Sometimes in Bingo it’s not 2B

Hi there, or maybe “high there”? I dunno. I’m on a plane, I was trying something. Back off, let me have my process, punk.

I’m en route (getting French already) to Montreal, the city of bread. Friends and I are having a post New Years NYE weekend away. Some of our good pals moved there at the end of 2018 and suggested we all make our way there for an extra soiree. I’m going to devour impressive quantities of baking, beer and coffee. One of our friends is a cocktail expert and she’s got some fancy plans on the go. It’s gonna be a fantastic time with some of my favourite people. It seems like a great antidote to the past few days.

Birthdays fuck me up. They never used to, but the older I’ve gotten the worse they’ve been. It’s not that I have any real aversion to aging, I don’t. Aside from my body steadily decaying, I’ve generally ripened with age. It’s more that each year it gives me pause to reflect on what I’ve done since the last annual vantage point. The longer I’ve lived, the further apart real accomplishments have been. 2018 was thoroughly not great for me. Way back in my 2018 birthday, I was all kinds of depressed. I was fighting my body, trying keto and hating it. I got into all kinds of mental tussles with myself over food, consumption, body issues and all that fun stuff. Even moreso, I felt stuck in my job. I’d been doing the same thing for the past three years. I felt uninspired, unchallenged and unmotivated. Life had plateaued at a peak that was far lower than my minimum level of happiness. I don’t say it lightly or with a lack of gravity when I mention that my prevailing thought was “if I’m still here in a year’s time, I’m going to want to die.” Turns out that a year later, I’m still in the same place. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into trying to gain momentum and it’s basically all been channelled into treading water. I’m tired and it’s gotten to the point where I’d mostly rather sink.

So I spent the majority of yesterday wanting to die. I don’t mean some melodramatic “oh woe is me, I just feel sad” I mean very real, dispassionate “I want to be dead. I want to no longer exist. I’m wasting my life doing nothing with real meaning. I’m not creating anything of value, I’m not finding any larger purpose or passion. I’ve wasted the past few years getting nowhere, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.” Everything I experienced just reiterated these ideas. I knew that even if I pulled myself out of it, I’d end up right back there again. That I was just going to keep up this cycle of being so thoroughly miserable I wanted to just not “be” instead. That yeah, I do make other people happy, but if I’m not making myself happy, what’s the point? I’m not living for others and I don’t owe them anything, let alone continuing to exist. So I stewed in that all day, at the job I hate, doing extra work so others wouldn’t have to cover for me while I was on holiday. Then I went home, got stoned, my mood shifted, I played Magic and had some great farewell sex. This morning I feel far fewer of those feelings that were so pervasive yesterday.

Two things are not gonna happen here. Firstly, I’m not going to kill myself. I’m too lazy and smart to do something that stupid. If I basically never do anal beause I’m too lazy to thoroughly douche, I’m not gonna put the effort into figuring out a way to kill myself that minimises pain, is quick and efficient, and creates the least amount of mess for anyone to clean up after. My standards are way too high to settle for something half-arsed and low concept. It’s just not gonna happen. Even in my darkest passages, I know that if I keep going, things will eventually level out. Secondly, I’m not gonna turn this into some kind of “it’s always darkest before the dawn” bullshit. Realistically, things are probably gonna continue to be low key shit for a while. Given my current track record, likely years. This isn’t the only time I’m going to sincerely wish for death. It’s also far from the only time I’ve done so in my life. Whether I like it or not, I’m gonna be around for a while. At times that’ll be excellent, and at other times breathing will feel like a real chore. Perhaps I’ll be able to distract myself enough that I’ll forget about it, then I’ll circle back and get dumped right back into these feelings. That’s life for me, and that’s okay. Pretending there’s no problem is a lot worse than recognising and accepting it. It’s part of me, and if I’m to truly love myself, I think I need to offer compassion to my darker sides too. I think there’s maturity in that.

See y’all tomorrow, and the next day, and so on. Even when I don’t want to, I’ll still be here.

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Think I could get them to analyse each other?

I don’t really know how to start, so I just will. I feel like that’s the first step. I feel like what I’m gonna talk about, I’ve probably talked about before. Who can remember these things? I talk about a lot of stuff here. Anyway.

