jayfurr: (Default)


I apologize to everyone for being a tiresomely annoying, self-centered, whiny, attention-whoring, angry, malicious jerk.


I wish I could make amends to everyone I’ve harmed.


Since I can’t, I am planning on more-or-less permanently deactivating all my social media accounts.


If, in the short term, you would like a personal apology, let me know. It’s always hard to know if a personal attempt at amends will actually make things worse, and that’s the last thing I want to do.

jayfurr: (Default)

I am mentally ill.


My mental illness takes the form of severe depression mixed with PTSD.


My depression is partly due to heredity and partly due to environment. It’s the nature of the thing that it’s sometimes hard to draw a fine line between the two.


My maternal grandmother was institutionalized in Florida off and on for much of her life; she died when I was five and I have literally no recollection of ever having met her. From what I understand, mostly she had severe depression — I’ve never gotten a detailed writeup confirming whether she also had schizophrenic tendencies, bipolar, or anything else. People agree about the depression, though. In any event, as I said, I can’t recall having met her, but genes are genes.


On the other side of my family tree, my father had severe depression that went undiagnosed and untreated; every year on his birthday and on Father’s Day he’d get his nose out of joint because we didn’t pay him enough respect and attention and he’d go climb into bed in the middle of the day and either sulk or mope, depending on your interpretation of things. He rarely interacted with others socially; generally, he’d come home, eat dinner, and then sit in a chair and read all evening. God help us if we bothered him.


He was a very emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive man who seemed pathologically afraid of giving any of his children a compliment and for whom the ultimate accusation was “You did that to get attention!” If I asked a question at a science museum, I could count on being cursed once out of earshot of the docent for “having tried to get attention”. If I got all wound up and hyper during a third grade play, you bet Dad spent the whole trip home reading me the riot act for “just doing that to get attention”. I spent my high school years going hungry when the family went out to dinner because, regardless of what I ordered, Dad would snarl that I was just ordering it to be stupid, to show off, to get attention. Finally I just stopped ordering and sat there hungry while others ate.


As for the physical part of the abuse — well, I’ll spare you the details, but I got kicked, beaten, thrown around, and more, just basically for doing the kind of things that kids routinely do. I tended to stay in my room and pray that when I heard his footsteps coming down the hall that they wouldn’t stop in front of my door. I spent quite a few high school nights running a few miles from our house in the woods outside Blacksburg to a friend’s house three miles away. That is, until I finally drew a knife on him in self defense; he went absolutely ballistic, called the police, and wanted them to put me under the jail; how dare I raise a hand to him? (They talked him down; apparently they realized at a glance what they were dealing with.)


I mention all this, not because a strange whimsy seized hold of me and said “tell the whole world about your abusive father, now that he’s been dead for a year and can’t rebut” but rather because it might help explain why I am the way I am.


I have PTSD-style reactions to anger and violence. I want to go crawl into a hole and pull it in after me, especially if the person yelling is a family member.


As for depression — I have mad self-loathing skillz.


I look at everything I do from a standpoint of “oh, God, I just did that to get attention, didn’t I?” What makes that especially bad is that I’m naturally silly and extroverted, but every time I say or do something silly in front of others, I then spend a healthy chunk of time feeling hideously embarrassed, certain that they must have thought “what a pathetic loser.”


I post things to Facebook, and then, a day or so later, tiptoe back onto the site and delete them. There’s a voice inside me so full of loathing: “you just want attention, that’s why you shared that, isn’t it?” Take a look at my Facebook profile, if you like. That’s not the result of one day’s mad deleting; nothing, really, stays on my page for very long before, cringing, I sneak back in and take it down. I assume that anyone who did see whatever it was that I shared probably had the same reaction: “how pathetic.”


There’s a part of me that likes to occasionally send strange, out-of-the-blue gifts to friendsacquaintances (note: I am terrified of calling someone my friend only to have them quickly and firmly correct me) just because I like to imagine their reaction when they open the package and find, oh, a “Unicorns Are Jerks” coloring book. But then, there’s the other part of me that knows, perfectly well, why I do it: I want attention.



