After Thursday’s great outpouring of anxiety I think I realised that it was getting to a tipping point, and I needed to take some sort of action, but I couldn’t think what. As always when an answer is needed, one eventually came: I didn’t drink any coffee at work on Friday, and by the end of the week felt markedly calmer. Not entirely free of stress, but back to more normal levels of worry. I only had a feeling that the excessive levels of caffeine that I’d been taking in at work were having an effect, because I knew that the almost constant state of panic into which I’d gotten was abnormal, even for me. I’ve always felt that caffeine doesn’t agree with me, though when I began full time work this year it helped massively with the energy levels, so I forced myself to try and get used to it. Now I guess I’ll have to find some other way of staying awake.

Having been against the X Factor on principle for several years, I found myself watching it this weekend and getting into it, against all my better judgment. I could hardly help rooting for the contestant who turned out to be my favourite. It perhaps helped that there seemed to be some real talent in the contest this year, as opposed to the cloned blandness of previous years. At the end of the day it’s still a mass market, consumerist spectacle with only a passing association to music, but I think this weekend I managed to let go of some of the cynicism and just enjoy it. For once I could log into Facebook and join in some of the discussions on my homepage afterward.

The good mood brought about by a nice Sunday evening in front of the TV was spoiled unexpectedly by a visit from my flatmate Ethan, who’d come up the stairs specially to complain about my leaving the kitchen light on. He didn’t do it in a having a go way, he just wanted to ask that I don’t waste electricity by doing such a thing again in future. The fact that he said it nicely didn’t make it any easier to accept after he had gone. The fact that we only speak to each other now when there’s something wrong makes me feel quite sad for us. As soon as he had disappeared I was able to list about twenty complaints that I’ve had recently relating to living here, but obviously I couldn’t go after him and tell him about them. He’d probably want to know why I hadn’t voiced my true feelings about the living situation before; explaining that I’d been too scared to say anything before would have just seemed pathetic. So I continue to keep silent about how I really feel, like I always do.

Recently in an AA meeting I heard someone telling their sponsee off, for using the word ‘victim’ in relation to their life situation. The sponsee was apparently very new to recovery, still under the belief that they were one of life’s persecuted ones and therefore incapable of getting better. The sponsor told the sponsee that he couldn’t possibly be a victim, because ‘victims don’t say anything’. It struck a chord with me – not that I wish to claim myself as a ‘victim’ of my current circumstances, such a thing would be terribly distasteful – but it’s become very clear that one of my main faults is I never speak up about things. As a consequence I have probably put up with the shocking behaviour of others unnecessarily in the past year, both at work and at home.

After X Factor there was a chat show in which Elton John was invited to talk about his life, career and philosophies on various things. I never watch chat shows, mainly because I find the way that most chat show hosts will interrupt and try to outshine their guests irritating. I’m not sure why I stopped to watch this one tonight, but it was good viewing anyway. When Elton John talked about his relationship and civil partnership I felt that old pang of envy in me, the one that comes from the place where I believe I will always be alone. He came out with something along the lines of: ‘if you spend your life looking for love it rarely ever comes along; if you stop and work on yourself from within then love will find you,’ and I couldn’t help agreeing, even though it’s a variation on a cliché which I’ve heard so many times it’s sickening. I’ve been celibate for months, partly because I’m so tired of looking, the thought of going on one more date and experiencing one more disappointment is almost too much to bear. Yet the fact that I’m still writing about this after years and years of writing about it nearly every single day seems to suggest that I am still looking, in some way.

It remains in my thoughts nearly all the time – the celibacy makes it hard for me to take my mind off it for a minute, I know it does, but I have virtually no idea how I’m supposed to get out of this hole. Whether I’m celibate or dating I have a head that will obsess about anyone, anything. No future encounter that I can imagine will end happily, I just have this inner certainty about it that won’t go away. Yes, it makes me very sad to think that way and I shouldn’t do it to myself, but since I started writing about it I might as well come out with everything that I’m thinking. Romantic love, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to be, doesn’t fit into my life. I’ve heard all the talk about how I’m closing myself off with this attitude, how I should be open to every possibility, but…but, but, but. I don’t know what to even say about it any more. I’m so tired, I give up.

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