Sometimes when you sit composed and professional, smiling when needed and working at your desk your brain screams inside and claws for escape and release. Depression wraps itself around your mind and behind your mask you rage and cry, scream and huddle in a ball until the calm mask becomes the iron fist of cold numbness pressing you in place. The mask sinks in with each repressed scream and tear a little deeper. Loneliness eats at you even when you are surrounded because the mask is not you and they are not really with you. Sometimes people tell you all the things you have to appreciate and all the reasons you have to be strong and happy but they are not in your head and have not lived your past. The chemical soup tearing you apart is not in their body but yours. Each thing you do to try and assuage the deadness and loss just highlights that you don’t feel what you want to feel and you have failed at everything you have done. The clawing reminder s in your head that years have been wasted and lost in failure and obscurity leave you very aware of just how alone you are in your choices. But that same iron core that holds the mask keeps you moving even when it feels more like a treadmill than a road of life. What else can you do but go one? Fear has never controlled but that does not mean it was never present. Just like the fear engulfing you in free fall the fear of not being able to communicate or manage others pulls you into a hole deep inside where you spend days studying how to speak, walk, talk, read others, and understand why they do the things they do. When they use idioms, innuendo, and false statements to say something you can’t follow and assume you mean something other than what you said you wonder if there was any point to all the work. When you spend hours on a project to get all the details right and they blow it off you stare at the fruit of your wasted time and once again wonder why. When you go home alone and want to share something and just feel the touch of someone you trust you are forced to face that if there was someone that trusted you and you trusted you would not be sweating in a room alone with everything you owned in a cabinet beside you. Sometimes you look out at the ocean and the emptiness matches that inside your mind and heart with the swimmers in the deep disturbing the foundations. The breeze blowing is the same as the emptiness cleaning out your mind and covering words in white noise. Sometime the healing of the ocean can do nothing more than be there like a lost friend sitting quiet and unable to touch you but there when you are ready. Sometimes the blind escapism is your only retreat as you hide in your shell and rebuild the mask.
Thoughts from recent days conversations, shows, and people doing things around me…
1. I am sick of guys response to a woman doing something that makes them feel good being to explain that guys don’t find it attractive. Women’s lives and pleasures do not revolve around you, get over it.
2. There are no circumstances that a grown man forcing a child’s hand onto his penis is humorous. To reiterate an earlier post on facebook … Jokes at others expense are not funny. Jokes about others are not funny. Exploitation is not funny. Rape is not funny. Assault is not funny.
3. No it is not an acceptable defense for murder to say he startled me. Why the Fuck do I keep hearing this? What the fuck is wrong with society that people actually think that?
4. Video games and movies do not cause violence, read the actual studies and examples people. It has been shown to have no effect of increasing violent tendaxies and to provide a healthy outlet for stress, and in the case of social games provide practice.
5. I am socially awkward and bad at accepting help, praise, and gifts but I am amazed and unreasonably grateful for people that stick around and do it anyway. Not all people suck.
6. Just because you own more than someone does not mean you are better than them. Elitists piss me off.
7. Homeless people are not all drunks and druggies and treating them like shit is wrong whether they are or not. They need help not disdain Assholes. I don’t care if you found an article to support your bias it is still wrong and nit backed by science, reality, compassion, or intelligence.
8. What someone is wearing is not an invitation, not a sign of intelligence or lack thereof, not a reason to insult them, none of your business. Why are we still having this conversation. People can wear what they want and it is none of your business.
9. You don’t know what is in other people’s lives so get off your high horse.
For me, depression is not a new thing but recognizing it is. Even more so, doing something about it is a whole new experience. I don’t mean eating well or vitamins or any natural way to pretend I am treating the issue without actually dealing with the problem. I mean actually going to someone and getting the medication to balance out my chemical state in my mind to get out of the deep hole I have been in. The idea of visiting a psychiatrist was a major taboo in the churches I grew up in and the entire field had a terrible name for doing bad things to children with medication.
