An echo chamber is only fun when you like the sound of your own voice.

And so another day passed held tight in the grip of this murky malaise. All day at work I felt a pressure, like gravity was pooped and wanted someone to lean on. I stuck to my desk, kept to myself. I’d like to say I found refuge in the podcasts I consumed. Hound Tall had a discussion on dinosaurs that on any other day would have me giddy. Nerdist interviewed Nick Hornby. With High Fidelity having such a stake in my development, of course I was keen to absorb what its creator had to say. In the midst of my mood, it was simply something that happened rather than an eventful or exciting occurrence. Work in general was also simply something that “happened”. At least it was busy, giving me less time to dwell and brood. I left feeling like trash. Catching my reflection in the mirrored elevator, my eyes spoke of the physical evidence of my emotional baggage. I couldn’t bring myself to put on headphones, ill at ease to plug in upbeat synths in an effort to alleviate my dour countenance, but equally afraid that The Smiths wouldn’t function as the double negative I desired. I resolved to get home and either numb the sensation with meaningless tv narratives or cry until everything had left. Instead I cooked dinner and did my washing, domestic duties doing little to resolve my needs.

For some dumb reason I thought clicking around on the internet would help. Of course it didn’t. I moped and woe is me’d without seeking an active solution to my problem. I knew I needed to talk to people, but couldn’t bring myself to throw my problems in their lap. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my issues, so I just held onto them. I felt worse. The longer my internal monologue continued, the more recursive and entrenched it became. It was hard to think outside the thoughts and causality of actions, potential conversations and outcomes my mind had written. I was telling myself how bad things were and the more I said it, the more I believed it. If someone else was there to bounce things off I’m sure they’d be able to open up paths beyond my current train of thought. That’d involve asking for help though, clearly not an option. My own stubborn insecurities were digging myself a hole.

My flatmate was on the way out and she popped her head into my room. “Hey dude” she asked “are you feeling ok?”

I don’t know why it took someone coming to me, but it was exactly what I needed. I offloaded, letting loose the doubts that’d been cooped up in my brain space. She listened, offered feedback, validated my feelings. It was the epitome of venting without looking for a solution (which I’m so rubbish at naturally facilitating if the tables are turned). We talked about how and why I’d been feeling like I had, how it’d gotten to this point. She knew what to say and before long the fog had lifted and we’d gotten back to raving about things we’d seen and done recently.

We talked about the dichotomy of being keen to offer help and compassion, but reluctant to ask for it. If a friend comes to me I’ll drop everything to do whatever I can, yet somehow I can’t bear to ask the same of those close to me. If I’ve got shit to deal with that’s my problem, not theirs. In my case too, it’s an example of dishing out advice that I’m unwilling to take. I’ve told my girlfriend before that if she’s feeling shitty and alone, there are endless people in her life who’d drop it all to help her out. It’s something that I know and I’d hope she’d know too. Just because someone tells you something, that doesn’t mean you’re willing to accept it, right? Like being thrown a compliment, no matter how much sincerity was behind it you’re only gonna discard it if it doesn’t fit into your particular paradigm. If someone tells you that people care about you, that they want to be there for you, that’s all well and good. If you think you’re a burden however, 9 times out of 10 you won’t actually believe it.

I’m not writing this like it’s a real eureka moment or a solution I’m likely to take. We all know how this game goes. Accepting it sounds great until you find yourself right back in that well again. My only hope is that next time I’m stuck down there I can bring myself to call out for help. At the very least maybe Sting will write me a song.

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