NaBloPoMo – Day 6 in an entire month of… I just can’t

You can run but you can’t hide.

It caught up with me — depression is just nipping at my heels and I’m getting tired of running.

What’s it like in here?

I’m lonely — when I don’t need to be lonely. I could reach out to people, but I worry — no, I know that I am a huge bother, and that my depression is a huge drag. Who would want to be around me?

The truth is, I don’t want to hang out and cry in my beer or anything — I want to be distracted. I want to have fun. I want to laugh.

But I feel SO far away from that right now that I cannot even fathom being around other people.

Depression is being surrounded by choices and diversions, but not being able to choose anything. I’ve got piles of books, Netflix galore, stories begging to be written — but I start one thing and lose interest within 10 minutes.

Depression is having a racing mind one moment and being unable to think clearly the next. Depression is having passing thoughts of killing yourself — no different than “Maybe I’ll go see a movie”.

Depression is being on the verge of tears all the time, and being painfully aware of it — another reason to not want to be around people.

Depression is seeing yourself in every bad or negative thing people say — I read a post today about 10 things I hate that bloggers do and I knew that the writer wasn’t referring to me at all, and yet I was guilty of every thing.

Depression is feeling OUTSIDE, different, WRONG, like you’ll never belong.

Depression is realizing how little you’ve really accomplished — and furthermore, how little you have any desire to conform to the standard conventional behaviour of the rest of the world.

Depression is — and I don’t know how I can make you understand this — not knowing how to be happy. I’ve been happy — I know I have. But I can’t remember exactly what it was like, or how to re-create that. Sounds crazy, right? But the truth is — I see others smiling and having fun and I don’t even know how to do that right now.

Depression is not moping or feeling sorry for myself. Depression is fearing that I’m not strong enough to keep living for another 30-40 years. Depression is fearing that those years will be much like this, and if that’s the case, then why bother?

Depression is crawling into bed at 8pm and not wanting to get up when the alarm goes off at 7:15am

Depression is impatient, depression is unkind. Depression is envious of other’s happiness and success. Depression is proud, and takes pleasure in dishonouring others. It is self-seeking and easily angered. Depression keeps record of wrongs, and will pull them out to use in spite. Depression delights in the misfortunes of others. Depression cowers in fear, is mistrustful, is hopeless. Depression tells you that you will always fail.

Depression turns me into a critical, impatient asshole. I get easily annoyed by things that I know don’t matter — it could be something as little as the release of yet another Fast and Furious film ( you know, the syphilis that rots Western culture) or my daughter saying “daddy” a dozen times in a row.

Depression can sometimes get me thinking critically — and I’ll be honest, some of the scariest times of my life were not times when I was emotionally out of control. Sometimes, I’ll look at my life, and realize all the mistakes I have made — the things that I have done, the people I’ve hurt — and I’ll make a very convincing argument for me killing myself.

“Oh, but killing yourself is so selfish! Think of the people that love you!”

Don’t you think I’ve factored that in?

“But your children need their father!”

My children need a good father. My children need a good example of how to be a strong, healthy person. My children don’t need a person who constantly makes bad decisions — both financially and personally — who causes chaos in their lives.

But I’m not suicidal right now — don’t worry.

I’m just saying, the idea that suicide is selfish is the biggest fucking slap in the face to anyone who has struggled with it. If anything, me still being here is selfish. I have a five year old whose smile and laugh are the only thing that can, 10 times out of 10, bring a smile to my face and make me want to hug and hold her and never let go. I have a 15 year old and a 19 year old who are becoming amazing young women and who are — so far — nothing like me, thank C’thulhu. At least in regard to mental illness.

So, even though I know that I am no good for them — that I am a drag, that I do not make them happy — I stick around, like a tapeworm or something equally parasitic and disgusting.

I don’t just contemplate suicide to end my own suffering — I contemplate suicide because I hate myself and what I’ve become — all the things I’m not, never will be, and don’t know how to be. I contemplate suicide because I feel that I will never be happy; that I will never be able to be a good husband, a good father. I contemplate suicide because of the people in my life that I love, who I know deserve better than what they have in me. I want their happiness, and I don’t see it ever happening with me in their lives… and yet, selfishly, I stay. Like a coward.

And what am I? What does the clarity of my depression tell me?

It tells me that I am a forty year old man who’s never held a job longer than five years, and that job more than doubled my previous record. I don’t own a house, and likely never will — I was bankrupt twice before I was 30. Bad life decisions don’t go away quickly, or sometimes not at all, and are the vines beneath the quicksand of despair that grab onto you tightly and pull you under.

I’ve been divorced — she left me not really for another man, but there was another man involved — and as my mother-in-law delights in pointing out to my wife: Women don’t leave good husbands.

I’m a survivor of abuse, and my parents never really had friends, per se, and so I didn’t see any of that, really. I don’t know how I’m going to make friends with the kids my youngest daughter goes to school with. What will I talk about with them? I’m no good at small talk. I also never saw any conflict resolution that didn’t end with violence of some sort. I was a frightened child. I grew into an angry, frightened adult.

