Monday Rant: Helplessness Blues, Depression, Anger, and Hope
I post opinions and diatribes and funny shit, but I don’t usually go deeply into my personal life or my feelings because honestly who gives a flying fuck about one more white, middle-aged, middle-class dude’s personal shit?
God knows I don’t.
I mean really I’ve got it all. I do.
I have a pair of sons that I love and who love me. We are all very close and it gives me unending joy. They are strong and beautiful and they are the most important things in my life. They are also my only blood relatives. I don’t know how much that really matters, but to someone with no genetic familial history it feels important.
I have a wonderful partner with whom I share my life. I love her and she loves me. She is lovely, intelligent, stylish, funny and kind and cares about me and my kids.
She even tells me I look nice now and again.
*** Not to go too far into a tangent, but folks, tell your partner that you like they way they look every once in a while. Most guys are so starved for positive feedback that one simple, kind word from you (or literally anyone) will probably stay with them as a treasured memory for the rest of their lives. I had a coworker tell me that they liked my outfit one day. I still think about how nice that felt. I can say that I’ve been in relationships with people who don’t provide any sort of positive feedback. If you have you know it leaves long-lasting damage to your self image. I know that there are other people who feed off feedback and treat people like crap. They are jerkoffs, but the rest of us like to hear we’re pretty or handsome or loved now and then. It really is that important. ***
I have beautiful parents with a strong faith that raised me to love and respect people no matter how they look, what their faith is, where they’re from, or how much wealth they appear to have. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the whole of the new law according to Jesus in portions of the New Testament (KJV). I would like to think they raised me right because we’re all God’s children.
Every. Single. Last. One. Of. Us. No exceptions
I live in a beautiful home in a great neighborhood. It’s an oasis. Really it is. Forestdale, respresent!
I have a job that is really more than I could’ve hoped for. I’m an art guy who fell into IT for financial reasons and wound up being in charge of tech at a really cool art museum. I work with people who are smart and funny and kind. Thinking back 20 years I couldn’t imagine I’d be at this point.
I have great friends. Not enough can be said about them. They’re the family I got to choose.
I’m in a band with skilled musicians who are also my friends. We play music we like to play. We have a lot of fun. I think we sound pretty good. The neighbors don’t hate it when we practice outside. They bring chairs and drinks. I love our impromptu concerts.
I also have a freaking awesome cat. Jack is more than a pet. He’s a companion. My studio buddy. We’ve been together almost 12 years. He’s smart and sensitive and handsome. Borderline human.
I mean c’mon… that’s a lot to be thankful for.
Really it is. I’ve got a great life. A pack of blessings light upon my back.
I’ll be brutally honest tho.
This morning I woke up with a heavy heart and a heavy mind. I’ve been struggling with tears all morning. For what it’s worth I’m tearing up a little right now writing all this down.
It’s not the first morning I’ve done this. It’s normal for people to feel overwhelmed. It’s ok. But I do and I feel like I’m struggling harder these days.
I’ve got it all, but I feel like I’m drowning.
There are people out there all over our country and the world with no jobs no futures no help or hope and fighting for their rights and their very lives. I get to work today. I get to eat today. I get to spend time with my family today. Tonight, assuming no major issues, I will go to sleep in a comfortable bed next to a warm, sweet person who will kiss me goodnight.
She always does that even if she’s asleep. 🙂
I know I have zero problems when compared to the rest of the world.
But I still wake up and cry. Sometimes uncontrollably until my whole body hurts. My heart aches and I can’t stop. It’s not what’s considered appropriate for an American Midwestern guy. We’re told to hold those feelings back. I still hear people telling me to ‘Suck it up’ when I’m on the verge of dispair.
“Man up” when I feel like there’s no hope.
“Pussy” when I feel like no one cares.
“Fag” when I want to express my feelings.
“No one wants some guy they’ve got to take care of” when I feel like i’m about to open up to someone.
So for the most part I really don’t. I try not to cry even though part of me knows that there is a chemical release in the process that will undoubtedly make me feel at least a little better when the session’s done.
