Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Loving Through Depression

It creeps in like flood water.  You can sense it coming, but you aren't sure from where.  Soon it's a part of you, surrounds you.  You don't know where it stops and where you begin.

I begin here, right now.  With this.

I'm crashing, moodwise.  I can feel myself starting to hurt, starting to doubt.  I am covered in a sheet of warm malaise.  It's like heated wax paper.  I can sense it wrapping me up, turning my consciousness.

It's nothing new.  But it still manages to cut me down the center of my being, and I am left gaping, gasping.  With every return, depression brings the thoughts that rattle their hollow truths.  Oh Dear God, not again.  I can't bear the pain.  Please don't let me hurt like this again.

Next comes the bargaining.  You want to make peace with it.  You want to feel there again.  You try and hope your way through it.  But it shackles your optimism and whips it with its dirty reeds.  You see that the struggle is once again futile.  You submit, knowing that you are not in control.  But the submission leads to those thoughts, again, of ending.  The only way to end the pain, to get outside of it, is to leave it.  You let it lie and hope for remission, but it dawdles, dwells.

You want to give up.  Not again, can I go through this. Not again.  The pain too much to endure.  There must be a way to make it end.

The suicidal thoughts present themselves.  Will you be creative?  Will you find a different way to navigate this transition?

I thought about driving to the beach, stripping down and walking out into the water and letting the ocean decide what to do with me.  Were I to be swept up in a riptide or thrust into the rocks, or even just overcome by the water and sunk to the bottom like a stone, I would be relenting the pain.  I would be finding peace.  Somehow.  So it seems.

I do not wish to bring grief to those that I love.  And there are many of you, I know this.  But when the depressed paradigm arrives, it inhabits all four corners of my mind.  There is no escaping it, except to know that all things must pass, and eventually it will.  It must cycle its way away from my life, just as the joyous times are fleeting and don't last either.

Giving up and checking out of life would be a cowardly act.  A selfish act.  I would be acting only on my own needs and not considering the needs of others.  To set out to end my life would be a grand risk as well-- what if the pain continues, or even worsens, when one takes one's own life?  Perhaps there is nothing; but perhaps one locks in to a special kind of hell.

I don't have answers.  I don't know the future, I don't know what is my fate.  All I know is what I have right now, in this very moment.  And that is a desire to live, a desire to love.  A desire to be loved.  And that, I think, is enough.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too Cool Video of a Skier in a Small Town

Check it out:  Suburban freestyle skiing.  Too awesome!

I wanna try it...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Breaking Into Prison

Attitude isn't everything, as you may have heard.  It's an awful lot of things, but there are still a few things, after you do the accounting.

Exceptions to every rule...

Indeed.  But a change in perspective can seem like it changes everything.  Maybe that's because everything is not a static idea.  Remember, everything changes.

Everything is something that is organic, is constantly being redefined in our minds.  From moment to moment, we learn new things that become part of our ever expanding universe.

Is everything a fact?  No, it is not static and unchanging.  Although sometimes everything seems to be figured out and set in stone.  Everything can feel like a fact sometimes.

Should we talk about anything and everything?  I could converse about the universe and theories that contain it, try to explain it in non-changing rigid labels.  But the universe is organic, too.  It's dynamic.  It's moving, evolving.  Infinite.

So.  To infinity and beyond, to borrow another line.  As long as I live, I change.  The paradigm shifts.  It is and yet it isn't.  Paradox exists now and again.

Feel free to share what you think of anything and everything.

I like pickles.  Dill more than bread and butter ones.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The 200 Club

Not to be confused with the 700 club.

This here blog entry is number 201 of all-time here at Tripolarity: Living Bipolar.  The milestone was at the previous blog, but you know how sometimes you miss the odometer turning over to that milestone sort of a number?  No?  Oh yeah, that's right.  Those are digital now.

Some of the fun has gone out of driving, not because I'm older-- no, no... none of that-- but because we've "advanced" or "progressed" such that cars are different now.  I once rebuilt the carburetor on my Chevy pickup.  Now cars don't even have carburetors.  So I'm told.  Maybe I am old...

