The slumbering elves

The forest elves are sleeping now, we must not wake them!

Ssshh – tread lightly.

Say some that every winter they lay deep in their caverns, gradually releasing all moisture from their bodies.

In a dreamless slumber they wait, their breath slowing to one rise-and-fall a month, their skin becoming as tough as bark.

When spring comes, moisture and light begins to permeate through the soil – the elves stir!

But it takes many weeks to fully awaken and they appear tree-like and terrible in such a state.

This is why so many adventurers mistake them for dryads or more pernicious creatures!

Yet in good time they will again be elves; fair and songful but quick to anger!

It is a fool indeed who contrives to summon them in Winter. They will be weakened for the whole of the year to come without the replenishment of their manas. If they survive at all.

The infinite well of Self-Esteem

Me and my therapist spoke in no small terms about ‘innate value’ and ‘inner dignity’. We talked about the value of self-love, how to cultivate it, how it was prerequisite for the love of another. We assumed that it was something already there, an axiom of the soul.

But I was never fully convinced that there was a source of worth inherently in us. If there was, how could my adult life be plagued with collapses of self-value? I do not believe that with enough ‘practice’ we could ‘self-love’ ourselves back into a place of worth. Nor do I believe it to be true that we need to love ourselves before we can be loved by another.

What others might call ‘inherent value’ I see in a much more nihilistic light, namely normative (or society-given) value. Nature has no inherent value but for the survival of species; cooperating or competing for life. We are no different to any other species, we are the children of nature.

If I had a font of hidden energy and self-value, why is it absent after a lifetime of searching? Perhaps my therapist was just trying to be nice!

A cursory observation of society will demonstrate that people seek to be valued by others. This may be through their position in society – how many people do you see taking pride in their work or striving to get ‘to the top’?

It may be through belonging to a community or ritual place of worship – how many towns do you know of without a church?

It may be in the form of finding a loving partner – how many people do you know who take pride in their relationships? I saw at least five couples publicly demonstrate their affections for each other on my walk through town yesterday.

It shows that we are indeed empty on the inside and in constant need of others; that it is not enough to be with ourselves. Indeed, it is precisely this need for others that drives us forward and allows society to happen. Our emptiness is our driving force and a vital part of who we are.

Despite this gaping void of emptiness and valuelessness within, there is a silver lining.

Every cloud… –

I believe it to be true that low self-esteem can create a downward spiral. The less you value yourself, the less others will value you. This prevents you from turning the tide and rising into a better place. Charity and pity does not feed esteem, nor will people lying to make you feel better. As we are dependent on those around us for esteem, we always have to factor others into our ‘equation of esteem’. This means there can be obstacles to gaining esteem –  coercive group-think and conformity, the presence of ‘alpha males’ who feed off others, prejudice against race / class / gender / and so on, the fear of crowds and groups, to name but a few. When you are low on esteem, these challenges feel insurmountable.

Yet there is nothing that can stop you developing a creative talent. On the way to work, during a lunch break, when you wake up in the middle of  the night – there is always time to develop a skill. No one can give you this talent and no one can anyone take it away. Some people might be privileged by having an earlier start but nothing can stop you from beginning your journey whenever you want.

For myself this saving grace was performance. I don’t need people to believe in me anymore to be a good performer. I don’t need people to tell me I am a skilled musician or actor. It does help to be supported, but I can get by in the hardest environment and know that I can stick it out. The development of performing talents has reached critical mass – there is no turning it back now.

This is what the article title means by an infinite well of self-esteem. It might not always feel right to perform, but when the opportunity and the will align, it is up to one person and one person alone to succeed. Myself.

This does not mean that becoming a craft should be idealized. I do believe that we need to be loved, cared for, checked-in with others, to belong, in order to be fully healthy. A course of CBT or psychotherapy solely working on self-esteem will probably be necessary to make any major gains.

However the infinite well is a factor that can always get you out of the downward spiral.

