I Am Not A Sad Story

There is a running myth abut me that I am somehow confident and happy and even remotely well-adjusted. I’m not sure where people get that. It seems to take a lot for people to see deeper and see me as the fumbling, neurotic fuck-up I so aggressively believe that I am. This is one of the many disconnects I have with the world around me.

I don’t often open up about myself or the things going on in my  head. There are a handful of friends who have seen me at my miserable, self-loathingly lows. I’ve had often fragmented, frustrated conversations with my parents that end in a “chin up, kiddo” sort of mentality. But the truth is that I am plagued by vicious anxieties that pick at my bones and a growing depression that recently began flexing its ability to stop me in my tracks. Usually its something that I’ve been able to bury, put somewhere off to the corner, but as I try to make a place in the world for myself, its becoming frighteningly apparent how big a problem these things can be.

I can’t remember a day where all these issues started becoming issues. I think I was largely a happy kid. But I remember moments where that image is fractured a bit. I remember being picked on and bullied, but I also remember that I had done my fair share of bullying in return. I remember being angry that on my seventh birthday they made me swing at the piñata last because I was bigger than the other kids and someone broke it before I got a chance. I remember leaving my own party that day and just running away off into the fields behind my house. There are so many disjointed memories of being lost or scared, even in my own home. Whether it was someone I didn’t like came to watch me or my sister’s boyfriend being mean to me or being dropped off when I was six and finding no one at home. There are so many memories of being young and alone. To the point where it began to feel like alone was the way I was meant to be.

There are many dirty parts of my life that I choose to remain secret. Some I don’t disclose to therapists. Some only a few friends know of. I tend to think I grew up a bit faster than I should have. The fact that my parents were never home became a legitimate excuse to be used in class for why I didn’t do something. A point that many of my friends eagerly vouched for on my behalf.

But I never felt depression until high school, when waves of paralyzing apathy or anger or frustration would wash over me, leaving me feeling completely powerless and once again alone. It was in high school that I started seeing myself as something other. Alienated and off to the side. Something that didn’t quite belong. Someone not good enough. While the bouts of serious depression or panic were few and far between (except for dealing with homework) there was a growing sense of self-loathing that was always present.

This past year the bouts of depression and anxiety have become more and more frequent. Growing steadily until in the past few months where depression often feels like a daily battle and my anxiety and bouts of panic derail me at every turn. A few weeks ago I sat at my desk at my internship, knowing that there were pressing things and deadlines ahead of me, but still I sat there, motionless and paralyzed for hours. This little ball of pain sat on my chest and scratched at my insides. In the ensuing weeks deadlines have come and gone with a good deal of panic but no action. I now boast four or so job that offer little to know compensation and so I sit, defeated in a ball of panic and dread and watch as all those precious responsibilities slip past.

I frighten myself a lot of the time. I’ve cried more in the past four months than I think I have since I was a baby. Most days I feel so disconnected from the people in my life. So far from their love or their affection. I feel isolated and abandoned most days. This utter unsympathetic self-hatred burns at me, saying that I deserve to be alone. That this is how I am fated to be. There is this crippling belief that I am not in control of my own life. That its just spinning out of my grasp, kicked around for others amusement or placed on a high shelf and forgotten. It is felt so genuinely and with so much earnest that I often forget to do things for myself or that that is a possibility for me. This unconscious belief that my happiness leads to other people’s suffering on some level leaves me completely numb.

It’s hard to articulate exactly what I feel. It’s harder to believe that anything I am writing holds any weight or any purpose. That it is anything beyond my self-righteous pity party that no one cares about. Something that will sit as an ugly, self-indulgent scar on the internet.

I wish I felt as connected as I should be. There are a lot of people in this world that I love purely and wholly. But I don’t often feel it in return. I look out into the world and it yells back at me with this crippling apathy. This constant belief that everyone hates me as much as I hate myself. That my co-workers see me as cumbersome and in the way. That my intern advisers don’t like my very existence and see me as a bother or worse, a waste of space.  It’s this thing I’ve always seen of myself. I’m too much. Too much of everything. Too big, too loud, too phony, too quiet, too bombastic, too timid, too assertive, too passive, too fat, too selfless, too self-absorbed. Complete, vicious contradictions. Unsettled at all times no matter how I adapt.

And lately all these fears and paranoias and worries and hatreds have ground me to a complete halt. I have thoughts about what it would be like if I were to die in a car crash and I get these flashes of all the people who would miss me and all the things they would say and I feel their hurt so completely that I start bawling while sitting in traffic. And in those moments I know that I am not the garbage that I feel I am so explicitly. I am reminded of all the legions of family and friends that love me so completely. But then I’m left with a more haunting after image. A persistent question: Why do I have to go to such a dark place to finally feel everyone’s love?

I don’t know how I’ve become so disconnected from everything and everyone. More so, I don’t know how I’ve become so disconnected while appearing so engaged from the outside looking in. But I’ve reached out for help. I’ve begun to seek therapy once again. This time with these feelings a little more clearly articulated. A little more willing to eradicate that gnawing pain inside me. And that’s why I don’t want to keep it secret. I don’t know who all will read this. Probably no one. It is quite far off from the humor that usually populates this blog. But it felt important to share.

My mission through writing is to reach out to kids and young adults who feel all of these feelings. That feel so lost and alone and need something to hold onto. But I think I still need something to hold onto myself. A reminder that the story is still being written. And a happy ending will be on its way. We all have stories inside us and I don’t think mine is a sad one.

