Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

Taking Time Off

Hey, gang,

I'm going to take some time away from the blog. To be honest--and if you're gonna be honest somewhere, it might as well be here--I've been more than a little depressed lately, and it turns out that writing for the blog becomes unwieldy when I try to focus on it in this state. I've started and stopped, started and stopped, and I feel like I have nothing to say that isn't... well, that isn't this.

It's surprising how many individual things contribute to an overall sense of emotional disorientation. It doesn't help that I'm a depressive personality to begin with--I'm not as cyclic as a true manic-depressive, by comparison, but I'm sufficiently regular that I can expect some chemical imbalance once every couple of months. I wrote through a few of these bouts, in fact, without much incidence. I can put on a happy face pretty effectively, I think. Often, Janell doesn't even know for sure unless I say something. And most of the time, I'm just fine, good, even better than that.

Lately, though, I have an overwhelming feeling of senselessness and a certain amount of hopelessness. Routine is hell, I've discovered. Knowing what's going to happen to you (barring disaster, which doesn't alleviate hopelessness, by the way) for every hour of every day for the next five days or six days, or that the cycle will repeat beginning next week... this weighs on you. I suppose living in the moment can steer you clear of that, at least for the moment, but it's always there for me, hovering, waiting for me to acknowledge it.

For instance... While I wait for something to happen with my book, I am discouraged from writing another. I recently saw that a book called "P.S. I Love You" was released... using the EXACT premise of a book I wrote TWO years ago. I feel plagiarized... and again, helpless.

Or... I like my job, but it's nothing. It adds nothing to my existence beyond a paycheck. It adds nothing to the lives of my friends and family. It's just a job. I have no pride it telling people what I do. I just do it, am mollified by it, and not comfortable criticizing it in an era when a fine job is, in truth, a GREAT job.

And... In a sea of friends and family, I still feel lonely. It's the reality of feeling depressed--your sense of being a burden to others is powerful and stifling. You smile because you are supposed to. You comfort those who have sufficient courage to admit their worries, and you say nothing about your own because your troubles seem trivial and whiney. You have daydreams of what it would mean for someone to magically recognize your symptoms and swoop in to save you, the Rolling Stones' knight in shining armor, coming to your emotional rescue.

But here's another reality: people can't do that. If they try and fail, you've failed them. They can't be sure what you're looking for, and you can't explain in out loud. Your needs are perhaps unrelated ("I want someone to bring me cookies") or heartbreakingly unspeakable ("I want someone to put their arms around me so I can cry to someone instead of to myself") or too fantasical for anyone to achieve them ("I want to have a week with no commitment, no responsibility, and no expectations of me").

It requires nothing but a moment's isolation to dwell on this; the car ride home can be hard if I don't have Harrison from daycare with me. And it never goes away, even when I distract myself. It's probably something I should see someone about, but again, so much of what you feel is secret, or inexpicable, or downright shameful, that you can't say anything to anyone, let alone to someone who is prepared to scoop you out like ice cream and promptly dissect you for these shortcomings.

So, I'm going to step back from the blog for a week. Please check back next week, Wednesday, and I'll be back with some sort of update. I always have something to talk about--I'm that guy at the party who gets you cornered by the bathroom and just talks your ear off--but it's hard to talk with much enthusiasm when your thoughts lack any sort of enthusiasm about life at all.

Hang in there, come back in a week, and I'll do the same.



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