Maudlin Mindset and the Alien Terminator Shark

If you’re reading this, which you seem to be, there’s a good chance you and I are acquainted on social media. At the time of writing this post, I’m no longer there.

There may well be a link between creativity and anxiety, so perhaps as a writer I should wear my depression as a badge of honour, or give it a fancy name like ‘poignant melancholy’. But the truth is My Confidence was always an elusive little fella, easily discouraged and quick to take flight, long before I dared call myself an author.

My Paranoia on the other hand, is the perfect organism: its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. What we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, a happiness-eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is lurk and eat happiness and make paranoia. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are depressed.

And this Alien Terminator Shark hunts best in the shallow waters of social media. It turns every opinion that differs from my own into a personal attack on me. It shows me every party pic or optimistic update, and tells me that everybody else’s life is better than mine. It counts how many likes my posts get, and defines it as a snub from everybody else. Worst of all, it makes me cling too hard, and lean too heavily, on those who do take an interest, until they are driven away.

So last night, in an act of desperation that swung towards the self-destructive, I deleted my accounts. Trouble is, that’s no biggie. I do it all the time. So it felt like I had to go further, and it was on my pseudonym account that I really tapped into my inner Alien Terminator Shark. 400 friendships ended, one by one, with a touch of the button. Every post eradicated, all those cheeky anecdotes and witty insights, all that camaraderie gone, never to be relived except in my head, albeit now tainted with a tinge of sadness. And every conversation deleted, some messages frivolous, some of them meaningful, but all of them gone, shredded into tiny pieces and cast to the digital wind. So if and when I do return, it will be to nothing, and it hurts to have lost so much, and to have done this to myself, and I think I still have a grieving process to go through.

This post needs some positivity, so here it is, in an abstract kind of way. My worst moment is behind me, I’m still here, and I don’t think I have any further to fall. I am still waiting on a monumentally important decision, which will be either instant redemption or a crushing blow, but even if it’s the latter I feel better equipped to deal with it than I did yesterday. And this here under my feet feels more like limestone than quicksand; it’s not cloying at me and sucking me down, it’s bearing my weight. I absorb the shock on the balls of my feet and bend my knees, tensing my thigh muscles in readiness for the moment when I propel myself upwards and start bouncing back.

I hope this hasn’t been just a whinge post, and that it will be an interesting insight into a certain psyche, or of some reassurance to those with similar difficulties. As for me, right now the sun is shining and the library is open. My walk there goes down a tree-lined path alongside the stream, and the Alien Terminator Shark isn’t coming with me. Goddam right, it’s a beautiful day, and any day can be if you make it so.


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