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the whole world in my head

December 15, 2014

Barely bestirred myself into getting out of bed, both Saturday and Sunday. It could well be the seasonal depression I tend to experience in December and January. But I think it’s complicated by other issues.

I’ve only recently been realizing how many things I’ve let fall out of my life, because Spouse doesn’t value them — if we can’t share enjoyment of them, I think I unconsciously felt like I didn’t deserve them. And hey, new enjoyable things would take their place. Wouldn’t they? Except they haven’t.

My social life has gotten smaller and smaller.


I have always desperately yearned for a life that was as unconventional as I could make work, and could enjoy. Spouse, despite being an artist (and a lapsed poet), turns out to be much more conventional in a lot of ways than I ever would’ve guessed 22 years ago. I’ve always known I was Chaotic, and I thought he was at least Neutral, if not Chaotic too, but ‘passing’. Nowadays, I know better: he’s Lawful.

There’s an upside to that: he’s very employable, in ways I wasn’t. He’s neurotypical. He’s rather smarter than average — we met through Mensa after all — but he’s not so smart that people are intimidated or defensive around him. He’s a pretty good ‘team player’; his bosses generally think he’s great. His career has just been one success after another.

He doesn’t really like IT, but he’s good at it, and he makes far more money at it than he could at anything else. It’s the only career he’s had, and he’ll likely retire from it, in 15-20 years.


If I was still single, I’d be dead. Long dead, probably. Dealing with my toxic family of origin; the series of shitty jobs that never paid very much, nor went anywhere; an undiagnosed eating disorder; feeling like an alien no matter what social situation I was in, often making faux pas or becoming a scapegoat; getting traumatized over and over, and having terrible coping skills; chronic depression, anxiety, and (often) suicidal thoughts . . . the accumulated stresses would’ve killed me by now.

Those accumulated stresses (that haven’t killed me) may in fact be what’s wrecked my health.

I’m grateful I’m still alive. Usually.


It’s not just when I meet new people… whenever I talk to anyone, I don’t know how to identify myself. Not just because I don’t have a job, but because I don’t know what I’m trying to do now. That is, I am trying to do something, but I don’t know what it is.

Sometimes I identify myself as a writer, and that’s as true as anything — I’ve been blogging for 5 years and writing poems for 3 years. Both of those activities, as important as they have been to my quality of life, though, don’t feel like they are the whole picture.

There’s photography. There’s also fiber art. There’s painting. There’s conceptual art.

These are all things I’m doing, not things I’m trying to do.

But there is something . . . larger . . . that I am trying to do. That larger thing feels like it’s equivalent to my profession, or vocation, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know of any vocation that encompasses being an artist, writer and poet, and Other Stuff.

On a good day, I enjoy the uncertainty, the ambiguity, the possibilities.

On a bad day, I feel like an utter failure who has never done anything worthwhile. Saturday and Sunday were bad days.


{Here’s where we get to the parts that I thought I might have in common with Rose.}

I’m tactile and kinesthetic, so new ideas are not things I ‘see’ in my mind’s eye; they are things I bring into being, by doing things via trial and error. I recognize what works and what doesn’t by ‘touch’, not by ‘sight’. That means I don’t know what the life I want to live will look like before I get there. Which means I can’t explain it to anyone else either. I can’t straightforwardly ask for their help, because I don’t know what I need. (If I could ‘see’ the life, I could probably ‘see’ what I need to get there.)

If I could at least ‘see’ enough so that I could find someone else’s life to use as a model, then I wouldn’t have to laboriously figure out every single step on my own. Which is cognitively and emotionally exhausting.

All the while, I can’t tell anyone what I’m doing in terms that make sense to them, because I don’t know (1) what I’m doing exactly, and (2) what parts of what I’m doing might make sense to them.

I think my biggest problem is not actually the exhaustion mentioned above. Instead, I think it’s that . . . I have to somehow imagine the entire world in a configuration that allows me to attain the life I want to live, without knowing what that ‘looks’ like. And I have to keep that incredibly-complex model available to my working memory so that, when I’m feeling discouraged, I can call it up and encourage myself to keep going.

Since I have ADD brain, my working memory capacity is already limited. When human beings are cognitively exhausted, everything we want to do is more difficult. Which makes it more likely that I’m going to fall back into a cycle of depression, anxiety, feeling worthless and stupid, etc., etc.

Which obviously makes it harder for me to remember what the whole point of all this work is. This is not a worldview lots of people already share, so I can’t just other people to remind me what matters, and why. I have to hold the whole world in my own head. But it’s a world that doesn’t exist yet.

And for all I know, like everything else I’ve yearned for in my life, maybe no one else understands why I would even want this.

I definitely don’t have the spoons to try to explain that.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2014 09:44

    I love this story kind of sounded like mine. I would say to you keep plowing forward even through you have know idea where you’re going. The universe has a way of unfolding things when we’re ready. I’m on my journey too. I know where I was wasn’t the answer so I told a radical action to change my life. Things get scary but I keep it moving. I just started blogging about my journey through the encouragement of a few.

    • December 15, 2014 22:29

      Thanks for your encouragement – good luck on your own journey!

  2. December 16, 2014 18:17

    Very well written. Keep going!!

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