Tag Archives: Depression

Streak Day #30: Untitled

“So, how have you been the past two weeks?”

Perfect. Happy. Depression was a thing of the past. Totally conquered. I had finally discovered myself. A toolkit of ways to fend off the bad vibes and thoughts. Perfectly comfortable in my skin. Cool, confident, and quiet. Problem solved! Problem solved…Problem solved?

Two days ago. Spiraling. Pointlessness. Anxiety. Depression. Dread. More sleeplessness. 5 a.m. with the sun coming up wondering what exactly life is. Benadryl to sleep; a drug to crutch along. Sleep at any cost. Where’s the purpose? The point? What am I meant to do here? Wasn’t I out of the woods? Wasn’t I happy? Weren’t those damn pills magical and finally fixed me?

“Where do you see yourself in the future.”

I shrug. “I don’t know. I feel like I’m floating through life too scared to make any choice.”

“Sometimes it helps to visualize where you want to be in the future. This will give you purpose and something to work towards.”

Every path is miserable, only changing certain pros for cons. More money, less happiness. More possessions, more responsibilities, less freedom. More attachment. More stuff. More freedom, less security. The grass is always greener everywhere else. Not knowing what I’m meant to do. Knowing there is nothing I’m meant to do and it’s up for me to decide. Being unable to decide anything for fear of what misery each path holds. And all paths hold misery; I always make the wrong choice. Is floating such a bad thing? Is pointlessness such a bad thing? Is there anyone that knows what the hell they’re meant to do, even if there is nothing we’re meant to do? Is anyone as blindly confident that they know where to go? Is this another form of blindness? Is blindness happiness?

Five steps forward and six steps backwards. Seven, perhaps. No progress. No sense of empowerment. No moving forward. Self-discovery? No. Self-confusion and self-loss. When I think I find myself it disappears. Too much effort, too much work. The tools in the kit take too much work to use. Constantly being on-edge, looking for the next crisis. Playing chess with your own brain, trying to bring up thoughts as pawns to try to stop yourself from checkmating yourself. And the opponent is so much more motivated than you, the bad vibes are effortless. The chess grandmaster in your head; checkmated in less than ten moves. When are all my pawns gone? When do I run out of motivation to fight? When does it become easier to give in?

Awake after twelve hours of sleep: still tired. Still groggy. Still sleepy. Five cups of coffee, eight cups of coffee: still tired. But shaky. Just enough semblance of being awake to function. Nicotine, caffeine, give me any -ine you can find, maybe I’ll eventually wake up. Constantly shaking and tired. Constantly anxious. Enough awakeness to write low-quality posts. Not enough motivation to work on a story. Writer’s block that never ends. The constant fight towards some goal you don’t even have. And the tiredness. And time always moving forward. And you not moving anywhere at all except towards old age, failing mind, and death. Float along the river until it’s too late to change your course.

And sleeplessness at 5 a.m. once again. Still tired but awake.

“Is it possible that I like being miserable? Is that a thing?”

“Yes. Misery is easier than working to be happy. It takes less effort.”

The comfort of depression. Not caring. Knowing you don’t care. Knowing you’re functioning as a basic animal just staying alive. Food not for enjoyment but so you don’t feel more miserable. Water because your mouth is dry. Work because of bills and money. Write because there is nothing else better to do. Silence around people — you’re a piece of shit and are miserable to be around — why make everyone else miserable by being a piece of shit? Blaming your mood for being a failure. The comfort of depression. The comfort of giving up. Thirty years of nothing. Thirty years of zero progress. Thirty years of depression. Of never knowing yourself. Of never knowing anything. Of being totally lost, blind, and stumbling through life. How many more years?

“I woudn’t say this if it wasn’t true: you are making progress. I can see it. You just need to keep discovering yourself and moving forward.”

Values. What are my values? I don’t know. Blank slate once again. I am a nobody. The blank whiteboard waiting to have a purpose. The blank piece of paper waiting for a story, a picture, or spilled ink: waiting for anything.

I’m not cut out for self-discovery. I’m an idiot hiding under a mask of being smart. Maybe I shouldn’t know myself. Maybe I should stay blind to everything. The trivial defines me. Deep down? I don’t know. Why do I do the things I do? No clue. Ram through another wall and find another. The wall is well-constructed this time. Smash through this to find an iron gate. And another taller iron-gate. On and on from one problem to the next.