I have low self-esteem. I do not want to be around other people, so my self-esteem gets even lower. The lower it gets, the less chance anyone is going to want to be around me, so I become more isolated. The more isolated I become, the more I am depressed and therefore anxious. The anxiety prevents me from trying out new situations or talking to new people. It prevents me from taking even the smallest step forward. The lack of inner-value means that no one wants take me on, women are repulsed by the sight of weakness and neediness. Relationships are destroyed by my imbalance and vulnerability. Therefore there is never anyone there to offer a hand up and help me onto my feet.

The key to turning things around is precisely the isolation. Whilst it is not a good thing, it does allow space to develop oneself. It might be boring, emotionally harmful in the long run, repetitive, tedious – but it won’t be forever. If you can train yourself whilst in that place, even just a little bit every day, you can reach a stage where you have a powerful foundation of self-confidence and self-belief. And whats more it will be grounded in empiricism, not the platitudes of a therapist!

There is so much that can be done alone. Playing and composing music, learning how to code websites, creative writing, gardening, growing, cooking, video-blogging.

Skills that can be brought into a social context, such as playing an instrument or community cooking, are especially of value here. They enable someone with low self-esteem to have an ace up their sleeve in competitive social situations or in the predatory capitalist workplace.

Final Mentorly Wisdom –

No one can take away your creative talent, but then no one can give it to you. It is something that must be earned. It requires immense focus and patience. This is precisely what makes it worthwhile, it is truly yours. In the absence of a saviour-figure who will likely never come to rescue you, in the absence of the one-true-love who only exists in faerie tales, creative mastery is the most guaranteed way to turn the tables on low self-worth.

It is not the whole picture, because a person needs to be loved and to belong. But it is a start.

Regeneration

Time heals nothing. Regeneration is what heals.

There is a common cliche in our culture. That time heals all. I do not believe this is true. In fact I think that this could be a destructive belief.

Processing and regeneration is what heals. These things take time, but they are not time itself.

Someone may suffer a traumatic incident. They could spend the next ten years moving from one distraction to another. In those ten years they might do no purposeful processing whatsoever.

We need to let our healing functions regenerate us. But to do nothing is frowned upon in productivity-obsessed society. You always have to be active, out-there, doing-something, between-jobs, saving-a-species, on-the-hunt, success-seeking. This busy-ness is not always out of choice – in capitalist society these things are done out of necessity as the anxieties of destitution hang above us. Hours spent lying asleep are viewed as excess, days spent idle are seen as wasted , the content of dreams discarded as trivia. Stillness is seen as wastefulness.

But this means we are denying our fundamental regeneration systems the opportunity they need to heal. The long periods spent doing nothing are essential to the somethings. This is especially true when you have to live with disability.

Of course, it is good to be active and to strive for things. I would not give up my life’s work for anything of this world. To do literally nothing would be the end of me. But the something should be done with the wisdom of the body in mind. The prudence of the body gives us our boundaries. We human beings are unique in that the capacity of our bodies can be overruled by the dreams of our minds. When we overstep our capacities too far, we deny regeneration a chance to recover us, and this is when we fall the hardest.

In the background of our lives, beneath the awareness of consciousness there are regenerative processes functioning. Psychic wounds are being healed, knitted back together by slow and purposeful creatures of the psyche; the healing forces of nature, insectoid and fungal, breaking down, recycling, processing. In stillness, they thrive. They must be given the time and space to do their work.

There is no all-heal. Life leaves its scars upon us. If we could erase our traumas or histories we would be destroying part of ourselves, not healing.

And of course, life ends with death – something we have no cure for. So to say anything can completely ‘cure us’ would be naive – old wounds leave scars, new wounds are always a possibility. But as much as we can heal, grow and understand ourselves, we should. Just because suffering is inevitable, it does not mean that it cannot be minimized or dealt with in a mature way.

I am glad I have been indulgent and given myself as many ‘years off’ as I have. I will  take as many more years off as I need to, working on my own projects in my own time, with prudence and patience.

And certainly without guilt.

You can run a thousand miles and end up going nowhere. Or, you can take one step in the right direction and make more progress in that one moment than some people will make in a lifetime.

Wounds never heal, but…

The body is wounded. It remembers the source of the pain, the severity of the pain, how to deal with the pain.

The knowledge is stored deep inside the very cells of the body. When next a threat erupts, the body is wiser in its defence. The wounds have taught the body how to react.

The memory of pain is essential to our being. It helps us survive, it helps us evaluate risks and to know whether we are strong enough to deal with them.

To forget pain and suffering, would be to suffer it again, and again, and again. In a sense, memory of pain the wounds they leave are less frightening then having to live them anew every time.

Not that we have a choice. There is no forgetting. Not until death.

The natural world we manifest within is harsh, it allows helpless children to be harmed and innocents to suffer. Some sufferings are so great that we cannot withstand them. We must repress them. Suffering is a constant, it is inevitable. Sometimes it is extremely powerful. In infancy and times of vulnerability, suffering can multiply to levels many times worse.

However repression does not solve anything – at best it can delay the inevitable. A person who completely represses their suffering is not free from it, despite their illusion of control. The body will cry out for the suffering to be seen and acknowledged eventually. As we touched upon, this has an essential purpose.

The repressor will maladjust their body to itself, live in a warped and truncated way. But one who feels suffering and truly knows it, is not necessarily any more free. They are at least more honest.

I believe that wounds never heal. Therapy could not heal me. Leaving therapy, I became a touch more nihilistic, because I knew I was stuck with these ‘conditions’ til the grave. But even though wounds never heal, we can learn to endure, learn to counter their destructive effects and learn to live around them. In this regard, therapy was massively useful.

If you are as wounded as I am, it does not mean your life is over. It may become harder, but life is seldom impossible. Ways exist to compensate. Consider the plethora of genii who had less than ideal circumstances to see evidence of this (Friedrich Nietzsche being my favourite).

At best, we can have stages in our cycles when we do not feel expectional levels of hurt. We also move in seasons and cycles. It makes sense that nature would not generate beings which are always one thing, fixed and unchanging. But we always cycle back to old sufferings, because this is how we are.

Finally, I wish to speak to those who harp on about forgiveness and moving on.

People who speak of forgiveness in healing wounds strike me as most bizarre. If a riotous vandal puts a brick through a magical sentient greenhouse, the greenhouse ‘forgiving’ the vandal isn’t going to repair itself. It will still have broken glass. How will it ever ‘move on’ if the broken glass isn’t fixed and the vandal held to account?

But this is what it is, and this is what we are. Or at least, so I believe.

Completing the Circle

Why did I keep on dreaming of a childhood home, always at night, garden overgrown like a wild jungle. Why did I keep on dreaming of the past?

It was not the past. It was the future.

The circle must be completed and every point along its line must be passed through. As sentient beings move in circles, the past is to be lived and relived, to become the future again, then the past again.

Getting stuck is extremely easy – life is hard in this age, time for reflection is scarce. Discovering the true self is not encouraged – such empowered people do not follow orders or build craven systems, so we are separated from ourselves. And even if we were encouraged to find our true selves, the journey would be a terrifying one many would not want to make.

Depression, feeling lost, isolated, purposeless, insomniac and anxious – all this comes from stopping at a point, a failure to complete the circle. No wonder it never goes away if you never try to move on! Until movement returns, the soul is truncated, growth is violently retarded, the lesson is not learned.

The soul will always rebel, it cannot be silenced for long.

You may love where you are today and love who are with today. But this may not hold true in a year, or two, or ten. Places you thought horrible may again become sanctuaries, and safe havens may become pits of boredom. People you thought safe may become dangerous, people you thought you hated may bring tears to your eyes when they pass away. Emotions that you avoided may become more relevant than you thought; the darkness you feared a guide back to the path you must return to. Things change and shift because this is the nature of life itself. There is no solid ground to stand on forever.

The circle must be completed.

Of course we cannot see into the future, nor predict what it will bring! Life is a labyrinth which must be explored and traversed, not a puzzle to be pieced together by a mind from without.

I know where my soul is calling me – back to the source.

But why would a traumatized soul want to return? Because through adult eyes it can see anew, re-evaluate events, cast off chains of dread and haunting shadows, allow healing forces to enter the soul. With adult strength it can endure past endurance, face demons and scatter them before it. Prepare itself for the next challenge – for the quest is never complete and a strictly happy ending is never achieved. But at least there is always movement and change, as the seasons do change.

There is no use lamenting, where you are is where you are. Sometimes it is necessary to go on detours, to spend years in one place, to suffer for some greater goal, or to run off and go crazy. All that matters is that the circle is completed. Forgiving ourselves for not always being perfect or doing what is best for us is essential – we are finite and mortal modes of nature, rather than the little gods we are expected to be.

My rational mind could not make sense of that obsession with the past. Why was it always night time? Why was the garden always overgrown? The subconscious (where the truth of your self and its relation with the world truly lies) knew long before the surface-mind which direction it had to go. Such dreams seemed irrelevant or historical only because the part of the mind above water, above the mist and shadows, was living only its present and not its place in the whole. It was afraid even, of that whole. And maybe rightly so, because at one point it had to be. But where will it lead now?

All you have to do is complete the circle and you can find out.

 

 

A toast to perfect health

Entropic machines which build and fall apart
Multi-layered trauma catchers which never let go
Wounded angels torn apart by nature
(Who still swear fealty like loyal children)
Moss clinging to life upon a window sill
Trees reaching blindly up to the sun
Fucked-up seasons, spiked circles
Running roughshod over the universe
Sacks of broken nerves pulsating
Ghosts afraid of their own reflection
Stark poets inebriated by their own hubris
Futile voyagers on the hopeless rock
Misunderstanding their own dreams
(If they dream at all)
The saddest joke evolution ever played
The souls even Christ gave up on.

Here is a toast to perfect health.

 

Dealing with duality

If you dare to love, you must dare to lose.

If you want to feel joy, you must also sense sorrow.

If you wish to live, you must also expect death.

 

I have just thought of the most succinct conception of ‘fantasy’ ever. Fantasy is when life is one thing and not the other. It is good without evil, love without loss, life without death, change without chaos, pleasure without pain, and so on.

Reality is double-edged. Everything that can sense pleasure can feel pain. Everything that can soar high will be pulled down by gravity, everything that grows will decay.

The rough ground of reality leaves no space for perfection. Imperfection and finitude is hard-wired into us. Sentience contains suffering, and acceptance of this is necessary for us to feel anything good at all.

The closest we can get to fantasy is a grim remedy. Either to deny our own emotions and effectively be already-dead, a being without total sentience, a truncated being of ignorance and inhumanity. Or we can forever seek to get high and stay high – a biological impossibility, the destruction of our brains and natural rhythms, a constant urge to stay awake, never dream until the body collapses.

Anxieties of perfect health, of immortal life, of endless pleasure, of freedom from chaos, of eternity and afterlife – all feed into the fantasy of a non-reality which is irresistible to use finite beings, yet must be acknowledged as harmful to the soul. We must accept the darkness as we accept the light; we must dispel our myths and fantasies as wishful thinking at best, and destructive ideals at worse.

How much we suffer depends on our expectations. The longer we expect to live perfectly happy lives, the longer we shall suffer. This does not mean giving up the struggle for better standards, denying happiness and accepting artificial suffering. Nor does it mean disengaging with the world around us.

It simply means being realistic about what is and isn’t possible. We should strive for better, but realistically so. We should enjoy moments of love and happiness but accept that they are ephemeral. We should add suffering aplenty into our equation. Fortunately this dark cloud need not depress us; we should know that suffering is the cause of solidarity, heroism and enlightenment.

Life without this struggle is beyond my conception.

 

Feelings of rejection (Part I)

Rejection is a harsh feeling that has followed me around for as long as I could think or feel. Trying to come to terms with it is an immense undertaking which raises immense questions – is it all in my head? Am I my own worst enemy? Is there some basis in truth? Is it always going to be like this?

Looking at the first three questions, it is clear they are all linked. In fact, number one and number three are more or less the same. This suggests that subconsciously, I am placing emphasis on blaming myself, a very anxious manoeuvre, but perhaps a natural one given the feelings of rejection.

Internalizing and self-blame are the product of guilt – that most terrible and useless of emotions. I find guilt to be very prevalent in myself, a guilt for even existing or occupying space. It is common in others who have experienced abuse. Guilt is a weapon in the abuser’s armoury, it sows confusion, prevents escape, plays your good nature against you. My own feelings of rejection must be linked to this self-blame and guilt, itself instilled to satisfy an abuser’s power all those years ago.

However, as we move to identify the source of my feelings of rejection, we see that is not all ‘in my head’. Its not my fault for being the target of abuse. There is a basis in reality and an obvious historical precedent to the guilt and therefore for the self-directed anxiety.

I have felt rejected in the fundamental first relationships I formed. I was unable to ‘love thy abuser’ and this has instilled feelings of failure. It is of course all my fault, how could it be the abuser’s! All of the responsibility is on my shoulders, I have the duty to forgive the abuser’s faults and break through their shell to bestow upon them the love they deserve! Never mind that with every giving my love was rejected, my being was never respected, and mistreatment followed no matter what I did. No way out of rejection, a sense of hopelessness, all my fault, all because of my own shortcomings, guilt, guilt, guilt.

This is my fundamental experience, an alienation and lack of belonging in the fundamental relationship. All other relationships are subconsciously tainted – what if the same dynamic plays out? Indeed, it has played out a few times in my life.

This is clearly not ‘all in my head’. I am not ‘my own worst enemy’, nor am I ‘my own best friend’. Both of  those things require an immense amount of energy, they are draining eternal pits.

Is it always going to be like this?

If depression could take the form of a sentient being, this is one of the first questions it would ask. It would respond that yes, this is all that it can be and that these feelings should be accepted as a fundamental aspect of reality. They are nature itself – it would then seek out evidence to fit into its world view. The ongoing depression is a massive sustainer of my feelings of rejection and alienation. How it is all interlinked is dazzlingly disturbing – before a single step has been taken toward progress, I feel I am ten years of processing behind.

Feedback loops abound here as depression seeks to justify itself, proving with empirical evidence that rejection is the way to feel!

But this article isn’t some New Age bullshit or a one-two-three self-help guide to realizing your true inner potential. The universe does not give you back what you give and it isn’t all in the individual. Whilst I recognise my responsibility to challenge my thinking and resolve life-long repressed feelings through therapy, there is another entire aspect to these feelings of rejection which are not my responsibility. And this white middle class normality.

It is not my responsibility that I am perceived as a person of colour and more subtly from a working-class (read: lower-class) background. It is up to the racializing and classist minds of the others to do their subconsciousness homework so that their prejudice doesn’t make others feel like shit. If groups or individuals do not at least recognise the normality of white middle-classness, loud alarm bells sound inside me and naturally lead me to reject them before they reject me. This is where it is justified. Prejudice is another of those relationships where you cannot move forward – what can I do to be white enough or middle class enough?

Inspite of my admiration for the great middle class champions of English culture, my wish to give and belong, I will never be seen as normal. Just as the abused can never be good enough for the abuser until there is a fundamental change in his warped soul, so the othered cannot be accepted by the normalized until the uncomfortable edifice of social and racial hierarchy is recognised and brought down.

