Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Paradox of Attention

This post has been something that I've been thinking of in one form or another for months if not perhaps even years somewhat.  It is a collection of a bunch of different things that all interconnect and a number of them are things that I honest have a hard time talking about even on something like this that it makes it hard to even know where to start.  I guess I might as well start with how I see myself as without that nothing that follows will really make much sense.  If anyone has read any of my previous posts you'll know that I had a number of issues with depression, self esteem & self worth.  It is that which mostly forms how I think of myself, for the most part I tend to consider myself pretty worthless and that in turn effects how I assume other people see me.  I don't remember where I heard or read this but it always made a lot of sense to me, anyway the idea is that since our own thoughts are the only persons thoughts that we have access to we tend to assume that everyone thinks the same way we do and therefore our default assumption of what other people think of us is shaped by how we think of ourselves as it explains both why people with ridiculously high opinions of themselves don't realize that some people don't like them and why people with very low opinions of themselves always assume that no one else likes them either.  In practice at least for me this tends to lead me place higher value or importance on everyone else's time or attention or worth then I ever do on my own, and the higher I regard them the greater that gap becomes.  This used to be an especially tough problem for me back when I was more sociable as even if I wanted to get together with friends I'd feel too bad about trying to demands on their time or attention to even mention it to them or if I manage to get myself to mention it I would do it in the most broad and undemanding terms I possibly could (something like "let me if you ever want to do anything") which would usually mean nothing would ever come of them as most people tend to be busy and forgetful especially with such vague comments.  I can only imagine that most of them either forgot about it immediately, thought it wasn't important or  maybe they even thought I didn't really want to but I doubt for most of them they intentionally didn't follow up on it because they didn't like me and definitely didn't want to have to spend time with me but that is often how I interpreted it as not only do have a very low opinion of myself I also tend to be very analytical of things so I would analyze social interactions and "find" or rather much more likely misinterpret or just flat out imagine subtle slights and things that my mind would use to justify the belief that whoever it was really didn't actually like me, sadly this is something I still struggle with a great deal and have been with someone the past few days which is what prompted me to finally sit down and at least try to write this all out.    Now I'm sure a number of people would say well why didn't/don't you just ask the person if there was a problem? For me at least, I don't partly because it tends to happen to some degree with almost all my more significant social interactions especially if I already in a more depressive mood and partly because it goes back to what I said earlier where I consider other people's time/attention/feelings to be far more important then my own and so if it is indeed something I'm imagining I don't want to waste their time or inconvenience them having to deal with my stupidity all of which would again make me feel even worse about myself.  One of the big problems with this is that it does indeed make it hard for me to ever feel like I can ask for help especially when I might need it, even if all that would be needed is a little encouragement, because I will feel like I am just being a burden on other people & I'm wasting their time and that I'm just not worth that effort.  I've started very slowly to get a little better with this at least with my parents and people I am very close to but I still really struggle with it.  As I know myself well enough by now to know that there are times when I just need a little encouragement, a little boost to pick me up out of a rough time but just can't figure out how to do that without seeming needy or that I'm just looking for attention for it's own sake.  Even now I have to fight the urge to just stop delete this whole thing and just try to deal with it on my own without bothering anyone else.  I think just about the only thing that keeps me from doing that is that reading this and knowing that they are not alone might help someone else with their own problems or issues.  This is also why I force myself to tweet out a link to every one of this posts I type up & why I will always try to go out of my way to encourage & support other people in what they are doing as maybe they are at a point where all they really need is just a bit of encouragement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Being Honest

Once again I haven't written anything here in quite awhile and honestly for awhile this place had completely slipped my mind.  However I have been struggling more with a number of things then I usually do which tends to get me to thinking about what is going on with me and what if anything I can do to change or help myself to better handle things.  It was well I was thinking about really how I think that something hit me in a way I don't think it had ever before.  I have mentioned here a number of times how I struggle alot with depression, issues of self-doubt, worthlessness and loneliness but I always seem to leave it at that which is rather general and unspecific.  I especially tend not to talk about except in the most general way about worthlessness and what I really mean when I say that as I am sure most people feel worthless to one degree or another at some point in their lives.  That however is not what I mean and not how I feel but it is what I say because I guess I felt that saying what I really feel is just not allowed or just isn't really what you admit to.  Most of the time I feel utterly worthless as in I don't think I deserve to be happy or content or successful, I tolerate myself feeling neutral because at least that way I'm less like to do anything about it.  There is a part of me that hopes I stay lonely and miserable forever because that is all I deserve.  I have thought of suicide many times but have never actually acted on it because in some sense I don't deserve to simply have it all over as suicide is often a very selfish thing to do.  I think this may be the bluntest I have ever said any of this because even with depression in general being talked about more openly and honestly then it has in the past I feel that that is fine but if you admit to any of the things I've said before then "you're just being defeatist", or "you're giving up" or "you enjoy being miserable" or "you're just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy when you say that" and it is crossing some line where stigma, which is still there for depression just not as much as it once was, kicks back in full force. There are definitely cases where for some people those statements may be true especially if you stop there and just dwell on them and it's easy to see how they can in turn feed into themselves trapping people in an endless cycle, but I think that if you do indeed feel that way as I do then ignoring it or trying to suppress or pretend you don't you trap yourself a different way which makes it far far more difficult to move on and make real progress.  For me I think it has been manifesting itself in that those suppressed feelings make it so much easier to give up on projects or things I want to do to improve myself (be that exercising, taking courses, finding hobbies, etc) as deep in the back of your head you think what's the point you're not worth anything anyway so what does it matter if you don't take care of yourself or you don't work on improving yourself.  If part of you honestly believes you are worthless then that is going to kill a lot if not all your motivation to improve your mental or physical health.  So I think the trick has to be accepting the fact that you do feel worthless without fully believing that you are indeed worthless just because you feel that way as that way you aren't just giving into the worthlessness but at the same time you aren't denying or suppressing it, how exactly to do that I'm still trying to figure out, a lot of this is just coming to me now which is why I am writing it at 5:30am as I don't want to just lose it entirely.  The one thing I can think of for myself that might help in that regard is that one of the things I have learned through dealing with my own mental/emotional health issues is that sometimes a single word or statement of encouragement or support can stop things from getting worse and if it comes at the right time and/or from the right person/source it can even change things around and start things looking up and more positive.  It's not always going to work that way but it almost always has some kinda of a positive effect.  So I think I am going to really try to focus on that especially when it comes to being online as it is where the vast majority of my social interaction happens and for good or for ill you can decide how you act online in a way you can't always in person so I am going to try to continue to make my online presence as encouraging as I can as you never know what might be all that is needed to change how things are going for someone, it can be so easy to overlook the power of very simple things but often they can be the most significant.  So I think that if I am going to try to build up my own worth then I am going to try and do it through encouragement as it's the only thing I can think of at the moment and at least it is somewhere to start.  I know it is very likely that very few people will ever read this if I just post it to my blog and leave it at that, however in that case it is also very unlikely that this will ever be of any help to anyone but myself so I am also going to share this on my twitter and facebook accounts even those it is long, rambly and the grammar and spelling is probably terrible I have to do something as if I never do anything I'm not comfortable with then things are never going to change. For this I am telling the voice in the back of my head that says "No one cares about what you have to say" or "People are just going to think you are making it up for attention" to shut up and do it anyway.  It may not be much but it is a start and for now I think I need to be happy with that

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Well I certainly haven't added anything to here in quite awhile & it seems this has become where I end up putting things down when I've done everything else I can think of to deal with them.  I wish I could say that this was going to be an uplifting entry in which I say how well I've been doing and that's why I haven't really updated this thing in more than a year but as you can probably guess by the title that is not what this is going to be.

  I've really been struggling with loneliness lately and it seems to be getting worse, the answer to that for most people would be obvious why not just call a friend either to chat or plan to get together or failing those chat with friends online.  I honestly wish it was that easy for me but in my case there are a few things that complicate matters, probably by far what causes the most problems for me is that for me personally a large part of my struggles with depression is a feeling of worthlessness and so by extension the feeling that I am just a bother/annoyance/burden to anyone.  The result of that is that I have an incredibly hard time really asking anyone for anything especially ironically friends or other people that I respect or would really want to talk to as my friends are the ones that I would want to bother/annoy the least so it makes it harder to reach out to the people that would normally be the first ones to reach out to.  On top of that sometimes I start having problems figuring out what to say in conversations, as mentioned above I'm always afraid that I am just bothering/annoying them & they are only putting up with me either because they are really nice people or they just feel sorry for me, so I often don't say a lot of things I might really want to talk about for the reasons I listed or if it is something relating to me feeling left out/lonely/etc I'll worry that they think I am blaming them for it.  To further add to all of that since I'm unemployed I have nothing but time on my hands while most people are very busy and often they don't really have a lot of time to themselves which of course just increases my feelings of being a pain and a bother.  Due to all of the above there are actually very few people that I would feel even remotely comfortable calling, or even sending less intrusive (ie email, some type of DM, basically anything they can check on their own time rather then a call which demands immediate attention) to suggest getting together, and even with them I tend to be very hesitant & don't try to set anything specific.

