Posted: July 20, 2014
Updated: July 20, 2014

Indisputable evidence that I needed coffee

To try to wake up, I decided to have some coffee. I currently have access to an automatic coffee machine: add a single-serve coffee pouch, put the mug under the nozzle, and push a button. Pro tip: performing two out of three steps does not work well. I forgot to put the mug under the nozzle. When I came back to the machine, I was confused why my coffee cup was empty. At first, I did not think about the fact that the cup was empty and not under the nozzle; my brain merely thought it was weird that the coffee had not defied gravity and poured itself into the mug that was not under the nozzle. I am not sure how long I stared at the machine, but I am sure it was much too long.

Posted: July 7, 2014
Updated: July 7, 2014

Priority: mental health

I am not sure why I need to explain this, but apparently it is necessary: for many months, my primary goal has been to heal. I need safety, security, and stability to heal, and that includes food and shelter. I have had to spend a lot of time trying to make sure I had food and shelter, but my real goal has been to find a place to, and a means by which to, heal.

I am out of ideas about how to heal given my resources. How many options do I have when my resources are a camera, a broken computer, a backpack, and US$150? How am I supposed to heal my depression, my anxiety, and my post traumatic stress disorder without medicine, without therapy, without food, without shelter, and while I am unable to cope with trivial stressors such as loud noises?

Bottom line: I want to heal but I have no idea how to do it with the few resources I have left.

Posted: July 1, 2014
Updated: July 1, 2014

Out of ideas

The last three-and-one-half weeks have been the worst of my life. It started with a total emotional breakdown during which I questioned whether I was having a schizophrenic break with reality. I was not. Things were so bad and so unbelievable, however, that I think it was appropriate to question whether what I was perceiving was real.

I have spent the last 45 minutes trying to gather the information to describe what has happened. I have only collected a small amount, so I will not be able to publish the details of the bizarre things that have happened. I am too tired and too overwhelmed to continue.

That is probably the major issue in my life right now: I have asked for help but everyone says that my life is too complicated and overwhelming for them. If my life is too much for other people, healthy people, to handle, then it is obvious that it is too much for me to handle.

I am out of ideas. This misadventure began when I tried to implement my last idea to find help. It not only failed but it has damaged me even more than I already was damaged. It is difficult to underestimate how much help I need; most people cannot, or do not, believe how much help I need.

I do not want to be alive anymore.

Posted: June 5, 2014
Updated: June 5, 2014

Facebook and communication

I am locked out of Facebook. I cannot access various security keys for various email accounts. I cannot fix my WordPress problems because this computer and connection are too slow.

Gmail, unencrypted is probably the best.

Posted: June 5, 2014
Updated: June 6, 2014

Tough love

This is painful to write about because it is painful to think about, which is why I must write about it. I regularly rediscover that when I write about things and send them away, then my mind can let go of the thoughts. I need to let go of this thought because it is too painful. I feel that I have written about this before, but I think I performed a calculation the other night that is new.

My brother is one of the many people who believe that my fundamental problem is that I do not “want it bad enough.” The “it” is whatever task I am trying to accomplish, and if I have enough “motivation” (his word), then I will accomplish the task. If he helps me before I want it enough, then he is “enabling” me. A common example that this cadre latches on to is when I speak about my anxiety that keeps me in mental anguish and physical agony while I try to convince myself to get up and go to the bathroom. The retort is that I did not pee on myself so at some point, I wanted “it” bad enough.

In this world of tough love, the solution to my anxiety is to let me suffer anguish and agony for eight hours so that I can perform a simple, 15-minute task: go to the bathroom. Ignore the question of whether it is appropriate to wish that someone would suffer for eight hours merely so they can go to the bathroom. Instead, look at a practical issue: working. The tough love crowd invariably use the phrase, “get a job flipping burgers.” To the word, all of them have said it.

Fine, let us apply the tough love formula to the idea that I have a job flipping burgers. I will assume all sorts of generous things, such as that I got hired somewhere and the numbers will be very favorable to the tough love cohort. If I need eight hours of anguish and agony to perform a simple, 15-minute task, then I need four days of anguish and agony to work an eight-hour shift flipping burgers. Can I support myself working eight hours during each five day period? No, I cannot.

