This site began with a certain premise: Posting the musings that spring to my mind as a glimpse into the darkness that is dysthymia. That has yet to occur, but I feel a powerful urge to vent right now and I think I am going to do so.
What is the point of this? The point of writing it is catharsis; giving the emotions represented an outlet to vent and hopefully relieve some of the pain and prevent it from exploding dramatically later on. The point of posting it is several fold. First, to let anybody out there who sees it know that they are not alone. To help them understand, in real and unequivocal terms, that these dark spots are not a personal failing or a weakness on their part, but rather a facet of the disease, and to do that by showing them another person, completely unrelated to themselves and their circumstances, in a similar position. Let’s face it; people who find this blog (which goes wholly unadvertised) probably do so because they are either dysthymic themselves or know somebody they care about who is. Beyond that, if there are any “innocent passers-by” who find this, I would love to educate. If even one person reads what I write and walks away with an understanding that underneath the broken, awkward exterior husk is a real person with real value then I would consider that to be a major victory. Unfortunately, knowing these things logically and knowing them emotionally are two entirely separate things and that brings us to this dark musing. I’m somewhat nervous to give the level of detail I am going to give because the thought that I am writing anonymously (though probably a poor and misguided notion!) helps me to preserve the honestly and forthrightness I need to write at all, but I’m going to do it anyway. So a bit of background before I slide into letting the pain out:
Specifics aside, I recently had lunch with two people I had just met. They are both smart people. One of them is somebody I like quite a bit and who had a similar (though admittedly much less severe) life history. The other was a friend of his with a lot of personality traits similar to what I have. They both ended up giving me some advice (independently and together) that boiled down to this: You have to choose to go for it. Fear of failure is always going to be a part of who I am. In one of their words, if it doesn’t matter in 10 years, who cares? And if it doesn’t matter in 5, then what the fuck am I worrying about?
They are right, of course. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant to say that it wasn’t anything new to me; once again, things I know logically and things I feel emotionally don’t always line up. Anyway, as I said, I liked one of them. He is precisely the kind of person I would love to be friends with. Good guy, smart, makes me laugh. More importantly, I think, he makes me want to be better than I am. That’s big for me. My need for a friend is literal–yes, I actually need a friend directly–but it is also symbolic: As much as the actual friend I need a victory, something to build on, something that encourages me to keep going along a positive path. And as I said, he had a similar experience in his teens that I did (and that I continue to have). I don’t have any reason to believe he was dysthymic, but he didn’t have friends and he was clearly unhappy about that — and he’d moved past it to become both incredibly popular and incredibly successful.
Here, then, was the perfect opportunity to put their advice into motion. My hope was that he would be able to see through the awkwardness and the barriers that I put up to protect myself and see something of value there. He didn’t really click with me when we met. I could sense it. He was super friendly, even inviting me out to lunch to begin with, but I don’t think he saw anything there. He certainly didn’t walk away thinking “damn, that guy would be an awesome friend!” I was trying to ride high on their advice though, and put it into practical use, so I went for it anyway. In my best “look how awkward and pathetic I am!” fashion I sent him a message–online, of course; you didn’t think I had the balls to say this kind of thing in person did you? The specific content isn’t important. It wasn’t a long message. It came down to this: I told him that I hoped he would give me a chance to show him I was more than the awkward person he met.
It was ignored. I know he saw it. I can’t take it to trial or anything, but I know. And it was ignored.
I don’t blame him. I’m sure that’s how I would have reacted in his place too. Being nice about it to somebody as pathetic as I obviously am isn’t likely to be much fun for him, and of course there is no way to respond negatively to a message like that and avoid hurting somebody, so just ignore it right? I don’t hold it against him.
I’m just so fucking tired of failing. This is the result every time I put myself on the line, even when it seems like just a little bit to normal people. And unfortunately the results are always bad. I always spin into an actual depression. I don’t regret it–yay guys, I put “no regrets!” into practice!–but it doesn’t hurt any less.
I’m left here wondering what’s wrong with me. That even people who I think understand why I am the way I am can’t see anything worth their time. Is it simply not worth dealing with somebody’s shit in hopes that a good friendship comes out the back side of it? Are my barriers so tall and so absolute that people can’t see past them? Or the worst thought of all: Maybe they see directly past them but don’t find anything redeeming. I have had (former) friends tell me–certainly not in these words, but they told me–that my friendship is not worth the trouble as they explained why it was that they had been avoiding me for months and had no plans to stop. It wouldn’t be the first time. Has all of this, all my weakness and fear and insecurity and pain, so hollowed me out that there really isn’t anything left?
Every time I get in this mood I start to think about death. I wouldn’t say I’m suicidal, but there’s certainly nothing about life that makes it worth living for me. I’m running out of patience. Seventeen years is a long time to tell yourself “maybe things will be better tomorrow.” Seventeen years of failures interrupted by only a few successes (many of which then turned into failures). How fucked up is it that I pretty much know I am going to end up killing myself at some point? It’s not now. It’s not even close–I have too many loose ends to tie up–but it feels inevitable. And I DEFEND that fucking thought! Life will give me happiness or it will end, the only question is the deadline. Is that unreasonable? I mean, I’m not looking for every day to be sunshine and rainbows. I know that everybody has their struggles, everybody has periods of pain and doubt — but that can’t be the defining characteristic of my life. I can’t handle that much longer.
Hope is something I have tried to rid myself of for exactly this reason. To actually let myself hope, and then to fail again, absolutely fucking crushes me. Until now those attempts have not been successful. But now? I’m not so sure. If there was ever situation more tailor-made to go my way, I can’t think of it. I found somebody I liked, that I wanted to be friends with, who had the set of life experiences that might allow him to give me the understanding and encouragement that I wrote about needing before; I found somebody who literally gave me the advice to get up my confidence and just fucking go for it. I just fucking went for it. And I failed anyway.
Talk about devastating.
Talk about devastated.
I’m yours for a while, Depression. Let’s dance.