No Substance

Hello. I remember the last time I attempted to write a blog post before I shut the site down in a fit of depressive rage that lasted over 2 years. I sat in front of the keyboard, completely empty, unable to type a single word. My mind felt blocked off in a way. There were a lot of ideas rolling around but the execution of those ideas failed. I still have those ideas – they never go away – but even now writing this small, inconsequential post is about all I can muster up. It’s borderline painful, which is probably what writing is supposed to feel like anyway.

So, this is progress, I suppose?

Depression kills creativity, and you have to fight like hell to get it back. I’m ready to fight.

Secret Lemonade Drinker

Many people feel that Nick Drake was severely depressed when he wrote and recorded his final album, Pink Moon. Listening to it, it’s not hard to understand why. Sparse and haunting, the album is devastating to listen to sometimes (for me, all the time.) While Nick certainly suffered from mental illness, his sister says that he was not depressed during the recording of the album because when he was truly depressed he wasn’t able to write or play. Why? Because he was depressed. Sadly for Nick and his family, his depression led him to commit suicide at the age of 27, and we are left with three beautiful but somber albums to reflect and speculate upon. Nick Drake is just one of the many examples of the casualties of depression.

Whenever someone is suffering from a bout of depression, even simple things like making a pot of coffee can feel like you are rolling a boulder uphill. What’s the point? Won’t it just roll back down to the bottom again? Just leave it where it is and take another nap.

I had big plans for this blog. I had big plans for many things. If there is one lesson I can take away from my illness it’s that I am never going to make big plans again. When you inevitably break them, the squeeze on your psyche is excruciating, which then spirals you further down the self-loathing staircase.

This is not an entry about giving up. Life may scare the hell out of me at times, but death is far more scarier to me. There are no craft beers on the other side, so why would I choose that path? No, it is an entry about trying to understand the nature of the beast within, and refraining from feeding it more fuel than it deserves. I will write when I write, and that’s that. Never make a promise you do not intend to keep.

More importantly, never give up, because eventually the sun really does rise again.

Anxious Away!

I’ve been on many prescription drugs in my lifetime, mostly all of them having no positive effect on my disorders. A combination of depression, anxiety, and OCD (newly diagnosed!) can be a tricky thing to prescribe for, especially if you’ve been constantly mis-diagnosed (I was once put on anti-psychotics that knocked me out; I couldn’t even function. I’m not psychotic.) About a year ago, perhaps a bit longer, I decided that I was fed up with the toll the drugs were having on my body, and my life, and decided to stop taking them. I really was in a bad way. Of course, my life slowly spiraled even further out of control, opening up a new Pandora’s Box: do I continue to slide further into this misery I created, or raise the white flag and try again, this time with a new set of doctors and therapists? I chose the latter. I had a superb therapist before I moved, and I was lucky to find another great therapist where I am currently living. I approached her with some ideas about psychotropics, and she helped guide me towards something she thought would help me accomplish a semblance of normalcy; she even went as far as helping me find a doctor. This time, I found a doctor who was more interested in my well-being than just pushing the pills down my throat.

Yesterday, I sat in the office, talked briefly, but intensely with the doctor, and left with a new prescription (again.) I am already feeling the benefits of the drug, which doesn’t need to build up in your system in order to be effective, nor is it habit-forming, which was a concern for me. I know it will be a long road of psychotherapy and pharmacological therapy, but I’ve finally admitted that I am sick, and I can’t do this alone.

The resolution feels good. Let the sun shine down on me, and all of you, as we all live in this world together.

Chocolate Malaise

It’s been a challenging 10 days. Between a major colitis flareup as well as a heavy depressive episode, there have been brighter moments in my life. I don’t feel like complaining, because I am aware that millions of other people are suffering through various ailments of their own. I will admit to being tired, physically and emotionally. Sleep isn’t coming easy, and the fatigue seeps through my skin and invades my brain, smashing my neurons to bits. Writing is almost impossible; I can barely read more than a few paragraphs before I want to close my eyes. I know I am painting what appears to be a bleak picture here, but I am aware of a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

I’m going to try meditation. Enlightenment is not what I seek; I seek only clear-minded thinking. Thoughts are racing constantly, and that adds to the malaise I feel during the day, and I’m sure are the direct cause of my panic attacks. It’s not normal to lie in bed at night and obsess over your death. What’s normal is to roll over and hold your wife (in my case) tighter. I should entertain the thought of taking walks again, it’s just so cold and mucky outside at the moment.

Well, there it is. I apologize for the clunky nature of this update. I have several ideas floating around in my head at the moment; I just need to crack the coconut.

In lighter news, in case you missed the fact that I am a NATIONAL HERO:

Sorry, Cadbury.
Sorry, Cadbury.

December 11, 2014

It’s apt that as I type this entry I am listening to Low’s excellent album “I Could Live in Hope.” If you’re familiar with the band, you’ll understand why I love them. Slow, soft, melancholy, perfect. Only 38 words in and I am already stalling; this is not a good method if you are trying to write a blog, unless you are Algernon Blackwood and are getting paid by the word for your stories in magazines. Sadly, I am not Algernon Blackwood.

