Tag Archives: depression

My brain hates me

So last night, I had a dream (as do most people).  And to anybody who is in the same area code as normal, the dream would probably have been pleasant, although confusing to many.  Me?  I woke up more depressed than I have been in a very long time.  In fact, I started crying three times on the drive to work, that’s how bad I felt.

 

You need to know a couple of things about me for this to make any sense at all:

 

  • I have had a grand total of one sort-of girlfriend in my life.  This was back in high school.  Since then (30+ years): nothing.  Because…
  • I’ve been shy all my life.  But, ever since the end of my first year in college, it has been much, much worse.  I describe myself as “pathologically shy”, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I appeared somewhere on the social anxiety scale.  Because of this, I have an almost impossible time getting to know people.  I don’t do well in crowds of strangers.
  • And, not to put too fine a point on it, I hate myself.  I hate the way I look, I have no confidence in myself, and most times, I feel like I don’t deserve anything good.

So, on to the dream.

 

I dreamed that I was in a large office–something much bigger than where I work now, basically a cubicle farm.  Two beautiful ladies (because everybody in TV, movies, books and dreams are beautiful, aren’t they?) in the office whom I worked with found out how shy I am and began to help me to come out of my shell and meet people.  They would role-play with me, talk with me, take me out into social situations and so on.  This went on for months.  And of course, it being a dream and me being male, it went further, but I don’t need to get into that.

 

Sounds pleasant, no?  Sounds helpful and maybe even hopeful?

 

The effect it had on me was to remind me how lonely I have been for all of these years.  (Dammit, here I go again.)  It makes me think about all the things (good and bad) that I have missed out on by not having someone in my life.  It reminds me how disconnected I am from the everyday world.  It has made me feel like a giant failure–which is a feeling that is usually reserved only for December.

 

I should probably talk to somebody about these feelings (cuz I sure as hell can’t close the door at work so that I can cry in peace), but because I live in Murica, I have a health insurance plan that my employer and I pay almost $400 a month for that pays for approximately jack shit, so I cannot afford to seek help.  Besides, I live in a cow town and I’m not sure if there even are counselors close by.  And, because of the shyness (social anxiety, whatever you want to call it), I have no close friends in the area that I can talk to.  I could talk to my mom, but she’s got enough on her plate.  All I can do is swallow it all, take my pills, write my feelings down in a blog that nobody reads and pretend that everything is okay.  I can’t talk about it on Facebook or Twitter because I have learned that nobody wants to hear from me when I’m down, so I put up my coded phrase on both of those saying “Hi!  Everything’s great!” and I’m just going to disappear for a while.  And, when I last looked, it appears I have completely fooled four people (they “liked” my post on Facebook)–including my mom, which makes me feel even worse.

 

This is my scream for help into the darkness that nobody will hear.

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Please let me die tonight

I have a simple request of whatever is in charge: please let me die tonight.

Today started out okay.  Then it got bad.  Then it got worse.  Finally, it ended up as pretty much of a horror show.

I’ve deactivated my Facebook account just in case (which is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, anyway–too much of a time suck plus I found myself getting angry every time I logged on and read posts).

So can a guy get one break?  Please let me die tonight.

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The Sin of Eating Alone

I actually meant to write this last week, when the idea first occurred to me, but I was too down and didn’t have the mental energy.

A few weeks ago, I went to Hooters after I failed my certification exam.  I don’t go to Hooters that often for two reasons: the closest restaurant is about fifty miles away, and; I tend to leave the restaurant depressed because it tends to remind me how utterly alone and bereft of female companionship I am (which is a whole long story of itself).  The exam was near the closest Hooters, and I was really in the mood for their buffalo shrimp, so I had decided to go there regardless of how I did on the exam.  I was seated at a table near the back corner of the restaurant.  My waitress was very nice (and obviously pretty), but I noticed that, except for when she brought my food, I didn’t see her.  In looking around, I noticed that tables that had three or four people (especially all men), the waitress would hang around the table, talk with the guests, sort of flirt with the guys and so on.  When I left after that lunch, I felt even more depressed than usual.

A couple of weeks ago, my brain started to think about this, and at first, it made me think I was too fat and ugly, and that was why the waitress did not hang around to talk to me.  But then, it started making other connections.

Like those few times I’d been to Bonefish Grill by myself.  Every time I ate there, I would order an appetizer, a salad and an entree.  Invariably, the salad would come before I had finished the appetizer, then the entree would come just as I was starting to eat my salad.  Or, once, the salad came after the entree.  And once, the salad and entree came at the same time.

