Friday, March 16, 2012

Breakdown update

I think writing about it might help, though I don't know for sure. So, what I've been doing since Monday is, unfortunately, not a lot.

I'd like to say that I was taking a proactive role in getting better. Exercise is supposed to improve mood, and I could use some of that right now. So it would be nice to say that I've been getting exercise every day. Say, getting up in the morning and going for a jog. I haven't. In the past four days I've had two short ultimately abandoned attempts at exercise.

On the flip side, part of what pushed me over the edge was probably the fact that I seemed to be slightly physically ill and was definitely low on sleep. Perhaps what I need is rest. It would be nice if I could say I've been getting plenty or rest, getting to sleep early, and generally improving by recharging. That isn't true either. During the day I've been sedentary but that's not the same as getting rest. At night I've been procrastinating on getting up and going to bed, which means that with the exception of last night I've been getting less sleep then normal.

It would be nice if I could say that I were doing meditation or soul searching or something creative and therapeutic. Because then I could have found balance, or a soul (one wonders what color it would be), or bumped into myself and had a nice conversation, or created something. I'd love to be able to say that I wrote a poem* or composed a song or did a short story or something and came out healed on the other side. It's an appealing idea, healing through art. But nothing like that has happened.

No, my days have been largely defined by the absence of much of anything. Mostly procrastination. I'll think, “That might help, I should do that,” and then not be able to make myself do it at that moment, so I'll set a goal. “I'll try to start doing it by 8,” Eight comes and goes. “Maybe I can start by 8:15” that comes and goes as well. And so on, throughout the day. So the day becomes a series of failures to act.

Basically what I've done is avoid things that are likely to push me back over the edge, and not done much of anything beyond that. The only thing that could be said to be doing any healing is time, because I'm certainly not playing much of a role. Time seems to be working. Much more slowly than I'd like, but it seems to be working. With exceptions, I seem to be getting steadily more stable.

There was a point on Wednesday that seemed to be worse than Tuesday – I made myself meatball subs for dinner, then forgot about them, when I discovered the then-cold subs I set them to reheat and then had a pseudo-mini-breakdown. It's not quite accurate to say I was crying on the ground, I don't know if I ever actually cried (I felt like crying) and I only ended up on the ground because it seemed like the thing to do**, but I do think that it's a reaction that was much more severe than it should have been – but apart from that I do seem to be getting better day by day.

I just wish I were actually doing something to help that process. It would be one thing if I could say that I'm doing something. Anything really. And something depressing just hit me. I'll get to that in a moment. I was going to say that one thing I wish I could say that I'm doing is reconnecting with things that I enjoy, because that might be something that would actually help. But I haven't done that.

I actually started on my series on Deus Ex and .hack//Sign because those are two things I enjoy a lot (I know it might not seem it from what I've said on Deus Ex, but that ought to change once we get out of the training mission) and I was hoping that spending time with them would help my mood and prevent me from breaking down. That clearly didn't work out, but returning to either of those might have been a good thing to do to help rebalance me, I haven't done that.

I get some enjoyment out of rewriting bad fiction, maybe I should have done some of that.

The problem isn't that I never considered any of this, I've considered it all. Some in depth. (See the first footnote.) I just haven't been able to do much of anything. This writing here, and the post I wrote on Tuesday about what happened on Monday, is just about the most active thing I've managed to do all week. I haven't been able to make myself do anything that might make me get better, and so I've been left with avoiding any potential stress and hoping that the problem will solve itself.

It seems to be solving itself, but it still leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless.

Oh, and that depressing thing that suddenly hit me above? This is the first time I've been so emotionally wrong that I couldn't show up in university, but it's not the first time I've missed important tests as a result. Last semester I had to take an incomplete in one of my classes because I was just too out of it to finish. I forgot about that. That's still out there and if I don't do something about it the incomplete turns into a failing grade automatically. So that's another thing to worry about.

Or swear about. Right now my standard reaction to things seems to be repeating the word “fuck” many times.


