Thoughts on the Way Down, part two


I don't have a particulary great job. Okay, I'll be honest, I have one of the least-respected jobs available: I wash dishes. For those of you unaware of the restaurant hierarchy, I'll try my best to explain it. On top, of course, is the corporate office who menace the varying levels of managers, who menace the staff in varying degrees. Not much different than any other job so far, right? Well, at the very bottom of the hill beneath all the cooks, servers, and bussers is the lowly dishwasher. A guy who often isn't referred to by name, only "the dishwasher", while receiving everyone else's projected anger, and frustration. As the saying goes, "shit rolls downhill". I don't work this job because I'm too stupid or unskilled to do anything else, I do it because the hours are flexible, it pays decent, and I can listen to music while I do it. That's it other than the fact you're likely to meet one or two pretty cool people in a kitchen, but you also deal with a lot of crap. Even the customers recoil away from me when I bring the cooks their plates, and spatulas. The customer is not always right, no one is always right.

My position got me thinking about why people have always acted like this towards me, well before I ever washed a dish or scrubbed a toilet. Even as a kid, I would enter a room to groans, and various other sounds of disappointment. I always wondered what their problem was, but I never figured it out. I still don't know why people act this way towards me other than I apparently have "resting bitch face". (I can't help what my face looks like, go figure.) This one female customer told me I should smile, but my mood was actually fine until that moment. I hate when people tell me what I should look like, as if it's any of their business. I wondered if her statement could be considered sexual harrassment if our positions were reversed, and if I was a bad person, somehow demeaning feminism by having that thought. I thought about how everyone would crack up if I even suggested that her statement bothered me, got frustrated, and let it go. Then I thought that I probably spend too much time on the Internet. I'll get to that a little later though.

I'm a bit of an extreme person, as I mentioned before, so I go just as hard at my day job as I do everything else. When I get done, I can go home, and start back doing whatever it was I was doing before I left for work. Also drink. I mean, I'm Hideous, it's what I do, right? That's something else I've been thinking about; specifically the fact that I honestly can not remember the last day I was sober. Sometime in June 2016, maybe? Anyway, many of you know the feeling of that first beer after a hard day, and know it to be fantastic. You may also know how a decent buzz can make those aching muscles, and that exhausted brain feel much better. What you may not be aware of, and what I wasn't aware of, was how that kind of "work hard, play hard" mentality can affect someone with manic depression. See, I prefer that term over "bi-polar" or just "having anxiety" because I feel it's more accurate in my case. When manic, I'm in "beastmode", getting things done, and feeling like a champion. Then I crash, and feel like I still haven't accomplished a damn thing, and never will. Remember that episode of King of the Hill where Khan goes off his meds? That's me, even with the meds.

Medication is fine, and dandy, but there's not a pill to fix life. There isn't a pill that makes the demands go away, and convinces people to give you space. You have to actually tell people to leave you alone, but I'm not very good at that, so I just turn my phone off. My wife, in her wisdom, told me that was merely putting a bandage on a bullet wound. I started to think about how I felt, and why I was feeling that way, but that's never an easy answer to find. When I recorded the mental health episode of the podcast, it was simultaneously one of the greatest, and most difficult disccusions I've ever had. I didn't expect this, but it forced me to re-examine wounds left from Crocker's suicide, and from being used/abused by peers in various stages in life as well as my substance abuse issues. I found someone who was walking a very dangerous path. I could tell I was slipping, but I was having trouble doing anything about it.

The ego is one hell of a bastard, I don't even want to admit to having one, but that in itself is egotistical. Imagine, the thought of someone so convinced that they have themselves together enough to not be controlled at least a little by ego. Thoroughly prepousterous, but I think outside the box if nothing else. (See, I'm an optimist after all, just look at that made-up brightside!) That had to of been the meds talking, right? But not the prescribed ones, I suppose? I didn't want to admit I had a problem, and part of me still doesn't. However, I thought that clearly someone who had to knock out a bottle, and a half of Manischewitz just to act normal around friends at a carefree D&D night is pushing too hard. Once again, my wife dropped a jewel on me, but she didn't even realize it. The text message "Being around some non-music people will do you some good." from that afternoon stuck in my head even after I got back home that night. She was absolutely right, getting away from everything was exactly what I needed. That night, I still drank, I still made music, but I did it alone. And I was very happy by the end of that night.

A few days prior to writing this, I had several particularly stressful days in a row. Every morning, the messages were there, someone wanted something, and it wasn't to lend a hand or offer any payment for a requested service. Playing secretary, therapist, and "mr. free promotion" at the same time gets really exhausting. Silly me, I thought all the self-medication was actually helping. A rookie mistake from the veteran. My fault, team, I'll do better next time. I know this because I leveled up again. The challenges are always different, but if I keep pushing, I will get through, and get better. The trick is remembering to conserve my energy, and take breaks, even when I don't think I need them. I also need to remember that "taking a break" doesn't have to include a re-creation of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" or the scene in "Wet Hot American Summer" where they go into town for an hour. Just because the world seems on fire, doesn't mean I have to be that way too. Or does it?

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