A Thought For A Thursday (2022/12/29)

I decided, on Tuesday, to try coming off the Buspirone on a daily basis, and use it on an as needed basis. I did this because of my collapsing energy levels. I think it was the right thing for me to do, since my energy levels are improving, and I’m able to move around better, and get more things done.

Let me tell you what I think demons and angels are. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Where did that thought come from, Mark? It’s something I keep running into in life. Like people trying to explain away bad thoughts, and bad actions, and bad behavior by attributing them to demons. The old saying, “The Devil made me do it.”

Sorry. That’s not true at all.

Demons and angels are literally us. We are each both a demon and an angel. And they can’t be separated into two beings. Think of it like rose bushes. Beautiful, but armed with thorns. Some of us are like wild blackberries. A few small berries, and an ocean of thorns. Some of us are like blackberries on the farm. A few thorns, but tons of berries.

The point is, when you get cut off in traffic, it’s not a demon that makes you scream at the driver that cut you off. It’s you. It’s anger. Frustration. Bafflement. Relief that you didn’t get in a wreck. An entire host of emotions. All of them inside of you and that collection of single celled organisms that has organized itself into a macro-organism called a human being.

Own it. Don’t blame it on something you have no damn control over. Own it. It’s all you.

Hold the door open for someone behind you? Aww. You little angel you. But, you see. If it’s not a bad thing, we don’t say, “An angel made me do it.” We treat that completely different. We don’t even always recognize that good behavior. But, there it is. You did something good. Like an angel would.

Own it. It’s all you.

Angels and demons. We are them. They are us.

Sometimes I think we oversimplify too many things. Pushed the red button that launched the nuclear missiles? You devil you. No demon made you do that. Own it. Put cat food out on the back porch for the stray cats that you know are out there? You angel you. No one made you do that.

Punch your brother smack in the nose? Broke his nose? Put him in the hospital for a couple of days? You devil you.

See? There they are. Angels and demons both. One and the same. Inside of each of us. We are the angels and the demons.

And it does get complicated. Doesn’t everything get complicated? The serial killer. If ever there was a case for this thing called demons, that would be one of the cases. “The demon possessed him, and made him kill 27 boys, and cut them into bits, and bury them in his backyard.”

Right. Sure. And we can bring in an exorcist, and cure him, and all is forgiven. Right?

Some of us have more darkness in us than others. It comes out looking like bigger demons.

The guy that took a gun to school, and shot 27 people dead? A demon, right? A fruit loop? What possessed him? What made him do that? He went crazy, right?

No. He deliberately decided to do what he did. Maybe his logic is flawed? Maybe he is filled with hatred, and rage? Maybe he wants to say something, but can’t convince anyone to listen? Maybe he just hates life? Maybe he wants to die, but can’t kill himself, so kills others until someone stops him?

Possessed? No. Crazy? No. The things you call demons? The “devil that made him do it?” That’s all him. No one made him pull that trigger. He literally came to the conclusion it was what he had to do. What he wanted to do. That it would solve whatever the problem he had was.

Demons had nothing to do with it.

Neither did angels.

Life would be simpler if they did, wouldn’t it. If only we could blame all the bad stuff on demons, and praise the angels for all the good stuff.

But, see. Then we come to man’s tools. Like cars. Cars which in and of themselves are not good or evil. Cars which are invaluable transportation tools to people. You have to have that car to get to work, to go buy groceries, to go someplace on vacation, to get the kids to school, to get to the doctor’s office, or the dentist’s office.

But, at the same time that the car does all that good, it’s slowly destroying our biosphere. Pumping out carbon from burning fuel. Leaving a trail of microscopic dust behind it from its tires, and metal parts, and springs, and paint.

Suddenly, the car becomes both good and evil. An angel and a demon.


Just like me. Just like you. Just like everyone everywhere.

My father told me, “There is a darkness in you, Mark. Just like there was in my father.”

Yes, dad. There is a darkness in me. There is also a light. And an interplay between the two. In some of us, the darkness may be bigger than the light. In others, the light may be bigger than the darkness. In others, they may be in balance. In each of us, they are always in conflict.

It would be easy to let the darkness win. To let it end things. To let it rule things. To let it make my decisions. I know this. I know my darkness well.

The magic. The thing that makes me human, is the light that balances the darkness. The light that keeps the darkness from owning me. So long as the two remain in conflict, I have hope that I’m not a bad person.

It’s not demons. It’s not the devil. It’s not angels.

