Originally published at: My Life on the Road: Losing it | Boing Boing
Originally published at: My Life on the Road: Losing it | Boing Boing
It feels so lame to say something like “I’m wishing all the best for you,” but that’s what I am doing all the same. Hitting a brick wall is hard at any time, but during the worldwide drama we’ve lived in for more than a year, and are set to keep living it for a while yet to come…well, it’s harder, that’s all. My best to you.
If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.
I’m really stunned I managed to keep my shit together due to my history to panic disorders and crippling OCD I had manage to overcome over the decades. I kinda thought I would break under these kinds of pressures but didn’t. I have noticed some of my OCD rituals showing up recently due to all the stress but at least it is not crippling at this point.
Probably the single thing that saved my sanity is technology. I dived so hard into VR social spaces that is has taken over a large chunk of my social life. It actually helped me a bit get over other issues I had with stage fright too. Nothing like ending up on a live stream to get you over shit like that.
This has also shown me just how awful the past year has been for my community (Furry). Last weekend I had to talk a friend off the ledge as he was trying to kill himself while he was in VR. He is a nurse and has PTSD from the past year and is a mess right now. At least he is now getting professional help but everywhere I look I see people trying to cope and can notice all the cracks.
I also know a bunch of people that had to walk away from social media because of how toixic it’s become over the past year. I expect it is just reflecting the pain the world is feeling and just boiling over.
I’m still amazed I have not lost it yet but I think distraction and pot have helped a bunch.
Good luck. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m also losing my shit, and this helps me a little bit:
An absolutely wonderful essay. I hope it was cathartic. Hang in there.
Seamus, you can do it. You have lost your shit before (I have too) & come through it. I will say that having held it together for so long, now that you are in a relatively safe place I think it’s natural & maybe even healthy to let things fall apart some & feel all the feels. I’ve been feeling the crisis more intensely too, now that we have made it through the year. Luckily or not I live alone so I cry when I need to cry, yell when I need to yell, limit my news intake, took on a new stray cat & started a project I’ve always meant to do. The people I really worry about are the ones who pretend everything’s under control. A digital pause is a great idea & please know that we your readers will still be here. We are all rooting for you.
Exiting Zuckerberg’s toxic swamp was a good move. We’re rooting for you, Seamus. Vent here anytime.
as someone who works on computers all the time, ive figures out 2 things i gotta do for my sanity: dont take my work with me on vacation. just because you can doesnt mean you should. its a horrible idea. you cant focus on work and you dont enjoy your vacation. and 2: do something physical as a hobby/outside activity. build or fix or maintain something with your hands. exercise outside. anything to get up and moving and away from the screens.
No better epitaph exists for the year of 2020.
If an old man in the desert of Cali. can ever be of service, please know that I’m here to listen, help in any way possible. Be well good human, we’re all pulling for you.
This! I would have lost my shit over technology a long time ago…even pre-pandemic…if not for outdoor exercise.
I’ve been following your posts sporadically on BoingBoing for a while now. We’ve both been living in an RV or something like that for a couple years now. I know even reaching out kind of opposes the thoughts you’re expressing in your post, but I just want to say that I feel the same.
The way that we are “forced” to use technology to communicate in a common way that is accessible for the masses simply makes it devalued in a way that is just…disappointing.
There are other things that are in a parallel track to what you may be feeling about technology. Surprise, they’re all quasi-related.
- All cars and vehicles you can buy have a pre-determined death at about 100,000 miles.
- Houses are built cheaply and only last 30 years before significant failure and upgrades are necessary.
- Affordable clothes fail and fall apart too soon
- Affordable/accessible food that does not consume significant time to prepare is also typically terrible for you
- Tools that are not for the journeyman or commercial level are cheap, flimsy, and break under any duty cycle outside it’s designed lifespan.
- RVs are cheap and shitty, and must be built to maximize profits as much as possible.
- It just goes on.
Social software is no different. Commodity tools to organize your life ultimately consume more time than they save, and serve different masters than you, the product. I am all of 42 ish years old now, and maybe this is what happens when you get “old” but I’m finding eliminating as many distractions in my life as possible gives me my time back.
Then, when I have my time back, I find myself above the clouds, by myself, in a sparsely populated environment where my peers are far and few between. We don’t talk much, because there isn’t much to do up here.
I’m not sure where to go next, except maybe inwards. I hope you can find a balance - I have not yet.
Maybe you’ve done something like this - I did a thing last year while I was living sparse in the desert. Up until that point I had been collecting various keys to things in my life. Houses, toolboxes, storage units, offices, vehicles, machines, computers, tools…After purging all that by giving those possessions away, I took the keys and whinged them off a cliff in the middle of the desert. I don’t know where they are now because they’ve been since washed away into the sediment of some canyon probably. Thats how important “important things” are.
It’s different for everyone, but I am becoming more and more acutely aware of how much being online is just constant stimulation of our response to intermittent reinforcement. Everything is just such bite sized, ready to eat, pieces of junk food.
My way of coping right now is to try to consume bigger and better chunks of information and/or art. Make some mental space to take in something longer or larger where you actually have to focus on it. A novel, a double album or symphony, but something where you are focusing on some other medium than the online stew that we are in. But if you are going to watch or listen to something, put the damn phone down and actually watch it or actually listen to it. And it sounds stupid, but actually think about what you are consuming and don’t immediately run to find other opinions about it online. You can still do that, but give it time breath in your own thoughts before you do.
It doesn’t have to be good art, or even really art. Just something else that you can immerse yourself in that’s not just poking at the same areas of your brain over and over again. If medium is the message, change the medium so you can change the message.
Your writings make life better for many of us. What you’re doing matters. Hang in there.
Thank you for your (continuing) openness and candor. You’re not the only one feeling this way, and I hope you (and we all) find some peace again soon.
I don’t love everything about gardening, but it definitely chills me out.
I’ve always appreciated reading your posts. Vancouver Island is a wonderful place to escape and I hope it gives you the healing you need. I’ll still be here when (if?) you decide to write for BB again.
Stay safe and well fellow Happy Mutants (and those perhaps less ‘happy’)
This year has been extremely challenging for everyone and you. are. not. alone.
Unplug as much as you can, maybe up the exercise, meditation and start something like gardening to reconnect with the earth. I feel so much better after a day on the water. That’s my church if you will.
Thank you for the very moving post Seamus. Wishing you strength and peace.
Analog it. Breath. Try a different career.
To hell with all the noise.