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Keith Chambers

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(Speak it)

Three point five day lease [12 Oct 2014|10:42am]
Prelude to a move

The whole moving situation last year started about a month or so early as I was trying to find a place to live with a big handicap being I did not have a car. Another big handicap was I worked late at night so I had to find a way to work every night. The bus was very helpful when I lived over with Mykul but me finding a bus that ran from a living place to the workplace seemed unlikely. I could hope for it to happen, anyway. An even larger handicap I had was I was in direct competition with a bunch of students trying to find a room. Despite my indifference towards the matter of school, because I was searching for a room with housemates that put me directly in the pool of people trying to get a place, and that pool was crowded, let me tell you. There was a place in the tweed twenty neighborhood that had some potential but it was a hard journey to work, therefore it was disqualified. Cool dude in the place, all he wanted was a clean, nonsmoking, honest roommate. There were a couple funky houses, including one that had a piece of art that was just vehicle coffee holders spray painted black. There was the blueberry mansion, which was hard to find.

And then somewhere down the line I met up with this dude. I think his name was Chris Fox. He had an infant child named Aries that I thought he said"wouldn't be with me except for once every two weeks." My initial contact with Chris I believe was a brief phone call where I asked for him and he said that wasn't his number. Weird. I think he called back a couple hours later saying it was, and here's a house to check out. PLEASE.NOTE this guy did not work nights, I did. So he would call me to look at a house at any moment's notice whether I was rested or not. Also his car was temperamental, so there would be a couple days when I met him somewhere having bussed there and... No Chris. That should have been a clue but I didn't take it as such and we kept looking around for houses with an indeterminate number of people getting ready to move in. I remember he was looking at houses with "three to four bedrooms" so my assumption was 4-6 people. The search for a place continued - i was looking at both a place for myself and a place with Chris, so I was leading this wild ass double house search that consumed tons and tons and tons of August 2013. I was burning Craigslist UP looking for a place to live.The absolute best memory I have of a place I looked at was when I went to go and check this place out on Humboldt and Iron, living with one other person. The room felt small but it was only with another person and we were in a house, I could handle that. Plus she was cute! So I went and her older sister was doing interviews and she said something like "we've done about fifteen of these with four more to go". So I was, I essence, a low likely candidate for that cute house. I interviewed, they said they'd let me know either way (which they didn't) and I was on my way back home to hopefully get some sleep. I know that my sleep schedule was excruciatingly bad this month - i stayed up for two straight days finalizing everything.We are almost to that point of the story!

I checked this place out with Chris, his girlfriend, and his kid. I immediately had doubts, for the record, because it seemed cramped for the three people that were living there. Also there were two bathrooms which wasn't a bad thing, also there was a mold problem in the garage which meant we weren't going to use that for storage until the landlord got that fixed. There were four bedrooms, one ex being used as a closet because it was kind of small. I wasn't keen on it but signed my application anyway. Chris was trying to do the negotiating and act as the banker for this operation as the owner of the domicile we were potentially about to move into is or was the owner of the Slo Pitch. So instead of the group, whom I had met in separate encounters but never as a whole, meeting with the owner of the pitch about the property, Chris volunteered himself as tribute, as banker, and as our mouthpiece in case anything went wrong in the house. I thought that would be great and work itself out.

Needless to say that was the house we got and I was all excited as the long search for a place was over and I could concentrate on cleanup of Pomeroy court and relocation to F Street. That was a bad mess in itself - the moving out of things was awful, the cats were displaced,and... Well, it was just rushed and hurried. Complicating matters further was me, as I thought all we would need was just first months rent. So that's what I had to pay Chris with. He responded "well that's retarded, you should have the first months rent and security deposit, that's what everyone else has because we are moving out."By this time my brain had been mobbed of its critical thinking abilities because I had been up for what probably was 44 straight hours, so I made a couple phone calls in an emotional state. Yeah I cried on the phone, it wasn't pretty. Thankfully my mom came to the rescue in this time of monetary hardship. She even helped beyond what was needed, which was great beyond belief. I am still uneasy about this, soon I will tell you why. So I got the money squared away, paid Chris in cash, and I thought that I was done with everything. Except I still had the mail key and apartment key to Pomeroy. So I was driven back there to drop the stuff off. While there the landlord and maintenance guy said goodbye, as well as "you guys were some of our favorite tenants." Awe shucks, thank you. So all my stuff was in temporary storage in my aunt and uncles garage, and I was about to be there for the weekend as well, waiting for Sunday when I could move stuff into the house on F.

Saturday came around, that was a rest day and potentially a move in day. That potential never came about. It would be the last day of comfortable living I would have for a month or so but I didn't know that as I was just concerned with sleeping and getting everything in order for another move. It was kind of amazing that all my stuff fit into the back of one van and one pickup truck - that is how little I was living with at the time. It hasn't really changed. I went to church and went to dinner with my aunt and uncle. It was great. And then the next day happened.

DAY ONE

Sunday came and we got the call to move stuff. The van was the only option we had to move things so we took two trips. The first trip involved little assembly of stuff, it was just drop and go. That is what my uncle and I did as well as getting a copy of the house key made. Chris was also moving stuff and directing things that first time around but him and my uncle talked a bit and my uncle got a feel for this Chris fellow.Second trip - it gets made, we drop the stuff off, and try to set up the air mattress in the room. Here comes problems. Problem one was the room I was in was the room the three girls used as a closet. The Queen sized mattress fit in lengthwise against a wall, but only barely, as there were embedded shelves against one wall, which was...? A feature? Am improvisation? It certainly was something, I just have no idea what it was. It made a pretty small room 7x10. That's right, I was in the room closest to F Street and closest to Whatcom Middle School and it was the seventy square foot former closet. I started to feel shitty about this considering I would be in there for a year and I was still working nights. I was working THAT night, also. My uncle said as we finished the second load that he had a bad feeling about this. That statement contributed to mine as well.Things only got worse, as after I had worked ninety minutes arranging things, Chris went "mind if I smoke?" Uhm, no, but don't make the entire house smell like it because that stuff gives me anxiety because the last time I used weed I fell off a balcony and lost a chance to get close to the coolest girl I knew at the time. So it was established that Chris smoked but he would try to smoke only outside EVEN THOUGH THE LEASE SAID "no smoking inside the house." So that was a thing to be concerned with. By the way here was the roster of housemates and the rent implications.

RENT -1600/MONTH
Chris,Stephanie (Girlfriend of Chris) and Aries (Child of Chris) - ONE ROOM, 600/MONTH
Me - single Keith - ONE CLOSET, 400/MONTH.
Girl/girl couple whose names I forget - ONE ROOM, 600/MONTH.

There was a fourth bedroom in this house. You know who slept in it that first night? Baby Aries. At least I thought so because I left shortly after one of the girls involved in the girl couple came to the house in tears because apparently, the night before, she had been popped for a DUI. Can't make this stuff up. Why would you drink heavily the night before you moved? Why didn't I? That was a thing I should have done.Instead I went to Jacson's 30th birthday at Boundary Bay and avoided the emotional fallout that I thought would occur. After boundary I went to work. After work I walked home because no bus on labor day. My pathway home took me past the Humboldt house I applied for and really wanted to live in to a place to purchase toilet paper because my bathroom didn't have any. It's a good thing I did because I got home and in my bathroom there was a pile of baby crap on the floor.Welcome back home after a hard night's work. This ended day one of the lease.

DAY TWO

I honestly don't remember too much from this day except for a couple important details. First one was that the utilities were on but no Internet, so I lived vicariously through my mobile Internet. Second one was that it was American labor day but I had to work that night. Third one was the really important one.

I was trying to get some sleep before work when all of a sudden I hear a lot of moving and rustling about. I was thinking "hey, aren't we supposed to be done here" and I open up the door, and here is this other guy with his girlfriend, moving on in, into the empty room that baby Aries had occupied the night before. I realized at that point that I had been used and immediately went into shut down mode,where my anxiety high tails it and I don't want to talk to or hear from anybody. At all. I mean this other guy was moving in for the school quarter rent free and had a better room than me. For free. I wasn't impressed by this situation, in fact I was disturbed to the point where I called into work and told them there was no way I could come in that night. I tried to play it off and be cool, telling the roommates "yeah, I called into work, now I can hang" but the reality was that I hung out in that room for six minutes,imagining the lease I signed bursting into flames, catching the house on fire and leaving me with nothing.

The lease itself was a piece of work. In it, it detailed who was permitted to live in the house and what substances were to be in that house as well. A couple of things about that lease - Firstly it detailed that there was to be no smoking inside the house. Second, it detailed that there were to be only the tenants on the lease living there long term. Third, no pets. Amazingly there was some other detail that was important to note here but I have already forgotten it because time washes away a lot of bad things, one of these bad things was a significant detail of why I moved. Tragic. So these three things in the lease - the people on the lease, the smoking, and the pet - these were or were going to be violated.