It’s me. It’s my emotions. My feelings. My thoughts. My brain cells. The zillions of single celled organisms from which I am composed. That which makes the macro-organism that is me.

We are the demons. We are the angels. We are like the roses, and the black berries. We have flowers, and fruit. And we have thorns.

There. Now you know what I think about demons and angels. And about people who let the darkness in them win. No psycho pulled the trigger and shot 27 kids at school. No fruit loop cut up little boys and buried them in his backyard. No demon took possession of such people.

It’s not that simple.

Anger. Rage. Fear. Hatred. Blind emotions. Terror.

It’s complicated.

People lose to the darkness in them all the time. You broke the pencil at work. You spent half the night awake, playing a video game, bashing monsters with a big wrench or a sword. You slept on the sofa after you had too many drinks on a rough day.

It’s not demons.

It’s not angels.

It’s you.

Grow up. Own it. And if you need to, learn to deal with it.

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A Thought For A Thursday (2022/12/22)

Then there’s the “stolen election” conspiracy theories. Don’t those drive you nuts? I find they illustrate how totally, absolutely stupid people have become. It’s not about who got how many votes. It’s not about how many people voted. It’s not about population in any way, shape, or form.

It’s about how red the maps are. It is literally that simple. And I’ve said it a million times. It’s about people doing “1 map section is 1 vote” in their heads, and looking at the map, and saying, “No way did Biden beat Trump in Georgia. Look at the map!”

It’s why Kari Lake has gone stupid in Arizona, and is claiming the election was stolen.

Here.


There you have it. The entire election conspiracy problem expressed in full color. Count the blue sections of the map of Arizona. How many are there? 5. That’s it. 5 blue sections. Count the red sections. How many are there? 10. Kari Lake won in twice the areas that Mark Kelly won. And yet Mark Kelly won the election.

We both know it’s because nobody lives in those 10 red areas of Arizona. Everyone lives in Phoenix and Tucson. If you win those two places in Arizona, you win the most votes. It’s that simple.

Here’s what the problem is. The map doesn’t reflect the number of votes in each map section. It is simply a map of the counties of the state. What does that mean? Here. The county map of Arizona.

 Looks just like the election results map, doesn’t it.

There is a ton of information missing in this map. So, let’s look at a population map. This one shows red where a lot of people live, and green where not very many people don’t live. Take a good look at it.

Presto. Kari Lake won all the green, where no one lives. Mark Kelly won all the red where everyone lives.

And it makes me wonder if people are really that stupid, and that dense, that they believe all 15 counties in Arizona have the exact same say in who Arizona elects. Because, for them to believe this, they have to reject the idea of one person being one vote. To believe all counties count the same, the counties with 10,000 people in them have to be given the same voting power as the counties with 1,000,000 people in them. Or even more lopsided than that.

This is a fight I had with my brother. Population density has to matter in statewide elections. We need to change the maps that report the results to reflect the population density. We need to show voting districts. Not counties and cities. Voting districts. Because those are based on population.

But, here’s the sad part. If we show voting districts, we run into the same damn problem, because we end up with tons of little bitty districts and a few big districts, and now we have the problem of the little districts having been made up to stack the deck on voting in the favor of the Democratic Party.

This rapidly devolves into a shouting contest. Where whoever lasts the longest shouting wins. Because. One side of the discussion can’t be reasoned with. One side of the discussion sees the ocean of red, and the lake of blue, and screams, “The election was stolen!”

And people wonder why I’m depressed, angry, and mean. Because the sheer stupidity of looking at a map, with no context, no sense of population, and saying, “There’s more red, so red won.” is totally stupid. And it’s exactly what is happening in state after state of the nation.


So, yes. I am angry. And hurtful. And I call people stupid. Because they are. Because they can’t understand the simple truth that one person gets one vote, and that places with lots of people, as a result, get more votes than places with almost nobody living in them. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s so hard to understand that more people live in Phoenix, Arizona than in any two red counties that voted for Kari Lake.

If you follow through with the argument that the elections are rigged, and the conspiracy theories, you end up with 12 counties in Arizona telling the 5 counties where everyone lives, how to run their cities. You end up with 1 million people telling 5 million people who the governor of the state is. Who the president of the country should be. Whether health care should be private, or public. And it goes on and on and on. In other words, you turn the state into a copy of the US Senate, where each of the 50 states gets two senators. Where Wyoming, and it’s half a million people has the same clout, the same power, as California, and it’s 39 million people.

