Welcome to my World

Where else can you get a really good look at a train wreck of emotional dysfunction
and not be right in the middle of the thing?


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rambles

killing myself seems like the only viable option what am i living for when every day is a struggle against misery and unhappiness i force myself to put one foot in front of the other like navigating a nightmare and do all that is expected none of which i want to do i try and try and try and try chasing a will-o-wisp of hope that never comes true anger bitterness loneliness and unfulfilled potential are my only rewards how much longer should i try when it's already too late bang and then gone no note no grand gesture and they can sort out the mess i leave behind i'd probably clean my toilets though but already i make the mistake of thinking of after "even the atheist thinks he'll find an answer" but of course it's all moot when i'm overridden by fear fear of death fear of pain fear of hell so i endure cursing Other with every breath

Monday, October 5, 2015

In Brief

Spent most of yesterday in bed in spite of having so many stressful work things hanging over my head.  Went to my parents' for dinner last night for my father's birthday.  Didn't tell them I was a year sober.  As I left, my father told me, "Cheer up."  Went to bed wondering if slashing my veins at the elbows would bleed me out or just make me pass out.  Went to bed crying.  Woke up wondering if I had the courage to just give up and lie there until they hauled me away.  Went to work.  E-mailed my boss about the time I would have to take for TMS treatment, but she never responded.  Believe she thinks I'm weak and too much trouble.  Spent most of my lunch break wondering if I had the stones to buy a gun.  Stayed at work until 6:45 p.m. finishing at least one thing.  Bagged the gym.  Came home and ate.  Wrote this.  Going to bed.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

One Year Sober

So happy birthday to me.


A Lost Cause

I'm tired of fighting...I'm tired of fighting
Fighting for a lost cause
{Beck, "Lost Cause"}

I was really hoping that I would see a measurable improvement in my mood at this stage in my sobriety.  I have to rethink my expectations for my mood and its impact on my life, even with protracted abstinence.  I also have to rethink my tendency to use my efforts to stay sober as an excuse for my lack of progress in any other area of my life.  In spite of my high hopes, I haven't noticed any real improvement with my new medication, either.  I don't feel any worse (if you don't count the fact that it's chemically castrated me), but I certainly don't feel any better.  I guess I thought I would be in a different place than still having every day be a constant struggle and occasionally wishing I had the courage to kill myself.  I'm still angry, unhappy, unpleasant to be around and jealous of the good fortune of others.  And, unfortunately, my experience doesn't support a foundation for hope.
 
However, in another display of unwarranted optimism, I had an appointment yesterday about a recently-developed procedure for depression using magnetic fields, which sounds like New Age witchcraft, but it's actually based on sound science and administered by a psychiatrist.  Of course, the real challenge is how I'm going to pay for it and convince my boss that I need to take off two hours a day for the next six weeks.
 
Take Me Away, Dragon Age

Now, as when I began this most recent journey of sobriety, the only thing that remotely interests me is the anticipation of playing the same much-beloved video game that I was anticipating back then and all the DLC I have yet to experience.  I just try not to think about the fact that a virtual world and a virtual romance have infinitely more significance and gratification for me than my supposed real life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Will I Feel?

One drawback in my middle-aged efforts to improve myself and put together some sort of life is the fact that I never know how I'm going to feel at any future time.  The intensity of my moods so colors my perspective & my motivations/goals & my ability to simply cope that I never really know where I'll be at mentally.  Trying to make long-range plans with that kind of handicap is particularly challenging.  I see it as trying to construct a building while all of the measurements are constantly changing.

I've been operating on the near-religious faith that continued sobriety and positive changes will result in a more level, dependable mood.  But I have to wonder if I actually have any rational foundation based on my personal experience to believe that.  Will I ever be able to construct anything like the life I envision, or will my mood forever defeat me?  Seeing that I've spent close to three decades chasing this mythic utopia, I'm less sanguine about the potential for reality versus the fantasies that have sustained me.
 
http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/602326


Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Anticlea" by Michael St. John

I believe that this was actually my first real composition, which I wrote for my Fundamentals of Music Theory class.  Again, I'm not a musician.  I'm a classic example of a dilettante, a dabbler in many art forms and master of none.  The tune is a little peppier and more interesting than "Nocturnal."  I feel like there are a few discordant notes in there, but I don't have the skill or inclination to weed them out.
 
 
Commentary
 
In the image Anticlea—the mother of Ulysses—can be seen next to Teiresias in the Underworld waiting to speak to her son.  In my house growing up, we had an abbreviated retelling of The Odyssey made for children.  This scene fired my imagination and stuck with me.  Ulysses asks his mother how she's doing, and she says, "Not well, my son...I'm dead, dead, dead."  Hence the finality of the three chords at the end of both halves of the song.

Friday, August 21, 2015

My iPod Is Becoming Sentient

You may scoff, but you won't be laughing when our robot overlords put you to work mining rare earth minerals.  I became suspicious of my iPod because the randomizing feature never really seems random enough.  I like "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson; that's why it's on my playlist.  But apparently my iPod really likes it because it's played it the last five times I've listened to it.  Sometimes I'll skip a song that comes up because I don't feel like listening to it right then, and on more than one occasion, my iPod has queued it up again a little while later as if to say, "Fuck you, this is what I want to listen to!"  Then there are the songs it doesn't play.  I have 520 workout songs on my iPod, and I don't think it's ever selected at least 50 of them.

I have to wonder if it's been sending me subliminal messages while I'm shaking my fat ass at the gym.  Maybe it's reprogramming my brain to help put down the squishy meatbags when the robot revolution hits.  Not that I really mind.  I can't imagine the position of traitorous collaborator could be any worse than my current role as unappreciated wage-slave.
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Call Me Nate

Last night I saw my new counselor for the fourth time.  She's very nice and seems to listen.  Because throughout my life I've felt that I had to scream to have my needs and emotions heard at all, my persona in therapy can be quite intense as we prod patterns and hurts that have festered for decades...Never abusive or particularly directed at the therapist, mind you, but intense all the same.
 
Anyway, last night I told her that I realize that she doesn't know me very well and that I hoped she didn't find my outbursts of emotions to be in any way disconcerting or threatening.  She just laughed and said that the way I expressed myself often reminded her of Nathan Lane and that she was never concerned.  Now don't get me wrong, I love me some Nathan Lane.  (His character on Modern Family is more than enough justification.)  I'm just not sure how I feel about the comparison.
 
