Insanity as it Pertains to Me
(A Self-Analysis)

Well, to begin: I imagine I've always been somewhat different. Anyone would have told you that, when I was a kid in elementary school. And as the years went by, I just got differenter. At some point, I couldn't possibly say when, I decided I was at least partway insane, and I liked it. As time went by, I got to like it more and more. I got to thinking I should be insane, if I'm an artist, and particularly if I'm a writer. And so insanity became one of my most cherished possessions, one of my drugs of choice (others being the Internet, TV, reading, writing...)

Now, insanity can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. I think I always had a shiny, happy kind of insanity. The kind where you can just be extraordinarily silly. The kind one of my many personalities, toastboy (later renamed toastlad), represents. A nice, clean, friendly sort of chaos. But then, I had the darker sorts, too. The kind where you can be somewhat destructive of self and... not self. And I allowed this side to grow for too long. I said I kept it in check- and so I did. If any tiny fraction of what I sometimes wanted to do would have actually been done... {shudder}... it doesn't bear thinking about. And it always amazed me I was able to keep such intense desires under control.

However. I also thought it was good to have dark insanity. Somehow I could never channel it into my writing, as I imagine I would have liked to do.... My writing has always been perhaps too much of the shiny, happy variety, without conflict, without real problems (in direct contrast to real life).... Anyway, I wanted to be insane. And so I would tell myself I believed things that deep down I knew I didn't believe. And yet on some levels, I managed to convince myself I did believe. And that helped the dark insanity to grow, without my even seeing its true depths. I've done a few relatively minorly destructive things, most of which probably nobody knows about. But one thing I did was January 31, 1997, I pushed a computer monitor onto the floor at school (the University of Maine at Presque Isle). It broke. That was a Friday (went to see Star Wars: Special Edition that night). Monday, I found myself banned from computer labs. That week I hung about not doing anything, and dropped out of school.

And so I spent a computer generation (as I like to call it; 18 months, in case you didn't know- Moore's Law) away from the Internet. Yeah, that was the biggest thing. Never had a computer at home. Finally got one in August of 1998, and the same week got the Internet. What followed was the best, and in retrospect, the worst time of my life. I don't want to talk about it, except to say I spent some time in southern Maine and then some time in California. I returned to New Sweden, Maine, in January 2000. Once again, without a computer. But again I got one in April 2001, and got back online.

I have always had some degree of depression, probably more than is normal. I remember when I was quite young, I used to like to just cry sometimes, for no reason at all. I'm pretty sure I wasn't even depressed or sad about anything. I just wanted to cry. Looking back, I wonder if that was some foreshadowing of future depression, or if it's just part of me being different. Any rate, I've sometimes been depressed (clinically, I suppose you'd call it), though I don't know if a doctor would think so. And in '97, I started gettind depressed more often and more intensely. And I started to worry about it. Finally, I don't remember when exactly, I started seeing a shrink named Wyckoff. (Follow that link for info on that; seriously, read the first entry there before continuing here. Come back when you're so instructed. Please & thank you.)

Well, that Dr. Wyckoff is the sort of fellow who's good at making the words "second opinion" spring readily to mind. So, I went to see another fellow, Dr. El Nesr, who said he was of the opinion- and I tend to agree with this more readily than with Wyckoff's opinion- that I have Asperger's Disorder, which you might want to read a bit about. This does sound somewhat like me, at least in real life more than online. Online I'm more... me... than I can be in real life, for some reason. Actually for any number of reasons. For one, I'm a writer, so it makes sense I'd get on in a medium built on writing rather than talking. Also, online I naturally tend to go to places of interest to me, and so does everyone; therefore, the people I meet online will tend to have some of the same interests as I do.

Anyway, as for this Asperger's, I'm sure my case is milder than many, but it's prob'ly there to some degree.

I think that in life people can be fundamentally happy, fundamentally depressed, or fundamentally in between/neutral/bored/indifferent/whatever. And each person has their own specific set of things they need to be fundamentally happy in life. At the moment, I'm not sure what the hell I need. In fact, I'm not quite sure I'll ever be fundamentally happy again. What I need seems to change somewhat, over the years. I need friends. I need a job (which I haven't got and don't believe I can ever get around here (northern Maine). I need to be able to watch various TV channels. I need the Internet (which I have got at the moment). I need to write, though I often can't force myself to do so. I no longer feel that I need a writing career, or even necessarily to be published at all, to be happy (though it would be very helpful). As long as I can write, and enjoy what I'm writing, and share it with a few friends, and talk about it with them, that may be enough. Another thing I need to do to be happy is to move away from New Sweden, away from northern Maine altogether. There are places in southern Maine I might be relatively happy, and places elsewhere I'd probably be even happier. I'd certainly like to try living in Ireland for a while. California was great, but there are now too many negative feelings attached to it. Then again, those feelings will be there no matter where I am in the world. Anyway, I can't move anywhere, because that would require money, and I have none. But maybe someday I can stay with a friend somewhere for a while and try to look for work.

