Believe

Today is already quite important.

Loneliness is a big deal for me right now, which may seem incredible under current circumstances. After all, Lockdown is making people variously crave or be genuinely afraid of human contact. For me, however, the mental processes are different, and two incidents over the last 24 hours have finally allowed me to quantify why, right now, it really does feel like all I’m doing is yelling into a void.

It takes me a PHENOMENALLY long time to properly make friends with people. Sure, I can slip into conversations all day and night, hide in plain sight and never, ever feel as if those moments are anything other than totally natural. I’ve also become excellent at reading and taking stuff from other people in without ever needing to interact with them. That comes from decades as text as, in many cases my only contact with other people.

The problem, ultimately, is finding other people like me.

I attended a Time to Change Virtual Networking event yesterday, which was incredibly life affirming and made me realise, yet again, that I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with mental health issues. However, I’m not going to lie, there were moments where I felt unbelievably anxious and very alone indeed and, it’s apparent from distance, that’s because there is no individual interaction in a group of 80 people.

When I ended up in a Breakout room, or in a smaller group for feedback, the whole thing changed. When I’m talking to my local Hub or on a one-to-one with a fellow champion, none of the anxiety or disconnection exists. It is the need to talk to someone but, crucially, for them to share some kind of common bond. It isn’t just the conversation that matters. It is the possibility that someone might care enough to become a friend.

The significance of that realization is still resonating within me.

I have words that explain why I feel this way, that are accompanied by concepts that were introduced during counselling last year. I know full well why the emotions within me exist, and how in the past they pushed me to do things that were harmful and ended up hurting the people I cared about. So many of my issues drift back to never having the information required to be whole growing up. A lot of that was wrapped around my sexuality.

Understanding that I was attracted to both boys and girls several decades after those feelings first became apparent was part of my process of redemption. It has allowed everything to find its correct and proper level. It won’t deal with the consequences however, or make certain anxieties and phobias vanish. That is my job to address and deal with, and it is happening.

It may be self-indulgent, but honestly it should not be a surprise.

Knowing how my physical state affects mental well-being has been a revelation in recent months. Sleep plays a massive factor in understanding. However, more than anything else right now I crave empathic, intellectual connections. It’s why Patreon is so important as a creative tool, to allow me to explore the parts of my brain that so need to become as strong as my legs or arms.

It is why, on Bi Visibility Day, it matters to remind people that I am. It’s why those who malign social media need constant prompting that it isn’t the delivery system that needs work, but how people choose to use it. All of these things make life worth living. They give me purpose, paths and goals to achieve, and without them the Void is very big and it can become increasingly depressing shouting into it.

The problems are mine to fix. I cannot, however, do it alone.

The Player of Games

I’ve never been tremendously good at relationships, even though I’ve survived in one for over three decades. The reason why that one has lasted for as long as it has, inevitably, is down to the nature of the two people involved. All other relationships are measured by this yardstick, and undoubtedly that means that sometimes, even if I may not like it, some stuff really doesn’t need to be said at all.

This also extends to online relationships: get to know someone well enough virtually and there will be the days you know all they want to do is complain about X or have a sly dig at Y who is doing better in Game W than they are. It’s the measure of how much you pay attention as to how you react: some days, it’s just easier to let them roll on. However, more and more for me, I’m reaching for the mute button.

As I rant, I’m also seeing people leave, which is of course the same reaction.

K_Dude

The means by which we all deal with the current situation is different, and as has been discussed here at length, some of the people that used to follow me weren’t interested in using Social media for anything else except their own peculiar buffer zone from reality. I am reminded of this daily right now because Instagram’s decided I should be following one of these people through their app. Not fucking likely.

In fact, I’ve just tried to work out whether it is possible to stop getting my phone to keep suggesting this person. I bloody hate platforms that have no real idea of the individual that uses them, and assumes that a badly designed algorithm is the only right way to match anything with anything else. It is, however, part of a world I know others willingly inhabit for both entertainment and companionship.

I don’t have to understand everything in the world, it’s okay.

glass

This is my own scheduled reminder that anger is an energy and to find constructive means by which it can be utilised is useful for everybody’s benefit, not just mine. Not allowing the negativity to swamp everything will make for more constructive workdays, better productivity overall and honestly, in the long term is by far the most sensible way of coping in these ‘extraordinary’ times.

The game of keeping quiet still gets played, however: sometimes, you need to give people space to rant, because as I know from experience that’s often the best way to let the bad stuff go whilst simultaneously being reminded you are not alone. Right now, that’s a REALLY useful thing to keep repeating, over and over. We are all in this together.

Nobody comes out of this quite the same way as we came in.