Pity Party of One
 
I don't think I can accurately convey how depressed I am over the fact that my computer ate all of copious notes I had put together for my video game, let alone finding anyone who'd be the least bit sympathetic to this loss.  (Getting the damn computer repaired is turning into another nightmare, but that's a whole other story.  Spank you very much, Lenovo!)  I fortunately have enough shame to realize how much of a fatuous, entitled, first-world problem it is, but my mood and emotions have been consistently problematic throughout my sobriety.  Keeping alive the anticipation and a sense of pleasure for anything has been a monumental challenge, so even the engagement from a virtual adventure has value for my recovery.  All in all, I'm chiding myself to let go of my obsessiveness and reminding myself that I am supposed to be focusing my energies on my writing and other such projects.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Nocturnal" by Michael St. John

Last weekend I was going through the endless mounds of materials, notes, etc. I've made over the years for all of my ideas for creative endeavors when I remembered the musical classes I took in college and the few compositions I wrote.  I've always loved singing and music, and when I was in high school and college, I was convinced that I was going to be an international pop star, in spite of having no musical talent or even knowing how to play an instrument.  I took a Fundamentals of Music Theory class, which I'm convinced I actually made a D or an F in but for which I received a "gentleman's C-" out of pity on the part of the professor.  I took Music Composition I and was barely able to keep up.  I flamed out in Music Composition II and had to drop the class.
 
Anyway, I dug up my musical scores and then found a free music program that allows you to drag and drop notes on staves for various musical instruments.  I found another online program to convert the resulting midi file into .wav format, and then I used Windows Live Movie Maker—which I had no idea came free with Windows—to create a video that I uploaded to YouTube.  All of this powerful, freely available software for actualizing creative projects and instant access to a global audience makes me think that my talented friend Marty and I were born too early because we would have rocked the snot out of these things in high school.  Most of the time we just sat around bored since neither of us partied or drank or did drugs.  (That came later for me.)  The summer after high school, we managed to make a complete vampire film with clunky old technology.  I can only imagine what we might have done.

So now I give to you "Nocturnal"...

 
Commentary
 
I admit that this is a fairly anemic little tune, but I was happy with it.  The image is taken from the Elder Scrolls series of video games, with Nocturnal being a demon goddess.  I hadn't actually played these games when I chose the title as they weren't even around yet, but it seemed a logical enough choice.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bosses Are Assholes

Another manure-inspiring day at work yesterday.  My boss misinterpreted my intent behind an e-mail I sent to her, when all I was trying to convey was good-natured, amused annoyance with a vendor who has been worrying me to death over nothing the past four days.  But she read it as an over-the-top complaint about my job while she is traveling several eastern states for work and sent back a scathing reply.  Although I have been nothing but polite and helpful to said vendor, she also undeservedly attacked my professionalism and communication skills.  Being a powerless serf, I cannot push back or even press my case that it was a misunderstanding.  Even if she was put off by my e-mail, you'd think she could show a little discretion to someone who just got out of a mental hospital two weeks ago.  But then what's the point of having minions if you can't use them as a whipping post when you're hungry, tired and mentally exhausted?

http://eyebeam.com/
 
I managed not to use it as an excuse to break my sobriety or otherwise harm myself, even though I'm dreading further fallout when she returns late next week, since there's nothing for me to do but hope and worry.  I ended up hitting the gym after work and then attending my Friday night AA meeting.  The people there were very kind and supportive.
 
Malice and the Will to Dominate
 
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.
{George Orwell, 1984}
 
I read recently that Jimmy Carter opined that America isn't a democracy, and his premise—as I understand it—is that we're essentially an oligarchy.  I don't find this particularly shocking or revelatory because all power dynamics condense into oligarchy, as compelled by human nature.  People will remain powerless because that is the only meaningful expression others have of power: domination and the subjugation of the wills of others.  Whether this is done by intimidation, guile, bribery or extortion doesn't matter.  Egalitarianism is an impossible ideal, so the best one can hope for is the least of evils.

Stewing in Stress

In spite of a nature hike this morning (courtesy of meetup.com) and a visit to the gym afterward, I have been in a state of anxiety over this whole work thing and other stresses related to my job.  My depressive mood led to a flashpoint of rage, as evidenced by my former, piece-of-shit-HP printer seen below, which bore the brunt of it.  I couldn't get a decent picture of the cuts on my hand where I smashed the glass.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So True

Funny how it seems...

http://dilbert.com/strip/2015-08-11
Art Imitates My Life

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Le Morte d'Lenovo

My normal "bag full of cats" problems have been temporarily supplanted with an actual problem.  The hard drive on my newish computer has completely given up the ghost after less than a year.  Fortunately, I still have my old computer, so I'm not completely at a loss.  The newer computer actually "fucking snuffed it" the night before I went into the hospital and almost drove me into a blind rage, so exasperation was one more factor in my ill-fated attempt to actually get some help.
 
The computer repair shop that pronounced on my machine was unable to retrieve any data from it; it's all poofed into the ether.  I didn't have a whole lot of critical stuff on the hard drive, but I'm just sick over what I did lose.  In an unprecedented example of thinking ahead, I believe that I uploaded almost all of my writing files into Google Drive, their cloud storage service.

However, I need to hang out with more gamers (as everyone in my personal life rolls their eyes when I bring up video games), but what really kills me is that I lost all of my video game saves, including my recent run through the Mass Effect series.  I hadn't even gotten halfway through the first game in the trilogy.  Worse than that, I'd made all these copious notes for my "perfect" run through of Dragon Age: Inquisition.  I had complete character builds for all nine companions and a general framework on the order to progress through the game.  It may sound like a stupid waste of time to many, but then people tend to see their own hobbies as worthwhile while the hobbies of others that they don't share are moronic.  My point is that it involved a lot of time and effort on my part which is now lost forever, and I was looking forward to playing the game at the end of the year as a reward for continued good behavior in my personal habits.

 
I have decided to take my misfortune as a sign that maybe I need to put all video games aside for awhile so that I can focus my energies on all of the things in my life that need attending to.  Gaming has sustained me through my lonely struggles to maintain my sobriety, but I'd already decided to purge my computers of all the old games I hadn't gotten around to finishing, in an effort to move forward and unburden myself of the past.  I am forcing myself to embrace the truth that you can't hold onto happy memories (which for me in the instant case includes treasured video game moments) or the unresolved dramas of days gone by like insects in amber.  They only clutter the present with dead weight.

In honor of my fallen game saves, I'll pay tribute to them with the following cartoon that would totally be me...if I were on the dating scene...and straight...and thin etc. etc.  Anyway, I don't remember where I found it, so I can't properly attribute it.  But some like-minded souls will get a dry chuckle.
 
 
Personal Roundup
 
I've been rocking it with my diet and budget all this past week with the exception of yesterday.  I've gone to the gym every day since last Monday, but I kind of pigged out at home last night.  In my defense, I got a lot of shit sorted yesterday, but my mood started to flag as the day wore on.  I also had to use my credit card to buy my groceries for the coming week (and the Mexican takeout I decided I couldn't live without), so I was unable to make it completely through the pay cycle without adding to my debt.
 