It’s not like I’m a weak person. I don’t think I am at least. I’ve worked hard. I’ve tried to cultivate a sound mind (as sound as is feasible at least) and a strong body. I’ve got discipline and self-motivation. I’ve raised two sons who’ve turned out at least reasonably well. I’ve learned loads of skills over the years both outdoorsy and domestic. I can fix a drier. I can do basic automotive repairs. I can make fire. I can pitch a tent. Gut a fish. I’ve learned combat skills that I practice routinely. I do yoga. I clean. I do home repairs and landscaping. I’m an artist. A hobbyist gardener. A musician. I read. I write. I cook like a motherfucker (refer to the “raised 2 boys part”). I’m a well-rounded guy… more or less. A student of Life you could call it.
Not necessarily a manly man so-to-speak, but not someone prone to crying at the drop of a hat is, I guess, what I’m getting at.
See how that fear of perceived weakness crops up? I just felt like I had to justify my manliness before I could proceed.
So what in the ever-loving fuck could possibly be so wrong that I wake up feeling so hopeless so often?
My beautiful mother has been fighting lung cancer for quite a while now. She’s more frail every time I see her. I take comfort in the fact that her spirits are high, but I know that it will win in the end. There is no cure at this stage of the fight. It hurts knowing how much I will miss her. I try to visit when I can although we have to be careful about our interactions lest I accidentally infect her with something her body can’t handle.
My handsome father is fighting a war of attrition with skin cancer. What’s left of his face, head, and shoulders are a mass of scars and he’s been in constant pain from one tumor or lesion removal or another for years. At the moment he’s missing a large portion of his nose… I take comfort in the fact that despite the disfigurement this has caused him he’s still as charming as ever. He’ll fight it til the bitter end until it finally metastasizes to another organ or to his bones. There is no cure.
My oldest son has had the last 2 years taken from him. He made a stupid mistake and someone lied about him to cover their own. I won’t go into details, but even though this individual recanted and admitted to their dishonesty the State wanted its pound of flesh. The experience has left him shaken, introverted, and distanced from his friends and his life. While it might take me a few years to pay off the legal fees he will carry the marks of this on his psyche for the remainder of his existence. To add insult to injury, just as he was regaining his freedom of mobility and had plans to travel, Covid19 hit and grounded him before he could fly. The Deuce, you say. I take comfort in the fact that his name was cleared and that he’s making plans to moving forward with his life despite of everything else going on. I look forward to feeling the warmth of his confident smile again.
My youngest son should be out with his friends enjoying his teen years. He’s should be meeting someone sweet and learning about love. But he can’t go hang out with people the way teens should be able to. I feel like he’s being cheated out of some of the best years of his youth… I take comfort in the fact that he’s taken this unprecidented opportunity for independent study and has spent this time learning about physical fitness. He reads on the subject constantly and has completely changed his body in the last 6 months. He’s worked hard and is proud of his progress as he should be. He even encourages others online to get smart and get fit. That is something to be proud of. I feel that pride whenever I look at him. But I cry for his forced isolation because for all of his positivity I know that it weighs on him heavily.
To many of my coworkers I am a means to an end. It’s kind of the job honestly. They’re doing their thing to move the museum forward and it’s my job to make sure they can do that work. I AM a means to an end. It sucks sometimes tho. It feels dehumanizing. You understand on one level that they need your help and you want to help them. Being the sole individual doing my particular job means that whenever someone has a problem I am compelled to help… even if I’m on vacation or sick or dealing with something else. I want to help them because it’s important even though many times their problem could be solved by a reboot or 30 seconds worth of Googling or double-checking their typing skills before asking someone to intervene. Everyone’s got their areas of expertise. Tech is not their’s nor should it have to be. That’s why they pay me. But sometimes you’d appreciate a little recognition or a full day off without having to drop everything and tend to someone. I stopped posting Out Of Office messages because their net effect was only to add a preamble to their help requests that always reads something like, “Sorry to bother you on your vacation, but…”. Now they just ask for what they need and save me having to say, “It’s ok. No problem. What seems to be the issue?”
I genuinely don’t feel like I’m taken seriously or appreciated all that much at my work. It shouldn’t matter, but sometimes it does. After my boys are grown I will find a line of work that doesn’t involve fixing anything for anyone anymore.
Believe it or not I am still thankful for my job and my coworkers. I just get tired sometimes and feel like it doesn’t matter to anyone. Which really… it shouldn’t.
