I Cannot Write You a Happy Ending, Part Two: By Slatewoman
HA notes: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Slatewoman” is a pseudonym.
< Part One
My inability to function in the big bad world has led me to do some stupid things.
Most recently, I went and got myself addicted to heroin. I’m a functional junkie, but a junkie nonetheless. It helped me stick with my last job for much longer than I would have because it turned my brain off. The only upside to becoming an opiate addict is that all other intoxicants pale in comparison. I no longer drink alcohol or chug Nyquil. It’s taken the special edge away from listening to music, but I assume that will come back with time as I slowly kick this stupid habit I managed to get myself into.
The worst part of it is, that I knew exactly what was going to happen.
One of my best friends has been using for years and I would hang out with him, clutching my bottle of 2-buck-chuck and watch him shoot dope on the weekends. I would never partake though, because I knew I would instantly become addicted and have no way to support my habit. When I finally tried it, I was in a somewhat stable place. I was making more money than I needed to pay my bills and feed myself with and I was on the emotional upswing, a place where you never consider the downfall.
Homeschooling and mental illness are a terrible combination.
And chances are, if a parent is mentally ill, the child might as well be too — and this cycle can go on for generations.
My way of ending it is to not have children.
I don’t want them anyway and I would be a terrible parent. But I don’t want to spread my genes and the proclivities that go along with them. Other people solve it by breaking out of the cycle with superhuman strength of will and resolution. I do not posses those things.
Eventually I’ll find a way out of those stupid hole my mother dug for me and that I petulantly stay in because I know nothing else. I need to make some friends, get an intimate partner or two and build myself a support system because as it stands, I’m alone. And nobody can get by alone, no matter how big and strong I might think I am.
It’s difficult to make friends when I’m distrustful and afraid of people, even ones who are clearly ‘on my team’. Once I get into a relationship or a friendship, I’m great at keeping problems to a minimum and resolving ones that do arise. I can give people space and I am not a jealous lover which is a rare and extremely valuable trait among non-monogamous people.
People seem to see a caricature of me though, all they see are my neuroses.
I tend to hang out in a rather large but close-knit social group. I’ve been around long enough that people have seen me have public freak-outs (either incited by drunkenness or anxiety) and have heard tales told by one or two of my ex’s. I’m not sure that anyone has a fair picture of who I am beyond my flaws and unfortunately, one of my defenses is to be prickly and standoffish in social settings.
It is helpful in many ways, but it makes it tough to make new friends.
My only ways of coping with all this is to remind myself that my life is not, in fact, the giant shitheap I usually think it is. I don’t know how to drive, so I get around town by bicycle and I live about 10 miles from anything interesting, so I try to go out and ride instead of taking the bus and regardless of whether I actually have anything I need or want to do.
Exercise is extremely helpful in combating depression. You’ve all heard it a million times, but I promise you it makes a world if difference.
Additionally, I’m genderqueer, maybe even transgender. Don’t know and I’m perfectly happy in the in-between realm. I’ve been that way since I was a kid, since before I knew it was “a thing”. I also try not to make it a defining aspect of myself because it’s unhealthy to fixate so strongly on a single aspect of one’s self. However, because of that I have a lot of discomfort surrounding my body. Keeping in good shape and exercise makes me feel a lot better about my body and biking especially puts me in tune with my body in a really enjoyable way. I go hiking in the huge natural park behind my house.
Physical activity is a good way to keep chemically regulated and also to stay positively in touch with my body which I often feel alien in.
I write incessantly about everything. The music I’m, currently obsessed with, I rant and rave about things that piss me off, I dig around in the back corners of my brain, I write about my basic feelings for the day. Writing is a good way to deal with negativity, but in my experience it can also serve to pick apart, over-think and catalog every negative aspect of my life. Being so isolated growing up, I’ve had so much time to stew alone in my own self that I’ve developed some pretty intense narcissistic tendencies.
It is perhaps better for me to not focus on myself as much as I do.
For some, they need to focus more on themselves.
Mostly I just retreat to nature and to my universe of mostly inhumanly abrasive music. I love aggressive music, metal, oldschool industrial, experimental stuff, droney stuff, I just love music. I can’t talk too much about it because once I start, I’ll never shut up, but music has and always will be my biggest saviour.
I find companionship in it, I relate to it, often in ways that I’ve never been able to relate to another human and it can concentrate all my bad feelings into a single compact unit that I can let go of when I go to concerts, or at home if I’m intensely enough into whatever I’m listening to.
When i was 10-13, we lived in a 2-story duplex that had a closet under the stairs. I ‘renovated’ it by putting couch cushions on the floor of it and running extension cords in so I could lay down comfortably, listen to music and read in there. At the time I shared a room with my sister which I deeply resented, so I often slept in there too. When things were going poorly around the house, I went into my closet, shut the door and put on my headphones.
To this day, my response to negativity in the world around me is to hole up and block it out.
I feel like this is acceptable to a point. If that’s what it takes to recharge and calm down or whatever you need to do, so be it, But don’t stay in there. You have to come out eventually and deal with people, with the ongoing and ever-recurring job hunt, with conflicts and even the terrifying adventure of going to buy a carton of cream before you’ve had any coffee, let alone done anything else to prepare yourself to go out into the world.
This is not a story of the past or the future.
It’s the now.
I can’t offer any suggestions (except maybe “don’t do hard drugs, kids”) or write you a happy ending.
But the call was put out for stories about how mental illness has affected your life, and I decided to write one. I have no filters. By the time anyone told me it was inappropriate to be a certain way, to say certain things or act certain ways in general, let alone all the variables of places, circumstances and people around you, I had already done all kinds of damage. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I can’t seem to learn how to adopt filters into my life and I have little desire to try because I just want to be me. I feel that if anyone has a problem with it, they’re best left out of my life because I don’t want people to become friends with a facade. No matter how idealistic that sentiment may be…
“There is an unconscious appositeness in the use of the word ‘person’ to designate the human individual, as is done in all European languages: for ‘persona’ really means an actor’s mask, and it is true that no one reveals himself as he is; we all wear a mask and play a role.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer