Tag Archives: depression

Ah, Fuck It

Before anyone tries to reach out with sympathy, advice, or “thoughts and prayers,” let me just say one thing: Don’t. I’m not writing this in search of human connection. I’ve fucking had enough of that lately. This merely exists so that I can bleed some of this bullshit out of my fucking head.

This has been an incredibly trying couple of years.

I wasn’t prepared at all for when my grandfather died, and it completely fucking blindsided me. Since the early 90’s, I’d kind of known that my grandmother was going to pass, in a very real sense, but the rapid decline which led up to my grandfather’s end just outpaced my ability to prepare for it. In the end it took copious amounts of mushrooms and completely torching employment bridges to finally begin to reach a state of tranquility and acceptance.

And when I said just now that I’d known that my grandmother was tenuously grasping on to her mortality: yeah, I haven’t handled that all that much better, At the time, I broke down, cried, and channeled my grief into something funny and beautiful. But I never really felt it. Now, as the lead-up to 38 has come and gone (please see any number of other pieces I’ve written here for more information regarding the Fuckery of November), I find that I never really dealt with it at all. Writing her eulogy was cathartic, and but, at best, only a delaying tactic. And I didn’t even realize it until I went back up to the Island for my mother’s wedding.

It was just little things, like her not actually being there, despite the fact that she’d been an immovable fixture in my life for its entirety, especially in her home. Or when I walked up to the Jiffy Mart to buy my Red Bull because caffeine withdrawal is a complete and utter bitch, and got choked up as I made small talk with the owner, as I tried to screw up the courage to thank him for all the wonderful moments he provided to my grandfather for the many years he attended daily meetings of the Prevaricators’ Club at that location.

Or the fact that gave my mother away at her wedding. Or that I’m experiencing my first first holiday season with no living grandparents.

I know that many of you have lost grandparents, and that perhaps were unable to spend as much time with them as I was with mine. Perhaps, you’re thinking, I should appreciate all of the special times I had with them, and get the fuck over it.

To that, I so delicately respond, fuck you, and reread the first fucking paragraph. It’s there for a goddamned reason. Right fucking there, first thing where you cannot fucking miss it. Go ahead. Read it again, I’ll wait (Actually, I won’t because that’s not how fucking writing works).

But enough about external misery.

I also suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder, Type II. You know, not the cool, running-through-the-streets-naked mental illness, but the oh-wait-sorry-to-inform-you-but-that-guy-you-knew-who-was-on-top-of-everything-and-shining-like-a-fucking-star-was-just-a-manifestation-of-my-fucking-illness-and-you-don’t-get-to-fucking-complain-when-the-less-productive-symptoms-arrive-and-wreak-havoc-with-goddamned-everything. Fuck, that’s a lot of hyphens.

No one, aside from perhaps those who have been on this Merry-Go-Round with me countless times, really minds when I am firing at 235%. I am brilliant, charming, and goddamned invincible (except for the Summer Solstice of my Mania, where I am constantly mistaken for someone with a cocaine habit the likes of which even the 1970’s and 80’s cannot comprehend.

But it seems that everyone gets “concerned” and wants “to talk” or “check in” with me when the fucking bottom drops out. Fine, but please know that during these times, I cannot take even the nicest worded and most constructive of criticisms. Please understand that for weeks leading up to this conversation, I have been beating the shit out of myself for fucking daring to exist, and recalling in vivid detail all of the times I have gone and fucked literally everything up (whether or not any of those failures actually occurred outside the confines of my head).

And don’t fucking tell me to see a fucking doctor. I’m mentally ill, not fucking stupid.

Do you know why I avoid the doctors who might be able to help me? And don’t say because I have a mental illness, because that’s just fucking stupid.

The fact is, I have tried many times to see someone about the bullshit neurochemistry lurking within my gleaming noggin. I have tried, if not all, then most of the gimmicky pharmaceuticals they have to offer. To date, there has been only one medicine which has ever even come close to working: Lithium Carbonate, and even that is barely better than nothing at all.

You see, all the fancy and shiny new drugs are anti-depressants, which is great, but they don’t work for me. SSRI’s, such as Prozac and Zoloft, give me auditory hallucinations approximating, I am told, the symptoms of fucking schizophrenia. Gabapentin interacts with my system by dropping me into a pool of hypersexuality (and not even the useful, married-for-a-decade kind). Wellbutrin, an (and I had to look this up) aminoketone, flips the rage switch from “Selfie” to “Murder all Humans.” Tetracyclics, like Trazodone, actually make me feel insane (in a slightly different way from SSRI’s ), insofar as I feel that nothing is quite right, kind of like the universe is off by a quarter of an inch. What they all have in common is that they are the product of decades of research at an investment measured in the millions, if not billions.

Lithium carbonate is an antimanic agent, and the result of cosmic forces. It’s a fucking element. It is literally one the most generic drugs there is.

And do you know what never gets pushed by drug reps? Fucking shit that cannot help their company’s bottom line.

I have tried explaining this to doctors. I have begged to set up appointments for blood draws to monitor lithium levels to avoid toxicity. I have tried to be fucking responsible when it comes to the treatment of my fucking disease! And I’m tired. 

For the past three weeks, I have been actively contemplating suicide.

My major stopping point was that I didn’t want to fuck up my mother’s wedding.

And now I don’t want to fuck up my son’s Christmas.

And I just realized this evening that I wouldn’t be the first friend of my best friend’s (actually, friends’, as it’s applicable to both) to commit suicide.

I’ve been through this before, but this time I’m a little scared.

For the vast majority of these episodes, I merely wanted to not exist anymore. This time, I want to fucking hurt myself. Like fucking blades and shit.

Okay, stop! Put down your fucking phone. Do not fucking call me. I don’t want to talk about it. Every fucking reason you could give me to carry on is just another nail in my goddamned coffin. You think that knowing about all of those people who love me and who depend on me (in some fashion) is going to help? 

It won’t. That’s just more fucking pressure upon my shoulders.