I was conversing with a friend a few days ago via text messaging about the holidays, and that it doesn’t bother me as much anymore; I am feeling much better, and am able to deal with the loss of my mother more maturely now, so to speak. Then, I promptly slipped into a deep depression, accompanied by a completely atrocious attitude. Well, I guess I wasn’t progressing as well as I thought. Granted, 2014 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for me, but looking back, what year was? I digress.

blog-segment-but-i-digress

13 is apparently getting ready to ask a new girl to go steady. She is tutoring him in math. He is literally living out a fantasy if she says yes. The kid has skills, I will give him that. He will be leaving to see his father for Christmas in another 13 days, and he doesn’t seem too excited about it at the moment. When he’s there I know he’ll have a good time, though; his father is a real life cartoon character, so 13 will get his fill of rough-housing and the like that he doesn’t get here. Around these parts, we have dinner table discussions regarding the ongoing repression of minority groups and the poor treatment of women in society. With his father, he listens to country music, goes muddin’, plays with horses, and gets his fill of League of Legends. Come to think of it, why isn’t he more excited?

I have so much to write about, but so little energy to do it. Perhaps I will write more later. Have a nice holiday season! Here’s a cute picture to make up for the shitty writing.

catsat8

I don’t even like turkey all that much

I will be alone for Thanksgiving this year. The wife and 13 are traveling to visit his godparents, and I will be staying home to watch Blu Rays and read depressing Joyce Carol Oates novels. This is by choice, mind you; I make a horrible passenger in a vehicle, and I also make a horrible companion when you are having Thanksgiving dinner with scores of people you’ve never met before. In reality, I regret not being able to go, but in my present state it just isn’t possible.

Let’s talk about Thanksgiving for a minute. It’s more about the smells, really. I have very fond memories of playing football outside with my friends, coming into the house all flushed, glasses fogging up immediately due to the warmth created by the turkey in the oven, and just being hit in the face with a wave of delicious and comforting aromas. Ironically, at the time I hated everything Thanksgiving was about. I disliked having the majority of my day taken up with eating food I didn’t really like, except of course, for the mashed potatoes and gravy; being forced to sit in the living room with everyone else watching the Lions lose yet again, and being ordered to talk when I really had nothing to say, then being reprimanded for my bad attitude, followed my grandparents chiding my mother for scolding me. The older I get, the more appreciation I have for my grandparents. I think they knew that there was something not quite right with me, emotionally. Problem was, there was also something not quite right with my mother, too, so any criticism about her methods always erupted into an argument about parenting.

So now it’s 2014. My mother has been dead 7 years now. My grandfathers are dead, my grandmothers are either dead, or suffering from dementia. My stepfather and I no longer speak, going so far as not even mentioning me in the obituary when my grammy died. My father and I talk, but we’re not close. He doesn’t even attend Thanksgiving at his brother’s house when invited, and my invitations stopped coming a long time ago, too; most of the blame for that falls with me isolating myself intentionally. This was not supposed to be a sad entry, but of course I never know where they are going until I am finished. Really, all I want is to walk into my house and smell that turkey one more time. Now that we’ve moved, along with most of the wife’s family, too, it could be a very long time until I feel that sensation again. I’ll be ready, and I won’t take it for granted.

If you have a child, or children, please pay attention to their behavior. Don’t just dismiss everything they do as “normal teenager stuff.” Because sometimes it isn’t, sometimes they are really hurting and would love for someone to talk to them like an equal, to take the time to find out what’s wrong, and maybe get them the help they need. Pay attention, and remember what it was like to be that age. Listen, and most importantly, don’t judge.

Dots and dashes with peppermint lashes

I was finally able to convince myself to leave the house today and actually go somewhere to be around people. I don’t normally do this due to my extreme fear of people in general. Of course, my travels took me to the local big box bookstore. After purchasing the requisite coffee, I wandered around the aisles for a good 30 minutes, looking at nothing in particular, before leaving empty-handed because I was unwilling to spend over $10 on books that are upwards of 75 years old. I went in feeling very well; after all, I got myself out of the house, which is a rarity. I left feeling somewhat downtrodden. Being so close to Thanksgiving, they were playing the obligatory Christmas music, and hearing it just sucked all the joy out of me, which I think is the opposite effect of what it is intended to do. It’s like this every year for me. Christmas time rolls around and I become even more of an insufferable oaf than I already am. Logically, I don’t feel I really have a good reason to hate the season; I have a wife who loves me very much, as well as a step-son who I care for very much. Yet, this time of year just leaves me feeling despondent, and very much alone. I will leave it for the psychiatrists out there to analyze.

13 is getting restless. He doesn’t want to date this girl anymore, but he also doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of breaking up with her, going so far as to use us as an excuse to get out of hanging out with her this weekend. Obviously, the end is nigh. He’s interested in at least two other girls, one being his girlfriend’s best friend. I told him if he wants to completely ruin his social life forever, by all means pursue this girl. This shows to his naivete towards dating, that he didn’t understand how doing that could virtually ruin his life for the foreseeable future. He is not quite there yet in terms of emotional maturity, and I am totally fine with that. I am hoping that if and when he (or she) breaks it off, he just goes back to being a kid for awhile. Dating is hard work.

I love the winter as long as I am inside. I can appreciate the cold air as an invigorating tonic, but only in doses of a few minutes. I really sympathize for those of you whom are out there working in this cold every day.