24 April, 2015

Better Days?

"Everybody points their hand at me; I know I'm just a picture of what I should have been."
- Fleetwood Mac, Jumping At Shadows

When I started this blog about seven years ago, I named it A NEET Life, because its purpose was to document my melancholic existence as a failure of a human being; in other words, a post-graduate hikikomori. I changed the title of the blog five years ago at what did indeed turn out to be a turning point in my life. I found a new friend online who has become something of a life partner to me; she helped me start therapy for my anxiety; and I eventually moved out of my dad's house to live with her in the next state over. Which is what I'm still doing. I believed I was on a Bridge To Better Days, but looking back, I think that my outlook was (not unexpectedly) overly optimistic.

I can't honestly say that my life isn't good right now, but I don't feel as though I've progressed at all in terms of my anxiety. I've gotten more comfortable with some things - like responding to messages from anonymous strangers on the internet - but am no closer to being comfortable doing other things, like applying for a job (and that's kind of an important one). I've always gone through stages of being more and less withdrawn, and it's never been an issue of proving to myself that I can do things if I force myself. I know I can. The problem is that they're so uncomfortable, that it's not worth the effort, and I'd rather just avoid them and hide. And that hasn't changed.

So I think that I could honestly say that these are nominally better days (not that those past days were that much worse), but on the other hand, it would still be accurate to say that I am living a NEET life. (I stopped posting about it here regularly mainly because, with somebody in person to share my experiences with, I felt less of that desperate need to share them on the internet). I've gained lots of experience and confidence in the things I've been doing with my free time - I haven't really advanced much as a musician in the last few years, but I'm much more accomplished as a photographer and a model now - and I've found some things in life that I enjoy - like my annual summer visits to a nudist camp.

I like my life better now, if just because it feels more like my own, and I live with somebody who accepts me entirely for the way I am, and it makes me more comfortable in my own skin, and gives me an opportunity to pursue and indulge my interests (like presenting as a female). At the same time, I'm still largely a shut-in, and I still have my anxiety to deal with, and occasional bouts of depression. It's hard living with the fact that your life hasn't amounted to much, especially when you had such promise as a child. I was real smart, got good grades; I was going somewhere. And now it seems I've accomplished nothing that my parents could be proud of.

And it's largely due to a mental illness or personality disorder that, thirty years into my life, I still have no idea how to fix. Maybe it just can't be fixed. I've tried things. I'll admit I haven't been super proactive in that respect, but that's kind of part of the problem - I'm scared to try things. If I had the sort of personality where I could go and try some intensive therapy program, then it would probably be even easier for me to go to a job interview, in which case I might very well not even need the therapy program. I don't feel like anyone I've encountered in the mental health industry has had a proper respect for my condition, and I don't see how that puts them in a position to help me. As a result, I feel very isolated and discouraged.

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