“Self-discovery is like an onion; it has many layers.”

Infinite layers. The radius never shrinks, the circle never gets smaller. One layer leads to another layer. There is no core. There is no bright and shiny center. So much goddamn effort to peel anything away. Years of grime and dirt that doesn’t make any sense. If it does makes sense you can’t do anything with the sense it does make. One more layer down and onto the next. More confusion than before. More paralysis than before. More dread then before. Why am I this way? I hate myself for being this way. Helplessness knowing I can’t be anything else. This is me, and I hate it.

“Bring yourself to the source — whatever that is — and bask in it. Recharge.”

“Think of the love you hold in other peoples’ lives. Think happy thoughts. Think how you’re part of the whole.”

“Decide where you want to be in the future. It’ll help give you something to work towards.”

“Break a large goal down into smaller goals. Take small steps towards the goals.”

“Decide what your values are.”

“Think, ‘Is this thought useful to have right now?'”

“Maybe set boundaries with yourself in your interactions.”

It’s Friday. March 27th, 2020. 5:09 p.m. Now what? Always: Now What?

Streak Day #29 (and some stuff about therapy)

Time? 11:34 a.m. My therapy appointment is today at 1 p.m. and I’m dreading it greatly. With work at 4 p.m. that will give me around two hours to kill in between. Not enough time to really do anything (especially since everything is closed) but too much time to easily pass. I think I started the post a few weeks ago like that when I was sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot typing. I’m tempted to do that again, but McDonald’s WiFi is shit. Typing in the car is shit. Might as well get #29 done while I can.

About three or four weeks ago I mentioned in one of my posts (to hell trying to find that one to link to it) that I was thinking of keeping track of my mood twice a day. It took a few days to start it up, but I’ve been doing just that over the past three weeks. It’s been really boring actually. The antidepressants, while not supposed to do anything for nearly a month, have had me feeling really calm and out of it nearly constantly. I don’t know if it’s them causing my mood, but I don’t know what else it would be. The past month my mood could perfectly be described as Blah. I just don’t care enough to be happy or depressed. I guess. That’s how it feels in my head at least. I wish I could explain how this works because I sure would’ve liked to know before getting on meds. Not a list of side-effects, but how people’s moods change on them. What it actually feels like I guess. Maybe that’s why I keep writing about this stuff.

That was good and all until yesterday when my mood totally cratered. My consistent list of 4 to 6s out of 10 turned into 2s and 3s. I know what caused it but don’t feel like elaborating here. It’s another crisis, and a crisis that I’ve had my guard down over for the past month or two. When you’re feeling okay you forget what it’s like to struggle and I guess I was thinking maybe I found the fix and I’d never be depressed ever again. It hit like a sledgehammer. I’m not ready for this and I don’t want it but here it is.

I don’t even know what I’ll tell the therapist today. I feel so goddamn helpless and worthless right now. Not just depression, but depression like I haven’t made any damn progress on anything. I want to go in there and tell her, “Remember the first time I came here? That’s where I am. It’s like the last three months haven’t existed. I feel the same. I haven’t learned anything. And the things I have learned I suck at putting into effect. I suck at growing as a person. I’m lazy. I’m a slacker. I’m worthless.” Like I’ve learned what I should be doing, but can’t bring myself to do those things. Coping techniques. Happy thoughts. Shit like that. Maybe that’s what I’ll make the theme today, I don’t know though.

My dad is now over bitching about Pelosi and her $45,000 gold pens for the impeachment hearings, supposedly. Jesus Christ I can’t deal with this right now. 11:49. Less than an hour left.

Like she told me a few ‘coping techniques’ I guess, like try to bring yourself to a safe/happy place which sounds great in theory but is really hard to practice. Or to visualize and plan for where I want to be in my future. I don’t want to choose anything to do because I have this feeling that no matter what I pick for my future I’ll be miserable. It’s only differing degrees of misery that I still don’t know which one will be less miserable. It’s hard to move forward on anything when each path ends in misery and doom. Or to think if a thought I’m having is useful to have at the time. No thought at 2 or 3 a.m. is ever useful but try making yourself not think that thought at the time. Try to shut off your dreams somehow so you don’t wake up in a shitty mood.

Maybe the festering but subtle coronavirus anxiety can get a mention too. I’m not panicking or anything, but I’m slightly on-edge all the time.

