June 6th, 2011

#2731: A pleasant summer evening.

Yeah, summer doesn't actually start until June 21, blah blah blah, etcetera. Close enough.

...after watching anime, I decided on a walk. It's in the sixties outside, the dewpoint in the fifties; it's extremely nice out. Not a cloud in the sky; so I took a bit of a walk and enjoyed it.

Well--"enjoyed" is relative. The walk was consumed with thoughts about my brother and sister and how they view my situation.

My brother "studied" depression during his psych rotation; my sister doesn't even have that much experience--and they've both made it plain that they do not understand what happened or why.

I need someone to explain it to them. They won't listen to me.

My brother's response to my statement that you can't just push past clinical depression--the stuff about how he studied it in med school--I keep coming back to it; and I keep thinking, "it's like telling a guy with a broken leg just to 'walk it off'."

It's like telling a guy with a compound fracture of the femur--with the jagged end of the bone sticking out of his damn thigh!--to "walk it off". Rub some dirt on it, it'll be fine.

No. It doesn't work like that.

Like everyone else, I've had the blues before. Sad periods where I was all "ho, hum" and felt kind of down. I realized today that know how to deal with that; I do it all the time: just ignore the sad feelings and do what needs doing. I did it today when I went to church; I did it again when I hit Harbor Freight and started on the patio. I'm used to that kind of feeling and have plenty of coping mechanisms for it.

But that four-day period--nothing in my life prepared me for that. I had never been in that kind of space before, where the world was in black-and-white and I didn't care about bathing or even eating, where I couldn't leave the house and was unable even to remember not feeling the way I did right then.

"Walk it off." Yeah.

The cajolery, the guilt trips, all the other things--none of it helped matters one whit. I'm not well; I'm stable--I keep saying it because I need to remind myself that I still need help.

I tried my best not to engage my sister when she stormed in here with her irate words and guilt trips; I couldn't articulate the things I needed to communicate to her and she wouldn't have listened to me anyway. I couldn't think around the anger and the vitriol she was throwing at me. A lot of the charges were unfair but I couldn't explain that either.

I can see the parallel between her situation and mine last summer, when Mom got out of the hospital and wasn't eating or doing anything, and I got angry. I can just barely understand that perhaps this is where my sister was--seeing me acting kind of withdrawn, getting frightened that I might be backsliding, and then getting angry at me because I wasn't behaving correctly. I can understand it, but I can't accept it.

"You haven't done this! You haven't done that! I took two weeks off from work and drove eighteen hours to get up here! I had to clean the house and cut the grass, and I have to drive eighteen hours to get home, and when I get home I have to clean my house and cut my grass!" Unloading like that on someone with clinical depression--it's like tripping a blind man.

I'm pretty banged up, emotionally. My pain is still with me, and added to it is the fact that I lost an excellent job because of what happened. I'm coping as best I can with a new reality, one where I deliberately injured myself--however minor the injury was--because I couldn't take the pain any longer.

Coping with it means not looking too far ahead. Worry about tomorrow, not next year. Deliberately do not think about any of the long-term stuff because all you can see from here is more of the same; and thinking about that will land you right back in the psych ward. I can make positive little plans (such as how I'd like to celebrate the 4th of July) but I can't think about the major things.

Yeah, it sucks.

* * *

But the walk was nice. The air is cool, and when I got home I opened my bedroom window and stuck the fan in, because it's a damn sight cheaper than running the AC.

As for the anime:

Fairy Tail ep 46--my God, I just cannot get my head around how incredibly awesome Erza is. She's so f-ing heroic it makes my head spin. Holy crap.

The rest of the playlist is new stuff. Fractale looks good. Dragon Crisis has shitty OP and ED themes but the story seems okay. To Aru Majutsu no Index II is more nifty stuff happening in Academy City. (Misaki, Kuroko, and Uiharu are in the OP sequence. Saten is not. *sob*)

(And, BTW, this time the windmills are turning the right way. Someone must've clued them in.)

* * *

Having a cup of ramen before bed--

My appetite has been screwed up today. I'm worried that it's depression trying to sneak its way back in, but the fact is that I did get hungry and I did eat; it's just that today I only ate when it was convenient for me...and my body actually let me get away with it. For once.

