i’m not the man

It seems like I am always second fiddle. I know how to do things the right way, I just want someone else to get the credit. I’m comfortable in the supporting role, making the leader look good, and getting the recognition from only a few people rather than everyone. I like to be the understudy, learning from and emulating the ways of others. I see this as a serious personality flaw.

I have no confidence in my ability to be the leader. I have no self-esteem, and I don’t think I deserve recognition for my accomplishments. In fact, I want to avoid the attention and scrutiny of others, because I have the never-ending feeling that I am a wholly untalented impostor, a liar, a sham. I am constantly afraid I will be fired when people find out I have been faking my way through my current job without really knowing what I am doing.

I’m not good at being in charge of things, but I also complain about the people who are in charge. I know how things need to be done, but I am too passive to express those needs effectively. I avoid situations where I have to tell someone else what needs to be done. I hate to delegate work to others because I don’t want to have to tell them the things I need changed. I feel so worthless, that my ideas will be ridiculed by the other person even as they are supposed to be learning from me.

My ideal situation would be where I am in charge, but no one knows about it. Basically, I wish I were the Wizard of Oz, pulling the levers in secrecy. I would be a lonely yet benevolent megalomaniac, and not let that power go to my head at all.

broken dreams

Dreams can show us what we desire, or reflect our most basic fears. Dreams can be literal or whimsical or anywhere in between. Dreams are filled with paradoxes and alternate realities. Dreams can inspire us to do great things, but dreams followed blindly can lead to disastrous consequences.

Have a dream, live your dream, but don’t follow your dream off a cliff.

back to the 70s

Last night Mrs. Fish and I were transported back in time. We saw a concert by The Musical Box, a Genesis tribute band that recreates concerts from the 1970s era.

They are really more than a tribute band, it is like a theatrical performance. The band uses the same stage setup, projected slide show, costumes, and some of the same instruments and technology (except for possibly one modern keyboard). They play the songs the same way they were played by the original band, and I’m convinced that “Peter” tells the same funny stories in between songs. The band comes out on stage wearing white suits, with black lights making them glow in the darkness. “Peter” is wearing a dark bodysuit and giant bat wings on his head as the Mellotron intro to “Watcher of the Skies” begins. At various times he is dressed as a British flag, a daffodil, a priest, and an old man.

Musically, the band was able to perform some seriously difficult parts, especially by the keyboard player “Tony”, and there was excellent drumming by “Phil”. “Mike” had his trademark double guitar/bass and bass pedals, and “Steve” sat on a stool to one side of the stage, recalling the stage fright that Steve Hackett experienced at the time.

I have listened to the music many times, and I always wished I had been able to see Genesis in the older days. In 1973, Genesis toured North America with the “Selling England By The Pound” show. Some of these songs were recorded and released as the album “Genesis Live”, but some of the songs cannot be heard without watching this show. Since the band will never reunite in concert, this is the closest I will ever get to seeing the real thing.

The audience was mostly over-40, with some really old people and a handful of younger people in the crowd. Of course, the scent of weed was ever-present during the show. I’m convinced several people went to the bathroom to light up, then came back inside. I don’t know if they enjoyed the show more than I did, but I’m sure the strobe lights messed with their minds.


Originally posted on Bipolar Dad, Bipolar Daughter:

I feel so helpless right now. I don’t know what I can do to help Nicole get through her life with bipolar. The depression has been kicking her ass for a month, and all I can do is hope the doctor agrees to fiddle with her medication. Maybe we need to try a different drug, or just increase the current drug again.

She’s not showering, she doesn’t care about going to school, she hides and sleeps when she is supposed to be doing homework. She wants to go to college, but I’m not sure she will make it through high school. Maybe we should have done an IEP with the school for this year, but we didn’t think it would be necessary. We thought the bipolar would get better this year, but the depressions have continued one step ahead of the dosage increases.

