Friday, January 6, 2012
I would like to believe.
'Stylistic Differentiation,' 'Overt Influx,' 'Detached Syllogism.' It's little two word phrases like this that float through my brain, start me on a topic when I write. By the time I'm done with a thought, I'll be damned if I can remember what exactly sparked it in the first place. I imagine a glimmering ether nestled in the back of my brain, processing all the inconsequential and peripheral white noise of my day-to-day, compressing the data and spitting out file names into my conscious thoughts.
Sometimes they end up coming out as simple thematic fiction, others are rants, some only come out as thinly veiled allegories. I envy those who can churn out quality content on a daily basis. Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble and struggling just to meet my self-imposed weekly goal. A big part of both my struggle, and my success (haha) in a way, has been avoiding the constant self-derision and self-analysis that has overtly plagued my writing for years. There's a good reason all authors say to write what you know, to do anything else simply feels wrong. Even a good liar needs some material.
Which is why I’ve been so bent on writing about my inner turmoil for so long: It has been so nearly all-encompassing these last few years That it has been almost impossible to see through at times. I've been on the fence about classifying myself as depressed, mostly because it seems like such a four letter word. That, and... well, you'll see.
I've exhibited most of the signs of depression for a while. Loss of appetite and overeating, insomnia, constant fatigue, oversleeping, withdrawal from social situations, social anxiety. Periods where I was so dependent on alcohol that it's the only way I could sleep. I'm dissociative, I have trouble communicating. It's not, for me at least, about feeling sad all the time. I just have an impossibly hard time ever feeling happy. I'll indulge myself in false comforts, faux band-aids and blankets that temporarily stem the tide and allow me to pretend, but they do nothing to heal. In fact, when they're gone, it only feels so much worse.
I've reached a crossroad at least. If I'm being completely honest I've actually been here for a while, and I’ve been stuck. I've made so many conclusive decisions, but when the time comes to act, I stop. I don't take risks, because I’m afraid of being hurt. I spend so much time trying to figure out what's missing from my life, but any time something comes along I can't even deign to give it a chance. I've become so good at talking myself out of doing the things I so very badly want to do.
So I step back, and wonder aloud: “Who the hell are you? When did I let you take over?”
I can see the inconsistencies of my thoughts against my actions so glaringly that it's almost blinding. It comes to light especially in a few recent situations. This last year, I've had two occasions to give some people I care for some very specific advice.
I can remember both situations so clearly mainly because I'm not generally one to give unsolicited advice, and also because the situations they were dealing with were almost exactly the same ones in which I found myself.
Both of these people, to my chagrin, actually took my advice, and it worked. With a few simple words, they took to heart and are happier for it. Happier than they have been in a long time. I say this not to glorify any wisdom I possess, but instead to point out that in both of these situations, I did the exact opposite of what I advised. All I really did was give them a gentle push towards the decisions I knew I should make in the same position. And when it comes down to it, all I really told them was to look at the choices they had, and pick the one that would make them happy. That's exactly what they did.
And exactly what I did not do. It's become a definite trend in my behavior, wherein I choose to remain miserable. Broken down to a case-by-case basis, almost every single personal choice I've made has been the wrong one, in some even choosing inaction, because to do anything would make everything better. And in almost every case, I knew ahead of time the consequences of my actions.
So it's difficult for me to really say I'm depressed. I just am very good at putting roadblocks between myself and my own happiness. I'm an expert at self-sabotage.
There's something to be said about misery if you're a writer. Ask anyone you know who writes on any serious level, and they'll tell you: some of their best work came from when they were sad, or angry, or upset, or heartbroken. I'd like to believe that my own addiction to misery is not for the sake of my art (haha.) I'd like to believe that my self-imposed solitude and separation from happiness is a catalyst to some major catharsis. I'd like to believe a lot of things, but most importantly, I'd like to believe that I can learn to choose happiness.
Posted by Ryan Alexander at 12:13 PM