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Working The Borderline



"Working The Borderline" refers to something I want to do in music, by working the space between artist and audience. It also refers to my attempts to deal with a borderline personality disorder.



Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 10:04:50 +0000

 



Resolving The Resolvable

Sun, 30 Dec 2007 23:36:00 +0000

My New Year resolutions always take the form of fears that need to be overcome. This year it's simple 1) overcome my fear of people, 2) overcome my intense claustrophobia, and 3) overcome myself to make music.

It seems that to do all of the above, I first need to redeem myself in the eyes of humanity, as in the eyes of many, solitude and misanthropy is practically a crime. To do this I need to be chastened and humble, which isn't something that comes naturally to me, but isn't something that's beyond me either. What I do struggle with is maintaining it over an extended period of time, and this is crucial in being accepted by "adult" humanity" that works on the basis of conditionals. If anything goes wrong and you revert to "the bad old ways", you're out. That's the rules of the game as I understand them, and there has to come a point at which I cease to question that and kid myself that I can do better. I don't like conditionals, but they're not going to go away. I know I can do it, but can I make it stick?

Happy New Year to one and all.



Wearing The Genes

Wed, 26 Dec 2007 18:50:00 +0000

One of the things I think many of us struggle with, but not many of us will accept, is the notion of weak-mindedness. That we, as people with mental health disorders, are quite simply inferior to those of sound mind, and especially those of sound body and mind. Not many of us will admit to this suspicion, myself included. For one thing, it flies in the face of what many of us are taught in therapy, and also such an admission isn't particularly good for self-esteem. But what exactly is weak-mindedness, and must it necessarily be a bad thing?

When I think of weak-mindedness, I think of my dad. My dad was an alcoholic, but the weakness in his case wasn't the alcoholism itself. It was the fact that he never attempted to fight it, surrendering the initiative and all possibility of redemption. My dad knew that he had made the wrong choices in life, and I think he figured that a little weakness and indulgence at the end wasn't going to make too much of a difference. It cost us a dad, but then he'd never really been a proper dad. So in reality it didn't cost us very much at all.

Then there are the "weakness" traits from my mum's side of the family, which have more to do with obsession, greed and lust. Too much that was repressed; too many atomic bombs waiting to go off. Last night I was talking to my brother for the first time in a long time, and I saw a side to him that I hadn't seen before, and that I really hoped wasn't there. It was the side of me that I wish wasn't there, and I honestly hoped that my prolonged exile from the family would have meant they weren't "contaminated" like I was. But what can you do when the genes get involved? Surrender free will completely?

If I'm honest, I quite like my weak-mindedness. I find that the "softness" enhances mental flexibility and dexterity, and that this in turn enhances creativity. But the real world does not concur, and the real world is right. Strong-mindedness isn't an achievement; it's a basic prerequisite to partake of the real world. When I find myself in "real" situations with "real" people, I become daunted and panic for an escape. I try to act humble, but the faux-humility is merely masking the weakness. I get scared, profoundly so. And when I get scared I get weak, and when I'm weak then I get sick. So I stay home. For now.



Fearing The Worst

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 01:33:00 +0000

Jeez, I really should update this blog more. I get so pissed off with it, and pissed off about how I come across. But I am well aware that there are people with similar disorders who are reading this, and there is kind of an obligation, once you've started a blog like this, to follow it through. Hope everybody's well.Regrettably my fears are plaguing me badly at the moment. The mental tricks and techniques I use to keep them at a distance don't work anymore, so my fears are right on top of me. I'm not getting out much, because I have to walk everywhere as the public transport claustrophobia is too bad right now. I'm reluctant to walk as it's making me feel so heavy and fatigued, so I'm staying indoors, smoking too much and putting on weight. The housing situation is not good either. I'm trapped where I am, next door to an ex-soldier with a grudge and a mouth as big as his ego. I'm desperate to get out, but I have nowhere to go. No friends or favors to call upon.The one bright spot is that I've managed to get regular counselling sessions at a time that suits. I'm nervous as hell when I walk in, as my mind is doing cartwheels just being around people. I'm tense, head down, sat up straight, no eye contact...but generally once I've found a groove I can keep talking, even if a little haphazardly. The nerves are terrible right now, but maybe there are ways of casting it out with nervous energy. Trouble is, I think I've tried them all and I'm right back where I started. And I don't want to sound like a miracle curist. I've encountered a few of them online recently, and it makes me despair of how I may come across.Finally, I've just discovered the genre of post-rock and I wanted to share it with you. Don't know how this music passed me by for so long. Anyway, this is the first thing I've ever embedded so I hope it works!table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d td {margin:0 !important;padding:0 !important;border:0 !important;}table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d tr.lfmHead a:hover {background:url(http://cdn.last.fm/widgets/images/en/header/radio/regular_red.png) no-repeat 0 0 !important;}table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d tr.lfmEmbed object {float:left;}table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d tr.lfmFoot td.lfmConfig a:hover {background:url(http://cdn.last.fm/widgets/images/en/footer/red_np.png) no-repeat 0px 0 !important;;}table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d tr.lfmFoot td.lfmView a:hover {background:url(http://cdn.last.fm/widgets/images/en/footer/red_np.png) no-repeat -85px 0 !important;}table.lfmWidget8276b2228dc1b2ad2f406b7f2905ef8d tr.lfmFoot td.lfmPopup a:hover {background:url(http://cdn.last.fm/widgets/images/en/footer/red_np.png) no-repeat -159px 0 !important;} Stay safe everybody :-)[...]



Facing The Front

Thu, 18 Oct 2007 02:45:00 +0000

Right then, time I faced this blog again. I've probably lost the handful of readers that I had, apologies that I've not been keeping up.

The hospital thing didn't happen. The only hospital within walking distance couldn't help me, and the only hospital that could help me would have meant getting on public transport which at the moment I can't do. I guess I'm relieved that I didn't get taken in, as I'm sure it would have been a bad experience and I probably would have been put on antipsychotics, which I'm determined to avoid as I figure there's no way back from there. And in any case, I've started having psychotherapy at a local mental health charity, which I figure will help me far more. I've been offered the tantalizing promise of being better able to integrate the internal world with the external world, although how this might work in reality I have absolutely no idea. But it's worth a shot because I have never felt as bad as I've been for the past 2 months or so, and I am determined to get out of the hole that I'm in.

