Anxiety and depression suck. As a man, especially. Because you’re not supposed to have them. When you’re at an age where every expectation and responsibility lingers over you like a Damocles sword. I look at myself constantly and, like other people with these conditions, see a failure, no matter how far I come.
I ponder the lack of insight I have into social interactions. I think constantly on my lack of practical intelligence compared to those around me. I spent hours upon hours in an idyllic creative fantasy land in which I am the master pulling strings. But reality seems to slice them with a butcher knife. I’m not what I think; I can’t deliver a powerful message to people and stand defined by my creative abilities. I’m just dysfunctional.
Recently I nearly had another mental meltdown, resulting in me spending an entire weekend in and out of psych faculties and hospital emergency rooms trying to get analyzed for my problems. Meds happened. I still shrink under shadows. I still see myself, in spite of all the friends I’ve made, as an unattractive, piece of shit male who’s far too damned by his lack of experience to make any woman a suitable mate, or even a chance at dinner.
I see myself as infinitely alone, yet solaced by the world inside me. Only problem is my creative world is too big and it tends to isolate me from the world around me. I feel fucked by the same thing that uplifts me into brilliance at times. I feel like hiding away into it. And even sometimes the writing isn’t enough.
Because I overreact to perceived slights: to things as trivial as hearing stories of romance with people younger than me and wondering why I was ever so awkward and incompetent to win someone’s affections. I hear people talk about careers and reminisce about the last job I fucked up, due to mental health issues. I see the day speeding by with all the NORMAL people going to and fro and feel frozen within crowds. That’s because I feel slower than the rest of them. While my mind is alive with stories and scenes, getting larger with every day. Sometimes I feel as if writing is my only solace to this misery. But it disappears once I step into public and see the rest of the world my age living normal lives, with normal problems.
I want to be them, desperately. I want to think that a 23-year old with no practical, romantic experience can find intimacy and have the capacity to understand social relations in the same way as other people. But that diminishes, once the toll of every past failure weighs against me. Unfortunately with my depression (and somewhat possible adult ADD) the scales are tipped. I feel ashamed to be a man and yet have such problems. I feel ashamed of the 9 year old boy screaming at his teachers and nurses because of a panic attack. I feel ashamed of the 5 year old who refused to eat out of fear. I feel ashamed of the 12 year old boy who stayed up for hours on end/slept outside of his parents’ bedroom on the floor, and feared being left alone due to violent, triggering thoughts. Those fears are behind me now, but they shaped me. I should tell myself they have made me stronger, but all I can think of is a turtle: slowly and miserably moving five steps behind the rest of the world. And desperately wanting it to stop.
Men with these kinds problems are unattractive. For jobs, friendships, and relationships. I understand that. Sometimes I ignore them. Or live so deep in my creative world that it masks any failure I’ve made in this one. But it’s tiring. It’s tiring to be so caught up in your art ecstatically and then want to destroy yourself over some rejection and spend the next three hours glued to the couch, or else slinking across your bedroom, head hung, terrified to look at the monster that lies in the mirror. And then holding down the vicious rage you feel towards others in life who have “gotten it right” in spite of their problems. Even if they’re the closest people to you. You want to be normal, like them. I want to be NORMAL. Whatever the fuck that is.
Don’t call me brave for writing this. That’s one thing I’m sick of hearing. From therapists and people who have no fucking clue what’s it like to be trapped in your mind, for better or worse. Call me brave when I can actually stand up and move through five days proactively without having an identity crisis. Or wanting to rage irrationally.