Come Armegeddon, Come Armegeddon Come

10 Oct
(For background reading, see Everyday is like Sunday… and …everyday is silent and grey)

Today, I have just been informed, is World Mental Health Day, which aims to promote “…open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services”.

Coincidentally, websites and blogs on my radar have been discussing the subject recently. Here’s a whole thread dedicated to depression on the Millwall fan forum, House of Fun, while over on Twitter, @millwallant has recently blogged on his own experience. Last night in the pub, entirely unexpectedly, the subject came up in conversation and a lengthy chat was had, and when I got home and checked twitter I found that @danny_bounce had helped somebody from taking their life.

All things considered, it’s probably about time for an update.

I’ve provided links up the top to previous posts in this series, the tl;dr version is this: nearly two years ago, I hit rock bottom, had no confidence in the future, drank a silly amount of cider to wash down a silly amount of painkillers, and went to bed hoping not to see the sun rise the following day.

Two years ago, I was working a minimum wage job, pushing boxes of paper around a large office building. I was working for a man who was deeply unpleasant to work for, and who would constantly threaten to use his power to sack me if I ever complained about the bullying culture within the office (and true to his word, he eventually did.)
Two years ago, I was living with my old flatmate. We got on alright, but we were never the closest of friends. Three years into the flatshare and strains were showing. This was year 5. Co-dependency (from my point of view) was the only option, and previous experience had shown me that there are very few people who are prepared to live with me, and at the time, earning minimum wage, a one-bed flat was a non-starter.
Two years ago, because I wasn’t very happy at work, and I wasn’t very happy at home, I was spending as long as I could in the pub. I finished work at 4 – I would seldom be back in the flat until about 10 at night – sometimes even later. The drinks were cheap – being a Wetherspoons, I think at one stage the ales were about £1.35 a pint; I kidded to myself that I was an ale connoisseur. No. I went there for one reason, and one reason only – to get drunk enough not to care. I would then stumble on, up the road, go to bed, and do it all over again the following day.

Two years; where am I now?

Well, the good news is I was wrong. I had hit rock bottom, but there was a future for me.

After being sacked from that job, I ended up working in an office job, dealing with PPI complaints. OK, not a glamourous job by any means, but it afforded me more dignity and respect than just being the loser who pushed a trolley load of stationary around an office. I made friends in that job – something which had been virtually impossible for me as a trolley-pusher. I left that job to go to a rival company, who had offered me a more senior role for approximately double the money in early 2012, and as of now, albeit with a slight break between short term contracts, I’m back working, earning roughly two-and-a-half times what I did on minimum wage.

The flat? Well, that changed too. As I was earning (slightly more), I began to think about moving out. In the end, my arm was forced, as my then flatmate announced that he was moving out. I didn’t want to stay where I was, so I moved to a one-bed flat across town, which only ended up costing me a fiver more a month in rent. Living by myself has been fantastic – no need to compromise, no petty squabbles, no notes left on the fridge.

Sadly, I still drink quite a bit. The good news is, I’m more sociable when I do – seldom do I drink by myself these days (save the occasional quick one to kill some time), and for that I have the good people at the Society Room and the good people of #glasgowbeer to thank – a genuine social network who have been there at my times of need.

In short, life’s pretty boss at the moment. I am quite content with the way it is going. That said, despite my life taking a turn for the better, am I any happier for it? It’s a tricky question, and I’m not sure I know the answer.
Certainly, being more comfortable financially means that I am a lot less stressed than I was before, and having a relatively stress-free life is an ample replacement for happiness. Compared to what I had, it’ll do.
Am I happy? No sir. I’m still extremely envious of those in lasting, meaningful relationships – not for the want of trying, that’s never ever worked out for me. Money can’t buy you love (or so the Beatles claimed). I’m overweight, and no no confidence around women. I was going to ask out a girl at my last work, but never did because in my head the battle had already been lost.
Despite being relatively successful career-wise the last year or so, I am still haunted by the thoughts that I’ve just got lucky, none of this is deserved, and I’ll end up pushing a trolley around again an office in a years time. As absurd as this might sound, and despite the evidence to the contrary, this keeps me awake at night sometimes.

By and large, though, I manage to hide this a lot better now. I’ve not burst into tears in my current or previous workplaces – something which I used to do a lot. I’ve become a bit more confident in social situations over the last couple of years. I’m unhappy with my lot in life, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but the progress I’ve made is encouraging.

As a final word on the matter, I’ve realised now that my whole life philosophy was wrong. I wanted happiness as an end. I knew I was unhappy, and logically, happiness would nullify that and I would feel brilliant. But I was wrong – the pursuit of happiness is a waste of time. It is as per the basic economic problem – we have infinite wants, but finite resources – take the pursuit of happiness to it’s logical conclusion, and we’re all unhappy because we cannot satisfy the criteria for happiness (either we set the bar too high, or we find that happiness has decreasing marginal utility).
What I was in fact looking for, and had mistaken for happiness, was hope. And now, I have hope. Things are better now for me than they were before; they could still yet be better. Whilst I am not particularly happy at the moment, I know that might break for me in the future.

And this is why I have no intention of bowing out early anytime soon.

You’re stuck with me.

Sorry ’bout dat.


One Response to “Come Armegeddon, Come Armegeddon Come”

  1. James October 14, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Glad to be stuck with you. 🙂
    (And seriously, glad you’ve found some hope.)


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