Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Missing Word

I spent 10 hours, today, giving a civil service test. 150 people took the test. People of both genders and of all flavors. Ages ranged from 19 (I know because his mother is a coworker) to somewhere near or in their 60s (I saw at least two driver licenses with birth dates in the 1950s, but I can't remember the actual year). Most of the day was spent slowly walking around the room watching people fill in little bubble, waiting for a hand to be raised so I could replace a pencil or scratch paper.

When I was young(er?) I used to watch the proctors of exams and think that it was a very grown-up job to do. They were in charge of this thing that seemed so important to me. The thing was proof of education. Proof of learning. An ethereal thing made tangible. Made measurable. (Which seemed very important to me, once upon a time.)

Today was a reminder of just how not grown-up the world is.

I walked around the room for many hours. I stumbled a few times. I stopped to whisper banalities with the other proctors. I sang songs, under my breath, to myself.

I don't know why, but I keep expecting there to be a moment where I'm suddenly a grown-up.

Even after talking to my parents, brothers, other people I know who I'm sort of close to and think they like spending time with me, and learning that none of them have ever really felt GROWN-UP. These are people with children and grandchildren. It seems like raising a family should be one of the most grown-up things people can do. It's too bad any couple of assholes with a half six-pack and a broken condom can fall into this.

The grown-up moment doesn't exist. I know this. I know that everyone is just faking it and anyone who says they feel like they're a grown-up are either a liar or insane. I know this, but I keep waiting for it to happen. I keep looking at moments of my life and wonder if that was it. Then I wonder if I missed it, that moment. That it somehow just didn't sink in for me.

Do other people even worry about this? If they do, how do they push it into the back of their minds so they're not sitting up late at night with tears behind their eyes with worry? What do they do to get it out?

Part of all of the AAAARGH! in my brain is me thinking about my last visit with the brain doctor. The last time he really pushed on me that I need to meet people. People who I want to spend time with. People with like interests. People who want to spend time with me (who aren't family). And I just can't do it. I can't.

He asks about co-workers near my age and I say it's a no go. Why? Because I don't know anything about what they are interested in except their children. And that's the way it should be. Their children should be their number one interest. That's good parenting. What else do they like? I don't know because I don't know how to talk to most human beings when there isn't lifescript involved.

What do I mean by lifescript? It that thing everyone can do with everyone when it comes to talking about work because no one cares, but everyone has crap to say. It's rattling off all the crap that needs to be said when I talk to people on the phone. It's the way kids instinctively know how to dodge their parents' questions about school. It's the rote conversations everyone has each day with other people where they put little thought if any into the responses, but always require some basic topic that's so internal to people that the thought really isn't necessary.

The last time I saw the brain doctor he kept telling me that I need to go somewhere and do something with people and somehow, due to like interests, we'll become and everything will be great. You know, because putting a person whose throat freezes around new people in a social situation is the perfect idea. The worst thing was that he made me feel like I was wrong. Like I was lying. Like this part of me that's been a part of me for as long as I can remember is something that I use as an excuse for I don't even know what.

When I first walked into his office and sat down he spent a long time and a lot of words telling me that the depression in my head is real. After I took the brain test he wanted me to take he spent a lot of time and words telling me that my depression is more than normal depression, but it's chemical. It's real, he kept telling me. This thing I have about people, my inability and lack of desire to make he just doesn't understand.

Two or three sessions ago, I spent a long time trying to make him understand that the desire to go make just isn't inside of me anymore. It was there when I was little. I wanted to be with everyone so much and I tried so hard, but they never seemed interested and trying hard was especially hard because I couldn't vocalize things well to the other kids. I wanted to be with adults, but I was a goofy little kid and goofy little kids aren't with adults. Eventually, I reached a point where I just didn't want to be disliked by my peers and that can be done by just staying out of the way and flying under the radar. I thought I made him understand. Apparently I didn't.

The worst, this last time, was when he told me that I have to make more of an effort with the people I already know. That I have to take the time to go to them and figure out things that we can do and I'm tired of doing that. I've been doing that for years. At least it feels that way. And like earlier, a lot of it has to do with people focusing on families and that's the way it should be. Still, I'm tired of it, trying to set up stuff with people who are.

I see the brain doctor in about 10 days.

I don't know much about what it means to be a human being, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not actually a person.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bed Song

A favorite waltz of mine:

Although I think the song should be a duet.

Friday, January 02, 2015

My Father's Mother

On 12/25/14, my grandmother died. My mother got the call as we were pulling up to my uncle's house for Christmas dinner.

