Here's the short of it: I'm currently extremely emotionally dysregulated and depressed. A lot of really crummy shit has happened over the last few years, and it feels like it really intensified at the end of 2020 and is continuing into 2021. I'm not even talking about COVID or anything happening on a cultural/social/political level.
Yes, there are some good things, too, and I'm trying hard to lean into that. But really, I'm just trying to keep it together so that I can do well in my job and take care of my physical/emotional/spiritual health.
You're probably reading this because I sent you a link to explain why I've been so distant and disconnected. Well, I'm sorry about that.
Frankly, I'm just tired of being that guy for whom everything is always awful and doom and gloom. I've been really pessimistic of late. I don't care how much everybody assures me that of course they want to be there for me and they love me. It doesn't matter how much I'd be there for them--for you. This isn't a shame thing. I just don't like it. I feel worse unloading the same crappy story on every friend who's concerned about me, and I'm sure part of it is about how I end up feeling mired in my own drama...and that's really saying something, considering how in love I am with my own stories. I also know that once I start spilling, it turns into a torrent.
I'm feeling reclusive. It doesn't mean I don't want to hear from people. It doesn't mean I don't care about you. But I don't want to reach out and vomit my negativity on others. (Yes, I realize the irony of sending you this post, but at least that feels contained.)
And also, I'm sick to death of advice to focus on the positive, practice self-compassion, pursue distractions, stop wallowing, "fuck those people", stop using the techniques that have served me well for decades, and "have you considered anti-depressants"? It's not that these conversations are off the table, so I'm not discouraging you from offering your observations and judgments, since I don't want to presumptuously assume you have no new perspective to offer. But I'm exhausted by the same conversations over and again.
Part of me feels like the universe really did throw a ton of really awful shit at me in a highly concentrated time period; and what's worse, a lot of it has reopened wounds from previous years. So I feel like my sour disposition and misanthropy is somewhat calibrated. But then it's a vicious cycle, because then "minor upsets" feel a lot more magnified, and I feel less equipped to handle them emotionally.
Depending on whether you've interacted with me in the last handful of months, you might find the above somewhat surprising. I am able to enjoy individual activities, conversations, etc. Thank goodness I'm able to lean into moments of joy.
But here's a relatively short inventory of what's weighing me down:
- continued grief and pain over losing Adam (and Billy) and the future we were building
- burglary of my storage unit and loss of my life's memorabilia
- continuing drama associated with State Farm's bad-faith reversal of a liability determination in which I was struck by a speeding vehicle while I was nearly stationary
- end of my friendship with Diana, which happened in a deeply painful and frustrating way and which reopened some wounds from other lost friendships
- my NAS crashing, with 18 TB of data hanging in the balance while I pursue recovery options (even though most of that is backed up to Dropbox)
- Aetna's misprocessing of health care claims, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars in individual months, requiring an ongoing and large-scale auditing project on my part
- starting on a new team at Amazon, which, while overall good, demands a lot of emotional energy, to say nothing of the emotional turmoil associated with leaving my previous team
- still struggling to get my footing and feel settled, having moved to Denver in July
- in general, trying to figure out what kind of life I even want to build (eg, having kids and moving to the mountains)
And if you know me at all, you know how much I hate change. And loss. And one-way doors. Fuck.
(I want to make this crystal clear about some of the bullets above: I regard Adam and Diana as fundamentally good people. I don't plan to say much publicly about the substance of our challenges, but please do not conclude that my pain and loss mean that I believe that they are bad people. Do I wish they would have done some things differently? Sure. I wish that I had done some things differently, too. Everybody was doing the best they could in these difficult situations.)
And then a million little things, like my key fob slipping off my key ring this week ($50 replacement cost), pulling my back a few weeks ago that interfered with snowboarding and lifting, intensification of chronic knee issues, ongoing sleep apnea issues, blah, blah, blah.
Yes, there are good things, too. But you know, I don't even feel motivated to list them out, even though I'm keeping a daily Three Good Things list. Under "normal" circumstances, I would feel more inclined to celebrate in my successes, but however good these things are (and yeah, some of them are pretty good), I'm just too exhausted and overwhelmed.
I started drafting a 2020 Retrospective, where I go more in depth on some of these things, but I'm struggling to find the emotional fortitude to make progress and complete it. But it might be of interest if you want more detail.
Coming back to the main point, I guess: I'm forcing myself to get out of bed in the morning because consciousness is agony, and I'm dreading falling asleep at night because I often have severe nightmares about things from real life (mostly about Adam). And so it's hard for me to even think about connecting with people. I do care about what's going on in your life, but I know that if I reach out, I'm just going to go on and on about all the negative stuff that's going on with me, even if you don't ask about it. (Fuck--look at what I just did here with what was supposed to be a short blurb.) It doesn't even matter much whether things are going well for you (which I hope they are) or if you're going through some similar struggles (which could maybe help me to feel like you really get me)--I'm tired of being a broken record. The context is different, but I like Brené Brown's framing of "not being fit for human consumption". That's how I feel right now, and that's closely tied to why I haven't posted or engaged on Facebook for nearly a year and a half. By and large, I feel like I need to get to some place of peace and stability and equanimity, largely on my own, and then I'll feel better equipped to connect with people more regularly. Please, spare me the lectures about how we're wired for connection and how we best heal together; I'm doing a lot of cocounseling, and I hope that that can help.
For now, things feel dark and dismal. You don't have to do anything differently with respect to quantity of communication, but please do be mindful of some of the ways in which I'm sensitive that I've given an indication of above. (Regardless, I promise I won't be upset with you if you're not "perfect" on that score.) More than anything, please know that my not reaching out does not reflect some lack of care or interest. I'm just worn out. Please be patient with me.