Category Archives: I Suck

Streak Day #15 Sucks (and something about finding direction in life)

I’m writing this post in the McDonald’s parking lot, mostly because they have WiFi and I want to post something before work. It’s also a hell of a change of scenery. I have never written anything on a computer outside of the house, usually resigned to typing stuff on my phone via Google Docs if I’m out and about when inspiration hits.

I didn’t intentionally come to McDonald’s to write, let’s be clear about that. I had a therapy session today (for some reason she wanted to do Thursdays instead of Saturdays. Luckily I’m indifferent so it was fine with me.) and have about an hour and a half to kill before the next part of my day is scheduled to begin. What to do? Enough time to go home but not enough to get settled. And slightly too much time to sit around in a parking lot eating food passing the time. When I left for my session today I brought my laptop along. Part of the appeal of a laptop is its portability which I never utilized before.

After therapy I went to Subway and grabbed a footlong turkey sandwich. On italian herb and cheese bread if you care to know the details. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and mayonnaise please. Then a quick drive over to McDonald’s for the WiFi. The sign in the parking lot says “Parking for McDonald’s customers only” and this had me slightly worried until I realized the sign was surely a corporate requirement; the people actually working McDonald’s most likely don’t give two fucks about who’s in the parking. They have bigger fish to fry, and I almost mean that in a literal sense. Maybe not fish, but I’m sure they go through a ton of fries.

This McDonald’s is located in a dismal and bombed out stripmall on the north side of Rockford, technically in Loves Park. Close enough though. The retail apocalypse is evident here; the only shops remaining are questionable and shady. There’s a furniture store (probably a money laundering front), a Save-A-Lot, an abandoned movie theater (abandoned for at least a decade), North Town Liquor (with tacky neon signs in the windows), a payday loan place, a budget insurance business, and to cap it off fittingly, a plasma donation clinic. The parking lot is massive and the cars parked here are sparse, barely filling up 5-10% of all the available spots marked by fading yellow lines. Potholes dug by subtle and slow landmines of freezing ice and snow are placed randomly around. The cloudy skies today make the mood of this place even more dismal than usual, if you even imagine it being more dismal.

Therapy was unproductive, and I knew it before I even left the house to drive there. Nothing had been discovered or accomplished since I last went and I told her so as soon as I walked in. “What’s been going on? How have things been?” she asked. I shrugged and said, “It’s been a boring week. Nothing has happened. I’ve been thinking about what you said last week, but I haven’t made any realizations or progress on anything.”

Last week she asked me where I see myself in the future. Not in any specific sense like with a job or a hobby, just a general “Where do you see yourself in the future?” It was a big red flag when I didn’t have anything to say. I never really thought about it. I’m a reactionary: life throws stuff at me and I react. There is no me dictating my life, just going along with things. Sometimes I feel like a kayaker on a river; I can paddle here and there somewhat but in the big picture I’m floating wherever the river takes me. It’s not a bad thing to do I guess, if you’re perfectly fine with being directionless, which apparently I’m not. Remember the last post about needing a “grand adventure”? That’s probably a way of asking for a direction and a goal to follow.

So this is what I was supposed to work on: finding a direction for my life. I had nearly a week to think of something, but my mind is blank. I don’t know what the hell I want in life, and I don’t know what direction I want to move in. It’s frustrating and I think that’s the entire point of this post. I thought I might end up saying more, but there doesn’t seem to be anything more. Obviously all of this makes sense — if you don’t have a direction to move towards you’ll feel adrift in life — but that doesn’t help me know anything about the direction to choose.

I really appreciate how the therapist basically tells me shit that I’ve known all along in a way. I sit there and think “duh” but I haven’t figured any of this out on my own so it’s not a sarcastic “duh” at all. It should be obvious to me but it isn’t.

This reminds me of a conversation we had at work last week. Something about how easy it is to see everyone else’s faults and flaws but yours are hopelessly hidden by your own complex personality. I’ve mentioned before how I feel like I don’t even know myself even though I’m sure I do a ton of things that don’t make any sense or undermine my own happiness. But I’m blind to them. One friend said something like, “I don’t want to live up to other people’s expectations; why do I have to always try to please them?” I replied with, “But they’re not your expectations for yourself, so fuck what they think.” A few of them laughed and then I also added, “Even though I’m the same way. Maybe I should take my own damn advice.” Then I frowned. Taking your own advice is hard, harder than dishing it out to others.