Now all of the above I have struggled with for quite awhile and in some cases and at sometimes I am better at trying to push myself to be a little more outgoing whereas other times I tend to fall back into a more withdrawn stance, sadly it is usually during those times that I often feel the most lonely and the most in need of connection and conversation.  Lately I've been feeling that way more and more to the point where there are times when I seem to just switch between things like Twitter, Facebook and email in the hopes that someone has said/sent me something or that there is someone on one of them that I might feel comfortable enough to try to engage in conversation.  I used to do this then just jump back to whatever I was watching/playing/reading etc without much issue and then check again either when I was done or in an hour/few hours but lately I've been having a harder time getting back into these things rather then just cycling through the things listed above sometimes almost desperate for conversation but at the same time not wanting to expose anyone to myself.

I don't want to give the impression that everything is bleak and depressing all the time, I have actually met a few people that even though I don't really know them well and they don't really know me have been very kind and have actually really cheered up me at sometimes even though they probably don't know that but again sometimes that can itself be a double edged sword as while it is great it can sometimes make it tougher to deal with returning to what is normal for me.

Fan Expo is coming up this week which is one of the things that prompted this entry as, especially these days, it is definitely the most social interaction I get probably all year even though I generally spend most of it on my own & only rarely end up talking to people if I happen to run into someone that I know.  Due to having been feeling so withdrawn of late & partly because there isn't as much I really want to see as in previous years I came very close to deciding to just forget about it and say home but I think I would have really regretted it in the end if I had done that so while I am looking forward to it I am also a little worried about how I'll feel after getting back from it, although I think I still would feel worse at the end if I hadn't gone knowing I missed it.  So it should be interesting, anyway I just figured I'd getting this all out of my head & on here.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

I just don't know

The last little while I have started to scare myself a little bit as I have been slowly falling back into old patterns of behaviour that I had thought I left far behind.  I keep finding myself doing what I can to withdraw from people, although at least point honestly there isn't much as I don't really have any real regular connections to anyone anymore, but even the few people I used to really try to connect with I have found myself pulling back from & doing what I can to distance myself from them.  I've also been finding that I tend to be more grumpy and easily irritated & have been getting less and less enjoyment for the few things I had been enjoying.  The worst part is that I am more and more caring less about all of this happening & I just don't know what I can do to stop it especially since half the time these days I don't really seem to care whether or stop or not.  I don't really want to lose myself to apathy again as it took a lot and awhile to break out of it last time and I honestly don't know that I'd be able to do it again.  And yet I have no idea what I can do to stop myself I have orchestrated my life to point where there are very few people that care about me & even fewer that could actually do anything to help if they knew & wanted to.  I just don't know anymore, this has been repeating in my head for awhile now so I am hoping that somehow getting it down here will somehow let me see or figure out some way to pull myself out of this.

Added after spending some time thinking about things..

You know after thinking about this and noticing different things and my reactions to them, I think what this might actually be is a reaction to having been feel more lonely & cut off from people then I normally have been and so sort of like an alcoholic that has been really feeling bad or down or whatever is more likely to turn to drinking to try to make themselves feel better or at least not feel so bad I think I tend to turn towards isolation & apathy for the same reasons, I don't really have many outlets in order to really connect with people if I am feeling really lonely or upset so I tend to do whatever I can to try and figure it out on my own which is my case tends to be isolation & apathy in the whole idea of "If I convince myself enough that I don't care then I won't feel so bad" Which is definitely not the most healthy or long term solutions but I still just don't know how else to really start handling it another way.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

My Weekend

I am going to apologize here as this is not going to be a happy blog but I think I need to put this down somewhere even if only to get it out of my head & perhaps looking at it at a later point maybe it can help me figure things out or at least hopefully keep me from making the same mistakes twice.

