The Wisdom of Not Thinking Too Much, or How Things That Are Far Away Or Too Close Can Be Equally Blurry

I’ve never embraced the practice of keeping notes, or a journal, beyond what I occasionally write in here. It’s not for lack of trying. Over the years I’ve bought paper journals, and even a hand-held tape recorder, to help me lap up my insipid thoughts and banal observations. The attempts always failed to one degree or another. There are moments when I succeed and jot down this and that, and I even made a list of everyone I’ve ever fucked. To see if my one-night stands outnumbered the meaningful relationships. They don’t, even though after I made the list, three meaningless, very brief, encounters came to mind. It’s odd to forget sex. It’s another human being for Heaven’s sake.

There have been other brief periods of success regarding pencil on paper journal-keeping. Pen on paper. ECT compels me to keep notes, for practical reasons, to keep from driving my wife crazy by making her repeat herself. Forgetting conversations, ugh. Those I can write down, some of them, anyway. Writing down where I put the remote control or nail clippers isn’t going to happen. There are thoughts and quotes and anything I think is noteworthy, few and far between, but there. Now here.

And that’s what I’m going to relate, a journal entry of mine, something I did. It speaks to the value of journal-keeping, and may compel me to do so more often. In this case, it allows me to see myself as if I were another person. We lose our ability to see clearly if we get too close to something, including ourselves. Something too close is just as blurry as something that is too far away. One benefit of writing, or any creative endeavor, is that part of you is collected for some healthy observation and analysis. And you can share it, or keep it for yourself. Either way, you’re bound to learn something. I have to believe that that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s a pleasant fiction. God knows.

I love watching people and listening to them. My social phobia prevents me from joining in, most of the time. However, I don’t have to socialize with a great therapist, fat stuntman, or blue-tipped peeping tit-mouse in order to appreciate them. The same is true with people. You can admire them either way. And while I enjoy the blurry spectacle of The Masses, I find the individual within society wicked fascinating. I’m my best example.

Every single one of us is alone, and we all want to realize some dream. We have to reconcile what we want with what we have. Naturally. Human beings grapple endlessly with the concept that the world is a fair and decent place where things make sense, and hard work is rewarded and, “what goes around comes around,” with the fact that the universe is indifferent and, basically, life hurts and can really suck. For a thinking human being, existence is a frozen outpost in a no-man’s land between what is and what could be. Inches away from what is, and one needs binoculars to see what could be. Most of us are kind and compassionate for the most part. Republicans try to change that, with some success, but we are still, well, good.

Our frail bodies are the mediocre instruments of our tremendous minds. Like Mozart trying to create his masterpieces with a ukelele or bagpipe. While I would like to hear what Mozart would have produced with just a ukelele or bagpipe, I’m glad he had more with which to work. I wish our minds had more to work with than arms, legs, hands, feet, vocal chords and ear-holes. We do a little but we don’t a lot.

That is one reason that it is very important to be careful of what one desires. Our minds can get us into so much trouble; with capers, schemes, philosophies, and whatnot. And that brings me to my journal entry.

The entry reads, “February 19, 2013, 4:37PM, logic dictates that I make a choice here.” The logic involved suicide in the face of existential nihilism. I’ve always been comfortable with existential nihilism, and still am, and on that evening I was ruminating about the ancient philosopher Hegesis. I read something, bully for me. He felt that life was made up of more pain than pleasure. If that is the case, he reasoned, suicide is the answer for all of us; rich, poor, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, man, woman, whatever.

The entry, and my memory, allows me to piece together what happened next. I was sitting on a bench at the Davis Square “T” station. At that moment, I felt I had to make that choice. I was either to kill myself as soon as the opportunity presented itself, which would be the proper end result given how I had embraced Hegesis’ logic. If I didn’t kill myself, I was then either a coward who couldn’t take a simple concept to its logical conclusion, or I didn’t actually believe that life was balanced too heavily in pain vs. pleasure. Despite a very happy childhood, a wonderful family, a full stomach, a warm bed, and a few friends, my mind, hobbled by mental illness, crippled me with depression, anxiety, and self-loathing. Therefore, there was (at least at that moment) more pain than I could bear and little pleasure in sight.

The trouble into which the mind can get you. Fuck.

