A quick check-in showing my current emotional state. (Higher numbers mean greater degrees of emotion.)
- Depression 25% 25%
- Anxiety 60% 60%
- Stress 65% 65%
(I’ll probably try to do check-ins on Saturday or Sunday nights during my dead times at work. Of course, if something special comes up during the week, I’ll do one then also.)
The dark monster seems to be mainly in hiding again for another week. (Knock on wood!)
Things have been going pretty well in our household and I’ve managed to keep extremely busy bringing this site on line. Based on past experience, I’m not really surprised that the depression index here is what it is. It seems the busier and more creative I am, the less likely I end up depressed. At times I wonder if keeping busy is just a way to avoid dealing with things. Like now, for instance.
There was a slight depression increase, however, which I think is due to a couple of reasons: one I’ll get into shortly and the other is how the impeachment turned out. It’s hard not to feel somewhat hopeless when the person who used to lead the country can do what he did and still get away with it. And knowing that there are all those supporters out there isn’t very comforting to an older gay guy, especially when so many of them feel like they do about LGBTQ’s and other minorities.
Anxiety and Stress
Tonight was a work night again so I had to deal with the typical elevation of these two emotions. Tonight was especially bad as we got hit with the snow storm that’s sweeping the country and I had to drive in the aftermath to get to work. I left a half an hour earlier than normal and still just barely made it. The interstate was barely passable in spots and the fastest I could go was 40 mph. My spouse, God love him, wanted to drive me here tonight but I wouldn’t let him – that would have meant he would have had to drive home and come back to get me in the morning by himself and that would have made me more of a mess.
When I got here, the stress and anxiety was pretty high. Now, after a few hours, it’s a lot lower. (I’ve been listening to The Killers cranked up and getting a kick out of this poor little mouse going in and out of outbuilding where I work. He thinks he’s being so sneaky but I always catch him coming or going. Anyway, both have helped.)
I probably should also apologize for choosing work nights as my check-in nights – anxiety and stress levels are bound to be higher these nights as I explained last week. On non-work days this week, things weren’t quite this bad – I’d put me around 35% – 40% on the worst days. Still, this is part of my life so I guess it needs to be reported if I’m going to be honest here.
I did have a victory this week as I went to Costco by myself on Thursday and I didn’t have a meltdown. I did go first thing in the morning so the crowds weren’t quite as bad. Still, I feel good about being able to get out there among people again without any major negative side effects.
It was a somewhat quiet week personally. I was in that weird place concerning the impeachment proceedings with part of me wanting to steer clear of everything and the other curious how things were going. I guess I shouldn’t have bothered the way things turned out. I just have to tell myself not to dwell on that shit and look at more positive things.
It also seems death has been on my mind a lot lately – along with a multitude of “what-if’s”.
I realized that the anniversary of my mom’s death had just past and this brought up all kinds of feelings.
We had always had a strange kind of relationship – it was like she raised me to be the husband that she wished my dad would be. As such, I was the devoted son for over half my life, putting my needs aside to take care of hers. Through the years, we kept playing this game over and over: she’d get herself into trouble financially and I would always come running, the proverbial knight in shining armor, because I thought as the eldest son it was my duty. Sometimes the give and take was mutual – I was ok with giving up my money in exchange for not having to deal with the black feelings that were occurring more and more frequently.
Because of this, I was 35 and had spent almost all of that time living with my family. (My mom, her female partner, and my younger brother. My sister had moved out right after high school.) And let me be clear – I wasn’t living with them, they were usually living with me. Even though things were supposed to be split evenly financially, it rarely happened. Since I had the best job, I paid the lion’s share of the bills.
I could never have a decent relationship either. After all, there was always an audience of 3 hanging about. And of course, she had to approve of anyone I went out with. I don’t know how many relationships were sabotaged because there was something wrong with the person I was dating. The relationship she approved of? A five year “relationship” I had with a married man. After all, he was safe – he would never leave his wife and take me away from my mom.
At 35, I eventually met the man who would become my spouse and he convinced me to move away. Things were never the same again. Even though I still was the majority owner of the house we all had lived in, I had to sell it to the others for a dollar so I could get out from under it, losing years of equity.
Things finally exploded one year when my mom and her partner visited us out in Phoenix on vacation. A minor argument became something much bigger and turned into an excuse for me to try and drink myself to death. The alcohol didn’t kill me; however, it freed my frozen tongue and, from what I hear, I released years of verbal poison. I don’t remember a thing. Needless to say, however, the vacation was cut short and the family was back on the road to Indiana the next day. They had even refused to sleep in the house, choosing instead to crash in their car.
(Don’t think this was just about finances – that was actually the least of the issues. Eventually, you’ll probably hear about everything else if you choose to stick around. Just know it was some major shit and it all came out.)
Through the years following, things remained frosty. Then came the call – mom was having health problems and it didn’t look good. My spouse and I were living in Idaho at the time and only I was working. I was borrowing money weekly from a pay-day loan just to survive. After everything I gave, I at last needed some help myself to see mom one last time. Initially, it was “no problem.” Then, she passed before I could get home. As I was making travel plans for the funeral, I received a call – instead of helping me come home, my brother decided he would rather buy more flowers for her funeral. He couldn’t even tell me this personally – he had his partner tell me. If I wanted to come home, don’t expect any help. Because I stood up to my mom, I was persona non grata.
Thus, I missed the funeral. Instead of grieving, I immediately went into shock over the attitude shown. That was 11 years ago. And it still eats the hell out of me. I haven’t spoken to my brother since; my sister and I are friends on Facebook but we haven’t spoke/messaged in 6 years or more.
On top of that, a friend of mine this week posted something on Facebook about missing her deceased spouse, especially since Valentine’s Day was coming up. That immediately made me think about my own situation and how I’m going to deal with inevitably being alone. After all, my spouse is 7 years older than I am. It will be a miracle if I go first. Can I survive when he is everything to me? (And I don’t mean just in a figurative, romantic kind of way – I mean he’s my entire support system – lover, friend, sounding board, everything.)
So, of course, the depression is going to increase with things like that going on, right?
As far as the writing project goes, these thoughts are definitely showing up there, too. Death, loneliness and abandonment show up plenty in the ideas I’m having right now.
What I find curious, however, is this: nowhere in the notes and ideas that I’ve come up with through the years is there anything where this relationship between my mom and I is explored. In fact, the mom only appears in the backstory when the main character, Tim, was 10. She skipped out, leaving Tim with his father. No, that isn’t quite right – she just didn’t leave Tim – she “traded” him with Tim’s father for $500 so she could have money to live on after she left. Oh, and she took his younger brother, too, but left Tim behind. After that, not a peep about her.
I guess thinking about things, that little bit of backstory says an awful lot. Hopefully, I’ll be able to one day explore this area more deeply. Until then, I guess it needs to stay wherever it is so I can keep avoiding it. Maybe that will be the next story.
Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash