Wizards First Rule, originally uploaded by alachia.

I used to love to read when I was younger. I would dive into books and read for hours and hours. I loved escaping into the stories and allowing the music playing in the background start to effect the entire mood of the book. There are still some soundtracks that will take me back to certain chapters of books.

But after grad school and being forced to read thousands of pages of stuff I hated, I grew a very strong distaste for reading all together. It was hard to shake that discomfort of physically reading after that so I kind of stopped all together.

I've tried several times to pick up a book but after the first page, I'm filled with anxiety and boredom (the overwhelming feelings I had when reading essays for grad school). I'm starting to think I'll never be able to read a book again which is kind of sad considering I remember how much I used to love it.

I also can't really justify buying a nifty e-reader in the future if I don't start reading again. :)

The other day, I was killing time at Borders book store before my therapy session and was perusing through the self-help section. There are so many books on how to fix yourself but none of them really made sense to me. I don't know what qualifies people to write most of this nonsense.

Like this one book my mom gave me called "The Power of the Subconscious Mind" where the author tells you to plant the seed of thought into your head. He then tells you to nourish the seed and let it grow in your subconscious.

One of the examples he used was of a student in his class who really wanted a car so she used the power of the subconscious mind and planted the seed in her head. She visualized what the car would look like, how she would feel getting into it, and even how it would smell. Every day she worked on this visualization and low and behold, one day her uncle died and she inherited his car.......

yeah... I was like wtf?

Anyhow, after giving up on the self-help books, I walked over to the fantasy section and saw Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. I've been meaning to read this book ever since watching Legend of the Seeker. My brother considers it one of his favorite all time books. And I've only heard great things about this series in particular.

So I figure I'll pick it up and make myself read at least five pages every day (starting really small so I don't give up fast). I'm hoping that after the first chapter, I'll have rebooted my love for reading. I will say the first five pages are already interesting to me as they didn't begin with a six paragraph description of a leaf blowing in the wind (sorry Robert Jordon). It'll take me some time to work my way back to trying The Eye of the World again.

I don't know why but I consider escaping into a fantasy world of books a lot safer than the fantasy world of games. Right now I'm too afraid to get back into gaming for fear that I might lose myself completely to them. The desire to escape or run away from my own emotions in real life are very great. I have to be careful. Books seem like a safer alternative to gaming as they are far less emersive.

My Therapist Says…

I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to go through with it but as I walked through the Therapist’s office door, I thought to myself “whatever. let’s just do this.” And then I wasn’t sure if I was even in the right place. There was no receptionist, just a foyer with some chairs and magazines that led into more rooms. I wondered around a bit wondering if I was in the right place.

She finally came through the door and introduced herself to me. She brought me back to one rooms attached the main foyer and sat me down on an oversized lounge chair. I couldn’t get myself to lean back in it though and was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire session (just the initial free consultation).

First thing she asked me was if I was able to find the place okay and then jumped right to “so what’s going on?”

I don’t even know what I said for the first few minutes but I do know that it all added up to something about having hidden my erratic mood levels including depression for over a year and how it ruined my relationship and crippled me as normal human being.

I told her that it seems no connection I ever have is good enough or strong enough for me. So much of my sadness is feeling like I just can’t connect. I said I didn’t understand why I keep longing for more than there is. What am I seeking?

She nodded and asked me about my relationships and my past history. She asked about school and work and my childhood. When I started to relay it all to her she seemed a bit confused at first at the amount of history. I think she had assumed I was younger so she finally asked me my age. Once I told her, it seemed to make better sense to her.

I talked a lot about how I fell out of love with my profession. I talked about my struggles with parents about life views and their influence over me. I talked about how angry I had been and how much blame I put on the people I love.

I basically stated I had reached a point where not even the things that should make me deliriously happy did. I didn’t see a point to anything. Simply put, nothing has meaning for me anymore. I have reached the pinnacle of existential absurdity.
I told her I had thought it was only a matter of me fixing my life at first but now know that the problem is deep within and up until a few weeks ago, I was totally in denial that I was depressed.