Like those times that I went into Red Robin (yum!) by myself and the first choice offered was in the bar and not at a table like everybody else.

Like those times I’ve been to Applebee’s by myself and the waiter or waitress would be there every two or three minutes, asking if everything was okay and seemingly trying to hurry me along.

And it hit me: restaurants don’t like to waste tables on people who are alone.  I can see the economic reason–one person at a table is not going to generate as much revenue as a party of four, so it makes sense to get parties of one rotated out as quickly as possible.  But still, it doesn’t feel right to me; it feels discriminatory (insert your own Indiana joke here).  I’m there to eat, just like everybody else, so why should I not have the same experience as those other customers?

Am I suggesting this is a conspiracy among restaurants?  No, I’m not that paranoid.  But given the fact that it happens at this many places kinda makes me wonder.  Should I just not eat out?  Should I hire somebody to go with me so I can be treated like everybody else?

Now, it’s not all bad.  Since I usually have a book with me wherever I go, sometimes I can get some reading done (unless I’m in a place like Applebee’s that is overt in trying to get me out by having the server at my table every couple of minutes).

But sometimes, I want to take my time, eat slowly. look around, maybe even try to talk to the beautiful woman who happens to be bringing me food or refills on my drink.  You know, just like everybody else.  I don’t want to feel like I need to apologize for being there alone, or at all, or that somehow, my presence there is hurting the establishment.  But more and more, it feels like that.

So tonight, before bowling, I will probably go to Red Robin (yum) for dinner.  And I will probably end up in the bar, because that’s where single people are encouraged to sit, away from the tables with the normal people.  And I will probably feel like apologizing to either the person who guides me to the bar or maybe the server.  I hope not, though, because I’m tired of eating my own guilt.

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Maybe I did deserve it

The most traumatic event of my life happened in May of 1986, on the last night of my first year of college, on Long Island (further years were not on Long Island), while I sat in the corner of my dorm, hoping that the flimsy door would hold up.  It was not the darkest night of my life (that honor came on a night almost three years later), but it was a night that sent my mental and emotional life in a completely new direction, and in whose shadow I still live 28-plus years later.

The summer after it happened, I went to see a psychiatrist because I was having nightmares.  His response was: “So what do you want me to do?”

Four years later, I told the story in a group therapy session.  Most of the people in the group didn’t believe it.

I won’t bore you with the story.  I finally wrote it all down about fifteen years ago.  I couched it in terms of fiction, but everything I wrote happened or were my dreams about it.

My mind has been replaying that night for the past few nights as I’ve been trying to get to sleep.  I don’t know why exactly, because even though that night affected my emotions so, I try not to think about it and, for the most part, succeed.  In addition, my mind has been getting me to look at it in a new light.

The only way I’ve lived with this really and not have it drive me completely insane was to convince myself that I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  My drowsy mind has been re-evaluating that conclusion and tonight, while I was having a massage, it kept turning over in my head.  I couldn’t stop it.  And now, I begin to wonder if maybe I didn’t somehow deserve it.  Because I was studying a lot, because I was trying to learn, because I didn’t really get into the partying scene that was rampant on the hall, did I set myself up as a target?  And might I not have deserved it if the herd (as I called my hallmates in the aforementioned story) chose to shoot at the target?

Most of me believes that’s nonsense.  But there is a small but growing part that says that I brought it on myself.  Maybe I did, and maybe my fucked-up life is my own damn fault.

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Withdrawal

I had been hoping to write in here more frequently than once a week or so, but so far that isn’t working out.  I think my problem is lack of motivation.

As I’ve chronicled, I haven’t posted on Facebook in probably two months, nor have I tweeted for about a month and a half.  I find that nobody has noticed me missing.  That isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) my prime reason for posting, but I do find it drains my motivation to put myself out anywhere.  I think about posting here and then quickly talk myself out of it, saying “why bother to expend the energy?”

The other, and perhaps more disturbing, thoughts that have crept into my psyche revolve around completely withdrawing from the world.  I’ve already stopped Facebook and Twitter, I’m not posting much in here.  One of my goals for this year was to try to get out more and meet people, but I’m thinking about stopping that, too (not that I’ve done a whole lot of that, anyway).  Just become a hermit.  I think I could do it and have nobody miss me.

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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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“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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