Well, ladies and gentlemen, Doc Nagel is in a bad way. I blame a large part of this on the confluence of recent events - the department tenure-track search, looming budget cuts to the CSU (yet again), daily news of the unconscionable exercise of power. I blame another large part on the unrelenting propaganda demonizing organized labor, in particular in public higher education. It feels lately as if everything I care about is threatened or under attack. No exaggeration: the ideal of education, my own job, my loveliest, the cat, my favorite hockey team...
On the other hand, obviously the largest part of my terrible, doomed mood is sui generis. Everything I care about seems to be under attack because I feel truly terrible about myself these days. A few people who regularly read this have known me long enough to know that that had been a constant until Lauren came into my life. And although it is very hard to feel terrible about myself with her around, somehow I'm managing it.
For me, this often takes the form of a sort of voice constantly telling me the same thing, no matter what happens: "You're a terrible person." I've checked a book out of the university library, but it's been sitting on my shelf unread. "That's because you're a terrible person." A class session went poorly. "That's because you're a terrible person." A class session went well. "That doesn't change the fact that you're a terrible person." I committed a typo in an email I sent. "That's because you're a terrible person."
It gets old after a while.
But hey, do you wanna know why I get depressed, and why I feel this way despite how wonderful Lauren is, and how basically good life is right now? I'll give you a hint: It's because I'm a terrible person. That's what I've heard, anyway.
Taking a break from this is kind of a weird task, because this delightful partner in dialogue is, of course, me. (Hey, wanna know why I'm so cruel to myself? I'll give you a hint...)