Today in my life: Cellphone, French, Work, and more work

Hello everyone,

Last night I posted a super long post about all the things that have been going on in my life and a bunch of the things that I was thinking about or doing yesterday. Today, I would like to do the same thing, but I am really tired of writing. I have been working super hard on my thesis proposal all-day, and the writing side of my brain is a bit burnt out. So, instead of posting with long and rambly and stuff, I figured that I would just briefly go over some of the things that I did today and some of the things that I thought about.


Work, work, and more work

Clearly, the most important thing that I did today was work on my thesis proposal again. Yesterday, I finished off the writing of my third draft for my proposal, so today I was left with the arduous work of getting the citations updated and polishing the formatting and presentation. While this work doesn’t take a lot of physical energy or thought my part, this work does take a lot of time and mental energy.

For those who have never had the pleasure of doing this, this process involves, basically, flipping between windows and tabs looking for the information that you were using, searching the documents digitally piled around you for that one article that says that thing that you were thinking, and then typing every title, author, year, publisher, and journal name out (mostly because it is faster to type it than to copy and paste it all from a bunch of different places in the article). It is boring stuff, but I got it done. And with it so, too, did I finish the third draft of my proposal.

While I am sure that there will be at least a few more drafts of my proposal before I get to actually working on the actual thesis, it is really starting to feel like I am getting close, and that is really awesome.

French Update

Yesterday I offhandedly mentioned that I have been working on learning second language. Well, Patience has been trying to do this with me for about a month now, and we are really plowing through the Duolingo French tree. However, as we are getting deeper into the French training that Duolingo offers, I can’t help noticing gaps in my knowledge that leaves unfilled. These gaps, mostly around speaking with and listening to others, are something that I would really like to do something about, but I really don’t know how.

I have given some thought to the idea of for someone in my life that speaks French fluently to practice with, but I really feel like I would just be bothering them and boring them as I struggled to learn. So, then I started giving some thought to starting up a discussion group in French to allow a bunch of learners to get together and practice together. But, really getting involved with another group (as I am already involved with three social groups) seems like too much. So, then I started thinking about just visiting Quebec for a little while. Really, this is likely to be the fastest way to make sure that I pick up the language, but, my guess is, that it will also be the most expensive.



The last thing that I thought that I would talk about tonight was the fact my cellphone is starting to die on me. It has had a pretty good life (lasting just over 3 years), but the last 6 months have been really hard on it. Something like 4 months ago, I ended up cracking the screen as I climbed in my back window after stupidly forgetting my keys. Then, less than a month ago, I stupidly brought the phone to the beach and then went swimming with it…

Thankfully, it survived both of those violent encounters (for the most part), but not I can tell that its fight is just about over. This morning after having the phone charging all night, I got up and did my usual routine. Some 4 hours later, after settling down to do some work, I noticed that the phone was begging to be charged again. While I know that I do run my phone ragged sometimes with the tasks that I have it try to do (usually skype is the real battery hog), I really can’t imagine that even that could account for the phone only lasting 4 hours.

P.S. Please excuse my terrible writing in this post, my writing brain really is shot this evening.

Today in My Life: Wildfires, Updates, Top 5 Kinks, and Internet Issues

Smoky Saskatoon

[Image] A pair of images comparing Saskatoon with and without the smoke. The smoke is so thick in the right hand image that buildings in the background are completely occluded

On the left you can see Saskatoon. On the right, you can’t really.

Over the last couple of days, it has been getting warm enough outside to actually make it slightly uncomfortable in my apartment. I mean, it isn’t like it is unbearably hot, but has been getting warm enough that the nights have been slightly on the uncomfortable side. So, over the last couple nights I have taken to opening the windows just before I go to bed and closing them first thing in the morning when I wake up. It doesn’t do a whole lot for the temperature inside, but it does make more bearable while I am sleeping.