I wish I could see myself from an outside perspective because then maybe I’d make more sense. I wish I could get out of my head. I wish I knew exactly what I did want out of life without being so confused over it. Do people like that exist? Are there really people who wake up daily and know exactly what the hell they want out of life? To view life as a tool to be happy with and not as a river they’re floating in and unable to navigate? It makes me jealous, but I guess I am the way I am. Not that I can’t change, but changing is a hard thing to do.

Streak Day #13 Sucks (and some stuff about “networking”)

It’s 3:51 a.m. and I’m once again unable to sleep. I think this is partly to blame on daylight savings time. My body feels like it’s 2:51 a.m. not that it makes much difference anyways. I feel adrift in time, and yesterday was especially terrible. We were at the store at 7 p.m. and it was still daylight out. It felt really late, like 9 p.m. for some reason but also really early like 5 p.m. for some reason. Just nothing to anchor you to any sense of temporal security.

Every blogger has the same basic goal: get more viewers/readers. It’s so obvious it feels dumb to even state; isn’t it the reason anyone would take up this hobby? While I’m sure there are some “purists” that write and blog for the sake of writing and blogging, or to undergo some personal growth in a writing adventure, I’m guessing these account for like 10% of blogs. Even if you do blog with that purpose, I’m sure most have a close secondary goal of having others actually read your stuff.

Now that I think of it, maybe I’m wrong here. A friend of mine is working on some massive three-book fantasy story. She’s built an entire mythical world and it sounds wonderfully complex. I continually pester her about when she will make these writings public while she seems completely happy with the project being for herself. She doesn’t seem to care if anyone ever reads the story, it could be a total masterpiece but she’s doing it for herself. If that makes sense. Maybe purists do exist? Maybe I’m too pragmatic and egotistical where I don’t want to write and have no one else read it. It seems like a waste of time to me. In a way I wish I could be like my friend. The quality of what I write would probably be better.

The problem is trying to get people to read your shit in the first place. We all start from nothing, and how do you even get somewhere starting from nothing?

Post A Lot/Be Consistent

One blog I was a huge fan if years ago was waitbutwhy. Go check it out. The author Tim Urban, seems to be a total nerd and wrote many long and detailed pieces about Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, as well as many other high quality, enlightening, terrifying, and hilarious posts.

I say ‘was a fan’ because something happened a few years ago where Tim seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. So when he started posting a few months ago I was surprised, mostly by the fact that I had totally forgotten about the blog when he wasn’t posting. (Note: what he was up to in the meantime was mulling over a massive post attempting to figure out what exactly happened to American society in the past five or ten years. Increasing hostility and polarization in America, wondering when we exactly went off the rails, shit like that. Namely, but more of a symptom and not the problem itself: how the hell did Donald Trump end up as president? I guess he was struggling to make any progress on this amazingly complex topic, and finally decided to make an entire series about it. It’s ongoing and he hasn’t posted in like a month but I hope he keeps it up. It’s fascinating.)

My point here is simple: to get readers you need to be consistent and actually post. Duh. People simply forget that you exist if you stop posting. Maybe we like to think that we have a legion of loyal fans wondering when the hell the next post/chapter will come out, and maybe this is true for some people, but we’re forgettable. I have this complex idea in my mind for a few months about how the internet only rewards action and not inaction. I want to write some big epic post on it but can’t pull it together. It goes something like this. On social media people only see you when you post and no one notices your lack of posting. Contrast this to the real world where your absence is noted, like at work. People miss you if you’re not there and this doesn’t happen on the internet. I think the same is true with blogging. People notice you if you do something while few notice if you don’t do something. If that makes sense. You need to stay in people’s minds I guess.

I had a first hand learning experience with this cactus recently (somehow my phone put the word ‘cactus’ there and it’s too hilarious to fix). My other blog for short stories and stuff hasn’t had anything new posted in a month or two. I recently plopped out a really shitty piece that had a single view. No one gave a shit about it. But when I was posting a chapter or two every week I was raking in the views. You can’t just hop back into the game and start where you left off. Nope. Rebuild the readers and don’t fuck it up in the future.

“Networking”

There are certain words that I just hate with a passion and networking is one of them. It’s right up there with synergy and scripture for some reason. I hate the word and I hate what it stands for. Basically, it’s a professional form of ‘socializing’ which I’m fucking terrible at. Not even socializing in the casual aspect but socializing with the purpose of building contacts and making progress in your endeavors. It’s socializing but with a goal.