I keep mentioning a pet. One of the girls in the girl/girl couple brought her cat along. During the work day the cat would be in her room with the door closed. Sorry cat, this house and living situation was made terrible by humans, you probably think you did something bad in your life but you're the only one that gets out of this story unscathed.

Oh yes -when I woke up the next afternoon not only was it

DAY THREE

but it also reeked of cheap weed. So much for only smoking outside. I saw, on either this day or the day before, one of my roommates coming home from work, throwing her work apron off, reaching for her glass pipe,and getting ready to light it up up up (sorry, that annoying song is in my head, stuck there waiting for a trigger to set it free. This happened to be the trigger). Cool, person in a tiny room next to my tiny room. I had already had my emotional release about the house the night prior so now my brain was in "deal with it" mode.

TANGENT -That day I went to soccer practice - second week of tryouts. I had not realized until this day there was a girl on the team named Adele- yeah, just like the ultra famous singer. So it was this day that the head coach and myself would have a little fun with that, trying to shout out Adele song titles in our coaching instruction. So we got Rollin' in the Deep, Turning Tables, and chasing pavement references in, and then I won the day, amazingly, mercifully, with this reference - "Adele, Someone Like You should have no trouble controlling the ball!" This stopped practice and sent the head coach into a laughing fit so hard that he fell over and couldn't continue for about a minute. See? There's something positive about this period of time.

Back to the 3.5 day lease. After soccer practice I made my way back to the house and started leveling with myself about the situation I had gotten myself into. I had a conversation with Chris' amazingly understanding girlfriend and tried to take positive vibes from that.My mom checked in with me in Facebook to see how I was holding up and discovered I lived with a bunch of potheads. Awesome. I was prepared to just deal with it and not restart the moving fiasco. Somehow I would make it work. Ironically I was on my way to work when I got an email that asked if I was still interested in a previous house I had visited but came up short on. I made a call to my mom and her boyfriend, and this is where it gets weird. My mom's boyfriend was in constant contact with his lawyer friend who was on vacation on a sailboat, answering questions about lease laws. It was perfectly clear, however, that I would have to get out of there for any hope of survival. I said "well if the lease is still there i could scan it and email it to you." All I had to do was hope the lease was still on a bookshelf in the living room and the rest of the house wouldn't be up until ten anyways so nobody would know. I had an escape plan set for the next day, I just didn't know what time it would happen at or where I was going to escape to in the long term. So the unknown looked far better than the known for maybe the first time in my life.

I got home after a long night's work and there was the lease, in plain sight, on top of a bookshelf I had brought into the house but not into my room because there wasn't any room in this room. I scanned the lease into my computer (I still have it, thanks for the memories), e-mailed it over to my mom's boyfriend, and... went to bed. I woke up a few short hours later to a phone call saying it was all going down today – the move and relocation. I got that message as I was going to help out the soccer team, so I went to the soccer practice, said hello, and then was on my way back to the house for the last evening. Along the way I paid back a debt my friend had graciously given to me. He later stated he forgot about it, but I didn't, and that's all that counts. So score one for me at that moment.

I got home again and started re-packing everything into boxes and trying to get everything I owned back in moveable condition. I really didn't want to talk to anybody for the remainder of the day, but I chose to talk with Chris, who was home at this time (at every time,it seemed) while his live-in girlfriend was at work. I told him I was moving out that day. He asked if it was related to the smoking, I said “yeah man” and did not clue him in to the rest of the story of me scanning a lease, a lawyer checking it out, and all that going down. So I went and casually repacked my stuff by myself, trying to make a quick escape from the terrors of that damn place on F Street. My mom's boyfriend had looked the information over and was going to try and talk to Chris about it. That was going to be awkward, but more awkward was that Chris looked at me in this conversation and said, “You are just so... random...” Oh, cool deal, that's the best you can do, huh? That was, indeed, the best he could do. Long story short I moved out, the roommates did find someone else to move in, and I got my deposit and some of the rent money back. I think I was eventually out $300 from the whole deal after a flurry of e-mails, documents being delivered, my Mom getting curse words lobbed her way (from Chris of all people) and some other house I lived at not working out. At all. I told one of my soccer players there's a lot of things I would have rather bought with the $300, she said "CANDY" and I just nodded my head. Yes, candy, that's it.

By the way here's what the money my mother graciously donated to me went to: part of it went to F Street, part of it went to paying a friend back, another part of it went towards rent for the next place I lived at, which also was a huge tragedy of a place to live in. So, sorry about that, Mom, but I had no idea that everything would be such a bad decision on my part.

Another by the way – that other house that opened up late? Turns out before I could get there to sign an application someone else did so I got there and was already second in line. AFTER MOVING OUT JUST FOR THAT SECOND PLACE. Nothing worked for me for two months, that was pretty frustrating.

Anyway,that's the story of the three and a half day lease. It took me a year to write this out and three writing sessions to hash it out. I still feel bad that I got suckered into this but hopefully this prevents other people from being suckered.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Money stuff. [01 Jun 2014|11:48pm]
Here we go, here we fucking go.

I’ve always had anxieties over money since I moved out in 2004. Mainly about the feeling of not having any when some is immediately needed. My emotions start to go into survival mode, like how can I do this until this happens, how can I possibly get through this, who can I ask for money and so on and so forth. Things from there get weird.

I don’t ever want to ask for money from somebody unless things get desperate. I don’t want people to give me money and then me not be able to pay them back -- I have been on the other end of that and quite frankly it is a bad end of the coin to be on. I don’t want to make people feel like I’ve felt so I just try to avoid asking for money altogether because of the fear that I will fail at paying the person back without any regard for likelihood of paying someone back.

But then we get into the situation where we are now, where I made a severe budgeting error, and… well, shit.

This is all part of the challenge. This is a part of the challenge of living. This is beyond the basic stuff, this is the advanced, non-mandatory but beneficial stuff I wish I had spent a little more time on before I was like “Hey I am going to try and move out.” I’m pretty much learning this as I go, and I feel like everyone else… EVERYBODY… has figured this shit out.

This is one of those areas in my life where I have major anxieties over. I don’t like to confront it. I get visibly irritated when it comes up in real life. But sometimes I just have to talk about it, talk it through. I wish I was more comfortable talking about this subject but I guess that won’t happen for a while. If you’re talking to me about this I might cry but one thing I have learned through a year of therapy is that I can talk through tears pretty solidly.

Another part of the challenge is the budget. Gotta hit all the targets at work to make the budget go. Not a lot of wiggle room in the budget but that’s because I am trying to maintain a standard of living and pay off a lot of debts to ease anxiety. I have lived in some pretty shitty places in the last calendar year (Chris house, “dark” house as I refer to it in therapy) and I finally found this place I am at now -- a place that is really nice and one I have signed a lease to stay at for a while. Now I just have to keep the rent paid. Easy if done properly, hard if I let myself slip.

I am trying to relearn and re-discipline myself as far as money goes… and it’s a bitch sometimes. But I have to keep trying and trying HARD to make this thing work.

I wish money didn’t drive me the wrong way up the crazy tree. But that’s how it goes.

Yeah, it’s true, money issues have contributed to my suicidality. I was ready to exit stage right at my lowest most confusing point. That’s when I asked someone for a large sum of money and we talked about developing a plan through the tears. I got some help and have been paying that back regularly, I developed a plan of attack, I got some help elsewhere… then a series of unfortunate tenements occurred, that was distracting and bad for everyone. Bad for me mostly -- I had to live in the places people were talking mad crap about. I don’t think anyone ever saw too much of the Chris house but I can describe it in one word: slum. But, so far, everything I have heard about this place are good things and I intend on keeping that going every month in a timely manner.

I don’t know. Here it is, the elephant in the room, the one thing that drives me either to work really hard or to get really emotional. I think money is really hard to get because I have no built in safety net, make a set amount of money each hour, and work REALLY hard for the money. I know what I make in a year and also have a pretty keen eye on how much money my checkered past is still costing me. I just wish… I just wish I could get a break, or some leverage, or some more relief without running the risk of breaking someone’s belief in me. (I think my one opportunity for that came and went in the series of unfortunate tenements, when I was gifted a large sum of money and then spent it on the Chris house and the deposit for the dark house. Money I will never see again! You know what I would have rather spent that on? “Candy,” as one of my soccer players helpfully answered for me at one time.)

You know why this is so disconnected? Because that’s how my brain handles it -- not very well. I am trying to figure it out though, that might be a long, long series of exercises. I just wish it didn’t put me on full tilt so often.

--Keith

(2 speeches | Speak it)

Quantifying depression [01 Jan 2014|08:13pm]
Depression, to me, feels a lot like...

It feels like being trapped in a mile long maze made of twenty-foot-high walls and ridiculous twists and turns.
It feels cold. Really, really cold.
It feels like my head is being compressed and trying to get away from my body.
It feels very uncomfortable but also something that nobody can help me with, sort of like a brain cramp.
It shuts me down and makes me very uncertain.
It makes me feel alone in a full house and amazingly alone in an empty house.
It makes breathing something to concentrate on instead of second nature.
It hurts. Every damn second hurts.