I still wake up some days and have elaborate fantasies, not fleeting thoughts mind you, elaborate fantasies about offing myself. I lay it all out. How to do it quickly. Lots of options there… How to arrange it so that family, friends, or innocent strangers will not find me before the authorities/coroner have time to deal with my remains. I’ve laid it all out. Dozens of scenarios over the years. I pay attention to the details. They’re important to a successful plan. If you’re going to do it do it right. Don’t half-ass your final act in this life.
If it matters to you at all don’t worry yourself. I won’t do it. I honestly won’t. I value my life and know that ultimately suicide is not in my future. I would not do that to those around me no matter how much I might feel, in the moment, that everyone would be better off without me around. Deep down I know it’s not true. So don’t worry. I got that particular coffin nailed shut.
Without me in it, thank you very much.
The thoughts still come tho. I don’t tell anyone. Not the full extent. Not like I just did in the previous paragraph. This is a first. But Fuckit. Why not just put it out there? Everyone else these days wears their hearts on their Facebook profile or Twitter or whateve the hell they use.
This fucking world… I see so much blind hatred and stupidity and hubris and utter bullshit. People who I thought were, if not rational, at least semi-sensible appear to have taken leave of their senses. Our current leader is a hippotamic buffoon who, when given the chance to actually take the reigns of a crisis and be the leader that he so feverishly imagines himself to be, sputters and redirects and shifts blame and lies and opines and spins fairy tales about a virus that would “just disappear”… viruses don’t do that. We still have the Black Plague and Leprosy and a host of others, but nevermind all that. Instead he’s “cracking down” on people he should be trying to understand so that we as a nation can heal and come together. He never learned you can’t punch your way out of certain situations even if you are in control of the world’s most advanced military. He and his kind never will, but they’ll keep trying all over the world and they’ll sacrifice you all without a second thought to serve their own vanity. I don’t know if it’s ever been any different. I can’t say that it ever will.
I see people the world over isolating themselves. Losing hope and getting no help. Others are hoarding money like it was a virtue even though, in the end, it won’t make their lives one minute longer or make them better people. It may as well be doll heads, old newspapers, cat litter, and cockroaches they heap in piles around them in the end.
Then I see people who would never be considered by those ultra-wealthy folks to be their equals defend them because they want a piece of that pie too. They won’t get it, but the ol’ carrot and stick routine always works on jackasses so long as they get just a little piece to nibble at the end of the day.
It used to be that most bad ideas were born and died in the same localities. Some still made the big time (nazism, eugenics, reality TV), but there was a vetting process. A really shitty idea had to work to get traction outside of its area of inception. These days any knuckle-raking, mouth-breathing dipshit with a dumb idea can post it to the world and find other, like-minded knuckle-raking, mouth-breathing dipshits who will back them up. Embolden them. They make a FaceBook group. Their stupidity spreads like cancer. It infects others. It grows like a malignant tumor in our collective psyche… I think it was Douglas Adams that suggested human thought was a virus. He was not wrong. Ideas are like that.
I hope that someones comes along that people WILL listen to. Seems like every time someone tells us there’s a better way… the secret to a good life and happiness and a kinder society… we nail them to something or shoot them or burn them or a hundred other cruel, stupid things we humans perpetrate on each other out of fear and ignorance and greed.
I feel like I could go on for a week, but ultimately it’s just blowing smoke into a hurricane. The world at large will not notice and in the end it won’t matter what I’ve said. I don’t feel like anyone really listens which is what makes me feel the most hopeless. I feel like maybe there’s something I could contribute to help, but I don’t ever feel like what I say has any real value. Nothing new to add. There are so many other smarter people you should be listening to. Who needs one more middle-aged, middle-class white dude’s opinion?
I sure as fuck don’t but here I am typing away like a fool hoping someone will read this and maybe feel like they’re not so alone when they’re breaking down and feeling weak or hopelessly frustrated by the World at large.
So if you’re out there and you’re feeling weak or depressed or frustrated or angry… it’s ok. You’re allowed to feel that way. It’s ok to acknowledge that you just can’t manage some days. Today I fought the very strong urge to curl up into a ball and do nothing. Ignore my calls. Disregard my inbox. Stare at the TV or the walls or nothing and wallow in the mire my subconscious has prepped and ready for me.
But I didn’t because people are counting on me for help. For guidance. For love… and for dinner.
Maybe even more importantly I’M counting on me to make it through another day to the end. You can too. If on the off chance you need to chat I’m here for you.
Stay strong. You are loved. You are NOT alone.
We’re all in this together.
Catch you on the flipside.