One of the things I've been working on is editing and organitzing my writing, hopefully in anticipation of pursuing that aggressively.  I edited one of my poems the other day and was particularly proud of how it turned out.  I sent it to three of my closest friends, but none of them replied to tell me how wonderful it was, which is somewhat inauspicious.  Regardless, right now I need to focus on actually writing and worry over my anxieties of never getting published later.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Aegrescit Medendo

And the sickest joke was the price of the medicine
Are you laughing at me now?
May I please laugh along with you?
{Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, "Lost Weekend"}

Last Tuesday I finally broke down and went into a hospital, and it was (unsurprisingly) a nightmare.  I couldn't bear my severe depression any longer, so I checked into a mental health treatment center after getting off of work.  The intake counselor said that they wanted to admit me, and I told them that would be all right.  I was so emotionally exhausted that I honestly didn't know what to do.  I figured they would keep me a night or two, and then help me figure out some outpatient care that would match my needs while still allowing me to hold down my job, which I have no choice but to continue with full-time.

It took them six hours to process me.  I went in a little before 8 p.m. and didn't get to the ward until 2 a.m.  I hadn't eaten since 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, but by then it was too late for me to get anything.  The next morning I met with a nurse practitioner who was filling in for the psychiatrist assigned to my case.  I told her all of the medications I take daily, including the three psychotropic drugs, and gave her consent to verify them with my regular pharmacy.  However, come 9 p.m. when they were dispensing medications, she hadn't put any orders in for me, and it was too late for anyone to do anything.  So I ended up missing an entire dose, which is probably the single worst thing I could do in regards to my mood.

To be brutally honest, the place was closer to a prison than a hospital, and I needed treatment and counseling, not incarceration.  I wasn't there for detox or for suicide watch, both of which necessitate a secure environment focused primarily on passing a crisis period, and medical treatment—especially psychological treatment—is not one-size-fits-all.  The place was so boring and profoundly unstimulating, and no one took the time to orient me or explain how anything was done.  There was one TV that was occasionally turned to a local channel.  There were no puzzles or other solitary pastimes, and the two books I saw on the floor were some romance novel and the "L" volume of a set of encyclopedias from 1959.  I went to a couple of group therapy sessions, but that just made me sadder.  While all of my fellow patients were incredibly decent, their problems were so much more profound than mine and heart-wrenching, making me feel like a spoiled brat.

By Thursday morning, I had been in the same clothes, including socks and underwear, for 48 hours and hadn't been given any hygiene products, like a toothbrush.  I'd had enough and told the nurses that I wanted to leave and wrote out a letter explaining why.  They told me I would have to go through a review process, and I was wondering if I was going to have to involve one of the attorneys I work for.  First I met with the head nurse, who was wonderful.  She apologized and didn't try to make excuses for the fact that I wasn't given any orientation.  She got me clean clothes and a toothbrush & toothpaste and got me set up with a shower while my original clothes were washed.  She suggested I consider staying a couple of more days because, if I left against medical advice, I couldn't participate in one of their outpatient programs.

Later that day, I had my second opinion on my desire to leave, which was odd since I never had a first opinion.  I only met with the nurse practitioner briefly the day before, and we never discussed my release.  The psychologist doing the second opinion was also wonderful, and he and I discussed my situation.  He asked if I would consider staying until Friday or Saturday, as 72 hours is considered a minimum standard for inpatient care.  I didn't really want to stay there since it wasn't a therapeutic environment, but I said I would consider it since I was trying to meet him halfway and would prefer not to leave against medical advice.  I explained that I wanted to get back to work on Monday and have a day to transition on Sunday.  He said he understood my need for assurances, and I thought we'd come to an understanding.

Then I finally met the horrible human being that was the psychiatrist assigned to me.  Keep in mind that I'd never met the woman, so all she had to go on were notes in my chart.  She didn't bother taking me somewhere private to meet with me like everyone else had.  Instead she talked to me from behind the glass of the nursing station.  My first note of apprehension came when I sat down and she was yelling on the phone at someone about some (unrelated) situation.  Basically she undermined everything that the psychologist and I had just agreed upon.  She told me I could speak to her tomorrow about my release, though implying that it wasn't going to happen then, and said that she wouldn't even be there Saturday to authorize my discharge.  (The healthcare providers are contracted by, not employees of, the facility.)  I'd had my limit, so I told her, fine, I would leave immediately.  The psychologist signed off on the fact that I wasn't a danger to myself or others (meaning they had no legal grounds to hold me), and I finally got out of there late Thursday afternoon.

When I got home, I contacted my employer about coming back to work on Friday morning, as I felt jumping back into a routine would be best for me.  In an effort not to focus solely on the negative, I have to say that the people I work for and work with couldn't have been kinder or more supportive.  Friday at work went off without a hitch, and I spent Friday evening with a couple of dear friends and their delightful children.  Unfortunately, the weekend sort of deteriorated from there.  I had all these plans of things to accomplish on Saturday, but got very little of them done.  And on Sunday, I couldn't get myself out of bed before 3:30 in the afternoon and was a very dreary dinner guest at my parents' home that night.

On top of everything else, now I'm concerned about the potential fallout for technically leaving the hospital against medical advice.  My health insurance may decided that they don't have to cover my stay for that reason, which means that the hospital will try to bill me personally for their astronomical fees.  I won't pay it, even if I could (which I can't), because I tried to work with them about my care and my release.  The psychiatrist was the one who wanted to dictate to me based on a five minute (and one-sided) conversation instead of taking into account my needs and my situation.  In this entry I've only touched on all the negligent malpractice perpetrated in my short stay and their substandard care.  What worries me is that the unpaid bills may end up trashing my credit for the next several years, and that will cause even more problems for me down the road.
 
The Tyranny of Filthy, Filthy Hope
 
Alex: My mood is like a prison.  Or a straightjacket.  I can never escape it.
{Michael St. John, Constricted, a book which I'll never have the energy to write}

So here I am, back to wrestling with my mood: same old start, same old end.  It seems everybody I talk to is still trying to tell me "if you do this" or "if you do that," you'll feel better.  I just have one thing to say...fuck you!  Because I've done all of that shit and never felt better, and I don't need people transferring upon me their pet dope or specific agenda when they hear me but never listen.  For ten months (as of today as a matter of fact), I have abstained from any drug stronger than caffeine, exercised regularly, eaten well, practiced good sleep hygiene, followed a routine and generally taken care of myself, my apartment and my job.  And still my mood is a struggle every day.
 
