Friday, November 28, 2008

He was a young American.

So, of course, the day after I write something indicating my general bad feelings about myself at the moment, I want to write something else a little more hopeful, a little more encouraging to show that my head's not entirely in a bad place right now. I'm not taking down what I wrote yesterday. But I slept on it, so I feel a little less anxious. And, well, it's a holiday that I enjoy (or it was before midnight), and that's put me in a better mood.


- A family that I'm getting along with better.
- A job that challenges me.
- The opportunities I've had to write for stage and perform onstage this year.
- My new house.
- The two people in my new house, who also challenge me.
- Friends who call. Friends I can call. Friends who have lunch with me. Friends who talk to me. Friends who are here. Friends who are abroad. Friends I've met in person. Friends I've not met in person but still consider friends.
- The fact that I can wake up in the morning and feel differently than I did the night before.
- I have myself. My ridiculous, messy, weird, trying-too-hard, trying-my-nerves but still trying self. And, I guess, hope should be contained in that. I'm not a perpetual optimist. I'm not an easy fella, no matter how you mean the word "easy." As long as I put myself out there and experiment with changing my life, as we all do, I continue to have all the promise that's contained in the next breath.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I've kept with me and what I've thrown away.

The last time that I decided I needed a therapist, it was because I had a really bad date that I couldn't get over. At all. The chats before the date led me to believe that I was legitimately connecting with this person. And then we went to the movies to see CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. I was nervous. And then I was awkward. And then I was stupid. And then I was uncomfortable. And then I tried to send him an e-mail the next day to explain what was going on in my head and why I wasn't behaving like the nice, lighthearted, jokey person that I'd seemed like in the e-mail. I was this odd, perpetually insecure dude who'd managed to mask all of that desperation to connect with someone through a sense of humor.

I couldn't let go of the fact that this one guy liked me, then didn't and wouldn't talk to me about it. He wouldn't talk to me about it because, you know, some people you just don't owe an explanation for that kind of thing. I understood that - the way that you understand things on paper - yet I still couldn't let it go. I maybe e-mailed too much in the beginning. Then I tried to e-mail and pretend like everything was all right with me, thinking that he might e-mail me back if I was just cool again. But he sent me one last e-mail, saying, "You have confused the hell out of me," and that was it.

What I wanted the last time that I was in therapy was to find a way to connect with people. Three years of therapy, and I had an outstanding balance due to my therapist that I still haven't completely paid off. I had a blog. I had improved confidence. I had medication - which I got through two appointments with a mean psychopharmacologist who treated me like I was responsible for my own misery and full of shit, which is probably true but not what you want to hear from someone you're asking for help. And I had a challenge in my head that led me to believe that I was once again capable of being an artist, going out and meeting people, finding a community where I fit with people who have similar goals and interests. (It was not the gay community, though I am gay. I can't find my place in the gay community. We'd talked about how I was going to connect with other gay people in therapy, but I never managed it. I just figured I could find other friends, other gays, other romances, other connections in places where I felt comfortable. And gay-centered places and large, concentrated groups of gay men, as a result, still scare the holy living fuck out of me.)

I thought I was doing so well. The therapist told me that I didn't need to come as often anymore, and I thought that I'd had the best experience with therapy I'd managed in my life. (He was my third therapist.)

This was a couple years ago.

I don't think that I've backslid into dangerous behaviors and regressed to the point that I was when I had the bad date and called the last therapist. But apparently I still had more work that I've needed to do.

But I have yet to even look beyond the occasional, non-committal web search at finding a new therapist. I don't want back on the fucking pills again. I don't want to talk about my childhood again. I don't want to do that kind of therapy again. I don't want to need therapy.

It's unfair that there's something wrong with me, my depression, my brain chemistry, my outlook and my ability to connect with people. I'm a nice person, and it's unfair that I have to go through this. It's unfair that I just can't fit in. It's unfair that my brain won't let me let things go. It's unfair that I have to deal with this shit, and I know everyone has shit to deal with. But I've worked and worked and worked, and this is unfair that I still have so much more work to do.

There are pictures on Facebook of the guy I had the bad date with. He's on a beach in Hawaii with his boyfriend. Another person I was once obsessed with got married a couple months ago in California, and I sent him well-wishes, as we have forgiven each other for the mutual emotional trauma that we inflicted upon one another. A guy I used to bug constantly in college is now someone I can say the occasional hello to on the Internet, and he doesn't seem to mind talking to me.

Other people would've been able to say goodbye to such things. Other people would've been able to let go of someone after they've been dismissed. I can let go nowadays, easier than I could when I was in high school or college, but it still takes me a hell of a long time to get over someone or some slight or some past anxiety. It keeps me up at night. Things upset me, and I explode. I get angry. I'm suspicious of people who try to be nice to me. I don't trust easily. And I try way too hard to be liked. I destroy apartments through neglect and self-punishment. Any random happening can put me on the defensive, where I feel like I'm being misunderstood and can't let that stand.

I thought that by understanding the roots of where these feelings came from - my past and my family and my disability - that I could learn to forgive, learn to cope, learn to survive and then learn to thrive.

I don't want to go back to therapy because years of therapy have only gotten me to this point, where people still say I'm ridiculously awkward, where I still have panic attacks about going to gay bars, where people are wary about being onstage with me, where I'm unable to find a man who wants to share this life with me.

I'm a good guy whose emotions betray him, whose lack of trust and desperation turn him into a villain, an outcast. I'm someone who tries too hard to do good and ends up alienating people who just want to relax and have a good time and who didn't sign on to spending time with me in order to help me cope with my baggage.

I have baggage. I need help. But I don't want to go to therapy. At least not the therapy that I'm familiar with.