Guess, I’ve arrived at a point of bitterness. Brought on by frustration, feelings of solitude often engulfing me and being worn out from being this David pitched against a whole family of Goliath’s, who are all determined to just squeeze me into a pulp a.k.a. Mr. N. vs. the system. Rage as well. From feeling overpowered, outnumbered, cheated on and deceived. A short while ago, I had watched Ed Gavagan’s story a few times, brought to my attention through a dear friend, who’s been suffering from often times debilitating depression and whom I have been in touch with for a few years now. The minute I watched Ed and noticed, how he became repeatedly overwhelmed with emotion during his “The Moth” monolog, I instantly knew that he had been through what I have been going through for all my life – all my life! I also realized that he’s expressing feelings I have been oppressing, dissociating from and bottling up forever as one way of coping with an otherwise impossible situation. If you follow Ed and if you are an empathetic person at all – being here and reading this already tells me that you are! -, then you might get an idea of the insanity of having to cope with symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD forever – and doing so alone for the longer part of the journey and with the bulk of it all happening at a time when crucial periods of personal development should have taken place. There are several very poignant, gripping moments in Ed’s tale that I can soooo relate to. The first one is when he talks about his then girl friend, who apparently was the first person who would ever listen to what he was actually going through in his attempts to process the emotional outcomes of a near lethal knife attack in New York City, when everybody else had boilerplate answers for him. On a side note: More recently I seem to have identified that since my teens and going forward I must have developed the questionable coping skill of instead giving to others what I was in dire need of myself, which was being listened to, taken seriously and finding someone, who would come to my corner and help me out of the shadows. Earlier in my life, this never happened and so I guess I had shut down and built this wall around me very early in life. It wasn’t until 2007, when I simply didn’t have the energy to keep the wall in place any longer by pretending to be “tough” or something. That’s when it began to dawn on me that I needed to tear that wall of “protection” down, if I ever wanted to really get in touch with the world. Or rather: That wall had stopped working out for me anyway, it no longer seemed to offer what protection I had sought to have from it. So I was cornered into this place of needing to find a different approach.
I have been on that journey since then, but if I made any progress there, I wouldn’t even be able to tell, because I only get an opportunity once in a blue moon to go out into the real world and socialize and thus ‘try myself out’ among real people. It just doesn’t happen much any longer for reasons of not having enough money to do so and for the system not giving me enough rope to make additional money, even if I managed to find part time employment or land a small project here and there. There is systematic singling out and oppression of the unemployed and disabled going on in my country. It’s unconstitutional, but those who aren’t affected don’t want to hear about it and those affected aren’t too well organized in making a change.
As I’m writing this, these two bits from Ed’s – The Moth – speech stand out for me today:
“But I felt like I was actually broken. That… things could happen in your life that … would just break a man. And that … not only you wouldn’t be stronger, but you would never ever again have what you had before. And I felt like things had slipped that I would never be able to recover.”
And then later: “And in that moment I realized, I had become more like the kids that stabbed me. I’ve lost who I was before.”
I guess, I had been under the impression for those past years that I’d be able to restore that person, whom I was “meant” to be in the first place. I had sooo meant to find that person, collect all the shattered pieces, one by one and put them back together in a meticulous process of recovery from a devastating blow that had happened so early in my life that I never even knew what had hit me until some 45 years later. And now I’m no longer sure whether this – i.e. looking for the genuine me – was a good idea to begin with. In other words, I get the feeling that not only haven’t I been able to find that lost person in me, but rather that I seem to have been better off not knowing what had been wrong in the first place and just gone about coping as best as I was able to find out – much along the lines of Ed’s attempts of simply going back to work, but then breaking down on the job time and time again. And this is exactly what kept happening to me over the past 25+ years: I’d find myself in a position of getting bullied away or singled out or openly attacked and hated upon – for being slightly different and unable to just be happy-go-lucky like your regular John Doe (it’s my strongest longing to this day to just be simpler, easy going, even shallow maybe – I wouldn’t mind that as long as I’d blend in). Society has an infallable way of singling out those, who don’t fit 100%. It reminds me of that part in the movie The Beach, when those two Scandinavian fishermen both get fatally attacked by sharks when fishing in the lagoon and get hurt so bad that the deserted community aren’t able to save them. So they put them out of sight in order to not have to watch their dying. It might sound melodramatic to some, but I guess, somewhere this is what it’s been feeling like for me for my entire adult life. I felt disconnected and resented, distrustfully sized up at the very least. And not only have I been feeling this way, I now am actually shoved out of sight by how the system works and practically become a ghost, whose only way of socializing happens via the internet. That’s no way to be, that’s not a life. It’s survival at best. I take it that most old people will be in that place as well and that tells you something about how our societies treat those who aren’t 100% productive any longer. They’re just no good any more and the system is designed in a way to remove them from sight and get rid of them. I am saying this not from meaning to be gloomy, but simply from observing what’s happening to me and people in a similar position. It’s all real and it’s dystopian.
I guess much of my confusion and having lost perspective is from actually not knowing, what I thought I was coming back to. It seems there is nothing to come back to – or not for me anyway. I feel… well… broken for good. Like this:
“And the feeling was that I was slipping down into some place, where I was gonna… I was going down a road where I was gonna meet the guys who were my attackers. And I was gonna be in hell. Because I would go there alone, like… that that path was just … a bitterness and there was no way out. And at the same time for the first time as I was sitting there thinking about these feelings about what was happening to me I realized I can never get back to where I was.”
Problem is… I don’t think I like whom I have become after losing the person I had never really fully been in the first place. And the other problem is … that I don’t think I will work out as the guy I have become from all the coping I had to find out about for myself. Unfortunately, I guess I’m saying that I have slipped into that dark place, which Ed was lucky to avoid slipping all the way down to. And I just have run out of clues as to how to get away from this place without hitting other walls. I really seem to have exhausted all my options, I’m afraid. Now what? It looks as if I had no other realistic option but to just fold. I just don’t have a clue any longer.