Why do some people feel bad most of the time?

From my personal experience, I feel anxious all the time because I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety disorder. In other words, my neurological homeostasis is throttling a little higher than the normal mid-range. The lower end of this spectrum would be euphoric relaxation. This may not be an accurate description because there are overlapping conditions caused by different natural internal chemicals like adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, etc.

My anxiety drives me to search for reasons why I feel the way I do. Lo and behold, they are everywhere. Poverty, oppression, exploitation, discrimination, corruption, typhoons, plagues, I reap the emotional reward of vindication by seeking out and sharing the problems in our society. By finding them I can rationalize my emotional state. I may be putting the cart before the horse, but there is still the horse, an irate old arthritic stallion.

This was a sudden revelation to me recently because I read a post about the details of a video game character that could get a passing grade as a college essay. I was astonished that anyone could devote such an effort to entertainment when the world is crashing down around us. I guess if people believe they are comfortable and have a guaranteed future in the status quo, they should have no problem devoting so much time to fun.

It occurs to me that our homeostatic emotional states determine our social media habits, perhaps not directly, but through a series of conditions through which we are guided by the natural levels in our bodies of dopamine, serotonin and the like.

I know it's more complicated than this, having to do with synaptic receptors and such, but  it seems our genes determine everything about us, even ultimately our emotional homeostasis which guides us in our decisions throughout life. From this I might believe we were all locked into Fate were it not for the likes of Timothy Leary.

The Extremely Slow Fade to Black

When you can see it coming as a logical conclusion, everything else loses importance. The things you did to occupy your time and give you purpose you now know have no purpose. You just sit there frozen. Every time you have a notion to do something you immediately think "why bother?"

You wonder what will happen to your things and then you smile realizing you won't care, even though you would like some people to have certain things, you realize it would be worse for them if the did. You remember your father's things in your possession and they only occupied dusty corners in the basement.

You ponder what happens if you can't go through with it, but then you realize not doing so will only prolong the inevitable and make the extended time more unpleasant. You think you better guarantee you can follow through or the suffering in failure will not only cost you, but everyone around you too much.

You just want to go into oblivion and be quietly forgotten, your family better off for having resources that might otherwise be wasted on your sustenance. They don't speak to you anyway, you embarrassed them enough with your inability to keep jobs and live without their help. It would probably be a good thing if they simply stopped thinking about you anymore, like turning off a light in a closet that will never again be opened. The years of ignoring their birthdays and standing quietly by while they entertained themselves will pay a dividend of mitigation for their grief.

The shadows in the moonlight

Once upon a time there was a man who was fed up with brutal paramilitary corporate security squads who were funded by tax payers, beating down and barricading peaceful protesters. He collected the private data on the jack-booted shock troops, including instructions on drawing them into traps and along with instructions to the various revolutionary factions.

After collaborating online with his minions, he realized he didn't need to use direct confrontation at all. A whistle blower released private data that enable squads of revolutionaries to act simultaneously at any given moment regardless of the situation, simply because the ratio was well over ten to one.

The key was the element of surprise by everyone acting at exactly the same moment.

He didn't know what to do with all of his data so he simply encrypted and uploaded the information to several servers then created embargoed blog posts with links to the data. The embargoed posts would trigger unless he checked in and extended the transmit date. Every week or so he signed on and extended the dates to whenever he felt he needed to next check in. Hopefully he won't forget about them, or be otherwise unable to delay the transmission. 

It turned out he wasted his time. He didn't need to work so hard planning because everyone else was fed up and acted all at once anyway, like tree branches bending in the breeze casting shadows in the moonlight. The evil vanished without a trace overnight.

The end.


Norman and the bathroom door

Norman woke up one morning to the sound of quiet rhythmic bed springs squeaking from the apartment next door. It was almost dawn in a couple of hours so he decided to check the news on his iPad. Nothing really stood out. Twitter was pretty much the same. He went to the bathroom and was startled to see blood in his urine, but it cleared up. The bathroom door was slightly open and it slowly opened further under gravity because it was poorly installed. Norman finished peeing and on his way out of the bathroom, bumped into the door. Instead of bouncing off the door as usual, his body shoved the door into the corner of the door jam, ripping the hinges out. With a huge bang, wood splinters, nails, hinge plates and screws flew off in every direction. The mirror and the plastic lamp cover over the bathroom light were cracked from the impact of debris. Plaster dust plumed out from newly formed cracks in the wall adjacent to the door. The dresser on the other side of the wall tipped over enough to cause the top drawer to open, then luckily it tipped back into place.

