It’s All Like Reruns
It’s been a while, I kinda disappeared from the internet for a little more than a week. It started because I had new developments with my invention that I’ve been working on my entire adult life, and when that happens I tend to get extremely obsessive. I was actually having trouble sleeping because I was obsessing about it. I call it ‘obsessing about numbers’ because that’s what I think about all the time when I think about my invention.
I’m trying to invent a new method of data compression. One that can work on random data and execute recursively. I’m not trying to create ‘infinite compression’, as that’s mathematically impossible. At some point you won’t be able to compress the data any more without losing information. This is due to the ‘counting theorem’ argument, of which I’m all too familiar. Instead I’m trying to explore new methods and algorithms for what I call ‘near-infinite’ compression, being as close to infinite as possible. This is not impossible, but it is very very difficult. The criteria I look for is that an algorithm or method can lossless-ly compress randomized data, and that it can seem to do so recursively, that is re-compress it’s own compressed data (to a degree, being near-infinite).
For a long time I worked on this theoretically, maintaining that if I could crack the mysteries of prime numbers than I could just prime factorize everything. Well, that doesn’t really work, and for a long time I was stuck on a dead-emd path. Then about three years ago I realized a whole new paradigm in regards to the problem and interest in the project from my end picked up again. I actually devised an algorithm about three years ago that meets the criteria, unfortunately due to its implementation it’s not very practical. It works, I’ve actually compressed a couple files with it, but it doesn’t work very well, or at least not to a degree to make it a practical tool.
I actually haven’t shared this with anyone in years, for fear that I’ll either sound like a fool (because it is ‘mathematically impossible’ in the eyes of many) or somebody will steal my ideas. I have actually developed a ‘data translation’ algorithm that meets certain specifications (and uses college level combinatorics) that I’ve entertained open-sourcing every once in a while, but I always decide against it because I’m afraid somebody else will invent my invention using my ideas and take all the credit, and possibly all the money.
I’ve met multiple times with Ninja, because he’s the most educated person I know (doctorate in electrical engineering), discussing my ideas and my advances that I’ve discovered. I was thinking of meeting with him again in regards to these latest developments, but I don’t think they’re major enough to warrant a whole visit. To quote Ninja, he alleges I’ve invented a ‘new way of counting’.
There’s the rub. Because this is an ‘impossible’ endeavor, it’s not easy, and until I get it right, I always fail. I mean, I succeeded in the original non-practical algorithm, that actually works, but trying to make it practical… I always end up failing. In this latest endeavor, I built potentially compressing algorithms but unfortunately the way they’re implemented given any random data they generally get larger rather than smaller. They can get smaller, that is, in some ways just do the process in reverse, but… without revealing too many details, given any random data the reverse process produces similar results. Frustrating.
I get so excited about it. In my mind, which probably won’t match reality, I’ll invent this thing and then life will be wonderful. I’ll sell the patent for millions of dollars and be set, right? I mean, if I actually got something like this to work 100%, as far as I know (and that’s an additional kicker), it would be historic in terms of revolutionizing information theory. This scares my mother, who believes reality may turn out much differently than I imagine it if I ever succeed, and that in some ways whatever may transpire may be worse than not being able to invent it at all.
And it eats away at my life. I get so worked up and so obsessed about it, and then when I fail, I get so depressed. I’ve made advances, but they’re never quite enough. For instance, I’ve devised an algorithm that will compress any given data the majority of the time, that is if you lay out all the possible combinations of 1’s and 0’s uniformly, and in fact the larger the data gets the more it compresses. Unfortunately, in practice, all the possible combinations of 1’s and 0’s are not uniform, and the minority of instances where the algorithm does not compress are unfortunately present in the majority of random data thus creating the opposite effect.
This obsessive session, this part of the cycle, came at a bit of a rough time for me. My medication has changed, and as you remember from recent posts, I’ve been having trouble with my mood. When I’m obsessed nothing else matters, not even my emotions, but when it all fails I guess a lot of stuff comes flooding back. I start to think to myself, is this even possible? Am I just a fool wasting his time on something that’ll never be possible and I’m going to wake up twenty-five years from now, fifty eight years old, still (ultimately) penniless and completely obscure with nothing to show for any of my efforts because it was never possible, having completely wasted half of my life?
