170712 Wednesday – Day 2

Another sum of what this blog is, and I reveal another part of my entertainment addiction or compulsion

Gah so many thoughts!

Still formulating how I want to present what this blog is about. Right now:

  • Entertainment Addiction and Recovery, which includes healing inner wounds, inner psychology, family history and development, and so on
  • Thoughts on what could help the world (in avoiding environmental / social / nuclear catastrophe (maybe it’s a little too late for that ūüė¶ ))
  • General thoughts

Feeling the need to clarify that this blog is not about drug addiction (although some would argue that the chemicals released by the brain when viewing video entertainment is a kind of addiction).

Also wondering about the criticism this blog may attract:

  • “Your pain/experience is less than a true drug addicts pain, so you don’t have much right writing about this.” Akin to a rich white kid complaining that he didn’t get the car he wanted from his parents.

Is that true? Should I not write about my experience because it may not be as bad as someone else’s?

And why am I worrying about potential criticism?

I am a people-pleaser, and I’ve struggled with that most of my life. I often believe I am the wrong one whenever a conflict arises (and if I do try to fight my point, I feel terribly guilty afterwards). I believe this people-pleasing, self-effacing tendency developed out my parents constantly making me feel selfish for having needs or expressing strong emotions, for my fear of abandonment, and for my desire to have a mentor/rescuer/parent-I-never-had. So when I make myself extremely agreeable, I cast the widest net for potential parents.

As I was at work this morning, I was feeling embarrassed by how much I’ve already shared in this blog, and that’s another criticism I’m wondering about:

“Wow, this guy is embarrassing himself. This is way too melodramatic. This is over-sharing. He just wants attention.” (Which then I take “his pain isn’t¬†actually something important to talk about).

Again, I feel ashamed about talking about myself, my feelings, my experience. My experience doesn’t feel valid. And this gets into part of the reason as to why I’ve decided to start a blog:

MY FEELINGS ARE REAL

MY FEELINGS ARE VALID

MY EXPERIENCE IS VALID

THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME HAPPENED TO ME

THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED TO ME

NO ONE DESERVES THIS PAIN

I struggle with a deep sense that my existence is not valid or important. It’s why I’ve struggled with feelings of suicide in the past. I have felt deeply¬†unseen by many, if not most, of the adults that were supposed to aid in my development. I’ve felt used, manipulated, overlooked, glossed over, avoided, abandoned, forgotten.

And now I’m filled with anger and rage at all those who I feel hurt me. The people who were supposed to protect me. The shitty jobs they did. The thousands of hours and days, the years that have been wasted. Where I could be. The shitty place I am now.

Ok. Ok, ok. This is not going to be a blog that’s solely focused about bashing and venting, and never about solutions, and moving to a state where I am trying to take responsibility for my actions.

BUT

Again, for me, my particular experience was that showing anger and frustration is BAD. You’re SELFISH if you make ME feel bad.

But no I don’t want to be selfish! I’m good…right? I think?¬†So felt/thought the child.

I¬†think a deep part of healing is going toward the pain. Part of healing IS venting. If we stay there, that’s a problem. But to gloss over it just makes it fester. We HAVE to vent. Venting is tricky because…sometimes when I keep nudging myself to vent, to be more and more honest about EVERYTHING I am feeling, I can go to dark and disturbing places. But the further I go, I always come to a place where I don’t actually wish for all the things that repressed self expressed. That self wants justice, clarity, accountability. But overall, my highest self wants healing for everyone, and for everything. And if there’s anything that is more apparent in this world, violence breeds violence. Hate breeds hate.

But there is – and MUST be – a place (a safe place) for venting, expressing, and showing the deep pain we have been bottling up all these years. (I have to be careful about using ‘we’ ‘us’ and ‘our’ language because then it begins to sound preachy. I will go back to speaking from my experience.

When I express this anger, this pain, there is another part, perhaps a part of the pain, that says, “Yes! AH, I FINALLY feel like I’m able to be SEEN. To be expressed! To feel VALID.”

See, I think what’s happening is this constant denial inside as a way to cope. I was shut down so many times that I began to deny that my pain existed. But the problem with that is it’s crazy-making. There’s a deep clash inside where the pain is obviously there, but there’s another part that is keeping it all locked up – that desperate, fearful, survive, abandonment-by-others-equals-death part feels that my own anger and pain is a threat. And rather than acknowledging it’s real, it’s easier and takes less energy – in that moment – to deny it’s existence. But that part that feels that certain way that elicits anger, rage, resentment only feels more of it. It feels bewildered. It feels crazy. And underneath all of this is a deep sadness and confusion.