Norman stood there stunned for a long time. As the dust settled he listening quietly to hear if the neighbors were rushing over to see what happened. Nothing. Nobody came. He looked down at the smashed remnants of the bathroom door that plagued him for so long and felt vindicated. His upper lip curled and he quietly snarled "serves you right you piece of shit." He went back to bed and as he was slipping back to sleep he realized he didn't feel any pain. He felt his body where he impacted the door but there was nothing different. He thought he must have been dreaming. He slept for at least three more hours. He wasn't dreaming.

Norman and the quarter

Norman was going through his change looking for quarters for the washing machine when he came across a quarter that was so badly dented on its edge that he knew it would jam up a machine. Just yesterday he received it in change for his fast-food order. In a moment a tiny wave of frustration washed over him. The quarter was now stretched and shaped to fit around the pad of his thumb. There was a distinct impression of his thumbnail at the bottom of what now looked like an oversized thimble. He rummaged around the debris from the bathroom door he smashed hours earlier and found the hinge plate, then simply closed his hand around it. It was like putty. The more he worked it the hotter it became. The pressure on the metal from his hand was making the metal softer and it began to glow red hot. It became liquid under Norman's labor and drops of metal spilled onto the vinyl flooring and immediately caught fire setting off the smoke detectors.

Norman couldn't feel the heat from the metal in his hands, it just felt like a thick putty getting softer, like melting ice cream. He turned on the faucet and ran the soft glob of molten metal under the running water. The steam explosion was startling. He dropped the hunk of metal in the sink and went to the smoke detector. It only required a twist to remove it to access the battery, but for Norman it simply snapped off the wall and spun in the air. He managed to catch it but his grip was ungoverned by any laws of nature and the plastic device shattered between his thumb and index finger. The limp components remaining in his hand were silenced. The battery was split open and corrosive fluids were mixing with the circuits and dripping onto the carpet. The subflooring under the vinyl floor was smoking from the molten metal and Norman had to collect water cupped in his hands from the sink to douse the flames. After this ordeal he wondered if anyone had called the fire department or the landlord. Again, nobody called anybody or came over.

Norman's limits

Norman went into the bathroom and stood on the scale. His weight had doubled but he didn't look heavier, he was getting more dense. He noticed his weight also was rapidly increasing. He was leaving deeper impressions in the carpet and the floor was beginning to bend and groan as he walked. Living on the eighteenth floor he realized he better get out of his building while he still could do it normally. As he was walking toward the door of his apartment his foot punched through the floor. He heard screams from below and the weight of his body falling to the the floor bent a steel beam and released a slab of concrete from between the floors into the room below. The horrific shrieking and moaning was a clear sign that someone below was horribly crushed.

Norman tried to pick himself up but the downward force of his hands trying to lift his own mass simply punched holes or tore off structures. The steel beams and concrete crumbled beneath him as he shredded his carpet and floor foundation trying to crawl toward an outer wall. His only option was to punch through an outer wall and drop to the ground before he brought down the entire building. He finally made it to a wall. He swiped away plaster, insulation, wood frames and cinder blocks, then pulled himself into the daylight while the walls crumbled and collapsed around him.

From the ground people gathering could see a dust-covered figure struggling to crawl from a hole high on the side of a building. The person finally fell from the building and went into the ground. When people approached the hole they could hear Norman yelling for help. When fire crews arrived and lowered a camera into the hole it was already too deep, but they could still hear his screams.

Dusk of life in the dimming light of motivation

I don't see beauty anymore. I was once a photographer and graphic designer. I realized this when I was watching the film Chasing Ice. The photographer featured in the film was marveling at the beauty of his subjects. I realized that I once marveled at the same subjects, but no more. It reminded me how my digital photography became more problematic, with blurring, ISO settings issues, exposure problems, flash problems, etc. I was gradually putting less and less thought into my projects, and they suffered.

[ at this point I was going to rant about how miserable my life was, but then something dawned.]

It's simple conditioning really. If you don't get a reward for doing something, you stop doing it. I wasn't getting a reward because I was expecting the reward from certain individuals. I allowed myself to be demotivated by those people and it gave them a sense of superiority over me. I fell for it. They won.

When you do something to try to impress certain people, it will feel like a failure. If what you love to do does not impress certain people and they make you feel like your effort is a waste of time, then you should immediately find new people who will be impressed by what you do, and keep doing what you love.

There may be people who are impressed by what you do, but you don't value their opinions because they stand in the shadow of the people you are trying to impress. It turns out that people with larger shadows made their shadows larger through acts of malevolence. Those people are not worth your time. They are passive-aggressive in that they choose certain words to describe your efforts in a dimmer light than theirs. My mother once described my efforts to sell funny postcards I created with Adobe Photoshop as "peddling."