Total intake consisted of a can of Slim Fast for breakfast; lunch was a chicken wing and breast with half a cup of cole slaw. Dinner was two McDoubles ($1 double cheeseburgers, only without the cheese or pickles) and my "hour of sleep" snack is this here cup of shrimp ramen.

Not exactly a well-rounded menu--I get that--and it is less than I normally eat. But that's not all bad, since I still have a gut on me.

...when I was weighed in the psych hospital, I learned that I'd lost about 14 lbs sometime in the past seven months. If only that could continue!

I had planned to take the walk, come home, and eat ramen; when I got home I didn't feel hungry enough to bother. But sitting here and writing, I realized, "Dude, if you try to sleep with your gut empty, you won't sleep, and you know it." Then I realized, I'm hungry! so I toddled off to the kitchen.

Could be worse.

* * *

While I was languishing in the ER some three weeks ago (already!) I whiled away some of the time by trying to think of new stories.

The SF novel I loaned to Og and others--which got rave reviews--is set during a kind of interregnum, and while I lay there bored out of my mind I realized I could tell other stories in that time period without stepping on that novel. So I began thinking--what stories could/would/should I tell?

All I really managed was to think of a couple of minor ideas, but my creative process is kind of insidious; I expect an idea to come to me, fully formed, sometime relatively soon...and it'll be awesome.

* * *

I've been thinking about re-watching Sketchbook: Full Colors, mainly because I've seen it one time and I have the theme song memorized in Japanese. I know kind of what the words mean, but not all of them. Besides, it's the kind of anime series which is meant to be relaxing and pleasant, with no real conflict. (This is an actual genre of anime, though I'm switched if I can think of another example.)

I could use more "relaxing and pleasant" in my life. A lot more.

...and then I think about re-watching Minami-ke, too. I like the OP for that series. That one, I don't know any of the words of the actual song, but I can hit all the flourishes from the backup singers with perfect timing.


main vocals: "minami kaze kuru kuru"
backup singers, right after: "kuru kuru!"
Main vocals: "sukaato de baruun hikou Let's go!"
backup singers: haaai hai hai hai!

...And now I can learn the words. Oh well; it had to happen sooner or later, I guess.

#2732: Monday, and I'm sleepy

I didn't want to get out of bed. Bed was comfortable. Because I closed the windows before it got hot outside, it's pleasantly cool inside.

But the cats needed food and I had to deal with some uncomfortable hydraulic pressure; so here I am.

The weather report says it's 86° outside with a dewpoint of seventy-one, which means it's sticky as can be, and it's not going to get less so anytime soon. Thursday is predicted to have temps in the seventies--and until then it's nineties.


* * *

Houses are worth 33% less than they were four years ago. The house across the street is for sale with an asking price of $340,000--I would wager that they're not going to get anything like that much for it.

My brother--fresh out of his residency and starting his career as a practicing doctor--bought a house for $350,000 (in 1993-ish) which was twice the size of the house across the street. The upper floor alone of this Taj Mahal was bigger than the house he grew up in (the current bunker) and the master suite was as big as my apartment in Cedar Rapids. (By the time they sold it, the house had appreciated to $500,000. I have to wonder what it's worth now.)

In any case, this descent in housing values is bigger than that of the Great Depression...and everything I've been seeing says that we haven't reached the bottom yet.

* * *

We're not in a "double-dip recession", says Vox Day, and he's been saying it all along.
The economy is not growing. It is contracting, and the governments of the world are losing their ability to conceal that fact from their citizens.

The truth is that the economic recovery is not faltering. The truth is that the economic recovery never existed in the first place. There is no double-dip recession, only a single large-scale economic contraction that is already, by some measures, bigger than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
* * *

China's divested its holdings of US treasuries. Who the hell bought them? Who had the money to buy them?

* * *

Boortz: "Worst week on Wall Street since 2004."

Also Boortz: "Obama's stimulus was a fraud.

Still more Boortz: Even ABC admits that Obama is bad for business.

It all adds up to the economy is still in the shitter!

* * *

Greece is the prototype for how things will go all over the world when the government can no longer "extend and pretend".