One of my posts a week or so ago talked about how this streak I’m on is really getting me readers. This is because of what I talked about previously: being consistent and posting keeps you ‘out there.’ The more you post the more people will notice you and read your shit. One person commented (I’d link to his blog, but I don’t know the protocol behind that. Do you need to ask first?) that the real way to pump numbers up is to, you guessed it, network. That really got me thinking about the process and how terrible I am at it.

Last post I talked about my supposed “genuineness” with blogging and how I’m legit interested in what others write. Being genuine is the main key to proper networking; we’ve all seen the random comments on posts that usually go something like this: Great Post! Check out my blog here [link to post]! These aren’t genuine at all and anyone can see right through them. These people are networking on the most basic and fundamental level, forcing themselves to comment only to market themselves. There is no real interest in what you had written, and it comes across very pathetic and self-serving. People have a very sensitive radar for disingenuity. It’s painfully obvious and does you zero favors. If you network, or force yourself to network, don’t fucking do this.

I think this is what holds me back from selfishly networking. To network you have to be selfish to some degree I think; that’s what gets you out trying to promote yourself in the first place, but I’m so selfish that I don’t want to spend my time forcing myself to read people’s stuff that I’m not interested in, if that makes sense. One good thing about this is that I don’t think I have the “genuineness” problem when I do network. If I am commenting or something it means I really have something to say and actually read your post. And I sure as hell aren’t going to leave a link to my own blog in the comment section trying to bring people over.

Networking seems to branch into other areas as well outside of “pure” networking. You really need to be creative and play the game of self-marketing. Make as many social media accounts as you can, spam your links anywhere you can on the internet. Find forums and like-minded individuals and send links to people that might be interested in your stuff. Some of my video game posts I could probably share on game forums, but no. I don’t want to be pushy. I’m terrible at networking in all its forms. I’m getting a severe case of deja vu here for some reason.

Part of me thinks if I could get my shit together this blog could really take off. If I could stay focused and churn out high-quality posts everyday and actually spend time networking I might find success. But part of me simply doesn’t care. That would be too much work and what is the grand goal of this blog anyways? Get a million views and start advertising? I doubt it. Do some affiliate marketing? Once again, I doubt it. There is no grand plan. I think this rambly post has worn itself out. Goodbye everyone. Day thirteen complete.

Streak Day #12 Sucks (and some stuff about WordPress email notifications)

It’s still Sunday. At least when I started writing this. One nice thing that a writing streak does to you is it keeps you on your toes. Knowing I’m going to force myself to plop out something tomorrow I’m inclined to start on it as soon as possible. Even if I don’t actually start writing anything, I’ve noticed I’ll at least start to think about what I want to write about. I’m a horrible procrastinator but this impromptu project is forcing me into the correct direction.

Today is my drinking day. I stayed productive nearly all day long, taking care of all the random shit that I need to take care of on the weekends. I have no reason to be in a terrible mood but for some reason I am. Keeping busy only keeps your mind off of things; once you stop being busy your mind reverts back to all the old demons that always seem to haunt it and yourself. I built some shitty solar phone charger this weekend, posted the Morrowind chapter, posted a blog post, and even did my taxes (while drunk, which is always a good idea…) and now that it’s all over, well, hello internal monologue. I can’t wait for work tomorrow just to keep my mind fixated on tasks and to keep it distracted.

Anyways, what I really wanted to write about was my emails. Yes. Emails. It’s the stupidest topic to complain about but I have a serious problem with my email. Let me explain.

I receive email notifications from WordPress (this blog, the other blogs) on my personal email. Hell, I’ll link to it: write me an interesting message if you want, I’d love to read some random ramblings from people. I was even thinking of changing the stock “Contact” page on this blog to only show my email address; no one uses the contact page anyways so maybe an email address would actually provide feedback. Anyways, the way it’s currently set up (and I have no motivation to change the settings) is that anytime someone likes/comments/subscribes to my blog or one of its posts I get an email. It does keep me on my toes especially with comments. Anytime I see a comment in my email I make sure to leave it as a reminder to actually reply within the next day or four.

The problem is everything else. I’m a terribly fragile and insecure person who appreciates any and every like/comment/subscribe to this blog. This leads me to hoarding emails because I want to check in with every person who interacts with the blog. I want to scour their own blogs, read them, and see if I’m interested in subscribing. I’m serious: every email gets a big analysis project. Some are easy: people who like my blog that don’t have anything posted themselves get deleted instantly. It’s an easy filter to apply. But this only accounts for like 5% of all the notification emails I get. And the rest? I never get around to it! I can’t delete them because I haven’t given them due diligence yet, but they keep piling up. I constantly have a backlog of emails from readers in the form of notifications that I just can’t seem to sit down and sort through.

