Category Archives: Uncategorized

Story ideas

1) Michael, a thirty something white male, has a top job at a leading accounting firm. He’s married with three children but just can’t seem to find happiness. A story about the trials and tribulations of rich white guys.

2) Mick, a thirty something white dad and husband, must deal with the emotional pain caused when his wife, after years of violence, leaves with his children, leaving him to have to cook and clean for himself. A story about the trials and tribulations of violent white guys.

3) Mark, a thirty something white barista who lives with his parents, desperately wishes to be a famous musician. The story is a series of anecdotes about how hard it is to learn an instrument when your hours are taken up by work and drinking. A story about the trials and tribulations of a deadbeat white guy.

4) Macca, a thirty something white retail worker, is desperately in love with Susanne, the manager where he works. After several attempts to woo her, including several hilarious dick pics, Susanne refuses his advances. A story about the trials and tribulations of a creepy stalker white guy.

5) Marty, a thirty something “professional” DJ, has a mid life crisis when his mix tape is yet again rejected by a major record company. Marty goes on a wacky adventure to prove to himself and his friends that even white guys can make it in a harsh world. A story about the trials and tribulations of a deluded white guy.

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My Superego Makes Me S.A.D

In an attempt to overcome some late night despondancy inspired insomnia, I attempted to take some (I’m currently suffering a mild cold) cold and flu tablets night time edition. The ones with the magical stuff that supposedly helps you sleep. This would have all gone very well if it weren’t for the subtle choice to imbibe said tablets with a glass of mountain dew, at which I realised that right now there is a battle raging in my nervous system between the calming effects of some kind of chemical and the raging stimulation of caffeine. Which will win? Only time will tell.

I thought, since I’m now no closer to sleep, I might take the time to talk about a particular form of anxiety, one of which I suffer greatly. It’s called social anxiety disorder, and it’s one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting around twelve percent of adults (citation not needed, it’s my fucking blog I’ll write what the fuck I want). It’s also the form of mental illness with the most adorable acronym, “S.A.D”. Awwww.

It’s hard for me to write about, since if you understand the disorder, you’ll understand that one of the most important aspects of it is a constant feeling of being judged by others. You’re judging me right now, I feel it. You think my jokes aren’t funny at all. That previous joke was probably too subtly ironic. I’m such a fucking failure. Excuse me while I berate myself for a few minutes.

(…you can’t read it but I’m silently paralyzed as to what to write next…I’m also judging myself by the irony of the previous sentence…)

When I said earlier that it affects around twelve percent of adults, that’s a little misleading as to my own personal experience. In fact when psychologists talk about that figure they’re including people who suffer with all levels of severity. This includes a subcategory known as performance anxiety (or the technical term “social anxiety disorder performance only”) which applies to people who have problems such as panic attacks when performing, such as giving a speech. This falls under the general category of disorders I like to call the “yes sweetie, you’re mentally ill too…no really” disorders. I’m not sure if I’m stretching the term too far but this is a kind of “first world mental illness”.

In all seriousness though, this is a real problem for some people. That said, however, that version of the disorder is far removed from the more general form of social anxiety disorder. The severity is a very important distinction. Someone who suffers “performance only” anxiety can generally lead a relatively normal life. For instance, many actors suffer this disorder and yet continue to lead successful careers.

The more general form of S.A.D is a debilitating disease. It’s a well researched fact that S.A.D has a high level of comorbidity, which in spite of sounding (to me at least) like some kind of domicile sharing with a necrophiliac, merely means that people who suffer from S.A.D are at much higher risk of suffering related illnesses like depression and inferiority complex. This is on top of the actual symptoms of S.A.D such as isolation.

Wait, did I forget to explain what S.A.D is? Such a fucking failure.

Essentially what this means, in the more acute general case, is an extreme fear of social interaction. For instance, imagining you reading this right now is causing me to have a mild anxiety attack. I’m sweating, my heart is beating a little fast and my super ego is yelling insults from the sideline like a heckler at a stand up comedy show. I can only respond back with explaining to him that it’s his body too, at which point he goes to the corner and cries. As such the thought process can get a little complicated.

