Tag Archives: Miserable

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?

Being Sick Sucks

What’s going on guys? As is standard here, I’ve been slacking again. It’s a typical process really: I write a ton of stuff on Sunday and Monday and usually panic-post something on Tuesday, and feeling achieved I slack off for the remainder of the week. Repeat this weekly. But as you can guess given the title, I have a reason for my slacking over the past week: I’m sick. And not just sick, miserably so. Being sick is something so universally terrible and being one of those “low-hanging fruit” posts it should be really easy to write. That hasn’t been the case. Why? I think because being sick is so universally terrible that it’s hard to complain about it without adding any new information that people don’t already know. Everyone knows being sick sucks, and so what?

I was trying to churn out a post like this about six or seven months ago when I was crippled for over a week with bronchitis. Bronchitis was awful. I was used to the common cold where you feel like trash for a day or two and then get along with your life relatively easily. Where you can still summon enough motivation to survive day to day life with minimal issues. Bronchitis was a whole other level of misery that I wasn’t aware of or prepared to deal with. I physically couldn’t do anything. I’d lay in bed for hours needing to use the bathroom or make a cup of coffee but not having the willpower to actually get up. This is how my current sickness has been. A total lack of energy.

When I was beginning to get sick I tried to remain positive. I told myself I would take it easy, watch some videos, read some books, and do some writing. To be productive without being physically productive I guess. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. Apparently this type of sickness brings along with it such complete and total exhaustion that I found I couldn’t do anything. The task of writing seemed too strenuous somehow. Watching movies and reading requires focus and was also too strenuous. Hell, even listening to music was too much to undertake for some reason. So over the past five days I have done literally nothing. This is why there hasn’t been a being sick sucks post until now: having the common cold isn’t that bad and is nothing to write about but anything serious wipes you out to a degree where you can’t write anything at all. And once you get better? It’s hard to channel those feelings as clearly as when you’re actually sick, miserable, and exhausted.

By far the worst part of being sick is the mindset that it brings with it. Something about being sick puts the fact that you’ll eventually get old, your body will fall apart, and you’ll die directly into conscious thought, although maybe that’s just me being dramatic. Being sick to me is like a temporary version of dying, where your body falls apart and stops doing what you need it to do but in a temporary way. Isn’t this what being old is like? You see older people constantly sitting, limping around, and generally looking like shit and they usually say it’s because their bodies feel like shit. I always seem to blame something vague on them like a “lack of willpower” for not tackling a staircase like a 20-year-old, but are they even physically able to do so? No. No more than I am able to go outside and run a mile because I’m so physically fucked right now. My body won’t allow it. Being this sick makes me feel old, and it being the inevitable future that awaits me (and everyone else) is depressing as fuck. What would I do if I felt like this all the time? It’s scary to think about. I understand why people want to kill themselves in old age. If you consistently feel terrible and your quality of life is degraded far enough life might end up not having anything enjoyable to offer you at all.

I’ve found I’ve always favored a “mind-over-matter” outlook in life. Like if you have total command over your brain you can overcome anything. This was especially prominent when I was an avid runner. Running is as much of a mental task as a physical task and it’s easy to think it’s all a mental task. Like if you will something enough, or put your mind into a unique enough state you can do anything. Like the Buddhist monks that protest by self-immolation without screaming or flailing, surely we all can learn to perfectly control our bodies given perfect mental control. It’s the belief that anyone can run a marathon without practicing if they just “focus enough” or some bullshit. (If I recall correctly there was a How I Met Your Mother episode where Barney decides to run a marathon saying something like “How hard can it be? You just keep running and don’t stop.” He actually wins too.) If you really want a new PR during a race, you just do it. Sure training is important, but the most important thing is mindset. And if an 80-year-old wanted to tackle a staircase like a 20-year-old, all they need to do is “focus” or some stupid shit like that.

