Fight the Rising Panic

I broke up with my girlfriend.

I was a difficult decision.

She cried. I felt terrible.

“Why would you do it?” you might ask. “If you feel so terrible about it, what was the point? Why not just keep the relationship going?”

It’s because even before the break up I was feeling terrible.

It was becoming increasingly difficult spending time with someone who was always so happy to see me, so happy to just be around me, when I was physiologically incapable of matching her level of enthusiasm.

I feel like a broken record constantly talking about how unhappy I’ve been recently. I worry that people will eventually lose their patience with me. After a while most people’s response is “Get the hell over yourself! You think you’re the only one out there with problems?”

I know that’s how I feel. I lost patience with myself a long time ago. I can’t tolerate what a miserable piece of crap I’ve become and so I can’t imagine how infuriating I must be to the people around me.

A really good friend of mine recently told me that he thought I drink too much. It was sort of funny because I was doing my typical rant about how shitty I was feeling and he flat out asked “Well, how much have you been drinking?” and before I could respond he interrupted me and qualified the question with “And answer honestly!”

I had to stop and take inventory of how much alcohol I consume in any given week and when I told him he sort of slapped me in the head and said “Well there’s your problem, genius! Alcohol is a depressant!”

He went on to tell me a story about how years ago he went through an extended period of serious drinking and realized, gradually, that it was taking a heavy toll on his emotional sate.

I drink a ton of whiskey. Whenever I buy a 6 pack of beer or cider it’s done before the night is. I also, over the last year have been smoking a ton of pot.

I usually sleep 2-4 hours each night unless I take a couple of over-the-counter sleeping pills which I know I shouldn’t be taking because they can react dangerously with my antidepressants and anti anxiety medication.

Add to that an addiction to Pizza Pizza, potato chips, pop tarts and McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches and you have a brain that is being bombarded by a whole slew of biochemical triggers that have been making me feel and act like a crazy person.

I think that in the past few months I’ve overloaded myself in some way because recently I’ve been unable to feel anything.

I have not been able to enjoy any of the things that usually make me happy.

Not only does food not make me feel that rush of satisfaction that it used to, but I haven’t felt genuinely hungry in almost 3 months. I eat because intellectually I know that my body needs its gasoline. I eat when social situations require me to and I eat when I smoke pot, but even those effects have started to peter out.

Before 2012 I would never do any drugs but since last summer I’ve smoked so damn much, and not just pot either. I recently pulled a Miley Cyrus and started smoking Salvia. I went online and found a website that sells what they, very cloak and daggerly, call “herbal incense” which are basically lab grown, mutant plants that they can sell legally in the US and Canada because they are artificially created and their genus classification (which is made up by the creators) doesn’t fall within any of the DEA’s lists of banned or controlled substances.

Now after a year of overindulgence when I do smoke it doesn’t make me feel good at all. It doesn’t make me feel anything. And just like I’ve said in many of my past entires I feel like I’ve become immune to whiskey.

I feel nothing.

And it’s not just substances. All the things that used to bring me joy have become insipid and boring.

Video games and comic books, YouTube videos and podcasts. All the myriad forms of distraction that I used to use to trick myself into not dealing with my problems no longer hold my attention. I feel like if I’m not doing 3 or more things at once then I can’t get any enjoyment out of anything.

I have to be watching a movie while simultaneously listening to a podcast and playing a video game in order to get any kind of joy out of it.

Even sex was unsatisfying. I found myself playing the role of an accommodating participant rather than enthusiastic instigator when it came to doin’ it.

There are exactly 3 things in the world right now that have been able to break through the numbness and actually make me feel some joy:

1) Watching new episodes of The Newsroom on Sunday nights.

2) Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim

3) Recording Long Distance Bromance with Jaron Francis

Other than that, the only emotions I feel are negative.

So taking the advice that I’ve been ignoring for so long I decided to cut out all the bullshit. I’ve decided to make the following changes:

1) No more drugs and alcohol

2) No more eating shitty fast food

3) Actually sleeping at least 6 hours each night WITHOUT any sleep aids.

4) Jogging every day. I usually walk home from work but my pace is too leisurely. I’m gonna bring a change of clothes and start doing time trials.

