High-Functioning Hopeless

I have often considered what the cause of this all encompassing sense of hopelessness that sometimes overtakes me is.  It doesn’t feel like a chemical imbalance.  Especially in the way that I am able to continue through my days.  At worst, it only threatens to cripple my motivation enough to interrupt my daily life, but it almost never does.  I am quite functional.  In fact, I would even go as far at to state that I am happy.  Or at least I should be.  The state of my life in all arenas (work, family, play, etc.) is very satisfactory. There is nothing I can point to as saying is wrong.  There are things that I am working on, relationships, but that’s normal.  Although I use it because it is the closest I can come to explaining my current condition, I have difficulty describing myself as “mildly depressed,” because even the term itself is a contradiction.

How can one be,

oh,

just slightly despondent?

It doesn’t really make sense.  But at the same time I know I should at least describe things as being wrong.  There is a very notable sense of melancholy that presents itself often enough to be a red flag. Call it high functioning depression, I suppose. 

A low volume siren that warns “Wee-oo, wee-oo.  Normal people don’t fantasize about their life ending.  Even if it’s mostly in a “whoops, that’s just the way it worked out, whoopee, kind of way.”

I’ve gotten better in the last few months.  There has been a notable lessening in the frequency of these thoughts, partially due to therapy sans meds.  But I can’t say I’ve fully shaken this pall over my existence.

I’ve been thinking.

I know, I know.  What’s knew?  But hear me out.

Part of my therapy sessions used to constitute accepting the causeless nature of such a dip in life motivation.  And I understand why she chose to sharpen that ability of mine.  It brings a certain measure of peace without closure, but at the same time, I haven’t fully accepted this approach.

Lately, it’s really been smacking me in the face how unequal our society is.  And when I say our society, I mean our global community in general.  Our approach to things is crazy stupid.  It’s stupid that millions of people are still in danger of starving and dying from unclean water.  It’s stupid that wars are still happening, because seriously for what?  Nothing is worth the atrocities that happen during wartime.  Why haven’t we woken up enough to not be so confounded selfish?  Even the few just wars that are being fought, I wish there wasn’t a need for them.  That whatever skirmish that happened between nations over land, money or religion would dissolve.  Can’t we all just shake hands and let bygones be bygones?  Compromise is not so hard if we would just learn to forgive and let go of desires that can’t (or shouldn’t) be met.  It’s also stupid that people don’t have enough access to or freedom from discrimination to get the mental health services they need in order to not feel like they have to go shoot up a school or bully someone else into committing suicide themselves.

There’s so many more things that are unbelievably stupid that we should’ve already gotten over.  The list goes on.  But what’s most frustrating is that it’s not like the solutions to them are rocket science. They could hypothetically be very successfully executed.  It’s simply the unwillingness of man to come together and compromise that keeps it from happening.  One person over there who wants to keep their power, a few over there who want to keep their money.  All it takes is a small group of people with enough power who want to keep others less than for the whole panacea to disintegrate. The hope of world peace falls apart every time,

because the sad reality is,

there will always be people who are too afraid of losing their positions of security to give selflessness a try,

so we will always be broken.

The world will always be broken.  We’re too busy tearing each other apart or pretending the carnage isn’t happening to reach any compromise.

It makes me feel sick, because it feels like no matter how hard I try to spread a little love and light through my life’s actions, it will never be enough.  I’m fighting a losing battle, at least in this life, and that is just a tad discouraging to face on the daily basis.

I’m thinking maybe that’s part of why I’ve been feeling the way I have. This sense of hopelessness has gripped me, that I’ll never get it right enough to really fix anything.  Sure, I can make a difference in the lives of my students, my family, and my friends.  But there will always be someone gasping for air across the planet, the country, or even my neighborhood that I will not be able to reach.  The constant cycle of losing people is depressing, in the most non-overused sense of the word.  Everyone is worth love and attention and being saved, but I have to face this reality that countless souls are being lost anyway. It’s enough to take a person out, to convince them to stop trying since they matter so little in the grand scheme of the universe anyway. Even though mentally I know that’s a stupid choice.