Even by the tough love gang’s own plan, tough love cannot work, but not one of them have swayed from their belief that I must want “it” bad enough before my life will improve.

In my opinion, however, the above calculation is not the worst aspect of tough “love”. In my brother’s world, I am wrong because I posted true information about him on the internet and the truth hurt his feelings, but tough “love” means he should facilitate allow my suffering anguish and agony so that I want “it” bad enough. I did something that had the side effect of hurting his feelings, but his plan is that I should suffer, repeatedly and often, but my action is wrong and his plan is virtuous and patriotic.

Posted: June 4, 2014
Updated: June 4, 2014

Anxiety

Despite having some anxiety medication (and lots of side effects), it took me over 24 hours to overcome my anxiety and face the “horrible” things in the common area, like children, and get to the computer to try to do something, anything, for my life.

I do not know what to say. “game over; I lose”? This is a fucked up world.

Posted: June 3, 2014
Updated: June 3, 2014

savior

I used what little strength I had to get to the hospital today. They gave me 3 days of Effexor and nothing else. I took the first Effexor. Here’s the issue: I took that Effexor on total blind faith that somehow things will get dramatically better very quickly. If I take these pills, if I don’t get new pills, then I will go through Serotonin Withdrawal Syndrome. My choice was no medicine at all and continue to not eating and not drinking (a person can only live about five days without water and I went three days last week), or take this Effexor and risk SWS but maybe have slightly more emotional strength for three days, AND, this is important something external to my life has to dramatically change during those days because I don’t have enough money or strength or a computer to make a change in my life.

It looks like the closest places where I might be able to get treatment are in Europe, but I can’t get there with the little money I have. It has taken me over 12 hours, after returning from the hospital, to get the strength to come out here and face the screaming kids, mother who hates me, and the two hostel employees who do not like me because they are in trouble with their boss. I can’t go to another place because I don’t have any money and this by far the least expensive place and it is the most clean, which is very important for my physical health (smoking) and my mental health (showers, bathrooms, smells, bugs, flies, and mosquitoes).

I lay on the floor at the hospital and cried today. When other patients at a psychiatric hospital feel pity for you, I do not think that is a good sign. When the employees think you are crying too much–at a hospital that treats many people who have been involved in wars or revolutions–I do not think it is a good sign.

I need saving.

Posted: June 1, 2014
Updated: June 1, 2014

Sleep =? passing out

The only good news is that I feel that I might finally pass out from lack of eating and drinking and at least that will prevent me from hearing the crying children.

Posted: June 1, 2014
Updated: June 1, 2014

I had a title, but I forgot what it was

Even if I could describe my current state and how it has changed in the last 18 hours, you would not believe me or you would not be able to understand me.

I only slept about 30 minutes last night. I think it is 1 pm here (the clock on the computer is always wrong because the operating system is a pirated copy), and I gave up trying to sleep less than an hour ago. I spent the three hours before midnight arguing with man-boy who is too loud and trying to get some sleep despite the yelling and throwing toys and the loud movies no one is watching. Then I argued with the loud jerkwad who works at midnight. It was horrible.

I spent the next six hours afraid that someone else would come in to the dorm room and argue with me. Even when it was finally quiet at 2 am, my heart was beating so quickly that it was pounding in my ears. Mine is the only room that does not lock, so while the terrible mother retreated into her room and locked the door behind her and had a bathroom there, I was cowering in the corner, afraid to sleep and be woken up by someone wanting to argue with me.

I fell asleep for a short time around 6 am. Something startled me and after I calmed, I realized I had slept a little. I could feel my muscles smile in relief, and it immediately turned to terror because I realized the day manager and possibly the owner might arrive at any minute. I believe the day manager will support me, but I do not want to fight with anyone. I just want sleep.

Sleep never came. I tried to calm with a shower. No good. Meditation. No good. My thoughts were gruesome and awful, so if I could not sleep, I at least wanted to direct my thoughts to something happier. I was successful with that.

I had another day-dream / alternate-time-line experience: very strange. The feelings are so real and intense, but I am aware that it is all imagination. I experience the events as if they were happening to me, and then I recall them as if they were memories. Just before I came out here to type, I put on my shirt, and it felt odd because part of my alternate time-line included the experience of throwing away this shirt—my only shirt—and buying a new one at the airport. When I put this shirt on, I was momentarily confused because I had just “stepped” from the alternate time-line, in which the shirt is destroyed, so I could not comprehend how I was putting it on.

