Speaking up

Warning. Longer post, it’s story time.

When I realised I had mental health issues I made a choice. I’m not going to keep quiet about it. I’m going to speak up. I wanted to break the stigmas, the taboos and all the other shit keeping people from being open about their issues. Doing so I hoped to show people who haven’t experienced mental health issues what it can feel like and what it does to you, but most importantly to try to normalise it so that other people who might suffer from similar issues don’t feel so alone and isolated.

Up until now this decision and me acting accordingly has only been something I’ve done for myself. Being honest about how I feel helpt me stay sane and I ressurected my blog to write down my general thoughts and ideas as well as the feelings, emotions, sensations and thoughts I have/feel right as I have an anxiety attack or (lacking a btter word) a depression spiral as a way do deal with them. The hope that someone would learn something or feel better from reading my blog or hear me talk about my issues was always there but never something I seriously considered. Little me teaching someone something? No way. Me having a positive impact on someones life? Never in a million years. Those admirable goals of being a positive change in society were only pretentious excuses to not wear a mask quite as often as I would have to otherwise.

At leat that’s what I thought up until last weekend.

In highschool my mental health (or rather, the lack there of) forced me to change classes from natural sciences to humanities since I was unable to keep up with the pace. I was very open to my new class about where I was coming from and why I still didn’t have the energy to show up to class every day. My classmates were understanding and even though I never really become close friends with any of them I got along well with most of them and actually hit it of quite well with a few (can you say ‘hit it of’ without it implying dating?).

Even though the less intense courses had a slight improvement on my ability to study it was far from enough. After struggling for a year and a half I decided to drop out of highschool having achieved next to nothing. I went on with my life barely sparing a thought to the classmates I left behind, up until last weekend when I ran into one of them at the bar.

After a meeting with a political group we decided to go to a bar and as the evening progresses it gets more and more crowded. Several groups come and go at the table next to us until I notice one of our latest neighbours waves at me. I recognise the face but who is it? I wave back and we both return to the discussions at our respective tables. Of course. Highschool. Now I remember.

Eventually there is some breathing room and we get together at the same table. We exchange plesantries. Ask each other what we’re up to nowadays. The usual. Then they get emotional and tell me how me being open about my problems, talking about it in class and then later writing about them here helped them deal with their own problems.

I know this was exactly the effect I hoped my decision would have, but this was the first time someone told mr about their experiences regarding to my decision. It was overwhelming and beautiful to hear. Even if my decision only helped this one person it has been worth all the strange looks I’ve gotten from people who aren’t used to talking about mental health. All the comments about it not being something you talk about in the public. Because if I don’t talk about it, who will? How else will they get used to it? How else do we normalise mental health issues?

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The Resistance Front

sci_fi_battle_fighting_war_art_artwork_warrior_futuristic_spaceship_space_5400x2388

-Genna! We have one on our tail!

-Taking evasive actions! See if you can hit them with our aft cannons!

I spin around in my chair to access the control panel for our backwards firing lasers. Clutching the trigger I wait for the right moment to fire. The battle around us grows distant as I focus on the ship following us, forcing us into a dance across the battlefield.

For a long time The Terran Empire has terrorised outposts and trade routes of the lesser alliances in Alpha quadrant, hoping to whittle them down and absorb them into the great blob of ruthless expansion that they are. It was not long until the Resistance Front was formed. A loose network of independent freedom fighters from all across the quadrant bound together against a common enemy. To begin with most of us saw them as nothing more than violent vigilantes, seeking thrills and profit in the destabilized border regions. The last thing we need is a bunch of pirates adding to our misery.

-What’s taking you so long Lauren!? I can’t keep this up forever you know!

Breathe in. Lead the shot. Release. Our pursuer weers of to the left, crashing into one of the enemy capital ships, ripping a hole in its port side.

-Ha! Those Terran pilots are focused on their target they’re completely blind to their surroundings! Unlike you!

Genna was the first pilot from the Ripped Banner Project to join the Resistance Front. She volunteered to infiltrate the organisation and report back on their actions. At first it seemed like our fears were confirmed. A significant part of RFs members were nothing but opportunists looking to make some quick and easy money in the wake of the Terran expansion. However as the Terrans grew more aggressive, greater numbers of displaced, angry refugees turned freedom fighters joined the Resistance Front and soon the opportunists’ numbers were reduced to nothing. We in the Ripped Banner Project realised that if there was any chance of stopping the expansion of the Terran Empire the smaller alliances of the quadrant had to come together and stand united against the Terrans.

-That might be true but it won’t help us if you’re going to take that long shooting at the enemy! That bugger chased us right into the mouth of the enemy! Now get back to the front shooters and be useful!

She was right. I intentionally let the pilot chase us so I could make the ship crash into one of its own. No weapon in our ships arsenal could inflict that much damage to a capital ship. As I look around for a suitable target to go after I notice a Ripped Banner ship sporting Terran colours hovering above us. That would be Torulf who sold Green Garden colony to the Terrans and joined their ranks, earning his true place as the lapdog of the Empire.

-Oi Genna, that traitor Torulf is hanging out above us, let’s take him down before we head back for repairs.

-Gladly.

The Ripped Banner project sent every combat crew it could spare as volunteers to the Resistance Front as well as diplomats to the other alliances urging to do the same. Since I’ve worked extensively with Genna before it was natural for us to pair up. To begin with our operation was small scale. Classic rebellious activities. Quick hit and run missions, evacuation of threatened colonies and outposts, the usual. Soon the other alliances followed our example and as the strength of the Resistance Front grew, so did the scale of the conflict, finally culminating in this final showdown between the Terran Empire and the Resistance Front, backed by every remaining independent alliance in this quadrant. All of our resources were put behind this engagement. Whoever walks out of this fight victorious will decide the fate and future of the alpha quadrant. One homogenous empire or a diverse set of alliances.

-Got him! Haha I would have loved to see his face when he realised there was no way he would be able to evade my shots!

-You keep bragging, just know that without me as pilot you would be a sitting duck!

The conversation went on in this manner all the way back to the mothership. Me gushing about thrill of battle and Genna reflecting upon the outcome. She’s always been like that. Cool and logical. As we disembark the ship I notice a tall figure, not part of the repair crew, waiting for us. It’s Commander Garrack, coordinator of the Ripped Banner forces and he doesn’t look happy.

-I should court martial you two for your reckless behaviour! Baiting an opponent like that with no regard for your own safety. However I cannot deny it’s effectiveness. Disabling that capital ship is surely to swing the tide of battle in our favour. And taking out Captain Torulf like that is sure to be appreciated by everyone in the Banner! Now off with you and go get something to eat while those who are less willing to disobey orders finish this of. I don’t want to be seen favourising rulebreakers!

With Garracks words still ringing in our ears me and Genna disconnect from the battle servers and join the cafeteria lobby. Genna grabs a plate and start shoveling roast potatoes and stew onto it. I only grab a glass of water and sit down at the nearest table in the empty completely empty hall.

-Geez, Didn’t Garrack play a pirate before? One would think that out of all of these alliance commanders he would understand the value of independent initiative.

-Yeah, that’s why he only temporarily relieved us of duty instead of banishing us from the alliance completely, Genna mumbled as she stuffed her face with stew.

-Aren’t you going to eat?

-No, eating this virtual stuff always makes me queasy when I exit, I don’t know how anyone can do it.

-Suit yourself. Food is all we will have to entertain ourselves with until the battle is over. Unless you’re exiting prematurely?

-God no, Genna I thought we knew each other! We’ve never exited before the results of the battle was in. Also I would hate to miss…

The rest of my sentence is drowned out as the voice communication system is flooded with cheers. I lean over to Genna:

-Seems like we did it huh!?

-It does seem like that is the case!

-We should reconnect to the battle servers then! As I said, I would hate to miss the awards ceremony!

The ceremony takes place in the hangar of the mother ship, the only place that is large enough to accommodate every person who took part in the battle. We receive our allotted experience and credits for our contribution and those of us that survived an additional survivors bonus. Finally Commander Garrack walks up to me and Genna and hands us a cassette tape.

-For your outstanding contribution in the battle.

That is all he says before walking of to speak with an other commander.

-Well Lauren, it seems like we’re done here. With the Terran threat dealt with I doubt the Resistance Front will exist much longer.

-Yeah, it’s going to be fun to see what happens next. Anyway It is time for me to exit. I should have been in bed several hours ago. See ya later Genna.

