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It's morning again in America

Hello again, dear reader.

I don't know where I heard the phrase, "It's morning again in America," but I like the sound of it. It sounds hopeful. I Googled it, and it turns out it was a tagline in Reagan's 1984 campaign. I was only a year old during this campaign, so I don't think that's it. Regardless...

It's morning again in America, dear reader. One more day. Hopefully better than yesterday.

In an hour, I need to be at work. It's not a job I love. I don't even know that I like it. There's a part of me saying, "Hey, the wages are good for your current education level, and you know they hired you because in another year or so, you will be a graduated Mechanical Engineer, starting off your life as a Professional Engineer, and they want me to be their Professional Engineer."

Is it naïve to be hopeful about a salaried job off in that ephemeral someday, when I don't like the job I have with the company now? And how will they handle when my year off from school ends next fall, and I go back to finish that degree? When I interview for the job, I was honest and told them I was just taking a year off from school. They were happy to know I was going to finish my degree, and said thet when I went back, they'd transition me to an internship. We've not discussed yet what form this internship will take, though, and I worry just a touch. It's almost a guarantee that working in my chosen profession as an intern will be better than working as a refinery technician.

I'm rambling now.

But, it's morning again in America. One more day. Hopefully better than yesterday.

Dreaming of a Blue Christmas

Hello, dear reader. I've never written about my depression before, at least not at any length.

Where do I start? Ripping off Melville seems like a good enough start.

Call me Gryphon. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - I stopped feeling happy when I knew I should. I had this on and off through my teen years, so I wasn't too concerned, and when it didn't pass after a few days I figured I was stressed and homesick. I was 18, in the Air Force, far from home, and spending a solid 16 hours a day learning Korean so I could fight that last pocket of the Cold War that still lingers in the Far East. After a few weeks, it passed.

That loss of my zeal for life lingered on and off, and I fought it like a cornered polecat. Despite my studies, I found time to make friends, pick up hobbies, become a bit of an enthusiast for the local history of the Monterey Bay, which plays host to the U.S. military’s language institute, and even get up to some of the harmless trouble an 18 year-old out in the world for the first time is quite expected to. I don’t know that I was happy that much, though. It was a manic frenzy of living, like I’d found out I only had a year to live and wanted to live as much as I could before the clock stopped ticking.

I was 19 when I had to spend a week on antipsychotics because I'd forgotten how to sleep. I sat down with my Korean books one evening and pulled an unintentional all-nighter preparing for an exam the next morning. I went to the schoolhouse, took my exam, did my PT after school, and hit the books again. I didn’t sleep that night either. Or the next night. After 72 hours awake, a person is effectively a paranoid schizophrenic. I had the presence of mind to ignore the budding visual and auditory hallucinations and go to the clinic. So I swallowed the chemical straitjacket they gave me at the base pharmacy, and my body went, “Oh yeah… That’s what sleep is.” That’s when I started suspecting there was something more to my problems than just stress.

I’ll delve more into my history later, if it seems appropriate. I just wanted to give you an idea of who I am, dear reader.


With Christmas just a few days behind me, I'll write about the uninvited black dog that that followed me home for the holidays.

It's strange that one day I can be singing along with Bing Crosby, dreaming of a white Christmas, and the next my neurotransmitters have collectively staged a revolt, and (despite what I thought was a well-managed and finely tuned course of 'Better Living Through Psychopharmacology') I wake up and think, "All I want for Christmas is to be hit by a bus." That last part is exceptionally strange, since I live in a community that lacks any appreciable public transit system.

I'm always surprised when I hit those last two weeks of December and my brain betrays me. Well, betrays me more than usual. This has been happening for nearly a decade, and it still surprises me. It's that same sort of "it still hurts when I smack my thumb with a hammer?" surprise, but instead of yelling, "Ah, crapdammit! My thumb!" I seriously consider hibernation as an alternative to any Christmas festivities I have planned.

Maybe it’s the shortest days of the year and that lack of sunlight triggering some Seasonal Affective Disorder in me. Maybe it’s the general stress of the holidays. Whatever it is, it’s miserable, and the holidays are the worst time to be depressed! All the year round, when my depression flares up like some sort of psychological hemorrhoid, the last thing I want to do is talk about it. During the holidays, it’s like that, but even more so. It’s like I’m afraid that if I seek the support I need when I need it most, I’ll just be ruining someone else’s Christmas. So instead, I sort of go on auto-pilot. I smile at people and wish them a “Merry Christmas!” and a “Happy Holidays!” and I buy presents, and I go to parties, and I’m witty and charming and don’t have a care in the world. Meanwhile, I feel a little like a sociopath because I’m just mimicking appropriate behavior, and wearing that well practiced mask I put on when I pretend to be the person I wish I was.

That worst part for me… The worst part is the mask. It’s not a mask. It’s who I really am, or at least who I really can be, and it’s who I try hardest to be when I feel the least like myself. That person is amazing. He really smiles, and when he does it’s infectious. People can’t help but smile back. And he does the most incredible things! He designs floats for his University’s homecoming parade, and they win awards. He makes costumes so amazing that, on one exceptional occasion, there was a picture of him dressed as a robot on the front page of the local newspaper. He designed and built a miniature indoor hot air balloon to support a local Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser, and went on to make and deliver a presentation on the theory, design, and fabrication of the balloon that won an award a Student Professional Development Conference.And I know that amazing person isn’t just a front I wear; He’s me.

So why don’t I feel like I’m that person?

Maybe I’m making progress, though. This blog might be a start.

Thank you, dear reader, for your time.


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