I have not been well. I have not been well all this year to be honest.
This is not a story but the truth and since I don’t have a personal blog any more, this is as close as I get really. I want to keep a record of these thoughts and feelings and I don’t trust them not to get lost in their original form (G+ posts). I’m past the point of crisis now and honestly, there’s not a great deal anyone can do to help. I’m tired of needing help too. I’d rather just endure and spare anyone else the trouble of having to deal with my – apparently incurably – fucked head. At least fifty people got in touch to check on me or try to help, which intellectually must mean I’m doing something right for that many to give a damn, but fuckbrain won’t accept it. I’ll get by and I’ll get back to work.
I’m going to splurge and I’m going to post it public because… well, it might help someone else.
This black pit opened up under me more abruptly than usual. Usually I can feel a bout of depression this deep coming on about a week in advance. I can then ‘take measures’ to stop it affecting me so badly. I can prepare a cushioned impact so to speak.
I’ve been pretty down all of 2013 so far, unable to get my mood back up to something approaching normal. Maybe because I’ve been feeling crappy for so long it provided cover for this to surprise me, like some sort of stealthy suicidal-thought ninja.
I’m just so fucking tired of fighting these downward feelings. Every day, even if my mood is relatively elevated, its a fight to just be OK and to do day to day things. Over time that’s utterly exhausting, draining and when you run out of the effort to fight it everything crashes in.
I’m staring down a lifetime of medicated brain chemistry. Drugs that – usually – stop me wanting to kill or hurt myself but which make me tired and blunt my creativity. Things that used to take me ‘N’ days, now take me ‘N’ weeks.
I have no confidence in my work any more. It used to be the other way around. I used to be great at ignoring criticism and being bullish. All through my teens and twenties. Now every snide comment or criticism bites deep and every positive comment sounds like a lie, at least to my ears.
All of you saying you care and worry and respect me? My brain will simply not accept it. Anyone says anything positive about my work? Nope, that doesn’t go in. Negative? Remembered forever.
I always told myself I’d age gracefully but now I’m looking at a beard that’s turning white and the colour fading in my hair I can’t help but feel I’ve not accomplished much. I wanted kids ten years ago, never happened. I’m only just at the point of working properly, professionally, at the thing I love and yet am full of doubts and acute awareness that I’m now responsible for/to other people and my illness makes me a liability more than an asset much of the time.
Its like someone reversed the polarity on my emotional armour. I used to be able to ignore the criticism and the hate. Now it passes right through and friendship – and even love – doesn’t penetrate. I feel completely alone even around people I care about and I know – intellectually – are my friends.
I am sick of arguing with people and having my character besmirched simply because I value free expression over someone’s hurt feelings. Sick of being called a bigot or a misogynist for expressing doubt or calling out someone else’s bigotry that they’re blind to. I am a thoughtful, caring guy – or at least I try to be – and to be discounted or counted amongst people I consider foes is heartbreaking. I know I can’t control what other people think but every time it feels like a personal failing.
I can’t do anything without someone being suspicious. I can’t work with people without aspersions being cast. If I’m friendly with or help out someone it is supposed I’m doing it for me, or if its a young lady because I’m some sort of creeper pervert. Even though I’m married.
I have a ‘highly developed sense of fairness’ as a friend described it. Often to my personal detriment. I pay people more than I owe them. I extend deadlines to accommodate people. If someone’s hurting and I feel a connection I’ll help them out even if I can’t really afford to. The really bad part is that I then expect to be treated fairly in return. Because of that I’m now entangled in a potential legal issue which should – in my mind – simply be settled by ‘Come on dude, you’ve made millions off our ideas. Surely you can spare a few extra grand and an acknowledgement, yeah?’ But no…
All these people saying they respect me, care, like my work. Its just not getting through I’m sorry to say. Especially when someone saying it is someone who has otherwise been dismissive or critical. People are complicated, but fuckbrain only remembers the bad.
I hate having to ask for help. I hate needing to be held up. I hate this needy side of me that craves validation and care but rejects it when it comes along. I’m terrified, constantly, about showing weakness (I was bullied a lot as a kid) and about being abandoned for being needy and broken. Don’t say it doesn’t happen. When I feel crap I can’t help others and I’ve let a couple of people down by being unable to cope with their issues alongside my own.
Beloved, kind, genius, those things don’t penetrate however much I love and care about the people saying them. Misogynist, fuckwit, idiot, bastard, those do, no matter how much I don’t care about the people saying them.
The emotional down makes me hobble around like an old man. It makes everything hurt and makes life seem insurmountable and that’s when cutting, pain or death seems preferable to struggling on another day, another week, another month, another year.
I’m going to share a deeper level of what fucks with my head than I normally do. I have discussed this with a few people in private, and touched on it and hinted a little but not this publicly before. It contains non-graphic TMI which you may wish to avoid. Otherwise, keep reading.
