Creativity Lost and Found

I have been afforded a unique opportunity to explore a “world” that had been dormant for a long time, as you can see by my fiction of late. This new spark has brought life a new color and added a smile to my face. At the same time as this creativity spurns new life, it reminds me of the last time I ventured down this avenue of thought.

Jax and I started a blog called “Ruptured Worlds” many years ago, and we planned to bring our two imaginations together and unite the fantasy worlds we had each created. She had a deep and rich world full of dimensions, languages and fantastic creatures, and I too had a setting that was deep and immersive. That was something I really still love about her, is that she is a wild dreamer. Her creativity was compelling, and I still do not regret any of the money I invested in helping her realize her potential. We wanted to create a fantasy story in sort of a living way, where posts on the blog advance the plot and document the narrative over time.

Not everything worked out the way I wanted, and I think this Ruptured Worlds thing was one of the last things we ever spoke about. She lost a lot of her content when we split, but none of it had been documented on the blog as we never wrote a single post. I didn’t have anything more than a “coming soon” sort of blurb to our non existent audience. It makes me sad to think that world she created never had a chance to be realized and shared. This is one of many regrets. However, my own imaginative enterprise is marching ahead with a new infusion of interest.

I have often times refused to take credit for “coming up” with this world, as I dreamed it all in such vivid clarity. All was made apparent to me, at least, the primary mechanic of the “universe.” This reality is different, and loaded with heritage, history and strife.  When I awoke, I documented my experiences, and began to fill in the details. I soon thereafter spiraled into mania and went on a two day 72 page tear where I didn’t sleep and constantly obsessed. I have recently discovered the document I created at the peak of my illness. I originally composed it in 2004 and it is loaded with emotional sadness and loneliness of a profound variety. This universe, or reality, has grown over the years, and players have been added to the story. I have also turned this world in to (now) 3 D&D campaigns. The one I am running now is by far the best iteration of the universe. I have a deep and engrossing story and a compelling plot which will drive the engine of creativity forward.

This new campaign brings up memories of Jen too, as she was the star character in the first D&D game in this universe. She and I were entwining by then and the narrative they all crafted takes me down a road of thinking about the memories we made. There were some good times in there, albeit, far outweighed. It’s the same sort of feeling I get for Jax: there is a fondness for that beautiful moment where our minds were playing together, contrasted with all the damage we later inflicted upon each other. Would those campaigns and moments had as much potency if not for those women I loved being wrapped up in them? I contend that the emotional gravitas of the story was amplified by the feelings I had, but not the source of them. I have an unending well of enthusiasm for this reality, and I greatly enjoy any chance to openly recreate there. With or without female companionship.

This is a good chance for me to be solemn and thankful. I am glad for the loves I have had and the good memories we shared. Those rare moments where I felt truly and unconditionally understood. I have come to a sort of peace with my past in that sense, otherwise visiting The Realm would be a painful excursion. For me, I can relish the now, while celebrating what there is to from our pasts. I regret, yes, and I’m sure that’s a mutual thing. I don’t have to wear my mistakes on my sleeve, but I do need to be aware of them (as I have said countless times). Negative emotions, grudges and anger all drain down what little energy I have available to keep my boat upright. Some people have no problem holding on to anger. It tears me apart and destroys me over time, like holding radioactive waste in my hand. So I gave up on that. The free energy I have now can go toward things like helping the disadvantaged and the severely mentally ill. I have the freedom to create an an environment unencumbered by anger and pain. The world is wide open blog. We are missing out on taking in the good if we are only focusing on the bad.

In this new dawn of creativity found, I still take the time to look back with fondness at all that has been. Memories stained with pain, but there are still fibers of that moment that are not lost. There is always something to be gained and some way to grow. Don’t let a catastrophe pass by without changing something about yourself. Bad things do happen, but so do beautiful things. I choose to look through the filter of someone who forgives and has forgiven himself. I choose to create, not destroy.

 

A Decision Made

I had been living in a world of ambiguity, unsure as to what direction I would be headed. I didn’t know if I should continue to be true to my workplace or to march ahead with my life helping the mentally ill. I needed clarity and things were coming to a head.

As of this moment, my independent life is over. I am living in my parent’s living room for the next 7 months. We are all, as I have stated in previous posts, moving north in July 2018. I had hoped to be working and saving money during that time, but instead I have sued my workplace for discrimination. That process has moved forward to the point of a formal demand letter. I did not know what my future was going to be and perhaps I still don’t. However, I do have some clarity that I want to spend my time helping people and getting back in touch with my peers. I have been a cog in the corporate machine before, and I reject that as a meaningful contribution. I want meaning. I NEED to be doing something that has an impact. I’ve solved problems for customers, yes. It is not the same as picking someone up off the floor and helping them walk again.

