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Winning a place on a lifeboat on the Titanic

Monday. This Friday I'm driving up to Sheffield to see Meg. By that time it will have been 10 nights spent apart. She asked me yesterday if I'd been writing recently. I hadn't, but upon her asking I felt somewhat compelled and obliged to. Not that there was a hint or tone in her asking - it's just where my excessively helpful behaviour gravitated towards.

Stomach hurts this morning. Real crash with comfort eating the past 4 or 5 days. This morning when I bought my folks the paper, I picked up some healthier snacks. Olives, nuts. Need to do a bigger shop run at a larger shop today. Also going to the printers at 10am when they open. Need to send off the picture to Rohan in Cornwall. Meg is driving back from the festival in Devon and heading back to Sheffield at some point today. Might pop by Guy's on the way back from the printers. Mind you, Guy messaged me this morning, and it's probably the usual 'tism overthinking, but I didn't like the tone. The tone being the one I applied perhaps?

How are you?"

To me that "So." with the line break seemed a little abrasive for a conversation starter on a Monday morning. Especially the need to emphasise it with it being within it's own sentance. I read that and I just said F you out loud. Oh Edward, Edward, Edward. There's no need for that. Still, I'm wary of being around people who are depleting and sapping. I've been feeling a prolonged tiredness. Whilst I sometimes use the word exhaustion, I'm not sure if I'm being melodramatic. Exhaustion to me is a feeling where you can barely keep going. Whereas I do keep on going, and whilst it's under duress, I don't think I'm going to collapse in a heap due to exhaustion. I'm just tired, worn out, feeling periods of being blue, and there's an internal frustration that I can't seem to iron out or express in a way that helps it clear out.

Anyway, I told Guy I wasn't doing well and he comes back with:

"Then do.
Activity will focus and thus deny some thoughts"

Which I get, and I told him I've been doing, but it's not really helping. He told me to do with others, and that I don't necessarily have to talk with them. I think this is his not so subtle invite over to his house. Not sure. Will have to see how I feel when I'm driving back from the printers. I'd rather people just ask and be upfront about it. The amount of times Guy has steered conversations towards getting me to do things he needs, driving, lifts, tasks, helping out etc.

If you need - ask. Don't be duplicitous. A lot of waffle sometimes. I get it with my parents:

The point is here but my parents waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle waffle until we end up here

But I already knew the first here, and silently waved it goodbye as I endure the barrage of effing nonsense until the next here arrives. Hmmm spiralling tone here. Moving on.

Aiming to drink more water today, past couple of days I've been refilling a 2 litre bottle and it seems to help me drinking more. I should hear back from psychiatrists at some point today. I had my 30 min medication review with them on Zoom at 19:30 on Friday. The call lasted barely 5 minutes and she told me they have 3 approved ADHD meds to try in UK and the side effects I had from Concerta XL led her to assume I was highly sensitive to medication side effects. Which is why I've never been able to be on any medication for prolonged periods. She recommended another medication and told me to read the side effects. Once the call ended and I read the side effects - I didn't want to be put on that medication. I emailed them on Saturday to advise this and request an alternative.

Also asked how long side effects of Concerta are. As I still have a bunch of the low dose pills left. But it was a long list of symptoms I had, and it made the improved concentration and reduced anxious thinking feel like they were on the backburner in my mind - because I was so caught up in navigating all the side effects. But, if they eventually calmed down, maybe I could? Maybe I might? I'm rather tired of self-medicating. Whilst I'm off the booze, I don't really have a fond view of weed at the moment. So a pill designed with a purpose - whilst far from a perfect approach, perhaps it'll eventually provide a degree of balance.

