You’ll have noticed a drop off in my posting schedule. Allow me to explain why.
I can’t write about myself. I can’t.
If I write fluffy posts about inconsequential things, I feel like a fraud. And, like as not, I run out of the impetus to write before I’ve finished writing; I just don’t care enough to finish the posts.
If I write about substantive things, I stew myself up into a state of anxiety so acute that I feel physically unwell. The transphobia post cost me two missed meals – I felt to nauseous I couldn’t eat – and one sleepless night. It took me three days – and I don’t mean a shorter period spread over three days, I mean three days – to write. And then I stew myself up into a state of anxiety about whether my state of anxiety is such that I am being unfair, aggressive, in my defences of my posts. I don’t think so – I hope not – but I don’t know. (And this isn’t intended as as a passive-aggressive attack on anyone, and sorry if it seems like it – I’m talking about me, not you.)
I am second-guessing myself, and second-guessing my second guesses, and second-guessing my second-guesses of my second guesses – and on and on and on in an endlessly self-reflexive loop. I’ve always had a tendency to this, but breaking out of the cycle is getting harder and harder.
Blogging used to feel like part of the solution to me. I liked doing it. It felt warm, and safe, and secure. It doesn’t feel like that anymore. I know what’s changed. As the numbers of people reading each post have gone up and up, so I’ve started to feel more and more exposed. I know, I’m a pathetic, whiny bitch to even mention it – and I’m grateful that people want to read what I have to say, I really am. But the more of you who do – and the smaller grows the percentage of people who I actually know, the people who comment, the people’s whose blogs I read as they read mine – the less it feels like a conversation, the more it feels like a performance.
I am not in the best of mental health, I think. I am being spoken to a fair bit by people who don’t exist, and I have started feeling compelled to answer them back, which is new. They keep reminding me about every tiny mistake I have made – we’re talking about things that happened 20 years ago – and they won’t ever shut the hell up. Telling them to fuck off feels so good. And it works, a bit. I don’t know if this is a troubling symptom, a sign that things are worsening – I still know they aren’t real (liar: I have satisfied myself by a conscious intellectual process that they are very unlikely to exist, they feel utterly real). I’m not certifiable. I’m not a danger to myself, I’m definitely no danger to anyone else.
There’s paranoia in the mix, too, I think. Or if not paranoia then that pre-paranoid itch, that sense that the world has gone strange, and sinister, and friendly pools have turned into ocean depths. I’m trying to say what I can’t say; Michael Stipe said it ‘a pool so deep that when I sink, I sink, and when I swim I fly so high’. That’s it: you can’t fly forever, and the fear of the certainty of falling, if not now, then soon.
Pretentious arsehole. But this is what I think like when I don’t wrap it up and pretend to be normal.
Worry about people I can’t see, about who they are, what they think, about why they’re there – that’s got to be at least partly paranoid, I think.
There’s depression in the mix – oh, brother, is there. I started the blog as a way of keeping the channels of communication with the world open, even as I withdrew into being a recluse in real life. It was good to keep the channels open, but now I don’t want to. I want to crawl off into the dark and just rest. This is likely to be depression I think, this overwhelming urge to retreat from the world; do nothing; like still, clam, quiet.
If it’s depression, I should fight it. If it’s any of those things I should make myself do the things I don’t want to do. But I don’t want to. And I’m not sure I see the point. Blogging used to be part of the solution, but it doesn’t feel like that any more, it feels like part of the problem. I want to stop feeling like I’m going to throw up every time I click publish.
I’m not sure I can do this anymore. But that’s not true; I can, probably; I could make myself.
I don’t think I am going to do this anymore.