I had my first session back with my original therapist in a while. Why am I making the distinction? Because I’m in the bizarre mirror-world scenario of having two therapists at the moment. It’s not that I left one for another. I’m seeing them concurrently, kind of. See, maybe ten or so months ago I mentioned to my GP that I’d been off and on depressed and anxious. She let me know that Ontario does actually provide OHIP coverage for certain therapists, that the wait lists were long, but she could put me on one. I jumped at the chance, then forgot about it a week or so later. Perhaps six weeks ago, when I found myself at the bottom of a deep emotional trough, I realised it’d be a wise decision to go back to therapy. My original therapist happens to be very good, so she was booked solidly for 6 weeks. As in, no openings whatsoever. Having enough benefits coverage for two more sessions, I booked ahead. In the meantime the OHIP sponsored therapy came up and reminded me that was a thing I’d signed up for. So I went and did two sessions with a new therapist, knowing I’d be going back to my original one for two sessions.

It’s weird. It almost feels like I’m cheating, but I’ve made them aware of each other. So it’s kind of more like a poly relationship, but my metas won’t ever meet. I’m careful about what I mention about one to the other, because I don’t want to muddy the waters of treatment. But of course they’re curious, while at the same time applauding the actions and methods of the other. So it’s not like it’s unsupportive. Look, it’s fucking strange, okay? At the same time, it’s so hard building up a therapeutic relationship with someone new. Her style feels rigid and doesn’t gel succinctly with the way my brain does. Still, she definitely knows what she’s talking about and I have every confidence that her methods would be very helpful in the long run. I’m so lucky to have OHIP coverage, so I want to put the work in. My original therapist and I both agree it’s worth sticking with the OHIP therapy in lieu of my original therapist until the end of the treatment module, that it would benefit my mental health to do so.

At the same time, the fact that my original therapist is right is what makes this so difficult. We stepped into that room and got right into it. She knows me so fucking well. She understands how my mind works because we’ve done the foundational work. She gets my struggles and tailors her suggestions explicitly to how she knows I operate. She expertly pinpoints the right areas of my long, scattered rants. She calls me on my shit and doesn’t let me off the hook. It’s exactly what I need. And I feel raw right now because she’s right about everything. We hadn’t seen each other in so long that it was an info dump where we constantly tried to taper down into workable ideas, solutions and talking points. Still, there was so much I never even got to. It’s hard to know where to start, what to talk about, because there’s so much.

To be honest, I think that’s where I want to leave things for now, because it fits where this entry is. This stuff is too fresh and I haven’t worked out where I am with it. Expect that I’ll probably work through it over the next while. If that’s your thing, you know where to reach me. If not, well it was nice knowing ya.

Stink or swim

I woke up this morning in the same mental space as yesterday.

I drifted in between tasks, trusting in routine to get me to work. Zoning out and kind of dissociating, I caught my bus, transferred to the train and stood there, hazily noticing my forlorn reflection in the train’s window. I was lost, just totally gone. Not there in the slightest. Then I felt something. I didn’t hear it, but an unfamiliar sensation slipped out. I farted. It smelled noxious. Just a rough and tumble dropped guts. Brutal. My features stayed neutral, but something stirred beneath. I felt my skin, came into contact with my body. I noticed a couple of people looking around, narrowing their eyes. I stayed silent. I also stayed present, in the moment in all facets. The all-encompassing dread that’d inhabited my total being couldn’t hold court against that kind of injunction. I was myself.

Then the moment passed and I felt myself drift back into the aether.

I’ve been on and off today, as I expected. For the most part though, I’ve been better than I’d hoped. It helped running into a friend in the kitchen at work today, pushing away the gloom for long enough to get a tenacious hold on things. I’ve had distractions, which have all done their part. I dunno, dumb shit like wondering whether it’s an insult or not to say that a dead DJ was “spinning in their grave”. Sometimes that’s enough.

I was thinking about a good way to make this all understandable, what it feels like when I’m in a rough patch and trying not to constantly dissociate. Have you ever tried to fix your posture? You’ll force yourself to sit up straight, then five seconds later you notice you’re slumping again. So you’ll force yourself to straighten again, then slump. The cycle repeats ad infinitum. When I’m depressed to the point where my grasp on reality suffers, it’s because it’s hard to retain that grasp. I’ll notice that I’m in a regressive, negative thought spiral and try to push back towards positivity. It may help for a matter of seconds, then I notice I’m right back in the mire of negativity. I try again to think of nice things and maybe I do, which helps briefly. So I keep trying, and it keeps getting harder to get back there. So most of the time I stop trying and just give up. Occasionally it helps, and my mental posture is effortlessly solid. Or something dumb will knock me out of it (like the aforementioned fart) and I’ll wonder why I was so densely sad. So often though, it doesn’t and that’s okay. Much as it sucks to feel that way, I never tell myself that I’m wrong for it. I’ve at least gotten rid of personal stigma against depression and I think that’s far healthier than judging myself for it. It’s just a part of me and accepting that is pretty damn important, oddly enough, for my own mental health.