I don’t know what else to write but I also want to piss time away until I need to leave so I don’t have to think. I hate sitting around waiting for anything.

I think after therapy I’ll go sit in the park for an hour and zone out. Or something. Listen to music, write, brood, whatever. Maybe if things really go downhill I can write a cathartic post and have it ready to go for tomorrow. Then I won’t have to worry about that at least. I’m dreading this appointment so goddamn much, you have no idea. I want it to be 1 p.m. so I can get it over with. Part of me wants to simply not show up, but I think if you do that someone will get suspicions. Depressed person doesn’t show up for therapy and doesn’t call or anything? They’d be on me instantly. Probably not, but that’s what I’m going to think so I drag my ass there and talk about how fucked up I feel.

Well, I’m done. Fuck it.

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 #8 Sucks (and some stuff about tracking your mood)

I picked up my first supply of SSRI antidepressants yesterday and was surprised that the pharmacist actually talked to me about what I was picking up. I’m use to showing up and grabbing a bag of mild pain pills (like the 600 mg ibuprofens) or antibiotics and giving a firm “no” to the question of if I had any questions. No, no questions from me, thanks though. They’re antibiotics: take them until they’re all gone, diarrhea is a possible side effect, and whatever else. The same is true for those pointless 600 mg ibuprofens. Sure, I need a subscription to get them, but at the same time I could easily buy some of the 200 mg over-the-counter ibuprofens and take three instead of the recommended two. Oh what a dangerous rebel I am.

Yesterday I picked up some serious shit: meds that alter your brain chemistry and can fuck with all sorts of things. Apparently serotonin is in charge of numerous bodily and brain functions, so toying with its level can have some serious consequences. I don’t even recall all the possible side effects, they’re frightening though. Let me try. Sleeplessness, sleepiness, restlessness, nausea, dizziness, depression, possible suicidal thoughts (yikes!), among others. It doesn’t sound like a fun drug and I’m having a ton of anxiety about it.

Stupid thing that I’ve alluded to before: they take “at least a week” to have an effect. This is what I read somewhere on the internet at least and noted this to the pharmacist in an attempt to show him I wasn’t some ignorant fucker picking up pills. The pharmacist told me it would most likely take two weeks for me to notice anything, and four to six weeks for my body to really stabilize on the drug to where I would notice improvements. Even scarier is around the two week mark I should, might, possibly, go into a funk where “things might seem worse and you might think the drug isn’t working for you; this is normal so try to get through it.” What the fuck? You take an antidepressant and in two weeks your mood takes a total nose dive? Damn.

It feels like I have a ticking time bomb in my mind, and more so than usual. I’m always terrified about the next random crisis that will cause my mood to spiral downward, but this time I get a timeframe to expect it in! I don’t know how I feel about that — it’s nice to know I guess — but now I’m anxious about it. Maybe I’ll put it on my Google Calendar: “Crisis Starts? March 18, 2020”. The day after St. Patrick’s Day. Well, I’ve always hated that “holiday” anyways…

Let me digress for a bit. I’m a guy who loves his data, check this out:

I can also accurately see the price of fuel in the past, the number of miles each vehicle is driven in a month/year, and the total operating cost of each vehicle is. It’s useful as fuck.

I track our vehicles’ fuel mileage on a monthly basis. I also track a bunch of other random data that I think will be interesting/useful. Weekly bank/credit card balances, my weight, bike riding times/running times, and for some reason The Walking Dead viewers. Hell, I’ll post that below because it’s an interesting chart! Not that all of this data is inherently useful. It’s nice (and useful) to know our Dodge Caravan costs about 15 cents per mile to operate while our electric car costs a paltry 4 cents per mile, but besides the vehicle data it doesn’t really provide much insight. It’s still nice to have though.

The season 7 premiere is where we all found out who Negan killed. It was Glenn and this pissed nearly everyone off, Glenn being an all around good-guy with a loving wiafu and a baby on the way. As you can see the series really died after this.

That’s was quite the tangent, but it did have a purpose. A few years ago I thought it would be fun to attempt to quantify my mood. As multifaceted and complex as your mood is, I thought it would be interesting and perhaps insightful if I could plop a number to it twice a day. You know, a 1-10 scale of how I felt in general with 1 being borderline suicidal and 10 being like the happiest I had ever been.

