Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holidays Are A Tough Time Of Year

I get very envious and down during the holiday season because I don't have anyone special to spend time with. I have really alienated myself from those close to me, and the result is loneliness. I had nobody to shop for, and received a grand total of zero gifts. Not that I care about gifts or material things, but it would have been nice to know someone was thinking of me.. a card.. a note.. something... or that I had someone to shop for.

But it is hard. It is a weird feeling of ambivalence. Part of me needs to reach out to other people so I don't feel so alone. Part of me wants to hole up and hide from the world.

I just feel like I have no outlet whatsoever. I am going to therapy and just found a new doctor for meds, so hopefully some help is on the way. But in the meantime, it would feel really good to have someone to talk to.

I wish everyone happy holidays.. and hope they are better than mine.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Here.. Still Struggling

I am planning on writing another long post about anxiety and depression. I am just wondering if anyone is subscribed here. If so, please leave a comment to give me encouragement.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Adding Injury To Insult

I received some amazing comments on my original post.

I am still getting them and reading each. It has been an amazing help.

On Exercise:

One recurring theme people have mentioned as relief for anxiety/depression is physical exercise.

I fully agree this is important. I walk a LOT right now. It's mostly out of nerves, but I think it has kept me very active. An average day I will walk perhaps 3-5 miles.. somewhat at a brisk pace. Often my nights are spent walking around the city at a fast pace to wear myself down. Especially from sundown until about 1:00 AM. I am actually the most fit I have been in many years.. though I smoke like an absolute fiend lately.

My other form of exercise is skateboarding. I grew up as a skater. It is one of the only things in life that brought me actual happiness. Something about the feel of rolling, learning tricks, style, all. it is also very good exercise... A mix of nearly every muscle and hard cardio.

Well I am 32 now and took many years off. I'm not quite the punk skater I once was (though at heart I never lost a beat). Little heavier.. little slower.. less flexible... but apparently just as fearless.

Last Sunday I was very anxious and the weather was nice. I grabbed my board and hit my new regular spot. I went at an incline on a footbridge really fast and caught a wheel on the edge of a curb. Fell forward onto my knees and hands. A trip to the emergency room.. road rash and rocks stuck in mt hands.. broken left thumb (my typing is a bit slow).. and scraped knee.

So I made a valiant effort at using exercise, but I am out of commission for a few weeks. Living alone and being bandaged ain't a fun time.

I thought you were supposed to add insult to injury? Guess i got it backwards.. added injury to insult.

"The perversity of the universe tends towards a maximum"

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On Waking Up Sad

I am in the middle of a pretty deep depression right now. Further and deeper than I have felt in recent years. Thankfully (and unthankfully), my problems' outlet has manifested in the form of anxiety rather than depression lately.. well until now.

I'm trying a new med right now (to add to the cocktail). It is for something I am not really diagnosed for, but it is yet one more attempt at relief. I tend to be really sensitive to medication side-effects. It has been several weeks and this has been a tough one. My sleep has been scattered and awful lately.

This morning was a tough, tough morning. Perhaps others can relate to this feeling I will describe, but it happens immediately when I wake up sometimes:

My eyes first open, and as my consciousness arrives, I start feeling a deep sadness and almost anger... and it is all directed at the fact that I am conscious again... able to think, able to process, able to feel.

It is Saturday... I have no responsibilities today... Why is so hard to just be awake and do nothing?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Anxiety, Depression, Technology, and Me

This is a personal story. I have never shared much of this.
I am a regular blogger, but this felt too personal to write as myself. I needed to distance myself personally and professionally from these thoughts, so I am posting this anonymously for now. I feel an intense need to share some very personal thoughts with the world, and my little geeky blogosphere is my best outlet.

I am 32 years old.
I have been addicted to technology for 32 years.
I have suffered from anxiety and depression for 32 years.

Much of my life can be explained by the conflict, overlap, relationship, and symbiosis of these concepts.

On Sickness:

Depression and Anxiety are bewildering sicknesses. They are somewhat related I guess; and I was served a heavy dose of both. I talk about them as one entity because much of my life has been swaying towards one or the other. It provides confusion, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and a general feeling of being lost and disoriented.

Yet... I am positive, open minded, caring, loving, sensitive, empathetic, honest, and come from a good place. I am filled with passion, intensity, and drive. I tend to overcompensate for my weaknesses by excelling at everything else. When I get into something, I go deep.. very deep. Academics.. Career.. Hobbies.. Technology.. whatever.. check.. got em down.. cold.

It is the less concrete parts of life that trouble me. I tried marriage and failed. Essentially every relationship I have ever had has been both wonderful, and absolutely crushing. I am in total need of a connection with someone, but I can't find the way. Some days, I feel like I can barely take care of myself.