Been out of balance the past week I guess. The weekend before last felt rather perfect. Me and Meg spent the day in the park in March on the Saturday. Drawing, getting amazing food and drinks. It was a lovely day. On the Sunday we went to view a van in north London together, then stopped by Cambridge and had more lovely food and drinks together, plus we spent a wonderful evening together before Meg set off back to Leicester to the work site. We got to see each other again on the Monday evening when I viewed a van, and I got to spend another night snuggled up next to her. Perhaps I'm minimising the good and focusing on the bad. As that weekend we spent together was the nicest weekend I've had for a long time. Truth be told, I can't really compare it to any other - it felt magical. But, a week has passed since then. I wanted to blog about it in detail not long after it'd happened, but at the same time I grew a little weary of how the Cornwall blog turned out. A bunch of long posts recounting what I'd done. Something about recounting and reliving things in detail can cause me fatigue. I hammered out a lot of long blogs in a short space of time, which is why I needed a break.

We knew this was to be our longest time apart. A trial run of sorts, as when Meg starts back on longer jobs it will be something we encounter for months at a time in the future. But seeing each other once every couple of weeks is manageable. Sure, it's tough if this was something we'd have to do for years at a time, but it's not. Besides, nothing is set in stone, and you can't plan this sort of thing in advance. We'll see each other when we see each other. I know that I'm only too happy to visit her, and I'm sure she'll do the same.

Meg apologised that I would be driving 2.5 hours up to Sheffield to only spend a few days with her. It didn't feel like her responsibility, and so it felt like another "sorry" that wasn't required. Still, I continue to do the same, but I notice I do it less in this relationship because Meg says sorry a lot more than I seem to. I'm getting better at checking myself before I say it. Although in moment of duress - it will often just get blurted out. As for the driving - it is what it is. 2.5 hours isn't too bad, at least - in the car. The van will take some getting used to, and I've already been contemplating if I'd prefer using it once it's done in the early hours. Driving in the early morning to utilise quiet roads when I need to get about. Mind you, this is based off apprehension of how big the van is. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big. I see lorries and farm vehicles every day - and often marvel at the size, patterns and details to be found on such large vehicles. A Luton van is new, but it won't feel uncommon for too long.

The drive home with the van flustered me as I discovered faults whilst driving home. The driver's side wing mirror being smashed was what worried me most - as I could've been pulled over for that. The second biggest worry was on the test drive the van struggled to start. I knew the van would need fuel on the way home, and I was apprehensive that it'd struggle to fire up once I left the petrol station. It did struggle, but it got going. It's one of many faults I need the mechanic to look at. He lives across the road from me. I'm also going to enquire if I can use yard space there to do the chassis paint/rust removal and prep and paint it afterwards.

On the drive back in the van the rain was torrential at times. With the busted wing mirror glass distorting things, along with the wing mirror arm it was on having broken and being held together by duct tape - I was getting fretful. The wind in the van was very noticeable given the boxy shape. I started to notice the windscreen fogging up in the rain. I switched to the demister and noticed nothing was happening. I held my hand over the dashboard air vents and noticed no air was coming out on any setting. Fabulous. So I wound down the window and it helped as best it could - but there was still a noticeable amount of distortion and reduced vision from the windscreen mist.

Oh, and the door unlocked and opened itself twice. Seems that needs looking at too. This was in the first 20 mins of leaving Atherstone, and it didn't happen after the second time I frantically slammed the door shut when it opened whilst taking a corner. Seems closing the door normally doesn't engage the lock. You have to really give it a slam. Another thing for the mechanic to look at...

Still, it was only £3100. Mind you, that money was going to enable me to continue the art for years before I ever had to consider getting a part time job. After Cornwall I felt low and isolated. I'm really struggling being at home at the moment. The disconnect and mounting frustration along with strong feelings of loneliness and listlessness. I can't be here much longer. It's at moments like that where impulse buys tend to come along. Feeling like crap - and that high/buzz of buying something. Mind you, it only adds to the worries once the initial spark of excitement has faded away.

So I figured medication might help more with focus on the business side of things, and reduce the anxious thoughts like they did last time. This feels like a decent time to try meds again. Last time I was still at my previous job, and having confided in HR and my manager about starting the medication again - I felt like a bigger failure when I cashed out again due to overbearing side effects. When I told my manager I'd stopped the medication - I felt pretty shoddy.

