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by pitbully

It’s been about 10 years since I last posted here. A lot can happen in that length of time, and a lot did happen. Little of it was any good, but there you go.

My dad, for whom I was a full-time live-in caregiver, died about 2-1/2 years ago, from cancer. Last year, both my cat and dog died. I’ve still got a mum around, but her health is sketchy. I’m finally employed, but in a very part-time capacity, and tenuously so. Turns out I missed a deadline (completely my fault) and that will play a significant role in determining whether I am rehired when the current contract expires. I tutor at a college near where I live, and tutor contracts are on a per-quarter basis. Moreover, the job is at-will employment, so no reason is needed to fire me (and stupid me gave them a reason.) The really pathetic part is that I’ve only had the job for a couple of weeks.

Then there was the volunteer gig I started last year. I was spending a lot of time there, really enjoying what I was doing (working on bikes). Had hopes that, at some point, I might get a chance to try for an actual job there. The odds were slim that I’d ever get hired, but it felt good that I’d found something positive, and was excited about the possibility (however scant) of turning it into something I could do full-time.

Oh yeah, and I was diagnosed as bipolar last year. This was 25 years in the making. Before my very first hospitalization lo those many years ago, my PCP suspected bipolar. All I really knew about it was that people liked to use the term as a slur against others, and that it was a lifetime affair. I wanted no part of either, so I downplayed any behaviors that corresponded to common symptoms she described. After said hospitalization, when I had a very bad reaction to Zoloft (my current shrink told me that I’m lucky it wasn’t Prozac, else I’d likely be dead or in jail), I was given lithium as a mood stabilizer. It worked quite well, while I took it (losing one’s insurance is really fun, right?) That should’ve been enough to convince me that there was more than “agitated depression” in play. No dice. The intervening years were a mish-mash of alternating between getting shit done and shitting on everyone around me. Then the diagnosis. And new meds. And feeling that, at least, I was starting to get a better handle on regulating myself.

Life, it seems, is not without a cruel sense of humor.

I mucked up the volunteer gig, too. The shop decided to stop allowing volunteers to spend excessive time at the shop. They had reasons, probably even good reasons. In fact, I knew that this might happen at some point, and on an intellectual level, agreed with the decision when it was made. This was about a week before Xmas. And even though I understood the decision, the overwhelming feeling was like I’d lost a job right before the holidays. Not rational, but then, feelings aren’t rational creatures. By the time I got home, my feeling had progressed from feeling I’d lost opportunities to taking on every bit of guilt for the decision being made. Somehow, I’d talked myself into taking blame for something that had little to do with me personally. (Even now, a month removed, I still feel responsible for the decision.) I exchanged emails with the shop manager. What I actually wrote is kind of a blur. I’m pretty sure I apologized for making things so tough. I know I mentioned that I’d felt like I felt that my chances of progressing any further were hampered. I did tell them I didn’t feel like I couldn’t come in anymore (a mish-mash of the guilt and the feeling of loss). I never mentioned that I felt somehow devalued, like the contributions I’d made in that time were taken for granted.

Funny thing about those meds, is that I think I assumed that I wouldn’t really have the swings anymore, so I could really focus on living, and being a good person, and all that shit, without the constant bounce between peak and valley. Of course, the swings still exist, they’re just damped down. And if I’m triggered (even unintentionally), it can still take me to a bad place. And it did. Therapy hasn’t helped much, although it’s still early going.

So now, I’m faced with the spectre of (probably) losing the only two positive things I’d built for myself in the last decade. And the loss, in both cases, is on me, undeniably so. I can’t get out of my own fucking way. Ironically, this was the “best” super-low point I’ve ever had. No screaming, yelling, cursing. Overwhelming sadness and guilt and grief, and the attempt to pull away from people I’d come to care about very much, to try and hide away and keep my pain away (which of course made my expression of the pain worse.) But hey, no putting my head through walls, so there’s that.

If it weren’t for my mom needing help, and my promise to my dad, on his deathbed, that I would make sure to be there for mom for as long as she needed me, I’d be done right now. Right now, I just want to hang on, let my mom live out her life as best she can, hopefully for a long time still. But when she’s gone, I suspect I’ll off myself. I can’t see myself surviving in this world without anyone else. Shockingly, I’m 51 and still single. Fuck, I’m 51 and still a virgin. Pathetic.

And I wish I could show them this screed. Help them understand that I know it’s not them, and I don’t think that it’s them, that I know it’s me, that is the problem. I want someone to understand, to see the scabs and scars, and tell me that I’m still worthy of friendship. But no one does, or wants to, or should have to just because I want it.

Life it seems to fade away/Drifting further every day/Getting lost within myself/Nothing matters, no one else/I have lost the will to live/Simply nothing more to give/There is not much left for me/Need the end to set me free.

James Hetfield, Metallica
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