I suppose I’m what you might call a high functioning extreme case of S.A.D. I think that’s probably due to a number of coincident reasons, the primary of which is my extreme inferiority complex. The way I see it is, I can ignore the fear of gaining social disapproval because I’m already a loser anyway, so fuck those guys. Some people have it worse than me. Some people literally (the real literally, not the version all the young punks are using these days) can’t leave their own home. I do have those fears though, and they get stronger as time goes on. Even interacting with people I cohabit with is a stressful situation, that I often try to avoid. That’s where headphones and video games come to the rescue.

I think, in fact, that most of my issues stem from this disorder. Or, to look at the other side of the coin, social anxiety disorder stems from all of my issues. It becomes a big ball of string that’s impossible to untangle. To take a Freudian description of it, would be something like the following.

The Superego

The superego is a difficult thing to write about. That’s because it doesn’t like you talking about it. I could go into detail, but this is the basic meaning behind the famous movie quote “The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club”. The reason this is so successfully achieved in the mentally ill, is that the superego’s primary responsibility is to tell you what things will earn you disfavour in society. If you talk about the superego, it says, society will hate you. It’s telling me this right now.

Freud talked about the mind being divided into three primary functions. The first function that developed was the id. This is the part of the mind that tries to achieve basic pleasurable desires, such as sex and food. As humans developed, the mind evolved to have a second function, the ego. This is the part of the mind that we are most familiar with, and allows us to think of ways to optimise the satisfaction of the id, by delaying immediate pleasure for (presumed) more pleasure in the long term. The superego evolved when humans realised that other people have thoughts too, and that unfettered actions towards pleasure would possibly cause distaste in other humans which could lead to problems such as having no friends, being shunned by society, or even worse, imprisonment or death. The primary function of the superego is to veto the egos plans if it feels they will cause the above problems.

Herein lies the root problem with (at least my) social anxiety disorder. It is theorised that a maladjusted childhood can lead to development of an overactive superego. The superego becomes the primary driver of behaviour, and if trained to have certain beliefs, will punish the victim for having thoughts of normal social interactions. To go back to the Fight Club analogy, this is why the protagonist “beats himself up”, since Tyler Durden is a metaphor for the superego. You know that old saying, “Don’t beat yourself up over it”? Now you get it. Still don’t believe Fight Club is a metaphor for a problematic superego? Notice that I started this essay as a way to fill time during insomnia? Coincidence? Maybe.

I can hear you thinking right now, “oh doesn’t everyone have that?”. The severity is very important however. Everyone has a superego. Not everyone has a maladjusted superego. It’s the difference between a personal trainer and a dictatorial sadist. Yes, you have a superego, but chances are, you don’t have mine.

Parenting

There’s a reason I believe that the popular beliefs surrounding disciplining children are fucking bullshit. Go back a step, and think about what might cause the superego to become the “primary driver of behaviour”? A part of your mind that has a set of unbreakable rules that punishes you if you dare to even think about breaking them. Sound familiar?

This is probably going to be hard to hear for some people, but if you think that this is unquestioningly acceptable, there’s a high likelihood that your opinion on the matter is being driven by your superego. That’s part of what drives the cycle of abuse. You’ve been trained by your parents, who were trained by their parents, that to have a “non rules” mentality is deserving of punishment. When someone suggests such parenting, your instinctual reaction is for your superego to punish you for even thinking about it, and then, through transferance, to get angry at other people who would dare to talk about such things.

That’s not to say there isn’t any value to rules. Clearly the superego is the most evolved part of our brains, and it does help in society to have certain rules that we take for granted such as don’t be violent (at least without reason). It’s just that in focusing on rules for rules sake, and not on reasoned thinking, we are training our children to submit to their superego, rather than on the primacy of the ego. Without going into the explicit details behind it, punishment, especially traumatic punishment such as physical punishment or extreme verbal abuse, is one of the most effective ways of strengthening the child’s superego, and thus impoverishing their natural self in the process.

My Superego Makes Me Sad

This leads to the cause of my disorder. My overactive superego is constantly running. I suppose this is what people mean when they say things like “you think too much” (fuck them, they don’t think ENOUGH – s.e). I simply can’t participate in normal everyday activities without having the sound of it in my ear. It’s a constant struggle.

I find it incredibly difficult to explain this part of it all. I suppose there’s a lot of complicated little bits, and what’s worse, each and every part in itself could be easily brushed off with “oh everyone has that”. You’ll have to trust me that chances are you don’t have what I have (I’m talking generally here…obviously there may be other sufferers reading this).