It’s better to do something than nothing at all.

It’s just hard to motivate yourself when you’re hardly a blip on the cosmic radar.  Maybe one day I’ll make peace with the fact that every breath I take is very-almost an exercise in futility.

The key word is “almost,” I guess.

 

~LDA

Advertisements

Dewy Letters: A Poem on Optimism

He chuckled

Dewy letters trickling

Out of his mouth 

All hopeful proposals

And bouncy grins

 

Unfortunately

 

They froze before they hit the ground

Solidified by the critical stares

Of his eye cocking recipients

 

They shattered  

Launching splinters of

T’s

                                       H’s

                                                                          and W’s

                                                                                                     Into his innocent eyes

 

“I think

I hope

I wish“

 

His soul convulsed as they made

Impact with the unforgiving concrete

 

One shard of expression

Found its way

Directly into the darkness

Of the pupil

 

And maneuvered a path

Into his veins

Sending fatalism and apathy

Seeping into his bloodstream

 

The virus of death had been triggered

Awakened was the dormant code

Seemingly

Powerless until acknowledged

 

All at once

His chest became cold

And his mouth downturned

 

One eyebrow twitched upward

And his feet made a pivot

 

The assembly line shifted forward

And he thought to himself

“Who is this grinning fool standing in front of me?”

 

 

~LDA

And How Does That Make You Feel?…

It’s a weird situation shaking hands with someone for the first time and then immediately vomiting every bit of knowledge of what’s wrong with yourself at them.  Seeking psychotherapy is like some weird reverse dating situation.  You know how when most people date, they try their best to hide all their annoying quirks and glaring issues at the beginning, in the hopes that the gradual release method will soften the blow and succeed in convincing some sucker to spend the rest of their lives with them?  Well, therapy is the opposite in the sense that you purposely expose all your flaws since you’re not worried about scaring away or losing the person.

You’ve gone out of your way to pay someone not to run away when they find out what a monster you are.  They’ve even got a master’s or doctorate degree on their wall that says they won’t lose their poker face and make you feel like an irredeemable mess, no matter how many steaming piles have hit your psychological fan.  It’s an interesting dynamic.   

“Hi, my name is Lady. I’m slightly suicidal and prone to flights of delusionality that I like to write down and call fiction. Can you help me be a tad more functional in society without yanking out all my word-spewing bits? Thanks.”

I have to admit, when I made the decision to seek professional help several months ago, a little part of me expected to walk out of that room with a brand that read “crazy” on my forehead. Not that I’m opposed to therapy. I mean, heck, I wanted to be a psychologist at one point, so I hate the stigma that’s attached to receiving psychological/psychiatric treatment. If it’s publicly acceptable to heal our bodies, why isn’t it publicly acceptable to heal our minds?  But in all honesty, a part of me was still laughing at myself for having reached the point I had to walk into some room and talk to a stranger for an allotted amount of time, just because I couldn’t handle the weight of my issues on my own.  

It takes guts to admit that to yourself.  In an ideal world, everyone would have close enough friends and family members to talk to on the regular basis and not need a stranger to talk to.  In an ideal world, I would just have a stable enough head on my shoulders in the first place.  But this is not an ideal world, and speaking to a loved one is not quite the same as talking to a qualified professional.  So to a therapist I went.  

I ended up seeing my therapist roughly once a week for two months and it was a great experience.  Not in the sense that I walked out of there a renewed and completely whole person, entirely devoid of the thoughts that had plagued me before, but it helped.  It definitely helped.  I felt and still feel somewhat rejuvenated as a result of having a better grasp on myself.  This more intimate knowing of yourself, or just assurance that you’re not completely nuts, inevitably translates into having a better grasp on life in general.    

