Life update (03/18/2023)

I have barely written anything this week; my old pal darkness itself has paid me a visit. When I wake up I want to go back to sleep. After I drag myself out of bed, I lack the energy and mental focus to do anything but vegetate around. Although I force myself to go outside for a walk and to read in some coffee shop, every sensation feels grating. I try to avoid landing my gaze on any human being. Both the present and future seem hopeless. I think often of how lovely it would be if I hadn’t been born. So in general, the usual stuff that goes on when I end up depressed again. The only thing that has made me feel better is lying on a massage mat with my eyes closed while listening to ASMR through my noise-cancelling headphones.

I’m sure that the lack of a new chapter of my ongoing novel will be a tragedy for the five people or so that follow it, probably for sick reasons. I’m writing the stuff that I need to write; it just happens that I may be the only person who actually wants to read such a story.

I have been unemployed since January, and living on unemployment benefits that will last for eight more months. Honestly, I hope I don’t get a job until then. For the last few years I have been working as an IT guy at a hospital. I hated that job, but I thought I could tolerate it, until I developed heart problems that get triggered by the stress I endure at the job. I have gone through two episodes of serious arrhythmia so far, and both landed me in the ER. Going back to work, possibly to any job, will initiate a countdown until the next time that my heart fails me again. I only work to earn money, of course; if I could get away with it, I would write for a living. In addition, having a job from now on not only will steal my time, my energy and my mental health, but it could also cause a stroke, an aneurysm or who knows what other nasty shit due to my heart issues.

On top of that, I was working regularly in that health organization because I was ranked first in the list of people to call when regular workers get sick or go on holiday. However, some political bullshit has given further importance to being able to speak Basque, the regional language, to the extent that I’m now ranked the eight. If I don’t get called for the upcoming holidays in a couple of weeks, I’m unlikely to get any contract at all for the foreseeable future. Very few people who aren’t native speakers of that horrid language (that was cobbled together artificially in the seventies, because different regions of the Basque Country could barely understand each other) can get the certification, and their horror stories involve ceasing to read or watch any movie/show in their spare time except in Basque. The instructors that teach the language in publically funded courses seem to always be political activists for whom the language is inextricably linked to fighting for the independence of this region, as well as communism.

In my case, reading and writing the stuff that I need to read and write is the only thing that has kept me alive so far; I didn’t see myself living past eighteen years old, and I would have spared myself tons of horrors if I hadn’t. In addition, I loathe that fucking language, Basque; as if I didn’t find it ugly and useless to begin with, I have many bad memories of random adults related to the school reprimanding me for speaking in Spanish during recess, or even when I was walking around town in my free time. Joke’s on them, though: about half of the time you hear anyone speak on the streets these days, you hear neither Spanish nor Basque. Well, joke’s on all of us for that.

In summary, I may need to figure out what to do to earn money. I doubt I can go back to programming; I haven’t learned any programming of note in years, and I’m far too old already (I’ll turn thirty-eight in a couple of weeks) for an industry that recycles young programmers because they accept terrible wages.

Other than that, I’m loving the manga series Dungeon Meshi, about a group of D&D-like folks delving into a dungeon partly to eat every monster they come across. Well-realized and flawed characters, the way seemingly only the Japanese know how to do it anymore. Here’s a video review by someone who does good job extolling the virtues of that story.

Anyway, back to the winter prediction: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be grey, and it’s going to last you for the rest of your life.

Life update (02/11/2023)

A couple of days ago I had my yearly check up with my usual endocrinologist. Back in my mid-twenties, after my body started doing stuff that a man shouldn’t be able to, I got an MRI done. It discovered a pituitary tumor. I was likely born with it. In retrospect, it should have been discovered back when I was still a child; after all, gynecomastia isn’t something that just happens. If my parents hadn’t been generally neglectful, I would have been spared the permanent effects of becoming an adult in a boddy riddled with hormonal imbalances.

If you want to know how that’s like, I guess you can check out the videos of the adults that were put in feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy back when they could barely understand what would be done to them or why, only to regret it later (and be censored for it). In my case, whatever defect in my DNA, or poison in my environment, created the tumor, was the one responsible for this alteration, which may be worse because I never consented to anything. In all cases mentioned, the person ends up fucked for life.