I recall the events and relive the events as memories. The time line was purposely happy, so when I recalled the memories of these things that will not happen in the future (follow that?), I still felt as if I was recalling something from a few years ago. I cried. I could not control it. I cried because that life I will not live was so beautiful and so loving, and I cried because it will not happen.

The PTSD definitions say that people often cannot recall the exact events of the trauma—at least not without help. Until last night, I did not that applied to me.

The midnight jerkwad reflexively starts or ends every sentence he directs at me with, “My friend.” I hate it. It comes from Arabic-language customs here, so I understand why he does it, but he, in particular, is not friendly so his poor, and automatic, pronunciation of “myfrenddd” is offensive.

Last night I said, “I do not want friends, I want sleep.”

The first part was just a rhetorical device and not meant as a precise statement. My analytical mind, however, overheard the statement and dissected it. I am now sure that I have been able to see that I have PTSD symptoms but I have not been able to articulate the traumatic event(s).

I do want friends. I desperately want friends, and I am terrified of my friends. The most damaging trauma has been the betrayal by my only friends in Carroll County. I did not see how those events made me suspicious of all of my friendships. My unconscious suspicion caused me to mistreat my friends, probably all of them at least once. If I were conscious of the suspicion, I think I would have managed things a little better, but I still would have had difficulty with my suspicions.

I only saw this about 12 hours ago, so I do not know how, or if, it will change anything. I have already destroyed or lost nearly all of my relationships. I cannot control my own mind or sleep, and I do not have the strength to eat or drink—much less strength to repair friendships across the ocean.

I have not decided which state is the least unhealthy: cowering in the corner terrified to sleep, or “living” a time-line that will not exist. What bothers me the most is that I do not which option to choose because it reminds me that I am living in state that I do not understand and that I do not have the skills to navigate—and I live in a country, and a world, where I can get the medicine I need if I “come back tomorrow, insh’Allah.

Posted: May 31, 2014
Updated: May 31, 2014

[does the title matter?]

My hands are shaking, which makes it difficult to type on this dirty Arabic-English keyboard of this shitty computer crammed into the corner of the hostel. I reach for the delete key, but I hit the print screen key and some crappy screen capture malware program opens on this officially unofficial version of Windows 7. I move the mouse and the entire screen clears, and the kids—why have these two kids been here for a week?—are screaming again; my startle reflex is on overdrive and I jump every time they scream, but worse, the idiotic man-boy who works the overnight shift is apparently in charge of these two children and his voice is more horrifying than the shrieks of the three-year-old spoiled brat mama’s baby demon that slams every door that is open and tries to open every door that is closed. I wake up at random times and notice that my heartbeat is at least 120 beats per minute.

I am scared, in part because I only have extreme emotions, and in part because I only have extreme emotions: terror, rage, tears streaming down my face, anger. I did not know what the date was until I looked on this computer. I know that an inability to recall the date or to name currents events are symptoms of severe disorders.

In the last one to three days (I have no idea how many), I have had multiple vivid, complex day dreams that blended into sleeping dreams that blended into reality. I can still distinguish reality from imagination (right?), but the imaginary lives I lived were extraordinarily real. My “memories” of those alternate time lines are just as powerful as my real memories. I do not know if that is healthy or not healthy, but it startles me, and I do not know if that is because I should be startled or if I am just over sensitive.

I never liked the ending to The Stranger; it always felt disconnected and repetitive. “Nothing matters”, yeah, I get it because you said the same thing twenty pages ago. I feel as if I am living the ending—repeating to myself, “nothing matters and no one cares.”

On the positive side, I proved that the medications helped me cope.

Posted: May 30, 2014
Updated: May 30, 2014

Maslow was right: hunger and thirst trump all

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is brilliant, and one of the more brilliant things is what is not in his hierarchy: survival. The sum of many needs is survival, but survival itself is not a need. This is prescient because he did his research years before Watson and Crick discovered how genes are inherited and many decades before biologists realized that organisms are not driven by a desire for their individual survival but instead are driven by their genes to allow the specific genes to survive.

