Depression, Stress, Anxiety and Coffee

I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.

And I’m a master of procrastination and escapism.

This makes for being a terrible person and a horrific writer.

I haven’t written on this blog since May. There is no plan, rhyme or reason for this post, but I do need to write something. A lot has changed and a lot is the same. Losing love, or whatever it was, really took a lot of wind out of my sails.

She and I don’t even really talk anymore.

Any substitute is just a form of avoidance or feeble attempts at getting that unsubstantial high.

Therapy has been helping. Delving into the person I am. Delving into the ecosystem of my personal life. The actions or habits I have that may be detrimental to myself and my relationships, now and in the future. I’ve been working on communication with my spouse. Finding out where her head is at. Working on where I am going; where we should be going. We actually have been getting along swimmingly this summer. Vacations, managing our little family and household. We even went on a date. I feel like we’re making progress and learning to communicate.

I just don’t know if she’s my person.

Are we so different now that it’ll be better to fundamentally change our relationship? Is there something better and more nurturing for all of us? That is the journey I’m still on this year.

I working to not have two lives, one where I escape the uncomfortable realities of my real life. The other of course is real life.

Also I am working on creating a healthier ecosystem of support in my life – my home life, work life and friend life. I need a strong work environment to support my mentally so I’m working on getting out of the house and into a studio environment where ideas can be exchanges, new opportunities discovered and generally be around creatives. I’m an introvert but I can’t create alone. And I depend on my creativity to pay my bills.

Oh, there are so many bills.

Being depressed kills me (figuratively). I turn to doing nothing but looking for a quick fix from anything that will make me feel anything. I don’t write. I don’t work. I don’t love or live.

But I can’t do that. I’ve got bills to pay. And a life to lead.

Depression, stress and anxiety aren’t going anywhere. I need to cope better. I need to rely on others while simultaneously relying on myself. I need to write, work and spend time enjoying life.

But right now I need a cup of coffee.

Island In the Sun

Thursday, May 23, 2019 – 5:32am

I hate mornings like these. I’ve been up since 4am. Tossing and turning in bed. Looking at my phone. Hearing the birds wake up, watching the brightening sky turn the room grey from black. My cat jumping back and forth in bed (he always has to be on the side I’m facing). Purring, his tail twitching.

I finally decided not to fight it. So here I am typing away. A bit of house keeping in this entry. I’ve been depressed for a long time. The tough thing about being depressed is some days I don’t know what to do. Some days I have a vast list of things I want to do. And some days I can’t do anything if I wanted to. Every day is a new adventure when your mind is bleak but your broken spirit still yearns. I don’t know how often I’ll post. I’ve blogged before and it’s impossible for me to keep a schedule. It’s like I write when the stars align. And the state I’m in means those stars have a mind of their own. Thinking out loud here, maybe getting a schedule for writing would be healthy – kind of like how I’m trying to exercise daily…

I started off this blog with song titles for the entries. It’s fun, and somewhat appropriate (we’ll get into that some other day. Though everything needs a soundtrack, right?). I don’t know if I’ll keep it up – I don’t want to make my writing “work” and I don’t want to have to scour the internet for obscure songs to fit my mood or the theme of any one post. Today’s entry could very easily be “I’m On An Island” but ugh, that’s such a sucky Kinks song I couldn’t do it. So I picked “Island in the Sun” which is an infinitely better song by Weezer, and it’s decidedly more upbeat so that’s a bonus.

I’ve felt alone and isolated for some time now. The last year. The last six years. Ten? Somewhere around there. Making kids was stressful. Raising kids is stressful. Building a house was stressful. Losing my job was stressful. I’ve been working from home, essentially isolated from the rest of the world for several years now. As a creative that is a death sentence. I’ve spread myself thin. I’m depressed, anxious and stressed.

My wife and I get along in many ways that most couples do not. We almost always agree on vacations, home decor, pets, running the household and raising the kids. We are not great communicators when it comes to our personal relationships. I’m not going to delve into it too much here. I am just worn out you know. I talk about it enough in therapy and in my mind. My point here is I feel I’ve been going through much of the last decade alone, albeit with this fat fuzzy cat by my side – he’s like an anxiety and depression sponge, offloading my negative energy. I think that’s why he’s so fat.