I guess that’s about what I was trying to say. I’ve got no real intention of turning this into a dedicated depression blog, but at the same time my goal here is to never be anything but honest. Depression may be a part of me, but dishonesty isn’t.

If you’ve read this for any length of time, however, you’ll know that toilet humour most definitely is.

In other words, a coping mech and isms

Hi. Hello. How’re you doing? Me? Not well. Thanks for asking.

It’s gonna be one of those. “Those”, y’know? Hours, days, weeks, months kind of deal. I’m in a place and I don’t know where that is, but it’s not a bundle of joy, bunch of fun or barrel of monkeys. I’m in one of my ebbs, while I wait for the tide to bring me back to shore.

That’s all very cryptic, so let’s put it in plain terms. I’m depressed. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. I’m in a rut where I’m having trouble with many, many things. It’s not a singular aspect of my life that’s shaky, it’s a culmination of factors, a couple of which I’ve probably never considered. It’s tangible things like being unfulfilled at work, unsure of the future, worried whether I’ll get there and what shape I’ll be in if I do. It’s also less tangible stuff like feeling rudderless and disappointed, hurt and without motivation. A general ennui that fluctuates between absent and all-consuming.

I think there’s a general public perception that depression means an inability to get out of bed in the morning. To not know how to do dishes or brush your teeth. That’s not how depression presents for me. I have no issue completing tasks. I’m not worried that I won’t be able to get out of bed or I’ll be AWOL for work without explanation. I’m not worried about failing to eat, or dishes piling up. I can be depressed and functional. I might just not be there all the time.

Depression, as I experience it, means having trouble being present. It’s a fundamental disconnect between action and true understanding. I space out for periods and lose purpose. I can see the logic of what I’m doing, but there’s no link between the act itself and my desires or objectives. I stop living because I want to and instead live out of obligation. I go to work because logically I know that I need money to stay alive, to keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach, but not because I can understand why I would want any of those things. I can do my job in a technical sense, but not because of any investment in the outcome. People need the work done, it’s my job to do it, so I’ll make it happen. I eat because logically I know that without food, my body would die. I know that there are times at which I’d regret that, so I eat out of obligation to my future self. I’ll still go to the gym, because I’m aware that it’s best for my physical and mental health to keep that up. I’m aware that depression isn’t all consuming either at the time of depression, or in other periods of my life to follow. It makes sense to continue with upkeep, so I don’t stop. I know that I need to do these things to sustain myself, I just don’t care that I am.

When depression strikes me, the hardest thing to deal with is time. Time keeps happening. There are so many hours every day to fill and they’re just gonna keep existing. I’ll keep performing the same activities whether depressed or not, but I don’t connect to them as I otherwise would. I’ll listen to comedy and realise that things are objectively funny or entertaining, but I won’t laugh. I’ll read articles, but feel emotionally unaffected. I’ll constantly refresh my Facebook wall and see my friends’ posts, but be unable to overcome this chasm of disconnect. I won’t be doing things because I want to, I’ll do them because if I don’t, time will continue to tick away and it’ll take even longer to do so.

The short way of saying any of the above is that I go on auto pilot. I’ll keep living, but I’m not there. I feel numb, like I’m unmoored from my body. Like I’m piloting a big machine that exists independently of myself. I lose all sense of purpose. It’s not that I want to die, but I don’t want to be alive either. I think, therefore I am, with no idea why.

The thing I want to drive home is that it’s not an absolute. I’ll come back for minutes, hours, days, or weeks. All different increments at times beyond my control. Maybe I’ll hear something that brings me back for a time. Or I’ll exercise and physically feel in my body. Or I’ll hear a song and cry for some inexplicable reason. Or I’ll write, read what I’ve written and find resonance. Then I won’t. There’s no pattern.

So this may be one of those, or it won’t be. I’ve got no way of telling depth or length from this vantage point. I’ll keep checking in every day. I’ve booked in my introductory session with a new OHIP supplied therapist, so hopefully that gives some traction. Things will blow over. Then they’ll be back. And that’s okay. I’ll still be here.

I might just not be here.

I’m obviously in a mid life crisis. What else would explain the Roboraptor?

What do I do, folks? Where do I go from here?

