Today, as I was going anxiously about my business, as per usual, I was struck by a momentary epiphany. I found I wasn’t going about my business anxiously but peacefully, actually. Puzzled, I examined what the fuck. The fuck I felt good, I found.
I instantly knew that something was wrong. I don’t feel good. That’s just not what I do. I’m not even sure any more what it is like to feel good. Provisionally, I imagine feeling good is what it is when one lacks any pain, discomfort and anguish, physical and mental. Damn. That’s one hell of a definition.
So, yeah, I noticed straight away that I wasn’t in any pain at all, which manifested as a significant lack of something. I wasn’t even feeling anxious, which is my default setting, and for a while, I was meditating on whether or not I’m still alive. How the fuck am I supposed to tell when I don’t feel anything?
My feeling good freaked me out something fierce. Fortunately, this suspended condition didn’t last. As I proceeded to go about my business peacefully, I soon noticed I was in fact going about my business anxiously. Whew. That was close. I have no clue what people who feel good on the regular do about it but if it’s you, my sympathies to you, because this shit is scary as fuck.
What’s the biggest fear in your life? That you become like your parents, right? Well, I’m unhappy to announce that it happened. I became my mother. Not literally as in literally, but literally as in figuratively.
My mother is an old unpleasant lady—truth to be told—and she’s a hoarder. She’s been like this ever since I can remember. On her defence, the huge ugly multilevel cubical structure where we lived—and which we called somewhat inaccurately a family home—was a hoarder’s wet dream and ultimate temptation.
We had two garages—for one car—several cellars and multiple fucking pantries. Or cold rooms? What do you call the cool closet which is a room without windows primarily not intended for the storage of dead bodies but for the storage of food, though the usage is up to the user’s discretion? The cold room would be accurate.
So we had these cold rooms like we lived in a primitive agrarian society, grew our own food and had to store whole smoked pigs if we wanted to eat in winter. Actually, we did store cut-up pigs, in all seasons, in one of our multiple freezers.
The pantries were stashed with expired long-keeping food—but not long-keeping enough—pickled veggies, conserved fruits and jams. No one ate that shit, so it got periodically thrown out and replaced by freshly home-made batches.
Also, my mother grew up in the post-WWII austerity years. So let’s say that her food hoarding is an understandable deviation. Tell me this, though. Why do I hoard food? For fuck’s sake? Huh?
I realised I had a problem when I brought in groceries the other day and realised there were too much groceries in the cabinet—I downscaled and own no pantry, thanks god—for it to fit more groceries. Okay, what is happening here? Why hoard food?? Am I insane???
Well, I am insane, officially certified insane, but I never knew it was so bad. What am I stocking up for like it’s a cold war? Though it is cold and there’s always war somewhere, so by a certain logic—if flawed—this is indeed a cold war era.
Am I stashing food in case I die, or what? The last time I checked, dead people didn’t eat. Except when they were undead, in which case they would eat live people. An eventuality I’m pitifully unprepared for.
But seriously. It’s not like I live in the middle of nowhere—well, I do, but there is a Tesco even. It’s not like I don’t have a car—well, I don’t, but the Tesco is within a walking distance, you know, when you set out with sunrise and are lucky, you’re back by midnight. Kidding. Also, it’s not like I have kids to feed.
I assume that my food hoarding is a pathological personality trait which reflects my obsessive urge to be in control, be prepared for any scenario and always expect that an unspecified disaster and gloom and doom—and no food—are impending. What do you make out of it?
Okay, I admit, this post’s title is a plain clickbait. It worked though, right?
In fact, I didn’t get that high. Neither did I talk to people that much. But baby steps, you know.
So how it occurred, and what the heck even occurred?
It started pretty much when I treated myself to half a Lexaurin today for my shoulder pain. Why, sure, I take tranquillisers in lieu of pain pills. Trust me, I’ve lived with my broken brain for long enough to know what’s what. By trial and error, I discovered that pain killers fail to kill psychosomatic pain, which where the Lexaurin comes in. It works.
Painfree and high on the fact, I put myself out there and went grocery shopping. In high spirits. When I’m on Lexaurin, I talk to people. Any people. On random. That’s the opposite of what I do when I’m unmedicated, which is when I hide from people. All people. Also, the voices of people. Meaning I don’t pick up phone calls. I just can’t even.
