What The Hell Is Wrong With Me?

(Writer’s Note:  This entry deals obliquely with my sex life and BDSM proclivities.  It does not go into much detail, as it’s mostly about my current emotional condition, but those who wish to avoid any such content are advised to skip this one…)

Carl Jung was once quoted as saying that there was no such thing as a pure introvert or pure extrovert.  Any such person, according to him, would be a sociopath.  Everyone has aspects of both within them; the E or I in the MBTI type is merely a statement of general preference.  That being said, i generally tend to be much more in line with my own personal introverted type than i’ve been feeling lately.

Under normal conditions, i am perfectly content to spend a day doing very little that takes me outside my room… reading, surfing the web, playing X-Box, writing, etc.  i generally tend to thrive in solitude—it is usually my haven when i need to get away from the constant extroverted demands of working in education.  Lately, though, i just haven’t been able to find that place of solitary repose within myself.Instead, what is usually a source of strength and recuperation for me has generated stress and depression as of late.

i’ve just felt so alone lately… and not in a good way.  Alone in the sense of lonely.  Alone in the sense of unloved.

Instead of taking pleasure in a day of rest and relaxation, curling up with a good book, i feel on edge.i’ve had the feeling before, but it usually comes from spending too many days enjoying my solitude… it’s the result of the rubber band snapping back, creating a need for human contact.  This shouldn’t really be an issue the way my life is structured this past month, working with kids during the day… elementary kids, an age group i’m generally unaccustomed to.  That’s the sort of work environment that usually leaves me feeling sapped and ready to disappear into my cave for the rest of the day to recharge my batteries.

Since the break-up, however, it’s like i’m constantly starving for human contact.

And perhaps that’s the key phrase: “since the break-up.”  In the space of a single day, i went from constantly being around someone 24 hours a day who i felt reasonably close to, even despite the fact that the relationship was becoming increasingly unhealthy and unstable toward the end, to being single and living in my old room in my parents’ basement once again.  Add to this that i lost the car only a couple of days previously, and a number of my weekly activities went on hiatus, and you get the perfect storm of social isolation, which, when intermixed with already-existing depression, amplifies into where my emotional state has been this past month and a half.

So i’m stuck in a sort of limbo that no single solution can resolve, because it is both a need for general interaction with friends, but also the painful awareness of the absence of a more intimate connection, and a desire to feel that close to someone again.  And that’s before we even think about factoring the BDSM element…

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.  For the moment i want to focus on general interaction with friends.  We’ll get to those other things in goo time.  i think a lot of what i’m missing in that particular department is that i’m not really in a core group anymore, and i really haven’t been since i lived in Columbia.  As an introvert, i have a strong preference for small groups of very close friends rather than huge groups of casual acquaintances, and that’s what we had in Columbia.  Back in Columbia, we had an extremely tight-knit group of friends who i knew would always be there for me no matter what.  Most of us had lived in the same building on campus during college, and afterward most of us moved into a house together.

Together we formed this core unit that lasted for close to six years before i had to move back down to Branson.  We hung out together, went to movies, played games, and we all knew each other so well that we often knew exactly what others in the group were thinking.  We were a family, not of blood but definitely of bond.  We still are, to some extent, though distance has unfortunately created an unavoidable sense of separation between the rest of the group and me.  i miss them, and i miss that feeling of belonging, because i always knew that no matter what differences we had politically, philosophically, or otherwise, our family would stick together.  i miss knowing that, if i started cycling into depressive feelings and hiding in my room, someone would come drag me out, make me participate, cheer me up by showing that someone out there in the cruel world actually gave a shit about me… and all with the discretion of not actually bringing up what they were doing.

It’s a feeling i haven’t been able to recreate here in Branson.  Certainly i have made friends, and found some belonging in groups like the Branson Freethinkers, but these are all larger groups, and within the larger groups there are always smaller core units that come together at the larger gatherings, but also hang out when nothing in particular is organized.  i’ve found belonging in the larger groups, but i haven’t found myself in anyone’s “inner circle.”  Instead i’m stuck in the extroverted model of friendship: a whole bunch of casual or somewhat close acquaintances, but i haven’t gotten back into my introverted comfort zone.  i don’t have that core group to come drag me out of the house at a moment’s notice… or at least to just send me a text or call to see what’s going on, if i have anything planned, how i’m feeling, etc.