Please. Please. Please listen to me when I say that there is nothing that anyone can say that will make things better, unless it involves several tens of thousands of dollars (with no obligation to repay) and the ability to fucking spend the time I need to do the one fucking thing that I have ever wanted to do with my life! So, unless you’re offering me, at the very minimum, $60,000, please don’t. Just… don’t.

I know that the inner monologue has shifted and whispers only lies. I get that. But I also have been dealing with this for over a quarter of a century, and I’ve kind of internalized the talking points. I may have an ego the size of a small geographically discrete mass, but I have almost zero self-esteem. I really do fucking despise myself.

No! Shut the fuck up! I’ll tell you when I’ve goddamned finished!

I am really good at precisely one thing (okay, two, but despising myself doesn’t really fall neatly under “Life Goals.”): exactly what the fuck I’m doing now (despite how disjointed and shitty this rant is).

Will I get through this? Probably.

Do I want to? Not particularly.

Okay, that’s it. I’m done.

Unless I kill myself tonight, I have to get to sleep soon so I can go into work tomorrow. And as I don’t want to fuck up Christmas for my son, I guess I ought to go to fucking bed.

Ah, Fuck It!

Outsmarting Reality

Today is the day that I put on pants and sit at my desk to pound out some pretty words. As far as Life Goals go, it’s not so bad, really. To be fair, I’m not really that into the whole notion of pants in general (as I may have mentioned a time or two before), but I do recognize that bumbling about in pajama pants while sipping on a beverage and munching on Gummy Bears isn’t a solid plan for success. If I had unreasonable amount of money (in the other direction, that is), I suppose that I could be called eccentric, but as it is, I’m just this dude who wanders about looking like shambling grump. At least the haircut I got a few weeks ago is helping. Now the only thing to really give me away is the wrinkled clothing and days’-old stubble. I can get away with it while I am holed up at home, safe from the judgments of the outside world, and if I’m not dressed for public consumption, I feel no obligation to step farther out my door than the requisite number of steps it takes until I can smoke a cigarette without a stern talking-to.

Today I am going to go outside for no reason other than my desire to eat something other than Corn Nuts and Tootsie Rolls. Well, that, and there’s Crystal Pepsi at Walgreen’s, and I’m feeling a touch nostalgic. As part of my strategy to venture into the great outdoors, I’ve invited my stepdaughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren to come with me. At first glance, it would seem as though I’ve only done this to put a small measure of pressure upon myself so that I might actually make it happen, but anyone who actually knows us will understand that my intention was entirely more nefarious than it might otherwise appear. You see, there is a real chance that it might not actually come to pass. First, the adults have to get ready to go. Then, the wee ones have to be prepped for their adventure. For some reason today, this involves baths. So, add that in to the diaper changes, battles over wardrobe, complete domestic warfare and accusations of abandonment, tearing the apartment to shreds in search of something that may or may not have ever been there in the first place, tears and temper tantrums, and at the end of all of that, there’s a decent chance that everyone will be so upset and butthurt that they’ll decide that they don’t really want to go anywhere.

You see, I’ve made a foolproof plan to feel that I am actually accomplishing something whilst simultaneously ensuring that I might not have to go through with anything. There’s a certain smug satisfaction that comes with having outsmarted reality. Of course, there’s only one flaw with this entire scheme: There is a better than average chance that I will have to go through with everything, and I place the blame entirely upon the shoulders of my Wildflower.

She is hundreds of miles away on her vacation (which, as it happens, is kind of a vacation for me), spending time with my family on The Island. This was to be my time to really cut loose and let myself go truly and completely. My wife, it would seem, has other ideas. She is under the impression that I need sunlight and proper nutrition. I don’t even know how to react to that. It’s like she hasn’t been paying attention this past decade (or perhaps paying a little too much attention). Why she thinks that I will suddenly begin to give the slightest crap about self-preservation after three decades of neglect is not only unfathomable to me, but the source of at least forty percent of all of our arguments. And now she’s got her daughter on my case as well. Completely intolerable.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I don’t really know how to accept someone else caring about me. If I’m to be brutally honest, I think that I’m still under the delusion that I will die young and leave a moderately… well, I’ll leave a corpse at any rate. I’m sure that there are things that I could do to raise my quality of life, such as eating something apart from snacks and a drastic reduction in the amount of energy drinks which I consume on daily basis. Hell, I could even give up smoking, if I really wanted to make a change. But the fact is that I’m not all that interested in doing any of that. Sure, I’d love to eat something that wasn’t processed until it only nominally resembled a “food-like product”, but I have neither the time nor the money to cook the meals which I am interested in consuming. But this is only what sits upon the surface.

I think that if I were to be left to my own devices, I would simply allow myself to fade away. It’s just so hard sometimes to make myself exist for other people, especially when I don’t particularly wish to exist for my own self.

On a side note, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to look back at previous summers, and it looks like, statistically, they’re not my best time of the year. In the past, the only season which truly stood out in my mind as a festering pit of days I’d rather not risk was the month leading up to my birthday (or, as other people know it: November). As it turns out, however, the summer months seem more likely to cause trouble than any other time of year. Perhaps it’s the over-abundance of sunlight which is more likely to trigger manic episodes (something much harder to notice in the moment than depression), which are far more destructive than my depression.

So, what do I do?

I guess I’ll just put my head down for a moment, collect myself, and force a smile upon my face. This is the beginning, and the male equivalent of Resting Bitch Face is no way to face it. So let’s have a chuckle, shall we?

Mental Illness: Edification

Perhaps it’s mean-spirited, but I truly wish that everyone could suffer from mental illness. Well, for the most part, that statement isn’t entirely accurate, but there are days, or even single moments where I wholeheartedly wish for it. I’ve touched on this subject several times before, but I felt (for some reason or other) like it needed revisiting. Mental illness is, by and large, invisible. Sure, its effects can be as plain as day, but it’s not like jaundice or chicken pox. It gets even worse when its sufferer is intelligent, and capable of “maintaining” for some length of time. At least, believing that he (or she) is maintaining. It’s not always obvious what is wrong, and there are many people who are terrified of admitting that they suffer, for fear of retribution due to the stigma of mental irregularities. Sometimes I wish that I had never learned any coping mechanisms (effectiveness and results may vary), so that I could not force myself to hide behind the curtain of normality. For all the progress we have made in erasing the myths of mental illness, we are not so very far removed from the world in which my father lived (the father who suffers from a depression so severe that he could not bring himself to open the letter which I sent him, relying instead upon his brother, who was back for a visit from Japan).

