|In which a month sort of vanished
||[Jul. 5th, 2009|09:09 pm]
What I've been doing|
Working. Watching television on the internet. Not doing any of the three things I set out to do.
Part of the reason why is that that "so I have all this time now" I blithely wrote a month ago turned out to be rather an error. Full-time work has sapped my energy and time far more than I expected it too. I'm going to blog about that in the next week. But I'm getting pretty accustomed to it now -- so the other part of the reason kicks in, the part that's about me staying in the low, grey areas of my mind. I let myself get sucked into lethargy too easily, and deliberately miss the goals I set myself, spinning guilt-cycles. I don't feel great, except for glowing half-days here and there when I remember what optimism feels like. My time and energy get sucked into the black hole of sorriness.
I always write these things, these missives from the Grey, a few weeks into it. I go through cycles: I'll start to feel sad, I'll spend a couple of weeks getting slowly worse, I'll spend a week or two at the bottom, and then I'll start to see the way out, and write the feelings down into a ladder to climb up. And then I let my optimism set me more impossible goals. Should I avoid that now? I'm writing now because I'm starting to feel better, because Molly comes back from holiday the day after tomorrow, because I crossed a lot off my To Do list today. My natural inclination is to bulk up the list and demand that I chug on through. But maybe if I hold back then this time, this time I could sustain a better mood. Let's try it.
My Awful Week
Self-pity aside, this week I have every reason to feel crap. I think I've got to make myself realise that.
Last week Molly's family and our friend Kalea came to visit. I was so happy to see them. But towards the end of the week the stresses of the situation started to kick in -- the feeling of constant expectations, the inevitable family arguments, the resentments I feel whenever I have to take responsibility for things. Molly left on Sunday and I was by myself, left to simmer in all the after-effects -- with the realisation that I'd spent a week not looking after myself and not talking about my problems, taking on everyone else's instead.
Compounding that, drawing things right down to earth: I was left with the whole house to clean. I don't know if anyone on my flist has been left holding the keys and the blame before at the end of a student rental -- I know it happens often. I've spoken to a few others, though, and it looks like mine is the nastiest one I know of. Half my housemates helped me clean the weekend they left; the other half had departed a week earlier and, as expected, done sod all in terms of cleaning. So come Monday, the day before the lease ended, I had to clean everything top to bottom. I had to reclean their rooms; I had to swab out drawers and cupboards; I had to dispose of several plastic bags full of other people's waste. Everywhere people had left belongings, and muck, and rotten food, and hair. I spent half the day feeling utterly dreadful, crawling through the tasks. It was all set to be one of the worst days of my life -- unpleasant tasks compounded by screaming resentment -- until friend/ex M turned up to cheer me up and lend a hand. Without her I don't think I'd've made it through.
I moved out. I left the house still messier than I wanted, and missing people's keys, and worrying about my deposit. I moved into another warm friend's. Then the next evening, while sorting out my stuff, I trod on something sharp. I didn't think anything of it, I saw no blood, I couldn't find the sharp thing. I woke up at 4am on Wednesday, my foot throbbing, and didn't really sleep again. Dragged myself into work, and realised within the hour that something was very wrong: I could barely walk for the pain, and it was starting to swell. I taxi'd it to the hospital: they looked at it, did an x-ray, and it turned out there was an inch-long sewing needle buried deep in my foot, up against the bone. It had gone in under compression, and the skin had sprung up around it, and then walking on it had worked it further in. It was agony. I had to go to Dundee for minor surgery under local anaesthetic. It took them 45 minutes to find it.
So that lost me 4 or 5 days of earnings due to not being able to walk, with my finances for next year pretty stretched. And now I'm doped up on cocodamol and antibiotics, which have killed my appetite and have me feeling drowsy all day long. It was only a couple of hours ago that I realised that the drugs were helping me feel crap. I'd been alone all weekend, feeling sorry for myself, and blaming myself for having no energy and feeling miserable. Maybe if, for once, I stopped trying to take responsibility for every little thing, and let my own feelings and health issues just happen, I might feel better more often.
ARG! Plans Awry
Today I checked who'd recently started following my Twitter. There were a bunch of spambots, a couple of friends, and then Hallucinine. A sequence of cryptic, semi-poetic, quasi-religious references. What this seems to be is a Trailhead for an Alternate Reality Game -- a game/narrative spread across websites, e-mails, phones, and live events. I've been lurking the ARG community for a while now, and a month or so ago began playing my first: a brilliant, comedic one called Must Love Robots in which a vlog about one man's search for a girlfriend for his robot flatmate is the gateway to a sordid world of robot dating, porn, and robophobic conspiracy. I've also started interacting with a transmedia novel ARG called Personal Effects -- a horror mystery which begins with a novel but expands well beyond it (most interestingly, its transmedia elements provide evidence for alternative interpretations of events from those given by the novel's unreliable narrator). And now I'm active enough that an ARG has actually sought me out, found my Twitter, and sucked me in. Which is exciting.
So ARG is one of the actually exciting and worthwhile things I've been doing with my time (as opposed to obsessively watching Robin Hood, Weeds, True Blood and the BBC2's Thursday night comedy). My involvement there -- which is a combination of roleplaying, creatively creating content, and solving puzzles -- has distracted me from the other new media projects I set myself up two posts ago to pursue: Chocolate Lightbulb, interactive fiction, and this blog, I suppose. I love new media art. I just wish I could stop getting so caught up with the latest thing and patiently explore the things I already love.
But. I'm not miserable and hopeless. Even in the Grey, I know I'm going to get out of it. So when I sound down, don't worry about it: when I write it, I feel better. And the money is working out. And I'm in love. It's all going to be OK. I seem to be unable to maintain optimism, but I don't lose hope.