I have been feeling rather shitty lately.
Not the kind of bummed-out-that-my-team-didn’t-win-last-night type of shitty, but the kind where your wife asks you, in a light-hearted way, if you are going to pick up again or worse, harm yourself.
The type that duct tapes a black garbage bag over you while submerged in alien snot-slime and being forced to listen to Kesha at full blast.
That kind of shitty.
This kind of darkness descends on me now and then. I don’t enjoy it and I don’t wish it upon anyone. It’s a static haze and it disrupts all the signals in my spirit. It robs me of my gratitude, my spark, my ability to stay present, and frankly, my manners and behaviour. It tears away any joy I have and it kills ambition. Sort of like how alcohol robbed me of people and vice-versa.
This is not clinical depression. I am fortunate that I am not diagnosed with it. I know people who have the Black Dog, and I know that I would be doing them a disservice by laying claim to their illness. I am a visitor. A mental tourist. I am taking pictures and they are all turning out fuzzy and underdeveloped. The mind is a bitch of place when you’re not grounded in anything other than dust and tormenting thoughts.
For the last two days I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that had been driving this Shitty Shitty Bang Bang vehicle. I usually get a sense, and for days I prayed to have it revealed. The problem with praying and waiting for an answer is that I am too choked up on my own anger, self-pity and resentments to be able to listen. It’s like trying to get a phone signal down in a coal mine. My friend and blogger extraordinaire Mark Goodson calls this the “funk with no name”. And it’s apt.
I haven’t been kind to people, especially my recovery pals. I have been raw, combative, and not pleasant to be around. People suggested I go to a meeting, and I blew up. I accused people of not giving a shit. I not only had my heels in the ground, but all shields and weapons at the ready. To say I have been challenging to be with would be an understatement. I have been so wound up that I haven’t been able to uncoil. It’s taking me time to do that.
I think part of this anger towards my friends, in retrospect, is that I felt that I was trying to be “fixed”. And I know people mean well, but sometimes I just need to be heard, and not be given instructions. I know that in our circles, when someone is feeling “off”, we think the worst. I could imagine that many folks were picturing me with a .45 in my mouth and an empty bottle of Jack at my bare feet. Sometimes I have to wallow in my own dirty diaper and let it pass. Sometimes I have to sit with the uncomfortable feelings, feel them, then move on. Hopefully I will get some insight and candy as a reward.
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.
I can’t always predict how it start always, but this time it was work. I can usually separate work and personal life, but I have been swept away like Child Catcher snatching sweet kids from the streets of Britain. My latest promotion and change of hours has put me in a position of feeling vulnerable and fearful. I feel like I am flitting about and don’t have much purpose.
And upon recent reflection, I feel that the feeling of not being useful has been fuelling this last emotional “blackout”.
Having a purpose is critical for me. And pretty much most people on this planet. The sense of being of use is more important to me than I thought. I didn’t feel of much use when I was drinking. I was a bum. A booze pig. A loser. I was no good to myself and hence no good to others. Recovery has given me a sense of purpose in many ways. But that has flagged lately. I have a book now that is finished. I got that promotion at work. I have hit the targets that I set and now I have nothing to aim my arrows at. And so I wander about, not feeling of use.
My wife suggested I volunteer somewhere. She said I do service with the blog and podcast, but it’s not enough. That I need to actually talk to people and interact with them (oh God). She may be right, but everything in me is screaming NO. Then again, what else is there? So I am scrambling trying to figure out what it is I can do so I feel of use, and not just a meandering sack of skin and bones.
My ego tells me that I don’t need others. Gosh I wish I didn’t. I know I do. And I hate it. I have a resentment towards needing people, but I know that if I isolate long enough I get squirrely ideas. I fight against the one thing that will help me – talking to others. That’s the fun part of this. The odd part. The crazy shit.
So there is work to be done. There will be a shift of some kind, but I need to be a part of it. I have to take some ownership of this, and to make the adjustments. In time. Life isn’t a straight line of marks to hit to get to the next level. It’s a swarming hive of moving targets which demands we pay attention to the important shots. That we line up our sight with that of Creator. I have my blindfold on right now, but it will come off soon. I hope.
I’m still feeling kind of shitty, and I am still holding on to anxiety and some resentment, but they will lift. I have not done much of anything these last two days off and that suits me fine. Self-care days. Naps, stretches, eating lots of sticky rice and listening to calming music. Deep breaths. Trying to take in the love of people who care for me.
It’s okay to not be okay. Then it’s time to get in that car and start flying away. To bigger and better things.