In Maslow’s model, eating and drinking are two of the most powerful Needs a human can have. Most people who have the luxury of using a computer to read what I am writing have ever experienced hunger or thirst to such a degree that they would be willing to sacrifice all of their other current and future needs to satisfy the present hunger or thirst. I doubt I have experienced it either, but I have a better understanding of it now that I did just three days ago.

My psychological pain has been growing for years. I live in the cracks of society; neither rejected nor embraced, expected to conform but not welcomed into the institutions that make conformity possible. My options for living a normal life are limited and unlikely. “Unlikely” as in, “it is unlikely I will win the one-hundred million dollar lottery.”

I need the pain to end, and for most of the last 60 hours, I have not felt the psychological pain. It has slowly been replaced by hunger and thirst. Liquid and food is only inches from my head but I do not consume them. I am shocked at how powerful and primal my motivation to consume them is.

That is all I wanted to share: Maslow was right. His description holds truths that most people in contemporary societies will never fully understand.

Posted: May 29, 2014
Updated: May 29, 2014

I’ve lost my private keys

Long story, made shorter: since my motherboard is broken, I do not currently have the ability to decrypt emails or use RetroShare. In theory, I could recover the ability.

I think I prefer Gmail, hunterthinks@gmail.com for communication. Facebook is certainly the lowest on my list. Comments on Facebook or my website are nearly impossible for me to detect, so don’t expect responses from those.

I didn’t plan it this way, but my current trajectory gives me five more days at most. Happy birthday to me.

Posted: May 29, 2014
Updated: May 29, 2014

The paradox of the arrow and the target

If you shoot an arrow at a target, then after some amount of time, it will be half way to the target. After another amount of time, it will be half-way closer again. And again, and again, and again. It is always possible to find some amount of time that measures covering half the remaining distance to the target.

How does the arrow ever hit the target?

In the language of math, this is a tricky problem, and I don’t know how to solve it.

I feel like it is an analogy for the descent of my life. Each time I feel that I have reached a new low, some time later, I find a place that is even lower, but not yet “rock bottom”. The result is that another analogy is present in my life: to some people, I look like the boy who cried, “wolf”, too many times.

It is 6:37 pm here, and I have not decided if I want to eat. My pain is constant, and I cannot use my computer to numb the pain. Sleep is my only escape, but I cannot sleep because of the stress, and I only have six anti-anxiety pills left.

I don’t want to be alive anymore, but my overly analytical brain has concocted one more far-fetched, nearly impossible idea that might improve my life. The internal conflict is almost as unbearable as the emotional pain from the PTSD/depression/GAD.

I need a comprehensive solution.

Posted: May 29, 2014
Updated: May 29, 2014

My motherboard is broken; I could use some help with WordPress; communication is hard

Computer is dead

I have stripped down my laptop, done a bench build, reseated all components, and it is still no post, no video. I get power lights, the CD-ROM (when attached) will activate, and then the POST will cycle the power. No video; no beep codes. It’s dead, Jim.

WordPress coding

Navigation in WordPress currently has some problems and if someone with WP knowledge would fix them, it will make the site easier to use for other people. The main problem is that I made a temporary page called Latest Posts and The Loop on that page does not provide a permalink and it does not provide a Hook for the Facebook Comments box, so people cannot comment and cannot permalink. If you have the skill, desire, and time, contact me.

How to contact me

Without my computer, gathering messages from multiple sources is not easy. I’m trying to fix that, but it will take time. I don’t have a preference yet for how to contact me, but know that it may take a long time for me to respond to anything, especially encrypted messages.

Posted: May 28, 2014
Updated: May 28, 2014

My computer is broken and so am I

My computer is broken; I do not know why it will not turn on properly and I have spent eight hours working on it. I have no idea if I will be able to fix it. I am using the hostel’s computer to write this, but I will not have regular access.

In the past, I have felt a complete loss of hope and many other strong, negative feelings. Today, I feel very little. I do not feel numb or empty; I have sadness and disappointment and pain, but they are faint feelings. When a fluorescent light bulb, or a star, have used most of their resources, they still emit a little light, but it is faint. That is how I feel.