I see this state as weak. Crying is weakness. Not having control over your emotions is weak. I used to be so good at faking happiness. I used to have the mental capacity to compartmentalize my feelings. That’s all gone. I don’t even like to go out too much anymore because I often just tear up at the most inappropriate times. I try to pass it off as allergies but I think they know.

My biggest problem is that there will be moments where I am up and think I’m fine and okay again. I floated on that for awhile but then the lows would hit me without warning and I’d find myself downing. I never thought of it as an illness because I just assumed they were random fleeting moments. The thought of having a real mental illness was something I didn’t want to accept.

But there’s only so long you can float in and out without noticing you’re destroying the world around you, the people you love the most. I was alienating my family and friends and all my chances at happiness. I just can’t stand being around normal people when I’m like this so I shoved that world far away from me. I still find myself unable to be real with them. I turn myself “on” just so they don’t have to feel helpless about me. The rest I’ve just pushed away probably destroying some of the best of relationships in the process.

“I’m broken. I realize that,” I told her when she asked me if I was aware I was depressed. I thought it was an odd question for her to ask but maybe she was wondering if a part of me was still in denial. Because of my extreme highs and lows, lack of need for sleep, wild productivity spurts, and abnormally high sex drive, I’m pretty convinced I might have bipolar disorder.

I admitted to her that I didn’t really understand therapy. How is a stranger supposed to help me? There is no way she’ll ever truly know me the way I know myself and others know me. 

She said that it was because she was a stranger and removed from my life that she’d help me analyze my life better. She also said that it would make it easier because I’d be able to tell her things that I might not want to tell my family or friends. That last bit I was skeptical about since I’m so guarded with my layers. I’m not sure how much I’ll be comfortable revealing. Who knows, I might surprise myself.

The funny part was when I had to mention to her about my online world. I told her it was pretty important for me to have someone who wasn’t going to be quick to judge people who spend a great deal of their socialization on the Internet. I said quickly that I know I’m not addicted to the Internet (count one).

She asked me where I spent most of my time online. I said it used to be gaming but now it’s mostly just in social networks. She definitely raised her eyebrows when I said “gaming”. She asked me if I played “wow”.. she actually said WOW not World of Wacraft (impressive)! I was like, “yeah. but not as much as I used to but I was never addicted” (count two).

Then she mentioned that there is a 12 step support group for WoW players in the Austin area and explained how there were studies that show people who are addicted to WoW experience the same symptoms as those who are addicted to heroine. I nodded but quickly said, “yeah, I read the same thing but I’m not addicted to WoW.” (yup three times I said I wasn’t addicted) I’m not sure she bought it but perhaps later she’ll discover that I am addicted but probably not what to she thinks... I’m addicted to connection. I know this is a problem and I don’t know where it stems from, my compulsive need to be connected or feel connected. I still can’t figure out what I’m hoping to find.

Anyhow, after denying my addiction to video games for a bumbling five minutes, she spoke to me about how she works a lot with dream analysis. She believes a lot in the psychological study of Carl Jung and the theories of individuation. I’m not sure what to think of it to be honest. I think I’m mostly curious about the study of the subconscious mind having obviously failed at comprehending the conscious one.

So now I have to keep a journal of my dreams which luckily for her are crazy and vivid. She was actually surprised to hear that I remember my dreams a lot. I wonder what she does for people who never remember what they dream. SOL?

I’m going to have to keep a journal by my bed though because the dreams fade super fast after the first moments of waking. The last couple of nights have been pretty colorful and having to try to remember them make me wonder a lot what they could mean. I used to think they were just residual images compiled from too much visual stimulus in my life...ie. movies, magazines, the meta. It’ll be interesting to see if they mean more than that. I’m a bit skeptical of course.