And yet, that’s how these yo-yos think.

And seriously. The only way to fix that thinking, the only way to solve that problem, is to dissolve the United States, and turn it into a bunch of independent nations, and city states. Which sounds more and more like what the election conspiracy people want to do.

So, yes. I’m angry. And I will be angry. And I don’t see that changing until this entire fiasco and hundreds of fiascos like it, are resolved, and maybe not even then.

A Thought For A Wednesday (2022/12/21)

Ah. Humans. So entertaining.

I’ve been trying to explain, slowly, and cumbrously, why I am the angry, hurtful guy someone once called me. In that spirit, in that quest, let me write down more of what makes me angry, so you can know, and understand.

The moon landing of Apollo 11 happened 53 years ago. People are stupid enough to believe it didn’t happen, and was all faked in a studio somewhere. That even the astronauts were faked out.

Let me ask a few questions.

In 1969, how good were the special effects of movies? Perhaps the best effects were from Star Trek, the original series, the first episode of which was released on September 8th, 1966. Other special effects wizardry at the time came from movies, such as “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, a James Bond movie released on December 13th, 1969. Other movies included, “The Italian Job”, “Easy Rider”, and “True Grit”.

Look at the movies. Look at the special effects in the movies. The movies did not have the special effects to fake the moon landing in 1969. If they had those effects, the movie studios would have obviously used them.

Look at when computerized special effects showed up in movies. Movies like “The Last Starfighter” and “Tron”, in the 1980s. Watch those effects, and you know they are clearly generated. They aren’t real.

When did movie effects become good enough to appear real? As soon as the movie studios could develop and obtain the technology to make them real.

Look at computer games. It’s 2022, and computer games still don’t look real. They are getting close. There are some technology demonstrations that do look real. Demonstrations including a Star Wars scene that was generated by nVidia in 2018, 49 years after the moon landings.

Perhaps one of the best movie or computer game examples of special effects pushed as far as they could be pushed at the time was the original Superman movie of 1978. A movie where most of the flying effects used cranes and cables to lift Christopher Reeve and move him around. A movie where every frame had to be hand painted to remove the cables and the cranes, and make it look like Reeve was actually flying. And, despite the best efforts of the studio, and the creators of the movie, there are times when gravity shows in how the cape Reeve is wearing moves.

The best movies today can illustrate scenes so realistically we can generate life like movies. These scenes involve hours of computer time to create, and the computers use techniques like Ray Tracing to render the scenes as realistically as possible.

The raw number processing power of the computers used to generate movies today is easily thousands of times more powerful than the computers we had in 1969. Those computers would have taken years to generate each moon landing video.

The history of computing, the history of movies, the development of computer graphics, and ray tracing, show that in 1969, NASA, and the government could not have faked the moon landings. And yet, there are oceans of humans who believe they did. Simply because we never went back.


We never went back because there is nothing there. Nothing we can use. Nothing we could afford to mine, and ship back to earth. The cost to do that would have far exceeded any return on investment we could have had.

Let me continue.

In 1492, would you have sailed with Columbus for the new world? Would you have sailed with the settlers of Jamestown in 1607? Would you have believed the new world was even there to be sailed to? These were one way trips. Exploratory trips. Like the trip to the moon. They did not become regular, even for trade purposes, for decades, until well into the 1600s, and even the 1700s. Even today, ships still sink while crossing the oceans.

But, today, no one thinks much about boarding a ship, and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, or Africa. All it takes is a bit of time, and a bit of money, and you can sail across the ocean.

This is how travel to the moon works. Right now, it’s expensive. It’s difficult. It’s a trip you may not come back from. 53 years ago, it was more difficult than it is now. 53 years from now, if we survive as a people, that trip may be on the verge of becoming routine, and the trip to Mars may be the trip no one believes we have made.

History, and how people work, tells me that there will always be people on Earth that do not believe we have been to the moon. Even when we have reached Mars, there will be people who believe we have never reached the moon.

It’s how people are.

It’s stupid. It’s infuriating. It’s ludicrous. And it’s one of the thousands of reasons why I am the angry, mean person that someone once called me. Because I don’t deal well with people who are that ludicrous.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : Week 268 (2022/12/05) : Lake Effect Snow

I don’t like winter, it’s when my depression is at its strongest.  I especially don’t like snow and ice, as they remind me of my depression. That doesn’t mean I can’t deal with snow and ice, I can. And I have, many times.