People have expressed concern in the aftermath of the break-up and all of the other shit that has hit the fan recently, sure, and have said that if i need anything i should feel free to call, but very few are actually initiating contact with me, even just to see how things are going, and the ones that do are generally too far away to do anything about my incessant loneliness and pressing need to get away from the crushing monotony that my room has taken on rather often lately.  And if i do message someone who is actually close enough to help, i always feel like i’m imposing—not because of anything verbal or nonverbal on their part, but just because of my own personal neuroticisms.  i just feel like i hang on the edges of all of the close-knit groups that surround me, maintaining friendly enough relationships with all of them, but never actually crossing that threshold into the close personal support system that i so crave.  Sometimes it almost feels as if i’m nothing more than an afterthought to everybody.

That overwhelming desire for closeness is probably also at least partially responsible for my recent level of sexual desire.  Even under normal conditions i have a very high sex drive that often drives me to… ummm… distraction (so to speak).  Recently, though, it’s like it’s been on overdrive even for its usual libidinous ferocity.  And if it were simply a desire for sex, that would be one thing.  There are plenty of online ways to arrange casual sex if so desired.  But the feelings i’ve been having as of late seem to speak of a desire for more than simple carnal pleasure.  i don’t just want sex.  i want cuddling.  i want a feeling of emotional closeness.  i want someone to hold me and tell me that i genuinely matter to them… to feel real intimacy again.

But at the same time i don’t feel like i’m ready for a committed relationship this soon after the break-up.  At this point, in fact, i’m not sure when i’ll be ready for that again.  It’s definitely going to take me some time to heal from this, and i definitely won’t be looking to move in with anyone until after i finish up my Master’s Degree.  i realize that this sounds like i’m trying to have it both ways… like i’m trying to have all of the emotional benefits of a committed relationship without the actual commitment.  And honestly, i can’t really tell you that i’m not at this point.  My heart is crying out for intimacy, but i’m still recoiling my hand from the flame that burned it… and it seems to me from a logical point of view that it should be possible to find a middle ground, a compromise between meaningless casual sex and a committed romantic relationship.  i’ve always tended to seek middle ground and nuance between two extremes.  Is there nuance to be found here?

On reflection, a lot of these feelings i’m having make a lot of sense from a BDSM perspective.  i have felt a lot of this before… the depressed mood, the loneliness and desire to not be physically alone, the strong need for intimacy, the increased sex drive… add to it an overwhelming desire for a nice solid beating, a persistent worry when i don’t hear back from people that they are simply not going to respond because they’ve decided i’m a bad person or just not worth their time, and the lingering questions that still come up about my actual value as a submissive despite what my rational brain knows (that little “Velcro Collar” voice, for example) and you’ve got pretty much the recipe for how i experience sub drop.  And it makes sense that i would be in sub drop right now.  Also, when you factor in proportionality, it makes sense that this is the worst sub drop i’ve ever experienced… and that it has essentially lasted about a month and a half at this point.  After all, the recent break-up was not just a break-up.  It was the end of a BDSM lifestyle relationship that had lasted for months.  It only stands to reason that in the wake of its ending i should be experiencing the sub drop from hell.

However…

However, things might be looking up.  i feel like i’ve been increasingly more comfortable with my own solitude recently.  i’ve managed to actually enjoy some of my time alone, and i’ve started getting out and living with myself as a single person again.  For example, i recently went to the movies alone.  To be fair, i did put out a blanket Facebook invitation to the Freethinker group that i was going and people were welcome to join me, but when no one else showed up it didn’t really bother me too horribly.  When i realized that i was going to be solo in the matinee of World War Z that i attended, i decided to do something that i actually used to do in Columbia sometimes when the rest of the group was busy with their own stuff: i made a day of it, exiting World War Z and immediately going back in for an early evening show of The Heat.  i’m not going to give a full review of either in this entry, of course, but i enjoyed both movies, had a pleasant day of entertainment, and after the second film i walked somewhere for dinner.  All in all it was a very nice day.  And i didn’t feel the loneliness creeping in at any point.  i was content flying solo.

This is not to say that i’m completely cured… not by a longshot.  i don’t expect that to happen for a good long time, if it happens at all.  But things do seem to be getting better, which at this point is probably all i can really hope for…

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