And it’s not like I have a wildly successful blog or anything. There aren’t mountains of notification emails pouring in day after day that I’m unable to keep up with. No, in the end I’m just a slacker to the worst degree. It’s mentally taxing to read someone’s blog and decide if I want to subscribe or not. Many blogs are okay but not great — like they have potential — and these always cause me the most grief. Blogs that have a multitude of spelling errors get nixed right away, as well as blogs that are about business or cooking or any topic that is really specific. If all someone writes about is traveling it’s easy to not subscribe; I’m way too poor to give traveling any sort of room in my head to fester.

It’s a stupid problem to have, but I think it’s good in a way. I’m not just deleting people who read and like my stuff — I actually care about their own projects — I’m just a total slacker. It is a constant source of stress for me though. Anytime I randomly click the Gmail app on my phone I have this terrible sense of dread and of being a failure. There are all of those emails I still haven’t scoured through and they’re only emails. Why can’t I sit down and just get it over with?

I guess the upside here to any readers: yes, if you ever like/comment/subscribe to anything I’ve written I seriously dig through your own project, whatever it is, and give it time in my head. I like to think of myself as a “genuine” person who isn’t reading your blog to “network” or to do any other service to myself. This topic does seem it could naturally turn into my thoughts about “networking,” something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, but you know what? That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Manic Bluetooth Etiquette Sucks

Etiquette’ is a really screwy word to spell by the way.

It’s 7:17 p.m. and I’m on break at work. Sitting in a van listening to whatever music a coworker is playing over the bluetooth stereo I bring into work. This allows us to listen to music streamed from our phones without the hassle of using a physical aux cord. Before he started playing music, I was playing some Beach House. I hopped out of the van to use the bathroom and when I came back he was camped on the bluetooth, dictating our music for the next hour. The only issue I have with the music currently playing is that it doesn’t fit the vibe of the day. It’s cloudy, chilly, and the wind is howling outside. The van slightly rocks around from the breeze. And he’s playing some hardcore music that is semi-upbeat and angsty, a far cry from the Beach House vibe that I think is more accurate for the night. But maybe this is just my current mood and no one else thinks the vibe is as Beach Housey as I do.

I’ve been on antidepressants for 2 days now. They told me it’d take two weeks for me to notice any changes, and I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I definitely don’t feel like I usually do. I drove to work in a kinda sleepy and dreamy haze, going through the motions in a perfectly blah mood. This is typical but I was surprised to see this mood continue even at work. My job assignment this week is operating the k-loader: a large multi-ton machine that physically raises and lowers the containers the fifty or so feet to the airplane’s cargo deck. Usually this job requires a ton of attention and keeps me on my toes and mentally engaged. Nope, not tonight. I was up there operating it with the usual professional skill that I always have, but in a sleepy and detached haze. It’s like I wasn’t really there or engaged with the equipment, but somehow I was also more aware of what I was doing. Like I was in someone else’s head as they were operating it. But damn were they doing a great job at it.

It’s disorienting in a way. I feel like I’ve taken a handful of Benadryls without the complete sleepiness that they have. I’m laid back and don’t care to talk or to interact, and I’m perfectly okay with that. When I do think of something to say I’ll say it in a totally detached way, like I’m just saying something because I want to say it without any of the anxiety I’m used to. No thought how it’ll be received or anything. It was also disorienting looking at myself in the bathroom mirror; I looked perfectly normal. I thought I’d look totally dead and expressionless but there I was. The typical everyday Jeremy with a vague smile on his face like usual.

And I’m also equally…jittery I guess? It’s hard to explain. A half-hour ago I was sitting in the van having a good discussion with my friends and I noticed my hands and legs were shaking. Jittery, antsy, but still tired, detached, out of it, but very aware of everything. Was it the nicotine? Had I been hitting my vape too hard? Or was it the meds? Or was it neither of those?

Many of these things were listed as side effects, but they’re easy enough to deal with so far. I don’t feel like the jitteriness is turning into a full fledged anxiety attack and the sleepiness isn’t so crippling that I can’t do my job safely. So I think it’s normal. It’s enough to deal with and I don’t think I should jump ship just yet.

To further prove my point, listen to what my coworker is now playing. This is not the vibe for today. And now this one. Maybe the jitteriness will manifest into an anxiety attack?