I don’t know what else to do for…

View original 96 more words

lost day

Another lost day. Nicole missed school again today due to depression. She also missed Thursday and Friday last week because of stomach flu, and that makes three in a row. I don’t know if the school will insist on a doctor’s note, but we don’t have one.

As usual, it seems like my fault for saying something that set her off into a bad mood. Last night I was trying to get her to shower and clean her room a little. I get irritated and raised my voice and said some things that I felt needed to be said … but in her fragile emotional state, those things caused her to start crying and feel sad for herself. The conversation went from “clean your room and shower” to “I still like parts of me” to “I don’t like myself” faster than I could stop it. When she gets on a roll it is difficult to stop her, and by this time the verbal train fell off the track. I should have known today would be a problem.

While we were on the subject, she took the time to analyze me a little and tell me some problems I have:

— She says I need to look more at the parts of me that are good, and less at the parts I don’t like. I didn’t tell her that she is right, and there is very little about me that I like, and if I do I don’t get any happiness from it because of the demands of life and my non-existent sense of self-worth. I’m fundamentally different from her and most everyone else. I don’t like myself. No matter how many positive things I find, there are so many more negatives.

— She says I’m on her back too much and I don’t give her opportunity to make bad decisions, and that she can’t learn how to manage time or workload. I told her that she has made plenty of bad decisions already, and how many more should I let her make before she flunks out of school? I didn’t say that her bad decisions will cost her (and me) more money as time goes on.

— She says I am too hard on her for her problems because I am comparing my childhood to hers, and that just because mine wasn’t happy doesn’t mean I have the right to make hers bad. I didn’t tell her that she had no idea how bad she would feel if she grew up in my shoes. Then again, maybe she is right.

Turning back to herself, she first said she likes the person she is, and she sees the good parts about herself, despite having some parts she doesn’t like. Then this morning, after she had time to ruminate on it all night, she says she doesn’t like who she is.

I’m lost. I don’t know what to do for her to help her get out of this. I called her doctor twice, but have not heard back from her today. I guess I’ll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope she goes to school tomorrow. I also hope she passes her classes, but I’m starting to doubt that will happen.

In the meantime, trying to deal with this makes me feel like crap. Plus I have to go to work to pay for the health care that Nicole will need forever, so I feel lovely today. I know it’s not her fault, but I wish she could try a little harder. Maybe that’s cold-hearted of me. Maybe she is trying, and it is just too much. I never can tell.

distorted dream

I was in a dream state this morning where I couldn’t wake up, and everything was jumbled. I was trying to remember a street name, and all I could do was see a part of every word I tried to imagine. My memory was simply scrambled, and I felt trapped in a mental purgatory. When I did wake up, I felt the same way, but things started to slowly fall back into place. In a few minutes, I could think clearly again. I wonder if that is what dementia feels like sometimes. I can’t imagine myself wanting to live if that condition were permanent.

Other thoughts:

  • I hope I don’t run out of posts for the new blog. An early flame-out would be a little embarrassing. I’m not a real writer, just an amateur with a few ideas and waning enthusiasm. I don’t know if I can sustain the blog for more than a couple of months.
  • I’m so sick of winter. Fuck the groundhog, I’m declaring an early spring this year. The weather will be spectacular by March 15th.
  • I don’t feel like writing or shopping or showering or cooking or anything else. I just want to watch a little tv and go to sleep.
  • It’s 10 am. Yes, I could sleep all day today.

blog notes

I’m not ignoring this site. I have had a few blog-worthy thoughts, but nary the time or solitude needed to write them out before they become stale.

I have started a new blog project, specifically about the relationship between bipolar and Nicole and I. It is called Bipolar Dad, Bipolar Daughter, and I invite you to check it out. Most of my writing about bipolar will be over there for a while, but I will save the bitterness and sarcasm for this blog.

Also check out the other bloggers in the Blog For Mental Health project. They are just getting started with their blogroll for 2015. This group covers a wide variety of mental health topics.

