Tank (tank_bass) wrote,

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Fake it 'till you make it?

So last night I had an episode that I haven't really experienced in about 10 years. It was an episode of deep, deep depression. It was triggered by a conversation I had with my wife about an off-handed remark I had made. I'm not going into too much detail here because there's a lot of shame and guilt around it and I'm already addressing it in therapy so I don't feel the need to go into it here.

At any rate, this was a deep and quick plunge. I immediately felt physically ill, nausea and the whole bit. Basically, it boils down to some things I've covered in recent entries: my need for external things to take care of internal issues.

I spent my last therapy session talking about this a lot because I don't feel like things are getting any better, in fact I think things are getting worse. I basically see life as a pointless endeavor at this point, and I don't think I actually ever really thought that way. All I seem to be able to see is the damage I cause. I used to be relentlessly and annoyingly optimistic about my life, and that seemed to work for me, but there is this inner logic that exists in me that lets me rationalize that everything is nothing. There is no point to anything, so fuck it. It's a subtle shift from how I feel like I used to think. It's subtle in that I used to think the same thing, but the tone was light instead of dark. It was more of a "fuck it! Carpe Diem!" Such a thin line there. Hair thin.

In therapy we discussed the idea that I'm an overthinker. In going over my LJ from the past, that's a laughable understatement. I am THE overthinker. I think everything to death and take myself out of the moment constantly. I've ruined many a good thing because of this trait, namely my past bands, my self-worth, and my marriage. Luckily I'm still married, because we both have our own issues to deal with and we realize that dealing with our own baggage will help toward our mutual baggage. It's really hard though.

It's hard because I crave so desparately for someone to love me and tell me everything is okay and it's impossible to ask that of someone who you've managed to hurt. Emotionally, I expect that of her. She's my wife. Wives should support their husbands. Simple enough, right? I feel like I try to support her as much as I can, much more than I try to support myself, in hopes that when push comes to shove, I get that love right back. But how fucked up is that? Love shouldn't be some weird banking system where you're issuing out loans and hope you get some love back in interest. It should be given freely, with no expectation of return. The return should be a surprise, a present, a pleasant byproduct of putting that out into the world. You shouldn't dwell on what you're getting back since love shouldn't be so transactional. It's not business. It's negotiation, but not a positional bargaining situation, it should be collaborative experience where there is a common goal and that's what's being worked towards. And the irony is that all this time I've been calling her out for not honoring what I saw as her end of the deal, I was doing the same thing by pointing it out in the first place.

I've realized through reading old entries that this is how I've lived my life for as long as I can remember, because I wasn't given a framework to show me otherwise. I had an alcoholic, bi-polar father who used booze to fill the void within him. I have a mother who works herself to the bone and avoids having to face any of the realities of her situations. I picked up on that tendency myself, however I've found it's yet another fruitless endeavor. Not totally fruitless, but it's not the crop I was trying to cultivate. I've come a long way in a short time in terms of a career, and I'm starting to get the hang of what I'm doing now that I'm batting in the big leagues, but if I can't find it within myself to enjoy that for what it is (and it certainly is something I could and should be proud of), then like everything else, it doesn't actually matter.

And it doesn't. And nothing really does.

My personal beliefs play a big part in this idea as well. I'm an agnostic, and to me that means that I don't believe in a particular deity, but I'm not completely shut off to the idea (although I lean pretty hard in the "shit just happens" direction). Manyard James Keenan said in his WTF interview that you can't be an artist if you don't believe in magic on some level, and I completely agree with that. There is a magic to the emotional connection of comedy, or music, or fine art, or film. It's insane how much a temporary mood boost I can get from listening to one of my favorite songs, even if it's something dark and depressing. Particularly in the "dark and depressing" example, it takes away my loneliness, at least for the 3 to 4 minutes it's on. I can hear someone else expressing something that I feel deeply. Somehow, this stranger who I know not from Adam knows exactly how I feel, and put it into words and melody and gave me a hug through my ears.

