Stephen Pimley | Illness,Memories | Saturday, February 28th, 2015

IMG_8484.cropresize IMG_8486.cropresize

Right – severe – profound sensori-neural hearing loss
Left – hearing WNL
speech descrimination excellent AS CNTAD
Immittance – normal compliance
Acoustic reflexes absent right
present left

WNL = Within normal limits
AS = Left ear
CNTAD = Could not test right ear

Stephen Pimley | Friends,Memories,Thoughts | Saturday, February 28th, 2015

It still amazes me how some of the most powerful and influential memories can be buried for years at a time only to bubble to the surface in crystal clarity when my mind is meandering through totally unrelated topics. The particular memory that came to light last night is that I never had more than one real friend at any one time from the first grade through sixth. There were about five boys during this time period and some of them really stood out from the others in how awful they were and how weak I was for putting up with them.

I have always been particularly inept at standing up for myself and so I ended up in situations where I could spend afternoons for months straight with someone from whom I felt immediate relief upon making an excuse to go home and do homework (AKA watch cartoons alone). At the same rate I guess they helped to shape my life because they highlighted traits that I never wanted to reflect in my own mind from a very early age. This is also a good reminder that my own trait of the standoffish observer started long before I can think of an obvious reason or trigger.

The second to last friend during this period is a standout example. He was a pathological liar to a degree I have never witnessed before or since. Almost every time we weren’t just watching TV or playing games he was busy spinning tall tales about the most ridiculous shit. I don’t understand what he got out of it because I never believed him. At first, I probed him for more details hoping his web of deceit would unravel and he would just admit it was all bullshit. Oddly enough he doubled down at every question. Here are some beloved examples that you might find hard to swallow:

One afternoon he was playing with a butterfly knife trying to learn how to throw it properly against a wooden fence. I asked him where he got it from because I was amazed his parents let him have one (my mother by contrast wouldn’t even let me have a capgun because she thought they were too violent..). He unfolds this story about how he found it embedded in the fence with a chunk of human scalp and skull still attached… He removed it then used his outdoorsman training to follow a trail eventually catching a murderer that was on the loose. The police rewarded him by making him an honorary officer. He was given a badge but this was mysteriously never around for him to show me. Even more odd was the fact that they let him keep the knife which he claimed was evidence in a murder case.

I was (okay, still am) a huge nerd for books about ancient warfare everything from the 1600’s to the Trojan War era. I started telling him about the weapons I was reading about in the books I was always checking out from the library. Instead of either showing no interest or saying that’s cool he actually tried to one up my story by claiming to have all of those weapons in his attic. Supposedly he was in Baltimore with his family and a ship carrying priceless artifacts began to sink in the harbor. He dove into the water dozens of times to retrieve weapons and dump them on the docks before returning for more. The owners were so grateful to him that they let him keep a musket, ballista, cast iron cannon, and so on. All of these were safely stored in his attic. He said he would have to ask his parents to let me see them but he wasn’t sure if they would let us.

A summer day spent at the pool was a barrage of him pointing out which girls were “sluts” and which ones he had “fucked three times”. Mind you this is a chubby little 11-year-old boy talking about 15-18 year-old girls as if there was anything remotely redeeming about himself they would be interested in. Looking back I feel particularly bad about letting him talk about strangers like this but I’m not sure there was anything I could have done to change his ways.

His stories never stopped, no matter how ludicrous they were or how pointless. It is given that he was oblivious to how poorly received his bullshit was. Or maybe he suspected, and it was some kind of sick game to him to see how high his fantasy could fly while I stood there not caring enough anymore to call him out on it?

Even to this day I don’t exactly know what it was about me that I couldn’t just tell him I didn’t want to hang out anymore. I guess being constantly bored and annoyed was more palatable to me than standing up for myself and facing that conflict. In the end I ended up hanging out with his little brother and ignoring him for a few weeks. I guess he was so hurt he stopped coming over to my house to ask me to play.

This really makes me wonder if most kids had such odd personality traits at an early age and I am just making a lot out of nothing. Is it possible these boys turned out perfectly normal? Do you think that life itself would have turned this boy around to redeem himself?