One year at work, I got to spend two weeks in Buffalo, New York, then two weeks at home. And I made at least three, if not four trips to Buffalo that year.

It fucking snowed on every damn trip. Lake Effect Snow is what it was called. Every morning I was in Buffalo, I had to march across a white parking lot from the hotel room to the car, scrape an ocean of fluffy white water off the rental car, and then drive the rental car on ice and snow covered roads to the Buffalo office of the company I worked for.

That first Friday I was in Buffalo, I learned what a white out was. The Virginia Beach office called to check on me. “How are you doing Mark? What’s the weather like?”

“I don’t know. The weather report says it’s a white out.”

The other people in the Buffalo Office had laughed. “Mark. That means you open the door to go outside and all you see is white. No parking lot. No light posts. No cars. Nothing. Just white.”

Yeah. I didn’t really need to know that. The drive from the office back to the hotel took nearly two hours that day.

Like I said, I can cope with snow and ice. That does not mean I like them. I don’t. I don’t like them at all.

So you will have no option but to excuse me if I don’t get into your spirit of the holidays, and pray for snow for a White Christmas. I’d rather have Christmas in Hawaii. Sunshine. Short sleeve shirts. Walking on the beach somewhere. Let that Santa Clause dude have all the snow at the North Pole.

You want snow? Move to Buffalo. They get plenty of it. Every year. Lake Effect Snow. And, they’re close to Niagara Falls. If you like snow, and you like waterfalls, and you don’t like going out after dark, you’ll probably be fine in Buffalo.

Me? Virginia Beach is cold enough, thank you.

Frigging winter.

Frigging depression.

385 words
@mysoulstears


Written for Week 268 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them.

I Can’t Sleep Tonight.

I can’t sleep. It’s stupid o’clock, and I can’t sleep. I’ve been trying to sleep for the past 5 hours. And for the past 5 hours I have spectacularly failed to sleep. In a few minutes it will be November 18th. Sometime on November 18th, I will sleep. Eventually. For at least a few minutes I will sleep from sheer exhaustion.

I am watching the end of my nation. The country I was born in. The country I have lived in for 63 years. I am watching it end, watching it slowly turn into Russia, North Korea, Hungary, Turkey, The Philippines, and even China. An authoritarian, single party state. Where all the power is held by one party, one ideology, one small group of people. Where we pretend we are free, but in truth are not.

The sad part is that 47 people out of every 100 people in this country specifically want that authoritarian rule, though they will tell you it’s not what they want. They will tell you it is the overthrow of an entrenched, corrupt political system, and that such an overthrow can only be achieved through the destruction of what was, and replacing what was with a new, clean slate.

Welcome to the new United States.

I can’t sleep tonight.

#ThursThreads Week 537 : Then Explain This To Me

That sentence, “Then explain this to me.” It’s one of my favorite verbal weapons, especially when dealing with conservatives, who can’t explain bean dip. “Define a lot, but don’t use the words a and lot in the definition.” You can watch them fidget. Most likely they’ll throw up their hands and declare you hopeless.

The world is too complicated for them and their belief that, “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten”.

I’m tired this morning. That comes from Wednesday, and my 1700+ word rant about stupid people. That rant left me so angry, so stressed out, I had a stress headache. A kicking one at that. I know it was a stress headache because I ate a bowl of cereal, took a half hour nap, and topped it off with an ice cream bar, and the headache went away. Magic, right?

All I had to do was remove the stress.

My previous therapist said to me once, “Let’s not destroy his perspective of the universe yet. He’s still young. Let’s give him time to enjoy thinking he knows what’s going on.” That’s probably paraphrased, but you get the idea.

We talked about that on occasion, though we didn’t flat out say it was what we were talking of. Like the time I watched the cars go zooming past the building out of the windows in his office, and told him, “They don’t know, do they. Don’t know at all what they’re doing.”

“No, Mark. They don’t.”

249 Words
@mysoulstears


A short clip from #NaNoWriMo2022 (30 Days Hath September, April, June, And November), written today, and edited to fit in the 250 word maximum limit. This is Week 537 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 15.

You would hate sitting in a waiting room with me. I’m serious. You would hate it. I plug my earbuds into my phone, put them in my ears, and start music. Hell, a lot of the time I don’t even sit down. I’ll stand up. Sometimes I’ll pace. Sometimes I’ll stand in one spot. It depends on how much space is available, and on if I think I can pace without causing problems.