The empirical evidence seeking for this second category of rejection can fall into bias. You could actively seek out instances of prejudice and ignore exceptions. But in my life at least, I have not had to look far! All white households, all white groups, all white partners. It is perfectly normal to subconsciously seek another like you when you are in the minority, but is it also the same for the majority?  I cannot answer that, because I have never been in a position where I am in that majority.

Another massive form of rejection I have felt in my life has been romantic rejection. But this is another beast entirely and perhaps the worst of them all. It needs its own article to prevent it being cliched rubbish and I must tread carefully through that minefield of a topic.

 

Low-energy being, the Parasite, inner conflict

I have been seeing myself as a ‘low-energy’ being these last few years. I am surrounded by active creatures who can rush from place to place, miss a night’s sleep and not be wiped out for the next week, fill their schedules and carry out routines.

Ah, these are the normal-energy people to whom I am in comparison low-energy?

I don’t normally have ‘epiphanies’, but very recently I realized that perhaps my low-energy is not due to a lack of capacity, but that my capacity is constantly drained. As such, taking on new things or doing normal-people things is just too much strain and the system shuts down. The psyche is processing constantly and all the while made anxious by a hostile society, further hampering its processing. Perhaps a degree of ignorance is required to get through it, a mask I simply cannot don so ‘late in the game’ of life. So it must be lived with and dealt with.

This force I have come to personify as the Parasite. There is something which constantly sucks and feeds away at the soul, a force which holds back and prevents rapid growth or moving forward.

But this raises the further question of what is this Parasite and where did it come from? There are definitely social forces at work, values which exalt some people and not others. The effect is something like a parasite – all other things being equal, for a person of my complexion to take a step forward will be harder than for something with a more ‘favourable’ complexion. Likewise people raised with more favourable entitlements, opportunities and expectations will be much more prepared for ‘success’ when they don their smart shoes and step into the soulless world of professionalism.

But I would not stop at prejudice, class and tribalism. That would be to mask another thing the Parasite feeds on – inner-conflict. I believe this inner-conflict to be the loss of much psychic energy, with little to no gain. For years the demands to be loving and forgiving toward abusive people was a great contradiction and waste of energy. A duty fostered by deeply instilled guilt, but also genuine need for suffering people. My empathy and magnanimity is what keeps Parasite alive, I cannot tear it away from me nor tear myself away from it. This pity is a strong source of the conflict. The human psyche is a mystery even to those of us who wish to know it, and the confrontations demanded by the deepest wounded child are the hardest challenge imaginable. But this seemingly unresolvable problem is the cause of endless, enervating conflict.

Where does this black pain come from? Once you are ‘enlightened’ you realize that emotions are ‘psycho-logical’ and that the primal pain you have to carry is forced there from an early age. But what is behind that abuse? More abuse, stretching back into history. But how far can it stretch back and where does it ‘come from’ to begin with?

The suffering we endure and that is forced onto people, abusers and abused and all alike, is an element of nature itself. It is there and it is inevitable, waiting to be inflicted upon things that live. Just as a lie spreads half way around the world before the truth catches up with it, a being suffers a thousand wounds before it even starts to process a single one.

But some of us cause less damage than others. Some of us learn from our mistakes and place onto the scales of balance a greater degree of nurturance. I do not wish to promote a determinist message when I am somewhere between ‘fate’ and ‘freedom’.

We are not doomed to cause ‘evil’ just because it is an inevitable part of nature. To survive being subsumed by that immense force often means going against the grain – against a false family history painted by idealism, against an archaic society that is always a century or so behind, against dogmatic power and the false truths of institutions, against the small percentage of dangerous and deluded psychopaths who stain the fabric of humanity.

To be good and to do good is often an immense and unrewarded burden. But it is still worth it, for without good there would be no reason for a moral being to live in this world. And we can always choose the good, all of us, even if we feel a hateful resentment and will to destroy everything around us.

We will always be flawed and make mistakes, but what can change a man’s intention but himself?

 

 

Depression – breaking it all down (Part I)

I am not one of those people who believes that depression is all about thought processes, behaviour and ‘life style’. It is something far more deep reaching and fundamental than that. You cannot think your way out of depression, just as you cannot think your way into it.

However, I still see the important role of thinking in keeping you there once you are there and the dreaded making a bad situation seem worse!

Depression for me makes all the bad things seem inevitable and the source of the bad things far more powerful than it truly is. It is like a wall of despair, a vast amorphous barrier, so tall you cannot possibly see over, or around it. But when we focus in on this behemoth, we see that it is made up of individual components, and our perspective is that of someone hunched, low and defeated.

Stand up to your full height and the wall, whilst still imposing, is not so large. Focus in, and though you will see the strength of your enemy, the weak points also reveal themselves.

Breaking it all down –

My new direction is to break it all down in my mind; to dispel this mythic image of an undefeatable, invincible, inevitable foe. I know that the hostility of capitalist society is a very real thing, not just an imagined enemy. But lets use our imagination too break it down into realistic components.

Nature is being destroyed by the machine, but cracks in the pavement are full of life, chopped down trees unexpectedly sprout a thousand branches, certain species thrive even in this era of mass extinction. In ten years time an abandoned neighbourhood will become a wild garden, in a hundred it will become a grove, in a thousand there will be nothing left of it, strangled and hidden by thriving life. Nature is going no-where, and it is never far from regeneration. This ancient thing is more resilient than us, and we will always live in its beautiful shadow.

The officials who keep the machine running, do they truly believe in what they are doing? Would they not rather be pursuing some goal more true to themselves, spending time with their children, resolving emotions they have repressed, exploring and finding themselves? The amount of coercion and brainwashing needed to keep people in their place to blunt their true dreams and ambitions is proof positive that most people, even those in positions of power, are themselves led along and trapped by the madness of civilization. The lack of self-knowledge and true ambition, this is a reason to pity the machine-servants, hypnotized by digital screens, life void of meaning but for the targets from above and the will of invisible figures more powerful than themselves.

Advertising is everywhere, shallow, crass, idiotic pleas for conformity. But there is nothing democratic about advertising; it is there, but who wants it there but the sad corporations trying to control our choices? No one is really taken in on a conscious-level; eyes are rolled on the tube, people take the piss out of the sell-out celebrities, a bad pun elicits a long groan. Deep down, a subconscious lever may have been triggered, a greater sense of dissatisfaction and desire to go on holiday to ‘discover life in Greece’ (or whatever). But this is again an affliction – how many of us would vote to give powerful corporations thousands upon thousands of square metres of space to try and influence our decisions? The ubiquity of advertising only demonstrates how fucked up property and power is in our society, not the democratic will of the people. Some of the more idiotic populace might find advertising interesting or be consciously duped by its bullshittery, what can be done for such a hopeless minority?

It can be a loveless existence suffering from mental illness. You are vulnerable and need to be loved more than most people, but that same vulnerability makes trusting others difficult, and that same hurt makes you less desirable. The lack of strength and stability is a massive turn off. Month after month of failure and rejection makes the chances of finding a woman who is interested seem less and less likely, a feedback loop of frustration and disappointment. But all this doesn’t make things impossible, only more difficult. The spiral down into despair is one that is hard to avoid here; it is informed by the deep subconscious wounds and triggers of childhood, but it is not inevitable. Am I totally helpless and disadvantaged by this depression and anxiety? Everything to do with this mental illness and the abuse of the past makes the whole sphere of love much harder for me. Still, the act of breaking down how mental illness is contributing to isolation and lack of love dispels the mist, promotes understanding. It is the gargantuan wall which leads to despair, not the individual bricks. Maybe through understanding things will change and improve, though I cannot promise this to myself or anyone else. At least they cannot get any worse. Going from things are hopeless to who knows what can happen, I will have no judgements is a massive luxury for me at the moment. Neutrality – feeling neither loved or unloved, does not feel so bad.

End of Part I