But this isn’t true, and being sick makes it so obvious. Imagining being sick I would think something like, “Even if I do feel bad, I can still ‘be tough’ and make myself be productive.” Like if I just put enough mental power into thinking about feeling well that I could actually be well. Or that I could minimize the effect that being sick actually had on me. But when you’re physically sick and exhausted you just can’t bring yourself to do anything. I would sit on the couch for hours feeling miserable and while knowing I could get up and take some medicine, I didn’t. Sitting on the couch was where I was and taking the tiny bit of physical effort to get medicine, even if it would bring me near instant relief, was beyond me. This is how it was with everything. I didn’t write. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch movies. I just existed in the past five days feeling like shit and just hoping to feel normal as soon as possible. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough motivation or willpower; it was the fact that I had none at all.

I also like to imagine the opposite of being sick where you are physically okay but mentally not well, i.e. depression or other mental health troubles. Being sick your physical body won’t let your motivated mind do anything, while being mentally sick your mental state won’t let your physically healthy body work properly. The body needs to work harmoniously together and you’d be tempted to even think that the idea of mental health being separate from physical health is wrong; health is the interplay between the two and trying to separate one from the other is impossible to do. Obviously having a distinction between the two is helpful, but it’s also fun to think that it could just be a useful construct created by us humans.

I’m still sick and trying my damndest to tie all of this shit together into a good blog post. It isn’t working. I feel like I’m at about 50 or 60% maximum health here and I’m pretty sure it shows. I feel like I’m rambling. I feel like I’m stating the obvious. Do I want to delete it and start over? No, because that’s a lot of work. Even proofreading this was difficult as I discovered I repeated like two or three paragraphs without knowing it. But this is what being sick does to you I guess. I’ve always wanted to write a post about how much being sick sucks, and if it turns out to be awful, well, it’s because being sick sucks. Maybe the next post will be better. That one might be about being sick too, but more on how I brought it on myself through bad karma. Or something.

Amusement Parks Suck

Yesterday the family and I went to Six Flags Great America, an amusement park in Gurnee Illinois. I’ve been there a handful of times throughout my life, but I can say for a fact that yesterday I did not have a good time. Amusement parks might be one of those things that sours with age (or maybe it’s my perpetually shitty mood) where most adults suffer through a near hell for the pleasure of their kids/family because that’s what it was: a near-hellish environment of starvation, sunburn, dehydration, walking, price-gouging, and perpetual line-standing. Sure the rides — when you actually found yourself on one –were fun enough but everything else you had to deal with outweighed any small amount of fun you found yourself having. And, oh God, the people. You can’t forget the people…

Tickets? Membership? Season Passes? Flash Pass? What?

With amusement parks the bullshit begins well before you arrive: purchasing tickets. It’s not so much purchasing the tickets that is bad, it’s trying to navigate through the maze of pricing options to find what is actually the cheapest. Take a look at their website for yourself. This is obviously done on purpose to confuse you into “the best deal” where you inevitably pay more than you probably should. They have tickets at the gate ($79.99), tickets you buy in advance for a specific day (Advance Purchase Ticket: “as low as $59.99”) and tickets where you can go on any day you want (Any Day Ticket: a lone “Buy Now” button with no price listed). There are season passes (Standard and Gold), and memberships (Gold Plus, Platinum, Diamond, Diamond Elite), and parking tickets/passes, and there is even a fucking food pass where you supposedly get a free meal each day you’re at the park. I’m sure the food pass also has tiers for some reason.

It’s not so much the options but finding what option is best for you with the confusing and convoluted marketing terms tossed at you. (For example prices given in “per month” terms, or the banners stating “BEST DEAL!!”/”BEST VALUE!!”, “prices as low as…”, etc. I’ve even seen something that stated “As low as $7.99 per month” which alternatively stated means “the cheapest version is $100 and lasts for a season.”) If you’re going for a single day, the single day ticket is the best, but this is cheaper if you preorder online! The season passes are only slightly more pricey (on purpose) to entice you into buying one of those. Making this even more confusing is the fact that a season pass actually makes sense if you go to the park more than once. It’s simply exhausting trying to figure out the cheapest way to do what you want to do as you’re continually being tempted by other offers. And the cheapest offers are somehow well-hidden on the website.