She also told me to start taking some Flax Seed Oil or Fish Oil (Omega-3) to see if that helps. Apparently Omega-3 has has some success in treating depression and bipolar disorder.  I did some quick research on the subject and found some interesting studies on how the deficiency of Omega-3 results in the body using Omega-6 instead which produces cell membranes that aren’t able to cope with neurotransmitter traffic.

Omega-3 is a fatty acid you need but your body can’t make so you have to consume it. It is a component you naturally get from seafood so they said depression in places like New Zealand where only 40lbs of seafood is consumed per year is like sixty percent higher than Japan where there is over 150lbs of seafood eaten annually. Crazy huh?

So I went and got some Flax Seed Oil that day from the People’s Pharmacy (apparently their drugs contain less mercury). I opted not to get the Fish Oil because people say the after taste can get nasty. She says if it is effective, I should start to feel a little different after just three days or so.

At the end of the initial session, she asked me if I’d like some time to keep fishing (npi) for other therapists. She said it’s all about finding someone you feel comfortable with and believing they can really help you. It’s important to fit. She says for her, she feels like she has the capabilities to help me but it would only work if I felt she was a good fit for me too.

I told her I didn’t really want to fish around. The truth was that at this point I’m willing to try anything so I scheduled our first real session for later this week. I’m going to give it two sessions and see if I think it’s helping any. She’s already told me that I have a long ways to go (she says she senses a lot of complexity) so I think that translates into quite a few sessions. I’m not sure how people afford this stuff but I guess if it works then it’s worth it? Oh well, at least now I can begin all my sentences with “My therapist says..”

Democracy is...

Democracy Tap Power Magic Card, originally uploaded by alachia.

Take a photo that completes the phrase Democracy is… and share it with the world.

I had a hard time thinking about this challenge which seems like it should be rather easy. For most Americans, it is ingrained that Democracy is Freedom. However that’s just the pre-programmed grade school response. Is it true? Well, unfortunately like most grown up answers, it’s never a simple yes or no.

The cynical side of me would like to say “Democracy is an illusion” or “Democracy is at the expense of lesser nations which we exploit”. Or I’d like to say “Democracy is expensive”.

But then I sit back and think about it and that’s where I realize I have done what a lot of people do and mix up capitalism with democracy which unfortunately in the US are often viewed as the synonymous. There’s a valid but pitiful reason I think it is hard for me and others to visualize democracy. Most of don’t practice it! I’m guilty of it for sure but the structure of our government hasn’t exactly been promoting it either.

Can you name any of your State’s representatives of the House or Senate? What are all their stances on alternative energy? What was the last thing they voted for? How many things did they not bother to vote on? What about your local government?

If democracy is our reality, then why does barely 50% of the population bother to vote in our Presidential election? Or if we say screw national government, what is really important is local government, then why do most of us know nothing about those issues? Can you name any of the members on your city council? What’s the name of your mayor? What’s on the agenda this year for them to vote on?

The truth is that most of us are too indifferent as individual citizens and the government isn’t nearly transparent enough for us to really be practicing a solid Democracy. So maybe I was right. Democracy is more an illusion than anything, offering us the “ability to be run by the people” but also be set on autopilot if we choose not to bother.

But the most important thing Democracy is that makes it stand as an amazing governing concept is that it is an enabler for us to have a voice, to have power, to have an effect on the world we want to live in. That is, if we want it. The problem right now is that “DEMOCRACY IS... Untapped Power” but the good news is that the card is still available for play if we want to use it... for now. :) [Insert some Magic the Gathering analogy of a player card stealing ability here]

I'm still struggling to find a decent photo option though. Obviously, I won't be using the Magic the Gathering Mock up. I just don't really know how you visualize untapped power.


You have your good days and you have your bad days and then there are days like today. It’s hard to explain when you sink so low that you past the point of feeling. I think it’s a defense mechanism of the mind to turn off your emotions before you self-destruct. At this point, nothing matters anymore except breathing through the pain.

