Monday, December 13, 2010

Rehearsals for Retirement 2: Depression Boogaloo

Hey, everybody. I know you've all been frozen into inaction, awaiting my next installment about my ongoing battle with depression, because there is nothing more exciting than hearing the complaints of sad people. It really draws you in, makes you want to get close. Hey, you're hypothetically saying right now, I want to hang out with that guy who mopes around and sleeps a lot. I bet he really knows how to party.
Yeah, you know the drill. A lot of you have the same problems. It's a little embarrassing. There's something egocentric and self-absorbed and just plain dull about being sad for no good reason. It's also embarrassing that my sometimes manageable, sometimes debilitating problems with self-inflicted doom and gloom have sort of coincided with a friend and former coworker's diagnosis of cancer, which she has handled with humor, positivity, and grace. You can read about it on her blog if you like:
This is someone with a real reason to be depressed, I sometimes think, and she's kicking A's and taking N's (fake teen slang I made up for kicking ass and taking names) and beating the thing in a very pragmatic and focused way while I can't get my shit together because I've never liked any of my adult jobs and I've been dealt a few recent shitty life cards that everyone gets and half of everyone gets, respectively (deaths in the family, divorced parents).
That's one way to think about it. But there's another way, too. I have legitimate psychological and physical reasons for feeling bad. I'm sad, angry, and full of anxiety for a lot of different reasons, and some of you are, too. I've mostly shied away from getting into the nuts and bolts of my personal life on this blog (maybe this isn't as true as I think it is, maybe this blog is nothing but my personal interior life), but a lot of things have been hitting me at the right time, and I'm going to talk about this shit. My friend is doing a lot of people a lot of good by writing honestly about her day-to-day struggles with cancer. She's giving people hope (I mean this in a non-cliched way), letting people who are going through the same things as her know they're not alone (also mean this in a non-cliched way), and getting into the everyday, nuts-and-bolts, pragmatic minutiae about what it's really like to deal with it everyday. I think it's a great thing, and I like reading about it. So, I'm going to try to do the same thing about my depression.
I have very contradictory personal qualities that sometimes make me feel like I'm two separate people. I don't mean this in a split-personality way. I'm not Sybil, or Dean Martin/Nutty Professor, or Jeckyll/Hyde. You're not talking to Dr. Mystery one day and Dr. Solution another day. I just mean that I am extremely shy and reserved and also a loudmouth party animal. I am scared of girls and a lover of the company of women. I hate people and I love people. I find family both a pillar of strength and a ridiculous concept that makes little practical or emotional sense. I love music and see music as a repetitive trap. I love movies and see movies as an expensive decadent distraction. I love literature and see literature as an exhausted dog chasing its own tail until it dies and then some crazed scientist shocks it back into life, at which point it repeats the tail-chase. I love friends and see friends as enablers of bad habits and/or buzzkill police cops. I don't even know if this paragraph is making any fucking sense anymore. I am a modest person who is embarrassed by materialism and self-promotion and an attention-craving egomaniac who would roll around on a bed full of thousand dollar bills and then bellyflop into my living room hot tub while having the most expensive food item in the world delivered to my penthouse suite in fantasy town if that option were available. I am full of empathy, love, and kindness and also full of anger and violence, most of it self-directed. I am intelligent and I am an intellectual fraud who uses pithy one-liners to camouflage my ignorance about anything that could ever benefit any actual living person. I am a good friend and a bad friend. I am a good man and a mediocre man. I feel like two homunculi are punching each other in the dicks over and over again in my chest cavity. Neither one of those little bastards is ever going to punch hard enough to win.
My personal life is mostly a success. If I were a religious wingnut asshole, I would say that I am blessed to have the wife and friends and siblings I have. Instead, I'll just say I am grateful and truly lucky to have these people in my life. I rarely get bored. I have a lot of interests that I am balls-to-the-wall, TNT, highway-to-hell, back-in-black, whole-lotta-rosie, high-voltage excited as shit about. I play drums. I write. People have been complimentary about the way I do both of these things. Not a lot of people, but the right kind of handful of people. I'm trying to be a better person.