To try and explain, imagine if you may, you’re in a group of people. Except you don’t see a bunch of other people as an opportunity to engage in meaningful activities, but rather you see giant hands waiting to slap you. If you ever got to see the movie version of Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, think of the vogons home planet (or just watch it now) as the classic illustrative example of social anxiety. Now imagine that your life is like that every moment of every day. That is how I see the world.

Now, to add to that, imagine that every time you have a conversation you have a constant barrage of noise playing next to your ear. It’s kind of like the worlds most annoying and idiotic heckler is your constant companion, but for some reason you’re compelled to listen to it. “Dumb!” it smugly asserts after every sentence you utter, and, “By the way, did you notice the way that person didn’t respond with  overwhelming enthusiasm? You’re as useless as a pig with pockets, you are.”

It’s paralysing. This is why (at least so far as I hypothesise) most sufferers prefer isolation. It’s just easier. Even if a social interaction may have been successful, the FEELING of failure will still be there. That’s why it’s kind of useless to suggest to someone who suffers S.A.D to just “give it a shot”. While the person making the recommendation sees that there is a chance of a successful encounter, the sufferer knows that, for them personally, all encounters carry some emotional cost regardless of the outcome, and much higher penalties if the risk doesn’t pay off.

The costs accumulate too, at least in my experience, with a social faux pas causing immense stress for anywhere from hours and days to, potentially, many years to come. For example, I once made an embarrassing comment to a friend of mine, and even though we have become good friends I still constantly stress about reprisal and disapproval, nearly two years after the fact. She even hugged me recently (which causes a bunch of stress in and of itself that I won’t elaborate on here), but still my brain finds a way to discard that evidence and to return to the stress.

And The Rest

Back to the start of this whole train of thought, it’s fairly obvious, at least to me, why there is a high rate of comorbidity in relation to S.A.D. I’d fairly confidently suggest that probably the primary cause of my depression is due to a lack of fulfilling relationships. I might even venture to say that my self esteem issues are a result of allowing my failure to form said relationships be used as ammunition by the superego to punish my sense of self.

Perhaps the worst contributor to depression though, is wondering what I could have achieved had I never suffered this problem. S.A.D is known as the “illness of lost opportunities”. For an artistic person like myself this couldn’t be more true. When I try to create something, whether it be music, art, writing or other endeavours, I constantly have the fear of social disapproval weighing me down. I’ve lost count of the number of projects I’ve completed to various stages only to be overcome with anxiety about presenting the result to the public and abandoning the whole thing. The thoughts get pretty extreme, to the point that I find myself thinking things like “if this isn’t the most adored piece in the history of the world, you’ll be a total failure, and can you really handle that kind of rejection? (McFLY!! Hello!!)”.

That’s partially why I’ve decided to avoid proofing and editing these things any more. It’s just another opportunity for my superego to gain the upper hand. Perhaps that’s why I sought private feedback in the first place, to try and avoid any potential negative perception. Also perhaps I unconsciously was seeking an excuse not to publish.

This Is Bigger Than Me

Perhaps the single most recurring thought that has been coming from my superego as I write this article, is that it will just sound like a bunch of whinging. It is perhaps one of my biggest fears, that I am completely out of touch with the severity of my problems and that in fact I’m just “having a cry” about things that are not that big a deal.

I hope to move the conversation beyond that though. I’ve wrote in the past about the subtle link between mental illness and economic policy, and it has been shown that S.A.D may be a risk factor to relying on government welfare, as well as living in conditions of poverty. Social anxiety disorder may be one of the biggest problems facing our world today, and yet, it is fairly much unknown to the majority of people, including those that unknowingly suffer from it.

In fact, even in academic circles, acceptance of the severity of S.A.D (even the acceptance that it is actually a disorder) is only a fairly recent development, and it is still quite controversial. It was once thought that S.A.D was a rare disorder, but the evidence is building that in fact it is perhaps the most common mental illness. A lot of the controversy revolves around arguments such as where you draw the line between shyness and mental disorder, but all this achieves is to further muddy the waters around a problem that is consistently unexamined in society.

And yet, in spite of all this, this is a disorder that has been observed by our species for thousands of years:

“…through bashfulness, suspicion, and timorousness, will not be seen abroad; loves darkness as life and cannot endure the light or to sit in lightsome places; his hat still in his eyes, he will neither see, nor be seen by his good will. He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him.” Hippocrates, Father Of Medicine

Perhaps it is time we took notice.