The social laws involved with sharing a bluetooth stereo device at work are strange. Yes, it’s mine — I physically own the damn thing — so you’d assume I should be in charge of the music all the time. No, no fucking way. Despite owning the bluetooth thingy, bringing it into work primarily for my own enjoyment on break, I don’t think this gives me free reign to force a van full of people to listen to my music the entire shift. Depending on what I play, it could be seen as an extreme form of torture. I also bring it in as a favor for my coworkers so we don’t have to listen to the shitty radio; it’s like a community favor and the joy of the community overrides my physical ownership of the device. I think that’s why I put the vibe of the music over anything else. Like if someone is playing music and you want to recommend a song, request something with the same general vibe of the current music. Don’t upend the flow by demanding songs that have nothing to do with the current mood. Don’t try to force your musical tastes upon everyone else. But also be courteous and mindful of everyone else’s requests and needs. If you’re the one playing music, accommodate them to a degree even if they do break the vague social etiquette of van bluetooth music usage. Never sync up without being invited to do so. Once invited, you can sync up anytime in the future. If no one else is synced up for a period of five or ten minutes, feel free to do so, but only if you’ve been allowed to sync up before! And so on.

Sometimes I wonder if these pills have put me in a manic state. I think I’m in a manic state but maybe me thinking this is what’s putting me in the state to begin with? This post does seem rather…unhinged though, doesn’t it? Either way, I’m writing and I’m going to post it and to hell with how it turns out. Maybe it’ll be a good reference to compare what happens before and after you start taking SSRI antidepressants. You lose your goddamn mind. You write endless rambling things. You stop caring if what your writing is good and has a point. Maybe that’s a good thing after all?

Worst of all, two weeks? Really? Part of me thinks this is all some awful placebo effect and nothing has really changed. Maybe I’ve always been this way and taking pills for a few days is leading me to think I’m sleepy, out of it, and totally rambling on a blog post not because I’m naturally this way but because I can blame it on the meds. What if it’s all in my head tricking me for some reason? And if this is the case, what the fuck is going to happen when the meds really do kick in?

Streak Day #7 Sucks (and some stuff about New Year’s Resolutions)

Seven days?! Really? Wow. I’m proud of myself, but at the same time realize that it wasn’t really that hard. All you need to do is plop your ass down for an hour each day and force something out. I was skeptical about these posting streak proponents but now I realize they’re probably onto something. While I don’t think these posts are “typical” Everything Sucks posts like everything else is, I think they still fit the tone of the blog. Instead of bitching about big, grand, and ‘complex’ topics I find myself complaining about smaller mundane and bothersome things that I encounter during the day. Being sick (but not too sick), depression, and in this post, my failed New Year’s Resolutions.

A friend at work said she wasn’t going to commit to any resolutions this year because most of them fail. Fine, I thought, she wasn’t wrong. Somehow I think I’m an idealist or something; I love the idea of things and to hell if they’re practical or not. Go big or go home, I suppose.

Referencing this post right here for my list of resolutions. If you check it out, you’ll see the post (for once) is overflowing with optimism for 2020. Sadly, it only took a few weeks into the year for everything in the world to go off the rails. The stock market has fucking died, coronavirus is terrifying everyone, and we almost went to war with Iran. I’m sure there are other fucked up incidents in the year that I’ve forgotten over the past six two months, but with me having so much optimism for 2020 it sure was depressing to see things go to shit so quickly. And the same was true with those damn resolutions of mine.

The first to go was the “compliment a person daily” resolution. That was always the hardest one to pull off, me being a raging pessimist that never sees the good in anything. At first I was surprised at how complimenting people daily actually got me to see the good in people, but that didn’t last. What happened was depression. Anyone who has struggled with depression knows that it puts you into a very basic and lowly mode of survival. It’s like a haze of limping along blind hour after hour with no overarching goal in life but to survive to the next moment. At least for me, I found myself sleeping all the time, feeling tired and unmotivated, antisocial, and eating just enough food where the starvation didn’t make me feel worse. Naturally, complimenting someone in one of these moods is a no-go and that’s exactly what happened. One bout of depression into the new year and the compliments stopped. First I missed a day, then got back to it, then missed a few more days, got back to it, and then I don’t think I’d given a compliment purposefully for my resolution in at least a month. Not that I never give compliments; they’re just not part of my daily routine anymore. Resolution #1: DEAD.