One of the reasons I've not been able to face this blog recently is that I've been making endless resolutions about how to create a new and better me, get my head in the right place and keep it there. "Working the borderline" didn't quite fit these resolutions, so I figured that a "new and improved" me might necessitate a new and improved blog. But, alas, "working the borderline" is me. This is my stop; it's where I get off. "Working the borderline" is what I do, and is what I will continue to do. Even if it's not a valid thing to do, or even a thing that is done at all. It's what I want to do in music, and what I know I will do in life. It's what brings me to life, and that is good enough for me. So the blog stays, and I'll stay with it.

Nice to be back.



Checking In

Sun, 29 Jul 2007 17:24:00 +0000

Tomorrow I'm going to check myself into hospital. I need to, my chemical balance is all wrong and I'm a nervous wreck right now. I can't move confidently around my mind any more, I'm having to settle in one key and accept the restrictions and consequences imposed. I'm trying so hard to surrender and feel instead of think, but it's proving so hard. I don't want to become over-reliant on medication, but I have to do something because I just can't cope with it any more. I can't see beyond myself, and I hate that because I want to engage and contribute towards reality. But the fear is so bad that it's stopping me dead in my tracks.

Now normally I would continue the post by analyzing why I feel this way, but I simply haven't got the energy or the inclination to do that now. So I'm checking into hospital tomorrow, because after 5 years of social isolation I deserve a bit of rest and recuperation. I'll address the medication thing later, I just need to feel better first.



On Self-Consciousness

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 17:02:00 +0000

I went to see my doctor this evening as I have some referral forms I need her to sign. But the self-consciousness and anxiety are so bad, I had to turn back and head for home. There was a big queue and no place to sit, but that's an excuse and I know it. I left because I was too self-conscious, pulling in on myself and tensing myself up rigid. The doctor's surgery is a completely safe place to be, and my doctor is a completely safe person and a thorough professional. But still I felt unsafe, largely because I was aware of the fact that I felt unsafe. Why can't these double negatives cancel each other out, the way double negatives are supposed to?

In an earlier post I wrote about how it's the anxiety that's crippling me, since it's the anxiety that's stopping me from doing things I used to do with ease. But it's the self-consciousness that's driving the anxiety, so ultimately the self-consciousness is to blame. Yes I'm on my own for long periods of time, but so are many spiritual practitioners and they don't suffer from acute self-consciousness. Why am I so self-conscious?

I have 2 theories as to why this may be the case. (I'm aware that having 2 theories may be a part of the problem, but I'll proceed anyway). The first is to do with trying to develop my mind as an instrument, not to make music itself but to enable others to make music relative to my "position". It may well be that in doing this, I have inadvertently divided my mind into the bits that are the "player", and the bits that are "played". In other words, maybe it takes a heightened level of self-consciousness in order to make it work. Now I would argue against this, because when I'm in that zone I experience a sense of "oneness" that I do not feel anywhere or anytime else. But maybe that's the problem: maybe that sense of oneness is costing me any semblance of oneness elsewhere. Also there's the not inconsiderable fact that the rest of the world doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about when I say that I want to play my mind as an instrument. So when I step into the real world I'm effectively stepping into enemy territory, even though I do my best to convince myself that this is not the case.

The second theory is to do with infinity, or a sense and aspiration towards the infinite. My mind is inspired by the infinite and the universal, and wants to achieve things by tapping into that sense. Which is fine as far as it goes, but at the same time I'm perfectly well aware that infinity and reality are not always compatible, and that a "universal" approach to life isn't always the best thing when it comes to dealing with specifics and mudanities. In short, universalism is about potential and realism is about productivity. So what may be happening is that in "real" situations, particularly in confined spaces controlled by other people, the "real" part of me is manifesting itself as a hyper-selfconsciousness, in order to quell and eliminate the "universal" part of me which does not want to accept the limitations of the situation that I find myself in. Universalism and potentialism have always been my mind's defense against the world, and without them I get scared.

Now these are obviously weighty issues to address, and I'm still not convinced that potentialism and reality are fundamentally opposed to one another. But what matters now is that I find something to eliminate, or at the very least reduce, the chronic self-consciousness and anxiety I feel in public situations. I'm sure there are new techniques I could learn, but I'm tired of learning new techniques. I just want some peace!



Surrendering The Initiative

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 21:49:00 +0000

Hmmm, well...bit of a backward step compared with the previous 2 posts. I've still been adopting the surrender mentality, but it didn't work so well today. I walked into town as I couldn't face the bus, and once there I felt so lost and confused. Surrender is all very well and has many virtues, but it does leave one feeling ever so vulnerable and exposed. ANYONE could have picked me off today, and I would have lain down meekly and accepted it.

I believe I'm "surrendering" for the right reasons. "Surrender" to reality, surrender to feelings and think less. But the trouble is that when I reject my thoughts, they get all nasty and seek to punish me. I try to concentrate on something external, but they pull me back in towards them and pile the pressure on until I surrender, not to reality but to them. So reality wants me to surrender to it, and my thoughts want me to surrender to them. I want to surrender to become a better person, but the net result is that no actual surrendering is ever done, because the different modes of surrender contradict each other.

And it is against this backdrop that I'm seriously considering surrendering my liberty. It's not a conscious thing, just a gradual acceptance that I'm sliding towards residential care without really putting up much of a fight. Because that's what we surrender monkeys do: we don't fight. We kid ourselves it's for the right reasons, and cite notions such as "humility" and "humanity". But surrender is still surrender, and like the French we'll probably feel ashamed about it later.

So tomorrow when I go out, I'm going out in potentialista mode. I figure that if I'm going out, I might as well go out in style. Last time I did that I got seriously scared, and it triggered my current crisis with public transport. But if I'm prepared to surrender my liberty then what the fuck have I got to lose? The things that I valued have already gone.

