Porcupine

Guess what? Watering pots are still not useful

I bet y’all thought I would rant and rave about Trump. I won’t, for now. There isn’t much to say. There is a lot to read, and I strongly recommend this and this article about macro factors that are changing the Western political landscape.

Nah, if I’ve been mostly silent, it is due to being over-worked, having little time to write about my very limited social life and too stressed to notice details and funny anecdotes. I have had a lot to think over in my personal life, but most of it involves others, and navigating both my feelings and the individuals’ right to privacy is complicated. Great opportunities for growth and development, but useless as far as blog material.

Still. Here is a short rant.

Remember Porcupine? My darling Porcupine, who reminds me of my mother? I’ve worked through my failures as a friend, my own mental health is stronger, so wtv hiccups previously polluted our friendship are now irrelevant.

I’ve often observed, in my own life and in others, that Life forces us through the same lesson over and over again, until we learn it, accept it and change. But with every repeat, the consequences are bigger, the damage to oneself and others is aggravated, there is a cost. Life loves to bring us to our knees and keep us there. At the time it seems senseless. But like a parent trying to discipline a child, for the child grow into the best version of itself, Life too disciplines us if we but are open to the lessons. Except unlike a loving parent, Life is a bitch, with no empathy. The link too between the change that needs to happen and the format of the lesson is often unclear and confusing – bad parenting, right there! Maybe that is why Life lessons hurt so bad, yet are impossible to forget.

Porcupine is now facing the fallout of a hybrid Life lesson & Universe Bolt of Bullshit. Not wee consequences, but big consequences. Electing-Trump-as-President-the-future-has-forever-changed consequences. It breaks my heart. His anger at the universe has disappeared. Now I sense remorse, grief and sorrow. Sorrow for the possible pain that this Life lesson might inflict on his daughter, his baby girl, the light of his life.

I can’t convey or convince you that Porcupine is a good man. One who has done things he regrets, like us all, just trying to stumble through life to the best of his ability. But he is a man that loves deeply and faithfully. Whose intentions are good and kind. His close friends are the sort I’d be proud to introduce to my parents, not because of any accomplishments, but because of their characters and values. I don’t know why the Universe is so intent on him learning this particular Life lesson, but to see him suffer, the kind of suffering that can only be done alone, makes me cry. I spent my whole life watching my mother suffer. She too frequently embodied remorse, grief and sorrow. She too was a flawed individual, yet she was undeniably a good, loving woman, who brought joy to those who knew her.

Apparently the Universe does not deem “bringing joy to others” as enough to exempt my mother and Porcupine from their share (more than their fair share?) of Life lessons and suffering.

Adulting sucks.

I’m still a watering pot.

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Navigating someone else’s depression

Remember Porcupine? My good friend who not only has had a rather shit life, but currently is going through a firestorm of an unfair, disastrous crisis? Of course, since it is Porcupine, the Universe is making this affliction as drawn out as possible. It started 3 months ago, and has no end in sight for another 6-12months. It breaks my heart. As Porcupine’s firestorm worsens, I’m as confident as a non-medical practitioner can be, he is tumbling ever more deeply into a depression. A bad one. Surprising? Hell no. What IS surprising to me is how he avoided depression before these past few months. The guy is a source of never-ending inspiration.

Most of the time.

Here’s the thing. As the weeks go by, I’m finding it harder and harder to ignore just how much of a dick Porcupine can be. I’m uncomfortable acknowledging this, even less writing it, without rushing into paragraphs of disclaimers proving that I understand how depression can appear as selfishness to the outsider, when it is actually caused by the overwhelming pain blotting out almost every other possible sensation. I’m not sure if, because of my own history of depression, he knows he can let his guard down around me, take a breather from the burden of appearing normal. I’m delighted to give him that gift of space and not having to keep up the pretence of being normal. But when he lets his guard down, what he shows is sometimes hurtful and repellent. I don’t expect him to be a saint with all he has going on, and the injustice of it all makes his anger and rage very understandable. I try discount most of it. I try ignore a lot of it. I tell myself is not the time to expect the normal reciprocity of friendship.

But I am finding it hard. The rudeness of his frequent silences, born of apathy of being unable to muster the energy to answer texts; the resentment of feeling taken for granted – he knows I won’t get miffed. Walking on eggshells – trying to get him to talk about anything, only to be met with sighs of disinterest. Occasionally asking how he is doing, only to get snapped at that he doesn’t want to talk about it. Trying to be there for him, only to get what seems like endless reminders that he does not fucking want me there.

I’m torn with accepting the signals I am getting, leaving his unpleasantness miserably alone, and real concern with how badly he is doing. He has isolated himself from most of his friends, I know, and has limited how much most of them know about his current mess – I think they believe he is just a bit busier than normal, and is taking a bit more time for himself, not aware that this time, he needs support and help. I don’t think he realizes he is being a total asshole with me. I tried to make it clear that I am separating real-Porcupine-my-friend from stressed-out-rude-unpleasant-possibly-depressed-Porcupine, and that I only have issues with the 2nd alter-Porcupine, but basically my message was internalized as another example of how quick people are to judge incorrectly. Which isn’t totally false right now – I am judging, which is a failure in and of itself.

I’m worried for myself. I know that my trials and tribulations must undoubtedly appear like Marie-Antoinette’s to him. I feel a little ashamed at how weak my mental health is. But it is what it is… and I have seen my own symptoms of anxiety and depression reappear with increasing frequency over the past 2 months, as I continue to hang out with him. He is a vortex of despair.

So yeah. Don’t want to bail on my friend when he has so few ppl around him, and when by ANY possible yardstick, his life sucks balls right now. A friend in need is a friend indeed. But I’m having a real hard time staying there for him, and have no idea how to navigate this – how can you be there for someone who 95% of the time is hurting so bad, he just disappears, and when he does surface, it is self-evident he is counting down the seconds until he can disappear again? I wish he would get help, but my hints have fallen on deaf ears. I think I am supposed to give space, something I am rather skilled at doing… when my friends are NOT going through a crisis. I have trouble staying away when I am very concerned about my dear ones. For all I know, I am just another source of stress for him. Trying to get that line just right between giving space, and keeping a steady line of support, and my selfish worry/anxiety everytime he goes silent for close to 36 hours because I am scared of what that means.

Anyone with any advice of how to actually practice love… your advice is welcome. Help me be a true friend, without jeopardizing my own mental health.