Death Sentence

I’ve mentioned something about the benefits of thinking negatively put I handed put a couple of important pieces together until this week. I hit a low, like you do, and was beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. There were a couple of people, and a couple of events, that helped me begin to climb out again.

Let’s start on a high note before I drag you into the sea of dispair I had been night-swimming in. Just a day or so ago, the UbiquiCity anthology was published! I still need to figure out how to get it to come up on my Author page, but if you search for ‘Antony Copeland’ (remember to leave out the ‘h’!) two results come up instead of just one!

For those that haven’t heard me mention UbiquiCity before, it’s a role-playing game sourcebook (that part isn’t out yet) and a collection of short stories, including one written by me! It’s based in the future and will probably be perfect for anyone who has played CyberPunk or ShadowRun and feel like the tech is out-dated. The consulting writers all help to create a society to play with that was utterly infused with computer-based intelligence. If you’re a proud RPG geek with a love of well-written fluff, buy it! 🙂

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In addition to this great news, I also recently learned that the e-zine, Diversions from Drudgery, is still on track! So Hermes925 is still going to get published. I can put my concerns regarding continuity and plot holes to once side. It’s already going out as is, I’ll have to create a revised edition later if I still feel it’s necessary. Which means I can focus more on The Haunted Story project!

So that’s helping. Another thing that was a huge help was actually talking to some of my friends about my depression. One of whom had an amazing revelation about her own depression. She admitted publicly (on Facebook), that she is suicidal, but that it doesn’t mean that she’s going to kill herself, or at least not yet. It means that she’s acknowledging that she may, one day, kill herself if her life doesn’t get better. She’s using that as motivation to make her life better, or (quite literally) die trying.

The worst possible consequence of anything is death. Especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like me (the downside of a good imagination I suppose). I don’t go out much because that stranger walking towards me could kill me. I especially tend to avoid bars and pubs because a drunken person is far more likely to turn aggressive. That’s why Facebook is so appealing to me. People may threaten to kill one another, but the risk of them actually doing so is minimal! Just in case though, I always try to be nice.

This actually connects to something else I’ve done that I’m not sure I want to talk about much. However, it came up, so out it comes! I’ve had a working theory for a while now that part of the reason I get depressed is because I always feel like I have to be nice. To get ahead in life, and to stay alive. Happy people have no reason to reason to kill you, especially if you’re the one that made them happy. I’ve had this theory since childhood. Make everyone happy = everyone is safe! It doesn’t matter that lots of my fellow schoolchildren didn’t respond well to my attempts to cheer them up, the concept was solidly integrated into my core programming.

I wanted to be good and make my parents happy, and the best way to make sure they would be happy all the time, would be to save the world. In hindsight it was a supremely arrogant, and condescending way to treat people. Anyway, having to be good all the time so that you can save-the-world/not-get-killed would sometimes get tiresome. Especially when people couldn’t see that you were just trying to help. It made me sad when I saw people doing something incorrectly (and even sadder when they argued).

School photo
I’m the one looking like I’m in mid-nervous wriggle on the left end of the first row.

I was absolutely convinced that I was better than them, and every time this concept was challenged I felt bullied and victimized. I know other people don’t think this way, because they didn’t understand. I got labelled a cry-baby, because whenever anyone challenged what I knew was true, I’d cry and an adult would come running to save me. In my mind this meant I was right. ‘See? The grown-up is on my side!’

Of course, this didn’t work so well once I was a teenager. When I was fifteen, one of my teachers suggested I keep a logbook of every time someone picks on me. I thought it was a great idea, until I discovered that the stuff I was getting upset about sounded so ridiculous on paper that I stopped writing stuff down. I felt like I could no longer justify crying to an adult over everything. I was forced to have to use my wits!

My wits weren’t as sharp as I had led myself to believe, and I was faced with the possibility that I may not be as smart as I thought. I’m still a little embarrassed by my final grades. The more frustrated I got, the more I found I wanted to say things that weren’t nice. However, it still had a strong self-identity as a good boy. No smoking, no swearing, and no intimacy with girls until you’re married. The idea of voices these ideas and questions made me very uncomfortable.

