Love’s Labour’s Lost

Robot Brain

“I’m on the outside, I’m looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly, you’re ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you”

“Outside” Staind

I texted a link to this song to my ex-wife, N____, Saturday morning. “This had me ugly crying”, It’s not like it was, “our song” or anything. I’m sure she has heard it before but I don’t know if she likes it or what. It stemmed from the text conversation we had Friday afternoon, after/during my outdoor, public panic attack.

“I’m having a meltdown” I know it’s not fair. She isn’t responsible for me after all these years apart. “What’s going on”, I told her about my freaking out after the simple job of changing the tire on my bike ended with me overfilling the tire with air at the store next door and it exploded. It’s pretty funny, but now I am still without my bike and summer is coming to a close. The bike expands my travel range 20 fold. The worst was the loud bang made like ten people at the store turn and look. I threw my hands in the air to say, “Yes, it was me” and picked up the tire to leave.

“Take a shower, it will calm you down”, “I’m in bed slowing down my breathing, my arms and hand are numb, It’s okay, I just fucked up, it was stupid.” “oh, good.” “The worst part was walking past all these people crying and hyperventilating.” “That’s okay, I’ve seen you like that before and I still love you, fuck them!” “Ha ha, Thanks.” “Listen to music, it helps me relive things.” “I haven’t been able to listen to my music, never know if it will bring up good memories or bad.” “That’s what I like about it, I’ve been listening to Pearl Jam, Ten, it came out 30 years ago today.”

Oh my fucking God! 30 fucking years. What happened? “I can’t do it, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics, I get too emotional.” “okay.” “I got Chillhop streaming on youtube no words just beats.” “….”, “How have you been doing lately?” “Pretty good, just today.” “You seemed pretty manic last week.” (I can see through you, See to the real you) “Just anxiety.” (I lied)

Saturday, I woke up and said, “Fuck this,” I hit the power button on the radio/docking unit that holds my iPod classic for the first time in months. Jesus Christ, how old is this thing? 2005? Still fucking works… No bluetooth, no wi-fi, plugs into the wall, charges the iPod but 4 D cell batteries if you want to go “wireless”. Ha ha, What the fuck?

It was okay, I don’t remember the songs that came on first. They brought back memories, but of course, they are my songs, I chose them. Then it came,

“Just last night I was reminded of just how bad
It had gotten and just how SICK I had become
But it could change with this relationship
De-de range we’ve all been through some shit…”

You know the rest. Fuck, The Violent Femmes… My first “true love” put it on my turntable the first night she spent at my house. It was new to me, I didn’t know how popular it would become. I liked it. I remember after it finished, I said, “Wow, these chicks are pretty good.” Ha ha, pretty funny. I didn’t really need to hear that, but not too bad. I think the Black Eyed Peas after. Something I downloaded the whole album cause it didn’t have any meaning to me and it was upbeat and funny. Good break. A song I got from my daughter, “Come on Over” Royal Blood. Good… First song she learned when she got really good at playing the bass. She was so excited the day she got the Big Muff distortion pedal so she could sound like him. She recorded herself playing and sent it to me through the phone. She is good. I recognized the song within the first few notes. She had it down.

Then I started thinking, this was probably a mistake. Every song I heard was hitting me harder. Then Staind came on and I hit “POWER” off when it finished. I was a wreck. I don’t know why. I mean, I like the song, I’ve heard it a million times… It never meant anything special to me. I texted the link to N_____, a while later she got back, “I can’t listen”, “Sorry”, “I can’t remember it, I just don’t want to feel sad today.” Okay, it didn’t mean anything to her either. I just wanted to give her an example of why I can’t listen anymore. Why was I so overwhelmed.

I figured it out. It wasn’t the song. It was what I was doing all last week and still thinking about. I was still planning on going to that party with the meetup group. “STICK TO THE PLAN”. I don’t understand. That wasn’t the plan. The plan wasn’t to blow up my own spot! Meet new people to go out and get shitfaced? Put it all on my credit card? The credit card is buy groceries at the end of the month if I need. Or something small I can pay off immediately. Going out drinking is not an emergency expenditure. And it would certainly overrun my budget by a large amount. I don’t skimp on partying!