One thing I learned from this not-very-good experiment was that actually writing your mood down twice a day and assigning it a number made me much more mindful of how I felt. After a week I think my mood even improved because I was aware of how I was feeling, and hence could change it. I guess I’m saying if you know your mood is a 2/10 you’re aware of it and not just feeling shitty in a passive manner. After a few weeks I was on a consistent streak of 7s and 8s.

On these drugs and struggling with the fact that my mood might crater in the next two week, I think I’ll start this process again so I can see how these things actually affect me. It’s such a pain in the ass trying to be objective about your mood over a few days, let alone months, and it seems a disservice to the doctor if I stroll on in there in a month and give vague answers about how the drug is affecting me. By keeping a spreadsheet with daily “mood values” I can look back as objectively as possible and give accurate answers. I also think I can objectively identify this impending two-week crisis and maybe stay mindful that it’s an expected thing and I shouldn’t let my mood drag my mood down. Or something like that.

Give it a shot if you want, I highly recommend tracking your mood and think even once daily would help you see your trends. Maybe you can pull yourself out of a funk if you notice it happening.

Who Am I?

“Well it’s a hard road to ride, when you sit right back and realize what you’re not.”

“Realize” by You Won’t

This is a continuation of this post. In that post, I mentioned I was going through a quiet phase, a phase of introspection trying to find myself, whatever that means. In the post I mentioned the word ‘nothing’ in the context of “This is me: nothing.” It sounds depressing and dismal in a way but the more I think about it the more I feel that it’s the most accurate way to describe myself and maybe even everyone else. Nothing.

I think we all have the urge to define ourselves by labels. I have this blog, so one of the labels I’ve defining myself with is ‘a blogger.’ Sometimes I write stories (or try to) and I’ll label myself as ‘a writer.’ Sometimes I draw/paint and call myself ‘an artist.’ The labels for myself are nearly endless: pilot, musician, guitarist, introvert, type 4 or 5, INTJ, quiet, reserved, thoughtful, emotional, creative, and so on. And others might do the same thing, deriving and adding meaning to their lives by calling themselves by their own unique labels. Another label I define myself with is ‘ignorant’ and ‘stuck in my own head’ so maybe others don’t do this and I’m wrong. I’ll always be the first to admit if I’m wrong. It’s a great way to learn things about life.

These labels aren’t really us though. I guess I’m saying while myself as a person is pretty introverted this actually isn’t who I am fundamentally. A shitty analogy: just because a flower is red does not mean the color red has anything to do with the flower itself; red is just a trait of the flower and not the flower itself. While a true descriptor, it doesn’t say anything definitive or fundamental about it; it’s not the state of being of the flower. I hope that somewhat made sense. Forgive the analogy if it falls short. Add a few other labels to the list perhaps: ‘not-very-good blogger’ or ‘bad at analogies’?

So last week while stuck inside my little bubble, silent, trying to figure out who the fuck I was as a person yielded a surprising lack of information. Once again the word ‘nothing’ comes up. That’s what seemed to be there for me as a person, fundamentally, and it was frustrating. I didn’t stumble upon another label — a more accurate or hidden label, some label that was truer than the rest, more ‘me’ than the rest — I came upon a lack of labels altogether. At the time it was depressing and I was rethinking the entire process; am I this bland of a person who has nothing to define who they are? Was there nothing deep down within my soul that was actually me? As a certain Liturgist podcast episode potently said, “Give me something to rely on.” Give me some aspect of myself that is there and that defines me. Something I can live up to and fall back in if I need to do so. Just give me something that is me.

It’s also interesting to note that in this podcast the thing saying “Give me something to rely on” is Fear.

But I think that might be it, the core ‘me-ness’ and maybe the core ‘you-ness’: nothing. The underlying truth. The realization of yourself, the blank entity that exists as is without any concrete labels to define it. Maybe I don’t have any actual desires, wants, or needs outside of survival. Love, companionship, food, water, shelter, and nicotine are all that I require as a human being. That’s who I am and that’s who you are, maybe minus the nicotine: a glorious nothing without labels that simply exists.

