Posts Tagged ‘depression

08
May
18

F-Book Stalking and Reliving Old Wounds

****

So, it’s like this.  I don’t use the site/service I prefer to call F-Book.  You know what I mean.  The place you profile people, poke them, stalk feeds, etc.  I’ve heard enough agonizing, annoying stories about the place.  So, I keep my distance.  And, for the most part, so does my family.  Yet, there are those who find their reasons and do all…that.  They may not have their own “page,” but they’ll still dig into the pages of others, of people they used to know just to see where they are now.  And, if people actually thought to look for me?  Well, too bad, so sad, you won’t find me there.

My sister decides to show me pictures of people we used to know when we were kids.  If these are former classmates of hers, I’m okay with it.  But, I still think it’s wrong if she’s not actually reaching out to these people.  That’s just stalking…or ghosting.

But, when she shows me people I shared a class with…people I used to think of as love interests and/or friends…people I lost touch with…who have now moved on, married, had kids…….

It’s like I’ve been in prison all this time.  It’s like I missed out on life.  It’s like I’ve lost them all over again and multiple ways.  It’s hard to just brush it off and say I’m not bothered or discouraged.  I’ll likely need time away from seeing more of…that…to forget about it, as aging is likely to afford.

In  a very small way, I suppose I should be happy these people, at least, appear happy.  And, the girl I thought I’d eventually marry…at least she has a kid with a name I would have agreed to give the child.

I don’t know which is worse.  Or, I do and don’t want to admit it.  If I had done the searching, I might find myself wanting to get lost in a bottle of booze I dare not touch.  But, I didn’t open the box.  My sister did.

…..

How much can one guy like me take?

I just needed to vent, to process this a bit and now have to let it all go.  So many falling stars.  So many beauties I’ve come to adore running off with other men.  I’m just too slow.  It’s my fault.  But, I’m better off not letting them get to me.  Let them go.  And, where I fall I fall.  Just tune out what I cannot hold or control.  Wait for my moment.  My moment will come.  Or, I’ll die a hermit in good service.  I’ll be like a monk or prophet.

 

11
Apr
18

Like a Sad Puppy Looking Out the Window

***

No.  You’re not going to find any sad but cute puppy pictures here.  Go clog your storage drives elsewhere.

I’m just expressing how I feel at the moment…at this stage in my life.  And, just to let you know, I’m going to get a bit long-winded; so get comfy and prepare yourself for some heavy paragraphs if you care to read.  But, if you want a more intimate look at the real me, this is about as close as you get without making the effort to reach out and connect via the pathways I provide.  I may repeat a few things from previous posts.

I feel like time is slipping away while I struggle to stand and get moving.  I hear about neighbors I don’t socialize with regularly, finding out their kids have already married and bought houses when it seems like only a few years ago they were kids playing in the backyard.  Have I actually reached THAT age?  Am I already the gray-haired elder who talks about the little ones being taller than I remember?

I’m not particularly physically handicapped.  But, I feel emotionally and mentally challenged…crippled.  I feel starved and deprived of good energies that I’d assume propel other people into action.

If someone says I just lack motivation, what does that mean?  I should be whipped like a slave?  I should throw myself in front of a bus or hit my head against a wall til I get the picture?  I just need to take more risks, more chances?  I’m not charitable enough?  I’m not “hungry” enough?  Exactly what direction should I move in to be doing this life right?  [No.  Don’t answer that one.  There are way too many people doling out answers they think are right, already.]

It’s sad to say, too, but I look forward to and sometimes rely upon emails to communicate.  I used to turn to the landline telephone.  But, reaching people isn’t always as easy, anymore, now that there are “options” and more things to distract people (rather than connect them).  I don’t mind leaving a message if I know I’ll get a response.  But, I don’t want to be the guy calling at “a bad time” and feeling like I am expecting the person to be my therapist while they are wondering when I’ll stop gabbing because they have “more important” things to do (that I could/should be doing myself).  Often enough, talking on the phone makes me feel worse, later, than I do composing a letter or email (which, for me, often turns out as long or longer than some letters I used to write).