My professional life is a goddamn trainwreck. For an adult man with a solid credit history, two college degrees, no criminal record, and no children, I am somehow to money what the football is to Charlie Brown's foot. I am nearing my mid-thirties, and I have a few hundred dollars, no house, no pets, no real job, and no fucking idea what to do next. I am miserably unhappy at every practical, 9-to-5 job I try, and I can't even seem to find those jobs lately. Friends my age are buying houses, buying cats and dogs, and going on wonderful international trips while I curl into a fetal position, listen to Motorhead, watch "King of the Hill" reruns, and sleep. I don't want kids, I don't want an expensive car, I don't want an office job, but I do want a nice, cozy home of my own and I want to get out of the fucking continent just once in my motherfucking goddamn shitty little life and I want, no, fuck "want," I NEED a job that I like. Mediocre people say dumb shit when I express my job woes. I need to stress here that none of these people are my friends. Some of them are family. They say, "You know, no job is perfect. Life is full of ups and downs. Put all your platitudes in a row and look on the bromide side of life. No job is going to solve all your problems. Be happy with what you have." They're under the impression that I've said my life goal is to find a perfect job that will solve all my problems. Listen motherfuckers, I may be crazier than shit, but I'm a fucking realist. I want a good job that will solve my bad job/zero jobs problem. That's it. That's all I ask.
But that's not all I ask, because I'm a human being, and we're all crazy. I also want my relatives to stop dying, I want my parents to remarry and move back into the house I grew up in, I want to write the best book in the world, I want a great director to make a movie of that book, I want every drummer in the world to grovel at my feet, I want every woman in the world to ask me out so I can reject them all and say hey ladies I already have a wife in your face better luck next time this is what you get for rejecting me in high school, and I want to never, ever be sad or angry again. Also, I want scientists to discover that bacon cheeseburgers actually lower cholesterol. And I want every person who's ever mocked me, been rude to me, ignored me, insulted me, etc. to catch fire right now. And I want some nachos.
Also, I don't want any of these things. Not even the nachos.
As always, I am about 380 miles from what I intended to write about, which is a straightforward discussion of what it's like to be depressed, my first-ever experiences with seeing a psychiatrist, the panic attack I had yesterday (uncharacteristic of me and only the second one I've ever experienced) and its part in one of the weirdest days I've had in recent memory, and how "The Sopranos," Achewood, Twitter, and Marc Maron's WTF podcast are helping me live. Thanks in advance for reading this insane, self-indulgent drivel. The next installment will be much better. I hope.


DayBreak Ventures said...

n Rehearsals for Retirement, Ochs retained his poetic sense, but his songs were imbued with the conflicts of the times.

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milk and cake said...

sometimes achewood, even in the form of archives, is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. i own entirely too many achewood shirts because i feel better knowing i can put phillipe, roast beef, or ray on my body. as far as comics go, achewood has superior healing properties!

Anonymous said...

Look. I'm some internet rando. I like you. I like you a lot. I write well and you write better than I do. There are internet randos in the world like me with similar minds going through similar stuff but not even as bad stuff as you (I have a good job, parents still together, relationship that's good for me but that I'm doing my best to sabotage) and feeling even worse about themselves than you. You're not the most self-indulgent asshole out there....far from it. I don't know you; I wish I did. It's a month after you wrote this -- I hope you see this comment and I hope you get some joy out of it. I think you rock more than any other internet rando I've read today, and there've been quite a few.

You've got yourself, and if Dennis Green is right and you are the kind of person I think you are (which you are, don't worry, seriously) then having a guy like you in your own life, no matter how much you hate him now, is more than enough.

Sincerely yours,

Internet Rando