In Conclusion

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 conclusions?...

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 place.

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 the bridge...

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 your nostrils...

Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries

Whatever we are made up of, our individual lives press upon us.

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 more...

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea















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