Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sometimes it really would be best to leave me the fuck alone

Not sure if this is going to be more about depression or venting, I'm guessing the second, but if either of those things is something that wouldn't be good for you right now, steer clear.  Though, before you go, do note that I'm talking about offline interaction, don't take this as a sign that you shouldn't comment.


It has been discussed that depression is, or at least can be, a very isolating illness.  Even if you don't want to be alone it can be the case that you can't reach out because of negativity, or apathy or the inability to initiate, or fear, or the fact that all motivation has been drained away, or the tendency to see the bad in everything inadvertently causing you to be a complete asshole, or a sureness that any attempt will make things worse, or having crashed so many times that the possibility of something better is itself scary and hurtful because it strips away the dark comfort of hopelessness which tells you that, while things will never get better, at least they won't get worse because you're already beyond the possibility of loss that could get through to you, or whatever the fuck.

And, as noted, sometimes depression has a tendency toward assholicness in it.  You become Bella Swan and see the bad in not just yourself but everyone else, you lose the ability to consider other people as people, or see them as worthless.  Sometimes is not always or everyone.  It can also increase your empathy so that the pains of others become your own in a way that can't be shut out or overlooked or pushed out and so the force of of the load on every human being you have ever met or heard about, even ones only mentioned in passing, comes crushing down on you as you have to carry not just your own burdens but everyone's, even those who have never met you because you know about them only from a thirty second piece on the news.

And, of course, sometimes it does both at the same time.  Doesn't seem like it should be possible, but you can see others as worthless objects unworthy of consideration and empathize with their every sorrow or pain no matter how small at the same time.  Which just makes other people sources of pain, distress, and everything not nice.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways in which depression can be isolating.  There are multiple kinds of depression each of which can manifest in many ways, and each of those manifestations has multiple ways it can be isolating.  The point is, it can be.  And this is a problem.  Because the simple truth is that depressed people, and indeed most (but not all) people in general, need other people.

I am sure there are counterexamples out there, but as a general rule trying to tackle depression alone doesn't work.  The isolation is itself a strong preserver of the illness, and without it being somehow broken through recovery is unlikely at best.

And so, depressed people often need someone to reach out to them because they can't reach out themselves.  They may need someone persistent because the response to a hand being reached out might at first be to swat it away.

This is probably why the fantasy of the person you can't drive away because they see the real you suffering and in need of help on the inside is so compelling.  Or the fantasy that something will happen to break down those walls in some other way.  Something extraordinary.  You'll move to a town with a population of vampires, you'll get trapped inside a videogame, you'll die for a short while before the EMTs revive you and in that time set in motion a series of events that will cause an Angel to fall and have you and her placed on God's hit list.

Focusing on the middle one because the first is Twilight and the last I never finished and requires serious revision, in .hack//Sign Tsukasa had to be trapped in the game for people to persist enough to break through his walls.  Mimiru's initial impression was that he was a jerk, Bear's that he was shy and Bear probably modified that to jerk early on.  Neither of those is a reason to take a persistent interest in someone who doesn't seem to want your company.  Tsukasa was a jerk, he wanted nothing more than to be left alone, and if that had been the whole of what was going on he likely would have been left alone to continue being miserable.

Instead you have him wrapped in impossibility and danger.  He can't be trapped in the game, and yet he is.  This is a serious problem even if Tsukasa, after the first episode, refuses to acknowledge it.  That he is trapped in the game means that his body is who knows where, so at the start the body has to be located for fear of imminent death.  (How long one can leave their body unattended without dying depends on a variety of factors, but unless someone else decides to look after it the lack of water intake will mean death comes fast.)  Once the body is located, it isn't exactly in the best shape or, for that matter, the safest hands.

These are extraordinary concerns, and it is those, not the depression, that causes people to break through the isolating walls the depression has built up.  I cannot deny the fantasy in that, "For the love of God someone save me though I'll almost certainly try to push them away when they try," is something that's compelling when you can't help but push others away, you can't reach out, and you can't solve your problems on your own.

And yet, all of that said, sometimes it really would be... well look at the title.

I can't give a clear and fast rule to determine when to be persistent and when to back off.  It would be nice if there were one because what's good at some times is bad at others and Murphy's actual law says that if there are two or more ways to do things, one of which will result in disaster, someone will do it that way.  You don't want to be the one who did it the result in disaster way.

I can, perhaps, give guidelines.  Guidelines torn from recent experience.  If someone's in the middle of something, might not be the best time to try to reach out.  If someone has told you a particular type of interaction is painful, uncomfortable, or deeply distressing to them that might not be the best kind of interaction to have.  If someone is visibly or audibly uncomfortable with interacting right now above and beyond the norm, maybe now isn't the right time.  That sort of thing.