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Love Songs to Jesus

Love is in the air and I have fallen into full on obnoxious-romantic-mode. Which means a whole lot of scouring the radio for the perfect song to tell her just how much she means to me. Something sweet and simple about how “she’s my strength” and how “nothing is better than being loved by her” and maybe something with just a hint of “I’ll buy you flowers if you let me touch your boob.”

But recently I have stumbled onto a bit of a problem. Every time I think I have found the most romantic song in the world, I take a good look at the lyrics and realize that the song was written about Jesus.

Not quite the wingman I was looking for.

Not quite the wingman I was looking for.

Now there’s nothing wrong with writing songs for Jesus. I’ve got some love for the J-Man. We’re buds. But nothing slams the brakes on a romantic moment faster than your favorite singer reminding you that Jesus is watching and he’s not happy about where this night is heading.

These songs are sneaky. They lull you in with their smooth guitar and their smoky vocals. You’re already lighting candles and spreading rose petals on the bed before you realize that the “you”  the singer is so devoted to is a 33-year-old carpenter with a messiah complex, not the lovely woman who likes to hold your hand on long car rides. Be cautious around vague pronouns.

 “Are your hands getting sweaty or is that just my stigmata acting up?”


“Are your hands getting sweaty or is that just my stigmata acting up?”

It’s hard to get the magic back after the subtle Christ-allusions stampede into the foreground. Suddenly those hands you’re holding are just a bit holier. There’s a little sand in that hair you’re stroking. That little bit of cleavage you keep casting glances at is now the hair covered chest of the man who died for the sins currently on your mind.

I don’t think Jesus is trying to mess with my mojo or anything, but I have always been told that God works in mysterious ways. Maybe I should stop trying to find these super romantic songs and just come to terms that Jesus wants me to use my lips for praying. Or maybe I should just listen to John Mayer or something. I don’t think “Your Body is a Wonderland” will be rockin’ the service anytime soon. Or maybe I’ve just been listening to it wrong all these years.

Let Me Love You

I have this need to say “I love you” at least once a day. It’s like a tic. Like I might go crazy if I don’t say it at least once to someone. Anyone. Well not anyone. I don’t tell the barasitas at Starbucks that I love them. That would be chaos.

starbucks-barista

Dude, it’s just coffee.

But I do tell my parents, my sister, some of my friends, my stuffed dog Bosco, certain television characters….

Sometimes I’ll just text people randomly in the middle of the night things like “Hey, I love you. I just thought you should know.” Which is always met with the response, “What’s wrong? Are you dying?”

My favorite thing about being back at home is just being able to tell my mom I love her as many times as I want. At school, I have to jump through hoops to get my fix. But at home, I just let the “I love you”s fly.

So much so that I think she’s grown annoyed by my constant affection. I don’t even have conversations anymore. Just a steady string of “I love you”s to break up the silence. Most of the time she smiles, but after about the seventeenth “I love you” of the hour she just kinda tunes them out. So I have to throw her off speed pitches, hiding the “I love you” with elaborate set-ups.

“Hey mom, I read this really cool article today. It said that scientists at MIT have finally determined that I love you.”

I have fun with it.

I don’t really know why I feel so compelled to constantly say “I love you.” I think somewhere in there I am scared that if I don’t constantly say it, I might never hear it back.  So I just say it all the time.

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Don’t Fall in Love with Your Therapist

It is very difficult to turn the conversation from your parents’ drinking problem into a proposition for drinks. And yet the thought has legitimately crossed my mind at least once or twice over the course of my involvement with the latest intern at the revolving world of SCAD Counseling and Student Support Services. Why I’m there is not important. What is important to take away is that you should never fall in love with your therapist.

Nobody looks sexy as they whine for half an hour about their theater director being mean to them in high school. It is hard to portray yourself as the height of desire and masculinity after you get done talking about how you inexplicably started sobbing during the trailer for the Titanic 3D re-release. But still I spent countless hours before our meetings trying to find ways to tie in my recent bout of nightmares with ‘your hair looks pretty today’.

Needless to say, I am no Casanova. However, there was something so intriguing about having a beautiful woman know all my deep dark secrets and still seem to want to talk to me. So I entertained this idea, this weird little dream that maybe in some 50/50 type scenario that patient ends up with the therapist. You know, that classic tale all the young boys dream about growing up. But sadly I’m not Joseph Gordon Levitt. Therefore I wasted both of our time.

I should have spent the time to talk in depth about my rampant anxiety and social fears but what I did do was spend way too much time talking about our mutual love for the show Smallville. I should have practiced being assertive in my daily life. Instead I tried to decide if it was weird to show up to an appointment with flowers. It is.

I felt bad though. I was letting some flight of fancy get in the way of her being able to do her job. It felt sexist and weird on my part. Like I was a bad person. Like it was something we should talk about and explore. But I was too busy trying to figure out if that ring on her finger was a wedding ring or a family heirloom.

I was caught up in something new. There had never been someone who knew me on that kind of level. She knew all the skeletons in my closet. The things I don’t tell my best friends, the things I don’t tell my parents, the things she figured out that I didn’t even know. That was a form of intimacy I’d never experienced and yay, bonus, she’s a pretty girl. So my tiny 20 year old boy brain says, “Hey, this is love” and proceeded to make the rest of my time with her an awkward mess. I became very well versed in the ethical implications of the doctor/patient relationship but no closer to becoming well versed in the inner workings of Chase Wilkinson.

It wasn’t a total waste, obviously. There was a good month of quality venting and self-exploration before I started ordering horse drawn carriages and wrangling doves. But the problem started when I stopped trying to figure out who I am and began creating someone that she might want me to be even though her job was, in part, to help me figure out who I am.

I’ve never met a person who went to therapy and became more delusional.