Things aren’t good. They are a little better than last time I had anything to say here, in that I don’t spend at least 30 minutes a day crying and I am no longer even trying to pay any of my bills except the utility and insurance, but they are not good and I am really not ok. Thing is, I’ve been saying that for over a year now I guess. I don’t remember what it’s like to feel like I have a future. But I am so incredibly fucking tired of hearing my own self whine that I just don’t see the point in talking about it. I’m such a broken record. And that seems like all I can talk about when anybody asks what’s going on or when I sit down to write anything.

Not that I”ve been writing anything. I don’t even know who I am anymore (except this person that doesn’t seem like me has been me for so long now that I guess that’s who I am). I don’t know what I”m doing here. I have completely lost the plot. The VA helped with some but not all of my meds and the wellbutrin lets me fake it, but does nothing for anxiety, so my coping mechanisms are perhaps not the healthiest, but the point is that I can fake it reasonably well. I can get up in the mornings and get through the day and hold it together and work (or at least I thought I could – it’s come to my attention that perhaps I haven’t been faking it as well as thought). But in general I can hold it together all day until I’m alone in the kitchen at night, crying with the water running (that’s where all of the best drama, the most poignant conversations, the most memorable confrontations, and the most epic breakdowns have always happened – in the kitchen. I suspect it’s family tradition, on my mom’s side, the miniature postprandial kitchen breakdown). I get it together enough to get back to work for the second shift, so to speak, and I have such severe sleep deprivation that insomnia is not generally a problem – I fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow, and I think I’m too exhausted to dream. If I do, I don’t remember anything (though I’ve been told I’ve reverted to some sleeping issues that make me at best annoying and sometimes even a little dangerous to sleep *near* – issues that don’t bode well for my mental health if what I’m hearing is accurate). But overall, I am several good, solid steps further away from the precipice than I was in, say, January, by nearly any available metrics. I”m not sure that’s much of a standard, though.

I’ve been saying “something’s gotta give” for over a year now. The only thing giving seems to be me. I am back in the town where I grew up, where many old friends plus my family are, at the school where I finished two degrees, with colleagues I genuinely like. I even moved back at the same time that my also-ABD friend J did – my “writing/research soul mate” who has somehow always been able to give me perspective when I can’t find it on my own – and furthermore, in theory I am actually in some sort of situation that bears several points of resemblance to what people call “a relationship” (though God knows there are plenty of points in which it doesn’t – probably because I’m in it and I don’t seem to know *how* to be in a relationship, having never managed it successfully before, and when things aren’t going well somewhere else, my love life seems to be the only thing I have any control over, and the only way I can be sure there won’t be any surprises is if I sabotage it and drive the other person to give up).  But I don’t have time for them or my family or writing or sleeping or a social life or what used to be my interests or any of it. So I guess that’s why I feel as alone as I have ever been in my life, despite being surrounded (potentially, theoretically) by supportive people. I don’t even know how to talk to them. I don’t feel like we’re the same species. I feel like their lives would be neater and easier without me in them because my stupid broken brain and incessant “doom mode” are so very tiring and old, and my bullshit is contagious and messy and leaks around the edges despite my efforts at keeping it to myself. It gets all over everything and ruins it, and to no good end – nothing positive comes of it – so there’s no point. So it’s bad enough that there is no return at all on their investment in me, that the effort is wasted – it can actually make things worse other people who stand too close.

Besides, I wouldn’t be able to identify what I need even if I didn’t think I should just stay away from other people, even if I could ask for help. There’s nothing anybody can do.

The only thing more horrible than being afraid that you are completely alone – that there is absolutely nobody and nothing to help you – is realizing that people will help, they will help a lot, they will do everything they can think of and the best they know how to do, and they’ll keep trying, and it won’t make any difference because nothing changes: you will only ever be a disappointment. When that realization hits, you can’t even accept any more helpful gestures or attempts to give you a hand up. It starts to feel utterly selfish, perhaps even fraudulent, and you can’t bear the additional weight of one more debt to one more person that you will never, ever be able to repay. How much water can you take from someone else in the desert heat when you know you aren’t going to make it out anyway?

And I have zero confidence that I’m going to make it out. Thanks to Wellbutrin, I can function anyway, even though I feel like an alien wearing a person-shaped coat and even though I feel like every surface is scar tissue. I can have all of this around me and inside my head and I can shake it off enough to focus on something else and keep doing what must be done as long as there are other people depending on me for something. I am not actually in agony on a daily basis anymore, not like I was in October, or December, or even February. Sometime in February — over the space of a couple of days, actually, and they were not special or unusual days, so the timing is a mystery to me — but somewhere in there a switch flipped and it’s like somebody turned the volume down, or put a protective layer between me and the broken glass. I feel a whole lot less now. In fact, I have to try pretty hard sometimes to feel much of anything besides this sort of muted, wounded incredulousness that alternates with disgust and sadness. But if there’s some medication to actually change anything, some treatment that will stop this goddamned merry go round, then I haven’t found it. And so I’m riding the merry go round but I’m not actually sure why. I’m not actually sure why I’m still doing this, why it matters that I can fake it. If I have to do this much faking for this long, isn’t that as clear a signal as can be sent that whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, or could be even competent at doing, whatever the options for a path to be on or a plan to pursue, this is not it? There’s a lot I felt I could endure when I thought there was some kind of payoff somewhere. There was a good bit to be said for enduring just for the sake of having something to offer others when I still thought I had something to offer. But how incredibly different things look now.