Obviously there are sex differences in brain anatomy (quick google: “On average, males and females showed greater volume in different areas of the cortex, the outer brain layer that controls thinking and voluntary movements. Females had greater volume in the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, superior temporal cortex, lateral parietal cortex, and insula. Males, on average, had greater volume in the ventral temporal and occipital regions. Each of these regions is responsible for processing different types of information”), and due to my hormonal imbalances, my brain must be more female than the average guy’s. I guess that may explain in part why I feel comfortable writing female characters.

Anyway, my hormones have been under control for the last eleven years or so thanks to the medication I have to take two times a week. And ever since I’m producing healthy levels of testosterone, I want to fuck everything that moves and that may remotely be considered female (slight exaggeration).

Going back to the initial topic: I have no problem using public transport, but my elderly father offered to drive me to the hospital for my scheduled visit. I never got a driver’s license, and likely never will. Partly because I was born with so-called high-functioning autism; my mind makes me lose myself in daydreams in which I don’t recall entering, and when I “wake up” from them, I’m surprised that I didn’t fall through an open manhole or get hit by a car along the way. In addition, and worse, either I was born with or developed OCD (often comorbid with autism). This OCD of mine generates a myriad of intrusive thoughts, plenty of which involve violence either towards others or myself. If I were to drive a car, I would find myself having to drive out of my mind the urge to veer into oncoming traffic or drive straight into a wall.

I suppose that I’m something of a barely restrained public menace. Sometimes when I’m about to grab my coffee, my brain presents me with vivid sequences of me tipping the cup so that it spills the hot coffee all over my or someone else’s skin. Unfortunately that actually happened, although just once: as I was about to take my coffee from the counter, one of those intrusive “animations” came up, and next thing I knew, my thumb had slid in such a way that I ended up spilling the coffee all over a customer’s lap. He was surprisingly cool about it.

I’ve dropped valuable stuff that I was holding because my mind got filled with images of me dropping it. I’ve never held a baby because I don’t want to live with the consequences of possibly dropping them; back when I was a teenager, a cousin nearly booted me out from her apartment because I didn’t want to hold her spawn, and she stormed out offended while saying, “you better change your mind about that!”

I nearly bit off the nipple of a girlfriend of mine because at that very moment the enticing prospect flashed, vividly rendered, through my brain. I still remember the gasp she let out. I miss sucking on tits.

Of course, because I live in an increasingly chaotic Europe (it will last at the most one or two generations), whenever I go out I have to endure vivid sequences of me defending myself from attacks due to the proximity of some group of shady, malicious-looking, military-aged men from some remote shithole, and it doesn’t help that I’ve seen in person shit done by such men, have been harassed by some, and my apartment was nearly broken into in the middle of the day by, again, such people.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself to the hospital. As my elderly father attempted to find a parking space, I told him, “you don’t need to park, I’ll just get out. And don’t wait for me, because afterwards I’ll walk somewhere to get a cup of coffee.” My father stopped the car almost immediately and let me out. He didn’t say anything. A couple of hours later, I was reading in a coffee shop when my father called. He asked where I was, because he didn’t see me leave the hospital. I reminded him that I had told him not to wait for me. He said that he had told me that when I left the doctor’s office, I should call him to pick me up. He hadn’t.

The situation with my father, as in general with the rest of my family, is more peculiar than that of most people’s families (and so is my own personal situation). My father was regularly beaten as a child to an extent that it gave him notorious brain damage. I’ve never had anything resembling a normal conversation with him. In his early seventies, he’s now a frail-looking, stooped old man whose head wobbles constantly like a bobblehead doll due to whatever damage was done back in the day. For most effects and purposes, I didn’t have a father figure growing up, resulting in all the damage that does to someone.

I thought about growing old. I’ll be thirty-eight in a couple of months. I’ve never felt older than eighteen or twenty. I’m appalled by how fast my body has broken down, including my heart ever since a certain jab.

