Iv’e been a ‘part’ of the Blender community a long time, so I consider certain people that may frequent these forums friends. However, it is not only for their benefit that I am writing this, but also for any person I may have come into contact with, here or on the chat channel who I have alienated.
3 years ago I was a very different person, I was a positive thinker and very disciplined and hard working, many times to the detriment of other aspects of my life. I also like to think that I was an even tempered and kind person. Then, what I felt was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me in my whole life actually happened. My whole world crumbled around me, and in order to make sense of the pain I was in because of this and other bad experiences I came to the conclusion that life, was inherently evil and negative. However it was important in my dysfunctional state of mind that I should prove this supposition. My new world view needed validation (there are several reasons for this that I won’t go into.) So I set about proving that the very act of living was totally worthless, and in doing so I used people, friends, family, even people in #blenderchat!
This is how it would work; I would put myself in situations where I could engage in psuedo-philosophical debates about the evils of life. I like to think of myself as a logical and skilled debator, and more often than not I made short work of my opposition. I imagine that for the people I was arguing with that they thought they were in the position of talking someone down from a ledge, when in fact I was subconciously manipulating them to give me a reason to jump. This sorte of interaction was also going on inside my head, I examined every aspect of life and found a way to make it seem negative, bad, evil, whatever you want to call it. I would then ingrain these falsehoods in my thought and behavior patterns.
However, at some point I internally came to the conclusion that thist world view, or mental construct that I was building was unsustainable because observations of other peoples lives clearly didnt bear it out. Thats when I turned all the resentment I held for the world inward on myself. I continued to engage people in the manipulative dialogs, but the focus was surely different, it was about proving myself to be a failure as a human being. I came up with some pretty twisted arguments at this stage… and most of them worked I think. I also started to push away people that cared about me, distancing myself from them. In some ways I suppose I wanted them to view me as worthless so I could justify my own opinion of myself. I think perhaps on another level I was preparing for my death. The thought of suicide no longer horrified me, it was to me an inevitable fact of my life.
I suppose at this point I should mention that I have a history of mental illness and it runs in my family along with alcoholism. I first manifested mental and emotional health issues at an early age, and at 11 I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I can assure this is not something that a physchatrist conjured up and labeled me with, I suffer from the real deal. The problem was that as I grew older I began to think of that as a childhood problem, and something that I had left behind, even when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was in big time denial and thats very dangerous. Perhaps if I was more honest with myself about ALL the mental health issues I suffer from it would not have gotten as bad as I did in the last year especially. I can assure you, In the llast 6 months I started to lose my grip on reality. We all do crazy things sometimes, but when you start doing them all the time and they seem perfectly rational to you, its time to get help. It was understandably very worrying to my family and my physchiatrist.
The long and short of it is, I didn’t shut the door on that iron maiden I had constructed in my mind with myself inside. I wouldn’t be here today typing this if I had, I would be very, very dead. I did end up in a mental hospital however. It was so damn hard. I stared at a blank wall for 1.5 days hardly talking to anyone. I thought ‘What can they do? I have perfectly valid reasons for feeling the way I do. I’m not crazy.’ The problem was that on a certain level I knew all along that my constructed world view was a straw man. It was in effect, a twisted set of ‘coping mechanisms’ since I had lost almost all my real coping mechanisms 3 years previous (thats a whole other subject though.) It wasn’t until a social worker who really really understood me pointed this out that I admitted that I really knew what I was doing to myself all along. I learned a lot while I was in there… A lot, including what I needed to know to get on with my life.
So now I’m on a new set of medications and things are, well normal. I was very very worried that I would feel ‘doped up’ and ‘zombified’, I was having trouble coping with how my thoughts were being affected. After talking to some people I came to realize that what I was feeling was normal and I wasnt used to that. All the noise in my head quieted down, or ‘the flooding’ stopped as they say. It was also found out that I have hypothyroidism, which makes you exhausted all the time and can amplify the conditions of someone suffering from mental illness. This runs in my family, should have gotten it checked out before. Thankfully medication can correct it.
I feel like that not only have the last 3 years, but maybe even the last 6 years of my life have been a hazey dream that I am just waking up from. I can now clearly see behavior patterns and things I did that were were well and truly signs of mental illness. It was hard but I accept that now, and thats the first step to managing it. My life has been given back to me,I really don’t remember feeling like this ever in my life.
So why am I telling this to a bunch of strangers on the internet?
First of all, because I feel like I should explain to certain people why I have treated them the way I did. I think I will always be the type of person that teases someone to get a rise out of them, but many times I have just been plain mean and disturbed the peace in #blenderchat simply for entertainment. I also would also drag the whole channel into these dysfunctional talks about life, the unverse, and everything in order to fufill my twisted agenda of proving that life ‘No Good TM’. During these conversations I could get really nasty. For all of this I apologize. I am not trotting out the whole mental illness story to excuse my behavior, we are all responsible for our actions. I merely offer it as an explanation.
Secondly I want to say ‘Thank You’ to every last person I did drag into those conversations for giving a damn about someone half a world away that you only knew about by what they typed. Some individuals spent hours trying to ‘talk me down’ and even though I didn’t listen to them one bit at the time, I will now always remember that they took the time, and that makes me feel good about my fellow man. Thanks for caring.