Then one day I snapped. It didn’t make much sense why I did. I’d failed to make an omelette in cooking class (the school called it ‘Food Technology’) I kept adding more eggs, sure that it would bind the sloppy mixture together. It was an embarrassing, and personally confusing, disaster. I realize now the reason why it upset me so much because it challenged my self-identity. I can make an omelette. I’d done it before. It wasn’t going according to plan, but it was okay because I knew how to fix it. Then the fix made it worse, and worse! It simply didn’t compute that it was happening.

Later that day, some else happened that wasn’t right. I was in the smart kid class for science (physics and biology were fun). It bothered me I wasn’t in the top tier for Maths too but that’s another story that also ended in me realizing my self-image was wrong. Good boys were supposed to be smart, be great at Science and Mathematics and go to university! Anyway, the Science teacher was off sick, so our class was to join one of the regular classes, and that teacher hadn’t arrived yet. The class contained several people that liked to pick on me. I lashed out with a fountain pen (fountain pens are better than other pens, therefore I had a fountain pen) at a (very stocky) girl that was curious about my odd-looking ‘rolling ruler’ an quickly left the room in search of an adult.

A rolling ruler. I thought it was slick!

I told the first adult I could find that I didn’t know what happened. People were picking on me, then the next thing I knew I was leaving. To acknowledge that I know exactly what I did would contradict my self-identity. I had had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, so mu mum thought maybe it was an ‘absent’ seizure.

I should point out that I no longer think they were picking on me or bullying me. I think they were trying to figure me out. They found my answers entertaining because, to them, they were weird. I’m on fairly good terms with my weirdness, but I was never good with depression. Partly because (I think) I still have the ‘good boy’ persona dominant. How can a good boy have depression? That makes no sense! How can I be my father’s ‘Sunshine’ (his nickname) and simultaneously be able to acknowledge the anger and pain? Especially when so many have it much harder.

Telling myself that others are worse off is part of the same arrogant ‘I’m better than they are’ mindset that I’m trying to shed. Though shedding may not be the write idea. I know that bottling up doesn’t work. There have been some previous occasions when I’ve tried turning the feelings I represent as a secondary personality. The idea being that by allowing ‘him’ to express himself, I can prevent myself from having ‘outbursts’ (the one in Science class wasn’t the only time).

The ‘good boy’ and this alter-ego do seem to agree on a few things though. Including that multiple personalities, talking to yourself, etc. is nuts! I’d soon suppress it all again. I still find myself wanting to say things I can’t if I want to be seen as professional and have readers like me, so I push it down. So I’m trying the experiment again, and justifying the potential insanity by pointing out that I’m a writer. Writers have conversations with and as their characters all the time while writing their stories.

I’ve also read several times that the books that make the most money are romance and erotica. Both genres aren’t my thing. It doesn’t fit my dominant self-image to enjoy or write about love and sex, but If I write the stories as my rebellious alter-ego, I’m not compromising my online brand, an I give those thoughts I normally suppress an outlet that actually helps the cause!

Anyway. Long segue. It sort of ties back though because this permission I’ve given myself to explore ideas that don’t fit my personality allows me to learn things about myself that I have previously never allowed myself too, including being able to admit that, I too, am suicidal. I still believe though, based on looking at every angle I can think of, that it’s symptomatic, or at least the optimistic side does.

The pessimist likes to point out that this is biological disorder, but he also doesn’t trust that disorders are real. He thinks they’re either part of a deliberate conspiracy to undermine us and put ourselves in limited boxes so we don’t actually analyse ourselves to closely and figure out what we can do with our unique differences, or that people prefer being dumb, it takes less effort, so they slap a label on themselves and each other to they don’t have to think too hard.

Since I know these thoughts are upsetting, I tend not to agree with them in public. I still have the thoughts, I just can’t express them. However, that’s not really wanted to talk about. Admitting that feeling suicidal is, at least in my current situation, a fact, actually offers me a freedom I didn’t have before. If I might kill myself, the the worst that can happen is inevitable.

I may as well start taking risks as if I have a terminal disease. As if I could die tomorrow, at my own hand. Hiding from the world in my room is no longer a safe place. Suddenly my chances of survival in the outside world increases dramatically in comparison to the absolute certainty that, if I don’t make some changes in my life, I am going to kill myself.

