Posted by: GeekHiker | July 18, 2011

The Journal: April 18, 2010

I have been depressed.

I haven’t told anyone this.  In fact, I haven’t even really admitted it to myself. After I write this, I’ll most likely go back to denying it, trying to fool everyone, myself included, that it isn’t the case.

Part of it arises from what I wrote about previously: my inability to focus, to decide. But if I’m perfectly honest about it, there’s more to it.

The thing is, I have nothing to complain about. I have a good job, I earn a decent salary. I have a car, a roof over my head, and so much food on the table to prevent me from ever having a visible six-pack.

I have time for leisure. I’m writing this on a Sunday, at the L.A. County Arboretum. I had a good lunch at the cafe, have done some reading & photography, and spent the day wandering the grounds.

I spent lunch reading an article in the latest National Geographic, whose latest issue is dedicated to water. This particular article was all about women who spend eight hours a day walking back and forth to get water. Who lived on 2 1/2 gallons a day.

My shower, with its “low-flow” nozzle, goes through that in a minute.

I do not suffer.

I have to reason to complain. I do not want. By American standards, I am middle-class. By the world’s, I am wealthy.

[Okay, yes, middle class guilt. I might as well admit it for what it is, right?  One of the things I want to do in this time off is volunteer but, given the stressed and compressed time-frame between being laid-off and having to pack everything, I haven’t been able to research any programs. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to pursue this in the coming months, but hopefully I’ll figure out something…]

* * *

I have trouble getting up in the mornings. It’s okay once I’m vertical, but getting to that point is difficult sometimes.

Often I’ll be wide awake an hour before the alarm goes off. I’ll nod off, only to find it difficult when the alarm starts up.

My patience on the freeway has grown thin. My boredom level at work has grown, even when I’m busy.

I go to the gym, work out solo, without a partner, trying to keep up my own enthusiasm. Solo dinner, solo reading, solo TV watching. Then, off to bed.

And its then, crawling between the sheets, that there are no distractions between me and the feeling I’ve had all day in the back of my mind.

I am lonely.

[I’m hesitant to post this, given that it’s almost the same as what I had written three weeks prior.  Obviously there were (are?) some recurring themes in my life…]

* * *

I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to admit to that. Funny, isn’t it? You can be all sorts of crazy things in our society, but “loner” is something special, reserved for the crazy manifesto-writing types.

Which, I’m not.

I think I really felt it ever since I got home from Vancouver. Even with friends or co-workers. The classic “lonely in a crowded room” syndrome.

I feel it now, sitting on a bench above the waterfall, looking down on couples, families, etc. I feel like an outsider, like I am not normal.

I’m not, I guess.

I don’t even know what to do about it. Do I put more effort into making new friends, even as I consider departing L.A.? Throw myself full-force back into the dating market?

Even my closes friends in town, I see only rarely. The are all so busy.  The Best Friend and I only chat every few months. JaG and I used to e-mail multiple times per day and IM chat once once a week.

It’s been two weeks since I last heard from her.

[Ugh, this feels so unfair to type now.  Everyone has their own lives, their own stress.  JaG, for example, was going through some indirectly-related drama at the time.  Even though I didn’t know that specific fact, I knew that it had to be something, and that it was pretty unlikely that that something was in any way related to me. So typing it now, it sounds like an accusation.  It isn’t, of course.  What I’m really touching on here is something I’m sure most people have experienced at one time or another: the feeling that everyone has taken off; not on purpose, though, merely by happenstance.

But that the feeling is still the same.]

My friends and readers always say what I great guy I am, and can’t understand why I get down on myself.

And I wonder: wouldn’t I be a truly great guy if I didn’t mind them not calling?

Or if I didn’t care at all?

[Yes, I actually feel guilty that I wish my friends called me more. How messed up is that?]

* * *

They feed off each other, the two. I go to bed and I feel alone in between the sheets.  I feel depressed at this, then I feel alone in my depression.

[Get depressed -> need comfort -> no one to give comfort -> get depressed…]

I suppose I could go back into therapy. Spend hundreds of dollars to learn some way not to crawl into an empty bed and feel all alone there. Maybe even through the rest of my life that way, in therapy.

But what I really want is not to be alone there. That’s the solution most other people find.

Why can’t I?

[It’s weird how I understand what I was thinking then… and how badly I wrote it.  The basic idea is this: sometimes you get lonely and want someone around, right?  And even though you’re taking steps to do something about it by dating or whatever, in that moment, the moment at night when you get into bed, the fact is that you’re alone.  Now, on the one hand, I suppose that can be a therapy issue, but most people simply seem to find someone to share that bed with.  And they seem to have an a helluv’a easier time accomplishing that than me…]

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Responses

  1. It worries me that you spend so much of your time and energy focusing inward. The only thing that’s wrong with you is that you think there’s something wrong with you. You have this free time now, why don’t you get away from LA (preferably forever, but even a few days would suffice) and have some fun?

  2. When people think of great Kurt Vonnegut novels they think of Slaughterhouse Five or Cat’s Cradle. But one of my favorites is Slapstick. In it, recognizing the biggest issue of the day was loneliness, a man campaigns (and wins) the Presidency with the Slogan “Lonesome No More.” He ended up reassigning everyone with two new last names (like Daffodil-7)…immediately giving people huge nationwide extended families to connect with.

    Loneliness is a bitch…but oddly enough, it is widespread and shared by many others.

  3. It’s true – sometimes another person is the only cure. Pets actually help, too. And sometimes maybe even a volleyball, like in the movie Castaway. 🙂

    I’m a huge believer in therapy. It may not solve getting into bed alone, but it can help people understand WHY they may be in there alone. I dunno, I really feel like I wouldn’t be where I am today without going through the counseling I did.

    I think the Internet is facilitating more loneliness in society. We all “connect” but we’re not talking on the phone anymore or even meeting up in person. I have lots of old friends (and blog friends) I check in with regularly, but often I feel like I have no real-life friends who I can just call on a whim to go see a movie. I can’t imagine I (we) are the only ones who feel this way. I think maybe the online socializing pendulum will eventually swing back in the other direction.

  4. Oooh I like Mel’s idea! I know someone in Texas who has seven puppies that would like to see the California landscape! : )

  5. Loneliness sucks. Especially because a lot of the time I find it’s me who’s putting up the barriers or drawing away from people. So now whenever I get all ‘woe is me’ on myself I make myself email a friend. Why should they always have to be telepathic, and make first contact when I’m the one feeling all abandoned and alone?

    My therepist used to call this ‘reaching out rather than shutting in’. It always made me want to punch her, because *ugh* seriously?

  6. I love Mel Heth’s and Leaf Probably’s comments here. So true!

  7. I’m catching up on old blog posts … Google Reader curses me at this exact moment. I’ve been reading you back since I was writing under who knows whatever blog (vintagejournalizations, kristinblakely, I don’t know).

    Loneliness really sucks. The only things you can possibly do is be okay with it or put yourself out there in to meeting people. There are so many very different ways to meet people or get involved in a new community. I imagine LA, with it’s size, is a great place to do it. Or you could move to somewhere smaller where you know for certain you won’t get lost in the crowd.

    But you just have to remember … you are somebody. And you’re somebody special.


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