Monthly Archives: May 2014

Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

Hang on, I need to get some music going.  I know I should have thought of it sooner, but there you are.


When did people, especially parents, become so paranoid?  This is something I’ve kind of wondered about in the back of my mind, but only this morning did it come to the front.  Why? you may ask.  This morning I was driving back from Dunkin’ Donuts (because I felt like being really naughty, diabetes be damned) and I got to my court just as the school bus that was picking up kids was closing its doors in preparation to leave.  Before the bus started up, a mother in a silver SUV of some sort who was parked at the corner pulled out of the court waving to the bus driver.  When the bus left and I turned in, there was a father standing there, having seen his teenager off.  I have also noticed that around four in the afternoon, when the school bus comes back with elementary school kids, there is another mother who parks her car at the corner, picks up her little darling then drives down to the end of the court.

If the court were a long street, I could understand this behavior.  If the children had trouble walking, I could understand the behavior.  But the street is maybe 400 feet long.  Seriously?  The little darlings can’t walk 400 feet and can’t wait for the bus without an “adult” present?

I am about the age where, if I had had children (or a wife, or a lover, or a life, or…), I would have a teenager also.  Back when I was going to elementary school and high school, nobody walked me (or drove me, for that matter) to the bus stop, and the walk was a bit longer than 400 feet.  Three neighbor children and I would stand at the bus stop by ourselves.  We would get off the bus and walk home by ourselves.  A few times in high school, I had to walk home because I had missed the late bus.  I have to assume that most children of my generation had similar experiences.  So why is it now that children need constant supervision.

Also, when I was young, I used to play outside with no adult supervision.  I used to fall down, get scraped up, even bleed with nary a problem.  I didn’t wear a helmet when I rode my bike.  I would tumble down hills and jump off of and over things with no padding (except my fat gut).

All of this happened, and I turned out mostly okay.  So why is it now that the little darlings can’t go to the bus stop by themselves, can’t play without ten pounds of protective gear and most of all, can’t do anything without adults hovering over them?

I’m willing to admit that maybe my views are a little harsher because I don’t have children.  But still, I feel the stifling paranoia that parents are exposing their children to will create a generation of even more paranoid and over-protective adults.  Do we really need that?

To answer my own question about when this all started, I think the pat answer is September 11, when we in America became a nation of people who were suspected of being terrorists by our own government (and hello to the NSA agent whose ears just perked up with this sentence).  And perhaps the pat answer is correct: that all the subsequent years of government-sponsored paranoia (“LIVE IN FEAR!  LIVE IN FEAR!  THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU!  BOO!  RE-ELECT ME!”) have affected us all.

I just wish people would realize that, while there are security concerns, there’s no need to be a hair’s breadth from panic all the time.

(See, I can write about stuff besides my own depression.)

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Port 22 – Secure Shell

I have been off Facebook for four weeks now (except for playing games and sometimes sending stuff to other people).  Nobody has sent a message asking if I’m okay.

I have been off Twitter for about two and a half weeks.  Nobody has sent a message asking if I’m okay.

I’m still checking emails, but nobody has sent a message there, either.

Intellectually, I know that people didn’t respond to my Facebook posts or tweets because they are busy and (especially given that most people I know on either or both have much bigger circles than I do) either didn’t see my post or just don’t have time to respond.

But in my screwed-up head, the demons run amok.  “The reason they don’t respond is because they haven’t noticed your gone.  You’re not that important.  They don’t care about you.”

With the demons in control, I find that I am retreating from society.  I still go bowling, I still talk to my teammates, I still talk to the people at work in our meetings.  But at the beginning of the year, I had resolved to try to start getting out more.  And I didn’t feel as anxious as I have in the past.  But I feel as though I am rebuilding the shell that I built around myself after Stony Brook in 1986.  It took twenty years to even begin to break out of that shell, and I don’t really want to go back there.

But if I go back into my shell, then maybe the apathy won’t hurt as much.


NOTE ON THE TITLE: I have been studying for a computer networking certification for about six weeks now.  Any further explanation would bore you to tears (if anybody’s reading this).

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Good news/bad news

Good news: I just found out that I’ve lost ten pounds since I last weighed myself (probably three or four months ago).

Bad news: I need to lose another 25 before we sail to Bermuda to be able to go on any of the shore excursions.

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Occupied in Exile

A friend of mine commented on Facebook that he was slowly returning from his self-imposed week-long break from posting there and he thanked everybody that had written to him to see if he was okay.  I looked back and discovered that I have been in my self-imposed exile from Facebook (I mentioned why in a previous post here) for three weeks, and then I realized that nobody has noticed.  As I tweeted, “I’m not sure how I should take that.”

I was thinking about starting to post more often (like maybe every other day) but, well, that idea flew out the window.