You

I don’t remember your name but I can’t forget you. We were in school together, grade prep and maybe one. I remember we were best friends. We used to play together on the bars during recess. I remember other people making fun of me, and vicariously you, which made me sad. You suffer from Down syndrome, which to everyone in the school (maybe the town) made you some kind of enemy. It made me sad that no one else could see what I saw. I remember someone who always had a smile for me. I remember someone who was happy just to be together. It has always seemed like a lot of stress to me, trying to put on the pretense of making small talk, but you didn’t care. Very few people I feel comfortable around but I remember that was never a problem with you.

I remember something else. I was in the hallway at the school, and I remember parents descending like a mob. Everyone was there and watching you being taken away. Is it all a dream? I don’t know, but I remember it. I remember it because I have a clear memory of my father standing next to me. I remember asking him why they were taking you away. My dad said you were going to a special school. I never really questioned it but even at the time it seemed strange. Why had so many people arrived to make sure my friend was taken away? It still doesn’t make any sense.

This was in Mortlake, Victoria in Australia. It was some time between nineteen eighty and nineteen eighty two. It was around the time when Father Gerald Ridsdale was living at the Catholic presbytery.

When he came to that town we all rejoiced. He had a fluffy beard, he looked like Santa, and he acted like him too. He loved children. He made sure to treat us all like we were special. As it turns out, he perhaps loved them too much. He came to welcoming arms, and left behind him a hundred lifetimes of shattered memories.

I remember the corner of the school yard we would all sneak out of during lunch time. I can still remember the taste of the sour grass we used to suck, and the flowers which, when you removed their petals, looked just like an Olympic torch. And when kids snuck out of the grounds they could run a short way to visit Gerald.

He had a game: if you told him a joke he would print it in the newsletter and give you fifty cents. I don’t remember the riddle I told him, but the answer was porpoise. I can see his chest of drawers from his room even now. I don’t remember much else, but every day I wonder. Now I see it from the eyes of an adult, it was like sneaking through the lion’s den.

And I wonder too, was it Gerald who led the mob against you? I don’t know. Coincidence? Maybe. All I have is bits of memories, it was so long ago.

I’m not even sure of anything, truth be told. The only reason I even think about this is that every time I think of you I cry, and I don’t understand why. Do you have the answers?

I’ve seen photos of myself not long after that time, and I can see the fear in my eyes. Is it all just a fiction? I know they say that we can create very real memories that never happened, but this DOES seem oh so real. And then there’s the crying. And the sadness that I can’t seem to make go away. It’s there always.

Sometimes I wonder where you are, and whether you still smile every day. And sometimes I wonder do you remember me? And does it even matter?

Sexist, Imbecilic Opportunists And You

im•be•cil•ic (ˌɪm bəˈsɪl ɪk)
adj.
contemptibly stupid or silly.

con·tempt·i·ble (kn-tmpt-bl)
adj.
deserving of contempt; despicable.

So this just passed my facebook feed. You can read the article itself but you may have already heard about it since (as far as I can tell as someone who doesn’t really follow mass media) it’s a somewhat big news item.

Basically some worm piece of shit with money decided that his ability to extract money out of morons by appealing to their misguided sense of hate is more important than the thousands of people (including young girls) that will be affected by this garbage.

Lately I’ve been trying to remain calm in these situations but I was pushed over the edge by this marvel of modern intellect as seen by a comment from a friend of a friend of a friend. I won’t name and shame because, really, this is about more than just one person. I even used to be guilty of this kind of analysis myself. These kinds of comments can be found everywhere and this person is just one type of every man (obvious pun excluded). And I’m going to heap some (slightly) misdirected anger at this person.

“Sounds like a bit of an overreaction to me.
I think things like this mean princess in the character trait sense and not just ‘a female’
And yes, princesses are traditionally female. But nobody means that kind of princess when they say ‘toughen up princess’ to their mates. They’re using princess in the colloquial term as someone who is prissy, delicate and needs looking after.
I wonder what the reaction would have been if it said, “inside every tough guy is a twink who wants a bear try him out.””

No you fricken toadstool. By your own (albeit ironic) example this is, if anything, an underreaction. The problem isn’t less than we think, it’s exceedingly worse.

Lets put aside the rape culture, violence and pedophillic intentions put forth in these scum vehicles and have a bit of a look at what you just said.