You see, yesterday was by no means a good day.  It had good parts.  Any day that compares Menelaus to Donald Trump after considering the verbal sniping between himself and Helen presented in Homer's Odyssey while they tell stories of Odysseus (one of which prompts a fight club reference from one of the world's leading authorities on ancient aqueducts) to his son clearly has some good parts.

But overall it was not a good day.

The night before, as with this night*, sleep did not come easy, nor did it last particularly long on the times when it did come.  I woke up unrested.  My attempts to prepare for the day were screwed over by the fact that the lack of sleep wrought havoc on my memory rarely could I remember what task I was trying to complete by the time I actually reached the location in which it might be completed.  For the first time since I've been on them, I missed my new meds.  Had one close call before (under extremely irregular circumstances), but yesterday was the first miss.

Spent much of the day in a state of trying to keep my head up.

Had some energy, and enjoyment, in the second of my two classes, but the almost two hours between them was spent, basically, passing the time via repetitive activity, sort of the "I have a computer in front of me" version of doing nothing more than rocking back and forth.

On the walk home I reflected on the one good thing to have happened in the AM, I finished off the book Ransom.  I read the first vast majority the morning before yesterday, and the last much smaller bit yesterday morning.  It's the first time I've read a novel in years, it was quite good, I was going to write up a post recommending it.

I composed the post in my head during the hourish long walk home, which was later than usual because it took me an hour to make myself start walking.  (Though a small part of that can be attributed to Dennis Markuze paying a visit to the most recent Snarky Twilight post, me spamtrapping that, the exact same comment I spamtrapped being reposted, and me spamtrapping that.  I was somewhat worried that at the end of the walk home I'd find even more Markuze spam, but that didn't happen.)

I actually think the walk was quicker than usual, in spite of the lack of energy, partly because I was racing the sun.

When I got home I had two things.  One was what I thought would be a great post, not just recommending Ransom, a novel but also ranging about on the subject of Greek myth with mentions of specific works by Sophocles, Euripides, Homer, that Hellenistic guy who wrote an epic of Jason (Apollonius of Rhodes who wrote the Argonotica, but I always confuse the names Apollonius and Apollodorus), Shakespeare, and that time in a Star Trek novel where Picard read the mirror universe version of Homer's Illiad.

And stuff, and it was going to be brilliant.

The other was a desperate need for a shower.  Which wasn't a problem because the shower is a place where I'm pretty good at working out composition as well, so I could put the finishing touches on it there and then just sit down and write it out.

It was going to be great.

Surprisingly when I got home I wasn't alone, which changed things.  (Everyone's moved out, but sometimes my mother moves back in for a night.)  Shower was put off until after dinner, which was good, and also after she and I finally finished watching Bill Clinton's speech from the convention.  (Way behind the rest of the world.)  That was good too.  See, moments of good.  But it did mean that there was a sizable portion of time when my head was filled with someone else's words, not my own, and that can be a problem when you've got something you want to write down.

After the shower she had things she needed to do, and I was ready to finally start writing the post.  When my sister arrived.

Now the headache of the day and the tiredness never went away, which can be a problem when you're with someone whose normal speaking volume is such that having her on the phone is always like having her on speakerphone, even when the phone in question isn't even capable of speakerphone.  And as for when she shouts... fuck.  I understand that when trying to communicate with someone in another room shouting makes sense, but one might consider how close other people in the same room are before doing so.

Which leaves aside the labor that I had to do for her before we even got to that point.

Attempts at writing were slow at best.

At long last she left.  I thought I could finally get to writing, but now it would be a race against time to see if I could make a post before I had to give up and try to get some desperately needed sleep.

And at this point more than anything before, came the interruptions from my mother.  Some of which seemed like genuine attempts to reach out, others of which served no purpose whatsoever that I could detect.  So I thought that maybe the fact that I was a computer typing as fast as I damn well could was, perhaps, not enough of an indication that I was, in fact, in the middle of trying to write something.  So I told her that I was, in fact, in the middle of trying to write something.

That did reduce the interruptions, but in no way did it stop them.  Also, the work that she had switched into doing since my sister came home was much closer to me and very loud which itself made it difficult to write.

At one point I wanted to look something up in my copy of the Iliad, so I quickly got up and went to where such a book would probably be.  It wasn't there.  Frantic search, still wasn't to be found (I haven't found it yet.)

