Howdy. It's about 5:30am Mountain Time as I start writing this post. My thoughts are racing but I'm not even really sure what they're saying so I'm just gonna type awhile.
I've been trying to be more sober overall. This evening I was looking for a distraction and decided to go on an adventure. I left around 8pm. This was not a well-planned adventure. I decided I was going to go to a National Park called Craters of the Moon, which is like a place where there was a lot of lava flow at one point and it's big and vast and barren and kinda looks like how you might imagine the surface of the Moon. I knew of this place's existence because I went on a field trip there in 4th grade. I didn't remember anything about it other than the name.
I turned on my GPS and discovered it was gonna be a 3 hour drive. Meaning I'd get there at 11. This should have stopped me for so many reasons. For starters, I knew it was gonna be dark when I got there. Also, my car has had both its "Check Engine" and "Low Oil Levels" warning lights on for... a long time. Plus it has a history of breaking down on the highway. But I went anyway.
I went out of cell service after the first hour and my GPS stopped working. But I figured I could follow the roadsigns. And I did. And I got to Craters of the Moon. I realized I hadn't packed any supplies: no food, water, jacket, flashlight, anything. All I had was my wallet and my service-less phone. But this didn't even give me pause. (Seriously guys – am I having a manic episode?) So I park and wander down a paved road, following it into the park about a mile. Then I see a random trailhead and decide, "This looks like a good moonlight walk." The moon was very bright. It's all I was using to see by. The sky was thick with wildfire smoke, though, which made it hard to breathe.
I started down this trail. Craters of the Moon is a very, very quiet place. Barely any life. Distant crickets and the sounds of my shoes grinding on basalt gravel, which sounded so loud. I went up and down a few hills. All the trees are dead and white. Tall pillars and flat slates of volcanic rock at my sides and underfoot. At one point, I went down a hill and got to a giant field of solidified lava flow. It's surface is characterized by multitudinous folds and cracks, making it difficult and dangerous to cross. Plus, since it's all rock, there's no way to tell where the trail is. I should have turned around, but I kept going across it. Nearly sprained my ankle so many times! I have a weak angle from previous injuries.
I somehow managed to find the trail at the other end of this field. So I kept pressing forward. The trail started going more upwards and felt to be going deeper and deeper into the heart of this "moonscape." As the trail got narrower, higher, and a bit precarious, it dawned on me that I hadn't told anybody that I was out there. I could die and no one would know where to look.
At that point, I started having some paranoid thoughts. But not veery rational ones. I started thinking about a story my 7th grade English teacher told. She had been backpacking in the foothills just outside the city. She was going to meet her friend somewhere, but was going to have to stop for the night first. That first day, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched. But she pitched a tent that night and fell asleep. The next morning, she looked on her camera, and saw pictures of herself sleeping.
I started to feel like I was being watched. I kept pausing, ears on high-alert for any sounds. There was only ever the wind. I don't know why I didn't turn around right away at that point either. I just kept needing to see what was over the next crest. Finally I got to the top of a big hill, and trail seemed to continue down into a valley, so I lost interest in following it. I tried to take a few pictures (pretty impossible in the dark) then I – finally! – turned around.
I made it back to my car ok. It was about 1am. I started the drive home, hoping that roadsigns would steer me in the right direction again. About 2 hours into the drive (3am), my tire popped. Fortunately, I was right near an unused off-road that I was able to pull into and start changing my tire.
I got my car jacked up after three botched attempts (the road was a dirt one, and uneven, making it hard). I got all the lug nuts out, but apparently I'm not strong enough to rip the tire off after. I yanked and yanked, but it wouldn't budge. I figured I must be doing something wrong, so I rifled through my glove compartment looking for the car's User Manual. I kept reading and re-trying the instructions – to no avail. Eventually, a sheriff saw me pouring over the manual and stopped by to check on me. He asked me how long I'd been there. I checked my watch – it was now 4am – and told him I'd been there an hour. He ripped the flat tire off no problem and helped me get the spare one on. I thanked him then continued my homeward journey.
About twenty minutes into driving, I ran over a skunk. It just seemed to appear out of nowhere. That was the first time I'd killed an animal bigger than a spider. In my junior year of college, I lived in an apartment that was infested with giant-ass spiders. I gave up on catch-and-release so fast, and feel guilty sometimes for just wanting to massacre them all. I kept hoping the skunk died quickly. I started to wonder if it hadn't died; maybe it was lying on the side of the road bleeding internally, suffering. I almost turned around to go make sure I didn't need to mercy-kill the poor thing. But I just kept going. I sang along to some music to try to distract myself from the skunk.
Following roadsigns got me home ok. My hands were filthy and somehow all cut up from trying to change my tire, so the first thing I did was wash them. Then I guess I started writing this post. It's 6:30am now. The sun's coming up. I'm realizing I've only eaten a sandwich and a handful of candy in about 36 hours. I'll probably have some cereal and... try to sleep?
Overall I think I've been doing a lot of things right. Have been using Chris Traeger as my role model, haha. I've been eating in healthy amounts and exercising regularly. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday. Working full time, forcing myself to have a social life, doing some hobbies, forcing myself out of the house... But I should probably see a therapist at some point. I don't enjoy anything.
I always end up being kind of the "therapist friend" in my social groups. This has been true since at least middle school. I think it's because I'm quiet and non-judgmental, so people tend to feel comfortable opening up to me. Plus, after all these years of defaulting to this role, I've gotten pretty good at it. I know what questions to ask and how to respond to get people to open up more, be comfortable talking, etc. I also have a psych degree now. Anyway, in general I think I'm sympathetic with how I talk to people, but so often, people will say things like, "I've been so depressed/out of control/tired for so many years now." But they've never done anything about it! In the back of my head I'm just like, "Try something? See a professional? Develop a treatment plan? You idiot?" And I'll usually try to help them take that step (but like, without being mean). So that's kind of the conversation I've been having with myself the past few... months.
I'm scared of my cat dying. His littermate died in June. I didn't think her death would affect me that much because, while I loved her, I didn't really like her or have much of a bond with her (as terrible as that sounds). But when the time came, it hit me pretty hard. I still cry to think about the vet carrying her body away. The cat that I absolutely adore, he's my best friend, her brother, is the same age she was. He's just kind of a time bomb, I think. Something in him is gonna give out sooner or later. I don't know how I'll handle it. He's doing ok for now. Has a lot of standard old-age ailments though.
I miss susurrous. After he left GT back in May, he got really bad at staying in contact with me as well. It's not that I blame him. I know he thinks he's nothing but a burden. But it turns out I don't have other friends that I talk to about my thoughts and feelings. Being autistic, I've always struggled with getting close to anyone – often out of a lack of desire. But he's been my friend longer than anyone, for almost two decades. I've gone to check on him at his mom's place a few times. His life is bad. He doesn't seem to want anything to change. I think he's just waiting to die. Does anyone here still talk to him?
I've had a crush on someone for over a year, which is pretty much unheard of for me. It's unrequited though. We're still friends, so that's nice. We're friends in a little group that plays D&D every Monday night. I hate playing D&D, but I can't tell them that, because it's the basis of my social life. I'm really uncomfortable when it comes to improvising in real time. In social interactions, I rely heavily on schemas/scripts. As soon as someone deviates from standard exchanges, I get bad at passing as normal. That's the entirety of D&D. I'm not really sure what my friends think of me.
Anyway, that's Ceta's thought-dump I guess. Thanks for obliging me. 7:30am now. Will probably set an alarm for just a few hours of sleep this morning so that I can fall asleep tonight. Wish me luck?