Get to the next screen

May 20, 2007 at 9:34 am 3 comments

On citalopram I’d go from “oh shit, the walls are melting” to “I fucking hate myself.” Now I’ve come off it, I seem to be going from “I hate myself, whatever” to “I fucking hate myself.” The crash hurts less, but the actual drop in mood is about the same. The rollercoaster effect isn’t so pronounced so it’s easier to deal with. At least when the rapid cycling was going on I’d have a day or two of relative normality every so often.

I’ve been reading the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard Morgan recently. It’s a dark, noir-ish, extremely violent cyberpunk-esque SF trilogy. It’s also very good. I won’t go over the details here, because the only thing that’s relevant is the motif that occurs throughout the three books, which the protagonist Takeshi Kovacs has a tendency to say whenever things get rough (and they do get bone-splinteringly rough): Get to the next screen.

For a child of the video game age like me this is a perfect metaphor. Of course, these days it’s all persistence, maps and cut-scenes, but back in the day the basic unit of a video game was the screen. Scrolling’s graphically expensive, so back when computers didn’t have graphics cards or, to be honest, more than a handful of kilobytes of memory, you’d clear a screen of enemies, and go on to the next one. Get to the next screen.

It’s a philosophy you can live by and Takeshi Kovacs does. Most of the time it feels my life’s like this. Carry on. Ignore the desire to put something sharp in your wrist. I have the image of the life I’d like to lead in my head. But no way to move towards it. You don’t have the energy for chasing the distant figure of happiness when your resources are taken up with getting to tomorrow, or the end of the week. It’s difficult to find friends and love when it’s taking everything you have to get to the end of the conversation. You get to the next screen. And once you’ve cleared that, there’ll be another.


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Questionnaires and Inventories Expectation/Fulfillment

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. patientanonymous  |  May 23, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Get to the next screen. That’s an interesting metaphor. Sometimes when you’re not stable (or even when you are!) it’s very hard to think of “the big picture.” In fact it always has been for me. Really, a lot of the time I’ve just had to “settle” for taking things in small steps. Sometimes that has been just getting through the day; sometimes it has just been getting out of bed.

    Yes. There will always be another screen. Life will always present us with new challenges and situations (getting to the next level to use another gamer phrase) but under other situations (right meds, supports etc…) it can be easier to handle each “new screen.”

    Don’t give up hope, chimpy. I’d like to think that we can all have the lives that we want. Or if not, then at least a life that we can be happy or satisfied with?

  • 2. troy  |  May 25, 2017 at 9:04 am

    i heartily agree on all points

  • 3. Diana Winters  |  April 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Don’t know if you have completely finished with this blog, or if you ever check for new comments, but this is a really terrific blog and you’re a terrific writer. I hope you’ll post an update at some point on what you’re up to.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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