Expensive Everything Actually

An expected trait for any amusement park/theme park/carnival/movie theater/anything is that everything is expensive as fuck. Like everything: food, drinks, merchandise tickets, and anything else they can find to charge you for. This begins with the park entrance/parking fees and continues through everything else. A fucking order of nachos is over $10. A 20oz bottle of water is $5. Some of the stupid carny games and go-karts actually cost extra besides the park entrance fee! A drink with free refills (seasonal or daily because I guess there are multiple tiers of fucking drinks. “Pay a little extra for a better deal!”) costs like $15-25. Souvenirs and all the other shit you can buy naturally apply here, but I can’t give any prices. I didn’t buy anything because I knew it would be ridiculously expensive. Oh yeah, Dippin’ Dots (ice cream of the future since 1988) are only $10!!!

Besides the ridiculous prices, note how the drinks are sold. Prices are given on a “per cup average” if you buy more than one. So, yeah, they are cheaper on average but you’re still paying nearly $60 for three drink cups.

This technique works — especially for food — because of the park’s policy of not allowing “any outside food or drinks” into the park. I’m sure if you asked someone about this they’d give a very PR answer referring to “safety reasons” but the cynic in me believes this policy exists to price-gouge you as much as possible regarding food. Instead of toting in a few 2-liters of soda and peanut butter and jelly sammiches you’re forced to buy a $20 chicken sandwich with a $15 Coke. The truth is after 8 hours of walking around you simply don’t care about saving $40 because you’re fucking starving and about to die of dehydration.

Lines, Queues, and Other Forms of Waiting

When I think back to previous trips to amusement parks I only remember the walking and the rides. At the end of the day my fucking legs killed me but other than that I remember the rides. This was some hindsight bias or some glitch in my memory because most of my actual time at the park, besides walking, was waiting in a fucking line. As a kid I never recalled that experience much. For research purposes I totaled up my time in lines: 155 minutes. This is almost three hours. Making this even worse was that I rode five roller coasters. Estimating that each ride lasted one minute you get a ratio of 1:30; for each 30 minutes I waited I got to enjoy one minute on a coaster. Fuck.

This isn’t even that bad either! Some rides had wait times around 70-80 minutes. We only rode rides that had estimated wait times of 45 minutes or less. If I can say one positive thing about the park it is that the estimated wait times were actually pretty accurate and if anything they erred on the side of caution. Usually an estimated wait time of 45 minutes ended up being only a 35 minute wait. I do appreciate that although I’m sure there is an ulterior motive to the park making money or keeping people happy or something. While they’re not doing this for our benefit it is nice seeing accurate wait times.

But wait! There is a way to not wait in line! The park sells “Flash Passes” that allow you to skip the line almost entirely, but you know this huge benefit isn’t without a cost. Once again I don’t know the exact number but I would guess a Flash Pass is around $100 per person two people (I checked). Whether you want to spend another $100 on top of the initial $100 to get into the park/park your car is up to you. At the very least its another great example of Six Flags stealing your money as efficiently as possible. Think about it: they’re charging people to not wait in line. It’s genius really.

Walking Forever

So I spent a total of three hours being on roller coasters and waiting in lines, but what was the rest of the time spent doing? We were there for about seven hours so there are still four unaccounted hours. What happened during those? Walking happened. Even if it wasn’t necessarily walking it was what I’d call “navigating the park.” Traveling to rides. Checking the map. Pissing. Finding a water fountain. Trying to navigate the crowds of people. Shit like that.

The park layout isn’t exactly intuitive either. There’s a handful of main paths that kinda meander around as the park isn’t meant to be a fucking efficient interstate highway for people. No, it’s meant to be laid out in a way that slows you down and gets you into shops, food stands, and whatever other places can steal your money. While a roller coaster may literally be close enough to hit one of its occupants with a rock you’d need to take a half mile path around the park to find the entrance to the ride. Considering the numbers above, I’d say about 45 minutes of walking is required, on average, to stand in line for 30 minutes, to ride a ride that is one minute long. That is brutal.

I’m not sure if the map makes the park appear more of a mess than what it is less. Either way the map is much cleaner than the park layout actually is. Also note how everything is numbered; this is a pain in the ass.

