It has been way too long since I had a chance to sit down and write. I have a relatively long partial blog entry that I need to go back and finish. That entry started out as a reflection on the weekend leading up to the three-year anniversary of Micah’s death, and wound up including the anniversary itself…and then more.
Right now, I need a reset. I am not exactly sure what that looks like, or how I go about finding or performing one. I just know that the gloom has started to cloud my skies, the black tar pit of despair seems to be calling my name, and everything just seems out of sync.
For two weeks, I’ve had extreme difficulty focusing on my tasks at work. While it is not unusual for me to have quiet moments in my office, moments where I stop what I’m doing and think about the irony of a father that lost his child–and would have done anything, including giving his own life, to save or bring him back–trying to find loopholes for parents that, more often than not, threw their kids away. Parents that frequently were given 18 months, two years, three years, of chances to do services, get their parental ship uprighted, and still failed to do so. Now, however, they want to fight. Now, they want to make sure their kids know that bio mom and bio dad fought for them. Not during the two or three years when they actually had a chance to get the kids back, but after the judge has already found that severing parental rights is in the children’s best interests. This isn’t to say that all my clients just refused to do what they needed to, but an awful large percentage of them refused–repeatedly.
So, when I’m absorbed in memories of losing Micah, memories of sitting by his bedside, watching him draw his last breaths, how can I possibly focus on the parents that deny repeatedly that they have a meth problem, and claim the system is working against them, falsifying the drug test results just to hurt them?
Some people, when depression hits, dive in to the closest bottle, hit the closest bong, snort the closest white line. I’m often asked why I don’t drink (newsflash: I don’t drink). Aside from that fact that I was never raised in an environment where I saw the benefits of drinking alcohol, I’m not ever really sure what to say. In college, I used to make up excuses to get the constant questions to cease. It was just something I did. Today, I just point at Micah’s death. “I can only imagine what might have happened to me after Micah died if I was comfortable drinking or using drugs.” Honestly, would alcohol and drugs have been on the table for me on January 16, 2016, I might not be here today. If I was still here, I would undoubtedly not be the same person you see today
Instead of crawling into a bottle, I crawled onto Twitter. Now, going in, I wasn’t exactly a newbie to the Twittersphere. I’ve had a couple accounts for a while now. One, @GoalieDad37, that I’ve used for years, on-and-off, and the second @RRPAGuy37, that I created back in 2017 at the behest of my wife. She insisted that if I was going to post political thoughts that might be divisive, especially among the hockey community, I should have a separate account that I can specifically use for Roadrunners hockey tweets–and keep my more divisive thoughts on my “personal” account. I’ve had friends at differing levels on Twitter, but mainly casual acquaintances that would respond/react to a post here or there. Still, there were a few special friends that I felt closer to on Twitter…almost like actual in real life (IRL) friends. Not that I had met any of them, nor would ever be likely to meet them, but people I genuinely cared about.
But a few weeks ago, I felt a need to find connections. People that I could actually develop real relationships with. Real friendships that might, might transcend the bounds of the Matrix we know as the internet. So, probably against my own better judgment, I threw myself into a quest for real online people.`
The good news is, I found a few–a few people that I genuinely connected with, that were genuinely interested in connecting with me. I have made a few friends that I hope to develop long-term relationships with, perhaps meet, sooner or later. I met a few people that my heart just leapt out of my chest and flew to–people who needed someone to listen, someone to talk to, someone to care. Some of those people were willing to let me in and talk to me, some decided at an early stage that I was really not someone they were looking to get to know.
Then came the bad news: some people are just flaky, or so busily seeking Mr. or Mrs. Right, that they don’t really have time to waste on friendship. You chat a bit. You make witty banter. You express a sincere interest. It seems mutual–and then, POOF! Gone. I presume they just mute me, since I still see that I follow them and they follow me, but comments and questions go unanswered. They’re online commenting on other things, but don’t respond to me. I know how that sounds–I understand that I’m not the center of the universe, and many of the people I’m talking to have hundreds or thousands of other followers as well, but still. There was a conversation. Back and forth. Ball is in the other person’s court, but 36 hours and several visits to Twitter later, the other person is still sitting on the ball, not returning serve.
In these last few weeks, I’ve found myself spending more and more time browsing my Twitter timeline, texting and messaging with my Twitter friends (trying to focus more time and energy on the ones that respond and converse), and trying to lead a social life that, just maybe, I was never meant to lead. I don’t speak with the same tone and tenor as many of the male Twitter users I see. I don’t seem to portray the same toxic masculinity as so many out there. I’m kind. I’m polite. I’m caring. I bare my heart and soul with my tweets. (It’s amazing how much you can say in a couple 280-character posts.) And, as I guess I should have suspected might happen, sometimes that heart gets trampled and the soul gets crushed.
Do I want to give Twitter up? No. I have made a few friends that I believe will be a part of my life, in a very real way, for years to come. I have helped people through times of trouble, bouts of depression, moments of anxiety. I have been able to help a couple people with things they desperately need in real life. Whatever I have that I can afford to share to help others, I will gladly share. Sometimes it’s greatly appreciated, and — as in real life off the internet — sometimes not so much. (If you’re taking the time to read my blog, this last bit probably doesn’t apply to you.)
I do tend to find, however, that sometimes I have the lousiest timing. Usually, I seem to be around when other people need support most. I gladly give that support, even to those that I suspect would not likely return the favor–either lacking the time, ability, or capacity to do so. Sometimes though, when I could use some support myself, it becomes harder to find. Not nearly as hard to find as in real life, but harder than my mood wants to deal with at those particular moments.
I was talking to one of my friends yesterday, and mentioned that I did not want her to have to be afraid of triggering memories of Micah. I don’t want any of my friends to have to feel like they need to walk on eggshells to communicate with me. Micah is my son. Micah died. The memories of that event are extremely painful, but they are there. Most of the time, the tears and the breakdowns from having those memories forced to the forefront are actually somewhat therapeutic for me. I really do need the release. I keep it so bottled up inside, trying to put forward a professional image, or trying to look like I’m coping normally, that sometimes, being able to just toss that veneer aside helps.
No sooner did I find myself saying that yesterday then I saw a post this morning that blew the veneer away. I was a raw nerve. I knew the person who made the post didn’t intend to trigger me, wasn’t likely worried about walking on eggshells, and is someone that I have tried to talk with about her own loss…but it didn’t matter at that moment. The office door had to be closed. My transcript had to be put down. The sorrow demon had to be set free. But it was a quiet day…a day where I had said I was going to stay off Twitter…a day where my closest friends were either, themselves, dealing with depression issues that I did not want to add to, or dealing with circumstances that made a sorrowful discussion with me impractical. So, I sat and wallowed.
The aftereffects are long-lasting. I went to my Weight Watchers meeting (down another pound since last Wednesday, 55.2 lbs gone since early October), came back, closed my door, and continued to brood. I was trapped between wanting to reach out and call someone, and wanting to just let everyone get a break from me for a while. Trapped between needing to talk, and wanting to just continue to wallow.
You ever get to that place where you just can’t decide what you want and need to do? This is why I need a reset…
Special thanks to those that have been helping me cope over the last couple weeks… You know who you are. You know how much I appreciate you.