I am now 44 years old. I have not been hospitalized, I have not
undergone any therapy or taken any medication in 20 years. However,
in those 20 years I have had something of a life: I completed a
college course through correspondence, I have had two long-term
relationships, one which involved relocating to another country, I
have had many other unusual alternative relationships, I have
maintained a massive personal website which signals ongoing creative
functioning and attempts to understand and explain my own experience,
I have travelled around the world on my own, and (in Australia) I
have a significant relationship with the local wildlife, which
includes caring for the sick and injured. On a daily basis it is
necessary for me to be aware enough and analytical enough that I can
figure out how to make the day as 'positive' as possible. However, I
continue to experience life as something to be endured rather than
enjoyed. The feeling of chaos, insecurity and instability in
day-to-day living has never abated.
...'The only thing I can do now,' he told himself, and the regular
correspondence between his steps and the steps of the other two
confirmed his thought, 'the only thing for me to go on doing is to
keep my intelligence calm and discriminating to the end. I always
wanted to snatch at the world with twenty hands, and not for a very
laudable motive, either. That was wrong, and am I to show now that
not even a whole year's struggling with my case has taught me
anything? Am I to leave this world as a man who shies away from all
Franz Kafka, The Trial
Does psychology provide us with answers, or just more questions?
What about people who have seemed to have everything against them in
every possible category, yet still manage to have a 'positive'
attitude and to succeed in life?
So far, I haven't demonstrated the ability to either engage others in
conversation or inspire them to ask me questions, and when I
originally put up a website, my main aim was to try to help myself
find others to talk to, or to find those who could relate to me and
vice versa. I suppose that I have found my own voice and my own
Will I ever be or have fun? Do I want a website that only
concentrates on the major effort of slogging through? Does anyone
care at all what I have to say?
...I've looked back over what I've set down so far, and
it seems inadequate. Perhaps there is too much frivolity in it, or
too many things that might be taken for frivolity...Such items do
not assort very well with tragedy. But in life, tragedy is not one
long scream. It includes everything that led up to it. Hour after
trivial hour, day after day, year after year, and then the sudden
moment: the knife stab, the shell-burst, the plummet of the car from
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
It's interesting, from my current vantage point all in the past seems
foggy, unclear, my efforts are not enough to help anyone understand,
and much confuses the issue, and there is a pressure to try to
address that, while knowing that in one way or another, my old
pattern is likely to remain in play - that is, there will always be
awkward parts and parts that confuse the whole. I can never seem to
edit that out. Is it that others lack the capacity to understand, or
is it that I am not good at explanation? But if I don't try to
understand and explain, how likely is it that anyone would ever
understand my situation or even know I exist?
...Breathe in, breathe out. You breathe time and time's decay. Matter
disposing of itself, still imprinted with its echo, the form it took,
the shape of its energy for a little while.
The medievals thought that the damned lived in Satan's belly, hot
pouch of indigestion, but damned or saved, what we were continues in
the lungs of each other. Nitrogen, oxygen, tell-tale carbon.
Do not mistake me. This is not the afterlife. This is no after
life. There is life, constantly escaping from the forms it inhabits,
leaving behind its shell. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. History is in
Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries
Whatever we are made up of, our individual lives press upon
Everybody dies eventually. Death is not really a tragedy; it is a
part of life that comes in different forms to different people. I
can't quite see my eventual suicide as a tragedy. I do think there is
more to my story than banality and frivolity, while those aspects are
still significant parts of the whole.
...Why bother about the end of the world? It's the end of the world
every day, for someone...
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
I never want to have to struggle through writing all this out again.
I want to have fun now.
When I travel, it's not with the idea that I will try to hit all the
wellknown landmarks. When I head outside, I just start walking, and I
try to remain open to whatever I might encounter.
For me it has been true that when I was 'out there' in the world, I
felt differently to how I feel when existing in isolation. My wish to
die was not lessened, and I did experience heightened anxiety, but
I felt less trapped, that there were more possibilities, and more
shades and nuances of perception - it's not that I am unaware of
these normally, but it is a different thing to experience them in
person. It has a different effect to experience something not only in
theory, but in practice. I also experienced a feeling of
accomplishment - a personal sense of accomplishment which is
different from genuine enjoyment or pleasure.
There is pressure to have experienced enjoyment. What a waste if you
do not. How pathetic. In my case, I did my best to try to figure out
how at least to set the stage such that it was possible to enjoy. I
consider what I have learned about myself and realize that the
closest thing to pleasure for me is to create contrast to my everyday
existence. I did this on as many levels as possible.
The best days on my world trip usually included a meal in a
restaurant with wine. Then I would go out for a walk, perhaps a bit
more relaxed, uninhibited, open. It could be my projection, but when
in this state, it seemed to me that I perceived friendliness or
openness, curiosity in many of the others I encountered. There is a
kind of communication that is often non-verbal, or consists only of
minimal verbal communication that is difficult to pin down because in
each instance it depends on the qualities that two individuals bring
to a brief interaction, the combination, the uniqueness of the
moment, that has always been significant to me. Throughout my life,
these moments have been hopeful moments for me. They remind me that
there are others in the world who wish to connect, to share, and that
even if they are shy or insecure, they try to keep some part of
themselves open to possibilities.
When I returned from my trip, I thought something needed to change, I
didn't think I could continue to judge myself as harshly, but it was
not really all that long before I fell back into my old mindset.
However, I did seem to move on to another stage. I spent the next
year reading, thinking and trying to manage to articulate well
enough to get to another next stage. When you are in the midst of
something, it might be difficult to see the shape or meaning of it.
It now looks like I have just continued my journey, in a way that
makes a kind of sense, that adds on or seems to follow the previous
experience. I am perhaps a very slow traveller. I admit that I am
curious as to where I will go from here.
...I am free: I haven't a single reason for living left, all
the ones I have tried have given way and I can't imagine any
Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea