energy + depressive slump I don’t do anything for obvious reasons. I also don’t do anything useful when in a regular low energy phase. The inspiration is not there and everything feels like a chore. I’ve just exited that phase, so my memory of it is fresh. This time there were days I tried to write in spite of having no inspiration. Sometimes I managed to add one or two lines to an unfinished poem. Some of those weren’t half bad, and one line is better than none, but I felt like I had brain fog. It was really hard to be bright.

Typically when these moods go away, and I have high energy (and high spirits) again, I’m so stunned by the contrast that I don’t do anything useful either but spend most of such times being frivolous and rejoicing in feeling like a normal human being.

And that is why: I cannot change the cyclicality of these things, but I can can change how I approach them.

It’s easier with the high energy phases. I manage to work during those periods now because I acknowledge it’s the best time for it and that times like this will come again, so I don’t have to cling to it like someone that found an oasis in a desert. It’d be good for me if I could tune it down a little bit though and not verge on hypomania. But it’s not really a problem. I control it.

What to do with the low energy phases I really don’t know. I’ve been thinking that perhaps it is enough if I use the high energy phases for working on my creative projects and that’d be that. So, essentially stopping to try and beat myself to it during the low energy periods. Typically, I just end up feeling bad about how useless I am and how I’ll never amount to anything. And that can leave a mark on high energy periods too.

So my current strategy is to focus on the high energy periods and use them well. I’ve only very recently learnt to do it and I don’t trust very fresh improvements. So I won’t be adding new changes on top of it yet. Regardless, I do see potential to use the low energy phases better too. Just, go about it slow.

Today is an excellent day, by the way. I feel like I’m coming close to the fun I had in June again, but I doubt it’d last for three weeks ever again. Still, I take what is given. Starlit walks ahead this weekend. And trips and things and my new poem about falling downstairs that I came up with last night and feel optimistic about.

*

Other: I’ve been reading Martin Eden and it’s so exactly everything I expected it to be that I don’t even know how to feel about it. I suppose I’d have felt disappointed if it hadn’t been what I expected, but I also feel it’d be nicer, better, if it could exceed these expectations. Or I don’t know. When a classic Western is exactly what I expect it to be, like Stagecoach, I don’t complain. I start complaining when characters are miscast, too cruel, plot is implausible, internal logic is violated, but I never complain when I get the tropes and storyline I wanted to get in a well-executed way.

 

Just something

  • I will henceforth begin to use the word deprivation in a broader context than that of material poverty. The parallels struck me this afternoon, and it seems, once again, obvious in hindsight that different forms of deprivation would have much in common, including and importantly, in the methods the afflicted use to escape their particular deprivation. It was a paradigm shift for me.
  • I also felt a little put off by how I continue to write with great confidence, later to feel embarrassed about my stupidity. It’s the kind of expressive style I have. I’m much more hesitant and doubtful in reality but when expressing something, it tends to require a focus and there one goes. I cannot quite help my passion and emotionality either.
  • I had a discussion with self about the people that have put me down in life or talked to me down or interacted with me as their inferior. And I don’t mean the randoms, them doing it is normal and happens to us all, but people that actually left a mark and knew me. First, I became aware of it. Then I got angry. Then I told myself that look here, it’s not like you haven’t done the same thing to others. It’s insecurity that motivated those particular people just as it does you. Pft, I said, and maintained my right to be angry. They have the same right to be angry in turn.
  • I have copious amounts of free time on my hands right now. It’s great for a change and reminds me of the old days of idleness.
  • Having small, manageable goals instead of big ones agrees with me much more. I wish I had realised it a little sooner.

 

Mood

To write.  To create strings of words never created before. Like this.

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy with my studies and though I’ve sometimes thought of putting down a few general impressions about the whole experience, I haven’t got around to doing it. I might get to it some day. There are things that I’d like to record.