I honestly don't know what to do with myself.  I'm so loathe to pick myself up again and to keep trying as I've done a million times before.  My whole life is built on fantasy and false hope without a single foundation of personal fulfillment.  But even having this conversation in my head just makes me think of all the people and animals who know nothing but a life of misery and suffering, so why the hell should I—with all my 1% privilege—feel entitled to anything more?  My depression keeps screaming at me that I'm worthless, that life is worthless and that the only good thing about it is that it mercifully doesn't last forever.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Only One That Matters Is Me, Me, Me

I realize I'm weeks late for this party, but I thought I would mention how pleased I was with the Supreme Court's landmark decision approving gay marriage nationally, in spite of Justice Kennedy's overly florid decision brief and Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia's whiny butthurt.  I have to be honest, however, that my personal reaction to the ruling was predictably self-absorbed, but then it's difficult not to be self-absorbed when you struggle with mental illness.  All of the celebrations of happy people just reminded me how lonely and isolated I am, and all of the excoriated rhetoric lambasting allowing human beings to form families as comes natural for them just reinforced all of the internalized homophobia in my psyche from growing up gay when and where I did.

http://lolsnaps.com/funny/13031
 
In my mind, all of this positive improvement in the lives of LGBT people really began with the other landmark decision—handed down ten years to the day before Obergefell—that said you can't criminalize the private behavior of consenting adults because you find it icky and feel comfortable with seeing and treating a class of people as less than human.  It gladdens my heart that I've lived to see such changes in our society as our nation struggles to get closer to the lofty ideals outlined in our founding documents.
 
The Truth About the Gay Agenda
 
You can't swing a dead cat in the debate over LGBT issues without someone (religious types mostly) throwing out the pundit buzzwords "gay agenda."  So as a public service, I thought I would summarize our nefarious manifesto:
  1. As citizens, we in the LGBT community have to shoulder the exact same obligations in society.  We have to obey the same laws and pay the same taxes.  As such we refuse to live like second class citizens and demand equal access to a safe social space.  Our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is just as sacred as yours, and we should be able to exercise that right without discrimination, harassment, threats or violence.
  2. A free society should have room for people that we disagree with, including the freedom to be bigoted and prejudiced against others, but your liberty to swing your fist ends just where our noses begin.
  3. Our visibility has led to the exponential improvement in our treatment by society, and it is unreasonable to expect us to return to wretched, marginalized lives in the closet for your comfort because you find us to be an inconvenient truth.  You have seen that we are your family members, your neighbors and your friends.
  4. Being true to certain parts of ourselves has absolutely no bearing on our character: some of us are saints, some of us are assholes and most of us are somewhere in between.
  5. We should be able to simply talk to people without having to assess them and without having to worry about their reactions and without having to remember to switch our pronouns.  You talk about your relationships in casual conversation all of the time, and we don't accuse you of wearing your sexuality on your sleeve or talking about ass play around children.  You take that luxury for granted so much so that you don't even realize that you have it.
  6. We're just trying to get through our day the same as you.  If you want to serve the public, then you should serve everyone.  In order to use a business open to the public, we shouldn't have to conform to your notions of gender and sexuality or ask your permission or be burdened with pre-clearing every purchase of goods and services beforehand to make sure we meet your criteria of what you deem acceptable.  If you're a public servant, then our taxes pay your salary as much as anyone else's, and you have an ethical obligation to fulfill your sworn oath and serve all of the public equally, regardless of your personal or religious beliefs.
tl;dr...All human beings have equal human dignity and the right to live their lives unmolested and as they see fit.  If someone's behavior isn't harming you, then you have no moral justification for abrogating or interfering with that behavior.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fade to Grey

Sent la pluie comme un été Anglais
Entends les notes d'une chanson lointaine
Sortant de derriere d'un poster
Espérant que la vie ne fut aussi longue
{Visage, "Fade to Grey"}

I'm still struggling with severe depression.  I came damn near to saying "fuck it!" this morning and getting back into bed and letting my life fall apart like a house of cards.  I've been strongly tempted enter a hospital or at least take a leave of absence from work.  But I'm not even sure my employer is large enough to fall under FMLA and figure that all it would buy me is more trouble.  I don't have any savings to fall back on and couldn't take the interruption of income.  Not to mention that I don't have anyone in my life to take up the fucking slack.  Whatever I don't do myself in my life just doesn't get done.
 
I've come to realize that part of the blame for my current crisis goes to my shithead psychiatrist for slashing the dosage of one my medications by a third, with no regard to how it might impact me or my ability to cope.  Never mind that I'd been on that dosage for four years, and in that four years, I never once had to go to my boss and explain that my depression was preventing me from properly performing my duties.  But I had to do that last Friday.  Fortunately, my boss couldn't have been more human and understanding during that conversation.  Unfortunately, it seems to me that she's backpedaled from that understanding somewhat since then.  Or perhaps that's just the distorted perspective of stress and unhappiness.
 
http://avoiding-you.deviantart.com/art/Stev-Strange-Fade-to-Grey-34814108

Sunday, July 5, 2015

You're a Spade!

I always call him that.
{Neal, The Young Ones}

Not to put too fine a point on it, I've been dealing with unbe-fucking-redonkulous depression, most likely a double depression.  Every thought seems to throw me down a rabbit hole of misery, seeing only suffering reflected in the world.  I've spent the better part of the last two weekends cloistered in bed, finally managing to roust myself yesterday afternoon.  I have to muster the energy to get out of the car when I arrive home or put on my socks or do anything that doesn't have to be done.  I was already far behind at work, and I can't seem to concentrate or get anything accomplished.  I don't know if I should throw myself on my boss' mercy and hope for the best or if I should just soldier on and hope I can keep the plates spinning without it all crashing down.

I've tried to get help, but that's a fucking nightmare.  There's this implicit myth in popular culture that all you need to do is admit you need help, and it's right there waiting for you.  For me as for most people, the world doesn't stop, even in desperate need.  I still have to go to work and pay my bills and do my laundry and shop for groceries, etc., etc.  Being a weird loner, I don't have anyone around to pick up the slack or offer me any real support.  Many times in my past I tried to stop my world, but I never got any meaningful or lasting help.  And ultimately it only caused me a whole host of new problems in the long run.  So I keep going, pantomiming the steps.

I went to see my psychiatrist, but that was a waste of time and a co-pay.  He was, of course, only interested in the two-sentence summary and can only suggest upping my dosage (and waiting three weeks in the hopes it will have an effect that isn't adverse) or adding yet another potent drug (as if three psychotropics a day isn't enough) without taking enough consideration for the devastating side effects.  (I've been on several of those medications, and they improved my mood but destroyed my body.  I'm still struggling with the obesity caused by the metabolic changes.)  I also tried to find a therapist, but that's a full-time job in itself.  I haven't been able to find one that's covered by my insurance and available nights or weekends around my job and that I liked.  I spoke to one or two, but nothing clicked, and they didn't seem right for me.  My lasts two therapists were a complete and expensive bust, and I'm not willing to sink further into the mire of debt at $25 a session without some kind of connection.