5) Focusing my attention on one thing at a time. No more of this sick entertainment multitasking.

6) Forcing myself up and out of bed on all those days where it would be so much easier to just curl into a ball and pray for death.

7) Be happy.

I’m on day four of this new regime. I feel sick and have been suffering from the worst throbbing headaches I’ve ever experienced but with the exception of not being happy and still playing video games and watching TV at the same time I’ve managed to stick with all the other goals.

Part of me wants to fail. Part of me wants to give up on this plan halfway through. Because if I actually stick to it and I make all these changes and I still feel this way then there will be nothing left to blame my problems on. It will confirm my worst fear that there is something fundamentally wrong with me as a person.

I don’t know what to do if that’s the case.

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Endure the Unending Exhaustion

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been feeling more and more weak, tired, apathetic, depressed and angry with myself.

It’s such a radical change from how I was feeling when I last posted.

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping.

I thought I had got passed this but the insomnia that was crippling me all winter is back.

Also I feel like I’ve been drinking more than I’m comfortable admitting, but I seem to have developed an immunity to whiskey. I drank a half bottle of Johnnie Walker while I watched almost a whole season of The Sopranos this evening. It doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.

I don’t know what’s caused this shift in my emotional state.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I know exactly what the cause is. It’s an uncontrollable compulsion to look back and remember some pretty low moments in my life. I can’t stop these negative thoughts and my mind will drift towards painful memories seemingly of its own accord. What I don’t understand is why.

Things have been going better for me than they have in a long time, so why do I feel so shitty?

I have a pretty sweet job that makes me feel like I’m actually contributing to society and making a difference by helping people. So why is it so hard for me to get out of bed and go to work in the morning?

I have a lovely new girlfriend who is such a joy to be around and I feel like she genuinely likes me in spite of all the glaringly obvious reasons not to. So why am I spending so much time and mental energy thinking about the girl who broke my heart even though, by my own admission, I didn’t even want her anymore?

I’ve made so much progress in therapy gaining valuable insight and acquiring new tools to unravel the jumbled up mess in my head. So why can’t I look in the mirror without feeling so damn angry with myself?

I need to sleep.

There’s no two ways about it.

If I don’t start getting some real rest I’m going to collapse in the middle of the street. I might punch a little old lady while waiting in line at the super market or bite the head off someone’s tiny yip-yapping accessory “purse dog”.

I just want to stop feeling this way.

I don’t want to be splayed out on my uncomfortable bed staring at my ceiling at 1AM every night. I don’t want to keep replaying past events in my head over and over, conjecturing the innumerable ways in which things could have gone differently.

I don’t want to be unhappy anymore.

It’s been a Sisyphean effort. A perpetual motion machine of negativity. I get bogged down by all these feelings and then I start feeling ashamed of myself for feeling this way so I feel even worse so it causes more shame.

I need to interrupt this cycle because it’s keeping me up all night and driving me closer and closer to a complete emotional breakdown.

Usually I go back and revise these posts. I write in free flowing streams of consciousness and I have a whole editorial process to try and make them make sense.

Not this time.

If you feel like this post has been self indulgent, whinny, repetitive and nonsensical THEN GO FUCK YOURSELF!!! You knew what you were in for when you came here so quit complaining.

I’m sorry…

That was uncalled for. I’m clearly delirious and more than a little bit stressed right now.

It’s 1:12AM on Friday May 31st 2013.

Goodnight.

Polish the Dirty Mirror

In third grade I changed schools. Upon arrival I was immediately smitten with a girl in my class. It was one of those “pod” classrooms. The ones that housed 2 classrooms worth of kids, had 2 teachers and one of those retractable dividing walls that would allow the 2 classes to either unite or separate as the situation demanded.

I was in one half and she in the other and I remember focusing on her from across the room when I should have been learning cursive. I never did learn all the letters and I’m sure that will come as no surprise to anyone who has had to suffer reading my writing (before the “your blog sucks” zingers start flying I mean my actual chicken scratch handwriting).

QhON9


Go ahead and steal my private diary… good luck reading it!