You Only Get One

There are those close calls and strange situations we call miraculous or extremely lucky. I came within six feet of getting struck by lightning three times in my life. The last one was so close I could see the lightning traveling along the cable behind the half-inch stained pine paneling. It glowed a bright orange through the wall as it reached into my TV, VCR and computer. It left me deaf in my right ear for about six hours. A tornado came north through the alley nearly a block from the very same house, a different storm that same year.

Driving, for everyone there are times when you realize it was a good idea after all, to stop when the light turned yellow. If you had continued through the yellow light another vehicle pulling out of a parking lot down the street would be up your grill.

But luck is different sometimes. For me there was the one Dodgeball game where I caught a ball in each hand and a third ball between the other two. That never happened again. There was the one time I bowled a perfect game. One time when I hit three home runs at a Softball game. Back in my teen years I spent summers playing cards with my sister and friends. It took me five years of playing Hearts during the summer before I finally won a game. That was back in the early 1990s. Back in 1989 I won a $20 wristwatch at a raffle. It was the only raffle I won, out of hundreds I entered.

The point is for me, no matter how hard or frequently I practiced, I was allowed only one win. Bowling, Softball, Darts, Miniature Golf, Billiards, Tennis etc. Those scores occurred on a twisted Bell Curve that spans for me not the particular event, but my entire life.

It gets worse.

I only had one broken bone in my hand, and it didn't even require a cast, just a splint. Wait, what's so bad about that, you ask? Well it's not enough to earn me sympathy points. I don't get any extraordinary diseases or illnesses that earn any kind of sympathy. I get illnesses like Gout and Psoriasis that are highly stigmatized but not contagious (They are both genetic preconditions). I can't walk very well and it throws a wrench into my exercise plans.  I also lost my hair when I was twenty two years old and just going into the Amphibious Navy where women were very scarce. My fate as a life-long bachelor was sealed.

So my life has been in the center of mediocrity, with only flickers of exceptionality, and never deserving of exceptional sympathy. There can be no greater Hell than to be mediocre despite one's efforts.

There was one period of time during my teenage years, for about three weeks, where I was thin and fit and had skin clear of Acne. That was it.


Last night I had a nightmare that was composed of different scenes from movies I watched on Netflix just a few hours earlier. I watched a documentary called The Revisionaries, about the Texas School Board and their textbook standards, followed by Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, and then The Substitute with Tom Berenger as a mercenary soldier turned substitute teacher to go after a thug student who kneecapped the merc's girlfriend.

My nightmare was from the point of view of a victim of theft and robbery. I woke up still thinking my car was stolen and had to actually tell myself verbally that it was just a dream.

The movie clips were chosen by my brain for visual references to the emotional concoction my brain created as it achieved chemical homeostasis in my sleep. That's how dreams seem to operate. It might be that when we sleep, our brains releases excess chemicals stored up that were not used during the course of waking life. Most of us are lucky to be in a state of sleep torpor during dream time, while others unfortunately sleepwalk or flail about during their dreams. Most of us have seen the YouTube video of the dog running in his sleep.

When the brain chemicals are released in our sleep, they are released in an uncontrolled fashion, starting a bizarre combination of brain activity. This bizarre brain activity defies logic and defies our memories of the laws of physics to which we are so accustomed. Sometimes they inspire new inventions, but mine are mostly false emotions that last throughout the following day of victimhood. Being robbed, chased and beaten. Finding my car missing from its parking spot and not knowing if I just forgot where I parked it or it was stolen.

Even now as I write this I know it was just a dream, but the horrible sinking feeling from the false experience stirs again. Today I will defy this falsely created fear and go experience reality in places that closely resemble those of my nightmares. Reality should break the hold my nightmares create. Once the spell is broken by the experience of reality,

Roger's End

Michelle answered the phone. It was a coroner's office from another state. They called to inform her that her son's body was found. She hadn't heard from him in over a year. She sighed and said "so how does this work? Can you cremate the body?" Michelle's husband, Hank, lowered the newspaper for a glance across the kitchen table. Michelle continued on the phone: "Uh-huh...uh-huh...we ain't claiming the body so you do what you want." Hank turned a couple of pages and Michelle looked at him without turning her head while she was on the phone. The sound of rustling newspaper was Hank's passive-aggressiveness. Michelle's hair was an emotional weather-vane for Hank, it became rather large on days when she was most sensitive to the slightest of nostril exhales. "What did you say!?"..."I didn't say anything.". Michelle mastered the shrillness and inflection of her voice to affect some of the most entertaining contortions in Hank's face and body. It was a cold war. Hank decided today he was not going to shave.