I want to do something productive, I want to make something that could have a positive impact on others and myself. But I’m a dreamer big time, and practical execution confounds me continuously. I also have so many interests, and so many aspirations that they pile upon me in an overwhelming huddle of ideas. I get so frustrated because I don’t know what to do, what will be worth my time, what will have results, and I start to think, looking at my past, that none of it will. I think, I’ll just start to do one thing, and then it’ll get no where and I’ll have just wasted mine and everyone’s time and money, like I’ve always done. I end up just being angry at myself, and when I’m angry at myself, I hate myself.
It always seems to come back to that doesn’t it?
Maus had to sing at a funeral this last weekend, so we went up to Handyville and I was able to visit the Enlightener for a day. What did I do? I spent the whole time freaked out and pissed off at myself because, well, I suck for all the above reasons. This drove Maus and my mother, the Enlightener, batty and exhausted them emotionally as I went through all my histrionics, rapidly cycling between depression, self-loathing, and anger on an hourly basis. Then Maus showed me, hilariously, what it was like to be with me, and I realized I had pretty much shat on the whole affair and now it was time to go home leaving only an after taste of remorse and regret.
So I sit down, and I ask myself, what do you want to do with your life? Well, I want to make money on my own. You see, I don’t have a job, Maus does, my avenues of making money are extremely limited and currently, I feel like I’m just a drain on everybody else whether that’s accurate or not. So why not get a job? Well, I’ve been down that avenue too, many times, and it always seems to end up in heartache. A close relative of mine spent a really long time at a job they really hated, and I don’t want that to happen to me. It seems to me that I should be able to find a way to generate some form of income on my own with the resources and knowledge I have, but when I think like that, the ‘shoulds’, I just get frustrated because it seems like evidence points to the opposite.
I get in my head that I want to be a creative person. I want to be an artist, or a writer, or combine writing, art, and computer programming to be a computer game developer, but then I sit down to try to create something and I just blank. I get writer’s block, I get creative block, and am completely overwhelmed by the blank page. I think, I’m in control of every detail, I’m not creative enough for this! So then I think, okay, maybe I’ll be an inventor and make stuff. But, what? I have glimpses of ideas but they are all, what I consider, personal and for myself. Who’s going to pay me to build stuff for myself?
I’m familiar with what it’s like to exist with no will to live, no passion, no motivation, no nothing, for a long period of time. Just sit in obsessive agony for hours and hours every day, accomplishing nothing. But now that that’s over, now that I scrounged up a will to live, what do I want? What can I commit myself to that has any purpose, meaning, or income? The short, and seemingly easy, answer is… nothing.
But I can’t keep existing like this. What’s the point of having a will to live if you can’t live, or at least, you live in a state of constantly cycling restless misery?
Maus and the Enlightner have both suggested I see a therapist for this. But, I seem to not really be able to break down my problem in such a way that I believe a therapist can help me. I’ve seen another therapist since “Bob” in recent posts, and he was way better, but at the time I was obsessing and a little distant with my emotions. We decided that there wasn’t really a clear treatment plan that presented itself in my case, and that I didn’t have anything specific in mind to work on, so therapy wasn’t going to really be productive. He said he’d have the case manager call me in a couple weeks to see if I still agreed. I don’t know if a therapist can help me with this problem, it seems it’s always too nebulous when it comes down to it, and that this may be something I have to fix myself.
I’ve had a really frustrating time in my relationship as well. Maus continually suggests that I see a therapist, and it’s been driving me crazy. I never could fully nail down what the problem was and I haven’t been able to express myself very well in terms of why I don’t want to do that, and why I get super angry when Maus suggests this. Finally, this last Monday I was able to express everything I needed to express when it came to that, at least I think. In a way, every time he’d tell me to see a therapist I felt like he was rejecting me and telling me basically that he didn’t want to deal with me. And I think that’s super unfair, because when Maus has a problem, like with the stuff he’s going through right now, I don’t tell him to see a therapist. So, Maus and I had a long talk about it, and I think things are going to be much better from now on in terms of our relationship enriching both of our’s lives.