During this frantic searching my mother decided this is a good time to start asking me questions, because when you're hurriedly doing something is the ideal time to send your brain in an entirely different direction.  I think her response to me not immediately responding was, "Well you're not writing now."

As one might expect, the post was never finished, not even really middled.  Started, but not much more.  All of the planning has faded from my mind, I'll see what I can salvage and try to get it up at some point.

Through all of this was peppered her venting.  There's a reason I'm a lot more likely to vent online than in person.  I know how bad it can be to be on the receiving end.  Here you can choose not to read, or click away.  It's up to you whether or not to take this on you.  In person that isn't always the case.  Even if you've told someone, for years, that you're not up for this style of it.

I know that venting doesn't have to be a bombardment on the person because I've been able to listen to someone complain and rather than be dragged down by it have us both be uplifted by the sharing of it.  I don't know what exactly the difference is, maybe it's the sense of being talked to rather than at.  Maybe it's the tone of voice, or the feeling of respect from the person speaking, or maybe it's just not repeating the exact same damn thing over and over again.

If this post were word for word identical to something I'd already posted, I wouldn't be posting it now.  I just wouldn't.

Because there comes a point where the complaints no longer have any information bearing function, the information has been long since burned into your memory.  It's nothing more than another hit of negativity.  There's nothing else left to communicate.  After the fifth or fiftieth time you're not bringing any new meaning to the the table.  All meaning has long since been stripped away in repetition.  All that remains is the negativity.

Just negativity piled upon negativity to be dumped upon the listener.

I can't speak for anyone else, but for me that hurts.  Mentally hurts, physically hurts, emotionally hurts.  Pain.

It's not a good thing.


* This night's sleeplessness was actually different than that of the night before.  This night was spent, almost exclusively, oscillating between clear awake awareness and perched in the place between awake and dreaming.

And oh what strange dreams may come when in that place.


The building was initially a hospital, the first responders to the scene included a rookie cop who may or may not have looked like the guy from the new Bourne movie (Hawkeye I think).  Actually, it might not have been a hospital yet, it might have been a bank or retail store, the building would be many things.

Shots had already been fired, many were lost, and then suddenly reset, try again.  Approach from a different direction, before the call was made.  Dirty cops were involved, the violence was epic, but the movie (when did this become a movie? I don't know) ended with a disturbing realization that the apparent crime had been a cover for something much worse.  Possibly involving the strange disappearances of children that were involved throughout.

Reset.  Try to stop the something much worse.  Firepower is overwhelming, abject failure is had, but now the location of those doing the much worse is known and on reset approach from an entirely different direction.

Scale the building, find the right window, try to take the evil people from behind, make use of their own high powered weapons.  (Is it even possible to have someone using an AK-47 with each hand?  The thing is a rifle after all.)  Shocking revelation that extremely respected mentor cop (Bruce Boxleitner) is one of the evil people.  Attempt fails.

But now the building is a police station and on reset Rookie marches in the front door to reveal where the evil people have stashed their weapons in spite of lingering fear there will be nothing there, this sort of works to some degree, reset and flashback.

Rookie cop meets partner in the contraband/confiscated items room where a camera that has a live broadcast to the outside world is used to make sure that the items aren't misused or abused.  The cops know exactly were the cameras are and where the blindspots are, one of which covers a sizable portion of the bizzare section that is confiscated food items, which the cops use for lunch.  Rookie makes a mess of it with his subway sandwich, leaving what amounts to a full salad on the floor.

[Trigger warning: Rape]

Durring this Partner is trying to get a picture of his face and a piece of paper by showing both to the don't steal stuff camera, the piece of paper is a print out of one of those pictures on the internet where people hold a written description of their views next to their face.  Rookie find's it almost impossible to read but is able to make out that the person in the picture looks a hell of a lot like Partner, and the views stated seem to be hideous rape apologia.

Partner's girlfriend, soon to be fiance, is in the room too (where did she come from) Rookie tries to warn her that Partner doesn't seem to be a safe boyfriend to have.  Doesn't work.  Soon we're back to the beginning (this was a flashback, recall) and did I mention that last time or the time before it was realized that the people carrying out the worse crime were all dressed in ominous robes, and this time it would be revealed that these robed people in the police station/hospital/retail store/highrise were Satanists.

Rookie gets evidence before the fact, goes to the chief, and the effort is to take down the Satanists goes much better, for the most part children are kept from being stolen in the hospital, no one dies in the bank/retail store, and everything action worthy is in the high-rise police station.

The Satanic ritual involves twelve people having sex with people they've met before.  Not everyone involved in the ritual had this explained to them in the first place.  This is where the rape happens, of partner's fiance, amoung others.  (The ritual contained a mix of consensual sex and rape.)

