Niall’s virtual diary archives – February 2001

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9th February 2001

Psychiatrist sticks me on anti-depressants 

16th February 2001

 I realise my self-definition was based on the existence of Ruth

24th February 2001

 I flesh out a little more why the loss of her affected me as it has

Friday 9th February 2001: 8.15pm. Today I started on anti-depressants which this psychiatrist felt I needed. She reckons I'm suffering from depression which I find odd given that generally speaking my countenance is good. If it weren't for the hearing of voices, I'd be as well as to be expected by anyone just having been dumped - indeed, as I have mentioned in here before, I am taking this breakup better than any major relationship end I've had so far.

However, going to the UK did shake me up a lot, and I'm still recovering. Those pesky voices returned with an avengeance which put me on the defensive against myself, and I constantly kept losing ground. It mucked with being in Hull and especially at the family party where I couldn't take it any more and had to go seclude myself in a room upstairs for two hours. It even raised itself at the British Aerospace meeting which is disconcerting I can tell you.

Anyway, this understandably left me somewhat clutching at straws. I need a solution to this. The psychiatrist said that depressed serotonin levels were known to cause hallucinations like mine and sleep disorders and much of my other complaints - hence she wanted to prescribe an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). Now I remembered much about the neurotransmitter system from my studies of Ecstasy and what she said did ring bells, so I said hell why not. So I took my first tablet of paroxitine this morning.

And oh my, what an effect. It reminded me strongly of a bad ecstasy pill - nausea, disorientation - but the ecstasy rushes, intensification of the senses and even that weird "I can feel all my insides" feeling you get from some pills and good acid. I passed off the effects (which happened at work) as me being sick again (I've been sick so frequently recently actually, it's bad - no bloody immune system) but it wasn't good. Maybe it shows that all my serotonin was getting oxidised by over-abundant levels of monoamine oxidase?

Anyway, paroxitine differs from fluxomatine (Prozac) by it working much quicker although it doesn't last as long. The side effects I've mentioned are fairly common from what I know of it. A quick scan of the web today told me that it's a second generation SSRI, which of course are third generation anti-depressants. The first were the opiate based tranquilisers which are a very blunt instrument never mind being habit forming. The second were MAOI (MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitors) but these carry certain health risks like if you eat too much cheese you die. But these SSRI's are fairly clean drugs - no particularly dangerous side-effects, no addictive qualities. Some people do go completely mad on them (it exacerbates their symptoms) and they go on killing sprees, but that's relatively uncommon in Europe.

Nevertheless, pills don't cure things, they just cover it up. And I'd like to be able to start smoking weed again without fearing that everyone's going to appear to be plotting against me. One good thing about having experienced it so vividly in the UK was that it gave me more of a chance to get a handle on exactly what happens. In these paranoia attacks, I hear my faults repeatedly spoken about - sometimes laughed at. People appear to be doing suspicious things or conversing together in a fashion which appears to be related to me. People appear to be playing with me, toying with me, saying and doing one thing but with an ulterior motive behind their actions.

On my end, I experience an overriding sense of fear, of impending doom, like a gut reaction firing off. I also feel horrendous guilt, especially when I hear my faults in both personality and deed issued repeatedly to me. There is a huge urge to run, to leave and get out of there and it is very difficult to control these instinctual responses. And all this was happening all the time while I was in the UK, just sometimes it was a lot more intense than at other times. I dealt with it by ignoring it, but this often meant I didn't appear to hear people when they addressed me - I couldn't be sure a lot of the time.

I've written here on this scrap of paper various notions about whether I am trying to punish myself in that I have lost so much and am continuing to lose more. But as I also say on this paper, I can't see why I am letting all my problems and faults seem so magnified nor why I then feel such guilt for having problems and faults which aren't any greater than most people's and I daresay less than most as well. The best I can do is that because I see no possibility that I will ever find a decent loving relationship now that Ruth is out of the picture - and none of my experience, logic or theories can provide for anything other than a miracle to remedy this - that I am blaming myself for being too picky, too broken, too demanding, too much like me for my current situation and its loneliness. And hence I punish myself for being myself and for that, no one does or ever will want to love me - no one that I would love equally in return anyway for I keep either fucking up or getting scared off by those women who do love me. Whatever way, I am destined to be alone forever and any attempts to change that will only mean pain. At least, this is the case by my current experience, logic and theories.

Ok, I'm off to go wander the internet for a while, y'all be happy and see you again soon!

Friday 16th February 2001: 7.02pm. I was thinking today while I was shaving how the psychiatrist's suggestions of me doubting my sexuality and those repressed fears causing voices perhaps had a point to it. She meant it as a general thing, and at the time I strongly denied it. But today it occurred to me that immediately after Kathryn I did heavily question whether I was gay. I remember saying it to my roommate, to which he replied that he was sure I wasn't gay (because otherwise I wouldn't get so cut up about a girl). And now she's got me thinking about it, I find myself wondering in depth all over again. Despite that there is a very simple test - am I attracted to men - and the answer is as much now as it was after Kathryn - no. So even though it is very clear I am not homosexual, why do I reprove it to myself now? And why did I after Kathryn?

The fact I'm doing this, as I came to conclude as I scraped round my face, fits in with my general theme of activity of late. I am constantly reevaluating the past, reliving the pain and guilt of when I made mistakes - of those I hurt, or burned, or where I didn't do the right thing. These memories torment me. As mentioned last entry, I feel guilt all the time. What is it that is wrong with me?