I had an idea that maybe I could sell cookies locally, under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act, which allows you to sell things that don’t need refrigerated from your own home kitchen to informed end consumers. You can’t sell them through the mail or on the internet, but I thought what I’d do is make it so you could ‘order’ online, and then I would deliver them to you. I proposed this idea to my mother and it was met with skepticism, which was part of my troubles during the visit, but even when she encouraged me I was a butt. I think up stuff like this and then I think, “No, I can’t do that. I’ll just fail, I’ll just hate it, I’ll just suck at it and it’ll never work.”
I had an idea for a comic that Maus and I are working on, but even then, I get super anxious about it whenever I think of it. I think, “I can’t write that, I’m not good enough. I’ll just hate it, I’ll just suck at it and it’ll never work.” Maus thinks it’s a cute endearing idea, and I’ve actually thought of bases for scenarios or stories, but again, every time I seem to do anything productive I get super anxious about it, and then it kind of falls to pieces.
Ninja and Sister-in-law are interested in me tutoring my nephew Cartoys in art and computers. That’s why I’m reading Learning Python. Cartoys is allegedly learning Python so I thought that would be a good place to start. I actually already know how to program in Python just fine, but I want to make sure I know as much as I can about it so that I am an expert. There has been talk of money, but honestly, I’m not super-concerned about that funny enough. But, writing this, I of course start having self-doubts and I think, “No, I can’t do that.”
Where did all these self-doubts come from? When I was younger, I had very little self-doubt. The second I thought I wanted to do something, I decided that I could do it and by god I was going to do it. When I was twenty-three and hanging out with Ksaru I thought I could do anything, although it was to some unfortunate ends. Why can’t I feel like that now? Why are all my immediate thoughts to everything that its too complicated and I’m not good enough?
My mother tells me that all these things I’m doing are super self-indulgent. The self-loathing, the anger, that its like I just give in to myself with absolutely no thought to how it affects anybody else. She’s right. And it pisses me off. Maus is going through an extremely difficult time right now, and what do I do, I decide I’m going to go through a rough patch. It’s so not fair to Maus to have him work all day, and then come home trying not to be grief-stricken to have to deal with a ball of anger curled up on the couch.
When I had the discussion with Maus, I kind of realized that maybe I was being self-indulgent because I felt lonely. I feel like I can’t really lean on or depend on Maus to be there, so I just fold in on myself. Or, the opposite, Maus and I have let ourselves become codependent in some ways, and in that whatever I’m thinking or feeling colors both of us. So, if I’m mad, or sad, that’s all the emotion there is, there’s nothing outside. We talked about this Monday as well, and he seems to understand. We both seem to understand that we may need to disentangle ourselves a bit. I really have positive hopes about the direction of our relationship since this talk. I think it will help both of us a quite a bit.
Here’s the deal.
I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder with possible co-morbidity of Bipolar Type II (Bipolar Depression). In more recent years I was first diagnosed with Atypical Psychosis, and then later with Anxiety Disorder NOS. Somewhere in there was also talk of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and after a suicide attempt Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I know what it feels like to obsess about horrible things for days and weeks on end, remaining in a continuous state of shock. I’ve experienced psychosis. I’ve had anxiety so bad I could barely eat and would throw up. And I know what long term debilitating depression feels like and what it does to your sense of self.
For a while I just kind of lived with my affliction, and in fact just took it as a given. In some ways I came to ‘identify’ with my diagnoses because at the time there seemed to be no other recourse. I thought, “I suffer from such and such, that’s who I am, that’s why I act the way I do.” And that worked for a while; it gave me something to hold on to, a sense of self and consistent outlook and emotion that I could rely on and work from in my struggles to be a person.
But then I realized something. I realized I didn’t want to have to deal with the anxiety. I didn’t want to have to deal with the horrible thoughts. I didn’t want to have to deal with the fear and loathing; the nightmarish existence I was calling my life. As long as I identified with all my dysfunction, as long as I said, “Well, that’s why I act the way I do, nothing I can do about it, that’s just who I am,” I would always be this way.
