Category Archives: mental illness

Just gotta vent

So I went to the gym tonight, and, as per usual, the stupid sinks there will not turn on.  They’re supposed to be the kind that you wave your hand under and boom, water.  Well I tried that on all three of the sinks and not so much as a drop.  this is not the first time this has happened.  So I complained at the front desk to one of the employees.  As I walked away I heard the other employee tell her ‘he won’t shut up about that.’

I know I’ve complained about it before, multiple times, in fact, but I’m not complaining to hear myself whine, I’m complaining because it bothers me, and I think it needs to be fixed, and I assume that if I complain to the employees they’ll pass the complaint on up the line, and hopefully at some point somebody will replace the stupid faucets with faucets that actually work.

I understand it isn’t the end of the world that they don’t work, and I know that the people I’m complaining to don’t have any control over that nonsense, but at least this is the right avenue for complaints.

Back when I was working at the theater we once had somebody complain about the rating of one of the movies.  That was absurd, not because she didn’t have a right to disagree, but because there was absolutely no connection between the theater and the rating.  We didn’t control that, our bosses didn’t control it, our bosses bosses didn’t control it, all the way up to whoever owned the place.

In this case I know that if the message goes up high enough it’s got to reach somebody who can do something about it.

Maybe I should have only complained once, maybe it was unreasonable of me to bring it up every time the sinks refused to work for me.  On the other hand, I really don’t see any other way to get them to change that.  And when somebody does something that makes me feel like I’m being an asshole, it starts a loop of self doubt an anger that takes a really long time for me to turn off.  So I really want to punch that guy in the face.

But I suppose that’s my problem, not his.

But I still want to punch him in the face.


It occurred to me recently that I am only a couple of years away from my twenty year high school reunion.  I didn’t go to my ten year reunion.  Not because I couldn’t, but because I wasn’t where I wanted to be.  For that matter, I wasn’t who I wanted to be.

I remember, my senior year, looking around one day and realizing that about a half a dozen girls in my class were pregnant.  At the time, I’ll admit, I kind of judged them for it.  I didn’t say anything to them about it, it wasn’t my business, and as a rule I don’t poke my nose in where I’m not invited.  But when I thought about it, there was judgement.

Now I can’t help but wonder if they chose a better path than me.  It’s been nearly twenty years since high school ended and I am still… adrift.  Boys and girls I went to classes with now have children who are about to graduate.  Some are probably grandparents already.  I’ve had a handful of relationships in my life, and none were particularly serious.  I’ve never been a father… never been close to being a father.  My chosen career, that of a writer, has not led me where I expected to go.  Or rather, it hasn’t led me there yet.  The truth is, I still have no idea where it’s going.  Perhaps I’m circling the drain, on my way to washing up, unaccomplished, unremarkable.  Or maybe greatness is just over the next horizon.

Twenty years will have been more than long enough for many of my cohort to establish their place in the world, I’m sure.  Or at least accomplish something.

Perhaps uncertainty is the only certainty.  Perhaps, right now, a hundred miles away, the guy who sat behind me in Spanish II is thinking to himself, ‘that reunion is so close, and all I’ve done with my life is have these three kids and open my own garage.  I wonder what would have happened if I’d followed that pipe dream…’

It’s funny, looking backwards is sometimes the only way to see the present clearly.  When we see the choices we didn’t make, and consider all of the people that we might have become, it gives us some clarity about who we are.

Odd, though, that clarity seems to come in the form of unanswerable questions.

The road not taken.  The person I might have been.


So I’m sure that there’s already a name for it.  I have no doubt that somewhere in some medical journal there is already an established and accepted term for a person who becomes convinced that they have every single psychological condition that they find out exists.

But somehow I think the process of going through the medical journal in question to find the appropriate name would do me more harm than good.

I’ve gotten better over the years.  Now, after my initial gut reaction that, yes obviously I must have multi-personality disassociative anti-tourettes misassociation disorder, I do take a moment, calm myself down, and take a few seconds to consider whether I’ve really experienced those symptoms, or if I’m just searching my memory for one or two moments that have some vague similarity to what I’ve just been hearing about.