I do believe the lawsuit will be settled out of court. The money I receive should be comparable to what I would have made if I still worked most of next year. I hope that I can be kept occupied by my new direction. I need a formal, professional, helpful relationship to engage with. Life has been a scramble with me moving out, and the dust is beginning to settle. I feel like I am headed in the right direction, but there is still quite a bit to be done. Today I have my interview with NAMI at 4. I am very excited to meet them and express my enthusiasm for the opportunity.

I am definitely in a fiction place rather than non fiction. I am rebooting The Realm for my friends and running a d20 game. First one I’ve run in maybe 10 years. I’ve always been down to run games, I just never had the spark. I seem to have found that now, at least, which has spurned a beautiful creative process. I have written a great deal of fiction, none of which is in any sort of final state. I will however post my most polished turd for you to gawk at. Creative input requested!

As the days go on, the future resolves itself further. I’m encouraged by the progress I’ve made and glad to have something fun to ponder about. The story  have in mind for them is QUITE compelling. Dramatic. Inspiring. Own horn. Tooted.

Return to Center

Hi blog. I know it’s been several months since I checked in, and there is a sprawling narrative behind the reasoning involved. The story I have to tell is one of great struggle to exist and sustain in society, and how difficult that is for someone who is severely mentally ill. I have dealt with deep depression, and psychotic/manic rage. I still feel a great deal of hope for my future, but anxiety is crushing me down with spun versions of a darker reality. I hope to be able to expose the last few months to you, and together we can see how the circumstances of my life caused my downfall, and eventual return to center.

About a month before I stopped blogging, the environment at work was becoming acutely toxic. I was hated, loathed even by a solid 2/3 of the people I was supposed to be coaching. It was becoming apparent that my position had no real authority, and would not be validated with any, so no one had any cause to listen to my recommendations because they knew no harm would come to them if they did not. Things had been going on this way for a year or more, and I was just becoming aware that there was no respect for me with a lot of the people that needed to see me as an instructor. Or, at least someone that had to listen to. Instead, the agents acted out against me by messing with my things at my desk, or making areas messy that I had taken the responsibility to clean. They would also use the hangouts chat to gossip about undoing thew work I was doing and how I was, essentially, a prick for asking them to not do something that directly made my job harder.

I had a meeting with my boss after I basically had a mini-meltdown at work. The main thing they wanted me to do was treat the disdain of my subordinates like “water off a duck’s back.” I agreed at the time, sensing that if this was their suggestion for how someone mentally ill should cope with a hostile work environment, I don’t want to even enter a discussion about it. I swallowed my thoughts and moved on, promptly going psychotic the following week trying to do what they asked me to do. You see, I’m not able to just let things roll off the ol’ carapace. Everything gets in, because I’m sponging up emotional vibrations, facial expressions and body language 100% of the time no matter if I want to or not. When I’m in a room with a dozen people that really don’t like me at all, that shit is like radioactivity breaking apart my DNA a little at a time, every second of the day. It was an unsustainable agony that lead to a truly scary moment of murderous psychotic rage while I was alone in my truck.

After some time away, I came to a conclusion that working remotely, as I had done in the past, would be an immediate remedy to the environmental duress I had suffered previously. The remote anonymity and even video conferences are not hostile encounters with agitated people in the same room as I am. I’m in my safe space, and I still get to see them and communicate with them. This seemed like a no-brainer since I have traditionally been far more productive on days where I have been allowed to work from home in the past. I asked for accommodation under the ADA so I could continue to work and be productive for them with a slight adjustment to my needs.

Dealing with HR has been frustrating, since they have no interest in asking me for any specifics on how I will need to be accommodated, and continually postpone acceptance of a return date as well as the specifics of what I was asking for. I’m now basically down to my last few uncommitted dollars, and I need to get back to work so I can start making money again. Then they disabled my email account at work, so I started to get suspicious that maybe they were just hoping I’d give up or something.

To be honest, I might have if not for a step I took a while ago to change the direction I wanted to take my life. I’ve been here on this blog advocating repeatedly for participation in society regardless of mental illness or disability. If you want to be productive, nothing should stand in the way of you being able to do that. I had a chance to work 40 hours a week because of my stability, but nothing is permanent with mental illness. I slid downhill for months. I stayed away from this blog for longer than I ever have before, which I knew was not a good thing. I was becoming depressed, and I felt like I was giving my daily energy to a company that was never going to appreciate who I am or what I have to offer. What was I doing with my life? Making money to pay the bills, but to what end? Saving $50 a month? For what?