Dealing with others my age (gen Z) I find many have a very bad opinion and fear of the field of psychiatry and a disdain for psychology. It has left a generation with many in need that refuse to get help. Many things have changed in the industry, including the medications and understanding of needs. Gradually I see people I know accepting the industry is changing and seeking help for various things. Sometimes it is a simple thing or a small problem that is just too frustrating. Other times it is a crippling problem like my depression has been.
What brings up this discussion now? I started my new meds this week. Although it will be weeks until I feel the full effect, I get changes and flashes already of the meds affecting me and moving toward balancing things back out. There are moments when I feel like myself again. All this time I didn’t get help and a few days and I understand how much damage those biases did in my life. How many people are hurt by those biased attitudes?
You see, these things don’t just hurt the person in need of help. They hurt families, friends, coworkers, and others. Jobs are lost and marriages broke that could have been mended. Sometimes good things happen but what could have happened and how would it have felt if they had been in a healthy state instead? My marriage is strong and survived a great deal of strain because we love each other and we have been very close friends for almost 20 years now. Our patience and understanding with each other has been strained and pushed near limits but we put in our vows the space to be us as individuals together or apart so that we could be a strong partnership and continue.
It makes me angry to think that as a child the two things that did the most lasting damage were the inability to afford correct medical and dental care and the psychological help I really needed but didn’t get. But more than that, I get angry thinking of the years I avoided any hint of treatment for major instances I needed it because it was ingrained in me to fear the help and the need. I was trained to hide the need and push through it. You know the whole “be a man” thing that is put on everyone in some way? Well it is a terrible foundation for a culture and relationship.
But I am not angry in that I feel anger because it is in the past and I can only actually change now for myself. I am angry for all the people hurt by these things every day and I am glad I moved past it and am improving myself and my life with the support of my husband and those friends I reached out to in support of my decision to get help.
I am a reader. I always have been a reader. But my choice of books was highly restricted. I read everything I was allowed multiple times, even the encyclopedias and dictionaries. But once my options opened when I left their home, I realized that despite the apparent attempts at a good education I was woefully lacking in knowledge, experience, and variety. I began to read a wide variety of books and materials and continue that to this day.
Rarely did I do anything truly deserving of punishment because I had a very clear understanding of the consequence and reward ratio. I felt I had a hard enough time without adding extra issues for limited reward. Of course, that means when I did choose to do something the punishment was fairly pointless because I knew what it would be and chose to act anyway. I had already determined the risk to reward ratio was in my favor.
Conversations were hard because we shared nothing in common other than classes and those were mostly boring and too easy so I didn’t really pay attention. At some point there was always the risk conversation would veer toward my mother and her cancer, which was not something I wanted to discuss. Religious people would imply either that they were praying which was obviously not working or that if she actually had faith she would not be sick. The added issue that she was a test patient because we couldn’t afford treatment much less any extras or luxuries. I absolutely was unwilling to discuss where the food on our table came from because that was a mockery I knew I could not handle. How do you feed 7-10 people on $20 a week, sometimes more, sometimes less? The poor ladies of the church had a list of stores that discarded usable food and mom had an agreement to collect discarded vegetables for the horse. We sorted through the horses vegetables to see what could go on the tale first.
Many times I remember sitting in a parking lot while my mother composed herself or cried in the one place no one could see. After a horrifyingly degrading day trying to meet the needs of the family or accepting charity she would go home to dad’s anger and screaming rants about anything and everything. She would go home to 2 children in constant medical car and her own terrifying medical care. She would go home to the holes in the floor and walls and the car held together by duct ape and wood. She would go home to watch me cower from dad’s anger and my brothers acting out. Failing that we would go to church, where we spent more evening than not to be told how we were all sinners and needed to give more, do more, be more, bring in more people, and earn a place. We went to the church where I was yet again alone and mocked and here knew the question of my families lack of faith and why they were poor and sick would come up. I knew there would be taunts and often physical confrontation. These happened at school but more consistently at the churches.