I honestly believe that the only reason that what little progress has been made came only after Big Pharma realized that they could make a profit off of inner demons and melancholia. I remember, twenty years ago, when Prozac was the Next Big Thing. My family practitioner diagnosed me as “Manic Depressive” (yet more evidence of how old I am), and was eager (a little overly so, in my opinion) to get me going on this new class of crazy pills. As I was a minor at the time, and suffering from a contentious relationship with my mother, I am grateful that I had second thoughts. Can’t say why, but I felt this cold chill in the pit of my stomach at the very thought of those pills, and graciously declined (as graciously as any teenaged Caucasian male is able). A year later, I did decided to try Prozac (just one pill), and suffered immediately from auditory hallucinations and a sense of dread. A year after that, I gave Wellbutrin a try. When I was in the hospital, they taught us that depression is just rage turned inwards (psychologically- biologically it is something else entirely). Wellbutrin took my depression away, but left me with an overabundance of rage (directed in each and every direction).

It wasn’t until my hospitalization that someone decided to try Lithium. You know, the medicine prescribed for well over a century. The element. The drug off of which there is no money to be made. If I’d had the money back then, I might have been able to afford to stay on it. But, you see, it wasn’t the prescription which I could not afford, but the blood draws which were required to ensure that the levels in my system remained below toxicity. A few years later, I managed to get another prescription, but lost my insurance too soon to be able to continue. That was in 2004.

Since then, no matter where I’ve gone, or to whom I’ve spoken, I cannot seem to get the one thing which has ever been effective. Either I get brushed off all together, or the doctor insists on trying out all manner of medications which I know (with a growing level of experience) are only going to mess me up far more. No one seems to want to hear that Lithium actually works for me. Sure, I feel exhausted all the time (nothing out of the ordinary these days), and wrapped in a numbing insulation, but I also do feel safe from the pendulum’s swings. It also stifles my creative instincts, which would be unacceptable if the preponderance of my income came from writing, but is tolerable if I have to deal with other people. Not that it actually matters: there are no drug rep kickbacks for a freaking element.

So no wonder that so many people have turned towards self-medication. When you can’t get help from medical professionals, you look to squelch the pain in any manner you are able. Some turn to drink, other to pills, and others to any other number of substances. When the illness exists, for all intents and purposes, in one’s own head, it’s impossible to accurately convey the struggle to someone who doesn’t understand. And then are some people who have it easier than others, or have had better luck in dealing with their own private demons. Hell, I’ve been extremely fortunate myself, as I’ve been able to pass for “normal” for the majority of my life by merely accepting the mantle of “asshole.”

It had been my intention of seeking out medical help tomorrow, to enlist the aid of those who are able, to assist me in fighting my own particular demons. Don’t really see the point now. Everything repeats and falls victim to entropy, and there’s not much point in fighting it anymore. Exhaustion has set in, and apathy is ever-present. I’m just tired of fighting, you know? Better to just throw in my hat, and let everyone have their laugh. I guess I should have finished up Hiraeth, but it’s kind of epic where it’s at.

Thanks, everybody.

Don’t know where the night will take me, but if I see you all on the other side, so be it.

The Soft Parade

The week leading up to my birthday has always been a trying time, a constant reminder of the ultimate futility of my entire life. I mean, sure, I’ve managed to not drive my wife away in the nearly ten years we’ve been together, and somehow I ended up with a kid who’s pretty cool. I’ve got skills and perhaps a decent opportunity awaiting me, and yet, I’m not doing what I wanted to when I first began imagining how my life would go. I blame it on my continuing quest for balance. It seems well and good, but every time that something halfway decent comes along, I hold my breath, and start the countdown until the bottom drops out from beneath me. At this point, I’ve almost given up on the prospect of being genuinely happy, as I’m terrified to contemplate what sort of vengeance that joy might bring. And despite the regularity with which this sort of thing befalls me, more often than not, it manages to catch me completely by surprise. People wonder why I hate surprises: the fact is that the number of unexpected “gifts” which haven’t completely bitten me fiercely upon my posterior can be counted one hand, trembling in fear.

But, because I cannot help but succumb to the instinct which inspires me to crawl up to the sleeping bear and poke it in the eye (never mind the tripping on the rock a moment later as I scramble to get away), I’ve decided to try to think of all the things which bring me joy (and therefore tempt the retribution soon to follow). I’m not really in an altogether upbeat mood, but maybe this might actually be good for me. Well, either that, or it will drive me deeper into depression, but as I’m not sure that’s possible (famous last words), I’ll give it a shot.

I actually managed to write nearly every day for six straight months. Before this past year, I hadn’t done that since I was nineteen or twenty.

I’ve met people who have reminded me what youth feels like, and though the searing burn of age follows immediately in the wake of their departure, I find it reassuring to remind myself what unbridled life was like.

For all the struggles I have had adjusting to fatherhood, it’s nice to know that I’m still better at it than my dad. And the Minkey seems to be turning out alright, though I suppose it’s still to early to tell if that is because of or in spite of me.

My wife is an amazing woman (someone whom I do not truly believe that I deserve), and I just wish that we made each other happier. I know that I am a constant disappointment to her, as I am who I am, but I do not blame her for my lack of joy, as that would be akin to holding the ocean responsible for drowning me. I think I’ve said that wrong. I meant that I am naturally inclined towards discontentment, and that there is nothing which she could do to either drive me toward or save me from the black clouds which hang above me.

I’ve got some friends who are somehow still there for me, despite the fact that I’m rarely there for them. Perhaps my absences diminish what a needy drain I am, and leave behind only the impression that I am kind of funny and profound.

