It’s a good word to describe how I feel, frequently. Fragile. I don’t mean physically fragile (although I do feel that way too at times.) I mean emotionally, mentally fragile. Like, easily-damaged, handle with care. Between the various stresses, the depression, the anti-depressants, feeling like I’m being pulled in a couple dozen different directions, and not often not having anyone I can talk to about everything. So I can talk here, right? Well, no, not always. See, anything posted in a blog or on a website is essentially published in a public forum. So there’s entire topics I can’t even touch upon here. I have to watch what I say.
These are difficult times. Between the economy and the ever-increasing pace of life, a lot of people are feeling the stress get to them. Knowing that, I will say that one of the dumbest ‘games’ people can get into is the Who’s Life Sucks More? game. Also known as the My Problems are Bigger Than Yours game, the My Hurt’s More Than Yours game, and the I’m the Most Depressed game. Any time you and your friend/family start playing these games (unintentionally or otherwise) there are no winners, only losers. Now, most people don’t play these games on purpose. Maybe the occasional person is compelled to one-up-manship. But typically if someone mentions to you how shitty their life is at the moment, they aren’t trying to win at anything, they might want some sympathy, but that’s about it. And if you tell someone how shitty your life is and they respond with how crappy their own life is, that probably isn’t a ‘challenge’ or ‘throwdown’. They could just be comiserating. As in “I know what you mean, my life sucks too.” — although if you’re already feeling like crap, it’s easy to misinterpret their response as them trying to belittle your pain by saying how much worse theirs is.
Ultimately, everyone’s personal pain is the worst pain there is. None of us can know what the other is going through.
I’m going to pop in the ‘read more’ button here and warn you, if you want to keep reading, it is going to get a tad dark as I allow myself to wallow around a bit in some self pity.
The past year or so has been really rough on my family and myself. My depression was already coming back in early 2007 but I was trying to ignore it and deal with it on my own, and was doing so-so, but then last summer things just got out of hand. To the point that, despite how much I hate doctors, shrinks, and drugs, I had to go and seek counciling and medication. I’m on the cryptospam, it costs me $2.00 per day, and it’s no ‘happy-pill’. All it does is keep me a few inches above the terrible, terrible despair. I’m not bragging or looking for sympathy, just stating the facts.
Lately I believe a lot of my stress comes from frustration. My dad taught me to be proactive, to be in ccontrol of myself and my circumstances, and not wait around for other people to do things for me. In a lot of ways, this really is a lesson in responsibility. If you are in charge of your own life and destiny, then you are also responsible for it. And understand, this is a good thing. People who sit around and whine about how shitty the world is treating them and how nothing is every their fault, they take no responsibility over their lives, and therefore have no control. They give their control up to ‘the world’ or whomever they blame. But this isn’t about them. My frustration is in the fact that my current situation does not allow me the option or choice. Or rather, there are choices, but I am making decisions based not on what I want or what I feel is right, but based on what I think is necessary, what others tell me is necessary. I am feeling trapped, and if I do what I think is best for me, it puts others in a bad situation.
I’m sorry, I don’t even feel like I’m describing or explaining it well. Trapped is about the best way to put it I guess. And consequently, I am frustrated because I can’t be proactive, I’m forced to wait and endure situations which are extremely uncomfortable — for the greater good. In the meantime though it’s crushing me. The frustration leads to stress. It’s all negative emotions and my immediate impulse is to turn the negative input into negative output – I get violent, destructive thoughts. Yet I’m well aware of how socially-inacceptable such things are. I can’t just go out in the back yard and smash up stuff — not only will the neighbors get worried, but it’s expensive. If I lived away out in the country, perhaps I could work off the agression by sitting on the back porch shooting at old tin cans… but living where I am, that sort of thing will just earn me a visit from the SWAT team.
So the negative impulses are turned inwards. Frustration leads to stress. Stress leads to depression. Depression leads to drinking. Drinking leads to impaired judgement and dulled senses. Then I end up playing with sharp things. Cats, knives, whatever. They’re equally hazardous when you rub them the wrong way.
If my folks ever read this, stop reading. This isn’t for you. It’s private, between me, and the internet.
There are times I think I’m borderline suicidal, borderline alcoholic. The destructive urges get so strong, and there’s nowhere to focus but inwards. This past year, when things have been at their worst, the thing that has kept me going isn’t the family – it’s the family business. I hope this doesn’t sound too big-headed of me, but I feel like I’m holding things together and if I go, it will fall apart, fall into the wrong hands, or just fall. I guess we should be glad for my sense of responsibility. How bad is that though? How does that joke go, noone ever gets to the pearly gates saying “If only I had spent more time at the office!” Well that’s me.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m happy when I’m learning. My snails and fish have been great for this, there’s so much to learn, and like I wrote the other day, even the routine maintenance is just enough busy-work to focus the mind, without becoming totally dull and routine. Not to mention, it’s rewarding to see the critters are actually happy. Same goes for cats of course, or any pet I imagine. It allows one to forget your own troubles for a while, and just focus on making something small and cute all happy and healthy. Then there’s photography, that I’m getting back into. Now everything is digital and in many ways I am starting over, learning things over again. Plus it’s fun to get out now and then, and the camera gives meaning and purpose. Just going out for the sake of going out seems pointless and wasteful. So these things, and other hobbies that have come and gone, or are in the future, all serve a similar purpose. The learning is fun, and the doing distracts from normal life.
I guess I’m about run out of words again. There isn’t much more to say. Why did I say any of it? I needed to get it off my chest. I can’t talk to my folks, and sometimes I can’t talk to my friends, we’re all too close and too involved in it. So I’m sharing it, privately, with the internet. You guys can keep a secret, right?
Keep warm, be well, stay sane.