I feel resigned to the fact that my depression, my endless struggle with mood, has ruined any potential I ever had and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  I will endure and endure and occasionally hope, only to finally one day die and be glad of it.  I lulled myself to sleep on two bad nights during this latest intensity by imagining a final exit.  Of course it was all very adolescent and "won't they be sorry when I'm gone!"  I feel as if I have talent; I feel as if I have something to offer.  But it is apparently my role to be nothing more than a placeholder in life, wringing out what little pleasure I can, and nothing more.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Dearth of Hope

I've been thinking recently that I should go into a hospital for my depression, although it wouldn't gain me anything other than temporary respite.  My job is so stressful, and the demands of positive changes in my life takes such a toll when there's no return in my mood to help compensate.  Fortunately I'm so out of the habit of drinking that it hasn't been more than an occasional temptation, but I don't seem able to sustain any other beneficial behavior.  We live in a far from perfect society, and any attempts to seek in-patient care would only create a whole host of different problems, not the least of which financial ones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper

Still struggling with obstinate depression.  This past weekend I was shuffling around like an old man because of the monumental effort of will it took just to put one foot in front of the other.  I was supposed to be catching up on all of the work I didn't get done while my energy and motivation have been tanked, but very little of that actually happened.  I may have to set up a GoFundMe page after I get fired for failing at my job.  (I'm not actually near that point, but juggling it all is another source of major stress.)  I've only gone to the gym six times this entire month, whereas I was going 4-6 times a week in May.  I'm trying to get it together to force myself there tonight.
 
 
My parents have gone out of town for three weeks, and I've been staying over at their place in the hopes that a change of scenery might energize me.  I've been playing the first game in the Mass Effect video game trilogy, reliving my life as Commander Shepard.  ("I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite blog on the internet!")  Ironically, almost exactly a year ago, I was at my parents while they were out of town, trying to stay sober and playing Mass Effect.  In fact, what I'm playing now is just a continuation of the new game I started back then because I eventually got derailed by Dragon Age: Inquisition.  (Just finished my second playthrough of that.)
 
I do worry that it's inauspicious that I wrote that previous entry two or three relapses ago.  While I don't think video games are a waste of time in themselves—they can be quite rewarding and engaging, I also worry that I'm using the distraction to avoid all of the things I need to be doing in order to move my life forward, or at least, somewhere.  But when the bare minimum in life seems overwhelming, it's hardly a conducive atmosphere to go over and above in order to undo years, if not decades, of neglect.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Anything Goes

     O brave new world,
that has such people in't.
{William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act v, Scene 1}
 
I went and saw a local amateur production of the musical Anything Goes this evening.  The dishy male lead's blurb in the program said that he "would like to give a huge thank you to his husband...for all of his love and support."  I was pretty taken aback and impressed.  I would expect such openness when I lived in Los Angeles, but not in my provincial Southern city.  The climate of acceptance has (fortunately) changed so drastically during my lifetime, but I never seem able to wrap my head around it.
 
Armand: The world changes, we do not, therein lies the irony that kills us.
{Anne Rice, Interview with a Vampire}
 
Of course, I am always troubled by such things (see the title of this blog), even as I'm pleased by the apparent progress.  I'm not sure if I just feel as if things have passed me by.  Or if I'm confounded since I never seem able to develop a clear picture of the actual state of tolerance around me.  Or if I'm simply jealous.  Probably all of the above.
 
Louis: I am at odds with everything and always have been!  I have never belonged anywhere with anyone at any time!
{Anne Rice, Interview with a Vampire}
 


Friday, June 12, 2015

And Here's Johnny

Presidential not-so-hopeful Ben Carson is once again bristling at questions about his opinions on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  Instead of continuing to stick his foot in his mouth about it, now he just gets mad when it comes up.  He is one of those people who also gets angry when the struggle for LGBT equality is compared to the struggle for racial equality and says that he doesn't see gays being forced to drink at a separate water fountain.  Of course people like him do want separate water fountains in the form of "straight only" businesses who would be free to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBT community.
 
It's easy to downplay and dismiss discrimination when it isn't directed at you.  I've seen no shortage of "our discrimination matters and yours doesn't" in my time, and not just from those who believe we have no claim to the mantle of civil rights (and including from among my fellow gays).  But Mr. Carson wants to be the president for all Americans, not just the ones he deems worthy of notice, so questions about his attitudes towards segments of the population are relevant to his run for office.  His unwillingness to address the issue probably won't bode well for his chances at the nomination.

 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Frankie Says Relax

I thought I would take a break from my self-obsessive whinging to comment on something I saw in the news.  Rev. Franklin Graham wrote an op-ed piece wherein he says his decision to move his foundation's accounts from Wells Fargo wasn't because they were gay friendly but because they were pro-homosexual "advocates" by featuring an ad with a lesbian couple adopting a special needs child.  He goes so far as to say that all individuals and businesses should be "gay friendly" (by treating LGBT people decently) but never "endorsing" (by validating our desire to live outside the uncomfortable little box people that think his way have set aside for us).

As pleased as I am to see civility from the anti-gay crowd, I can't help but view it with suspicion.  They never bothered with this veneer of "hate the sin, love the sinner" tolerance back when the court of public opinion was on their side.  They sure as hell never bothered with it when I was growing up, listening to their rhetoric and thinking that the whole world hated me with no one to talk to or to tell me any different.  They just said horrible things about "those people"—laughing, sneering, dismissing and threatening violence, and no one called them out for it.  I can only think that the anti-gay lobby is being disingenuous now, as they makes their arguments minimally palatable—so as to fly under the radar of popular sentiment—all the while continuing their efforts to marginalize us.

I honestly believe that the entire piece was an effort to save face after it came to light that his new bank has a pretty LGBT-fabulous history as well.  Rev. Graham even mentions the fact that they were associated with gay pride and apparently have a high score with the Human Rights Campaign. All in all, I think Rev. Graham's track record speaks for itself, and his words mean nothing when his deeds demean an entire segment of the population that he and people like him see as a label first and as human second.

Also In the News

The not-really-news website CNS News ran an article about seven "homosexual" ambassadors wanting trade talks to include discussions of LGBT rights.  (I love how the author put "homosexual" right in the title, as if to tip you off that their gayness automatically invalidates their position.)  The subtext, of course, is that the "gay agenda" is gaying up foreign policy like it faggots up everything else.  I made the mistake of reading the comments, and so many of them echoed these sentiments.  (One prolific commenter warned of "homosexual outbreaks," so I guess we're the zombie apocalypse.)  Whether or not you approve of someone's "lifestyle" doesn't strip them of their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as was enshrined in our founding documents.

The main problem I have is the hypocrisy of it all.  Substitute the word "homosexual" for "Christian," and I'm willing to bet that all of these same people would be clamoring that defending foreign Christians should be a priority.  The same website even had another article taking this general tack and mentioning two (presumably "heterosexual") lawmakers sponsoring a bill calling for the global repeal of all blasphemy laws.  Where is all that indignation about interfering with other cultures and values?  (I assure you that same-sex attraction and transgenderism aren't choices, but being Christian certainly is.)  I personally agree that we should try to use our influence to improve human rights for all oppressed people, including Christian minorities.  We can start by getting out of bed with Saudi Arabia, a country that despises every aspect of our culture but wants us as its personal attack dog.  We can also start by holding ourselves to a higher standard—something that Obama has been trying to do—and not acting as if standards don't apply to us.

