It’s 2 am. I can’t sleep.

The whole week has been like this. I’ve been crawling out of bed at 11. My brain doesn’t start processing things at full speed until 1.

I missed a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist this morning. I slept through my alarm.


Everything this week has been unsatisfying. I truly haven’t been able to care. I stopped watching a Canucks game after two periods. The game was close, the good guys were winning. I don’t think I’ve ever just gotten tired of watching my team play before.

Poker has been uninspiring. Orgasms have been boring. Nothing has felt like anything. I’ve just been getting from one end of the week to the other.

I needed to make it to that appointment.


There is something wrong with my brain. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know if anybody does, but I am out of ideas and out of my depth.

I’m taking suggestions.


I talked to someone tonight about how I hadn’t played hockey in about 5 years. That is an absolutely crazy number. 5 years ago, I think the longest I had gone without playing hockey was 3 weeks.

There is something wrong with my hips. I’m taking suggestions on that, too.


I sometimes joke that my parents can get me out of any trouble I get myself into. They are a doctor and a lawyer.

What the hell am I going to do for my kids?


It has come to my attention recently that I am a fairly useless human being. I’m physically impaired, psychologically fragile, and have no particular skills to offer anyone. If the zombies rise tomorrow, I’ll be the first one they throw off the ferry (definitely go for the ferry, zombies won’t be able to make it over bodies of water).


I am a functioning human being only by the grace of an impossibly ridiculous system. That I can play fifty poker tournaments against thousands of people, every single day, is a minor technological miracle. That I can somehow do this well enough that I can trade my time playing cards for a place to live, food to eat, and whatever other trivial bullshit that I spend money on, is lunacy. Why do I still get money for this? Why do I have more to spend on luxuries than teachers and farmers?


About the trivial bullshit and the luxuries: I’ve noticed I’m spending on more of them. I bought two more pairs of shoes in the past six weeks. I’ve considered spending my frequent player points on a watch, which might be the most trivial and archaic thing you can own since the invention of the cell phone.

I spent hundreds of dollars on a straight razor, sharpening stones, and accessories, having never shaved with one or sharpened one before in my life.

This compulsion to spend (horde?) has almost exactly paralleled my apathy about the rest of my life. I’m not a material person, but I am piling up material things inside of a hole that I honestly can’t say what it was filled by before it was empty.


I should probably try to sleep. It won’t work, but I should try, because a normal sleep schedule is a thing that has value. Sunday is only two days away and I have to be up and functioning at 8 am, because otherwise I won’t be, and Sundays full of poker tournaments are a thing that have value.

I should probably delete the sentence about my orgasms being boring this week. My girlfriend will take it personally, even though it is a problem with my brain, and not her. My girlfriend is someone who has value.


There are a lot of things in my life that have value. There are a lot of things in my life that don’t. I know how to distinguish between these things from past experience. I can identify the impact things will have. I can know from my previous experience which impacts I want and which impacts I don’t.

Right now, I don’t really care. There are no impacts I want or don’t want. I don’t have enough motivation to choose what food to eat.

I think it would be fascinating to come across a completely new thing right now and try to determine whether it had value or not. I wish there was an experience I could have that was totally un-analogous to any experience I had ever had before, so I could try to determine whether or not it was something I wanted to experience again. Not because I think I’d be able to, but because I would be fascinated by how I even began to approach the decision. I think it would be kind of like learning language for the first time.


I am getting desperate for a change. I look around, wild-eyed and starving, at things I haven’t tried before, things I’ve decided in the past did not have value. The status quo isn’t working, and any change has to be better than no change.

It’s 3 am. I can’t sleep.


13 thoughts on “

  1. Hi Ben,

    Sorry to hear you’re having troubles. I’m glad you’re talking to a psychiatrist. This might seem trivial, but I noticed you mentioned you haven’t played hockey in a long time. I’ve found that exercise does wonders for bouts of mild depression—couldn’t hurt. Winters are also tough for me—have you considered taking vitamin D or using a SAD alarm clock (ie, one that simulates sunrise)?

    These kind of sound like bandaid solutions, but I think it’s important to get this kind of stuff right because it’s hard to know which of your thoughts are due to bad chemicals and fatigue otherwise.

    • Hey Mike,

      I’ve downloaded a light alarm clock app for my phone but, like most poker players, don’t set an alarm that frequently. I know exactly how important exercise is for my mood but, unfortunately, my hips just aren’t stable enough to support anything strenuous enough to get that sweet endorphin release.

  2. Hey Ben, do you have any vices?

    I have a lot of the same thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. as you so I was curious.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • That’s an interesting question, I guess it depends on what you mean by vices. I certainly think some of the unnecessary spending could be considered a vice. I don’t really smoke, drink, gamble (heh) or exhibit any other addictive behaviours. I don’t think I’m an angel by any means but I’m not vicious.

  3. Why don’t you take on a project such as taking on a student, try and give someone else what you already have and take for granted. Such as a local Canucks fan with lots of kids, working a 9-5 and grinding mid stakes at night in between hockey practices to make ends meet. Perhaps in the end you could help him on the ice coaching his kids (not hard on hips). I know it sounds like nothing more then begging but think of what it can do for that empty feeling you have.

  4. Aside from that BS I just wrote. It is Mindcheck week here. Don’t fall down the same path as Ryper did, instead take this chance and get whatever help you can, you have the resoures, you know you need some help. Spare no expense.
    Get well.

  5. I can thing of zillions of things I could do to cheer myself up, but you´re the one who knows what ticks for you. Is there anything outside poker and hockey that you like? Wouldn´t you like to travel? I spent a month literally just stralling the streets of Japan on my own and it was a mind blowing experience. IT´s 100% safe and it´s so different from everything I know that it almost made me feel like a kid again. I work, so taking a month off is extremely hard, and I just had a kid, so those days might be over for me, but for you the world is a blank paper mate. Don´t waste your time at home, you´ll regret! Happy to give suggestions but as I said, only you know what you like. And it´s not as straightforward as it sounds to find out sometimes…

  6. Hello,

    Im kinda in a similar boat as you are, difference tho is that Im playing poker only semiproffesionally and I got depressed after my brother died 11years ago and I turned inwards.
    Anyway, I dont know how much time u invested into depression etc. but I found the self hate and compassion book quite helpful, the main thing in it is basically that I am because I am and your okay even tho u state your” useless” right now, Furhter, depression is always a function of self-hate so maybe you should start there.

    good luck

  7. Hey Ben,
    I’m a pokerplayer myself and been through depression too.
    We could talk via skype if you want, i’ll tell you what helped me and whatnot.

    Hope you get well soon.

  8. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I’d like to thank you for putting it out there. Reading about your existential struggles has given me the courage to express my own thoughts. I guess it makes me feel more “normal” to know that other people–those I would consider to be smart, motivated, etc–devote a lot of energy to finding a way to cope with all of this. Please keep sharing. I’m going to from now on, as well.

  9. Just wanted to say that its 3 am and for the last hour I’ve been reading through your blog(great btw). Its inspired me to get help with my own depression, low self esteem and self loathing. i could ramble on for a bit i just wanted to thank you for this.

    Maybe one day ill whip up my own blog. GL and try and find happiness bro

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