Right, I'm signing off. Have a good night and enjoy this Wiki definition of a potentialist.


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Witholding The Tears

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 11:04:00 +0000

Had a good talk with an advisor yesterday, who I initially went to see for advice on my housing and financial situation. The anxiety attacks got cripplingly bad, so much so that there were several occasions where I had to stop speaking, as the anxiety had taken over my mind and compelled me to focus on that instead. The woman advisor did a good job of reassuring me though. There were several times when I nearly walked out, but we ended up having a good chat for at least a couple of hours.

Well, I say "chat"...she did most of the talking, and all I could do was murmur acknowledgement every now and then. I'm not well and she could see that I'm not well, so I felt under no pressure to hold anything back or not let on about how bad I really feel. Although I did manage to hold the tears back...we talked mainly about my family and I kept feeling on the verge of crying, as it became apparent to me just how much I miss my family. But crying isn't going to help improve the situation. It might offer a short-term relief, but that is not enough. If I got into the crying mentality then I'd cry all the time, and it wouldn't change a damn thing.

It's good to talk though.


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Repeating The Mantra

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 05:29:00 +0000

Now I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating so I'll write it again. It follows on from the previous post about anxiety, but is more geared towards those of us with actual personality disorders whose disorder and fragmentation becomes heightened and exaggerated in states of anxiety. Anyway, hope I'm not repeating myself too much.My biggest source of anxiety is confined spaces; more specifically, confined spaces inhabited (and in some cases controlled) by other people. My abject fear and world-weariness means that I now suffer anxiety in pretty much any environment, but confined spaces are still pretty much the number one cause of alarm. I have a number of different ways of dealing with that anxiety, most of which work to a certain degree. But it is that process which exacerbates the problem. Because I have no definitive method of coping which works every time, what happens is that my brain becomes scrambled and I find myself jumping around between different mental states, trying desperately to settle in one until another scary thought pops up and forces me to switch again. Which, in a contained environment populated by other people, isn't exactly the most sensible thing to be doing.Method Number One is the most reliable and the one that works the most often. The mantra for this method is simply "stop thinking". So I do. I simply imagine my thoughts as intertwined with the nervousness, and simply let go of it. I can literally feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders, and after a while it does tend to calm me down. I still have thoughts, but the thoughts seem to be at a much safer distance. "Well if this method works so well", I hear you say "then why don't you stick with it every time?" Because it doesn't seem like a long-term solution, that's why. Simply choosing to keep scary thoughts at a safe distance doesn't deal with the underlying causes of why I'm getting those thoughts in the first place. The problems come when I mentally "switch off", and a method such as this relies on never switching off. That said, since this method is able to pacify me on a train for 2 hours then it certainly has its merits.Method Number Two tells me to stop thinking too, but in a different way. Rather than "letting go" of my fear and self-consciousness, I surrender to it and attempt to feel it rather than think it. I try to imagine a negative trade-off between feelings and thoughts...ie, the more I feel the less I think. This is the state of mind that I adopt for the visual meditations that I've started doing, because I feel compelled towards this state of mind by the images that I'm seeing. What I do with this method is to imagine that the nervousness represents bodily restraint and restriction, and assume that the fear I feel is in reality a fear of being contained within a body. So in this sense, the physical fear sensations can be seen as a kind of gravitational pull that is quite literally grounding me and holding me in place. The "fear" comes from thinking thoughts that attempt to transcend the limits of bodily restraint. Now when done correctly, this method can be very successful. It really relaxes me and enables me to sleep more deeply than I otherwise would. But the drawback is that it makes me feel very vulnerable and fragile, and as such is probably not the most suitable for crowded public places or transport. It does work, but it only works if I get myself in the correct place, and in public I find that very hard.And so we come to Method Number Three. Method Number Three relies on good old-fashioned gumption, hard work and the art of Being A Man. The mantra here is simply "hold your nerve". Don't let go of it, don't surrender to it, just hold it and hold on tight. This method makes me feel stronger and more resilient than the other two, but I can always feel the fear bubbling under the surfac[...]



Fearing The Worst

Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:39:00 +0000

It's the anxiety that's crippling me. The depression I can live with, the fragmented mind I can live with, the solitude I can find ways of living with. But not the anxiety. I'm hardly getting things done these days because the anxiety puts me off doing them. I'm FINALLY going to shave my head tonight after weeks of putting it off. I hate doing it, but guess why I don't go to the hairdressers? Because of the anxiety attacks.

Why am I so anxious? I can't figure out a definitive reason, but I guess it's a number of things combined. My dad had problems with his nerves that ultimately drove him to drink, so maybe there's something hereditary there. Also I've been taking anti-epilepsy medication for 17 years, since I was 14. This medication helps me focus and concentrate, but it also makes me feel very intense so that too may be a contributing factor. There are bad experiences in my past that have probably contributed too, but if I dwell too long on them I'll only get more anxious. And as a child I used to tense myself up rigid to try and deal with bad experiences, and I think that probably has long-term repercussions for the nervous system. I seem to recall this occurring to me as a child, but since I was a child I paid little attention to it.

However, no one factor seems to explain why I'm living in a constant state of shock. I've written at length about the problems I'm having here where I live, but the reason I'm having these problems is because I'm sending out fear signals. I've got more phobias than a smart-ass quiz player, and it's getting ridiculous. I know that the right kinds of behavioral therapy helps to "un-learn" learned anxieties, but I know all this already and it doesn't stop me from being anxious. I am more than capable of un-learning something and shutting it out of my mind, but this has little (if any) consequence on the physical sensation of nervousness.

I also know that the real winners and achievers in life have the ability to confront their worst fears and ultimately defeat them. But how do you do this when the anxiety is overwhelming? Last time I tried doing this I got physically sick and had to go home! And I'm really not sure that a confrontational attitude is appropriate for where I'm at in my life right now. The other tenants in the house can sense that I'm nervous, and it's making them nervous. Getting all confrontational would not appease the situation. It may be myself that I'm confronting, but certain people here are not insightful enough to figure that out.