So, when I finally do get an email or offer to email, I perk my head up a little and might even pant before responding as soon as possible.  Sometimes, I go out of my way, give it more time than most would, really try to make it into something special, something personal and considerate.  Over the years, I’ve realized that usually smells of desperation and is not–as often as I’d like–appreciated.

I try to be patient with others, particularly when they say they are sorry they cannot respond sooner/more often.  I say, “Oh, that’s okay.  You’re busy.  Take your time.”  And, then what happens?  I don’t hear from these people for weeks, months…  And, well, if it goes past a year, I pretty much assume our connection is dead.   [One sad, lonely dog, looking too hard for attention over here.]

“Back in the day,” (heh) you might write to a pen pal and wait a year for a response.  But, you were not considering that pen pal anything more than a seasonal visitor like the Easter Bunny or Kris Kringle.  You didn’t expect much from a pen pal and were grateful, hopefully, when they felt thoughtful enough to send a treat or souvenir.

I don’t look for pen pals at this stage of my life.  If my “circle” was that fulfilling but too local to satisfy my explorative interests, I might look for a stranger overseas to tell me tales.  But, these days, you don’t need a pen pal for that.  You can find people like that online!…in places like this one!  And, if they are friendly enough, you can exchange dialogue!  Isn’t that nice?  [Not that there’s much dialogue going around from what I can see.  More often, I see “award” notices, strangely worded/ignored comments from faceless strangers, brief words of vague sympathy and plenty of “snapshot” responses (the LIKES and the FOLLOWS) which are void of warmth.]

My timing and my low level of comfort with mingling are also terrible.  It seems I am always inside when others are taking walks outside.  [Again, the sad puppy looking out the windows.]  And, even if I cross paths with someone while walking, I’m in no way comfortable striking up a conversation.

For one, I don’t want to come off like an intrusion or misunderstood threat.  I don’t want to take away from the exercise or interaction someone else may be having with their exercise group/companion(s) (while I am almost always alone).  If they only have so much time to exercise, why try to or expect them to stop and gab as long as I may?

Secondly, or rather, additionally in regards to general discomfort, I am not comfortable talking on a walk or in public for more than a minute or two because I know my skin is thin and that I will break the dam wide open if given a chance.  And, the last thing I want is to get loud or breakdown among passersby who are likely to turn their heads and very quickly add to my discomfort.  What’s wrong with him?  Do you really want to know?  [Not to mention all the concerns I’d have of being rejected or “judged” for expressing or hearing something that disturbs one of us.]

What I really would like is to meet someone on a walk or online (or somewhere far more comfortable, wherever that is) and spark a conversation but take it somewhere more private so I don’t expose my “ills,” my concerns, my woes, my heavier thoughts to more people than necessary, especially to people you don’t know who are capable of doing things with your output that might shock and/or upset you.

And, I think that’s what I’ve been doing and striving to do since the internet began.  [I am pretty sure I’ve discussed my experiences with making contacts online elsewhere in my posts.  I just don’t feel like linking or repeating.  And, hey, if you really need to know, you just ask.]

I don’t or can’t expect someone I just met to welcome me into their home or car (and that doesn’t sound too smart to begin with, anyway). I really don’t know where to go to make this happen.  Nor do I have any bright idea or motivation to make myself more comfortable.  It’s one thing when you have a friend or “wingman” with you.  It’s a whole other to feel as fragile as I do and try to go it alone.  I mean, I am sure people do it and have done it.  And, if it comes down to it, I’ll figure out a way.  But, time is passing by so quickly, and I am still spinning my tires.

It sure would be nice if more people reached out to me, too.  Ya know?  I feel worse thinking the world is only going to get better if I make it better for myself (and others).  For all the stories I read of people making things happen, starting businesses and such, I don’t see people reaching out to me.  I keep getting the feeling like I’m different and have to do the leg work for others.  They might have tons of offers or be going through applications/resumes like some location seeking employees.  But, I remain the lone applicant just hoping to make a dent, to get my foot in a door.  [Stop looking like that, sad puppy man!]

Am I just living in some TV show or video game?  Is this just a 4D world in which I have the controller to make things happen?  Have I been so bewildered by the simulations that I forgot I am Player One?

