Saturday, October 29, 2005

Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic pt.9 - Are You Gaslighting Me?

Still hanging in there, my blog monkeys? Weathering my psychological storms all right? Well, we’re moving into the heart of darkness now, my friends, so batten down the hatches and prepare to find out all you never wanted to know about the mental breakdown of young Cap’n Neurotic.

Since my class journal ends on a hopeful note, I don't have any hard record of just when things began to go really, really sour between my roomies and me; I know part of it began over that summer; I have very unpleasant memories of awkward silences and snappish behavior between G'ovich and myself when I was in Stillwater for a few days in May before our rental house opened up. The weirdness between us was already there, but I think that was the first time it dawned on me that there was something fundamentally changed in how we dealt with each other.

Again, so much of that time period is a blur; I have tons of memories, both good and bad, clamoring for my attention, but putting them in any sort of meaningful order is next to impossible. About the only thing I can say for certain is that, at some point during my two years in that house, I started to lose my mind.

Your first impulse may be to chalk that up to my usual hyperbole, but let me tell you: I'm dead serious. Something inside of me snapped; I lost all emotional control. There had already been some signs of this back in the dorm; I can think of at least two instances in that last semester where in a fit of anger and frustration I lashed out physically at my friends; not my proudest moments. But in that house . . . I was Cap'n Mood-swing. My life was a constant roller-coaster, zipping between lows of depression to highs of self-righteous anger; careening between self-pity and self-loathing; plunging into the dark pit of confusion, and hurt, and frustration; running on an endless cycle of insomniac self-recriminations. All of my emotions boiled right under the surface; there was no lag-time between experiencing a stab of hurt, or jealously, or anger and spewing it forth; no censor in place to keep it in check. The slightest insult or oversight would send me into paroxysms of rage. All in all, not that pleasant a fellow to be around, I'm sure. I honestly considered seeking a therapist several times those years; if I had, I'd probably have been popping Prozac like Pez.

So, what caused this mini-break-down of mine, this short-circuit in my ability to keep from lashing out at my closest friends? It's pretty much a chicken or the egg situation; I can think of so many things that contributed to it, that helped feed the fire of my psychotic tendencies, but how many of those things were caused by my behavior in the first place? The phrase "self-fulfilling prophecy" has long been an apt one to describe my life. I know of at least one contributing factor: the BSU Drama Team. Now, I know that by this point the Drama Team had often been a distraction to me during my quest to maintain my Parkerite friendships, but I was still determined to keep plugging away at it. So, when the semester started, I tried out for the team just as I had the previous two years; only, this time, I didn’t make the cut. Nothing helps to bolster the self-esteem than being cut from a team, huh? When I checked the posted list and saw that my name was nowhere on it, I was devastated. There went my last link to the BSU; my new job at the Public Library became a convenient excuse to miss the Thursday night services, and without having found a church I really liked in town, I was without any sort of spiritual guidance for the first time in my life. At the time I made no connection between the lack of church and the onset of my mental breakdown, but looking back I’m sure it played a huge part.

The base root of the breakdown was probably this: in the dorm I had finally lowered my guard, finally allowed myself to open up to others, finally stopped distancing myself as a preemptive measure; but, because of my self-imposed ostracization during my formative years, I wasn’t really prepared for how to react when the road got bumpy; with every slight or insult I found myself turning myself inside out, trying to figure out what I had done wrong, what I could change about myself, to get things back to normal. I was unable to sleep at night, endlessly composing speeches and dialogues in my head that I wanted to have with my friends, but which I was generally too fearful to follow through on; what if they reacted negatively? Since my problems were derived from being unable to reconcile the cognitive dissonance surrounding the actions of people close to me, it should be no wonder that the main foci of my issues were the two people I felt closest to; the two people I had opened up to the most in the previous years, and from whom I had previously felt so much support: Dr. G'ovich and St. Flunky.

Warning! All of the following observations are to be considered highly suspect, in light of the Cap'n's unstable mental state at the time the observations were first formed; take the descriptions of the subject’s actions at face value at your own risk

My issues with St. Flunky started when he began spending all of his time at Flunky Lover's place; no, the issue wasn't that he wasn't around as much; it was that, when he did make an appearance, it seemed like it was only because he wanted something. I would help if I could, but it became increasingly grudging on my part. Of course, I'd never say anything to his face; I was far too passive aggressive for that. I would, however, fume and stew after he left, occasionally ranting to whoever would listen; regret #5,972 in my life: collect them all! At the end of that first year in the house he moved out; I can probably count on two hands the number of times just he and I hung out that year; the following year, I could probably count it on two fingers. My Outsider Mode was in full swing by that point which, coupled with my damnable stubborn streak, prevented me from reaching out to him; I'm sure my piss-poor attitude did nothing to encourage him to make any steps in my direction either.

My issues with G'ovich . . . oh, man, I think I'd need a whole other post to catalog my issues with G'ovich. Heck, I might even need a whole other blog. Y'know, actually, that's not a bad idea . . .

One other unfortunate aspect of this time frame: I fell out of touch with Zinger and Pooh for a spell for some reason; it was a gradual thing, and I wasn’t really aware of it happening until I found out that she had finished up her Bachelor’s early several months after the fact, which served as a bit of a wake-up call to me.

Now, once again I feel the need to stress that, despite my horribly self-destructive behavior and chronically depressed frame of mind, my time in the house was not constant torture; I never really had any major issues with Wrath teh Berzerkr or The Old Man, and there were still times when the old dynamic between St. Flunky, Dr. G’ovich and myself resurfaced; sadly, though, those good times between us would be overshadowed in my memory at the first sign of a new insult or oversight.

Wrath moved out of the house during our Senior year, deciding to try living in the ATO house; by the time the Spring semester rolled around, however, G’ovich had moved in with Rocket, and Wrath had moved back in his place. By the end of the Spring Doc and Rocket were married with a kid, and Wrath got married and moved to Colorado. The Old Man and I moved into an apartment right next door to Coronela. The year rooming with The Old Man would encompass my final semester of school and my search for a full time job. The very worst of my breakdown passed along with this move, but I was still not back to the nearly-stable version of myself from The Golden Year.