And let’s go back to depression real quick: it makes you exhausted and tired all the time. One of my resolutions was to wake up at 10 a.m. everyday and that was great for a few weeks (maybe a month) until depression kicked the fuck out of that goal too. What’s funny is I still wake up around 9:45 a.m. naturally for some reason, like my body knows it needs to wake up. Maybe I trained myself well. But I wake up after having went to sleep around 4 a.m. and feel like utter shit; I then roll over and go back to sleep until noon, 1, or 2 p.m. depending on how shitty I feel about the day. Resolution #2: DEAD.

What about only drinking on Sunday? Moderate success there so far. I do have an exception to the rule: something like “special occasion drinking” whatever that means. Social events, unusual events, etc. The past few weekends have been hell. We had to drive to Chicago two weeks ago and finally got back home around 11 p.m. That meant my day was totally and utterly fucked and what better way to cap off the shitty day than with a six-pack of cheap beer? Last weekend my sister and I went rock climbing — same deal — gone all day, physically exhausted from climbing up walls and riding in a car, and what better way to relax than to pound a six-pack down? Luckily, drinking on the weekday is still a major no-no because that’s where the real cliff edge is. Once you start that it’s a full-send into fully-fledged alcoholism. Hopefully this weekend is uneventful and I can wallow in depression/boredom without needed a six-pack on Saturday. Resolution #3: MILD SUCCESS.

Resolution #4: Publish two Kindle ebooks. Yeah, I’m working on it.

Resolution #5: Write and post my Morrowind fanfic on Wattpad every Sunday. I’m going strong on this one. At first it started off really rough; I was struggling every Sunday to finish and post, but now I think I have a flow. It’s still a chore, but I make progress during the week now. I usually start working on the next chapter on Monday or Tuesday, really tidy it up Wednesday-Saturday, and edit the damn thing on Sunday. It’s great. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is how much having a routine you stick to helps the project actually progress.

Which leads me back to resolution #4: the ebooks. I really think I need to force a chapter out, like the Morrowind story, weekly. Doing this almost guarantees 50 finished chapters in a year making the book probably complete. Even if the chapters aren’t as inspired, at least they’ll fucking exist. I haven’t written anything for these stories in at least a month and it’s depressing. But somehow the Morrowind story keeps trucking along because I have a schedule hold myself accountable.

Lastly, and to wrap this post up in a nice and tidy bowtie: reach 1,000 monthly views on this blog. This one has suffered in the past two months: December had record viewers and each month since the viewer count has went down.

But for March? Fuck. I really think I’m on track. Like with the Morrowind story, having a routine is awesome and really helps productivity. This impromptu posting streak really seems to be bringing people here. It makes perfect sense too: the more you post the more people have to look at. Duh. But so far this month I’ve had 102 views in only 4 days. Doing a little math and assuming the same rate of views per day puts my monthly views on track to reach around 800. This is still 200 short but would be a record month in terms of views at least. I’m still debating if I want to keep this streak going — I really think I’ll burn out — but the idea of going for the major goal of having 1,000 monthly views is tempting.

Streak Day Six Sucks (and some stuff about being sick/the stock market)

I might as well make this a seven day streak, right? Maybe longer, but a week is an obvious goal to set. I was dreading the last post but was pleasantly surprised when it worked out okay.

As an update to that: I did call today and ask for an antidepressant. Reading the information about the drug escitalopram made me anxious: I’d have to wait about a week to feel any positive effects from the drug? Well shit. Why did I wait so long to give it a shot? Once again when your mood is shit and all you’re picking up from the world are bad vibes, you want relatively instant relief. It’s the impatience in me again; upon deciding on a course of action I hit it hard. Deciding to try an antidepressant and having to wait to even see how it’ll play out is terrible. Patience though. Everything worthwhile takes patients. But I do hate waiting.

And if anyone has any experience with escitalopram feel free to let me know what I’m getting myself into. I’m terrified I’ll lose my mind or something.

Yesterday my throat felt irritated. Swollen in a way. This is unusual when I get sick. My usual mode of sickness is this: sore throat leading to aches and a possible fever that develops into snot, phlegm, and coughing. This feels different. I awoke today feeling especially shitty: kinda achy and with my throat even more swollen than yesterday, but still not the painful scratchiness that is typical. I’m trying to play the mental game here — maybe I ache because of rock climbing a few days ago — and fight the idea of being sick in the first place. I’m not giving into it. As for my throat, I did quite a bit of drinking, vaping, and cigarette smoking this weekend. On Sunday in an attempt to escape the house, I ended up at a local park listening to music, writing, and occasionally screaming along to the music. Maybe that’s why my throat feels like shit, because I’ve been abusing it so much.

