Looking back over the past few weeks, the change in me has been profound. It's weird though, because with actual, genuine change, you hardly notice it as it happens. There's a load of small little things that are dissolving - little neuroses that always seemed so deeply entrenched.
My diet's improved. I'm eating a lot more vegetables. I'm going to work on time. I'm going to bed at a normal hour, I'm getting my work done efficiently. I'm increasingly able to organise things.
This might seem like a collection of the most banal little things that could possible be. A bunch of boring-ass mediocre shit that only a weirdo would mention. And don't get me wrong, I've never claimed not to be a weirdo. I'd be on pretty shakey ground if I did.
But to me these things are little miracles. The fact I'm eating a lot more vegetables is amazing - I'm fucking 28 and I've never bought vegetables in a shop before doing this. Crazy, but it's just that ingrown childish revulsion to them that I've never shaken.
It's fucking stupid, I know, I'm not expecting you to read this with a straight face, but I cannot describe the relief that I felt when I looked down at my shopping basket and saw a load of stuff there that was actually good for me. I know - retarded, but looking back on my mosey through Tesco's it wasn't like I was feeling more mature or more responsible, or even more health conscious. Nothing like that.
It was more that my body was choosing the food it wanted. Normally my mind chooses the food it wants, which essentially boils down to sweets, chips and meat. But this time, and with no effort at all from myself, I just wandered around and without any thought, gravitiated toward healthy stuff.
And again, you might think this is ridiculous, and from one point of view you are obviously correct. It is fucking ridiculous. But for years I've had this worry at the back of my mind about my diet. I've tried to eat better, and my pitiful attempts have always devolved within days to my usual junk-food fare.
So I hope you can see that when I looked at the shopping bag and saw this stuff there, and realised that, without any thought or effort I'd been eating a lot better recently and really enjoying it, I was overcome with this sense of gratitude and relief.
I get it, this is dumb. But for me, for my life, this is a big change I've tried to make for ages. I just find it happening around me.
And as for going to work on time - every job I've ever had I've kicked off major grief with my boss for being late. All of them. I'm 28. I've had a lot of jobs. Every single one I've been late in. Every single one except this.
And going to bed on time - I realise how gay this sounds. Like I'm becoming a stepford wife. But the truth is that when I look back at the fact that I've gone to bed at between 12 Midnight and 2 am, even on a work/school night, ever since I was 15...
And it was weird. It wasn't like I was partying. It was more like this sort of sullen rebellion to the fact I had to get up to go to work the next day, or school, or whatever. I used to resent hitting the hay in time to give me enough sleep. Always had.
Now I don't. I can actually plan ahead. Just one day, but good God - that's unheard of for me. I'm no longer a fuck-eyed zombie at work, so I can actually enjoy it. I'm no longer late for it so there's a whole dimension of nasty drama that I don't have to deal with.
And fucking hell... I can plan ahead! Me! Ciaran! I can plan a-fucking-head!
So fucking what, I hear you cry. Let me put this in context for you. Once, not too long ago, I was looking into different psychiatric medications. I like to research the shit I'm pumping into my bloodstream. Prozac had become less effective - although that's not to disrespect Prozac - for all the jokes and derision people pour on it, it literally saved my life on two separate occasions.
No, I was looking into remedies for Bipolar depression. The Prozac's good for pulling you out of the bottomless pit of howling self-hate that's at the end of one extreme, but I was just sick of spinning constantly between manic creativity/burning purpose on one hand and the darkness on the other.
So I'm looking at what medicated peeps are saying about Lithium. Pretty fucking scary stuff. I never went on it, and I pray I never do. If this whole thing does nothing other than to stabilise my shit and keep me off that zombie-juice I'll be on my knees throwing thanks at whatever deity's listening.
But one of them said something that really resonated with me. It was one of the few positive things mentioned about Lithium, but it hit me like a hammer. This woman said "I can plan my life six months ahead... and stick to those plans."
I wish I could give you the view from inside my skull when I read those words. To me, looking at the kind of mental volatility I'm packing, the kind of man I am and have been, the kind of personal history I've got, how I instinctually approach and react to situations....
The ability to plan ahead by six months, even holiday plans or simple things like holding down a job, is to me like the ability to fly.
And now I'm doing it. I'm planning ahead. And don't get me wrong - six months haven't passed yet, although they will soon enough; but I can plan and do keep to those plans. It's not some nightmarish struggle. It's simple, and clear, and crisp and cool.
Here's what I think's happening. My problem has never been the inability to plan as such. My problem has been the horde of hidden subconscious neuroses, and the head full of chaos that I've had since as long as I can remember.
Here's a picture of Sigmund Freud, father of psychiatry and proponent of a neurotic theory of human nature. Ironically enough it was drawn by Salvador Dali, well known nutcase.
Now those subconscious neuroses are being drawn into the light of day, and now that there's a level (by no means complete yet) of chill stillness in me, the obstacles are removed. No, that's not right, not really removed. But weakened. Seriously weakened.
I guess I'm just living better than I have before, and that's all I wanted to say with this post. Nothing huge or groundbreaking on a cosmic scale - but these changes are huge and groundbreaking to me. For so long I've just assumed that I was fundamentally disorganised, or fundamentally chaotic. I wasn't happy or unhappy about it, I just dealt with the neverending torrent of shit it caused because I felt that was my lot in life.
And again, don't think I'm floating through a rainbow stream of fairy dust and eskimo kisses. There's shit in my life, there's still a big weight of nastiness inside me. Stuff kicks off, as it always has.
But I am changing, and changing for the better. Changes both profound and subtle that I'd never even hoped for. It's cool. It's really cool.
Get yourself an mp3 player.