So many layers.

So much I want to write about.

And, I think I’ve decided to just take the plunge and be honest about something else. (Squirm away – gah no don’t embarrass yourself further! What if this destroys my credibility or respect in the future??) Eh. We’re probably all fucked anyway. And I’m eventually going to die and I won’t give a shit about my reputation. If some alien race, or future iteration of humanity reboots the internet and finds this and giggles away to their friends, so be it!

Pornography!

I have also been addicted to pornography.

“Stop using the word ‘addicted’!” I hear someone saying. “If you’re not being being debilitated by it, then it’s not an addiction”.

Well…what do you call something you feel unable to control yourself against? That you use day after day? That occasionally interrupts sleep, definitely destroyed a part of my social life, etc, etc?

I am not a sex or sexuality basher. I am sex positive. Sex is great. Artistic representations of sex and the body is fine and welcomed.

But, I think there’s a problem when I’m unable to control my impulses.

So, this blog will also be documenting my attempt to come out of an addiction – a compulsion? – for pornography.

SO EMBARRASSING.

What if people find out about this and…and…this gets all over the news? Then, anytime I show my face, people will be like:

“Oh…oh HE’s the PORN guy.” Chuckle chuckle chuckle. What a fucking jerk-off. What a sad, pathetic loser. Haha. Let’s all laugh at the guy who’s looked at pornography.

A part of me is pleading, “Please, I beg of you – don’t share this. Why?? Everyone does it. It’s ok. Do we REALLY need to talk about it?”

If I’m starting a blog about ENTERTAINMENT ADDICTION…and it’s about myself experience…and I DON’T talk about pornography (while specifically mentioning all the other stuff…then…?

Whelp. This is me going toward my pain. Of sitting with my pain. (But you’re creating even MORE pain for yourself!!) But here are some of why I think this is pretty essential:

a) It’s kind of exhilarating to admit this big squeamish embarrassing secret (You TOUCH yourself! AND NOW EVERYONE KNOWS OMGGGAHHHHHHHHH)

b) I am deep unhappy because I keep choosing to use my free time to drown out my inner anxiety with video games, TV, movies, YouTube, news scanning, web browsing, and pornography. I hate the self-hate. I hate feeling out of control. I hate the lack of respect I have for myself. I hate the lack of faith in myself. I hate feeling unsafe with myself. Hate feeling like I’m wasting my life. Hate feeling like I have nothing to offer the world. Hate feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing. (Stop using the word ‘hate’ so much!)

c) I choose these things because they drown out – temporarily – all the voices above. I have felt that I am unable to face and deal with those voices. That letting them speak would be a greater threat than masking them. But I am trying to tell my irrational self that in the long run, this survival-mechanism is cause me more more pain. It’s doing exactly the opposite of what I’m hoping it will do. And so

d) the way out is becoming comfortable with that pain, and¬†responding to it – i.e., saying to that self-hateful part, “Actually, I don’t hate¬†everything about my life. I don’t hate¬†everything¬†about me. There are some good things.”

So, this blog is one of the tools I am using to be with that pain. To parent-myself. To soothe it. To let it out. To let it speak its mind. But to remind it, the pain, that there’s also hope. That, along with it, there could also be some other things.

You’ll see that I will continually be trying to validate to myself the writing of this blog.

That’s all for now!

Oh yeah, and I also realized yesterday that this blog can’t just be: I write until I fuck up, and then abandon it. I write regardless. Healing includes some fuck-ups. Even though I just want to be perfect and have no ‘relapses’, no mistakes, no anything.

Day 1 recap

Fine. No real urges.

When I went to go running at the gym (which I rarely do), no one else was there, and I automatically turned on the TV and saw that ‘Beetlejuice’ was playing on one of the channels. I’ve never seen the movie, and since running on a treadmill can be pretty damn boring, I began arguing with myself why watching TV was ok while doing something like working out.

And maybe it is.

But I decided I just wanted distance from any kind of form of visual entertainment that wasn’t needed for some kind of educational purpose.

Normally I have a tough time getting to sleep early without the use of watching YouTube videos/playing games until I’m exhausted, but I employed a number of different tactics I’ve developed, and that actually worked out pretty well.

Didn’t get to bed quite when I wanted to, but that’s ok.