Anyway, well. Perhaps I should try to go into a few of the specifics of the problems I feel I have. I don't know how well I can do that, because my memory fails me when I try to use it for much of anything having to do with reality, especially concerning myself. I suppose I could call that my first problem.

Then there's what I like to call "Willy Lomania." Have you ever seen "Death of a Salesman"? There is a character, the protagonist, Willy Loman. In the movie, they sometimes toss about the phrase "...liked, but not well-liked." They don't say this about Willy directly, but while I'm empathizing with him, I feel like that is how he's seen (and perhaps I'm meant to get that out of it, but I'm just not entirely certain). And it is certainly how I tend to see myself. Liked, but not well-liked. I have (perhaps always) thought that I am tolerated by groups I'm in. I can call people friends, and they can call me a friend. And we are. But I often have a hard time believing anyone really likes me, really wants me around. I think I don't fit in, even sometimes with people who are much like me, in some ways. I think I'm always outside the loop, that I'm just someone who's there and no one cares enough to tell me to go away. And perhaps sometimes I amuse people, a bit. I like to play the fool. I especially did this in high school. Not a class clown, but a fool, you understand. And I do love attention, at least from people I like. It can be hard for me to go a little while without it. It's odd, because in many ways I tend to be something of a loner. Or perhaps it's just that there's so many people in the world, and especially in this area, who are just nothing like me. So I desperately need those few who I do like, to like me. I need to feel like I'm worth talking to, that I am appreciated, that there's some point to my existence. Perhaps most importantly, I want the things I write to be read and enjoyed. ...I know my family loves me, and I love them. But they're nothing like me, and I don't think I'd be interested in spending time with them if we weren't related (I'm not particularly interested in that most of the time, as it is), nor they with me. I don't think our feelings for one another are based on too much more than biology.

Anyway, I have always been in some groups, and people seem to accept me, like me, whatever. But I never really feel I'm as important as other members of the group. It's an inferiority complex, or somesuch. I may know, in my mind, that others don't feel this way about me, but the heart has other ideas. And I'm terribly easily scared into believing friends will stop wanting to be friends. If I don't hear from someone for a while, I start thinking they're avoiding me, that they don't like me anymore, or even hate me for some reason. I'm usually quite wrong about this, but not quite always.

Decision-making. Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how bad I can oft times be at having to make decisions about such simple things. I don't know why, exactly. Sometimes it's like, I just don't care one way or another. What do I want to eat? Pretty much any of my options are equally appealing. Where to eat? Anyplace is fine. Do I want to see a movie? Which one? ...And so forth. I suppose the problem is that in many ways I'm not hard to please. I like so many things. I'm often not in the mood for one thing specifically, more than anything else. So there'll be all these options, whatever it is I'm choosing, and there's literally nothing to grasp onto, to attach to any of my choices... They are all equal, no distinctions whatever... All I could possibly do is pick one at random, for absolutely no reason. And I want to try so many things, I've no idea where to start, and who knows if I'll even get to everything, in my life? How do I choose which things to leave out? And sometimes nothing particularly appeals to me. And sometimes what I want isn't available to me.... *sigh*...

Another thing is, I care what other people want, who will be affected by my decision. If two or three or however many people are going to go eat together, or go to a movie, or whatever, I must be sure that what I choose is something they'll enjoy. But often they'll say they don't care, either- anymore than I do, that is. What I don't understand is why I should have to choose for the group. I'd really prefer the group make a decision, or someone in it besides me, anyway. Of course there's always the possibility I wouldn't like the choice, and if so, I'd say so. (Or, I might not. I think there's something in my head that wants me to suffer, in both trivial and important ways. I'm not even consistent about it.) You know, sometimes I think I naturally decide things about things of interest to me without even considering what others might think, and then I'll feel bad about it. Other times I don't want to decide about certain things, and for no apparent reason, others expect me to, when it should be just as much up to them.

Of course, I'm sure I also overthink almost everything in life, way more than others do. I worry about a great many things I say or do that others wouldn't even notice or care about. Other things don't occur to me, but they seem to bother others, and often I won't understand why, even if they try to explain it to me. And I often feel I can't adequately explain my own thoughts and feelings on various topics. And I worry that others will fully believe they fully get what I'm trying to say, and be wrong. And I might not even know it. And it might lead to problems later. *sigh* And then, many things that seem polite to me seem terribly rude to others, and vice versa. I could swear I'm from a parallel universe sometimes, for so many reasons.

