The Hazzards of Social Politics and Depression
I haven’t posted here in a very long time, in part because the things I wanted to talk about involved friends and I am still not really sure how to separate my personal struggles from difficulties in interacting with people. It is not as if I don’t appreciate the positions I held since this time last year, but it was a trying time all the same.
The months spent working at the shop were some of my fondest days from the last year, maybe even since we moved away from RIchmond, but it’s hard to divorce that fondness from the reality of a four or more hour commute round trip and ten hour shifts which ate up my summer with a voracity that rivaled Pac-Man. I enjoyed the people I was working with after that, but frustrations with slipping expectations and occasionally poor communication made each week more and more of a struggle.
And that’s all I’ll say about either of those things. My drafts are full of half finished posts that start with complaints. There’s multiple years of my life that are encapsulated in a couple paragraphs here and there. Maybe, some day, I’ll delete them. For now, they’ll stay there.They were chapters in the much larger narrative starring depression and hopelessness that spans most of my life. It’s hard to say now, wrapped in feelings more bleak than ever, that I could have been happier had I tried, but to be honest, I’m not sure I know how to be happy any more.
I mean, yes, I smile about things that happen. I laugh at a good joke. I have good days. But these things, each of them, feel ephemeral. They just roll off me before I can really come to grips with them. To put it in less hyperbolic terms, my baseline mood has fallen to a depth where I see Persephone on a regular basis.
I’m not suicidal, I’m not crippled, I just don’t feel happy or engaged in my day to day life. I’ve pretty much given up on any project besides the Calendar, which is really just data entry and research, because being creative, pulling things out of the depths of my soul, takes more energy than I seem to have any more. It was always a challenge to write or draw or do design stuff before. My attention always wandered. My workload frequently became overwhelming. Now my attention slips even sooner, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do necessary things, much less spend five hours sketching with nothing to show for it.
The moment there’s resistance, or something else to do, I’m there.
I used to be this font of ideas, I wrote constantly. Scribbled all the time. A lot has changed, we’ve moved three times, I’ve had a few jobs, but the biggest is not being in the classroom on a regular basis anymore. I wonder if being out of school is the culprit not only in my declining creativity, but my overall downturn. I don’t have hours to listen to people talk while I do other things. I don’t have people interested in what I’m thinking about. I’m not really learning anything. Things are so matter of fact in my field. They’re handed down from higher up on the machine. No one discusses anything, that’s for the business to do.
To say it a different way, I feel like now all I am is this guy whose life is falling down around him because he dreamed too much, was too defiant when all signs pointed to no, and stuck it out because he believed things would get better.
I used to be powered by a sense of wonder, a sense of enjoyment towards what the day would hold. I used to rebound from my melancholy mindset each day. I’ve never really been a morning person, but I’ve never had so much trouble waking up as I have in the last two years. I know what the day is going to be like before it’s happened. Why bother getting up?
On occasion I get that feeling of wonder again, I even put my hands on it this weekend driving through the Pennsylvania countryside, and I feel like the me I remember being. The me who knew things were bad, but managed to leave that behind when need be.The me who was curious.
I’d really like to find that feeling more consistently.