Going Quietly Into The Good Night
There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams.
Things I Lost
Things I Gained
At the beginning of the year I had decided I was going to do more personal blogging and really express my thoughts and feelings better. I wrote my first blog post here on THC called Ms Hudson Says Its A New Day and it was the first piece of personal writing I had done in a while. In it I talked about a few key issues including my agoraphobia and how I wanted to really work to overcome more of my anxiety in 2011. More and more terrible things continued to happen this year, crushing that hope, and as you can see from my lists, a great deal of negativity has succeeded in overwhelming me. I have tried to push through it all to the best of my ability but by March I really had to admit that I finally had come to the end of my strength and needed to start making some hard choices about facing reality. It is not that I have ever been someone to have a lot of illusions about reality but more that I have been a person of hope and faith about how things could potentially be. Now that I think about that though, it more or less is the same as having illusions about reality, or more accurately, just being plain delusional. These delusions, and this is the case for most delusional people, allowed me to continue to be positive - happy even - despite many crippling problems and anxiety in my life. I've decided now to live a life without delusion ... a life without illusion.
Unlike Kay Balbi, I don't recall when it was or what I was doing when I first saw Anne Of Green Gables on CPTV. But much like Kay, I was inspired and moved by the experience. I was so thankful that CPTV had introduced me to something I'd never been exposed to before and something that really changed me. Megan Follows still haunts my dreams with her amazing portrayal of Anne through her life and I can cite that film as a lot of my inspiration for how I saw life afterwards. I loved Anne's imagination and her appreciation for classic literature. It was because of Anne that I became interested in Tennyson and where I first heard the poem "The Lady Of Shallot" which I later memorized in it's entirety. I vowed at that time I would eventually travel to Cavendish - a place so beautiful and unlike anything I'd ever seen outside of the sets in Brigadoon - and recite the poem on some lush riverside. (I have yet to fulfill that dream though I can still recite the poem in my head.) One of my most favorite exchanges from the film is the following:
Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.
Anne Shirley: Don't you ever imagine things differently from what they are?
Marilla Cuthbert: No.
Anne Shirley: Oh Marilla, how much you miss.
Indeed, Anne. For so many years, I dare say almost the rest of my life, I looked at things very much the same way. I dedicated myself to really helping people to live outside of these boxes that they trapped themselves in. I wanted to teach people to not become filled with illusions about life, but more to appreciate life in new ways and see things in ways that could inspire them, drive them positively forward, and give them new perspectives. As a personal coach I gave my days, my minutes, my hours, years of my life, to the needs of others. I tried to open people's eyes to how the world COULD be, how people SHOULD be, how DIFFERENT things could be if there was more passion, more honesty, more positivity, more trust, more support in people's lives. I lectured, I wrote, I preached for decades on communication, passion, selfness, community, and realism. I tried to instill these ideas - my beliefs, my passions - into others. I found new resolve throughout every year in my life to try to make a difference in the world, to be a new force out there in the universe, to really focus on being a guide, a teacher, a student. As I learned, I taught. As I came to understand, I shared with others.
But I was wrong. I can admit that now. I was wrong about 99.9% of everything I believed about the world, about people, about what's right, what's good, what's true. The 1% I was right about? That there is not enough light in all the world to save us from the darkness in people's hearts. That is something I was 100% right about. There is no light, no hope, no truth. People drown in self hatred, they swallow pills that flatline their emotions and cut them off from passion, they define what is normal by the level of emptiness in their own souls. Apathy has taken over the world and what space is left is filled with such complete selfishness that barely a whisper of kindness can be uttered without suspicion. King Théoden once asked, in painful desperation, "What can men do against such reckless hate?". Nothing. There are no reserves, Gandalf isn't coming, and Frodo committed suicide alone in the darkness while the Gollums of the world picked over his bones for all that meant something to him before returning to their schizophrenic lives.
The word agoraphobia comes from the two Greek words for "place of open assembly" (agora) and "fear" (phobia). Agoraphobia use to simply be about fear of open spaces or places of gathering and morphed into a social phobia/anxiety disorder of open spaces, crowds, and "uncontrolled social situations" - a phrase I most prefer. It is said that agoraphobia strikes the most social of people and that was indeed my case. I have thought over the years that there must have been a reason why the Universe struck me down in the prime of my life. I use to wonder why I developed this mental malfunction when I was so young, so friendly, so sociable, so active and had no traumas to speak of. There is a reason for everything. That is destiny. That is fate. That is reality. I was crippled for a very specific reason - to protect me from the decaying world and from other people's darkness. I fought it for a long time. I pushed. I even took medication for a short time. I kept striving to get outside, to greet the world, to embrace people, to be social. I pushed myself past my limits, suffered anxiety attacks, and all the while - in the back of my mind - there was this little voice that kept saying, "Why? Why are you fighting this so much? What is the point?" By the time I was nearly paralyzed by agoraphobia I had already met my chosen family, my tribemates, and I was already well into several successful online businesses but still I pushed my brain onward. That was the biggest mistake of my life next to thinking I was right about anything I believed to be true.
Agoraphobia, a still ultimately misunderstood anxiety disorder, has only recently become an almost crippling response to my view of the world around me. Anxiety, contrary to popular belief, is not always primarily about fear.
For me agoraphobia is not primarily about a fear of the spaces where people gather but more about the lack of control of people in said environment. It is less about morbid ("suggesting an unhealthy mental state or attitude") fear and more about a need and right to control my environment and the people within it. Being trapped in a space with evil people, with negative people, with hateful people, with mentally unstable people is the main driving factor behind my anxiety. Anxiety then becomes about self protection, about self preservation, and not primarily about fear but control. I am well aware of what people are capable of, of what people are about, and of what people are like. To me, that understanding - is not fear, it's wisdom. (Though sometimes fear in the face of evil is indeed the correct response) To me that is not irrationality, it's clarity. Wanting to avoid places where people gather to smoke, for example, is not primarily about fear of lung cancer from secondhand smoke. It's about selfNESS. It is about making smart decisions about your own health, it's about having the common sense not to spend time with people who are self destructive and chronic, and it's about having the right to choose the kind of air you want to breathe.
There was a second back there — yeah, there was a second, just a second — when I could have gotten through to you, when maybe we could have cut through all this, this CRAP! But it's past, and I'm not gonna try.
I have been very foolish and wasted many years on foolish pursuits. I have been wrong, very wrong, about a great many things - nearly everything - and for that I am sorry. Plumb tells me to hang on but I have no more reason to and I no longer have the strength to. Let the water rise, let the bombs drop, let the zombies out there continue to overwhelm the living, I care no longer. In accepting my agoraphobia, I am choosing the kind of environment I want to live in. To me agoraphobia is like a nuclear fallout bunker and while war rages all around me and people destroy each other, I am safe inside with my provisions, free of taint; of the virus masquerading as mankind. Inside this iron shelter built of equal parts heartbreak, resolution, and misanthropy, is all I need to live my life out for as long as I choose to - a bother to no one - a useless but loving whisper lost in the deafening roar of apocalyptic apathy.
In here, Mr. Garibaldi, you cannot hide from yourself. Everything out there has only one purpose ... to distract us from what is truly important.
Though now officially reclusive, I still hope to have a presence in the outside world through my writing, video blogging, and other types of creative contributions. As always, thanks to my tribemates here in CT and the other branches of SSZ all over the world, my blood family, and all the fans of Heavy Cream and A Drama Otaku for your continued support and encouragement.