-Timezones still a bitch I gather. Take care.

I wake up and ponder the strange dream. My attempts to remember the details are futile as they slip away as soon as I grasp for them. All I can remember is me and Genna fighting for our survival in a space battle of epic proportions.

Us two in space, flying battleships no less! Genna is going to think I’ve finally gone completely mad when I tell her… hang on what’s this? I don’t recall ordering anything.

In the pile of ads that always gets delivered there is an unexpected, small brown parcel, addressed simply LAUREN. No address, no stamps, nothing. Opening the parcel the content is revealed. Bubble wrapped inside lays a cassette tape.


What you’ve just read is a short story based on a dream I had recently. Like most dreams the details fade away very quickly so I had to take some creative freedom since the source material was quite lacking, however the broad strokes are still the same.

In my dream I fought in a space battle with one of my friends. For some reason the only detail I can remember is us flying up along side a giant spaceship, presumably to dock. At some point I realise it is actually a hyper realistic VR space MMO from the future, using similar technology as can be seen in the anime SwordArt Online. The battle is concluded and everyone is rewarded for their contribution including a cassette tape token/trophy/item thingy. Then I wake up. I go about my day, pondering over the strange dream however when I go to check the mail and see a parcel addressed to me. I open it and inside is the same cassette tape. My mind is blown and as I try to figure out what is actually going on my mind starts drifting and I wake up a second time, presumably for real (I don’t want to get into the whole inception thing here).

Now this is interesting for two reasons. First, meta dreams are always curious. You wake up, convinced that you are actually you, for real and not in a dream because why would you think otherwise? Isn’t most dream like that? You don’t realise it was just a dream until you wake up. But then you wake up a second time and you can no longer trust your surroundings for a while until you realise how extraordinary mundane everything is and can quite comfortably relax in the notion it is probably not a dream.

Second, I’ve had meta dreams several times, however this is the first time the first dream has referenced itself in the second. It was an extraordinary sensation standing there and having the cassette fall out of the bubblewrap. That must mean that experience was for real, right? Maybe exiting the game have a similar sensation as to waking up and you have to find the way to access the game each time? Those were the thoughts flying through my sleeping brain as I tried to find a solution to the mystery

I realise this is quite different from what I usually put on this blog, but hey, you need to break up the depression with something else every once and a while.

Reorganising my bookshelf

full-bookcase-of-booksI’m young so I’m yet at the beginning of what I hope to be a long journey of collecting books. Still I feel I’ve already accumulated a respectable collection of writings of various genres and topics. Every once in a while there is a new addition to the ranks which always poses a problem. Where do I put it?

More often than not it ends up on my desk somewhere until one of the rare clean-ups happen when it goes on top of other books because I can’t be bothered to find a proper place for it while also making sense of the mayhem that threaten to not only break my desk but possibility time and space itself. Today however, I had enough. I was tired at looking at the books scattered across my room, or carelessly shoved into the shelf where the chaos from the desk now found a new home.

At some point when I first started filling my shelf there was something remenicent of a system; read fiction, unread fiction, political philosophy, interesting topics in general, plays, theatre related stuff and other. It took time but when order was finally restored I could step back and admire my work. I felt that I had reconnected with my books. It reminded me of why I got my hands on them and why I should read those I haven’t gotten around to yet.

It also helped me deal with my guilt. I consider myself a reader. My family is a long line of teachers, scientists, engineers, researchers and writers. My family home has more walls that have bookshelves on them than don’t, yet over the past few years I have not read nearly as much as I have wanted, or felt like I should. Depression is a bitch. Despite that I have kept acquiring books, maybe hoping to find the one I won’t be able to put down, maybe to satisfy a need to keep up appearances, fooling myself by getting books at the pace I would like to read them despite being unable to.

I felt so guilty. I felt guilt towards my family for not living up to the academic standard set by generations, i felt guilty towards my friends for not having read this or that. However the biggest guilt I felt was towards myself for not consuming this wealth of knowledge, stories and ideas sitting right in front of my face. The simple act of touching my books helped me alleviate at least some of the guilt.

I don’t know why but pulling them out, stacking them and put them back into place gave me the feeling that it was OK. it’s not a race. I can take my time. Feeling their weight in my hands reinforced my bond to my books and reading in general. Stepping back and admiring my new, organised bookshelf was incredible.

