Well this is awkward. I kinda feel like the family member who borrows a bunch of money, and then disappears for a few years, before showing up at a funeral or some shit. I’m not good with awkward conversation and platitudes, so we’ll gracefully move on and perhaps you’ll listen while I fill you in on the past 3 months of my life.
So on May 6th of this year, my family and I were sent kicking and screaming back to Ireland, by my work. I had tomporarily relocated to Oregon in January 2012 and we had hoped to stay a bit longer there. Somewhere in the region of forever. Alas, it wasn’t to be, and we were sent back to the old country. My wife who is American, didn’t seem to mind a whole lot, despite the loss of our not insignificant expense account. Like I said, she’s American, and I think she is still waiting to see a leprechaun or some shit. Me, I’ve lived here all my life. People tell me all the time how great a place Ireland is to visit, or if they’ve never been, how much they would love to visit. The key word here is “visit”. That is: fly in, kiss the Blarney Stone, drink lots of Guinness and get the fuck out of dodge. When you deal with the high taxes, and shitty infrastructure, and abysmal healthcare, and shitty weather on a daily basis, it becomes akin to a kind of large insane asylum with bad food.
Ok, ok, I’m being harsh. Truth is, our move didn’t go too smoothly, and I’m perhaps a little bitter. Plus there’s fuck all to do when the national past-time is drinking, and you’re an alcoholic. We arrived with nowhere to live and no car. We were staying in my Mom’s and driving a rental, so there was pressure to buy a car and get somewhere to live. After a week I bought a used BMW from the archetypal greasy used car salesman. And as you would expect, within a week, the engine fucking exploded (not literally, it was the exhaust manifold, but I spent a month waiting on the guy to get it fixed). After about three weeks, we found somewhere to live: a slightly overpriced — but the only place in our search that felt like it could be home — house in a quiet little neighborhood near work. Unfortunately, this was about two and a half weeks after living with my Mom had become un-fucking-bearable. We hadn’t seen the woman in 18 months, and within days she made it clear our welcome was eroding on pace with my sanity. Disclaimer: I love my mom, and she’s been wonderfully kind to us. It just was way too crowded for us all, and the feeling that we had invaded her privacy swarmed the air like a siren call.
I also realised that I hate my fucking job. The perks, and the cameraderie that I had with the guys in Oregon was not there when I got back to the Irish office. So all I was left with was work itself, which I have little interest or passion for. We’d also eaten into our savings a lot more than we’d anticipated, and then I remembered that alcohol existed. So I started drinking again. Because that’s what total fucking idiots like me do.
So the blog — this blog — just kind of died. There was no place for it in my life with two small kids, and settling into a new home, and trying to get your car fixed from a sheister who kept trying to get me to go halves on the cost of repairs (yeah right, pal), and drinking, and guilt, and drinking some more, and a job I hated, and hangovers. Eventually, about two weeks ago, I put the bottle back down. I was deriving little pleasure from it; just numbness. Which is kind of when you know you are an alcoholic. If it’s not social, it’s poison. And my wife and I talked things through. We got some long-standing issues out of the way, and things were better… much better. And I thought about maybe writing again. But it just didn’t happen.
You see, all that other stuff is only half of the story. Because during it all, and maybe because of it all, I fell into a pretty hardcore depression. Not gloominess, or sadness, but a bitter unyielding malaise. Those that suffer from depression can maybe Identify. I’ve been suffering from it for a long time — it comes and goes with me — and I’ve been on antidepressants for about 3 and a half years. Those that don’t suffer… it’s almost unexplainable. For me, it’s just an unbearable hollowness — like somebody just scooped out my insides, everything important about me, and now I’m just left wandering around like Heathcliff’s Cathy, banging on windows and shit, looking for all the important stuff I’ve lost in my life. And that relentless emptiness just wears away at you, until it’s raw and agonising. It’s like heartbreak and profound apathy rolled into one horrific psychologically scarred ball. And to just play with my kids, or shower, or hug my wife, is a grappling, struggle, like swimming through honey. So yeah, “fuck this blog” was kinda where I was at.
But another part of me missed it deeply. I was aware that I was treading water, that I was barely going through the motions of living a life, and that there were a lot of holes that needed filling, and part of me was desperate to fill them. But when everything is so painful, it’s hard to even know where to start. And in all honesty, there has never really been a time in my life when there haven’t been holes to fill.
I guess I’m out of the deepest part of this depression. I hadn’t seen her face in years, and had almost forgotten her touch, but when you’re gobbling Cymbalta and valium like they’re movie theater popcorn, it’s easier to avoid. It still lingers though. I almost cried tonight, leaving my son for the night shift (crying’s good though — it’s the numbness, the void, that’s so hateful; crying is a fucking vacation from that). But I’ll keep pushing on. I’ve upped my dosage of meds, and will try to find a good therapist nearby. I might even start meditation again. And as cliche as it sounds, I need to start liking myself. I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life, and most of that was self-imposed. There’s an anchor of guilt and shame hanging around my neck. I’ve hurt people: ex-girlfriends, discarded friends, family… my closest family. Christ! It’s hard knowing there are folk out there who actively despise you, even years after our last countenance. I haven’t just burned bridges; I’ve scorched the earth behind me. Those closest to me have forgiven me, but I’m just not sure if I have.
So I’m back. I can return to describing the zany machinations of my everyday life, while we guffaw in unison at my mild misfortune and embarrassment., m’kay? So just forget you read all this, and we’ll talk soon.