I’ve been on edge the past few months anyways. People at work are being decimated by sicknesses and there seemed to be two general types making the rounds. One seems to be a flu bug; this took a few coworkers out of service for over a week. The second was a stomach/digestive bug cursing them with diarrhea, vomiting, and a general feeling of impending death. To be honest I’d much prefer the later; I hate week-long diseases and had plenty of it with my two bronchitis cases last year. No, give me the terrible vomiting and shiting and I’ll power through it.

An obvious mention to COVID-19, the dreaded coronavirus, is required here. I’m not really worried about catching it — it still seems rare enough to not worry about — but sometimes I do think about it. I think there was a case in Chicago a few weeks ago, 60 miles away, and this made me feel slightly on edge. As time has passed cases have creeped closer to where I live in Rockford, Illinois, but I’m still not worried about it.

I think the disease has like a 1 or 2% mortality rate, which isn’t trivial, but if I did catch it I’d be happy with my odds. 1 or 2% is a high risk of death in the grand scheme of everyday life. Imagine if you had a 1% chance of dying everyday: that would be terrifying! I’ve also heard that the death rate is higher in kids and the elderly, and I’m comfortably in between those two age groups. While I’m not the healthiest person I do have a beast of an immune system. Somehow I haven’t gotten sick while working around diseased people at UPS for the past two months.

It’s interesting to think that I’m not worried about a 2% chance of death if I did catch coronavirus. It makes sense though. Back in my options trading days I would routinely put thousands of dollars on hail-mary plays that had like a 60% chance of failure. This didn’t both me (until I lost all the money) so a 2% chance of death kinda makes sense to not worry about, at least for me. I don’t think I’m very good with the whole ‘risk management’ thing.

Speaking of stocks and disease, coronavirus fears have totally ruined the market in the past week and half. I think the S&P 500 is down like 15 or 20%: one of the worst weeks since the 2008/2009 meltdown. In fact I think I read somewhere it has been the worst week since that time. And somehow I called the top of the market and didn’t get destroyed by the meltdown. It had been going up for the past three months for no fucking reason at all, so feeling kinda iffy about it all I sold a large chunk of my $SPY ETF holdings and invested in a bunch of inverse funds — if the market goes down these inverse funds go up. It’s a win-win! And nearly as soon as I did this the market tanked. I kept the hedges low so didn’t really come out ahead or anything, but the fact that my account has stayed nearly level during a week-long meltdown is something to note. I did good for once.

Streak Day Five Sucks (and some stuff about therapy apparently)

When I published my last post I was surprised to see a notification from the WordPress app on my phone. Truthfully I never use the damn thing to do actual writing/posting and only use it to constantly and obsessively check my daily views which probably isn’t productive or healthy. Anyways, what this app told me was something along the lines of, “Congratulations! You posted four days in a row!” I did? Wow, okay. And thinking back to the past half-week made me realize that, yeah, I did post four days in a row. Somehow.

It was a total accident though. I didn’t plan a four-day streak. The stars aligned and…I don’t even recall what I had written about. Oh yeah, I bitched about the Android Keyboard — post #1. Then I somehow had a magical burst of inspiration on this post, which I honestly think is one of the best things I have ever written. I’m really proud of it. And on the third day I finally posted my vaping post; that one had been completed about a week earlier and only required touching up. And finally, the rock climbing post. It was the day after we went climbing and I was so excited to talk about it that the post basically wrote itself. Four days, four posts. Maybe it isn’t that hard after all?

I see other bloggers do these “streaks” where they try to post a single thing everyday for like a week or a month or whatever. I’ve always been weary of actually trying it though for fear of burning out. I know it’s an unfounded fear, but when you naturally churn out maybe two or three posts max during a week the idea of posting every day is terrifying. I usually struggle through my regular posts so what the hell would I find to write about everyday?

And I still have no idea what I’m supposed to write about here, but the temptation of a five day streak is too great to pass up.

People always recommended that any aspiring writer writes something at least once a day. I try to do that, but hell is it hard when you have nothing to say. I think the problem is that you think you have nothing to say but upon writing you discover that, hey, you do have stuff to say. I don’t know if it’ll happen here, but once again writing every day is supposed to be good according to like everyone I ever talk to.

Antidepressants? Therapy?