My desk is once again a complete mess however.

Disconnected

d-custom-brand-disconnectThe guilt. The guilt of having been away. You’ve got a legitimate reason, after all you have barely been able to get out of bed for the past week. But now that you no longer blow your brains out each time you sneeze and there Niagara Falls no longer is located in your nose you have to go back, but you’re afraid. They will be angry and disappointed because of your absence. You don’t want to face the stares. You are afraid of the mean things they will tell you, that they will scold you and guilt trip you for being unable to function due to circumstances outside of your control. You’re scared that you are no longer welcome, that you’ve become a nuisance, a problem to work around rather than a member of the group.

So you find an excuse. A way to justify being away for a while longer. ‘I’m still sick’ you tell yourself. ‘I have to do this and that that’s more important’ Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s just excuses.

You know none of the things you fear will happen, everything is false because you know the people around you are nice and understanding. But the fear is real so you stay disconnected.

A tiny speck of failure

splatter-png-picAll around me I see people achieving things. Working towards their goals, succeeding at whatever it is they do. And here I am, a tiny speck of failure.

Sure, I have dreams, I want to be an actor! I want to write meaningful texts! I want to sing in a band! I want to put myself out there and have my work recognised. I want to make an impact on peoples lives.

I can’t though. Nothing I do is good. Not even good enough. If it was someone would have noticed by now right? The only ones who watch my plays are the ones I drag to the theatre, the only ones who read my stuff are the ones I make read it, the only ones who listen to me sing are the ones I force to listen. I am putting myself out there, my voice swallowed by the void. Not even an echo. My efforts are downed by the signal noise, the abundance of mass-produced, mass appeal content. Why me and not those others? Why am I left to wither in the shade while people around me are reaching for the sun and the stars beyond?

Why don’t I have the energy to do all the smaller things I want to do? I want to ‘git gud’ at Dark Souls. I want to write more songs. I want to be useful to the people around me. Yet I give up after 30 minutes. Yet I only write a few words every few weeks. Yet I’m just a depressed cloud in everyones way.

I have so many ideas for projects I want to do. Improve my home and community, create websites and write articles about the things I love, create an independent theatre group, the list goes on and on. Seeds waiting to sprout, seeds left to wait forever. I don’t have the energy.

My Tea jurney.

a-scoop-of-alishan-jin-xuan-oolong-tea-lot-107For those who know me it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I sooner or later would write a blog-post about tea. Gamers Fighting Depression, the community I help moderate is currently running a mod AMA that I am a part of so the question came up and it was as good a reason as any to write this blog post.

My tea journey began in 2013 when I started high school and joined the schools tea club. The club had been branded for being the black sheep of the schools clubs because it had a more “relaxed” atmosphere than the rest of society. Now, the reason I joined was due to this and not the actual tea. I enjoyed the fact that you could lie down and hug in a sofa or make out or even have sex casually without all the stigmas that usually surround these activities. I thought that tea was just a gimmick to legitimise the existence of such a club in a school environment.

However as time passed by and the more tea I drunk I started to appreciate the complexity and variety of the phenomenon that tea was. We drank everything from double-smoked lapsang to delicate silver needles. And so one Monday morning in spring 2014 I walk into the tea club room and see my friend meditating and drinking tea before one going downstairs and taking his first final exam. To this day I do not know the name of the tea, but just writing about it now makes me feel the taste in my mouth. An Oolong with strong mineral and almost nutty flavour. It wasn’t the tea that changed my perception of tea but it is the one symbolising that and the coming two years of drinking tea every day in high school. Since, me and my friend have become best friends and the biggest tea nerds. We get together and drink tea as often as we can and try to pinpoint all the flavours, textures and what have you for every tea we drink.