Michelle put the phone down. "Did you hear? Roger finally did it. He's gone! She began to cry. Not from anguish, but from relief. Hank put the paper down and sighed "no more worries, no more suffering." Michelle spent the afternoon calling everyone with with the news. A life-long cloud had lifted. Everyone seemed lighter. No more dark clouds on the horizon in anticipation of Thanksgiving or Christmas. No more Roger to darken ever room with his sour, sullen silence. Now people didn't have to avoid looking in certain directions at gatherings. They had years before stopped trying to engage him in their conversations. His sisters were overjoyed at the prospect of larger shares of the family trust fund. One of them told a friend "Yeah, we got tired of watching him sitting around feeling sorry for himself all the time so we just ignored him hoping he would stop feeling that way."

The family met with the lawyers and the proper adjustments were made to the trust. The extra money was enough for the sisters to each get new cars. Michelle got a boob job, Hank bought some golf clubs and everyone lived happily ever after. Life goes on.

Dear Current Resident

Matt one day was tired of all the junk mail, but he never received any other kind of mail. He knew everyone else was sick and tired of the junk mail. Even the mail carrier was fed up, especially because advertising inserts that once upon a time were found in newspapers are now found in our mail boxes. When he can, the mail carrier on one route finds a nice shelf to plop down the inserts instead of shoving then into the slots, but he's gotta get rid of them, ya know? They leave his hands a shiny gray at the end of the day! Matt, who was not a mail carrier, one day so fed up, decided to have his name legally changed to Current Resident.

The judge laughed and shook his head saying "All right son, but you be careful because you will be inundated with massive amounts of mail. It suddenly occurred to Current Resident (formerly Matt) that he was doing a huge favor to everyone else by informing the postal services of the new proper mailing address of Current Resident. He suddenly found himself with tens of thousands of credit card applications and millions upon millions of dollars in credit. The coupons and crazy deals piled to the ceiling.

Current Resident saved so much money he built a warehouse and began to stack the tens of thousands of coupon purchased bottles of detergent until it got so bad he had to invest in huge tanks for the liquids.

Meanwhile poor old Mrs Eddleson down the street wasn't getting any mail at all anymore. Not even a coupon. She thought something happened to the mail carrier. For a long time she thought he was sick. Then she saw him walk by across the street. She was furious but couldn't bring herself to get out of her chair and shuffle to the door. He was gone in a flash. Nothing for poor old Mrs. Eddleson again today. Her withered trembling hands had enough strength and determination to reach for the old plastic grocery bag. Cracker crumbs fell out over her collar and some landed in here hair as she strained to pull the bag over her own head.

The mail wouldn't pile up on her porch. There would be no indication throughout the remaining days of summer and fall that anything was wrong because her bills were paid automatically and her Social Security check was direct deposited. Occasionally a rare breeze would waft the stench across the neighboring yards but nobody could find the source. Her neighbors got together and decided to take care of her lawn for her shortly after she had her stroke a few years back. Nobody really saw her. After a while they thought she was moved to a home somewhere.

The last sign before the end of the road.

The last sign reads "was it worth it?" Was what worth it? Life! All the crap you accumulated over the years! All of the toil day-in-and-day-out! Mowing the friggin' lawn!.

When you reach the last turn before the end of the road, you have to wonder if everything you did was for a purpose. I never married and have no children and my forty-ninth birthday is fast approaching. I'm not expecting to live much longer anyway because my body is unspeakably mis-shapen and racked with pain from decades of overindulgence, lethargy and generally dysfunctional genes that disqualify me for natural selection on the grounds of hair loss, psoriasis, acne, metabolism, disproportionately short legs-to-torso ratio, arthritis and a small penis.

My adopted mother is expected live well beyond a hundred years. She is in her seventies and still plays tennis. I expect her to outlive me by at least twenty years. I wonder what her motivation is? I can't seem to find any motivation at all to continue. She must get something out of life, I don't know what. Every step I take every minute of the day is uphill for me.

When you reach the point in your life where you can see the end, you contemplate all the things you did while you were alive and whether or not it got you anywhere. To me it seems like it was all a huge waste of time.

I feel good occasionally when something I post on Facebook or Google+ gets accolades in the form of likes or pluses. Those are the only venues upon which I can rest my validation anymore. Silent anonymous mouse-clicks in my favor might as well be a nudge from someone next to me in bed, I wouldn't know the difference, but I know it's not enough to cause me to flail about in ecstasy.