His philosophy, which he probably used to cultivate a dark and brooding personae to impress women, doesn’t withstand scrutiny. What did I want out of Hegesis? The nihilistic prick. Yes, I live life and face depression and regret and shame and self-loathing. But I get so much help; medication, electro-convulsive therapy, Nancy loves me and I love her, a great therapist, friends who support me, and phenomenal pets. Bipolar disorder most certainly funks up the room, that’s for sure. Sometimes suicide definitely looks like a fantastic option. It’s an an exit, if needed. We’ve all been there. But Mr. Hegesis is wrong. When I make Nancy laugh it counters 1000 hours of depression and self-loathing. You know?

But for a few hours I was convinced Hegesis was right. Earlier that afternoon I had a small meal at a Chinese Restaurant on Holland Avenue. I was amused at what the fortune cookie said, and I taped the slip of paper into my journal. The fortune read, “Many opportunities surround you.” In my frame of mind at the time, I took that to mean that there were many ways to off myself. I could throw myself in front of a bus, or jump off of a building, eat a pound of Limburger cheese, put a hole in the Mystic River, who knows.

So I found myself sitting in the station, thinking violent thoughts. How absurd! At one point, since nobody was around, I walked to the very edge of the platform. The end of the yellow, bumpy part. Every few seconds I had to repel a thought that demanded that I stop the foolishness and just go home. I started to imagine what I would look like smashed along the rail, or if I would produce a huge fart or “Wilhelm Scream” just as the train hit me. Time passed, and finally I could hear the rumble of a train on my side of the platform. “If I just lean forward,” I thought, “I never have to see a loved one die, or feel sorrow or loss or depression again.” If I could just wait for the train and move forward a bit, I would instantly reconcile my nihilism with a practical course of action. I would traverse the frontier between the intellect and the universe. In an odd way, I was being idealistic. While my method of suicide was motivated, at least in part, by watching too many Bugs Bunny cartoons, at least I was finally doing something with my life…by ending it.

But I left. I went home. I kissed my wife. I walked the dog as I smoked my pipe and read some damn thing. The movie, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” was on TCM. Creepy movie. Funny, interesting, and…creepy. Anyway, ending your life isn’t doing something with it, I concluded. And by that I mean I really concluded. My decision was made for all time. Suicide is no solution, it’s a waste of a deeply flawed but fundamentally good world, amazing to behold. At least for me, the debate was over. It is over.

One man’s experience, among 7 or so billion. But there it is, along with my well-considered solution.

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Posted in Autobiography, depression, electro-convulsive therapy, Mental Illness, movies, naked, nude, social security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rand Paul Is A Fucking Libertarian Fascist (Yes), ECT, Sex, Nudity, and Politics

Good afternoon, fair reader. I’m watching, “Casablanca,” on Turner Classic Movies, a film which I happen to know all the dialogue. The bills are paid for the month, so that’s good, although I’m flat broke now. Every month is like this, and it’s not unsettling or upsetting in the least. The lights are on, the rent is paid, the flat is warm, and the cable & Internet works…I’m better off than most of the human race. Plenty of food, too. We can’t eat out or see a movie or go to a museum, but some months we can, and that’s enough.

This morning, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) went neglected and I’m to go on Thursday now at 6am. Better that way, as existential rumination for several hours (my appointment was at 12:30pm) leads to my ferreting out some reason not to go to my session. Better that I wake up and go. Before I know it, they’re depriving me of my consciousness and anesthetizing me. After that, it’s all recovery and the short ride home to convalesce.

I’ve now had 20 sessions of ECT and can report that it has worked well. Depression doesn’t enfeeble me anymore, although my ability to concentrate is a little exhausted. Books find themselves in my hands and words trek into my brain via the magic of reading, although I find that paragraphs have to be re-read several times before they’re consumed. I’m a slow reader, anyway. A small price to pay to stave off depression and suicidal acts.

My thoughts turn to you, dear reader. Who are you? Male or female? Sexually active? My thoughts are quite focused on sex these days. My medications make it very difficult to get an erection. Cuddling with my beloved wife will give me one. But as far as masturbation goes, it’s out. So I haven’t had, or cared to have, an orgasm for weeks.

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This is what you need, as you know, as do I. I don’t get them.

