On Using Drugs

Recently I met yet another person who told me they have never drank alcohol or tried any drugs. It is always so fascinating to me when I am reminded that these people exist. There is just some part of me that cannot understand them. I simply can’t imagine how someone can go their entire life without even trying any of these mind-altering substances. Especially the legal ones. I, myself, can think of at least two very compelling reasons to do so.

The first reason that always comes to mind is plain curiosity. I don’t know how anyone could be told that there was a drink or a plant or a powder that can make you think and feel totally different and not be intrigued. I have always considered myself a very curious person and look for that same curious nature in others. I am especially curious when it comes to the mind. Anything that can completely alter the mind is just too interesting to avoid. I’ve tried basically every drug besides heroin, cocaine, crack, and meth. I’d probably be willing to try cocaine, I’ve just never had the opportunity. Besides from what I’ve heard, it’s not that great anyway. The only reason I wouldn’t try meth, crack, or heroin is because I’d be too afraid to become addicted. On my deathbed, I may give them a go just to see what it’s like. At that point, why not?

Knowing that many of these substances are illegal could be an understandable deterrent for some people. But alcohol, and even marijuana in some places, are legal. How could you not be curious enough to try them at least once? They are obviously very popular habits for a lot of people. Wouldn’t you want to know why that is? There are few experiences in life that are so distinct and unique. How could you not want to know what other states your mind is capable of experiencing?

If sheer curiosity isn’t enough to get you interested, I can think of another reason: suffering. I always knew I would try drugs even when I was fairly young, just so I could know what they were like. However, I didn’t actually venture down that road until I was in high school. A time rife with turmoil, when emotions are running high, high school seems to be the time when a lot of people begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol. While for the most part, drugs have been a fun, social experience, there have been times when I’ve used them as a crutch.

I’d imagine there are times in everyone’s life when they feel so terribly that they would do anything to feel better, or even to feel nothing at all. If I hadn’t already tried drugs at these points in my life, I certainly would have then. When someone tells me that they have never even had a drink, it makes me question if they have ever truly suffered. Maybe this is an awful thing to say, but it’s what I wonder about. There are certainly people I’ve met in my life that seem to have somehow escaped any encounters with that deep sadness that so many of us know well. Nothing seems to touch them. They have never been broken. In some ways I envy these people. Yet, in other ways, I almost pity them. Although it’s been painful to feel things as deeply as I have in the past, to suffer within the prison of my own mind, it has made me a fuller person. It has given me a bitter-sweet depth to life that I would not have found otherwise.

So I may be a jerk, totally misjudging people and creating false perceptions, but these are the things I can’t help but ponder when I meet someone who has managed to stay inside the bubble of sobriety all of their life. Naturally it makes me reflect on the reasons that hasn’t been the case for me. I am too curious. I have also at times been too desperate to try to relieve my suffering at any cost. Therefore, I end up questioning if these other people somehow lack those qualities/experiences. Or perhaps I am just lacking something. Maybe they simply have a stronger will, better coping mechanisms, a strong social supports. I’ll probably never know. Regardless of the reasons behind it, I do know that I will never be able to feel fully understood by these types of people. Whatever it may be, we have a fundamental difference that divides our worlds.

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Searching for Happiness

Three days into my new, more normal meal plan and I have already started to have doubts. Thoughts of reverting back to my old ways. My brain keeps replaying the shocked comments I received from everyone over the summer when they noticed how much weight I had lost. I am afraid of what they think now that I’ve definitely gained most of it back already. (I refuse to weigh myself anymore for my own mental health, so I can’t be sure.) I don’t know why I care what anyone else thinks though.

At the time it seems impossible to forget, but I have to keep reminding myself now that I wasn’t happy then. Those comments meant nothing to me. I was a little hurt by them to be honest. No one seems excited or happy for me. They looked at me with concern. And I was embarrassed to be looked at at all. I didn’t know what to say, and I was surprised. I still didn’t think I looked much smaller. I certainly didn’t think I looked better. And most importantly I wasn’t happy. Not at all.

My brain has always told me that if I can make myself perfect and beautiful, that I will be happy. I thought foolishly that maybe once I showed myself that didn’t work, I would stop insisting upon that notion. Yet it persists. Maybe my mind just needs something to latch onto. After all, I don’t know what would truly make me happy.