I have plans or dreams about opening a tea house in the future to serve and sell proper tea since you basically have to go to the capital city or order online if you want good quality, pure tea that you know exactly what kind of tea it is, where it comes from, when it was harvested etc. Otherwise people will just try to sell you “green tea” or “black tea” That’s as informative as “red wine” or “white wine”. Just as a wine nerd wants to know exactly what sort of whine it is, what grapes were used, what mountain they were grown and how it was made, a tea nerd wants to know exactly what tea it is, what tea bush variety was used, what mountain it was grown on, exactly how it was prepared etc.

maxresdefaultAn other thing I want to do is spread knowledge about the intricate world of tea to the general population. Most peoples experiences of tea are Lipton bags flavoured with god knows what. I’m not quite sure of how I should go about that. Maybe I should start a YouTube channel about it. There are several good English ones but I don’t think there are any in Swedish. However in the end I can’t force people to stop enjoying what they are enjoying. Even though it’s often literally dust from the factory floors. All I can do is to try and spread the joy I receive from drinking high quality tea the traditional, eastern way.

När lågan slocknar [When the fire burns out]

e8ae15f95f994a0b348389b125da8666In English

Jag orkar snart inte mer. Det är inte ett faktum jag har velat erkänna för mig själv men när alla varningslampor blinkar aggressivt i ansiktet på en är det svårt att ignorera och köra på.

Våren 2011 gick jag med i Piratpartiet, sedan dess har piratrörelsen spelat en central roll i mitt liv. Då var jag 13 år gammal, precis så att ens liv börjar betyda någonting utöver att äta, sova, leka och klaga på att skolan är så tråkig, nu är jag 19. Under de gångna sex åren har piratrörelsen varit en självklar del av mitt liv. Förtroendeuppdrag, aktivism, konferenser, sommarläger, studieresor, utflykter och och så vidare har lett till att livet jag levt utanför skolan har jag levt i piratrörelsen. Jag har lärt mig mycket och jag har lärt känna många intressanta människor och knutit många vänskapsband. Det var en underbar tid. Men det var då.

För ungefär ett år sedan slocknade jag. Jag blev likgiltig inför hela piratrörelsen, inte för att jag slutat bry mig om frågorna eller för att jag inte längre gillade människorna inom rörelsen, och det är här man säger “utan för att….” och så kommer man med en förklaring till varför men jag har ingen. Kan det ha och göra med min mentala ohälsa? Inte omöjligt, utbrändhet pga överengagemang? Kanske det. Det bara tog slut. Såklart blev jag helt förkrossad. Plötsligt slocknade halva mitt liv, vad skulle jag ta mig till? Jag resonerade mig fram till att det berodde på bristen på aktivitet och engagemanget lokalt och bestämde mig därför att kandidera som styrelsemedlem i Ung Pirat, Piratpartiets ungdomsförbund. Vilket misstag det var. Jag tänker inte gå in på några detaljer för det skulle inte vara sjysst mot resten av styrelsen som bara gjorde sitt bästa, men detta år i förbundsstyrelsen har totalt dödat de sista spåren av engagemang och arbetslust jag hade hoppats på att det skulle återuppliva.

Nu fasar jag ut mina förtroendeuppdrag. Jag tänker inte ställa upp till nyval till förbundsstyrelsen. Antagligen kommer jag lämna piratrörelsen helt. Medvetet eller genom att sakta glida iväg då inga uppdrag håller mig kvar, förlora kontakten med människorna som utgjort flera av grundpelarna i mitt liv. Vill jag att detta ska ske? Nej men har jag något val? Antingen fortsätter jag tjurnackat framåt tills jag bryter sönder och samman, eller så hoppar jag av tåget innan det spårar ur.

In English

I cannot deal with this shit any more. I’ve had a hard time realising it, but eventually you cannot ignore all the warning signs that are thrown into your face and just keep going.

It was spring of 2011 and I became a member of the Pirate Party, since then the pirate movement has played a central part in my life. I was 13 years old then, right about when live becomes more than just eat, sleep, play and complain about school being boring. Now I’m 19. Over the past six years the pirate movement has been an essential part of my live. Commissions of trust, activism, summer camps, study tours, hikes etc has lead to my life outside of school to the biggest extent has been spent with other pirates doing pirate activities. I’ve learned a lot during this time, met many interesting people and made many friends. It was a wonderful time. But that was before.

