Thoughts with Richard Bleil
Watching a movie right now as I write this (about four days ago from the posting), the recovering addict looked up and said, “I just need help right now.” Those four words, “I just need help”, are both so powerful, and so difficult to say. We are two sentences into this post, and already I’m crying.
I’ve been excessively depressed lately. I feel as if I never quite recovered from my holiday depression, or maybe it was just put off as I didn’t really struggle with the holidays as much as I thought I would. But I’m finding it difficult to get started on anything, or just maintain a decent standard of living for myself.
Why do we find it so difficult to ask for help when we need it? And I’m not talking about lifting a bench to set it in concrete. It seems as if in our society, asking for physical help is fine provided that you are doing something manly and tough. But, at least for men, it’s so hard to ask for emotional help.
My friend has determined to try to help me keep moving despite myself. Recently, she asked me if I had reached out to an employment agency as I had said I feel like I need to do. After having a very successful career, albeit cut short, I find I cannot return to education because of the way it has changed, and at my age nobody takes my applications seriously anyway. So, I need a new career, maybe one that’s not so serious, one that isn’t so political, but what? I truly enjoyed working at the drive-in theater ticket booth, probably because of the lack of responsibility and stress. They bought a ticket, or they didn’t. It certainly wasn’t rocket science. I do need more of an income, though, and I’m not allergic to work, but when she asked me if I had reached out, well, I hadn’t. One of the most difficult questions I’ve had to answer was a simple one; “why not?”
Why not? Maybe because for the last forty years I’ve been beaten down despite how hard I worked or how much I accomplished. Maybe because I sent out over two thousand applications after losing my last job, and barely got any interest at all. Maybe because I’m lost and have no idea what it is that I want to do, but whatever it is, I’m afraid of history repeating itself. I literally wept when I answered.
My friends have been so important to me and surviving my failures. With thousands of ignored applications, yes, there was indeed a time that my savings finally became depleted. My friends literally saved my life. I was given places to stay so I wasn’t on the street, and food, and so much more. I find it so hard to believe in myself anymore, which is honestly why I need that employment service.
Sometimes, more than a bed, and more than food, I simply needed somebody to believe in me. I needed kind words from somebody to tell me that they still believe in me, and maybe that’s what I need most right now. I feel almost like a battery. I can keep myself going for only so long before I need an external input to charge me up again, and right now, I’m feeling like my tank is on empty.
A fairly new friend reached out today just to check on me. I was posted next to her at a Ren Fair, and the moment I saw her I pretty much fell in love. Okay, that wasn’t love, but because of how attracted I was to her, I also took time to speak with and get to know her, and the more I knew about her, the more I appreciated who she is and came to truly enjoy getting to know her.
When she asked, all I could say is that I’m excessively depressed, and when pressed I explained that I’m pretty much the loneliest man in the world. I was rather shocked when she told me that she was in the same boat. Of course, I know she wouldn’t be interested in me for a few reason (not least among them are age difference and distance), but as attractive and charming as she is, I really couldn’t believe it. I tried to give her some encouraging words, but I don’t know if it came across correctly. But I did tell her how attractive I find her, and I’m hoping that I could help her at least to some degree.
And I have no answer. For anybody going through this kind of emotional turmoil, you’re not alone. We’re in this together.
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