by Mattias Våglin
“Feel the tension of rejection
Bleach it out with therapy
The confusion exseclusion
Turns into my deformity
Never trust it, maladjusted
I’ve become my own worst enemy
The aggravation in my fixation
Keeps it all controlled inside of me”
Spineshank – Self-Destructive Pattern
One of the reasons I haven’t been writing as regularly as I thought I would is that I kinda felt I lost my way with Random Thoughts. I got too ambitious I guess. I do that. I felt that when I was on a real website instead of my own I had to hold myself up to some sort of quality control. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in the process I lost the personal feeling the column used to have. This used to be my voice, talking about things important to me. I tried (and in part my education is to blame for this) to be more professional, write more thought out articles and keep a better structure. Those are all good things, but it’s never been what this column was about. I used to write weekly and while a lot of what I wrote was crap, it was all personal in a way (although sometimes less obvious than others). It’s not that I haven’t cared about the things I’ve written about on this site (although it’s not been that much) it’s just that the stuff tends to come out as a little bland, like articles you could find anywhere. In newspapers or magazines even. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s good to be able to write in that way as well, but like I said, that’s not what I want for Random Thoughts. Sometimes you just got to say “Fuck it!” and get back to your roots. This is me doing just that. This is going to be very personal. You have been warned.
I have this thing. For some reason, I tend to work against every good thing that ever happens to me. I catch break after break after break, and every time I do my best to get myself back in the shit.
“Hi, my name is Mattias and I’m an alcoholic.”
Kinda. Only I’m not (an alcoholic). But I might just as well be, I definitely act like I am. At least I’m just as self-destructive. What’s worse is that it has nothing to do with any addiction. I don’t have any physical addictions and while I would describe myself as a behavioral addict (which means I get addicted to activities rather than substances), that has nothing to do with what’s what.
So what the hell is wrong with me then? Here’s how it usually goes:
I make a commitment to someone. Be it a friend, school, work (actually not work so much oddly enough), a club etc. Usually something I have no problems doing. Then when I I should start working on whatever I find some excuse to wait. I push things in front of me until I realize it’s getting too late to get things done. Then gradually I shut down. Instead of just taking the bull by the horns and letting people know I’m falling behind (like a sensible person would), I gradually shut down. For a few days I keep thinking I’ll complete the task at hand and just turn it in late with an apology. And I mean it, it just doesn’t turn out that way most of the time. I see the things I need to do, I know I should do them and I usually do have the time to. But I just can’t bring myself to actually do them. So instead I start ignoring the source of the problem. I stop answering my phone, don’t turn on any messengers, stop reading e-mail (not only not answer, but stop reading them altogether so I don’t have to deal at all).
And this is of course only the start of a downward spiral. If I fall behind on one thing it’s easy to fall behind on another because I want to catch up on things before starting something new. Which usually means I’m ignoring another person. And then another. And so on. When things are at the bottom, any human contact at all is painful. Eventually I gather enough energy and motivation to start dealing with things. That’s usually when the anxiety hits. Anxiety of the kind that almost makes your chest hurt (and will probably lead to an ulcer eventually). That, of course, prevents me from dealing with things as well. Any excuse not to do things is a good one, right?
And the worst part is that I’m getting so good at covering my tracks that people who should recognize this pattern are kept in the dark. I answer the important phone calls, talk to the right people. Everything I need to do I do, but no more. I do this because I’m ashamed and want to protect the people I love from the disappointment. Which ironically (or maybe not so much ironically as it is sad) prevents those people from helping me and instead once things have gone too far, the disappointment will be inevitable. I’m a rational person and I know all this, but acting rationally is a lot harder than it seems.
I hate myself when I get like this. I suck as a friend, as a class mate, as a son. As a person. It’s come to the point where I realize I need help. Of the professional kind. But once again, knowing that and acting upon it are two totally different things.
One thing needs to be made clear here. This is not a cry for help. That’s the tricky part with a condition such as this. At my current state the only person who can help me is myself. I know it sounds weird, but trust me when I tell you that is how it needs to be. If anyone else starts pushing I will only shut them out completely. I know it’s frustrating to hear for some people but it’s true. In fact, writing this is a way of self-help. Just like when you’re an addict, admittance is the first step. I need to break out of the pattern on my own, but afterwards I do need help from friends and loved ones (and probably a psychologist) to avoid falling back into it.
This text is a catharsis of sorts. A way for me to put words to my own problems. And to explain to some why I’ve been hard to get in touch with recently. And in ways an apology to those who deserve it. It’s also a way to put pressure on myself. It’s really all about breaking patterns. This is the first step. More will come.
Note – This Random Thoughts column was originally published on the old Winterwind Productions site in October, 2005, prior to our switch to WordPress in 2020.