For days I sit in my silent apartment trying to think of something, anything! I'm stuck in a meditation loop. The noises around me, the droning of the refrigerator, the birds, the traffic, echo through the dark chasm of my mind, but there is an undertone of ever-present anxiety. Something is wrong. I'm forgetting something. I don't hear the approaching footsteps of the drill instructor, there is none, but nevertheless the expectation remains. The shadows of moving police officers in full armor are never cast across my closed window shades. No battering ram and flash-bang grenades for me. At least that would be some form of recognition if anything I ever did mattered to anyone at all.

I could read news but it's so trite.Same with the radio.  Talk-radio is a broken record.More people making the same mistakes over and over again. Every few years or so the same topics are raised over and over: Child discipline, banning one thing or legalizing another, should there be a summer break from school, school lunch nutrition, violence and video games, on and on.

My feet and knees hurt when I stand, my butt hurts when I sit, my back hurts when I lie down. Alcohol makes me sick more than it makes me drunk. Pills don't work. I would leave the apartment and go outside for a while, if I had a reason strong enough to overwhelm my anxiety.


There once was a man who was born of in vitro fertilization whose mother and father were both GMO corn-fed and raised over a fracked water-table fed by a river clogged with algae blooms that grew in the heavy chemical fertilizer and waste runoff from GMO cows and pigs raised on growth hormones and antibiotics, near the old folks home and mental hospital which has a sewer line that fed into the river where pharmaceutical waste was flushed un-treated. His name was, um, Jerry. Sure, why not. Jerry it is.

Jerry went to the farmers market looking for something natural. He saw some real honey still in the comb, packed in a clear plastic container. That was about as real as it gets, except for one problem. The bees that made that honey were fed a diet of high-fructose corn syrup, from GMO corn. Jerry tasted a sample and something weird happened.

Jerry's blood was the product of two generations of GMO exposure which altered a few molecules in the blood cell walls which allowed for receiving connections from viral molecules found in the honey.

The combination accelerated the reproduction of a dangerous airborne strain of a flesh-eating virus which had a six month incubation period. In other words, unlike diseases with very short incubation periods that burn themselves out before they spread very far, this virus spread around the entire planet before the adverse effects started to kick-in. One day people started feeling ill and staying home from school and work. Nobody could do anything so they mostly stayed in bed. Then their flesh liquified as they lay in bed. The streets were completely empty. Everything was quiet.

My only friend in high school called

My only friend from high school called a few weeks back and updated me about some people we knew there. An English teacher who mocked me in front of the class died of AIDS. I felt vindicated. But something else my friend said raised an interesting question. He mentioned that he moved back to his old community and bought a huge house. I was astonished that he would do such a thing considering the way we were both treated back then. He even mentioned going to the high school reunion and one person who mistreated him in school apologized to him.

I asked him why he wanted to move back to an area where he was so poorly treated, and he said something that led me to believe that he was worried about what those people still thought of him. It really bothered me that he was still concerned about offending them. I guess if you have property in enemy territory, and you were somehow at their mercy, either through a lending institution, local government services, or whatever, one might walk on eggshells, but this fear seemed a little over-the-top to me.

It could be me. I don’t keep in touch with anyone. I’m not really sure what friendship means anymore. Probably because of my feelings have been hurt by other friends over the years. My problem was not being able to properly express how I felt. I knew that my feelings were unreasonable and I would only be embarrassed if I tried to express them, so I kept to myself, fuming, looking at the floor and not making eye contact.

My detachment from people colored what I thought about my friend’s return to the cauldron of abuse that is the community populated by the bullies from high school. Many of them are still there. I was surprised that he had any respect for anyone living in that area, but then I remembered he was always concerned about what other people thought of him, despite the fact that most of them cannot affect his life. He’s a perfectly reasonable and sociable person who naturally has no negative effect on anyone who matters.

If I moved back there, all the horrors of my past experience would haunt me, finally driving me insane, unless I was planning on getting revenge. I don’t think my friend is the type who would get revenge, but if those people knew he was back, I can gleefully imagine what they must be feeling, if they remember him.

Simple noises outside their windows at night are no longer ignored and seem louder and more sinister. The flashes of colors from clothing out of the corner of their eyes trigger disturbing subconscious memories that causes a gnawing inarticulate guilt. Feelings of being followed or watched from a distance begin to pervade the day. Car headlights on the road in front of the house at night suddenly and inexplicably trigger an adrenaline rush, where previously there was none.

But, I don’t think my only friend from high school is planning revenge, but I still can’t get over the fact that he moved back there.