Today I am doing my best.
So are you.
￼Today I am 48￼.
Today I left the coworking space I’ve been with for almost a decade, and we moved into a new private coworking office.
We have lots of ideas and lots of plans. I am happy to have a place for myself to work that is not at home, and where I can feel safe.
￼The truth is that today none of those plans or ideas seem like much. I am tired and I hurt and I am afraid. Fatigue, pain, fe￼ar all turn you into something that doesn’t feel like you. Life feels like survival.
￼Somewhere along the line, the part of me that’s supposed to feel good about myself didn’t ￼get built right. I thought I would figure it out, somehow. Maybe I thought someone would tell me what to do to like myself; or I would just get the right job and marry the right person and then things would be… clear.
But it doesn’t seem that way. Life felt like something that kind of just happened to me. I sometimes had to make decisions and I tried my best, but I made a lot of mistakes. I did what I thought I was “supposed” to do, but I definitely didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. It felt like things always went bad, eventually — work or relationships. I wanted very much to find a safe place and just stay there, but that doesn’t seem to be the nature of the Universe.
I started 2017 with my wife and son and a CTO role at a startup. By the end it was just me in the house, and I ￼was broken and lost. I felt so much like I had failed everyone. I gave up on nearly everything, and seeing things I had worked on brought me shame — I felt I’d ruined them, and no longer could bring myself to work on them. I felt very hopeless.
I hung on in 2018. Got up, went to work — new job in an office for the first time in 7 years — went home, went to sleep. For months I couldn’t stay up past 7 PM, and I couldn’t sleep past 5 AM. But eventually, it got a little calmer, and a little easier. I met Jamie and even though we were both in a tough place, we helped each other. Misfits stick together.
I also got to see Chemlab at Cold Waves 2018, and that drew me back into making musi￼c. I didn’t even consider going to something like that before, because I hadn’t been to a show in many years and was very nervous about driving to Chicago. But I had not seen the band — a band that has meant as much to me as anything I’ve listened to ￼in my life — since 1995. It was a wonderful experience, and was the start of connecting and re-connecting with a lot of folks.
I started to meet a ton of really amazing people online via FB — why is the industrial scene all based around this abomination of human misery I dunno, but this is where we hand — and I am so glad to have met people like Ged, Jules, Vee, Martin, Bill, Dann, Eddie, George, Sunil, Robert… fuck I shouldn’t have started listing them because I am forgetting so many great people.
I 2019 felt a little better, and I had gained some confidence with work. I also took a lot of joy in making music, and I put out a new EP. It seemed like people dig what I was putting out, and that meant so much to me.
ColdWaves 2019 was Chemlab again AND 16 Volt AND PWEI. I’d never seen 16 Volt ever, and I had only seen PWEI once, in 1995, at the same venue. Being able to meet Eric and Serv0 and ￼the Poppies was really special.
But I also started to develop bad coping skills. I had never been a big drinker, but started going to a bar a few nights a week. Just sitting at the bar, drinking for a few hours. Deep down, I didn’t really like how I felt. I didn’t like who I was. I needed other people to validate me because I ￼thought I sucked.
When you feel shitty like that, and it doesn’t go away, ￼you’re always trying to cover up how you feel. If you find something that makes it hurt less, or not at all, you use it. ￼You keep using it, and keep trying to get it, because it seems to make life bearable. ￼And you’ll tell yourself a whole lot of bullshit to convince yourself that you’re okay, and that when you use people to get what you think you need, ￼the people you are using are okay with it too.
If I was in a downward trend in 2019, 2020 was the express elevator to hell. The whole world was afraid, and I did whatever I could to not feel it. I became someone I don’t like. I am ashamed of my disregard for how much choices￼ would affect people around me.
But Samantha and I started seeing each other, and that was really the start of my recovery.
In 2021, my body finally broke down under the strain of my anxiety. I injured my shoulder, and it quickly spread into my neck and right side of my back. I was in significant pain constantly, and had difficulty using a computer — which is my job, so that’s a problem.
After a few weeks, the shoulder got a bit better, but then I got very sick with severe body aches, fever, and inflammation. This lasted for several weeks, with the fever returning mostly at night.
And then I re-injured my shoulder.
￼I did not consider short term disability an option. I felt I had to continue working no matter what. I drove myself mad, trying to fight through the pain and fear that so easily fed each other. My work suffered, and my work relationships – which had been my only every day relationships for much of the past few years — broke down.
There was enough work to keep me busy through 2022, but my ability to communicate effectively was compromised dramatically by a constant state of fear and shame. I had physical difficulty coming to the office due to my severe anxiety, and felt I could only be productive at home. At the end of the end of the year I was let go.
Three weeks before that, my father passed away. We were fortunate that he was relatively stable in his final few months, and had many opportunities to visit. I was able to help him and my mother some in his final days, and I am fortunate to have many siblings who all came together to do the same. But this world does not really feel right to me without him. ￼There are things that still feel unresolved. I hope I did enough for him to be proud of me.
￼The last seven months have been a rollercoaster, and I really don’t like rollercoasters. So much change and so much worry.
I think that I am getting better, healing, and learning new ways to do things. ￼￼ I have a new job I like very much, and it has significantly increased our financial stability and availability of healthcare.
For today, I just don’t feel good. I feel like I have made many many mistakes the past couple weeks, and I have great difficulty forgiving myself. I still don’t like myself much, and that makes it hard to see good as a possibility. I know I have to love myself, but I am not really sure how to sustain it, and end the emotional abuse I direct at myself. So today, things don’t feel safe.
I ask my HP for the ￼strength to keep going. I don’t know what the answer is but I know I can’t stop moving. I will keep learning and trying and doing my best.￼
There is nothing else.