My Thoughts Are Pollution

Coming-of-age ramblings that don't mean much in the long run

Month: January, 2016

Fumbling My Way Through Life: Episode 6

The other night, I was going to take Ambien for my third night in a row to facilitate sleep, and I was worried the effectiveness would be reduced as a result of my frequent use, so I took a double dose.

I wound up high as a kite, watching Youtube videos of space-related video games, writing terrible, typo-ridden poetry, and eventually puked a gillion times.

It was rad, obviously.

What was less rad were the parts I don’t have any recollection of. Upon waking, I noticed that all of my pills were scattered across my bed and floor. I retrieved them all, and after counting them, noticed one was missing. I don’t know if I just couldn’t locate it or if I took another while in my Ambien haze. The latter would make some amount of sense; it would explain the excessive puking that occurred.

I had failed utterly to set an alarm. Also, I normally sleep with a machine and mask due to severe sleep apnea, but apparently rather than put on the mask, I disassembled it and pieces of it were strewn over my room. I didn’t disassemble the machine, thank god, and the mask was just a few parts that were easy to put back together. Still. The machine keeps me from, y’know, dying and stuff, and any sleep I get without the machine is generally poor sleep. This explains why I felt like garbage that morning, too.

That said, it was hilarious, if distressing to a degree where I’m legitimately worried for my safety. Fortunately I can avoid this problem by only taking a regular dose from now on. My side effects are extremely minimal when I take the thing as prescribed. It was real dumb not to do that.

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We Apologize For The Inconvenience

I can see
All the dead skin falling off of me
It’s a cloud of dust
That rests and coats itself over all of us
And I don’t care.

Oh, don’t you want to die?
And be someone like I
Have been
Oh, when I look up at the sky
I get scared and I
Know how small I am

Stars don’t live forever
But it sure seems like it to me.
No, we won’t be together
Past the point that we can see
There is a horizon line

I know you want me to
Worry about nothing but me and you
But I look at the sky
And count the stars and I know I’m gonna die
Before they do
I know you think that I
Should be content to let a giant hand
Guide my life
Well, I
Hate everyone else tonight

Passion For My Passion

Here are people doing things with the songs I love by The Front Bottoms, and I can tell they’ve got as much passion for them as I do. And they’re generally better performers than I am, too.

“I would play more than just four chords / if it’s a song that you might like

but I am not very good / so I would practice every night.”

“And I / can hear your dog whistle / from my bedroom.”

This one is different in that it contains the original recording, but it’s done so well.

“And I will read the flashing / as a morse code explanation

that will mean nothing / but take all night to figure out.”

I’ll follow up with my own measly attempt at making some kind of tribute to this music.

Sick, Sorry, Sad

When I am done
Feeling sorry for myself

I won’t even try my hardest
To find someone who’ll love me
No matter where my heart is
I won’t find this through inaction
I know you get some sort of
Sick satisfaction

From my lonely guy anxieties
My love, in it’s entirety
I know it’s not enough for you
You’re the fourth girl in my life
Who has told me far more lies
Than they ever told me truths

And I don’t have it in me
To give a shit
And I don’t have it in me
To feel this sick

I’ve thrown up every single word
And every lie I’ve ever heard
And now I’ve told my fair share, too
If I could pick you or a drug
I’d push you down and shoot it up
And then I could forget about you

And you can pass the blame
Onto me, shame, oh shame!
But I am never gonna talk to you again
I am never gonna talk to you again.

Fumbling My Way Through Life Episode 5 1/2

I’ve been trying to write songs over the last few days and it’s been going poorly. They’re just kind of devolving into disgust towards a certain person that was once in my life. I think with me having gotten some decent sleep over the last little while, I’ve finally had the energy to be fucking upset again. It’s a weird thing.

Like, I was miserable and lethargic to the point of barely being a person prior to this, but lately I’ve just been pissy. I’m remembering what it’s like to have feelings again, and they’re secretly kind of shitty. ‘Cause I’m realizing that I kind of fucking hate everything. I mean, I guess I kind of knew that already to some extent, but to have it shoved in my face so directly lately has been distressing.

I thought I had more to say about this, but I’m realizing I actually don’t but, uh… yeah. that’s kinda it, I guess.

Why is that as people are getting fatter plane seats are getting smaller?

So Lucky

You’re lucky

They said

It’s almost innocent

I’m lucky to have lived

The life I’ve lived

You’re lucky

They said

It’s only ignorance

The life that I have lived

And will live

But I haven’t slept

More than an hour

I’ve choked to death

A million times in my sleep

And when I dream

And I don’t often get to dream

I dream of people

Screaming at me.

Lucky!

So lucky!

Lucky to have somewhere to not sleep in

To complain of walking death

You must have curled up in your bed

And stayed aware

With all the things they said

Repeating as you stare

Into the dark, cold

Empty air

So I’m lucky then?

Lucky this night will never end.

You’re lucky

They said

They said.

But my darling

Left me crying

Full of smoke

I’m not denying

That.

But she fell out of love

And into love so fast

I don’t want to know

I didn’t ask.

But I’m lucky!

So lucky!

