Emmanuel G Escobar
Continuing through exploring my mental state, I try to identify the burdens that are affecting my life. I acknowledge that personal problems might not be understood by others, as some try to convince us that we should simply lead happier lives. I challenge what we perceive the ‘normal’ person to be, while I seek to become something that society defines as normal. I explain how traveling around the world has made me come in contact with other cultures and individuals, but whether there is a difference between the places I visit, I am less sure. I have a hard time answering the question of where am I from, and I wonder about our purpose on Earth.
I get upset, tired of living in this painful state, and I contemplate the eventuality of me reaching the point of complete weakness, when I would lose control of thought and action. I always feel like I have some control over my actions, even when I have been compromised. When intoxicated with alcohol, I have turned down offerings of cocaine and marijuana numerous times, while never saying ‘no’ to another drink. Perhaps I have this very strong definition of what is fine and what is not so fine to do. There wouldn’t be much sense calling it the right and wrong thing to do, because that mindset is already one of the malfunctions of human logic and society. The normal person, who will consider life’s problems as obstacles to overcome and believe that the solutions may be acquired by a strong force within the person or other times by some supernatural God figure, may think of self-harm as merely another weakness that shouldn’t be much thought to common person. Personally, I think these kinds of people have a very simplistic view of the world, and therefore what they achieve from life or what they want to find will be easier for them to see, and thus acquire the sensation of fulfilment faster than someone who feels like there is nothing of importance in the world. And that’s fine; I just can’t understand the hopeful happiness they experience, but that’s me.
My problem with these people is that they will come up to someone who does not share their happiness and urge you to try harder to find that what is already hard for them to find. The common phrases like ‘just be happy’ or ‘stop being so depressed all the time’, are generally spoken from time to time. And we know that that just doesn’t ever work. In fact, it makes us feel worse, doesn’t it? It’s the feeling of ‘who are they to know what we live through’? They don’t have an idea, they have other real problems in life: mortgages that need to be paid, paying for their children’s upbringing, or living as an adult going to pubs and gigs. Whereas my problems are rather some that I cannot mention because I don’t know them, or concepts that bother me about the world and society or simply the trouble I have stepping out of my house, feeling that I am being hunted by people. Some of these problems are far more complex than others, and so to overcome them will never be the same way as the typical concerns that burden the average person. It’s perfectly okay for different people to have their own problems and these weigh the same as other people’s concerns. The level of intensity of my issues should have no say of whether someone else’s issues are less or more intense. I am often approached by others, confessing that they shouldn’t complain about their problems because someone has it worse, but I believe everyone has the equal right for expression if to them it is justified.
But, as competitive humans we adore to compare ourselves to others or convince ourselves that we should be stronger while enduring simple problems when there are several others that have it much worse. Overall, all personal problems and worries are legitimate, and they have the power to rule our lives everywhere we go. It’s not that some of us are better at fixing them, it’s just that for some of us, it is harder to find them and deal with them, with acceptance of problems at times being the major factor. For instance, I have agoraphobia (generally fear of crowds, but can also mean feeling that environments are unsafe), obsessive compulsive disorder (bordering on fear of germs), depression mixed in with some uncontrollable feelings of anger and mistrust. I have trouble connecting with people and trusting them, feel like someone is always watching me, feel threatened everywhere I go and a fascination over the psychology and willingness to commit self-harm and suicide. I write about suicide; stories, which shaped into positive messages from the stories of negativity from those who survived attempts to commit suicide and self-harm. I feel thinking of life and death brings in an emotional factor, of which I reach a much deeper understanding of my feelings and understanding of mental states. I make it my life and imagine my future as a suicidal person in hope that I can reach out and help someone else. I have problems yes, but obstacles, I don’t think so. These so-called obstacles help me see the world differently; they help me reason through my actions, I learn from them and I believe that most of these characteristics of my psychology make me a survivalist. It’s a defence mechanism to an ever-changing environment, adapted to always look over my shoulder, and anticipate situations developing. This unfortunately is a consequence of the dangerous environment where I grew up in, where killings, robberies, and kidnappings is just part of life. I vividly remember one day I was riding on a bus in The Hague, Netherlands, where I used to live. We were in a queue of traffic, and suddenly we get overtaken by a black van with tinted windows, pulling up very close to the front of the bus. This is it, I thought, expecting armed, masked men to exit the van and highjack the bus. A fantasy but I readied myself. Living in a constant state of fear and persecution, that is how I came to see my life and its existence in this world.
We are all objects, items that have randomly come into existence in this location in the galaxy, in the universe. We are not meant to be here if we do not learn about life; if we have the luxury and opportunity to travel around the world to see city after city, that’s not enough to make us more knowledgeable about the world we live in. We are branded with this Earth label, and yet segregated into imaginary sections of land and race as dictated by those clueless individuals that have been appointed to rule the world. I have been described as ‘a resident of the world’, in response to my stories of traveling around the globe in my early years. I always think that it was never my choice to travel around and honestly, I don’t see what the big difference is from place to place. You get the same old shit everywhere, plainly said. In fact, my response to them wasn’t as colloquial as this one I have stated here, but they did make a statement that I would continually think about throughout my life, even as I continued to explore new cities during my adulthood. At the time of this conversation, the environment was odd, and while it was lunch time, it was treated more like a social gathering and not conducive of serious existential conversations. There was a female colleague on my right that tried to have conversation with me, but I was too focused on finishing my lunch so I could return to more occupying matters. After I realised that she was directing the conversation towards me, I had no other choice but to reply. I could have been sitting by myself, but the pressures of keeping an appearance in the workplace took precedence and certain measures had to be taken to uphold an image. I am used to having lunch without speaking to anyone, something I had done ever since I used to sit for lunch in the school cafeteria at the age of eight.
And so, the conversation went on to them calling me a resident of the world, which I bluntly disagree saying ‘no, I don’t think so. I am more of a guest of the world. We all are.”
The topics that I discuss here are sensitive and are at your discretion. If anyone finds the content of this story distressing or are struggling to cope, please know that help is available through the Samaritan helpline. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year by calling the free helpline at 116 123. Refer to the NHS for more information or visit your local healthcare provider.