Some would say I just need to get busy or be busier with my life.  When you’re busy, you don’t think as much (about these things).  And, while that may be true, do I want to busy myself with work that does nothing other than feed the careless, wasteful impulses of others (just because someone chooses to make a business of that, because someone convinced them this was profitable) or work for someone who sells a lie built around fear/doubt?

Oh, sure, I could get very busy.  I could not make any money and devote my life to charity because the world sure needs plenty of help.  But, I am terribly afraid of my social and general anxieties getting in the way, of ending up penniless and dependent upon some system I don’t necessarily understand or like.  It’s not like I would be good at balancing charity with doing everything I need to support myself.  I’d more likely give my all and wind up with nothing…or give so little that I feel like a cheapskate/miser.  It is all a bit too risky for me.  [Yet, charity sounds better than some alternatives.]

Sigh.  Woof!

 

 

 

 

08
Feb
18

The Impact of (Lacking) Friendship

****

I’m going to start of this thought train with a very vital question.  Does anyone else know what it is like to go 30+ years without a solid, reliable, comforting friendship in one’s life?  Does anyone have any idea…if you have a circle or even just two good friends…can you imagine the impact on a life of not having a reassuring friendship for 30+ years?

If I was someone who had at least two friends upon which I could go to with anything and actually hang out on a regular basis, feel like there was nothing taboo or that would earn me some measure of rejection, I would probably be speechless to find someone who had no good friends for that long.

Obviously, I am having a personal crisis moment.  I have these now and then about friendship.  The last time I felt I had a solid friendship, I was 13; and that friend decided to date a “frenemy” (friend who became a sort of enemy/indifferent classmate) and say we’d never be more than friends though I was hoping she and I would be more than friends, after knowing each other so long and growing together and after having feelings I didn’t even understand long before they were a topic in sex education.  I was roughly 7 years old when I knew I felt something for this girl who became a good friend.

I had male friends, too.  But, usually, one at a time, and they were not the best friendships because most of my focus was on what we had to share, video games, trading cards, whatever.  Sure, we could joke and hang out together, but not as often as I would have liked.  [And, there’s another reason behind that I won’t go into, today.  One that was not of my control/choice.]  For some reason, I couldn’t have more than one male friend at a time.  It was like one would rub me the wrong way or he’d get tired of my cautiousness and find someone more fun to visit.  So, out the door one would go, and, somehow, another slipped into place.  I don’t even know how I made these friends.  I think we just sat together at lunchtime and, while talking about video games or some kind of toys, decided we should consult our parents about getting together.

As for my best female friend, we met through a summer group and stuck together through school.  It was almost like we were two trees growing side-by-side.  And, I remember the distinct difference between the guy friends and the girl friend.  The girl friend was more sympathetic on her own while the guy friends found discussing feelings a bit uncomfortable.

I regularly had to curb what I said with the guys whenever they turned stone-silent and looked away.  Even as a kid, I had too much to think about or say, not necessarily being chatty at the time…because I was still one of the “quiet ones” back then.  I didn’t get chatty til my teens when I had to fight for my life, different from the days with bullies when I sometimes settled things with my fist or foot.  [The cornered cat scratched back, back then.]

As I got older, friends became even harder to find and keep.  In high school, I was under a ton of internal turmoil for a handful of reasons.  And, if the guys didn’t know how to deal with that when I was little, they were not much if any better as teenagers.  And, the girls were suddenly like deer in the eyes of wildcats.  The laws of the jungle were taking hold of my peers, and here I was contemplating the meaning of life and where my future was headed.  I might as well have been a lamppost in the forest.  The friendships I managed to make with the old system of common interests fizzled as soon as I became emotional or found my “friend” was supporting a cause or theology I did not respect.  I had to make moral choices, and that left me out in the cold, time and time, again.  No one came to my aid.  Peers didn’t reach out any better than I did.  [I probably would have been more social if I wasn’t consumed with anxiety and depression.]

Even professionals could only do so much; they didn’t understand.  A pill was not the answer; it might mess with my head and distract some part of me from functioning, but I cannot live the rest of my life like that and still feel human or true to my faith.  And, a pill is not the answer to a family situation that’s problematic.

[You can’t make everything better just by twisting my brain into some alien configuration that gets “better channels.”  My family did not have the answer nor accept me as I was.   A pill is not going to change that; talking just to me isn’t going to change that. And, distancing myself from family is only going to make me feel more alone and inadequate without a friendship to fill the gaps.

