In the lonely hint of darkness,
for there are nor wit nor wail.
It matters not how things began,
for all is doomed to fail.
In despondence, it occurs that few things persist so well as uncertainty. That constant, maddening drip, penultimate and voracious through and through. The criss and cross, flaying and barreling forward, draining into yawning steel or simpering infinity. It’s there.
And so, these times that conspire to wrest recollection from failing and questionable histories, that ascribe nostalgia to a litany of inconsistent but unfailing missteps, revenge is both meticulous and triumphant.
Bereft and harrowing, I can’t but notice—witness the pendulum ticking twixt extreme and excess, righteous and indignant, awake and contrite. It is failure and reliance; meaningless, droll, and trite, or terrifyingly bright. Is it oblivion, cautious and shrouded, stealing reality from entropy’s embrace? Long defiance wrestles with unmitigated disaster or unflinching resolve, drifting ultimately beyond any realm of clarity. It’s there I’ve dwelled from time immemorial.
And so, vibrating with a sense of inexplicable urgency, driven forward by a cattle-prod comprised purely of unbridled agitation, I sit astride The Apocalypse. An unbroken fever of decades foments within an addled mixture of apprehension and pessimism, deriving nothing but unfettered wariness from once primal vengeance. It’s that culmination, inescapable and conclusive, that badgers all conscious thought.
Hidden here is the esoteric origin of disdain. Forever entwined with Schrodinger and his contemptible feline, contemplation and existential crisis begets not a little madness. And from there, a font of drivel resolute and astonishingly cynical, decries a universe unraveled. And fleeting rest is no escape, nor even death an end.
It’s only now, in a fever born of a withering cascade of chronic insomnia, I can look back upon what I am and how I came to be. Always anxious and unsure, contemplative and melancholic.
One of my strongest memories comes from when I was three or four years old, and is likely common enough. It was a question I was incapable of articulating and launched from a brain with a short attention span; I wanted to know where I came from—why there was nothingness before. Frustrated by my uncooperative mind, I gave up and told my mom I loved her, uttering possibly my first non sequitur. It’s a memory framed by years of medical tests and other procedures that culminated in an open heart surgery I knew I might not survive.
Something broke in me then. A bit of research suggests it’s just a mundane expansion of amygdala due to persistent early life stress, and thus exaggerated conditioned fear response. Regardless, I’ve no more constant companion than doubt. It makes me overly cautious, methodical, and skeptical. I approach everything as if failure is inevitable, understanding that I have no choice but to proceed anyway. If I somehow won the lottery, my next thought would be a litany of practical concerns of how to best manage and secure the windfall, rather than joy.
So I started to read escapist fiction. I probably maintained a book per week, or more, for a solid twenty years before video games finally supplanted the habit. Instead of bettering myself or increasing my skillset, I ran away. Disengaging mentally from my inherent curiosity was how I coped. I loved to learn, but was uncommitted, electing to absorb rather than generate. It made me mediocre, safe, and generally unassuming. Quiet and reserved, that’s my motto. Observe; don’t interact. Turn off that brain, and maybe you’ll feel something other than a sense of obligation. Not so occasionally, I wonder if things could have been different.
That’s a very unforgiving and unrewarding way to live, and it has made me weary beyond belief. Normally I’d call such a statement hyperbole, but it’s all I’ve ever known. All of my emotions have always been muted, withdrawn, or from my perspective, non-existent. That’s just how things were; how they are, really. In fact, around the time I was 13, I woke up with depersonalization, and it lasted for several years afterward. The feeling gradually faded, though its effects were long-lasting.
Yet one day when I was 24 or 25, something very strange happened: I felt good. My usual brooding disposition transformed into optimistic acceptance. I felt like I could accomplish anything, and even if I didn’t, everything would be fine. For one beautiful day, the veil was lifted. To anyone else that may have been a normal day, but to me it was euphoric. It provided a taste of what I was missing, and I’m not sure if I should be thankful that I had the opportunity, or miserable because I’ve never felt that way since.
These days, for each milestone in life, no matter how beneficial, I feel only relief that things didn’t go awry. I can smile to an extent, but do not feel excitement or anticipation. I shrug and nod, not because I’m nihilistic, or because I’ve become enlightened and above Earthly desires, but because that’s my capacity of engagement. For anyone who doesn’t understand depression, it’s not one thing. It’s a progression that relentlessly robs life of succor. It is food without taste; light without warmth; sleep without rest. It’s being alone in a room full of friends and family.
Some can hold on better than others, and at 40, some would say I’ve done pretty well in that regard. But again, for me that’s not due to some indomitable inner strength, but because I endeavor to never return to the nothingness which spawned me. All other concerns are academic. Had I been born even a decade before, I may not have survived past two months due to my heart condition, so I fully intend to wring every last iota of life from this malfunctioning lemon of a husk I’ve been saddled with, psychological consequences be damned.
So I can’t in good conscience, begrudge those who finally loose their grip. In a meandering stream of consciousness that unerringly focuses on the malevolent and hopeless, it’s easy to get caught in the current. Sometimes it’s easier to let go. To those who have lost, or are losing that battle, I offer only understanding. It’s probably the one thing a bitter angry pessimist can do without reserve.
Otherwise, it is with grim determination I wage this campaign. Though the void is uncaring, and circumstances random, and entropy will eventually render my efforts moot somewhere at the end of time, I’ll soldier on because it’s all I know. I suspect I’ll bring this maudlin perspective to my grave, but until then, I can at least be reliable.
I have a reputation to maintain, after all.