The Void Inside

The misunderstood darkness of depression is illuminated from personal insight. Without having experienced it, it is not something that can easily be understood. When you look forward in life, and see nothing but darkness, you despair. It is a darkness that the sun cannot brighten. A darkness so complete that nothing is left. Without knowing this darkness themselves, people are unable to understand why the light that is their happiness does not help illuminate those for whom the very concept of light seems foreign. Others look upon these people and cannot stand what they see. For when someone looks upon the void, the void looks back.

The void that can hide within a person is unlike any other, for it is deeply rooted. Some people find that their void consumes them completely, no longer functioning as a normal member of society. Others may find that they are able to hide who they are and use their great understanding of what it means to carry darkness to help, doing what they can to help others avoid from feeling the same way that they do. No person carries the same void as another, as each is unique.

Despite this uniqueness, common themes can be drawn. Themes such as feelings of inadequacy, of never being good enough for those around you. The fear of drawing others into the void brings feelings of other people being better off without one’s presence. These are feelings of great strength, and for many prove too much to cope with. The void that resides inside does not corrupt. Instead it twists what already exists into unrecognisable forms. Shadows of what came before. The remnants of a person become all that they are. No longer can they see the light. The darkness is all that’s left.

Yet, even though this is the case, you may argue for importance. That the darkness the void brings can be removed, and light can return. You argue for affection, that such feelings are greater than that of the nothingness. To engage in eternal combat with oneself is not a task that can be undertaken with ease. The spectators of such events, those who cheer at every victory and mourn at every loss, are the friends of the combatant. They are the true victims of the fight. For no matter who wins, they will lose.

You could ask me about smiling, about compliments, about telling others that you care for them. All simple tasks, ones that can be easily done, yet provide an impact that is not proportional. Your argument applies great importance to these tasks, and states that these can make life worth living. Such simple tasks are not ones that require specific people to complete. It does not matter if it is I that tells people such things any more than it would matter if they were told by someone they had never met.

The voice of the people. Vox Populi. No, I am not such a man. To fairly represent those who are unable to express themselves first requires one to fairly represent themselves. Such a task is beyond my limits. Beyond that which I am capable. The eternal combat is a difficult one, and the inclusion of many more spectators simply opens the room for more to mourn the inevitable loss… The end.

The concept of a victory in the fight is one that is difficult for me. There can be no happy ending to this tale. For me to wake up, to wake up and not feel this way is beyond my imagination. No longer do I remember what it’s like to have a genuinely good day. No longer do I see any light in my future. Nay, my days are darker than they’ve ever been.

Some fiction

Once again, instead of a normal, informative post, I bring you something else. This post is a piece of fiction which I wrote as an adaptation of a book into a sort of monologue format. For those of you who are interested, the book is “Dark Lord, the Teenage Years”, by Jamie Thomson. Without the context provided by the book, the passage may seem a bit weird, but it does explain itself in some form nearer the end. I’ll get a normal post out soon; I’ve just had trouble in attempting to do so. So for now, I hope you enjoy what is to come.

 

With a great cry, I began to fall, falling further and further and further until I felt I could fall no more; yet continue to fall I did. The great nothingness of the Void continued for an eternity, or so it seemed. Long after my cry had fallen silent, my throat raw from the continued stress, I stopped. The infinite became finite. The nothingness was nothing no more. The oppressive darkness gave way to the blinding light of the sun, and with it came pain. Such great pain, which threatened to pull me from existence by its very presence. But it did not.

Eventually, the pain subsided, leaving me lying breathless. When I tried to breathe, I found my throat blocked. After a few attempts, I managed to dislodge the offending item, and spat out a great glob of gelatinous gloop, which after a while formed an iridescent puddle of oil. How such a thing formed in my throat, I am unsure, but that was the least of my problems, for when I tried to move, I found my limbs weak and unwilling to change position.

I felt helpless, lying there under the painfully blue sky. Gah! Blue skies invoke nothing but hatred within me. The happiness which they seem to inspire in others was alien to me. This was a situation beyond my current abilities, something I could not face alone, so I called upon my most trusted subordinate, Dread Gargon, Hewer of Limbs, Lieutenant of Darkness; he would be of great use to me here. Yet instead of the great command I tried to bellow, I heard that I sound like a child – weak and pathetic.

