When I first began blogging, I was in complete disarray. I was in a loveless relationship with a woman who was about to become downsized without many options, who also was sleeping around, and subsequent to her sleeping around she offered little in the way of hope of repairing our relationship. Adding to these troubles was the onset of my disability, which did not, I am sure, make my then-partner feel any kind of endearing emotions toward me. One of the first things that I did after I made the decision to retake the life that I could still live, was reach out to Nebraska.
My thinking went as follows: What I am dealing with was not unexpected. I spent the majority of my life boxing, and at the wind-down of my career, I was taking more than I was giving. Still, I figured that I had quit while I was ahead and that I would still be relatively fine. I had saved some of my pennies, and others were put in very modest investments. Then, my Mother passed, a financial crisis evaporated my safety net, and then my darling brother passed. My dear brother’s death shook me from the torpor I was in, invigorating me to take control of the insignificance that is my life.
The architect of my life has never been conventional. I say this not because I am a person who takes pride in being different, but because of the comments of others when I talk about the things that spin constantly in my thoughts, and those thoughts are (or should I say “were”... it has been a long time since I have suffered a conversation with a Philistine) often run in contrast to those who are content with living their lives inside of borders. So after a hiatus, I emailed my first real “e-friend” and told her that I was going to start a new chapter in my life, and that I was going to move to Omaha. I also told her that I had begun blogging as a way of dealing with the increased stress and pressures of my life, and it was her who encouraged me to keep on blogging when AOL discontinued its blogging site. So along with several of my then-new found blogging friends, I migrated to this spot and have been chronicling the “days of my nights, which are the nights of my days” here.
For those who are not aware of what it is I am “dealing with” (in case there are those who are reading this and are wondering), because I spent at least 25 of my first 47 years competing as an amateur and professional boxer, as a result of that participation I have been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury (CTBE, or TBI). The description that follows is as comprehensive as it is going to get - Clinical symptoms of CTE are only beginning to be understood. They are thought to include changes in mood (i.e. depression, suicidality, apathy, anxiety), cognition (i.e. memory loss, executive dysfunction), behavior (short fuse, aggression), and in some cases motor disturbance (i.e. difficulty with balance and gait). While the pathology of CTE has been broken up into stages, the clinical symptoms and clinical progression of CTE are not yet fully understood. I don’t make a big fuss of what I put up with or “give” my condition any more credit than it already has already. But because the big ones, the mood issues and memory loss, along with executive function disruption, show themselves in areas that universal to nearly everyone, what good would PMS’ing about it do? So I don’t complain too much about the hand that I hold… I still have some pretty good cards and the game isn’t over.
Being born in this particular space/time stream has meant (at least to me) that I do not have reason to really complain about any break that I did not get, or any form of lack in my life. If anything, I feel that if I owe the world anything, I owe it my best face forward and all the happiness that it has filled me with. This sentiment is similar in ethos to one of Vince Lombardi’s “... all the time things…” quote of character that I hold myself to. It has been something that I believed all my life, certainly since my Mother tried to get me to eat liver by telling me about all the starvation and general deprivation as a child. I mention that to say that taking ownership of all the contents of my life and the agency that entails has been with me for so much of my life, that I feel that I have always been appreciative of being able to live this life. That is why my depression HAS to be symptomatic of my diagnosis. Of all the moments for such darkness to creep into my soul, that it comes to me now, without cause, and it seems trite… depression at Christmas. I mean, how unorignial can THAT be?.
I don’t know when this current cloud began to descend upon me. It would be easy to say that it began early this month, but that is taking the easy way out. I had a good Thanksgiving, eating ice cream and cookies, with getting the opportunity to watch the Lions win their annual Thanksgiving Day football game in peace, beating the Chicago Bears. I spent a day with my co-worker setting up holiday decorations (getting a little extra money and companionship… a “double, double”!), hung about with Nebraska, and I had a real date. But all the while, I could feel a darkness steadily creeping with me as I made my way around.
Though things have improved between us, Nebraska and I are not there yet. So I have not thought to call her for anything. Part of my reasoning for this harks back to the early days of my journal and my ramblings about what I expect of myself, and from, relationships. I am simply not sure that I can put myself in a position where the uncertainty can possibly increase to heretofore unseen levels, when presently, I am confident that I will manage to hold my own.
Prior to this episode, I had personified my depression as “the little black dog”, a scrawny, terrier-mix, a stray, one that had none of the breed’s typical feistiness and verve. The little dog used to make its way over to wherever I was and sit silently about two steps away, looking up at me as it laid its head over its front paws, snout jutting over long and dark claws. Right now, I feel as though I was walking down the street and the late fall overcast metamorphosed into a bruise-tinged pallor of smoke and purple. Then, as I continued on my way, the cloud descended, and begin to blot and shadow things around me. That is where I am now.
Of course, I have told myself that I “gotta get back into this thing”. Having already bombed one test and missed two day, I have certainly left myself little margin for error. I don’t want to have to drop any class and do the same thing again. My ambition is to do more than drag my way through junior college. So, in the New Year, I will be battling my way back through school, being determined and disciplined, and willing to let the chips fall where they may.