Lucky to have had her in the first place

To have ever loved and lost

You’ve had to have loved at all

So I’m lucky, then?

Maybe I was lucky then.

You’re lucky

They said

And I excuse the innocence.

But the smell of gasoline

It makes me scared

And every single scene

It only makes me self-aware

Of all my fucking ugliness

The scars all down my legs

And the ugliness reminds me

Of the fire.

But I’m lucky!

So lucky!

Lucky to have survived the flames

But fires leave so few remains

It’s just a memory of pain

Inside a scorched and blackened frame

So I’m lucky then?

Lucky for how long it’s been.

Fumbling My Way Through Life Episode 5

A few weeks back I finally had something done that I’d been meaning to do for months, if not years. I managed to pull myself together enough to get a sleep study done, and the results were… ah… enlightening, to say the least. My snoring is excessive and I feel tired pretty much all the time, so the possibility that I have sleep apnea was always there, it’s just the severity of it that I didn’t really expect.

For context, sleep apnea is a condition where the sufferer stops breathing for periods of time during the night. This leads to the afflicted person not going into deep sleep very often, and leads to symptoms of sleep deprivation. Someone with bad enough sleep apnea could sleep for fourteen hours and still be sleep-deprived. At the tip-top end of the most severe cases of the condition, the sleeper will stop breathing 120 separate times an hour. And I’m talking severe cases here. You’re said to have the condition when you stop breathing about 15 times an hour. Any less than that is normal, and more than about 30 is an above-average number of episodes for a sufferer to have.

I was found to not be breathing an average of 131 times an hour.

Holy shit.

My doctor is a very good one; he’s been working with apnea patients for 32 years. He said my case was in the top .03% most severe cases he has ever seen. He expedited the process of me getting a machine to help me breathe at night. I’ve been using it the last three nights, and the difference in my level of energy is like night and day.

It’s crazy. It’s like I’m like a whole new person. Well, actually, it’s like I’m a whole old person; the person who I used to be. I feel like the person I am inside my head, like who I would describe if I tried to put my personality to words. I haven’t actually been that for a while. I haven’t been myself. As absolutely rad as that is, it has come with a few reminders of things I maybe hadn’t had to deal with for the last while.

  1. I have a fucking insane amount of social anxiety. I mean, this is certainly something I’ve been aware of of, but until I started sleeping, it’s only really been shining through because of my natural reclusive and antisocial tendencies. When made to interact with people, I think I’ve been too damn tired to worry about my “performance” in the interaction. Now that I have a modicum of energy, I find myself constantly worrying that I am fucking up the conversation. I am hyper-aware of every breath I take and every word I say. I can’t figure out where to put my fucking hands again. I remember that. I remember not being able to figure out if it was more natural to have my hands in my pockets or to just have them at my sides. And god forbid I’m wearing a jacket; that just complicates the equation even further. I worry that I’m breathing too heavily, or too irregularly. I get hyperactive when a conversation is going well, the way you would if you were winning some high-stakes competition. It’s this horrific mix of excitement that I’m managing to speak to another human normally, and this worry that I’m going to fuck it up because I’m trying too hard.
  2. I also just straight-up have depression. It’s just a part of my life. I had this thought that maybe it was all in my head, or that the sleep deprivation was secretly the cause, but no. I do just have these self-esteem issues that won’t go away, I have problems with motivation, and I don’t like being around people. And I feel fucking sad a lot. As it turns out, no amount of newfound energy was going to instantly cure this thing. It’s a part of me and going to stick with me through thick and thin.

I thought there were more things, but I guess it’s just that those two things were kind of nuanced and had a bunch of little pieces of them that made them seem like a whole lot of things.

Regardless of those… kind of negative discoveries, this new/old me is a me that I am a lot more comfortable being. At least when I’m not around other people, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin than I have in a very long time. This is a good thing. I now have the tools at my disposal to make some progress. I didn’t realize that before all of this that I just… I was trying to build a wall without any materials. Now I have something to work with. It’s not like the wall instantly appeared for me, but it sure seems a lot less hopeless and futile than it did when I had nothing.

A Discussion About “Triggers.” I don’t have all the answers.

Today a coworker accidentally said something insensitive to me.

I let it slide without saying anything. I’m maybe one of the only people on earth that comment would sting for. It was innocent! And I’m not mad! I just find it strange how little comments like that can hurt, even when I know there’s no context there that would make the statement have any actual bite to it.

She was casually complaining about needing a pedicure, and said something along the lines of, “My feet are getting so ugly. They’re starting to look like your feet!” Her intention was to mock “guy feet.” That’s fine! There’s literally no way she could have known that I have horrific scars on my feet from the fire I was in as a kid. There’s no way she could have known that that particular part of the human body is one that I have deeply-rooted insecurities about. And I’m not mad. I just feel shitty about myself. I feel shitty about my appearance. I feel shitty about my scars. And it’s all stemming from this one off-handed remark that was intended as a joke and meant nothing and wasn’t meant to be, you know, triggering.