My guess is that I'll have to be back in work by the end of the year. I want to get the van finished by Christmas. 3 months? Might be possible if the money holds out that long. We shall have to wait and see I guess. Speaking of, I need to ring the carpenter. Hard to not feel a little overwhelmed by all of this. Plans changed, and sometimes I feel like my brain is playing catchup to what's happening around me.

This loneliness isn't pleasant though. Last week I met with Guy twice, Marcus once, Jack once, and had a voice chat with a Discord friend, Zak. But it didn't feel like it helped much. At times, it made the feeling worse. Guy's mood was quite heavy, but the first time I visited I got a decent amount of my drawing done. When I met Marcus he mentioned knowing Meg's brother Raphe. He told me that Raphe said that I was a nice guy and that he was glad I was dating Meg. That was really lovely to hear tbh. Marcus came at me again with more of his business ideas - I swear, with him being a Londoner he feels like a cross between Danny Dyer and Del Boy. His energy as ever, was relentless, and I wasn't too keen on being an audience to another monologue, so that visit wasn't even 20 mins. When his son told him he was hungry, I used it as an excuse to leave, and to allow Marcus to make some food. I'd held off meeting Jack because I knew what his vibe would be - same as usual. Right wing, doom scroller who's conversational topics will be a nonstop rant about current events. Sure enough, it was. Even whilst being sat in a park and drawing, whilst listening to music - his background noise/ranting was exhausting. I actually started typing notes on my phone each time he came up with a new rant topic, here's what he was upset about - once again, all situations completely out of his control, and yet this is what doom-scrollers do:

Finnish prime minister scandal about her partying. It was laced with sexism and insecurities as far as I could tell.
Top Gun removal of a Taiwan flag scandal. Then an angry rant about China and how we need to declare war on them and wipe them out...
Anger at new GTA game having a female protagonist
SS uniform mod in Animal Crossing - he thought this was hilarious
Anger at LGBT flags in Spiderman game
Mexican immigration invasion as a plan to topple the US (yup - tin foil hat alert).
Scrolling through 4Chan and repeatedly showing me caustic and racist memes, which he found hilarious and I just awkwardly smiled at.
And finally - anger and a repeated rant about how liberal and bad South Park has become - and how it used to be good. He never stops with this rant. Much like my parents, there's certain topics I hear again and again and again. I wish I had the balls to call someone out on it, but I'm not that guy. It's at odds with the fawn response - but seriously, enough is enough. They have nothing new to add, they just repeat again and again, and I want to say something very hostile and impolite to them during their whole monologue.

So I've tried to remind myself, no matter how lonely I get - please for the love of God, don't ring Jack and ask what he's up to. Because he's continuing to OD on bad news, 4Chan and right wing forums. Steer clear, this guy isn't happy and he's dragging you down with him.

I've kept busy with art, and started visiting the next village. The park there has a border section with lots of big, old oak trees. It provides shade throughout the day and theres 3 picnic benches spread out. I've gone there repeatedly and find that I can draw for hours and not get distracted. So I think it'll become my usual haunt for a while. Of course, once I get the rucksack, the plan is to start drawing and staffing in public places. I ordered my new design business cards yesterday. The rucksack was supposed to be shipped out end of last week, but I got no confirmation email. I suppose I should chase this. Same goes for these craft fair event organisers. Their email response times are appauling.

The drawing I was doing last week was started in Jade & Pete's yurt in Cornwall. Initially I wasn't too pleased with the outlining of it. I believe that was our last full day in Cornwall, as in the early hours of that morning we were driving with Lucky to the vets in Helston. Most of the outlining of the picture was done in the yurt, and then finished up in the van whilst we were camped out in St Mawes on what would be our last night in Cornwall. The man buying the picture - Rohan, came into the van on a couple of occassions during the evening and we chatted, and it led to him asking to buy a picture. A few days later Meg gave me his number and we agreed upon a price. He wanted an original, and I offered to do one for £100, which is 50% less than I normally would charge. Truth be told, after over 4 days spent on the picture, I started to feel that even £200 felt too low. Meg is going to be earning £200 a day on her next job site. As someone who's never had a well paid job, and has been smothered under money worries for my adult life - it stung a little. Anyway, that's on me. I'm not an archaeologist, and probably couldn't hack it as one anyway. Been sat in office jobs - and they only pay well if it's specialised skills or you've worked your way up. Meg brought up a good point about Rohan though - she said that he'd absolutely love the picture, and that I'd make him very very happy. She agreed I wasn't charging enough, but I guess that's by-the-by now.