Sitting here, writing, I’m trying to resist the urge to post a picture of myself, naked, and flaccid, and fat, and disgusting. But I don’t think that’s necessary. This will do.

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True. True.

Again, this is about you. I’d love it for you to post a picture of yourself, as I have, tastefully censored. You can see my wedding ring, Ace bandage, hairy body, little pecker, man boobs, but aesthetically-appealing teal panties. What have you got? We’re very open-minded here at the Hub of Five Pets, so let fly.

So I’ve gotten my reference to fucking out of the way today. True, I’m a bit obsessed with it, but I have my reasons. Feel free to write me at DWDLisle@outlook.com if you want to talk about IFS, CBT, depression, mental illness, sex, or whatever you’d like. Really.

Yesterday, I went to see my psychiatrist and it went well. Some changes were made, but not many. My medications were tweaked. Nothing radical. Wellbutrin was added…good for depression and may help me with the smoking. I still smoke a pipe and that needs to end. Coming home, I walked, and found some interesting human creations of note. Political art, you’d call it. Did I mention that I like people? I do.

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A reference to Eric Garner, who was murdered by the NYC police. Horrible, and a beautiful memorial.

What else did I see? Oh, yes…

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I’m not sure what is the, “Center for High Energy Metaphysics.” The, “Black Lives Matter,” signs are a common sight around Greater Boston.

And Rand Paul is running for president. A Libertarian/Republican (a common varmint these days) who hates women and is against a woman’s right to choose. Absurd. A Libertarian Fascist? Personally, I’m for abortion rights right through the 3rd trimester. If the baby needs the mother to survive, it’s part of her, and it’s her right. Yes.

The Democratic Party will most likely feel compelled to surrender the nomination to Hillary, a mistake. She’ll lose, just too much political and personal baggage. Warren won’t run…yet. Bernie Sanders, as a Social Democrat (not quite a Socialist), will create a radical caucus that will complicate matters, but he’ll back the nominee. Who will it be? Gore again? Kerry? They’ll be coming out of the woodwork. But the GOP is loaded and ready to go.

Rand Paul, the most hostile class warrior (obviously against the poor) and socially conservative prick you can imagine, may be our next president. Get ready.

Things could change. Bernie Sanders could become popular and mainstream. Possibly. Not likely, but possible. Hillary Clinton may surprise us (me). We need a woman, that I know. We need to remember that it’s not a crime to be poor, disabled, and/or needy. In short, we need a Socialist. A Progressive will do. Yet, I still think we’ll end up with Rand Paul.

That scares me. And with that, I’m done. Except for these pictures and video…enjoy.

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A tapestry with the names of victims of police violence.

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My chives, coming back after a harsh Winter.

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Of Tin Signs, Moxie, And A Modicum Of Relief From Depression

Good day to you all, and happy Passover to my Jewish friends. Happy Easter to those who are certain that Jesus was the fellow for whom they were waiting. I haven’t much going on this weekend. Just reading, watching movies, eating, drinking (no booze), and watching the snow melt, which is strangely satisfying. I’ve “filmed” a little video, as you can see. Watch it, enjoy it, and if you’re of a mind to, let me know what you think. I’ve had several friends speak kindly of me lately, and I’m deeply moved by it. The encouragement, the insistence that I’m a good person who should accept who he is and all that. I’m a lucky man. Anyway, I hope you like my video. Thank you again, my friends, for your compassion towards me.

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Who Are You? It May Not Be Pretty.

I’m not sure what to make of the events of the last few weeks. Questioning who exactly I am, and frankly trying to understand what that even means, is unsettling. We all do it, don’t we? Unless you’re a complete boob. It sucks, does it not? As one who is governed by emotion and unfamiliar with acting rationally, such a question is a bit dangerous over which to brood. Imagine life as a map, where all the Big Questions lie. We move around on the land it represents, blindly, but we know where we are when we get there. You’ll find me roaming around, “Who am I?” Treacherous territory. Next to, “What’s it all about,” and, “Here be dragons.”

I’m serious. The question, “Who am I?” is a dangerous one to contemplate. Potentially fatal. Possibly life-affirming, too. Unlikely for me, as I tend to romanticize the idea of suicide.