I want to beat you down this year, depression.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Year in reflection [30 Dec 2013|07:45pm]
This is long and full of emotion. It’s probably as hard for you to read as it was for me to write.

2013 was the year I finally let everyone know that a lot of things in my life were very wrong. That didn’t work as planned because instead of those problems withering away they just continued to grow, fester, and develop themselves as gigantic issues. There were some definite missteps I made this year -- I also learned to call out for help when things were at their darkest. In between there were some moments that in any other year would have been classified as great; their only problem was they happened this year in between things I thought were pretty negative deals, things that were thought as such because of heightened anxiety and depression.

The hardest thing I did this year was simply letting people know something was really wrong. Those feelings and confessions were pretty meaningful for me to write though the basis of it was simple: Get home from work at an hour in which most people are getting ready to go to work and write every meaningful thing I could before falling asleep. It took a couple of hours to do and the real world response was almost immediate -- that night at the basketball game I was asked about it, got a message left for me about it, and almost cried in front of a very attractive girl because of it. (Oh yeah the team almost lost but somehow won that night, too.) I think writing that note proved there was something seriously wrong with me to everyone and thus began my year of being totally, painfully honest with myself. It was a painful step towards getting myself some professional help, which happened later that month, actually. Before I started talking it over with my therapist, I had a talk with my brother about lots of stuff as he held his then newborn second child close to him. I’ll never forget that talk, as I basically laid out a bunch of issues I had, whether they were real or perceived. That evening concluded right before I went to take a nap before work.

There were a couple of points in bold that I wanted to re-address here:

My biggest fear is that I am letting everyone down. The more I think about it… the more it hurts. But here’s the reality. Yes, I have made mistakes in the education part of my life. Yes, I have debts. But I am also hacking through the brush of uncertainty and trying my damndest to keep working and keep making money. I am also trying to make smarter decisions with my money, a practice that takes a lot of time and a lot of patience.

I am afraid I am hurting those closest to me. I haven’t done anything this year but bottom out emotionally. I think I’ve done more self harm to myself but have had a lot of people become emotionally concerned about me. I don’t really know how to handle this one except that I now know the long arm of social media more than I ever have. It is one long arm.

I sincerely want to apologize to anyone I have hurt by my actions. Yup, still do.

As ashamed as I am of my debts, I am more ashamed to ask for help. Finally bit the bullet on that and got some help and I think that the people that stepped forward to help got me out of some tough tough stuff. So thank you. Again.

I started seeking professional help in February. The first couple sessions were expensive because I had not yet met my deductible for the calendar year. (There’s a nightmarish term -- one that will be way more annoying as I go through life. Not calendar year, but deductible as it relates to health insurance premiums.) I remember the therapy sessions as being kind of hit or miss early, but once he got some information about me we started having some serious deep conversations. I opened up to my therapist in a way that I never would have thought possible just a couple months prior. I learned right then that it was okay to be emotional and real with people instead of keeping your guard up like a boxer. There were a lot of tears shed in that little room in Fairhaven -- a lot of fears confronted, a bunch on concepts presented to illustrate and make real the demons that were abusing my mind and holding me back. Some still are there. I had a lot of concerns. I still do have concerns -- they are just more obvious and real instead of muddled and hidden.

I have seen my fair share of doctors this year. It has sucked at times but been helpful in others. Of course, the more doctors you see, the more opinions you get. Some of them conflict with each other… that is a challenge to deal with. Who is right on this subject? Who does more than prescribing drugs? Whose advice is the best for the situation? Still trying to figure that one out. I wish there were a simple answer to this.

The first half of the year was tough as nails. Started with naturopathic remedies to depression which didn’t work. Then came the antidepressants, which my doctor prescribed to me as a second effort. That drug got more potent as time went on and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. It seems to calm me down and/or make things not as bad as they could be. One thing I will say about all of this: Pills aren’t magic. They’re science. They’re for specific certain situations. And… yeah, they are a bitch. And yeah, my emotions were stronger than the pills.

I visited the hospital twice in 2013. Missed seven plus weeks of work at Fred Meyer because of it. Life was incredibly tough for me this year. I think the low point was when a doctor asked me how I was feeling and I told him point blank “I don’t care if I live or die.” That is a direct quote. It was accurate. It was as dark and terrible that day as it sounds today. There were some incredible moments this summer. There were some bad moments this summer. There were some incredibly bad moments this summer also. I had a lot of conversations that started with or included “I read your stuff on facebook/twitter, what’s going on?” and ended with “If you need anything I/we are here for you.” Here’s one of the quandaries of being me… I will help anyone at any time. Asking for help from someone? That’s when I get kind of weird and uncomfortable because I don’t know how much help I need and I also don’t know how much help people are willing to give. I guess I have to experience it to realize it.

And all of that happened before the moving fiasco.

Where to start? Moved out of the apartment I lived in for a few years with super cool dude Mykul Breeze. Moved in with… this dude named Chris, who turned out to be a huge douche with a newborn and a paucity for weed. That didn’t work out very well for me. Chris wasn’t my first choice, no. There were eight other houses I tried to move into and I settled on THAT ONE. 3.5 day lease. I may never write about that because it was a horrible experience. So I went from a weekend at my aunt and uncle’s house to 3.5 days with Chris BACK to my aunt and uncle’s house. Then… over to “the dark house”. I’ll lift some text from “Forgotten greatness” to get you through this one.

“The house on F Street, thankfully, is a saga that has ended, and none too soon. I have gotten all I need from said house except for airing out the person that got me involved in that and the renter who was defensive about the money… but thankfully I no longer have to worry about what happens there, nor do I need to break down the doorway in order to get my money back. Just a matter of time before some drug bust happens there.

The house I am currently living in? Picture the old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. Replace “children” with “housemates” and yep. First of all I didn’t know that they’d watch television all day with the volume turned up to twelve (Seattle Seahawks 12th man levels of sound) and that they’d watch television all day. It’s like I’m powerless to get in there and ask if I can possibly watch… something. Maybe I should ask, but I don’t really want to watch anything. Nor am I interested in investing money in a television, then further money in monthly cable. I am not going to be whipped soundly, then sent to bed, trust me on this. I had an idea of what I wanted in a roommate situation and the whole “bunch of people in a house” situation occurred twice in a row -- once (illegally) at F Street, now (legally) where I am living now! I can’t believe this would happen twice in a row. It’s like I’m back at an apartment complex where I really have no control of the noises that reverberate around me. Damn man. Damn.”

So if you’re keeping track of this, I went from an apartment to Mykul to my aunt and uncle’s to the Chris House back to my aunt and uncle’s to the Dark House to a couch in my friend’s basement, which despite being a family home full of love and normalcy (and a place I am happy to be at) is still really hard on my back every day. This is only temporary. Then it will be off to somewhere else. Hopefully it will be way less of a fiasco than the entire fall of 2013 house hunt.

I changed jobs. I no longer work at Fred Meyer. I am getting used to procedure and such and stuff at Barlean’s. Maybe someday I will get used to it and have some sense of mastery of it and it will be a better thing but right now it’s just a thing.

I lost a lot of confidence this year and replaced it with fear of the unknown. There have been a lot of moments this year I have felt incapable of handling. Maybe I could have tackled these moments some other year. Nope, they had the fortune (maybe misfortune…) of happening this year under really stressful circumstances. There’s a lot of pain where there used to be apathy or no feeling at all. Looking forward to events has been replaced by just getting through days and hoping I can get through the bad ones with relative ease. I think my personal scale has been recalibrated to give more emphasis on negative events and less emphasis on purely positive ones.

AND YET… here I am. On the precipice of a new year. Still here. Yes, things are bad sometimes. I flip out. I have dark thoughts. I cry. I can’t make things seem right. But I’m still here. I’m trying to make it work every single day. Sometimes things get rough and the long arm of social media reaches out and… gives me a hug and says “It will be okay.” Yes, people accept me, flaws and all. I am a work in progress. I just have to learn to be proud that I am under construction right now.

I could be abandoned. But I don’t think my friends will let that happen. And I’ve made it this far because of you guys. Thank you.

One day I’ll write something fun.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Reset button. [17 Dec 2013|12:00am]
Anyone remember the old 8 and 16 bit video game systems? They could withstand any harm that came their way (pets and drops), they opened up our imaginations, were the source of infinite frustration, and possibly most amazingly of all, some still work today. If yours is broken there’s probably an emulator you can get for not very much money that will allow you to relive the classics.

All of those game systems came with a reset button -- a button you could press to get you out of a tight spot and back to the beginning of the game. Sure some progress may be lost along the way but it gets you back to a safe point. In my current situation I am trying to find a way to tap into that when anxiety hits me hard and from all sides. I know I can’t physically go back to somewhere else but mentally I am trying to find a way to reset myself so I can leave work at work and move on to the next task. It is really tough to do that sometimes.