Last night, however, before I opened the windows, I checked the weather and found that they were forecasting a bit of smoke for the wildfires that have been raging up in the Northern parts of Saskatchewan. So, I stepped outside for a few minutes, checked that it wasn’t anything too bad and then decided to open the windows, risking that it might get worse. Apparently, over night it got worse. At about 6 in the morning (about 3 hours after went to bed), I woke up to the strongest campfire smell that I have ever experienced. Being cranky and tired, I decided to just shut my windows and go back to bed.

Some hours later, once I got enough sleep (7ish hours) to be functional human being again, I decided to get up and check just how bad the smoke from the wildfires actually was. When I looked out my window, I saw this feint orange-ish, yellow-ish cloud everywhere. It looked like some sort of toxic fog. It acted as a cloud, blocking out the direct sunlight that was steaming down on the city, and seemed to blanket everything with this yellow-ish dusty ash.

To someone who has lived in Saskatchewan for a long time, I am sure that something like this happening was nothing new. I mean, even last year there were a few days that smoke from regional wildfires drifted into town, but it was nothing like this. To me, this was new. It was fascinating, and a bit scary, but mostly it was new. So, I went outside for a few minutes (like literally 3) to look around in the smoke, then I came back inside and decided that I would do my best to stay out of it, if I can. I know that it isn’t likely to do anything too bad to me, especially if I am only out briefly, but I can’t imagine that breathing that stuff is good for the lungs. And, I can only imagine that running or biking in it would just be so much worse.

Earlier today, I did take some time today to read a bit about the fires that are happening out there at the moment. It would seem that the smoke that was blanketing the city today is coming off a massive forest/brush fire that is happening some 250-300 km away. But this fire is so big and it has been letting off so much smoke, that, apparently, the smoke can be tracked with weather satellites, and has travelled as far south as Kansas (some 1800 km away).

[Image] A satelite image of the smoke over Central and Nothern Saskatchewan and Manitoba

This is what the smoke looks like from space.

So, I know that it is likely wishful thinking with a fire this bad, but I hope that something changes tomorrow. Perhaps it will rain, or the wind will change, or something, and we will get another clear warm day, one that I can actually go outside and enjoy.

A broken tube

But the smoke wasn’t the only less than pleasurable thing that I ended up waking up to. :( In addition to that, I also woke up to find that my Internet was out. After spending some time waiting to make sure that it was actually a problem with the Internet and not, say, with my computer or my phone. I wandered upstairs quickly to restart the router. Having done this, I sat back downstairs and waited… and waited… and waited…

[Image] Old-timey television screen reading "Please stand by.."

Nothing happened. The router connected, but the Internet was still down. So, I ran a few more diagnostics and concluded that something was going on at the ISP level.

Thankfully, at least my cellphone was able to hold a data connecitons, so I sat and talked to Patience for hours upon hours. Being stuck inside from the smoke and being without Internet to watch Netflix of practice French on Duolingo, I didn’t really know what else to do. Plus, it wasn’t like there weren’t things to talk about with Patience.

D/s Update: Dealing with a defensive Patience

Over the last couple of days, Patience has been seeming to slip out of her submissive role. Just last night, I checked in with her to see how she was feeling about that, and she told me that she wasn’t at all sure. So, this morning, while I was disconnected from the Internet we talked about this more. From what I understand of that conversation, Patience has been feeling a bit depressed lately, and she has been feeling as though we were in something of a negative feedback loop.

As she described it, it felt as though she would slack in her responsibilities a bit, and then I would slack in mine. Then with that new space that I was giving her, she would slack in hers again, and slowly everything just slipped away. While I agree with her on this point (because I know that this happens quite a bit) I also mentioned that there may be something else to it. I know that lately I have wanted to stop us both from slacking in our roles, but I didn’t feel like I was able to. Specifically, when I started to notice that she was slacking in her roles, I wanted to step in and punish her, I wanted to correct her behaviour, but I just felt that I couldn’t do that.

You see, lately there has been a number of times that I have tried to push Patience back on track with her D/s commitments, but each time that I would do that, she would rebuff my efforts or end up being all defensive about them. It wasn’t like she was fighting with me or yelling at me or anything like that about them, but it was just this constant pressure that I would feel whenever I brought something like this up. And yesterday there was another one of those things.