That all said, my beliefs almost reinforce how I feel about the pointlessness of life. Which is silly, because that's just it: The point to life is whatever you make it. People use religion to answer that question for them because it's the path of least resistance. It's easy and it's comforting. It gets problematic when those same people are telling other people they're wrong for living their lives the way they do, but otherwise it was designed to serve a purpose. I could also argue that there was political motivation to the development of religion, and as true as that could be, it doesn't change the fact that life is subjective. Bill Hicks said it way better than me when he talked about how there's no good LSD stories on the news. To butcher relentlessly, he says that we are all part of the same conscienceness experiencing itself subjectively. If that's the case, which I think is fairly accurate if you look at how religions have developed and the Jungian theory on the common story arcs, then that does ultimately leave me in control of how I want to live that life.

So now that gets to the subject of this post, because I've gone way, way off-course from what I intended to write but that's okay. Again, this isn't meant to be something to be sold or whatever, this is really just a place for me to take an emotional dump.

I find now that I'm in a place where I don't even know if I want to live this life, which is the scariest, saddest place one can be. Thankfully, I'm too much of a pussy for suicide, I think, because I'm scared of my own damn shadow, and my lack of religion puts me in fear of death on a fairly regular basis anyways. I don't need the help from anything self-inflicted.  Given my usual propensity for leaning on external things to try and get by, I've read up on some possible things I could try.

Let me start this part by saying that my intentions were less than pure from the onset. I looked up amphetamine last night on Wikipedia since that's what I'm on for ADHD, and it was the harshest thing I had on hand in case I wanted to take myself out. The state I was in, I was trying to at least develop a plan to get out. This is probably the furthest I've ever taken a suicidal ideation. I looked it up to see how much it'd take to kill me. If I'm going to do it, I don't want to leave a mess, because that's the polite thing to do I guess. I just think of how Terry found Jay in the bathtub with blood and gore everywhere and I don't want to put anyone through that (since you know, suicide's totally okay if you do it any other way. Even at my most selfish, I can't help but put others before me). Turns out you have to take a shitload, and the chances of actually killing yourself are pretty low. The worse case scenario would be I end up a vegetable for a time, and if I was going to do that, there's much better ways to go about it. Again, laziness and fear prevail and I live to see another day.

I finished reading the Wikipedia article this morning because I'm a data junky and was reading about amphetamine's effects on dopamine and how it can sometimes be used to treat mild depression (cute little side note: it's also really good at keeping you depressed if you already are there. Joy.). So I go down that rabbit hole of reading about everything dopamine does for you, which I've known a little bit about but never really gave much regard to. So then I google ways to increase dopamine levels naturally because at the very least, this can be construed as a stop-gap solution while I'm in therapy. If I can boost my dopamine levels up, at the very least I can raise my baseline emotional level enough to not feel like complete shit all the time (even in my sleep lately: past two nights I've had dreams about people sending me texts basically saying I'm a shitty human being and they no longer want to communicate with me. One was a guy I work with and the other was my wife).

There is a very real possiblity that this is a big part of my problem. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but at the very least, the idea couldn't hurt, right?

The symptoms match up pretty well: Lack of motivation, fatigue, apathy, procrastination, inability to feel pleasure, sleep issues, mood swings, HOPELESSNESS (all caps because duh), and inability to concentrate (even whilst on my meds). The only two that don't seem to match is low libido (it's hard to tell given that that hasn't been a thing that I've actually had to worry about in over a year), and memory loss, but that would could match and I'd have no clue because I forgot.

It's an ironic thing because all the remedies for it are either supplements (which I'm leaning toward for other reasons), or "get up and go exercise," or "get more sleep." Dude, I'm lacking motivation and feel tired all the time and I clearly don't give a shit about anything really. You really think I'd do any of that shit? No.