I am what I have recently taken to calling a ‘non practising dom’, or sadist. My sexuality is something that has never really had a space in which to express itself safely, living isolated as I usually have and not having gotten on with ‘the scene’ at all, even at a remove. Some of you will find the idea of me being a dom or a sadist shocking, frightening or even laughable given what a softie I am but what can I say? People are complicated and have hidden depths.
This understanding of self has come with enormous difficulty, cost and personal struggle. Reconciling some of the things that turn me on with my upbringing to be a nice, respectful, polite young man who holds doors open for ladies and believes in equality has – at times – been soul-destroying. I’ve been made fun of in the past for comparing this anguish with that of bi or homosexual people coming out but honestly, I think it can be as bad. As a teenager trying to understand why I felt this way I even prayed, me, the devout atheist, for these feelings to go away because they scared me beyond reason. I believed the lie that being like this meant I was some sort of monster, that I’d end up a rapist or a serial killer or something. Of course that’s not true, OF COURSE, but you don’t know that when you’re young and still finding yourself and when your head is full of ‘New Man’ newspaper articles.
I made a concious decision, mid way through last year, to be more ‘myself’ about many things, including this. This is part of the reason I’ve been calling out misandry and censorious attitudes more when I see them because the only place I have to safely indulge or explore this part of me is in pornography and erotica. I remember the kid I was and how awful I was made to feel and yes, it makes me angry. Testosterone will do that. It doesn’t mean I’m wrong though.
It has been my good fortune throughout my life to know people who have worked in the adult and fetish industries in various capacities and – with one notable exception – they have all been brilliant, caring, wonderful people who it has been a privilege to call friend.
When someone tells me the things that turn me on are misogynistic, hateful, ‘bad’, objectifying, I think about the people I know. Some of whom I have seen perform and how I absolutely do not objectify or hate them. The act, the presentation is one thing and the person another. Even those I don’t know personally or as acquaintances I still think of as human beings and I can’t ‘grok’ why seeing things in more than one way is so hard for some people.
Bringing this up terrifies me more than the other aspects of my depression but it’s another, deeper level to it. A sense of self-loathing that comes from the unthinking, unfeeling judgement of others over a lifetime. I judge myself too for something that I honestly have no control over. Or rather, I’ve exercised as much control as I can over it. Too much control. A girlfriend in the past once wanted me to tear her clothes from her and I froze up. It was a step too far. Could I let that ‘beast’ out and still control it? What should have been a wonderful memory is now a moment of embarrassment that sneaks up on me.
Sex, to me, is an expression of love and care, of adoration and closeness. So I’ve never been a ‘playa’ and for various reasons I am, frankly, incapable of ‘wandering’ off the preservation due to my personality and my past. I love my wife deeply and fiercely, more than life itself, but I cannot deny who and what I am. Nor can I live with it it seems. I swing between the two day by day, pride and shame, and I disgust myself far more than is fair and far more than I disgust the righteous activists who condemn me and those like me, despite consensuality being so damn elementary in all forms of BDSM.
The day after the previous one.
After you’ve had some sort of crisis you kind of expect something to change. Something to develop. If your life was a film the crisis acts as a catharsis and gives you the gumption to do something important to further the plot. You expect to be running to the plane and singing to Drew Barrymore over the intercom but what you actually end up doing is waking up and looking at the clock resentfully like Bill Murray, toying with the idea of smashing it with a hammer.
Life isn’t the movies and even though you’ve faced down a desire to die and beaten it you just have to carry on. The work is still there to do. The house is still a mess. The cat needs food. You have to pick up the groceries or make a doctor’s appointment and nothing has really changed.
What’s the blow back going to be? I splurged and purged and more people than I could respond to got in touch wanting to help but fuckbrain says this is about them, not me. They just wanted to be seen to help, to feel better for themselves. Fuckbrain doesn’t think I write about this eloquently, fuckbrain kicks me in the balls for repeatedly messing up its/it’s despite knowing the right one. The idea of someone thinking I write eloquently or well about as difficult a topic as my mental health issues is hilarious to fuckbrain.
I characterised this as Captain Bringdown, or a harsh schoolmaster straight out of the 1950s. ‘Oh, you think you’re CLEVER do you Desborough?’ This may be why they put me on the antipsychotics as well. It is, though like being constantly dressed down by an evil authority figure in your head. ‘You’ll never amount to anything, BOY.’
I don’t feel that much better, but here I am, poring over documents doing research for work. Making (hopefully) witty comments on Twitter and acting as though everything is OK because… what else am I supposed to do? Still, something dramatic happens and you expect something to change – but it doesn’t.
Has there been blowback? Mostly understanding. One person on Twitter I follow because they’re an arsehole being an arsehole about telling people you’re suicidal, but that’s par for the course really. Its something you do instead of edging closer to the act, a cry for help, I’m sure some people do it for attention but others really need it. A few of the religious of the annoying type telling me its because of my atheism and god is punishing me. Overall though, people have been nice, I just can’t accept it. Not easily.
Tomorrow’s just another day.
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