I’m depressed. I don’t want to get out of bed. When I do, I sometimes have to persuade myself that life’s worth living. I have a wife and kids—they’re also central to my internal arguments.
I am a failure. Every month is a struggle to scrape enough money to pay the bills, and it gets harder every single month. I’m a failure as a writer and as an artist. No one reads me and no one cares what I have to say. I’m a failure as a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. I ignore my family and I’m not sure why. I just don’t want to interact with people on some days. On the flip side to this, I want to interact with everyone on other days, but almost everyone—with the exception of my family—dismisses or ignores me. I try to reach out to talk to people, most ignore me, and this fires me into a spiral of self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness. On most days, I feel like an unknown or unwanted person. I’m persona non grata personified.I’m sick of life on some days. On other days, I hate it. Then on some days I love and adore it and want to experience everything, but I’m crippled by anonymity or poverty or feelings of worthlessness or self-doubt, and so I don’t do anything—and I’m fill with regret and self-loathing as I sit and choose not to do anything.
A lifetime of poor decisions, procrastination, and fear helped put me in this position. I didn’t take school seriously, preferring pot and alcohol. I never took work seriously so I never developed a skill set that could make me marketable. I relied solely on fantasies and naive ideals about somehow realizing my dreams. Then my dreams slipped away from me. And I hate myself because of it.
I spend an inordinate amount of time hating myself and lamenting my situation.
I’ve always taken the path of least resistance, always chose to play it safe, to remain firmly in my comfort zone without trying new things, without challenging myself. Now, since hatred and self-loathing, depression and anxiety fill my veins and bones, replacing my blood and marrow altogether, I’m too crippled to even try.
People say you should be happy with what you have, but I’m not. I want more. I want everything. This is the only life I’ll ever have. I’m nearly 40 and I’ve squandered so much of the time I have to be conscious, to experience existence.
I think some people who say we should be happy with what we have are on their way to—or already have—given up. Part of me has giving up. But part of me refuses to accept this situation, my state of mind, as the best scenario for me. But I’m too crippled, too depressed and anxiety-ridden to do anything. I’m frozen. Inert. Trapped in the stasis of my brain and past experiences. I’m both alive and dead.
Most of my hopes and dreams have evaporated. Few remain. Moving out of this city, out of this state, was my last big hope.
I have my family and I love them, but I want more—for them as well as for me. Yet I’m incapable of succeeding in any significant way. I’m trapped here, choking on the steam of evaporated hopes, surrounded by the corpses of dead dreams.
This is my life. I love it and hate it. And I’ll never get used to it.
Daulton Dickey is a novelist, poet, and content creator currently living in Indiana with his wife and kids. He’s the author of A Peculiar Arrangement of Atoms: Stories, Still Life with Chattering Teeth and People-Shaped Things, and other stories, Elegiac Machinations: an experimental novella, and Bastard Virtues, a novel. Rooster Republic Press will publish his latest novel, Flesh Made World, later this year. Contact him at daultondickey[at]yahoo[dot]com.