Breaking Ground On The New Me

Edited to protect the guilty.

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18 Responses to Breaking Ground On The New Me

  1. Steve says:

    I kind of relate to some of this. I had a long period of “nearly giving up on life” in my twenties. Not fully suicidal, more just like, “I want to hide until this is over.” Lasted until I had kids, really.

    Strangely, postgrad study was the best thing in my life then. Everything else sucked. But I did choose a subject that was totally useless, career wise. It just gave met the opportunity to be a library nerd and avoid the world for three years.

    Things did improve a lot after kids, but then more recently I have had the realization that unless I pull some things together I am seriously fucked, career and health wise. I had to have a pre-cancerous polyp removed earlier on this year. If I’d left it for another few years, it would have been bowel cancer. I’m only forty-one. I’m fucking glad I checked.

    General sobriety and non-smoking is good. Trying very hard with what I want to do with my life (research work and writing) is good too, although I still can’t shake the feeling that I could bust my guts and still get absolutely nowhere.

    Glad to hear you’re doing better, anyway. And, hearing this is not a burden.

  2. k- says:

    I had just about given up on this space, when along comes this post. Definitely not what I was expecting. And I will try to resist the urge to respond with my own personal narrative (not that there is anything wrong with that, it just isn’t how I want to respond to the original post). First off, let me acknowledge that the post and its contents are welcome and well-regarded. Like Steve says, I’m glad to hear that you are doing better and hearing this is not a burden.
    It is interesting that you identify your job and your crush as significant elements that reflect your current state of affairs. Though many of us resist tying our identities up too much with our jobs, I am always struck by how much psychic damage a bad job can do. There seems to be a profound connection between employment and one’s sense of being. And not just in Marxist or Foucauldian terms, though there is much to both of those approaches. As for the crush, I appreciate how you frame her influence on your own well-being. You put the emphasis on your own interpretations of her actions rather than on her actions in themselves, which I think is important. I always bristle a little when I hear people talk about the impact others have on them, often with statements like “She/He really saved me” or “She/He really destroyed me,” because I think it misplaces agency onto other people. Not that they don’t have agency, but that it is often overplayed at the expense of self-ownership. Like when you talk about how she calls you on your bullshit. Good for her. But you could just as easily interpret her actions as her being callous or confrontational. Instead, you chose to interpret such actions in a way that leads you to self-reflection and change. You may very well be misreading kindness for affection (god knows I do on a regular basis), but as you note, that isn’t what is important. What is important is how you chose to interpret and respond; an important awareness of agency, I believe.
    Again, I am genuinely happy things seem to be progressing in a positive direction for you finally.
    To bring it back to my own personal narrative, in a few hours I will be catching a bus for a plane for a train to take me to a funeral of a friend. Nothing like a funeral to make one introspective.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks guys.

    K, I’ve been trying to come up with a way of saying “I’m sorry to hear about your friend” without sounding like a dick. You have my sympathies.

  4. rjxp says:

    I support that sobriety thing. It is the best and worst thing for a life. The best because nothing can be unexplained – like why the keys are in the fishtank – and the worst because well, you have to face the fact that the keys are in the fishtank b/c you remember throwing them in there.

    My wife helped me save myself from myself. Though all she really did was see that it could be done.

  5. I am very much anti-sobriety and pro-bitter jerks. But in your case I will make an exception.

  6. xxadaxx says:

    I’m starting to suspect…this is embarrassing to read.

  7. janet5 says:

    I think you’re very brave to post all of this. I don’t know you very well (I didn’t find Punk Planet until very late in the day, and I knew you there more by reputation than by anything you actually said or did). But in your initial post, the way you describe your depression – and the kind of person you became because of it – sounded so much like me that it actually hurt a bit. If you have been able to get to the level of self-realization that you seem to have arrived at, without therapy or medication or anything, you are pretty damn strong. I echo K’s point that reaching that point where you realize that you have a lot of agency with respect to other people is vital. I think that other people *can* play a role in destroying you, if only because they are able to deprive you/disarm you of whatever tools you have to protect yourself when you are vulnerable. Maybe people who are very mentally healthy have the skills to resist that from the get-go, but I certainly didn’t. So getting to a place where you can manage what they throw at you is crucial, as is getting to a place where you realize that something ending, or not starting, or not working the way you want, is ok – it may suck, but you will be able to manage the suckiness. These things always, ALWAYS, always used to destroy me: horrible, painful, pointless crushes that defined my life in exactly the ways you describe and that didn’t really end until I figured out why I got so invested in them. But you seem to have figured all of this out, so you are way ahead.

    I have also resisted medication. If I recall from Bob Mould’s writings on his old blog, he did, too (and he never went into therapy). But that may not be the best option for everyone. If anything, a therapist can at least set out what the options are. Since it sounds like you are at a place where you can speak honestly with the crushee (and you make it sound as though she has been pretty sharp at figuring out where you are coming from), is she someone you could ask for a name to call or a recommendation?

    “I get the feeling that last thing she needs is some fuck up dragging her down into a potentially self-destructive psychodrama.” I get the very strong impression that she won’t let you do that. Don’t worry. Take care of yourself.

