The Red String of Fate is an interesting lore that derived from East Asia. Long story short the Chinese and Japanese believed that an invisible string bound two people together. Possibly destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances, also it may be that they are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way.
I’ve often wondered what I am destined for, will be it a lifetime of depression? Is there an invisible string that ties me to something that will lift me above all of this and wake me up for the first time? I look back at when I was younger and cannot recall any path I could have taken that would have led me to a place of happiness. It felt like fate, as if the gods above pointed a finger a me and said ” you there, you will walk under a sky of cloud and rain with little sunshine to provide comfort”.
As many other people I too have had highs and lows growing up but I do not know if they shaped me or was it going to be this way regardless. I now live a pretty darn good life, I have a solid job that has allowed me to provide for me and my family. I watch my children and wonder what are the odds they are destined as me. I feel for them and their mother, that they were dealt a father and husband who should be more.
The string of fate, it continues to unravel yet I hold on by this string.
The alarm sounds at 4:00 a.m. and I wearily stare at the ceiling thinking to myself, shit it’s that time already. I slowly crawl out of bed and make my way to the bathroom as quietly as possible trying not to wake the wife. Standing in the bathroom leaning onto the counter I stare at my reflection for a few seconds and think damn I look older than I should, I’ve wondered how much the stress,anxiety, and depression of all these years has contributed?
In a matter of 30 minutes I am off to work, making the 50 minute commute I despise. As I approach the entrance to my work location I feel the levels of anxiety and depression increase, ah yes there is that old friend I can expect every Monday morning. I do my best to fight off all the negative thoughts stewing about in my head and focus on what matters and why I am here trudging through another week of politics and bullshit, the family I vowed to support.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I did not have my family’s support I would have chosen a path of self-destruction, I was already on it when I met my wife. I wasn’t an abuser of drugs or alcohol but I found comfort in misery therefore I would separate myself from everything. Who knows where that would have led, I still feel the yearning to live that solo style and to allow this ailment to finally consume me. How do you explain that to your wife? How to you tell her that you still want to sink into oblivion and do not want a helping hand? My family and the few friends I have truly do not know the dark path I have followed for so many years, I have done well when needing to stand in the light and show them I am like them, that I am happy and doing well…….
I arrive at work and do my best to smile and greet the employees as they enter the building where the morning meeting is held. I am lucky enough to be one of the speakers who addresses the companies employees every morning. This to me is pure torture, but I push on and put on my best smile and speech.
I hope that everyone has a good Monday, I damn sure will try.
My spirits have been higher that usual this week. The hour long drive home from work typically has a negative affect on me as I sit and traffic and dwell upon all the shit that annoys me in life. Once I get home my wife convinces me to jump on the mountain bikes and cruise the neighborhood and let off some steam. It has finally cooled off enough to be able to enjoy an evening ride. After the ride and settling in for the evening I picked up my Banjo and plucked away at a song I had been practicing a few months back.
It felt good to play music, the one thing you can lose yourself in and forget about the present. It is so hard some days to do anything other than lay down on the couch after a long work day, you literally have to go against what you feel, and just do whatever is on your mind. Depression has a comfort zone and that zone is very small. For those afflicted depression rules many aspects of our lives, it takes fighting back with everything you can to simply muster up the courage or motivation to step outside the comfort zone and be who you want to be, if only for a minute.
I came across something the other day that I could relate to, something that made me feel hollow inside but also gave me something to look forward too. As I was doing a little research on depression I came across a quote from an unknown author,
“I hope that my last breath is a sigh of relief”
I have often wondered how my final moments will be, I fear that depression will follow me to the bitter end. As you lay there saying your goodbyes to the world all you can think is about how long you have walked this earth unhappy yet there are so many things around you to be grateful for. How many opportunities you have passed up because just the thought of it exhausted you? How many will be near you in your final hours? I have alienated myself from dear friends and have opted out on family gatherings.
In my younger years I would travel the country side and as I drove along I would pass through desolate areas of desert or wide open plains and I would would pull off onto a side road and just site and gaze at the horizon. It was here where there was nothing that I found that hollow comfort.
How many of you out there know of this hollowness? How often you walk around with a mask on in attempt to fool those around you on a daily basis? I know that I am pretty successful at fooling those around me. I know that I care not for group gatherings because of the happiness that everyone finds in it I cannot therefore I am an outsider. Yet we smile and laugh and put on an exhausting show for everyone.
This week has been like most, a challenge. The most challenging thing for me to do is to put on a smile as I come to work and tell others good morning and ask how they are doing. No one knows about my deep seeded issue called depression, the only thing they pick up on is my lack of conversation and being direct and to the point when asked a question. I have read self-help books on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie as well as many other books that help with interaction with others. I find it interesting when I can self identify with my shortcomings and work on fixing them, but it doesn’t take long to find my self back to the old me preferring not win people over with kindness or to look for friendship.
In the past 7 years I have made 2 friends, one of them lives in Canada and I haven’t seen him in over 5 years. I have often thought it odd that I do not have friends or that I don’t have a desire to make any. I am sure that I am not the most pleasant person to be around so that really doesn’t help my odds. Some of my old friends from school or the military that I considered close have also faded into the background. I make no attempt to keep in touch, it almost seems like to much effort to me.
In all the doom and gloom of things I can say that I enjoy blogging. It seems to help some. There is a quote I would like all of those who suffer to read and to keep in the back of your mind for when times get hard.
“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – Charles Bukowski
There are many things that can push that dark cloud away and allow the sun to shine through but many of those things are short-lived, merely a few minutes. The few things that I enjoy and have a deep passion for has become a chore it seems. I love music, it has carried me along for so many years, I suppose that is why I chose the image for this blog. I took up playing the banjo and have really enjoyed the comfort I find when I am lost in a song, but this too has become something that I can’t find the motivation to do. I laid in bed last night and looked at my musical instruments along side the wall gathering dust and wondered why is it so damn hard for me to pick one up and play for twenty minutes? Every day I keep telling myself that I will practice my music or I will go on a bike ride after work, unfortunately I find it easier to be a slacker on the couch until I crawl in my bed and crack open a book. Taking that first step and forcing yourself to do something you enjoy brings some light and comfort back into your life, if only for a minute it is worth it. That is my goal this week, to do something I find enjoyable and refreshing. I challenge you to do the same.
My employer gave everyone the past 4 days off which was well needed. I often feel that my approach towards my work has become stale and that I lack the enthusiasm that I had at one point in time. I know that most everyone feels this way from time to time but those of us who suffer from depression have a harder time performing to our full potential. Focusing on the negative things during the work week come natural to us and I feel that this is my biggest battle every monday morning. I know pretty much what to expect of the work week, there is no pot of gold at the end of rainbow, little excitement for friday because I know that come the following monday I will be doing it all over again, a feeling of being stagnant in life.
What I am trying to do is to find the small things that I can appreciate and build upon them. I am looking at what makes me smile and forcing myself to spend more time with those small things. Most importantly on monday find something that makes you smile and dedicate half an hour with whatever it may be. Throughout the day make a plan to visit that thing that made you feel good on Tuesday if only for fifteen minutes . It is easy to let the negativity consume us is every aspect of what we do, don’t let it take the things you enjoy most.