Used to be that you'd glance down at the odometer while driving a stretch of highway and notice that an event was coming.  With a glance, you could see things shaping up.  All those 9's lined up in a row, all turning to 0's in a matter of seconds.  It was something that you could witness visually.  It was more than just a "blip" and done.  The dials would start to crank, turning slowly until all of the 9's had become 0's, over the course of a few seconds (depending on how fast you were driving).  Nowadays?  Blip.  You're not even sure if you witnessed it happening.  One moment it's all nines, the next it's all zeros. 

There are a lot of things that used to be that aren't anymore.  Used to be that people sent each other pieces of paper with scribbled penmanship on them.  They were called "letters" and were sent all over the world for the price of a stamp.  How much did it cost to mail a letter when you were young?  I remember stamps being 23 cents.  Or was it 22?  It was less than a quarter to mail a letter.  And you had to take your time writing it out in your best penmanship so that the person you were sending it to could actually read it when it got there.

Now I think it costs twelve dollars to send a letter to someone.  And there's no guarantee that the person you send one to will even know what to do with it.  Mail?  Oh that's the crap that the businesses send trying to get you to spend money on their products.  Coupons.  Junk mail.

Who killed the personal letter?  I don't think it was me.  I remember writing letters to girls that I liked a lot back in high school, and even into college.  I was shy, so writing things down allowed me to get my words "just right" and I felt that I was more effective through written word than spoken word.  My rhythm was all wrong when I tried to speak, there was so much going on in my head that my mouth couldn't keep up.  At least with writing, I had time to chew on the ideas and words a bit before I cast them to the page.  And even then, after I'd blurted something in my scribing I could scribble it out and start over if it didn't sound right.  So even in the beginning I did my own editing.

I don't have a smart phone.  My phone didn't go to college.  It didn't even get its GED.  So I'm outside the speed bubble that our consumer society has created with gadgets replacing gadgets, and things becoming obsolete-- the treasure to trash acceleration-- going faster and faster, like the merry-go-round... and I'm feeling like I'm losing my grip.  I'm about to be flung from the planet and catapulted into the out-dated teeter-totter for a mouth full of slivers.

Why are we in such a hurry?  For what?  Who am I working this hard for?  And for what?

My wife is an amazingly productive multitasking juggernaut.  Sometimes she thinks that if she lets herself rest, she'll get sick.  Better to just push through and keep moving.  I don't think this is healthy.  (She's home sick today, and did a good job resting and eating soup.  Good old fashioned home-made soup-- thanks Aunt Laura).  She does her job, she does volunteer work, she organizes fund-raisers, she goes to meetings, she does conference calls, she helps her family out, she cleans the house, she makes dinner... What the fuck do I do anyway?

I'm too slow.  I live at a different speed.  Had a car dealer tell me that I needed an upgrade to a faster processor-- in my head.  Yeah, way to close the deal, asshole.  Give me my license back, I'm taking my stupid money elsewhere.

So I'm trying to live in this world I've inherited.  And I'm still trying to change along with it.  I want to do right by it, by the people I love.  I want to leave it more beautiful for the next.  I want to keep what is good, what works, but be open to innovation and possibility.  I want to share what I know and what I love in hopes of giving gifts to anyone and everyone that wishes to receive them.  I want to heal the world, and heal myself.  I want to know what there is to know, and be genuine.  Honest, I do.

I hope to enjoy the ride.  It's not the rest stop, or even the destination, but the journey that is most memorable.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Basic Title No. 1

Looking back over the past couple months, things have been kind of tumultuous.  I started a new job, working swing shift hours, disrupting my schedule of sleep and non-working activities.  But I still managed to blog a decent amount of time, and got some quality writing done.

I was also disrupted by a trip to Grinnell.  It was fun to see friends again, but I partied a bit too hard one of the nights.  I hadn't been drinking for about three weeks prior to falling off the wagon at the reunion.  I think that has had a lasting psychological effect (negatively) on me.  I was feeling very good about myself prior to the trip, ramping up to the scheduled time off.  My attendance at work was good, I was in a bit of a rhythm in going and getting through the days/nights whatever they are.