Fun fact: this is my 400th post on this site. Combine that with over 600 on the old blog, which gives me over 1000 for my 11-year blog career. I never thought I would be writing what is essentially an online diary for that long. I’m glad some great people have been interested along the way.

winter of my discontent

… colder and colder, the ice is growing closer, and it gets me down … – Genesis

I don’t usually get depressed due to the darkness and bleak landscape of winter, but this year I’m rather irritated about it. I’m really sick of snow and ice and cold, especially when I have to drive in it. I’m worried about Anne and Dan driving as well. I’m tired of salt and shoveling and snow-throwing, and I hurt my back trying to clear off slushy-ice from the driveway.

The forecast calls for 8-12 inches of snow tomorrow, and I’m not happy about it. However I don’t expect any sympathy from New England and their 3-foot blizzards, or Buffalo and their 6 feet of lake effect. We were planning to watch the Super Bowl with the fish-in-laws, but it would be safer if we both stayed home.

When we first moved to Ohio, I was excited about having four seasons, and I was happy for winter. Ten years later, the novelty has long since worn off. I’m just as bitchy as the natives now, and I really wish we could live somewhere without snow (like Hippietown, from where we moved). That can’t happen for multiple reasons, so just suck it up buttercup, and get out the shovel again.

And now, a winter poem:


new snow in a parking lot
countless flakes reflect electric light
forming a blanket of glittering sparkles
the city coated with diamond dust
the first tracks sadden me
another piece of perfection lost

slow news day

It’s a slow news day here at Chez Fish. Nothing of any significance happened this week. Several insignificant things happened:

  • I got paid. Having a job sucks, but getting paid is nice.
  • I get to shop for a new television. The old one had spots and kept blowing out projector bulbs.
  • We have a new manager at the Big Gas Co. He is a good guy, and was my old boss when I first started there in 2011.
  • I went to a movie. There were good actors, and Ben Affleck.
  • Nicole still has a mess in her room. No surprise there.
  • Nicole and her friend made a big mess in the kitchen without permission. Again, no surprise.
  • The Packers gave away the football game, but props to Seattle for making it happen.
  • We had a little thaw, then a little snow. Now I have to shovel again.
  • The bipolar took a short break; I was stable at my normal 4 out of 10 on the mood scale.

Then again, no news is good news I suppose. Nothing bad happened. Fingers crossed.

By the way, I literally bored myself to sleep writing this post. It’s true.

another lame poem

I posted a page with “You Can’t Run Far,” a song idea from several years ago when I was on the road. I still have music in my head for this, but I’ll never be able to put it on paper. If I only had an Andrew Ridgeley to partner with my inner George Michael.

Maybe that’s the wrong analogy. At least I entertain myself.

Anyway, I guess a song without music is just another lame poem, so there you are. A lame poem about relationships, mental illness, and running away.

another year down

Here we are, another blogger adding another new year’s post that no one cares about tomorrow.

Someone asked me if I had any plans or resolutions for this year. I told them the same as last year, which was to survive the year. I guess I made it through Year 44 AF (Anno Fishrobber).

I don’t really have any long range plans. Sure I have a couple of fun things planned this year, including my sometimes-annual-or-bi-annual baseball trip, but those could be cancelled at any time. I’m talking about goals, dreams, and important life events. The only goals I have set are 1) to sell the current money pit house and downsize, and 2) keep working until my early death. Hopefully stuff like kids moving out and having grandkids will happen along the way before I croak.

Everyone says “this year went by so fast.” Every year moves the same speed, but we all perceive time differently. Even though I remember stuff from my youth, I tend to forget a lot of recent events, and I can’t really remember more than a few things that happened in this past year. I suppose that helps to compress the year into a short mental montage of events that ends too quickly. At the same time, every individual day seems so slow. I can’t wait for the day to end so I can go to bed, read, and sleep.