About a year ago everything went dark. I lost all interest for the pirate movement, not because I stopped caring about the issues or because I started disliking the people I was working with, but because; and here is when you would usually enter an explanation nut honestly I don’t have any. Did it has something to do with my mental health, or lack thereof? Maybe. Burnout due to over engagement? Quite possible. What I can say is that everything just stopped. Naturally my heart broke when I realised what had happened. Suddenly half of my life meant nothing to me, what should I do?! After some thinking I decided to apply for the board of the youth organisation, reasoning that the cause of my lack of interest is caused by the lack of activism and engagement on the local level. What a mistake that was. I’m not going to go into details because it’s not fair towards the other board members who all were doing their best, however this past year in the board has utterly annihilated what shred of activism I had left in me that I had hoped it would revive.

Now I am cutting down on my commissions of trust. I am not running for re-election. Probably I will leave the pirate movement completely. Consciously or due to the fact that there is nothing keeping me from slipping away, loosing contact with many of the people that’ve been cornerstones in my life. Do I want this to happen? No, but do I have a choice? Either I continue to brute force my way forward until I break down completely, or I jump of this train before it derails completely.

Dåtiden och framtiden [The past and the future]

In English

Ibland slår mig frågan; vad gör jag här egentligen? Då menar jag inte att jag gått in i köket och glömt vad jag kom dit för att göra, tar en chokladbit från kylen och går tillbaka till datorn och fortsätter spela, nej jag syftar på vad det är som fått mitt liv att ta de svängningar det gjort.

När jag var yngre så såg jag framför mig en ganska standardiserad framtid. Gå ut högstadiet, gå ut naturlinjen på gymnasiet och sedan fortsätta plugga naturvetenskapliga ämnen på universitetet tills jag hittat det jag vill ägna mig åt. Att säga att det inte riktigt blev så är väl något av en underdrift. I tre år kämpade jag på gymnasiet, först ett år på natur och sedan ytterligare två på humanistiska innan jag till slut bestämde mig för att hoppa av. Med ett knappt nämnvärt antal gymnasiepoäng började jag fundera på vad jag skulle göra nu. Att jag förr eller senare skulle ta igen mig på komvux var ganska självklart från början men jag kände verkligen inte för att så snart kastas in i den fördummande skolbänken. Jag hade två val, antingen börja jobba eller söka icke konventionella utbildningar. Det första kändes inte särskilt lockande men jag skrev ändå in mig på arbetsförmedlingen för säkerhets skull och började sedan titta efter kurser som skulle passa mig.

Under den här tiden hade tanken att bli professionell skådespelare legat och grott och växt sig starkare i takt med att gymnasiet gick mer och mer åt helvete. Man blir inte anställd som skådespelare efter ett års folkhögskoleutbildning men det skulle vara precis vad jag behövde, ett år av att bara egna mig åt mitt livs intresse och att få en paus från skolbänken. Till slut sökte jag fyra utbildningar och kom in på en av dem. Jag tog mitt pick och pack och flyttade till internatet i Hällefors. Jag trivs här och idén om att bli skådespelare har växt sig ännu större, det har blivit en plan, ett mål. Men trots att jag är nöjd med vart livets snåriga och snirkliga stig fört mig kan jag inte låta bli att tänka på vad som skulle ha hänt om jag inte mådde som jag gjorde under gymnasiet. Vad skulle hända om jag gick ut naturlinjen?

Ibland kan jag få enorma skuldkänslor gentemot mig själv. Jag vill se mig som en intellektuell akademiker, men jag klarade inte ens av att slutföra gymnasiet. Jag vill se mig sitta i en aula och lyssna på häftiga föreläsningar om matematik, kemi, fysik och biologi men i verkligheten ligger jag i sängen och har ångest som ett ruttet russin. Jag är inte kapabel att göra någonting som kräver minsta lilla ansträngning, all energi går till att inte glida ännu djupare ned i depressionen. Även om jag klarar av att slutföra denna ettåriga kurs, vad händer om eller när jag blir antagen till scenskola? Det är en ständig rädsla och fråga jag tvingas leva med, hur långt kommer min ork att räcka?

In English

Sometimes I ask myself, “what am I even doing here?” I don’t mean that I walk into the kitchen, forget what I was supposed to do, grab a piece of chocolate and go back to my room to play videogames, no I mean what has caused my life to take the turns it has to make me end up here.