If people cannot cope with my intense persona, do I honestly think a pill that shuts me up is going to make that all better or allow me to see and use the “tools” someone thinks are the answer?  Some might say, “You don’t know until you try.”  Wanna be a guinea pig and deal with all the hazardous side-effects while trying to find the “right pill for you?”  Be my guest.  I hope you live long enough to toss the pill bottle when you finally feel better before you have other medical issues, possibly from liver or kidney sediment.  I hope the pill spares you from dealing with real emotional matters and when whoever upsets you gets on your nerves, again.  Or, if you’re one of those real lucky ones who DO “level out” just right…well, I’ve got nothing to say about that.]

So began the age of “no one understands.”

Then we get to adulthood and the workforce and how people don’t really mature much, even if they sound and look more mature.  Or, if there were more mature people, I had lost comprehension of maturity and was not seeing them beyond the trees of the forest I occupied.  I might read about someone with a “better” life without knowing all the facts and listen when others point to those people and say, “Look; they can do it.  Why can’t you?”

I manage to get along with coworkers.  I even get brave enough to put offers on the table.  And, on a rare occasion, someone makes me an offer.   But, what happens to those offers?  Not much.  If I get my hopes up, they seem to disappear or go south.  If I hesitate or brush it off, I hear, “Why didn’t you take me up on my offer?”  Um, maybe because I didn’t want to get my hopes up for the first result I mentioned?  Or, maybe you didn’t bring it up twice even though I can mention the same desire/wish a dozen times just to get a faint chuckle and/or a “yea” before it gets ignored.

Have I made any solid friendship with coworkers?  Not really.  I mean, sure, we got along and talked off and on at work for over 10 years.  I can email and call a few just to say hi and “catch up.”  And, no doubt, we’re all good at telling each other what they should do.

But, do we hang out or do anything outside of work?  Oh, no, because there was something wrong with me or my abilities.  Or, as unfortunate as it might be, we both have limitations that get in the way.  And, maybe, I don’t want to be the single, lonely guy poking his nose into a family or married situation when I am unsure of what is good timing or proper to suggest without offense.  [And, I don’t mean I was ogling someone’s wife, either.  But, if I was befriending a guy with an attractive wife, sure, I may feel attracted and then have to watch myself, which does add pressure to the situation.]  I don’t want to be the guy who “has too much time on his hands” and gets plenty of suggestions what to do with myself when I want to spend time with or have someone go over something important with me, who happens to have their hands full with family or their own social life, as if I would be a bother.

So, I am supposed to be a fully functional, professional and well-adjusted adult on his own, not letting what others say or do get to me, doing everything on my own as if I don’t have to interact with anyone yet somehow do whatever is “normal” to avoid being an outsider.  It’s like no one can explain how good friendship works….it just does.  It’s just like Life cereal.  Why does Mikey like it?  He just does.  And, Nike just does it.  So, why can’t I?

Well, if anyone wonders why I am progressing so slowly in terms of a “normal adult life” yet sitting with this “amazing brain” of mine, hopefully this current rant will shed some light on the matter and not drive potential friends further away.

 

28
Feb
17

My Response to “Bored Life in Wisconsin” (Dear Abby)

*****
You can find my response to this and other letters on the designated page. But, while you’re here, have a read.

Bored Life is a fifteen year-old teenager suffering from a mix of social anxiety and depression. It’s uncertain if this person is a boy or girl. But, they are clearly at a crossroad in life, lacking friendship and comfortable chats with peers, questioning acceptance of their chosen hobbies, wanting desperately to improve their situation. [I didn’t know kids (or “young adults”) still play Dungeons and Dragons.]

Abby suggests joining some groups to stimulate social activity. And, that’s sound advice (even I have yet to follow). But, I suspect this teen is resistant to joining (as I was/am). And, that may be why he/she is having such difficulty. I will speak from experience and, hopefully, provide some reassurance. But, considering my ongoing struggles, I can’t promise much. Still, it may shed some light on the paid advisor for future cases.

————–

Bored Life? I’m going to give you more than something or “anything.” Not just advice but also some of my own experience with what you are facing.

