These days are numbered. This is the
phrase that runs through my head lately. I keep thinking about how little time
we actually have here, how little time we have to get to know each other, to pursue
our dreams and goals, to create our own world, realities and needs. As a result,
we should logically be going mad trying to pack everything into as little time
as we can, doing as many things as we possibly can in as little time as we can.
There are days that go by in what seems like minutes. Lately these days are aplenty.
I wake up, stumble about for what seems like maybe a couple hours and then it's
night time again. Time for it all to begin again. Time for renewal. It's not as
though my days are so jam packed with activity that it all slips away. Lately
the summer days bring about huge amounts of laziness and sitting around in front
of the computer.
I never used to feel time flying by this quickly. I didn't really encounter this
shift in my perception of time until I moved to Toronto where the pace seems relentless.
I take this as a sign that things are going pretty well, that I don't have time
to dwell on the bad things and how long it takes to endure them. I go about my
business and keep myself just busy enough so that I don't stare at the clock.
It seems that when I have to struggle to be who I am, to constantly argue with
people that claim they love me, time crashes. All I think about during those times
is when it will all be over, hoping time will speed itself up so it will all fade.
It never does. It seems a little unfair that when things are going well time flies
by and when they are going crappy things just kind of creep by.
This all brings me back to my column a couple if issues ago. I wrote some thoughts
on depression and my attempts at dealing with it all. Those words were one of
my first concrete attempts at dealing with my demons in a semi-public fashion.
The results were kind of interesting. It brought to light, among other things,
the fact that I rarely discuss my sadness with other people. It also made me think
that a LOT of people are really down. In a sense it almost seems like some kind
of natural reaction to dealing with and having to live in such a messed up world.
I got more feedback than any other column when I wrote about depression. I got
these wonderful letters from people who said they generally don't write to strangers,
letters from people who told me that they felt a connection to me no matter how
small. People wrote saying that they felt like someone else maybe understood what
they we/are going through. I certainly didn't expect to get the feedback I did
which I found quite interesting. I can remember writing a similar letter to Bob
Suren after listening to Failure Face for the first few times. "Every day
that I don't eat the gun. I won. Every day that I don't fucking run. I won. It's
getting harder every day, but still I hang on." When I heard these words
I felt a kind of magic. My rage was being validated, understood and most importantly
I felt like someone else could see a little inside my head. While I definitely
am not excited to identify with these words it made the world seem less scary
and lonely by the fact that I could have written those words, but didn't.
I value this sense of connection with other people who are maybe going through
similar things and it makes me realize how many people can't or don't talk about
what's inside, what's slowly killing them. I got one letter from a woman who said
she was breaking out into tears as she was writing me, that she felt more comfortable
talking to a person who she didn't know than she did talking to her best friends.
I got a letter from a guy on anti-depressants. When I get these letters I wind
up doing a little comparison of sorts and come to feeling like I'm kind of a poser.
Like maybe my depression really isn't all that severe. I felt pangs of guilt as
people with problems perhaps far greater than mine look to me for a connection.
I sometimes wish there were answers to all of this. Is saying that my depression
is minimal another way for me to ignore it or is it a way to ensure it doesn't
get out of hand?
There is a definite sense of freedom in talking to people I don't know. When I
don't know someone I don't have anything invested in them and I can get away with
more. If they don't respond or are freaked out by what I say to them then it really
isn't a big loss. If I say something that I think might jeopardize an already
established relationship my words seem to hold more weight. Apparently this is
a typical thing in a lot of relationships. Its really easy to have a great deal
of honesty and openness in a new relationship, but as things get settled we want
to maintain our investments. I fear that if I say the wrong thing it will all
be over. It won't. If a relationship is worth anything, it will foster communication
and dialog rather than letting it die. I see this dynamic operate in so many relationships.
After a time people kind of enter auto-pilot mode where they just kind of do things
without much thought or discussion. I always want to fight that. I always want
to keep pushing my boundaries and not hold back. Unfortunately that is a lot easier
said than done.
A few nights ago I wound up in a crying, sniveling little ball wishing the time
away. I felt completely stifled by my inability to makes my thoughts clear. I
get these hopes and expectations in my head, sort of plans if you will. When these
plans don't get met or acted out I get really frustrated and angry from expecting
those around me to be able to read my mind or something. I seem to have this remarkable
ability to keep everything inside and be disappointed when my opportunities pass
After some discussion I have come to realize how much I let myself be controlled
by my fear. I assume that only the worst will happen if I share my darkest thoughts
with people. I fear how people will react so I don't even give them that opportunity.
"If you could hear the dreams I've had my dear, they would give you nightmares
for a week." Are my thoughts really that scary that the world would crumble
if I shared them? Are my thoughts that scary that people could not or would not
be able to deal with them and in turn not be able to deal with me at all? I have
an urge to write "probably" not, but I know that the answer is no. My
thoughts will not shatter all that I value in my relationships. My thoughts will
not make people run. This has been demonstrated to me several times before.
"Do at least one thing that scares you every day" reads the magnet a
dear friend just got me for my birthday. A reasonable goal to strive for I would
say, and I try to. I guess the reminder helps me out though. I need to keep it
in my head that I don't have the time to be holding everything back. That I don't
have the time to internalize all my anger and fear. I don't benefit by letting
things stack up and finding myself in a pile of tears. I don't gain from holding
back and not telling people what I'm thinking about, what I'm feeling.
It seems that my behavior follows the relational patterns set out by my parents.
More specifically, I find that I have learned a lot of these habits from my father.
In a sense it seems really convenient to say it all stems from how I was raised,
but I think there is some truth to it. At this point I am not interested in placing
blame, but rather trying to get to the root of my behavior. My dad has always
maintained a safe emotional distance from the rest of our family. He is generally
the one who runs more or less at a constant mood without a lot of ups and downs.
He often doesn't share his emotional highs or lows all that well. He keeps things
to himself and I tend to be the same way a lot. He'll take off alone for hours
perhaps churning over the thoughts in his head trying to make sense of it all,
trying to mull through his feelings and understand why he feels a certain way.
I find myself doing the same thing. When things get weird I retreat. I brood and
try to decipher all the ideas running around through my head. I sit in quiet contemplation
and often live totally inside my head. The other day my boyfriend commented on
how he can spend a whole day with my and I'll say almost nothing the whole time,
going completely internal to the point where I am oblivious to the things around
This all relates back to my fears of communication. My going internal acts as
a defence mechanism so I can deal with the world. So I am not in a constant state
of rage, often reacting badly to most things I see. I feel as though my depression
relates to how I view the world and is definitely tied to my idealism, to how
I want things to be. Always wanting things to be different than they are, working
to make a world I can deal with, often falling short. I try deeply to avoid the
whole victim mentality and instead just do what I want and need so that I have
the world I want. I get sick of trying to "educate" people on how I
think things should be and work to go out and do those things for myself.
The bottom line of this whole thing is to say that we only get one shot at this
thing we call life. We only get this one opportunity to make our dreams real.
As difficult as it is to make what we want happen, in a sense we owe it to ourselves
to make these things happen. Sitting around in a miserable lump doesn't really
accomplish anything for us. If I REALLY am going to ensure that my happiness is
attained/ maintained then I need to make sure that I work toward breaking old
patterns and creating new ones, building my own reality, making my own world.