Lust, Longing and Bouts of Anxiety

“If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.”

– Random quote apparently from a Buddhist


Until recently I don’t think I would have appreciated the value of this quote: we see in films people talking about their hearts racing, how they’re so nervous that they’ll make a mistake, that they go weak at the knees when they see someone they “love”. So when we feel these similar emotions we believe that it’s a sign that we’ve met a compatible partner, someone to whom we are physically and emotionally attracted to. For me, the idea of having weak knees, shaking hands and a racing heart sounds a lot more like something negative (my first thought being an anxiety attack) rather than a moment I’d look back on fondly. This is ultimately what I want to talk about today: “love” or at least my own version of it and the effect this has on anxiety (based on my own experience).


I always feel a bit hesitant to use the word “love” (never mind discussing it on a blog) because I feel like it has certain connotations that should be positive but are often perceived as negative. I mean you can love a dog, love a family member, love a friend, love all people, a band, a food, a drug, the fact that it’s not raining, sand, you can say you love pretty much everything in the world until you get to someone with whom you are romantically involved with and then it becomes this weight of pressure. It’s almost like using the term “love” is a quicker way of saying that you want to marry someone, have children, spend your retirement gardening together before being buried in the same plot of land that you’ve already purchased…maybe it’s the fact that I hate the idea of doing all those things but I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who sees it that way. As soon as the word love is used I find it creates complications or can cause the same feelings as being stuck in an elevator (when it’s not completely mutual that is). I think that love is tricky to discuss because not only does everyone have their own image of what “it” is but we’ve all experienced it in different ways from different sorts of people and our own experience of it won’t always be positive. Some people fall in love instantly, some never do, some people think they’ve loved only to realise they haven’t and for some it’s the opposite way around. I think love in itself is a combination of emotions which makes it more difficult to pin down because one might feel different emotions when in love than someone else would. I’d say that love is trust, happiness, comfort, lust, etc. Is that all love is though? Love can involve sadness but you’re not sad because you’re in love, you’re sad because you can’t have love. Maybe the person you love is with someone else or maybe they’ve been chosen for the first mission to mars. Anyway, I’m getting off topic here so let me get back on track: how does all of this relate to anxiety and mental health in general?


I’ve mentioned previously in a post that I suffer from varying forms of anxiety: I have incredibly debilitating social anxiety (slowly improving) as well as anxiety attacks that can be triggered by certain situations. Physical contact with other people used to be a challenge for me as well but I’ve mostly overcome that now. I’ve been in relationships before where I’ve initially felt anxious but quickly got past it only for my anxiety to still be rather prevailing in any other situation, even when with this person. So it came as quite a shock to me recently when I met someone, a complete stranger, with whom, from the get go I seemed to just feel comfortable. I mean there is always going to be that initial awkwardness of having to use the typical starter questions but once we were past that we got on like a house on fire. The real challenge was meeting friends of this person in social situations that would usually have me sweating and feeling at my most uncomfortable but nope, I felt fine and actually felt confident to a degree. Something about being with this person and knowing that they are there just removes some of the fear. I mean I’m sure a therapist would probably tell me that most of my anxiety stems from a fear of humiliation; I mean I can even think of examples off the top of my head quite easily of when this deep-rooted issue would have been cemented in place. So I guess when you are with a group of people and know that the person there who means the most to you isn’t going to put you down or view anything you say or do as weird, stupid or abnormal then you can just relax and be yourself. Perhaps it is the societal pressures to conform to the norms that lead us into these anxiety-ridden black holes.


