To Gaslight What is Already Burning

There is an order to this chaos
The thorns that grow from the vine
There is a path laid from the rubble of destruction
And your breath tastes of cheap red wine
All I’d like is to guide you along
To the work that is both yours and mine
Yet there’s a gnawing sense that as I move ahead
All of you is left behind

I could wait until the very end
To see if you’d crawl back to me
Thinking about the pain we shared
All my words you didn’t believe
You wait content in anguish
With the target you placed upon your head
Pointing the finger of blame at anyone else for what you lack
Because they couldn’t guess what you left unsaid

There is a sense that comes from this disorder
A realization that I had come to know
An acknowledgement of my personal failures
Reaping the consequences of what would never grow
You sit alone in fear
Of moving forward
I refuse to admit
I was walking backwards

Yet there is an order to this chaos
And a lesson from the thorns that pricked our skin
You and I still won’t admit our failures
But we know that what we had 
is quickly wearing thin.

Are you happy? – 2020

I’ll be honest – I’ve been thinking about this post nearly since I wrote the last one a year ago. None of these had been particularly positive, but last year felt especially hopeless. I wasn’t doing very well and it showed – my depression and anxiety were kicking my ass and I wasn’t really fighting back. I had been dealing with a lot of stuff in my personal life, and it felt like it was all narrowing down to a ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ kinda scenario.
Last year was both exciting and terrible. My now wife and I were in the midst of planning our wedding which was stressful and time consuming and that I recommend no one go through with – (the actual wedding process, not getting married. Being married is pretty nice but weddings are almost a complete waste.) – and I was dealing with a job that wasn’t helping my mental health either. Mixed with health anxiety and weight issues and the feeling that I was wasting my life at the ripe old age of 21, going into 2019 was not a great time.

But, after it’s all said and done, I’m through the other side and into 2020. The holidays are through and for a short while the world slows down a little bit and I’m able to reflect on last year and how I relate to the version of me a year ago. I mean, really, how I relate to the person that’s been doing this for the past three years – I was nineteen when I first wrote one of these. I just graduated high school and moved out of my parent’s home. Life has been passing by and I don’t really get a chance to realize it.
And that’s the thing – as I enter 2020, I walk in unsure. And perhaps that’s a good thing? Every year I’ve known that I was depressed and exhausted and on the brink of giving up, but this year I find myself unable to tell how I feel for certain.

My anxiety is at an all time high. At this point, I’ve realized that I’m a hypochondriac – I have intense health anxiety that makes me able to take any bodily feeling I have and assume the worst. Every headache, every twitch, every shake – I find myself fearing the worst and preparing for my imminent death. But it comes in waves – I’ll have weeks where I’m able to keep it in check and then others I’m a mess and I have no clue how I’m supposed to function like this. I take one anxiety med but I know it’s not enough and I have no clue how to get the help I want, because the last time I went to a therapist they told me that they weren’t able to diagnose just anxiety, and it had to be in conjunction with something else.
And that’s the bright side, perhaps – is that my depression is almost nonexistent anymore. I will every so often get hit with a fast ball that has me down for the count for a day or so, but it’s no longer my lingering companion. It doesn’t hang over my head leaving me struggling to find the strength to keep myself up.

I’ve dealt with anxiety much of my life, but the vast majority of it was on a social level. I figured that it just went hand-in-hand with my depression and naturally introverted nature, so I never thought on it much. But now that my depression has taken a leave of absence and left anxiety as the main antagonist in my life, it feels like it’s always been there and I was a fool not to realize that it was always pulling my strings. Every time I thought people were talking about me behind my back even when they didn’t even know me – every time I refused to take an opportunity because I thought I’d be immediately rejected – every time I thought that people were out to get me, wanted to hurt me or poison me or get me fired… it was always anxiety playing the game. And now, when I do get depressed, I’m able to realize that it’s just because of my anxiety acting up.

I’m trying to make it work. Every time I get concerned on my future or health, I just realize that things are going in the right direction. I’m heading the way I wanted to be going a couple years back. I’m married and in a good job, and not taking outside factors into account, my future seems bright. At this rate it’s a matter of self development. Trying to fight back against what’s firing off in my head and just taking control of it myself, because I’m pointed the right way. It just all comes down to me.

I’ll be 23 this year. I’ve heard no one likes you when you’re 23, so I’m a little concerned about that, but still – my life is flashing back. Every year I write about the future and how old I’ll be and the person I might be and no matter how many times I write that sentence down it never feels real. I never thought I’d be 20, 21, 22 – but the old adage is true, I suppose – the years start coming and they don’t stop coming.

I’m entering 2020 with a new set of issues and some old ones that have strengthened, but I’m also entering with a new sense of hope. Something I certainly didn’t have last year. I don’t know if things are actually all that better than they were back then, but it sure seems like it.
I see a path, I see the arrows, I see where I need to go. I have what I need to move forward and get to where I need to go, and that’s what this year is going to be about. Hell, that’s what this decade is going to be about. If I wrote about the ’10s being the decade I grew up in, the ’20s is going to be where I get my chance to fully shape myself into the person I want to and need to be. I don’t know where I’m going to be this time next January, or in 2027 when I turn 30, or by this time 2030. I have no clue how I’m going to feel or the person I will be, but I know where I want to be and I have what I need to get there.

And this time, I feel like I have the strength to keep going.

Are you happy? Am I happy? Has the past year, the past ten years been good to you? I know time is a man-made illusion and doesn’t mean anything but the moving into a new decade feels like a new chance to do things right, it feels like a new slate.
Are you happy? I don’t know if I’m happy, but I feel content that I know how I might get there. I feel hopeful. I feel like I have a chance, and that’s really all I’ve wanted these past few years.

Are you happy?
I sure hope so. This world is too fucking cruel. It can be tough to find happiness. There are too many of us – people my age, people younger than me, people older than me – who aren’t able to find happiness and it doesn’t help when the world is run by people who could care less about the lives of the average. I want you to be happy. If only we could all come together to try and make it better for all of us, perhaps we’d find it.
But no matter the form it takes or how it shows up, I wish you happiness. Happiness today, tomorrow, the next year, and as your life continues.

We’ll get there someday.

Have a great year.

– Brandon, 10:17am.