Crap. I tried to think of more, but I think that those five are it.

In case we are wondering why I seem to be so hung up on this, I guess I can share with you the news: apparently, it will be a miracle if my grandparents survive another year. I suppose that I could be grateful for this possible year I have to make the time to see them and to say goodbye. Or perhaps I could be grateful for my childhood spent with them, or the several years when my mother and I lived with them. Or the roadtrips which we took, or the every single special moment that I had to spend with them, most of them under or unappreciated at the time. Part of me is angry, because I already said goodbye when we traveled to The Island last December, and I don’t know if I can do it all again. As I’ve said so many times, it’s not death I fear. In this case, it’s the slowly dying. My heart is breaking, and it’s coloring everything else within my life. Combine that with The Soft Parade, and it’s more than I can take. I just want everything to go the way I want it to, for once. I would just like one untainted, uncompromised, untarnished victory which I could unequivocally call my own.

For all my years, and all the weariness which far exceeds them, there are times when I am self-aware enough to know when I am behaving like a child. To that, of course, I say, “So what?!” Am I not allowed, from time to time, to free myself from the bonds of self-imposed adulthood and just feel again?

I’m sorry for the gloom of these past couple of posts. I’ve no right to inflict my pain upon you, and it’s not as though sharing it with you will actually ease my burden. There is nothing that you can do for me, and there is no reason for you to know the pain I carry in my heart. And while I feel I’m drowning in quagmire of my own design, I know (at least intellectually) that I will probably be okay, at least statistically.

Thank you all for being in my life, from those who only briefly touched it, to those for whom it’s been a significantly longer commitment. I’ve needed each and every one you, for exactly the amount of time you had to give. And no, this is not goodbye.

Think of it instead as good night.

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Do Not Read This

Do not read this if you love me.

Do not read this if you have believed in me.

Do not read this if you feel that I’m worth saving from whatever malady from which you think I’m suffering.

Do not read this if you’d prefer a happy ending.

Do not read this if you think that everything will be alright.

Do not read this if you have ever cared for me.

Do not read this if… you know that I am right.


It hurts inside, like a constant tearing at my soul, a barrage of suicidal butterflies exploding deep within me. Who knows if this is actually a thing, or just something that happened frequently enough to make me notice, and expect it, therefore causing it to come to pass. The last week in November, and the first day of December are always a trial for me. Nowhere else within the boundaries of the calendar do I feel more helpless before the vagaries of my Disorder. You know, I wanted to try to use the pain to write something heartfelt and beautiful, something which could justify my suffering, at least in my own eyes, and force some sort of validation upon this seemingly failed existence which I have been assured on frequent occasions is my life. I am not afraid of death. I do not fear the nothingness which will devour me whole. And after my failures as an author, so starkly driven home this past year, I do not even fear fading into the realms of the forgotten. Better that I end this damned experiment, and let the world move on without me. Better to be forgotten, and allow the wounds which my passing have caused than to stick around just to witness everybody suffer (most especially when gazing into the mirror).

It might sound like I am angry, though nothing could be further from the truth: if I could only feel the boiling passion of the roiling rage, I might feel human enough to stick around, if only out of spite. I guess that I am merely resigned to the fact that I have failed in almost every single endeavor in which I’ve applied myself, and tired (so very, very tired) of getting everything completely wrong. No, that’s not entirely true. It’s just that I am out on sync with everything else around me. I keep meeting people out of order, at precisely the wrong time, and knowing that some other me should have met them later (or sooner, as the case may be). I used to think that I was collecting people who would help me change the world, but it now seems that I am only bumping into strangers to remind myself of how far I have allowed myself to fall. I used to be better than this, I’m sure of that. I used to believe in things. I used to want to make a difference. I guess that I have been a grownup for too long. Too many years of compromising both my ethics and my soul. Too many decades of putting off the things which matter until tomorrow. Too many decades, period.

This isn’t anyone’s fault, beyond my own. I keep forgetting that when I dare to spread my wings and fly toward the heavens, that, despite the darkness of the hour, my wings will melt, not by the heat beating downward from the sun, but by the friction of an exponentially increasing velocity as I try to put infinity between myself and the prison which I’ve built to keep me whole. And safe. My life of the mundane is nothing more than life support as I struggle to wrap myself into a vegetative state. But it’s not as though I didn’t want it in the first place. There have always been the two of me (and I’m not referring to schizophrenia): the regular dude who’d like to know what it’s like to have a “normal” family, and the Phoenix, who burns himself so brightly that he is reduced to ashes, only to climb out of them once more once he remembers how to light the flame. Maybe it’s just this week, or maybe, like some sort of vestigial attachment left to atrophy, some remnant of that egotistic being of purest wrath and judgement remains.

I am not afraid of death. I am not afraid to close my eyes, knowing that they’ll never open again. I am afraid to continue living. I’m terrified of learning just how much further I can diverge within myself before I completely and irrevocably shatter into a million pieces, leaving the both of me in a fine dusting upon the floor. I’m tired of surviving; I’m tired of always landing on my feet. Just for once, I’d like everything to just fall apart, with no way for me to fix it. Sometimes I just want to drive everyone away, so that when I am done destroying the things which keep me afloat, there will be no one to turn to when I lose my nerve, and whimper that I’d rather not face a change.

I just want the pain to go away. I just want the ability to freeze a single moment for forever, and breathe in life once more, before the pace of everything sucks me below again.

I want to feel attractive. I want to feel important. I want to feel that there was at least one single reason for me to have ever have existed. I want to know I mattered. And while I’m listing off all of my impossible dreams, why not ask to be a millionaire as well?

I hope you didn’t read this.

I hope that you just glanced at the picture and gave it a “thumb’s up.”

I hope that you don’t think that it was your fault, because it wasn’t. You made me feel alive, and while that fire may have burned me, it also gave me the courage to face my misery without prevarication.