As it was getting late yesterday night, I noticed that we weren’t talking a whole lot. I was rambling a bit, I think, but I don’t think that we were actually engaged in conversation. But, I noticed that it was just about time for her to go to bed. I mentioned this to her, and told her to say her goodnights to the people that she was talking to online. …And then I went back to talking to her about nothing in particular. Some 10 minutes later, I looked at the clock and I noticed that she was late to bed. I grumbled a bit and mentioned that she should have gone already.

Her response, which wasn’t necessarily incorrect, was that I was talking to her, so she thought that I had meant to keep her up. This isn’t really the way that this happens for us though. For us, typically, if I want her to stay up with me to talk some more, I tell her that. And on the rare occasions that I was still talking about something important and I didn’t notice the time, she has always had the sense to cut in quickly to ask if she should be staying up a few minutes longer. This time, however, she didn’t do that, and worse, I wasn’t even talking about something important or interesting. I was just hyper and wanting to fill the empty space with random chatter.

But when I brought this up, she just kept getting more and more defensive about it. Eventually, I just dropped it, sent her to bed, and considered it a loss. :/ This is the type of thing that has been happening a lot recently. Even when she was feeling really submissive a couple weeks ago, I noticed that things like this would happen, that when I would call her on something that I didn’t like she would get defensive and argumentative, instead of trying to understand and learn. And this has been making it somewhat hard to mark sure that I continued to be that strong dominant figure that she, at least some of the time, claims to need.

Top 5 Kinks

But, after talking about all of this, I think that we started to sort a few things out. And we even had some time to talk about things that were about more fun. ^_^ Including: Our top five kinks!

Here are mine:

  1. Technological Bondage
  2. TPE
  3. Service
  4. Chastity
  5. Roleplay

And these are hers:

  1. Submission
  2. Teasing
  3. Bondage
  4. Roleplay
  5. Behaviour Modification

Father Update

Another thing that I did today was call to check on how my father was doing. I know that I haven’t posted here about this, but my father has taken ill lately and not in a minor way. Over the last week, he has been experiencing quite a lot of confusion and having a lot of stomach and intestinal problems. When I last called him (on father’s day last week), he mentioned that he wasn’t feeling very good, but when I was talking to him he sounded mentally fine.

Well, that changed the day after Father’s Day. Apparently, my brother went over to see him and when he got there, my father was sitting in his chair convulsing. My brother called 911, as you should if that ever happens to anyone around you, and he was taken to hospital for treatment. Along the way he ended up coming back to consciousness and he mentioned that he was confused. He didn’t know the names of some of the times around him and he couldn’t name some of the things that he was thinking or feeling.

By the end of the day, this aphasia-like symptom progressed. He couldn’t tell the doctors where he was, nor did he know the time, date, or year. Apparently, he felt like he knew what they were, but when asked, he just couldn’t answer the questions.

Fast-forward to a day or so later and my father decided that it was a good idea to sign himself out of the hospital. When he the nurses and doctors did everything that they could to convince him not to. But, he’s my father, and that is the thing that he does. So, he went home, slept for a bit, and then decided that his television wasn’t working to his liking. He pulled the entire thing apart (every cord from every box) and started trying to put it back together.

When my brother stopped by to check on him later that day, he found my father on the floor, surrounded by cords from his television, desperately trying to connect his cigarette case to this cable box with an HDMI cable. :/ When my brother started talking to him about what he was doing, things got even weirder. She spoke as if he knew what he was talking about, but the words that he was using just weren’t making any sense.

For example, when he was asked what was wrong with his television, he said something to the effect of “I told you. You have to run the wire through the basket, and put the wet thing against the couch.” Then when asked about where his phone was, he would answer something like “The remote is in the sink. It wasn’t working so I had to plug it in”

So… Needless to say, he is back in the hospital again. From what I can tell, they haven’t the faintest idea what is happening with him, but right now it is just really scary and confusing. Though, honestly, I think it is more scary that this could be something like Alzheimer’s, something that could be genetic and waiting for me and my brother.