I have felt numb for such a long time now. I don’t mean depressed or anything necessarily negative. Just numb. Nothing. Lack of feeling. I have many small pleasures and moments of joy here and there, but nothing has the ability to deeply move me anymore. It seems like I feel more alive in my dreams now. And part of me is happy with things staying this way. I may not feel much passion or excitement, but nothing hurts me either. And I am so afraid to hurt. I guess I’ll just keep drifting for awhile.

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Transitions

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The last day of 2020 has already arrived. I kept telling myself I’d have time to make more detailed plans for the new year, but it looks like I’ve completely run out. I didn’t even have time to set up my new bullet journal yet. I guess I can try to do what I can with the time I have left before I go to my friend’s house for her new year’s party tonight.

It feels like I always get so excited at the vague idea of change, of transitional periods in my life, but then when the time comes, I’m so scared. I haven’t felt much like writing for the last week or so. I don’t feel very inspired about anything. I haven’t been brave enough to take the time to sit down with myself and figure out how I’m feeling. I just feel numb instead.

I want today to be a celebration though. I can worry about change and planning and details tomorrow. Tonight is for me and my friends. I want to celebrate how much I have grown this year. I may have struggled a lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any positives. One way I am going to show myself that progress tonight is by not getting ridiculously drunk and by keeping my hands to myself. Then at the very least I can wake up tomorrow with some semblance of dignity and have it together enough to get things done later.

No more running. I’ve reached the end of the pier. It’s time for me to turn around and face myself. I know I can do this. I don’t need to be afraid. Planning for my future isn’t an ultimatum. I’m not writing up strict laws for myself to follow. There are no self-punishments if I fail. Instead I am drawing a map of self-love. Exploring the virgin territory of my heart and mind. It’s okay to take some wrong turns. I’m still just getting a sense of my surroundings. Learning about the ecosystem of my soul. Trial and error. Learning how to love myself again. There is nothing to fear. I am going to be here supporting myself no matter what I find.

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Strange Times

This year feels like it hasn’t even happened. One day bled into the next until we found ourselves in September. Yet thinking back, New Years Eve seems so far away. And it’s as if my mind has discarded any memories of what happened in between then and now. I’ve just spent this year waiting. Waiting to feel like myself again. But I don’t really remember what that even feels like anymore.

When this pandemic first started, I was just happy to have a few months at home. But it seems like I’ve spiraled into a dangerous place since then. I kept telling myself that once things went back to normal, I would too. Now I wonder if things will ever be normal again.

It seems like a lot of people are struggling with their mental health right now. It’s easy to blame it on the pandemic and for some people I’m sure that is the main factor. For me however, I’m not sure. Am I just using that as an excuse? Nothing has really changed that much for me besides wearing a mask when I go out and not seeing my grandmother as frequently.

I’ve gone back to work and go about my business as usual for the most part. In rural Ohio, it seems like the majority of people don’t believe in this virus. That is a bizarre thing to witness in itself. Knowing so many people around you are completely immune to logic and simple facts. It is frightening when I really think about it.

Maybe more than anything directly changing in my life, this pandemic has changed the way I think and see the world. While once I was so passionate about veganism and politics, now I’ve resigned myself to looking away. I can’t bear to face the reality of where the world is right now. It is simply too painful and terrifying. It’s so much easier to numb myself to it.

I used to feel that even though it may be painful, it was my duty to change things. Now I hold no delusions about being able to change a damn thing. Therefore I can find no reason to keep watching everything unfold. It makes me feel helpless, angry, sad, desperate. I’ve chosen to turn that off and feel nothing instead.

I had a foggy memory of a dream from last night as I wrote that last part. There were two girls. One was explaining to the other how to just turn a switch on the heart so you don’t feel anything anymore. The girl seemed glad at the idea, but with an empty smile, the other girl warned her that it does get harder to turn it back on every time. Aren’t dreams fascinating? We can learn a lot about ourselves from our dreams. And reaffirm the things we already knew deep down.

I’m sorry this post has mostly been rambling. But part of me feels like that is an accurate reflection of what this year has felt like. Wandering aimlessly within our own heads, disconnected from everything. If things don’t change once 2021 arrives, I am making a promise to myself here and now that I will finally start therapy. Feel free to hold me accountable for that promise. Here’s hoping things begin to look up for us all.