Therapy is not just some silly thing people who have a lot of money and time on their hands choose to engage in so that a person can ask them how they feel constantly.  It can sincerely be a big help and you might be surprised at how accessible a therapist may be to you, even if you don’t have insurance.  There are such things as free clinics and there might be one near enough you if you do some digging.  Another alternative is online counseling which tends to be more affordable or using the variety of free phone mental health services.  

Don’t ever let the stigma of getting psychological assistance get in the way of you receiving the help you need.  It’s not something to be ashamed of.  In fact, there are plenty of people who say they’re fine, but could use psychological attention and are much worse for the wear.  Don’t be those silly people.  Throw away your ego if you have to so you can get a better quality of life.  Seriously, which is better?  Some ridiculous sap who has his thumbs up but is dying on the inside, or a person whose insides match their outsides, even if that does mean grinning a little less because at the moment you’re not particularly happy.  At times, even people who have a stable support system can use a stranger to whisper all their dark, secret thoughts to.  

Sometimes, you grow so tired of ignoring your problems or questioning yourself about how you’re doing, that you just need someone else to do it for you for a while.  

And that’s okay.  

~LDA

Congrats! You Qualify to Become a Slave!

How is it credit card companies act like they’re doing us such a big favor in letting us become enslaved to them?  I mean, of course loans can be useful so it’s nice to know if your credit is good enough to get one, but you’re basically signing up to be a slave if you don’t have the means to pay it back.

Society is so warped in that most people are used to living above their means. It’s normal to buy what you don’t have the money for. It’s like we never outgrow the childish mentality that if I want it I should get it now.

“It’s okay if my bank account says otherwise. I have this shiny plastic thing that tells me I can buy my every heart’s desire. Weeee~!”

It’s so not worth it because eventually, it will catch up to you.  Then you’re wondering why you have enough money to own a flat screen television, the latest iphone, unnecessarily upscale furniture, and a sleek car, but are declaring bankruptcy because whoops, you forgot to pay your overpriced mortgage.

I don’t understand why anyone would willingly invite that sort of stress into their lives.

Of course, like I said, there’s a time and a place for credit cards such as if you’re making an investment into jump-starting a business or buying a house you know you’ll actually be able to afford the payments of.  But most times people get into credit card debt for the wrong reasons.  For appearances, or for their own opinion of what their quality of life should be at all times.  Sometimes you gotta slum it for a while in the present to live breezily for a long time in the future my friends.  This is the best piece of advice my father ever passed onto me.

Never forget that those pretty little letters of congratulations that invade your mailbox unsolicited and ask for personal information, are not declarations of a bank’s love and general admiration for you so “Ta-da!  Here’s some free money!”

They are little invitations into financial slavery.

Spurn them.  Hiss at them like a feral cat every time you see them if that helps you remember that NOTHING in life is free, especially not your financial future.  

~LDA

Slippery Slopes

There’s something daunting when writing about yourself.  Not that it is hard to crack open your chest cavity and expose your gross pulsating parts to the world.  As a writer, I do that all the time.  That’s what creating story is, taking what you’ve learned about the world through your experiences and wrapping it in the skins of fictional characters.  But there’s this pressure when you’re not hiding behind the darling faces of the characters that you have the power to save or destroy.

When you’re writing plainly about yourself, the pressure to make the story good rises to a whole new level.  You set yourself on the operating table and begin to dismember.  How can I make this part look better?  Would this look better here?  Perhaps a little bit of the skin of my thigh would look better on my cheek?  You feel compelled to make yourself look shinier or more tragic or more charming than you really are.  Because this is you, so if someone hates it or thinks it’s boring, it’s like they’re saying they hate you or think you are boring.  You have no characters to hide behind.  But that’s just ego speaking.  The truth is if you just quit striking poses that make you look more awkward than a newborn giraffe, your story would probably play out just fine.  Assuming you’ve picked the correct story for the correct time.

Is this a now story?
A story that’s been traveling its way to your fingertips your entire life and is finally ready to be told right…

now?

Let’s find out.

