Constructing Narratives

Constructing Narratives

17.05.2019

I did exactly… nothing for my book. At least I cleaned my room and bathroom. Yay. Awesome. Oh, yeah, playing hours of No Man’s Sky. Apparently there was enough for that. Maya’s pushing me really hard to get into therapy. Feels kind of semi-great. I think I’m slowly developing an idea of how Annabelle must have felt when I asked her for it. Pressure, even well-intentioned and meaningful, tends to create a defensive attitude in such situations. But I promised her tomorrow (i.e. today, but tomorrow is effectively after waking up) to write an email to the hospital and then wait and see what happens next. This is more than I have done during the past two weeks in terms of worrying about professional help for my mental well-being. The advantage of this promise: I can’t break it to Maya. I would probably cut half my arm open before I could live with the emotional pain of not being honest with her. Wherein – would that be an acceptable trade-off? Joke. Don’t even think about it. Not gonna happen. No matter how unproductive I may be tomorrow, but this is the e-mail I’m writing. Need to write. It’s impossible to break a promise like that. It just occurred to me there was another success today: I stayed sober. Although I almost gave in to the need to go out, somehow NMS was more interesting. In this sense, the smaller vice saves me from a bigger one. Does that count as a coping mechanism? Crazy world. I’ve been asking myself more and more lately whether it would be useful to share these lines with a treating therapist. Maybe it would be a waste of time for the therapist at the end due to the triviality of most of the statements. But hey, at least he gets paid for it. Is there any diagnostic value to be derived from this? I haven’t the slightest idea. The fact that I have massive mood swings with self-harming tendencies is really not something that requires a reading of my confused thoughts in order to come to this conclusion. But who knows? Maybe there’s some value after all. I’ll probably mention it at some point and just wait where it might lead. I may now be accused once again of using the English language for the sole reason of elitist distinction, but nothing could be further from the truth. Occasionally it is simply easier for my head to switch to another language for a moment, as I sometimes lack the adequate words in German. It is therefore much more a sign of my intellectual laziness and less elitist vanity. It sounds a bit like the irony of my life. As a rule, I do not consciously set myself apart from other people, quite the opposite, I would like to share more with others much more often, but for some reason this detachment usually happens completely automatically. Maybe it is actually due to my choice of words or language. Or maybe it is because of the topics I like to discuss or the opinions I hold. Note to myself: People love stories. Our brain is evolutionarily biased to believe a good story rather than plain facts. Stories specifically appeal to emotions, whereas rational arguments often have little effect. As unpleasant as it sounds, it doesn’t matter if we have the better arguments, because if our counterpart doesn’t feel the same way, we have little chance to convince them. Now I’m not so sure if I hadn’t already written down the same thoughts on Tuesday after the conversation with Tom, but since I was drunk that night, my memory seems to have suffered a bit and I’m not willing to look up a few pages further up. In any case, it can’t hurt to write down a thought of such monumental significance again. The probability that I will forget it in the future is extremely low, which gives me reason for cautious optimism. Somehow it is quite fascinating to observe that my abrupt mental leaps nevertheless often succeed in forming reasonably consistent sections of meaning. Perhaps my mental degeneration is not as far advanced as I had assumed. Or maybe this kind of soliloquy is already an excellent indicator for the first faces of the madness that will soon haunt me. That would probably also have a unique charm of its own. The only question is for whom.