Stephen Pimley | Abstract,Random,Thoughts,Writing | Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

I don’t like the idea of making a fetish out of attraction. I guess I understand why people like the simplification of a certain type of guy or woman being their “thing”. I am starting to believe that to be an arbitrary restraint they are putting on themselves out of naiveté. I can fall for any woman between the gender stereotype in designer clothing to the tattooed and pierced. I find that when you really get to know someone their personality either fits with yours or it doesn’t. Fashion and artistic taste in music, literature, and so on falls away into the background. There is something at the core of every person that can melt together and form a stronger alloy, or it can froth and boil in a dangerous reaction. …and sometimes a bit of both.

Stephen Pimley | Daily Life,Illness,Thoughts | Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

This afternoon the panic came back so strong I had to force myself to sleep before the nausea overwhelmed me. Even then, as I laid on the pressure inside my chest, I worried that I could throw up in my sleep from the thoughts consuming me. It’s that old familiar realization that the currents have taken a hold and my body will be swept into whatever jagged rocks the world deems me worthy of. Free will is just an illusion inside of these channels. Yeah, my mind may tell me that I’m making a choice because it’s more reassuring to choose unwisely than it is to accept that I’m just a terrible person who is bound to fail and fail again. My friends try to convince me I have an opportunity to look at the positive. I cannot show them that this already is the positive without exposing enough of myself to make them hate me nearly as much as I hate myself. How can you convince a person that they deserve better when you don’t even know who they are? Why can’t they see the truths in the pain behind my eyes? I am so tired of sweating and thinking and trying to hide. I wish it were time to sleep already. It certainly is dark outside, but I still have so much suffering to do.

Stephen Pimley | Computer | Thursday, June 19th, 2014

My fat kitty-shaped cutaway got bigger and floppier ears a few days ago. I did some grinding on this case (CM 690 II Advanced) early last year to fit my Swiftech H220 radiator. As you can see in the first closeup, I didn’t remove enough material that time and the hose clamps were resting on the top panel and keeping the radiator from sitting flush. I really should switch to using a Dremel or something equivalent in the future. This 40+ year old drill has a much lower RPM and higher torque making it very difficult to keep the grinding stone from bucking all over and ruining the finish. After this second round the front hose finally has full clearance to move slightly and the radiator can sit flush. Unfortunately, I had underestimated how much material to remove from the back cutout. The screw frame for the clamp sits on the top panel and severely restricts movement. It is workable for the moment but had I more energy I would have gone back and finished the job. The painter’s tape I added to the edges is just to protect the tubing from potentially sharp edges while I move the radiator back and forth frequently with this project. I now have in my possession a nice roll of black tape that I will use in the future to match the case.

Stephen Pimley | Daily Life,Illness,Thoughts | Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I am taking it as a sign that the paroxetine has almost completely cleared my system now that spontaneous panic attacks unrelated to anything happening in the present have returned to assail any attempt at peace of mind. So much for my little experiment. I was hoping some of the things I have learned along the way while medicated for the last couple of years would have kept them at bay. I am so drenched in sweat from this anxiety it hasn’t even been eight hours since my last shower and I feel like I need to cleanse myself again. I don’t think anyone without this affliction could understand how debilitating it is when every little random object around the house can thrust the mind deep into a cocoon of the darkest memories. Then there are the totally irrational daydreams about hypothetical worst case scenarios that consume me for hours on end. How could I possibly be any use to the world when I can’t even shampoo my hair without getting lost in the darkness? Did I really shampoo or have I just been running my fingers through my hair all of this time? I can’t remember… I just know that I still feel dirty and another thirty minutes locked in a small steamy room with my demons couldn’t hurt. Never clean, never calm, and never safe. The only comfort I can find anymore comes in watching the horizon for the approaching end. I think I can feel it trickling in and it tastes a whole lot like stale sweat and goodbyes dead on my lips.