I met with a psychiatrist (Maybe? I don’t know what her degree is. Let me look it up; I want to be accurate. Oh. She’s a ‘certified nurse practitioner’ apparently.) with the sole purpose of evaluating me and seeing if I need to be plopped on drugs for my issues. Somewhat reassuringly, she didn’t seem to think I needed them. I was terrified I’d walk into the office and leave with about five fucking prescriptions. Maybe something for depression, anxiety, to help me sleep, etc. but nope, nothing.

The thing that really threw me off were the options offered to me. She seemed to think an SSRI drug (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor: an antidepressant) might be worth a shot, but left me the choice to either hop on it right away or give therapy a few more sessions and then see how I was doing. I was totally indecisive, as I usually am, and was surprised that it was up to me to decide. One thing that is both wonderful and upsetting is how these mental health practitioners leave it up to you to make choices. Once again, think of a similar situation going to a regular doctor. You walk in, they say you’re sick, and toss some antibiotics at you. You don’t have to make a damn decision really. They say, “Here’s your problem, here’s how you fix it. Goodbye!” and take your money. Mental health practitioners, since they deal with sometimes vague, difficult-to-define personal issues aren’t able to do this. They can have an idea of what’s wrong with you, but the fix is never as easy or as obvious as prescribing an antibiotic or pain pill. And it seems any mental health fixes have to come from within yourself as well. It’s a messy field and I’m glad I’m not in it.

So I didn’t know what the hell to say. Part of me wanted to have faith in myself and remain “strong” telling myself that maybe I can work through my issues without drugs to assist me. Another part, the eager “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it and get it over with” part, wanted to hop on them immediately to see what would happen. But no. Right as I was about to YOLO myself into some antidepressants, Courtney, the NP-C, finally made the decision for my indecisive ass and suggested a few more appointments with the therapist and see how that went. I left with the offer that if I did want to hop on them for me to just call them and they can put the order in. It’s been about two weeks and I think I might call them tomorrow.

I have this impending sense of doom upon me and I really think I’ll need all the help I can get in the next few months. People have called me “intuitive” occasionally and I don’t think I am, but if I think about my ability to not think and actually realize things I actually think I might be able to catch onto certain unobvious things about people. Somehow when playing music at work I can pick up on a “vibe” and know what type of music to play. If everyone is depressed and withdrawn you probably don’t want to play upbeat pop music. If everyone is in a good mood you don’t want to drop Radiohead on them. Anyways, if I allow myself to feel “intuitive” I realize I’m picking up very bad vibes from the future. It’s like I’m driving towards a brick wall of shit and there’s no way to avoid it.

Maybe my tip-off here was that at my last therapy appointment I wasn’t totally honest with her. I avoided certain topics because I wasn’t ready to deal with them yet. They’re there, I’m aware of them, but just another week or two of avoiding them won’t hurt, right? As a friend had said, the most productive appointments are apparently where you’re crying, eating fast-food in a parking lot, feeling totally ripped open and confused about everything. The last appointment was really comfy, nothing was really said, and I left feeling like I had just wasted an hour.

It feels like you’re selling everyone short too. One of the key self-esteem pillars was to be honest with yourself. If you push down feelings it means you don’t value them enough, and yourself because they’re your fucking feelings, to acknowledge them. It’s lying to yourself because you don’t have enough self-worth to be honest to even yourself. If that makes sense. And not sure if I’d written it here or somewhere else or in my journal .doc, but I never understood why anyone would lie to a therapist. The entire reason for being there is to open up and make progress on your issues — and you’re paying them to do so — so be honest. Don’t waste their time. Don’t give them free money. It’s like if you paid for food at McDonald’s but not wanting to actually eat the food just tossed it in the trash. Bad analogy but we’ve been here before with analogies.

So while drunk yesterday I realized that, yes, it’s probably time to face some real shit. The past month or so I’ve been in an amazing period of self-realization and growth, which is nice, but once you feel comfortable with yourself you need to look outwards into the world. You can’t make any real changes until you realize who you even are in the first place. It seems like step one was making some progress in knowing myself, and now that I do, the next step is to figure out what this means for me as a person in the world. Life is a big string of “Now What?s” and I’m asking myself that now. Okay, now what?

Sorry if all of this is rather cryptic. I don’t want to write anything down that might not be truthful. I don’t want to spill too much if I’m not even sure what I’m feeling. My plan going forward is this: wait until next Saturday and get everything out to the therapist. She’s a professional and might be able to tell me if I’m just being insane, or tell me that I’m on the right track.

That post wasn’t too bad, eh? Apparently “just write” means I needed to bitch about therapy some more. Once again, not having anything to write might mean that you don’t think you have anything to write about when you really do.