It's an issue I've had for a long time and I've discussed this with my wife quite a bit. I'll do something good for me maybe one or two times, and I'll feel great from it, and I'll be so pumped, then I'll discontinue it almost immediately. The closest I ever came to having a good habit that felt great was in the month before Dayne was born, I was going on hour-long walks at night by myself. I'd listen to music and walk about two or three miles. I'd be tired out by the time I got home, and I'd go to sleep and sleep hard and feel decent the next day. After Dayne was born, this got discontinued because having three kids is insanity.

The other thing it suggested was setting long-term and short term goals that lead to those long-term goals. Thanks to reading Four Hour Work Week, I've become quite good at that, however there is a disconnect between my planning and any action that could take place. I can make plans all day but I lack something (motivation? time? care?) that would enable me to make that plan actionable. That's been my problem my entire life, and while it's gotten better with age, it still hasn't taken off in a lot of ways. I now make less goals, and I make more reasonable and specific goals overall, but I still don't stay on the bandwagon. I've tried a bunch of things that Tim Ferriss suggests because that dude has his shit together pretty well and the things he suggests do work, but I still don't stick to them. It perpetuates the feeling that I'm broken and beyond repair. It makes me think there maybe is a chemical component to my issues. I still don't want to take more medicine for it because again I don't feel like it will address any issues, but be another external security blanket for which I can hide under.

Lastly, it basically suggested "Fake it 'till you make it" in the handful of websites I reviewed on the topic, which goes back to what I just mentioned. I'm not even motivated to fake it anymore. I alluded to that in my last post when I talked about that Ministry song: faking it is just what people do anyways. I'm still faking it, for the most part.

A big part of a different discussion I got into with my wife the other night was about how she wants me to be authentic with her. I want to be authentic with her, and with everyone, including myself, but I don't know what that means or what that looks like. I've always been taught to work through it, pretty much. Not in the proper way, mind you, but work on external shit and ignore it. I don't know that I can do that anymore and that's probably the best thing for me. Last night was very much a breakthrough in that regard, and the silver lining to that particular episode. She asked me if there was something wrong with me and I told her yes, and I told her how I was feeling. I didn't quite get into where my head was going with it overall, but I was honest that I felt like I was spiraling down a black hole. She said she felt some pressure to make me feel better, and instead of denying it, I owned it, and I wasn't angry about it. I was very matter-of-fact about it. I told her that yeah, I did want her to comfort me, but given the situation, I understood that she couldn't and shouldn't. She said she wanted to be comforted considering the nature of the situation, and I told her I couldn't do that for her, and she isn't expected to do that for me, as much as I put that vibe off emotionally. It felt like growth a little bit, but I also didn't like it. All I wanted to do was cry into someone's arms, and of all things, I fixate on her because we're married and dammit, that's the way it should be, right? I'm proud in a way because I did do the right thing by her in that moment and I didn't project my inner hatred onto her, like I've done to so many other people and situations in my past. I have been a shitty friend in a lot of ways because of that. For once, I don't look back and feel intense shame, I see it for what it is, and also, it's done. The likelihood that anyone else even gives a shit about those things anymore is pretty low, and even if they have lingering resentment about something, that's not my job to draw that out of them, just like it's not my wife's job to draw it out of me. It's my job to be honest about how I feel in any given moment and go from there.

Does it suck that I know that letting those feelings out in the moment isn't going to make me feel better or yield the result I think is ideal? Well, yes, of course. I guess that means, like I've said before, that my only way out is through. The only problem with through is that it's dark and scary and I don't know what's in there for the most part. I want someone to hold my hand. I take that back, I want someone to carry me through there, but that's not realistic or fair.

When I think on it, the idea of that makes me even more sad than I already am. It just reinforces the loneliness I already feel. It makes me want to reach out for something even more, and then I feel even worse still because I know that's not the answer and that probably won't help matters at all.

Ugh. Just gotta get through it I suppose. 
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