The 5th of July
Today is my son’s 11th birthday. I celebrated by looking up whether life insurance policies pay out in the case of suicide. I cried silently in the back seat on the ride into work this morning, but thought to myself, “Hold it together for now. You have to walk past the Bushnell to get to work, you can sit down and cry there if you need to.” By the time I reached those stairs, my acute despair had settled into regular, every day despair. I walked past them.
I did nothing yesterday. Well, that’s not actually true. I spent a few hours setting up a profile on Plenty of Fish and smoking the ashes of what I had left over in my pipe because by 4:00, I couldn’t bear to be sober anymore. Whereas my Tinder profile is kind of snarky, I made an earnest attempt to be open and honest on my POF profile. Not that it really matters- I’m nowhere near emotionally or financially stable enough to have a relationship right now. It was momentarily distracting to cruise the internet, looking at pretty girls and getting that shot of adrenaline when one of them looks at your profile. When that wore off, and the buzz from re-burning weed ashes faded, there I was.
Now that I think about it, I did do a few other things. I spent most of the day telling myself that I needed to write. I’m supposed to be making a blog post every day for the month of July. I failed that mission on July 1st, but I said I’d write an extra blog post this week to make up for it. I missed my post for yesterday too. I kept saying, “Let me eat, then I’ll write. Let me play a couple of games, then I’ll write. Let me take a nap, then I’ll write. Let me jerk off, then I’ll write.” And then it was midnight, and I hadn’t written anything.
I also spent four hours on the phone yesterday talking about how sad I am. There was no real release there though, because it’s the same thing I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen. There’s no real release in writing this either. It feels rote and mechanical. Last night, I felt angry. This morning, I felt sad. Right now, I feel nothing. There’s a weird knot in the center of my chest, and when I focus on it I feel like the air is being sucked out of my lungs. Other than that, nothing.
There are big reasons why I feel a sense of despair, and I’m not going to recount them here because you know what they are. There are little reasons too, and I’ll go into those at length in some future blog (after all, now I have two missed days to catch up on). I think it’s helpful that we’ve destigmatized mental health issues to the extent that we have, and that people are more willing to name and talk about those experiences. I also think that we may be swinging a little too far in the clinical direction. Millions of people may actually suffer from depression, but there are also legit reasons for people to feel sad, even really sad, aside from brain chemical imbalances. Shit is fucked up. I read housing reports as a part of my job. As bad as you think it is, it’s probably worse.
And maybe I’m just a sad guy. I finally accepted that I’m a pessimist (you all knew that already, of course). Maybe I’m not depressed, and the grim outlook I have is a perfectly reasonable response to the life that I’ve led. There are things that I want that I don’t understand how to have. I want to be in love, but I want to be ready to give and receive it in a way that doesn’t hurt another person. I want to be successful, but in terms that I’m honestly still trying to define. I want to be happy, but if I can’t have that, I suppose that being sad is a fine way to pass the time too.
I watched my son be born eleven years ago today. His due date was June 28th, and after he went over by a few days, the doctor asked my-then wife if she wanted to induce him. We talked about inducing him on the 4th of July, so that every year the fireworks would be just for him. We also considered holding him until July 7th, so that his birthdate would have been 07/07/2007. We chose the 5th instead, one week after his due date, so that he would have his own day not associated with a gimmick. There’s something pleasing to me about that date, July 5th. I think I want to stick around to see it again next year.