Gone were the strong, imperious tones that echoed around the battlefields; gone was the powerful confidence with which I commanded an army, my great legion; and gone was the dread inspiring harshness which would bring any mortal to their knees. But no longer did I sound worthy to command a human child, let alone great armies of Orcs, Goblins and other such creatures. What had happened to my voice…?

Maybe my helmet, the infamous Helm of the Hosts of Hell, had slipped slightly, catching my neck in an unfortunate pinch, changing the air flow through my vocal chords. It was worth checking, since it had happened in the past. Yet when I checked, I felt great despair to find that was not at all the case. Instead of finding the help resting lopsided on top of my head, I found nothing – there was no helmet at all. Maybe it had fallen off as I had fell? Although that would explain the lack of great protection for my head, it most certainly did not explain the lack of horns, of the great ridges of bone which usually protruded menacingly from my skill. Neither did it explain the mop of brown hair which I found there in its place. No longer did my head feel like the head of a great Dark Lord, but that of a small human child. No longer did my teeth feel like the great tusks and yellowed fangs which normally adorned my maw. How would I inspire fear while I was contained within a head not dissimilar to those which I usually impaled upon the mighty iron spikes of my tower gates?

What was happening to me? Where was Gargon and the army he helped my command? Why was I not being burned alive by the bright sunlight, which was normally fatal for those who returned from death? This did not seem to be the realm with which I was familiar, but one in which humanity held great power, a realm where the almighty Lords of the Darkness were nowhere to be found. My powers were useless in a place such as that. The time when my very thoughts were law is now in the past. Those problems would have to wait – the confusion of this world needed time to understand.

Return to the room

Imagine once again the room, just as it was before. Around you are still the same loud speaking people, who make no noise. Around you still are those who ignore you, and those who you cannot bear to even try to comprehend. Everything is the same, yet nothing is familiar. So once again you walk around them, searching for reasons – for answers. Yet something is different. As you walk around now, you realise that the great walls that enclosed you are drawing ever closer. The roof above no longer stretches to the sky, as it slowly lowers closer and closer.

Yet as this happens, you notice something you ignored before. Each of the walls is covered in paintings of various scenes. So, despite your ever approaching demise, you walk up to one of the walls and inspect what you can see. The paintings are many, and highly detailed; almost indistinguishable from life. The first painting you choose to look at is a scene of a person standing in a ring of corpses. Something about the painting scares you, and as you look ever closer you realise something. The person in the painting is you. The corpses around you are the bodies of those you love and care about. To try to run away from the painting, yet you find you cannot move. You look to the ground, and what you see scares you even more. Around you are the bodies.

An old poem

The End

First the moon, and now the sun.
The end has only just begun.
The threads of fate have been undone.
It’s time to say goodbye.

There’s nowhere left to run;
No place left to hide.
No gods to come and guide us,
No time for us to cry.

Our people have not long left us.
On paths we can not trust.
Their protecting skills have failed us.
It’s time for us to die.

-Charlie Baker, 15/09/12

The Room

Imagine a large room, filled with people of all shapes and sizes. In this room lies all that you know, and all that you do not. As you stand in the middle of the room, you look around and observe the people. They’re all talking loudly, yet none of them make a sound. You walk up to the nearest person and try to talk, to find out what’s going on, only to be ignored. You walk up to another, who treats you in the same way. By the time you walk up to a third, you think you know what will happen, that they will ignore you as the others have, but that is not the case. As you walk up to the third person, you are greeted by a voice which speaks to you, yet it is not in any tongue you recognise. The voice continues to speak, and as it does it gets louder and louder, angrier and angrier, grating against all that you are. Then it stops. The person walks away.

This is how I feel. The room is my mind, its inhabitants – my thoughts. As I try to find something to make the world make sense, I find nothing. As I try to work out what I think, how I feel, I find nothing. As I try to wander the room that is my mind, my thoughts are abrasive, not allowing me to think, not allowing me to feel, not allowing me to know anything but their hatred. I am left with nothing…

 

 

 

Added to the T-21 Blog Hop:

Poetry outside of motion

For more information on the topic of the poems in this post, look HERE.