I have never felt fully human, but the older I get, the less I want to interact with human beings in any capacity. Far more often than not, whenever I listen to other people’s opinions I’m disturbed by what comes out of their mouths, as well as their notions of what is good or preferable. A few times I thought I was fine with someone as a person, only for them to open up and for me to realize that I had only fabricated in my mind a version of this person, one that never existed. And due to autism plus OCD and the way they wired my brain, I simply don’t feel the need to be in the presence of other humans. In fact, doing so repels me: I feel like I’m surrounded by wild, barely predictable animals. Truly, if it wasn’t because I can’t afford it, and because I wouldn’t know how to organize myself to do so, I would live far, far away from civilization, or at least far enough where I would still have access to the internet.

Apparently a significant portion of the world’s population cannot generate images in their brains. I read that somewhere. My mind deals more in images than in words, and I’m constantly aware that language is a very imperfect tool to translate what pops in my mind as images. But due to the conditions I was born with, my mind is a regular whirlpool of images, mostly negative ones, many of them bad memories, that pop up without my control and that force me to deal with them. Two nights ago I barely slept three hours or so, and the rest of the time I kept swatting back the visual sequences that my brain kept presenting to me. For example, how many times do I have to picture the face of agony that my beloved first cat made when she was mortally wounded by a dog? How many times do I have to recall the moments in which I realized that a girlfriend of mine was cheating and was trying to get rid of me? How many times do I have to see the faces of children mocking me for one reason or another? Most of the memories aren’t traumatic per se, but they still leave a foul taste in my mouth.

I have to be careful with the experiences I expose myself to, because any new memory (and they are almost always bad; my brain seems very reluctant to retain positive memories) will visit me for years, possibly for the rest of my life, and I suppose there’s a point in any human in which he’ll have no choice but to go “fuck this” and jump off a bridge.

It’s not all bad regarding mental images, though; for years I’ve found solace in very elaborate daydreams that I can run whenever I want, and that rescue me from the harsh surroundings. One of them starts when three people from the future discover that they all came from an isolated group of Icelanders from the Middle Ages, who were about to starve from a little ice age. The future people, who researched time travel, rescue their ancestors and bring them to the Americas. They provide some future technology, artificial intelligence and such to give them a major edge, but they also give them the task of becoming the sentinels of the New World for when Europeans come and unwittingly kill most of the population through disease, and ruin the treasures of the past through Christianity. An elaborate fantasy that despite how much I’ve worked mentally on many of the characters, will never become a written story, because daydreams are terrible story material; stories are about tension and struggle (and usually end with a definite win or loss), daydreams are about winning as often as possible.

I can’t come up with a proper segue into the following topic, but the fact is that I feel like I’ve been dead for years and years, maybe since my early twenties. Ever since, I’ve slowly been erasing myself from the world. The way Patricia Highsmith put it (someone else who was autistic), the artistic life is a “long and lovely suicide.” You are mining from yourself raw material to construct valuable artifacts out of it, and you do so, if you are lucky, for as long as your body lasts, but someone who is interested in the world and in living doesn’t sit in front of a screen (or stand in front of a canvas) for hours upon hours to escape from reality. And there’s a good chance that giving in to the impulse to escape from reality through writing, painting, etc. actually prevents you from learning to cope or even appreciate the whole of reality. But fuck reality; it’s just an inferior version of whatever goes on in the mind anyway.

Life update (01/14/2023)

It’s a quarter to midnight over here and today I’ve gone through a surreal nightmare. Granted, most experiences feel like surreal nightmares when your neurological makeup is as screwed up as mine.

I woke up at seven to get on a taxi to get on a train straight to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Álava, a neighboring province, because I had to take a bullshit public exam that would determine if in three years or so, for a period of about eight months, they would keep calling me to work as an IT guy at some hospital (usually the main hospital at Donostia).

Whenever I travel somewhere new or that I don’t visit often, I love the sights on the way. There’s a curious mountain somewhere between my city and Vitoria-Gasteiz that looks like hundreds of meters of gray bones sticking out of the ground. The surroundings are flat, and the couple of neighboring towns look quiet and peaceful. I wonder how it would be like to live in such places.