I’m not entirely certain why I am immediately inclined to think that anything that could be wrong with my brain, is wrong with it.  I have a few vague theories, but they’re mostly just wild guesses.  Sometimes I think it’s because i want to believe that I’m more interesting than I really am.  Other times I’m convinced that the problem is that our list of mental illnesses is just a very human attempt to fit people who aren’t normal into boxes, and that many of the things that we call mental illnesses are just mild exaggerations of traits found in all of us.

Mostly, though, I think it’s my attempt to take parts of my personality that I don’t love, lop them off, and label them as something foreign to me.  Why am I obsessing?  Is it something that I need to work on?  No, it’s my disease, what I really need is a pill to take the problem away.

Ah, the madness, it is an all consuming thing.

An introduction

I guess I have to start somewhere with this, and the place that makes the most sense, I think is with me.

Please allow me to introduce myself.  I’m a man without wealth or taste.  I hope some day to have wealth, but as for taste, I could do without it, I think.

The most important thing that I can tell you about myself is that I am mentally ill.  Specifically, I’ve got depression and anxiety.  I strongly suspect that there’s more to it than just that, but those are the ones I’ve been diagnosed with.  Well, sort of.  Diagnoses related to mental problems are a bit different than diagnoses related to physical problems.  Basically I just told a shrink that I spend a lot of time depressed for no discernible reason, but I don’t have any periods where I partake in excessive risks or think I’m immortal and she goes ‘yeah, that’s depression.’  I don’t know exactly what I expected, to have to pee on a stick or get some blood drawn or something.  Honestly, I think it’s the word ‘diagnosed’ that through me off.  I spent years thinking ‘hey, I’m anxious a lot.  maybe I have an anxiety disorder?  But I shouldn’t say that for sure until I’ve talked to a doctor.’  Then when I do they just go, ‘oh, yeah, anxiety for no reason?  Okay, I can give you something for that.’

Sorry, that’s a bit of a tangent.  Just something that always felt weird to me.

Anyhow, I’m currently medicated for the depression, and sort of medicated for the anxiety, which has helped me more than I can express.  I mean, it has literally been years since I’ve laid in bed, crying, praying that I’d die before I woke up.  That sucked.

The funny thing, looking back, was the little voice in the back of my head doubting everything for me.  I remember, very specifically, thinking ‘this is it, it can’t get worse than this, I have to see a shrink and get something to help me deal with this.’  And then this little voice in my head goes, ‘but what if there’s nothing wrong with you.  What if this is how everybody feels, and you’re just such a giant pussy that you can’t deal with it like everyone else does.’

I don’t know if there’s a name for that little voice, but there should be.  And he should get his ass kicked.

Well, that was another tangent.  Let’s see, what was it I wanted to talk about?  Oh, right.  So, one of the interesting patterns I’ve seen is that a lot of people with mental illnesses end up working in the arts in one form or another.  A lot of painters, a lot of authors, a lot of sculptors, when you look into them, they were pretty screwed up.  They would maim themselves, kill themselves, go bat-crap crazy.  I’ve felt for a long time that the reason for this is because those of us with mental illnesses find the standard means of communication to be insufficient to encompass what we feel.  People use words like happy and sad, frustrating and invigorating, and we know what those words mean, so when we feel something that seems to press beyond the stifling borders which normal speech allows, we feel that we need to find some way of expressing it.  I remember somebody asking me once what I thought the job of a writer was, and I said, after much consideration, that I thought our job was to help readers experience the full range of human emotion.  Because so many of us don’t experience it.

Perhaps we need to create bizarre scenarios to allow those feelings out, but in the end, I believe that what all of us are trying to do is connect with others, to communicate those things that standard words and pictures don’t seem to quite accomplish.  So we have to reexamine language.  Sometimes that means making up new words, sometimes it means building an entire universe.

That’s what’s on my mind at the moment.  Hope somebody got something out of this.