I have been feeling uncommonly content – and dare I say – happy the last two weeks. It’s not something I experienced often. Happy moments, yes, occasionally, but such moods rarely last longer than 3 days. This now lasts, and lasts.  I’m grateful for that space to breathe and for the opportunity to taste what it is like to live as a happy person. The world, and especially people, are a little different through such glasses.

It started like my happy moods often do – with very high spirits, something I tongue-in-cheekly call a hypomania episode. I listen to music a lot in such moods, usually pop, often not very good things, objectively speaking, but their catchy simplicity pleases me. I laugh a lot. Sometimes I daydream wildly, go out at unsuitable hours, smile to myself when walking on the street, and become much more sociable. I try my best not to overwhelm anyone and be tactless. I was also slightly infatuated with David Walliams due to watching excessive amounts of things with him, but this has now passed.

Speaking of passing, the normal procedure is that my cheerfulness fairly soon drops down to the meh mood. And then the depressive slump is just around the corner too. This time around, however, the very high spirits just mellowed into calm contentedness.

And this is already something I’m not used to and almost never have experienced. Not this long. Every day surprises me. The confidence, the calm and the things I can do in this mood. I sleep normally. There was a time I thought I’d never be able to sleep long again. Yesterday I ate a full bowl of oatmeal porridge. Today I feel very prosocial. I like many people and feel a kind of humility I haven’t for a long time. Nothing much seems to disturb my serenity. The world’s madness just makes me shrug. I feel simultaneously I’m turning more towards the world and away from it. Timeless things draw me. People and their ways. Trees and nature.

The only downside is the head aches I’ve been having for two days now.

Melancholia

Maybe the reason I’ve been making progress with my social anxiety is partly due to the fact that I simply have nothing to lose any more. And when you don’t care, it makes you stronger. It’s one possible cause. I don’t think it’s the only one.

But while realising how I’ve progressed was an uplifting event, tonight is melancholy, the counting of losses and unhappinesses night.

The thing I want most right now, more than any other thing in the world, would be a fun, imaginative, positive and playful friend.

I am so terribly bored with the unimaginativeness of adults and so alone with my sense of play. Even my particular brand of loving nature sets me apart.

If I ever saw another person wondering in the woods like I do, a girl, with her eyes up towards the treetops to catch sight of an elusive bird and her step slow, if I saw a girl like that, god, I think I’d stepped into a world of fiction where life-changing encounters happen right in the middle of the forest.

Okay, let’s not exaggerate, but it’d be very special.

Anyway, it’s not so important.

Imagination and spirit is what I want most. Another wild soul who’d go on a picnic with me on a starry and snowy winter night. And no, I don’t mean the people who’d find the thought charming and would gladly humour me. I mean those whose soul would be in it, too. It doesn’t have to be this idyllic or eccentric, of course.

Interpretation errors

A few weeks ago, I was summing up (in my mind) the progress I’ve made within the three years I’ve consciously tried to tackle my social anxiety.

The report looked bleak. I felt bleak.

Consistent improvement:

1. being able to step into a store, look towards the sales person and say hello in 90% of cases.

Starting situation: stepping into the store, trying hard to be unnoticed, looking down and never making eye contact, thus usually avoiding the hellos too.

If that’s the only thing one has achieved after 3 years of efforts, it’s a failure, isn’t it? It’s not worth it and one might as well conclude the entire thing a hopeless and deluded quest.

But then – yes, it’s coming – I had the following conversation with a friend about courage and bravery. I don’t remember the exact topic, but I called my friend brave for something that I didn’t dare to do myself. He rejected it, saying he doesn’t feel brave, that bravery is when you are scared of something but do it anyway. Like Frodo going to Mordor.

I felt “But that’s the story of my life!” I must be one of the bravest people then, because most of my life I do things I’m terrified of. It felt empowering somehow to realise you are not the hopelessly cowardly person you think you are, but have a lot of bravery too. These don’t seem so strongly linked, but I’m certain this was the turning point and led me to re-evaluate my progress in social anxiety reduction.