Now I'm in a bit of a rut.  Once we got back from Grinnell, I went back to work the first night, and haven't been back since.  I've been doing other things-- making arrangements, phone calls, emails, budgeting, work on my book project-- but I'm struggling with continuing with the job.  I need to do something different.

I'm sitting here right now, in need of a shower, in need of a haircut, in need of a shave.  I'm in a low mood, but I still have energy, so I'm not really depressed.  I want to do things like write, garden, fix my house, arrange outside furniture, weed control, landscaping projects, sprinkler installations and adjustments.  I want to draw, learn Audacity software, transfer cassette tapes to digital audio.  I want to organize my garage, fix my desktop computer, organize my office space.  I want to plant a garden, organize my tool shed.  I want to live an inspired life.

I made an appointment to speak with an old friend at my former employer.  He's in HR there, and can tell me about the possibilities of getting back with the City.  I don't know that I can swing it, but I have to try and find out if it's an option for me.  I feel like at least the income potential is better than what I've got going currently.

I want to read.

I want to entertain.

I want to have a big party.

Maybe we can have a big ol moving party, sell all our stuff, including the house.  Do like an artist would, where he/she gets rid of everything he/she "owns" and release, starting fresh.  There was a guy who put all his possessions into a huge shredder a few years back... was it early 2000's?  I remember seeing it in the newspaper...  Another guy destroyed all the art that he had created up to that point in his life-- burned it.  What's his name... the guy who puts the dots over people's faces in pictures...

There's something liberating about that.  Letting go of everything, little things that you've carried with you for so long that you don't remember where you got it-- or things that you hold so dear for whatever reason, something from your childhood that you take great comfort in retaining.  Say goodbye to it all, release the energy, the built up potential of your longing ego.  Let it go.  Shed your skin.  And you are born anew.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thanksgiving in June

Well well well.  If it isn't June.  Welcome to mid-year.  A month of many celebrations.

For example, I am now 43 years of age.  My wife has a birthday coming up.  There have been graduations, there are sure to be weddings-- and there was the Grinnell College Alumni Reunion.

It was an extended weekend of conversations and imbibing libation.  We danced 'til we ached and the house lights came back on.  It was past midnight, and somebody realized that it was June 3rd.  So they sang me "Happy Birthday" and I beamed a sweaty beam.

To all who survived the many frozen winters with me in Iowa; to all who ate fried potatoes with almost every meal;  to all that sported hangovers for many a consecutive string of weekends...  Thank you.

I'm trying to give birth to something here.  I'm trying to find the words to do the feelings justice.  I want to relay the sentiment I have felt in the presence of my Grinnellian family over the years, and particularly during reunions, whether they are sanctioned by the college or impromptu gatherings at satellite locations around the country.

But words are hard to find that do the experience justice.  There's always just a little bit more than what I'm able to come up with.  The superlatives don't flesh things out enough, and are hollow and cliche.  So maybe we just need to go with what is spoken from  the heart.

Thanks to Justine for the kind words of encouragement and complimentary edification.  You help me to build whatever it is that this here blog is constructing.  I am inspired to work and toil to entertain you and rattle your cage.  So to speak.

Thanks to Mark, Danja, and Steve for their comments and honesty.  My mission is bolstered by your efforts to communicate and assist me with all things on my plate.

I want to thank everybody out there who took the time to read my little book that could, The Raging, Flaming Goat of Samos over the weekend.  The feedback has been very kind and inspiring.

Thanks to Irene for all your work in the organization of the reunion.  And thanks to Paul for keeping us laughing throughout the night.

There are so many more.  Thank you to Suzy, for being such a wonderful being and thriving socially.  You do some amazing work, and you do it effortlessly.  At least, you make it look that way.

Thank you to Melanie for wrangling me aside and making sure that I know the depth of the love that she and so many others have for me.  You stoke the fire in my soul, and bring me fresh fuel.

I know I'm leaving people out, but not intentionally.  And the band is starting to play louder, as it's time to go to commercial... So.  You keep reading; I'll keep writing.

Regular writing produces better writing.  So it goes.