So I'm back at the question I began with: Why am I so anxious and what can I do about it? If anyone knows any good anxiety resources on the net, please let me know.


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Catching The Drift

Tue, 26 Jun 2007 13:19:00 +0000

So today I'm on one of those "right, I'm gonna get over myself and STAY over myself" missions. Been here so many times before, but somehow I never seem to make it stick. A lack of discipline? A lack of self-control? There's possibly an element of that, but I think the main reason is that whenever I try to impose restrictions on my mind, I tend to feel worse than when I don't. But since no restrictions is weakening me just as much these days, then it can't really hurt to impose a little discipline. Can it?

Whenever I adopt this type of mental state, a strange thing happens to my writing. I want to write more; however I feel compelled to write less. I want to write more because "get over yourself" seems to be a message worth sharing, especially with those who may be going through similar issues (although you do have to be careful as you run the risk of patronizing people). I think the keyword here is "share"...this frame of mind has messages that are genuinely worth sharing, even if it's just copying and pasting tried and tested words of wisdom. With other frames of mind the urge to write may be stronger; however this may be negated by the fact that what you're saying really only applies to yourself, and the vindication of your own compulsions. And where it gets tricky is that more often than not, the latter is of a higher standard than the former. I'm really big on originality, and if the only messages worth sharing are the ones that have been said a million times before, I honestly find it difficult to say them. If we use torrents as an analogy here, I'm the sort of person who would rather create and share my own torrents, rather than share those that are readily available elsewhere on the network.

What I'm getting at is that with this "get over yourself" frame of mind, writing feels like a part of myself that I need to "get over". The words come easier but the urge isn't there. And in the case of lyrics, the edge isn't there. I have a lyrics blog, but the stuff I've written on there so far is just schoolboy standard. I am aware that compulsion and necessity are things worth getting over, but it's hard to train yourself to be more measured and more middle-aged.


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Befriending The Unbefriendable

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 23:58:00 +0000

Hmmm, not been "working the borderline" much of late, as I've had my mind on other things. But there comes a time where we must forget all of the distractions and concentrate on what's really important.

I have a problem: I need to find somewhere new to live; however I'm currently unable to do it on my own as I'm too nervous in front of strangers. What "friends" I had have drifted away over the years, due largely to the fact that I never really connected with any of them. So basically I've got no-one to help me out, and I need someone to help me out. With all other options exhausted, I've been left with no choice but to swallow my pride and apply for a befriending scheme. Don't know if you have befriending schemes in the US but I assume you know what they are, as the concepts of "befriender" and "befriendee" are pretty self-explanatory. Befrienders are people that don't have to do this; befriendees are people that do. It's not exactly one in the eye for the class system, but the erstwhile class warrior in me will have to pipe down and listen to what my nerves are saying. Because my nerves are telling me that if I tried to do this alone, I'd fuck it up. I'd get scared in front of prospective landlords, and give them a reason not to take me as a tenant. So I need someone to hold my hand. Responsible, huh?

Thing is, I'll probably slip through the net the way I always have. I don't have a psychiatrist, social worker or community health worker. I haven't even got a proper diagnosis..."somewhere between aspergers and schizotypal and neurological and depressive" doesn't really count. It'll probably take months to get a befriender assigned to me, and I need to move like NOW! So I'm kinda working on the assumption that the whole thing's gonna fall through anyway, and I'll be left with no choice but to do it on my own. Happy days!

Actually, there's another reason I haven't blogged much recently. I have a handful of regular readers, and occasional traffic from blog directories, and I was getting the feeling that none of you have really warmed to me yet. Sometimes I just need to go away and question what I'm doing wrong, y'know? Not that it'll yield many answers!



Keeping The Cool

Sat, 09 Jun 2007 17:19:00 +0000

The housing situation seems to have eased off recently, so naturally I'm relieved about that. I'm still not 100% convinced about the electrics, but most of the other problems aren't as bad now as they were. Even the new tenants have settled down a bit, although saying that is probably the kiss of death! It's hot and humid here and that tends to bring out the worst in people, so I'm bracing myself for that. Mainly with alcohol!

Actually I need to keep an eye on my drinking. I don't drink excessively, just steadily as I work through the night on computer. But I'm aware of the fact that I'm drinking for my nerves, and I seem all too ready to accept any excuse I can get to have a drink. Usually I drink to deal with tiredness, because my nerves leave me so fatigued these days that I get really scared when tiredness hits. I also become very "retentive" when my nerves are bad, so drinking helps me deal with that. It's not really a problem and I could stop anytime I wanted to, but all the same it's something I need to keep an eye on.

Right now the main thing to deal with is concentration, or lack of. I've installed new software in the past couple of days, but still can't make head nor tail of it because my concentration is so poor. I've started meditating to help me out with this. Not full-on meditation sessions (yet), as at the moment I have neither the time or the inclination to sit still and hum for an hour. No, I mean visual meditations available on youtube and the like. They're really good...they put you in touch with the rhythms of life, which I never really got from "proper" meditation. And I've always been really poor with visuals, so I'm hoping that visual meditation improves that too.

I suspect I wouldn't be having these problems if I wasn't quite so soft in the head! I've spent the past few years developing mental dexterity and flexibility, with the intention of converting that flexibility into a conceptual instrument. But what I didn't fully appreciate was the extent to which that flexibility is generated by "softness", and pre-requires a certain softness in order for it to work. "Hard-headedness", almost be definition, is less flexible in itself, but it could be argued that ultimately it is more flexible if it leaves one better equipped to deal with the daily rigors of life. And if mental "softness" undermines personal responsibility and the ability to keep one's nerve, then it is automatically wrong irrespective of whatever redeeming features it might possess.

Responsibility preaches the virtues of the singular mind. Meditation preaches the virtues of the still mind. I've been preaching the virtues of the moving mind. I'm beginning to accept that maybe I'm wrong. But if only it felt wrong, and if only it felt wrong for me, then I would accept my wrongness once and for all.



