35th Anniversary Portrait Album

Clearly this sort of activity truly excludes me from my peer group as most people my age hate all the crap I listen to. This is a good filter though, as this portrait is a fairly good rendering of myself in music. Though, the aspects I chose to depict, and how I chose to express them, is a matter of some debate. Nonetheless, the album is here and it is full of contrasts and apt comparisons. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you are old and h really have nothing better you could be dong. I find this type of thing puts me back in touch with my traits and memories of varying emotional gravity. I highly recommend toiling in this way. The act of pairing oneself to aspects of music seems inherently like it’s at least exploration and quite possibly transformative.

 

  1. Impression AWhat A Fool Believes – Michael McDonald
  2. Impression BPork Parts – Ensemble Studios
  3. CharismaticThe Power Of Love – Huey Lewis and the News
  4. Mentally Ill(Sic) – Slipknot
  5. NaïvetéYou’re The Inspiration – Chicago
  6. CarnalWild Sex (In The Working Class) – Oingo Boingo
  7. IntrospectiveMan In The Mirror – Michael Jackson
  8. “Old Soul”Tomorrow – Joe Walsh
  9. ImmolativeRegular People (Conceit) – Pantera
  10. DetachedHey Nineteen – Steely Dan 
  11. CuriousOn The Road To Find Out – Cat Stevens
  12. AdaptiveI’m Still Standing – Elton John
  13. Original Still Alive – GLaDOS & johnathan Coulton
  14. RegretfulThe Other Guy – Little River Band
  15. HopefulThe Voice – The Moody Blues
  16. ResilientWaves – Blondfire
  17. Obscure Flavor Cats (In The Comfort Zone) – Ensamble Studios
  18. Unsatisfied – No One Like You – Scorpions

Dear Me, March 2nd, 2014

Hey Buddy,

I know about the thoughts and reservations that you have been having lately… which now seem to be coming to a peak moment. You have, to this point, failed to truly respond to any of those nagging doubts and have led your current relationship down a road it will not survive. This is the primary reason why I am here in this non-existent moment of comparative fiction.

In your neglect of your own mental health, you have greatly contributed to the soon-to-be demise of your relationship as well as hurt any chance you have at a normal life going forward for some time. You are headed to an explosion of epic proportions, tomorrow as a matter of fact, and you will try to take your own life. She will leave you, the same night you are hospitalized in fact; she will sleep with another man and never come back. I’m here not to change things, clearly, but to offer you a glimpse at the world that will come to be as you progress further from the smoldering ruin your life is about to become. That lesson will show you the importance of having a complete self and help you push forward in the world with your feet in the real world’s mud.

First, I want to say that I am aching in my recollection of the hurt you are going to feel, and most of it will be incredibly painful since it was self-inflicted. Right now, you have been compensating for your downfall with substances, food, cigarettes, just about anything you can get your hands on to take you away from the reality you are in. You haven’t dealt with anything; it has all been bottled and fermented into resentment. You never tried to talk to her the way you would now, and maybe even if you had, she wouldn’t understand. You refused to address the issues up-front or with any level of self-admission, and therefore, you are going to suffer a calamity as your most precious relationship breaks apart forever. The hurt that this event brings will not be resolved for more than 4 years, continuing to this very day as a matter of fact. You loved her in this intense, abstract, not functional way, and you neglected your responsibilities in your relationship which contributed to its destruction. It will take you many years to fully understand and adapt beyond this moment. She had a part to play in this mind you, but there is nothing to gain from summarizing things that are outside of the self, as they can’t be changed.

I am so sorry. You are going to feel broken for a long time after tomorrow night. You will miss her in ways you never knew were there before, and feel her absence deep inside the core of the most vulnerable self. You will understand how she was neglected. She was the person you loved the most so far in your life, and her loss with your assistance is something you will not be able to move past. In a subconscious/telepathic, you are still linked to her, as though some invisible tether connects you despite the distance, and hatred lodged between, and that twitching bait has incited more trauma, more pain…

This upcoming disaster happened because you needed to learn about the value of self-love. I had to acquire this knowledge painfully, humbly, but earnestly. I can’t undo things that happened, and I will never erase the place inside me that still belongs to her… but I can learn. I can adapt and grow.

