Saturday, December 31, 2005


One thing I sometimes worry about when writing here is how much readers question my sanity. As a neurotic rather than a psychotic I'm well aware of when things start getting out of hand, and though not everyone realises there even is a difference, I'll state that it means I'll never lose touch with reality as if I was going to become psychotic as well that would have happened long ago.
So whatever it looks like, my neuroses are made up of abnormal reactions to normal situations. That means in my case stresses seem thousands of times larger to me than most people, and often the effects last far longer than they do for most people as well. The tablets I took were great until my system decided it didn't like them and forced me to stop them when I tried again after a couple of years off them altogether.

As certain people do question my sanity at times I thought as it was a quiet day with only food shopping to do for my friends who are coming for new year's eve, I may as well explain the lot here so it was never under speculation again. There are numerous names for my trouble, but anxiety is the best general banner with various aspects that come and go within it. It's not as rare as I thought as at least some people I know online have used the support of fellow forum members to talk about theirs where in real life hardly anyone mentions it except to their doctors. But apart from having a paralysing effect on the sufferer, unlike schizophrenia and the like does not change their personality or sense of reality. But so many people assume it does. We don't become violent, incoherent, paranoid or any other psychotic symptoms as we're not psychotic. It's like comparing pneumonia with lung cancer, both affect the lungs but that's it. Both illnesses affect the mind, but are not the same things. I'll be only too happy to find people reading this who already know this, but it's got to be said in as many places as possible to mop up one by one those who will actively avoid anyone that's 'not normal' as if every mental aberration is the same.

Of course environment affects neuroses, as if there's no stimulus there's no response. If I lived in a small town in a remote part of the country at least half my stresses wouldn't be possible. The West End of London would be as distant as Manchester or Glasgow, and the local shops would be in walking distance with most things available in one area. As everyone was in a small area you'd know many of them, and have the support of a community I don't have anywhere in London. Though I always lived in the suburbs, the pull of the more crowded areas is always there, and eventually they become intolerable. As the population grows previously quiet areas become busy, and it's also become extremely difficult to park near any shops in the whole county. Public transport here is usually how you'd imagine it in hell, but less frequent. I did go on a bus recently as my car was out of commission, and the new buses have half as many seats downstairs, cramming everyone into a space like a guards van in the third class carriage of an Indian train. The Routemasters the EU outlawed for not being wheelchair friendly only had seats downstairs, and you only had standing at peak times and not many at that.

I proved all this both by spending weeks every year in Devon, and living in Oxford for a year. The trouble was if you aren't married or a local it's too late to join in in a small town community if you didn't go to school there. But work is a different world. I worked 17 miles away and it took me 20 minutes on the motorway. Here I suspect the reason I never had a full time job since 1985 (though I did in Oxford with no trouble) was because the only criterion I had was not to work in Central London again. Most jobs are still there now and I basically cut myself out of the market. Having jobs where people live isn't de rigeur in London and just because most people are able to travel 10 miles or so every day on trains that give you a preview of the afterlife every time you go down the escalator (as there is nothing to see out of the windows, being half a mile below the surface) doesn't mean it's right or I have to do it any more. So though some of us start off more sensitive than others the environments vary so much that London is the worst possible place in the country to live for those who are. Add to that the fact I've lived alone (besides the odd tenants) since 1992 it means any stress I have can't be shared, and rather than talk to someone most of the time at home, I have things in my head that stay there till someone happens to arrive I can talk to. That's why I like doing this, it's an alternative to having people around but being public it opens me to all the judgements people with no problems are tempted to make.

I didn't make myself this way, I can't stop it when it happens, I have no strategies, solutions or expectations it'll change, though it does sooner or later on its own. As 2005 had the most non-exam-related stress of my life, people have seen my posts become darker and darker, but if rescue awaits, though I may have no awareness of it now, it can change. Tommy Boyd is one person able to see through the surface layers to the truth beneath. If he reads this he'd not only understand and explain my situation correctly, he may even be able to think of a few solutions (though my own belief they don't exist doesn't help my outlook either).

Reading other people online tells me I'm not the only one in this or any other situation, and for every person who comes out like an alcoholic, thousands are probably pretending they're fine and keeping shtum. If some of you think it's being self indulgent, remember. I've got no one to talk to now, no tablets, and sod all else to do. If I was paying for this privilege with a therapist I'd have just blown about £40, this was free, and if anyone like Tommy picks it up with advice (non cannabis related!) I'm not even just talking to myself with no response. I genuinely believe there are no answers, as I've tested people for years. I have my technique of observation, but that seems to be a water on stone situation, where it works so imperceptibly over possibly more than a lifetime though it may move mountains, the timescale isn't a practical one.
But remember, however black this sounds, if I hadn't written it here it would all be inside me, at least I can let some of it out here so let it go. That alone is helpful though it can't change the situation.

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