My mental state can be classified as unstable, go ahead and say that if you want. I guess my level of enjoyment is consistently buffered by my own kind of high expectations I have for myself or my expectation that something bad will soon happen. In my current state of mind (a lot has gone wrong, maybe expectations haven’t been fulfilled, living situations haven’t worked out, big decisions have totally failed or gone the wrong way) that would be hard enough. But work in my new obstacles -- anxiety and depression enter stage right -- and a lot of bad feelings multiply in my little head. Not to mention that depression can hit at any time. It hit a lot last weekend (not the one that just happened, the one that started ten days ago) Those are the moments that I need to hit the reset button -- otherwise bad thoughts get momentum like a snowball rolling down a mountain. And let me tell you, that little snowball can turn into a damn avalanche quickly (metaphorically, of course).

It’s times like those when I start thinking self destructively and start reaching out for help in kind of crappy ways. Uncertain postings on social media websites. “Vaguebook” style posts. Letting a lot of people know I am not okay at the same time and generally forgetting that sometimes people will talk about what they see on the internet, especially if it’s something or someone they care about. I have forgotten the power of the english language, especially when you let people know that there’s a whole lot of bad going on.

To remedy this I have tried setting up a couple of centering points for myself. Just events and memories that have worked out and were all around good things. There are a couple of them… you had to have been in the moment with me to understand why these are so good, warming, and nice. These are important things to think about but they are hard to grasp when you think everything’s falling apart.

A note about everything falling apart… with my current condition, it’s real easy for me to start thinking that everything is falling apart when, in fact, it’s merely something not being right. Yes I do worry a lot about things, but that’s because I have seen some things that I planned out and banked on completely fall apart. Those things are painful to experience and they don’t give me much hope for future events. I have spent 46 consecutive hours in bed because I really don’t want to go anywhere for fear of failure. Another note about everything falling apart is there’s been some moments in my life that I have lived through that I consider unforgivable moments -- things I should have been able to prevent, didn’t, and now I have to “pay for them” for the rest of my waking days.

Forgiveness is tough as nails to do, especially when you are faced with trying to negotiate forgiving yourself. That process for me involves re-opening wounds, going back to the certain point in time in which the event occurred, wondering why things happened the way they did, pointing out little things I could have done differently, and… it usually ends in frustration. I get pretty caught up in the moments leading up to the moment. It is pretty tough to get through that stuff and forgive myself entirely, especially if it’s a self inflicted event that’s haunting me years later. That being said, I need to try and work on doing this no matter how much pain it causes me. This will take a while.

Back to the main point here. I have a lot of fears and bad thoughts in my brain. I go through a day at work and consistently get to thinking about these things because when something goes wrong, I think it’s a byproduct of everything else in my life that is somehow related to that bad thing and has happened to me and affected me negatively. If too many things go wrong then we’re in trouble. So that’s where I need to reach out and hit that damn reset button because if we get too far along in the cycle there’s trouble to be had and bad thoughts become really grim ones.

What it feels like is that I am rolling through all these punches by myself, generally. It is true that we all personalize our own experiences. I just wish that my bad experiences wouldn’t keep creeping into my daily life and throttling me when the chips are down. One important thing to consider is that everyone has bad days. Everyone struggles. Everyone aches a little bit. That being said… I don’t really want to be perceived or seen as weak. I want to be a fighter, someone that presses forward even though there are pitfalls. That also being said, I’m stuck in that hole too, the hole that says “Well, show some emotion, but don’t show too much.” That is tough on me because as far as personal information goes I don’t know what is too much, what isn’t too much, and how people are going to react. I guess being visibly emotional is really risky because your ideals get thrown against a wall of reality and the person who is overcome by said emotions is left to pick up the pieces. Usually someone else helps (or tries to) but the majority of the piece picking up has to be done by that emotional person. (Got that? If you’re emotional, you’ve got to find a way to handle your shit somehow.)

I guess to finish the concept of the reset button and hopefully tie that loose end up I just have to remember that despite everything that’s happened, despite the amount of shit that’s hit the fan, despite a lot of uncertainty, despite loss which we can never get back... there’s been some alright moments in this man’s life. Some moments have taken a while to develop, some are instant moments of gratification, some are kind of good, some are very good. All I have to do is consider the good. It’ll be hard in those tough moments, but it’s worth a shot. And if it doesn’t work, hopefully I can find a way to reset myself and get set for the next challenge.

--Keith

(1 speech | Speak it)

Nobody can title this [01 Dec 2013|12:35am]
I don't really know how to title this. I think of concepts and main points, not... titles. I leave headlines for headline writers.

But I have something that needs to see the light of day, at least for a limited audience.

I may have made a couple of successful moves in my life so far and some meaningful strides so far as far as recent depression is concerned... but there are times when the questions come back, the doubt spreads, the insignificance expands and we're right back at square one, on the verge of tears right before being presented in public.

You know, I have been able to keep my head up in public a lot and retain at least a little sense of being human and social. It hasn't been a flawless act – there are a couple people that see through my facade and ask meaningful questions. Unfortunately for me I brush that stuff off far too often, especially when there's a job to be done. But when the lights are off and the spirit and body are both alone... that's the time of night when I ask myself if I'm a success or failure. About a year or so ago I hammered out a huge manifesto detailing all the ways I think I've failed people. A lot of those things are still going on. The list is shrinking but there are still lots of lingering issues. I concentrate on those and still think I'm just way behind the curve on everything.

Those thoughts snowball. They minimize the greatness of little things that go well for me. They seep into decision making – what if this really meaningful thing doesn't work out like this other thing didn't, this other thing didn't and this other thing didn't?

Ever since the concussion I have been going through this. My head still isn't straightened out – I started a regiment of anti depressants and anti-anxietals I am not ready to stop taking. I took them one recent night and told myself while taking them, “If I don't take these tomorrow's gonna be a bad day.” Uhm, today was pretty uneven emotionally. How bad could it have been without the pills? Actually, don't answer that. I don't have to – I took my stuff. Took my stuff tonight too. At least I can take care of that.

I had a moment that reminded me a lot of what I still lack. This moment was brought to you by imperfect planning. I had a job to work at and failed to give or get any information about how to get home, something I need to organize because I still have no ride. (Hopefully this is remedied by the end of December) So... my only feasible option to get home was to catch a bus part way there and walk the rest of the way in stunning darkness. That walk took about an hour, at which time I thought about a lot of things. Many of them sad and disappointing. Add in the fact I was dodging puddles and oncoming traffic and it was a shockingly humbling situation to find myself in. Yes... there has been positive change. But a lot is still not right.

My thinking defaults to “Oh, still failing” instead of “Long way to go.” I know both are partially true statements. I just don't know how true one is against another.

I wish I hadn't tried to harden my feelings for so long and hide behind vices when times initially got tough because then I would recognize how to best deal with this rush of emotions that have made themselves very visible. I've been given advice to think thoughts out to the end of the scenario but that is kind of sucky sometimes and a lot of the times that I do something like that... it does not end well. I have thought about some really, really bad things. I just don't know how to come out and find a way to deal with these really shitty thoughts or plan out end games to really hard scenarios.

And then I think about one of those really, really bad things: Despite the pain I go through almost daily, what would happen if I were to decide to do something drastic? (Yeah I'm trying to not use the “S” word. Don't want any filters to catch me) I keep thinking during dark moments that the world is ready to move on from me and move towards the next thing. I take myself at what I really am – just one speck of life in a world full of over six billion of them. Everything I've read about how small I am hits me from any angle. I'm just a dude living on a friend's couch. That's about it.

And then I try to make myself think about my contributions to this ball of wax we call Earth. I've done a lot of great things for people. I've made a difference, at least on the surface. I've made people get emotional for the right reasons. Those great things and creations would all of a sudden come to an end. Well, they wouldn't come to an end... someone else could do them. And then I think about the people who I have touched... what would happen to them? That's the great unknown there. What about all the things I do? Again, a great unknown. People have a tendency to dwell on those we've lost. (As much or more than I do, amazingly) I just don't know if I can my soul could be put at ease for negatively affecting people and making them pick up the pieces.

So I press on. It's hard sometimes. There's major decisions that have yet to be made and I have to make them. There's a lot to be done... It will just take a lot of time.

Hopefully my level of patience in rebuilding myself is at saintly levels because there's a lot to be done. Yeah, I am a deeply flawed human. When I have a job to do, though, I'll do it to the best of my ability because I am there for a reason.

I think that's what I have to remember, I am here for a reason.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Get out of my head. [17 Aug 2013|04:21pm]
I'm having one of those days where I just can't get out of my own head. The answers I seek are all looping back towards disappointment. Uncertainty abounds. It's a really hard cycle of emotion to get through. I don't want to talk it through with anyone, either, because why have them temporarily affected by my problems?

It's this month, man, this August, these questions, the situations, the stresses, the emotions, all of this, all of that.