Mightily enjoying myself, I was sweeping round the supermarket cheerfully, smiling at people, bumping into them and apologising and having them bump into me and apologising some more. It’s a bank holiday tomorrow, hence the shop will be closed for one day, hence the whole village gathered in the shop to collect supplies. Logic.
All cash desks were blocked by queues winding across to the opposite wall of the shop. I’ve never seen so many locals uniting as one for their pre-holiday shopping. I had to purchase bottled water for the wait. And I entertained myself by entertaining innocent bystanders.
When the guy in the queue after me bumped into me yet again, I groaned mockingly: O, father, why hast thou forsaken us?! The guy gave me a WTF-look. I winked at him to indicate I’m not hostile. Much to his loss, he didn’t quite get my exquisite sense of humour.
I didn’t have more luck with the cashier. When it was my turn, which was about ten years later, I greeted her with my crooked-teeth smile and yelled over the noise of the crowded shop: Good evening to ya, may it be so! It makes slightly more sense in my mother tongue, btw.
The cashier awoke from her zombie mode and appeared amused, which encouraged me to add a goodbye greeting as well. So I say, Thanks a lot, ma’m, and may sanity be with you in this maddening crowd! Okay, I’m kidding, my speech wasn’t quite as flourished but nearly so. Alas, the woman was back to her sleep mode and remained unresponsive.
And that’s the end of the story. Where’s the story, you ask? Oh well. If a story is what is told, then this was totally a story. Don’t try to fuck with me. I’ve had my half a Lexaurin today and I’m unfuckwithable.
Hilarious is probably not the first word that comes in mind in connection with mental episodes. Especially if you’re the sufferer. But when you look at it with the eyes of the observer, it is really the best word to describe it. Hilarious.
I just had an acute mental episode over nothing. What happened? Like I say, nothing. All I did was walking over to sit at the computer and get some work done. And whoosh. Out of the blue I can’t breathe and feel a pressing urge to peel my skin off in one piece like a snake because there’s a weird sensation all over it.
I totally get that some of my fellow nutcases bang their heads against the wall or cut themselves. Clear-cut physical discomfort is a breeze. Weird mental discomfort is—weird. Also, maddening; though I’m not sure how it applies when you are already mad.
So, doing my best to perform the breathing exercise designed for panic/anxiety attacks, I hop (limp shakily) on the yoga mat and go for a classic guided breathing meditation that I have bookmarked on my phone. Now I not only want to peel my skin off but also want to rip the headphones off my head and toss the shit out of the window because it feels crazy weird against the ears too.
As the meditation progresses, so does my panic because the exercise isn’t working. However, successfully overcoming the temptation to grab the phone and toss it the same way as the headphones, I complete the meditation, put the stuff out of the reach of crazy people, remove my shorts because they feel weird and move on to administer a Lexaurin pill.
Ten minutes later, I can breathe normally. Well, not really, I could breathe normally but I can’t at the moment because I’m having a fit of hysterical laughter at myself. As I’m putting my shorts back on because they are perfectly legit, totally comfortable and don’t feel weird at all, I’m wondering what the fuck that was.
Apparently, I had a panic attack over absolutely nothing.
Well, okay, so maybe there is a workload I’m freaking about, which might have triggered the reaction. But come on, tell me something that’s new or, even better, tell me one rational reason why I should be entitled to panic over work. It’s not like my life depends on it.
Well, okay, so maybe my life does depend on my ability to work my workload. But, so what, let’s not try to reinvent the wheel here. Same old, same old: I’m a means of production owned by the capitalist society blah blah; also, exploitation, inequity, overwork, underpay blah blah, so everything is as it should be.
Well, okay, so maybe everything isn’t as it should be. However, who is to say what should be? Not me. Not anyone, as far as I’m concerned. (I wonder if that makes me an anarchist? And is that a bad thing? — I’m glad I don’t subscribe to the good/bad dichotomy, looks like it’s complicated as fuck.) My point is: what is there to panic about when there is no point anyway? I wish my panicky brain finally got it. Duh.
Don’t be alarmed. I’m not really on the beach. Global warming didn’t escalate so quickly as to bring the ocean to Europe’s centre. Though I’d very much like it. I mean, apart from the fact that a bunch of countries would literally drown, I’d get to live on an island, and it would be the end of the world.