Now I realize that what I’ve written sounds eerily familiar to things I’ve been told/read/listened to many times in the past. I think I’ve hinted at it here on this blog many times. Like this is what everyone has been saying this entire time and I was just too dumb or ignorant to really ‘get it’. Alan Watts, in the first chapter of his book The Wisdom of Insecurity talks about placing water into a box and mailing it to people. It sounds silly, and he acknowledges this, but the chapter partly talks about how defining something might represent the object but isn’t the object itself — people sometimes forget this fact — pointedly stating it by saying, “If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed…To have running water you must let go of it and let it run.” And maybe you can’t package yourself into a ‘bucket’ as a list of words and have that be you. Aspects of you, sure, but not you. Maybe you have to let yourself go, let yourself flow, to really appreciate who you are.

And there’s plenty more. Here’s this text I received in a moment of crisis from a friend months ago:

“When I tell you I love you, I hope you know that it’s you I love. It’s not your exceptional writing. It’s not your witticisms of penchant for the quantitative. It’s Jeremy. With or without any or all of those things.”

And these few lines from The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas:

“Here are some lines that made me feel good, both in times of emotional turmoil and in meditation: I am nothing, I am empty, I am silent.

Or:

“Anything that really frightens you may contain a clue to enlightenment. It may indicate to you how deeply you are attached to structure, whether mental, physical, or social.”

And I’ll toss out the “You are Safe” podcast episode once more with its:

“Fear says, ‘Give me symbols, give me frozen images, give me something I can rely on. Loving Truth says, ‘Only give me this moment.’

Holy shit, it’s been there all along and I’ve been too stupid to figure it out. But let me not be too hard on myself; let’s go with I wasn’t at the right moment in my life to realize this before, but here I am. I’m scared, scared of not having something fundamental about myself to grasp and hold onto. I put up walls and define myself with words instead of being me, which is nothing. And it’s the Fear that causes me to do these things.

Once again, being ‘nothing’ sounds very negative as it’s a lack of something concrete. But I feel lighter now that I’ve realized it. I have no titles to live up to, nothing to uphold because there is nothing about me that requires upholding. I’m here and that’s about all there is to it.

As every realization I stumble blindly upon, I’m not sure what to do with the new information. There’s always the question of how to move forward. My working idea is that seeing as I am really nothing, I’m open to any and all possibilities. If I am nothing — like a blank canvas that doesn’t have any inherent colors — then I’m free to paint myself however I feel. It’s like a game, you can pretend to play whatever part you’d like to play, as long as you’re aware that you’re playing a game in the first place. I’m free to define myself as an author or a writer or whatever I damn well please as long as I realize I’m the one doing the defining. That it’s all a game. There is no universal me that is an author — just a blank canvas — no potential to live up to. No title to carry around. Maybe I’m an author because I choose to call myself one. I play guitar not because I’m inherently a guitarist, I just feel like calling myself one because I enjoy doing so. And that this power to choose comes from being a Nothing in the first place. By being Nothing you can become Something.

And I even subconsciously ripped that off from Lazy Man’s Guide (un)surprisngly:

“There isn’t anything “wrong” with using negative events to define your ego, as long as you do it consciously, because you want to. The only wrongness in any activity is being withdrawn from awareness of what you are doing. We can play these silly games with a lot more pleasure when we are aware of what we are really doing.”

Quiet Introspection is Awesome

This week I’ve been in a strange mood. The total emotional vomit of the weekend has been replaced by a hollow yet comforting feeling. It feels like I’m myself in my most fundamental way, not trying to search for anything or trying to discover anything, only existing. This is me: nothing.

I don’t recall the last time I’ve really closed up, introspected, kept busy, and was dead to the outside world. It’s strange too, because I’m a huge fan of closing myself away and existing. Maybe that’s part of myself I’d lost in the past few years? My tendency towards “growth” usually forces me outside of my comfort zone into socializing, being open, etc. and maybe this isn’t how I really am. Under the guise of “growth” and “challenging myself” I can ignore the fact that maybe I’m just trying to be something that I am fundamentally not. I’m a quiet, unsociable hermit, so why am I trying to be anything else?

Or maybe it’s just depression. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think my realization on Sunday might’ve spooked me or something. My tendency to rely on others, constantly seek social approval, and wanting to be ‘special’ or ‘part of the in-crowd’ might be another way for myself to play right into my own insecurities. To recap slightly: my mom wasn’t very loving so I think I carried that right into adulthood as insecurity, self-loathing, and a lack of self-esteem. My thinking goes like this; do I feel pressured to socialize to feel accepted? Just in a general way? Even if I don’t want to interact, do I force myself to (once again under the guise of “self-improvement” or “putting myself out there”) be someone disingenuous because of my insecurities?

