A Period of Blackness

27 Mar

I’ve not posted in almost a week. Another “blackness” episode’s hit. I’ve been trying to work out of it. Like before, I’m sure it will lift at some point (I just hope it’s not as long as some of the bad ones). It’s usually a gradual thing, unlike the beginning – they come on like a lead weight dropping from six feet above. I’ll get a “sense” that something’s going on. I’ll start writing about it in my private journal (which I’ve done a lot less since starting the blog), do some meditation, do the “positive affirmation” thing. Then: WHAM!!! They still hit. This one was with a vengeance.

The difference here is that I think this one was brought on by massive anxiety. I discovered a little over a month ago that there’s a problem with part of my “nest egg”. Some stock I owned has fallen into the murky area of “escheatment”. Long story that doesn’t need to be gone into. The gist is that about a third of my savings is suddenly in jeopardy. And I’ve made little success in finding my property.

I called the SEC today – after telling their rep what’s happened, he said I should file a complaint. They’ll take action within 48 hours and that will hopefully get me to the point where I know what’s happened and I can take the next step. Knock on wood.

Anyhow, that’s all been going on in the background and has only augmented my general level of anxiety, anger, depression and inertia. The enjoyment I got from last week’s tourney games gave me only fleeting enjoyment before it was gone.

I’ve not been able to get out of the house but a couple of times. Whenever I think of going outside, I get the shakes and sweats something horrible. Even taking Frank out for his constitutionals brings this on. I drove him to the dog park – the whole way, I thought my heart was gonna go through my chest, it was beating so hard. I managed to stay for about an hour, but I was extremely edgy. I started getting anxious any time someone walked by. I don’t know what they thought when the reply they got from their cheerful “hello” was a grimace and a nod of the head. I finally had to gather up Frank and head home. Home to 14 bags of garbage piled up next to the front door because I can’t manage the trip to the dumpster. Home to the note on my door from the mail carrier, telling me in all caps to CLEAN OUT YOUR MAILBOX because I never get my mail. Home to the pile of dirty dishes in my kitchen sink (I don’t have a clue as to how long they’ve been there) and the piles of empty pizza boxes on the corner of my desk – take out I’ve ordered because I can’t bring myself to clean the kitchen. Home to my recliner, where I sat unmoving for almost 2 hours after the dog park trip because I felt like my skin would come off if it had the chance.  Frank was up on me after only a couple of minutes – he didn’t even wait for me to pick him up.  He licked my face for a while and then just laid down by my side, almost as unmoving as I was.  He’s a good friend and has been very supportive, even when I get this way.

I talked to Larry a couple of times, sent him a few Sox articles.  On the phone, I told him about the anxiety but didn’t go into much detail.  Tried to stay on topic with spring training. Maybe if I talk baseball, it’ll be cooperative and just go away.

A Red Sox story will sometimes strike a chord, bringing me into Excel – the first time it’s been open for months – to do some obscure, advanced baseball stat projection or to update my trip data. Hard to believe that only 4 months ago, I was living in Excel, managing stuff for clients, being productive. Now, my daily ritual is to visit some puzzles and games first thing in the morning. Then read news. Visit some Red Sox sites. Anything to try to avoid the evidence piled up around me that shows how nuts I am. After that , I kill time on Facebook, leaving puns or jokes where warranted, or sharing a video clip I find funny. I’ll post something about Frank, the NCAA tourney and the Red Sox. But I’m just whistling through the graveyard.  By the end of the day, I’m playing games again, or listening to YouTube videos.  I rarely watch TV (Since Sunday, I had been anxiously waiting … pun intended … for the Tourney to start up last night).

As I get further into the blackness, it gets harder and harder to maintain a superficial “happy face”.  And then there’s dealing with the rage that wells up in me when I read the political bullshit that’s posted by some of my friends. I mentioned in another post some time ago about how my “black-o-meter” was tied in to my political rants. Well, I went off a few times this week. Oh, some of them were deleted before I hit “Reply” so that I wasn’t being crossed off yet another’s “friend list”. But yesterday’s decision in Indiana (the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”) put me over the edge and I went on a rant about how disgusted I was by the lack of tolerance in this country (Yes, I’m intolerant of intolerance!  Ironic, isn’t it?) It didn’t make me feel any better – if anything, I was even more angry than I was before I started typing away.  But sometimes, that’s better than feeling numb.

A Facebook friend asked me today about a TV show I used to watch religiously. I told them that’s no longer the case, that I haven’t seen it OR the two other shows I used to never miss. I haven’t been able to watch them because they were so closely tied in with my last failed relationship. I gave it a go when the new season started, but had to turn it off after 15 minutes. And that was the last of it.

Donna’s response was quite touching – she posted something on my wall about her praying that I find peace and to keep the faith. I replied that I had pretty much lost faith and mentioned the current blackness I’m going through. THAT elicited a very warm response from a number of other folks, all telling me that they were holding me in their thoughts and prayers.