You wander through life as you age, and change. Deny it, and the only price you’ll pay is confusion. And you’ll be wrong, too. Everyone I’ve ever known would agree, so there’s that. I have trouble with it, which is probably why I’m so damned befuddled and scared right now. You can ask a question of a 30 year old and get a very different answer than the one you’ll get from a 60 year old. It’s ’cause you’re moving. If you don’t like that, no amount of drinking, drugging, fucking, self abuse, and so on, is going to change anything. Try it…I have. Yet here I am. Took a wrong turn somewhere. One night stands suck. Drugs are great, but they’ll kill you eventually. Self abuse is uncomfortably effective but socially unacceptable. My attempt to get out of here, to confidently state an answer to the aforementioned question (that is achingly boring to everyone else but me) and move on, seems impossible right now. I’m terrified. Nothing but awe at how fearful a person can get. I like this picture, here colorized, a Goya sketch…it’s called, “The sleep of reason produces monsters.”

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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Goya. You got that?

To those I love, I’m pretty sure I’m just a rumor of someone who used to be here. You can’t love a rumor, or hate one, for that matter. Fuck. I’m pretty sure I’m mixing metaphors right now, too, but I’m not sure, as I can’t think straight. Partially because I’m not that bright, but also because I’m distracted by a cat who insists on curling up in my lap.

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My darling cute pain in the ass cat, Panther.

Am I cruel? Am I given to deception? Do friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and comrades loathe me against my knowledge? I’ve physical and mental ailments that are treated expensively, are they wasted on a horror of a man? To put it fancifully, is my life a riddle that I’ve answered incorrectly in my favor, with the true and correct answer so abhorrent to me that I’ve refused (unawares until recently) to answer accurately? That’s a nasty one. It goes on like that. And no previously well-lighted corner doesn’t grow dark.

I’ve averted having to look at all this by keeping busy, at least this morning. I’m not doing well today. So, I’ve taken some walks while smoking my pipe, sweeping away ice-melting salt from the front and back stoops (nasty stuff that gets tracked into the flat), doing several loads of laundry, paying bills (writing the checks, anyway), clearing dead leaves away from last seasons chives that are coming in green (see picture) and writing this damn post. La-de-da, la-de-da, yada, yada, yada. So it goes.

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The chives will not be beaten, not even by the infernal Winter of 2015. Tending to them is a quality distraction.

As you may have noticed, I try to write clever things that seem meaningless. But there is a there here. Friends, acquaintances, comrades, and neighbors I do have, and some may try to tell me that I’m a good guy, or something like that. Man, that really puts hair on this problem. There’s a chain hanging from it already.

Have a good Palm Sunday if you happen to be Christian. To my Jewish friends, happy Sunday. Happy atheist day, friends.

Posted in Autobiography, cats, depression, electro-convulsive therapy, life, Mental Illness, movies, naked, seizure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Of Bathory and Smoking in the Rain

There isn’t much to talk about these past few days. Personally, I’ve been ensconced in a modicum of depression, and not a small amount of self-loathing. What am I looking for, exactly? What would suit me fine would be something most of you take for granted. A sense of purpose, perhaps, a desire to be a better human being. It’s the, “purpose,” thing that would taste sweet in my mouth, and fill me up, as I am empty.

My wife gave me a lovely gift last night, a pouch of, “Carter Hall,” pipe tobacco. Poverty has found me without it for weeks. It hasn’t been easy. I’m supposed to stop smoking soon, per the housing authority in which I live. That makes sense. It’s a disgusting habit, so who am I to argue? But Nancy’s gift has given me something with which to celebrate the April 1 ban. Yeah.

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That’s it for me. No mystery. It’s getting cloudy out here and it’s supposed to rain. I welcome it. Aristotle wrote, “What is a friend? A soul located within two bodies.” That reads like something written by someone writing for a greeting card company. Supposedly he said it, so there you go.  I like to think that Nancy is my friend like that, because I certainly feel incomplete. The expression, “She is my better half,” may mean something. It has to, if some Greek fellow said it a very long time ago. How lucky I’m to have found my better half. How sad it is that I have nothing to give my better half on her birthday. I’ve told her that I love her, and that’s certainly true. An expensive gift would have made that even more clear, the extent of my love. All I have now are words. Walter Benton may help. He’s good like that…

As the world gathers momentum toward annihilation on all fronts-we walk apart, each to his own
lonely end…not hand in hand as lovers walk. Yet I would enter time’s infinite pages more
happily with you than in the company of Christs and Dantes-comets and constellations!
Darling…before the distance widens beyond reach and sight-look this way, give me your hand
that the stars may say of us…

The last we saw of them was when they kissed, then beautifully naked
walked as if into a sea of bright blue water-leaving their bodies like old clothes upon the shore.

