Tiny Boats and The Storm


I’ve never considered myself a particularly macho type of guy. I’ve indulged in my fair share of chick flicks, I like nice smelling candles and goddamnit if ice cream doesn’t help a broken heart. But there is one aspect of machoness that I seem to have: Denial. Specifically, denial of something wrong with myself. After some thought, it’s time to exorcise that.

I can’t say when it started exactly. I have some theories but I’m not confident enough to go into those. Regardless of when it started, I know now that it’s reached the point where I can’t deny it anymore. The problem is that I don’t know how to label it. The easy way would be “depression” and that very well be the diagnosis. But, I’m not a doctor, I’m a writer, I describe things.

It started with a surrender. I had been trying to avoid seeing people for a couple weeks, when finally I had to emerge and socialize. I had a good time, in fact, a great time. Yet, in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but wonder why I had spent so much time avoiding people. I’ve always loved being around people. Old friends, strangers, acquaintances who remembered little nuggets of memory that I didn’t, it didn’t matter. Something was changing.

As time went on, I continued to give up my resistance to social situations. I’d go to dinner with my mother, I’d spend time with friends, I’d take my girlfriend out on dates. And just like before, I’d have a genuinely good time. Except as I continued my forced socialization something else started to happen. I stopped experiencing enjoyment, rather, I’d simply recognize it as something enjoyable all the while I secretly desired to just go home.

I would spend hours thinking about days that had gone by, piecing together what had really happened, trying to recapture the anxiety and racing thoughts that had been there, just so I could examine them on my own terms. But all I could capture was fog covered shadows of caricatures of the actual events. So now it seemed that my brain was not only tainting my present, it was reaching back and smearing the past.  Even through all of this I held onto the belief that it would pass. Just a rough couple of months, everyone has bad spots, I’m a happy person who likes people, this would pass.

Then the thunder came. When I played trumpet for my high school band I remember always being excited when my jaw would vibrate due to a particularly hard strike on a bass drum. Now, I realize that that reaction was reliant on the fact that the drum was in the same room. When I started to hear the same sort of beat while a coworker was talking to me, I was concerned.

It was as if his words were tiny boats, careening across the sea between us. On each boat was a lone drummer and as soon as it docked with my ears he started to play, loudly. Basically, for a few seconds while this person was speaking to me every word would thunder in my head. It wasn’t painful, just troubling and the denial had to end

Now, I’m a little lost about where this goes. I told a few people about my problems and I was greeted with promises of help and even a few suggestions. Yet, I can’t shake the thought that I need to understand more about my own mind. I need to find a way to delve in there and figure out what’s happening.

Whatever I do now, it’s going to be a strange stroll.


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