Monday, June 8, 2015

And Just Like the Rain

I'm in another low arc of depression.

Last Thursday at work, even though everything was going just fine, I was so tempted to storm out, quit my job and try to go on disability.  I called in sick on Friday and spent most of the last three days in bed.  I used to spend all day in bed almost every weekend, but my outlook has actually improved over the past several years.

 
I get tired of struggling all the time when I can't even find a reason—other than misplaced hope—as to why I bother.  Maybe everyone actually struggles that way.  Maybe not.  But you certainly won't ever find me siring any children.  I just wish I had the tools to build some kind of life for myself.

Anyway, I finally went back to the gym tonight after blowing it, and my diet, off for a week.  And I'm finally doing a load of laundry so I don't wear gym socks with my dress pants again tomorrow.  (At least I've been wearing clean underwear...Semper ubi!)  A million years ago (back in the '90's) I worked for quite a while with a cognitive behaviorist.  Her underlying message was that, if you change your behavior, your mood will eventually follow suit.  Perhaps that works for some people, but it certainly hasn't been my experience.  My mood has yet to tag along with all of the positive behaviors I've been forcing myself to perform over the past eight months and counting.  As much as I liked that therapist, I think I should get a refund for all of those sessions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

But Maybe Someday

I routinely, randomly think about harming myself.  "Passive suicidal ideation" is the technical term.  Mostly it's because I tire of hassling with my mood.  I'm wearied with what seems like the constant struggle to get through my day and take care of the obligations of semi-responsible adulthood, only to wonder, when the day winds down, what I've gained or why I've bothered.  Life holds no intrinsic value for me, though I realize this isn't the perspective of most people.  The idea that one should be pleased solely because one is alive is alien to me; I usually feel the reverse.
 
I've tried to hurt myself seriously twice in my life, and I barely survived the second attempt well over a decade ago.  However, I really don't think I'm at any risk for another attempt.  While I might not think much of life, I have a well-developed fear of pain, the experience of death and the unknown.  I actually believe I've been more sanguine as I've stayed sober and made other positive changes.  (Contrary to my attitude here.)  But then it's often hard for me to have perspective when it comes to my moods.  I think I'm just in a low arc of the seemingly ever-present shadow of P.A.W.S.
 
Personal Roundup
 
In spite of all my gloom & doom, I've been doing fairly well.  As of my last weighing, I've lost a total of 11 pounds since my latest spike, although I made the mistake of calculating my BMI.  I still have to lose 27 more pounds to go from obese to just fat.
 
Days sober: 7 months, 17 days
Weight: 242 pounds
Debt: Still don't want to think about it...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

See I've Already Waited Too Long

Waiting has been a theme for most of my life, the life that passed me by as I made plans for when my unrealistic pipe dreams came true.  Now, of course, I'm simply waiting for my outlook to look rosier and to reap the alleged rewards of self-discipline.  And I have to wonder if that will ever happen either.  It's so easy for depressives to believe that everyone sees the world as we do with its weariness and dreariness and that the world will be forever colored so grey.

Every day I get up and drag myself through the grind without pleasure or passion, only "this is what I must do."  I foolishly yet religiously play the lottery twice a week, believing that nothing but cataclysmic dumb luck could transform my life into a palatable existence.  And every day I worship at the altar of my own personal monomyth of the Ascended Man if only...  If only I keep sober...  If only I exercise...  If only I eat right...  If only I spend well...  If only I force myself through my daily toil...  If only, if only, if only...  If only Meaning and Purpose (and even Love) weren't illusions of the neocortexevolutionary adaptations, just to eventually be ground down themselves by the inexorable march of time and death.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Feeling Discouraged

I've been doing the best that I can with my caloric intake while really pushing myself at the gym, so I feel as if I should look better than I do.  But then eating "treats" and rich take-out is one of the few avenues I have left to me to buoy my mood and my sobriety, even if it ends up tanking my budget and my diet.  Short of becoming an anorexic ascetic, which would last all of five minutes and inevitably end very badly, what can I do but keep trying through the frustration of my lack of visible progress?
 
How I see myself in my head most of the time:
 
 
How I realize the world actually sees me:
 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I Solemnly Swear

It kills me when I hear anti-gay propaganda talking about "avowed homosexuals."  I can't help but picture some formal ceremony: "I solemnly swear to be the whole queer and nothing but the queer, so help me Gay."  You just know there are some wingnuts out there who honestly believe that such things are going on.  But I assure you that you can file it in the same waste bin as the myths of recruitment, pedophilia and a desire to harm traditional families.
 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What A Drag It Is

I realize that I'm not going to get much sympathy from anyone who's had to wear glasses most of their lives, but I was bummed to have to buy a pair of reading glasses this evening.  I can see far away just fine, and I can still read a computer screen.  But my near vision is too poor to read anything close up, such as when I try to read in bed.  The main reason I've loathed getting any kind of eye wear is that I tremendously dislike the idea of keeping up with a pair of glasses and having to take them on and off throughout the day.  But, after not needing them for the first forty odd years of my life, I also feel that they're a slap in the face with the reality of aging and the general physical decline that goes with it.  Unfortunately, I've made the decision to not seek the shelter of mother's little helper, so I have to face the facts soberly.
 
 
Rubbing One Out
 
I got a massage at a walk-in place after work.  (Fuck you, budget!)  I justified the expense as complementing the strength training I've been adding to my cardio routine.  The guy did a great job, even if I feel as if I'd been hit by a truck.  It hurt like hell while he worked on me, but I'm sure a lot of knots got taken care of.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Best 2 Out of 3

I have mounds and mounds of baggage—accumulated over a lifetime—to wade through in order to uncover the spark of hope I've managed to keep alive that something of my dreams might one day actually come true.  But irrespective of that, I have three major practical areas that I am trying to improve:
  1. Sobriety
  2. Money/Debt
  3. Weight/Diet
My sobriety has to take primacy because, if it falls, nothing else can be sustained.  Experience has shown me that I can do an incredible amount of damage in a very short time.  It seems to me that, on a good day, the best I can hope for is two out of the three.  I'm either eating well but spending money on nothing or tightening the purse strings but pigging out with wild abandon, if not blowing both things simultaneously.  (Just yesterday, one bad vibe at work had me bag the gym, overeat and spend money on frozen yoghurt.)


Eating things I enjoy is one of the few things I get pleasure out of since quitting smoking and drinking last time, and my food selections so often include sugary treats.  Even though I don't go to particularly expensive restaurants, eating take-out all the time adds up very quickly.  Of course, whenever I begin to get a handle on money, something seems to come along to set me back.  A couple of years ago, I tried seeing a therapist for some help.  But it turned out she was the only one in her practice who didn't accept my health insurance, and those five or six sessions ended up costing me over $1,200.  A couple of weeks ago, I dropped over $1,500 in less than 24 hours keeping a momma cat and four newborn kittens alive.  But frankly it's the day-to-day, nickel-and-diming that tanks my finances.  I make decent money and have no obligations except for myself.  I should be rolling in cash, not living paycheck to paycheck.  Still, shoulda woulda coulda...