I’ve tried to self-analyse myself over and over again. I’ve tried to dissect my life and so that I can reverse engineer happiness into my program. I’ve had little success but today while reading an article about Internet Addiction and Depression, I think I gained some clarity but not how you might think.

I found the article because I was researching a therapist (good luck finding one that isn’t booked for months in this fucked up world) and Dr. Brooks seems well in tune with the culture of a meta-integrated person (cyberpsychology). The article in a nut shell basically states that despite the promise of technology and our ability to connect online, it lacks the ability to make us happy the way real life social interactions can. He says it goes against our biological evolution of being social animals and conflicts with our natural growth as humans via human interaction.

I agree. I get it. I’m not so buried in the meta that I don’t understand the beauty of flesh. There is nothing online that has ever been able to replace the way it feels when your fingertips come in contact with another person’s skin. And no amount of amazing chat convos will ever be able to come close to what it feels like sitting across from someone and watching them laugh and you laughing back and then the look they get when they acknowledge you’re laughing too and on and on.

And so I’m nodding my head and say yeah, that makes sense. But now I’m conflicted. I understood a few months ago that my immersion into the meta had created an instability and imbalance in my life. I was too invested in connections that are to this day still AMAZING, powerful, and wonderful but in the process abandoned and neglected ALL real life interactions.

So I did step away quite a bit. I did take the time to develop time in re-immersing myself into the real world. I traveled, saw incredible things, and spent a lot of time with humans in the flesh. These were all things that should have given me comfort or made me feel alive again..happy even. But it didn’t. I still remained sad and lost.

This has sunken me into further depression as now I really don’t know where my place is in the conscious world of the living. I can’t find solace and my place in either the digital realm or the world of the flesh. Where the hell do I belong? Where will I find stability?

After crashing down and down and down, crying for a few hours, I came to a realization today that maybe no therapist would ever be able to have seen for me. I’m broken. Period. There is nothing anyone is going to be able to say to me or present to me that’s going to make me want to smile when I don’t want to or dance when I just want to disappear. No amount of love is going to make me feel whole. Even the best human connection in the world won’t forever satiate the internal pain that consistently emerges within me.

I simply don’t see a purpose to life. I get that you can make up distractions, give yourself goals but in totality, life just has no meaning to me. And I get so upset when my head goes into this place of indifference. I’m incredibly healthy. I have heartbreakingly beautiful friends both in the meta and real life.

It’s not like I ever have to be want for love or care. I see that. I have the perspective to see all that I should be seeing but for some reason, I’m still crippled. I don’t feel like I belong to this world or to these wonderful connections. I get angry at myself for not being able to get past the sadness to really embrace it to make me happy.

I’m so fucking rational. I have all the puzzle pieces in front of me and yet I can’t make it fit. It’s infuriating. And all I can do is compartmentalize the pain, pretend I’m okay at times, and go through the motions of being normal. I get scared sometimes at how low I get otherwise. At times, only the thought of my brother’s happiness keeps me here.

And the only thing right now that allows me to be distracted, free from pain, and gives me a temporary form of normalcy is creating. When I’m producing, creating, writing or organizing there is a peace that washes over my mind. Digital or RL format, I love to produce and make things. Maybe that’s why I find photography so therapeutic. I noticed that as soon as I start to write or take pictures or audio blog I feel more in sync with my mind. But this frightens me too. I can’t just keep only living in my head. I’m too much into my head and I know that.

But for now my goal will be to set up a schedule to be active in production and creating on a regular basis. Less searching and soaking and more doing like I’ve always gone on and on about.

But who knows, maybe by tomorrow that theory will have failed and I’ll be struggling to unravel the mystery of human misery again.

Tech Support!

This is my favorite scene in Vanilla Sky. I remember how it was one of those scenes that jolts you to your core because you realize how awkward and strange it is and at the same time powerfully sad. Not being built with appropriate emotional responses, I remember I laughed while watching him scream “Tech Support!” all over the building.