I began to understand that unless I am making a difference in someone’s life with the knowledge and skills I have, I am not going to be happy. I need to affect change, and the best way I could think to do that was to start with the one thing I have truly done well with in my time: mental illness. I have a lot of real societal, intellectual and emotional success being a severely mentally ill person, and maybe I could be an inspiring force in someone’s life who also may struggle with it as I have. I went back to my old clinic, the one that raised me up from the mud of post suicidal depression 4 years ago and got me shambling forward again. I went back and started taking classes before my meltdown at work, and I had already decided then that when we all move away next summer to Sacramento,  I was going to start my life over as a peer-to-peer mental health advocate. I don’t care about income, or possessions. I just want to be out there making a difference in someone’s life, being there for a person who is down and thinking dark thoughts, and always a smiling face that appreciates the unique value we all have regardless of circumstance. I’m a step-forward kinda guy, and If I can help people get their heads out of the past and focused on what they have yet to accomplish, I think I would truly be at a place in my life I cold be proud of. I’m not happy about being a cogwheel in the massive machine of corporate greed. I want a life with meaning. I’ve fucked up so badly to (nearly) this point, and I want to give back for all the things I could have done better, and will do better now that I have learned from my mistakes.

I’ve been out of work for a while and at this point, I’ve started the formal legal process of bringing suit against my workplace for discrimination on grounds of disability. My goal here would be to get my company to recognize that they need to take me seriously and respect my rights as a disabled person or there will be consequences. I will not be pushed off or brushed aside. I would like to come back and continue to work for them until next summer, but if they keep walking down the road they are on, they’ll be sued for lost wages and damages.

People of the internets who are disabled and face unjust or inhumane practices from their workplaces: you are protected and you have rights. Don’t let them step on you, especially given how hard you had to have worked to get into a job and hold it. They don’t understand your struggle and they never will unless you hit them in the jaw with the motherfucking gavel of justice!

I don’t know what’s coming for me, but I continue to go to my groups at the clinic and I am enrolled to be certified for Peer Employment Training so I can be a P2P counselor no matter where I go. Do something in your life that makes this world a better place for us all. Things are so absurdly fucked up right now… everywhere. We need to all be helping each other. I want to do my part so I can feel good about who I am, and what I did with my life. I need to know I really did try to do the right thing, and that all I ever wanted was what was fair. I encourage you to do the same in your own respect, and find a path to self-worth that becomes a fire that will not go out.

I promise to be more regular again, for myself and to keep you all appraised of my literal quest for social justice.

 

Going

It’s been a while since I checked in, and that’s largely for encouraging reasons. I tend to feel the need to write when things are turbulent, and within the past two weeks things have been pretty good. I have been taking the Latuda for a while now and I think the 40 mg dose is having an effect. My mood has been better, and my energy is up a bit. I’m back to a good level of exercise and my sleep has been fairly consistent. 

I am more resolved now than ever before to stay single and live my life the way I want. I don’t need approval from anyone but myself. My intent is to do the best job I can being who I am  and hold my head up with the realization of that. I’m severely mentally ill, but I won’t let that own my life. 

Will came down and visited, which was really great. We hung out like the old days and it reminded me of all the good times we’ve had together. We have been hanging out online and playing games with friends lately which has been excellent fun. The longer this pattern goes on the happier I’ll be. 

I’ve had some hard times in the recent past. I have also taken action when I noticed things were getting bad. I have been trying to be friends with Amanda, but I feel like I felt right before I broke up with her. It’s the same pattern of frustration and I don’t think I have any relevance to her anymore, or ever at all. I thought I could help her get a fresh start and provide guidance as someone who has successfully recovered from total life collapse, but I have doubts as to my messages being understood. Mind you, my life collapse was not as severe as hers, but many of the parallels should be noted. I have wisdom to give, though it is not “fun” to hear. Often times recovery isn’t about making the easy choice, but the one we must face down in order to go farther. Progress is earned, and the reward is pride. I don’t think Amanda gets that, which is still painful to see unfold. 

All I want is to help. I care about some people, and I don’t hesitate to offer assistance to those who need it, whether they ask for it or not. Sometimes help is a hug, or a smack in the face, but it serves a purpose either way, and that is to promote and acknowledge healthy behaviors. I myself have taken this type of advice and adopted regular meditation to my bedtime routine. I’m very reluctant to meditate because it is ridiculously hard to calm my mind for more than a couple of seconds. It’s a huge battle for me, but it is part of training my mind and to have control over my thoughts. People told me to be more mindful, and here I am implementing that in my personal reality. As a result, I have conclusively increased the sleep stage that provides me with a rested feeling the next day (Fitbit calls this: deep sleep). I was averaging less than an hour per night, and waking up feeling groggy and I was behind schedule. Since the meditation, that number has risen to more than an hour and a half, and I’ve had several excellent mornings in a row now. I do indeed practice what I preach. 