Anyway, I really can’t take it anymore. I’m really tired and scared. I can’t feel like I’m on an island anymore. The biggest step I’ve taken on this front is I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last month or so. I went to a health and wellness presentation this past winter. At that event a (different) therapist gave a presentation and what I got out of it was: I believe almost anyone can benefit from therapy. We spend a lot of time and money on our physical health. We see doctors, exercise, take medicine, eat right…why not do the same for our mental health. We don’t have to go through life alone, nor do we have to rely on the roll of the dice when it comes to family, partners or friends.

After a few months I finally got the courage to get a recommendation and make an appointment. My therapist and I have had good conversations, and we seem to be a good fit for each other. Now once a week I’m able to let it all out, work through what I’m going through and have someone to help strategize with on my path forward.

The focus of our sessions is my relationship with my spouse, which for me is what I need to resolve in my opinion. It’s not a healthy relationship. I’m not happy in it, and have not been for a very long time. I don’t know if my spouse is happy. We don’t communicate. We don’t show affection (other than family vacations we haven’t slept in the same room in ten years). My kids are watching and learning. This is bad. I do not want to just leave like some people might. Maybe I don’t leave at all. Maybe I do. Regardless I want this next step to healthy, nurturing and kind for all of us. It is what we deserve. I don’t buy into society’s one size fits all expectations and resolutions to relationships. We need to have a situation that is right for each of us, right for our family. We all deserve happiness and we all need the courage to choose happiness.

Now is the time.

I want off of my island (that is not always in the sun).

Middle Of The Road

My unofficial mantra had always been if everyone else is happy, if everything else is taken care of, I would then be free to be happy in whatever way that meant. I could spend all day Saturday playing video games in my pajamas, eating pizza and drinking beer, if I wanted to. I kinda want to.

The problem is, and it took me about twenty years to figure this out, I’d never get to this state. The state of guilt free happiness. I was piling project after project on myself. Buying stuff incessantly. Volunteering my time. Trying to please everyone, and doing a really shitty job at it quite frankly because I’m also self-involved, lazy and a procrastinator. I’m also kind of a loner and definitely an introvert – I think that’s why I liked the idea that if everything was taken care of, and everyone was happy, life would leave me alone.

Well as I approached, and passed mid-life I became, have become, increasingly unhappy and depressed. For lack of a better way to describe it, I have lost interest in anything that was me and everyone was suffering for it. I’m not happy in my marriage. I feel trapped and alone. There’s no right or wrong here. There’s just how I feel. And enough is enough.

I’m not sure what tense to write this in, because this is happening live. I’m going through this now. Some of this is in the past, you’ll catch on to that, to provide some context. I jump around a lot. It’s just how my mind is working as I try to make sense of it all. Writing for me is the easiest way (remember I’m intrinsically lazy) for me to get whatever is inside me, out, before it kills me. It’s unpolished. I’m unpolished. I write off the cuff, and I edit sparingly…

Here I am soundly in the middle of the road in so many ways.

I didn’t pick twenty-nineteen to be my self help year, like some delusional New Year’s Eve party goer after their fourth champagne cocktail. I needed to help myself otherwise I wasn’t going to make it. I have a job, spouse, kids, mortgage…I have it all. But I need to change for myself.

I’m not happy.

Or I wasn’t happy.

I don’t know what I am. Except I am hopeful now, which I haven’t been for a long time. I’ve taken some really big steps already, and some small ones, and some that will probably make you cringe or pass judgement. It’s all okay. I’ve got a therapist. I’ve stepped down from a few unrewarding obligations that I wasn’t able to contribute to in a manner or extent that I’d like to. I’m exercising now…

Nobody, save for a handful of strangers that I’ve never met in really life, and a few that I have, really knows what I’ve been going through and continue to go through. Now you’ll know too because I feel the need to share, not only to get it out of me, but also somehow make it real. I’m a maker. I make things. It has to be tangible. I’d like to be able to go back and read, to see how far I’ve come. A dusty journal on a nightstand doesn’t work for me. I’ve been going it alone for too long and the journal is like that, going it alone. Whereas writing here gives me strength and courage.

I’ll close with that word “courage“. I keep going back to it. It’s borne of vulnerability. And I think those are a couple of the keys to my finding happiness.

I’m tired as hell.