 

Today’s post is a little different from the ones I’ve done in the past. Instead of writing a large amount of text about an idea or topic, today I’ll like to write about poetry. Not just any poems, though, but two that were written by my hands on the topic of meltdowns. I’d like to share these poems with the people who haven’t read them, and then explain the thoughts, ideas and story behind them. The topic matter itself will not be discussed in this post, since that’s worthy of its own full post in the future. Just a preface, I’m not a poet, and my poems are mediocre at best, but then again I say that about this blog and you all seem to like it anyway.

 

Quiet Meltdowns

Most know of meltdowns as loud and flailing,

as the world gets too much to bare.

This is not the case with me.

You don’t notice anything visually or audibly,

Moreso the lack of visuals and audio.

 

Still aware of things though, hyperaware, even.

I could hear the things directed at me but couldn’t respond to them.

 

The disconnect between my mind and body

as they would not work together;

so frustrating.

so difficult.

So much for Mind over Matter.

 

Imagine that you can’t talk

and that moving is beyond your ability.

Amplify your senses so all is twice as much,

all you hear, see, feel, and know becomes more than it was,

so you find it difficult to make sense of them

as they blur and lose any meaning they once may have had.

 

This is quite an abstract poem, and as such it doesn’t follow any predefined structure. The reason for this resembles an answer to one of my English Essays, which is peculiar (You will get your post on school soon, Claire, don’t worry). This is an example of what the meltdown does – a self-demonstrating feature if you will. During this period, the structure of my mind that keeps me functioning and able to cope with the world crumbles and leaves me weak and without protection from the world.

Interestingly, the story behind this particular poem is actually related to my English Essays. The poem itself was adapted from a written explanation that I gave for a rather bad meltdown that I experienced on public transport that I was taking with a friend. That day I had an English Literature exam, and had planned to meet up for the return bus towards home. However, the exam went horribly to the point where I’m discussing the potential for special consideration being given. As you may imagine, this meant that after the exam, my brain just didn’t work. Combine this with the fast and loud thing that is our world, and you have the ingredients for a meltdown.

 

Stops

I sit here as my hands tremble

I wait for the words to assemble

but they don’t

 

My vision blurs and colours fade

sound becomes noise, my ears betrayed

as everything loses meaning

 

No longer can I speak a word

my thoughts I fail to herd

while slowly,

my brain…

 stops.

The second poem (with a slightly altered structure to the version I posted on Twitter (explained in a moment)) is more predictable in its structure – two lines with rhyming couplets and then a section that doesn’t fit. There’s no actual reason behind that, but there is a reason for the odd punctuation used. The poem uses no punctuation until the last 3 lines, to emphasise what it means there. The 3 pieces used (A comma (,), an ellipsis (…) and a full stop (.) respectively) demonstrate the meaning of that particular section. It talks about the slowing down of thought processes and abilities, and the punctuation reflects that, slowing down the sentence in an increasing manner with each instance.

The story behind this poem is based upon an important fact about me, which is my obsession with computers. Everything about computers fascinates me, which combined with my tendency to learn about the things I like means I know a great deal about them. I own a computer myself, a rather expensive and powerful one, and like to spend time ensuring it runs efficiently and quietly. However, with great computing power comes great cooling requirements, and therefore my PC contains quite a lot of fans. To have them running quietly requires careful temperature management (as this affects fan speed) and to keep the machine free of dust. To do this, I use highly compressed air, as it is quite effective at this.

However, this process is incredibly loud. Imagine a jet engine at maybe 100m away, and you’ll get the general idea. Therefore, I normally wear strong ear protection, to prevent it from causing massive problems. Normally… The last time I did this, on the 26th of May, I forgot to wear such protection and the aforementioned “massive problems” occurred.

As soon as this happened, I could tell that I was going to go into a meltdown, something I can’t normally do. The only times I’ve been able to do that in the past are the ones where the meltdown is rather severe, and that was the case with this incident. It was no normal meltdown though; instead it presented itself as two separate meltdowns separated by about a 5-10 minute break. So during the first 10 minutes, I took the things I felt and transcribed them into a poem, and then melted down for the first time. In the break between the two, I posted this on Twitter.

