Shut it Down, Shut it All Down

The lesson here is, “Don’t ever write nice things on the Internet.” The Internet is a terrible place, full of hobgoblins and bad memes. The Internet can see when you smile, and that’s when it sends Blood Demons, and they can find you based on your IP address, and then you are toast.

Like, a week ago I wrote about how everything was going better than expected, and wrapped things up like so:

I’m not depressed and haven’t felt flashes of doom for a while. Maybe it’s the exercise, maybe it’s just luck, dunno. I’m rolling with it. Enjoying it while it lasts.

YEAH. About that.

*****

Somewhere in the last blog, while mourning the loss of a dear friend, I wrote about how part of the struggle of fitness is that you have to keep doing it even when things aren’t ideal. Sometimes that’s physical: you didn’t get enough sleep, it’s raining, you’re sore, you’re tired (or, as I found a couple of weeks ago, a wind advisory kicks in while you’re out and about with 30mph+ gusts knocking you off your bike.) You can’t just call it in when things aren’t perfect. You just have to do it.

It’s the same mentally, especially for people who struggle with mental illness. It’s nice to work out when you’re feeling great, when you’re embracing the world, when you’re feeling good about yourself and your prospects. Sometimes you’re not. Sometimes the bottom drops out.

For me, the bottom has dropped out. Nothing has really changed, just the way I see everything. That’s how it works. That’s the difference between actual Depression vs being down in the dumps or whatever. There’s no real trigger. It just switches over and you’re there.

Just like a week ago, I’m skating along in a training regiment that’s easier than expected, I’ve got a great relationship with my son, my job search isn’t going well, and I don’t really get any time with the person I’m dating. Last week I saw all of those things Glass Half Full. Now I don’t. Now I’m convinced I’m unemployable, unlovable, a default “love” position for my son who doesn’t know any better, and stupidly proud of achieving next-to-nothing for an “athletic” event that’s open to children and the elderly.

Always going back to the 2nd-hand story, the mocking laughter of the dudes in the bike shop snickering at people who only do the 20-mile course.

Never gonna measure up, this guy. Never gonna be worth a shit.

*****

(BTW – I don’t want reassurances on any of these things, but thank you in advance.)

*****

A couple of days ago I was asked in a job interview how I maintain a positive attitude when things get hard. I said, without giving it a thought, “I guess I’ve just got that sunshine in me.” We all had a nice laugh. It felt good. That’s genuinely how I felt about myself in the moment.

No call yet about that job, though. Oh, sunshine.

*****

I will be fine. I will keep going. It’s what I do. Depression waxes and then does the other thing and then we start this whole cycle all over again.  It’s an ongoing celestial struggle, but at least it’s a familiar one.

Today I have to take my son to the doctor for a check-up, then ride for 20 miles, then design a poster, then rehearse for a gig next week. These things all have to get done, and it doesn’t help to just say, “Sorry, I’m sad, I can’t right now,” because they’ll just be waiting for you later. You just have to do them, even if your insides are on fire. The world does not wait for you; it spins at the same speed no matter how you feel about yourself or your body or your circumstances or your legacy. It spins if you’re alive or if you’re dead. It spins if you’re King of Nothing. It spins.

I’m exhausted. I wish things were easier, but they’re not. I can either stay in bed all day and be sad about how worthless I am or I can get dressed, take care of my son, hop on a bike, and keep applying for more jobs.

OK, ten minutes until it’s time to leave for the doctor, better get moving. I guess I’ve chosen my path.

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