There’s a sequence in my beloved previous novel, “My Own Desert Places”, when the main guy/girl and his/her love interest take a trip to Asturias. I wrote that sequence in a single Sunday (I have no clue how I managed to write so quickly back then; I wrote the novel in a couple of months). Along the way, the protagonist slowly loses her mind, with hilarious slash disturbing results. I felt pretty much the same on the way back home today, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I reached Vitoria-Gasteiz, which is a pretty cool city. At least the architecture is intriguing, but my experience, as usual, went something like this: “What a nice and spacious avenue. But why is that retard blasting the morning news so loudly?” “What a picturesque little shop that sells antiques. Oh, that man just hacked up a phlegm and spat it onto the pavement.” “Look at that lovely, centuries-old plaza. But why do these people have to speak so loud?” In short, human beings are the worst part of every single fucking experience. Just imagine how lovely a sudden lack of human beings would be. Or at least if they had learned to keep quiet and reproduce responsibly along the way.

I ate a greasy combo plate at some restaurant that turned out to serve huge portions, but whose patrons were, expectedly, obnoxiously loud. I was seated next to a woman in maybe her mid to late thirties whose husband looked like he was in his late forties or early fifties. They had three young boys who wouldn’t stop annoying each other. The mother looked exasperated. At one point she leaned towards one of her boys and said something like, “do not snatch the toy out of my hand like that. Do you understand me? If you want it ask for it. Say, ‘can you please give me the toy?’ Do not forcefully grab it from my hand,” in a voice that sounded like she resented the kid. A bit later, the youngest of her crotch goblins started bawling. The mother went, “I wish I had come alone, that I had left you three at home so I could have a good time for a change,” or something to that effect. The husband wasn’t around to witness these interactions.

I will never become pregnant no matter what kind viscous experiment I may partake in, but if I were a woman, I think that one of my worst fears would be to have children only to years later resent having to spend my precious time dealing with them. I’ve been near a few women when they gave off that impression (another one I remember was a tired-looking woman in her thirties who was writing on a notebook at a coffee shop only for her son to topple her cup, then wander away non-chalantly as the mother was berating him. The woman then started crying softly), and it made me sad. I wanted to stand up and tell those women to shoot their kids in the face and then ride into the sunset with me. I would become their new son if they so pleased. I tend to fantasize about having sex with virtually every moderately attractive woman I come across.

I was dealing with acid reflux and lots of gas when five in the afternoon came around. I joined a few dozen people at some local college to subject myself to the harrowing experience of having to pass some bullshit exam. Turns out that whoever was in charge of choosing the questions for this exam was an idiot, incompetent, or both: about forty percent of the questions were only tangentially related to anything we do at work as IT guys for hospitals. For example, they asked shit like “what is the Spanish authority that provides guidelines to audit the security of information systems?” Bitch, we have nothing to do with network security nor audits. Those are engineers at a completely different job. I don’t recall even reading about most of that stuff in the books they told us to buy for this exam.

As if the infuriatingly ridiculous questions weren’t enough, the dickhead they put in charge of my classroom only informed us of the remaining time when there were only fifteen minutes left. I didn’t even have time to reread all the questions I had left unanswered. In all the other exams, the examiners started informing us of the remaining time with forty-five minutes left. This, along with the questions they chose for the exam, is the kind of shit that happens when both the jury and the examiners are chosen by lottery.

When I got out of that campus, it was dark outside. I was sure that I had flunked the exam. Seated at a coffee table in the mostly deserted train station, because I had to wait an hour until my train back home arrived, I felt utterly miserable. It’s not the kind of miserable that someone as broken as me felt back in the day; I’m fully aware that I’m not built for this world, that most of the sensory information it provides on a daily basis feels like nails on a chalkboard, and that I will never feel comfortable among human beings. I have long ceased to fight against any of that. I was just exhausted, defeated, and wanted to go home.

The ride was a blur of pitch-blackness outside, me wanting to have sex with the stylish fake blonde that was seated in front of me, and me wondering how such sexual encounter would work, given that I had spent the last hour and a half holding my farts.

When I got home at about eleven at night, I found out that I actually passed the exam. Barely. So instead of writing an utterly miserable entry, I’ve written this crap because I feel a bit better. Tomorrow I’ll go back to focusing on writing my novel, which is the only thing that truly matters in this world as far as I’m concerned, at least until I finish it and move on to the next thing.