It is true, there was no consistent improvement, but in no other year than the years since I started on my SAD reduction, have I experienced so many social successes, so many unexpected, out of the blue socially normative and brave behaviours. And when I looked at it like that, the overall level must have improved because what else could explain so many successful outcomes. I write down some:

1. I walked into the post office and said hello in a loud voice. I was stunned by this. I hadn’t planned it. It just happened that I said hello in a loud voice. Normal situation: talking very quietly.

2. I was at a party with lots of people I had never met before and acted comfortable and socially acceptable. Normal situation: sit quietly and not say a word throughout unless specificially asked or just talk to the one person you know and feel safe with.

3. I felt like dancing and hopping around in front of the stage during several concerts. If I had the right people with me, I’d have just gone and done it, but these people kept me back. Normal situation: not feel this, being much too self-concious.

4. I managed what was probably the best presentation of my life at school. I talked well, did not get mixed up, stumble on words or lose track. I even managed spontaneity well. It was the first time I felt a glimpse of a possible other world, a world in which I could perform in front of people. Normal situation: stumble on words, lose track, speak very quietly, get stuck on anything spontaneous, IQ drop of one standard deviation, great distress.

5. I was rude to a sales person on the phone. Rudeness in my case being defined as telling them directly “I’m not interested. Bye” instead of trying to phrase it as softly as I could. Yes, it matters.

6. I posted on the school forum several times. Normal situation: say something, even if online, voluntarily in front of a large group of people? No way. Only when I absolutely have to.

7. I wrote to teachers asking questions. Normal situation: not do this.

8. I do not interpret my social failures as negatively as I used to and don’t dwell on them, feeling embarrassment and wishing the ground could open up and undo it. I often just think “Well, whatever, I’m sure they’ve encountered greater eccentrics than me” or “This person said a lot of stupid things in class today too, it’s not just me”. During the presentation, for example, I did have problems with not knowing where to put my hands, but it feels trivial and you can’t have everything at once.

9. I have come to notice a lot more how other people also have social anxiety. It makes me feel less alone, less abnormal. A few of our lecturers show signs of awkwardness in front of the class as well: one doesn’t know where to put his hands and gesticulates strangely, the other talks very fast and gets mixed up at times. I’ve always felt I was the worst. There was no one as bad as me. Maybe it is true, given the life I’ve had because of it, but other people also have social anxiety. I’m not alone.

10. In connection to point 9, I finally feel able to talk about it without feeling the stigma. I’ve always felt I had to hide it away and try to be as socially normal as I could, pretend it wasn’t there, pretend I had a normal social life. Truly, writing about it here in the extent I’ve done, delineating how deep its roots and the things I find hard to do, it is not something I’d have done two years ago. Writing about it in my native language or admitting it to course mates is not something I’d have done a year ago.

After such a list, it may seem confusing how I interpreted all this as “no improvement”, but it’s all about consistency. Most of my successes have been random and sporadic. They don’t suggest daily improvement in SA levels. They’ve just unexplainably happened. I did experience similar things prior to my SAD management as well. The odd day or event when I wasn’t acting painfully awkward by my standards, so the fact that such things happen, is not novel in itself. It’s the amount and type of them that is new. And this I missed because there was no consistent improvement. I still find calling hairdressers or ordering a taxi as hard as I did three years ago, but something good seems to be going on to account for the number and type of successes I’ve had.

And lastly, the strange thing is, not just concerning this facet of life but others too (like finances), when you got nothing, nothing is given to you by the world, but when you already have a little something, more of it gets given. As pleasant as it is to have fought my way up to this position when I already have a tiny something, the way it works before is disheartening.

This. This.

The psychological reason why some people are so hard on themselves isn’t necessarily a matter of low self-esteem. It’s more likely a product of the need for affect, which is the intensity at which people want to feel anything. Positive disintegration is often correlated with a higher degree of over-excitability, which is another way to say that people who develop themselves thoroughly often feel they are in a state of crisis, whereas other people would not perceive those circumstances to be as dire, or in need of a similar response.

(could relate to this)