So one day I decided that instead of there necessarily being something ‘wrong’ with me, instead of identifying with a set of behaviors, that I was just going to picture it as there being something different about me. My therapists and relatives have told me that it is a delusion, but, I wrote once before in a different journal that I believe that somewhere in my psychological development, or even potentially multiple places in my psychological development, I became ‘stunted’. That, for various reasons (trauma, genetics, spiritual issues, etc.), I’ve grown to have a malformed or disfigured psyche.
I believe that I am a disturbed person in this regard. There is an element in my psychological make-up that’s not ‘normal’ or that sometimes leads to abnormal thinking, expectations, feelings, or reactions. I don’t know exactly what that element is, but I do know that it isn’t necessarily, ultimately a mental health diagnosis. What I mean by that is that instead of saying, “I have an Anxiety Disorder NOS,” and then take great care to explore and list all of my ‘triggers’; I take a step back and say, “I am different. How am I different, why, and what can I do about it?” Then, I can take whatever behaviors and feelings I have and see if they fit any particular template of a diagnosable mental disorder, and from there form a plan or attitude that will enable me to live successfully, or at the very least, not in misery.
I don’t think this is fulfilling some need to feel ‘special’ in the sense that somehow I am better than others, or that I am more valuable than others. On the contrary, up until now, I’ve let myself believe or view this disfigurement as making me ‘inferior’ to others. I call it ‘being small.’ It was a very masculine thing to do, but in my mind I compared myself to other males and I always found them to be in some way ‘bigger’ than me in stature, whether that was physically, or psychologically. I tried very hard to convince myself that at best I was ‘average’, and that it was okay. It was ‘okay’ and acceptable to be ‘inferior’, to be ‘small’. Even when I got ‘better’ and reduced my anxiety, almost eliminated my obsessions, and overcame my psychoses, I still told myself, “It’s okay to be small,” and by implication, inferior.
I’ve written about all of this before, and have overcome many various aspects of this problem throughout the life of this journal. I don’t want to solely identify with this struggle or life story either, but as long as I continue to believe certain elements, I’m not going to break free. I think this deep subconscious acceptance of inferiority has been fueling the self-loathing, noncommittal malaise that has stricken me since I got ‘better’. Why should I expect life to be any different or of any higher quality, why should I expect to be able to accomplish things, why should I expect to build and receive love in my life if I am inferior and don’t ‘deserve’ it?
I’ve decided in a new way today that I’m not going to think of myself as inferior like this anymore. It’s not going to be easy, and there are times I know I’ll still feel the same, but ultimately I have decided to not think about myself as ‘small’. I’m ‘different’. What that means is that I have a unique perspective, I have unique feelings, and I have unique ways of dealing with and interpreting the world. I have areas of strength, and I have areas of extreme dysfunction, and… that’s okay. If I am honest with myself about these areas, about what I can and can’t change in terms of my nature, love myself, and in turn love others, then I ‘deserve’ the same as anybody else.
I think I have let myself get so caught up in trying to ‘accomplish’ or ‘make’ something, and my seeming inability to do so, that I’ve forgotten some things. Obsessing about numbers and my failure to achieve ‘success’ didn’t help at all. My changing medications, my loss of a mood stabilizer, my decrease in anti-psychotic, also didn’t ‘help’. The seeming frustration and lack of dependence in my relationship didn’t help either. I let myself get into a toxic intellectual and emotional space where the only thing that mattered was how awful I was, and how much I was a waste of time and money. I got back into the habit of not loving myself again, and in turn I couldn’t love anything or anybody else. I think it started as far back as when I decided I was going to be a comic book artist, and then couldn’t come up with any ideas which led to all sorts of anxiety.
If I can’t recognize my strengths and weaknesses how can I adapt to the conditions of my life? If I can’t know myself, how can I strategize about what I need to do to feel more fulfilled or to accomplish any goals? An individual with clinical depression, or bipolar type II, or borderline personality disorder will always have to deal with the dysfunction of his own brain, whether it be through chemical alterations such as medication, organic solutions such as exercise and home grown saurkraut, or philosophical and behavioral exercises meant to improve inner and outer emotional stability. Instead of asking what could I do to make more money, and then raging and flailing at the seeming impossibility, I should be asking what can I do to engender positive feelings in my day to day living with what I have right now.