There is a long and bizarre aside explaining to certain confused Satanists that the difference between rape and not rape involves consent.  Nothing more, nothing less.

[end trigger warning rape]

I have forgotten what happens to everyone in the room other than ritual leader (Bruce Boxleitner) and Rookie cop except that Partner has a bad ending and his Girlfriend has a good one.  It is at this point that Satan shows up as do Bruce Boxleitner's previously unmentioned children, one of them an ordinary human, the other recently born but already adolescent antichrist material.

The human one is to be sacrificed.  Rookie repeatedly appeals to Bruce to not go through with this after abject failure in attempts to fight.  It doesn't seem to work until just after all appears to be lost.  At which point Bruce manages to reverse the polarity of the... he sucks alll the evil into himself via manipulation of the Tron disk he suddenly has (Tron Legacy style, and everyone now seems to have them in an unexpected costume change.)

The disk is green, if that matters, and sucks a lot of energy in as well which Bruce uses to apparently kill Satan and also to heal others.  The energy incinerates him and he's presumably sent to hell on account of all the sin he sucked in.

The movie ends with, first, an incredibly happy "everybody lives" thing.  Everyone is healed (remember, this building is a hospital sometimes) and all evil is stripped away.  The police force becomes the least corrupt one ever, the criminals can rejoin society.

After the credits we see Bruce walk into the police station and tap the police chief on the shoulder, who turns around and is unsurprised, saying he had a feeling that Bruce was just doing a test run.

Movie ends with audience wondering what you would possibly be so big that summoning and doublecrossing Satan would be the test run.

Next movie is a lot more gender balanced and has a semi-Tron aesthetic, but also a gritty gothic one and free running and whatnot.  At this point Bruce is practically legend amoung those who know, given that he was their savior and was damned for their sins.

There's a moral conundrum that follows through the movie, on the one hand that's a serious noble sacrifice, on the other hand by taking all the evil into himself he's evil now.  Can he be redeemed?  How high a priority should that be?

Also, I'm not sure how the not-quite-dead Lucifer-Satan got Iron Man and Captain America's souls, but it does leave most of the evil side male and most of the good side original characters who are female.  Some of them the pretty angels from that book I never read (The Many Waters?) who are up for redemption.  Or their kids, or something.

As well as a mortal person of Asian decent and someone who will increasingly become a) appearing like Eliza Dushku b) retroactively the  main character of the trilogy even though she wasn't in the first movie when that part of the dream happened.  Plus Rookie cop, who apparently has a fiance now and a best friend who looks like a more slobish version of Al from Sahara.

Al and one of the female characters will randomly get superpowers from Satan for no apparent reason (no strings attached) and just goof off with them in a complete non-sequetur.

Don't remember much else from the movie except that defeating Lucifer involves letting Lucifer think he tricked someone else into getting into the elevator with him.  When in fact that person was just trying to get Lucifer into the elevator counting on Bruce to doublecross him.  Cord is cut, breaks don't engage.  Lucifer squished (his powers are limited.)

Third movie entirely revolves around Eliza Dushku character, and is apparently by Joss Whedon and Fred Clark in his review talks about the moment he finally understood that all Joss projects were working toward this point making an argument that I think was stolen in spirit from an introduction to Sophocles I read once, but makes reference to various flaws in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And I think at that point the dream ended.


  1. The amount of human interaction people want varies - person to person, day to day.

    The amount that would be best for them... also varies.

    I haven't dealt with many people with severe depression, but I've done a certain amount of hospital visiting, and for me the core to getting that right is to have stuff to talk about which isn't hospital-related. I think that holding out a hand to depressed people, while not crashing over their boundaries, may be similar: here's an interesting thing, feel like talking about it? No, fair enough, I'll be around.

  2. On reflection, I think that that the reason the long incoherent dream manifested itself as a movie (which is not normal for me) was because I was basically never fully asleep while it was going on, which meant that whatever action might take place in the dream, I was still aware to varying degrees that I was in fact lying down not doing much of anything.

    The information from the awake side was: you're not involved in any of this, you're not even moving that much. The information from the dream side was: look at all this stuff going on. Perfectly dream-logical way to put the two together: It's a movie. You're watching it.


    Also left out from the extremely long footnote was that Al wanted to research speeches for his friend's wedding but was shocked and horrified when people suggested that he go to the library. And the woman who could fight off demons with the deadly weapon that was... a hastily modified venetian blinds.


    I've been told that there's nothing more boring than another person's dream, but I don't remember who by.