If it is anything for you now, know that because of this event, you will learn that your mental illness is the thing you need to be most concerned about in your life. You will find a way to help yourself defend against the same issues you have had in the past, and fallen victim to. The truth of this journey is the ability to appreciate who you are without restraint. Pride and acts that demonstrate a morally honest compassion for things that are “right” in terms of common sense are going to be the evidence you use to build up proof through action.

Your love has been sought from without in the past; filling you up with a feeling of worth that is artificial, untrue and not properly earned. It is similar to presenting the one you desire most with an empty vessel and expecting her to be excited to fill it. Without the lesson of the soon-to-be failure, you might never have known how to find who you were and live that life proudly into the future. Speaking for myself, there has been no greater remedy to the onset of depression than the long road of positive steps that have led me to this moment. I know you, past me, are not there yet, but you will be headed out of the deep hole in not too long. My echoing thought for you is to tolerate this great sadness with an idea that it will not last indefinitely, but must be respected properly. Let it sink deep into you and know it. You will feel the lowest moment of your life and this is part of the understanding that you will gain.

The realization of pain will help you avoid situations like that in the future, while also garnering you the most success and self-worth you will know, at least, thus far. Hurt, regret, sadness and anguish are a part of how we learn. I remember the agony, and I know some things not to do to avoid feeling it again. I do not wish to fall into the same ancestral rut that contains the bones of all the other me versions before? I refuse.

I am there to help you, but only to provide you with a look farther down the road. There is always the next day as long as you are alive, and I know you will continue to do something with the existence you have created. That shape will change depending on who you chose to become, but if pride is the needle that guides your direction, I think things are going to be just fine. You have already done more than you ever have, and this is only the beginning of where your life will go along your new road.

Hold on friend, you will soon be feeling the sun on your face.

Sincerely,

You

+

Dear Head,

Your relationship to my brain has always been central to our cooperation, so, I believe you will trust my words (said in earnest, from the heart). I know that the information you are being inundated with right now is some pretty rancid, unrelenting vitriol, however, that is only part of the reality you and I reside in. I am not discounting the relevance of allowing emotional expression, but I do expect a bipartisan effort in forward operations regardless. Everyone can have their say, as long as we can all still function normally (ideally).

Despite the revelatory insurrection, there are several things which can be said, truthfully, definitively:

Eric, you have a magnetic personality, a deadly poignant sense of humor, and a charisma that inspires others.

Despite all the numerous mistakes you have made in your past, you are still out there trying for better (nearly) every single day.

Lastly, you are proven strong through fact, capable and dependable in your aspirations, and your duties are done with love and honor.

Despite a history littered with debilitating landmines, there are still compromises, missteps and occasional mutilations. The future can’t be set in one direction, because it is an amalgamation of myriad recesses, peaks, troughs and all the undulations of a matured life.

Sometimes just a few freely flung words have a significant impact…

The self is a puzzle with pieces that change shape, move on their own or hide somewhere far away, never to become a part of the completed picture.

None

The thing is, I just don’t have anything I want to say anymore. My preferences aren’t relevant. My opinions are inane, fleeting and easily ignored. Sometimes I have good thoughts, ideas that seem poignant. Then, those precious seconds pass into the spinning whirl of activity. Then absorbed into the nauseating flow of other monkey mind activities.

I’m really learning that external control is impossible. So is respect; which has become little more that an intent hiding beneath a big pile of actual disregard. People are in their own private worlds; no one wants to be reached.

I gave up on that. I’m plodding forward in a passive state, more intent on absorbing than mitigating. I can take a great deal of toxicity before an overload, which I’m sure is to be expected on this untenable course. I know that the world outside of my head is entirely beyond influence while my own responses to it remain as the factor in my reach.

I just don’t have enough energy to fight back. I don’t care. You can have the trophy for whatever it is you’ve won, I’m going to go lay down. There’s not enough left to care about this anymore with so many other things to address.

The lights are going out in the auditorium. Slowly.

Symptoms

I’ve indicated in past notices that I viewed my current neurochemical state on a downward slope and recent observed evidence confirms that. I am alert in this state, but struggling to maintain good health.