  8. Steve says:

    I kinda enjoyed reading it.

    I have had a lot of those symptoms (bad memory, losing shit, vagueness and dissociation triggering anger attacks), and I think a lot of it was just dehydration, low blood pressure and weird shit going on with sugar, salt and protein levels.

    Also mild brain damage from drinking to much for too long. Do you get aphasia? I have started getting it lately.

    But basically I think the story is that couldn’t just go from being a slob to suddenly being the exercise king, without some very strange shit happening with my metabolism and mental state.

    I have yet never tried working out to Joy Division or New Order, I should try that.

  9. Unsolicited advice: If you are thinking of medication, do it now. You will slip into your less “introspective” and less energetic mode sooner or later and making the phone call will become almost impossible. I don’t know if you’ve been on medication before, but chances are it’s going to take you a couple of weeks to see someone (depending I guess on what kind of insurance you have) then they are going to put you on an SSRI at a completely useless dosage for several weeks before they up it to an effective dosage which they will tell you will take several weeks to take effect. But once you are there and talking to somebody it will be much easier to get your ass in the office. Your shrink may even call you if you slip and miss an appointment. So after several weeks you will tell your shrink that the SSRI isn’t doing shit and that you want some actual medication at which point you will probably get a script for benzos, as long as you act like you don’t want it or need it. These will help you chill out. Most shrinks nowadays prescribe benzos to be taken “as needed” but hopefully you will get a doctor who puts you on a constant low dosage as that is the most effective way to stabilize mood and is actually, somewhat counterintuitively, less habit forming than popping a pill every time you feel the crazy coming on. I have never had a good experience with “therapy” and I have tried at least five different times, but you may get something out of it. Also, try to tell them that you suffer from ADHD and get some ritalin or adderall and I will buy it off you for twice whatever your copay is plus shipping 😉

  10. Steve says:

    This is heavy, you’re right.

    I gotta ask, what sort of support you would ideally like, when you talk about this? People tend to respond to soul-bearing with either advice or sympathy and both of those can be not so great, or even, totally crap and the opposite of what the person is really looking for. Genuine thoughtful advice and empowering sympathy are kind of rare. At the risk of looking self-absorbed, I tend to share my own experiences, rather than try either of those things.

    But I can’t even begin to think about what a separation would be like, with kids involved, after a long relationship.

    If it was me I’d push along with the physical stuff for a month or so longer and see if this idea is still there. But, are you ‘giving up’ anything at this point?

    On the aphasia thing – I get the mysterious typos as well (‘wisms’ for swim was a recent one) but I actually get stammering / nominal aphasia / verbal blocks as well, if I am stressed.

    I try to say a sentence like:

    ‘Stop trying to talk to me when I’m on the phone!’

    and what comes out of my mouth is:

    ‘Stop trar tar tar tar tar ar…’

    and the kids look and me and think ‘how come my Dad can’t talk properly / talks like a pirate?’

    If I want to speak normally I have to just start the whole sentence again. Happens about twice a week. Started about a year ago.

  11. k- says:

    Damn, heavy shit.
    Talk about separation always freaks me out because I immediately personalize it and, since I have two little kids, my brain spins out of control and curls up in a small ball at the base of my skull, rocking back and forth while hugging itself.
    But, like Steve, I want to know what kind of support/response you would ideally like from this forum. I especially don’t want to be an asshole or self-indulgent prick.

  12. xxadaxx says:

    Apparently my wife has been snooping and has totally blown up my spot, so I won’t be posting any more about this here. Thanks for all your feedback. I appreciate it. I might stop in sometime to make some blithe, impersonal comments about something.

    • epanchinriot says:

      Oh no. Wow. Sorry, I didn’t get to really say anything but I figured everyone else would know better in the advice department than me. Good luck. With everything.

  13. xxadaxx says:

    Update for interested parties with good memories:

    Disastrous ending. Manic meltdown. Shattered illusions. Hurt feelings. Bloodshot eyes. It was always going to end this way.

    • janet5 says:

      Oh no. I’m sorry – very sorry. I know it may not help, but a big, fuzzy, punker-girl hug from across the webz. Do you have someone you can talk to?

  14. sjmckenzie says:

    I want to ask but I know you can’t say…

    Hope you are all right.

  15. xxadaxx says:

    Thanks Janet. You’re very sweet. You too Steve.

    It’s actually ok for me to spill details now. Things are going to be ok. I’m actually very embarrassed about all of this. Things got grim in the winter months, and when a certain someone returned to town this month, after a couple weeks of reckless intrigue I lost my grip on reality and made a huge fool of myself. At least I think so. I ended up confiding everything to my wife. I was a total mess and she was really supportive. We’re in a good place. I think it might work out for the best. If it results in a better relationship, the absurd juvenile drama of the last six months might have been worth it.

    Those are the cliff’s notes. The whole story is so depressingly pathetic that I hate to even recall it. But I’m still left with the sense of possibility and excitement that prompted that first post. And I’m probably on better footing to deal with it now.

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