And I wouldn’t exactly say I was triggered. I’m not 100% sure what that word actually means, and I also think that the phrase has become kind of tainted… or, maybe “tainted” isn’t the right word but… muddled. The word has become muddled. It’s a word that I actually don’t know my feelings on. On one hand, it’s a part of our reality that we all as a society need to learn to accept and deal with. We all need to be respectful of people’s boundaries and be willing to take a step back from whatever it is we’re doing that is invasive of other’s mental states. We need to acknowledge that everyone is different and has unique things that are hard for them to hear and see.

At the same time, the entire goddamn world can’t be put on hold for the sake of avoiding causing mild-to-moderate anxiety in people. This whole “respecting other people’s boundaries” thing is a two-way street. If I want to have some expectation of having my interpretation of the world respected and handled in an appropriate manner, then I need to be aware of where everyone else is mentally and respect their needs as well. In this particular case between me and my coworker, I don’t think it was appropriate to pull the, “hey, you just made fun of a burn victim” card. Sure, I felt shitty, and I still do.

But it’s not her fault. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the nature of the universe’s fault for putting this baggage on my shoulders. Not hers for not realizing how heavy the pack I’m carrying was. I think the negativity I’d be putting out there into the world by opening my pack and showing her what’s inside is far more than the negativity that is stewing inside my own head. And it’s a lot of negativity in there! Y’know, stewing and stuff.

And maybe that’s the way to measure this. How much net negativity is going to exist when the situation is resolved? If it’s a situation where you feel comfortable addressing the issue and don’t think there will be hurt feelings involved, that’s a good time to bring up something that bothers you. If the amount of suffering you are going through outweighs the amount of suffering you’re going to put out there in the world by calling someone out, that’s also a good time to call someone out. If this conversation I had with my coworker had caused me problems to the point where I was actually functioning on a less-capable level, I would have said something. The net negativity would have gone down, then.

But things aren’t black and white. This “net negativity” idea is not only vague, but also impossible to apply to every person and every situation. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have many at all, in fact. I guess the one thing that everyone can try to do is think. Think about when and where it is appropriate to expect a trigger warning. Maybe for you, if your case is severe enough, that’s everywhere! I’m not saying it’s not okay to expect careful behavior from others in all situations, if that’s the way you want to live. If that’s the way you have to live. I’m just saying that if you maybe don’t need that sort of thing, maybe save your confrontation for a better time. Maybe have a better, more important fight than that one. Because when someone tries to sue a professor for teaching a class and going over the material that is in the class because the professor didn’t give a proper trigger warning, it sours people on the entire concept. It makes people laugh at the expectation. And I guess I don’t know the answer there either. Maybe the person in the scenario I described is a severe sufferer. Maybe we do just need more trigger warnings, y’know, in general. But when you pick a hill to die on that has no relevance to the larger battle, you’re actually losing us the war. And the “respect mental health” war is a noble cause.

In the end, I didn’t actually start writing for the sake of opening up this touchy subject; I actually just wanted to talk about my day and analyze this shitty feeling that exists in spite of no one being at fault for causing it. In the end, I wound up here because this has been brewing in my head for a while. It’s such a sensitive topic. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I don’t want to be ignorant of other people’s issues. What I want is for everyone to respect each other, and that does require work from both sides. Yes, those of us who suffer from mental illness do in fact need to do more than complain and expect. We also need to respect. We need to respect so that we earn the respect of others. And maybe that’s not fair. In fact, it’s totally not fair. If you already suffer from this illness, why should you be expected to put all this work in, just to make people acknowledge the illness’s existence? The answer is that you shouldn’t have to, but reality calls for it anyway. That’s how I feel, at least. Feel free to discuss in a civil manner. I’d be happy to get more perspective on the subject.

[Editor’s note: I’d like the readers to be aware that all of these cases I’ve laid out in this post are kind of null and void when it comes to severe cases. Yes, the whole world can and should stop whatever it is they’re doing if it’s making you have a panic attack or a flashback. It’s in cases where the problems caused by the trigger are significantly less severe that I think the discussion can be had. And even then, there are still exceptions to every rule. I’m not accusing anyone of doing the wrong thing here. I just think it’s worth thinking about. It’s a topic worth dissecting.]

An Apology

I’ve only got so much in me
That I can say I’m sorry
So I’m not sorry now

I’ve only got so much time
That I can say I’m sorry
But I’m not sorry now

And maybe I’ll drown
In the lake by your house
Or maybe I’ll drown
In the river
But I don’t think that I will die
In quite the way that I want
I’m afraid, and it’s all that I am
Sometimes

I’ve only got so many words
To try to say that I’m sorry
But I won’t say I’m sorry now

I’ve only really got today
To tell you that I’m sorry
But I can’t say I’m sorry now

And maybe I’ll fall
From the tree in your backyard
And maybe I’ll fall
From your rooftop
But I don’t think that I’ll die
In quite the way that I want
I’m afraid, and that’s all that I am
Sometimes

I have scrawled
Out on my bedroom wall
If you’d maybe indulge me
“I don’t know if it’s what I want
But I can’t seem to go on
So I’m sorry for what I
Should be sorry for.
I hope you’ll forgive me
For whatever I must be forgiven for.”
But I trust that you’ll never see
So as of now, I’m not really sorry