After about 6 hours there I started to get that old people feeling of needing to sit down on a fucking bench. At that point I didn’t give a shit about riding rides, eating food, or anything. My legs were dead and I just wanted to sit and “rest up for just a bit.” I almost didn’t want to make the near-mile trek to the car because it was so far away. But given that was my way to safety, freedom, and comfort I summoned the remainder of my energy to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Survivalism

This is my own fault, but I didn’t want to eat food or buy any drinks while I was at the park. They’re just too damn expensive and I didn’t want to piss away $50 on a soda and nachos especially after pissing away $400 for everyone just to get into the park. No, I’d rather starve and deal with being miserable than to be price gouged some more. I already mentioned how much walking you must do and how you must stand out in the sun and with all of that physical activity you start to get hungry, tired, and feel all-around shitty.

A big loophole in the “no outside food or drink” policy is that they don’t say a damn thing about “drink containers.” Me being not that much of a dumbass I brought in a water bottle that I could fill up: you either hydrate or diedrate bro. So while I was hydrated I was still starving and getting baked by the fucking sun.

I am blessed with DNA that gives me -25 points to sun damage but for everyone else there? Fuck. There were handfuls of people that were both pasty white and seemingly not fond of sunscreen: they were basically walking lobsters by the end of the day. I don’t know what they were thinking but I’m sure they’re regretting it today. Even me with my classic farmers tan going on still garnered some mild sunburn around my neck and I can only feel bad for those pale lobster people and their burgeoning skin cancer.

All of this isn’t too bad on it’s own but mixed together you have a whole pot of shit that makes you feel awful. You can’t (or won’t) eat because the food is too pricey, you drink water when you can find a fountain, and you’re standing/walking in glaring sunlight all day in the middle of the summer. Luckily the humidity wasn’t an issue yesterday but consider that as well: heat, humidity, sunshine, constant walking, starvation, and you have a situation that I’d imagine is similar to survival after an airplane crash. But really, people need to bring sunscreen to amusement parks.

People

And holy fuck let’s not forget the people! People individually seem to be pretty cool, friendly, and “good” but in large groups (like you find in an amusement park) are fucking animals. There are no rules for walking or managing right-of-way so you get groups of people/kids/whoever just darting out in front of you, almost running into you, or randomly stopping in the middle of a path. Kids were bratty and cranky especially as the day became late. People didn’t seem to be outright rude, but they were like you’d expect them to be: animalistic.

There’s also a special kind of anxiety you get when you’re standing in line surrounded by and with strangers. Queues have this characteristic zigzagging motion to pack as many people into the smallest area as possible while remaining in a line. When you move forwards you get to see the people behind you and in front of you and it’s hard not to make awkward eye contact with them every time the line moves. Making this even worse is that fact that you see the same people over and over as you zig and zag towards the ride itself. I have a mild form of social anxiety where I’m scared of people but not dysfunctional and I found myself getting rather jittery over the whole ordeal. Sunglasses work great as you know that people can’t see you and you can act like you don’t see them either.

In case you needed a picture for how this shit works.

In Closing…

I suppose it isn’t that I didn’t have fun it’s that the amount of fun I had didn’t justify the massive cost to get into the park, the hassle of driving to the park, the amount of walking/line waiting required to obtain the fun, and the masses of people you must deal with. It’s like a 1% fun to 99% pain-in-the-ass/boring ratio which isn’t great. I think my age might have something to do with my lack of fun as well. As a kid/teenager you’re excited and eager to ride some scary-looking coasters while now I just know they’re not scary or dangerous; part of the fun is overcoming the danger and fear you have (real or perceived). Since this fear is mostly absent, they’re not something I feel the need to “conquer” or whatever and it’s hard to justify the line-waiting with that mindset.

Riding roller coasters is one of those things that would be really amazing to do if you didn’t have to deal with people. Given the opportunity to endlessly ride whatever coasters I want without the lines of people and the near hours waiting I’m sure I’d have a fun time. But then you’d probably have too much fun and the coasters would be boring! As much as I hate people and waiting in line I think this is part of the “amusement park” experience and I can’t help but think that a large portion of the people at Six Flags actually enjoy all the shit that I hated about the place. The same is true with county fairs and parades and people who like the 4th of July. Are there some people that like the large crowds, the expensive food (just splurge a bit and have fun!), and the hassle of it all? If there are, I certainly am not one of them and the thought of going to an amusement park anytime soon gives me an immense sense of dread. I’ll stay at home thank you. Amusement parks suck.