I am pretty close to operating exclusively out of fear for the rest of the month.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Get your hands off me. [09 Aug 2013|08:44am]
Specifically, get your damn hands off of my reproductive part.

Momentum. It's either a concept that people don't believe in or a concept that people have religious experiences over with things go well... and fucking crushes those same people when things do not.

A couple of days of anxiety riddled messages and e-mails have just made my momentum go to shit and so we arrive here, at a place I twitch nervously at, stuck in a moment I can't get out of (apologies to U2). I'm trying super hard to make progress but to get a reminder of my biggest flaws and biggest shame... that is tough. Legitimately wrecking.

It's tough for me to get reminders that, ultimately, I'm not in control of much as far as my life is concerned. Especially not the debt situation. Some fucker called me up and explained that I was taking too long for his liking to return his call so he left a mean spirited message. Douche. Ass. I'll call him back and be cordial but he can't read this so cordiality goes out the window.

I've been told that to get better I've got to take my time. There's a ton of people who are behind me but none of them are the people hounding me for money. I've been taken for a fucking ride and... I just want these people to back the fuck off as I attempt to get to all of them. It's going to take time... but they want it done on their schedule, not mine. A couple months ago this seemed like an impossibility.

UPDATE: At one point I was having my wages garnished over a hospital bill. The vast majority of that bill was said to have been excused, with the other part going back to the hospital for reconsideration. Those fucks at the collection agency reopened the garnishment. That hit me like a ton of bricks, one by one. I am going to have to call them and get answers. Not non-concrete theories... Full fucking answers. (Update two: If the hospital decides to accept the charity care then all the money that was garnished from my account is released to me. If not, they get it. Pray I did enough to get it forgiven.)

It's time to fight because it's not enough to just let people know you're going to pay them back, apparently. You have to operate on their terms, with their clocks and their space in their life while you make your money at your shitty job.

Come on, that isn't realistic. But it's what it seems the douchebags are doing -- working together to ruin me.

Fuck 'em. --Keith

(Speak it)

Here comes August. [01 Aug 2013|01:19pm]
I got a recent comment from a friend on facebook. It said, "We miss you, Keith!"

I miss myself, too. I miss the fun I used to have, I miss the carefree attitude I once proudly sported. I miss optimism, it was replaced with cautious hope. I miss not being emotionally hurt all the time. I miss not being afraid all the time. I told a friend ten days ago that I was afraid of the next forty days. Well, we're in the heart of it, and that red, beating heart has made itself known as August.

I am not looking forward to moving, to getting readjusted to work, to being constantly busy all the time, to being poked and prodded by a neuropsychologist, to therapy visits with various levels of success, to meager moments, to feeling four feet tall, to *insert your tough yet required moment here*. And it's all happening this month and most of it is just going to be hard. A city full of difficulty. At least I am admitting this... and at least I am ready to take it all on.

There was a time I was not that way and it, unfortunately, consumed a lot of my life. I used to dodge emotional pain by drinking. I drank to avoid circumstances. I drank because I thought it gave me carte blanche to act like a fool. I drank because everyone else was, because it tasted pretty good, because girls talked to me, because I could dance better, because I didn't have to worry about anything, because it regenerated my invincibility, because it was the cool thing to do, because it added a foot to my vertical leap, because it helped me become more creative, because it got me through some shit, because it made me socially acceptable, because it kept me focused, because it put me on an even keel with the people I talked with, because it helped me get closer to girls, because it made the great moments of my life that much better, because sports aren't the same without it, because it was the only way I'd ever get that girl that's obviously hotter than me, because only I could understand my pain, because culture points, because that's how the Seahawks are going to win, because it adds 3-5 inches to my johnson, because it makes me understand more and care about less, because why the hell not.

That list exists because it's a ton of reasons I justified drinking in my life. It's fairly sad, but it is as honest as a small child. Drinking was my escape from reality. Owing to my current circumstance I cannot drink with the same carefree attitude I once did. (I'll still have one or two now and again, but no more sloppy drunk life) Instead I have to go heads up with emotions and try to take them on. How am I taking them on? Mood altering prescriptions. I've talked about them before. I've asked someone who opened up to me about their depression. They said they were prescribed something but never took it because they wanted their emotions to be real. I am desperate enough to feel "normal" that I don't care if it is real or not... I just want to feel good again. Maybe... maybe this will never happen. Maybe I am permanently altered. But I'm not permanently sad, that's something I refuse to be.

So I now take everything on with a realistic, unaltered mind. And that is tough as hell. For one thing, I get much more emotional. It isn't that fun. I hate talking about my problems (still, but now with higher probability of crying) and that's why I don't open up to people about what's wrong or what's really bothering me. I still think those are things I need to tackle, therefore they are things that can be swept under the rug until they're taken care of. Not always true, but, again, I'm not always ready to talk about things. I'm working on it, though.

Another thing I am trying to do is to prioritize everything. This can be taken care of today, this can be taken care of tomorrow, and so on, and so forth. This is a new concept to me, and as such, is really hard for me to grasp. But it's a worthwhile one to pursue. The only downside is I might show some human emotion. Even though it's tough, it's totally necessary. Everyone whom I have talked to has stated they are on my side. It's up to me to convince myself that is true when I'm really going through some bad times. Hard to do that!

One more thing that will get me through the month is the return of a regular paycheck. That is good. Like, really good. Of course it'll all to to future rents this month but at least I'll be getting something. That being said, I am back to work, and work is a tough turkey. Work is too mental sometimes. Like, I'll be doing something, and I'll know how to do it, so all I will do is think of improvements, whether they be to something or someone. That is kind of dangerous because I get into this mode of discontent and you don't want a piece of that. All I have to do as far as work is accept the condition and accept the people and I will be fine. Seems like a long road to that, though. It's worth the effort.

I know that a lot of change is going to take place during August. I'm kind of scared by it, really. I'm trying to find something positive to keep moving forward with but some old emotional hangups are always making themselves known and that isn't that fun to deal with. I stumble and fall sometimes on emotions that other people would have confidence hurdling because it links to some emotion I've had difficulty facing off against for years. I might be looking at myself too critically (again!) but that's how I have been dealing with things for quite some time -- tough love on myself. It sounds goofy and is probably even harder to explain than I am letting on. My therapist has said that I am my harshest critic. This is totally true. This is something it will take a while to change, though. I'm trying to not be so hard on myself but because I am unhappy with where my life is so far... uhm, someone has to be hard on me. Why not me?

That being said... when times are really tough I will look back at everything I have been sent over the past two or so months that has told me to press on, to keep fighting, to hang in there, to go against the angry current, to keep going because there's so much hope, to people that have said "let us know if you ever need anything," to people who never would have guessed that I am going through this type of pain and suffering but have my back. It's been overwhelming, the amount of love, support and care others have given me over the past two and a half months. It's inspired me to go on in spite of the pain, in spite of the fear, and in spite of all the real or perceived nastiness that has flooded my mind since this whole epidemic started. I've never had a chance to say this, but if you've helped at all or in any form or fashion over the past two and a half months, thank you. This month I'm probably going to turn to you for support because there promises to be some ultra lean moments.

That said... August is going to be scary for me. There will be good moments bookended by some really crappy ones. There will be highs and lows -- the highs will be celebrated, the lows will be talked about endlessly. My solution to this task? Keep moving forward. How am I going to do that? Keep getting help wherever it is needed. Try to find a way to keep my mind clear without altering it too much. (Open for suggestion on how to do this, by the way.) Smile and remember the positives, and try to find something positive every day, especially when times are tough. When times are too tough, reach out and say something to someone. (Still working on that, that is part of my struggle and its always going to be. Ah well, shit.) Embrace emotions. Just keep going. Remember there's a certain place in this community for me, even when I don't feel like a part of it.

Get through August. Conquer it. Then the fun begins. Until then it's time to work hard, go out there, and get it all done. One step at a time.

--Keith

(1 speech | Speak it)

Thoughts on a lot [21 Jul 2013|12:13am]
Difficult conversations aren't the easiest ones to have. This week I have had about four of them, all owing to the fact I cried sometime during them. I'm not going to give you a run down of every conversation, I'm just going to talk about the most difficult one I have had this week.

This relates to suicidality. This relates to my recent bouts with pretty much everything.

I have, in the past, been tempted to just end all of my suffering and successfully commit suicide. I've had vivid visions of myself ending my life. I've had detailed dreams of me falling through the darkness and hearing all of my criticisms while I fall, fall, fall...

I thought the only person I said the "s" word to was my therapist because he seems like a guy I can trust to keep subjects like that locked down. I mean, I said it here, but kept it under the cover of a "good friends only" tag. I was under the impression that I was cloaking my actual thoughts under the disguise of really good writing.

Then two things happened. One, a newer friend of mine looked at me and said "I know where you're coming from, man, I have also had suicidal thoughts..." and I couldn't really say anything back to him. I just stood there and nodded, knowing he had somehow figured me out and seen through my writing.