When I was eleven years old my father took my brother and I to a water park.  Actually my entire family went, but my little brother and sister were off with my mom in some different part of the park, enjoying the more tame kiddie sections.  They were cute and little like that then.  Actually, they’re still cute and little like that to me, even though one is a foot taller than me and the other is a legal adult.  But I digress.

Towards the middle of the day my father, brother and I approached a water slide with some name along the lines of “The Wet Wicked Wedgify-er!”  It was yellow and had a steep decline that ended in a long runway, presumably because the momentum from the slide was so great it needed to give the rider extra space to slow down.  A belly churn shook the frame of my preteen body.  I looked over at my brother who was still wet from the last ride.  He looked up at the slide in glee and then looked down at me.  “Come on, let’s go,” he sneered, knowing I was probably afraid to board.  I glared at his tan back as he trotted up to the long line.  Instinctively, I reached up to touch my father’s forearm, in protest or for support, I didn’t know.  “Come on, Lady,” he said with no malice in his voice.  I let go of his arm and quite literally hitched up my britches, except they were swimming bottoms.  I was Amazon warrior of the Florida Scrub.  No banana looking thing was gonna scare me.  I power-walked ahead of my father to catch up with my brother.

Thankfully, the line moved pretty quickly which gave little time for my Amazonian courage to wear off.  When the long line finally snaked its way to the top I shivered at the top of the slide.  There was a cool breeze chilling our wet bodies, but also I was still a little scared.  My brother turned his ugly face around to grin at me before he pushed off and made his way down the steep slope.  The person monitoring the slide made us stand so far behind the line that I wasn’t able to watch him go down.  Of course, I’d been watching riders scream with glee as they fell the whole time we made our way up the steps anyway, but watching one more guinea pig plummet down would have been helpful.

Luckily it wasn’t a single rider so I would be able to ride with my father.  The teenager at the slide handed us the mat we would be riding down on.  Suddenly I was questioning the physics of it all.  That flimsy thing is supposed to protect us?  Was this slide really mechanically sound?  What if the weight of my heavy father combined with the stick thin weight of myself created an aerodynamic anomaly and flipped us right off the slide into the soggy pavement below?

I felt my father nudge me forward.  I almost glared at him as I thought, “Don’t rush me!” but I complied.  Jets of water tickled my ankles as I stood at the top of the slide, taking in one more deep breath.  We positioned ourselves on the mat, heavier person in back, lighter person in the front, which meant of course that I had no one to cling to.  I promised myself to keep my eyes open as we inched our way to the edge of the precipice.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” I whispered.  Maybe this was what people standing on the ledge of a building felt like.  Before I had time to explore that thought further, my father pushed off.

I felt like the character Wiley Coyote when he realizes he’s been so preoccupied with chasing Roadrunner that he’s sprinted over a cliff.  Maybe if I pump my legs fast enough I’ll get back on land, he thinks.   Maybe if I hold my breath tight enough I’ll float back to the top of the slide, I thought.

It was over so much faster than the time it had taken to begin.  The initial drop made me feel my stomach in my throat, but once we reached terminal velocity it was coasting all the way down.  The way our feet scooped the water in front of us and jettisoned it into the air made it look like we were a fountain.  The ride held true to its name.  My bathing suit had been pushed all the way up my butt like someone had given me the wickedest wedgie.  I practically felt it in my brain.

Aside from this poignant discomfort, my body was thrilled with the experience it had just been through.  Adrenaline pumped through my body and trilled with bells of excitement.

“Let’s do it again!” I shouted.  I jumped up from the foam mat and attempted to pull my father to a standing position.  Of course, I wasn’t strong enough.  “Come on, Daddy!”

I greeted my brother with a full-toothed smile as we approached where he stood in the waiting area.  My eyes must have disappeared into the creases of my smile lines, the way they do when I am especially happy.  To my surprise he was not wearing his usual sneer.  He grinned back at me and, could it be?…He almost seemed proud.