I don't live for today.. never have. I live many steps ahead. I don't enjoy anything alone. My thoughts race night and day. I can't slow my head down. Everything is so big-picture that I lose sight of where I am and who I am. I have absolutely no sense of self soothing or self comfort. The majority of my waking hours is a struggle to consume enough information to keep myself too occupied to think about the now.

The ironic thing is how much I have been given in life. Sure, we all struggle; but I was dealt a fabulous hand. I am healthy, educated, sheltered, and live in a country of opportunity with a high standard of living. Life should be a breeze compared to the billions of people in less fortunate situations. Who am I to feel bad? I have no right. That really bothers me. I feel like an ingrate and that makes me angry at myself.

I have followed all the prescribed steps. I had a really tough run as a late teen and ended up hospitalized for over a month. That experience messed with me a bit. That was when I first started medication. I am very glad to hear that some people have had life-changing experiences on medication (anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, mood-stabilizer, etc). It gave me great hope at first. Something to lay my blame on. It's not me.. it's just a medical thing.. I'll pop a few pills and feel great again. The past 14 years of my life have been a mix of changing meds, sickening side effects, and non-existent relief. I've seen many different doctors. I've been in psycho-therapy for years. I feel like I make progress, I really do. But I always seem to regress. The more I learn about life, the more I realize I am so far away from anything and everything. I have no way to judge or quantify success in life. So my only measure is self-happiness.. of which I rate myself a failure.

Hope is wonderful. That is the reason I can't live for today. I live in a world where tomorrow is a good place, and I'm just stuck in a tough moment before I get there... but I never get there. The most difficult part is acceptance. As a kid I wanted to grow up and do things different. I knew once I got somewhere in life, things would change for me. So I walked the walk... milestone after milestone. Once I finish high school and move off to college, everything will change. Once I finish college and start a career, everything will change. Once I get a job I really love and get some status in my life, everything will change. Once I get married and try to settle down, everything will change. Once I earn my Master's degree, everything will change. All of those milestones came and went. and... nothing changed.

So the acceptance stage is tough. It is about coming to terms with yourself and understanding that everything is actually not going to be alright. It never has, so stop lying to yourself that it ever will. Don't live in tomorrow, because tomorrow sucks just like today. Accept excruciating pain as part of reality. It's about accepting defeat, and that is not something I can do. I will get through though.. I always do. I'm a fighter... I have a strong will. But... is that all life is? A series of hurdles to jump until you are too old to jump anymore?

Don't get me wrong. I have had some wonderful experiences in life... Done some amazing things... Met some incredible people. I present a very positive outward appearance to all. Those around me, even close to me, would describe me as happy, smart, funny (I have a knack for humor), and full of life. All of which are true; but in the back of my head, life has always been spoiled by a rotten undertone. I live in a world of a secret darkness.

On Technology:

I am a successful software engineer. I have a passion and thirst for technology and knowledge that I find to be rarely matched. A certain intuition.. something is just right. To get lost writing code for hours.. to live in a pseudo-reality of bits being pushed at light speed.. to surf the vastness of information.. to contribute.. ideas.. code.. programs.. whatever.. it's me. I have been a programmer and hacker for most of life. I am not a typical geek.. I like to roll a little stealth. But lately, it defines me. As our social structure moves online... As our lives get weaved into a continuum of reality and virtual... It is a comfort zone. It is where I can be in control of all I touch. I connect people, I evangelize, I question thoughts, I help others, I teach. I am fast.. very fast. writing code, debugging, testing, writing, blogging, posting to forums and newsgroups, bang bang done. night after night. Replacing all bad thoughts with the real-time rush of the tubes.

I need technology.. It's all I have.. It's all I am good at.. It's where I live.. It's what I am.. It's who I am.

A Plea:

I am feeling a desperate need to make a difference.. to someone.. to something.. somehow. While I may have conceded that my own happiness is not achievable, I still see it in others. Maybe I can do something to help others so much, that a bit of that is reflected back on me. If I can't do it alone, maybe that is a start? I need to help people. I need to help steer the world right. Given my skills, what can I do? I need ideas.

I live a somewhat simple life, void of much except my technical gadgets. I live in a one-room studio in the city. I don't own a car. I just moved into this place earlier this year from a rented room (getting back on your mental feet after a divorce can be rough). When I moved, I realized my entire life fit in 2 duffel bags. Minimalism and detachment from the physical world provided comfort.

I have no idea where, and at what scale I can help anyone or anything. Mostly, what I have to offer is myself and what I can produce. I make good money and have some savings (though I'm not wealthy). Maybe a donation would make me feel something? I am a very skilled software developer and could offer those skills (I already contribute to some open source and free software projects). I have time and perhaps knowledge I could share.. I must have something to offer someone.. I really need this.

If anyone can relate to this in any way, or has any advice, or thoughts, or a sympathetic soul to talk.. leave comments and a way to contact.

Even a short comment to let me know this reached someone would mean a lot.

- Anxious Tec