I don’t know, but I’ve been embracing a “minimalistic” approach to myself lately. I feel naked as a person, totally exposed, to where I don’t even know who I really am as a person. Am I the person who makes silly jokes at work? Am I the person that is quiet and sulks? Am I a reclusive writer? And I bipolar who is very sociable/quiet depending on my mood? Who am I really? I don’t know and I’ve gotten to the point of exhaustion even caring about it. I am who I am. I show up to work and fucking sit in silence. I don’t ignore people — that would be forcing myself in another disingenuous needlessly hostile direction — I just don’t try to force anything. If I have a question, I’ll ask and if someone asks me a question, I’ll answer. No elaborate replies, not big complex stories, no obvious fake smiles or anything. Just me. Or the most basic and genuine me that I can find, whoever that even is.

We have plenty of downtime at my job. Yesterday we had a three hour break. Yes. I sat in our crew van — a normal 15-passenger Chevy Van — and listened to music. Most people were off socializing or sitting in their own tugs (tiny little tractors we use to pull shit around), and I was able to listen to four full albums. Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist, and Radiohead’s In Rainbows, OK Computer, and Moon Shaped Pool.

As a side note, I’ve really been embracing punk music in my current state. There is something so visceral, cold, and fun about punk music, especially the Dead Kennedys. Jello Biafra’s lyrics are always cynical, sarcastic, and political. What better way to give up introspection than to blast heavy, fast, loud, violent music with lyrics that don’t give a shit about anything emotional? They contrast wonderfully with all the introspective, emotional, and difficult to listen to music I’ve been playing lately. It’s a form of beautiful escapism and I’ll always have a place in my heart for the Dead Kennedys because of this.

Even after we start loading our airplane we have at least a half-hour of downtime. What do you do with all this time stuck in an airplane? Most people talk — people seem to not be able to escape the need to fucking talk to each other, even if the topics are about the boringest, blandest, most unfulfilling shit possible — and obviously I had zero patience or need for it this week. So I sat cross legged in the airplane and stared at whatever object I could find to stare at. Kinda like a loose form of meditation, just accepting that this is me and this is who I am for the next 30 minutes and there was no escape or even purpose to escape. This is Water, I thought.

People on my crew (in general?) can’t seem to stand still or to not talk. One girl walks to the rear of the plane and back, over and over, getting her “daily steps” in or some shit. She’s kinda a health nut so I understand. Another two people can’t seem to stand still — even if they’re not “getting their steps in” they’re still nervously pacing around the plane for some unknown reason. Another few people feel the need to socially interact every moment of their lives. Their conversations are always about the, once again, most boringest, blandest, most unfulfilling shit possible; usually the unholy trifecta which is work, weather, and sports. These people constantly roam around going from person to person or group to group trying to find someone, anyone to talk listen to them ramble. And a few people I consider friends stand and talk in a small group of two to four people about whatever topic they’re talking about at the time. No judgement to them because you can tell they’re having a fun, laid-back, mutual discussion about whatever they’re talking about. There isn’t any twisted social reasoning for their talking; they’re just talking like normal healthy human beings do.

And I sit there and stare not wanting to be apart of anything. I don’t have the urge to. It’s not me being anti-social or depressed, I just don’t want to talk. Or to force myself to talk. Or to force myself to be apart of something. I’m aware of my insecurities and don’t want to play into them or worry about them. So I’ll just sit, thank you, and exist as I am for a half hour. I make a point to not appear too sulky or depressive or happy or introspective. Keeping as blank of a stare as possible is part of the loose meditation. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, even with a facial expression.

Sometimes I am curious how this appears to others. “Jeremy this week seems a lot more quiet and reserved than he usually is,” maybe some think, but most likely no one notices or cares; this is how people are. That’s freeing in and of itself. I don’t feel any social stigma for sitting and being withdrawn. I’m doing my own thing and fuck anyone for thinking of it strange or weird, and if it makes me more unique by being totally accepting of myself and my actions, isn’t that what I’ve been after this whole time? The ability to embrace myself, without worry or care, and be appreciated as the naked and raw person that I am deep within?