The party plan was over anyway but I was still hanging onto it. Friday night I was changing my mind then I got an email from the woman I was texting about getting a ride to the bar. Okay? I’ve been downgraded to email? And it was an email sent through the website. I guess? The last I heard from her was Thursday, Her, “Great, I will text you Saturday and let you know.” The email said, “Sorry, I am going to the beach in the morning, post on the site saying you are looking for a ride.” Umm… Wasn’t that what I did Thursday? Isn’t that why she gave me her number and said, text me? I replied, “Thanks for trying Karen!” Whatever, some bullshit.

Saturday I was still hanging on the PLAN that wasn’t the plan. I was still thinking of ways to follow through. Even taking an Uber and possibly ending up wasted and stranded at Hampton Beach. Or worse, waking up a week later. “Where the fuck am I?” “How did I get here?” “Good, still got my wallet and keys, phone.” “How do I get home?”. I made up my mind after some serious debate. What debate? How was there even a question? Of course I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving the house this weekend!

My depression had hit just in time. It made the decision for me. I still thought I should be polite for some reason. I don’t know why? Karen wasn’t. The last I heard of the main guy, Ivan, was Tuesday when he posted, Remember, if you can’t make it be sure to let us know so someone else can take your spot. He was the first to mention carpooling to the general space. I never heard from him when I floated the idea. Maybe it was a good idea I changed my mind. I went to the website and posted, “Sorry can’t make it, really would have like to meet you all.” (I think I lied.) Doesn’t matter, a few hours later I got another email from the website, “Karen C. has cancelled tonight’s event.” That was it. No explanation. She cancelled? Still no word from Ivan, the guy who runs the group. Would he be in charge of cancelling? She is just a co-organizer. I guess that was fortuitous. Fuck that shit. I’m supposed to let them know ahead of time but they cancelled on 15 people at the last minute. I’m done.

I was lucky. After all my machinating, providence saved me again. I stayed inside for the rest of the weekend. Anxiety ate me alive. None of my techniques alleviated. Sunday I fired up the google machine and typed in “CBT for cognitive distortions” I’m no stranger to the concept. But fucked up’ed’ly, None of my therapists had ever worked on it with me. My last therapist handed me a printout early in one of our sessions about 5 years ago. It listed the cognitive distortions but said nothing about what to do. I told her, yes, I do all of that. I have a shitload of anxiety. She never mentioned it again. 5 years. Every time I talked about anxiety she said the same bullshit. “Just stay in the moment.” What the fuck? What if the moment absolutely sucks so much you will do anything to get out of it? My favorite was, look around the room and count 3 things that are yellow. Okay, That will help. My anxiety is going to triple cause there is nothing yellow in the room. Whatever, she was nice enough to talk to and I’ve had worse therapists.

(Got sidetracked) I found the “Three column layout.” I realized I have already been doing that in my head. One person said it helps him if he actually writes it out. I’ll try anything now. I got a blank page and divided it into three columns. I wrote my worst thought on the left. The middle was for cognitive distortions. I wrote, “Ha ha, all of them, no, seriously… End of the world, I’m evil, Worst person in the world, I ALWAYS do this! etc…” On the right I wrote out the logical thought. It was pretty lengthy but it made sense even if I didn’t believe it. It helped! A little… I went back and read it each time I started ruminating and it stopped. While I was doing it I thought, this will never help. Now I’m wondering why nobody ever mention this to me. Its not like an obscure technique. It was all the results that showed up on Google. It’s been used for years.

The plan in ,”STICK TO THE PLAN”, Is focus on my daughter, focus on my family, and don’t fucking blow up my spot! If I blow up my spot the plan goes out the window. If any of you reading my posts sees me making other plans, could you do me a favor? Please leave a comment saying, “STICK TO THE PLAN!” Thanks.

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