Jen: 1 Depression: 0

I had a great day today. I mean, a really great day. My sis and I were both off work so we went out for coffee and bagels and then did a little shopping. I wasn’t desperate to get back inside my house, and I didn’t spend my entire day off on the computer. I even had enough energy to do a giant load of dishes. I haven’t had a day this fantastic in ages.

It was like I got out of my own way long enough to resemble a functional human being. My sister has always been an incredibly supportive person, especially when I’m feeling down. Talking to her is easy — she never judges, she never takes any of my “no one cares about me” comments personally, and she listens and offers advice in a way that doesn’t annoy me. She just gets it. We’ve both been working insane hours lately so we haven’t been able to spend much time together so today was a real treat.

We even have plans to go visit the Casa Loma haunted house tour in Toronto next week while I’m on my vacation. And we’re having a Ginger Snaps movie marathon for Halloween. I always treasure it when I’m able to have a good day. I really haven’t had one of those in WAY too long. Most of the time, I can’t bear to be outside for more than five minutes unless I’m on my way to work. I’ve been doing the work-home-work-home routine for months now, with quick trips to the corner store as my only real trip outside. It was nice to actually be out and enjoy the sunshine for once.

So I’m taking a deep breath and reminding myself that I’m not always going to feel like shit. There are always going to be really great days, too. I know I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’ve enjoyed my time in this little mental clearing.

I hope you’re all having a great day, too.

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Sorting out my life by writing about it.

6 thoughts on “Jen: 1 Depression: 0

  1. Jen, this post DELIGHTS me! I am so glad to hear that you had a good day.

    If I could send you all my good days to come, in exchange for The Bad, I would do it. No hesitation. (It wouldn’t be a real problem for me, because I’m trained to call home what others would think of as hell. Club Med would be a bore. I’d rather go to Beirut.)

    My world’s been shrinking – though today I did get to do a bit of gunsmithing – and most of my time is spent just trying to stay ahead of pain. But it’s not a bad thing. I have to believe that somehow there is only so much pain to go around, and that if I have it, someone else does not. I can gladly live that paradigm.

    It must be wonderful to have someone with whom you can talk. That’s something I miss; for one thing, it hurts too much to talk, and for another, the people close to me are moving on with their lives. I can’t keep up, and while my world revolves(!) around the best twist rate to stabilise a 55-grain 5.56 NATO round in a 20-inch barrel, everyone else is all about smart phones and hybrid cars and the best places for lunch.

    Kind of hard to keep a common ground.
    But as Ulysses said of Telemachus, his son (via Tennyson) –

    “He works his work, I mine.”

    Sorry to be so chatty…trying to work around some pretty considerable discomfort at the moment.

    Here’s the link to my current blog post – you may enjoy the linked song, from ‘Alice In Chains’, which contains my mantra for the week:

    “Can’t snuff the Rooster.”


    1. Never apologize for being chatty, I thoroughly enjoy it. I don’t know the first thing about gunsmithing but anything that holds your attention or provides a distraction is a good thing in my books.

      I’m sorry to hear things haven’t been going so well for you lately. I think if anyone deserves a break from pain, it’s you, and I hope there’s some breathing room on your horizon too.

      I’m endlessly grateful for my sister’s support — there aren’t a whole lot of people I can rely on to really listen to me when I talk, so that relationship is the most precious thing in my world. I’m lucky to have her, for sure, but I can also relate to that feeling of the whole world moving on without you. I often feel like I’m stuck behind a locked glass door watching everyone walk by while I’m still trying to figure out how to turn the damn handle. But that’s our lot in life, I suppose, at least for now. I give you infinite credit for being able to stay alive even through the worst of the muck.

      I’m heading over to read your blog post now, and I’m sending all the positivity I can muster to you.

      1. Jen, as it happens…breaching is one of my skills. Don’t worry about the handle. But do cover your ears.

        I have found that being behind that glass door can be a good thing; I tried to be part of the flow for years, and it was a grotesque evolution. I’m hell on earth in a gunfight, but useless in conference rooms and cocktail parties.

