Future Schlock

September 25, 2007 at 8:13 pm 1 comment

I spend most of my life feeling fairly negative about my life and my future. On occasion I have phases of positivity. These tend to manifest themselves in fairly self-destructive ways. “Fuck! What the hell have I been doing with my life? Why have I been such an idiot? Life’s what you make it. Think yourself happy! You don’t have to be trapped in your own dumb little prison. Assume some responsibility, fuck everyone and everything. You can be better than this. You are better than this. Hell, you’re better than everyone. Clean up your flat and get some vodka to celebrate! Get a motorbike! Get a loan! Call your ex!” etc.

So I’m always a little wary about this kind of feeling. It’s led to a fair amount of hideousness in the past. That said, over the past couple of days I’ve been able to think of the future without whimpering. Even being able to think that I have a future is a bit of a novelty. Not acting on these feelings doesn’t lead to fantastic results either. And there’s a suspicion, which I’m entirely unqualified to assess, that in some ways just laying down and succumbing to all this self-hatred makes me something of an asshole.

But yeah, I’ve been considering the future. Realistically, I can’t see myself being able to stand a life spent hiding in my flat. Nor can I see myself being able to force myself to go back to the kind of life I was trying to lead last year, tired out of my skull and barely making enough money to live on (thanks, in no small part, to my various debts).

As I may have mentioned previously, the debts aren’t going to be an issue forever. It’s probably better for me to think of my other problems (the mood-related / sleep-related fucked-up-ness) as manageable rather than completely destructive. Of course, the mood-related fucked-up-ness often makes it seem like everything else is unmanageable and that death is a better option. That’s nothing other people don’t have to deal with. And there’s a false dilemma there. Few things are completely unmanageable. I may not ever be free of mood/sleep fucked-up-ness, but any step that makes these things more-manageable is worth taking. Being 90% fucked-up rather than 100% fucked-up will improve my life.

So I want to take advantage of this ability to think about the future that’s recently appeared. It’s a bit like waking up (a lot of my life seems like a bad dream). I don’t want to end up making things worse, so I’m going to take things slowly and sensible. I have some ideas for long-term plans (go back to university, etc.), but long-term plans require a base of stability to build upon, so I figure it’s best to keep my long-term plans at the back of my mind, while I see what I can do about getting to the point where I can put them into action.

Similarly, the things I wish I could do on a day-to-day basis (look after myself better, eat better, exercise more – or at all) don’t make sense until I fix the immediately screwed-up stuff that being depressed all the time will do to you and your flat.

My usual strategy about now would be to go tearing around, clean like a maniac and declare myself happy, healthy and in desperate need of a drink. I’m not going to do that. It doesn’t lead anywhere good. I’d rather have a reasonably clean flat for the long-term than a sparkling clean flat for a week. The important part isn’t the initial cleaning, but maintaining that. And eventually, the important part won’t be going back to university, but being in a position where that (or other plans) will make sense.

I can’t make myself better – I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work. I think medication will help, though at this point that’s a hope not a reality. But medication can only improve my mood and sleep, it can’t improve my life. That’s something I have to do myself. Medication can (and hopefully will) make this easier, but in the end it’s up to me to do as much as I can to move from fucked-up to less fucked-up. A perfect life is impossible (and nobody has a perfect life, even if they lack mood or sleep problems), but a better life is probably within grasp, even for someone as much of a mess as I am.

This seems like disturbingly sensible thinking. I don’t know what’s come over me.

I need to start making lists of things to do. The things that get ignored because I’ve been slammed to the ground by depression and can barely think. The way to manage a problem isn’t to ignore it or be overwhelmed by it (though the nature of my problems often means that I do feel overwhelmed). Slowly get things to a point where I can maintain them at an acceptable level. Even when I can’t see a future, I might be able to persuade myself to see a point where I can see myself being able to see a future again…

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Assay One Thing

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. patientanonymous  |  September 28, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    This is good thinking. Really. Try not to “think” to hard about your thinking, dear. Just go with it. You are right that you can’t think yourself happy and also that meds can’t solve everything either. But with the combination of the two…things can improve…slowly.

    It sounds like you are trying to talk some out some things to yourself in a positive way…self talk, encouragement.

    Keep it up. I’m proud of you, love.

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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?

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