“Sounds like a bit of an overraction to me.” EXACTLY! To YOU! I’m assuming from your picture you wouldn’t find it too offensive, being that you’re a westernised white adult male. What makes you think that YOU are in any way qualified to decide how people should react to this? Tell the little girl that cries herself to sleep at night, or the young woman who went out for a good time and came home with a lifetime of post traumatic stress disorder. “You’re upset that we are encouraging each other to rape?” said the barbarian to his daughter, “Overreacting a bit aren’t you young lass it’s just a bit of boyish fun. Go clean up the blood and get back into your school girl outfit for me.”

GOD. Why do we put up with this?

I think things like this mean princess in the character trait sense and not just ‘a female’ And yes, princesses are traditionally female. But nobody means that kind of princess when they say ‘toughen up princess’ to their mates.” WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN? For starters a pop quiz. Being a princess makes a person: a) less important than other people b) mentally ill c) acceptable to rape. If you answered a, b or c, congratulations, you’re an idiot.

The last part of your summation of your brilliant powers of deduction tells us more than you ever could: you completely miss the implication in every day common speech. You use the phrase “toughen up princess” as though the words have no meaning, when it’s plainly obvious what the implication is: princesses are girls, you’re weak, therefore you’re a girl, therefore you’re pathetic (as all girls are).

They’re using princess in the colloquial term as someone who is prissy, delicate and needs looking after.” When you use the word ‘colloquial’ do you mean:

characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal

or:

implied sexism?

God, do you even know what the internet IS? And how the f*** did you manage to find your way onto a facebook thread if you clearly struggle with the basic principles of google? This is gender debate 101. Is research something that only “faggots” do? Are you too busy spending your time “down in da hood”? FFS wake up.

I wonder what the reaction would have been if it said, “inside every tough guy is a twink who wants a bear try him out.”” ARGH! MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING! Is it not completely apparent that you’re (presumably) “opposite” is in actual fact, through the amazing powers of double speak, not opposite at all but in fact completely sameosite? (I just made up that word, by the way. You seem to be fond of using the English language for completely arbitrary purposes so I thought you’d like it) In a world where the opposite of raping women is being gay is it any wonder that people still write entire treatises to feminism? It’s almost like there is an unspoken truth here: it’s against the rules to make fun of straight white males. Such an ingrained truth that people seem to silently gloss over the obvious fact, almost like insulting straight men is only legal on platform 9 and a half.

What the hell people? How is this not a case of obvious and apparent casual rape culture, used with the express purpose of a greedy person trying to make money off the misery of the defenseless? Casual talk leads to gross outcomes. Just take the recent example of our illustrious leader making casual comments about hitting children. For the prior better part of a decade or two, hitting was considered the kind of thing that doing in public would get you arrested or at least enquiries made to child services. Just weeks after the comments by Tony Abbott I witnessed several cases of kids getting hit in public, sometimes multiple times, for trivial or non-existent offences. Think casual talk doesn’t encourage idiots to live out their sadistic fantasies? In just over six months the public conversation has moved from promoting the beating of children to promoting a grown man illegally beating up children. I wish I was exaggerating but this man is in charge of recommendations to the future of our schooling. He has already implied that using physical violence at school is not off the table.

Without the resources to put extensive research into the matter, I would all but assume with certainty that at least one woman will get abused because of the scrawlings on these vans. In fact I’m being generous, there will probably be many but even if just one isn’t that reason enough?

Cigarette manufacturers have to pay massive taxes to the government in count of the fact that smoking causes serious injury to health, the care of which must be footed by the government. Should John “shitstain” Webb have to pay the psycological bills of the people he is inadvertantly damaging?

Maybe you think I’m being emotional or hyperbolic. If so, a-fucking-men. Who wouldn’t get emotional when the safety of friends and family is at stake? You’d have to be a truly emotionless zombie to not get emotional about rape. It’s pretty much the only thing that virtually everyone agrees is a horrible thing.

What’s even worse is that these vans are RENTALS. “No muss, no fuss. You’re privacy is our priority.” You couldn’t get more dangerous if you gave a redneck a loaded M16, a youtube stream of fox news and let him loose in a room full of Greens. The company that rents these vans have come out and said it just wants ‘to have a good time’. “No shit sherlock,” said every rapist ever, “hey man, lighten up we’re just having a bit of rape over here, it’s all good”.

And people wonder why Queenslanders embarass us.