Finishing the picture was the conclusion to Cornwall, and it brought up a big mix of emotions whilst doing the piece. I finished it on Sunday evening, and I'm glad it's done now. Get it scanned today, collect the prints at some point next week. Then I can wash my hands of it. Rohan will pay me when he sees me or Meg next. I guess me not getting very angry or depressed at the realisation I've worked for nothing but an IOU is a good thing. Could've spiralled further, but completing the picture offered me a degree of closure. Then I looked at my in progress A2 drawing, and it conjured feelings of disdain. That old feeling of futility is on the rise again. All these drawings and barely any sales - not enough to live off. I know, it'll be a slow build, but with my bank account bleeding out, and then he bought a van... I can't really afford for this art thing to be a slow build - otherwise I'm back in the rat race before the end of the year. I guess the consolation is that I'd probably be living in the van, so I'll have earned a degree of freedom, but I'd then be shackled to a job for 6 months or so, until I could earn enough to go at the art again full time.

Been doing a fair bit of staffing. Going out with my art stuff and my staff reminds me of the old days. Back in my early 20's I was out and about a lot in Cambridge and always had a sketchbook and my staff with me. It'll be good to retrace those steps I think, as it was a time in my life where I felt very alive and encountered a lot of new experiences. The same could be said for the past month and a half since meeting Meg.

Feels like the honeymoon period right now in terms of language used in our conversations the past few days. Especially whilst she's been at this festival. Sometimes I think repetitive compliments in conversation feel a bit like romantic small talk. I don't want to feel ungrateful, and I really do feel quite honoured and smitten with how taken we are with one another. I guess I just worry that excessive use of certain types of language might eventually wear it down, and it loses it's significance. Sometimes it becomes a typecast that's said even if feelings have eventually changed. I remember me and Kristy used to say things which felt like they were a contradiction to the faultering relationship - but they'd been said so much, it had almost become like a mantra.

I guess I'm just on the look out for things that could potentially be problematic. Not that I think our use of language of late has been a negative thing. I just notice patterns, and when something increases - I start to ponder how long it'll last, or if it'll burn out etc. Speaking of burn out - I'm intrigued to see if there's any pattern to how active Meg is. She told me before that she does her socialising in chunks, but so far I've seen it be fairly constant. She's said to me on numerous occassions that I need to do what makes me feel comfortable and happy. Socialising naturally increases when you're in a relationship with someone. Most friends and acquaintances I've made outside of education and workplaces has been through my partner's circle of friends. So I'm quite used to being isolated - even in social situations. This is why I took sketchbook and staff everywhere - it helped me slip into the background. That is a calmer vibration to be on, especially when I used to sit in a sea of alternative types in parks and house parties and such like back in the day. That's not really my vibe - but I guess I did what I felt was expected of me.

That summer of socialising was born of an isolation and sense of despair. I recall being stood in the alleyway between our house and our neighbours. It's just a concrete floor pathway with a gate at the end, and it's on my parent's property. Alleyway to me sounds a lot shadier than this actually is. Anyway, my folks were out, I was smoking a J on a summer's day. I decided enough was enough, and I wanted to make new friends. I was tired of feeling folorn and lonely - and I ended up throwing myself headlong into a group of new friends. I went to house parties, I was out socialising in Cambridge every day, tried all sorts of new substances, went to illegal raves and festivals.

Needless to say I burnt out quickly. Plus I became besotted with a girl, and she was going through a rocky on/off breakup with her ex-gf. Turns out I entered my most traumatic relationship of my life, and that's not to say I hadn't had a few before and after this. Still, it led to introversion as the ex was in the same circle of friends and very socially active. Plus the ex was actively trying to throw a spanner in the works with me and Chelsea, and they eventually cheated on me twice, and I forgave her...twice. What a bloody idiot.