Symptoms I have observed in the last several weeks:

Lack of interest in extracurricular or fun things

Slowness, soreness, delayed response time

Inconsistent sleep

Dramatic increase in effort required to motivate

Isolation

Neurochemical imbalance/deficiencies/symptoms

Dependence on substances in effort to self-medicate

___

So most of that is pretty serious shit. There was no sneaking, these things have been accumulating, or increasing. Now, as I try again amidst the fray to gain some objectivity, I see how the symptoms of increasing depression have begun to surround me. At first, I turned to some default negative coping mechanisms like escape, or regression. I was having a lot of angry thoughts, and consistently find my arrow pointed down at the start of every day.

However, as I told my boss yesterday: “this isn’t my first rodeo.” I’ve been down in the black pit before, and my reluctance to go back is all the reason I need to be introspective. I was also talking about that topic last night at my Peer-to-Peer class. I spoke about how I began to grow “tired” of being down, having my life collapse and all that. I continually sought to treat my symptoms, but for years I never really understood myself, my habits, and my flaws which can cause me trouble. That lack of comprehension provided a parade of doomed solutions for me to splay myself upon prior to detonation. That dynamic proved both painful and unsustainable.

 

Responses I have taken to the onset of depression:

Initiated process with GP to achieve referral to see local psychiatrist (top priority)

Discontinued consistent alcohol abuse as escape mechanism

Discontinued abundant cannabis use as escape mechanism

Established regular exercise requirements outside for at least 60 minutes

Current medications are taken on time and regularly. Organized for minimal dose confusion.

__

I know what steps I need to continue taking to improve my condition. More activity will help contribute where my current neurochemical cocktail is lacking, but it is not a long-term solution. I need to be doing everything I can to sustain until I can see a doctor and get my medications looked at by a professional. Medication management is one of my “three pillars” theory of sustaining good mental health. All pillars must be strong for stability to be achieved, otherwise, things get tippy.

I continue to walk forward, set on improvement, while conscious of potential pitfalls and internally-generated danger.

Necessary Avoidance

I am endeavoring not to persist in polar judgement of things, and I do believe this is true in most recent cases. However…

I have learned that one of those areas that is still firmly polarized is my past loves. I can’t have them in my life at all, regardless of capacity. I have learned that there is no benefit in looking back, and the dead still do not rise up and walk amongst us last time I checked. The past is buried and gone, while the trigger on many memories can still be invoked and is active. This is the worrying aspect of my necessary avoidance.

The remembering is pain unrequited; a loss of unrealized potential. The devastation of a incinerated investment of love and trust, fouled by my own mistakes of circumstance. They are a disemboweled remnant of something beautiful that will never be anything more than the pile of organs and blood left splattered on the floor, regardless of my desire. I have tried too many times to resuscitate, staring the obvious impossibility down the barrel, and surprised when I’m shot in the face. I tire of this dynamic.

My own feelings are still not under control, at all. Even on a daily basis, it is a battle to go and do. The inciting agony of interference or invited contact from the past is too much to accept while straining to maintain balance. I can’t have anyone else now, and I won’t invite new people to participate in any relational capacity again. I am unfit physically and mentally for the task, and that is not debatable.

I don’t want to see, feel or think about it anymore. There is nothing there. There will not be anything in the future. I have no interest in this at all, and will avoid inviting any risk in the upcoming waning remainder.

It hurts, but “goodbye” is all that there is. I tried, but I was wrong to try. I was in poor judgement to think that the old soul would retain enough nutrients to allow something to grow. It is the past: unchanging and fading into oblivion. The future is all I have left, and I refuse to spend it pining for others.

I’ve wasted too much time as it is. The arrow points away from these contemplations, and so, I follow. Evidence says, move on… so, I try.

Paradigm of Self-Combustion

Good morning Blog,

This dawn-less hour I am awake, beginning my day still turning over the events of the previous evening (and days prior). I think I am beyond the point of further discussion in any direct way, as there is no possible discussion to be had. I tried to leave that door open, but it was kicked shut for good.

This all got me thinking about my own destructive states, where my irreconcilable symptoms pervaded and saturated my actions to an alarming degree. I have been very combustible in years past, and I still can be if properly soaked in fuel. The paradigm of the flaming man was not that appealing, or truly representative of the whole person I am. Though, it really does take actual trench-digging labor to become introspective enough to recognize that. A lot of what helped me see what my uncontrolled illness was doing was to look no further than the scorched and incinerated crater all around me, where my friends, partners and family once stood. The fractured rubble and dust is the visible, tangible result of the damage not taking care of myself can cause.