That’s one of my problems: I get ideas about things to do and trying to fit them in around all of the other things I have to do (like work and school and helping around the house and bowling and…) can’t be done.  I don’t think this rush to get things done is mania, though (as in manic-depressive).  I think part of it is that these are things that I would like to do or learn, but I also think part of it is because somehow–sub-consciously–I want to keep my brain busy so that it can’t attack me.

This was going to be a longer post, but I’m experiencing two of the downsides of trying to keep myself busy: lack of sleep and headaches.

Am I doing better than I was last weekend?  Maybe.  The best I can say is that I’m doing no worse.  But for me, I think that’s good, because with dysthymia like I have, I’ll always be down, but at least I’m not more down.

Okay, time to lie down.

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I have to say I was amazed this morning when I opened one of my email accounts and discovered all sorts of emails from WordPress telling me that people had read yesterday’s post and liked it (which, honestly, sounds a little weird to me, given the content of the post) or are now following me (I’ll try to post more frequently and not always on depressing stuff–although if I am in that mood, I will post about depressing stuff) and even one lovely comment (thank you, whittlingharmony).

When I wrote that post and put it up, I figured there would only be maybe (big maybe) one person who would read it.  The reason?  Because I don’t advertise this blog of mine at all.  I put up a tweet to announce that I’d put up a new post, but I only have two or three friends in real life who are on Twitter and follow me.  I thought maybe one of them might see it and comment, but most likely not because his weekends are usually pretty jam-packed.  The origins of this blog are fodder for another time.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank those of you whom I’ve never met who read my writing yesterday and expressed your feelings about it.  I’m still wresting with the essential question about why I seem unable to cry when real life actually turns sad.  Maybe I’m not meant to understand it.  But this week, I will contact my health insurance provider and at least find out if they’ll help me go talk to somebody.

Peace and progress.

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“What the hell is wrong with me?”

This is a question that I ask myself a lot, mainly because I’m not all that fond of myself.  But this post is about something different, something that actually bothers me even now, four days after the triggering event, three days after I asked myself the question.

Just to show you, here are ways I usually answer the question.  These answers have become so much a part of my inner dialogue that they don’t really register any more, even though I know that, to an outsider, these are horrible things to say:

  • “I’m fat.”
  • “I’m ugly.”
  • “I’m not that bright.”
  • “I’m old.”
  • “I’m lonely.”
  • “I have no redeeming social qualities of any sort.”
  • “I smell bad.”  (Okay, this one isn’t very often thought.)
  • “I’m useless.”  (This was big back when I was unemployed for six years.)
  • …and so on…

You get the idea.  These really crop up when I’m depressed.  I used to post on Facebook, but somebody told me that every single post I put up (an extreme exaggeration) is negative, and I should try being grateful.  So I don’t post on Facebook anymore.

So why don’t I talk to somebody when I’m feeling down, either a friend or a professional who can maybe help guide me out of that thinking?  Well for one thing, being socially anxious (at least I think I am), I don’t have a large circle of friends, and none in my immediate area.  My friends from high school and on Facebook are all busy.  Plus I don’t like to burden others with my problems, which I’ve been told are fairly penny-ante in the grand scheme of things.  And, since I live in AmURica, there is a stigma attached to admitting you have any sort of mental issue, so you’re almost forced to keep it quiet.  And, again, since I live in AmURica, there is no comprehensive health care coverage (unless you can afford it), and since I couldn’t really afford it, I couldn’t go talk to somebody.  Even now that I have health insurance (for the first time in a decade), I don’t know if it will cover a shrink or not.

Sorry, that was a long tangent.  So here’s what happened.  Tuesday night, my aunt died.  She has been sick for a while, so we expected it to happen sooner or later, but still, when the news came, it was like a punch in the oompa-loompas.  Mom broke down sobbing (it was her sister).  Me?  Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.  I just pulled out the laptop and started researching possible options to get her to California to be with the family.  I felt something (and I still do) but no tears.

Then Wednesday night, I was having a massage, which gives my brain a lot of time to make associations and plot against me.  And my brain, trooper that it is, came up with a whopper.  What would have been my Dad’s 77th birthday is tomorrow, and my brain brought up the fact that when my Dad passed away in 2009, I didn’t cry either.  Again, I felt it (that was like a sledgehammer to the oompa-loompas), but again, no tears.

So, what the hell is wrong with me?

In 2009, I rationalized that I didn’t cry either because it was such a shock or because I had been on anti-depressants for so long that I couldn’t cry.  And Wednesday night, I started off with that latter excuse.  But it can’t be true, because I can cry at sad moments in movies or books.  But when people in my family or people who are close to me die, I can’t remember crying during the past decade.

So what the hell is wrong with me?

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