What I saw from the outside was a cult that manipulated participants to view the world through a filter and with careful blinders. They were trying for the isolation of those in the retreats but in the city so they could better raw more people.
touch the items pending and straining like a weighted cloud over you. The world around you is heavy and distant like you are working through a perfectly clear morass. Nothing directly hurts but your body aches like you have just finished a hard
day of martial training and bruised and strained everything. You aren’t sad or angry because that would focus on it and take an effort you just can’t muster. Motivation drains away like someone pulled the drain plug and if you manage to think of things to do it is a constant effort to actually do them.
after the pain and anger and saps you of the strength of will to do something
about it. You know what is happening. You know what you need…well sometimes you do. The problem is you can’t pin it down and act on it. Even focusing on the thought is like holding a giant jelly ball that won’t be still. You feel the wrong size for the world around you and like you are moving the wrong speed. Your hair feels wrong and the world sounds too far away.
mirror or can’t think of things about yourself. Good things bring a moment of light or lifted weight but it can’t hold it off you long enough to get free. Certainty that things are going wrong or will go wrong grows and the thought is more resigned than warning. Someone that normally stand up to anything and can go through anything can be stopped in their tracks by this weight of
depression. These are the ones least prepared for it and least sure how to
cope. Most likely there is an actual physical component that should be treated involved but they are very unlikely to seek the help they need.
Compromise is not always the
answer, often you cannot compromise and move forward. When you continuously compromise with one that is extremely wrong you move gradually closer to that wrong. The person with the destructive plan may have other good concepts and desires, may care for their family and friends, may stand as a beacon in some things. None of that in any way changes a destructive or hateful trait that must not be allowed to dominate a society.
insists there is religious discrimination happening. The interesting point is that none of us knew his religion until he started doing that and we never discuss religion in the office.
up and lift the vent to direct more of the air away from my desk. I didn’t move to Hawaii to be cold. Pulling on my hoodie the soft fuzzy interior brushes my arms lightly with a silky softness that doesn’t really match the heavy grey exterior. Staying on track when writing has been a challenge so I have started using the Shut Up and Write group as a place to do writing exercises and practice just writing or specific skills in writing. Some of them I post here, some of them I don’t. My primary goal write now is to write, and when that isn’t happening, to draw. I practice tones, descriptions, PoV, and styles. I practice topics, timing, speed, focus, freeform, and themes.
building a collection of scenes and moments, thoughts and characters, lines and stories that are swirling in the back of my head trying to become a coherent story. Like Sir Pratchett talked about it is still like standing on a mountain looking across a valley and seeing only the highest peaks as you slowly lower the clouds and reveal more and more spots until the whole valley is cleared and coherent. I have a sense of it but it isn’t clear to my coherent mind yet.
plumage of birds on display inspires amusement, observation, stories, loneliness, comfort, anxiety, and memories. The birds diving out of the tree for bugs in quick short swoops reminds me of the kittens learning to hunt and the bees moving between flowers. Each thing is a host of trains and streams of consciousness that arise from the scent, the sound, the colors, the pattern, the words, and
Today, another writing exercise. This is a sort of stream of consciousness based on what is around me and a question. It is unedited and random.
am not certain I can fully answer. I write to express myself. I write to get
the words out. I write to remember. I write to describe. I write to share. I
write to heal. I write because writing is part of who I am. I am not writing
but writing is and writing is happening. As Writing the Bones said “writing is
wet blanket. It isn’t hot like I remember as a child. The stifling, heavy heat
that press on you and pushes tendrils into you sapping all your energy is
pervasive in Texas and Louisiana. The damp heavy air makes the heat oppressive
as it nears or passes 100 degrees. Mosquitoes and gnats swarm and bite causing
you to bleed and itch into your dripping sweat. Plants wilt in the sun and
often in the shade. You can’t water during the day or you burn them but you
have to water or many plants will die from the heat and dehydration. This same
dehydration will hit you if you spend to much time out in it when hiking,
working, camping, walking, or playing. People frequently fail to notice just how
dehydrated they are. In some areas the dry air draws the moisture out of you. In
others the heavy, wet humidity causes you to sweat it out.
unloads materials and preps those that need pre-assembly or dismantling. Hearing
the sound outside the glass door my mind tries to picture what they are doing
and what equipment they are working with. I am uncertain what crew is here
today, although I have seen several of them coming in for equipment or paperwork.