Hence, this Blog! It was conceived as a venting waste site and a bully-pulpit for a time (conditional maturity), but has also been the documentation of a long, slow journey of self-realization and growth. Going back years, the road I walked and the steps I took towards improvement and stability are unarguably, factually, right over there in the sidebar for anyone to see. If not for this place, I would not have been able to correct the negative paradigm I had assigned to myself through unattended action. I continue to feel a sense of inner-death over the things I have done to those I professed to love. I was abusive in my depression, selfish, craven, coercive, damaging and flawed. There is no denying that my broken neurochemistry was not assisting my conscious mind in making great decisions (see suicide attempt).

I think that life is totally, locally experiential. We all interpret things differently, even from moment to moment. As our perceptions and conditions change, so to can the context of memories and trauma from the past. I have participated in this sort of exercise, especially when freshly damaged from a breakup, yelling from the stage of the Blog theater into an unhappy crowd. My perceptions were impossibly biased, rooted in denial, and staunchly defending a favorable interpretation for the sake of self-defense while acutely vulnerable.

Looking back at the hurt I caused brings up all sorts of instances and material for interpretation, as is my process. I don’t let the past lie still if there is still something there. I haven’t affixed myself to an interpretation of things that best protects my security, but rather, deals with the real events and effects I have had on others with the hope of progressing beyond it. How can I ever hope to learn from hurt, sadness and regret if I do not face those thoughts, welcome them, and accept responsibility? In the end, the paradigm of self-combustion fails when one stops lighting themselves on fire.

Carrying around the petroleum-soaked tinder of anger, hatred and resentment was the first casualty of change. These negative emotions, when harbored, cause consistent and unrelenting duress. Their validity never having been in question, the choice is to keep marching them forward as new steps are taken into the future. Logically, I introspectively assessed that I don’t have the energy to spare on such an laborious activity, fruitless as it is. The energy I spent holding on to the negative emotions I had directed at others could easily be reassigned to some other function that would be far more likely to achieve a benefit of some form. This is a conscious decision; a judgement of effectiveness and survival made internally. I am simply less likely to be consistently stable if I have an offsetting weight on me at all times that I choose not to leave on the side of the road.

The real trauma of those terrible events is a constant reminder of the validity of those moments, and should always be there in my mind somewhere. I view the memories  and emotions tied to that trauma can be constructive and negative at the same time. I began to treat moments where trauma is triggered as opportunities to understand my negative responses, practice my anxiety relief techniques, and spend some time focusing on how that surge of emotions still guides (or doesn’t) my actions. There is no denying trauma is a source of consistent pain, but also, that pain is asking a question of the self.

I, personally, explore my trauma not only to comprehend the different emotional states of my life, but also to lessen the anguish of that trauma by not approaching it with reluctance/fear, but with curiosity. Ultimately, trauma is reinforced by the emotional reaction to it, and negative will compound indefinitely until the pattern is too well-ingrained to consider changing. Trauma can be dangerous if indulged, but if observed and understood, can bring stability, resolve and strength. I do go back to some of the moments of trauma in my past, recalling specific moments where I was in a desperate, dangerous states. Yes, it is painful to remember, but also, a sign of real fortitude and endurance that I can look at it at all without recoiling in horror.

I am quite familiar with the paradigm I reference, because I have been that person. I was that person not too long ago. However, I chose not to continue to remain that person and have evolved from that regrettable state into something far more sustainable. Isn’t that ultimately the goal we mentally ill have in common; to have a chance at a fulfilling life? I think it can easily said that no one particularly enjoys suffering, and neither do I. I didn’t paint a new fuzzafied reality for myself (turns out, complex thinkers don’t find delusions satisfying), I walked into the future with all my burned up ashes of truth and regret held in my arms for all to see. I have the dignity of knowing I hid nothing from you Blogosphere, and told you the truth of my story, as best I could comprehend it at the time, with each chronologically incremental post. One soggy revelation at a time, I built up my confidence into someone who’s actions speak volumes to his moral intent. This is the progression, or some facsimile of that, that I hope to not only highlight with this post, but encourage in those who are currently self-combusting (metaphorically speaking) to pursue.

Consistency of action builds a motivation which will fuel additional steps towards hope, and with the intent of establishing the currency of worth: pride.