My Mind’s Rusty

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 20.08.05I uninstalled Dota. Again. Deleted Steam, Dota, and the few dozen Dota casts I had saved. I decided: no more escapes.

Of course, shit ain’t that easy. I’ve spent my entire life discovering and habituating methods of escape; they’re probably hiding in every thing I do from dawn till dusk.

I stopped inundating my psyche with gold and levels and kill-to-death ratios, and inadvertently used information instead.

Information overload. I started the day with a cocktail of stimulants that probably approached a gram in total. Bupropion, 300mg. Modafinil, 200mg. Couple cigarettes, few mg nicotine each. Caffeine, 200-400mg, I lose track.

I sit down in the computer lab, open my laptop. I wanted to read about neuro-whateverfuck. Primordial emotional systems. Neuronal membrane potential modulation. ADHD treatment. Ingoing and outgoing pathways projecting to and from the basal ganglia.

And I did.

It’s the most interesting thing in the world, studying the physical substrate, the neurons woven together to form the fabric that gives rise to consciousness. Thoughts, emotions, feelings, they’re all too vague and murky, swimming around in a shallow pool, barely visible, only seen when they come just close enough to the surface to be illuminated by the weak rays of introspection. But, with careful examination, the pattern becomes a little bit clearer. This ion channel is modulated by this ligand which shifts equilibrium in this direction which elicits oscillation to this pathway to shape the first thing I think and feel when I open my eyes in the morning. It’s like sitting down next to god, having him wordlessly point out clues on the screen, smiling when one more iota of understanding is gained.

But, he gets up to leave. I start clicking on topics that become increasingly irrelevant, each page less germane than the last. I read less and less. Soon text isn’t interesting and stimulating enough, I need videos. What started as an in-depth examination of how GABAA receptors enact shunting inhibition instead becomes an endless trawl through the most petty corners of the internet. Indignant atheists dissecting feminist videos. Feminists calling men cunts. The Canadians, the fucking Canadians, having protests that accomplish nothing more than allow them the platform to belittle and humiliate ordinary fucking people, spouting vitriol safe in the knowledge that they can hide behind the truncheon they so despise.

Suddenly, it’s eight hours later. What have I done with my life. This day is gone, lost in oblivion. My mind feels sluggish, tired, sedated. I binged on useless information, permeated my mind with trash. But, while I was there, I didn’t care. I couldn’t. My attention was tied up with things that barely breach the threshold of ‘stimulating’. I overloaded my mind with information for hours, so I could forget. So I could escape. When I finally realize it’s 2AM, the stimulants have long since worn off, I haven’t eaten once that day. All that’s left to do is go home via the drive-through, get back to my flat, get stoned, and eat myself to sleep while watching series.

On the bright side, though, I know what’s happening, why it’s happening, how it’s happening. Sure, it sucks. Sure, I feel guilty. Sure, I wish I did something else. But, these kind of things don’t get fixed overnight. Not something that was drilled into me every day for the first half of my life, not something I spent the latter half drilling into myself.

Right now, self-awareness is the most I can expect. The fundamental shifts in consciousness that accompany any genuine change take time. One day, soon enough, what I want will swim close enough to the surface, briefly touched by the light, and I’ll know it’s there.

But fuck it, who knows. Maybe I’ve been smelling the psychosphere too long. I binge-watched True Detective so much I can hear Cohle voicing the thoughts in my head. Maybe I need to just shut the fuck up and do the right thing.

Who knows.

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