UPDATE: The Broken Bat(mart)

As I described in The Broken Bat(mart) a couple of days ago, not to mention at least half of my posts here on the website, I am suffering from a fair amount of pain, to the point of feeling physically and mentally battered and very close to almost broken. I’d thought that it was pretty bad when I was working in restaurants, but after a six month sabbatical, and subsequent employment at a far more physically demanding job, it turns out that it has gotten much, much worse. Like I mentioned last week, in Agony- 13.5 Years, I was very near the point of quitting before I’d truly managed to get started. Honestly, I believe that it was only the shame of having to give up so quickly which managed to bolster my tenacity and allow me to stick it out and try to find my footing. Pride, however, doesn’t do a lot in terms of pain relief, and even though it hasn’t been as bad as that first day unloading the truck, I could feel the cumulative effects of so much physicality, and knew that I would have to finally do something. Normally, I would have been tempted to utilize “back channels” to locate what I needed (after having had such a miserable experience with my last physician), but because of my employer’s policies, that could have wound up costing me my job. So I waited until payday, and got myself to the local Urgent Care offices.

I didn’t hold much hope, mind you, that anything would happen, considering the hoops I had to jump through (not to mention the hundreds of dollars in co-pays for doctor appointments and medication which didn’t work) just so that nothing would, even in the slightest bit, change, aside from the size of my bank account. And, considering how much time I had to wait before finally being admitted, I’m amazed that anyone actually saw me at all. At least when I go again, I’ll be in the system, and won’t have to sign so much infernal paperwork. I was sitting in the waiting room for nearly an hour, being kicked (I hope by accident) by a parade of toddlers running past me on their way to and from their mommies and the toys back in the corner. I did my best not to scowl at them, as I generally do like children, but considering that I was in there because of extreme (Extreme!) leg pain, every little kick against my foot shot spears of agony up through my legs, resonating loudly just behind my knees as they ascended. Needless to say, by the time that I was finally called back, I was nearly in tears.

Things I learned from this visit:

1) I have gained nearly fifteen pounds since quitting my last job.

2) Apparently my blood pressure is bad enough that both the nurse and the doctor could barely conceal both their surprise and concern about seeing the numbers.

3) The beds they have to sit on in the exam rooms are precisely the wrong shape and height if you are suffering from leg pain.

I’d thought that it was a long and mind-numbing wait to get into the exam room, but it was so much worse once I was in there, despite the fact that toddlers were no longer smacking up against me. If it weren’t for the constant painful throbbing in my legs, I might have actually passed out from boredom. When the doctor finally entered, I had lost the boiling pit of vitriol which I had been nurturing since that morning, and was only able to describe my pain with a sigh of resignation. Considering how everything wound up playing out, that may have been for the best. I told her how this wasn’t something new, and the nonsense that I endured at the hands of my last physician. I told her how my current job was the only one to call me, and though it’s physically destroying me and refusing to provide me with enough hours to live on (especially considering that they’re only paying me minimum wage), it was all I had, and that I needed to find a way to keep going back. I told her that I knew that my expanding girth was contributing to my pain, and that half a year of relative inactivity, while a welcome respite from the pain I’d felt those last few years that I’d been working, had only made it that much harder when I wound up going back to work.

And then the most amazing thing happened: I told her what the physical therapist had told me (which my doctor had ignored) which was that I should be on muscle relaxants, and instead of arguing with me, she just nodded, and motioned for me to continue. For the first time in well over a decade, a doctor actually listened to me. Maybe it’s because most drug addicts aren’t hitting up their doctors for muscle relaxants when they could be there for more powerful narcotics, or maybe it was that she heard the truth of my pain hidden somewhere in my voice. Whatever it was, she told me that she’d be prescribing a muscle relaxant for me, and something for my pain. She then left me waiting for another half an hour, so as to make sure that I remembered that I was still dealing with the health care system in America. The nurse came in again, with the two prescriptions, and wished me well, apologizing for the delay, and reassuring me (though a bit belatedly) that I hadn’t been forgotten. I thanked her, and gimped out past a newly refilled waiting room and off toward a pharmacy.

I normally go Walgreen’s when I fill prescriptions, but my legs were hurting (as I may have mentioned once or twice), and so it was that I finally paid a visit to the little pharmacy less than a block away. I think what really sold me was that they advertised “15 Minute Prescriptions”, and the soonest I could hope to get them from the nearest Walgreen’s was at least an hour, and then, only if there wasn’t anyone in line ahead of me, which, considering that it was almost five o’clock on a Friday afternoon, didn’t seem too likely. I don’t know how much my meds would have cost me, but that day, at least, I was more concerned about sooner than cheaper. Within eight minutes, measured from when I first walked in the door, I had my bottles of Tramadol and Baclofen. They’d cost me $47.00 (and the Urgent Care visit had run me $45- which meant that I had spent almost half my check on medical care for the next week), but for the first time in what could have easily passed for forever, I felt almost human again. The walk back to my apartment didn’t hurt, and I was able to greet my waiting son with loving attention instead of pained tolerance and distance.

Obviously, I cannot continue to spend half of every paycheck on medicine so that I can keep working at that job, but for now, at least, I feel the future is at least slightly brighter than it was before. My fingers are crossed, and my knees are no longer killing me. Here’s to the future!

The Broken Bat(mart)

I am broken into a million pieces, each smaller than the last, and throbbing in an electric pulse of agony which threatens not only my physical well-being, but also that of my mental state. Tomorrow, or the day after, I will have to pay a visit to the Urgent Care Center and find a way to convince them that I’m going to need something stronger than prescription-strength Aleve. I mean, were I not employed by a ridiculously cartoonish corporation who feels threatened enough by the successes of labor unions back when they were relevant in America to paint them in an obviously nefarious light (I mean come on: That video was essentially Reefer Madness 2!), I would take advantage of my wife’s reluctant acceptance of at least the concept of medical marijuana and be done with it. But because my employer insists on random drug tests (to which I have not yet had to submit myself), and the fact that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic (meaning it has no medicinal value whatsoever and a high potential for abuse), even if I were to possess a valid prescription for the THC which would be floating around inside of me for the foreseeable future, I would lose my job for having used an illegal substance. What that means is that, instead of the possibility of taking one thing to combat the pain, muscle tension, loss of appetite and anxiety, there exists the real possibility that I will either have to take something with a higher risk for dependence (or multiple things), or simply receive no help at all.

