11 February 2017

This is About Right Now, Today, How I've Been, How I Always Have Been

Photo by author

“I planned to suffer
and I cannot.” 
-- Anne Sexton

I ran nine miles this morning. Now I’m just sitting in my room unable to do anything. Oh except write this.

I lost my cellphone on Thursday. Got it back on Friday. Now I’m just sitting in my room unable to do anything. Oh except write this.

I had a satisfying work week during which I very much enjoyed my interactions with students. Now I’m just sitting in my room unable to do anything. Oh except write this.

I started to watch a movie then took a nap then got a glass of water then checked twitter. Now I'm here writing this.

I went to a basketball game last night. Watched a movie after.

I’m almost finished reading a book. When I’m done I’ll start another one. I’m probably going to bring some CDs to Amoeba tomorrow to trade in for store credit so I can get some new CDs. Monday I’ll go to work. On workdays I get up at 5:45 then shower then eat breakfast then dress. My wife checks my tie for me to make sure its on straight and the collar on my shirt is okay. After that I kiss her goodbye and walk to the commuter bus. It’s usually a couple of minutes before the bus comes. I get on and sit in my usual spot. Then I read. I’ll sometimes take in the view while going over the bridge into San Francisco.

Once in SF, I walk to the bus that I take to work. I’m usually one of the first there so I end up turning on lights. Typically I have about 30 minutes before my first class. I like to ease into my teaching day. Once that starts I’m all energy, excitement and enthusiasm.

Before returning home I sometimes go to the gym and work out. Other times I swing by the store to buy a few groceries, as needed. On Wednesday I go see my psychiatrist. I sit in the waiting room either reading or looking at twitter on my cell phone. The doctor comes down the stairs, peaks at me giving me a nod and half smile and I follow him to his office. He holds the door open for me and I bound in. 

I sit down and usually start by telling him if I’ve suffered any depression in the last week. Usually I have. Last week I hadn’t. Next time I’ll have some to report as I’ve been in throes of it since my cellphone went missing. Even its safe return didn’t bring me out of it. Nor did the endorphins from today’s run.

We don’t just talk about depression. There’s usually a number of different topics that come up. Sometimes they’re related to my childhood, specifically my schizophrenic mother. I also talk about my sorted past when I was a practicing addict and alcoholic. I’ve got a lot of good stories. Of course whatever we discuss is meant to get at some deeper truths, to explore my brain and gain access to those things that have tormented me, like panic attacks. Depression, of course, too. I didn’t mention that I’m bipolar. It’s true. I’m fine with it. I’m being treated. Therapy and meds. Therapy and meds. Therapy and meds.

My mind has not always been an easy thing to live with. Anxiety and fear and terror bounce around in my consciousness. I’ve spent most of my life worrying about turning into a lunatic like my mother. Hasn’t happened so far and likely never will.

The good thing is that I’m generally pretty happy. Why shouldn’t I be? Despite my struggles its a treat to be alive. I’ve enjoyed so much. Like my wife and my daughters and many of my work experiences and sex and food and travels and music and films and books and sports and friends.

I just wish friends didn’t die. One died last month and its hurt quite a bit. I miss him. My best ever friend died in 2002 and I’ll never get over that. He was so young too. My parents and my brother and a couple of other friends and grandparents and uncles and aunts have all died. I miss them terribly. They helped make me a better and happier person than I would have been without them. There was a lot of love between them and I. I guess there still is but when a person is dead it takes on a different form. You can’t touch them. You can’t talk to them. Well, you can, but they can’t talk back.

My wife is making burritos tonight. They’re delicious. She makes them without meat. I’m a pescatarian. That means I eat fish but no other animals. I find meat repulsive. Just like some other things I used to indulge in like cigarettes.

People who stand outside smoking look sad. They’re just practicing an addiction. What can be the joy of it? Sure you can stand outside with your fellow addicts puffing away, but that’s still sad. Why not stand outside and eat an orange instead? They’re cheaper and infinitely better for you. Plus if someone walks by, instead of having to hold their breath to avoid cigarette smoke, they can breath in the odor of an orange.

Until last June I drank coffee in the morning. But after a worst ever panic attack that made me wish for death, I was ordered off coffee by my psychiatrist. I’ve never bothered to ask if its okay to start again. I really don’t miss it. Plus I have a cup (actually a mug) of black tea every morning. There have been a few times when I’ve been tired and needed a pick-me-up and in those instances I’ve bought a hot chocolate.

I’ve had to quit lots of things in my life. Its okay. I don’t mind depriving myself of something that I’m better off without, like steaks or cocaine or lattes.

So I’m still in my room and having written this I have a sense of accomplishment and feel that I can build on this and do something else. Like maybe finish that book. But first I’ve got to get something to tide me over until dinner. I’m hungry.

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