Day 1 – 170711 Tuesday

Kind of a continuation of my first post. How my addiction began. Life background.

I apologize in advance since I will be rambling. Not a lot of crispness. I figure I will begin my post at the beginning of the day, write in it it as I can, and publish at the end of the day.

What am I addicted to?

Entertainment!!

Well, the tip of the iceberg is entertainment, but what I’m actually addicted to, I think, is the feeling I get (or to avoid the feelings that watching prevents).

How my addiction began

So here we go for the deep dive. Eye rolls, emotion violin playing aplenty ahead.

I’ve been in a kind of psychological/emotional holding pattern beginning when I was 8ish with my parents’ separation (and later divorce). I’m pretty sure I’m just an 8 year-old in an adult body. Most of my life can be characterized with a simple 3 word phrase:

Avoid and Wait

As I wait, I avoid, and as I avoid, I wait.

Waiting for what?

For my father to come back and my family to be whole again.

That 8 year old is still in shock and denial about the collapse of the traditional family. And, because of the nature of the separation, and the total lack of professional help I was given, I began a holding pattern centering around entertainment addiction:

I will watch this movie, and when it’s over, my family will be whole again. If my family is not whole again by the end, I will watch another movie.

I will go to sleep, and when I wake up, the nightmare will be over, my family will be back.

When I get back from school my father will have returned, and everything will be normal.

I will play this video game and wait until my family becomes whole again.

This is how it played out in my mind.

So, instead of feeling at ease with life, feel good about myself, thinking about my future – as normal children and future adolescents do or begin doing, my mind was occupied by this kind of continuous, nebulous, fuzzy, never-ending panic. What?? What is…why is dad…where… And with an emotionally turbulent household, my father dropping in at whim, then suddenly leaving, and repeating this several times, the only kind of stability and calm I felt was when I escaped into the world of entertainment. I became a disembodied observer. I became what I was observing, but knew it was all fundamentally unreal. In this world, time didn’t exist. I had no problems. I just observed that particular world I was in.

Of course, eventually the movie would stop, or it would be time for bed, or I’d get hungry, or something external would force me out of this world that was away from the deep and growing emotional pain and stress I was experiencing.

And because then we began a series of moves soon after (changing schools halfway through at one point), life just became this day by day, moment by moment experience. The future didn’t exist. My safe haven was entertainment. Was to become a disembodied observer with no panicked, stressed body. With no existential worries or fears. I lived vicariously through all the worlds I was watching. Sometimes I had a family. Sometimes I didn’t.

So as I waited for the chaos on the outside to settle down, I buried into movies, video games, TV, and so forth. When it was time to move again, then I’d deal with that, but I would always look forward to going back to that surreal world.

But time continued. Life continued. School continued. School ended. A personal marriage. A personal divorce. And now I’m a 30-something year old still feeling like my life hasn’t really began.

I strongly believe there’s a deep, undeveloped part of me that is still desperately hoping my father will return, my family will be whole again, and we will just pick up where we left off, hopefully with some family vacations, meals, game-nights, and so forth.

I have moved from job to job to job. Social circle to social circle. Repeating the cycle. Doing menial jobs and tasks while avoiding bigger life responsibilities, all the while hoping for a rescuer, for an external influence to come along and solve everything.

I struggle with impulse control. I have been unable to control my impulses to watch or do certain things, and, because of the resulting consequences, and the lack of achievement, this has left me experiencing shame, guilt, regret, frustration, and anxiety on a daily basis. Deeper still is a fundamental sorrow. I always feeling like crying. Or crawling into a hole, going to sleep, and never waking up again. Whenever I think about real-life responsibilities, I feel like I am suddenly coated in molasses. Difficulty concentrating. Irregular sleep, eating, and exercise (little, to no exercise).

Always waiting for me are the voices of shame, despair, and regret, ready to greet me whenever the overload of stimulation dips in intensity.

Why did I share my life story with you?

While it may not be necessary to understand how an addiction began in order to recover from it, for me, it’s helpful. Much of my life has been this dull, numbing, confusing white static – remnants from the ‘big bang’ of the long, drawn-out separation. So when I experience clarity over confusion, especially about origins of things, I think there’s a kind of catharsis.

But the retelling also helps to be able to identify triggers, and patterns.

And most importantly, I think, the more I am able to sit with my pain, and not be overcome by it (overcome meaning I turn to Netflix, YouTube, or all other manner of things to avoid it). Going over my origins helps me sit with my pain.

