“It’s like my life is buffering.”

arial photo of road fading into fog

I’m in the middle of an epic struggle with The Depression Monster.  Despite this, I’m still able to hold my head up without too much effort.  I have an arsenal of tools to compensate for this interruption arrayed around me.  I sprayed some aromatherapy essential oil as soon as I awoke.  It smells like citrus with a hint of vanilla in my apartment.  I’m surprised how much it’s helping lift my mood.

I purchased a singing bowl, mallet, and silk cushion set.  It was an impulse buy, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.  I’m stunned by how good it makes me feel.  I didn’t even read the instructions.  I just started dragging the mallet around the outside (in a circle) while holding it on the pillow because it produces a sound that resonates through my whole body.  It’s like tickling my spirit, and it’s always just right.

I also recently got an acupressure mat.  I lay on it when I start to feel like I’m wading through molasses.  At first, using it was a bit startling, but now I could fall asleep on it.  I take off my shirt and place it over the pillow part before laying on it.  Then I take a deep breath and summon my ancestors to surround me and fill me with hope.  The more I use it, the longer I want to remain on it.  I’m up to half an hour each time.  I feel energized afterward.

person surfing a wave

Drumming is another powerful tool when I’m depressed.  It has the same effect as working jigsaw puzzles, writing code, and organizing closets.  It puts my brain back in order (or distracts me until it occurs naturally.)  Only I’m using all of me to do it, to a beat.  🙃 It’s the best midlife skill I’ve picked so far.  I’m also learning synthesizers, which is like building a secret friendship with a unicorn who always has candy.  Both skills are great to save for when you’re 50ish.  You’re welcome.  💜

I’m in a band, but I’m under no pressure to produce anything but my smiling face to practice.  The low-key Loki in me thinks it’s funnier if I train as if I’m going to be great before I die.  So that’s what I’m doing.  If I blow up out of nowhere, you’re in on the joke.  🤭  (Because drummers and synth players who started after their second do-over are notable throughout history, don’t you know.)

Drumming with an acoustic kit is incredibly healing.  The act of deliberately making a lot of noise, alone, is significant.  I was conditioned to be as quiet as possible.  Gross.  Fixing it.  I’ve compared notes and nearly everyone I’ve asked shares this intense need to be silent.  Based on my non-scientific data, you have to be the firstborn son in a religious family with one or more siblings and both parents to feel safe making noise.  Heh.  Drumming defies.

Side note:  I just got an email from Uplift Desk showing a photo of an under desk hammock.  I don’t get it.  My stress level increased from just looking at the picture (warning Will Robinson.)  Is this for at home?  Why don’t you lay on your bed?  Are you sleeping at work?  Am I misunderstanding?  Is this how it starts?

Writing while depressed is messing up my works in progress, but it’s as if the Muse is sending me pity inspiration.  Whatever.  I can chop it out later and save it in the vault.  Someday I’ll use it to write a novel that will make Alaskans and northern Europeans say, damn that’s depressing.  Heh.  I’m off to practice like I’m Beyoncé. ✌🏽💜

“It was like my own personal Crying Game.”

human

Today is flying by so quickly.  I haven’t slept in a while; there are just so many things I prefer doing.  Sleep is a necessary chore I avoid as much as possible.  It’s when my mind attempts to process all the terrible things I force myself to pretend don’t exist while I’m conscious.  (I need desperately to overcome my shame for choosing this self-preservation.)

It’s just that it’s the only way I can stand being alive.  I give myself a pep talk each time I arise.  Life is unbearably painful sometimes.  I endure for the moments of joy.  It’s not elaborate:  I trained myself to recall something fabulous the moment I awaken.  I’m going to see Beyoncè in August, and Fleetwood Mac not long after.  😃 😁

I’m getting astonishing mileage out of the anticipation.  🙌🏽 I’m a bit shaky today because I’m not crying as much as my spirit needs.  I hate crying, but not as much as I hate bursting into tears at the worst time due to emotional constipation; (especially when I know laughing can easily trigger backed up tears.)  Laughing is my favorite thing to do;  I don’t want to ruin it.

cow

Instead, I’m going to cry while I play Schindler’s List theme by John Williams on my violin to some cows.  It’s like crying while crying.  Heh.  I’m not even playing because it’s 2018; the year I believe will lead to drug stores selling FDA approved suicide kits for $19.95.  The Force is out of balance on our beautiful planet.  We all feel it.

I’m overwhelmingly sensitive to the energy of others.  I see your pain before I see you;  (it’s keener than my crappy vision.)  I’m also empathetic by nature.  It makes agoraphobia my shadow.  I can code for days (with short bio-breaks,) and create worlds I can bask in without the heaviness of hatred and ignorance I’m forced to witness and endure every day.

These digital worlds are a poor substitution for fellowship with humans, of course, but at least they don’t hurt so much.  I can breathe, learn, explore, and exist freely there.  I can pursue my passions, hone my skills, and develop new abilities.  I experience a great deal of contentment and know I could more easily survive for a long time in my private worlds.  The temptation to crawl back under that digital rock is intense.

