Old dogs, new tricks, something something

I’m mentally ill. I talk about mental health in a way that creates a separation between me and the sickness, making it appear like I have my shit together. The problem is that my awareness of my illness does not remove the episodes, and no matter how much personal work I do or what medications I take, I am still mentally ill.

Sometimes I don’t like myself. I’ve spent my adult life playing tug of war between knowing I’m a good person, and believing I’m a monster. Lord knows I’ve done enough monstrous things. Lord knows I actively fight that monster.

A lot of people think that you shouldn’t have to actively fight instinct, and you should just be yourself. But you see, people like me can’t just “be.” Just being means that I will inevitably give in to the worst behavior that still lies dormant in my core. If I don’t put up a fight, I will burn everything to the ground.

What’s fucked up is that when I look back on all of the things I wanted but I didn’t do because I knew they were wrong, I regret it. I regret doing the right thing. I look back on failed relationships and think I should’ve just fucked those other girls when I had a chance. I look back and think I should’ve taken more drugs when I had the chance. I reflect on so much of my life from that fucked up place that I barely know what to make of it.

I could’ve gotten higher. I could’ve had more reckless sex. I could’ve been a full blown degenerate deviant. And part of me wishes I had been.

That is, part of me wishes I had been, when I’m in the middle of an episode. When all I really want to do is burn it down to numb my pain and my loneliness. When I know I can’t do that anymore. When nothing brings a sense of joy.

My brain is a fucking asshole. I’ve accomplished so much, and I have everything I’ve wanted, yet my own mind doesn’t let me enjoy it. And this is the curse, this is the fine print on the contract. I can achieve anything, but the depression will still sap the joy from it and leave it bleak and grey.

People don’t understand that when you’re depressed, it’s not that you’ve given up, it’s that you can no longer muster the strength to do it any longer. It’s a war with no end. Some battles you win, others you lose, and the tide can turn at any moment. Sometimes you get battle fatigue and don’t have the power to face it, so you run.

I want to run more than ever right now. This has hands down been the most difficult and trying year of my life, and it’s showing no signs of letting up. I’m tired. I’m battle fatigued like hell. A lot of the time, I don’t know how much longer I can fight.

Lately I’ve been pouring myself into hobbies to the point that it’s detrimental to everything else. My only hobby is yard sales and thrift stores. Tonight I detoured on my way home to hit four curb alerts and try to snag free shit to sell. Steph asks me where the hell I plan on keeping everything, because what I’ve already gotten is trickling through the whole house. Selling is slow work, but acquiring is easy.

But I need this. That sounds so fucking stupid when I say it. I need this. I need to find an awesome deal on an item I can theoretically resell because it gives me a feeling of control in a life that’s otherwise spiraling into madness. I need to assert control on something, ANYTHING, to give me a sense that I am the one guiding my life.

I need this so that spiraling madness of existence doesn’t drive me back to the bottle.

That sounds so weak willed when I reread it all, but it’s just the truth. I’m struggling bad lately because I feel incredibly helpless, and I get the sense that it’s all going to collapse like a house of cards sooner or later. And when it falls apart, what’s standing between me and a bottle of bourbon? So I say fuck it. If sorting dozens of crates of used books is what keeps me sane, then that’s what I do.

When life gives us so many difficulties that we can’t recover before the next one hits, we don’t have a lot of options. We can fight, or we can run. For me, running is not an option, because running only creates more difficulties. So I’ll work through it the best I can. If that sends me down some strange roads, so be it. As long as those roads aren’t paved with whiskey, I’ll be alright.

Do your best. It’s all any of us can do.

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