I’ve believed the idea that ‘live for today, because you could die tomorrow’ for some time, but I’ve never put that additional piece ‘by your own hand’ before now. It makes the motivation far more immediate. A sudden heart-attack seems hard to imagine when compared to being hit by a bus, and of the two the heart-attack seems less painful, so my brain found a loop-hole and stayed indoors!

I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve got to make more contacts. Get myself out of the rat-race, or at least get myself a job that allows me to use my brain. Make more friends and hang out more with the ones I have. Perhaps even track down and meet up with some of the online ones! I think I may even be ready to risk a girlfriend! I miss having someone to cuddle and cry with, laugh and play with. The other guy has some ideas too that a good boy should never have.

It may hurt to open my heart again, but I’m hurting anyway. Maybe there’s even a chance that ‘the one’ is still out there, and not just a myth designed to keep us in line as ‘someone’ keeps telling me! It’s unlikely that anyone that reads this and the rest of my blog would be even remotely interested in dating me, but at least if they do, they’ll be somewhat forewarned!

If I start putting myself in situations that may make me happy, I may discover I don’t have to feel so sad. We’ll see if I’m brave enough, or if this new perspective will truly help.

Have a great day

2 thoughts on “Death Sentence

  1. Hey thanks for opening up here. It’s good to know that my writing, although morbid, helped people. I’m so glad you’re able to reach a breakthrough – now get ready for the next one!
    Bullying is bullying. This is something I’ve learned and honed into my brain since Grade 10. If they tried to “figure you out” because your reactions were always weird, they were bullying you. It’s almost in the definitions! Mate, don’t excuse them. Tell it as it is. And most important of all, forgive them (which I believe you’ve already done). Forgiving without excusing is an amazing skill to maintain a fair level of mental health – this way you’re being fair to both of you!
    As a student of psychology, I am increasingly finding the concept of depression feeble, at least in the field of psychology/psychiatry. Yes, it has a biological basis, except that biological basis might as well have an environmental/situational/external cause. Psychology doesn’t know much about it. Sociology has a bit more answers, but that’s it. I just happened to have talked to a friend the day after I wrote my Facebook post. Both of us feel the same way and both of us are psych students. We reached a conclusion: many mental illnesses are merely labels, and it can be relieving to know what is going on, but it is very important to not let that label define you! Yes, there is no cure for depression. So what? It doesn’t mean you’ve got to be in bed feeling rotten every day! You have the power to learn how to manage. Not your therapist, not your significant other, YOU. Both of us know this, and both of us are functioning fairly well because we WORK WITH our depression, rather than against it. We don’t try to demolish it anymore. We just do our best to make us feel as good as we can. Sometimes it’s harder, sometimes it’s easier, but knowing WE have the power is definitely helping.
    A lot of the feelings you’ve described are shared with many a people, too. Being able to talk to oneself, for example, is a high level cognitive skill that helps us discipline ourselves. Self-discipline makes us sociable and reduce our chance of being expelled from our tribes when we were still hunter-gatherers. Feeling a lot of people have it worse doesn’t make your suffering less real. In fact, I think many people with depression and anxieties feel this way, and they convince themselves they don’t deserve their treatment, or even just talking about it. Hell. A friend encouraged me to access my school’s mental health services the day after I put up my post and I had to hesitate: it just didn’t seem worth it to talk about a realization when there are other people with “real” problems waiting for their therapies! But that friend does have a point. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I don’t want this realization turn out to be an illusion which in turn harms many people I love. So I booked the appointment. My point is, it’s very common to feel that many others have it worse than you, and it’s okay. We should all learn to see past it, admit that we do have a problem (which you already did – kudos), and try our best to validate it. I shall repeat again: just because others have it worse than you doesn’t make your feelings less real. This is a real problem that needs a solution, and it’s in our power to try and find it. Therapists are only there to facilitate the process.
    Oops I forgot what else I have to say… If I found it, I’ll get back to you. If not, let’s just say I do care about you, and that I’d be willing to talk about these things in the future. I’m open. I’ve realized that I have to be open in order to function at my maximum, so feel free to PM me or anything. You’ll never be a burden.

    Liked by 1 person

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