What It’s All About. Maybe.

My mind technician thinks that the true source of the excruciating pain from my breakup is because of having lived without true emotional intimacy for so very long and then putting all my eggs of emotional connection need into one basket. I do not think that is what the pain is really all about. Sure, that is a part of it but what really hurts beyond hurt is the loss of hope. I would not have admitted it to anyone including myslef but deep down I knew my life was broken and needed to be fixed. So when She came along and made me feel so safe that She could quiet my worried mind with Her mere presence rather than me taking Ritalin, I fell so desperately in love. It felt that with Her in my life everything would be fixed. And the sad, sad trouth is that if She had stuck around long enough to help me open my eyes to the true nature of my issues so that I could get help, my life would have been fixed. The other part of that sad, sad truth is that had I paid more attention to what She was saying, had paid more attention to Her, she would likely still be a part of my life. There is a great deal of blame on me for the breakup.

Having left, She not only took Herself out of my life, She took my hope and my dreams with Her. It feels so empty and so cold now.

And I still love Her.

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Day 34. Whoa!

(This article got started independently of today’s Daily Prompt but it fits nicely with the theme.)

My six word story:

Feel it.
Do it.
Keep improvising.

 

This morning, as I was talking to my Mind Technician (that is how he likes to think of himself), he said something that made me sit back and go:

We were discussing my established patterns of thinking negatively. In the cognitive behavioural therapy, there is a thing called “cognitive distortions.” These are perverted cognitive processes that negatively distort the thinking. There are 10 of those buggers though my “go to favourites” seem to be Overgeneralisation (viewing a negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat) and Emotional Reasoning (assuming that negative emotions necessarily reflect the reality:  “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”). So basically whenever something bad or negative happens, I start cursing and putting down myself for all sorts of things. In fact, I sometimes manage to do this when something positive happens if I find that I did not do well enough. So the doc suggested that I do not automatically trust my thinking since it seems to be so negatively predisposed against myself.

That set off a minor inner explosion. This is precisely what has been plaguing my improv performances. I need to stop thinking or relying on my ideas for scenes because my thinking has been damaged by years of self-neglect and self-hate. And nobody wants to see that on stage! So for the next while what I need to do instead is go in with an emotional choice rather than a cognitive one. Maybe even pair it with a statement (e.g., “Oranges are awesome!”) and figure out the rest along the way and trust my scene partners to support me. (Improvisation – what a concept!) There is nothing inherently wrong with making a cognitive choice for a scene (e.g., “Three rabbits are discussing forest gossip”) but, for the moment, it is not the right way for me. Thinking triggers more thinking and in my case it is all negative.

In my recent post on getting back into improv, I have discussed getting bogged down in my mind and forgetting one of the cardinal rules of improv: play and have fun. I need to get back to being playful and emotional. Also, in my case, I should probably stick to positive emotions for awhile. Not too long ago, Joe Friedman (thetalkingtherapist)  commented on my post Being Funny saying that I might not be funny for awhile but that I might get deeper. Let us hope so. The reason audiences care about the characters on stage is because they connect with them. If I manage to become more emotionally moving on stage, that can only improve the overall experience for the spectators and for myself and maybe help me discover more of my true self through that experience.

For the first time in quite some time, there is actually something to look forward to in my life.

Day 28. Me, Myself, and I.

The Self – that most elusive of notions. How do we define it? Is it the soul, the mind, the id, the ego? Is it set for all time or is it constantly in flux? Then there is the whole notion of fractured Self. It is also intrinsically linked with how we view ourselves: for example, whether do we feel young or old regardless of actual age;

In my case, I am starting to realise that my Self is not what I thought it was. In fact, the current state of feeling totally lost is because I spent a large portion of my life hiding my Self from the world and myself. I have written about myself here before but I am realising that I have not really touched on the subject of my Self. I have no clue what or who I am. Is it the Me the funny guy? Is it the Me the improviser? Is it the Me the climber?

Some people (ahem, me) tend pile up stuff in a closet during cleanup and just shut the door. Later, when that was thoroughly forgotten, the closet gets opened and everything that was piled up falls out. Since I have started doing improv, I feel that is the psychological equivalent of what has been happening in my mind. The recent Breakup just swung all the doors open and now I am drowning in all the emotional baggage that was suppressed there.

And yet, I am still having trouble confronting my issues. Is it because I am afraid to find out that I am a total loser? Granted, that is not the kind of validation I am interested in. I do know that feelings of low self-worth and fears of inadequacy are my constant companions, à la Dexter’s “dark passenger.” 

So I am considering the possibility that my Self is in a transitional period. I am changing from the Self I deluded myself into and moving towards discovering my true Self. Hopefully, this will not end in bitter disappointment.

Day 8. Yours Truly: Front and Centre (Part I).

Since I have no clue what to write about today, I will use the daily prompt. Standing out in a crowd is a bit of a sensitive issue with me. So instead of screaming into the digital void about my broken heart, let us venture out into the history of how yours truly has ended up in this unenviable situation.

Childhood

You see, as a child, although I had quite a bit of anxiety already, I was fine being in the thick of fun performing in dance recitals, plays, and so on. In fact, like my father, I am a natural extrovert. With the onset of ADHD-PI (or ADD, as it used to be called) things have started to change. Of course at the time I had no idea about any of that alphabet soup, nor did anyone else in my backward-ass place of birth. The way to deal with unruly kids was to pump them full of tranquilisers and stuff them in the room with padded walls. As my attention began to wonder quite a lot, I became more and more introverted. (The running joke/explanation was that I had “deep inner world.” So as much as I tried to concentrate, there was only so much information that would sift through the inattention filter. No matter how much I studied, my marks kept getting more and more depressing and so did I. The level of anxiety though, kept going up and up. That wouldn’t do in my society of birth and so I did the best I could (and my best was quite good – too good, as it turned out) to put up the appearances of normality and to lock down any out-of-place feeling or impulse.)

