On Inaction, Depression and the Way Forward

My favourite image to represent insomnia.

My favourite image to represent insomnia.

As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from depression. I’m lucky enough not suffer to the same extent that I know others do, but I am also aware of the effect it has on my life. It affects my relationships, habits, diet and any number of other things.

I’ve just returned to Mexico after a pleasant if uneventful visit ‘home’. I’ve spent more than my fair allotment in my three days back being utterly inactive and catching up on my TV-viewing and video gaming.

Beyond external stimuli (including but not limited to workload, dating dilemmas and familial guilt) there’s one thing that’s murder when it comes to depression, and that’s inactivity. Your body doesn’t work off any energy, your mind has the time to roll and roll through your mind, and you get the opportunity to spend 18 hour days watching TV and getting very little sleep. I expect that to be my situation tonight. So, I’ve decided to come up with a few “New Week’s Resolutions”* with which to occupy my mind:

  1. Finish typing up my novel so it’s all electronic. I’m at a stage now where I’m between half and two-thirds finished on the project and I’ve completely lost faith in it. I realise that when it is finished it will take so much editing as to make it a new book completely. Nonetheless, I’m determined not to give up on it. This is stage one in getting back to work on it.
  2. Write 3 new things. That’ll either be fiction or blog posts, I think. Today I dug up some old dabbles I can play with if needs be. Whatever I write,  they need to be of significant length and should hopefully get me back into the habit.
  3. Stop angsting about dating and stop acting on my angst. This one is a little more difficult and much less measurable, and therefore shouldn’t really be a resolution. Nevertheless, it’s mind blog and my head so nyer. 😛
  4. Lastly, I’m not going to sit in the house all day next Friday. What with the friends I have here, I’m sure this won’t be an issue as we all return to the country and get back to the work. That said, I want this to be my last weekend of inaction for a while. I’m giving myself tomorrow in response to the insomnia I’m anticipating for tonight.

So, yes. These are the thing’s I will and won’t do this week.

In other news, isn’t Jenna Louise Coleman cute and charismatic?! I can’t wait to watch the new half-season of Doctor who come my birthday.

Jenna Louise Coleman AKA Clara Oswin Oswald

Jenna Louise Coleman AKA Clara Oswin Oswald

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“Sexy Beast” or Just “Beast”?

Couldn’t not reference this pun. Source linked. It’s a t-shirt!

I was going to begin with a Miriam-Webster definition of attractiveness, but that’s not terribly helpful, is it? I guess the truth is, I want to vent about my self-image frustrations.

The thing is, I’ve never been all that attractive. Back in the days of being 20 stone (300 pounds/136 kilos) I look an awful lot better, but I’m never going to be Brad Pitt, however much I work. See the picture at the bottom for a comparison.Even with all this in mind, I’m hurt when a woman says that my body is not her favourite thing about me.

Let me give you a for instance. At a party I met an absolutely beautiful woman with whom I began to talk, flirt and mock. We fooled around and I bullied her a little about a guy who was following her around like a puppy.

Weeks pass and we chat occasionally on Facebook. One time while drunk-messaging, she lets slip that she’s had a crush on me since the party. I utterly disbelieve her and CCQ her about three times before I’m willing to allow for the possibility and agree to a date. The date was wonderful – she was clearly really attracted to me, and wanted to pursue the relationship further. Nonetheless, my body image issue got in the way later and could have seriously messed things up had she not had experience dealing with the crazies.

Unfortunately, my mind seems to see attractiveness (with relation to me, anyway) in a very binary kind of way. Either you think I look good or you don’t. There’s no grey area. Of course, that’s not how I’m attracted to people. I can be attracted to this element and not that, and come to an overall “yes please” conclusion without the bad things being the be all and end all.

I think I need to find some sort of middle ground. I know I’ll never be a swaggering, self-confident fat guy like James Cordon or Gnarles Barkley (yes, random. They’re the two that came to mind, okay?). I also don’t have to believe that I have the looks of a cathedral grotesque. There has to be a middle ground and I need to find it. I need to come to terms with the idea that someone can be attracted to me despite rather than because of my body. I need to come to terms with the idea that that’s a good thing.

Before, after and "as if"

Before, after and “as if”.

Is One the Loneliest Number or the Best Way to Be?

Warning: heavy-handed How I Met Your Mother similies approaching.

Amongst single people, you have two types: those who want to be in a long-term relationship (Ted Mosebys) and those who don’t (Barney Stinsons). Equally, as an ex and good friend recently pointed out to me, there are two types of encoupled people: what Bridget Jones called “smug marrieds” (Eriksens) and those who envy the singles (let’s say “envious marrieds”/Robin Scherbatsky).

Regular readers of my blog, if they exist, can probably guess in which categories I tend to fall. Nonetheless, I’d like to make this more of a public service kind of blog. I’m going to discuss singledom and coupledom from these perspectives in order to provide comfort for those in a situation they aren’t entirely happy with. With that in mind, I’ll skip the Eriksons and the Barney Stinsons, as chances are they’re in exactly the situation they want to be in. Instead, this blog is to the Robins and Teds of the world. Skip to the part that most affects you.

