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Escaping Tartarus

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Alrighty, well, it’s been a while since I made my last post and I think I’ve got plenty of things to talk about, since plenty of things happened in the recent days. It’s mostly psychology though with some things left out, because otherwise I wouldn’t get done writing this in days. Obviously this is pretty personal and as you can see, long.

After posting the last entry, I’ve been struck with anxiety. It’s one of those occasions where you post something, and all you can do is to put that palm on your face and dramatically ask yourself what you’ve done. I don’t know, that always used to be an issue for me. Well, as of a few days ago, I'm hoping that this is no more.

Context, insights and conclusions

Now, I brought up anxiety, and that is where it all started. Along with it, more information and insights followed suit in relatively rapid succession. The realization that I had anxiety in the first place was pretty important because, how do you act against something you don’t even acknowledge? There also used to be a personal conundrum I and someone relevant have been wondering about. I told them that I felt like there’s some sort of wall in my chest, and whatever is behind said wall, it really wants to get out and has the potential of bringing about great change, whatever that means. I was asked to think about what that wall is, that was earlier this year and I could never put my finger on it. With realizing that I’ve got anxiety, I think I not only found out what that “wall” is, but also managed to damage it.

It sounds strange that you wouldn’t know about these things, especially when you’re pretty introspective already. I actually don’t think it was a lack of awareness, I think it was a somehow deliberate but unconscious choice to deny it. I wouldn’t know why, perhaps it’s just the nature of such things, to make you deceive yourself and ignore the fundamental truth, like a parasite attempting to preserve its place in its host.

Anyway, I’ve been in this messy situation for a very, very long time spanning multiple years. It all started out when I was released from a dorm, for lack of a better word, where I was sent because I had lots of bad experiences and horrible climates that I couldn’t handle, both in school and at home, which had the side-effect of me missing almost a total of two years from school. The department responsible for difficult kids like yours truly saw it necessary to send me there, neither I nor my parents had any say in that.

The dorm was like a second home, its people like a second family when I left after four years. I had no friends back at my actual home, I was dropped into another sequence of bad experiences and my contact with my old environment cut off fairly rapidly. Back then I solely relied on this supportive environment to give me confidence and self-worth, something I didn’t have here, which meant that I allowed fears to fester and grow. Enough that it got completely out of hand.

For the longest time, I’ve not even been a fraction of my former self. Young me was charismatic, intelligent, well spoken, easily made all sorts of friends, was highly reliable, an inspiration to some and an active influencer, someone with brimming potential to excel in more ways than just one. Compare that to my shy, perpetually intimidated, fragile, isolating, silent and aimless self that had holes in his memory left and right and took ages to finish a sentence, it becomes a difference between day and night. It weren’t the friends I’ve lost, they had moved on as everyone does and I’ve let them, it was myself that was the biggest loss.

Fear completely consumed me just a few years after I got home, it was a lingering process and I’ve not always been this introspective, so this wasn’t something I could easily detect on my own. It got to the point where I not just censored what I said and wrote, I censored my being, or what’s left of it. I became bitter, frustrated, I got angry easily, at the later stages I’ve almost gone bonkers in certain periods.

This censorship came with another consequence that had the ability to fester, and it was a belief. I looked at my old image album the dorm gave me before my departure, and the thought was that young me was dead, gone, and that I have to carry on as someone else. I became so convinced that people can change on such an incredibly fundamental level that, in the end, what’s left is a completely different identity with only name and appearance being a reminder of old days. Now, I could’ve just looked at my brother and reminded myself that he’s been a dork, same as ever, but it would only occur to me later when I took a step back and analyzed the big picture that was my past. Therein I saw patterns, sets of behaviors and actions that repeated themselves in both the recent and distant past, which clearly are all part of a whole identity, proving my bizarre beliefs wrong.

While it’s great to have realized this, there are more questions to answer and more problems to solve, one of which was a deep passion that I’ve lacked for the longest time, one that would serve as a compass which I could use throughout life, perhaps to create a fulfilling one. I do have hobbies, but those are means to keep the insanity at bay, I never understood the obsession with trying to turn a hobby into a job and I’m not sure I could handle most of my hobbies if they were jobs. I looked back at my previous post and what I wrote, that I should live and not idly ponder because it only gets me this far. I still stand true to it, but I decided to expand on the living part, and instead of just living, I wanted to know how I used to live.