This change isn’t just limited to situations involving that person though. I started noticing it in other areas of my life: at work I have a supervisor who other than being a racist, homophobic, bigoted alcoholic, caffeine-addicted chain-smoker is also just a bit of a dick. When I first started working there I would put up with it, I’d pretend to laugh at his awful jokes, I’d agree with his narcissistic and ego-inflating statements about his “skills” and my hatred for this man just built up with each day. Along comes this person and without even being aware of it I start taking on the views and opinions of this fossil to the point where he starts saying things like “you need to go back in your shell” and “I’m not liking this side of you”. Areas of work that I used to dread and actually fear became sort of “meh” and I quickly adjusted to them being part of the job. People who I used to avoid talking to I’ve since became quite friendly with simply because I found it easier to talk to them without freaking out about what to say. Most of this took place without me even being aware of it and I believe that it’s down to not only the physical side of being with someone (I don’t mean just the sex, although obviously that does play a major role in altering brain chemistry in such a manner) but also the emotional side. It’s not often that I can spend time with someone and be completely myself. I mean I’m exaggerating a little bit here but it’s certainly true that I usually have to keep some things locked up inside my brain or at least control certain aspects of my personality. SO I guess just being able to release all my built up “me-ness” is therapeutic to such an extent that I am able to relax a bit in other social situations.


I am of course not implying that you should be with someone just because they make you feel more confident and comfortable than you usually would but I am saying that for me, this is an incredible feeling to experience and it is certainly a lot more enjoyable than being with someone where you are constantly worried that you might fuck up. I mean isn’t that the dream relationship? I remember it being said pretty well in How I Met Your Mother when the mother (whose death was some of the most ridiculous writing ever and led to the worst ending of any TV series) says that she wants someone who not only tolerates or accepts her quirks but wants somebody who actually enjoys them and encourages them (I’m paraphrasing but it’s something like that). As any of my fellow introverts will know, there comes a time after socialising where you just need to be alone for a little bit to recharge. I can get to the stage pretty quickly given the right situation and often if I can’t recharge my social battery, I struggle to function and ultimately just get a bit irritable. One thing I did notice with this person is that I could spend days with them and I didn’t once think that I needed to leave to be alone. I mean it’s not like we were just in the same room for that time either, we were in each other’s personal space for prolonged periods of time. I remember leaving a party we’d been at and going back to the flat to just relax and that’s exactly what we did: relax. I left for work the next day without feeling even slightly exhausted (at least mentally) and didn’t need to hide in my cave for the next two days to recover from an evening of social interaction.


There is another issue that i’d like to mention quickly that i’m sure some, if not all of you have experienced at some stage. Remember when you’ve been attracted to someone and you start messaging them and every time your phone goes off you get a little wave of excitement run through your body then one day you send a text that might be a little risky or might be “make or break” and you get more nervous than you thought possible. Your phone goes off and you don’t even look in case it’s the reply and when it is you can’t even bring yourself to read it because you’re genuinely terrified of what it might say. Know what I’m talking about? Well there is also the opposite of that: where you enjoy chatting to someone but you’ve kind of grown weary of the conversation and when you see they’ve messaged you, you swipe away the notification usually to forget it was even there. I have great news: there is a middle ground and it’s a lot more enjoyable. You might say you like the “thrill” of the first option but I absolutely hate it. I get more stressed with stuff like that than anything else in the world. I nearly got kicked out of university on several occasions because I literally couldn’t open my e-mails out of fear i’d been kicked out…ironically enough the fear of being kicked out was the real cause of me nearly getting kicked out…anyway, back to the point: the middle ground is getting the thrill of that person messaging you but also not feeling like you need to respond straight away. You can send somewhat risky messages but still not feel like the Earth would be doing you a favour by opening below you and swallowing you up. This was just a minor point I wanted to add that doesn’t really have any relevance but still seemed worth a mention.


Anyway, this is a different sort of post from what I’d usually write about but what can I say? My brain took me in this direction today and I’ve just sort of let it type until it feels like it’s got it at all out. As usual, if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to ask. I love responding to any queries and comments and knowing that at least one person reads a post of mine and enjoys it or takes something away from it just makes it worthwhile.





Time Travel: Participant in a Higher Being’s Experiment

So it has been a while since I last posted anything and figured what better way to get those creative juices flowing than with a thought-provoking question. I am opening this question up to anybody who feels like answering it. I am going to ask the question and then give my own personal response but I’d ask that you respond with your own answer before reading mine. I wouldn’t want your answer to be any way influenced by my own. There are of course no wrong answers; this is just a little bit of fun to see where everyone’s mind goes. Let us begin!