I've been thinking for a week about how to say something about her and her place in the world, like I did for my grandpa earlier this year, but it's much harder to do this for her. With my grandpa, I could, and can (and somtimes do) talk about his idosincratic behavior and his contracictory nature for ever. Everything with him was right on the surface and very little was held back.

She was different. She was kind and cared for everyone, maybe even everything. (Not snails, so much, because they ate her plants.) That kindness the simple way she showed it was who she was.

Which isn't to say she was a simple woman. How could she be simple? She was my grandma.

She was born in the USA, the daughter of immigrants.

She and her best friend couldn't eat lunch at Woolworths because the lunch counter there wouldn't serve colored people. They had to walk downtown to the Jewish deli and did that every day.

She never learned how to swim. She had a bathing suit and would come into the water with us, but she'd never go in past her hips. She enjoyed just wading, she said. As a kid it always concerned me that she never learned and, when I asked, she said she wasn't going to learn. Now that I'm older I wonder if she was scared.

She loved playing games. Cards and board, mostly. She introduced the family to Spite and Malice and when she got going she'd let out a wheeee and when things weren't going so well she'd put hexes on the other players and circle her chair for luck.

She'd take my brothers and me to the mall and we'd all just browse. There was nothing we needed, but it was always fun just looking.

Everyone she met she treated as an old friend. She called everyone darlin' and meant it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Brain

It's not at its best, my brain. It's been fuzzy. Tired.

The brain doctor didn't increase the dosage when I saw him a couple of weeks ago. He said what I'm at is the max. I decided, and he concurred, to continue on the way I am, for a while. The only other choice would have been a new drug and after six month (I think it was that long) of trying to find something that didn't hurt me while it helped me I need a break to just settle down.

Not to say that I'm doing well, though. I'm just existing. If I didn't have a job to go to five days a week, I wouldn't leave the house. At least I'd leave as rarely as possible.

At work, I've had a couple of major screw-ups that could lead to some future problems, although I doubt it. I've also made lots of minor ones. Most I've caught before the next step and no one knows about them. Some went on but came back to me to correct. Rarely have they gone past that state, but if they keep going, they're gone.

I'd like to quit my job. Not because I dislike it, but more because I'm "meh" about it. The great manager has moved on, for at least a year, but I expect she'll fit in the position permanently. The current acting manager is a good guy, but we only have him for a couple more months and then who knows. The biggest problem is I can't see this job leading anywhere that I'd like to end up. Even as I look out across the virtual 160,000 square miles of the state for a different job I see nothing that I want to do. I don't want to arrange contracts or spend my day in meetings or arranging travel plans or track expenditures or write reports or work with the public. That's all that I see available to me.

When I look out at other places, away from the public sector, I get lost in not knowing what I can do. There are a lot of things that I can't do or haven't learned to do and most of the time when I see a job that I might like I think I can't do it. When I see things that I can do and would like to do, I have no experience and would have to start at the bottom.

One of the best things about working for the state is knowing that every 12 months I'll get a step raise until I hit the top of the pay scale as long as I have performed my duties well. I don't beg to get that little bit more. I don't have to dance around convincing some asshole that what I do is valuable and that I do it well like people do in the private world. That kind of thing is especially hard because I don't believe it myself. Never have.

Sometimes I think I'd know what I'd like to do for a living. It would require a lot of work, though. A lot of time and learning to do things that I can actually do. Worst of all it doesn't really pay enough for a person to live. And then there's all the rest "social" "media" bullshit that you have to do just to stay "connected" with "people."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got."

The meds that I've been on for about six weeks now have helped and don't seem to have hurt. (Except for maybe the break-outs on my forehead, but that could be something else.)

I feel nowhere near as well as I felt last year at this time, but I'm not scouring the internets looking for people thinking like I was thinking and reading what they've written. I'm not finding websites that give me information I would need to better make sure that I would end up dead. (Because, honestly, the scariest thing to think of when thinking the horrible thoughts is what if I fail and wake up tomorrow.)

Obviously, I'm still thinking things, though. However, it's much easier to turn on a smile and laugh at the appropriate and expected moments and make sure that people at work and people in my family don't even suspect what's in my mind.

So, I am feeling better.

I don't know what the maximum dose of the medication is, but I bet that if I can take one step more the brain doctor will put me at that level when I see him on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Children Without a Parent

About three weeks ago my brother caught up with this here blog. He worried and fretted and then showed what I had written to his wife. His wife, the kind and sweet woman she is, told him to drive down and see me. Which he did.