Anyway, not sure where I'm going with this. Mum with her spiritualism and guides stuff told me to get a citrine pendent. Not sure why I did. Sort of thought it was a bunch of BS. No scientific backing etc. Crystals and stones reeks of pseudoscience and hokum. Still, I got the necklace as it looked quite nice. The colour isn't overpowering, and it's a rough cut bit of stone on a nice necklace with interesting knots in it. Has quite a tribal look going to it. Plus, my anxiety hasn't been as high since wearing it. Not exactly begrudging of that fact - but I'm not going to start praising stones etc. The struggle with whether or not to go on medication again is suffering in silence a bit at home. My parents were both a little perplexed when I first mentioned ADHD to them. I tried to provide information and explain etc. But now, through mum's pendulumn divination, she told me that the archangels told her that I don't have ADHD (scored 100% in the official assessment) and that I'm not on the spectrum. With all due respect F you too.

I thought I'd be more anxious about Meg being away at a festival over the weekend. Nerves didn't peak or cascade as much as expected. I didn't spiral in that regard. Instead, I spiralled with depression on Saturday and became quite withdrawn. Whilst dating, I become a lot more aware and feel very guilty when I'm struggling with my mental health. Therein lies why I get frustrated with certain users on here who've yet to date, but also have depression. This belief that if they can date someone - it'll fix them. It won't fix depression. You'll still be prone to your usual worries and self-doubt. In fact, I'd argue that dating someone might even increase your worries, as you now not only worry about yourself - but you worry about your partner too. Double bubble.

Me feeling bad on Saturday in turn made Meg feel sad. This knock on effect is another reason why dating with depression feels a bit like playing with fire. Me and Meg are both impulsively helpful people - but when you see someone struggling and you can't help, or you're not there? That one can make you sink pretty quickly. Which then adds guilt into the equation. We've both apologised to one another when we've felt down, because we know that it will set the other person off in some way, shape or form. It's natural - emotions radiate outwards, and those closest to you will be the one's picking up a lot of this. Speaking of playing with fire, Meg said the fire staffers at the festival weren't anywhere near as good as me. Didn't surprise me. Not that I intended to be boastful about my staffing, it's just that I've only seen a handful of people who can do tricks that I can't - and the rest of the staffers I've seen aren't as technical. I did ask to borrow a fire staff at an illegal rave once. But I don't think I'd do that again - as I showed the guy up completely, and the look on his face during and after was hostile. In for a hat-trick - F you too buddy.

Feeling down about where the art is going. Or, more to the point - where it's not going. These event organisers shoddy responses, the lack of local stuff I'm encountering. The cost - oh the expenditures continue to terrify me. Then I bought a van. Then he bought a van...

So I guess the spirals have been about money worries - a common fear which has ramped up hugely since buying the van. Then the living at home situation, and how it's eating away at me being here. I feel like I'm on a different frequency to my parents, and the longer I'm here, the more disassociated I feel. Ahh there's a lot of emotional fatigue for me in this place. I'm back to being struck by intense dizziness whenever I'm around my parents again. Frazzled.

Buying the van is winning a place on a lifeboat on the Titanic. Can I get out now please?

When to get a dog. I've been building to asking my folks, but it conjures a similar feeling/mode where I feel like a child asking for something that I know my parent's energy will overwhelm as soon as I've asked the question. I know pets are good for mental health, and I think it'd be good to have a dog for months prior to moving out in the van and doing my own thing. I want that bond to develop and be strong, because the van life will be quite a change of pace - and I want the relationship with the dog to be strong and stable beforehand. I guess that's as good a point to raise with my parents as any. If they say no, I think I fear it'll just make me feel more disempowered and the inner critic will be licking his lips.

Right, I need a coffee, and then I want to try and relax for a bit. I say try - as I'm always so tightly wound that even down time never really takes the edge off. Constantly moving, fidgeting and the brain goes off like an everlasting Catherine Wheel.

Oh, and I text the carpenter. He's seen my van and will pop over to discuss.



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