The Hidden Blade

The Hidden Blade

14.05.2019

Sleep was quite mediocre. No exercise, barely ate, drank alcohol. My body was probably somewhat ungrateful today for the way I treated it. However, the meeting with Tom was quite interesting for me. He now lives in Japan, is married and researches AI security. Cool shit. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get my life together and get anything done. Yeah. So many people, so different paths in life, and mine is kind of insane. Maybe I should classify it based on how many times I’ve taken the knife in the last few months. Although: better not. The answer to that might unsettle me. Or depress me. Or both. Probably both. I have always pondered how to explain to bystanders what the appeal of the blade is. I was never one of those people who deliberately inflicted such injuries that left lasting marks on themselves. I didn’t want to be one of those people who were accused of just wanting attention. I did not want scars revealing that I was often not master of my own emotions. Nevertheless, there were always moments when I needed the blade to create an antidote to emotional despair. Because this is precisely what it represents for me and probably many others: a sort of counterweight creating a pain which can be controlled. A pain that numbs the emotional chaos for a short moment and distracts from one’s own thoughts, fears and demons. As soon as the tip of the blade touches the naked skin and the pressure on it increases, everything else fades into the background for a redeeming moment. This is the reason I have so often reached for the knife in the past whenever I saw no other way out. It is always easy for an outsider to condemn others for their actions, to insinuate that their subjective feelings of suffering have no meaning and could never justify such destructive behaviour. I have experienced so much emotional despair over the years. Not only my own, but other people’ s as well. A not inconsiderable number of them were also all too familiar with the use of a blade. With about 18 million people with mental illness in this country alone, it is hardly surprising that probably more people have already had closer acquaintance with a blade than one might generally assume. It is always easy to condemn those affected and dismiss them as too weak or incapable. However, it is easy to overlook the fact that these people consciously inflict injuries on themselves because their emotional pain is significantly worse. A pain with which they may have to struggle every day. For years. Those who are still alive in spite of all this, who have perhaps even somehow managed to maintain a halfway steady life, are probably many things, but definitely not weak. We often forget far too quickly that behind every decision a person makes there are countless factors that lead to it. From our limited observer’s perspective, it is impossible to recognize them all. Instead of judging, we should try to get a better understanding. It is easy to feel superior because you think that only those who are weak suffer. But superiority does not arise from stagnation within one’s own empathic cluelessness, but much more from recognizing how limited our self is in its perception. We need less ignorance, but much more the search for causes and insights. A credo that is applicable to every area of life without exception. Well. It took me a lot longer than usual to write these words. Because they mean so much to me. But also because a slightly altered version of them will end up on Facebook. I don’t know if this is right or wrong, but it feels like a sensible decision for me. Maybe someone will recognize oneself in it and can take a little vigour out of it. Maybe someone will understand that they are not as weak as they often feel. This is something I have to work on every day, too. At times with more, at others with less success, simply a constant process. But it is a necessary one. I’ve been through so much shit over the years and no matter what my head tries to tell me, I know I’m not a total failure.

Building Habits

Building Habits

11.05.2019

I didn’t drink alcohol today, although I felt the need for it. Instead, I experimented with unconventional builds in Dota. That’s pretty entertaining. Two of them worked, too. This Huskar position 4 thing was rather… mediocre. But Sniper 5 was surprisingly effective. I will probably include that in my support repertoire. Probably I’ll get some reports in the games that we don’t win, but hey, memes and stuff. Is it now really the case that in these pages I think about the hobby in which I have literally invested thousands of hours during the last years? Obviously. The fact that I feel a little strange is probably also because I’m still part of a generation of gamers who grew up with being told that their hobby was a waste of time, dangerous and generally horrible. Things like that do shape us somewhere, even if we are reluctant to admit it. The new generation is much less aggressively persecuted by this stigma. Gaming is part of everyday life, the associated industry turns over billions every year. Well. Sometimes I wish I had been born fifty years from now. Just think of all the technical possibilities! The idea alone makes my thoughts race and my pulse rise. But it obviously wasn’t meant to be. Would have been too good. I don’t want to die. I just became very aware of that again. Sure, most people probably don’t want that, but for someone like me this thought is still an adventure again and again. After all, it seemed quite different for years. However, a few days ago I hurt myself and my parasuicidal behaviour increased. Difficult. Currently I feel quite indifferent towards most things. Nothing is really good, but also not really bad. At least I don’t want to reach for the next knife and press its tip against my upper body until the physical pain numbs the emotional one. That’s good, I think. But in the past I have often enough noticed how quickly something like this can turn around again. Somehow this whole situation is incredibly paradoxical. During the good phases it feels as if there has never been a problem, but as soon as the mood changes, I am permanently on the brink of complete emotional overload. Often enough beyond that. But these good periods make it incredibly difficult to take preventive measures for the bad ones. It doesn’t seem to be necessary, the pressure of suffering is gone, somehow everything is only distant and doesn’t matter. My mind knows which measures to reasonably take, but the rest of my body often resists them quite successfully. After all, I have managed to form a new ritual through this daily writing. That’s not too bad, I think. My brain forms new networks, creates habits and quite quickly I develop a need for them, because otherwise I notice that something is missing. Actually damn brilliant, this mechanism. What if I were to use this property for other things as well? So I develop other, positive and life-enhancing routines in order to fight against the existing toxic and self-destructive ones? Or even to overcome them? That actually sounds like a pretty good idea. Now all I have to do is find out what kind of new habits that should be. I suppose they will have a lot to do with sport and education. I train body and mind in the truest sense of the word. Even more than is already the case. How would it be if I decided to learn a new skill every six months? For example, I will resume my psychology studies in October. So it would be pretty good if I became a true statistics expert. After all, Big Data is one of THE big topics of our time and quantitative data has always fascinated me. So it’s high time I put more energy into developing my statistical skills. One hour of learning statistics a day should be enough. Always make sure it happens regularly. Expertise is generated by continuity. Only constant training leads to success. Remember. Do. Win. Huah. And now everyone is cheering loudly after our super original motivation mantra. Huah.