However, he didn't tell me. I just got cryptic messages about breakfast and seeing him and I don't really know what. Of course I had a feeling that he was driving down from Oregon, but I hoped, so hoped, that he wasn't on his way. My brother, being my brother, didn't respond to me about, well, anything. His wife, unlike how she usually is, kept cryptic on me and experienced a partial me not being so nice. (This is where I try to tactfully tell the person who they are or what they're doing in child friendly language, but all the subtext comes out as me yelling at them to stop being a fucking asshole and tell me what I want to know, in a very passive-aggressive way. I did, sort of, apologize for acting this way.)

Eventually, I got confirmation from my brother that he was in California and he wanted to take me out to dinner. Nothing about why he had driven nearly 700 miles, but I could guess. I knew what I had been writing and how it would look to someone who hadn't been following daily, but rather read everything in one chunk. Of course, I spent the whole day feeling sick to my stomach because I had made my brother leave his family out of concern for me, which is something I never wanted to happen.

It also made me rethink this whole blogging thing. In part, especially over the last year, this has been a record of just how sick my brain has been. Reading it, you can see the few highs and horrible lows. And I think that's a good thing. Maybe not for me or my family, but there's this sickening cycle of thought on the web that may help other to understand what it's like to be a severely depressed person. A person on meds that worked and then stopped working and the mental and physical pain that's one can go through trying to get back to okay.

That evening we met and we talked. I felt like I was driving the conversation more than him. There are two reasons for this: 1. I'm very good and sneaking conversations onto other topics that are comfortable for everyone. 2. I kept pushing back toward the blog and depression because I wanted to reassure my brother that nothing was going to happen, for the foreseeable future.

It was a weird dinner and a weird after dinner, too.

He left for Oregon so his wife could get back to work. I went back to the house and thought about deleting everything I'd written on the internets, or at least this blog.

Also, while he was in California, he stopped and talked with each of our parents. Our dad, for the first time ever, had a flash of understanding about the sheer insanity this depression thing is made of. I'm not sure what he and our mom spoke about, but she reminded me that I can talk to her and my dad about anything. ("Hi. What'd you do today?" "I stared at the brick corner of the building for a few minutes trying to figure out how fast I'd need to swing my head so I can smash the bricks through my skull and deep into my brain while picturing that exact scenario in my head." "Uhhh...")

A couple of nights later, my dad wrote me a pretty long e-mail, at like two in the morning, which I feel guilty about. In it was all sorts of advice on how to counteract bad things with good. (He's a fixer.) He reminded me that he has felt depressed in his life so he does know what it's like and not to dismiss his advice. I wrote him an equally long e-mail and very carefully laid out what my depression is like; what depression is like when you can find no person, no action, no thing, no emotion to blame it on; how this depression is just being mentally exhausted all the time and knowing, simply knowing, that there is only one way to stop being exhausted and that one way is socially unforgivable. I think he understands what I've been going through better. The other night he was willing to engage me with questions about depression and that's a big step for us.

As for the blog, I don't know. I didn't like the idea of deleting it. It charts the course of my life very well, especially the last year when I decided no one was reading so what the hell. I'm surprised I'm writing this. I still feel very uncomfortable and I'm censoring myself more than I was because it was my fault my nieces didn't have their dad for three days. And that's just one problem that I know I caused.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Schrecklichen Schönheit

On TV, death can be funny and it can beautiful even when it's horrific, but it's rarely sad.

In life, death is never beautiful. It is always sad and often horrific, but it is never beautiful and only "funny" in the Darwin Awards.

Yet in my head I see stark, contrasting colors and unique environments.

Day Off

I took a mental health day today. Well, mental and physical health. The new pills are still doing a number on my stomach, so much so that I hurled this morning.

On the brain side, well, I'm ready to take a trip to Utah.

I see the brain doctor tomorrow afternoon. We're going to have to try something new. I don't want the sweating and the headaches and nausea anymore. How can someone feel mentally good if they feel physically disgusting all the time. It's hard enough being morbidly obese and trying to be accepting of oneself.

Anyway, the time away from work didn't really help me, but I made sure that it didn't hurt other people, either. Tomorrow my concentration will be just as poor as it is today and my stomach will be just as achy, but I'll go to work and then, eventually, drive an hour to see the brain doctor. And I'll hear him tell me, again, to just hold on. Of course I'll hold on. There's a lot of stuff to do before I'll be ready to go to Utah.