I was raised from birth to believe that attention-seeking is an absolutely shameful thing, and yet, like any sane human, I want attention. I am sickened and revolted by the things I do to try to get attention, even if to another person they might seem perfectly ordinary.


I work as a technical trainer for a large corporation. I spend a huge percentage of my time speaking to and working with medium to large groups of people on complicated and convoluted software and system issues relating to the hospital and physician financial flow. I’m apparently somewhat good at it. But for some broken reason, I gain very little self esteem from being good at my job. Perhaps it’s because my brain is just mis-wired. Perhaps it’s my father’s voice in the back of my mind, reminding me that enjoying attention, deserved or otherwise, is disgusting, and pathetic, and contemptible.


Either way, though — I’m sorry. I’m sorry for those of you who have to put up with my dysfunction and my self-flagellation and everything that goes along with them. I don’t know which is more annoying: pathetic attention-seeking followed by pathetic attention-seeking, or pathetic attention seeking followed by public self-loathing. But either way, in case you were wondering: yes, I know I’m incredibly annoying. I wish I’d go away too.


jayfurr: (Coffee at Nickels)


I am mentally ill.

My mental illness takes the form of severe depression mixed with PTSD.

My depression is partly due to heredity and partly due to environment. It's the nature of the thing that it's sometimes hard to draw a fine line between the two.

My maternal grandmother was institutionalized in Florida off and on for much of her life; she died when I was five and I have literally no recollection of ever having met her. From what I understand, mostly she had severe depression -- I've never gotten a detailed writeup confirming whether she also had schizophrenic tendencies, bipolar, or anything else. People agree about the depression, though. In any event, as I said, I can't recall having met her, but genes are genes.

On the other side of my family tree, my father had severe depression that went undiagnosed and untreated; every year on his birthday and on Father's Day he'd get his nose out of joint because we didn't pay him enough respect and attention and he'd go climb into bed in the middle of the day and either sulk or mope, depending on your interpretation of things. He rarely interacted with others socially; generally, he'd come home, eat dinner, and then sit in a chair and read all evening. God help us if we bothered him.

He was a very emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive man who seemed pathologically afraid of giving any of his children a compliment and for whom the ultimate accusation was "You did that to get attention!" If I asked a question at a science museum, I could count on being cursed once out of earshot of the docent for "having tried to get attention". If I got all wound up and hyper during a third grade play, you bet Dad spent the whole trip home reading me the riot act for "just doing that to get attention". I spent my high school years going hungry when the family went out to dinner because, regardless of what I ordered, Dad would snarl that I was just ordering it to be stupid, to show off, to get attention. Finally I just stopped ordering and sat there hungry while others ate.

As for the physical part of the abuse -- well, I'll spare you the details, but I got kicked, beaten, thrown around, and more, just basically for doing the kind of things that kids routinely do. I tended to stay in my room and pray that when I heard his footsteps coming down the hall they wouldn't stop in front of my door. I spent quite a few high school nights running a few miles from our house in the woods outside Blacksburg to a friend's house three miles away. That is, until I finally drew a knife on him in self defense; he went absolutely ballistic, called the police, and wanted them to put me under the jail; how dare I raise a hand to him? (They talked him down; apparently they realized at a glance what they were dealing with.)

I mention all this, not because a strange whimsy seized hold of me and said "tell the whole world about your abusive father, now that he's been dead for a year and can't rebut" but rather because it might help explain why I am the way I am.

I have PTSD-style reactions to anger and violence. I want to go crawl into a hole and pull it in after me, especially if the person yelling is a family member.

As for depression -- I have mad self-loathing skillz.

I look at everything I do from a standpoint of "oh, God, I just did that to get attention, didn't I?" What makes that especially bad is that I'm naturally silly and extroverted, but every time I say or do something silly in front of others, I then spend a healthy chunk of time feeling hideously embarrassed, certain that they must have thought "what a pathetic loser."

I post things to Facebook, and then, a day or so later, tiptoe back onto the site and delete them. There's a voice inside me so full of loathing: "you just want attention, that's why you shared that, isn't it?" Take a look at my Facebook profile, if you like. That's not the result of one day's mad deleting; nothing, really, stays on my page for very long before, cringing, I sneak back in and take it down. I assume that anyone who did see whatever it was that I shared probably had the same reaction: "how pathetic."