Being Emotionally Problematic

Hello Everyone~!

Yesterday (yes, I wrote two days in a row *gasp*), I started a thought about emotions and being emotionally problematic. Tonight, I thought that I would finish it. While reading the previous post isn’t necessary for understanding this one, I do think that reading that post could give you a bit more context for why this is on my mind at the moment.


[Image] An elderly man clearly showing quiet yet intense anger.

Before I drafted last night’s post, there was some hesitation on my part. I’ll admit that I was worried that Kaywinnet was going to read that last post and think, once again, that I doing something wrong in the way that I am handling my emotions and/or my blog. Because of this, before I even opened up wordpress to start the process of writing I reached out to a couple of friends to get their thoughts on the matter. For both of these people, the issue was really a non-started. Both simply assured me that I have the right to feel the emotions that I feel and left it at that. But, for me, the issue still wasn’t over. For me, the issue, though minor all ’round, still left me feeling confused, helpless, and lost.

But this isn’t something that Kaywinnet caused, nor is the way that she handled the situation all that much of problem. Rather, this issue—of feeling like I am being told that my emotions are problematic—is one that I have been dealing with for a long time in one way or another. And this issue, by and large, is mine and mine alone.

You see, ever since I was young I was always that kid that could never really control their emotions. Perhaps it had something to do with the family that raised me¹, but when push came to shove I would always be the first one to break down in tears or get so angry that I would kick and scream. Needless to say, this didn’t make me very popular at school. The other kids saw my emotions as target and the teachers saw them as a liability. So, before long, I was in the principal’s office trying, and failing, to get myself out trouble for picking fighting with some kid that had been teasing me for days straight.

As time went on, my anger started to mellow. I realized that picking fights with bullies never seemed to resolve things, so I moved to other tactics (mostly completely disengaging from my peers) and left the fighting behind. However, this wasn’t a fix for the situation as it existed. My emotions were still there and they were still big, scary, and mostly out of control. But now, rather than resorting to schoolyard violence, my method for getting my anger out was to argue, scream, and yell.

However, as my anger started to mellow, so did my other emotions. I slowly lost my willingness to cry in public, and soon after, lost my ability to do so altogether. At the nearly same time, the glee I once showed for things that excited me had left as well. I no longer felt safe to show these emotions to others, and I no longer wanted to deal with them at all, anger included.

So, just like I shut down my sadness and excitement, I tried to shut down my anger and frustration as well. While this has definitely failed from time to time, to a large extent, this emotional blackout has worked.

But, the reason that I did this—and the reason that I still fear my emotions—wasn’t simply out of a desire to improve myself. Rather, the reason that I did this, and the reason that I am posting about it in the first place, is because, throughout this entire process, I was being told that my emotions were problematic in some way. When I started crying in front of my father, he told me this directly. He said that if I didn’t stop crying, he would give me something to cry about. To him, crying was weakness, and weakness was to be avoided. Needless to say, this was all the encouragement that my little brain needed to cut crying out of my life completely.

When I got angry, the adults around me would tell me about this look I get in my eyes. They would tell me to count to 10 and just forget about the thing that angered me. To them, no matter what the source of my anger, the actions that followed were never worth the consequence. To these people, my anger was aggressive, violent, and mean. It was never useful and never meaningful.

But yet today, as I mentioned in my last blog post, the same thing is still happening. Despite the fact that my emotions have changed so much over the years, and despite the fact that I feel more in control of them than I ever have been, those around me still seem to be afraid of them. I don’t know why this is, and I am not sure that I ever will; but whatever the case, for now, the idea that my emotions are somehow problematic remains, and I am left feeling lost and confused once again.


¹ My mother was a crier and my father was… well… emotionally abusive, angry, and violent.

Drama and Competing Messages

[Image] A woman in a smart business outfit stand considering street signs which all contradict each other

Over the last couple of days, there has been a bit of drama happening in the local kink community again. While I don’t think that this is something that is going to have long-term ramifications, it is something that was weighing on my mind as I am a moderator of the fetlife group on which it broke out. Throughout this process, I was in near constant contact with the owner of the fetlife group (Kaywinnet), and we were talking pretty freely about the issue, the forum, and the related people. I shared my frustrations and, I think, she shared hers.

