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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, May 8, 2016

A Week Is a Week

[Y]ou did it for a week, which admittedly for you is a record.
{Saffy, Absolutely Fabulous}
 
Well, I actually managed to stick with my diet and exercise regimen for seven days, so things have been going all right.  I exercised every day and didn't binge eat or consume any extraneous sugar, and I couldn't tell you the last time I was able to remain so disciplined.  I've already lost a couple of pounds and have gotten my BMI down from morbidly obese to garden-variety, "I'm a middle-aged American" obese.  So that's progress.
 
I even managed to basically stick with my budget as well, although I still ended up adding to my debt.  Obstructive sleep apnea is the newest focus in my endless quest to find some relief in my depressive symptoms.  My health insurance co-pay to see the sleep specialist was $50 just by itself, which tanked my checking account, and I had to use a credit card to buy groceries for the week.  Even with insurance, my part of the sleep study a week from today is going to run $1,000 or more (and that's before I get a CPAP machine), so my efforts to pay down my debt have once again been derailed.  However, I do think it's important to see if I can get better sleep, and I'm hoping it makes a significant improvement in my energy and mood.
 
I haven't done anything with my writing, though I've made some strides in getting my desk at work in order.  I had to e-mail HR about only getting a third of my billable hours during the first week of April, and while they were nominally supportive, I was upset with how they characterized the extent of accommodation they've had to extend me for my depression.  I also have to anxiously wait for the second shoe to drop when the attorney I actually work for sees my billing for last month.  I'm trying my best to keep things in perspective and not let it all get to me.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mayday Mayday

The ketamine infusions were a bust and a thoroughly unpleasant experience.  I guess it's not a complete mindfuck for some people, but it certainly was for me.  And the setting where I got my treatment was lacking in many ways as well.  The only thing I accomplished that week was finishing my playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition.  I thought a lot about the game while tripping balls on the ketamine; it became a sort of focus for my mind.  Whenever you destroy a demon in the game, they sort of bleed out of this reality and back into the Fade, the realm of spirits.  That concept stuck with me as the drug distorted my sense of time and reality.
 
 
I came back to the desperate, lonely stress of my life and my job with no psychological gains and continuing to wish for the courage to end myself.  In the next few days, when I turn in my billing for the month of April, I'll have to explain my lack of hours, for one week in particular, as the result of my issues with mood and attention.  HR knew the purpose of my trip, but I'm not looking forward to how that loss of billing will go over with the attorneys I actually work for.
 
The only thing I've had any energy for is my anger.  I've been harboring lingering anger towards everyone I know because I irrationally accuse them of not being solicitous enough while I deal with my severe depression alone, even as I often ignore those who've touched base with me.  I've even been slightly angry with my parents, the people who gave me $3,000 with no strings attached simply in the hopes that the treatment might help me.  When I analyze that anger, I realize that it stems from the fact that they don't rush in and take care of everything in my life as if I were a child, so my emotions are more suited to someone who's five not pushing fifty.
 
The Power of Lowered Expectations
 
I've decided that I just need to focus on the practical and stop expecting a change in mood.  I have two options: kill myself or deal with my life.  Since I'm not going to do the former, then by process of elimination, I have no choice but to devote myself to the latter.  My sobriety has been a major stabilizing factor in my life, and I need to remember that and give myself credit.  There are three areas of my life that I need to improve in order to further stabilize things: my weight, my finances and my writing.  My every waking moment needs to be moving those three things forward and none of them backward, so I've chosen this arbitrary date of May 1st to, once again, take steps in that direction.
 
I'm not going to worry about finding a better or less stressful job.  If something comes along, fine, but I'm just going to force myself to invest as much energy as possible into the job I have now and reflect on the financial foundation it provides.  I need to focus on my billing on a going-forward basis and weather the storm last month will create.  Doing so will reduce my stress and give me back my non-work time.  I'm not even going to worry about publishing, just writing.  (The three stories I submitted to the new writers contest were all rejected out of hand, by the way.)  I can't do anything about whether or not my writing will ever be appreciated.  I can only invest the time to organize my ideas and create a body of work.  I'm not going to worry about the world or politics or public policy or public opinion.  I can't help the world, and the world can't help me.  I barely have the psychological resources to keep my life going and won't wallow in guilt that I can't help others, even with their much greater need.  I have one thing to offer the world: my ideas and my writing.  And the world can take it or leave it.  (Leave it, if the past is any indication.)
 
If I get a handle on those three things while continuing my sobriety, then maybe, just maybe, I'll be in a position to work on the only two goals I've had in my life for the past 30 years: finding a relationship and getting published.  There is nothing better for me to do than to build up the things I actually have some control over and put off worrying about the life goals beyond my control until some future time.  I'm not happy, and I don't anticipate being happy, or even being able to enjoy pleasurable things most of the time.  I need to stop chasing pleasure and give up on transient enjoyment just like I've given up on drugs and alcohol for a year and seven months.
 
A Stacked Deck
 
You know, I've realized that it's been a repugnance towards hope that has been driving the engine of my depression these past several weeks.  I just couldn't stomach forcing myself to do anything positive when I knew my mood wouldn't follow and it would all inevitably collapse again.  The reduction to pragmatism I've outlined here sounds well and good, but even it is driven by that detestable emotion.  My past dictates that it's a matter of when, not if, my resolve once again fails me.  Our minds have evolved through the ages to protect us from the fickle chaos that is the true nature of reality and the fact that all of our lives come to nothing.  Hope is the face of that lie.  I've had to come to grips with the cold, hard facts that, for someone with my problems, it isn't a matter of finding help; help (in any real sense) simply doesn't exist for me.  I've pretty much pursued every available option without success.  But I have no viable alternative, so wearing this perspective will have to do for now, until I once again bottom out emotionally and need to construct another narrative to blind me to the inevitability of despair.