Life update (01/10/2023)

Today I have travelled to the hills of Donostia for a cardiology appointment. I had sought a second opinion because the first doctor that treated me had performed an echocardiogram then failed to share the results (he was already ending the visit when I reminded him), had gotten annoyed at me when I told him the objective fact that I had never experienced heart issues until the very same day I received the latest “booster vaccine” (he told me, “[manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccines have nothing to do with heart issues, erase that from your mind”), and in general behaved like a prick.

This second doctor looked close to retirement, and was cold and abrasive. He simultaneously seemed to believe that patients shouldn’t research their symptoms on their own (“because Google mostly lies”) and that details about cardiological afflictions and their treatments should be common knowledge.

He told me that acid reflux likely triggered my latest episode of arrhythmia, that I possibly have some esophageal hernia too close to the left ventricle of my heart. It may be the reason why I felt like some pressure was coming up my esophagus, only to “inflate” in the general area of my heart, and then break out into an arrhythmia the moment the pressure deflated. However, he told me that I shouldn’t bother to get my esophagus looked at, because the treatment would be the same. Or some shit like that, I’m not sure on that point.

He clarified that I can lift weights, but not heavily (low weights, high repetitions), and that I should focus on cardio instead (I hate cardio). I also shouldn’t consume alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages or even too cold stuff (like ice cream) preferably ever again. I can’t think of anything that has kept me running as much as caffeine has for the last couple of decades, so I don’t know how I’ll handle that.

What infuriated me was the following (paraphrased) exchange:

Doctor: “When was the first time you experienced such issues with your heart?”
Jon: “Well, the last doctor who wanted an answer to that question got pissed at me when I told him, but here it goes: my heart was healthy until the day I received the latest “booster vaccine,” as I was burning up a fever, and I have experienced palpitations ever since.”
Doctor: “[Manufactured virus of unspecified origin] is known to damage the electrical functions of the heart, and therefore the vaccine does as well.”
Jon: “The other doctor told me that these vaccines are unrelated to heart issues.”
The doctor leaned forward.
Doctor: “That’s what they are saying because they don’t want to discourage people from getting it. But of course the vaccine can cause permanent heart damage, because the virus itself is known to attack such tissues. I have treated, for example, many young women that come from other doctors because they are experiencing what is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); other doctors have told them that it was anxiety related, but these women could tell that the only factor that changed in their lives was getting jabbed.”

I would like to put the following text in all caps, but it would look ugly as hell, so I’ll use italics instead:

Even though these vaccines don’t prevent contagion, don’t prevent transmission, don’t prevent mutation, that at the most (supposedly) they make the symptoms less severe, even groups that aren’t at risk (such as young people) have been mandated to receive them, despite the fact that a sizeable percentage of them will develop permanent health issues as a consequence, issues that could cause their deaths. In addition, some doctors, by lying about the dangers, are deliberately stealing their patients’ right to make an informed decision regarding whether or not they should get jabbed.

In case you didn’t know, Musk divulged emails from some big shot at Pfizer that used government channels to push for censorship of other doctors that stated that the index of mortality regarding this virus in young people was less than zero percent, and that therefore they shouldn’t get vaccinated. So many people’s heads should roll, but I’ll be extremely surprised if any of them end up defending themselves in a courtroom.

Anyway, my doctor emphasized that I should never get a [manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccine again. I suspect that the next time some people order us all into lockdown with whatever excuse, I’d need some signed exemption, or else I would likely lose my job.

This doctor prescribed me three different drugs: one to handle my acid reflux (that I should take every day before dinner), a beta blocker that is supposed to reduce blood pressure (and that could make me seriously dizzy on top of how out of it I generally am, partly thanks to the drug I take for my pituitary tumor), and flecainide in case I find myself out in the wild when the next arrhythmia hits. If my heart rhythm doesn’t revert in four hours after taking flecainide, I should visit the ER.

In the end, this new doctor was a bit of a prick, but an honest prick, and that’s the best kind. In addition, he didn’t fucking charge me for the visit.

I’m unemployed as of last Friday, and I have nothing going on until this Saturday, when I’ll have to travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz and pass some bullshit exam. Hopefully in the meantime I’ll manage to make enough progress with my novel.