But then something happened. In the thread where this little bit of drama started, a bunch of comments had suddenly gone missing. Kaywinnet noticed it first, and then texted me to ask if I had removed them. By the time that I had checked the thread and responded back, all of the comments in the entire thread were removed and I was no longer a moderator of the forum.

Over text with Kaywinnet, I checked to make sure that my change in status wasn’t part of the actions of the same rogue moderator, and I found out that Kaywinnet had removed me as a moderator because she thought I was the culprit. She thought, for some reason, that I flown off the handle and deleted all of the comments as some form of rage quit. Although she apologized (and I do believe her apology), I have to say that I am left feeling somewhat confused.

You see, when Kaywinnet broke up with me many months ago, one of the main sticking points was that Kaywinnet felt like I was shutting down emotionally towards her. Because I accepted the change, and because I didn’t cry or bargain or beg (I guess), she felt like I was cutting her off. Now today after successfully moving back to being friends, Kaywinnet seems to believe the exact opposite of me.

Because of these two reactions, I feel a bit like, as far as Kaywinnet is concerned, I can’t experience emotions without experiencing them problematically. And as a result, I feel like I stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to dealing with this issue. Because there was an implication that my emotions were really intense (like I know that they can be sometimes), or at least intense enough for Kaywinnet to suspect that I would rage quit like that, I feel like I shouldn’t bring them up again. But at the same time I feel like, by remaining silent, I am reinforcing her fears that I am just shutting her out of my emotional life.

So, I don’t really know what to do about this… Perhaps even posting about it was a step too far… Perhaps this entire issue is just me worrying too much about something again… I don’t know… I guess time will tell.

[Dream Diary] A house of weirdness

Hello everyone~!

This post is going to be a bit strange. Rather than talking about my emotions, goals, or life events like I usually do, I thought that today I could talk a bit about a dream I had. I mean, I know that dream analysis isn’t really a thing, (Sorry to break it to you, Freud), but I also feel like my dreams sometimes leave me with thought provoking questions to answer during awake times, or with emotions that resonate through my awake time experiences. This is what happened with the last dream that I had, so I thought that I would share.

[Image] A man sleeping on a bed, facing the camera, hugging a blue cow plushie

My teddy is bigger than his!

This morning started out like any other, my cat jumped onto the bed and circled me a few times. She then stuck her face next to mine, as if to smell my nose, before gently licking some random area of exposed skin to wake me up. As is usually the case, I checked the time to find it was still over an hour until I needed to feed her. So, I promptly returned to bed, trying to rest off the last bit of tiredness I was experiencing (it so didn’t work). This is the dream that I had during that time, or, at least, what I can remember of it:

My mother and father had just moved into a new house together. The house was on this beautiful lot, built into the side of a hill. There was a lot of trees, a fair amount of green space, and what looked like the makings of a garden patch. In the front of the house, there was a door that would lead you to the main floor. But, in the back, there were glass double doors that led directly from the basement into the back garden.

[Image] An approximation of the house being described

Like this, only without the cars… Ugh.. cars

In the basement, there was a full kitchen, a large bathroom, and a dining area. Everything looked very well put together and the house appeared clean, presentable, and polished. The kitchen featured tiled counter tops and a big stainless sink, the bathroom had a glass enclosed shower, and the dining area had a glass table, much like a patio table my family had while I was growing up. Looking out the back doors, you could see to the quiet street between the houses and to the bottom of another hill across the way. Overall, the house was beautiful and the lot was even more so.

Yet, not everything was as it appeared. Throughout the dream, little things kept going wrong. It was never anything creepy or scary, but every now and then something would just break. It started with the kitchen sink, which, for some reason, had one of its taps on backwards. Though I figured that out while I was attempting to use the thing, I didn’t really consider it to be a big deal or anything to worry about. However, when the spout fell off after I had just finished filling the sink to its brim, my mind changed. To make matters worse, with the spout falling off, the sink decided to start a new flow of water. Even though I had made sure that both the taps were off, water just kept pouring into the sink, and eventually I just had to pull the plug at the bottom in hopes that it wouldn’t overflow.