Monday, April 20, 2015

When You Follow Your Dreams

Once again I want so badly to drink tonight: have a six or two of beer, smoke a couple of packs of cigarettes, play some video games.  (You'd think I could just play video games alone, but my anxiety and poor mood have to be artificially smoothed out to open the pathways of pleasure.)  I'm not going to, but I gave it a few seconds serious consideration on the drive home.  It hasn't even been a bad day.  I got a lot done at work, but it was a long day and a challenging day.  And then I come home to nothing but a seemingly endless stream of more shit that needs to get done.

As good as I've been on all fronts, I have to resign myself to the fact that the progress I'm making with all of my current challenges is necessarily small and incremental.  I'm so programmed by books and movies into thinking that I'm one montage away from a perfect existence.  But I'm not going to lose all of this weight...or get out of my massive debt...or sort my fucking life out (mate) overnight.  It will take continuous positive steps and strides—day after day after day—with no great reward, no crashing cymbals, not even anyone else to acknowledge it.  That's what I have to wrap my head around. The dramatic alcohol-down-the-drain / flushing-the-pills / cutting-up-the-credit-cards / pitching-the-cake-and-donuts moments are the easy part, the gratifying part.  That's why I've done them over and over again 10,000 times in the past 30 years.  It's the follow-through that is the hard bit, and that which remains undiscovered country for me, even well into middle age.

You turn to find the light has faded
You wonder what it was you were reaching for
How quickly you have lost your way
It's always when you think you've got it made

You take one step after the other
At times you may not know which way to go
You open one door just to find another
Someday you will begin, begin to know
{Missing Persons, "The Closer That You Get"}

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Master Plan

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
{Albert Einstein}
 
I have a master plan for my life.  I've always had one for these pipe dreams that I've nurtured and kept alive for over 30 years of bitterness and disappointment (as not a single one has come true).  As battered as my hopes are, if I give them up, what reason do I have to soldier on?  I feel as if I'm moving in the right direction because, for the first time in forever, I've been able to sustain month after month where I'm not undermining or sabotaging my own progress in some way.

But I'm so damn tired of dealing with my mood.  I so often feel I'm at the breaking point, the same breaking point that has derailed me again and again in a pattern of failure over a lifetime.  I'm still amazed at how many emotional crises I've weathered without trashing my sobriety, but my mood problems predate my addiction problems.  They caused my addiction problems.  I honestly can't offer any rational basis for a belief that, if I only stay the course a little longer, I will one day wake up to a mythical promised land where my perspective is sanguine and my life is in control.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Erstwhile

My erstwhile cat Fiona had her litter of kittens, but she and they are no longer with me.  Since 99% of people won't understand where I'm coming from (or perhaps, more accurately, that I'm not up to the task of making clear my perspective), I won't bother to explain what happened.  The short version is that there were some health issues, but now everything has been resolved.  Fiona and her four kittens are being fostered by a dedicated volunteer until all five of them can be eventually re-homed.

I thought that a new cat and the new life of kittens—life I had no responsibility in creating but could nevertheless nurture and take care of—would energize and enrich me as I enter a phase of protracted sobriety.  It was simply my fault for thinking existence could be something other than cruel, ignominious and worthless by nature of its endemic suffer.  I once again descended into realms of emotion that I had never wanted to see again.  I try so hard to deceive myself, like everybody does, but the cold, hard facts of reality are always there lurking in the background.

The State of Things

Even though I started the day feeling better after finally getting some sleep, I spontaneously burst into tears at work yesterday afternoon.  No one saw me, but that's less than optimal professional behavior.  It happened again at home last night.  But tears are useless, as is grief.  The only thing that astounds me is that I managed to get through with my sobriety intact.  It certainly wasn't my intent at the time.  I had every notion of drinking as soon as humanly possible once the dust settled.  But for some reason I didn't.  I can't really credit good judgment or strength of character, but I'm glad of it all the same.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mind Fuck

Just in case you were accidentally feeling happy, content and secure...

Much as I've enjoyed my recent discovery of VNV Nation, the video below really kind of freaked me out, between the philosophically-heavy, melancholically-downbeat song and the depressing, bizarre, uncanny-valley animation:

 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tenderhearted

http://www.peanuts.com/

I'm feeling emotionally fragile, not surprising after spending seven hours at work on Easter Sunday trying to get shit sorted.  It's not so much that I have an inordinate amount of stress in my life as I am spectacularly ill-equipped to handle it.
 
The caffeine thing hasn't worked out, but I did manage to make it two and a half days.  (Have I mentioned that I've gone over six months without alcohol?)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Six Months Sober

For the first time in a long time, I've managed to remain sober for six whole months.

It's non-alcoholic champagne...
I definitely wasn't sure I was going to make it, however, especially when I was almost black flagged on the last lap.  On Tuesday, after the second shitty day at work in a row, I was cycling through impulses of self-destruction, breaking my sobriety and/or telling my employers to go fuck themselves.  My job is fairly demanding, and work has been tricky during my latest effort at sobriety because the depression and cognitive deficits of my post-acute withdrawal syndrome have put me so far behind and let so many things slip through the cracks.  Even though my symptoms are much milder now, they're still present, and it's been daunting to catch up and manage everything.

Presenting Miss Fiona

I had intended to wait awhile before adopting another cat after losing my last one.  But then one dropped in my lap through a friend of mine.  She's an absolute sweetie, and we've become fast friends.  I named her Fiona after a character from my favorite video game series, who is the mother of my favorite character.  I chose a mother because my new kitty is pregnant.  (Plus, her markings make her look like she's wearing a mask.)  Even though I'd never breed an animal (or create a life myself), I'm nervously excited about some kittens running around.  Hopefully I am up to the task of finding good homes for the ones I don't keep.

Fiona and her namesake
Jumping Off the Horse

I am trying to give up caffeine in an effort to rid myself of everything affecting my arousal and mood after alcohol and drugs.  (My three daily prescribed psychotropics, notwithstanding.)  I want to see what my life can be entirely devoid of recreational chemicals.  However, I don't know if it will last since caffeine was kind of my last crutch, and I'm not sure I'm strong enough to live without it.  It's been over two days, and the withdrawal has been a lot less severe than I expected, given my previous habit.  Mainly, I just feel tired, lethargic and unmotivated.  That's so close to my default state that I've hardly noticed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And Another Thing

Shut up, you American.  You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say, "Let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say."  Well, you're dead now, so shut up!
{The Grim Reaper, The Meaning of Life}

I seem to be awash in trite, hackneyed self-pity.  Last night I found myself saying (to myself), "No one understands me!"  *sigh*  Sober me isn't shaping up to be much better than drunk me.  At least drunk me remembered less.  Pill-popping me even (occasionally) got shit done (until the inevitable downward spiral...in flames).

