“Is This Real Life?”
David After Dentist meets Grown-Ass Adults Navigating Society
I’ll try my best to keep this short. Largely because this is really hard to explain and also I’ve been a major downer lately! I promise, best college hookups doing stuff my wife wont do to come shortly to a theater near you :)
Writing on medium about mental health has been a bit of a break-through for me. I like to be passionate and curious about mental health (I would be thrilled if my four-year old son who struggles with some sensory/personality behavior issues goes into psychology) but the truth is I don’t put in much time for homework. Yes, I do therapy and DBT and have done CBT and anything that ends with BT, but I often draw the line before extra reading or workbooks. I just feel life is short, this is free time, and damnit I need my escape and a hobby. I do a lot of my “reading” commuting to my long-distance job via audible.com. I will rotate in self-help once ever five books or so, but man, its a bit too much for someone to be in that mode ALL-THE-TIME. In a twist of fate, having ditched Facebook/Instagram a long time ago to avoid peer comparison and for mental health purposes, I have refreshingly found that TikTok has entire subsets dedicated to Addiction/Mental Health/Life Coaches. I have even met a wonderful woman I work with on sobriety through TikTok. The clever hashtags like “TraumaTok” or “HealthTok” (its okay to take breaks with KinkTok) will take you to some pretty eye-opening short videos. It’s essentially a hyper-focused and condensed YouTube, without the ads. A lovely psychologist I have come across lately, Dr. Kate Truitt, has been spot-on with trauma responses, evolved survival techniques, and pretty much anything a recovering soul does to escape, adapt, or get by.
She also happens to be unbelievably and fantastically responsive. You can tell that TikTok will most certainly be the marketing tool of the future, if not already the present. I tried to describe in the very slight character limit the basis of the article and my form of derealization/disassociation (I’ll get there I promise, sorry for digressing) of which she assured me it’s unbelievably real. That is both refreshing to hear that its not “just me” while also alarming that something is still wrong with me seven years after an event that shook me to my core.
Here goes: It’s not that I see myself or life as if it is a movie. Yes, I romanticize a lot and believe in little things like karma and that the universe is paying attention, but that’s just being hopeful and not a mental glitch. I guess how I view my daily interaction with people is closer to “What even is this?” or “What is the end goal of this minutia?” It’s as if I can’t focus in on the noise and fine print of life; the pain-staking complexity, the over-complication. If someone is talking to me about the unthinkable, mind-numbing subtleties of say, computer programming, and how you have to tab three times or it wont work or you have to put two back slashes or change the location of a period or semi-colon, I want to look at them and say “What the actual fuck?” I find myself trying to get in this persons head. Have they avoided the gutter-alleys of life to be able to think at this capacity? Do they not ever worry solely about functioning or getting-by and not completely sabotaging their life that their brain is free of fog and hence can go to these advanced applications? The funny thing is that I still retain common sense. I of course know that to be a “professional” or to be licensed in any industry, you have to mentally download industry-specific jargon and the asinine intricacies of a subject. Trying to explain what you’re studying would sound as if you’re speaking another language to someone in a different profession. In some sort of irony, imagine a brain surgeon (or psychoanalyst!) talking to a hedge fund manager about their last test.
This acutely happens to me at work when people do things to “get ahead.” Typical office stuff like sharp-elbows and jockeying for power. I think to myself, “man, I get it. If I were more normal I would likely see things or be propelled to do that too.” It just feels like I’m in quicksand at times. I’m not watching YouTubes on how to fix deck shingles like the neighborhood dads on my text chain because I’m just focused on getting from Point A to Point B. It’s tiring in its lack of effort and dismissal of life’s extra-curriculars.
This never happened to me before my traumatic event. I never questioned the real objectives/end-goals of life as seen through others; life just was. I do remember it being more acute closer to the trauma event. I remember golfing with three close friends of which no career pressure or real-stress arises. So, a group of which I’m at ease and in a state of “fun.” I recall driving to the course and telling myself, “Don’t worry. They don’t know that you think like this. They are going to talk about future plans and you will be able to partake in the conversation because you know common sense.”
I’ll leave it there. I don’t know how else to describe it and I still don’t feel like I’m giving it justice. I’m tired of viewing life in some sort of disbelief and wonder of the action of others. Bring on the Novocaine.