“That was awesome!” I shouted.

“Let’s do it again,” he replied.

We must have ridden it at least three more times after that.  Each time I had the same result.  A rush of excitement in my stomach and an unwelcome sensation between my cheeks.  When it came about maybe the fourth time, I decided to voice this information aloud.

“I have a humungous wedgie!” I chortled loud enough for everyone in the waiting area to hear.  I looked back at my father expecting him to be chuckling along with me.  Instead, he sported a peculiar look and avoided my eyes.  This confused me.

“It’s like all the way up my butt hole!” I exclaimed, turning to my brother for confirmation that this was hilarious.  He avoided my eyes too.

“Lady, shh.  That’s not something you say out loud,” my father informed me.

I rolled that around in my head for a few seconds.  I guessed it sort of made sense, but I didn’t see what the big deal was, considering the slide had the word wedgie in the title.  A funny thing happened then.  I noticed all the people close enough to have heard my exclamation.  They were giving us furtive glances.  Some were looking at me with eyebrows raised and some of them were giggling, but not in a friendly way.

“What?” I thought to myself.  “What are they looking at?”

I was a bit perplexed.

Were people really that touchy about such a naturally silly phenomenon?  I became self conscious.  Even my father seemed embarrassed.  He seemed to keep a measured distance from me for a while.  My cheeks flushed with heat.  In my head, it was just me and my family in our own little world.  I hadn’t given much thought to what other people around me might think.  It didn’t seem especially pertinent.  It was strange to see that reaction from family.  I said stuff like that around them all the time, but suddenly now that we were in public it was a big deal.  I felt a little betrayed.

My brother kept shaking his head like he thought I was an idiot.  I wanted to sock him in the mouth for looking so condescending.  Instead I opted for a pointed question, having measured the fact that my fists had proven ineffectual on him before.  Plus, I needed intel on this frustrating situation.

“What?” I glared at him, hopping in front of him so he had to stop in his tracks.  “What’s the big deal?”

He maneuvered around me and mumbled something along the lines of “Seriously?”

I watched him and my father walk on ahead of me without having answered my question.  I think what struck me the most was that my father actually seemed ashamed of me.  I watched him as he looked surreptitiously around to see if anyone was still staring in our direction.  I understood that what I had said had been a little uncouth, but I didn’t think it would have such a negative affect on the way my family felt about me.  I think that was one of the first times I realized how differently I viewed the world from others.  People seemed to get touchy and embarrassed about things I deemed inconsequential.  And when I felt like it was a time they really should be embarrassed, like if they hadn’t tried their best at something or bothered to think about the obvious consequence of an action, they seemed to get around it with social maneuvering.  This really annoyed me.  Actually, it still does.

My brother and father didn’t ignore me the rest of the time we were at the park or anything dramatically harsh.  But I had taken a step back inside myself, and was hyperaware of my interactions with people the rest of the day.  Even if what they considered important I didn’t consider consequential myself, I still acutely felt the affects of their opinion.  Opinions didn’t matter to me until it started to affect the opinions of people close to me, people I valued.  Even if I still thought what they were thinking was stupid.  I think I began to view the world a bit differently that day.

~LDA

Too Cowardly to Love

There’s this really insane part of us that longs to love so deeply that we don’t care whether or not we receive love in return.  It’s a part of us we try to bury for fear of ourselves.  The day we are born our instinct is self preservation so this illogical part of us that is so willing to be vulnerable in exchange for nothing is terrifying. We tuck it away in a file cabinet of our brain labeled “Do not open at all costs.”

 

But it’s there.

 

And every now and then we remember that we were born selfish but programmed selfless. 

 

 

Whether it be a pang of loneliness in the night or a relationship gone awry, we are reminded that a part of us wants to trust and give affection so much that we are willing to take the risk of complete rejection. 