When I was younger I had a pretty clear and standard perception of what I would do in the near future. Finish high-school, collage and then study STEM fields in Uni until I knew what to do with my life. To say it didn’t quite go like that is a slight understatement. For three years I struggled with collage before I decided to drop out. Having accomplished basically nothing during those three years I started contemplating my option. I new that sooner or later I would have to complete collage in some adult education however I felt like I needed to take a break from ordinary education. I concluded I had two potions. Either I try to find a job or an alternative form of education. A job didn’t sound very appealing so I started to look at community collages with actor courses.

During this time the idea of becoming an actor has grown at the same phase as my collages attempt went more and more downhill. You won’t get a job offer after a year of community collage but it was just what I needed, a year off to fully imerse myself in my biggest intrest and get a well needed break from traditional education. I finally applied for four different acting courses and got accepted into one. I collected my stuff and moved to the campus in Hällefors. And don’t get me wrong, I really like it here and the dream of becoming an actor has grown into a plan, a goal to persue. However I can’t avoid thinking of what would have happened if my road hadn’t been so bumpy? What if I didn’t had to battle depression and managed to get through collage?

Sometimes I feel really guilty towards myself. I’d like to see myself as an intelectual, but I didn’t even get through collage. I’d like to see myself sitting in an auditorium listening to lectures on maths, fysics, chemestry and biology when in reality I’m lying in bed with crippling anxieties. I am not capable to complete a single task that requires even the tiniest amount of energy, all of it is reserved to keep myself from sliding even deeper down into te depression. Even if I manage this one year course, what will happen when I enter drama school in university? It’s a constant fear I have to live with, how far will my energy last?

När man inte är “normal”

Jag vet inte hur många i min omgivning är medvetna om det, men jag är inte “Man” vilket man kan tro baserat på mitt skäggiga ansikte, typiskt maskulina klädnad etc. För mig så är sociala kön en relik från forntiden, något som man bör sträva efter att komma ifrån, därför väljer jag att identifiera mig som agender (obligatorisk notis om vilka mina föredragna pronomen är: dem eller they, them på engelska) och väjer man att inte ha något kön så blir det även lite svårt att vara straight, så den termen som kommer närmast vad jag upplever som min sexuella läggning är pansexuell. Om mina umgängeskretsar inte har snappat upp detta så håller jag inget emot dem, jag har valt att inte göra en stor grej av det för det känns inte som en stor grej för mig. Blir jag felkönad tar jag inte illa upp, jag säger till om tillfället tillåter och går vidare med livet. Ingen big deal.

Mina föräldrar verkar ha en liknande inställning till det hela, när pappa lagade mat och mamma satt vid köksbordet en dag så kom jag in och sa ungefär “Hörni, kan ni snälla inte kalla mig för han, pojken, son, killen etc när ni pratar om mig? Jag vill inte identifiera mig som något kön, så kalla mig för dem istället är ni snälla”. Svaret jag fick var något i stil med “Ok, vi ska göra vårt bästa” och mer än så kan jag inte begära.

Problemen börjar uppstå när man går ytterligare en generation bak i min släkt. Mormor och morfar är just nu på besök från Ukraina och mysigare morföräldrar får man leta efter. Därför kom deras reaktion som en chock för mig när jag förra hösten berättade att jag varit på Stockholm Pride. “Men usch, inte kan du umgås med sådana människor” sa det, och sedan kom några fler ljud och handrörelser som väldigt tydligt implicerade att “sådana” människor är sjuka i huvudet. Det tog ett bra tag för mig att återhämta mig från chocken och ju mer jag tänker på det, desto mer mogen känner jag mig inför att komma ut för dem men jag är rädd för hur reaktionen kommer bli. Kommer de plötsligt inse att det inte är något fel med att vara queer eller kommer jag dö i deras ögon? Jag vet inte… I vilket fall så tror jag det bästa jag kan göra är att ta hjälp av mamma.

Om att bli spottad i hjärtat

Huh, det verkar inte som att jag kan få en lugn stund denna vecka. Först drabbas jag av förkylning på måndag kväll som fortfarande inte vill släppa taget om mig, på tisdag kväll drabbas jag av en akut ångest attack som du kan läsa om här, på onsdagen missar jag mina kurskamraters uppträdanden som enligt ryktena ska ha varit briljanta och nu detta.

