I am constantly trying to figure myself out. Trying to figure out patterns. To notice what triggers the worst depressive outbreaks.
I have a lot going on in my warped little mind. All connected, all linked, in insidious little ways to create a cycle of failure I can’t seem to break.
When I talk about failure, I don’t mean failure to be a Real Woman(TM). I’ve freed myself from the burden of beauty culture, even if it means other people treat me like nothing.
I talk about my failure to accomplish anything meaningful to me. The failure to write. The failure to lose weight, to stop smoking, to have a clean and uncluttered home. I’m going to trace this out.
This is the first attempt to draft out exactly how all of my bullshit flows and comes together. I might make a nifty diagram, eventually. For now I’ll dabble with an equation of fail. We have exacerbating factors and their causes/explanations up first. Exacerbating factors are the unseen mental factors that drive the cycle of fail.
- Self-esteem and self-image.
- Cause/Explanation: Mine was largely destroyed as a child by a stupid and hateful woman, tied to a standard I could never reach since I was never gender conforming and because I was not graced with a slight and attractive build. I was never good enough, I was never pretty enough, I was never like the other girls enough. Just never enough to be loved. Therein, the seeds of self loathing, chronic depression, self-destruction, and self-isolation.
- Add in a whopping dose of poverty.
- Cause/Explanation: There is nothing like the constant grating fear of being homeless or not being able pay bills to make you anxious and prone to hitting cheap, comforting junk food. The seeds of anxiety and borderline hoarding start there.
- Next up, lack of a sense of identity.
- Cause/Explanation: I never felt any strong inclination to mold myself in any particular way. I’ve always just gone my own way, to my benefit or detriment. I am the ultimate social chameleon. Whatever you need me to be, so that you’ll be nice or kind to me, I’ll be it for as long as you’re around. I can chalk that up partially to my stepmother as well.
- Lastly, let’s add in a dollop of genetic predisposition to mental illness, and we got ourselves a crazy pie. This one is really a wildcard, that can exponentially amplify the results of the other.
So we’ve got our exacerbating factors. Factors that make the problems worse.
Let’s get our first draft of the equation going.
(Self-esteem + Poverty + Identity Issues) ^ Genetic Crazy =
lack of motivation,
loss of creativity,
overwhelming need for approval,
inability to connect to others
So I’ve got this massive set of observable and semi-observable behaviors now. I’m thinking this can and should be broken down quite a lot further, with some individual equations. Yes, I really think I can break down the Cycle of Fail into an equation. I am nuts, you know.
Let’s talk about the first result in the set. Hoarding. I have yet to refine the equation some more, but hoarding is a result and also ANOTHER FACTOR in the cycle of fail. When I have some more time, I will figure out how to represent this in . For now, I’ll talk about it.
My house and my borderline hoarding. There are no “paths” in my house, no stuff piled to the ceilings, but I have a LOT of stuff sitting on shelves that hasn’t been used in a decade, gathering dust, producing anxiety and a constant feeling of failure and waste for me. A lot of these items are the result of impulsive behavior.
I accumulated most of the stuff from craigslist’s free section, from clearance sales, from thrift stores, from wherever because I felt if I didn’t buy them or get them then, I wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. Most of this stuff sits around my house gathering dust.
The other half is the result of spur-of-the-moment half-baked attempts at starting new hobbies or projects, which, of course, fail to get off the ground at all. BUT I can’t get rid of these things. Because I paid money for them, and getting rid of them means I’ll give up on this activity I was getting around to starting. Giving up means failure, and I must avoid failure at all costs since most of my life has been failure.
So, I have a constant miasma of guilt and feelings that I need to be doing something with this stuff that has a six inch layer of dust on it, from the very second I enter my house. So shame and guilt produces the notion that I can’t do anything else but clean and throw out or donate stuff I haven’t used. That is an obstacle to doing anything meaningful, and part of the Cycle of Fail.
The constant feeling of needing to be doing something, cleaning, organizing, throwing stuff out when combined with the feelings of waste and failure AND the exacerbating factors (depression) leads to total paralysis. I sit idle, watching TV, surfing the internet, sleeping, or video gaming. I can’t write, draw, clean myself, do something good or meaningful, because this other stuff isn’t done.