Flash forward (and yet, still, flash back) to yesterday and me, talking with my uncle after a long day of visiting. This would be the second time I actually broke down and cried that day. We were going on about life and everything and then my uncle said "Your Aunt has always had a special place in her heart for you." Well, that's nice of you to say. "It's been that way since she found out you were suicidal."

Oh.

I guess I have tried to keep this a big secret from everyone, but I've also done that in the worst way possible. I mean... writing's been my thing for a long time. It's gotten me into trouble with people, it's gotten me through some personal situations, it's gotten me far (but not far enough!!! hahaha please) with the ladies, it's what I do. I've always known how to write to express myself, I've just recently gotten really good at it. And so I took to writing my feelings, and so I took to writing about dark moments, and... I guess my real intention in writing has always been pretty plain to see.

I remember a college exercise where I wrote about an experience I had but turned it into a poem. One kid looked at it and immediately said "This is about playing football on a baseball field." I've adopted or adapted to a style that isn't too deep. It's not hard to see through my message. So I guess I forgot about that when I have been writing about this, the one important thing I've written about in a while.

It's a god damned tough thing, thinking while depressed. It's even tougher to reason critically. Pretty easy to lay around and not do anything. I did that for a couple weeks. I've done it a couple nights this week, too. But what's really something is how self centered I get when I get into one of those suicidal modes. I just think that nobody or no thing can ease my pain when I'm down. I even get into a position where I don't want to talk to anybody -- too personal. Too painful.

And then there's times when I couldn't imagine doing something like that, when I think "If I did this, I wouldn't feel any pain anymore... but so many people would." I think about all the people I've touched. I think about all the people who have stepped in to offer help to get me through this. I think about the love and the compassion. I think about the people who have hung out to get me through episodes. I think about those who have barely met me sitting with me and talking about things that eat at me. I think about the family and depriving others of my gifts and experiences.

I'm not out of the woods yet. I can have good days and bad days. I wouldn't say I am on a high wire act, but I am kind of in a sensitive position. I don't know how long it'll take to become less sensitive or what it will take to make me comfortable and confident again. So far I've gotten through this. I've just got to concentrate on the positives that happen every day and focus on the potential for things to be good again.

I hate "potential" because it is so non-concrete. So non-linear. But non-linear is a thousand times better than non-existent.

--Keith

(3 speeches | Speak it)

Once invincible, now invisible [15 Jul 2013|03:15pm]
I remember when I didn't really know the difference between the words "invincible" and "invisible". They sounded the same to me. I just chose one when I had the chance to say one and hoped it was correct. (It usually wasn't.)

Once I foolishly thought I was invincible. Totally unstoppable. That didn't end so well. In fact some of that is what makes me feel super shitty today.

Recently I've been trying to adjust to the medication set forth to me by my medical squad. Over the past few years my shroud in invincibility has totally deteriorated. I've become super humble, almost to the point of being able to be pushed over in an argument with a feather's contact. I used to be able to back up my viewpoints, now (in most cases) I meekly agree with somebody just so I can avoid controversy. (Also so I don't have to listen to them anymore, natch) I mean, people hve noticed me being more depressed. I usually have written it off as "Oh, nothing's wrong" or "Just having a bad day."

Then I put my "manifesto" online back in January and opened up to everyone. I sought counseling for my depression. I told people that I wasn't feeling good. I think that shattered the invincibility thing for good. Killed it, buried it, that was it. I broke down a couple times in therapy. I was gauged for something called "suicidality". I did open up and asked a few hard questions under the guidance of my therapist. I cried a lot. I bargained with myself constantly. I got through Mid-May. I called 911. Round one happened. A lot of people told me that I was worth something. Like, a lot. I had big mood swings. I had moments of greatness followed by moments of sorrow. I started crying every day. I had a big moment of greatness followed by a huge moment of sorrow. Round 2 in the hospital happened. That was a pretty bad experience, I have to say. I learned a lot, though.

I've been trying to live right for a while now. By live right, I mean live better, because I'm far from living good, and miles from living right. There's going to be a ton of changes that are still to be made. A couple things have changed for me... I take far more medication than I once did, I take far longer to get up than what I once did, I sometimes do not want to eat. That's a strange one but a true one.

Those medications... I have to tell you over and over again that they are not magic potions or pills. You cannot rely on them alone to get you through depression. I know they can help but you really have to want to get better to actually make progress. Those pills will get you down sometimes, too. I have said this to my therapist before -- the term "Pill Zombie" has come up a couple times in our conversations. I know emotions are supposed to be private, however... the past couple weeks there's a great chance I have woken up with tears in my eyes every day and a good chance I have gone to sleep crying as well. I'm pretty sure this emotional release, while sometimes good, is a byproduct of the pills going a bit h.a.m. on my brain.

Today. Took pills. Waited for them to work. Did a couple funny things online. Showered. Cleaned up. Went to catch a bus. Felt... crappy. Like, there was this dull headache that felt embedded in my brain. It really shook me up. It made me feel pretty bad. Mind you, this happened with me simply going to a bank to put some cash in it. I felt like there was nothing behind my smile, no soul embodying this kind of clean collection of skin and bones. All I could think about was returning home. That's it! Granted I did go and get some groceries (but that was tough to do as well... I didn't feel a sense of direction or objective. Still got stuff) and when it came time for innocent small talk... I couldn't find anything funny with my own jokes. Uhm, okay. I felt invisible, like nothing I really did today made any difference. Maybe I'll try and get out later but... pffffft.

That's been more of the feeling of recent days: Am I becoming invisible in an effort to get right? I mean, I am trying my hardest to get out there and make an impact. I'm trying to find out how to do that, now, with trying to be a better man. But sometimes... yeah, I feel like the world keeps on spinning and I'm not spinning with it.

It's a different and scary sensation. Let's hope I catch up soon.

--Keith

(Speak it)

The process of falling out of love [14 Jul 2013|10:19pm]
These are two posts that have to do with a girl I had a huge, huge, huge crush on. I'll add some commentary as needed.

Subject: Letting go

Nope, nobody died, I just wanted to write this as it appears I have to let go of emotions for someone.

Yeah, I'm talking about Josie. Again.

Looks like she's packed up and moved back to Whidbey Island, where she will stay until graduation, which she may or may not come back here for. Afterwards she's moving to Alaska, gone from my life forever, except on facebook. That exact thing happened.

I think of her, I think of missed opportunities. She definitely is the coolest person I've ever met, and, as a girl, she's attractive to boot! A friend of mine once said something to the extent of "If a girl is interesting and attractive, she's worth the chase."

Unfortunately I have to chalk this one up as a loss due to timing and unfortunate circumstances. I totally blew it falling off that balcony around her. I should have let go of any thoughts of ever getting with her after the Seahawks game, but no, I held on like a total idiot, going so far as to put her picture on my fridge. Argh, argh, argh. I asked one of my soccer kids to take that picture to France and dispose of it in a creative manner. I think they did that very thing. Probably made their parents concerned but oh well.

Line from Wayne's World that's totally acceptable: "If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. If you spew and she bolts, it was never meant to be." If you get a girl Seahawks tickets and before you can go to the game, she gets a boyfriend, abandon all hope. There's a better way to say this. If you want to go to a sporting game with someone you want to have a relationship with, get the girl before you get the tickets.

Damn. --Keith

And, the second one...

Subject: The anti-moment

Yesterday, I noticed it was Graduation at WWU. From reading the facebook of one certain friend (Yep! Josie) I knew that would be her last day in Bellingham, as she had said she was going to drive the Al-Can highway to be with her Alaskan boyfriend... but that was after graduation. Since I don't live that far from WWU I decided to go and say goodbye to her.

This was after I had gotten off of work, both at a basketball game and at my store, so I was a little tired. No matter, though... I changed from jeans and a t-shirt to my finer clothes and set off to watch WWU's graduation. There were a lot of emotions going through my mind yesterday but that's for another, deeper post. So I was watching and the student speaker talked about not being afraid of failure. The guest commencement speaker talked about opportunities... and taking the right opportunities. That ass said "opportunities" about a hundred times in a ten minute speech. The word lost all meaning. Then the procession of the students occurred.

Graduation ceremonies for universities have a certain rhythm to them. Kid gives his or her name to the announcer, there's a nine-foot walk, they then shake the hand of the president of the college/university, and walk off stage. Some people do something cool when they have that nine foot walk, dress funny, or attempt to give a university president a nine-step handshake. Yesterday I saw Tebowing, leopard slippers, writing on hats, and, of course, that nine-step handshake. However, when I saw Josie receive her diploma... no flair. No panache. No nothing. Just a deep blue cap and gown, a white tassel, and... that was it. This girl that had provided so much color and joy to people's lives left this town as the most plain person ever. I saw it. I couldn't believe it. It was just... wow. That is the anti-moment, when you see someone who you want to believe is all about color... and they don't show it. At all.