Looking back now this weekend I think has been one of the worst I've had in awhile even if for the most part nothing much really happened.  However I realized that in many ways I have not come anywhere near as far as I had thought I had come in terms of learning to deal with my depression & self esteem issues.  Even though I have a number of people I would consider friends online and some even good friends my interactions with them tend to still be quite sporadic and so therefore quite easy to manage and seeing as at this point I don't have any friends that I see offline on any kind of consistent or regular basis (I might see them once every 4 - 6 months or so something not even then) I think what I thought was progress was really just having been able to remove the issue from my life.  Well lately that had kinda changed as I gotten to know someone fairly well to the point of talking to them pretty much daily and everything seemed to be going well till this weekend which as I have mentioned this weekend I don't really know what it is but I've just really been more depressed then usual and looking back at it now quite lonely as well and without realizing it I had slipped back into a very bad habit of trying to really hold on tight to a friend in fear that I'd lose them for no real reason mostly just out of feeling worthless and paranoid and in doing that I tend to start to smother them without really even realizing it at first and soon all my 'concerns' about them really become almost selfish attempts to make or maintain a connection.  This of course puts the other person in a horrible, uncomfortable and completely unfair position (which is what lead to my earlier post).  Unfortunately my other usual response once I've realized what I've actually been doing is a kind of passive aggressive (as when in that state I avoid confrontation like the plague as I am convinced that I just destroyed that friendship and don't want them to confirm it) ignore/avoidance of the person I wronged.  Well eventually the person I had wronged reached out to me and we were able to set things back on the right course thankfully, although I still feel absolutely terrible about the whole thing.  It did make me stop and look back and try to figure out what happened to cause this to happen after I had been doing so well for so long (or so I thought) which is what lead to the writing of this blog as I realized that it wasn't something I had ever really dealt with I merely had avoided anything that might have caused it for awhile (that being a fairly close relationship with regular interaction) and so now I have to either seriously try to work on actually confronting it instead of merely avoiding it till it's no longer an issue (due to have no frequent close relationships) or continue on with my life without ever letting anyone get close to me again or at least not too close or too often.  I will admit there is a part of me that feels like I should just stop trying as all I seem to do when I try is to hurt others and/or hurt myself, the hedgehog's dilemma I've heard it called as the closer two hedgehog's try to get to each other the more they hurt one another with their spines.  I've mentioned before that I have never had a girlfriend before infact have never even gone out on a date and this experience has made me glad of that as I think if that had ever happened it wouldn't have ended well at all, but it does reaffirm the fact that I am not really meant to be in any kind of intimate relationship with anyone which is something I have come to terms with but still does hurt at times.  It has also made me take a hard look at my motivations and intentions in regards to any of the encouragement and support I try to provide to people and when things like this happen it certainly sets the doubt creeping back in "Are you really doing this for them?" "Do you really want them to feel better or are you just doing this to try to get their attention?" In many ways it just makes me feel hollow inside and lonelier then ever.  I definitely think I have to at least admit to myself I am a lot more lonely then I thought I was and that if I keep trying to ignore it or suppress it it's going to find a way to come back and bite me in the butt just like it did this weekend.  I don't really know how I am going to deal with it but they said that admitting something is a problem is the first step to finding a solution for it so at least I've gotten that far.  What I do know now is that I have to be a lot more vigilant and aware of how I am feeling and making sure I am not letting how I am feeling dictate how I act or react.  Sorry for how long and negative this post has been but I think at this point I just need to get it out of my head so that I can hopefully sleep tonight without it just bouncing around up there keeping me awake.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Problem of Caring Too Much

I know that the title for this post sounds really cheesy and cliche but for me (and I suspect a number of other people for various other reasons) this can actually be a fairly serious problem.  I like to think of myself as a fairly encouraging and supportive person, I always want my friends & the people I admire to know that I think they are amazing & that I am here to support them.  I think this is a good thing however it can be taken too far to the point where I am not really doing it for their benefit anymore but rather in some attempt to try and make up for the fact that I cannot seem to help myself but trying to "help" them too much when in reality all I am doing is smothering them.  This is when it becomes a problem as it is no longer a kind or generous act even though it may appear superficially to be it is in fact a very selfish act.  This can be particularly devastating for people with self esteem issues that aren't really aware of what they are actually doing (I know I went through a phase of doing this and it was just awful both for me and I am sure for the other people that got caught in it) as to them they are just trying to help and be friendly whereas to the other person they just feel overwhelmed and smothered and so will try to get away from them and create some distance in order to try to get some relief, which the person on the other side will see as a rejection and a confirmation that no one really likes them which pulls them further down the depression hole.  It is a horrible situation which is awful for everyone involved as even though there is no intention to hurt anyone that is almost always the end result.  Thankfully for the most part I've learned to manage and be aware of my feelings and state of mind enough to avoid that situation but there are still times especially when I've been feeling kinda down and especially if I've been feeling really lonely that I'll kind of hone in on a friend especially if they have been sick or having a hard time and really try to "help get them better" which often starts sincere enough but can quickly shift into the more selfish side of things where I am really just trying to use them to make myself feel better.  I still really hate it when I realize that I've fallen into that as it just makes me feel terrible because I've ended up going against everything I hope to do for people which is be a friend and a support to them when in that case I've been much more of a burden then a help.  This is one of the reasons I have a very hard time in general asking anything of anyone really as beyond the feeling of me being worthless & them being important I am afraid that no matter what they thing that I am being a burden on them as I am asking them to spend time/effort/energy on something for me & how dare someone like me do that.  I am trying to work on it but it is one of the areas where I have to admit I have had very little success with.  Anyway I'm sorry this post is a little more down then most but I've been thinking about it lately and I figured that if it could help one person who might be in either situation then it would be worth it as sometimes a little bit of knowledge or a little bit of understanding can make an absolute world of difference!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Trip to LA