There will be riots and protests. There will be blood on the sidewalks and uncontrollable fires. There will be lynchings and worse.

Of course the people don't understand what the problem is.
"Instead of going after tax cheats, they are raising taxes and cutting working people's pay," said Yannis Mylonakos, 34, who lost his job at an advertising agency and joined Greece's army of unemployed, which has hit 15.9 percent of the workforce.
How much money is represented by "tax cheats"? It's for damn sure not much, unless by "tax cheat" you mean "rich person who follows the tax laws to save as much money as he can". By that standard, then, Obama is a "tax cheat".

Tax enforcement is not going to save any government that has overspent itself. That's like a guy who's up to his eyeballs in debt quibbling over his paycheck being docked by a few minutes.

But the people have a vested interest in the uninterrupted flow of "freebies", and react to any reduction or interruption with the petulance of a kid denied the candy he sees at the supermarket. They have to blame someone; so "tax cheats" suddenly become the worst people on the planet.

In a situation like the one Greece is in--and into which all the "first world" nations are heading--the only possible solution is to cut spending and raise taxes. Anything else will lead to disaster; as bad as the economic pains of austerity measures are, the crash following "extend and pretend" is much, much worse.

* * *

Oh, and Ace tells us chronic unemployment is worse than it was in the Great Depression. GO OBAMA!

* * *

"Functional cure for AIDS." I hate to rain on everyone's parade, here, but this is a cure for AIDS the same way a heart transplant is a cure for hypertension.

IF you get leukemia and need a bone marrow transplant, and IF you can find a marrow donor who has the immunity to HIV, and IF he is a type match and is compatible with your own biology--then yeah, you can be cured.

This case pushes back the boundaries of what we know about the disease and how we treat it, yes; but it's not a cure. This is a happy accident at best.

* * *

I'm still totally unmotivated. How sad is that?

I need to get some food and I need a shower; and after my appointment with L. I really need to get some shopping done.

...and all I feel like doing is going back to bed. Am I depressed? I don't even know.

What I do know is that I've got about 45 minutes before my appointment. I'd better get it in gear.

#2733: I'm too hard on myself

Interesting thing coming out of today's therapy session: I'm too hard on myself.

I mean, way too hard. I've been given the task to figure out why I'm so hard on myself. The exercise is meant to make me realize that there is no reason for me being so self-critical...but in fact I think I already knew that: I'm beating myself up for absolutely no purpose.

Keeping the old ego in check? Why do I need that? All I have to do is take a realistic look at myself to accomplish that; why do I have to emphasize the negative? So what I need to do is figure out why there's a constant drumbeat of lazy and stupid and undesirable and pain in the ass and incompetent and inconsiderate and clumsy and slow always rattling around in my brain.

The only thing I can think of: I've lost a lot of friends. The first group I lost in 1994; after painfully rebuilding, I lost the second in 2004. The only common thread in these situations was me--and so if I look at it logically, obviously I must've done something wrong. It must've been all me, right?

Not necessarily.

It is just possible that circumstances beyond my control led to these situations. I was the one who suffered the most from it, but that doesn't mean it was my fault. Does it?

There really are two ways to look at this. The first is, everything was all my fault. The other is, those guys were dicks because they stopped accepting me for who I was. (Okay, and a third: shit happens.)

Besides that, there's the near-constant emotional abuse that comprised the bulk of my public school "education". I'm sure that didn't help any.

Gadzooks, I'm a mess. Then again, if I weren't, I wouldn't have ended up in the psych ward, would I? Kind of funny how that works.

That's why I'm seeing the therapist, after all: to become less of a mess. And by thinking about these things, maybe I can realize that I'm not stupid or inconsiderate or lazy or any of the other things.

* * *

...the weather has performed as predicted; it hit 94° outside and it's humid as a jungle. Dayum.

I've been wanting to take a walk in the woods, but it's friggin' hot outside and I'm still suffering from a near-total lack of motivation. *sigh*

Well, I'll take the walk, but you had better appreciate it.

* * *

Here's the page of Maison Ikkoku from whence I get that last line, included here for context.

Go here to read the chapter it's from.

Go here to start at the beginning. Maison Ikkoku is worth your time; it's one of my all-time favorite manga series.