My mind is a scary place. That’s probably alright, since the world is a scary place. In an attempt to counter this, I am mindful as fuck. My mind is full of it. Full of crap, that is. My crappy mindfulness (or mindful crappiness) manifests itself at its best (worse) when I meditate. Again, don’t be alarmed. I don’t really meditate.
I practise an approximation of meditation. I’d like to say that it leads nowhere, but that’s not entirely true. It leads to scary places. Such as the beach. Let me explain (finally). I was trying this meditation with visualisation when you imagine yourself on the beach. It was awful. No, I don’t mean awesome. It was the worst, as you can see for yourself in said video below.
Imagine yourself alone on a secluded beach, it starts. Not with these exact words, I don’t remember how it starts, but that’s how I now imagine it starts. Obviously, this is the perfect scenario for a horror movie. Or a dystopian movie. Or a perfectly normal average movie as seen by my dystopian horror mind.
This meditation setting raises a number of disturbing questions. How am I on a beach? I’m not on holiday, I don’t do holidays because holidays are for losers (and rich people). Where is everyone? Has there been the end of the world (finally) and did I miss it because I don’t watch the news? Where’s the murderer (or, even worse, the mugger)? I say, murder me anytime (as long as it doesn’t hurt—too much) but don’t you dare to mug me (because priorities).
Imagine yourself walking on the beach blah blah blah. Okay. It’s getting weirder and weirder. Why would I walk on a beach? It doesn’t look like I’m going to get my groceries or anything. I’m certainly not taking a walk because come on, I don’t walk purposelessly, I’m not a stray kitten. Speaking of which, where the fuck is my cat? Seriously. This is terrifying. Not knowing where I am is one thing but not knowing where my cat is is another. And much worse.
It’s not like I’m not trying to play along. I imagine myself walking on the beach, as per request. But, did I apply sunblock? Am I wearing my prescription glasses or sunglasses? If the former, it’s pretty hazardous because I’m light-sensitive, and if the latter, it’s pretty hazardous because I’m semi-blind. Also, where’s my purse? The guiding voice doesn’t mention a purse. How is aimless wandering without your keys and wallet (and your cat) supposed to be a relaxing visual?
I’m stumped. Wait. I’m told I’m carrying a beach towel under my arm. What is this shit, the hitchhiker’s guide to galaxy? I shouldn’t be carrying a beach towel because I don’t own a beach towel. I’m sure I wouldn’t buy it, duh, so did I steal it or what? I’m trying to imagine the incriminating evidence away but the big brother voice tells me to spread the towel on the sand and sit on it. Sigh.
Great. So I’m sitting on a dubious towel on the ground in the middle of nowhere. Now what? This is extremely unproductive. I’m being bored to the brink of my early demise. The video was supposed to be ten minutes but it’s been like ten hours already. Hey, guys, move on, I got stuff to do and bills to pay. I can’t be doing nothing. It’s killing me. I can’t even. I think I suck at this shit. The voice finally says I’m free to go and threatens that I can return to here anytime I need. Anytime I need to get more anxious? Okay, thanks.
I’ve complained earlier of having been unanimously by one out of one vote appointed the concierge. I’m still hating it, faithful to my principle of hating everything and everyone.
A more appropriate word for concierge is the janitor, which is an all-in-one function, rolling into a single person an administrator, an electrician, a plumber and a cleaner, among other things. No qualifications are required because other people don’t know what they’re doing either anyway.
On a Friday morning, I woke up to the sound of water gurgling more angrily than usual in the radiators. That means one thing. I gotta go down to the boiler room and pressurise the boiler. I duly did. The water stopped splashing and I was pleased with myself, thinking how nicely I fixed it.
An hour later I noticed the radiators stopped heating altogether. Also, there was no hot water. Oops. So back to the cellar I descend to examine. The meter shows the whopping pressure of zero. Hmm. I move a few handles tentatively, waiting for something to magically happen. After another hour I break and call the actual plumber.
He’s pretty displeased because it’s Friday and people don’t expect to work on a Friday, unless they’re freelancers, like me, who work 24/7 and rest only when they’re interned in the psych ward with acute overwork. The plumber came and scolded me for clearly not knowing how to pressurise the boiler properly. Dear plumber, I’m a fucking doctor of literature, of course I don’t know how to treat a boiler, but I did exactly what you showed me to do to it, okay?