Working The Day Job

Sun, 03 Jun 2007 20:23:00 +0000

I've come to the decision that when I am ready to form a band, I will keep it amateur and work with people who have proper day jobs. At the moment I'm listening to a band called Arcana, which is apt because Arcana all have serious day jobs, such as university lecturer and head of marketing. They're professionals yes, but they're not music professionals. I'm sure that Arcana generates a decent income, but principally they're making their money elsewhere. I'm not naive enough to think that they're simply making music for love not money, but if there wasn't an element of that somewhere then they probably wouldn't find the time or the inclination to do it.This is important to me because I've come to the conclusion that my differences with "professional" musicians are irreconcilible. I watched a documentary at the weekend about the putting together of a Sgt Pepper tribute album, which involved contemporary bands each recording a version of a Sgt Pepper song. I was paying particularly close attention to how professional musicians and producers conduct themselves in the studio, as I don't have that much direct experience of recording studios (apart from a music course I did a few years ago). What I found was that the ways in which they communicated are radically different from how I want to communicate with musicians I am working with. There are no specific examples that I can give; just a general sense that the lines of communication are experience- and industry-specific. Producers in particular speak and make in-jokes in cynical and weather-beaten tones that simply have no place in what I want to do. As their job title specifies, producers have made a clear and decisive choice in favor of productivity over potential, and will defend that choice with everything they have.I know that this is the reality of the music industry, but it is a reality that I want to challenge and change. Because as far as I can see, there can be simply no excuse for the lack of an inspiration ethic. Industry-specific cynicism and frames of reference are no acceptable substitute, simply by virtue of the fact that they are divisive...ie, they draw up clear lines of distinction between those who are in the industry and those who are not. There's a similar thing in mental health: service providers vs service users, and in the adult industry too: smut peddlers vs wankers. There can be simply no excuse or justification for divisive forces at the expense of unifying forces. Professionalism may masquerade as an excuse, but it isn't. Yes there are industry-specific experiences that only the professionals have, but there are also universal experiences that we all have, and the latter are more important. And there are too many professionals who, upon becoming professionals, lose all respect for non-professionals who thus become "the market". So many musicians lose touch with the art and experience of listening, and that is unforgivable. Yes they'll listen to other people's music, but they'll listen almost exclusively as musicians and not as listeners.If I work with musicians, I don't want to exchange knowing looks or weather-beaten in-jokes with them. I want to make them feel like the most creative and inspired musicians in the world. If I use sign and gesture to help me accomplish this, I want to do so in such a way that really makes the musicians feel as though we're doing something special and unique. Even if my technique isn't very good, the intention and the passion will be there, and that is what should count above all else. I want the creation of music to be less like a studio experience, and more like a religious experience. The clue's in the "creation" bit.So I figure I'd be best off doing this with non-[...]



Asking The Earth

Mon, 28 May 2007 17:42:00 +0000

I'm gonna have to move out soon, as conditions here are getting worse. I currently have 3 leaks, including the boiler which nearly blew up last night as the pressure was too high. The hot water came out so hot that I think I would probably have suffered burns if I put my hand under it. In addition to this, the electrics are still not safe as the landlord didn't bother to call an electrician. It's going from bad to worse, and I now accept that I'll have to be re-housed. Due to my abiding weirdness I wouldn't last 5 minutes on a housing estate, so that isn't really an option. What I'd like to do is borrow enough money to put down a deposit and pay as many weeks rent in advance on a non-benefits place until the benefit money starts coming through (I'd pay the landlord out of my own pocket, and cover my own costs with the benefits). But I can't borrow from the social until September at the earliest, and borrowing from anywhere else would saddle me with debt I couldn't afford.So it looks as though I'm gonna have to face the only realistic option that I have...to accept that I can't cope on my own, ask for help, and get taken in to residential accommodation for the mentally ill. I would imagine that places are at a premium, so even that wouldn't be straightforward. But the truth is that I can't cope on my own any more. I can't even travel because my head's all over the place, so what chance do I have with moving? And even if I were to find a nice place on my own, why would a landlord take me in if my mental state is all too obvious? At least in a residential place I'd be with "people like me", which is so badly lacking in my life right now. If the only people like me are mentally ill, then perhaps that's who I need to be with. And if the only way I'm going to move is to do it with help, then perhaps that's what I need to do. Because I'm not dying here, that's for sure. My life isn't worth much, but it's worth a damn sight more than my landlord's negligence.Bizarrely, while all this is going on, I'm going to be writing some erotica for an escort's website. I contacted her with the idea, as I wanted to do something a little bit different to conventional adult blogging, and she seemed enthusiastic enough. So then I sent her a sample of my prose based on a couple of images she sent me, and I didn't hear anything back. Now she clearly states on her website that she replies to emails promptly and daily, and so I assumed that the lack of a prompt reply meant that I wouldn't be getting a reply. I also assumed that this lack of reply was on the grounds of "taste" (ie, she's tasteful and I'm not!), so I sent her a somewhat drunken email defending myself against my own assumptions. (I'll take any opportunity I can get to attack the laws of taste). But as so often is the case, the assumptions were wrong. It wasn't just the assumptions themselves that were wrong, but the urge to make those assumptions was also wrong. When will I learn? Turns out she was just being professional and dealing with me the same way she deals with professionals who contact her on a daily basis. Which comes as something of a relief because I was worried she was comparing me with time-wasters who send her dirty emails. Professionalism isn't a concept I find easy to get my head around, so that's why I make these mistakes sometimes.I don't know. Erotic writing. Conducting. Mental illness. Homelessness. There's too many strands, aren't there? Too many strands pulling in too many different directions, with too many different states of mind required for each one. It undermines my credibility, and I'm sure you the reader are as aware of this as I the writer am. And of course it undermines my hea[...]



Stick Technique

Sun, 27 May 2007 05:37:00 +0000

Wow, really got into the conducting tonight. It's only basic patterns that I'm learning, but I started to feel it and that's the main thing. I'm not worried too much about the fineries of technique as I know that will never be my strong suit. Of course technique is important, but if I worry too much about the correctness of technique then I'll go exactly the same way that I did with instruments. And at the end of the day I'm not looking to conduct orchestras; I'm simply looking to develop an interpretive and expressive language that will enable me to channel ideas in my head without using instruments or any other physical entity. And what really got me passionate about it tonight was that as I was nailng the beats in front of the mirror, I felt the music in my head being "shaped" accordingly. And I'm like "Damn, this shit works!"