Jag tror det bara är en enda person utöver mig själv som fullt ut förstår vilken smärta jag går igenom just nu, men för att göra det mer begripligt för eventuella läsare så måste jag berätta en del förhistoria:

När jag började gymnasiet blev det helt plötsligt svårt för mig med skola. Under hela min tidigare skoltid har det varit en barnlek. Det räcke med att hänga med på lektionerna för att jag skulle få höga betyg, på gymnasiet så funkade det dock inte längre. Mina studieresultat störtdök och jag hamnade i en negativ spiral av sjunkande resultat och sjunkande motivation. Jag blev deprimerad och slutade att känna någon lust inför livet i allmänhet. I slutet på min första termin slutade jag helt att gå till lektionerna, men fortfarande så klev jag upp 06.20 för att ta mig till skolan. Jag tog mig till den enda plats som fortfarande kunde tända livslusten inom mig. Jag tog mig till Théföreningen.

Under mina följande två och ett halvt år på gymnasiet var det inte mycket jag fick gjort. Sammanlagt lyckades jag skrapa ihop 500 poäng, inte ens i närheten av de 2500 man behöver för en examen, samtidigt som mitt mående var en bergochdalbana som dock hade en väldigt tydlig genomsnittlig tendens nedåt. Dock var det Théföreningen som räddade mig från att gå under totalt. Det var en plats där jag kunde slappna av, en plats jag alltid kunde komma till när jag mådde dåligt. Det var den plats där människorna var vänliga, förstående och lätta att prata med. Det var en mysig plats. Fylld med soffor och kuddar, ett mjukt rött ljus och framför allt en hemtrevlig, välkomnande och behaglig atmosfär till skillnad från den aggressiva och utmanade stämning som existerade i världen utanför.

Jag skulle vilja påstå att Théföreningen räddade mitt liv. Hade det inte varit för den så skulle mina dalar varit mycket djupare och mina toppar mycket lägre. Hade det inte varit för Théföreningen skulle min lust att leva vara släckt hela tiden. Hade det inte varit för Théföreningen är det inte otänkbart att jag hade försökt ta mitt liv. Därför var det så sorgligt att se hur föreningen under mitt tredje år förändrades från den varma och öppna plats den var till en lika ytlig och kylig plats som världen utanför. Den nya styrelsen började frysa ute gamla medlemmar som kom tillbaka för att hälsa på och idag var det min tur.

Vi har en tradition på föreningen att, efter att ha betalat avgiften för att bli evighetsmedlem, rista in sitt namn i bordet när man går ut skolan. Betalningen var dock något jag gjorde redan under mina första år då jag hade ett jobb vid sidan av skolan och där med en hel del extra pengar. Så jag slutar skolan, hela sommaren går. Jag får besked att jag blivit antagen till en skola långt hemifrån vilket innebär att jag vid terminsstarten ska flytta. Dagen innan flytten går jag upp till föreningen en sista gång, för att säga farväl samt att rista in mitt namn i bordet som traditionen kräver. Jag drar mig till minnes alla de underbara stunder jag haft i detta rum medan jag arbetar. Tårarna kryper fram. Det är tårar av glädje och sorg. Av glädje för alla goda minnen, av sorg för att föreningens förändring. Sen tänkte jag inte mer på det. Jag flyttar men den första veckan så går min telefon sönder och när finanserna tillåter lämnar jag in den på lagning.

Idag, den 29 september får jag tillbaka den, drygt en månad efter att den gått sönder. Upphetsat sätter jag på mobilen och det första som möter mig är två sms från en av styrelsen i Théföreningen, avsända den 1 september. Vad är detta? Nyfiket öppnar jag meddelandena.
“Sorry mannen men vi skär ut ditt namn”
“Äsch du får 24 timmar på dig att kontakta oss”
Jag förstår inte med en gång vad det är hon pratar om, men attityden och “skär ut ditt namn” fick mig att inse att det inte alls var bra. Med fumliga händer komponerar jag ihop ett sms till en av de som är kvar och frågar vad tusan det är som föregår. Precis när jag tryckt ‘send’ så slår det mig. Bordet. Mitt hjärta sjunker i bröstet. Namnet i bordet är den vackraste symbol jag kan tänka mig och styrelsen har nonchalant tillintetgjort den.

Det var den sista spiken i kistan för den förening jag blev kär i.