So there you have it, two poems and some analysis and back story to go with them. As I said, I’m not a poet, and therefore these could’ve been much better, but oh well. Thanks for reading.

 

This is Charlie, signing out.

The Downwards Spiral pt2

This blog post is a continuation of one that I wrote last week and therefore it’s recommended that you read that one first, if you haven’t already. It can be found HERE. This post can [mostly] stand alone, however, but everything will make more sense if you’ve read that first. Anyway, on to the regularly scheduled content.

 

 

At the end of the last post I mentioned two things: “the minor breakdown of my mental capabilities” and Executive Dysfunction. In this post, I hope I’m going to be able to explain these two most awkward concepts that I’ve ever attempted to explain, so apologies in advance if this gets confusing, off topic or just doesn’t do the job. Here goes…

Let’s start with Executive Dysfunction. Or more accurately, let’s talk about its antonym, Executive Function. So, “What is Executive Function?” you may be wondering. “Executive functions is an umbrella term for the management (regulation, control) of cognitive processes, including working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving as well as planning, and execution.” (Thanks Wikipedia!). Let’s take this apart and work out what it means for my life, and therefore this blog post.

The first point ties in closely with the other half of this blog post, and as such will not be fully addressed. Most of the points mentioned for “the minor breakdown of my mental capabilities” will be valid for this as well. Therefore, we will begin with Working Memory, and another definition with the help of Wikipedia: “Working memory is the system that actively holds multiple pieces of transitory information in the mind, where they can be manipulated.” What does this mean? As some may notice, this sounds very similar to the idea of Short Term Memory, which may help simplify things for people. Every time I mention Working Memory in this post, you may find it easier to read “Short Term Memory”.

Problems with my Working Memory have only started to become obvious within the last month or two, and are one of the most recent problems that I’ve had. They manifest themselves most prominently in matters of conversation, where I’ll sometimes forget what has been said to me, even if it was only 10 seconds or so prior. A good example is something that happened in a conversation I was having recently where I repeated the things I was saying 20 seconds or so after having said them for the first time, without realising I was doing so.

As someone with an outstanding Long Term Memory, both explicit and implicit, it seems very odd that I’m able to do this. However, I have devised a work around that allows me to remember things quite well. If there’s anything that I need to remember that I encounter, whether it be in a conversation or otherwise, I do what I can to commit it to my long term memory. This way, I’ll remember what I need to know when I need to know it. It does mean that I’m flooded with thoughts every now and then, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Next comes Reasoning, which I will put together with Problem Solving, Planning and Execution, as they seem to have a reasonable similarity between them. This was one of the first set of problems that I noticed; first occurring back at the end of 2013. As someone who requires control and knowledge over the events that occur around me (see future blog posts for more), I often find myself planning a great deal, creating main plans of action, and then various contingency plans to deal with the possible events that could cause the main plan to action. When I started to find this more difficult, and actually making the realistic plans take place became a flip-of-a-coin event, I knew something was wrong. Now, instead of planning all the time, I find that I have to make one plan and improve it until it works well enough to get by. Not so good.

Finally we get to “the minor breakdown of my mental capabilities”. I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to write about this topic, and I came up with a lot of blanks; routes that do manage to talk about this, but not to a point where I was satisfied with the final result. So just a heads up that this may not be an amazing explanation, but I’ve done what I can.

The ability to use your brain properly is one that’s incredibly underrated; most people don’t even think about how useful it is. However, think about how it feels to have something “on the tip of your tongue”, where you know you know of something, but you can’t remember what that something is – the frustration felt there from the fact that your knowledge is there but you cannot access. Now take that feeling, and make it last for days at a time, for a week on end. That’s how it feels for me right now. I find it increasingly difficult to complete tasks because of it.

I know what I need to do, but I can’t do it.

I know how it needs to be done, but I can’t do it.

I know that I have the knowledge, but I can’t do it.

I know I have the skills, but I can’t do it.

I know that I can’t do it.

 

This is Charlie, signing out.