Found some interesting conducting stuff on YouTube too. There's this one guy who conducts a jam band, and alternates between conducting the band and conducting the audience. Which is great, and pretty similar to what I want to do. My idea was always theoretical though, with artist and audience more as abstract concepts. But it got me thinking though: could I do it live? I'd have to get really good at it first, which I reckon would take me about 5 years or so. (Great to have a 5-year project to work on. Should keep any suicidal thoughts at bay). But watching this guy do his thing, I started to think that maybe I could do it live. And I started to envisage it...the different positions I would adopt, the different perspectives I would filter through position, the different and creative things I would use as interchangeable "batons" (I'm thinking firesticks!). It's definitely a possibility.

What mattered tonight was that, for the first time in a long time, I felt confident. I even smiled at myself in the mirror as I was practising my stick technique. I don't think I've ever smiled at myself in the mirror before. Maybe it's because I've got something else to look at!



Untitled

Tue, 22 May 2007 20:46:00 +0000

Love yourself. Lose yourself. Find yourself. Control yourself. Let go of yourself. Hold on to yourself. Rise above yourself. Accept yourself. Adjust yourself. Feel yourself. Steel yourself. Look at yourself. Just listen to yourself. Save yourself. Release yourself. Hold on to yourself. Get away from yourself. Will you just LISTEN to yourself. Let go of yourself. Touch yourself. Feel yourself. Steel yourself. CONTROL yourself. Let go of yourself. Get away from yourself. BE yourself. By yourself. Live yourself. Leave yourself. Think of someone else. Think of yourself.

And they wonder why I'm confused...



Plugging The Leak

Fri, 18 May 2007 23:55:00 +0000

Woohoo, I did it...I plugged a leak! It was only a minor leak compared with last week's escapade, but it was a leak all the same. I stayed calm in a crisis, which was the key. There was a point at which I could have lost my head, but if I lost my head then I would have never figured out what to do. I tried to stay composed, and it was noticeable how useful thoughts popped into my head that would have otherwise been blocked out. The leak isn't exactly fixed, but it's contained...which means I don't have to stay up all night emptying buckets and wringing cloths. So although it's hardly a major triumph, I am quite pleased with my efforts.

(*goes to check leak to make sure he hasn't typed too soon*)

Nope, it's ok. It's re-inforced one thing though: I have to get out of here. The place is a death-trap...it's one disaster after another, and I'm convinced that something really bad is gonna happen if I stay. I've slackened off this past week...I decided about halfway through the week that I was just going to enjoy the week, and not worry about it too much. But that isn't really an option, and tonight has reminded me of that. There's so much to organize. I need to organize help, because right now I'm not strong enough to do it on my own. I've developed an insane fear of transportation, so I need to overcome that and fast. And most importantly, I need to find a way of paying my own rent, as I wouldn't last 5 minutes on a housing estate. (Don't know if you have housing estates in America, but they're basically where all the lowlife tenants are). I'm not well enough to get a proper job, but I need to find a way of generating a steady enough income to pay my own way. I'm doing all I can to generate an income through blogging, but I'm really not convinced that there's any money in blogging. I mean, does anyone actually click Google ads when there might be more informative stuff on the page you're currently viewing?

Anyway, enough worry for tonight. I contained a leak, which is more than I could do a couple hours ago.



Defragmenting The Mind

Thu, 17 May 2007 17:43:00 +0000

Had a good walk today, which I'm always pleased about. Struggled a bit at first, but eventually found a nice constant frame of mind that wasn't too stressful and, crucially, found the discipline to stick with it. I'm not getting out much these days because mentally it's so exhausting, so it always feels like a genuine achievement when I come back in one piece. I do wish I didn't have to be "on" all the time, continually checking my state of mind to ensure that I'm not getting distracted. And it's especially hard when I get tense and distressed, because "getting distracted" and thinking from somewhere else is always my automatic response to danger. But fortunately I managed to keep a lid on everything today, so that's always good.Yesterday I defragmented my hard drive as my computer's running slow. Didn't seem to make much difference though...pages are still loading slowly, and images are an absolute nightmare to load. I suspect that the problem might be the processor, which is a pain in the ass because I can't afford any computer repairs or upgrades til September at the earliest.Anyway, I'm interested in the process of defragmentation because I'm wondering if it can yield any clues about how to "defragment the mind". It all seems a little complicated, but the jist of it seems to be that the defragmentation process compresses files to clear up free disk space. This is from the Wikipedia entry:"A defragmentation program must move files around within the free space available to undo fragmentation. This is a memory intensive operation and cannot be performed on a file system with no free space. The reorganization involved in defragmentation does not change logical location of the files (defined as their location within the directory structure)."Interesting. It seems that the key here is organization. Now I do like to be organized within my daily life, and for the most part I think I am pretty organized. But at the same time the artist and erstwhile class warrior in me has an innate mistrust of those who preach the virtues of organization, as I've always harbored the suspicion that what they're really preaching is little more than middle-class values. Organization is for everyone, but the creed of organization is strictly for the middle classes, as they will always use that creed as a justification to whip the rest of us into line. But as I type this, I am well aware that it might be little more than childish paranoia. And I'm mainly going by how it is here in the UK, where the remnants of the class system are still very much in place. It may be completely different in America and the rest of the world. But if there's one thing that separates the middle and working classes in this country, then I think it's this creed of organization. The working classes are just as capable of organizing themselves in a practical sense. But the middle classes have been better educated in the importance of organization, and consequently they value it more.Anyway, my inner class warrior's distracting me. So is organization the key to defragmenting the mind? Well I would imagine it has a part to play...out of chaos comes order and all that. But the trouble with too much organization is that it creates too many things to worry about, and too many checklists to tick. One of the biggest problems that I have is that for every strategy, I have an opposite and equal counter-strategy. You know..."if this then do this, if that then do that". I just want to not have to think about this stuff![...]