That’s where another problem was solved and such a “compass” was found. Throughout life, I’ve been someone to take initiative, a doer. If I didn’t like something, I went and fixed it myself. Frankly I have the habit of being dissatisfied with a lot, and although that might sound like a negative trait, it can be harnessed. Not just that, but by looking back I’ve also seen that on a few occasions I’ve demonstrated an affinity for leadership. What’s more is that I’ve been incredibly passionate about these things whenever I had a chance to combine and exercise them, a kind of passion that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in myself. I think the reason why I never thought of it before was simply my complete lack of self-worth and confidence.

What this revelation had was meaning, and so I move on to another potentially closed chapter. In my previous post I might have mentioned that whatever I set out to do in order to improve things for myself, like a schedule, it always came to a sudden stop. Well, when life is bereft of meaning, how could it not? I had the will to improve, but what for? That is where the dots slowly stop connecting, but I did notice one more thing which helps me with the aforementioned, and that are the steps I took in order to get where I was before everything went to hell. I think they’re replicable to some extent, and it will require a whole lot of patience and persistent work, but I think after all these years I should have patience aplenty.

Now, lastly, I’ve been thinking about this self-finding I constantly wrote about. Based on what I wrote before, that I just thought myself dead, I don’t think finding the self was actually my intention. I think I wanted to find something that was inherently not me, something better than me, that could give me the strength to carry on. Now where I’ve had all these thoughts, I’ve not been feeling the urge to find anything at all. Doesn’t mean that I think there aren’t “other” things to find, and I have reasons to suspect that I have, but everything in due time. I think before I seriously start with that, I should take care of what’s vital: the big part of myself I've disassociated from and abandoned, which ultimately caused so much damage.

The changes

My emotional landscape definitely did change a lot. In a very, very weird way that I just can’t really describe, because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. So, most of the time I experience emotional distance now, but not in the sense that I’m emotionally dead, but rather that I don’t feel the weight of them in my chest. I can still sense them in a way, but not quite “feel” them, it’s more of a faint awareness rather than an urge or compulsion. At least in the majority of cases, certain anger for example can still be felt, but even that dissipates fairly quickly. That emotional change is especially true for music. It used to have huge emotional impact on me, the main reason why I appreciated it so much, but now I don’t really feel anything anymore, only in seemingly random, weak and very short bursts. I still appreciate it loads though, but I have no idea how or why. I don’t really understand what’s happened here.

What’s more is that every move I make is infused with a goal, meaning if you will, unlike before. I can go about my self-imposed duties without the thought of "why am I doing this?". My fluency in language has returned to me somewhat, no idea how that happened, but it's great to have regardless. I’ve gained back a degree of confidence I’ve not seen in a while and I have this really strange determination. It used to be that, if I would have to talk to important people, high standing members of a company or institution, I’d be getting plenty nervous. It’s just gone now. Mostly. Of course, anxiety is still a thing, but I think I have it on a relatively firm leash now.


Now, I can’t tell whether these changes are permanent, although I certainly do hope so because they’re nothing but positive. “False positives” usually only last a day or two, after which the effects will disappear, and I had that a lot. In this instance though, these effects have lasted much longer now and only fluctuate seemingly randomly but never disappear.

A glimpse at the future

The word “future” was missing in my vocabulary for far too many years, life was nothing but a river with a fast current, and I’ve been in the middle of it all, not caring where it goes. Well I think that changed now.

My educational status and qualifications are fairly low, making it very difficult to find “satisfying” occupation where I can actually do something more profound, but I have looked at possibilities to change that, perhaps to even get far enough to be permitted to study. I have made vague plans already that I’d like to flesh out over the coming months and execute sometime next year, working on other aspects of myself in the meantime. There are also plans to get among people again with certain meets and by finding myself some local communities.

Not every problem is fixed, it's not just rainbow and pixie dust from now on and I can see a plenitude of hurdles to overcome before I remotely get where I'd like to stand, but over these last three years I've only made progress and if I'm correct in my faith and in my assessment, this might well be the start of a significant turning point. Of course, there's no guarantee that a 180 won't happen again, but I choose to believe that it won't come to that.



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