Lesson 1

Hello again. It’s been a while since my last post. I had a couple of false starts in between my last blog and this one. This might still be a false start! I won’t know until I’m finished.

Like my last post, this one was inspired by something someone else wrote on the topic of depression. This time, it was comedian/actor/extremely British person Stephen Fry. I will copy and paste the most important part here, but read the whole thing, because I said so.

“[W]hat the fuck right do I have to be lonely, unhappy or forlorn? I don’t have the right. But there again I don’t have the right not to have those feelings. Feelings are not something to which one does or does not have rights.

In the end loneliness is the most terrible and contradictory of my problems. I hate having only myself to come home to…It’s a lose-lose matter. I don’t want to be alone, but I want to be left alone. Perhaps this is just a form of narcissism, vanity, overdemanding entitlement – give it whatever derogatory term you think it deserves. I don’t know the answer.”

This is how I have been feeling for the past couple of weeks. My girlfriend was away, and I was lonely. My girlfriend came back, and I was pining for solitude. It’s a really delicate balance to strike and when I don’t get the split of time exactly right I feel restless and unnerved and uncomfortable in my own skin and brain. And then I get to feel bad for not striking the right balance for her.

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People are complicated. The relationships between them are exponentially complicated. I am trying to strike multiple delicate balances at a time when I am not well-balanced.

I feel like a loser.

There are only so many hours in the day and I have a mind to heal and a body to heal and a dog to walk and a girlfriend to cuddle and poker to play and friends to catch up with and food to cook and other various fires to put out and I can’t sleep.

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In short: I have not taken out the recycling for a month.

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Life gets very crowded very quickly. Adulthood is a lot of work. I may not be cut out for it.

At times when I’m overwhelmed, I find myself retreating into my comfort zone, the closest thing I have to pieces of my childhood. I retreat to playing games.

It’s the thing that takes the least energy for me to do. I am exhausted with dealing with people and chores and inconveniences and life. I want to hunker down with my internet for a while and play.

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Work is hunkering down with my internet for a while and playing, too. It is probably a not-very-good thing that the lines are so easily blurred. The way it stands, I can trick myself into thinking I’m being responsible and hardworking, when what I’m really doing is escaping.

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Right now I am escaping to this blog. My girlfriend and brother are in the other room watching a movie. I am not being a good host or brother or boyfriend.

Maybe that is selfish. I have been in a mood the past week where I have had no patience, no tolerance, and no energy for things. I feel like it would be selfish to impose my sour self on any proceedings. I am sure they do not see it like that. I feel like I am miserable to be around. They might not see it like that.

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The previous paragraph is not entirely true. Last night, I listened to some nice jazz music live. I smiled without forcing myself. It was a crack. So was the parting of the Red Sea, I guess.

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I would have never gone to the concert without my girlfriend nagging about how we never do anything together. I planned a whole Saturday for us while she was gone. I ordered a pie two weeks in advance! (it is her favourite breakfast)

Next week I have to be in Vegas with $10,000 USD to play the World Series of Poker main event. I still haven’t booked my ticket or gotten around to scaring up USD. I do not plan ahead.

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Here’s the funny thing about being depressed: your comfort zone isn’t all that comforting. Your brain creates heuristics to minimize the efforts of daily life and decision making, letting you fall into easy patterns. But, as the saying goes: if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

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So there is another balance I have to strike. Getting out of my comfort zone created something for me I couldn’t have gotten inside of it, and I sorely needed that. But it is a tricky thing to have the willpower to be uncomfortable, and even if when do, it probably isn’t enough to just seek discomfort for discomfort’s sake. I have to find things that bring light back into my life, and that will take foresight and energy and willpower and gumption.

It won’t be easy. But I am learning to be happy again.

This was lesson one.