There's a part of me that likes to occasionally send strange, out-of-the-blue gifts to friendsacquaintances (note: I am terrified of calling someone my friend only to have them quickly and firmly correct me) just because I like to imagine their reaction when they open the package and find, oh, a "Unicorns Are Jerks" coloring book. But then, there's the other part of me that knows, perfectly well, why I do it: I want attention.



I was raised from birth to believe that attention-seeking is an absolutely shameful thing, and yet, like any sane human, I want attention. I am sickened and revolted by the things I do to try to get attention, even if to another person they might seem perfectly ordinary.

I work as a technical trainer for a large corporation. I spend a huge percentage of my time speaking to and working with medium to large groups of people on complicated and convoluted software and system issues relating to the hospital and physician financial flow. I'm apparently somewhat good at it. But for some broken reason, I gain very little self esteem from being good at my job. Perhaps it's because my brain is just mis-wired. Perhaps it's my father's voice in the back of my mind, reminding me that enjoying attention, deserved or otherwise, is disgusting, and pathetic, and contemptible.

Either way, though -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry for those of you who have to put up with my dysfunction and my self-flagellation and everything that goes along with them. I don't know which is more annoying: pathetic attention-seeking followed by pathetic attention-seeking, or pathetic attention seeking followed by public self-loathing. But either way, in case you were wondering: yes, I know I'm incredibly annoying. I wish I'd go away too.

jayfurr: (Default)

Old motelAs you all know, I’m all about the “wallowing in depression”.


Carole’s going to visit her parents in Ohio for Thanksgiving (Oakwood, a suburb of Dayton, FWIW) and I have no plans.


I found myself pondering today, “What would be the most depressing place to spend Thanksgiving by oneself?” I don’t mean “in solitary confinement in a Supermax” or anything like that. I’m thinking more in terms of “if one was to buy a plane ticket to anywhere in the lower 48, fly there, check in to the local Motel 6 or equivalent, and spend a week feeling sorry for oneself, where would be the best place to go?”


For some reason, I keep thinking in terms of “not terribly prosperous waterfront town”. There’s something very depressing about looking out at dark water under cloudy skies on a chilly day when everyone you know is spending their time with family and friends. Has anyone been to Traverse City, Michigan? Is it depressing? Or is there someplace much worse I should try instead?

jayfurr: (Default)

Depression is rarely boring, despite what one might expect.   I woke up Sunday morning (having slept in while Carole went off to church) with a full-on the-world-is-ending I-am-utterly-alone panic attack.  I literally felt as though I was drowning, gasping for breath, my heart pounding in my chest like a jackhammer.   Carole came home in the middle of it and had absolutely no idea what to do.  I begged her to listen to me … I don’t know what I wanted to say… but I think I just freaked her out instead. 


I made it to Chicago for this week’s work, having pulled myself together enough to make it past the TSA and onto my Burlington to O’Hare flight.   I made it to the customer today, a half hour late, because it was almost impossible to get out of bed.  I survived work today, but was certainly not my most productive.  And now I’m sitting in my hotel room looking out on a lovely sunny evening, and all I can think is, how absolutely miserable I feel.


Biochemistry sucks sometimes.  

Drowning

May. 16th, 2016 11:20 pm
jayfurr: (Default)

Drowning


Though this is not going to come as a newsflash to anyone who knows me, I’ve been suffering from severe depression for a few years now. Of late I’ve been so depressed that at the end of each working day I’ve simply gone home (or to the hotel, when I’m traveling for work), eaten something, and then gotten into bed in a dark room to surf Wikipedia on my tablet. Nothing else. Same thing every day.


I am scheduled to walk in the 2016 Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Seattle this September, and I haven’t even started my fundraising, because I’m so damn depressed. Every week I say “perhaps this weekend I’ll compose a fundraising letter and send it out” and every weekend I do anything but. (If you want to sponsor me, though, you can do so here: http://www.the3day.org/goto/jayfurr — but for what it’s worth, this whole blog post is not intended to get donations by sounding absolutely pathetic. I merely mention the fact.)


