Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Things Could Always Be Worse

That isn't my truck in that pic but I know the feeling.

I recently had a terrifying close call. Like many such incidents, my brush with disaster felt as if it were happening in slow motion; I suppose that's appropriate in my case since it lasted almost two weeks.
I was depressed. Seriously depressed.

For me, depression is like driving over a cliff and having a fortnight to dwell on the consequences of landing on the bottom. I take ten seconds of pure free-fall terror and stretch it out into a two-week supply of free-floating anxiety...it's also a good time to hurt someone's feelings- it doesn't have to be my fault, I just have to feel bad about doing it- the guilt keeps my self-esteem at bay. Self-esteem is the enemy of depression.
If you want to be depressed, it helps to hate yourself. But not enough to change.

At first I thought I was merely lonely, so I broke two of my own rules:

-Never sleep with anyone crazier than me.
-Never sleep with a drunk.

I thought it would help- it had been a while. A long while. But it only made things worse- suddenly I was faced with the consequences of being involved with a self-destructive alcoholic woman with a fondness for theatrics and abuse.Again.

So I chickened out. I gave an ultimatum of sorts: stop drinking or stop seeing me.
I have been on the receiving end of that decree before, so I was certain of the outcome- she chose the booze, just like I always did.
And I felt like a loser and an asshole, familiar territory for me, albeit from the other side of this discussion.

Karma, it is. I ruined a few good things because I was drunk...years later, the roles have been reversed and not for the first time, but this time felt different; I was becoming tempted to return to a world I can no longer survive and that temptation was unnerving. I felt the urge to drink again, the first time in nearly three years. I know better than to have any serious involvement with a practicing alcoholic.

So I withdrew. I felt like shutting down. I couldn't get anything done...watching TV was too complicated. Writing?
I have a lot of draft.
I read toothpaste.
I put comic books in stacks and moved them from box to box without rhyme or reason.
I sorted guitar cables by length and then tossed them willy-nilly and tangled as swept webs, into a milkcrate, then 'hid' the crate behind two more just like it.
My radio show last week sucked. My friends said I sounded "shaky". Polite, they were.

But this weekend was better. I had two shows Saturday and they were a blast.
Sunday, I ate an entire gift-box of chocolate peanut turtles for breakfast and I didn't feel so good afterward, but that was OK because I got to keep re-living the delicious chocolaty turtle goodness in my mind, which did a good job of making me forget what was happening in my stomach.

Monday, the agency finally called with a job, a good thing because I am officially broke and have no income. Until now.

I am a now a file clerk at a big company that designs stuff. Today was my first day...my new boss apologized because there wasn't any work. He said most days there wouldn't be much to do, but I'd soon have computer access, so I could read CNN, play solitaire, search for jobs or whatever...huh?

At first, I thought he meant that this job is a lot more temporary than I thought- but it's indefinite, a month or two at least, probably more- but he was saying it's OK to slack off...I'll be alone in a giant-ass file room most of the time and a great deal of the work is just making PDFs out of Word docs, so I can have a radio if I want...and there is a coffee station in nearly every nook and cranny of the office labyrinth...outdoor picnic area, nice kitchen, friendly people, bookshelves of 'honor libraries' in the break rooms...I could like it there. .
Plus, I blog a lot more when I have a job.

Well, I'd better call the Twin and tell him the good news. He's probably expecting me to call for money...ha! Sad, but true.
I wish I could tell my Dad, but he's drinking and I know better than to get involved with drunks, even if I do love them.


citizen of the world said...

Alan, you are neither a loser or an asshole for isisting that the woman in your life be sober. It is brave and right for you. Essential for your own sanity and health. And so, so hard when you are hungry for a relationship. So, way to go - the karma part of it is only starting to show up now with things going better.

Lyzard said...

Welcome back to the world of paid blogging.

Allan said...

CW- Thank you for that.

Lyz- Woot! Now I can save for a vacation!

schlep said...

Sex with the mentally ill, a hard call indeed.

beth said...

I just wonder if there is anything a friend can do to help when you reach that pit. Is it best to back off? Just know that I love you and consider you one of my fondest friends. And, that's a bit of honor considering I only have about 5 friends!

billy pilgrim said...

policy - a pre determined response to an anticipated situation.

make it a policy - no sex with drunks.

sorry honey, policy dictates......

Craig D said...

"I visited the Abyss and all I got was this crummy T-Shirt!"

Susannity said...

Well I'll say it, that was a-holish of you. But you know it which is a good first step, and to not do it again is even better. And I say this with affection as you know.

Congrats on the job! Woot!!! I think you should send some chocolate turtles to your bro. =)

yellowdog granny said...

you know by telling her that you may have saved your own life..don't feel bad..life is about decisions and she made hers
and you had to make yours.
hey, paid to blog..can't beat that...

Allan said...

Schlep- Not really.

Beth- I can't think of anything. You are on my list too.

BP- It was policy. Must renew.

CD- I did get a NASCAR shirt last month...

Sus- I feel OK with it...I even fixed her guitar. She needs someone to get wasted with and I can't do that...

JS- Yes, I would be dead inside six weeks if I drank again. I had to read a book today, no PC...

Susannity said...

Allan, you misunderstand me. It's not the ultimatum per se or the breaking up, it was the starting that I think wasn't too cool cause you know it could go nowhere. I'm not harping on it, just saying.