        So being left behind, though it hurt, did let me recapture my definition absent of all the spurs to ‘normalcy’ (a word invented by Warren Harding, if you’re interested). My peers wandered off, their ‘adventure vacation’ tickets clutched in anxious hands, adorned by Rolexes and plugged into Smart Phones and stupid culture.

        So perhaps I won’t blow the door. I may just pull up a lawn chair and pour a tumbler of sake, and watch the parade…glad that I’m not behind the elephants.

        Aha! There seems to be an extra chair, and a few more bottles of Gekkeikan…care to join me?

      2. It’s always a joy when there’s an extra chair for one of us behind-the-glass-ers! And sake is always welcome in my life.

        I’ve been thinking about this whole being left behind thing a lot lately. It does often feel like everyone is racing past me toward some end goal and I’m just sort of strolling by, taking in the scenery. You’re right about it being a good thing — although I often find most things can be considered “good” if one analyzes them closely enough. Even — dare I say it — pain. Do you also feel like you don’t quite understand other people’s priorities, or is that just me? Like, some people are completely obsessed with having the very latest of everything, as though having something shiny will bring them ultimate happiness. And who knows? Maybe they’re right and it will. But not for me. I couldn’t care less about material things, probably because I’m up in my own head 90% of the time anyway so whatever’s happening outside matters very little. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I suddenly found myself breaking through that door and joining the race with all the others. I prefer to observe and collect my thoughts anyhow.

        Sometimes I wonder if everyone else is human and I’m something else. Not in an “I’ve lost touch with reality” sort of way, but sometimes I feel so different from everyone else that I find it difficult to believe we are the same creatures. Or if I came off the shelf just a little defective. I do know I’m not alone in that feeling, although I haven’t decided if that makes me feel better or worse for the other people who feel somehow separate. It’s just so strange, the things that most people consider important. Like having a “real” job. I’m a 28-year-old barista. Most of my coworkers are eventually going to move on to other jobs but I know I’ll remain right where I am, because work isn’t my priority. I like being comfy and being able to pay my bills, but at the end of the day, my occupation doesn’t define me — that’s what my heart and mind are for. But it seems like that’s not the case for a ton of other people, so sometimes I can’t relate to them. Life goals don’t matter to me. I don’t want to buy a house or get married or have children (there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, I simply don’t want them for myself). I want to write and sit in silence by an ocean and listen to the sound of the earth. I want to find peace inside and outside of myself. I want to stay awake too late drinking coffee and having conversations about life and death. Not surface stuff — I want to dig deep. But that’s not really the culture anymore. Every social gathering I’ve managed to drag my butt to has ended up becoming a YouTube party, with everyone laughing at stupid internet videos. I laugh too, don’t get me wrong. Some of that shit is truly funny. But I go home feeling empty because I wanted more than that. I wanted to sit with other people and talk about things that hurt us, things that mean the world to us. I wanted to share truth. It seems like people my age don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be afraid of being hurt anymore.

        I’m absolutely rambling at this point, but I feel like you’ll understand me. Sometimes I can’t find the words to express myself unless I’m writing.

        Here’s to being left behind. Let’s enjoy the view.

      3. Ah, Jen…you are indeed a kindred spirit! (And please forgive the delayed response. My internet connexion simply would not agree to let me post.)

        I can very much relate to the ‘not being human’ feeling. I can’t really carry on a conversation with most people. There just isn’t common ground; I have no real need for material things either, beyond what’s needed for life’s necessities, and the dogs come first.

        The important part of life is, I think, understanding the Why, and I am quite convinced that there IS a why. Carl Sagan may have called us star-stuff, but he also believed in evolution via cosmic-ray mutation, which is idiotic; the vast majority of mutations cause sterility, and the whole theory’s statistically insupportable without special pleading.

        I do believe there is Something behind all of this, the travail and triumph and tragedy, because I have felt it, in the inescapable urge to run toward danger to help someone else. It’s not a herd instinct, because the folks involved were generally not those who would have much value in a human ‘herd’. And it’s not ego, because I agree with Greg Boyington – “Show me a hero and I’ll show you a bum.”