Also I'm trying to sit less.  Much of this was written while standing, it seems to help.


* You know what I'd like to write? 200 lines of elegiac couplets describing what Bella was feeling when Edward, after betraying her three times, left her immobilized by anger in the corridor of an unfamiliar hospital in which I steal from Ovid and Catullus' Ariadne and possibly Vergil's Dido.

This would be problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I've never gotten the hang of English metrics. I seem to get accents right when speaking (I think someone would have mentioned if I didn't) but it's not something I consciously understand, which means that I could never tell whether a line I composed actually fit the meter.

Anyway, so much time is spent pointing out that, in spite of Meyer's claims that Edward is better than all the rest, Edward does not compare favorably to other romantic heroes. We get a lot of the ways he differs from a hero. Shouldn't a certain amount of time be spent pointing out the way's he's similar to the assholes of literary history? Sure, he hasn't done anything on the level of a Jason, Theseus or Aeneas yet, but for the vast majority of the Twilight Saga he hasn't married Bella yet. And really, given that he seems intent on breaking every other promise he ever made to Bella, what are the odds he's going to keep that one?

So he hasn't left Bella alone on a deserted island, but this is a story largely based around high school kids and even when they do eventually go to an island it isn't deserted. He hasn't had the chance is what I'm saying. He's not actual Theseus, he's more of a high school romance Theseus. Of course Theseus never tried to weasel out with a, “What are you talking about? I never promised that in the first place, you're nuts lady,” which means that he's also drawing on Aeneas and I'm sure that we can find a way to work Jason in there somewhere.

Actually, I've got it. I'm told that when he leaves in New Moon it's supposedly for Bella's own good, just like how when Jason ditched Medea for a new wife it was totally so that he could keep Medea safe.

The overall point is that as early as page 65, well before the relationship has actually started, Edward has already left Bella standing still as a stone in an unfamiliar place with emotions raging inside of her as she watches him leave and has every reason to call him “Perfide” and “Immemor”. There's a parallel to be drawn there and I wish I could say I've been doing that instead just letting the time slip away.

** It was a strange, almost ritual experience. I can't really describe why it seemed that way. It just seemed somehow appropriate. As if that were what one does in a situation like that and it defies explanation because it just is. I can't think of a good example to compare it to because I don't really get involved with many ritual things.

I presume that people who go to a church that involves kneeling have a sense of, “This is the part where we should kneel,” when the time for kneeling comes. I had a sense of, this is the part where I should be on the floor. So lowered myself to the floor, put my head on the carpet, and did feel somewhat better as a result. Then I felt silly. So I got up.


  1. A thing I have heard people say is "smile". Not to put on a brave face for the world, just for yourself - and you don't need to feel happy, just perform the expression. Apparently it can provide a small but useful nudge in a helpful direction.

  2. I've been there, and here's what I think: You are "working." Something is going on subconsciously during this downtime.

    As for Edward... it's difficult for me to think of any classical male character to compare him with, because it's absolutely central to his personality that he refuses sex all the time. I can't imagine any of them doing that.

    1. That's a good point regarding Edward, though it's also the case that in such stories it's always the woman who really wants it. Generally because a god was interfering with their emotions to the point of damaging their sanity (Aeneas' mother is the goddess of sex, for example, and she decided to get Dido to look after Aeneas by using her standard method.)

      Jason, Theseus and Aeneas all walked away from the relationship and with it the sex, it was Medea, Ariadne, and Dido who couldn't bear to be without it. For the men it was always something else that the woman brought to the table* that got the relationship going. All Bella really brings at the beginning is her scent. Still, Bella being more interested in sex than Edward fits the pattern, it just takes it to extremes.

      But yeah, I don't see any of those guys refusing sex much either.


      * I was going to oversimplify and say "murder, string, and a safe port respectively," but Medea's contribution hard to break down to just one thing, and if we did murder probably wouldn't be that thing.