I wish my life was like this where you get to scream “tech support!” out loud and then you get helped by the corporation taking care of your mind and body. They come to you and tell you that this is just a dream and that one day you’ll wake up when you’re a better person and the world is better for you. But unfortunately, life isn’t a really surreal Tom Cruise movie.


Nikon Girl, originally uploaded by alachia.

Sometimes I wonder if taking photos can turn into something of an unhealthy lifestyle. Photography or amateur picture taking as most would say is something I enjoy very much. I love to capture moments, pieces of things that interest me, and of course memories.

The only problem is wondering whether or not you miss a lot when you aren’t seeing the world through both your eyes. If you’re too busy trying to set up the right composition or always pausing to take in something you find intriguing, it becomes a lot harder to just soak in the moment right?

It’d be much better if we just had memory recorders in our head I guess. There’s something about the need to personalize certain images just as you see them right then. I know for sure there are images of places and buildings that I will never be able to take a better picture of but I want my own personal snapshot of it. Why is that?

Even if I’ve taken a million pictures of the same types of food I eat, I often find myself taking yet another photo of it. And even if I’ve gone on a specific photowalk of a route, I still bring my camera “just in case.” Inevitably this leads to me stopping and trying to take a better picture than I did before or grab a different light on the same damn tree.

And sometimes I wonder when you’re just hanging out with friend or family if it’s not just as rude to spend time taking pictures when you’re spending time with them as it if you were on a cell phone. I often use the camera as an excuse to be anti-social because I don’t know how to will myself to interact. I love being behind the camera but I still worry about why it’s so hard for me to say “no more 3x5s.”

"Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way

but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
NO more 3x5's"
- John Mayer, 3x5

Magic Trick

Sometimes I wish I believed in a higher power or maybe even just someone who I trusted to know better than me. When you live so deeply in your head, you assume because you have the power to recognize the problem that you can somehow also fix it.

As you get older, unfortunately, you realize there are less and less people around who would even know how to begin to help you no matter how much they might want to. And it’s kind of frustrating thinking you should be smart enough to figure it out on your own. I mean aren’t we supposed to be intelligent beings?

The problem for me was that I had no clarity standing in the middle of my life in the eye of the storm of my troubled head. And it’s true, nearly destroying my life dragging it through the storm has gained me quite a bit of clarity but now I’m not sure how to fix it or if I’ll ever be able to on my own. Sure it's more quiet I guess in my head but I feel more numb to the world than ever.

I never wanted to disappear so much in my life like a rabbit in a hat.


I think I spent a lot of time when I was younger trying to visualize my future. I always wanted to know the shape, feel, and look of my Tomorrow. And I was rarely satisfied with my Todays.

I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with trying to control my future so much. It’s not like it’s something you can really ever get a handle on and it’s certainly never quite the product you spend so much time molding it to be. In other words, I set myself up for disappointment all the time.

But often now I wonder if I just don't have some kind of mental incapacity for happiness or sustaining a mentally stable mindset. Most of the time now I find myself searching for an answer I thought I'd find on this side of the mirror. And the thought that terrifies me the most is wondering if I'll ever find it.

It's the never ending mental loops and never finding an answer that troubles me the most these days. Shouldn't you know by now is the question I find myself asking over and over again.

Some days I’m borderline normal and I can sort of pretend like I resemble my former self and other days I’m just about to hit bottom. It’s strange how I used to be able to escape from the RL into the meta but now escaping just seems stupid. And I find that I really miss any sort of grounding.

This will make me sound loopy but I sometimes regret not going to see a professional awhile back when I started to hit bottom more often than normal. If it turns out that I’m simply mental then I’ll be really pissed at myself for wrecking my life for something that could be solved with some pills. You know?

So right now I’m sort of playing this game called spin the bottle on the future because the OCD (obsessive compulsive) method of planning and expectations just doesn’t seem to yield the results I want. I don’t know what I want and worse, I don’t know who I am. This next year I think will be a lot of running into walls, falling into potholes, and wandering around aimlessly.