Having taken the time to get a tour of the shop I know what equipment we supply
and assemble here. It helps me to follow the calls and conversations around me
if I know the materials we are working with. Having grown up on construction
sites and reading blueprints all the details make sense but the names are a
blur and a mystery. I don’t remember names. I remember the sounds of metal
alloys as they are worked or hammered. I remember the sounds or the specific
tools. I remember the smell of sawn wood and how the acrid touch of arsenic
touches the treated boards lending a different smell than the white pine or the
rich cedar smell.
what I am reading or by the people around me. One of the books I am reading
right now is A Slip of the Keyboard
by Sir Terry Pratchett. Of the many tangents it inspired, one is how others see
each of us and how we build our views of others. How I see myself is its own
conundrum but reading this book and Finding
Mary Foster brought to mind the many varied ways I am viewed by others,
both those I know and those I do not.
for others, like playing to an audience. Others have a mold or image they
strive to fit into. Unconscious or not most people have an idea or image of what
they should be. Inherently this implies they have an idea what others should be
stories you have about those around you? Clothing is a major social marker and
is the first point of information in many instances. They are an indication in people’s
minds of a person’s sense of style, their social status or standing, their
interests, personal and grooming habits, financial status, origin or home
region, connection a person may have, and sometimes their religion. These
images and indications may be completely inaccurate but they are typically
automatic and impact our interactions. Some people have an image of what other
things imply about a person and their background based on skin color, gender,
hair, eyes, voice, or mannerisms.
different view of me than someone else. I am naturally quiet, introverted,
adaptable, passionate, generally untrusting but very trusting of those I am
close to, compassionate, and interested in learning and growth. I am aware of
some images of me, such as those that find me cold, distant, angry, and harsh.
On the other end you have those that find me open, caring, trustworthy,
compassionate, and quiet. On another range you have those that find me eager to
learn, intelligent, thoughtful, practical, and diligent compared to those that
find me flighty, uninformed, brash, talkative, and uncaring.
in one corner and silent and shy in another what purpose is served by me
worrying about my image? It is of interest though. As a gamer I am accustomed
to roles and displaying an image in short sessions. The idea of being a
different person for different needs is not hard to understand.
people tend to respond differently and treat them differently than the one
entering in shorts or the one in a mini skirt. Their memory of each person
tends to be colored by the clothes as well. Consider, each of those
descriptions gave you an image of someone didn’t it? It was likely more
complete than just the clothes really give you reason to know. Play a game with
me for a minute or two.
showing a person of different origins, social classes, and put both more than
one gender in each role. How does your image change?
different person for each. However, none of these roles define us or are
actually separate. What they define is the view others have of us and maybe how
we contain the needs of our lives. This could bother us or it can inform us. We
can learn to notice our own reactions and stories we build about others.
Perhaps we aspire to be the same in all our roles but perhaps we do not. That
choice is personal and is a point of growth or awareness we may not all be
striving for. But not judging others on a biased view or opinion of minor
and patterns of behavior that are incompatible with our own standards or
beliefs. That one item may be the foundation for a judgment of exclusion. We
should always strive to not base judgment on invariables such as physical
traits, medical issues, orientation, place of origin, or gender. We may be
unlikely to completely remove bias but that does not mean we accept it in
ourselves or others. I have no interest in associating with hate, control,
violence, or divisiveness. These are variable traits and chosen actions and beliefs.
Take each individual of each gender from each story and picture them
demonstrating extremes of emotion and behavior such as hat, kindness,
professionalism, laziness, fear, love, open mindedness, and closed mindedness.
Now, after all that, when I step back and say someone in a tailored suit,
someone in shorts, and someone in a skirt enter the room what is your mental
image? Has it changed? Do you get one image or a series of varied ones? Have
the colors changed?