I’m sure this phase won’t last long. Sunday was me realizing something about myself and wondering what the hell I even do with the realization. A half-week later I’m already embracing myself and reflecting on it all. And I’m sure in a week I’ll be back to socializing for some fucking unknown reason. Sometimes I hate everything being in flux; I kinda like to exist in my current mood for the rest of my life, but that won’t happen. Moods always change into other moods and if there is one thing that is true about life is there is nothing for you to hold onto. You can’t grasp happiness and hold it forever, and as comforting as depression sometimes is, you can’t grasp that either. Something about learning how to surf the waves, “go with the flow,” or some other trite bullshit you’ve heard countless times.

My Parents Suck: Part 2! of ?

This is part of a totally impromptu series about my fucking meltdown and self-discovery process. These are all very uplifting posts as you can imagine. If you want to read more, here’s one about my parents, here’s one about depression, and here are two about therapy!

This is also the fourth post in four days (Technically not because WordPress is on eastern time, so I think I’m like 15 minutes too late. Technically… NEVERMIND!) which is a new record for me. I’m not trying to do marathon posting here and find myself just going with the flow.

I hate to be the person that blames their parents for everything. To recap the last post about my parents: I had a normal family, normal childhood, normal everything, at least that’s how I thought of it at the time. My parents weren’t blatantly abusive, either emotional or physical, and everything seemed okay. While I acknowledge that everyone is formed by their parents, with mine being rather “typical” that I myself should be rather typical too. Maybe I did inherent or learn some negative traits along the way, but since they didn’t beat/molest/degrade me day after day I shouldn’t have much to worry about, especially when you consider other people who are raised in totally hellish homes, starving, being beaten daily, and whatever other punishments they end up dealing with as a child. Others are terribly scarred and I’m not. Right?

Well, apparently fucking not. I’ve grown into the realization that my parents, more specifically my mom, have totally fucked me up unknowingly. And even after you realize this, what do you even do about it?

Firstly, my problems. I’m a terribly needy and insecure person. I’ve written a bunch of posts on how terrified I am of writing and being seen as a bad writer to the point that I don’t write/post out of fear of rejection. I have to force myself to write, post, and to share with others which I’m thankfully making progress on three or four years later. I’m terrified to show myself or to open up out of fear of rejection. I overthink everything socially and the clearest example I can think of is my unusual text message anxiety. I will receive a text and will be paralyzed by anxiety for literal hours trying to figure out what I’m supposed to say as a reply. The perfect reply, nothing too needy, anxious, serious, or overemotional. Overthinking and overweighing every course of action from a simple text message. It always gets worse the longer I procrastinate too; after two or three hours I think it might be too late to even respond. I’ll look like an ass, I’ll look like I don’t care, I’ll look like I don’t appreciate the other person. It’s bad.

It’s even worse if I’m the one doing the messaging in the first place. “Should I even send this message? What if it’s too weird? What if I look too needy?” If I don’t get a reply within a few minutes my mind zooms off into anxiety orbit where I’m certain that I’m just bothering the recipient. It’s unconscious too; I logically know the other person might be busy, tired, or just not wanting to respond at the time. I do it myself. A friend will text me about a video game and if I’m not in the mood to talk about games I’ll ignore it. I don’t hate him of course, this is just how I am, but I cannot reverse this outlook and see people as not being totally evil and against me in every sort of way. Any reply not instantly received is a personal attack against me: a sure sign I’m hated by them and a complete bother to their otherwise idyllic day.

Just apply the text message anxiety to every other aspect of life and you should get the idea what it’s like to reside inside my head. Talking to people: anxiety. Having friends: anxiety. Facial expressions: anxiety. Everything is overthought and fraught with fear.

I’m also terribly needy. When I bond with a person I worry that I tend to smother them and use them as an emotional crutch. Usually this backfires to where they’re pushed away (which makes me need them even more) and even if they’re not I still overexamine, overweigh, and overworry about every interaction we have. There is a constant fear of not if but when they will abandon me, finally see me as the problem I am, and cast me away never to be bothered by me again. Even if they don’t, the fear and anxiety of it is ever present which undermines any true friendship. So I sit in my own little bubble alone for fear of not wanting to bother others, because obviously I am the problem. It’s all about me in some twisted and illogical way that even I know is crazy. But I can’t help it. It takes a conscious effort to get over these thoughts, and by that time I’m usually so mentally exhausted that I can’t socialize, which leads to more anxiety about people seeing me ‘in a mood’ which then pushes people away which makes me worry that I’m pushing them away by overanalyzing everything and being quiet.

