Depression by Richard Bleil
Late at night is the worst. At my mid-fifties, I was married for only two years. With the periodic exception, I’ve spent a vast majority of my nights alone.
I hate being alone.
Of late, I try to stay up until I just can’t keep my eyes open any longer because I know that night is the most typical time that my demons come out to torture me. These are things from my past the my mind just plays over and over to keep me awake. Some are recent, but many are ancient history, times when I was young and naive and chances are the other parties involved have long since forgotten them and moved on, but they’re fresh in my mind. My friends constantly tell me that I need to let them go, but, seriously, if I had that ability, don’t you think I would have.
For example, in the realm of regret, I still think about Jane. Jane was from elementary school. Yes, I know, you’re thinking “but, dude…aren’t you old?” Yes, yes I am, and this incident has to have been from fourth grade or sooner. That means it was no later than 1973. As of the writing of this blog. that would be 45 years ago. Can you imagine holding onto something that long?
The root of the problem is that I was mean to her. We had an adversarial relationship, from my perspective. I would like to say that she was also mean to me, but as I think about it, I can’t recall an incident where she was. It’s possible I was just a jerk to her. One day, I came up with a cruel little rhyme, and excitedly waited until recess to recite it to her. When I did, she started to cry, and ran away. I don’t know what else was going on in her life that day, but it touched her far more deeply than I could have possibly imagined. I felt horrible then, and still do today. I remember trying to apologize to her, but I don’t think our friendship ever recovered.
Adolescence cruelty. Here’s the odd thing, though; my demons also hold the times that others were cruel to me. A more recent event was how I was treated by the command staff at the police department where I worked as the forensic director. Somebody on the command staff (I’m assuming the chief) made the decision to give access to our evidentiary photo database to the PR person. Now, I don’t have a problem with this particular individual; I know him and trust him, but there were problems with this decision. First of all, as director of the evidence section, it was my responsibility to protect the evidence, all evidence including this database, but never did my captain, the assistant chief nor the chief decide to talk with me about this before handing down their edict. The accreditation that I had FINALLY achieved for the department (there is evidence that they had been seeking accreditation for about twenty years before my arrival) actually depends on its ability to function independently of the department, so this decision alone should have cost the department this accreditation. I had asked my captain for a meeting to discuss this decision, which he saw as insubordination, and it was one of the final nails in the coffin of this career. For about a month, it was made clear to me that they intended to get rid of me, and on a weekly basis, the assistant chief would have a meeting with me to remind me that I was going to be fired and what a piece of crap I truly am. My captain, in this time, kept guessing what my concern was, but, never once did he just ask me what it was that I wanted to talk about, or why I was concerned. The irony is that it was pure pride on both of our parts that he is still ignorant today. Had he asked, I would have gladly told him, but on the flip side of the coin, I refused to tell him if he didn’t ask. I replay this month and incidents therein over and over again in my mind, late at night, instead of, oh, I dunno, sleeping maybe?
And loss. Many of my demons are loss. I think about the women that I have dated and lost. My wife, Sarah, was horrible to me, emotionally abusive, cruel, and yet at night i still wonder where she is, and if she ever thinks of me. I don’t want her back. I’m better off without her. But at night, I miss her. I miss so many women that I’ve let slip through my fingers. It’s like a parade of demons. Some of these women used me and left, some dumped me and moved on, some I left although my demons count them all as mistakes (my mind tells me that I was right on some of them), and some I just, well, lost. But when you’re alone, the wounds are all fresh when I can’t sleep.
But, it’s getting late. Time for the night’s battles. Wish me luck.