State of the Richie

I’m trying to get myself into the swing of actually posting on a schedule. I’m trying for twice a week (Monday and Thursday?), with the occasional mini-post in between if something excites/pisses me off enough.

I need a good post that’s finished for today, so I’m going to answer a question that I rarely actually answer truthfully. How am I?

Seriously, whenever someone asks you how you are, you never *really* tell the truth. You say “good” to dodge the question, and to follow social queues. If something  is actually outstanding you then go into greater detail. You say “Could be better” if things aren’t so great and you want people to ask what’s wrong so that you can complain about things that might not be important in the long run, or rarely explain your real issues. But how often do we say “I’m not good” when we really need someone to help us out?

I guess it’s because “How are you?” is really just a way of moving a conversation along. You ask people as a matter of politeness. You usually don’t really care how people are; it’s just an expectation that you pretend to take an interest. I do it myself. Really, everyone does. I lose track of how many times each day I am talking to a customer and they ask me how I am without pausing for a reply.

So, how am I? I’m okay. I got 99 problems, but most of them are totally minor and manageable. I have a job, I’m managing my debt, I have trouble sticking to a budget but my paycheck lasts me the whole fortnight these days, so money’s not a real problem. In fact I’ve just managed to pay off a loan so I have a bit extra in the budget to go into savings/getting rid of the overdraft/credit card balance.

I have to say my job is getting me down a little. The thing about being in a call centre role is that a good amount of the time your interactions with people come about because they have found an issue and need to contact you about it. Sometimes the company is at fault; other times there isn’t actually a problem and merely an explanation is required.

Now, the majority of people are good natured, intelligent, and forgiving. To be honest, they’re kind of forgettable since those interactions fly past. Every now and then I get to speak with someone absolutely great who makes my day. But the thing I usually end up dreading every morning when I wake up and will myself out of bed are the people who want to attack you personally for things beyond your control. After three years I’ve stopped being able to deal with it as easily. I find myself less able to just leave the last day’s crap at the door.

I get a little worried sometimes that I see myself potentially going into depression mode again. A few years ago I slid into a bad place. I’d received my degree about a year before, but I couldn’t find anywhere that would hire a guy fresh out of university with no experience in the field. I was stuck working at McDonald’s as a salaried manager, a position that is too low paid for the hours I ended up doing. Add this to a failed courtship and my lack of emotional maturity when a girl I was infatuated with chose another and I ended up depressed.

I’m not going to describe what having depression is about. There are others who do a far better job than what I ever could. But the thing I’ve figured out about depression is that it really helps to have people to support you through it. I was really lucky that my boss at the time was really understanding, and the people I worked with could handle when I had breakdowns at work. My family were pretty good, and my Mum was always checking up on me to make sure I was ok.

I was prescribed Fluoxatine, and that actually made things worse. I ended up with terrible insomnia, some of the feelings of emptiness and dread were replaced by anxiety, and to top things off I started having problems with my junk. Not that I was seeing anyone at the time or anything, but there’s nothing that can make you feel worse about life than not being able to have a wank, especially if you can’t sleep.

Since the treatment was worse than the symptoms I decided to stop taking it (this is not advice I would give to people without seeing their doctor first. Brain chemistry is a pretty funky thing, and you don’t want to start messing with it). And I decided to address the things that actually caused me to feel bad.

First off, I dropped my expectations and stopped looking for a job in advertising. When a friend of mine let me know about openings at my current job I jumped at the chance to move into something new. I put on a brave face, and got the job.

I also had to look at my maturity. It’s taken quite a while, but over time I realised that I wasn’t really emotionally mature enough for a relationship, especially when I was acting like a typical fedora dudebro talking about being friendzoned, or hating another man for “stealing” a girl away from me. It’s taken a while, but I think I’m a lot more mature in that fashion. I woke up after a night of drinking to find I’d drunk text someone I had a crush on, and when she replied to say that she liked me as a friend, the only regret was about sending stupid text messages in the middle of the night.

Still, When it comes to relationships, I am, to paraphrase the Joker, a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. But I’m okay with that.

So, what am I doing about my occasional negative feelings at the moment, to stop them from becoming more permanent? Well, for one I’m cutting down on the booze. I’ve had too many nights of coming home from work, cracking open a beer to relax and then finding myself downing a couple bottles of wine. I’m not going to give up on drinking, I enjoy beer far too much, but I’m going to moderate it more, and try to avoid sitting on my own in front of my computer drinking. I’m also drinking herbal teas and taking a herbal sleep aid at night to try and get more rest, as well as taking St John’s Wort daily and drinking at least three cups of green tea a day. Now, if only I could get some exercise while I’m at it.

What do you guys do to help relax you, or to centre you when you need it?

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