  1. I do not want money.
  2. I do not want a new computer.
  3. I do not want pity.
  4. I absolutely do not want advice, “You should…”, or “All you need to do is…”
  5. I do not need a swift kick in the ass, and if you think I do, then prove it: come to Cairo and give me your swift kick in the ass and I will put my fist through your skull. That is not a metaphor; you should only purchase a one-way ticket.

Three truths

“You brought this on yourself”

My father ultimately decided not to help, and to actively hurt me by fraudulently taking possession of the car we both own, in part because he said, “You brought this on yourself.” He did not elaborate, but at the time, I understood it to mean that he believed my 15 minutes with Justine were the cause of my problems and that I deserved what was happening to me.

He is wrong about the cause, but he may be right that I brought this on myself.

Truth is cheap, or expensive depending on your view

Justine has collected well over $100,000 from various men by lying to them, manipulating them, or, in her words, conning them. She knows some of the men, but many of them she found over the internet. She started her con game when I was still with her, but she did not tell me about it. One time, I was writing something on Facebook or my website, and she attacked me and tried to take my computer. I was very confused. She said I would mess up everything. Now I understand that one of her lies to the other men was that I had moved out, and what I was writing made it clear that I had not moved out. I wrote it anyway, and the men still sent her thousands of dollars.

In comparison, I have always told the truth, but I have struggled to get any help. A few very kind people have helped me, but when I asked my brother if I could shower at his house from time to time, he offered to buy me lunch. No one is sending me $1000 per month as just one man did for Justine.

Telling the truth has not benefited me financially, so in that sense, it is cheap. On the other hand, telling the truth has cost me my job, my career, my law license, my mental health, my physical health, nearly all of my physical possessions, my family, nearly all of my friends, and it seems, my life. In that sense, the truth has been expensive.

I “lack potential”

Justine explained to me that she was able to get men to give her money and that I was not able to get financial help because she was young, had her entire life ahead of her, and had potential, but I was too, already had my chance, and had little potential in the future. “Plus, I [Justine] am cute.”

The fool

My father was partly right: I did bring this on myself. I foolishly trusted Scott Brinkmeier to follow the law and to keep his word. Instead, when I showed him case law that suggested his actions were illegal, after some hesitation, he did not fix his mistakes, but added to his illegal action by doing more illegal things, such as fabricating a document, purposely including documents in a subpoena that should not have been in the subpoena, and purposely excluding documents that should have been included in the subpoena.

I was a fool for sacrificing my friendship with Naomi and Justine because I believed that it was more important for the two of them to have a healthy relationship than it was important for me to have friends during my crisis. Instead of strengthening her relationship with her daughter and helping her daughter to grow, Naomi has spent over four years trying to hurt her daughter (and me).

I was a fool for believing in the propaganda that “lawyers are the only self-regulating profession, and we regulate ourselves as peers.” There are no peers in law: lawyers are obsessed with power and with status. Most lawyers will do anything to increase their power or to improve their status. Scott Brinkmeier was motivated by a desire to ascend to a higher political position. He and Wendy Muchman demonstrated that they did not care about my alleged bad acts by completely ignoring the so-called victim: Justine. No one at the ARDC, including Wendy Muchman, attempted to contact Justine for over two years. They made their decisions based on how the outcome would affect their status in the Illinois legal and political world. Justine was irrelevant. My life, my career, and my health were sacrifices to the gods of power, prestige, and political standing.

I was a fool for trusting Justine. When I lived with her, and we had food only because I was receiving food stamps from the government, I did not ask questions when she suddenly purchased thousands of dollars of pets, electronics, and furniture. She expected me to treat her the way her parents did and interrogate her. “How much did this cost?! Where did you get the money for this?!” I never did that and it never occurred to me to do that because I treated her with respect. She was an adult, I was not her parent, her teacher, or her boss, and she did not owe me any explanation; I never asked. I was a fool to trust her. She allowed me to sacrifice my time for her when she did not need it. I missed many legal deadlines because I was trying to help her, but she had tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and did not need my help. She felt loved when she saw me sacrifice for her, so she allowed me to throw away my chance to fight against the legal case and an opportunity to heal my wounds.

Yes, Dad, I brought this on myself by being a fool.