I am not addicted to tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or the like. I am not an expert on anything. I only know what has worked in the past for me, and I am hoping that beginning to blog, along with laying down some money, will be one of the major pushes for recovery and transformation.

Tasks, Schedule, Timeline

I think a major part in all this, in addition to welcoming and sitting with my pain, which I will get into more later, is sticking to some schedule, and knowing when I will begin AND END tasks.

Already, I didn’t really set a timer for this writing session, so I am repeating behaviors of going-until-I-drop, or going until an external stimulus pulls me out of it. So, let’s begin now. (As you’ll soon see, I have become obsessed with time-stamping everything as a way of seeing the flow of time).

It’s now 7:07pm. I want to be IN BED by 8:30. I want to go on a run. So…kind of need to leave now to go on the run. Yeah.

This is all pretty fluid and experimental.

And I really, really want this to work. 7:10pm.

170711 Tuesday – First Post

Gah.

I still have a bad connotation when I hear “blog”.

Not sure why.

Probably because I was raised to think any kind of focus on oneself was selfish and bad.

But I’ve wanted to make some major changes with my life, I enjoy introspection and writing, and a kind of daily looking-forward-to-this activity has been helpful to me in the past.

Up ahead: this picture was included in the ‘first post’ template. I want to think it’s stupid and way too obvious for a metaphor…but I kind of like it. Guilty, embarrassed face. So, I’m keeping it.

post

What this blog will be about:

A daily-ish recounting of:

  • my journey out of entertainment addiction and into self-control
  • the experience of getting back into daily exercise
  • inner psychological experience and history in relation to the above
  • thoughts about the world and life (eye roll)

I am not entirely happy with my life. I do have a lot to be grateful for (the fact I have the means to sit down and write a freaking blog shows this), but I am not happy, I think I could be happier, and I think I know how to get there (or at least, begin that journey).

So come along for the ride!

So I want to be happy.

Do you? Don’t we all? What does that even mean? How does it look like for people?

But the world is (feels?) pretty shit right now. Or…there’s this kind of impending doom. The climate is heating up faster than expected. Everyone hates each other. Nuclear apocalypse could happen at any moment. The rich get richer. Yada yada yada.

Sure, there’s a lot of good going on…but for me, the long-term trajectory, at least from an ecological and economic standpoint, seems pretty scary.

Gah so many thoughts.

Where to start?

So…I want to be happy, but my happiness is hindered by my anxiety about the world situation. So…part of my life (part of this blog) will¬†also be about how I am trying to ‘get involved’, and what ‘getting involved’ means to me. Because, even though I’m just a spec, and probably won’t cause any change (and everything is hopeless, blah blah blah), I feel like, for my own self, I’ll be able to rest easier feeling like I have a small understanding of the world situation (instead of being continuously shocked every time I come out of my hole of entertainment addiction, look at the national, state, and local news, feel immense guilt I haven’t been doing anything about it, or feel a kind of despair that things will never change).

SO.

To get to happiness, I have to -> START A BLOG -> stop my addiction, and that -> gives me more time while feeling more self-control and better about myself -> enables me to get more involved -> the world is (or isn’t) saved as a result.

Cha-ching. Yay!

The daily action of writing, of anticipating who might be reading, of anticipating how this transformation will look, of keeping myself accountable because I just spent $35.88 and don’t want that to go to waste – yes, that is why I’m starting a blog.

Will a blog help, hinder, or no-effect an addiction? If I ever stop writing, you’ll have your answer.

I don’t want to stop, though. I really, really would like to change my whole sense of myself. And that’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take…

One moment by moment.

Ha. ha. ha. (“Roll credits!” as the YouTube channel CinemaSins would say).

So that’s it. That’s why I’m here. I can see the change. You can see the change.

We all probably die via ecological/society meltdown anyway.

But the hope (gotta have hope!) is inner and outer success.

The hope is I change. And personal change¬†will happen if I touch on certain things (at least that’s my belief, my hope). I try to be a realist, but I can’t seem to get rid of certain elements of romantic, utopian vision and hope for myself and the world.

At the heart of this (‘this’ being the key to success), I think, is… hmmm…

  • the successful creation of new habitual actions that circumvent and/or positively respond to triggers / trigger behavior
  • the ability to stay present with painful emotions and physiological symptoms as a result of the processing of those emotions (and withdrawal symptoms)

So, this is my first post to get my bearings for this blog. The next will be Day 1.

So it is.