Present

So how is it that I went from being completely locked inside my mind (more on that in the next post) to being someone with a bunch of friends and even appearing regularly on stage? Well, my medical condition can be controlled. I came a long way from the beaten down sorry waste of flesh to be someone that others might like and respect.  I learned to venture out into outside world. It is still difficult to do so completely by myself, without a social buffer in form of friends, but I manage to do it. And every now and again I latch onto something and become obsessed with it (more on that in the next post as well). I started going to a bunch of local comedy shows and eventually paired my love for comedy with my photography obsession. So I got noticed by comedians and became friends with great many of them. These new connections brought me in contact with a lot of new people. It seems many of them liked me but I was close only to a few. Comedians like to party (evidently to keep inner demons buried under drugs and alcohol). I never got into drugs (too level-headed for that) but alcohol has always been fun for me. (Don’t worry – this story does not end in me becoming an alcoholic.) It’s a great dis-inhibitor and that’s what I need at parties. Nevertheless, I have mastered an ability to be alone in a room full of people. I tend to retreat into a corner of my mind. Even when I join a group or a conversation, I never really feel like I’m a part of it.

Then things changed. Through my association with the comedy scene, I eventually discovered improv and fell in love with it. It has so many fascinating sides: from games, to storytelling, to masks. (Eventually, there will probably be a long post dedicated to improv.)

One of those characters is me.

One of those characters is me.

See, this art form requires one to be fully in the moment, to discard whatever else is going in one’s life. I came to improv already with some experience in that from meditating (unsuccessfully) and rock climbing (rather successfully). Improv also allows you to become someone else, a character. Then there are the scene partners. Those that I have met mostly came to this also with all kinds of inner demons. It is such a wonderful feeling of being able to connect with others going through similar feelings and craft something wonderful with them that makes us and the audiences happy. Improv allows one to stand out without standing out. We all wear masks. I have conditioned myself early in life to keep mine on all the time. So through improv there is a secret me that gets to shine while the public known me can recede in the background. Therapy, it seems, can exist in the most unusual forms.

Day 6. Trust.

I’m having trouble today coming up with things to say. However, keeping with the “one post per day” challenge I shall say this. Trust is important in any relationship. Even enemies trust each other to behave in a foe-like manner. But I digress. In climbing, trust is paramount. We trust each other with our lives and continued well-being so that we can feel the freedom to explore. If that trust is shaken, it is hard to get things back to the way they were. There cannot be any hidden agendas and all things must be clear and transparent, which in its turn creates an implicit feeling of a close bond. Those feelings of bonding are multiplied exponentially when the climbing relationship goes beyond catching and belaying.

One day, I will find a way to finish this post. And I still love her.

Day 2. A Cut Too Deep. (Letter #1).

After some heavy thinking I have done in the past week or so, I have come to realisation that I have no choice but to cut you out of my life. I’m sorry it has come to that but just being friends and hanging out with was never going to be enough for me. I care for you too much to be around you without being with you both because it would be too painful for me and because I would not want to poison you with my misery.
I wish things could have turned out differently. I wish hadn’t pushed you towards the arms of another. (Definitely wish I had’t arranged for the circumstances where you two met.) I wish I could have been what you wanted me to be. I am not. Perhaps with time I could have changed, likely would have, but it is too late now and you could not wait. I wish you could have given me more of a chance; I wish you would be willing to wait… You are like an untameable mustang, a force of your own. Unwilling to settle for anything less than you deserve, you cannot be with one who isn’t what you want. There’s no blame for you in this; but the end result is all the same: we must part ways for I cannot bear for it to be otherwise. I would never presume to tell you whom you can or cannot date. But if I cannot be with you than I cannot be around you knowing that you are with someone else, seeing you with someone else, someone better.
All I ever wanted was to hold you close, to be able to say I’m yours and to call you mine. Alas, that is not to be.
I realise now that I should have been more open with you about my emotional health issues and more truthful about the cause of my idiosyncrasies. Not to mention that I should have sought professional help a long time ago. But it was easier to fool myself that I’m stronger than the depression that has been slowly suffocating me for the 20+ years. I would start new hobbies and get obsessed with them and they gave me great outlets for relief of anxiety and depression but whenever I would be forced to be by myself they would spring back up. Things became harder and harder to deal with over time. Even cleaning my room became a task of Herculean proportions. I finally have reached he point where I realise that I cannot deal with it by myself. I will seek the help. “I’ll drop the cross of self-denial,” so to speak. Regretfully for us, it is all too late. Perhaps, once I’m better we may see if there’s still something there but I will not ask you to wait. I will not be this unfair to you.
I care oh so deeply for you, my dearest, dearest girl. ‘Til better times, perhaps.

Day 1. A New Beginning.

This blog is to help me document my recovery from deep depression and a host of other issues as well as to help me pick up pieces of my broken heart and try to make sense of life and events.

I have been sliding down the depression cliff for some time, rationalising not seeking professional help by pretending that it was my “normal,” that it was a cultural thing. But a breakup turn my slow slide into an uncontrollable tumble. And I finally came to realise how screwed up my life really is. I made a first step: contacted a mental health clinic that came recommended by a trusted friend. I am yet to have my first appointment but decided to use this medium as a way to arrange my thoughts and feelings.

So here goes…