No plans, still

I tried to make plans; they failed. I tried to make aspirations; they failed in less than 24 hours. I stopped trying to make plans. Whether or not I am able to fix my computer, this event underscores the fragility of my existence. I posses a computer, a camera, approximately 20 pills (total) of various medications, less than US$100, one shirt, one pair of pants, and one backpack. Losing my computer is a massive loss.

The loss would not matter if I were healthy. If I were healthy, I would not be in this position at all. I do not have the strength, or the support, to cope with my life. I do not have a plan, and as I mentioned above, I do not want partial plans or partial help. I need, not want, I need a comprehensive solution. Anything less will fail because I have too many problems in my life.

No goodbyes

I discovered another truth recently: it is unlikely that if it is time to say goodbye that I will have the opportunity to say goodbye. I have not decided if that means I should say goodbye, just in case, or if I should just accept this truth. The absurd part here is that whether or not I say goodbye does not matter for my life; it would only be for the benefit of other people. Even now, I am a fool because I continue to expend energy and time considering how I can make life better for other people.

Posted: May 26, 2014
Updated: May 26, 2014

Coffins at the hospital

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to get help at the embassy and when that didn’t work, I went to the hospital where I had previously been assured I would get help if I needed it. I didn’t get all the help I needed, but I did get some medicine. When I left last time, I walked back to the train station. To get there, I had to circle around the outside of the hospital.

At the back of the hospital, near the walkway that leads to the train, I saw an abandoned coffin. At first, I thought it was a joke or a prop because the style of the coffin was straight out of a vampire movie or a Western. It was not a rectangle with a curved lid; it was a lengthened hexagon with a flat lid. I looked more closely and was startled to see that it was real. After so many disappointments, seeing that coffin was sobering.

I went to the hospital again today. My anxiety/PTSD symptoms are producing so much stomach acid that I wake up in the middle of the night, choking on bile. As I approached the hospital from the train, there were dozens of men surrounding two cars. They were where the walkway empties into the parking lot for the hospital. The men were silent, but the air was tense.

Cairo is a loud place and to English speakers, locals often sound like they are angrily yelling at each other when they are merely conversing. Normally a crowd this large would be very loud, but I don’t remember any of them speaking. I followed the lines of their eyes and the slopes of their shoulders to see that each of the cars was a hearse and each hearse had a coffin, an occupied coffin, in it.

Silent tension was the only thing to be said.

The hospital didn’t give me any medicine today. “Come back tomorrow.” That is Egypt’s unofficial motto: Come back tomorrow, insha’Allah.

Posted: May 25, 2014
Updated: May 26, 2014

I need meaning in my life

For a few weeks, I have been thinking about the fact that if my suffering benefited someone, then it would be much easier for me to cope. A couple of days ago, I stumbled across this TED talk and after watching it today, I am confident that I am right: if I feel that my suffering has a purpose, or meaning, or makes the world a better place, then I am stronger.

Andrew Solomon’s TED Talk, How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

I do not know what to do with this knowledge, but at least I know that this is an important area to develop.

Posted: May 24, 2014
Updated: May 24, 2014

An excellent, and sometimes funny, description of depression

I downloaded this video on 4 March 2014 and put it on my desktop to watch it. My desktop is normally spartan, so a file on my desktop usually prompts me to open it and deal with it. I did not open it for 81 days.

Actually, I did open it once. I watched less than 30 seconds and the speaker, Andrew Solomon, started reciting a poem by Emily Dickinson, I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,. When I tried to watch it the first time, I did not realize it was a Dickinson poem, and I did not remember that I had read it before. If I recall, I stopped the video after only the following words:

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum -
Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My mind was going numb -

When I tried to watch it the first time, those lines were too real, and too much, so the video sat on my desktop for 81 days and I was afraid to open it.

I watched it today, and I cannot imagine a person who would not benefit from watching it. The less you understand depression, anxiety, or mental illness, the more you could gain from this talk. Even if you have a strong knowledge of these topics, Solomon is a wordsmith and his eloquence will help you discuss depression with other people.