Since I was “the new kid” and since I hadn’t yet developed my obnoxious habit of forcing everyone to pay attention to me, I avoided any kind of conversation and hopelessly pined for her through the years.

By the time we reached 7th grade I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with or  to her but I no longer just stared while avoiding her completely. Instead I created excuses to be around her as often as possible. It strayed into a weird place when I began walking her home every day after school. I’ve never been a particularly well adjusted person but I think that I actually started going crazy at about this time in my life.

When the school day was done I would walk home West and she would go East. We lived in opposite directions and so it took me twice as long to get back to my house whenever I walked her home. I tried not to call too much attention to it but when she started asking me why I was suddenly taking this new route home, rather than telling her that I just enjoyed spending extra time together I began a Jan Brady-esque web of lies.

george


If they made this show TODAY this kid would be on Ativan, Ritalin and Zoloft.

I told her, and even now 15 years later I can’t explain why I did this but I told her that my parents got divorced and that my mom lived in a new house. That was the reason why some days I walked home one direction and some days the other.

The strange thing is that the next year my parents did get divorced and I ended up changing schools again. It made me feel weird. In addition to all the regular stress that kids go through when their parents split up I also had this weird feeling that I had caused it to happen.

Up until the point when my Mom actually left, there was never any indication that she was going anywhere. Everyone in the family knew that there was a lot of unhappiness in both the marriage and the household overall, but no one ever thought she would pull the trigger and go.

Because it shocked everybody with it’s suddenness the divorce made me think that either I was clairvoyant and could predict the future or that I had magically willed  it to happen.

We all know that mischievous preteen boys are often bestowed with godlike abilities.


We all know that godlike abilities are often bestowed upon mischievous preteen boys.

Since then I’ve had a strange symbiotic relationship with dishonesty. I never wanted to be intentionally deceitful but in the past, usually when I’m asked about topics I wish to avoid altogether (family, future goals, emotions) I just wouldn’t tell the truth. Not even to myself.

This blog was created as a means for me to face what I used to make a habit of ignoring, to clean the cobwebs out of the closet so to speak. It’s been difficult being so honest and open because a lot of the words that I’m committing to perpetuity on the Internet, are things that I don’t even want to admit to myself and yet here I am on a regular basis telling the whole world.

By now most readers are no doubt thinking “get to the fuckin’ point already” and I apologize for my propensity to ramble and my penchant for $10 words. I can’t help it, I grew up watching Dawson’s Creek and Kevin Smith films. What I’ve been trying to say is that this 7th grade “love” story  has been on my mind recently.

This was my first taste of unrequited love. Since then it’s happened again occasionally, but I’ve found that most of the time I avoid this kind of drama altogether. Rather than holding a torch for someone when I know I have no chance I’ve realized, upon reflection, that I’ve been playing things a little safe.

By only pursuing ladies that I know are interested in me, I’ve skewed the odds in my favour making me much more successful with women then I have any right to be. I do this with the people I choose to be friends with as well. I search out specific types because, and I don’t mean to offend the people who are closest to me,  I always want to be the smartest person in the room.

I like it when people are impressed by how clever I am or by what books I’ve read. I love introducing you to great music and movies that you’ve never even heard of.

When I’m lucky enough to make friends with guys who are cooler and smarter or better looking than me, I don’t get intimidated. Instead I fall into this “little-brother-tag-along” role. It’s just another obstacle I face when it comes to connecting with people. I either feel superior and hold myself above my friends, or I develop and almost obsessive hero worship relationship with them.

So what happens if I meet a girl who isn’t impressed by me? What if she’s smarter than me or funnier? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have someone understand why my jokes are funny? Wouldn’t it be great to not have to explain pop culture and literary references? As it turns out it’s more frightening a prospect than I would’ve ever imagined.

I always talk about how I have a love for Batman and an almost hostile disdain for Superman.

bat


Nuclear Apocalypse and Divine Intervention aside, NOBODY BEATS BATMAN!!!

I never understood the appeal of Superman. He’s just a jerk who can do anything. He never has to work or try hard, he’s just naturally gifted and is the best at everything.The writers always try to introduce conflict by making him lose his powers and this is where my preference really makes itself clear.

