Friday, August 15, 2014

This Day

Got to the house yesterday a little before 4:30PM. Sat on the bed while I was changing clothes. Next thing I know it's after nine. I opened up the house, turned on the fan, took my meds, and then went back to bed. Other than a brief trip to the bathroom sometime after midnight I didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 6:30. Since I've spent the whole week at work forcing myself to not hide under my desk all day I've decided to not go to work today and fall asleep in front of the TV.

I did call the brain doctor yesterday. Unfortunately I think he's on vacation this week. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Post Title

I am not feeling right.
I haven't been feeling right for nearly two weeks.
I missed a day with my brother and his family because of this.
I think I should set up an appointment with the brain doctor, but I'm afraid that he will change my medication which will force me to see him once a week and will also make me miss visiting my brother and his family near the end of September.
The trip is an hour or more, depending on traffic, each way and is about 100 miles there and back again.
Add to that an hour, about, of me trying to find new ways to say the same things I've been saying for the past eight months.
I wish there were a brain doctor with 20 miles who took my insurance.

I've been screwing up at work.
Not big things, but minor ones that may one day add up.
Mostly I transpose numbers and write things like 286 rather than 268.
Once, that I know of, I forgot to change/correct a phone number and left it alone when I realized my mistake.
Piles are growing on my desk.
They are sort of organized piles, but they look awful.

I think I scare my dad.
He seems more off-put by me than he used to be.
While he was here, my brother spent time explaining what depression is like to my dad.
My dad has a very hard time understanding what something is like unless he's experienced it and he hasn't experienced anything like this.

My mom says she's had bouts of depression, but she had kids, a family, and couldn't give in.
The thing is when she was my age, I was 16.
My brothers weren't much younger.
I don't know, but I don't think that she had extended periods lasting weeks, months, years.

Recently, I've read a lot about how depression needs to be talked about more.
So people understand it better.
That way it won't have as much of a stigma.
I'm not sure, though.

The whole Robin Williams thing has brought depression/suicidal ideation more to the public discussion, but how long will that last?
Especially when people keep on believing that someone like Mr. Williams had nothing to be depressed about, let alone kill himself.
Thinking like that makes it very hard to discuss either.

By that thinking, I have nothing to be depressed about.
I'm the privileged, white male 25- to 39-years old.
I grew up in a safe place and live in a safe place.
I have two parents who, although there were some severe bumps, have stayed fairly happily married.
I work in a job that I don't hate for a boss that I like and respect.
I make enough money that I'm not living pay check to pay check and can spend a little extra on a trip or useless pop-culture things without having to worry.
I'm content being by myself because I rarely feel lonely.
I have a car that runs and more than enough to eat.
Yet I know how Mr. Williams felt and understand why.

I read a post by some British guy that pointed out how sill it is to ask what Mr. Williams had to be depressed about.
If he were hit by a car would you ask what he did to get hit by a car?
If he died of cancer would you ask what he ate to get cancer?
Probably not.

Even worse has been reading about how Mr. Williams was selfish or a coward or an attention seeker.
We don't really think in those terms.
Selfish implies that something is taken from the people remaining so that the person leaving can gain.
There is unlikely anything to be gained; most of the people who claim to know what happens next believe the Mr. Williams will be punished while those who don't believe expect there to be nothing.
The attention seeker thing comes from people who are always surprised that a person could do this.
These people who are surprised by suicide will be shocked no matter how the act is done -- even when done quietly and privately like Mr. Williams -- because they cannot, or refuse, to believe that a person can give up on the ultimate gift.
As for the coward, that's much harder.
If you believe, as I do, that bravery is doing what you are scared to do, then maybe they are cowards.
The problem is that we can't know what is/was in a person's head.
We can't.
Can any of us say that to live with chronic pain is brave?
Maybe it's not fair to compare depression with chronic pain.
I don't have chronic pain, but major (clinical) depression doesn't go away.
If you're lucky, sometimes it's less worse, but it's never great and there are no cortisone or steroid shots for depression.

What you choose to do about depression is a choice.
Mr. Williams choose to get help, go to rehab, talk with his family, and then choose to never talk again.
Some people choose to focus on waking up tomorrow and then waking up the next tomorrow and the next.
I choose to believe that there are a few people I would hurt and choose not to hurt them.
I choose to get up and go to work even though I wake up every morning and I don't want to go to work or even climb out of bed.
I choose to hold to the few commitments I have in the future.

After that

Friday, August 01, 2014

Just Within Reason

"Oh, if life were made of moments,
Even now and then a bad one--!
But if life were only moments,
Then you'd never know you had one."
On Tuesday I woke up thinking that it was Wednesday and when I looked at the date and saw it was really Tuesday a string of obscenities came out of my mouth.

Wednesday I woke up just wanting to get out. Get out of here, my insides screamed. It didn't matter where I went just as long as I went and never came back. The feeling has lingered all week long.

It's more than just a feeling in my head; it's a physical feeling. My whole body feels tense, like I'm prepared to run as fast as I can for as long as I can (not very long) to get away from something. I don't know what I want to run from, though. There's nothing there. Nothing's changed.

Still, I feel like I should stand up, walk out of here without saying a word to anyone, head to my car, and just drive.

Drive where?

South. Down the desolate valley and over the mountains. Along the coast through cities too crowded for me to stop. All the way to where the sun is, more or less, always overhead.