A few thoughts about the video:

  1. Solomon starts by admitting that we barely understand depression, but later he uses overly inclusive language such as, “When you have depression…” as if all people with depression have those feelings. That is absolutely not true.
  2. At 5:25, the phrase he is repeating is “emerged and relapsed”.
  3. At 10:14 in the video, Solomon says, “It’s difficult with depressives, because we believe we are seeing the truth.” He says that people with depression have “delusional perceptions.” But he immediately discusses a scientific study that proved that people with depression have an incredibly accurate view of the world. I know from my research, that incidence of depression and PTSD directly correlate with a person’s ability to accurately recall events and perceive the world. Said differently, people who see the truth and understand the truth are much more likely to have depression or PTSD.
  4. At 24:16, he says “…we use this same word, depression, to describe how a kid feels when it rains on his birthday…” (emphasis added to highlight that words that were difficult for me to understand).
  5. Finally, depression is still too broad of a diagnosis, so while I understand and can empathize with his experiences, my experiences do not completely overlap with his.

The video is funny and moving and worth your time

A transcript if you want it.

Posted: May 24, 2014
Updated: May 24, 2014

Apparently, I helped discover gravitational waves

In March 2014, scientists working with the South Pole Telescope (SPT) announced that they had found evidence of gravitational waves.

I played an extremely minor role on the above project. In 2011, I was living in Chicago and I dated one of the scientists working on the sensors for the new SPT. She was trying to calibrate the equipment but was getting intermittent and odd errors. I only know one-percent as much about physics as she knows, but she was so frustrated from working 14-hour days to find the problem that she asked me to help her troubleshoot the errors.

Troubleshooting computer equipment? Yes, I can do that. We worked for a couple of weeks to rule out a ton of possible causes. Ultimately, because we had ruled out nearly every other possibility, she told the rest of the team that the sensors probably had a flaw in them. She was right: the sensors had not been manufactured to the specifications provided by the team. Luckily for them, all of the sensors were uniform, they had the same flaw, and the flaw was still within a usable range.

The entire team had to work crazy hours to rewrite all of the formulas and computer code so that they could properly interpret the data detected by the SPT sensors. My role was minor: I merely helped to troubleshoot the sensor problem. But if I had not been there to help, it’s possible that they wouldn’t have detected the flaw in time to install the new sensors, so they would have had to use the old sensors, and it might have delayed all of this work by a year. (They can only work on the SPT during a few months of the South Pole’s “summer”.)

I am not mentioning this because I want to brag. I do not want any credit. I am writing about this because after I watched the TED Talk, above, and I was excited and thought it was amazing that scientists had discovered evidence of gravitational waves, I suddenly realized that this discovery was a result of the troubleshooting I had done three years ago, which made me sad.

Realizing that I helped make sure that the above discovery was not delayed by a year made me sad because I looked around this hostel dorm room and I thought, “Why? I have so many skills and I want to use them to make the world a better place, so why is my life like this? Why have I been discarded like trash?”

I do not understand.

Posted: May 23, 2014
Updated: May 23, 2014

Would you hire this person?

Things that increased my stress this morning:

  1. When I decided to write this post, it took 30 seconds for WordPress to open
  2. Because it was taking too long, I tried to switch to OneNote, which was already open, but Windows would not switch to OneNote
  3. I had to go to the bathroom, urgently, but someone was in the bathroom
  4. LinkedIn told me that an old colleague looked at my profile
  5. I asked a friend who is a project manager about project management plugins for WordPress; he recommended one, but when I tried to find it, I had difficulty; the end result: the name he gave me was the shortened name for it and there is not a WordPress plug-in, but there is a WordPress blog about the software
  6. There are a couple of flies and mosquitoes in my room
  7. I spilled a few crumbs of falafel when I was eating breakfast
  8. I drank all of my coffee and then I reached for the empty cup
  9. I woke up because of a nightmare

I have been awake for 2.5 hours and just prior to writing this post, the above stressors were enough that I was curled in a ball on the bed. I had, and still have, a stomach ache. I feel like crying; I’m tired even though I had enough sleep; I want to lay down in a corner and pretend the world does not exist and that I do not feel pain.

Working

Imagine you had a coworker or employee who, every day, suddenly became overwhelmed and crawled under his desk. No matter how good he was at his job, do you think it would be good for the workplace to have an employee who is afraid to open emails?

I hate who I am; I hate my life

I hate having to struggle through every hour of every day. I hate that I cannot figure out how to break this cycle. I hate that I am a burden rather than a contributor.