Of course I’m meaning both in the sense of this entry and my wider life. I’m kind of brickwalled right now. Everything outside of my job is fine, but that’s holding everything else back. It sucks, but I’m getting increasingly tired of being miserable all the time for no good reason. Being unfulfilled in my work seems a trite reason for that to leech into the rest of my waking hours, but I guess it’s important to me deep down. I’ve been indoctrinated into a mindset where the thing I do to pay my bills has some relevance to my self-confidence. If I don’t feel like a useful, productive person in the eight to ten hours I spend under one roof five days a week, it makes me question everything else.

Yet again, that sounds dumb right? At the same time my brain chimes in with a what form of integrity do you have if you’ve been seeking a change for several years and haven’t made it happen? It subconsciously erodes the value of everything else because it all seems connected. Being uninspired at my desk for an absurd amount of waking hours makes the past few years kind of seem like a waste. What have I done outside of maintaining the status quo. I’ve had a cluster of tiny personal projects that don’t feel like a substantive mass when they’re gathered. I’m not saying that I haven’t done anything much outside of work because of work, but it doesn’t help.

In an ideal world, this pervasive ennui would be enough to ignite a fire under my arse. Oh, you’re bored at work? Why not funnel the lack of creative output into creative pursuits? On paper, that works. In reality, the lack of meaningful output makes it harder to summon the energy for creativity. It’s draining, day by day. At this stage I’m coming home exhausted with little enough spark to make dinner, let alone anything worthwhile. It’s gotten to the point where weekends have become this little oasis because I can take a vacation from who I am during the week. Well, that’s kinda uncharitable. It’s not that I hate who I am during the week, it’s that I find it increasingly challenging to get in touch with myself underneath the layers of disillusionment, fatigue, anxiety, disappointment, discontentment and other chaff. This one thing is bringing everything else down with it. I feel tethered to aiming low and it’s killing my ability to look beyond. Like I’m tightening up all my muscles defensively and feeling confused when it affects my mobility.

It’s been years of giving myself little pep talks, telling myself I can do better and failing to deliver. I’m quite sure that motivation isn’t an infinite resource. Time’s marching on. My brain and body are depleting with each passing year. My ability to move with the flow is stagnating. I desperately want to find direction before I’d even think of bringing a kid into this world. If I’m not happy with who and where I am, I’ve got no business burdening an innocent child with the ramifications of my personal baggage. What a way to prematurely stunt their growth. I think at the core of it too, I’m not ready to adopt the level of selflessness being a parent would require. If I’ve been thinking of myself for this long and still not managed to get anywhere, what chance would I have of finding where I need to be when I don’t have time to think about myself? That’s a surefire way of breeding a spectacularly effusive resentment. A recipe for waking up in twenty years oozing with silent rage.

I feel like this entry hasn’t taken me anywhere, but it has taken half an hour to get there. “Just be better” has a hollow ring when it lacks a substantive swing behind it.

Maybe the interview wasn’t that bad after all?

If you’re reading this, you’ve made my dreams come true

I’m getting hate mail and it’s kind of my favourite thing.

The best part is that I don’t know who’s sending it. I don’t know if I have any mortal enemies (aside from Smashmouth Guy and honestly, after this comment I’m kind of Team Smashmouth). I’m certain I’ve rubbed people the wrong way before. I’m an excessively eccentric dude with too many opinions. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes and dumb, thoughtless comments. I’ve 100% been drunk at parties and mouthed off before realising what an ass I’d been. I have a trunk full of regrets from my early 20s that I use as incentive to constantly strive to be better. I possess a litany of anxieties and self-doubts (hint, the clue was in the site name) and talk about them at length. I’m undeniably self-obssessed, which I’m sure gets on some people’s nerves. I’ve had relationships that didn’t end well. As a child I even once bit into an entire block of cheese, then put it back into the fridge and did NOT take ownership of my actions.

Here’s the entry that called them to action, by the way. I think it’s pretty benign, but I also wouldn’t want to deprive you fine folk of all this DRAMA.

I’m still not sure that any of this would drive anyone I know to send me hate mail. I’m pretty sure that I only have one failed relationship that would even remotely bring someone to sow salt and frankly, I think that ex is way too cool and talented to bother being that petty. Her hating me doesn’t stop her from being fucking awesome. She just has better things to do with her time. Plus the hits are coming from Canada, from someone whose internet is tied to Rogers and she lives in The U.S.

I don’t think it’s an individual who knows me personally. While I’ve surely acted out of order before, I don’t think I’ve erred enough to draw this kind of ire. Mildly annoying people is no doubt within my arsenal, but offending a personal contact to the level that they’d seek out this page, create an anonymous persona and read over 50 entries in order to trawl for ammo. I just don’t think I’m that remarkable. If I am, that only feeds my ego. This site isn’t on the Reddit Frontpage or anything. They’d deliberately have to seek it out or find the link by searching certain subjects. It would take effort. If they’re trying to hurt me, they’re going about it all wrong.

