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.
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.
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.
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