I’ve been dreading the day I’d have to start writing these journal entries again– they’re always so exhausting, and I don’t really know if the practice is helping me one bit. Still, for the sake of seeing where this all leads, I’ll try to keep a little faith in this building up to something useful.
Some months back, I was struggling with the extent to which the depression and ADHD were rendering my employment situation untenable– I wasn’t getting any assignments, and it seemed as if I’d lose my job then and there. The good news is, I made it through. The bad– not for long.
In November, it seemed as if my luck was finally beginning to turn– I had projects in the pipeline, and worked on a couple of major events that month with more, seemingly, on the way. My boss happened to be in my area one day, and called me over to meet– his treat.
We met at a Snack Shack to discuss some gaps I found in the team’s production process, as well as a breakdown of what went down during my last major episode. He was sympathetic, and disclosed parts of his family’s own issues with mental health. I appreciate the willingness to try and connect.
But also, that wasn’t what I was really there for. A part of me knew this was coming, but not for the reasons I expected. Citing a change of business direction in light of the coming recession, the company was going to start letting go of contractors assigned to less profitable ventures. So basically, me.
He assured me it wasn’t my fault. I wanted to believe him– a part of me still does.
Such is the fate of “permanent” contractors, I thought.
Later in the week, I received a formal 30-day notice from our HR department. The letter said I was terminated for not performing to company standard. At that point, I’d been over the fact that I’d be out of work by January, but I didn’t expect to read something like this. Not after that meeting, at least.
End result would ultimately be the same, but I struggled to reconcile what I’d seen throughout my last month– maybe my boss was telling the truth, and they just sent everyone the same template. Maybe he was just letting me down easy. I don’t know, and likely won’t. Feels like shit, unfortunately.
It’s not all bad– despite the precarity, I was paid well for the work I did. Managed to get my mom a new phone, upgrade my 8-year-old laptop, and get most of my musical equipment fixed. I’d say it was mostly a net positive despite the way it ended.
Moving forward, I’m looking to do a more comprehensive audit of my current aptitudes– kind of considering a mid-career shift towards something like project or strategic managment (decidedly non-anarchist pursuits). Grad school is still in the cards, though there’s quite a bit of catching up to do since I took a semester off.
In the meantime, I’ll try to not die.
October has been a sobering reminder of the extent to which a lifetime of repression expresses itself in and through the body. In these past few months, I was filled with this sense that my luck was beginning to turn– gainful employment, a relatively loose work environment, and a considerable bump in compensation. Maybe this nagging feeling that things were too good to be true.
The thing here is, I always make it like five or so months into a new job before errors due to novelty are no longer taken as an excuse for my relative inconsistency– things are good, until they’re not. In my experience, there’s been little in the way of recourse for the burden of neurodivergence.
While the status of my continued employment is up in the air, I think it’s incredibly important to map out the terrain. At best, I could keep myself employed for about another year. At the very least, maybe I could afford myself the clarity necessary to ensure that I could take to the former in whatever pursuits follow.
ADHD in particular is something I’ve come to identify with an apparent tension between runaway positive feedback, and nebulous inertia. Most of my life, conscious or not, appears to structure itself in such a way that maximizes inaction– meeting fatigue, or expectations of stress with self-soothing behavior.
This is a dynamic that I’m consciously aware of, but can’t necessarily shrug off in the heat of the moment. Medicated or not, this vital drive towards pain reduction remains, effectively bypassing my rational faculties– at times, even fueling the same avoidant hyperfocus that gets me in trouble to begin with. In many ways, it seems like my capacity for self-reflection is neutered by the immediacy of wanting to flee.
I’m guessing this is where I attempt to articulate what it is I’m fleeing from– at least based on the arbitrary criteria set by the electrified garbage coiled within the confines of my skull. My immediate thoughts turn to issues concerning environmental/interpersonal detachment, control/overreach, and clarity of scope.
