But mostly anxiety. I seem to be suffering from extended bouts of irrational anxiety lately. Last week from about the middle of the afternoon Thursday through at least mid-morning Saturday I basically suffered a long, continuous anxiety attack. If you haven’t had an anxiety attack, there’s no point in my trying to explain it, and if you have, imagine it lasting almost forty-eight hours. It kept me up at night until I fell asleep from exhaustion defeating anxiety, but waking up in the morning already anxious is a new thing for me… or it was… anyway, so that hasn’t been nice. Since then I’ve been having …well, ‘mood swings’ isn’t the right term for it, because that implies rapid and frequent reversals, but … like going instantly from near-painful anxiety to general ‘good cheer’ and ‘happy feelings’… and staying that way for hours at a time until suddenly, without cause or gradation, coming on like a sudden and fast anxiety attack but hanging around for hours, I’m back again. Sometimes on the negative end of the ‘swing’ there’s also a low feeling of depression and/or self-deprecation, and sometimes the up side has been mere normalcy, but I haven’t been particularly level for a couple of weeks, and … I don’t know if maybe I’m just used to it, but … I don’t know.
Like … I know my depression has been bad lately because on Saturday and Sunday I’m supposed to get up and around and dressed and through breakfast and ready to open the store … it used to be so the store could be open by nine… and now it’s so cold I need to light a fire and warm the place up, so I need to get the fire started about an hour before I open, so I know, I know, I should have the fire started around eight… which then gives me time to eat breakfast before I need to be in the store… but this weekend… and last weekend it was bad, but not this bad, I just couldn’t get out of bed. I have overrides, I have a deeply ingrained sense of personal responsibility, but … for instance when it got bad when I was working for companies on set schedules, I had known that sometimes it would be bad and I would add an hour or more of ‘fluff’ to my ‘normal’ morning routine and plan on arriving early every day so that when it got bad and I couldn’t get myself out of bed for an hour, or two hours, up to three hours, I could still jump into clothes and out the door without breakfast in five minutes or so, and book it to work and usually no one knew the difference. And when it got really bad, when I couldn’t face the world at all, once or twice a year at most, I’d usually get a call an hour or two into my shift … and even though I clearly sound sick on the phone, I’ll be at work in twenty minutes. I’ll get my job done. I’ll make up the time. Anyway, so I know in order to get the store open by nine and warm I should be down and lighting a fire by eight, but Saturday I wasn’t even out of bed until 9:50, and Sunday I couldn’t peel myself out of bed before 10:15. I’d been to bed early Saturday night, knowing I needed to wake up earlier, but … between anxiety and insomnia I don’t know what time I got to sleep, and then in the morning it was … have you ever just felt like there was no point to it, no reason to get out of bed? I wasn’t going to make any sales (total sales for the last four weeks: $8), I wasn’t going to be able to keep warm, I wasn’t going to be contributing to the family like I should, I’m a waste of space and I don’t deserve to have heat in my room or breakfast to eat, and I may as well lie there and die. But eventually my sense of personal responsibility kicked me out of bed and downstairs and I ate a cup of yogurt in record time and opened the store cold by 10:30 or so. It hasn’t been good lately.
And I try to keep doing the things I know I like to do when I’m feeling good. I’ve been writing this novel (about seven thousand words to go, now), but when my mood took a nosedive, the novel turned from a light-hearted story of a boy who meets a friendly dragon into long, boring conversations about the nature of education, religion, and philosophy, then class and racial struggles, and then I had an army of dragons burn around one hundred and ten million Americans (plus many Mexicans and Canadians) to death, along with quite a lot of ground and cities and resources… It hasn’t been altogether going as I’d hoped. It isn’t exactly the children’s book I’d been trying to write. And I did that Four-Hour Comic. I’d been wanting to do a 24-hour comic for years, and for a time I thought it would be too hard, mine wouldn’t be worth reading, and then I warmed up to the idea that it would be too easy, and that even when I draw stick figures, people connect with the content and the character, and for a while I thought it would be too easy. Then on a lark I joked that I’d do a Four-Hour Comic, and it felt like a really good idea, something I’d really enjoy. And while I was doing it, at least for the first four or five hours, I really did enjoy it. And then I logged back into IM and allowed myself to receive email and … and then my computer froze up and that wasn’t all bad, but it set me back, and worse than that is all the feedback I’ve been getting. It’s not entirely negative. In fact, no one I know of who has read the comic has disliked the comic, and most say positive things about it, and were entertained by it. But in equal or greater proportion to that is comments like ‘that really took you that long to do?’ and “I don’t understand why you’d waste all that time doing a comic when you’re supposed to be working on your novel.” Except that my novel was already going down the tubes by then, but how could anyone know that? I’ll make 50k words, I can write seven thousand in an evening’s work and I have all weekend. But I’ll upload a file that isn’t my novel to be “validated” as a winner on the official site because I typed the bulk of the novel on paper. And then I’ll just have to set it aside for a goof long time because it’s a piece of crap. Or maybe that’s my bad mood talking. Maybe people want to read about an idealized world where everything goes right… after a lot of people die, needlessly. And did I mention that I fucked that green stripe right up on the painting I’ve been working on? I’t totally wrong now and I don’t know how many layers of paint it’ll take to fix it, or even if it can be fucking fixed. Right now it looks like a baby or an eagle shat all over an otherwise quite nice painting.
I suppose that since it’s first in the title I should mention loneliness at least a little. Not in a social, I don’t get to see my friends very often kind of way. No, no… in a “I haven’t really been in a ‘more-than-friends’ relationship with someone (that wasn’t just about physical pleasure) in about six years” kind of a way. In a “everyone I meet and get to know and like and am interested in pursuing a relationship with me, for one excuse or another, only wants to be friends” way, and they really do mean that they want to be friends; they’re not just saying that to get rid of me, they want to continue to harass me with their existence, continue to show me all the reasons I’m interested in pursuing more of a relationship with them, continue to want to do things with me and talk to me all the time and sometimes confide in me and ask me for advice and all that other friend stuff that just makes me feel more and more every moment like I want to be with them. And I can’t. Many of them are single, but are choosing not to pursue relationships at this time for one reason or another. THOSE, I expect to show up pregnant and/or married any moment now. One of my good friends tried recently to set me up with someone nice who I have a lot of things in common with and who I found I can communicate well with, and almost immediately was interested in spending time with and more getting to know, and he knew beforehand that she was not looking for a relationship of any kind… but decided to try to set us up anyway… in a way that made it clear to me that he was trying to set us up… and GHAaa.. I know, I know, whatever, but why does my life have to be this way? I know that in my current living situation I do not make the ideal SO for many people, and that with the basics of my personality I am fairly incompatible with a great many people, but this is getting silly. I have faith, based on past experience, that this loneliness I