Stephen Pimley | Daily Life,Illness,Thoughts | Thursday, June 12th, 2014

It is too easy to ignore and distract myself from the scope of my mental illness until a change in my environment lets all those realizations rush in through the spillway. Feeling like I do now, it is so clear why I had to go all those years using to just get through the night without putting my scars on my arm or worse. It’s not so much “highs and lows” as constantly hanging on a precipice with suicide below and the rare social contact I have as tiny and ever-crumbling rocks jutting out of the side. I might get a toehold and something to hang onto temporarily, but nothing is ever solid and I often fall asleep with hands bleeding from a stone designed to fit every palm but my own. Support groups are no help. They don’t know me and I haven’t the time or the ego left to sacrifice making that happen. This looming void also makes my OCD more pronounced because one of the only ways I can avoid self-destructive measures is to engage in prolonged reality avoidance trips with music and closed eyes, video games, or locking myself in the guest bedroom with a good book. That doesn’t sound too bad does it? Well yeah, when you consider that no progress is made in any of the remaining hours of the day and a person with no job or education can not simply self-care leisure themselves 24/7 through life on someone else’s dime. I think a lot about how much better off my family would be financially without me around. I make plans to save them a large wad of cash to pay for my funeral. I get sadder knowing they wouldn’t even have the knowledge or energy to sell my CDs and computer parts for top dollar to help dig themselves out of the debt I have contributed so much to.

Stephen Pimley | Daily Life,Friends,Illness,Thoughts | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

I don’t know if this was the right thing to do or not but I deactivated my Facebook account Sunday morning. I find it too triggering because I can’t exercise enough self control to not check it ritually. If I didn’t have OCD then I could probably get by just fine. I wish I had the ability to limit how frequently I look for any new messages or check if my “friends” have finally bothered to read the messages I sent them days or weeks ago. Alas it is far too depressing for me to log in and see everyone else able to put up at least an outward image of maturity and progress in their lives while it takes every ounce of willpower I have just to keep from regressing.

It wasn’t until moments after I deactivated it that I realized I needed to get back on by the 26th to contact a member of Active Minds about a group we made tentative plans to attend. I have no other way of contacting her and I really wanted to see what the community was doing about mental illness awareness and suicide prevention at the high school level. As far as I can tell from their website, this new group has similar goals to Active Minds and sprung up locally after a series of suicides in county high schools.

Stephen Pimley | Cooking | Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

LorAnn Oils flavorings: blueberry, strawberry, cherry, tangerine, blackberry, and apricot.

LorAnn Oils flavorings

My package from LorAnn Oils arrived today. I’ve been looking forward to having more options for flavoring the seltzer from my SodaStream. I don’t have any plans to bake with them at the moment but I am sure they will come in handy some boring night when I get a sudden impulse to make some muffins.

Stephen Pimley | Daily Life,Friends,Illness,Thoughts | Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Why can’t I plan ahead more than a few hours? I kept avoiding picking up my medication last week. I don’t know if anyone will understand but I honestly feel too ugly to even drive to the clinic and be seen in public for five minutes. I put it off and lied to myself that it was okay because I could take 20mg instead of 25mg to make it through Sunday. I had no knowledge or memory whatsoever to foresee that yesterday was a holiday. Why I am so incapable? I already feel nauseous and my skin is prickling with sweat in a prelude to the horrible sensations that will descend upon me in the coming day. I want to not worry about taking medications on time just to function below an acceptable level. I want my brain to do more than come up with bullshit excuses to avoid stressors while everything gets worse in the background. I want a best friend honest and caring enough to put me down gently. When I turn away tell me about the rabbits…

Nobody has the time or energy to help me and that is okay. Some lives need to slip away to spare the keepers focus for those that are worth saving. Anyone with open eyes will see there is far from enough love to go around. My silent killer is the empathy I have for others and the apathy I hold for myself. There is no going around this mountain. There are no shortcuts, no valley passes to take me through to the other side. When the rocks break free beneath your feet and sweep you down, how do you want to be remembered: Your arms flailing and outstretched with a gasp of regret on your lips, or standing stoic with grim determination as you salute those you leave behind?

I wasn’t capable or strong enough and that is okay. You can’t bring yourself to love me for who I really am and that is okay. Some things just need to change.

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