The twofold state of inaccessibility and non-intervention is something that keeps me at equilibrium, and this poses a clear problem for me in a structured work environment. While most would be happy to just show up periodically with updates, working in an environment bereft of personal interaction (let alone, connection) sends me back to ground state– curbing any potential motivation I may have at the start of a project.
If I could wager a guess, the inertial state is something I developed in response to environments and people I can’t account for– having previously been organized into a complex of peculiar logics over which I have no capacity to intervene. Basically, people yelled at me a lot as a kid for asking too many questions, and trying to frame existing rules/structures/practices in terms I understood. It simply hurt less to not touch things with that much baggage.
On the off chance I DO want to intervene, one huge thing that prevents me from acting is this lack of clear scope– this sense of what the bounds of a specific project are, how much room I have to play around, and which aspects of it are non-negotiable. This was a tough one to try and suss out, because I nominally attempt to ask for these things in meetings, but draw a blank after the veil of social performance is lifted and I return to ground state.
With passing awareness of my various tendencies, the most important thing we need to address is the inevitable return to ground state. I appreciate that many modern workplaces afford relative autonomy to the COVID-era production floor, but in my case, it may help to anchor myself onto a known, definite structure– something with clear touch points for accountability.
A personal, mid-day check in with relevant staff or process owners and collaborators should go a long way. Externalizing this management function prevents someone like me from falling into ground state, by (predictably and consistently) keeping me in an outward orientation– ultimately setting the basis for productivity.
Never lose that feeling/never learn
My immediate inclination is to try and figure out how something works, or why it behaves a certain way. The preceding paragraphs are no different, but also, in hindsight, gloss over the clear emotional charge that prompted this whole process. I’ll try to be as direct as possible– I don’t feel like I have much control over my own life, and it makes me want to kill myself, constantly.
Between everyday tensions at home (I’ve since moved back with my parents), my partner moving to a different country, and the previously mentioned employment concerns (which, to be honest is itself a recurring source of anguish), there’s this sense that the morass of inaction is inescapable– be it by the trauma of others, continental drift, or technocapital society constituting itself in a way that renders my individual capacities untenable.
Taking five minutes to think of where everything stands at the moment, it’s hard to not think that either everything is my fault or nothing is. Even this attempt to map my own dysfunction feels like an escape from something I have yet to be punished for. It’s exhausting, and I far too often feel that I’ll never see the end of it.
Not sure what else there is to say, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
Something about the desperation of the present year just pulled me back to a format I’ve long since abandoned– this. Things seemed to have hit a plateau around 8-9 years ago, leaving me with a sense that there was nothing novel or particularly intense that warranted exposition or discourse. I was steady, and couldn’t want for anything else. Following several major life events– a long-term relationship coming to a close, the near-death of a family member, and irreconcilable conflict within the creative spaces I inhabit, this is no longer the case.
Must be age, or the clarity afforded by hindsight, but this whole deal with moving from intensity to intensity betrayed a complete ignorance of the structures undergirding my experience of the world– systems upon systems of trauma, affect, desire, and negative hedonics. With the extent to which my interiority has become unrecognizable to previous iterations of myself, it’s become painfully clear that a safe platform for interrogation is necessary– if urgent.
I’m in my thirties, unable to hold down a job for long, with little-to-no solid prospects for the future other than the certainty of self-termination (and even this is dampened by my veneration of the concept of death itself, leaving me with no meaningful, immediate recourse unless I “earn” the right to die). On the interim, I’ve also grown increasingly afraid of the two-fold reduction of being nothing but a sentient mass of complexes, and an object determined by external relations– no aesthetic unity in between.
Hopefully, this project elucidates some of the mechanics underneath this morass of negative states. If anything, the cartography may lead to better, more actionable prescriptives provided I do the work. I’m certain there’s something serviceable in there, but at this point, I’m not sure what that is, what it does, or where it goes.
For what it’s worth, I’m incredibly thankful for anyone who’s made it this far with me, but I guess this is a solitary pursuit that demands my full attention– the rest of my life could very well depend on it.