Lesson number one. Don’t ever say you’re bored or boring. Because, to the people that matter in your life, you’re not.

As I read your letter, I am checking off all the points that may match not just my teenage years but also my adult life. Repetitive schedule (including the details you gave)? Check. Depressed? Check. Inability to drive? Check. Trouble talking to others–aka social anxiety–double check. Parents that don’t go anywhere/do anything to stimulate your mind…nor, apparently, your bond/relationship with them? [Which may be something we want to discuss, later.] Double check. No friends with whom you can hang out/feel at ease with in person? Double check and an exclamation point!

Right now–and for who knows how long–you don’t have a “crowd.” You don’t have your niche. You’re a rare purple song bird in a forest full of blue and pink ones. You could perch next to a group and give your two cents. But, that would leave your comfort zone. And, once out of that comfort zone, you fear you’ll get hurt. Right? Who or what will protect you when you are completely exposed to the public and responsible for your words/actions.

Let’s tackle those key notes separately.

1) Your comfort zone/crowd.
This is what suits your desires/interests. It’s what you feel most at ease doing. This includes those “boring” activities you indulge, homework and drawing. When you get older, people start associating this with a career and raising children. Those become zones into which people lock themselves and struggle to escape. Some run away, producing single parents and questionable resumes.

Here’s the first ray of light I’d like to shed your way. What may seem boring today could be seen as a sign of dedicated study and achievement, later. And, perhaps, in the future, your work will pay off with attracting the niche crowd you’ve wanted, allowing you to filter out those who are not what they appear. [And, there will be your share of those, as well.]

Surely, you are not the only person in your world who is focused on homework, drawing and video games. Quite likely, there are others who are just about as secluded as you. And, that is why you don’t see each other or pair up. You are in your own corners, feeling similar doubts and concerns. Yet, even though you may have the same interests, there’s also the matter of personality differences.

2) Fear of painful exposure.
When we aren’t naturally adept to or taught at an early age to socialize, it becomes more and more like a stiff joint we haven’t moved in a while. It’s painful and/or difficult to stretch. It feels alien and uncertain, scary, even. What if we make the wrong move and do more harm? Leaving one’s comfort zone, trying new things…these can become painful to imagine. And, who doesn’t want to avoid pain?…except maybe those who preach “No pain, no gain.”

There are those that seem to make life appear easy. Jocks flock with jocks and hide any emotional responses they may have. Glam queens gab with other glam queens, and one is usually prettier than the rest for a reason. But, just because these people hang out and/or play together doesn’t mean they’re good friends. They may be avoiding your discomfort simply by staying busy. When they go home, life may not be as fun as they appear in school. School becomes their escape from solitude, family troubles and responsibility. It’s a different sort of comfort zone that seems high risk to people like you and me. It’s the fast lane while we coast in the slow lane.

3) Responsibility and taking chances.
Even I will admit (though I’m genetically inclined to deny) I have moments when I don’t want to be responsible for what happens. Companies satisfy this fear by posting “disclaimers” and “warnings,” all manners of fine print to ward off punishment should their business fail to satisfy the consumer and/or do greater harm. There may be something in the human genetic matrix that detests responsibility. But, if you know anything about Spider-Man, you likely know what Uncle Ben taught him.

Our great power is being the dominant species of this planet. Our responsibility is how we wield that power. We cannot be entirely careless with our actions. What we say and do impacts others.

Yet, we cannot take NO action or risk, either. If we try nothing, we achieve nothing. [But, don’t be so quick to dismiss what you DO try. Sometimes and some people will think you do nothing when, in fact, you ARE doing something that just isn’t apparent.]

One of the hard lessons of adulthood is taking steps to make progress (or even maintain what already exists) and being responsible for what results. If something goes wrong and it’s genuinely our fault, we need to take what comes with this negative result or defend ourselves if the punishment seems unjust. There will be other times when what occurs is just coincidence or cosmic fate, an “accident” we may not have been able to prevent. And, we need to learn to “roll with the punches;” accept failure or lesser achievement, regroup and try, again.

