If you haven’t read Moby Dick – shame on you. It’s a book I could read time and time again, and the plot is centred around Captain Ahab’s obsession with a white whale named Moby Dick who he relentlessly pursues. A “white whale” has since become a bit of a metaphor for something you obsess over; something you tirelessly chase. It’s a goal you feel like you have to achieve above all else.
Well – send me to Nantucket and call me Ishmael ’cause I’m chasing a whole pod of ’em.
I decided, with my multitude of ~iSsUeS~ that I need to set myself a list of the things that I have to get over. The things that if I don’t confront, I’ll continue to avoid forever more. These are things that have come about from my diagnoses and some previous personal complexities, and took quite a considerable amount of mind mapping to finally narrow them down. I might sound like I’m joking, but I’m deadly serious. Change is a-comin’.
- 5th May 2017 – Deftones @ the Alexandra Palace. First on the list because of how close it is and an excellent opportunity to work out some issues. Now: anyone that knows me is well aware that I listen to music essentially as much as I blink or breathe. I live music. Deftones are 100% one of my all time favourite bands, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen them live. The amount of gigs/festivals I’ve been to over the years must be in the hundreds, so it’s something I’m absoultely no stranger to. I bought tickets to this gig before my problems came to a crescendo, and I’m now absolutely more determined than ever to not let my problems stop me from this. If you’d asked me in January/February to go? Fuck right off. But now I’m ready to face this challenge. Yes, it’s an OCD (and corresponding PTSD) nightmare but that’s not even taking my still somewhat present anxiety/agoraphobic issues into hand.
- Relationships. I guess this is an umbrella term. I mean all forms of relationships; family, friends, romantic, professional. My mental health and resulting behaviour has definitely had an impact on all of those, both positively and negatively. My family (and I’m not just saying this because I know they’ll read this) are genuinely wonderful, they have been outstandingly understanding of me. I initially kept that I had been raped from them for quite some time, and I’d began to drift noticeably from them. I was worried about telling them, and about my health issues but I have received nothing but love and support. My friends? Where do I even start. They’re incredible. They go above and beyond in their care for me and I feel so undeserving of it, but it seems no matter how hard I’ve tried to push them away they’re not going anywhere. My gratitude is beyond comprehension. Any semblance of a romantic relationship for me is pretty much null and void. My nearest and dearest will know I have an outstanding back catalogue of straight up fuckboys (and occasional girls), and the almost non existent number of individuals that have meant so much more – I’ve totally White Fanged (NB: If you haven’t read White Fang have a word with yourself.). I’ve pushed genuinely beautiful souls away both in the past and during my recent difficulties because of the fear that I’m not enough or what they need. The ultimate act of self-sabotage. Professional speaks for itself in the fact that I quit my job… But I’m actually seeing that as a positive seeing as recent events have given me the push I needed to go in the direction I want. The point is, I haven’t been myself and my relationships with others have totally reflected that. I’ve either pushed people away or pulled them so close that I’m terrified of letting them go – and sometimes both of those simultaneously. I’ve been so unstable and irrational, and although people can put it down to what happened and that my behaviour isn’t really my fault – I have to make amends. I have to do and be better. And I will, no matter what.
- Physical contact (and physical intimacy). ~Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me~ Yup. Sorry Mom and Dad, I’m going there. It’s not the main thing I mean by “physical contact”, I’m still somewhat avoidant even of normal contact because of my contamination issues but let’s be serious: sex is the ultimate white whale for me. Not even because of OCD, but down to the nature of why I suffer from it in the first place which, of course, was rape. If you’re reading this thinking “Shit, why are you even thinking about that?” well, it’s a pretty important and natural/normal part of life and not something I can or want to avoid. So, I don’t know exactly when I’ll tackle this particular whale or who i’ll tackle it with due to my relationship status (refer to point number 2) and sex life being somewhere between “cat collecting spinster” and “when Whoopi Goldberg was an undercover Nun”, but whenever I do it’s going to be a pretty massive achievement. And I absolutely will be doing a victory dance afterwards.
- Give Up the Death Sticks. Yep – I really need to stop smoking. I started smoking at 17, and the severity of the habit has ebbed and flowed over the years but I’ve never been fully able to kick it no matter how hard I try, and I have tried pretty much everything (except “vaping” – I’m not a complete cunt so I’ll pass, thanks). You’d think that my brother living with a terminal lung disease would have been enough for me to not want to damage what were perfectly healthy lungs, or when I had an operation at the end of last year from complications of pneumonia the thoracic surgeon told me afterwards that my lungs were “50 shades of grey”. I’d gradually cut down considerably last year, but since January my habit has intensified as a means of a coping mechanism and I’m now back to a 20-30 per day addiction. My cough makes me sound like I should be an elderly gentleman named Gerald.
- Be Kinder to Myself. Ugh, le puke. That’s such a twee and cliché statement, but nonetheless it is true. I’m renowned for being so hard on myself in everything I do. I need to learn to be more accepting of things that I can’t alter and let such things go which actually leads me to my next point.
- Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. It’s so hard not to metaphorically wake them up to try and change things, and I think that has came from my newfound tendency to overthink past conversations and situations to death. Rumination has become a bit of an unwanted talent of mine, and it can be very hard not to want to try to undo damage that I’ve done in different situations, but I need to keep reminding myself that if it hasn’t sorted itself out: leave it be.
- Look Out for Numero Uno. I’m quite guilty for always putting myself last in any situation. Example: Oh, I see you reaching for the last non descript food item in the supermarket that I’m already in reach of and I really want, but you know what? You have it. WHY. Might not seem like the biggest deal (but it really is because I literally love food and if pizza marriage ever becomes a thing I’m so in) but I can apply that situation to pretty much everything else in life. I always put others first to the detriment of myself and while that’s not necessarily a bad quality to have, I do tend to take it to extremes.
- Stop Being an Overthinking Dork. Why am I thinking about conversations and situations from months ago and what I would do and say now in hindsight? Why do I read into things so much? Why do I always go straight to the worst case scenario? Stop analysing everything you do. STOP IT. Behave, brain.
That’s just a few in a list that will no doubt grow and expand with time and as I traverse the peaks and troughs of recovery. I feel pretty motivated at the moment about things, and to have solid areas that I know I want to work on within myself is a positive place to start.