It can’t be someone who knows me well. The shots they’re firing are just too broad and don’t play into my sincere insecurities. I’m not even sure how one would really insult me in a way that’d cut to the bone. I’m way meaner to myself than anyone else could ever be. Most anything they could throw at me is rationally countered by knowing that I’m very much an acquired taste and I’m excessively okay with that. Saying I’m a bad writer or not funny would make little sense when I regularly interact with others in amicable ways. I can read body language well enough to know that these people aren’t deeply uncomfortable or trying to escape. If they were, there’s no way I’d spend time with someone who didn’t want to spend time with me. What would be the point? Telling me I was a shitty person would give me the chance to find growth opportunities, which is something I value. How else do I learn to be better? Them telling me I’m self-obssessed is fine, because it’s true. It also doesn’t preclude me from caring deeply about the people in my life.

Realistically, it’s probably some MRA/Incel who read something I wrote and felt insecure (for a change?). I’m very okay with this. Or else it’s my co-worker who chewed carrots loudly, but really he’s a nice dude and his consumption habits don’t make him a bad person. Maybe it’s my therapist who feels neglected and wants to drum up another few sessions. Thing is, I looked up appointments and she’s booked solid for the next three weeks. I don’t think she has the time.

Whoever it is, I’m honoured they took the time to get in touch. If you’re reading this, stalker chap, I’d love to chat. It feels like you’ve got some emotions you need to let out.

WAIT. ARE YOU MY FRIEND I HAVEN’T MET?

I guess I’ll swim

I feel like I was ready to have a good day, then I read about Scott Hutchison losing his battle with depression.

I do and I don’t know why it hit me so hard. Some dude at a party once told me I’d like Frightened Rabbit and he was alarmingly correct. I’ve listened to their album Midnight Organ Fight countless times. It’s this beautiful combination of gallows humour and earnest emotion. The rest of their oeuvre I’ve been appreciative of, but haven’t absorbed it as fully. I can sincerely say I’m a fan without the baggage of excessive fandom. Hutchison was an immensely talented lyricist who hung his heart on every line and a performer who brought everything of himself to the mic. He’s someone whose creativity and honesty I was in love with. A few days ago a news report surfaced saying he’d gone missing. I feared the worst and hoped for the best, but those hopes fell away this morning. It’s heartbreaking and no amount of platitudes make it any less so.

Naturally, we’re all gonna witness events like this and turn inwards. We think about ourselves and how we relate. This becomes an important part of how we in retrospect view the outcome. I’ve been known to have my ups and downs, often between months. There are times in which I start to question all the structures around me and fail to find purchase. If you’re reading this, please don’t worry. Emotionally I’m in a downturn, but not with tangible lingering effects. I’m trying to figure things out, which is a world away from doing something stupid. Still, part of working through this kind of stuff is getting the negative ephemera out there to see it for what it is. With that precursor out there:

I’m having a hard time right now, as I have been for a while. I feel like my up and downswings have had me lingering at the bottom for a lot longer than I’ve been climbing. It’s rough. At the moment I’m having trouble finding purpose. I look at my day to day, week to week, year to year and see nothing in the matter of cumulative gain. I don’t feel like I’m further ahead at 31 than I was in 28. Of course it’s symptomatic of these kind of moods not to check your blind spot for the light you’re missing. Still, when I look ahead to the next six months, I don’t see the point. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m doing things, but none of them mean anything. I don’t know why I continue to sit in an office five days a week, not to be gaining traction. I feel like I’m living for escapism, but nothing concrete. I exist to consume, but I’m not consuming for any kind of existence.

I look at someone like Scott Hutchison, someone who made so much for so many, and I wonder what I’ve done. Once again, what am I doing? What am I doing for others? What am I doing for myself? If all I’m doing is going through the motions, that’s not enough for me. That’s not sustainable for the next 50 years. That’s a long time and I need a pretty good reason to hang around for another five decades. That’s not to say I’m looking for a way out. I’m looking for a way forward.

It sucks all the more because I feel like two months ago I had momentum. I felt indomitable, full of steam and drive, not knowing where I was going but not stopping to worry. Months later with nothing to show for it, the idea of picking myself up by the bootstraps seems a worthless endeavour. It’s hard to press on when the path seems to lead nowhere. I have no doubt I’ll turn this around in a matter of time, but right now that’s hardly enough for me.

Guess I’ll just wait.