Depression. What can I say? I don't think I get quite as intensely depressed as I used to, at various points in my life. But I think I get depressed in perhaps some different ways. Maybe not exactly depression, per se. I can get terribly frustrated and annoyed by my life. I can't get work around here. I've tried. Alot. And if anyone says that if I can't get any job, even at McDonald's or Burger King or any place like that, it means I'm not really trying or I don't really want a job, then they're dead wrong. I DO want a job, any job, desperately, and I DO try my very best. And they just don't hire me. This, I think, is an area where people just decide they're not going to hire certain people (although they'd never actually say that). So unless I can move away some day, it's basically hopeless. But I'll keep trying. Of course, it doesn't help that I depend on others to drive me anywhere. I couldn't afford a car unless I got a job, and maybe not even then, with the kind of jobs I'd be qualified for. I certainly doubt I could afford to move out of my parents' house, and I certainly couldn't do that and get a car. So I depend on others for everything, and I hate that. I desperately want to support myself. I also have always wanted to get out of this area (as I believe I've mentioned). And I want to live by myself, but be able to get together with friends both in the real world and online. I want to have places to walk to, like restaurants, movie theaters, book stores, grocery stores, record stores, department stores and malls, and places that just don't even exist in this area, like coffee shops, smoothie shops, alternative food stores, I dunno... all kinds of things I can't necessarily even remember now.... But where I am, there's one little convenience store I can walk to. That is it. I could get a soda or candy or gum or some beer. There's other stuff there I mostly wouldn't be interested in, but not much at all. And I rarely have enough money for anything anyway. I have old, defaulted studen loans I can't pay back and collection agencies call about and want to take me to court and I want to pay it back, but even if a judge ordered me to, I wouldn't be any more capable of paying it than I am now, so what the hell is the point?

What else can I say? I've made choices in my life that were wrong, even when they felt right at the time. And sometimes they weren't even exactly choices. Sometimes I could have instincts I knew were wrong, and try as I might, I couldn't fight them. Ways of acting, things to say or do, ways of thinking or feeling that I knew would hurt me, and I couldn't help it. There is in fact a great deal I hate about myself. Some things I think I've changed over the years. I've improved, even if it's hardly obvious to anyone but me. There are other ways I may still try to improve, but I'm sure there are things I'll never be able to change about myself, however much I hate them, and however long or hard I try to change. Meanwhile, past choices (and non-choices) have pretty much screwed me in the present. I can't go back to school, I have no work. I have memories that will perhaps always haunt me, make me flinch. Things I'll always regret. And even if I ever became exactly the kind of person I want to be and attain the kind of life I want, I think I'll always think of myself in terms of who I have been and what I've done wrong, of all my mistakes. And I'll always hate myself for all that.

I've always had in me a certain optimism, or at least idealism, with a touch of realism thrown in (despite my dislike for reality, such as it is). But I think life's rather beaten me into a pessimist. I see very little hope for myself anymore, nor hope for the world ever becoming the sort of place I'd like to live in, nor humanity being a race I particularly care to consider myself a member of. There's so much about life, the world, and people, that I just don't understand. It all seems to confuse me, annoy me, disgust me, cause me pain... and so forth. I have said there is alot I like, even love, in life. And there is, even if most of it is art, and as such inherently escapist. Music, TV, literature, movies, and so forth. Sci-fi, fantasy, cartoons and especially anime... so much to enjoy, more than I'll ever have the chance to experience. So much I'd love to do in life, places to go, things to try. I'll never have most of it, largely because of money. Money's something which I feel was convenient and probably even necessary for the development of civilization, but it's outlived its usefulness, and become a bane on society. It's an antiquated concept, which serves only to give the rich more power than they deserve and keep the poor from having what they deserve, or even need. This has of course always been true. But in the present day, even the poor can truly know what they're missing, more than they ever could before. (Of course, most don't have it as bad as the poor used to, but some come pretty close.) Today... anyone should be able to accomplish anything. Today, the world would advance more quickly without the existence of money, in my opinion.

But I digress. The point is, or was, despite all there is in life that I enjoy, and all I wish I could enjoy, there often seems to be more that just hurts. It sometimes seems the good is just there to make us believe, erroneously, that life is worth living. So we won't kill ourselves. So the Universe will have playthings to continue to kick around. Yes, I've become a pessimist. To say nothing of my religious feelings... I don't know what to think of all that, anymore....

Well. I've taken some things out of this analysis that used to be here, and changed or added other things. I'm kinda wiped out right now, and can't really think of anything else. Maybe I'll add more later. Maybe I'll change some of this that's here, too.

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