Moving Forward

[WARNING: ramble-style post]

After declaring my journey was over yesterday, I’ve reconsidered.

There are a few different directions in which I’m thinking of moving forward with this blog and other creative projects.

CODENAME: Project Diary

I still want a place where I can talk about stuff from my own life in a pretty unfiltered way. Selfishly, it’s a kind of therapy for me, plus my experiences can sometimes be helpful for other people.

I’d want to cover mental health, depression, personal development, and the ongoing exploration of a meaningful life.

I also want somewhere where I can be fully open and honest about my recovery from addiction. Not everyone I’m close to know the full extent of my recent drug problems. And for that reason, this Diary Project would need to remain at least semi-anonymous.

CODENAME: Show Me Da Money

I’m also really keen to explore various ways in which to make money online. I’ve been trying my hand at matched betting recently and have been successful.

I also want to review various products and services, providing my honest reviews. I’ll include affiliate links so I can earn some commission.

Really, I’d like this money-making project to be totally separate from Project Diary. I want to be able to share my product reviews on Facebook without fear that my father-in-law will find out about my drug misadventures and hunt me down with a shotgun.

Another core design goal for me: I want to be different from all the existing 10-billion websites trying to sell people stuff.

Sure, I will stick closely to my guiding principles of Truth, Honesty and Humility. I will never sell trash to people just to make a fast buck.

But being an honest salesperson isn’t particularly a unique angle. I need some other way to differentiate myself. Some clever branding trick which helps me stand out. I’ll keep mulling this over.

CODENAME: Don’t Kill Yourself

I’d also like to do something around suicide prevention. An old friend of mine killed herself around a month ago. And I’ve already lost far too many people to suicide in my lifetime. I want to do something more to help, but I really don’t know what.

I feel impotent on this matter.

It’s such an important topic, and yet, if I’m honest, there are plenty of other things in my life which feel more important right now. I feel awful for being so selfish, but it’s the truth.

I have one good friend who I feel is very vulnerable at the moment. His moods have been swinging wildly in recently months. He’s come close to suicide several times. I’m helping him by using my Samaritans listening training to try to be there for him. Really, giving him my time, attention and empathy – it doesn’t feel to me like I’m doing very much, though I’m sure my friend is grateful for my help and understanding.

Maybe that’s enough? Just being there for people in my life? I don’t know.

I’ll keep mulling over this one.

CODENAME: No-one Likes My Music

I’m perhaps a little unusual in that I’m in my 40s and I’m still just as passionate about new music as I was in my 20s. There’s tonnes of dance music and electronica which are a vitally important part of my life.

Music literally keeps me sane and keeps me alive. I listen to Spotify for several hours every single day.

Ironically, virtually no-one else seems to like the same music as me, which makes me feel a bit sad.

I want to do something creative in which I celebrate the music that’s important to me… But without annoying my friends with different music tastes.

When I share music on Facebook, I’m lucky if I get a single “Like”. It’s demoralising… and I don’t want to annoy my friends with stuff they don’t care about.

I’ll keep thinking about these different creative endeavours and how I might best progress them.

Any and all suggestions welcome!

Diary: Internal Monologues

Last night (Tue 27th Aug) was interesting. I attended my regular 12 Steps fellowship meeting. By the time I arrived, I was feeling quite tired, so I downed a cup of strong coffee to perk myself up.

A quiet voice in the back of my mind said:

Hmm, so you’re using a substance to change the way you feel? Interesting – that’s familiar, isn’t it.

That seems to be at the core of my various addictions: using a substance, activity or person in an effort to change the way I feel.

Most people would agree that a reliance on coffee is less serious than using potent narcotics… but for me it’s still part of the same issue… the illness of addiction.

I can foresee a time at some point in the future, after I’ve dealt adequately with my more serious addiction issues, where I decide I want to live without relying on caffeine as a stimulant.

Rather than trying to change how I feel, I want to get into the habit of noticing and accepting how I currently feel, even if it’s not particularly positive. This seems important: both for my recovery from addiction and also to keep me on my spiritual path. I have a strong inner knowing that running away from myself is not conducive to harmonising all aspects of my being.

As the meeting progressed, alongside the delightful spiritual renewal which I always get from these meetings, I could feel my social anxiety coming back. DAMN!

Partly I knew it was because I was so tired, but I also could tell there was something else going on, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was.

Pretty soon, my unhelpful internal monologues (“scripts”) were going full pelt. It had been so nice recently barely having to deal with those negative voices – they’ve been almost entirely absent. Last night they were whispering something like this:

Hide. Make yourself small. Don’t make eye contact. You’ve lost the connection you had to these people. Maybe it was never really there. Why would they want to be friends with you anyway – you’re so different from most of them? They’re only being nice to you out of politeness. You’re fat. You don’t fit into your trousers properly. They will have noticed you’re less chatty today and they’re judging you for it. The girls think you’re gross. Yes, your social anxiety is back. That’s it now, you’ll never get that beautiful flow state back again. You’re feeling sad. You should feel sad. You’re pathetic.

Looking at the way my inner critic was talking to myself, it’s no wonder I was feeling bad, despite the wonderful events which unfolded at the meeting outside of my head.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the above internal monologue at the time, it was only after the meeting when I was reflecting on the day’s events and trying to work out why I felt so bad.

And I reminded myself: I don’t have to listen to these critical internal voices any more. I don’t need to give them any power.

And I resolved to returning my focus back to what I know has been working for me… Awareness, Attention and Acceptance.

I wasn’t feeling great, but you know what? That’s OK. I just accepted how I felt. I noticed the feelings and allowed them to pass in their own time. I stopped resisting how I felt. I took some deep, calming breaths. And I resolved to return my focus back to the real work… locating and attending to the next important thing, whatever that may be.

And soon, I felt better.

After a reasonable sleep last night (still too short, but better than before), I felt back on an even keel again. Luckily I’ve still got all the positives from my spiritual awakening – my fears of losing them were unfounded… at least for now. I’m pleased to say that those negative internal monologues have barely dared to make an appearance today. Good, they can fuck off. I don’t need that shit any more. I’m born again [though probably not in the Evangelical Christian sense]

I’m a bit less manic now (compared to a few days ago); I feel calmer, more measured. It seems like the psychosis is reducing in intensity.

Maybe at some point soon I will lose all the positives too. That will feel very sad. I will grieve for the loss of this bliss, but I will also accept that everything happened the way it was supposed to. And if the bliss does disappear, it might not be the end… maybe it will come back again one day too.

I’m determined to just enjoy the good parts while they last and accept whatever happens, good or bad.

The more I accept the “lows” rather than resisting them, the more likely it is that (sooner or later) I’ll slip back into the delicious flow state.