As I say, I am in a similar rut as you and not adept to making improvements/changes. But, many years after being in your shoes, I’ve gathered various tidbits of insight, therapy and wisdom from various sources. Right now, you’re at the start space on the board game of adulthood. Or, maybe, three steps from the start. I took a bit of a detour along one of those chutes or ladders and am not much closer to the finish line. But, I feel “wiser” for the experience. And, every step outside my comfort zone I am able to make, I get a tiny bit less afraid…even if I sometimes meet with what might be seen as disaster.

If I may, I have a few questions I hope aren’t too bothersome.

1) Who got you interested in Dungeons and Dragons? As I said earlier, I didn’t think anyone (especially your age) still played such games. I thought that was reserved for people from my and older generations.

I myself never played but have studied maps and guides. They were sources of artistic inspiration in my youth. I can remember being about seven or eight when I drew a picture of a warrior fending off “yellow mold” (and “black pudding” in another drawing) with a spear or sword.

2) You’ve NEVER had a crush on anyone? I could see not kissing or dating. But, not even a strong feeling about another person?

I had those feelings as early as four years old. I was given some unpleasant labels in my youth and in my teens which did not help me make friends and made approaching the concept of a romantic relationship almost impossible. I knew I wanted more than friendship with at least one girl. But, neither my parents nor my peers were any help in making my wishes come true. Instead, they made life more difficult and made me curl up in my “corner.”

Granted, there was one kid in my class who seemed the sort you claim to be. He had no interest in girls. Nor was he admittedly gay. I’d call him asexual because he was obsessed with annoying details in everything and never once said anything flattering about a boy/man or girl/woman, never showed any interest. If you asked him about such feelings, he’d pick a verbal fight and insult you.

There may be a strange blessing in this absence of “passion.” You could be spared the trials others face because they cannot control their “lust.” You could avoid the distractions and penalties (unplanned parenthood, for one) and get ahead in other areas of living. Then, down the road, those feelings you’ve been without might surface (at “the right time”). Yet, you are feeling discomfort because this difference makes relating to others less likely.

You make a point of mentioning how having feelings for someone can be a big part of interacting/talking with peers. [Can I just say I have not known any teen your age to even use the word “peers” in a sentence? That strikes me as unusual, too. I’d say “classmates,” “fellow students” or “other kids in my school.” But, peers?]

And, I can relate to that, too. I am pretty sure that’s why I was given the labels I received; I didn’t feel comfortable talking about “banging” that girl/guy or how much I wanted to grab some girl’s breasts. [Nor could I gossip about past relationships I didn’t have.] I felt guys who did this were juvenile. I didn’t necessarily say or think I was better than them–as many would argue against me–but I didn’t want to be like them. I chose a different path and was humiliated for it.

My struggles were amplified by factors I never saw coming. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed. I was at war with family. And, all of that slowed down any progress I could make so badly that I could see everyone else walking away and getting ahead in life. I continue to question my decisions and why I had to fight those battles. Could I have avoided the conflicts somehow? Could I have ignored the “jerks” and focused better on those who mattered? Why did I make the decisions I made?

I seem to recall writing a letter like yours back when I was your age (except I made it clear I had feelings for a number of girls and was distraught for losing contact with at least one). I did not find or receive any response. Hopefully, you’ll find my words and get some good out of them.

18
Mar
16

The Water-Level of Emotion Crests

*****

I’ve held back tears for so long, the reasons for them have blurred together.  Now, the water has risen to rim of the dam and is pushing me to release it.  But, I cannot just cry without a shoulder to catch those tears.  So, the wall must hold.  Or, maybe, I just need to get some sunshine…and not a dose of spring pollen or sunburn.

08
Mar
15

Tragic Personal Update

I’ll keep this brief as it’s hard for me to resort to pecking with one hand…

I fell on icy snow in a most foolish way.  It’s my fault I dislocated my left elbow.  I didn’t get immediate care…it’s a complicated story.  I saw lots of “professionals” with differing answers.  I had too many useless x-rays.  I was put under so strongly, I thought I died and didn’t sleep the next night.  I thought I’d dodge surgery and ended up with the worst news next to amputation.  My family is too trusting to support my doubts and all I have to help.  I am miserable, feeling hapless and helpless.  And, I can’t help feeling like people took advantage of me.

I’m not me…am I?  I don’t feel like my usual self, and that arm doesn’t match my right.




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