I followed someone I thought was her and ended up not being her, so after commencement I had no idea where to find her. Great job of stalking by me. After the ceremony and a brisk, twelve minute search for her, I finally got my moment with her. I thanked her for being a part of my life the past two years... and that was the most meaningful thing I said. Not even the LAST thing I said to her, "Keep in touch," had any relevance.

It's hard to find the last words to say to somebody, and even harder when you're sleep deprived and cold. But I tried it yesterday and do not regret what I said even if some of it didn't make sense. It felt good to close the book on that chapter of my life... no more what-ifs or thoughts about this girl. She's on her way to her perfect life.

I'd like to think I'm on the way to mine. Dear lord. This crushes me. --Keith

(Speak it)

Being human means making mistakes. [08 Jul 2013|09:55pm]
Lots of swears ahead. Do not say I didn't warn you.

I cried today, it wasn't nice feeling tears streaming down my face. I mean, today was a bad day. I googled "fuck it all". I thought in rough terms. I cried reading a direct message that said someone may or may not be here on August 10. I allowed myself to think, "I might not last that long."

But. I persevered. I survived. I made it through another day, said hello to the girl next door, got some sweets and leftovers, and moved on. It was hard to live through this day but I did. I fucking made it.

I, as a human, will do things I am not proud of. It will happen. As long as I can accept these mistakes will be made, I think I can accept bad days. Bad, horrible, no good, miserable, rotten, downright ugly bad days. Days like today, when you feel that you're alone in this one. Days like this, when you feel like you're never have a shoulder to cry on. Days like this when you think you've had enough. Days like this when you don't think you can go on, but somehow you do.

Yeah, I have bad days. I have bad moments. They cancel out good feelings, and that really sucks because I have really good days, sometimes.

I just have to keep creating good feelings. Survival allows me that opportunity.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Fight through misery. [07 Jul 2013|10:49am]
It's really, really funny that after I post a huge deal of a blog that proudly exclaims "I will fight through this because I think this pain is temporary" there's an immediate hit of more pain, more setbacks, and more worries. It's a tough road, one that has many dips and drops and shit to deal with. I sometimes wish I could just cancel out days and get to the good stuff, but life isn't like that at all -- you have to fight for everything, every day, good, bad, or amazingly neutral.

I go back to the same job on July 24th, I believe. Maybe a day earlier. Maybe a day later. Same position, same everything, just equipped with medication that will (hopefully) get me through various rough patches of emotion. Cannot change the co-workers, cannot change the hours. Maybe I could get a different task within the workplace... but I doubt it. Oh well -- I'll try and deal with that set of emotions once I get there.

I fear the future because there's miles and miles of uncertainty, change, and questionable times that lay ahead of myself. It's smart to say "One day at a time" but I don't know if that's believable or achievable.

I just gotta keep plugging away.

--Keith

(1 speech | Speak it)

Still hanging on. [05 Jul 2013|11:58pm]
x-posted from facebook

WARNING: There may be a few adult concepts in here and dirty words. But, trust me, it’s all from the heart.

Have I been fun to be around this year? Specifically, the past seven or so weeks, since I was first hospitalized? Because there have been some super lean times in my life. Not just lean times. Desperate times. Hopeless times. Very dark times. I’ve been hospitalized twice, been seen by a team that consists of a therapist, a naturopath, a doctor, two psychiatrists and one neuropsychologist to be named later. I’ve been on mental health leave since mid-May. It’s been a nightmare of a year for me, one that started with me writing the terribly difficult “Thoughts. Feelings.” note back in January. That note sort of acted as a road map to what, exactly, I am not happy with in my life. Most of that note is still valid. Now there are new wrinkles, each one is pretty ugly.

FIrstly... day to day life has been tough. Like, super tough. Here’s a super awesome visual: It feels like my self-confidence has been shattered and I am trying to pick up the pieces, day by day, hoping to come up with a reasonable facsimile of what my self confidence used to be. It’s a non-linear process. Some days have been days that I build confidence, some days it feels like confidence is totally lost and we’re right back at square one. It’s been a process of getting better, but I have come up with a few things that have helped me to get back to stable.

One of the new things I’ve tried are pills. This has been the year of antidepressants being introduced into my life, and that has been less than enjoyable. Firstly, antidep’s do not work as well as you’d hope, for those who have never used them. They can numb some emotional pain but they can’t take it all away nor can they convert the pain into pleasure. Was I expecting this? Yes! Talk about unreal expectations. I was expecting this because I had heard of what happens when you come off of antidep’s like Paxil. I thought, “Wow, if they’re so hard to come off of, they’d better do some miracles while you’re on them.” Uh, no. They do not make miracles happen. I don’t have any experience in quitting them, I do have some light experiences of missing doses. Those are bad times. I’ve written about them.

Another thing I’ve been trying to do is minimizing doing things that ultimately bring me down and maximizing things that either neutralize bad feelings or make me feel better about myself. One thing that has made me feel bad about myself, recently... well, this is a tough one. But one of the things that has made me feel pretty awful about myself is alcohol, specifically the day after I drink a lot of it. I have had too many mornings where I wake up hungover, headachey and alone. I also think “Man, I let a lot of people down” when I drink. This feeling... wow. This is a new thing for me. Ever since the beginning of the year I have felt overly anxious about what other people are thinking about me. Dangerous? Probably. But I can’t shake it. It might be a little weird to think this way, but it is what it is, and it is what I am going through right now. I am on an anti-anxietal partially because of this. That isn’t too fun to be on, either, especially when you miss a dose and then think about it all day.

WARNING: Mixing medications and alcohol is damn dangerous. I’ve tried to not do that but I think I’ve unintentionally taken them too closely together and that has contributed to feeling terrible. If you’re doing this, stop it.

But anyway, going back to alcohol, if I get through this, I will be cutting back on the brown bottle mania that has consumed a lot of my life. It’s tough considering I once thought alcohol was some entry to a club, some secret handshake, some way to get “some” that’s just a little higher than the level I could normally achieve. As it turns out... it does very little good in the moment and too much bad after the moment. At least that’s the way it is with me. Currently I have some impulse control problems with liquor... So, I mean, I’m not going to pull a Homer Simpson, sing a cover of Sinatra and dump a six pack down the drain... I’m just going to wean myself away from alcohol and take steps to avoid the stuff.

What else is good? Writing! Well, it’s not always good. It’s possibly the most neutral thing I do. I have always loved writing. Journaling is something that’s helped me get through some tough times. It’s therapeutic to write things down. Sometimes I think I overshare a bit, but like almost everything I do, it’s from the heart, so at least you know that it’s totally sincere. (Also I will very rarely go all TMI on Facebook’s virgin ears, count on it.) One of the main reasons I write is simple: so I can document what I went through and so I can figure out how I got through it. Living is a hard thing to do -- lessons aren’t often learned the easy way. So I write stuff down and hopefully learn from it. It’s great, it makes for some amazing stories, it keeps my writing skills going, it just plain makes me feel human about a potentially impossible situation.

SIDENOTE: Yes, I know that maybe it isn’t the best to update social media with a lot of details but come on. How else am I supposed to let everyone know what’s going on really quickly?

Speaking of others... Man, this is where it gets tough. I have spoken to people about my depression and have received interesting responses. My family doctor is befuddled by my depression. A friend of mine said “Keith, I never thought you were depressed, because you’re the most positive person I’ve ever met.” (That might be a combination of two things two people said.) Well... When I get the strength to go out, I try to be as positive as I possibly can. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but most of the time I am strong enough to smile and look alright. I joke around, I make good jokes, I sound like I know what I am talking about. I always have! Now, more than ever, when I am in a constant emotional crisis, I want to at least look like everything’s alright in my part of the world. I have always made it a point to treat others with the dignity, respect, and compassion they deserve...

And thank God I’ve done that, because now, when it feels like I am down, out, useless, and just wasting space, there have been people that have let me know that is not so. The usual suspects have stepped up (family, including one family member who, famously, will “never get Facebook”) and I thank you guys for caring... but also, people in this community have taken the time to let me know they care about me, or that they are on my side. I have made a lot of friends within this city, and, at the one of the best times they could step up and let me know they care for me, they love me, and they are rooting for me, they have. One person who I “coach” said it best: “Keith, you are loved and needed.” Damn. Another person I rarely see let me know they are on my side, and that got me close to breaking down in public, which would be dumb, but appropriate for the situation. Yes, sometimes when I’m around others I break down and cry, or think about it, or talk about crying (which is really out of character for me) but... I also was told that crying is the best way to have the biggest emotional release. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign you’re being pushed to your absolute limits of your own strength. It’s healthy to cry. And the support other people have shown me, from strangers on twitter to people I have been close with for years, is healthy to me and makes me weep, happily, knowing there are people out there who are thinking about me, even at my darkest point.