So, now with the sink out of commission, I turned my attention to the shower. After attempting to turn it on a couple of different ways, it was clear that the shower was having none of it. So, I gave up on it and just figured that I could use the hose in the garden, but before I left the house to do that, my father stopped me. Sitting at the table in the dining area smoking a cigarette, my father called me over to sit beside him. Once I had done so we started into a conversation, or at least it felt like we did. Though I can’t remember anything that was said between us, he asked me to pass him something from my side of the table. As pushed a wire stand closer to my father, I noticed that one of its legs was catching on something. Figuring it was the hole in the center of the table (the hole for an outdoor parasol), I took a closer look. It wasn’t that, however. Instead, the table had somehow been cracked and a different hole, one of a strange jagged shape, had caught the leg of the wire stand.

It was at this point that I woke up. While I don’t know whether it was this final absurdity that pushed me back to consciousness or whether it was actually my cat deciding it was time for kisses again, I was left thinking about the weirdness of this dream and its premise in reality. For the most part, the dream was absurd enough that it could be just dismissed. However, one main part of it stuck out as something that I should think more on, and that was the idea of my parents living together again.

You see, my parents separated years ago due to my father’s card-carrying membership in the abusive asshat club. While they still live only blocks from each other, the separation has been good for them. But recently, my mother’s health has started to falter again. Her diabetes has largely taken out her kidneys, and now she is stuck pushing through near constant dialysis. As anybody who has had a family member go through this process knows, dialysis steals a lot of time and even more energy. Considering that my mother already runs low on both, mostly due to her physical disabilities, this process has hit my mother really hard.

Thankfully however, my father has been there for her. He usually is when she gets sick, but this time, she might not be getting better anytime soon. In fact, it is possible that she may never get better at all. With her health failing and her time and energy being stolen away, I can see the benefits to my mother having my father around to help her around the house. However, I also know what my parents are like and just how unhealthy their relationship has been. Seeing both sides of this, I don’t know how I would feel if my parents decided to move in together again, and I don’t know how I would handle it. However, considering the situation as it presents itself, I guess I should give more time to figuring that out.

Verbosity about Depression

[Image] A drawn pit with the words

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been struggling a lot with feelings of uselessness and hopelessness again. I know that I have blogged here about feelings like this in the past, so I won’t go into a huge amount of detail about the history of my depression or anxiety. Suffice it to say, however, that it has been clear to me for quite a long time that I have an anxiety disorder (possibly multiple, actually) and that I usually sit just outside a diagnosis of depression.

Lately, however, these patterns have started to shift. Now, possibly more than ever before, I feel that I have slipped into the realm of long-term depression. My ability to get out of bed in the morning (something that I have long prided myself on) has started to falter. My motivation to do anything more complicated than watching YouTube or Netflix has dropped off completely. And, the willingness to take the steps necessary to prevent further emotional decline has totally escaped me.

Over these last weeks, it has been a struggle to cook, a fight to clean, and a war to take care of myself. As a result, my emotions started to spiral. Watching my inaction as my emotions slowly took over, I felt even worse about my abilities and even less capable of changing their course.

Put simply, it’s been bad.

Why has this been happening?

[Image] A black and white spiral staircase spirals down as far as the eye can see.

Yep, this is what has been happening.

Well, when it comes to the long-term changes that I have been experiencing, the best answer that I can give is that I don’t know. It could be a result of something as far back as my move two years ago (from Southwestern, Ontario to Saskatchewan), or it could be something far more recent. Either way, I just don’t know why my long-term mood trend has been slipping and I don’t think that I ever will.

However, the triggers that have been experiencing over the last couple weeks are clear as day, even looking back through the fog.