But then I remember what I discovered when I crawled out, not too long ago:  Stevie Nicks.  (Others as well, but she’s the epitome of why I now exist in the world outside my head, despite everything.)  Perhaps you assumed by now I’d calm down and stop being so excited about Stevie Nicks.  You know nothing, Jon Snow.  🙃  I’m off to release some sorrow before it overflows.  ✌🏽

Stevie Nicks

“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -Black Panther

 

“Did you close with the swirl?”

 

Look awayI’ve had an exceedingly frustrating day.  It’s not over yet as I’m still waiting for a technical issue to be fixed after several hours of back and forth communication.  At least I can say I didn’t cry about it.  I came dangerously close, but I sucked it up.  I’m confident it will be resolved soon.

I’m still dealing with insomnia but I ordered groceries earlier, and they included a non-addicting sleep aid.  I’m not hopeful for tonight, though.  I figured out what’s going on.  It’s my method of coping with life.  I force myself not to grieve and agonize over how we humans treat one another during my waking hours.

Unfortunately, when I sleep, the bill comes due.  Everything I avoided thinking about plays out horrifically in my dreams.  I feel trapped by this strategy, but it’s the only way I can survive.  Now I’m going further by drugging myself, so I can sleep.  It feels like a chicken-shit option, but so does the alternative.

I honestly don’t know how others can sleep with even more knowledge about fellow humans behaving atrociously.  I avoid the news.  I can’t watch TV unless it’s a cartoon.  The Flintstones and Hey Arnold! are my shows these days.  I’m relieved I can at least read novels, although some of them level me in my sleep.  I just finished reading The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy for the second time.  My gut regrets my decision.

My inner asshole has been verbally hazing me for being incapable of coping with reality.  I’ve thought about phlebotomizing myself again, but not seriously.  It’s not a solution, just a concession that exceptional intelligence is more disability than a gift IMO.  (Especially when my avatar is black and female.)

Sad kitty

I’m hoping when I’m well rested, I’ll be able to see the positive aspects of my life as they also exist.  Exhaustion isn’t the same as depression, but it sucks just as much.  Both shine a spotlight on all things negative and exasperating.  I’m reduced to my pathetic facts list to help me cope.  Things like:  At least I’m middle-aged, and no matter what, it’ll all be over soonish.  I’m getting a lot of mileage out of that fact.

I feel like Miss Celie telling Sophia not to fret over spousal abuse because life is a temporary condition in The Color Purple.  Sigh.  I need to decide on a novel to read later.  I’ll probably choose something by John Irving or Charles Dickens.  For now, I’m off to watch Stevie Nicks on YouTube.  She can make me smile even through tears.

New Shoes

I was delighted to realize my custom Star Wars  Adidas shoes arrived today.  They turned out to be better than I was expecting, and also came with a Star Wars pull string bag.  Now I just need a Star Wars hat, and I will have a complete Star Wars outfit.  I have a black Adidas track suit with a Yoda image on the back of the jacket.  It has neon yellow stripes on the arms.

I’ll wear it when I go see the new movie.  I was hoping to go to the OTA meeting today.  Unfortunately, it sold out before I even heard about it.  It made me realize how out of touch I am with my own community.  I’ve spent so much time on the east coast with my schooling and research that I’m more familiar with that community.  I haven’t done anything to build networks locally since I got my PhD.  I guess because I don’t plan on staying.  I’m moving to Denver in a year, and have done some networking there with others on the autism spectrum.

Aside from the game series I’m working on, I haven’t followed up on any job offers.  I feel kind of bad about this, because I know deep down that the biggest reason is because the very idea of starting a new job with strangers gives me surges of anxiety.  It’s hard to recall that at 17, I entered the Army in a different state, where I knew noone.  I’m sure I was anxious then too, but that was before I had PTSD.  It’s changed me in many ways.  I’m not adventurous and daring anymore.  I realize that being so young played its part in that, but I can still sense that I’m less ambitious.

I try to keep that in perspective.  I’m not less, I’m different.  I’m a new me, and that’s okay.  My experiences changed me just as they do everyone else.  It’s normal.  Blahblahblah.  So, the new me isn’t even considering moving to Japan to start a new career.  I love anime and robotics, but I know how hard it is to move to a different country where you don’t speak the language.  I’m not up for that.  I’m disappointed in myself for not being up for it, though.

But I’ll get over it.  I have a plan, and am putting lots of time into my current projects.  That’s one good thing about being aspie.  I can hyperfocus easily.  I don’t really have an off switch once I get into what I’m doing.  I usually only stop to care for my cat, or to attend to my biological needs when I can no longer ignore them.   I haven’t had my period in a long time.  I can’t remember how long.  I know it’s because I got too focused, and didn’t eat enough for a while.  I’m starting to gain the weight back now, so it’ll probably return to normal eventually.  Not that I miss it.

After that happened, I’ve been doing better with eating.  I just need to try harder with having more variety in my diet.  I think part of the reason I struggle with this, is because I don’t understand why I can’t eat the same things for every meal every day.  I think it should be a good thing.  My frequent kidney stones disagree.  I did add a new fruit, though.  I like mangos now.  So there’s that.  Oh well, I better get back to being a code monkey.