That was what happened back when I had a regular doctor and health insurance. He refused to actually listen to me, and insisted on writing ineffective prescriptions, which I had to dutifully fill (still costing me money, despite the discount from the insurance), and give a chance while the side effects wound up being worse than my original problem. You see, I made the mistake of letting him know that I have Bi-Polar Type II, hoping that he could just write me a prescription for lithium and order regular blood draws. So when we were trying to address the constant pain from which I was suffering, he decided that it would be better to try to kill two birds with one stone. Obviously that didn’t work. Anti-depressants have never worked for me, as they don’t actually address the mania (lithium, for those of you who aren’t aware, is an anti-manic. It works by limit the scope of the mania, which, in turn, means that it can mitigate the depression.), and indeed, have a tendency to make my psyche go a little… off. By the time he finally got around to referring me to a pain specialist, I was out of time and money (each of his useless visits also coming out of my pocket, $20 at a time). Why is it so hard to get proper medical help in this bloody country?

I realize that there are a lot of people who just want opiates to get high. I can respect that, as life is kind of a bummer, and opiates make all of that just sort of go away. I had a prescription for a little while for Vicodin, and I could understand the appeal. But, having had my fun during my late teens and early twenties, I’m really not that much of a risk for abuse. You see, as much as I would love to fall into the bottom of a bottle of whichever poison lays before me, I’ve got things to do. I have a son to worry about, a job to keep, and bills to pay. There’s a reason that I gave up drinking (aside from just a handful of times per year), and it wasn’t because I couldn’t afford it (though my love affair with high-end Scotch could have presented just the slightest bit of a problem were it not for hard-earned wisdom). I don’t want to get high, at least, not like that. I’m sure there will come a day when I just can’t take it any longer, and I invite the world to come crashing down upon me, but today is not that day. For whatever reason, it seems that I have to stay alive for at least a little while longer, and I promised myself that the next time that get back into harmful things, I’m doing it for keeps. I just want the pain to go away.

I have tried naproxen, aspirin, caffeine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, epsom salt baths, massage, those handheld electrocution massagers, stretching, and everything else which I can purchase without medical assistance. I’ve also had to deal with a disturbingly high number of anti-depressants used off-label (to deleterious effect) upon the directions of my physician. The only times I’ve ever been pain-free were when I was given the opportunity to take something actually designed to combat chronic pain. And it’s a vicious cycle: as the pain increases (or at least, refuses to abate), I am able to engage in significantly less physical activity, and unable to stomach even the idea of eating more than once or maybe twice a day. So my weight increases, which puts more of a strain upon me, increasing the standard of pain. What I have gotten used to, insomuch as someone can get used to this agony, I would refer to as about a “7” on the pain scale, but that means (to me, at least) only that I have found a way to push temporarily through it, while awaiting the spikes of “9” or “10”. If you were to give that pain to myself from even six years ago, he would describe it with a much higher number. If you were to inflict it upon the me from the mid-nineties, he would probably go catatonic. I just want to be pain-free.

And this job I have isn’t helping. It’s a physically demanding job, and it’s beating the holy hell out of me. If I were my own doctor, my advice to me would be to find anything else. But here’s the thing: I’ve looked. After months of trying to find something I might have a chance of not despising, my current employer was the only place to call me back. I know it’s a shitty job, and I know it’s a shitty amount of money, and I know what it is doing to me, but I need it all the same. When you’re making minimum wage, you have to take whatever hours they will give you, and you can’t do that if you cannot get out of bed. That day hasn’t come yet, but I know it will. I can’t get to sleep until the sun goes down (near enough to 8:30 in the evening, and that means that it doesn’t even start to get properly dark until somewhere closer to 9), and I have to be awake again by 3 a.m. at the very latest, so that I can get out the door by 3:20 to make the walk to work. Do the math. And then, when I get home, David is awake, and the chances for me to sleep are nonexistent (this, by the way, has been one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to write these past few days). Add that in with the worsening pain, and tacked-on responsibilities at work due to consistent demonstrations of competency, and it’s a wonder that I’ve made it as long as I have.

So yeah, I’m feeling a little broken right now, both physically and monetarily. I know that at some point, things will get better, but I can’t honestly believe right now.

Maybe When We’re Younger


I hear your hatred in my heart-

echoes loud as blood,

the nights we shared don’t ever seem


to withstand the beatings of our souls.

But maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

It all.

For every hurt and pain that comes from this

another lesson has been learned.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


Destroy me, discard me, regard me as shit-

but once, you loved me (makes it harder).

Forgive me, though I know I don’t deserve it,

and love me again (though I know not to

expect it).

Our hearts we crushed alone in pain as if we

could not know each other. So many

arguments… dark bitterness…

But what’s the point


Forget me, and build your wall

and remember nothing you’ve

taught me.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


So hate me now, the love can wait until tomorrow.

We sit and stab, while in the dark, ending up killing

ourselves (ourselves). Whatever was the point

any way?

But Maybe,

if we superglue and duct tape everything that’s left

(maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

it all),

we might live a little longer

and become a little younger.

Maybe when we’re younger we’ll understand

it all.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew

Because I know that when we’re younger

a nightmare will have passed.

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger,

a nightmare will have passed.