A bunch of people have left a bunch of words with me, everything from gigantic messages to the most basic words of support -- “Hang in there.” Well, I have got to say that the support I’ve received has helped me focus a lot on hanging in there instead of hanging from something. (That’s dark, yes, but pretty accurate.) I am trying as hard as I can to go forward and become healthy. I wouldn’t if I didn’t believe that this depression is only a temporary thing, that I can beat this, that I will be able to accomplish goals set out for myself, that I can change my destiny... But I also am doing this because I don’t want everyone to be super sad over me. I’ve been to too many funerals. Those are basically the worst things that can happen in this world and I don’t want to be responsible for so much sadness at one time.

I hope I never forget that in my darkest hours, which I don’t think I’ve experienced yet, but I think I can beat. WHEN I get out of this depression and move forward with my life it’ll be a happy day. There will be tough times ahead, but I have to believe that good times are not far behind.

So if you see me out and about, stop me for a second to say hello, to give me a handshake or a hug, don’t be bothered if I hang on for too long, it’s weird, I know, but it’s part of the healing process. Be happy when you see me out and about, it means I’ve conquered a lot to be in a public situation. As my friend’s tattoo says, “When you’re walking through hell, keep walking.” I may be in the middle of my own personal hell, but I sure haven’t stopped.

--Keith

(Speak it)

This day... [05 Jul 2013|07:47pm]
June 24: "Today was just one of those days where I didn't want to leave my apartment. So I didn't."

Today, which is eleven days later... yeah, same damn feeling. Here we are again.

I just don't know sometimes. I have days that are great and days where I just feel miserable and useless. These days will, of course, always happen to me. I just have to manage it and believe that the pain of depression is temporary.

I believe the pain of depression is temporary -- that's why I fight and press on. That's why I am hanging in there instead of hanging from something, so to speak. I just hate every depressed day I have. Like, a lot. It's a type of day where I really wish I didn't have to experience every emotion but can't muster up the strength to do anything about it.

Long story short, fuck me sometimes.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Goals. [01 Jul 2013|10:46pm]
I want to get out of debt.

I want to get a different job, one that brings me back into the real world. No more night shift.

I want to monetize what I am good at so I can get a job that suits my skills.

I want to get some more schooling that is related to a career.

I want to find somebody worth fighting for and hope to hell she thinks of me in the same light.

I want good barbecue.

Time to fight for it. Including the barbecue.

--Keith

(Speak it)

Thinking. [30 Jun 2013|12:49am]
I haven't worked since May 17th.

I've been in the hospital two times since then.

I've been to numerous therapy sessions, doctor's offices, one psychiatrist's office and one psychiatric ward. I've been inside two cop cars. I've talked with two social workers, talked about my life and my shortcomings with a lot of people, nurses, doctors, strangers and family members alike. I've broken down in a couple public places.

Behind all of it, the question "What's wrong with me?" Remains to be answered.

Well, I have moderate to severe depression.

"Why?"

There's a question.

I would like to know what exactly is wrong with me or what exactly is going on with me. That would be fantastic to figure out. I mean, I've had all this time to think, see and do things. I've had anxiety. I've had fear. I've searched for beauty and fought through ugly. Someone I know told me "Just be happy!"... I really wish it were that simple.

So what's wrong with me? I find it ironic that I would really like someone else to figure it out for me, because I can't figure it out for myself.

--Keith

(Speak it)

And pray that it works. [28 Jun 2013|12:22am]
My children... here goes. Life and times of Keith Chambers, yet again.

One of my most recent forays into the wilderness and (possibly) one of my last nights out ever (more later, trust me) had me going around and getting sponsors for the youth soccer camp I am working at this week. It was a not so serious attempt at getting a business to give me their logo and fifty bucks for the camp. Anyway, I brought my fake-leather dossier and went around to drop off flyers and talk to people about it. A couple businesses acted interested, others I knew would not give me the time of day, let alone fifty freaking dollars. I then went to indulge myself in a sunset on a back deck of an establishment I helped build, which was actually one of the more awesome things I have seen. I can't explain it thoroughly, but rest assured, it's one of those little things that I don't see enough of or concentrate hard enough on. My brother told me to step back and admire nature. Not a bad option.

Anyway, I knew that my fundraising was over at sunset so I just carried my little dossier around with me. I wasn't afraid of losing it because it only cost, like, twelve bucks, and I probably wouldn't be too sore without it. Long story short, it made it home safe. I said hello to a couple of people at this one place, then moved on to karaoke night somewhere else. There... is where... the magic happened.

I ran into an old friend. He bounces at the place I was at five nights a week, but this happened to be one of his off nights. Therefore, he was just there chilling out. We reminisced about past experiences, he said he misses when we used to drop a combined sixty bucks at a Thai restaurant and just eat like total fools (and I do, too!) and he told me to be well. I wandered over to a table with one girl at it, checking her cell phone. I told her she looked like she was having the time of her life as she was staring into her cell phone. That... actually... led to a couple hours of hanging out. She allowed me to get close to her, which was cool. I walked her home. She gave me a huge hug. What'd I forget? To ask for seven specific digits. HER PHONE NUMBER! Agh. Shit. Come ON. So I did what any man would do...

Wrote a "missed connections" post on craigslist.

In case you were wondering, this is what happened last time I wrote a missed connections post. Pretty positive experience. I mean, look at all the good that came out of it!

So here we go... part two of me on the Wild West of the internet, an unmoderated message board. Subject: "To a girl named Morgan..."

Last week we met at (REDACTED). I had my fake-leather portfolio and was done fundraising for the day. I remember talking to you on the dance floor, seeing you alone at a table, and I said something to the extent of "You look like you're having the time of your life" as you stared into your cell phone, hoping a friend or two would be able to come out. That remark turned into a couple hours of talking, some close moments, and then I walked you home. My biggest regret is not asking for your number, that was dumb of me. Hope I get a second chance.

Since I'm a realist, I have to throw this in... if you already have someone you're seeing or if your feelings aren't mutual to mine and you don't want to hang out again, then go and be happy. Thanks for talking things over with me last week, I seriously appreciate it.


I posted that, like, last Wednesday, I think. I got about seven different spam messages over the course of the week. No leads. I went to run clock at a summer league basketball game. QUICK TANGENT: The night after this initially happened, I went to summer league basketball and caught up with my basketball team. I then told then this: "Anyone want an update in the life and times of Keith Chambers? Well... I met this girl last night... and we talked for a couple hours... we seemed to be having a good time... I walked her home... AND I FORGOT TO ASK FOR HER PHONE NUMBER." You should have seen the look on their faces. This was before the "missed connections" post. I made another "Life and times of Keith Chambers" joke, did clock for the basketball game. After the game ended I checked my phone and saw another response to said post, but this time it was from one "Morgan (REDACTED)" and... well, here's what it read:

"This is a girl named Morgan. But I don't know If I'm the right one... what's ur name?"

I looked back at the post and noticed I forgot to put my freaking name in there. I'm smart. I e-mailed her back, and because I had her first and last name, I checked her Facebook out. And lo and behold...

I'm 98% sure that's her.

Pray this works out, she e-mails back, and there's some real good that comes out of this.

By the way, I got two sponsorships for that camp.

--Keith

(3 speeches | Speak it)

Transformers. [27 Jun 2013|12:02am]
They're not only more than meets the eye, they're robots in disguise.

I'm obviously not a robot in disguise.

Today was a maintenance day -- did a lot of laundry, cleaned up a bit, still feel miserable. I felt pretty low. I wanted to talk to someone, but not in real life because I thought I would break down in front of them, and not on the phone since I didn't know who to call. So I... talked to nobody for a good long while today while waiting for the spin cycle.

Wait, that's a lie. I talked to the cats. I watched Youtube's of cats, hoping those cats would meow and make the cats react. But that plan backfired when the cats (indoor cats) saw cats outdoors and were like "LET'S LOOK AT THEM." That quickly turned to them acting sad they couldn't go outside, but I didn't feel right letting them out because they have no collars.

That didn't work to kick me out of the funk I was in. I had a little walk to get food which was a sad walk. It was sad because I, again, was caught in this web of depression I am in. It was tough staying happy/neutral at all today. Someone I know gave me a call and I didn't call them back because I didn't know how the conversation would go, which is a shame because it was probably going to be positive, but since I fear what I don't know (and right now, I have no idea what my future holds, so I fear it greatly) I was using any excuse to not call back. Kind of weak, but... you know, that's how my mind is operating these days. (Plus I was waiting for a package that was in the landlord's office all along. Huh.)

It scares me to know that the anti-depressants are working in this way: I'm sad when they are working and REALLY MISERABLE when I forget to take a dose. Yes, I forget to take doses sometimes. I'm human.

I'm also not working (on medical leave) and getting paid despite not doing anything except seeing doctors, finding out what makes me feel terrible and stopping that, finding out what makes me feel better and trying to maximize that, and... writing. But every time I get a phone call from a number I don't know it makes me think of debt mountain and how insurmountable I think that fucking slope is. It's not good, it's never predictable, and with my current situation I won't know for a while when I can satisfy everybody. Maybe sometime. Hopefully sometime soon.

I'll leave you all at that for this update. Fight on...?

--Keith

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