The first trigger that comes to mind for me is the election that I am currently taking part in. Not usually being a people person, I didn’t run for election during the main election period. However, when there was a call for a by-election to fill a vacant seat in the student government, I thought it would be a good chance to help out my fellow students, help out my friends on the executive (who were elected in the main election), and to improve my CV all in one fell swoop. Little did I know that there were going to be three other people angling to do the same exact thing.

Nevertheless, I prepared ahead of time. I started to make alliances across campus in key locations (so I thought) to help make the best run for the position I could. I talked to my friends in the student government and I made moves to show my commitment to the student body… and then politics came into play. The executive was forced into neutrality and the competition started to split my contacts. Everything started to fall apart.

Faced with my campaign crumbling under my feet (or so I think) hopelessness and uselessness started to slip in. Then to make matters worse, my social anxiety started to act up as I realized that this campaign, which started about helping the student body and playing politics, quickly turned into a popularity contest, a situation I have little hope of winning.

It wrecked me.

But before that, there was another trigger. As I was starting to prepare for the election, something big went down on campus: More than 50 cars were broken into and things were stolen. With this happening at the residence of my University, I felt obligated to help in some way. When I got there, I found out that most of the people living in the residence nearest the attack, and those most affected, were International students, usually living with their children and partners.

As a group, we did marvellously. Within 12 hours of the town hall meeting, 8 of us drafted a letter to the President of the University and addressed the media. Throughout this process I was inspired and energetic. I was excited to help out in the ways that I was, and doing everything I could for the cause. Then I started to crash. Coming from the energetic peak of excitement, I began to realize that what I was doing (both in the group involved with the letter writing and in school more generally) was nothing compared to those around me. At the same time that I felt like I was struggling to get my work done, these students were balancing work, school, family, and so much more.

So, after watching the work that they all put into this effort, I was left feeling overprivileged, guilty, and spoiled. I figured, if they could force themselves through their situations to balance their family, schoolwork, and job, I could manage the little that was on my plate. I figured that all I needed to do was to push through it and make it happen.

As anyone with depression/anxiety knows, simply pushing through it doesn’t usually work. When my actions started to slip back towards my normal way of life, I was faced with that fact, and because of it, I was left feeling broken, useless, and so very unworthy of anything good.

So, what’s my burden?

Realistically speaking though, neither of these triggers are unfamiliar situations for me. It is not abnormal for me to be hit in the face with my own social ineptitude, nor is it strange for me to be confronted with people that seem to do so much more than I can with so much less than I have.

Alone, these triggers are nothing more than mild inconveniences, and rarely would they result in anything more than a day of intense thinking and, maybe, some occasional pouting. However, lately triggers such as these have been kicking up something far bigger that lies just below the surface. Recently, triggers such as these have been reminding me of all the things that I want, all the things that I need, all the things that I don’t have, and all the work required to get them.

To make this all a little bit less abstract, consider another recent trigger:

Earlier this week, I was in the middle of cooking something for a potluck gathering that I had planned for a few members of the kink communities. While doing so, I started to think about how I don’t actually cook very often anymore and why that is. Immediately, I started thinking about my partner and the fact that I really dislike cooking meals for one. Confronted, once again, with the reality that my wife is still thousands of miles away after 10 years of us being together, my emotions started to sink. My mind drifted from one topic to the next, picking up depressing realisations like a katamari rolling downhill.

[Image] The Prince pushing a katamari over a rainbow.

Now you know what a katamari is.

I saw something run across my kitchen counter and I freaked out, thinking that it was some sort of nasty pest. (It was just a spider…) Suddenly I remembered about the squash that’s been sitting out forever waiting to be used, the beats that have gone off in my cupboard, and the litter tray I hadn’t cleaned in far too long. Then, I started feeling like a bad pet owner. I felt like I was neglecting or abusing my cat, and I felt like I would be just as bad at being a parent. Then I was back to my partner again, thinking about how she doesn’t really want to be a parent and how I don’t know how (or if) we would be able to make my dreams of parenthood a reality.