If you take away all of the things that make Bruce Wayne into Batman, the BILLIONS, the suit, the car and the gadgets, he would still be an expert martial artist and a genius detective. If you take away Superman’s powers he’s NOTHING. He’s a whiny little bitch. He’s never had to learn to fight because he can knock dudes out with a flick of the pinky. More to the point he’s never had to learn to take a punch. He’s spent his life being invulnerable so the second he loses his powers and some third rate street thug socks him on the chin he suffers massive physical AND emotional trauma.

Feeling pain for the first time in your life when you’re 30 years old will fuck up anyone’s day. And the feeling of impotence that comes with knowing that you used to be all powerful and now it’s all gone is worse than the pain itself.

This is how I feel now.

People will point to a certain type of woman, smart and sophisticated, a raconteuse who can keep up with and even beat me when it comes to my long winded  ramblings, and say “She’d be perfect for you!”

When my charms fall flat, and she doesn’t fall for the tricks that usually work for me I end up feeling like Superman without his powers.

Like I said, I’m used to being the smartest, most charming person in the room and while I would love the opportunity to share time with someone more like what I’ve described, when the opportunity does present itself I feel strangely intimidated.

Paralyzed with fear actually.

I usually rationalize that “opposites attract”. If I’m being honest with myself what this actually means is that I look for someone who I feel superior to and isn’t challenging.

Because I’m intimated by women who I’d see as equals, or better than me, I’ve limited the possibility of sharing some great experiences with someone who would ACTUALLY APPRECIATE ME MORE.

I need to take a better look at myself because by my logic only 1 of 2 explanations exist.

  1. I’m too afraid to be challenged intellectually and lose any perceived power I may have had in a relationship OR
  2. I don’t want to, or more likely don’t think I deserve to, feel appreciated.

This is just another thing I need to add to the list of stuff that’s wrong with me.

Escape the Parental Trap

I hadn’t planned on updating so soon. Three entries in one week sets a dangerous precedent that I don’t anticipate maintaining but I’m facing something of a dilemma and it’s keeping me awake and restless even with my friend Pam gently stroking me to sleep.

Stifle your wolf whistles, by “Pam” I mean Diazepam, (better known as Valium) not some sweet young lady, but she sure does treat me nicely and I’ve toyed with the idea of committing to her long term especially after the conversation I had earlier today (or yesterday technically since its well past midnight… I’m feeling pretty sleep deprived so expect more incoherence).

My dad asked to move in with me.

This may not seem like such a big deal and you’re probably thinking that because you have normal parents but my dad is far from normal.

As spectacular a failure in life as you’re likely to meet, my father has a special talent for ignoring responsibilities, making poor choices and then finding convoluted rationalizations as to why the problems in his life are everybody’s fault but his.

My father runs a concrete paving business. He doesn’t own it, the owner is a wealthy old Italian man who I’ve been told my whole life has Mafia ties, but my dad basically is in charge of operating the company. He makes quite a bit of money but he only ever works in the summertime and has zero income for half the year.

He knows this.

It’s been the same every year for the last 30 years. In the summer he spends like a WWII era navy man on furlough literally throwing money away (he likes to carry at least a couple of hundred in cash at all times and has had his wad fall out of his pockets many times over the years) he’s never had a savings account and it still comes as a shock to him that he has no money in the winter.

When I was 12, that is FIFTEEN DAMN YEARS AGO, my parents got divorced. They reacted to it in complete opposite ways. My mother viewed it as a chance to make a fresh start. She moved to the suburbs, got remarried, bought a house and now owns a business.

She is happy.

My father looked at it as the end of the life he had built. He figured he was too old and tired to start all over again and so instead just moved into a shitty apartment and rekindled his lifelong love affair with cheap Mexican beer.

Since then I’ve made an effort to avoid him. I guess it’s because I’m actually a lot like him in some crazy ways. I’m pretty impulsive and rarely think about consequences and I have had tons of hilariously tragic “adventures” that were a result of my poor decision making that I know I inherited from him.

Everyday I live with the fear that I will become like him so I’ve spent almost a decade avoiding and ignoring him.

