V-day raw

February 14, 2004

No wonder I don’t seek out new friends nor do I get excited over the prospect of dating. Once someone gets to know me, they inevitably realize that they didn’t just catch me in a phase, that I’m always like how I’ve been, and they start asking why I don’t just change. The benevolence with which this suggestion is made is irrelevant; the point is that it makes me a hundred times shittier about myself before such comment was made, and I certainly can’t afford to associate with anyone who makes me feel a hundred times shittier about myself than I am capable of doing on my own.

…it just makes me loathe myself and the world once again. I know it grows tiresome and ridiculous for me to continue to harp on something I should’ve gotten over weeks ago, if I ever should’ve had anything to get over in the first place. No, I’m just appeasing the masses by saying that. I shouldn’t have gotten over anything, because it’s not in my nature to get over things. If I could get over this, I could get over every oozing wound I’ve had in my lifetime, and I’d be happy from time to time and would not be so sensitive to everything. Someone is liable to suggest that I like playing this role, that I continue to react the same way to situations because I’m so comfortable with how this feels. Wrong. I don’t want any advice from the peanut gallery. A simple, “I don’t quite understand, except that I understand you’re in pain, and I’m hear to listen” would suffice, but no one ever offers that, and frankly I don’t want it if I have to ask for it anyway.

Public entry…come friends and family who don’t know that this exists, give this a read. Those who know this exists, come tell me what a self-absorbed asshole I am and how I deserve to drown in my own vomit.

No, it’s not that this Valentine’s Day sucked. It’s that so did last year’s, and the one the year before that, and before that, and so on and so forth, every year when my sensitivity was just as acute as it is now. Well, just get over it, already! I wish that I could! Well, maybe you don’t really want to?? Well, Dr. Shrink, maybe I don’t, fine, you win, if it makes you feel better, although I don’t agree…


The mere notion that I think finding a fix for my WordPress problem is post-worthy demonstrates how minimal my aggregate technical knowledge is.

I’ve got an ever-expanding mass of stuff that I just don’t know. Half a lifetime ago, I had loads of potential to do something…who knows what that could’ve been.

I walk around with the weight of the…well, my world on my back. Opportunities lost. Self unchallenged. Undone by hypersensitivity, unrequited romantic zeal, and depression-induced paralyis. Year after year, the story remains virtually unchanged. The calendar flips. The animals are a little older. My kidneys lose a bit more function on the journey to survival through artificial means.

This is writing at 1:02AM, when I have been trying to focus my mind on the reasons why I am prone to feelings of self-loathing. I’m barely scratching the surface right now. It may be quite inappropriate for me to further brainstorming in front of this audience.

Three simply reasons for self-loathing today, May 28, 2010:

  • I take 5 months to fix a simple WordPress problem
  • My dog will need further dental work, and he’s probably been in great pain; maybe some minimal attempt to brush him over the past two years could’ve lessened his pain
  • Within 500 feet of my house are dozens of Duke grad students and global researchers who are saving the planet is some very cool and admirable way. I used to run a radio stream of love songs. I was the salutatorian at my high school who concluded his speech, “I love you all!” Four months later, Duke CAPS had to refer me on to the real Duke psych people to make sure I wouldn’t be jumping off any buildings.

    Too much info for a blog posting.

    Toastiest the blog…is what it is…

    God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Whatever…I am very lucky to have a remarkably supportive girlfriend in my life right now. K deserves a shout-out.

    Functioning with so much self-loathing is a gigantic task.

  • Just feeling sorry for myself, nothing to read here

    Tonight, I’ll pretend that I don’t have a bunch of new readers, like my mother, like people who don’t know me well whom I hope could have a favorable impression of me, and like Facebook readers who never asked to hear exactly what’s in my head. For new readers, I’ll repeat what I’ve said a bunch of times before, which is that I used to have various journal platforms for these kinds of thoughts, but I can tend to lose my inhibitions and just throw those thoughts up here.

    I just had my worst day at work in over two years. I had to put something into production today, and that usually happens on a Saturday. I thought there might be a few minor problems, but, in general, I thought I had done a great job of developing this custom module that would allow us to do a way with another annoying app. It’s ironic, because the-powers-that-be are always stressing going “out-of-the-box” but they had no problem scrapping a mostly out-of-the-box app for something that is total custom development, that, for all intensive purposes, I’m the only one who can really support it. In reality, the-powers-that-be don’t really understand that platform I work on at all, and don’t have any idea what the difference between “configuration” and “development” is. Nor do they appreciate at all that they have a developer with 11 years of experience who does understand this.

    Anyway, I was pretty sure that there would be a few data hiccups in migrating from one system to another, and I thought it was understood that this could happen, and we’d iron out these problems within a couple of days of launching. However, as testing revealed that some data wasn’t right, even though I knew exactly how to fix it, the-powers-that-be decided that if they couldn’t trust that it was all 100% accurate, we’d have to roll back. Logically, from the point of view to someone who doesn’t understand the app at all, which is everyone involved in today’s implementation except for me, there could be a distrust that any percentage of the data was wrong. But I knew otherwise, that these data problems were isolated and quickly fixable.

    I take these things very personally, even though I am always told not to. The only thing worthwhile I do with my life is whatever I get done at work. When I’m pretty sure that I’ve done an A- job on something but I know it’s perceived as a D, it’s incredibly demoralizing.
    I mean, what the hell else do I have going for me?

    As far as my career is concerned, I am completely trapped in this niche, of which I think I’m somewhat of an expert. And yet, my judgement is also questioned, and the powers-that-be don’t even bother to ask for my input on the direction of our app, content to ask the advice of the vendor, who knows nothing of our environment and is only interested in selling us services that we can’t afford.