Well this post is a lot later then I intended to post it as I meant to type this up ever since getting home from my trip but it seems to have just kept slipping my mind but I am now sitting down to make sure I actually get it all written up.

As I mentioned in my previous entry I went down to LA at the end of January with my family for a vacation as my Christmas gift, partly because it is warmer down there but also because there are a few people I had gotten to know online that live down there that I've really wanted to get a chance to meet in person and hang out with them a bit.  Originally I had been planning on going down to LA later on in the year but found out that one of the friends I wanted to visit was moving at the end of January and so that moved up the trip but it ended up working out really well as the week that we were gone apparently was one of the coldest and worst weeks we'd had for weather in quite awhile :)  We flew out of Buffalo with a stopover in Chicago but thankfully we didn't even have to get off the plane for it so we were able to get better seats and stretch a bit but overall the flight was fine and we even arrived a little earlier then planned which is definitely a pleasant surprise.  We rented a car and then headed to the condo we were renting for the week which was in Long Beach which ended up being a really nice place.

Before leaving I had ask some of the people I knew that lived in LA if they had any suggestions for places to check out and then went through and looked through them and created a list of places I thought might be interesting.  The first place we ended up checking out was the Getty Villa which was really interesting as it held collections mostly relating to ancient Greek and Roman art and culture which I personally have more of an interest in and even just the museum itself was quite something as it was laid out in the style of some of the ancient structures.  Another place we visited was the Griffith Observatory which was also very interesting especially the planetarium shows we saw.  The last place of note that we went to was Hearst Castle which I thought was amazing partly because I have always found Castles to be really cool but also because they showed a short movie describing the history and construction of it which gave another level to it, unfortunately it was raining during the time we had to walk around the grounds but they were quite spectacular.

I have to say though that my favourite days were the Sunday and the Tuesday of my trip as I got to spend pretty much all of Sunday with my friend Kenny and then on Tuesday I got to have lunch with Kenny, America Young and Teal Sherer.  I originally got to know Kenny through his Knights of the Guild podcast then started talking to him through email, Facebook and Twitter and became good friends with him as he is a super nice guy and we have a lot of similar interests.  It was really nice to be able to meet him in person and just hang out and talk.  He showed me around the city for a bit then we had lunch at Islands which is a restaurant I had heard him talk about quite a bit (which was also really good!) so that was nice then he took me over to one of his favourite hiking spots and finally showed me his house and we ended up watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother before he drove me back to where we were staying but it was an amazing day and I am so glad I got to hang out with him in person for a change :D  I originally heard about both Teal and America through webseries' as Teal was in The Guild and America was the star of Geek Therapy (both are awesome if you haven't seen them!) but actually got to know Teal through the I Hearth Geeks podcast that she was involved with.  I didn't really get to know America till the CMD Geekify liveathon that I have talked about before.  I met them all for lunch at the Universal Citywalk which was interesting in and of itself but I have to say it was probably the best lunch I have had in a very very long time and it had nothing to do with the food (although that was good too :P )  It was so nice to just sit there and talk and connect on a more personal level.  I easily could have spent all day there and been perfectly happy :D It was definitely the highlight of my trip.  I did end up getting to meet up with another online friend right before the end of my trip which was nice as I knew Aaron as we are both fans of a lot of the same things so kept showing up at the same podcasts and other online events.

I really enjoyed my trip to LA in just about every respect.  On a slightly humorous side note I started watching NCIS: Los Angeles not too long after getting back as I enjoyed NCIS but had never seen the other one so it added an extra bit of interest seeing places that we had been appear on the show :)