Desperately seeking connection

Today is one of those days I’d rather be anywhere but work. Right now, a lot of that is purely physical. I’m having one of those days when I feel generally dreadful. It’s days like this I think how run down I am, how burnt out in general. It marries up pretty well with that sort of narrative until I consider all the days in between I’ve felt fine.

More likely is that I’m just crook. I can’t shake this cough, even though I’ve been taking antibiotics for two weeks straight. It’s not the big cough that it was, but it’s persistent – sometimes wet, sometimes dry, sometimes a tickle, and sometimes enough to inhibit my breathing. I’ve got the other tell-tale signs of a flare-up – I’ve got a sore neck and the across my shoulders, and my ears feel odd. And no energy, generally.

This is where it gets complex, though.

I worked from home Friday and got about 70% of a proposal written. All the hard stuff was done. Yesterday I discovered I had lost it, and no amount of searching could find it. There was an immediate dip in my outlook. I felt close to miserable. Sure, it was an inconvenience, but it wasn’t the end of the world – and certainly not worthy of such depression. It wasn’t the document though – I think – but rather the symbolism of it.

It’s funny when I get this way. It’s almost as if I’m split in two. There’s the me who feels listless and apathetic and unhappy, and the other – conscious – me that observes it. The conscious me asks questions and wonders at it but can do nothing about it. He’s an observer, more or less, though he has the power to push through.

It’s this power I used through my dark times. I would feel utterly miserable and struggling to be hopeful, and this other part of me would say, can’t stop now, keep going. And though I didn’t feel it, I kept persisting regardless. That’s the great struggle – to hang in there. A lot depends on that, but I knew that if I didn’t hang in there, then I was lost. The conscious me knew that even while the other me struggled to get out of bed. The secret is to keep turning up. I did that, and one day it paid off.

So it is now, I’m at work despite these things. I still feel ordinary, and it worries me how frail I am beneath it all. It takes fuck-all really to set me off, and that’s the problem.

I touched on this the other week, and I think it relates to that sense of being untethered. I thought about it more, and remember how watching the doco on Mojo how it went through my head. I think much of it comes down to a sense of connection and belonging.

I have no family now, really, and belong to no-one or no thing. It’s peculiar for a man who asserts his independence so strongly that I could feel the lack so fundamentally. My answer to that is that when you have a choice, you’re a rich man. You can choose to belong or be independent, but when the only option leaves you out in the cold, then it can be demoralising.

I’ve adapted quite well to my circumstances, or so I think – but I wonder if this is another case of making do? I don’t have family, the connections with friends are sometimes strained by circumstances, and I work in a place I despise. Even the other stuff, the connection to culture and general society, the tribal loyalties, is much less than it was.

I can look back fondly at how things were through the lens of Mojo, but it only accentuates how things have changed. It was my time then; it no longer is. I’m out of step and generally disaffected with so much that is now normal. I don’t belong anywhere.

Looking at it like that it seems that’s the most urgent need in my life – to reconnect, to feel as if I belong somewhere. It’s that absence that means I have nothing to fall back on. Hence the merest scratch is deeply felt.

I wonder too if it has some impact on my health. There may be good medical reasons for how I feel today, but maybe there’s psychological cause also.

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