Monday, October 22, 2018

Ode to a dead friendship

As my dad likes to say, I need to park it. As in, I need to write down what I need to say so that I can park it and move on. So hopefully after this, I will be able to move on.

I apologize in advance for any and all bad language I will most likely use... to those of you with somewhat sensitive ears (or rather eyes) to such language. Sorry.

I went to my all-class high school reunion this past weekend. I wasn't going to go. I didn't have the best high school experience. But my sister and her good friend were going, and they persisted in nagging me, and I finally gave in to their pressure. I was actually having a good time. I got my picture taken with Crazy George. I meet up with former soccer team mates and they remembered me (I didn't have the best of experiences on that team-but they were genuine in their excitement to see me. That was nice.). I went over to see if I knew anyone from my class, and low and behold, I remembered people, and they remembered me. All was well. Towards the end of the day I saw that my high school through age 30 best friend came (I knew her older sister was going to be there). She was a year ahead of me, so she wasn't sitting all that far away. So I kept looking back over to where she was sitting. She was chatting away with some of her classmates. It was getting toward the end, so I mustered up the courage, got up, and walked over to where she was and simply said, "Hey, I just wanted to say hi." That was it. That's all I said to her. She... said nothing. She didn't even acknowledge me. Not even a head nod. She looked at me, and then turned back to her friend and kept talking. Thankfully, one of the people who she was talking to also knew me (We went to Germany together on the exchange program) started talking to me, so that I wouldn't be left standing there awkwardly in silence as my spirit crumpled into a tiny paper ball thrown into a fire and burned to death. So thank you high school German exchange program friend! You are super duper awesome! Seriously. You are a goddamn HERO!!!!!

Now, why did my former best friend ignore me? That is a very good question. I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA!

A little back story: I've known this person since I was one year old. ONE. My family moved to San Jose just after my first birthday. This person, who was two at the time, was in the same church nursery as me. Now of course I didn't really become a sentient being until maybe age 6. She came to all my birthday parties. I went to all of hers. I ate all her Grammy's amazing cooking when she came to visit. She played all our video games when we got an Attari and then the 8-bit Nintendo systems. She would play with my cats and I would marvel at her goldfish. We never went to the same schools until high school. She saved my awkward ass in high school. She invited me to sit with her and her friends at break and lunch so I wouldn't be alone. She encouraged me to try-out for the swim team and the softball team. I got to swim and play ball with her. It was awesome. She got me into the science club. Even the chess club. However, I just watched her play. Chess was not for me. I only liked playing battle chess on the computer because I liked watching the pieces beat the crap out of each other. And I always lost (even on the super easy "you're an idiot" level). She then went away to college, and I came and visited her. I did my college thing. When I came home from college, it was like no time had passed. We were best friends. She got married. We still hung out. Got coffee. Saw movies. Cooked food. Baked pies. Talk for hours. We even went to Graduate School together. She in Chemistry, and me in Anthropology. We would meet up on campus for lunch. And then she got a divorce. It turned ugly. She stayed at my house sometimes. I went with her to court dates. Helped her move out. She got a cute little apartment just a mile from me! And we'd go get pumpkin spice latte's at Starbucks and eat at Happy House. And then, my sister and I bought our first house.

–and then whatever it was that was so horrible happened–

All communication just stopped. No more phone calls. I sent her birthday cards. I got nothing back. And then I got blocked on Facebook. She fucking blocked me! I don't know what I did. All I can think of is that I moved 30 minutes away. Well, she was 30 minutes away when she was living with her stupid ex-husband, and I still drove it to see her! Maybe her stupid ex-husband told her something about me and she believed him? She's smarter than that.

I can say all this because she blocked me on Facebook, so she'll never see this post. Whatever it was that I did that was so horrible, she never told her family because I'm still Facebook friends with all of them. I would have loved to have talked with her sister at the reunion but when I say her, she was with the former best friend who refused to acknowledge me but the sister did light up when she saw me and we waved to each other very bigly. So I guess that was nice.

I would have been fine if she had told me 10 years ago (when all communication stopped), "hey, I don't want to be friends anymore." I would have been sad and confused. But I would have accepted it. I wouldn't be sitting here 10 years on now wracking my brain for the smallest of memories of what I may have done.

You know what really pisses me off? She never even said a thing when my mom died. Nothing. Not a single thing! Well FUCK YOU! We've known each other for almost 40 years now, the least you could have done was unblock me for five fucking seconds and wrote "Sorry your mom died" and then reblock me. It's not that hard. Co-workers who I didn't even get along with showed more sympathy than you did. Facebook friends I've never met in real life showed more feelings than you. At least her parents sent a sympathy card. It came really late, but at least they sent something. Asshole.

Now I'm the kind of person who is a people pleaser. I HATE conflict. I avoid it. So I almost always bend over backward for other people. I'm also an emotional person. I mull over everything. If you read the previous post you got a glimpse into what happens in my head. I don't have many friends. So when the one friend, the one I leaned on, the one who I shared my most personal things with, just up and walks out of my life without a word? How do you think I took that? Not bloodly well, obviously. Ten years on, and here we are. I'm still confused. I'm still angry. Her snubbing me at the reunion in front of her friends was such a blow. I would have felt better if she'd had just punched me in the face.

