Monthly Archives: April 2014

It Never Goes Away

The fact that I suffer from Depression is a pretty important aspect of my life, personality, and day-to-day existence. It begins in the morning when I take my pills every day, it continues when I have my weekly therapy session and it interrupts every day activities when I’m catching myself in the gap between thought and reaction, to prevent a collapse down a dark and self-damaging road.

Things are not as bad as they were before I started treatment, every day was a mystery, would it involve crushing anxiety, or overwhelming feelings of loneliness and depression? Perhaps a blinding and impotent rage would down the monotony of gray days in a red blur. My life was unpredictable, but along with it came a deep and endless well of inspiration, my emotions were always so raw and exposed, the hurt always sitting on the skin, that I needed to bandage the wounds all the time, and writing was that salve. I poured myself into my stories, and when I read them now, they’re dark, creepy things swimming with all the negativity and self-loathing I could cull from my being and transform them into words.

I know correlation does not imply causation, but it’s pretty difficult not to look at the pills I take every morning as a block, a chemical neutering of my creative instinct. Blaming the round white pills is easier than admitting that maybe I have nothing to say. Blaming the pills is easier than admitting that maybe what came easily before requires more effort now, and what used to be a gift plucked from trees might now need to be dug out of ugly and gnarled roots in dirty, rocky earth.

But what never goes away, is the unpredictable attack of this anxiety, this loneliness, and they come out of nowhere, even surrounded by friends and family in a room, suddenly you’re the only person there and everyone else might as well be a cardboard cutout. Their voices fade away and the room becomes a dull and dim picture where you see nobody and nobody sees you.

Years pass, countless pills pass through your body, endless words pour out of your mouth in therapy, and one day, late at night, the feelings return and nestle back into seats as if they never left.

It never goes away.

Graduate School

I took some time off from work yesterday to attend a graduate seminar at the City University downtown, to kind of see what was going on, what was offered, and talk a bit to the various schools. There are a dozen or so City University schools spread throughout the boroughs, and each of them had something different to offer, the nuances of which are lost in virtual research. It’s one thing to read about schools and their programs and another to hear about it directly from the admissions people working the various desks.

Having reached ripe middle age, and stagnating a bit in my career, I feel the need to further my education in order to further my career, particularly with two kids who will demand a small fortune in gold doubloons to pursue their own education. Well, perhaps there is a selfish streak in me to, I don’t know, pursue my own ambition a bit, but I think I’ll let myself slide on that count, if it’s all the same to you. The question, however, is to study what exactly, and what the end-goal of any study might be.

Of course, the romantic in me wants to throw caution to the wind and enroll into a creative writing MFA program, and daydream away the worries in a wouldn’t-it-be-nice sequence straight from a black-and-white film about how all you need is a spot of derring-do to risk it all for a swing across the planks  of doubt onto the banister of triumph. Alas, the realist in me frowns, taps his sensible ball-point pen onto a chart of budgets, retirement planning, school costs, and the income of writers and I find the billowing swashbuckling costume melting away to reveal an off-white shirt constricting my turgid form.

So, it comes down to career expectations – Computer Science or something called a Masters in Data Analytics. The former is actually of interest to me, and it would let me add on more academic/science based work to my career, even if as an adjunct or something. I don’t hold out too much hope at this point to actually move into hardcore engineering as I’ve missed out on too much work, but who can say. The other path though, is directly related to what I’ve been doing with my work the last 10 years and would be a very big boost into pushing me forward in my current path.

I wish I knew more serious computer science type people in my life, to be able to talk to them and see what exactly they’re doing at a higher level of education and what they’ve been able to get out of this work, as it’s something of a mystery to me. And I don’t really know if I’m actually the kind of person who’d enjoy research for a very long time in some esoteric corner by myself – I’m more of a project person, I like to attack specific problems directly and solve them.

One path leads me to an expanded world and opens up far more possibilities, and the other keeps me in familiar grounds but elevates my view to let me see further. Assuming I can actually get accepted into any of these programs, in the first place. I haven’t seen the inside of a class room in over 10 years.

I imagine quite a bit of hemming and hawing will commence, presently – I’ll spare you the gory details.