        The urge to do what’s right and decent, even though it may cost one’s life, HAS to come from outside. I mean, you look at the person you’re trying to save and ask yourself, “Why the FUCK am I doing this?” but you’re there anyway. It’s either latent divinity or lunacy. (Tempted to add, ‘or both’, but that’s not accurate; they are, under the circumstances, mutually exclusive.)

        Just try laying THAT one out at a Youtube party.

        So I’m looking for the meaning, and now, looking for the meaning and transcendence in my own final illness. It would be easy to say this is so UNFAIR; I had a career, and a lot to contribute, and I’m not old…but that complaint would also be quite wrong.

        I don’t believe this was visited upon me as a punishment for my sins, or those of my forbears; nor can I accept that it’s a ‘test’ sent by a ‘loving God’ to make me ‘draw closer to Him’. The amount of pain I’m in as I write this, if God dropped in and said, “Yeah, I did that to you to make you love Me more,” I’d punch Him in the nose.

        Things happen. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and the keys to a transfiguration are in our hands and hearts. I do believe in Supreme Deity; I’ve had enough near-death experiences in the last year to be quite confident that death is not the end. But Whoever He Is, I don’t think The Dude is playing chess with our lives, rewarding favourites and flicking aside those for whom He doesn’t quite care.

        So, yeah, if I could still drive I’d drive whatever ran. And get my clothing at secondhand stores (right now I am wearing a nifty ‘Curious George’ t-shirt, a great find!). And I sleep on a broken-down ottoman in the kennel, to be with the guys if they wake from bad dreams. (My wife has allergies, and sleeps the the only climate-controlled-and-filtered room.)

        When you are privileged to have a heart and mind for the Big Things, comfort and style aren’t important.

        So I’ll warm up the sake, and we can watch the world go by. I have a very good sardonic smile and wry laugh; I’ve been practising!

      4. There’s great comfort in knowing there’s more beyond our depth of perception. I’m still not sure where I stand when it comes to a higher power — as always, I’m open to it, because I also don’t believe death is the end — but I guess I’m not quite comfortable embracing the idea yet. But I think about it a lot. I’d like to believe we’re not alone in the universe. I do know that where we are now isn’t all there is, it can’t be, because we’re more than just meat sacks running around yelling about stuff. (And more than cosmic-ray mutations… that DOES sound idiotic.)

        I wish you weren’t suffering. I wish we already knew the reasons for our separate pains. I’m sure there IS an explanation, but I’m not sure I’d want to hear it even if God himself told me. You’re right, though, things just happen. And we have to accept them and deal with them and try to hang on the best we can. Sometimes dealing with it means getting up and going outside and refusing to wallow (even if ‘outside’ is no further than the front porch). Sometimes it means laying in bed crying like a baby and feeling sorry for yourself for a little bit (I’m especially good at that one). At least we’ve both proven we’re bad ass enough to wake up the next morning and keep trying.

        On the drive home from work last night, my sister jumped out of the car at a red light. She took off down the street without explanation. My mother screamed at her from the driver’s seat and I had attempted to hold onto her jacket to keep her inside the vehicle but lost my grip on her. She was having a panic attack. Obviously we followed her in the car and she finally got back in once she had walked for a bit. Turns out she’s been having a rough time and didn’t feel she could talk to me about it because of my own shit. She thought she would be disappointing me by admitting she had a self-injury relapse (superficial, no permanent damage, but obviously not something I would want her to be doing to herself). I felt like shit. Have I been so vocal about my own struggles that she actually thought telling me she was also depressed would make me worse? We had a talk about it and I explained my depression comes more from inside my own head and that she’s totally allowed to wave her crazy flag right there beside me. But it still hurt. I don’t want to be considered too broken to help. She felt bad because the day I spent with her was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time and she didn’t want to bring me down. I hope next time she just talks to me.

        So that’s why I’ve also been tardy with my reply. I’m back at work now, which is nice, but usually once I get home I go straight for Netflix and then fall asleep. Not a whole lot of time for thinking. That’s okay sometimes.

        I hope you’re having a good day, my friend. I don’t like knowing that you’re battling some very real shit, but I prefer knowing over not knowing. Give your dogs a snuggle for me, will you? I adore animals, they save lives.

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