Behind the Mask
Honestly, I didn’t realize that enlisting the help of a therapist was going to be more work for me. But work it was. I was tasked with the problem of helping myself. Figuring out what went wrong.
The assignment almost didn’t compute. Why should I be diagnosing myself? Wasn’t I paying someone else to fix me? He should just do his job and make me all better.
But after a couple of days, I realized the sense in it. Only I could determine what was at the root of my discontent. Of course.
Once I reached this point of recognition and started poking around my feelings more aggressively, it all spilled out.
I haven’t done anything with my life. And I’m too old to do much else. I’ve done what I needed to do, no more, no less. I haven’t reached for anything other than becoming financially stable. I’m a goddamned coward.
A long time ago I thought maybe I’d be something special. Maybe I’d create something that made other people happy. But I’m not. Just another aging drone in IT/Software Engineering.
And I don’t know how to transition from my current life to the next one. I know I don’t have to work anymore, but I haven’t done anything to create the new reality.
The logistics are fuzzy. Sure, I’m worth a lot, but I don’t know how to convert my current asset sheet into income that I can live on.
And even if I figure out how to do that, I just don’t know what comes next. Sometimes I think it’d be easier just to sleepwalk through the next twenty or thirty years, working, doing what everyone else is doing, and just saying fuck it to this whole dream.
I can just retire at 65, when it’s not a surprise for anyone. When my story has already been written. When expectations for the rest of my existence are low, and nobody — including me — gives a flying fuck about what the hell I’m doing.
Then I can just retire and wait to die, like normal people do.
Looking back, it seems as though I was possessed by a stranger. It’s all very bleak and shitty and unlike me. I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m an optimist, exactly, but neither am I a total cynic — I’m somewhere in the middle, and consider myself to be a generally happy person. Through good days and bad days, regular ‘ol me tries to crack jokes and support the people around me to the best of my ability. I do not normally think like this.
So: I wish I could mitigate or omit these thoughts, but the absolute truth is that this is the kind of horrific garbage that was going through my head. Because when you’re depressed, you’re not yourself. Strange stuff happens when your brain’s wiring gets crisscrossed.
And above everything else, I finally accepted that that’s what I really was, beyond any shadow of a doubt.