April 22, 2004

The 10 year... scratch?

So, why haven't I been blogging? Why haven't I had anything funny or interesting to post since about November? I've been trying to figure that out for some time now. A few weeks ago I decided not to worry about it and just to let it go. If something wants to come out then it will, but, 'til then I'll just let it go.

Welp, something wants to come out!

A week or two ago I was sitting at my computer. Kinda like I'm doing right now, except that I wasn't typing anything. I was staring into space. Every few minutes the screen-saver would kick in and I'd move the mouse just a tad to bring back whatever page I was last looking at. I've done that plenty of times when I was lost in thought.

After some length of time -- perhaps 45 minutes or an hour -- I realized that I hadn't been thinking about anything; I was just... away.
I looked at my hand on the mouse and had a strange feeling: it didn't seem like mine. I lifted it off the mouse and stared at my forearm in stunned interest. I didn't feel like me at all and haven't for months. I looked back at the monitor, at the webpage that I'd had some reason to visit and hadn't had the energy to really visit at all. I suddenly had the spooky sensation that my spirit - my very identity - was dead.

I've since realized that there may be a pattern here, because this has happened before. In a big way. Twice.
The first time was a 6-9 month span in 1983-1984, when I was 20, and the second time was a nearly year-long period in 1993-1994, when I was 30.

The first time happened while I was in college. About a month or two into the fall '83 semester I lost all interest in leaving the off-campus apartment that I shared with 5 housemates. I stopped going to class and ate very very little. Some days I'd eat nothing but a can of peas; some days I'd eat nothing at all. My weight dropped (and I'm pretty thin to begin with) to about 115 pounds -- and I'm 5'11", and my sleep schedule was a mess.

At the end of the semester all of my classes scored me I for Incomplete. These, of course, soon changed to straight Fs. I didn't bother to sign up for the spring '84 semester. Instead I moved in with my mother who was living in a 1-room efficiency apartment at the time, and began working full-time.
I wasn't sure what had happened to me -- why I was doing this to myself -- but I knew that something had to change drastically. I enlisted into the US Air Force and shipped out in June '84. That turned out to be exactly what I needed: a complete and utter change of lifestyle. Suddenly I felt great; even in basic training!
I was completely refreshed.

In the spring of 1993 I was laid off from my job at the in-house print shop at the Exectutive offices of a now defunct Department Store chain. Oh, what the hell, it was CALDOR.
Severing the ties completely I received oodles of large checks from my profit sharing account, 401k, and one or two other funds that I can't remember right now. So I had thousands of $$$ in cash and unemployment checks coming every week. I decided to take an extended vacation.
By autumn I was living only on unemployment checks.

Eventually, and just like ten years earlier, my sleeping schedule had fallen into a strange pattern. I'd get up in the afternoon, 4 or 5 o'clock, maybe 6, and be awake all night until after the sun came up. I rarely saw friends and left the house only to get food and cash my unemployment checks. My songwriting output -- which I'd done constantly since I was 12 years old -- came to a screeching halt.

Then the unemployment checks ran out. Time to get a job? Nope. I stopped making the payments on the mortgage of my condo. I lived without electricity or a phone for over a year. I vacuumed my sister's house and cut her lawn for $20 a pop so I could buy food. Again my weight fell to a dangerously low level. Did I care that I was in the process of destroying my life? Nope.

I'm not sure what brought about the change, but, in November of '94 I got a job - and I've held it ever since. Things went pretty well... I began to see my friends again and I was active outside the house. Softball leagues, dart leagues, regular parties at Joe and Tara's on Fridays, etc etc. I lost my condo in the end, but, I had finally come back to life.

So, here I am again. Right on schedule.

I rarely leave the house or see my friends lately. I have trouble feeling hungry and I've lost weight. I've probably lost 25 pounds in the past 5 or 6 months and weigh perhaps around 120-125 (I don't have a scale so I'm just guessing).
I haven't even picked up my guitar in at least 6 months.
One good thing, though, about this current.. er.. "state of affairs"... is that I'm working full-time and at least have a reason to get up in the morning. Hopefully that'll prevent things from getting too far out of hand.

I've been wanting to write this post for a week now. The good news, I hope, is that I'm writing it now because I feel like I've turned a corner. The shop closed early today and I've got a 4-day weekend ahead of me. It's 80 degrees outside, the windows are wide open, and I feel kinda "sunny" (even though we may be getting a thunderstorm in a couple of hours).

One thing I might be doing is changing the focus of my blog and write some historical autobiographical stuff. I started an autobiography ten years ago, but never finished it. Maybe I'll post some of the stories if I can find it. It may shed some light -- at least for me, hopefully -- as to why I go through these periodic states of catatonia.
I've always resisted writing anything too personal because my friends and family know about this place. There are very few people I would ever share such personal stories with, but they also happen to be the same freinds and family that ever actually visit from time to time, so I'll just throw caution to the wind and hope that my mother has forgotten all about Blather Review.

I'll be ba-a-a-a-ack.

Posted by Tuning Spork at April 22, 2004 06:12 PM

Hooray for 4-day weekends!

And eat something! Chicken soup!! It's good for you!!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 22, 2004 10:13 PM

Chicken soup for the soul... I always thought that would be a bit messy personally. I'm fully in favour of 4 day weekends though, can't beat em!

That and dancing in the rain... with a mug of soup.


Posted by: Lemurgirl at April 23, 2004 06:10 AM

Take care, my friend. I'm looking forward to seeing where the future takes you.

Posted by: Ted at April 23, 2004 02:33 PM


Posted by: Spacemonkey at April 23, 2004 02:46 PM

Hey TS:

Welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of depression. Pretty scary huh? Your sleeping pattern comment (not to mention most of the rest) is an exact duplicate of what happens to me when the 'black dogs' get their teeth into me. Hope you're able to come out the other side soon. Take care of yourself... and eat, dammit!


Posted by: Light & Dark at April 23, 2004 10:40 PM

You know where to find me. Right?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at April 24, 2004 09:12 AM

You guys rule! Got some teriyaki glazed beef and green beans right now. Yeah, that's right, I'm typing with my mouth full -- how rude of me...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at April 24, 2004 04:44 PM

Hope the beef was good

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at April 24, 2004 09:15 PM

Signor Spork:

Couldn't find an email address, so wanted to let ya know I posted an answer to your Windows problem over on MuNu. Let me know if I can be any more help.


Posted by: Light & Dark at April 25, 2004 05:22 PM

If you fall too far there are a lot of people who will help pull you back up. Including me. Take care of yourself (i.e. eat), Sporky.

Posted by: Jennifer at April 25, 2004 10:03 PM

I am no stranger to depression, and for me responsibility has been very therapeutic. There've been periods in my life when I had a massive case of writer's block, but when my writing skills were in demand in the military, and again after I started the ColoradoPsycho.com Web site, I have not had to call a hiatus for more than a few days, and mainly when I was traveling. What keeps me going is the knowledge that readers with mental disorders and others seeking facts to counter Idiotarian drivel are counting on me to provide reasoned, professionally-researched information. It's out of the question to let them down. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.

Posted by: Bloodthirsty Warmonger at April 26, 2004 12:50 AM
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