I have mentioned here before that I no longer know who I am. I used to know, and then everything was good. Since I stopped knowing who I am, it's almost like I'm searching to rediscover my identity.

As I washed my face, it then occurred to me how much my definition of myself used to be based on Ruth. She was the person I dreamt of at night. She was my love, my strength, my definition. Unknowingly, but perhaps as a legacy of how I got through post-Kathryn, she was the lighthouse past the rocks through the storm. And up until just now, I never realised actually how truly much she was to me, to what I was and meant to myself.

That fateful Easter, far more happened that Ruth coming, saying she wanted to be alone and leaving again. Far more happened than I ever realised until now. Up until then, it had been a given that we had equal feelings for one another. Before that a year earlier, she had been the sole personality type of my experience so far in life to suggest there was a possibility of companionship out there. But when she ended it, she not only ended our relationship but also my definition of my future happiness, my future direction and most importantly, my hope. I knew at that point I had got it wrong. And with that reality upon me, my definition of who I am broke as well.

Since then it is clear why things have happened the way they have. My world fell apart that Easter, and it's only now that my conscious brain is catching on to the fact. The hallucinations which are an outer projection of inner turbulence (as is clear by their content - they say things only I could know) could be the insecurities risen by the brave new world which has dawned upon me. In this world, there is no definable hope - only blind hope. There are no fall-backs, no safety-lines. It is a bleak place made all the more bleak by my punishing myself.

But why am I questioning whether I am a good person? Or maybe rather I am questioning who I am? If my self-definition was based on Ruth being incontrovertibly being a part of my life - which now gone leaves my self-identity in tatters, then it would make sense that I have become so screwed up. In fact, for the first time, it is beginning to all make sense.

Ok. I'm happy I've finally, at long long last, explained why all this has been happening to me. I'm a little worried that I've said this before and yet I'm still where I am, so I'm not ruling out further debate or extension. The next question is where do I go from here?

Be happy!

Saturday 24th February 2001: 7.35pm. Time is beginning to speed up. That's a good thing. I can't avoid the conclusion that the only medicine which will cure me is time, and lots of it. All I need to do is make myself as comfortable as I can, and let the time pass.

Since I left home more than five years ago, I have felt a haste to always be moving on - keep on expanding, growing. Sometimes situations which deserved more contemplation time were overly hurried and pushed with deleterious results. I have always felt the clock ticking downwards, that each moment of my life needed to be spent productively in the pursuit of my aims. Otherwise, I could end up like all the other poor souls out there, locked out of opportunities by time, locked into situations they don't like.

My last entry regarding "Who am I?" elucidated an email from my friend Melanie, and I hope she doesn't mind me quoting from it because she sums it up nicely:

"The question is one that haunts us all-and i believe we can never truly know who we r. To cope is to keep busy. People work, get married, have kids, a mortgage-all normal aspects of life which keep us busy and stop us questioning who we are. To those of us that think, that analyse and question, are the ones that may perhaps always be lost and questioning our identity. Perhaps i am wrong."

I think most people never fully decide what they want, so they take the most convenient option presented to them at the time. A good proportion of the remainder set themselves difficult but attainable goals, work hard and achieve success. But they never stop to think why these goals are valid, or what really is success. In other words, they don't fully decide what they want either - they just handle it by keeping busy at something.

During my visits home to Ireland for Christmas, it struck me a few years out of secondary school how many of my class were lost. Most had opted for university, but a year or so in the lack of school rigour meant they fell way behind and subsequently dropped out. They then got dead-end jobs in fast-food restaurants or whatever. When you talked to them, there was a palpable sense of being lost and having no sense of future direction.

I further remember that noting this in this very diary, I remarked how lucky I was to know who I was and where I was going. That's ironic looking back on it now, because here I am devoid of direction. I was offered a job back in the UK, circa 32k/year but I knew even if I was unemployed I probably wouldn't take it. That would be a step backwards and I'm supposed to be stepping forwards. Most importantly, I don't know where forwards or backwards are anymore, so right here is the safest. At least I'm self-sufficient here and now.

I forgot to mention last entry that post-Kathryn, I came to define myself based on my activities. When they shut down the society, they ended a whole part of my self-definition with it. Immediately after, I saw Ruth for the second time and I know now that at that moment, she came to fill the void left by the death of my political activities. You can see in this diary that up until then, I didn't know what I was going to do after university. Ruth solved that problem too. And after I finished my project, I effectively had finished all serious university work - leaving solely Ruth to fill the void.

I can see the progression now. My self-identity after Kathryn was based on my activities and on the now much more slender hope of future romance. I have always defined my future with a woman in it and this future is made plausible by hope because I have no hard evidence to otherwise prove it. As I lost my activities one by one, I looked to Spain as a rebirth of a dying dream. But with the loss of Ruth, the last remaining personality type I have encountered with whom to have a definite possibility of compatibility, all definite hope is gone. Only blind hope remains. And much in the last few years has since removed its efficacy of in my youth.

Logically, the future is clear. My original philosophy is as good for the future as it has been until now - the pursuit of growth. Its emphasis needs to be changed however - because originally it was primarily with a view to finding that magic relationship with self-improvement and the rest coming secondary. Seeing as how that has led me into this trouble, I need to accept its unlikelihood and make self-improvement the primary. If I do hope I am wrong, then I would be restoring blind faith once more. Knowing my embedded loneliness and hence need for companionship, this seems likely as the only possible future course - ignore experience and logic, and just blindly hope. Not ideal, but I'll be in the same sinking boat as all the other blindly hoping fools out there. At least I won't be alone in falling down.

Be happy wherever you are!

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