Removing The Link

Tue, 15 May 2007 13:01:00 +0000

Yesterday I thought I was being sooo clever. And needless to say, I wasn't. I put up a link to a seriously high-quality mental health blog, with on-the-edge writing, sharp politicizing, and a wealth of resources for the reader. But I've had to take the link down again because the author in question has checked out this stinking heap of shit, and it's left me feeling so utterly ashamed of myself and my feeble little efforts.

I feel so sorry for her for having to suffer this and me. She was here for less than 5 seconds, but that's 5 seconds too many. If you had 5 seconds in the life of someone you admired and respected, what would you fill those 5 seconds with? I filled them with shit. This woman has been abused as a kid, and she has to suffer the ineptitude of some ginger-haired spazzy prick who doesn't how to live. IDIOT. (*smashes fist against head*)

How DARE I think I can punch above my weight like that! I've been blogging for 5 minutes and already I think I know it all. Well listen, sonny boy, you know FUCK ALL. These people have READ BOOKS. ARTICLES. JOURNALS. MANIFESTOS. OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOGS. And I think I can get by on a whim and a prayer!

These people have been abused and/or institutionalized, for fuck's sake. Now these are just about the worst possible life experiences that I can think of, but at least they are experiences and as such are worth a hell of a lot more than spazzy ineptitude. Because I don't have a life, I'm paying insufficient respect to the knowledge and experiences accumulated by others in their lives. Now this isn't deliberate, but it's there and I recognise that it's there. And if this woman or one of her quality-blogging, abuse-surviving readers has had to endure reading about my pathetic attempts to deal with a flood in the cellar, then I deserve to die. It is as simple and as straightforward as that. Child abuse = bad. Incompetence = fucking stupid. End of.

It's the same story with more commercially-oriented blogs I do elsewhere. Because I think like such a perennial outsider, I can never quite grasp the kind of "industry insiderism" that these blogs seem to thrive on. And consequently I don't make any money. Clever, huh?

Right, I'm going to crawl into a hole, take lots of books with me, and DO SOME FUCKING RESEARCH . I'll come back when I have something to say that's actually worth saying. And I'm sorry for having to take a link down that would be a great resource to my readers, but I'd just beat myself up everytime I see it there.



Living The Life

Sun, 13 May 2007 01:13:00 +0000

Now I have something of a confession to make, and it's a confession that may cost me some readers. My confession is simply that I don't know how to live. Really. Not at all. Now I have a disorder that undermines my perception of reality, which in turn undermines my capacity to live, but that's no excuse and I know it. I figure it may cost me some readers because so many blogs and bloggers are actively promoting the aesthetics and ethics of living well. In other words, somebody who doesn't know how to live is a threat and/or an irrelevance.

To give an example, I was thinking of starting an erotic blog, but I've since discovered that most erotic blogs are basically recipes for life. Food stuff, but about sex instead of food, or sex as food. They may on the surface be about sex, but what they're really promoting is a lifestyle and the vindication of that lifestyle. Lifestyler writes blog, other lifestylers read and comment on blog; lifestyle re-affirmed and vindicated. So that kinda scared me off a bit...because my sex stuff isn't food stuff, it's just sex stuff. It isn't meant to be tasteful, and it isn't meant to register a tick against my name.

So what do I mean when I say that I don't know how to live? Well it's quite simple really...I'm on my own for long periods of time, and I can't figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do. I always end up resorting to what I need...I need to eat, I need to write, I need to think etc. But I need to breathe too, and I need to experience the kind of life-enhancing things that the Great Accumulators experience every day. Of course when I'm with someone it all becomes much clearer, and I remember that I need not to need too. But that's just feeding off the other person, and I know that professional lifestylers have serious issues with that. But professional lifestylers have serious issues with just about everything I represent, so maybe I should just ignore them. They won't go away, but they might become less prominent in my head.

Ach, stop thinking and just live, FFS!!



Tackling The Blaze

Fri, 11 May 2007 16:27:00 +0000

Major drama here this week...the house nearly blew up! There was a major leak in one of the flats downstairs, and all the water went rushing into the cellar. Right where the electrics are. Fortunately the cellar is big enough for the main meters to be located on the other side, but there are some loose wires hanging from the ceiling right where the torrent of water got in. I have no idea what they are connected to, but how they survived is a miracle.We had to call the fire brigade out, because I (supposedly the man of the house!) did not even know where the stop-taps were. We couldn't get an emergency plumber or electrician, so as a last resort I phoned the fire service. And in they came in their alpha uniforms, delivering the goods in no time at all. Leak stopped, no fire, no crisis. Job's a good 'un.That's what being a man is all about, isn't it? I should know, but I don't. All I could manage at the height of the crisis was to pace up and down, and generally do my utmost to convince the new tenants that, yes, that ginger bloke with the spazzy mannerisms really is crazy. Shameful. Absolutely shameful. I deserve to die for that, and if the truth be told I probably will.Whilst I am in no doubt that what happened was an accident, it's fair to say that the new tenants have a habit of bringing trouble with them wherever they go. The boyfriend has served time and is a known thief and junkie, and the girlfriend...well quite frankly she acts, speaks and looks like a prostitute. That's not to say that she is, and it's not intended as a slur on prostitutes, but that is how she comes across. She shouts as only a drug-addled prostitute can shout, as though merely speaking would imply some level of intimacy. And when the boyfriend borrowed something from me the other night, he lowered his voice and said knowingly that if ever I needed anything then all I had to do was ask. I wondered what he meant by that, because he knows I'm on my own, he knows I don't do drugs, and he's sharp enough to recognise what's missing from my life right now. But I wouldn't, in case you're wondering. And now that she knows that I'm crazy, I'm pretty sure that neither would she.The whole episode has left me feeling very isolated and very scared. I've had to put an SOS out to community mental health groups, because I have to get out of here and I'm not strong enough to do it on my own. I am quite literally grounded...I can't even get on public transport because the panic attacks are so bad, and I'm attacked by self-contradicting negative thoughts at breakneck speed. I'm simply not strong enough or calm enough to move by myself, so I've had to put out a call for volunteers to help me. (The friends I once had are long gone, after I and they recoginsed that I had nothing to bring to the table).But I have to get out of here, and fast. The new neighbors are bad enough, and the idiot next door to me is getting worse by the day. He's slowly stewing in his own pigswill, and he listens to me all the time. He's complained to the landlord about me staying up at night and shutting doors, but guess why I shut the doors? It's bad enough living here as it is, but recent events have really put me on edge and it's fragmenting my mind even more. I'm sorry if there is a lot of anger and paranoia in this post that isn't particularly pleasant to read, but I had to vent it somehow and this is the safest way.Now that I've finished this post, I'm about to start what I call Handyman 101. Basic domestic stuff that you [...]



