Wednesday, April 14, 2010, posted by Q6 at 9:49 AM
Let me start by saying that I've never been a big believer in "diagnosed" states of mind. Things like ADHD and bipolar disorder have always been, to me, solely matters of body chemistry, not classified illnesses ot be documented and accommodated. (Then again, I'm one who thought that "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was about psychotherapy--most people thought it was about religion.)

So it was something of a surprise to consider the possibility that I might be depressed in a body-chemistry-type of way. That is not to say that I've become a convert in perception of mental illness; in fact, I think my approach has, if anything, helped me to better understand what I may be going through. (I should also point out--to everyone, including the several people I know that work in the field of psychology--that my opinions are in no way meant to belittle, demean, or dismiss the study of psychology; for all I know, I'm unknowingly speaking their language. I haven't done enough research to fully understand what I'm talking about, and I admit that.)

So here's what I got to thinking about this morning: What is the recipe for a healthy human psyche? If my perspective is based on the idea of body chemistry, let's assume that such chemistry is affected by things both tanglible (such as diet and exercise) and intanglible (such as moods). The right items in the right combinations and amounts, as well as the avoidance of other items, result in a happy mind. I compare it to placing ingredients into my breadmaker: the right quantities of the the right things in the right order. (I'm rambling a bit, and I know that, and I'm sorry--I'm trying to get all these thoughts down while they still have enough consistency to be shaped.)

I think that my ingredients may be screwed up.

(a) My diet has always been kinda goofy, and although I don't think it plays a major role here, it's worth mentioning. I don't eat a lot at all--one meal a day, plus a little noshing--and now my mother has planted in my head the idea that my thyroid may be responsible (she's had trouble with hers). Diet as a small possibility, a thyroid gland as a possibility--that's two ingredients right there.

(b) I snore. I don't stop breathing or anything, but I snore. My brother suffers from it worse than I do; he did a sleep study and now uses one of those machines to keep him from snoring. According to him, he sleeps much better and more soundly. His doctor thinks that the lack of good sleep was making him depressed. Lack of good sleep would, therefore, be another ingredient.

(c) I'm dissatisfied with my job. More specifically, I no longer receive any satisfaction from my job. I used to work with and for people who were kind enough to not only provide me with constructive criticism, but also with praise, when warranted. I don't think I'm doing my job any differently, but I'm no longer receiving any praise from anyone around here. That's put me in a different frame of mind, somehow, and I'm counting that as another ingredient here.

(d) I'm finding little things going wrong: simple little things that were never problematic before now seem to slip my mind; I find myself misspelling words more often, inverting the order of the letters; and my speech has developed a weird repetitive stutter over the last year or two. None of these "symptoms" is severe, by any means; in fact, I'd be surprised if anyone noticed them much, if at all. But I know they're there.

I've got a doctor's appointment next week; I guess that's when my amateur opinion gets a professional consult.
Monday, April 12, 2010, posted by Q6 at 7:59 AM
I may be going through something of a mid-life crisis.

You hear a lot about this (or I did, growing up): men who cross the forty or forty-five year old mark, find that they want totally different lives, and do completely irrational things as a result.

Let me be clear: I have NO desire whatsoever to leave my wife for some twenty year old; I'm not in the market for a fast, expensive, red sportscar; and the idea of a toupee or hair job of any kind makes me want to throw up. No, most of my problem right now, the source of my discontent, is professional. (There was a time, not so long ago, when I enjoyed my work. For a time, I enjoyed work more than I enjoyed my home life. Since then, however, my home life has improved dramatically and my work life has declined.)

I spent a good part of Spring Break (I'm in the education biz, remember) lounging about the house, spending time with my wife, and working on my novel/screenplay (more on that later). I've decided that I will someday make a truly excellent retired person, but in the meantime there are bills to pay, college tuitions to save for, and home improvement to be done.

My new fantasy daydream is to sell a novel/screenplay or two, build up enough to comfortably get by, and quit my job. (A close second to that is another daydream in which I merely walk in to work and quit my job with no plan B.) Of course, it's all labeled "fantasy" for a reason: Having no plan B, I wouldn't be able to support the household; there is no real "go-to" profession for people in my line of work, save returning to classroom teaching; and given the economy of late, returning to the classroom would put be back at the bottom of the seniority ladder, only to be kicked from that a year later (at best). At a time where many people my age are out of work--so many, in fact, that my eighteen year old son is having trouble finding a job--it's not right of me to complain. I have a job, and that's a lot more than many can say.

Nonetheless, I find myself wanting something more . . . fulfilling, professionally. And I keep coming back to the conclusion that--for now, at least--there's little to be done about it.

I am at the early part of "mid-life"; my situation is hardly a crisis--there are many things, most of them at home, that I enjoy immensely and consistently--and I can in no way label it as "problematic." If nothing else, I suppose, I am now like so many other people who aren't very happy in their jobs.

What do they do, I wonder?