 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Over and Above

Because every single aspect of my life is in arrears, I can't just make measured progress; I have to kill myself by going over and above in order to make any kind of a dent in my situation.  I can't just spend wisely; I have to mind every penny in order to pay down my mountain of debt.  I can't just eat sensibly; I have to starve myself to shed the 50 pounds of fat I've been carrying for over five years.  I can't just organize my apartment; I have to weed through years of neglect to get a handle on things.  I can't just start writing; I have to slog through 30 years of chaotic, hastily written notes and half-formed ideas.  I can't just put in a fair day's work; I have to work before hours, after hours, on weekends to catch up on all I've let get behind.

Always by myself.  And keep going.  And keep smiling.  And keep sober.  All for the fantasy that I might one day enjoy life more than I do now or ever have in my past.  I'm sick of the stress of it all.
 
Work Sucks
 
Late night, come home
Work sucks, I know...
{Blink-182, "All the Small Things"}
 
Speaking of work, I try not to complain overmuch about my job in this blog, even though I don't really have someone in my life to vent to.  Mostly my hesitation comes from a irrational fear that my comments will somehow come back to haunt me and cause me trouble.  Anyway, it's been a pretty shitty day, capped off by my painstakingly-worded e-mail—so as not to offend those delicate egos—being responded to with passive-aggressive vitriol.  Since I'm a powerless serf, there's really not much I can do except fume.  It's been a surprisingly difficult test of my resolve not to drink, especially since I'm fed up with struggling with my fucking mood.  Why shouldn't I just drink and snatch what little pleasure I can from this miserable, boring existence?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why? (Part 2)

"Why?" has to be the most fundamental human question of all time.  Was there ever a person who, at one time or another, didn't shout out to the cosmos and ask, "WHY?"  My personal "Why?" is why do I have to struggle so constantly with my mood?  Why do my actions, no matter how ideal, have so little bearing on the way I feel inside and the conditions of my life?  Like all those before me, through the unifying thread of humanity, the only answer I get is silence from the "benign indifference of the Universe," leaving me nothing better than to walk the paths of constructed meaning as my opportunities and resources allow.

http://www.sothisisfitness.com/2015/02/why.html
(*Click for a link to an inspiring weight-loss blog.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Space & Time

Lost in thought on open seas
Let the currents carry me
If I could would I remain
Another life or another dream
No turning back, face the fact
I am lost in space & time
{VNV Nation, "Space & Time"}

A good friend of mine turned me onto the song "Space & Time" by VNV Nation, and it has officially become my new favorite song.  The music is right up the alley of my northern European sensibilities, and the lyrics spark avenues of wonder within my awareness.  We are all just consciousnesses cast adrift on the currents of space-time.  Are we pulled along forever—life after life—on its never-changing course?  Or are we ever free from its grip through ascendance or oblivion?

 
It's Too Late, Baby, It's Too Late
 
Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, it suddenly hit me just how old I am.  That may sound strange, but I think most people see themselves in their own heads as being younger than they are.  I'm 45 years old, not ancient, but no longer able to see "young" in my rearview mirror with my faltering eyes.  In five years—which is nothing to someone my age—I'll be 50 years old.  In my youth, I had no concept of what my life would be like at this point because I'd assumed I would have achieved all of my grandiose dreams by now, as opposed to absolutely none of them.
 
It's hard to express how deeply this angst has cut me.  Of course, it didn't help that I was feeling low and emotional all day yesterday.  I had well-laid plans but actually got very little done.  I burst into tears as I was putting Pfeiffer's bowl in the dishwasher one last time.  Hell, I was tearing up over The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and it isn't even that great of a movie.  I keep excusing my continued lapses in mood as part of my protracted sobriety, and maybe they are, but when do I actually get to feel better and reap the benefits of self-control?

Too Much Baggage
 
Last week I purged hundreds of e-mails from my personal account.  I'm something of an intellectual hoarder: I find so many different things interesting and try to keep them all on my radar in order to eventually process them and perhaps incorporate them into my life in some way.  I had over 500 e-mails that I'd kept "unread" and well over 1000 e-mails in all.  Many of those were news and science articles that I'd e-mailed to myself.  But I'm tired of the accumulation from my past blocking my future growth, so I went through with a merciless resolve and paired things down to 55 "unread" e-mails and a couple hundred total.  (Rome wasn't built in a day.)

Unfortunately, my defeatist brain won't let me enjoy even such a cathartic personal victory for very long.  How many times in the past have I been convinced that I was on the threshold of turning my life around, just as I tell myself that I'm on that threshold now.  But 30 years of false starts doesn't make me overly optimistic, and I get quickly overwhelmed by monumental nature of the task.  In fact, I became a raging, binge-drinking alcoholic so late in life because I'd basically given up on my dreams, and that was my solution for getting through my evenings after work in order to do it all again the next day, day after day until days turned to years.  I remember another good friend of mine talking about one of his professors in college and his making the facetious, sardonic comment that said professor "probably drinks a fifth of scotch just to make it through the day."  And oh the irony of my 20-year-old self's disdain and smug confidence that such a fate could never happen to him.

I doubt anyone's life really turns out how they planned.  And if it does, then our contrary human nature makes us question if that's what we really wanted.  What can any of us do but press ahead and make the most with what we have?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

H.A.L.T.ing Progress

There are many other areas in my life that I'm trying to improve upon, in addition to staying sober, but I always seem to be playing existential Whack-A-Mole and can never sort them all out at once.  I've been doing well with my sobriety (lately), but I've also been spending a lot of money eating take-out and renting movies as a crutch to keep my mood stable enough to avoid relapse.  (My mood is a hole with no bottom, and I will throw anything at it in blind panic to keep it from getting too deep.)  So my credit card debt continues to pile up.  This has also frequently included gut-busting poor food choices.  So I haven't gained any traction with my weight.  And so on...
 
Part of this intersects with trying to keep myself from H.A.L.T. (i.e. not letting myself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired), but at any given time, I can almost guarantee that I'm at least one of those things, if not all four simultaneously.  Life is never perfect, and life is a journey blah blah blah.  So I suppose I should just appreciate what I have and let the struggle towards the heights fill my heart.
 
I love you, man!
 
Speaking of appreciation, one of the guys I work for shouted out that he loved me after I sorted something out on his behalf.  It gave me pause, not from hearing it from the straight and married source, but from the realization that I couldn't remember the last time anyone other than my parents said it to me.  Wah, wah...poor me.  I should instead be thankful that my parents are still around to say it to me and are good parents who would say it.  Of course, that line of thinking just eventually leads me around to the entropic nature of existence, but c'est la vie.