In general my life is one of anxiety and self-hatred, which I’ve only recently realized. This constant feeling that I’m a problem, I’m a bother, and that I’m better off keeping to myself.

Why? I asked my sister if she’s this way, having some tiny and vague idea that if this parental-inflicted we’d share the same undermining traits. Sure enough, she’s the same way. She seems to function better than I do, but people are sometimes good at hiding. Her logic was this: “I don’t think we got the right kind of attention when we were younger. She’s (our mother) always been involved in her own life. I always kind of felt like we were just another problem for her to deal with.” Fuck. My mental gears started quickly turning, speeding towards some obvious conclusion.

The therapist seemed to be hunting around for some deep parental cause to some of my problems, hell, maybe even all of them. She asked if there was a time where I was really proud of something and showed my parents only to be met with lukewarm or no reaction at all. I couldn’t recall a specific time because it was so long ago, but I didn’t doubt it happened all the time. Maybe this tipped me off towards a search towards childhood and how I might have been crippled from my parents. But mom. Yes, mom. She wasn’t very loving. She didn’t let us feel secure. We felt like another list of problems to deal with. And if you grow up in a home feeling like a constant bother or problem is it any surprise you carry this into adulthood? It all made sense. I’m insecure, unconfident, and always need attention. I need someone to constantly be supporting me because I didn’t get this love and support from my mom. And is it any surprise I always want females to comfort me? Hmm? For some reason having close guy friends doesn’t cut it — it doesn’t feel right — I always want a female to support me. It’s like I’m constantly searching for motherly support, trying to obtain what I was lacking in my childhood.

Texting people, talking to people, being part of a group, the yearning to be included, I always feel like a problem. The odd man out. The one not really part of anything. The problem, the hassle, the person to be dealt with out of obligation of social niceness more than anything else. I’m never an asset, someone important to be included for their unique gifts, but always included out of self-pity. Someone who needs to tag along just because and not because anyone really wants me around. And it’s wrong, it’s all wrong, but it’s how I feel. Why? My goddamn mom. Really? While never beating me or really cutting me down was never loving or supportive and this damages you permanently just like any other form of neglect. As a child I was just another problem to be dealt with and here I am as an adult feeling the exact same way. I’m surprised I didn’t connect the dots earlier. And so is the struggle of knowing yourself.

I don’t think my father is guilt-free either, and in fact I think he might be the same as I am. I was in a mood yesterday when he came to visit; I didn’t say anything to him out of depression and an inability to interact; I just felt tired and withdrawn. Of course a few hours later he goes full-on Jeremy-Mode and asks me — over text, obviously — if I was mad at him or if he did something wrong to upset me and for me to just tell him and that he wouldn’t visit anymore. Being really pathetic and mopy about how I was acting and making it sound if it was totally because of him for some reason. It was pathetic but I’d do the same thing; assuming I was the real problem, the center of everyone’s negative moods and shitty lives, the cause for it all. And why is he that way? Did his own mother not love or support him enough as a child like my mother did? No, she didn’t: she passed away when he was 13…

I don’t want to blame my parents or to shift guilt away from me, to remove my own ability to act here, because it seems to diminish my own power. I don’t want a pity party or sympathy or anything — I don’t hate my parents — but I am frustrated that I am this way. Obviously there is no ‘redo’ button to fix things — I can’t go back into my childhood and change anything — it’s just something to deal with. I think it is freeing in a way to actually be aware of where your problems came from. It gives you a path forward I guess. It’s also nice knowing that maybe the way you are isn’t just the way you are but because of some external cause. I’m not fucked up by default, I’m fucked up for something outside myself.

So now what? How do you fix this? I don’t know. Changing who you are is a fundamental pain in the ass. Kids are super impressionable when they’re young and everyone toughens and hardens as they age to where it’s nearly impossible to change who you are. But as the therapist said, I’m not stuck as I am. People are fluid and you can learn to change and deal with who you are. The first step is always figuring out what the hell the problem is in the first place, so maybe that tiny little puzzle piece has finally found its place which is nice, but now what? Do I just practice forcing myself out of this point of view over and over again until the neurons in my head realign and make other connections? I think so. I don’t know any other way to change my outlook other than practice.