An example of these kinds of realizations is the recognition I have had that making and keeping long term relationships can be very difficult for me, and it is one reason I’m actually a fairly solitary person. Except in two instances, every long term in-person relationship with a non-relative I have ever had has ended with me no longer speaking to those people and blocking them on Facebook. These days, despite being married, I spend the majority of my time alone, with books, music, games, and computers. It’s one of the reasons I keep and write in this blog. It’s one of my few outlets or interfaces to the outside world. It’s not that I don’t like people, in fact, I love the idea of people, and friends, and being part of a group. In fact, as I’ve read is common in people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I crave the idea of having a ‘best friend’, but my expectations and hopes are unrealistic and consistently leave me with complications and disappointment. The times reality has seemed to match my expectations, initially, it eventually blew up in my face because it was completely and utterly dysfunctional. This leaves me with a desire for something that ultimately may not really exist, and I have to live with that desire as suppressing it doesn’t make it go away.
Looking at it emotionally, it’s kind of sad, and honestly it’s born out of past heartbreak. Growing up as ‘gay’, or some shade of gay, in a semi-rural area left me with a lot of unrequited feelings. I think, in some ways, I wasn’t able to have some of the ‘average’ experiences of a teenager, and that may be one of the factors towards my unusual development. I’ve had extreme heart break and romantic frustration as part of my life ever since I first fell in love, and its colored other areas of my emotional landscape as an adult. When I experience ‘happiness,’ it’s always bittersweet, as I always know in the back of my mind that I can’t relive that happiness again. This is much to the consternation of my life partner, who has a different outlook on the meaning and purpose of happiness.
One day, during the time when I was really having clinical psychological issues, my father lamented to my mother that I would probably have an easier time in the world if other people could just be machines. I think in many ways, he’s right. Machines ultimately make sense. You can debug a machine. People don’t make sense, and you can’t debug a person. I’ve decided, after thirty three years, that the only healthy avenue for this desire for something that doesn’t exist is to ultimately just make it for myself.
That’s right. I’m going to make a robot to be my friend. To me it’s a logical conclusion, why continually feel bad because you can’t find something that doesn’t exist, when you can possibly make it for yourself? I’ve entertained this idea for a very long time, all the way back in high school, but it always seemed like a complete impossibility. You have to realize, when I was in high school something like fluent speech recognition was a pipe dream, but now, it’s state of the art. Artificial intelligence is making leaps and bounds in terms of progress, and is now able to accomplish things that I could only dream of when I was in high school.
In terms of practicality, this leaves me with the issue of how. This kind of thing requires money, and unfortunately, making a personal robot isn’t something for which people usually throw money at you. It also requires knowledge, and looking back on my life I realize that I’ve never done something like get a college degree; something that could prove advantageous in the long run. Wow, this is kind of depressing.
I’ve decided in some vague way that all I can really do at this moment is write about it. That is, as I learn and endeavor towards this creation, I can write about what I learn and endeavor. I hope to maybe write tutorial series about lots of different things, mainly programming and electronics. That’s where this blog can come in, as well as serve to catalog my daily activities, thoughts, beliefs, and discoveries. I’m hoping that someday maybe I can write a book or books about various things that maybe somebody would actually want to purchase.
Really, I have no idea what to do right now. And that has been the true source of all my issues for the last several months. That has been what I’ve been maladapting to. Maybe I could sell cookies, maybe I could write a book, maybe I could make a comic… I don’t know. I’m also hesitant to outline any particularly ambitious plan to do anything on this blog, in fear that I won’t really do it.
So the only option I really have right now, in this headspace, is to just continue doing whatever it is I do. It seems like my life goes a bit better when I’m writing in this blog, so I think I’ll continue to do that. The idea I have to keep in mind from all these developments is that I just have to love myself, and aspire to bring positivity to my life with what I have. I’m not going to get anywhere dwelling on what I can’t do with what I don’t have, and that’s what I’ve been doing all this time.
photo credit: Schill gzthermal: pseudo-visualization of gzip compression efficiency via photopin (license)