I’ll tap my feet on the floor. Toes, or heals. Or both. I’ll tap my phone against my leg, in time with the music. Usually, right along with the sounds of the song, or the sounds of the primary instrument. I’ll sit down, and bounce my knees to the music. Or bounce and vibrate them to the music, where my knees are always moving up and down, but my ankle moves to the music, up and down, so my knee rises and falls in a pattern.

I’m keeping time with the music right now. Every time I stop typing, boom! There it is. My knees are bouncing to the music. My toes are keeping time with the song, and the words, and the rhythms.

It drives people bonkers. But I don’t even notice I’m doing it unless I pay attention.

Sitting still is a pain in the ass. Literally. I do not like sitting still. Because. When I sit still, I hear every damn thing in the room, and a lot of things outside the room.

You sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you hear the TV, you hear other people taking, and you pay attention to when a doctor’s assistant comes into the room and calls a name, in case it’s your name.

I sit in that same room. I hear my heart beating. I feel my body’s pulse. I hear the frigging lights. I hear the TV you’re watching, and the one across the room, and the one in the corner over there. You know how much noise the water fountain makes, with all those fans in it, and that cooling system in it? Even the damn switches on that thing make noises. Push the switch, “Squee…” Let go, “eeek.” Turn that bitch on like a motor, push it 50 times, “squeek, squeak, squeak!”

The rollator the lady over there is on sounds different than the one over there that the guy is on. Someone’s on crutches. Another Karen or Ken is at the counter being an entitled white person. Crumbs, the elevator outside just stopped, and more people got off on this floor. They’re probably heading here. I wonder if that door was somewhere behind the door the dude comes out of and calls your name, or if it’s somewhere else in the building?

Oh, she’s cute. Snow white hair with Neon Blue tips. I like it. Don’t stare, don’t stare, don’t stare. Look. Some of the ceiling tiles have been replaced. You can tell because the old ones have beveled edges, and extrude from the ceiling. The new ones are bone flat. They don’t extrude.

Why did they put 13 blocks in the first row of those clear glass bricks, 9 in the second, and 3 in the third. That doesn’t follow a pattern that makes any sense. How can people watch that stupid TV show about people spending a zillion bucks to remodel their house? Oh, look. The Pioneer Woman is cooking up something loaded with calories again.

Look at here, with that ankle in an air cast. Jesus, that hurts. I hope she’ll be all better soon. But I know ankles never forget what you did to them. Oops. Time to move. Someone sat down in the seat next to me. I have to move so I don’t disturb them. If I stay here I’ll disturb them, but if I move that’ll disturb them too. I’m fucking doomed.

That’s three different people that called people’s names. I wonder if that’s for three different doctors, or for three patients for the one doctor. It’s not like dental hygienists, is it? Where the hygienist comes and gets you and sand blasts your teeth with a water pick and salt, and baking soda, and then uses dental floss on everything. Before the dentist even looks at you.

You sit in the same waiting room, and I don’t think any of that happens in your head.

So, I put my music in my ears, and shut it all out. I get rid of all those noises. All those distractions. All that chaos. So I can be calm, and wait for my name to be called. So what if I tap my phone against my knee in time with the music. I’m not hurting anyone. Deal with it, humans.

Today, I’m stimming. Apparently, the fluoxetine, aripiprazole, and buspirone are not going to stop that. Apparently, stimming has nothing to do with my anxiety and panic. Apparently, stimming is how I filter out some of the chaos I encounter just by sitting still in a room.

#ThursThreads Week 536 : You Can Send Backup Anytime Now.

“Before I destroy the fabric of your reality, let me say this. You can send backup anytime now. You’re going to need it.”

I didn’t wait for a response, and instead leaped straight into my destructive work.

“How much is 100%?”

“What?”

“How much is 100% of something? Or anything? Can you have more than 100% pure gold?”

“No, you can’t get more than 100% of anything! Every idiot knows that!”

I looked at the chart on the wall, and pointed at it. “Then explain this to me.”

The chart showed survey results from asking 2382 white Christians a set of questions about the population of the United States. What I found hilarious was the makeup of the population, per the chart.

White people –  40% of the population.
Black people – 30% of the population.
Asian people – 40% of the population.
Hispanic/Latino people – 40% of the population.

If you added it all up, it was 150% of the population of the country.

“How can white Christians think there are more people in this country than are in this country?”

I was greeted by silence. Apparently the idiot knew that the numbers made no sense at all.