Imagine for a moment that you are visited by some multidimensional being: it can be a “God” or an alien or whatever entity you interpret it to be but when it contacts you the message you receive is very straightforward. You have been selected as a “participant” in an experiment where you will get to travel in time to whichever moment you choose. There are two options: you can either travel backwards along your own timeline in which case you will be the same age you were back then but with the mind of your current self (memories, intelligence, etc) or you can go out-with your own timeline either into the past or into the future in which case you will be in the body that you’re in when you leave.

There are however some rules: The first rule is that if you are travelling within your own timeline then you cannot take any technology back with you. You can take a single notebook back with you that contains whatever information you care to have with you. If you are travelling out-with your own timeline then you can take technology back with you, as much as you can fit in a bag but obviously you will be limited to how it can be used in whatever time period you choose. The second rule is that once you’ve traveled to your destination, you’re stuck there. You don’t get a redo or an option to travel back to the present. Wherever you choose to go, you then have to live your life from that moment onward until the day you die. The final rule (which is really a piece of information rather than a rule) is that there are no paradoxes so you can change whatever you want. If you decide to travel back in time to kill your great grandfather, then you won’t cease to exist. You can do whatever you like without there being any impact on your existence. The only real issue is that you’re stuck in that time to deal with whatever consequences there are. Just remember that you have no idea how each decision will alter the world around you (think of the butterflies!) so choose wisely!

Where do you go? What do you do? Go!

Here is my answer…be warned, I’m going to go into far too much detail with this but I enjoy thinking about scenarios such as this so hey ho!

So I would travel back along my own timeline to the age of 15 or 16. I would do everything pretty much the same with the only differences being that I’d try a little bit harder in school. The real reason would be so that I could compete in judo again but actually develop my “career” further rather than giving up. Up until the age of 18 I wouldn’t change anything drastically. I would however take a very full notebook back with me. This notebook would give me a very descriptive list of events that I know would happen between then and now, as well as a complete list of bets that would cover as many possible outcomes in order to give me plenty of options. This may seem very typical but I do have plans for this information. At the age of 18 I would go to university to do the exact same course I did and I’d befriend the same people and live the same life. During my 4 years at university I would use my handy little notebook to place incredibly “risky” bets with very high returns, I’d get involved in the stock market and buy shares with the knowledge of exactly when to sell, I’d buy lottery tickets that would give me back not millions but a few thousand every now and again. You might imagine that this would be for selfish reasons but actually, I’d have much bigger plans for this money than simply being able to afford a big house or a fancy car.

After the first year, I’d easily be a millionaire and at this point my real plan would come into play: across the UK I’d have partners who would place the same high bets with as many bookies as possible. These bets would be done online as well as in person. The purpose of this would be to drain the betting industry of as much money as possible. By the final year, when I’d acquired unimaginable wealth I would find a way to leak future outcomes of bets so that bookies had absolutely no reason to accept bets because people would know the outcomes. I mean sure, it would take a little time to build up a level of trust but eventually nobody would bet on the losing outcome. It might look a bit suspicious that I’d know those outcomes so I’d remain anonymous but I’d also suggest in my leaks that it was in fact the sporting industry that had rigged outcomes in their favour as a partnership with the betting industry. With a few years left until the present, I would open businesses that I knew would succeed (I’d have details of all this in my notebook) mostly within the alcohol industry (which is important to my plan later on. The main reason I’d move onto businesses is because with every bet I won or shares that I sold, there is a chance that I could change events so that my information becomes useless and inaccurate. The bets themselves would be less likely to change until I started sharing my knowledge of them but the stock market would be a different story. Public transport is an area I’d invest heavily in. I know from personal experience that the bus services in Scotland are awful and I’d get an unbelievable amount of satisfaction to replace the current services with a more reliable one. This wouldn’t make me much money because it would be an almost profit-free company, with the main purpose being providing a service to the people of Scotland. Any net profits would go back into the company or to the workers. I’d also start supporting the SNP (Scottish National Party) to try and help them win Scottish Independence. While all of this is going on I’d buy up land in Scotland (large, empty spaces) and start building a town/community there. Here, I would offer homeless accommodation to those who needed it. These people would work in my town in exchange for accommodation and would still get paid so they could leave whenever they wanted. My town would already be completely green and rely only on natural resources (more details that I’d have contained in my notebook). This town would take time to build and hopefully by this stage Scotland would have successfully become independent (an outcome which unfortunately did not take place the first time around). This would move me onto the next phase of my plan: drug legalisation.