I’m in tears, writing this – not because I’m touched. I am, but that’s not the reason for the tears. That’s the first time I’ve mentioned openly about these black periods (except for this blog, which I’ve not made public to all my Facebook contacts … it’s easier to tell strangers than those I know). More than anything, I’m crying because I am ashamed and feeling tremendously unworthy of the encouragement my friends are trying to provide. A “man” – especially a big man like me – should have been able to get past all this crap by now, that I am weak, that I am so damaged. I see posts of encouragement from a couple of the PTSD blogs I follow. One of them – “PTSD Break the Silence” said how my symptoms are “not a sign of weakness, they are signs of having tried to remain strong for so long.” It just sounds empty and nothing more than an excuse. I have given up on therapy. The meds only made me numb – and an Internet connection is a helluva lot cheaper than what the freaking prescriptions cost! So I’m back to where I was when I started this blog – following through on a pretty drastic lifestyle change with the “hope” (about the only hope I can manage right now) that it will help me achieve some level of peace.

I’m also tired. And scared … I’m unable to get out of the apartment and yet in just 2 months, I’m not going to have a permanent residence? How is THAT going to go down? I’ve no choice to go forward and push through. I just wish I could fast-forward through everything and be ready to leave tomorrow. I have a feeling the next two months are going to be very difficult.

I’m writing all of this because there is supposedly power in sharing these struggles. But most of all, my old therapist encouraged me to write through these episodes. It’s taken me almost 6 days of procrastination to get there. Consider this a look-in on my private therapy journal. It’s been a bad couple of days.


Posted by on March 27, 2015 in Musings


Tags: , , , , ,

6 responses to “A Period of Blackness

  1. ekurie

    March 28, 2015 at 3:14 am

    I cannot begin to fathom the depths of which you speak, nor what happened to get you there. I only know the love offered to you by your dear friends, and prayers must seem such a wonderful gift. And you have a gift to be articulate and fluent in expression. Thank you. I, too, a complete utter stranger will pray for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unwind With Mel

    March 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Hi there!! I definitely know how you feel with some relations in your post — Ive gotten myself out of a deep anxiety & depressive state – If you are interested in eliminating those patterns and a balance areas in the brain to process and delete stored files so that you can be open to more receiving and less resistance in life! I offer FREE consulation and then online intuitive readings — would be grateful to help you along your journey! As you cannot let those stored thoughts keep you there- Im also hosting a wellness retreat in Puerto vallarta – April 23-30 – and more to come- im just reaching out to people who I believe would benefit and fit right in!!


    • ustabe

      April 5, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for the offer. It’s appreciated.


  3. The Traveling Rabbit

    April 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Jeff –

    Thank you for sharing what you’re going through. You’re very brave to do so… and suggests to me that you are also, somewhere deep down in you, reaching out to ultimately take good care of yourself. So I’m very glad that you’ve done that. You have an exquisite ability to put into words the intensity and depth of your feelings. What a gift. And what an important expression you can use, when you can find the strength, to try to keep yourself afloat during the super rough times and maybe even pull yourself out more quickly. What I hear a lot of in your writing is pretty harsh berating of yourself. I know this is very much associated with what you’re going through. But if you can try try try to hold the negative feelings that you’re experiencing and to LOVE them. Appreciate them. Try not to fight them so much, I just wonder if they will have a little less power over you. I realize that the intensity of your feelings is so strong that this little exercise is not always going to have impact. But from what I have read of your struggles, your body and soul are crying out and shutting down in response to some very tough experiences. Which, as much as it sucks, just has to make sense. How are you doing today?

    Also, Frank is such a total cutie! I am so glad that he is there for you, especially during these rough times.

    You WILL hit the road. And you will find yourself rejuvenated by it. Trust that you will… because my experience having been on the road is that many of the struggles from my “normal” life went away. The freedom that comes from living on the road releases so much. Look forward to that…you have that in your future!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ustabe

      April 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Tamara.

      First off and in answer to your question, I’m doing better today. Thanks for asking. I’ve not been online much over the past week, preferring to write in my private journal. That’s something I’ve tried to maintain since ending therapy over a year ago. I try to focus on “the moment” when writing, not dwelling on past or future tenses. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I am “loving” my negative feelings so much as trying to embrace them. To recognize them as being part of me. And while it’s hard to appreciate them, I am able to recognize that the things I’ve had to deal with (both internally and externally) have brought me to a greater degree of empathy and compassion for others. I know it’s had impact on my writing, too – not sure if you’ve read it yet, but please go over to the “poetry” section of the blog and take a look at my poem “Awareness” (the January 31st post). I think that touches a bit on what you’re saying.

      Frank is definitely a total cutie! Even having been around dogs most of my life, I am amazed at how intuitive the are … Frank especially! He senses when I’m struggling with something. All of a sudden, he’ll be in my face, either wanting to be picked up or just jumping up into my lap if I happen to be in my recliner. He stays very close and still. If anything, he’s saying, “I will sit quietly and share space with you, if only so you know you are loved.” He’s been a tremendous friend!

      Most of all, I appreciate your feedback on “hitting the road”. Deep down inside, I feel like once I’m “doing it,” I’ll feel better about having made the decision. I’m looking forward to staying in touch with you.

      Thanks again,

      Liked by 1 person


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