I originally moved out when I was 18 because I had an older brother and sister (6 and 8 years older respectively) who still lived at home. I didn’t want to end up like that so I took off and over the last 9 years I’ve only spoken to him 3 or 4 times.

Until the week before Christmas.

I was alone at home, I couldn’t find anyone to do anything with, I was feeling depressed and after throwing back a few drinks I went for a walk and ended up at the movies by myself watching “Silver Linings Playbook”.

Maybe I’ve got a warped perception of myself but I felt like I was looking in a mirror while watching that movie and I don’t just mean because I’m as handsome as Bradley Cooper.

The guy had gone through an emotional breakdown, he was genuinely, albeit reluctantly, trying to overcome his mental instability with therapy and medication and I really identified with him.

If you haven’t seen it then, without spoilers, I’ll say that there comes a time in the movie where Bradley Cooper and his dad, Robert DeNiro, repair their damaged relationship. It’s a very cathartic moment and I sat there in the dark theatre SOBBING like a baby.

As soon as I left the theatre I was overcome with this intense urge to call up my dad, talk for a bit… maybe have a catch in a cornfield or something.

It felt amazing. We talked for almost 2 hours. I told him all about my life and everything I’ve been up to over the last 9 years. We agreed to meet and I had him come over for dinner. We watched Inception on bluray and made plans to do Dark Knight Rises the following week. It felt like the start of a whole new relationship with my dad.

Then he started calling me.

Over the next 7 days he called me 11 times. Each time to ask for some kind of help. He asked me to fix his computer, he asked to borrow some money and strangest of all he asked if I knew any lawyers who would work for free.

After years of zero communication, in a moment of weakness I called him and opened up the floodgates of bullshit.

I couldn’t see it then but it was just a case of misplaced affection. I realize now, and I’m ashamed to admit, that I love Robert DeNiro, not my dad.

It was DeNiro who I wanted to hug me and play catch with.

I started ignoring his calls and they became more and more frequent.

3 weeks ago he left me a voicemail. He needed me to give him $3000 or he was going to be evicted. I asked him who I should make the cheque out to and he said I should just give him cash. I told him that I would write the cheque to his landlord and he started to freak out about how I didn’t trust him and that by not giving him cash I was accusing him of being a liar. I got frustrated and hung up the phone.

My sisters have been in El Salvador the last 2 weeks. They went on vacation to visit family they haven’t seen in years and so I called my older sister up to say goodbye before she left. During the course of the conversation the topic of our father was brought up.

She was annoyed because he had promised to give her $1000 to put towards the trip but then told her he couldn’t because he didn’t even have enough to pay his rent.

His rent is $1000.

That’s when I figured out his scumbag plan. He was gonna fleece me for 3 grand, was going to give a wad of cash to my sisters so that he could come across as some kind of big shot, pay his overdue rent and then pocket an extra thousand for himself.

Since I didn’t give him any money his land lord is forcing him out next Friday and he has nowhere to go.

He told me that his friend is going to let him stay in his house in Barrie but he can’t go until the second week of February. He needs me to let him move in temporarily.

I have a hard time saying no to people.

It’s really strange. I have no problem being a dick to people and I’m an expert grudge holder. I hold grudges like they’ve got those huge Canadian Tire heavy duty rubberized handles attached to them. I’m usually not a nice person EXECPT when people are asking for my help.

It’s from all those damn times I watched Star Wars as a kid. “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope!” It’s ingrained in my consciousness and it’s become a real problem.

I either go out of my way to help people when i shouldn’t or I say no and am wracked with overwhelming guilt for weeks afterward.

In the end I tend to get walked all over and people have taken advantage.

I don’t want to let my dad stay with me.

I think I might actually hate him.

It’s a real concern of mine that if I let him stay for that week he’ll never leave.

If he refuses to leave I’ll probably murder him.

It’s quarter to 3AM and I’m about to pass out. I’m not going to bother proofreading this entry so if you gave up halfway because it was too disjointed a stream of consciousness to make any sense to anyone but me, then I don’t blame you.

The truth is that I don’t even need anyone to read this, I just needed to write this all down and get it out of my head so that I could finally get some sleep.

I really want to tell him to go to hell but I’ll wait until morning to make my final decision.