The plumber started repressurising. It was taking forever and the pressure refused to climb. I guess it was feeling lazy. See above for nobody works on a Friday. The plumber says, That’s weird, it’s like the water is disappearing. I scream internally. I don’t believe in magic disappearances. I say, What do you mean, disappearing, like leaking? The plumber confirms. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it as the plumber sends me out to check all the flats in the building for radiator leaks.
I don’t get too far. There’s the sound of a waterfall in the cellar next to the boiler room. Properly freaked out, I throw the door open and step in a pool of water as I’m reaching for the light switch. There’s a hole in the ceiling and a thick stream is pouring down from it. I scream literally. The plumber rushes to see if I saw a ghost or what and whistles appreciatively, as he observes the make-shift waterfall. The building has just upgraded to a swimming pool.
What’s above here, the plumber gestures up, clearly delighted to have a little excitement to spice up his dull shift. That would be my flat, I say. Alright, let’s see your flat then, the plumber suggests. My flat is all clear, which is good news, the plumber offers, as he notices my white face. There’s no fucking good news when there’s a fucking hole in the fucking cellar ceiling!! It’s like comforting a dying guy with telling him that at least, when he’s dead, he won’t have to pay health insurance.
What’s next to you, the plumber inquires. An empty bar, I say. We pay a visit there and the plumber is insensitively cheerful to see it flooded. Here you go, he shouts enthusiastically, that’s your leak!I remain quiet and catatonic. The plumber sends me back to my flat to take a Lexaurin and sets off to fetch his mates, so they could have some fun too.
The leak turned out to have been caused by an exploded radiator, which some dumbass didn’t shut down properly and which burst with excitement when the outside temperature dropped too low. I was relieved that I didn’t break the boiler but spent the rest of the day trying to sweep the water from the flooded areas. It was like, uh, sweeping water. Being a janitor is a great job. Not.
My old psychiatrist retired (probably to devote himself full-time to his drinking hobby) and was replaced by a new psychiatrist. Unlike the old guy, the new lady is less than a hundred and doesn’t appear to have a drinking problem (good for her).
I bear no grudge against her (yet), but as per usual, I’ve been quite passive-aggressive at our first date. She surely hated me at first sight, which is only right and mutual because I hate people by default. This might explain my passive-aggressive tendencies.
My new psych person had the old psych person’s office completely cleared, so now she practises in a large and mostly empty room. I’m scared of open spaces, so here you go. Also, she brought in a new table and positioned it in the wrong place. I’m OCD, so here you go again.
I tried hard to conduct myself, so I didn’t point out that she ruined everything for me. (She even moved the nurse’s station to the wrong wall, and nothing will ever be the same.) We had the following largely disappointing conversation.
Psych: So, how have you been feeling? Me:(What I thought: That’s a question beneath your profession. If I were feeling anything else than poorly, I wouldn’t be here, right? Elementary, doctor.) What I said: Poorly. (What I didn’t add: But I accept that it is what it is and I let it go, as my positive affirmations have me believe.)
Psych (staring at me): You look anxious. Me (staring in a wall behind her): (What I thought: Right, that’s because I have anxiety, just check my bloody chart, duh.) What I said: Yes.
Psych: What about we try increasing the antidepressant dose? Me:(What I thought: Whatever. It’s not like I’m a doctor. Oh, wait. I am a doctor. Whew.) What I said: Okay.
Psych: And what do you do? Me:(What I thought: Ow fuck, now we’re going to chit-chat? As a doctor, you should know that it’s not what I do but how I deal with it. Also, don’t try to outsmart me. You’re no match for my intellectual arrogance.) What I said: Work from home.
Psych: You don’t talk much, right? Me:(Nothing. Why state the obvious.) Psych: OK, so see you in a month. Me:(If I live to see the next month.) OK.
I guess I’m not a very amiable person. Actually, I’m sure of that because I spend a lot of time with myself and I hate every second. I’m such an annoying little smartass. Currently on more antidepressants than before, so we’ll see.
My reblogs of my own Instagram snaps seem to be among the posts which you hate the least, so I’m continuing with this non-challenge and presenting another week’s worth of crappy snappy shit (I know that this dubious phrase makes no sense, but that’s suitable for a non-challenge).