North. Up the desolate valley and over the mountains and then through another desolate valley feeling the temperature drop as the latitude gets larger and larger, but also smaller and smaller. Where there's a nip in the air all year round.

East. Over the mountains and across the desert. Through the salty flats. Over more mountains and into the plains -- the alley -- to watch how nature whirls.

West. Quickly across valley and onto the coast. Aboard a plane high above the ocean. To an island and then onto a ship or boat to an even smaller island.

Anywhere I can disappear.

The problem is that, in my head, I can't see anything after I disappear. As if me wandering off will just shut me down and there will be a completely new -- completely separate -- being inhabiting my body and I, if I exist at all, am not aware of anything.

That's not how it works, though. I would get somewhere and still have to think and reason so that I could decide and each decision will inevitably lead to another and then another without stopping. How is that better than right now?

Still, I can picture myself: sitting on a beach, skin redder than a beet; on a street corner dazzled by the age of the buildings; standing half in the shadow of a mountain, half freezing; dazzled at the abundance of life.
"But how can you know what you want
Till you get what you want
And you see if you like it?
All I know is-
What I want most of all-
Is to know what I want."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When I Grow Up

I went to the brain doctor on Monday without any good news and the bad news was old news.

After a year of seeing him I've finally made him understand that more people in my life isn't the way to increase my happiness for the long term. In short visits I can, and often do, feel better spending time with people I know well and like and trust. Once those visits hit a certain point, I start getting uncomfortable and feeling icky. Long term is never good.

The thing is, he said, that for people with my level of depression having them go out with people and visiting friends and family all the time would be his first suggestion. For most people it works and he's pretty much been pushing this idea on me for a year. Monday, he didn't.

Instead of focusing on a social life he switched gears to my work life. It started with how I feel about my current job, which is okay. I don't LOVE or really like my job, but I don't dislike or HATE it, either. It just is. The people are nice enough and seem to be here more to work than make others look like fools. My boss is great and trusts me. The actual work is mostly mind-numbing and repetitive, but sometimes there're things that require real brain power. The pay's okay. It's not going to buy me the house and land I'd like, but I can rent comfortably and not worry about shopping or going to plays or visiting people to the North or to the South. It's not a bad job, but if offered full pay I'd rather not come each day.

He then asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up and the honest answer I gave him is I don't know. Everything I've said in the past -- engineer, lawyer, writer, WWE Superstar, astronaut-fireman-president, etc. -- aren't wrong answers, but they were answers to get people to stop asking me about the future. I told him that there isn't one job I can think of that I wouldn't be happy to retire from or forced to stop doing because of some horrible physical problem. I look at my parents as they approach retirement and I can see them missing things.

My dad loves working with the students at the community college. He loves helping them put together an education plan to help guide them through their years at the school. I think he'll be glad to leave the daily grind of his job when he retires, but I think he'll miss the students. I've told him that he's going to go back and help out a few times a year and it won't be about the money, but the time he gets to spend helping people.

My mom, on the other hand, won't miss her job at all. She won't miss the kids or the teachers or the administration. When she retires she plans on doing her art and selling it and her art is the thing she will miss if she can't do it. Hell, I've seen it for years. Because of the high stress levels at school she doesn't art off and it makes her sad. On those few weekends when she does art off she's rejuvenated, at least in the moment. When she gets to the point that she can art off most of the week and then she gets to a point where she can't art off anymore she'll be crushed.

I don't have anything like that. Yeah, if I have my eyes pecked out by a canary I'll miss reading, but there are still books and tapes (anachronistic) and television to listen to for stories.

What do I like doing besides read? he asked. I like to cook and bake, I said. So the brain doctor tried to come up with something I could do in that area, as if I hadn't thought about it before. I'd go nuts working a line, just flipping burgers or putting on the condiments or taking orders. So many people to deal with. At my own place it would be even harder because I'd have to depend on and trust other people. There's no way I could do everything. If I wanted to be in the back and never come out then I'd need people to wait and take orders and handle the cash and do the books and I don't have it in me to trust **anyone** that much. The only way I could see me being happy is if I had a window and I could make whatever I wanted to make and sell it and when the food is gone it's gone, too bad for the next person.

He suggested getting into publishing. To which I replied that I'd have to move to a big city, a place I don't want to be, and start at the bottom and push to make quotas and harass people who are running late. Then he tried to suggest doing something with publishing online and I explained that most online publishing are vanity presses and not real publishers.

He then asked what I'd really like to do. I said I'd like to be paid to lay on a couch all day reading. I'd like to be an eccentric billionaire, I said. He asked if that would make me happy and I said that I don't know, but I'd feel safe. We bounced around on this for a while, discussing things that I like to do and how to feel safe in my life. Nothing was resolved. And in the end he told me to keep thinking about what I like to do so that I can find a job that will make me happy. I said okay, but I don't believe anything'll happen.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Storm

I love thunderstorms in California during the summer. The temperature always drops because the air is so dry and the smell of petrichor is strong in the air for a long time.

Friday, July 18, 2014


If I were to die tonight I'd die with
no regrets. There's plenty that's not yet done
and I know that I will not do a fifth
of what's half planned. For what is not begun
can only be missed through dreams in the day.
The meaning of dreams comes from the meaning
we give. What we think is told, dreams don't say.
All dreams do is a little brain cleaning.
Each day I re-decide that what I did
or did not do was what I required.
Why regret the outcome? Heaven forbid
I work through what may be undesired.
Still, while I'm young I keep regretting it
and must wait for age to be forgetting it.