-Maybe When We’re Younger

© 1998 Tex Batmart


I originally wrote this one day after my girlfriend and I had endured a massive fight during one of our housecleaning jobs. Part of the phraseology had to do with the fact that I was eighteen, and fed up with people telling me that I would understand things when I was older, and part of it was commentary of the age difference between my girlfriend and myself. For me, nineteen years didn’t seem like all that much, but as I slowly work my way to the age she was when we got together, it’s difficult to imagine myself falling for someone so much younger. One’s mid-thirties are a breeding ground for existential doubt, as I have begun to discover for myself; whereas one’s late teen years are so infused by omniscience that it sometimes make me sad to think of all the confidence which I once possessed. But above all, the phrase, “maybe when we’re younger” is a metaphor for shrugging off the nonsense of the grownup world, muting the negativities which experience has bought, and turning back to a more passionate embrace of living in the moment and trusting in your heart. I hate admitting to the youthful sentiment, and it makes me want to travel back in time and kick myself squarely in the nuts for writing such pretentious crap. That being said, however, I’ve also found that the things I write have a tendency to work somewhat for the people and circumstances which they were written to describe, but are more unnervingly accurate when read regarding situations in the future. Somehow I’ve been given the gift of prophecy, but only when it comes to misery to unfold along the timeline of my life. Well, it’s either that, or I’m unable to change the cycle of my behaviors and it’s less prognostication and more living down to my own expectations.

Reading this again, I cannot help but think that I somehow managed to sneak a little wisdom forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m impossible to deal with, and maybe it’s true that I’m more likely to have epic disagreements with the woman with whom I’m completely smitten, but perhaps it isn’t just a matter of being unable to break the cycle of dysfunction. Maybe I really was onto something back then, half my life ago. In this case, it could also be interpreted as a suggestion that we look toward the happier moments of those years ago (which, to be fair, was how it could have been interpreted back then) in order to wash away the stresses of our failures and find within ourselves all the myriad reasons by which we first fell in love. Or it could be that, for some reason, I wanted myself to be more like the principled, unyielding poet/crusader that was determined to bend the world to his authority. It’s like when you’re in the middle of a transcendental hallucinogenic experience, and the universe unfolds before you, serving up its secrets directly to your brain, and you’re determined not to let go of this new level of understanding, so you leave yourself a note for when you’re back to being your regular self tomorrow, diminished and a little wistful at your loss. And it’s then that you look down at that piece of paper, and read the note you’ve left yourself, and wonder what the hell, exactly, you meant when you scribbled down “tunnels though the afterthoughts are the paradox of infidelity. Don’t believe the (illegible) wormholes into consciousness.” I mean, as you are looking at the words, you can remember having known what all of that meant the night before, but like a ten-dollar word, it resides solely upon the tip of your own tongue. And then you go in search of orange juice, and realize that there’s not a single drop in the entire house.

I know from far too many personal experiences that superglue and duct tape can’t fix everything, but I cannot help but love myself for having truly believed that it could. It makes me wonder if I’m a better person than I might have been before, if I’ve stayed the same, or if I’ve somehow sold my soul just to pay the rent. I’d like to believe that I’ve learned some things these past two decades, and that I’m better off for having done so, but I’ve also made so many compromises (not that anyone would believe that if they knew me), put survival ahead of my own self-truth. I guess that I will just have to hope that I know what I am doing (as I am known to reassure those with whom I’m close, from time to time), and that I also knew what I was doing back when I’m pretty sure I didn’t. They say Shakespeare is held in such high regard because he helped fundamentally shape the English language which we speak today. Could it be that I hold the younger me in such high regard because were it not for his choices, both successful and mistaken, I would not be who I am today, and therefore I am indebted to him for my very existence?

I guess the other reason that this poem has stuck with me all these years is that I still have the memory of when I wrote it in the empty spaces of a paper Safeway bag, and that it was the first song which I ever wrote without any assistance. I mean, sure, the melody is love letter to A minor, and I only needed to know the single chord, but it was also the first song that I ever felt comfortable singing, though not in front of other people. Pink Doors O Negative. That was the project that Fed and I had going back then. We recorded a half-dozen songs collaboratively before it became obvious to him that I had no idea what in the hell that I was doing. That wasn’t enough to stop me, but he also knew other people who could actually play their instruments (and keep time), so we just quietly disbanded.

Well, this just got weird. Hopefully tomorrow I will be feeling a little more upbeat. Until then, have a great night!

Wicked World

Maybe it’s something in the air, a melody carried along by the summer breeze, lost except for a fragment brushed along the contours of your ear as it plays by before it disappears forever. Perhaps it’s interest carried over on arguments both won and lost over the course of the last decade. When hopelessness encounters its own justifications, it can be nearly impossible to shake it loose again. I wish that I could say that this was some fleeting shred of melancholy tickling up against the edges of my perceptions, but this has been pulling us down, drawing us in for quite some time now, our failures falling into one another, collapsing into a singularity which we cannot escape. Now, I do know that this feels worse because of everything that’s been going on, but it makes me wonder if we’ll manage to survive it this time. I’m not saying that neither of us has managed to avoid having earned our respective blame, but this seems to be an overwhelming pattern in my life. I thought that I had managed to break the cycle of my failures when Flor and I got together. She was supposed to be the one to save me from myself. She was supposed to be the chosen one. Instead, it seems that I’ve managed to corrupt her, poison her beauty as it seems that only I can do, and ruin my chance for salvation through the simple act of being me.

I may have mentioned, a time or two before, that I’m not the easiest person to be around. I mean, in small doses, I’m clever and charming, seductive and sweet, snarky and sincere, but that’s because I’m careful to only let out certain aspects of my wicked and warped damage at a time, so as not to drive off the handful of people I seem to keep around to keep from going completely ’round the bend, cut off from what little human I can consciously tolerate, but apparently require. Living with me seems to bring out the worst in people, or, rather, allows me the privilege of doing it myself. The person who most everybody knows is just a fiction that I’ve lived with since I discovered that it made my life significantly simpler, but even I can’t keep the act up every hour of every day. I need a large quantity of down time before I can put on the mask again, and when I walk in through my front door, the first thing that I do is tear away the pretense and the happiness before it suffocates me. I am mostly content to live a sedentary life, punctuated with random meaningful events, but the rest of the time, I think that I would prefer the company of no one but myself. You know, I really thought that I could do it this time. That by ignoring all the signals which had informed me that the woman who was to be my wife would be woefully ill-equipped to help me destroy myself, and therefore exactly the person who I had to make sure was in my life.