    I so wish that I could afford to live on what disability would pay. The stress I get from my job is going to kill me, in conjunction with my shitty kidneys and unrelenting depression.

    Oh, did I just mention the D word? Not dialysis…depression…which I make a passing reference to every now and then in here. Since my mother reads this, or, rather, in spite of the fact that she reads this, because this may be an unfair comment to make, it’s always infuriated me how much focus she’s placed on how I should deal with my kidney disease…endless emails and encyclopedias of information…what to avoid eating and doing…while all along…it’s been crystal clear to me that if I have a premature death, it’s is not going to be due to kidney disease but due to depression.

    I realize a statement like that makes people very uncomfortable. People can sorta figure out to say to the guy on dialysis with kidney disease. But the guy who’s depressed? People want to stay away from that guy.

    And how I got onto depression when I was talking/ranting about work, I don’t know.

    Let’s go for the gold, while I’m at it, while I don’t care how inappropriate any of this is to say publicly.

    Anyone care to know just how bad the depression can get? No, not really, Toastie. Well, please, by all means, stop reading now. This is your warning. YOU DON’T NEED TO READ ANY FURTHER.

    So I recently unearthed an email I sent to one the various mental health professionals who have failed to be of much help over the years. I’ll just say this was written sometime in the last five years:

    Subject: Urgent Help needed

    Hi ____________,

    I am writing rather than doing absolutely nothing as a course of
    action for my depression. I have been in what I consider an absolute
    depression for a couple of days now. I suppose if it were truly
    absolute, I could not even be writing this email.

    I’m not suicidal, if suicidal means there is a danger I am going to
    physically harm myself. I don’t see the use in doing anything that
    would result in me being at the ER or being locked up in a psych ward.

    But I’m hardly functioning. I am not at work today. I am not taking
    care of myself. –

    Clearly the medication I take now does not prevent these “episodes”. I
    cannot imagine any medications or therapies that would do me any good.
    There is no reason to believe that you would suddenly have a magical
    solution as opposed to any other point during the last many years.

    But I have to tell someone if there is any remote chance that there is
    help available. And you’re my doctor. So I am telling you. Do we need
    to zap my brain? What do you do with the suicidal patients? I’m almost
    sure I am just as depressed as they are, without the small problem of
    being on the verge of trying to kill myself.

    I’d call, but that means leaving an awkward message with ________,
    who may or may not get you the message. In fact, I did just
    that back [a few months ago], in which I practically begged to have you see
    me sooner than our next scheduled appointment, and I didn’t hear back
    from you. I didn’t bring it up again, because if I burn bridges with
    you, I am completely without options.

    Inappropriate blogging. Yup. I just don’t care right now. I may regret it tomorrow. I’ve made posts before that I’ve later put behind a password or just made private, and I might just do that with this post. Or maybe I won’t.

    If I have given anyone the impression recently that ANYTHING is ok, I intentionally wish to shatter it right now. Not that I expect anyone to have any words of wisdom. Not that I expect that I won’t lose readers over this.

    The blog will say ‘no comments’. I don’t know how to prevent comments on the Facebook feed.

    Supermarket lobster

    One reason I didn’t use to seek out dialysis blogs is because I knew it would be of no help to read something along the lines of what I’m writing now.

    I woke up at 3AM this morning in the usual cold sweat that I’ve had every time I’ve been dialyzed. When your clothes cling to your body and you feel clammy like this, it’s doubtful you’re going to be able to fall back asleep. Around 4:30, I figured I’d try to get back to sleep for the final hour. And then the ridiculously bright overhead fluorescents came on a 4:45. So much for my intentions.

    I asked the techs to pull me off dialysis shortly before 5, 45 minutes short of my scheduled time. The official reason on the form they filled out was “restlessness”.

    If they had asked for my blunt assessment, I’d have said, “Can’t f’in take it anymore. Overnight dialysis is not going to work for me. Dialysis is not going to work for me. I understand why elderly people decline dialysis and just die, because coming in to lay here like a pod-person every other day is no way to live”. Understandably, most people who are undergoing dialysis don’t feel as I do. I think perhaps it’s because they’ve got something to live for. Their lives have meaning. They have things to look forward to.

    Folks, my life has been a momentous failure. Scratch that, it’s just been a failure. There’d have to be something of exceptional noteworthiness for it to have been momentous.

    Don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere. But I’ve got the optimism of a supermarket lobster.

    Below rock-bottom

    I do not expect I will post in here again in the near future. While it may not seem it, I have mostly steered clear of depression-centric posts. There are few topics more awkward than someone’s “battle” with depression. It’s a battle I have never won, so there is no incentive for an audience to become invested in my accounts. I don’t know how similar depression is to other ailments as far as people who have never been afflicted by it having no idea how to deal with it in someone else. But that’s how I have experienced it for years and years. Therapists and medications have provided safety nets but no durable strategies. No one seems to know how to treat the interplay of physical disease and depression. The bottom line is that I continue to encounter new rock bottoms.

    And in a clear “jump the shark” blogging episode, I will share my rock bottom experience. I do not expect comments (and they’ll be turned off) nor do I expect emails or phone calls. I don’t know if and when I will feel up to returning any communications that I might receive. I am aware that I risk alienation of whomever is left out there whom I have not yet driven away.

    I do not have any recollection of recording this video back on Friday night. It will be apparent why that is the case. I probably got sick before I got around to posting it. Since my head is somewhat clearer now, it would seem imprudent to post the video now. But I’ve convinced myself I’ll get some closure out of it.

    I am sorry for disappointing anyone who may have previously thought better of me.