What else am I? AH YES…. a pretentious hack. A writer of strange, inaccessible works that go out of their way to be weird and unlikable. (Ironically, I fucking love my writing — it’s the ONLY thing I like about myself, ergo, of course everyone else hates it). I’m lazy and frozen when it comes to actually trying to find an agent and/or publisher.

That I want to write — that I should be writing (I took a personality test recently as part of my search for a new career and while I answered all the questions honestly and fairly, truly hoping that I could gain insight into some other facet of my skill-set, would you believe, no word of a lie, that the computer spit back: WRITER?) is kind of a joke. There is no job application for full-time spinner of strange, fucked-up stories or post-modern ironic pseudo-autobiographical memoirs. And EVERYONE is going to tell you — that’s great. Write. But get a day job.

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying. Who I am is a person who has NO desire to work in the corporate world, and so I fuck up everything I touch. After a while, everyone finds me disagreeable.

Online is no different. I can count at least a half-dozen people without even trying hard, who, at one time, talked to me on a regular basis. Now they have disappeared. And it’s not like they’ve gone away — I still see them — hell, I’ve tried talking to them — but I have quite clearly alienated them, and who can blame them?

So, what’s more frightening? Convincing yourself that you are surplus to requirement? Or having someone else agree with you?

That’s the day I fear. I don’t want to die. I think I should die, but I depend on someone, anyone, to be there, to give me one good reason — one compelling argument why I should continue living.

That’s what it’s like inside the mind of someone who suffers from depression. No amount of tough love or shaking out of it or platitudes can fix it. I’m not just sad. I am the sum of a lifetime of dealing with this — sometimes making bad decisions because of it or because of fear or because of stupidity — and I am overwhelmed by a lifetime of feeling alien, feeling outside, feeling ugly, horrible, unloveable, and like a monster — or, at least, capable of being a monster.

It’s way more complicated than just “I’m having a bad day…”

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11 responses to “NaBloPoMo – Day 6 in an entire month of… I just can’t

  1. Fucking depression brother. Pure, honest, raw, ugly, painful and exactly how I’ve always felt (aside from personal details obvi). Like you know my dirty secrets and just exposed them. Incredible.

  2. I’m echoing the above, but a) test was right (I’ve never found your writing innaccessable), and you put words to a page that my brain is terrified to admit to. Incredible indeed.

  3. This resonates so much! And for all of us who hang in there, despite feeling alien and surplus, please go on writing. Tell us more of who we are and how we can perhaps beat this thing that is called ‘depression’ but is so much more. Also, PTSD seems to be intertwined in your case, as it is in mine. What helps me sometimes is music and white noise videos. And learning to meditate. And sometimes when the cycle of dark comes back again, I can say with a wry smile, ‘Oh look, the kill yourself voice is back again!’ And just go on. Sometimes…

  4. I can relate to much of this. I feel lonely, but would rather be alone. I make horrible decisions which hurt others. I’m emotionally unstable.

    I hope I’m not one of the people you feel has quit talking to you. I mean, I have, but its been everyone. I just have been reclusive these past few months and haven’t had the energy or motivation to reach out to anyone.

  5. Your writing isn’t accessible?
    This post speaks to EVERYONE.
    I feel and share your pain, old friend.
    Hang in there is all I can say.

    Hear me: IT GETS BETTER EVENTUALLY.

    Be well.

  6. I’ll admit, part of me wanted to ignore this post because “No amount of tough love or shaking out of it or platitudes can fix it.” But I read it and recognize everything you say. I’ve been depressed, to the point of suicide ideation (once I totally freaked out my husband by admitting that and saying that I thought everyone experienced that at least sometime in their lives … uh, oh, no, dear, not everyone does). I still struggle with depression although now I just try to “roll with it” when it comes around. I didn’t have a violent childhood, but my mom’s way of punishment was to freeze me out. I knew she hadn’t planned on getting pregnant with me and I suspected she was not too pleased about it since she had to deal with my father’s mental illness as well three other kids to raise. So I have my story, my reasons for feeling often times like a piece of shit that the world could easily do without. And then I see a bluebird or a hawk and like someone flicked a switch, I feel okay. Not perfect. Not joyous. Not dancing in my chair happy. Just okay, but it’s still better than what I was feeling. And I know, even if I don’t think I deserve it, I know I’m in a good place in my life with my husband and our cats. Friends are important, but, frankly, Greg is my constant, the one person who keeps me tied to life. I can lose everything else, but I can’t lose him. I’m not writing this to make you feel better because I can’t do that. And I’m not competing with you for who is the most depressed or has more reason to be depressed. But I guess this is what these kinds of posts provoke: oversharing, perhaps. The thing with depression: does it make you feel worse or better to know that you’re not alone?

    • It makes me feel human, I suppose, but also it makes me feel whiny “you’re not a special case, stop complaining”. Hard to say if that’s better or worse.

      • Worse. I’ve had some people tell how others have it worse or just as bad as me so shouldn’t that make me better? No, I don’t better knowing that others suffer from depression. And yet when I share that dark side of myself with someone for the first time and they don’t run away from me screaming, well that is a relief. Especially if they acknowledge my dark side as something normal to all of us and then we move on to complaining about people with yappy dogs. (I’m not being frivolous. This actually happened the other night after a yoga class. Go figure. Namaste.)

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