Sorry it’s been such a long time since I posted here; it’s very possible that I’m running out of things to say that aren’t just Facebook-esque status updates… but not just yet.
To summarise recent events, my contract at work has been extended another three months, and I’m just about breaking even each month in financial terms. Despite this, though, I’ve still felt troubled at times — I won’t say suicidal (I don’t want to go through that again!), but I’ve felt a lot less happy than I should, and I think it might go some way to explain why people with nice lives feel so bad. It’s not new science or anything, but if something I say helps someone out there, this blog entry will have justified its existence…
As you know, in January 2012 I had that horrified moment when I saw what a studio flat looks like, and the next day I felt nauseous and had to cry off work. My upset stomach stayed with me through the following ordeal, as my anxiety levels remained high, and only when I found a place to live (where I am still) was I able to begin my recovery. As I said before, it was a lot like the Ludovico treatment from A Clockwork Orange, as I ended up feeling helpless horror whenever I saw certain types of houses, especially in unfamiliar streets on cold winter nights, and that’s something that still haunted me in 2014.
However, I think the Ludovico treatment works the other way as well: if I get similar stomach feelings, e.g. from eating wrongly or catching the lurgy (which went around my new office once or twice), it can bring back the feelings of helplessness, even if my actual situation is perfectly fine! This is recognised by scientists and well-documented — the symptoms of anxiety can trick you into thinking you must be feeling anxious simply because you had these symptoms when you really were anxious due to real life problems, and you end up over-analysing your situation and brooding, just like you did when you had those problems.
If this isn’t a reason to ensure you have good digestive health, I don’t know what is! I’ve certainly been having (ahem) problems lately in that department, perhaps the tail end of the anxiety I had earlier in the year, or perhaps due to my desk being at the same level as my stomach (which would explain why I feel worse at work than at home). Thus, on my personal trainer’s advice, I’ve tried psyllium husks; this is a particularly unpleasant self-medication, involving powder that gels up in water being put in water and then drunk before it finishes gelling up.
It seems I got it wrong the first couple of days: I was taking it just before breakfast, when you’re actually supposed to take it a couple of hours after food (especially if you take vitamins, which I do with breakfast). Perhaps this is why I felt kind of miserable on Monday and Tuesday last week: my stomach doing strange things, and my weight not decreasing at all, leading to a constant pressure in my gut that brought back all the anxiety I’ve had in the past, and made me look at my life situation critically — still doing the same things, with no girlfriend (or harem), and not even earning as much as I was at Camden, so I can’t even go on holiday. Of course, when I found out at the end of work on Tuesday that they were keeping me on another three months, I felt remarkably better in psychological terms, and thus my stomach problems became just that: stomach problems!
There is a weird side effect of taking psyllium husks at night, though: since you need to drink so much water to wash them down and keep everything (ahem) moving, you end up needing to get up in the middle of the night, not for no.2, but for no.1 — a painful compulsion I’d not felt since coming back from America in 2013 and dozing until a visit by the landlady woke me up, and I had only a moment to speak to her before I had to rush to the john!
Mind you, on Monday just gone, I’d had psyllium husks the night before, as I’m supposed to, and I still felt a bit broody walking to work from the station; a mark of this can be divined by the fact that I somehow didn’t feel like rocking out when the classic Gwar track “Death Pod” came on (this was probably the first one I listened to on YouTube in 2013, after reading Beavis and Butt-head’s air guitar guide to it in This Book Sucks!). Such a tragic situation can, of course, not be tolerated — so here you go…
(And isn’t it nice that the YouTube poster’s screen name is a reference to Eminem, my other favourite artist?)