Daily Check In, 1

How to express the disappointment of being awake, again. It’s crushing. Every night I fall asleep imagining it might be the last time, and the next day I’m torn from that vast, silent oblivion into another span of awareness and endurance. It’s not that life is so terrible, it’s just that its persistence is grinding me to dust.

As my eyes reluctantly open, I can feel the life sucked forward through my eye sockets, attenuated and thin in the struggle to find a way back into consciousness and interaction with the world. Leaves me hollowed, like all that I am has fallen out, is continually drawn out and everything I try to put back in just threads away through those bony orbits. Maybe I’m surrounded by a swirl of who I used to be, who I thought I was, and all I am left is watching it all swirl by – existence defined by absence.

I should want something. I should want to do something. But I don’t. I persist – I wake, I do work, I spend time with my love, and with my beloved cats, I do things. And those all contain joys, but they’re so fleeting, and somehow none of them stick, and I return to this bleak, absent middle ground where I want nothing more than for it all to be over.

I don’t remember the last time I had a dream – not a sleeping dream – a desire, an ambition, a want. The closest I come is wanting to slide out of the world, unremarked and forgotten. If I could simply remove myself from the world without a ripple, I think I would.

I’m acting as I think others think I ought – I work (I work hard, I do good work!), I go to improv, I do a lot of stuff in the background. But I’m serving other people’s dreams and aspirations. I can’t honestly say that they’re mine any more. But it’s enough to enable others to achieve what they want, right? I like feeling useful, I like it when my work is hidden and is unnoticed, but helps. I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly pursue someone else’s dream when I don’t share it. I can support it, and I can help, but how can I lead it? I’d rather build a website than go on stage, and that doesn’t feel like me.

This tram ride to work is taking forever, but it’s time to slip the mask back on. Hide this sunken eyed soulless wanting-corpse from view. No one else needs to deal with this bullshit, and I’m not ready to have to talk about it. Deep breaths, screw the patches over the gaping holes in my face. And on. I persist.

While I realise this reads as potentially quite bad, it’s far better out than in, as they say. It can be hard to separate the despair which seizes and grips my brain from the rest of the time, when it doesn’t and I feel better – loving and loved. The start of the day ain’t great… 

This is self-help writing, don’t freak out. Plainly I am struggling a little, but scribbling about it will help, eventually.


Daily Check In, 1.5

Not a good start to the day this morning. So how are things now? I ask because I know that I’m up and down quite a lot in the course of a single day, but have made no effort to document or analyse this, and get left with an average sense of the day instead.

So… Got my world mask on before arriving at work. I get a couple of minutes frantically spinning my Powerball (trying to rehabilitate my recently broken and now rather lumpy right hand). Sure, some overwhelming feelings of choking claws tried to gouge their way up my throat, but I made it dry eyed and ready to say “howdy”. As usual, getting locked into work and tasks to complete are deeply soothing, distracting me from myself.

I realise that I’m wildly tired. That sucking sense of my eyes being poured out into the world and everything behind them continues. But I’ve done some things, and it’s slowed that drain. Or something.

I stopped taking amitriptyline in January, after many years of use for anxiety and sleep disorder. I’d come to feel that I had no emotions – the stuff chopped off the highs and lows, leaving me in the manageable but thrill-free middle. How could I maintain relationships without a full spectrum of feelings? Each night all worries and thoughts and ideas and plans were largely erased by the amitriptyline, and the glory of unconsciousness would follow.

Coming off it was an inevitable carnage of no sleep and the resurgence of feelings. I think… I experienced no more or less anxiety, making me wonder if anxiety had simply become an emotion. Over the last few months it’s remained fairly constant, but I’ve had no discovery of especial happiness and joy which I’d rather hoped for. It’s possible those feelings are simply being overwhelmed by, well, the feeling of being overwhelmed… I’m not sure what that is. A sense of “too much”, of doing things I don’t find a desire to do, which I do because I’ve always done them. It’s a tricky line between routines that shape and protect and routines which have ceased to produce a joyful or utile end. I don’t know what to do about those things. I have ended up with responsibilities I never sought. I’m not sure what function they should perform or feelings they should engender in my soul. I might have the capacity for feeling more (and I’ve certainly spent some time wanting to cut all my skin off with horror, or doubled up trying to find a way to eject tears from my body) but it’s as if I have no space left to fit them into.

So, I am a little adrift. I’ve replaced amitriptyline with occasional use of zopiclone, to catch up and make up for those nights when I don’t get enough sleep. At times I’ve thought, perhaps, I’ve got this sorted – I’ve give to sleep without sleeping drugs for several days in a row – and then I get a week of shonky, short, waking nights and it saps everything away. I don’t know if I can make it without more control over sleeping.

I believe in a phrase, cheerful despair. It captures quite well how I’ve long interacted with the world – aiming for optimism and warmth despite the ghastliness that permeates it all. And even while writing this, I guess I’m doing the endlessly human cognitive slicing and dicing, because my general state is, I feel, hideous, and yet I’m looking forward to getting home, seeing my other half and kittens – these are indisputable goodness in my life, despite containing their own stresses and fears. I’ll go home and for a time, all this will slide away underneath that top layer of existence. I’m just afraid of when it’s peeled back again.

This is self-help writing, don’t freak out. Plainly I am struggling a little, but scribbling about it will help, eventually.