And yet it seems that I cannot stand happiness. It makes me feel cut off from myself. I’ve never learned to let things go, and I have to be right, no matter the cost. It isn’t important to me that time will usually vindicate me, I have to win the argument. Instead of letting my wife pull me up out of the quagmire of the life I seem to have been destined for, I seem to have only torn her down, ripped her apart bit by bit, and shaped her into not only the perfect nemesis, but molded her into a bitter image of myself (which may seem redundant to the few people who have known me since before I learned to hide myself behind the act that I’ve been living for almost the entirety of my adult life). She deserves someone who will build her up, be there for her when she needs someone, and never be a burden around her neck. I have asked her almost weekly for the past nine years if she has faith in me, and every time she answers yes, it takes her a little longer, and she’s less able to contain her disbelief. I think that she only gave me her blessing to embark on this crusade because she knew that I would either make it happen, or I’d wind up worse off for having tried and failed, at which point she could cut her losses and be rid of me forever.

Of course, I’m only able to see what I want to see, read the narrative which I am capable of understanding. You see, it’s easier for me if I can say that we’re arch-nemeses, so that when she finally tires of my bullshit, I can nurture enmity in the place where fondness and love once dwelled to cover for the fact that once again I have become irrevocably broken by my inability to do what must be done, to manage to get the important things done right. I would die for her one thousand times without a moment’s hesitation, or David, or my grandchildren, or even my daughter, who is so much like me that it still confuses me how we aren’t genetically connected, but I cannot bring myself to live for them. Sure, I’ve made an effort, though some would say too little, too late. I just find that I cannot be the person who I would like to be. If I was a better man, I might pack up and leave here in the middle of the night, cut my ties and let those I love begin the process of getting over having known me. I’ve always been far better in theory than in practice, and as a cautionary tale, I’d probably even make a better father. I guess the reason that I haven’t boils down to cowardice, and the hope that maybe I can get it right in time.

I guess that we’ll find out.

Depression: Apathy and Appetizers

Welcome to the world of muddled thoughts, where everything is just a little darker than it was just moments before. I seem to have built up enough self-recrimination to nudge myself into action, so I’m going to try to describe the hellish landscape within my mind. If it was up to me, I think that I might prefer to write about things which made me happy, or things which are important, but the only thing that I can see right now is the magnitude of this depressive wave, and how it feels like I am being carried out to see. There must be a small break in the action, however, as I managed to stick with just one metaphor for an entire sentence. And I’m sorry if this seems a little disjointed- I feel like I screaming out tiny whispers through the cracks in my prison wall between the routine patrols of the prison guards who would seek to keep me quiet. And here you thought I would be writing something funny. I know that this isn’t really a good example of what I think that my writing should be, but I also feel that it’s important to remind myself of how it feels when I cannot bear to feel things anymore.

It always seems that for every victory I achieve, I am dealt a crushing defeat. I managed to write more last week than I thought I would be able, and this week I cannot even bear to face my daily blog. Hell, I was reduced to putting down my hat and begging for handouts because the outside world just terrifies me right now. Not that it matters: no one has called back about the résumés I’ve left. The time has most likely come that I should go and see someone about this swirling jumble of nonsense in the ethers of my brain. It’s one thing to carry on a one-sided therapy session with the internet, but without someone asking me how all this nonsense makes me feel, it’s hard to make any forward progress. And I’ve managed to isolate myself from human contact outside my home, though my wife has been amazingly supportive of me during these past few days, and I don’t know what to make of that. I guess I just need some telephonic hugs from people who matter to me (not that I think that I would actually answer the phone if they were to call).

I am afraid to talk to them because I don’t want them to know just how much this is affecting me. I mean, they read the blog, but it’s different when I cannot pause and just collect my thoughts to make myself appear to be a little bit more normal (I’m coming off as normal, right?). The truth is that I want to just slap myself and yell at myself to just pull myself together, and get over it, which, if you have been paying attention, is about the worst thing that you can do to someone who suffers from depression. I guess I’ve just been living with this for so long that even have run out of patience. I cannot even begin to imagine what all of you in the mists of the interwebz are thinking. Hey, wasn’t he funnier before? Didn’t he at least think that he was funnier before? Is he going to write about anything else, ’cause I’m kind of tired of reading about Captain Mopey and Bummers. I mean, I get it: he’s depressed. But does he have to whinge on about it so much? Is he just making this all up so that he doesn’t have to try and find a job?

Okay, that last one was me. Sometimes I worry that all of this is just something in my head. And then I laugh a bitter little laugh, because obviously it is. It’s like when my doctor postulated that my pain might be in my head (well, until the physical therapist discovered that I apparently did not possess the capability to relax, and realized that a majority of my discomfort was brought about by tension in my muscles). I wanted to mention that all pain is in people’s heads. It’s all just electrochemical signals flowing back and forth between the body and the brain, and that the reason that chili peppers are painful is that our brains are stupid at so very many things. I kept that to myself though, because getting philosophical with medical professionals only seems to relieve my psychic pain, while my legs and back remain untreated. I just wish that I wasn’t so functional. I mean, here I am, crippled by… all of this… and I’m focused on the times when I have actually been able to hold down a steady job, sometimes for years at time. Of course, of you were to go through my files, you’d probably find mentions of some spectacularly poor decisions and reprimands for… things which seemed the only course of action at the time.

I am a quick learner. I am willing to literally and figuratively kill myself for the benefit of my employer (the literal part refers to a cumulative effect of all of the little ways in which I neglect my well-being). I have shown time and again that I will put my job first, and let my family have what few scraps remain. Isn’t that why I quit in the first place? Didn’t I want to show my son that there was a better way? Good job, Dad! Way to show him all of the benefits of financial ruin, destitution, and applied homelessness. I know that this will pass, one way or another. I know that I’m just lost here in an echo chamber of mortal misery. I have to believe that things will be better. They have been before, and who am I to argue statistics? I just wish that there was some sort of button which I could press to simply make all of this… nonsense… go away. Never mind that I’ve tried that before, and I wound up more miserable than when I was my normal, charming self.

I’m going to try to get some work done on my review of Girlfiend’s EP, Comrade Isodora DuncanAs always, thanks for listening.