Thoughts on the Way Down, part three


I do a lot of thinking, some would say too much. Sometimes even I think it's too much, but my introspection has been a blessing in dealing with my breakdowns. It helps to be a stubborn, defiant bastard as well, but not everyone can be so lucky. I heard a comedian say once that rich people go to therapy, and poor people go to the liquor store. I say that's pretty spot-on, but it's definitely not healthy. It's all well, and good to say that you should talk to someone when you're having a hard time, but realistically that doesn't always work. Often people will jump right into how selfish you're being by not appreciating what you have going for you. The thing about depression is that hearing a diatribe like that usually translates into something like "Just shut up, and deal with it! Everyone has problems, grow up you fuckin' baby!" which isn't helpful to say the least. I think there's something to be said for an occasional self-imposed exile.

For starters, being around only yourself for the majority of the day gives you plenty of time to think about your life. I grew up with plenty of solitude, but I didn't have much to reflect upon then. Now, I have a plethora of mistakes, triumphs, and tragedies to ponder. I've learned to not beat myself up as much, but that it's also okay to expect that I perform at the absolute best. I've learned it's okay to celebrate daily, but that I should never give up clarity to do so. I've basically been learning some of the finer points of a lesson I thought I knew long ago: life is about balance. I had far too much negativity coming in, therefore no positivity was coming out. I don't really have any sort of "positivity reserve" to pull from either, I'm just not wired that way.

To figure this all out, I started from the beginning; I thought about my routine every morning. Without much deviation, I would wake up, express gratitude for another day, and look at my phone. The light flashes different colors depending on what app got a message, so I started leaving it facedown as well as on silent so my wife wouldn't be woken by the light. Every morning, here they are: "Do you think you could..."; "Do you know where..."; "Hey, I wanna...", and all manner of general spam. "No, I don't wanna go to a pop-punk show, I fuckin' hate pop-punk! What about me says that I would like pop-punk?", but I kinda chuckle at the spam, I ain't mad, that's just promotion. Not all of it was bad, there was just a whole lot of it. Plus work, plus life's surprises, plus trying to make time for friends. The thing that really wore me down was more or less just sensory overload. It got me thinking about how much time I spend on the Internet as opposed to everything else, and I determined it was way too much for far too long.

I was on board with social media from day one. I killed it on myspace with my one-man, drum machine grindcore project. If you remember those days, you remember there were a lot of bands that could be described as such. At this point, I know how all the social media platforms work, and I can make them work for me to varying degrees of success. You never see me complaining about Facebook not letting people see my posts because I know how to make sure they do. Point being, I probably know a little too much about social media. I know way more than what it takes to realize that it's actually kinda gross. I know way more than it takes to realize "marketing" is a really dirty blade with a double-edge. I see the sub-text in the commercials, I read between the lines first, and I can't help it. That's just how I function, and while my general hypersensitivity does come in handy sometimes, it draws in a lot of negative input.

So, what do you do when you are experiencing sensory overload? You unplug from the matrix, Neo. Yep, just yank that mofo right on out the back of your neck. I turned off my phone, I stayed off the Internet altogether apart from watching Luke Cage on my laptop, and I listened to a lot of music. I got away from what was making me unhappy, and went towards what does make me happy; like talking to my wife. Our schedules allow for at least a few nights a week of just hanging out, doing whatever we feel like doing. The night of this writing for example, we're going on a date, and my phone will remain off. I have absolutely no idea if anyone has tried to get in touch with me, and I love it. I apologize to anyone who has presented me with something time-sensitive during my semi-exile, but I needed this break more than any business opportunity. What I needed was to pay attention to my needs for a while instead of the needs of others.

Every time I have one of these breakdowns, it is usually because I'm working too hard. I work hard because I want to have the life I've dreamed of, or at least something similar, but I won't be able to enjoy it if I've alienated everyone or drove myself into an early grave. I think that's the most important lesson I've learned as of late. The point of all this isn't to try, and teach you a lesson, think of this as more of a precautionary tale. I'm not qualified to teach you anything about life, that's your job. Another thing I've figured out is the old saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true for the most part. I've broken myself down, and rebuilt myself so many times at this point that I probably wouldn't recognize myself from the past if we were to somehow cross paths at the store. I think that's life though: create, destroy, rebuild it better, repeat. Creation is usually beautiful, and destruction is usually painful, but none of it lasts forever. Not even the fall to the deepest abyss lasts forever. While I was on the way down, I started thinking about how I was gonna get back up.

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