I hope you all have a good night. I’m happy that tomorrow is Thursday and we are but a stone’s throw from the weekend. Jubilation! 

Burning Out

Remember how I said that Sunday was my last family activity? I forgot to mention my parents are moving as well, and as of this afternoon that task too will be completed. Meanwhile, I’m barely hanging on. My energy is in the tank, my attitude sucks and my motivation has shriveled up and died. It has been a grueling week plus a few days. 

However, by the time late afternoon gets here, I really will be left alone to have my weekend. I can relax and regain some inertia. This run has taxed me, and there have been consequences. Mainly, I drive much more aggressively than I have in the past. I need to stop doing that because it is dangerous and not beneficial. I also blew up at this lady who asked me if I could plug her dual diagnosis site. At first I told her yes, back earlier in the week, but as you can see, I haven’t had the strength to post until now. She poked me yesterday asking if I had done my favor for her, and I told her I’d post it when I was good and ready, if at all. If I’m the one helping you out, don’t prod me to get me to do it faster. That’s infuriating. So, I’m not going to post her content as a reminder to myself and others: treat me with respect, and you will be treated with the same… treat me like an idiot and count me out. 

It’s an hour before my alarm goes off. I just had a series of perturbing dreams that I clearly remember, for once (a byproduct of hugely reduced cannabis intake). I dreamed about Amanda, and that I was kicking the shit out of her ex husband. But he was like, unstoppable. He insisted on annoying me and no matter how hard I hit him or choked him or smashed his face with bricks, he just kept coming. He tore my Fitbit off my arm, he stole my phone, he was standing over me while I was in bed, it gets weirder from there. Amanda and I tried to have sex but he was right there and I couldn’t get hard. It was totally strange. Then there was an alien invasion and people were being harvested and taken up to the mothership. We were all fugitives running from safe house to rendezvous point. For some reason or another, Amanda and I had to split up. I cried because I knew we were both going to be caught before we reached the next safe place, and I was never going to see her again. It was a strange dream with a bummer ending. 

Today I’m finishing up the move for my parents. We are hauling food to the new apartment. After today, moving time will be over. I can’t tell you how badly I need the time off. I also really want to see Carly but she’s been busy for the last two months. A product of circumstance, mind you. I still believe Carly is repulsed and also not interested in talking about my herpes, which will relegate our relationship to a platonic state. I guess I don’t mind that, since I was the one who did this to myself. I can’t expect anyone to want to have sex with me anymore. 

Well blog, one more day. 

End

I made it to the end of the day and I am glad for it. This weekend has been the most conflicted and most emotionally taxing one I’ve had in distant memory. It was a constant battle to resist my urges and stay true to my goal. Now at the conclusion, I am well-fed and at peace, ready to pass some time before going to bed. 

Do you ever get that feeling like all you want to do is get in bed and hide? I’ve had that feeling since 7 am. I knew that there was an appropriate time to acknowledge that, but it wasn’t until just now. Yet another thing I had to hold myself back from. 

Tomorrow I go back to work, and the schedule aught to help me stay focused. It’s the long stretches of unstructured time that I struggle with. Tonight, all I have left to do is relax and enter a peaceful sleep. My fit bit tells me I’m getting a whole lot more R.E.M. sleep than when I was smoking, hence the dream I had earlier. That’s really the one potential snag in this equation: nightmares. I could be ruined tomorrow if I have a terrible nightmare. My very first dream in months last night was a nightmare. Not a great sign. Nightmares alter my neurochemistry which has an immediate impact on my life. Not something most of you have to worry about. 

I got a chance to chat with friends today. Played some games. Did chores, and kept myself distracted. I’m proud of myself for not caving in. I never even opened the drawer. 

I hope the rest of your Sunday goes well. 

Dreaming Again

If there is as aspect to regular marijuana use That I have become somewhat dependent on, it is dream suppression. Why would that be a good thing you ask? Most people enjoy dreaming for the most part, but I am consistently tortured by it. 

Tonight I had dreams, and was eaten by a dragon, which may not seem like a big deal until you appreciate just how vivid and horrific that experience really was. Fictional? Yes. Terrifying? Also yes. This is but a brief glimpse into what my dreams are usually like. 

So I know I’m still doing the right thing in quitting, but I don’t much like all these side effects. Most of you have no problems dreaming and marking them as irrelevant, but my dreams can ruin my next day, spin me into depression or anxiety and generally haunt me throughout. I do not like dreaming, it is a liability. 

So as I forge ahead with my self-imposed sobriety, I now must accept that I will dream, and chances are, it won’t be much fun.