Surviving Survival Mode

Posted on Sep 22, 2021

This has been a very rough week. I won’t get into why. Let’s say life sometimes loves to teach you lessons for you to learn from. But this has had me thinking about my own psychological triggers and mechanisms… and how I found myself keeping on a survival mode way longer than really needed.

I’m not a psychologist, although I had my dabblings with basic Psychology in my Psycholinguistics classes back in the day. Not enough, of course, to self-diagnose me in any way…

The situation was that for most of 2020 and some of 2021 I was in a very bad place, so of course I had my mind set in a “Let’s survive” mode. I needed a place to live, a job, needed guidance for some personal issues, and I was back in a city where… yes… I did have past connections, but I was away from for almost 10 years. It’s totally natural that people here were a bit “concerned” with my sudden return and were willing to help just to a certain point; I don’t blame them.

So I was, up to some point, quite alone.

Things went better, as you know from my blog and my Mastodon profile. Funny how the mind works, though… Like delayed? I’ve got a job, I’m living a peaceful life, I’m planning out some mid-term goals in life, but still I wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether I’m going to “make it” tomorrow… like reviving those times in which I was sheltered in a hostal, expecting to be kicked out in any moment because I wasn’t able to pay for the bed (not even a room).

The flip side of it is me overbuying food because some part of my brain still thinks “Food will run out in two days…! How will you buy more?” because yes… I was in that situation some time ago… It hasn’t been true for quite some couple months…

Is this PTSD of some sort? If anyone knows, please tell me.

There are other more personal things that also have shown up. Like me joining way too many LGBTQ support groups because I felt I needed… support. And they did help, don’t get me wrong! Yet, I still clinched to them, while also growing increasingly uncomfortable in them…1 There was a growing conflict there and, well, I sort of snapped out of it because of a proposal I was made which led to a series of very hard decisions but ultimately… have helped me regain some peace of mind…

And that’s awesome!

So, I’ve commited myself (git add ariadna.c && git commit?) to a change. The Year of Survival is long gone, fortunately. It’s time to build my future. Of course, this wasn’t possible to do before… but now I’m confident I will… I’ve freed myself from unnecessary weight in my life (once more), and have started doing the not-silly-at-all exercise of daydreaming the life I wanna live. No, I don’t believe in manifesting your future and any things of that sort… but I do believe that if you don’t picture what you want, you just won’t take the steps towards that.

And this will be so funny for you folks… You know what was the first thing that suddenly started to work back again as soon as I took that decision? Guess! You know already??

sline of course!

During the last weeks, in the middle of the worst of my confusion, it was so hard to get myself into coding. sline desperately needed UTF-8 support, which ain’t the hardest thing to tackle, but not the easiest either… As soon as I started realizing what was really going on with me, it was almost like magic… There I was longing for the evening to come so I could win my fight over the arcane issues of character encoding! And sline finally got its UTF-8 support! 2

And writing the last post on C data types was also a nice positive consequence of me starting to feel better… trying to switch that survival mode off and getting into Being Alive Mode.

I’m still taking my walks, fancying clothes, being me, and dreaming of a bright future. I think something has clicked (in a positive way) in the last couple of days. Life can be a rollercoaster… sometimes it’s steeper, sometimes it’s just a comfy ride… But a lesson I learned is to keep your mind checked, because apparently the mind reacts a bit slow to changes in our lives… even when the changes have been objectively positive, not letting you fully enjoying them.

I should’ve studied Psychology… bummer… 😑😂


  1. I do want to write a post about this in the future… There is way too much groupthink in those places. ↩︎

  2. Except for the OpenBSD tty console, which apparently has poor support for multibyte characters? Even tmux has problems in it… ↩︎