Very romantic, very beautiful.

This woman means the world to me, Nancy, she is everything to me. Everything. Everything.

This woman means the world to me, Nancy, she is everything to me.

So today is her birthday and I move on, and she moves on with me. How lucky can a person be? Not any luckier than that! So a bit of depression, self-loathing, suicidal ideation, pain, the flu, electro-convulsive therapy, confusion, whatever else, whatever they got…is it so dreadful? How bad could it be if I have Nancy, who wants to spend her birthday with me, how bad could it be?

No, life can’t be bad at all, even if I didn’t get her a gift. And a bit of time goes by as I walk the dog and smoke my pipe. What are you doing as you’re reading this? Here I go, out the door. Here I go…with pictures.

Well, it did work out, with pictures and video. The conversation has turned to Keith Richards’ (of The Rolling Stones), and how he is like Erzsébet Báthory, the mid-16th to early 17th century serial killer who bathed in the blood of virgins and killed about 600 young girls, virgins, to maintain youth in perpetuity. What is Keith Richards’ secret to youth? One shudders.

So Nancy, Annie, and I set out for a walk, only to be met by pouring rain. So much for that. But we did hang around on our tiny front, “porch.” A stoop, actually. Anyway, here we are:

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The porch, with Nancy.

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Nancy’s feet and the porch, with Annie.

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A minor flood.

I may as well show the video, as, well, I took it. Enjoy. Happy March 26 2015, Nancy’s birthday!

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Of St. Patrick’s Day, More Cute, and ECT

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means we must have corned beef for dinner. We don’t mind, it’s going to be delicious. It’s the only time I’d ever even consider eating cabbage, it just feels right. I’ll probably eat my body weight in potatoes and carrots, with a small portion of corned beef. Nancy is more fond of cabbage, and will eat it at other times. This is what they call a New England Boiled Dinner. Wikipedia…

New England boiled dinner is the basis of a traditional New England meal, consisting of corned beef or asmoked “picnic ham” shoulder, with cabbage and added vegetable items, often including potato, rutabaga,parsnip, carrot, white turnip and onion. When using a beef roast, this meal is often known simply as corned beef and cabbage even with the addition of other vegetables.”

Anyway, beyond that I feel compelled to report what is happening with electro-convulsive therapy. Some friends are curious about it, even considering doing it. My next treatment is the day after tomorrow, on March 19. We’re down to once a week now. Enough to stave off depression, but not so frequent that I have to think about it every day. Three times a week is no picnic. Preparing for it the night before (not taking certain medications and not eating or drinking after midnight), and actually having it done and recovering, is like a full-time job when you’re doing it on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Ugh.

I like that the nurses know me over there. When I walk into the ECT Clinic, every nurse I see says, “Hi Darren!” Sort of like, “Norm” on Cheers. And I know all of them by name. They’re so damn nice. I’m going to miss them when eventually I’m down to one treatment every three months or so. That’s when they get to, “maintenance.” Eventually once every six months. They’re busy nurses…so very many people getting, “shock therapy.” It’s amazing.

Posted in Autobiography, cats, depression, electro-convulsive therapy, life, Mental Illness, nude, video | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Of Carrying On

I’ve decided to post a video of myself sitting on my back step and ruminating about this and that. My computer has a camera and I can take pictures and videos and whatnot. It’s really something to see outside, with all the melting and huge snow banks ever so slowly shrinking and flooding out the joint. So I have a video, go ahead and watch it and enjoy. Or not, I don’t know. It’s easier than reading, right? This helps me, to do this sort of thing, as I’m battling a nasty bout of depression and find myself of a mind to scrunch up on the couch with the pets and eliminate any and all intercourse with the world.

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