Manning The Station

Tue, 08 May 2007 19:26:00 +0000

A good day today. Held my nerve and composure when things could've gone seriously awry. It's not good when you're unstable and you know you're unstable, but it feels so damn good to stay on top of it. It's reaffirming; gives you a feeling of power over yourself, which is a precious thing when it happens all too infrequently.

I really can't articulate this any better right now. I could if I wanted to, but I don't want to think. And I am currently reading some beautiful mental health blogs which make my feeble efforts look rather less than beautiful. If I were to think right now, I would think about why beauty is such an alien concept to me.

"Because you're thinking", is probably the answer to that one. I think, therefore I don't feel. Cogito ergo something-or-other.

Oh and somebody remind me to read more. These people read books and it makes them better people than I am. Fact. And fiction.

Come on now, don't spoil a good day...



Grasping The Baton

Tue, 01 May 2007 01:58:00 +0000

Brilliant..I am now officially a conductor! Well not really...I've just finally got round to the inevitable and understood that what I want to do in music has many parallels with conducting, and also that the "space" I intend to occupy (ie, between artist and audience) is similar to that of a conductor. And since I want to communicate music indirectly through hand gestures and the like, it seems like the obvious path for me to take. Now there are sharp differences between my thing and conducting; the principle difference being that "my thing" is coming from a completely different place and has been developed for completely different reasons. But teaching myself the fundamentals of conducting will give me the kind of classical and practical grounding that I've never really had, and that I think musicians have always resented me for.

So I finally got round to reading some introductory conducting literature tonight. Nothing too heavy...just the wikipedia entry and a chapter from an essay. And what I noticed was that the more I read, the more I started to get the feeling that "I can do this". Now because of my problems with co-ordination, dexterity and general "object engagement", I've never had that "can-do" experience with anything musical before. But I had it tonight. And I also got the feeling that many of the ideas I have about music exist in conducting already. At times it felt like I was reading something that was written in my language, and I very rarely get that experience too.

So why has it taken me so long to come round to the idea of conducting? Well, a couple of things really. Firstly, I always thought of a conductor as a highly skilled classical musician who must prove himself as a musician first, rather than simply being "one who conducts". But since I don't want to make classical music, this really shouldn't be as much of a problem as I always thought it was. And secondly, I did not feel comfortable with the idea of myself as some sort of "musical director". I felt that, as a non-musician with no discernible musical skills, "musical director" would be claiming for myself a title to which I did not deserve, and could not possibly justify to seasoned and experienced musicians. But I am now comfortable with the knowledge that what I want to do isn't "me the director, you the directed to". It is simply a question of direction.

Anyway, I'll write more when I have read more and learned more. This post was simply to make the declaration in order to hold myself to it.



Dating The Asylum

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 06:16:00 +0000

I've come to the conclusion that even mentally ill people are scared of me! No really they are, especially the girls. I've been looking at dating sites that are aimed at people with mental health issues. I'm not seriously looking to date anyone as I'm in far too much of a state, but a bit of harmless flirtation would be nice. But the girls on these sites all have "hormonal" (sorry can't think of a better word) disorders like bipolar depression, anorexia and SAD. They're terribly fragile creatures who are terribly easy to offend, and I really don't want to go putting my size 13's anywhere near them. "Thought disorders" just isn't something that they understand, and in all honesty it probably scares the living shit out of them. So what do I put on my sign-up form when it asks for my diagnosis? "Various"?"Schizotypal personality disorder". That's the one I was diagnosed with. Yes I have traces of aspergers and traces of depression and traces of every other self-diagnosis I've made, but the fact remains that I was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder. I've long sought to convince myself that I'm borderline, hence the title of this blog, as the concept of borderline is more flexible and thus more "instrument-like" (which ties in with the thing that I want to do in music). But in reality I'm probably about as borderline as (*mass of land that's nowhere near a border...the Midwest? Siberia?*), and I daresay I'm not kidding the borderline peeps one little bit. Try as I might, I cannot get away from the fact that I was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder. By leading specialists, no less. For those who don't know, schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by (*checks wikipedia to make sure he's got his facts right*) social isolation, odd behavior and thinking, and unconventional beliefs such as being convincced of having extra-sensory abilties. Yup, sounds about right. Although I should qualify the last one by saying that I believe in the power of good communication, and see nothing "extra-sensory" aboout this. What I want to do in music is not extra-sensory; it is about harnessing the power of the senses we already have. But I'm well aware that I may just be trying to explain my way out of a very tight corner. If the experts say it's extra-sensory then who am I to argue?Anyway, as if to prove the point I'm digressing. The point is that most girls, even most mentally-ill girls, do not or do not want to understand what are generally known as "thought disorders". Schizotypal is not schizophrenia, as most of the stuff that is "cut loose" in schizophrenia is somehow held together in schizotypal (see previous posts for theories as to what might be going on in my own case). But schiz is schiz, and schiz is scary. To vain psuedo-depressive girls it's scary, and to fully-grown and reality-adjusted women it's probably scarier still. They're like "ugh!!", and I should be like "yeah, whatever". But I'm not, because it bothers me. I want women to like me, and it troubles me that they don't. I think they think that "thought disorder" implies a lack of control over one's own mind, which can spill over into a lack of control over one's behavior. But my answer to that is the same answer I gave to the extra-sensory accusation. Good communication. Good communication really is an answer to everything. I know this because right now I do not have good communication in my life, [...]