“How can white Christians add 40, 40, 40, and 30 together, and get 100? Do they not know how to add?” I stared at him. “Or, perhaps, they’re just terrified of things, of people who are not white Christians like them?”

You can’t really argue with numbers like that. The guy shut up.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 536 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 8 (November 8, 2022)

There was a trigger for all of the chaos, you know. Her name was Gina. I didn’t have an affair. I’m not that kind of guy. But she talked with me. And one day, she told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

That was the trigger. That was what showed me how that place was. How the defense industry was. How it treated people. How people were expendable, replaceable, worthless components in a machine. How the only thing that mattered was meeting deadlines. Even if those deadlines couldn’t be met.

She went out for weeks. Everyone in that place behaved as if everything was normal. As if nothing was happening. Except me. I knew what was happening. And I spent a lot of time trying to come to terms with how everyone else was behaving.

Turned out, I couldn’t. I couldn’t be like they were. I couldn’t behave like they did. My boss at Northrop Grumman said, “You can’t afford to care.”

Boss. That was so wrong to say. You’ll never understand. But, the reality was, I couldn’t afford to not care. If I cared, it meant my soul was still alive. If I cared, it meant my heart still beat within my chest.

If I didn’t care. If I couldn’t afford to care. I was already a dead man, going through the motions of being alive every day.

Why are people so afraid of being human?


Like I said. Autism. I am clearly Autistic. I clearly live on the spectrum. I don’t care how much you scream that it’s all lies, and none of it’s true. I know. I know who I am. And what I am. And how I am.

I know my heart still beats. And my soul has not turned to cold ashes on the ground, being blown around in the wind.

I may not be an emotionally mature grown up. But at times, I look at the emotionally mature grownups I encounter, and I thank God that I’m not like them. That I’m not already dead inside.

A Clip From #NaNoWriMo 2022, Day One (November 01, 2022)

The therapist wanted a kind of history of my depression. A, “How did you get here?” kind of thing. You know.  You can’t answer that question with, “I was fucking born.” Therapists don’t like that answer, even if it’s true. The actual question is more, “When did you notice you were depressed?”

It’s never a question with a simple answer. Isn’t that how brains work? Isn’t that how emotions work? In staggeringly complicated, maybe even quantum mechanical based ways? Like that old idea of, “A butterfly flapped its wings in China and your Uncle died of a heart attack as a result.” Complicated.

So, I tried to give a complicated answer. A detailed answer. “July.” Because it was in July that I noticed I was having some depression symptoms. It probably helps that I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember, so I can recognize some of the symptoms. One that sticks out is when I stop doing things I know to do, things I like to do, things I have to do. And in July, that’s what started to happen.

I’d let the dishes sit in the kitchen sink for two or three days. Yeah. I know. It doesn’t sound like much, does it. Who doesn’t let the dishes sit for a couple of days every once in a while. That’s normal.

What’s not normal is when it happens every week. Then starts to happen every time you wash the dishes. My brain cells explain it as, “I don’t feel like it. There’s not enough dishes in the sink to make it worth my time. I can put it off another day. Or another few hours. Maybe I’ll do the dishes tonight? Maybe in the morning?”

See, it’s a sign of the creeping depression when that happens. And it always spreads. It may start with the dishes. But soon, it hits the laundry, where you find yourself rewashing the load in the washer, because it’s been in the washer three days, because you never bothered to take the load out of the dryer to fold it, so you couldn’t move the load from the washer to the dryer.

Then, it gets even more evil. Then, you start to feel crushed by the work. “I can’t keep up!” Funny how that works. How you forget that you washed, dried, and folded the laundry for months on end with no problem, until one day you didn’t. Funny how everything spiraled out of control from there.

Funny how that happened. After I fell apart on the dishes, I fell apart on the laundry.

Then, cleaning the kitchen floor fell victim to the depression. Followed by running the vacuum cleaner. Followed by sweeping the hallway floor.

One by one, things fell apart.

That’s the symptom. That’s the signal. Sometimes, I catch it early. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I see it happening, and I make the conscious decision to put together a schedule, and stick to it, to restore the habits of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and all the rest. Before I find myself not doing any of them.

And sometimes, putting together a schedule doesn’t work.

But, “July,” can’t explain that. “July,” doesn’t explain that. Any more than, “I noticed I was on a downward slope in July.” But, that’s the explanation I came up with for my therapist. “I noticed I was on a downward slope in July.”