A quick look at the clock, and I was stressing over time. Not that I was cutting it too close with the cooking, but instead I started thinking about all the events that I have agreed to go to over the next week. I started freaking out about the commitments I have made and panicking over my desire to get a job. And then I was onto money. I always feel like I’m spending far too much and making far too little. Then my mind drifted to the funding that I receive from the school, how that is running out, and how I have no plan for what is going to happen when it does.

By the time that I was done cooking, I felt like my world had crashed and burned. I didn’t feel like going to the event anymore, nor did I feel like anything else. I wanted to curl up in a ball, melt away from my troubles, and hide from the world.

This is what has been happening to me recently. It would start with something small, a trigger that, by itself, would be largely inconsequential, then things would spiral. One thought would lead to another and everything would begin to look bleak, meaningless, and stressful. It wouldn’t be the fault of the situation or anything that I was doing; it would just conjure up the stress that has been lying dormant and smack me over the head with each and every unmet desire, wish, and need that I currently have.

Needless to say, this way of living isn’t what one would call super healthy. I’m well aware of this. In fact, I assure you that knowing just how unhealthy this is has factored into at least one of my depressive spirals over the last couple weeks.

[Image] The words

The way out

So, I want to get better. But how do I do that?

Once again, when it comes to the long-term changes that I have been experiencing, the answer is simply that I don’t know. There is no one correct way out of feelings like these nor is there any signage to ensure that I am on the right path in the first place. Likely, it is probably best for me to seek professional help from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or physician. Between now and then, however, I think the best that I can hope for is to take a stab at it myself and see how it works out.

Of course, I realise that changing too much at once could throw me back into the very same depression spiral that I am trying to escape. Hopefully, by taking a few small steps, rather than trying to change everything at once, I can limit this risk and maximize my probability of success. Either way however, inaction isn’t really an option. Doing nothing simply allows this unhealthy depression to continue unobstructed and seems, at least at the moment, to be the most damaging of possible outcomes.

So, what am I doing?

Well, first off, I’m blogging here again. Writing about my life has always been something of a catharsis for me. It allows me to sort through my thoughts, attend to what is relevant, and communicate it all to those I care about. That said, I am not going to make any promises about how often I will be writing, about what, or where (or even if) it will be published. So, while this is infinitely better than ignoring the blog, I wouldn’t get your hopes up for a bunch of new content just yet.

Second, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With this in mind, I’ve decided make a few changes that, I hope, will prevent depressive spirals moving forward. One of these changes is simply making sure that my apartment is (mostly) clean, organized, and presentable. While mess is rarely the trigger that starts me down a depression spiral, it often features quite prominently in the first 2-3 steps. So, hopefully by removing this stressor, I can stop the depression spiral before it gets any further.

Third, I’m changing my sleep schedule (… again). You see, for the last month or so, I have been trying to force myself onto a sleep schedule that my body doesn’t like, and I mean a sleep schedule that my body really, REALLY doesn’t like… I have been trying to get up early in the morning and get to bed before midnight. In doing this, I have been hoping to get more time to spend with my partner while leaving enough time for an entire work day. However, it didn’t really work. Worse, I think that it was just adding stress to the massive amount that I already had.

Finally, I’m starting on a vitamin regimen.  Before you ask, no, this doesn’t mean that I believe all of that hogwash about how the right vitamins and minerals can solve any problem. In fact, I don’t think that vitamins going to do much to fix my mental health woes. However, I do know that my diet is not healthy at the moment. I survive mostly on processed foods and quick vegetarian meals. As such, I realize that this doesn’t give me all the vitamins that I need, nor does it do wonders for my waistline. But, I also know that some vitamin deficiencies (such as Vitamin D, folic acid, and Vitamin B12) have been shown to be associated with depression and anxiety. Hopefully, while I wait for my referral to a psychiatrist to go through, adding more of these vitamins to my diet will help to lessen my depression and weaken my near constant feelings of panic.

While I realize that these changes don’t guarantee that I am going to be able to break the cycle of depression I have been stuck in for a while, I do hope that simply doing something about my depression will help to lessen its grip on my life. If that is all that I accomplish in making this series of changes, I think I would rule the experiment a success. However, I guess we are just going to have to wait and see. Until then, here’s hoping.