A letter to Ted:

Ted, you’re single right now. Since you’re a metaphor rather than the actual character, I won’t tell you to be with Victoria you fucking moron. That’s a blog for another day. Instead, I’d like to list all the things that are good about being single.

  • You have the chance to be alone after a long day
  • You can sleep with whoever you want to sleep with (given the opportunity)
  • You get the whole bed to yourself!
  • You never have to compromise what you want to do, think or say
  • You only have one family to deal with at Christmas
  • In a serious relationship, your future is mapped out
  • You can socialise with friends or family without guilt of neglect
  • Watch children’s TV without judgement to see you at your worst
  • There’s no one to see you at your worst

Good Advice

A letter to Robin:

So, Robin. You’re in a happy relationship, but you envy those friends who are out being fancy free. If you were the character, I’d say DON’T MARRY BARNEY, but you’re not, so I’ll tell you the advantages of being in a (good) couple instead.

  • There’s always someone there when you’ve had a bad day
  • You get to sleep with someone who knows what you like
  • You don’t have to sleep alone
  • You can share responsibility for mistakes, gifts, etc.
  • In a serious relationship, your future is mapped out
  • You always have someone to go to a party or stay home with
  • Watch children’s TV with a partner in mockery and enjoyment
  • There’s someone to love you at your worst
  • Someone will always think and say good things about your looks/personality/insert your insecurity here

I can’t think of a way to bring this post to a satisfying conclusion without undermining the above, so have some more Alyson Hannigan instead.

Failing that, just try to be happy with what you have until the situation naturally changes. I’m trying to teach myself that life is a journey. Some views you see alone, some together, and others still you have to see in both lights to get the full effect.

Peace out.

30 Days Challenge: Day 28: What attracts you to someone

Well, I think we’ve discussed before what can instigate a crush, so let’s talk a little about what I look for in something long-term.

I’ve dated different body types and nationalities, so much as it’s a cliché, appearance doesn’t massively effect that tingly feeling in my chest and doesn’t cause me to think about a person at odd times of the day.

I think the thing is chemistry. If we have good chemistry, if we can talk or not talk for hours without being uncomfortable, if we can watch and mock TV together, or if we can share utterly stupid inside jokes. I’m kind of weird, so I really appreciate when someone is willing to be weird with me.

The truth is, although I have a sex drive like anyone else, it’s not the thing I miss most about being in a relationship. Not even close. I like the shared, open and close relationship that’s really hard to achieve outside of a relationship.

To clarify, I think it’s harder for men to have that kind of relationship, as many men are afraid of seeming ‘gay’ with their other friends. Much as I’ve complained about being a gay friend in the past, I wouldn’t trade those relationships for ones with hetero-normative men, because I know that nine times out of ten I wouldn’t get the kind of support and love I get from the close friendships I have.

I posted on Facebook recently that “there are no likeable hetero-normative men in my novel. This could be a problem.” The truth is, I’m far too open, honest and ridiculously emotional to conduct a lot of close relationships with that kind of guy, so I find it rather difficult to relate to them.

Anyway, all of this is beside the point. If I had to summarise this post in one sentence it would be this: I’m attracted to a person we can have honest conversations and silly fun in equal measure. Anything else is just topping.

Relationships, Singledom and Emo…ness

You know that guy on cheesy American sitcoms who is afraid of commitment but loves sex? I never really understood that guy. I’ve been in relationships where I don’t see it progressing further, and that’s important to be honest about, but to be wholly and generally anti-serious? I don’t get that.

Equally, I don’t understand the people who can’t be friends with the gender they’re attracted to. I don’t really understand how sexual attraction can short circuit a friendship. God knows I understand the frustration it can cause – I’m considering hiring out my over-developed gay friend skills* in the Yellow Pages – but it’s never stopped me from being a good friend to those people who I already thought were awesome.

I have lots of attractive, awesome female friends. Many of these friendships began as crushes on my part, but developed into strong platonic relationships. As someone who is primarily straight and definitely single, this can be quite frustrating at times. I suppose this post is to remind me (and anyone else in my position) that sex isn’t what makes a strong relationship, and to be thankful to the people in my life and on my international friends’ lists. It’s also because my complaining about it is both churlish and irritating even to my ears, so I’m trying to get it out of my system.

That said, I am still looking for the right Her (as one of those friends would put it) to curl up with on a too-small sofa or bed to laugh at terrible TV and to cuddle on a bad day.

So, yeah. Line under saying this shit outloud. Suck it up, Dainty.

From my playlist, this song seemed most appropriate:

*Gay Friend: (n) 1. Regardless of gender or sexuality, a gay friend is a very close friend who is never thought of sexually or romantically, but who continues to be surportive.
2. Someone with excessive training in the Friend Zone.
Etymology: from the genderless, supportive friends of cinematic romantic leads.