I know that it isn't my fault. But because of the way I am, and how my brain works, I keep trying to find what I did wrong. But it wasn't me. I didn't do anything wrong. Our non-friendship is not my fault. But I still blame myself. I couldn't just let it go. I need to just accept that I will never know the reason why she walked out on me. Perhaps now, after what transpired at the reunion, I can finally just let her go and move on. She obviously has.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Let's Dig In: Depression Part I, Listen to the quiet ones

There are many voices in my head. Some are loud. Some are mean. Some are dangerous. There's a quiet one. That quiet voice in my head was telling me I needed to come here. To this bench. In this park. I didn't know why. Only that I was to come and bring pad and pen. And so I listened to the quiet one and came. A short drive and a short walk to the spot. I had started a post about another favorite band, and I'll finish that one at some point but apparently this needed to come out first. This may be a sort of series with that favorite band as a part of, but we shall see. My brain doesn't always do what I want it to, as you will soon learn. (the band post is important to this. It got me to write this and got me to this bench)

I have depression.

And no, it didn't start when my mom got sick. And no, it didn't start when cancer took her from me. I don't know when I first realized I had something foreign in my head that I didn't have total control over. My guess is that I was in high school when I became aware. I did not like high school. It was not fun. (sort of ironic I'm going to the all-class 50th reunion next weekend) I wasn't bullied or ostracized, but I didn't have the best of times and never felt comfortable. Besides the typical teenage angst, I woke up spiritually. I started questioning the church and religion I was born and raised in. This made life extra confusing. But that's another post I may or may not get to in this series (it can always end up being a single chapter series).

It has finally dawned on me that for the past two years my depression has gotten worse. From high school to two years ago (even during my mothers journey to death) I was always able to take control of that thing in my head and beat it down. Punch it in the gut. And climb out of the hole it would put me in. I developed over time, techniques to cope. Some times it was getting outside and soaking up vitamin D in the form of sunlight and nature. Music- listening to, playing, and creating. Writing. Being social- spending time with friends or playing sports.

That all changed two years ago. I, of coarse didn't realize what was happening while it was slowly taking over control of my mind. It has a way of being sneaky. A few things have happened that jolted me into waking up, but I wasn't able to climb out of the hole this time. It was too deep. Chester's death by suicide was one of those times where I woke up and said, "shit, I'm really in a dark place. I need to get out of this". And for a bit I thought I got out. I thought I escaped and took control back. And maybe I did succeed in climbing out. But that hand reached out and caught my ankle and pulled me back down. That bastard. And without fully realizing it, I was back down in that hole in my mind and not in control. My thoughts were dark.

*now listen. I will preface what I write next with this. I am not suicidal. I will not take my own life. This is not a cry for help*

My thoughts were dark. I thought about suicide. How would I do it if I chose to finally end the war. Would I drive off the road? Would I take the entire bottle of pills and just go to sleep... forever? These questions would also lead to other questions about religion, faith, and the questions about an afterlife. Again thoughts on that will hopefully come in another post in this fictional series. I would spend my days sleeping and the nights awake. I gained 30 pounds. I stopped running. I slowly stopped hiking. I started eating crap. Drank soda again. I became anti-social. I would hole up in my room for days on end. Couldn't even shower. Working was difficult. I'm writing this like it is in the past, but I'm still in the hole, not in control. But I am aware. I'm awake. I'm woke.

Two things changed two years ago. 1: I quit my job at the coffee house and went to work at my current employer *full time. This is important in that one of those key coping mechanisms that would help me take control was gone. Socializing. I hate socializing. I'm an introvert that thrives on quiet alone time. The friends I choose are few, but they know. The coffee house job forced me to communicate with the outside world. I love my current job and my co-workers and friends are precious to me. They are a life blood. But I work from home. Alone. I don't have to put on adult clothes, get in my car, and go into an office. I work alone. No outside world stimuli. 2: Because I quit my coffee house job, I lost my medical insurance which meant I no longer took birth control pills. An interesting side effect of the pill (depending on the person and the type of pill) is that it can either cause depression or it can act as an anti-depressant. For me, it acted as an anti-depressant. So unbeknownst to me, I was medicated for 15 years! And two years ago, I went off my meds.

Thank the trees I live in California and make enough money to qualify for the ACA, I have medical insurance again. I'm seeing my doctor this week. Specifically for this. I'm woke and aware but I need help. I can't climb out of this hole on my own. Perhaps I never could, I just thought I could.

Depression is someone that never dies. It adapts. It builds immunity's. It runs around in an infinite loop. It can take control of my mind. I've had this writers block or not wanting to take the time to write any of the things in my head. So it was preventing another of my outlets or coping mechanisms.

I'm dealing. I go for walks 3-4 times a week. I take showers (perhaps not frequently enough, but again, I don't have to go out in public much). I get my work done. I meet my deadlines. I see friends when I need to. I get out in nature when I need to. There's light when I look out of my hole. I can feel the breeze on my face. I will be okay. Know that I will be okay. Yes, I have depression. And it and I live together. We battle for control. It may have won the current battle, but for me life is a war. And I'm not done yet. I'm not done fighting. I'm just needing some new weapons.

I got out today. I listened to the quiet one. Not the loud one that tells me bad things. Just listen...

Let's Dig In Series links: Obsession Part I      Religion Part I