The first step would be lobbying for weed legalisation with the main plan to have Scotland as a hub for its own weed. The biggest opposition to this plan would have been Westminster with its coke-snorting brats running the show but now that Scotland is independent, we wouldn’t have to get any ideas past them. With alcohol being a major problem in Scotland (both in terms of health and anti-social behaviour) weed would offer a calmer alternative and would hopefully bring the alcohol problem down a level or two. I’d be first in the door and would open up not only warehouses to grow weed but also shops to sell it, cafes, hotels, restaurants, retro arcades, weed tastings…pretty much everything you can imagine. The hub of all this would be my town which would be slowly expanding. Anyone who wanted somewhere to live could come, learn skills (courses which I would pay for) and then contribute to the expansion of my town. I would also begin buying new locations and starting the same idea from scratch, the idea being that no homeless person needed to be homeless in Scotland because there would always be somewhere for them to work and live. My only condition would be that anyone with issues (whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction, anger management etc) sought help through my organisation and tried to alter their behaviour. None of the shops in my towns would sell alcohol or tobacco but weed would be readily available. I would also have information centres where lectures and seminars would be given regarding other drugs as well as drug habits. This would be to ready people for the next phase of my plan. It would take a few years and by now I’d be in the “future” in relation to the point where this multidimensional being approached me but I would be trying to push Scotland (with hopes of moving it elsewhere) into a spiritual revolution.

Each of my towns would have centres built in them that would seemingly have no purpose or function. They would look a lot like hotels but far more therapeutic. The real reason I’d have them built is because sooner or later I’d have influenced Scottish politics in such a way that legalising drugs would be the next step and once again, I’d have my foot in the door long before anyone else. My centres would offer experiences with drugs in a safe and friendly environment. We would have shaman from the Amazon flown in to administer ayahuasca treatments in a spiritual and ritualistic environment, we’d have guides for mushroom or LSD trips, we’ve have soundproofed rooms where DMT trips could take place comfortably and undisturbed. Not to mention that we’d have meditation centres for those who wished to experience a more spiritual side of MDMA…as well as clubs for those who preferred the party side of things. These centres would be a safe haven for drug users and would reduce any unnecessary deaths that could occur from unsafe environments or overindulgence of the drugs themselves. It would go beyond taking the drug: there would be preparation time beforehand that for certain drugs would include diets, hydration, meditation, exercise or simply relaxation. There would be constant assistance for anyone who needed it or group care for those wishing to share the experience with friends or family. We would also offer therapy sessions with drugs. PTSD in soldiers has shown to be significantly reduced when the therapy session is accompanied with MDMA, LSD has been shown to work as a treatment for alcoholism, ayahuasca can lead people on spiritual journeys to solve unresolved issues. So there would be the entertainment side of things but there would also be the spiritual side which I hope would lead people down a more human path than what we are currently on.

With my investment in the alcohol, tobacco and weed industries, I’d begin to shut down distilleries of cheaper and more harmful alcohol. I’d do what I could to halt tobacco imports by doing whatever I could to increase the price as high as I possibly could. At the same time I would advertise my treatments of alcohol dependency and nicotine addictions. My plan would be to get rid of both as much as possible in Scotland. I’d continue to buy as much land as I could and I’d work on building an observatory with the most powerful telescope in the UK. This would be the focal point of my organisations next endeavour: space. Space travel isn’t something I’d aim to do but humanity (in my opinion) needs to find that child-like feeling of staring at the stars and just thinking “wow”. People could come from far and wide to camp under the stars in dark sports across the country that have minimal light pollution. Here we would have festivals that start of a stoners gazing into the nights sky and end with bonfires, singing and dancing, just bonding as a species.

A bit far-fetched? Perhaps…but it’s nothing more than a fantasy so I figure I’m allowed a little bit of wiggle room.  I could go into so much more detail of every tiny step and where this would lead or that would lead but I don’t want to bore anyone who takes the time to read this.