 

There are some of us who in a rush of panic or a wave of unconditional love peek into that file cabinet and glance into the forbidden file.  Some of us survive, and walk into a healthy relationship.  But others of us are destroyed.  Having taken the risk on the wrong person, we are pulled into a cycle of pain and betrayal during which we hope against hope that things will change for the better despite being torn down again and again in exchange for our love and compassion.

 

Those of us who get stuck in that bitter cycle tend to be looked down upon by society, by both the happy couples and those of us who lack the courage to peek.

 

“How pitiful,” we scoff.  “Can’t they see it’s so obviously hopeless?  Only a person who lacks self respect would continue to put themselves in that situation.”

 

Suddenly we’ve forgotten that love is blind and keeps no record of wrongs.  Or worse, we never knew.

 

The people who get stuck in abusive relationships are most often those of us who have gotten in touch with the side of us who seeks to give affection so much that we don’t care whether the subject of our affection is worthy of it or not.  That beautiful and twisted side that only sees human beings as creatures worthy of love despite our nasty underbellies.  That callused and forgotten side that was simply created to love.  Having been disappointed again and again, surely the persistence of this side is not an attempt to receive love, but to give it. 

 

Those broken people should not be spit down upon, but looked up to, for the courage it took to wind their inner workings back to start. 

 

What if all we broken people did the same?  We could put away our shame and function in all our wonderful capacity.

 

Only guilty people scoff at the innocent in hopes the world will forget the shame of their cowardice.  They are the ones who were to afraid to brave a glance into the file cabinet.  Only guilty people have to run away from themselves in order to avoid running into the arms of another. 

 

All it would take is a little bit of faith on each person’s part to heal the world, but there will always be that one who in fear of betrayal lashes out and continues the horrific cycle of hurting and being hurt.  And so, we will always be full of mistrust.  Our souls forever lost to the fear of abandonment, even though love is just around the file tab.

 

 

 

~LDA

 

-~- Welcome Fellow Derp

If you’ve ever had one of those moments where you realized you’d done something so stupid that you just had to laugh at yourself, you’re in the right place.

You know…

One of those moments where you had to facepalm yourself just hard enough to verify that there was actually a brain rattling around in that skull of yours.

Or maybe just one of those moments where you felt like you had something interesting to add to this conversation we call life, but were too afraid to share for fear it wouldn’t come out the way you wanted.

If you’ve at all found yourself feeling like any of the above, I think this is just the little corner of cyberspace for you.

Why did I name this blog derp2derp?

Well, in order for me to answer that question I should probably clarify the meaning of the word derp, JUST in case some of you reading this don’t already know it.

  Sooo…

What does the word derp mean? 

Here’s a couple definitions:

Courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

derpy-awkward or embarrassing, especially pertaining to a person:

“Man, that guy is so awkward!”
“Yeah, he’s really derpy.”

Courtesy of Myself:

herp derp (or simply derp)-a person who is doing or has done something unusually dopey and/or laughable:

“Ouch! I just walked into the sliding door because I thought it was open.”

“Hahaha.  You’re such a herp derp.”

(the terms “herp derp” and “herpaderp” have also been known to be used in rage comics in order to substitute dialogue)

SO, WHY THE SILLY NAME derp2derp?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we all know that we have moments that bring out our inner derp and this blog is a way for me to share some of those moments with you.  I find that my inner derp surfaces quite a lot (probably more than I’d like) and I figured if I’m going to be plagued with the disease of herpaderpitis, I might as well do something productive with it.  From failing at holding simple conversations to everyday ruminations about the value of life, I’d like to give you a chance to both laugh at my silly everyday mistakes and hopefully, share some of your own derpy stories in return.  I’d also like to share my thoughts on various matters and hear what you guys think yourselves.  It doesn’t matter if you think my thoughts are off the wall bogus or genuinely interesting.  I’d like to turn this into a space where everyone is free to share their thoughts.  I’d like to hear from you.

Life’s too short to waste time being embarrassed by failure.

Why wince at failure when you can laugh?

Let’s derp it up.

~LDA