Four years ago, I was doing a lot of running. Then life took a few ugly turns, and I lost all my motivation, and since then I haven’t run at all. The last time I even tried to run in a friendly local race I was so far behind everyone else that I wound up dropping out. It was a 10K, which I didn’t have a lot of experience with, and I wasn’t feeling at my best, but regardless, I have to say that the overall weight of depression didn’t make things any easier. And after that debacle of a race, I just basically stopped.


Five years ago, I had gotten my weight down to 180 pounds. On a 6’2″ frame, that actually made me look skinny — for the first time since high school. But then depression hit and now I’m back up at 240. I have suits I bought when I was down at 180-190 that I can’t wear any more, but I can’t face the prospect of buying new, larger ones again because that’d be the final blow — a way of absolutely surrendering to the weight gain. As long as I don’t buy new suits, I can pretend that one day I’ll fit into the Slender Jay suits again.


My father died at the end of March, so now I guess I’m technically an orphan. That didn’t depress me as much as I’d have thought it would’ve, because, frankly, his death meant he didn’t have to suffer for years in a state of relatively severe dementia. If I recall correctly, it was only eight months or so from the time he was admitted to a nursing home (as a result of frequent periods of confusion and disorientation) to the time he passed away. Some people aren’t so lucky and linger for decades.


Still, it does sadden me to think that he’s gone. He and I didn’t see eye to eye, and I can’t recall him actually ever directly praising me for anything, but I respected him and I think he came to respect me and actually felt a little bit bad about how abusive he’d been when I was younger. I wish I’d had more time to get to know that Keith Furr — the one who looked back at a long life and wished he could have been a better father.


Right now, today, I’m in Phoenix, Arizona — in town to do two days of training at a local customer and then to present a session at my company’s national conference. I had a perfectly fine day today, training-wise, but I spent most of the day privately wishing like anything that I could just go back to the hotel and sit in a dark room. I doubt the customers ever realized I was thinking anything of the sort, but behind my cheerful, professional mask was a deep gloom and the thought that it would be nice if some sort of emergency (say, a tornado alarm, or an alien invasion) happened to occur.


Toward the end of the day I happened to mention that, hypothetically, I might be interested in going to see the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Yankees tonight… and for some reason all the folks present seized on the idea and started looking up ticket prices and giving advice on taking the train to the stadium and this and that and the other… and the whole time I was thinking “why did I mention that? I’m way too depressed to go back to the hotel, change into casual clothes, and go out to a game.”


I am taking medicine for my depression: citalopram, buproprion, and trazodone (which I don’t take every night because it’s so heavily sedating that I feel groggy the next morning). I think the medicine helps somewhat — I don’t find myself waking up with panic attacks and so on, for example, but it’s certainly not making it possible for me to have a regular life. I’ve tried other medications as well, and none have made much difference. I imagine that if I started getting a lot of regular exercise, that’d help tremendously, but there’s basically zero chance of my going back to the hotel, changing into exercise clothes, and going down to the fitness center to pound out a few miles on a treadmill.


I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m just plain drowning.


Drowning II


 


 


Ennui

Jan. 14th, 2016 09:56 pm
jayfurr: (Default)

You know you’re depressed and down and out of good ideas when you actually stop and contemplate mailing a letter to the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, to ask him what he thinks of Donald Trump.



And then think “… and how the Kardashians fit into his societal analysis. I should ask him about that too.”



I’m bored and depressed in part because two consecutive out of town work trips got called off. I like to keep busy. A bored Jay is a sad Jay.



On the positive side, our efforts to save electricity have worked so well that Green Mountain Power just mailed us back $245 because we’d built up such a balance with our set-in-August annualized monthly “budget plan” payments. I suspect our next budget amount is going to be a lot lower when next August comes.



And we just got a heat pump installed today for our enormous living room. That will definitely help lower our heating oil bill and the air conditioning and dehumidifying will be great come the summer. So we have that going for us, which is nice.


Heat pump


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