Here’s hoping this year will provide some good memories for the future. Let’s hope no one dies, or gets seriously ill, or is laid off of work, or ends up in the mental hospital. Let’s survive another year.

the blue sedan

I’ve been watching old movies from when I was a little kid in Treetown. There are a few good memories there, but I also remember all the bad times surrounding the good ones. The smiles are captured in fleeting moments of film. The bruises are only in my mind.

This gets me thinking of how much I wanted to leave Treetown, then Goldville, then California altogether. It reminds me of what I threw away in my flight to anywhere, but also how useless it is to try to get rid of the past. This brings me to a six-year-old poem about a large blue Chevy with no rear-view mirror. Kind of poignant, I suppose.

one last ride down this highway
failures to remember, faces to forget
time for one more song,
but the motivation’s gone
lofty dreams replaced by small regrets

successes, friends, and laughter
drowned in a sea of mistakes
look around one more time
racing past the county line
there’s no need to hit the brakes

discarding useless souvenirs
from a tarnished history
memories won’t last
when the wheels are turning fast
running from the past, futilely

holiday blahs

I feel hollow and empty. I don’t have any real reason for it, it’s just another mood swing at an inopportune time. I don’t normally get sad during the holidays. But I’ve been down for several days now, not a deep horrible spiral, just a slow descent into the grey fog.

We had our Christmas celebration a day early because Anne had to work today. I was trying to be festive and happy, because everyone else was, but it was an act. All I wanted was to just lay in bed and not care about anything. I don’t think anyone noticed, they were occupied with being all Christmas-y. I’m glad when they have fun, I just wish I could have felt the same way.

I’ve been missing things from the past lately. People, places, experiences I can never repeat. I suppose everyone has these memories, then moves on. I have a hard time moving on, and it gets me down. Then I start with the negative thinking, and it goes downhill from there.

Here’s hoping your Christmas is better than mine.

dream girl

You visited me again last night.

We walked together, comfortably close, into a small theater. We were waiting for a performance of some kind, then I looked down at my trombone on the floor next to me. The other people in the audience picked up their instruments, and it became a band practice. You sat with me while I played the music from memory.

Later we were home, and I was lying on top of my bed. You gave me that electric smile again, the one that made me feel like the most important person in your life. You crawled on top of me, your body resting gently on mine, and kissed me passionately while my wife slept beside us. Your lips were so warm and tender as you loved me. I held you against me, your hair falling around us as we kissed.

Without warning, your softness was replaced by a cold, unyielding plastic. Your face had become a mask, your shining eyes now a vacant stare. You were gone, and all that remained was a memory of a kiss we never shared in real life.

minor differences

I posted a new page under the “About Fishrobber” menu, a brief history of the Old Bitch, aka the OB. If you were really bored, and you searched through this blog and the old blog, you would find frequent references to her and the pain she caused.

The effects of the OB have been documented in these pages, and in fact is probably the single common thread that weaves together all my distorted thoughts and damaged feelings expressed in the blogs over a period of 10 years. Sure the bipolar didn’t help, but I truly believe that the near-constant depression and fear and anger originates from the OB being in my childhood life. She was the single biggest force during my formative years, and she totally destroyed any self-esteem I may have had. Everything else follows from there.

Without her influence in my life, I might have grown up with more confidence and self-esteem, better social development skills, a healthy sense of self, fewer self-destructive tendencies, and a life without continual depression. Thinking about those possibilities makes me sad for the kid whose life was fucked up, and makes me angry at the OB for taking those things from me. I can never forgive her.

Without the OB, my life would have been altered beyond recognition. Maybe I was adopted by someone else. Maybe I became a city kid rather than being pulled into the forest. Different college, different career, different family. Not having my life saved in 1986, no wedding in 1991, no car crash in 1995, no climbing a volcano in 2003. Different experiences and people to share them with.

Maybe I might have been encouraged as a child, rather than having my spirit crushed. This might have allowed me to try new things, succeed where instead I failed, and have courage rather than fear. Maybe I would have made the most of my opportunities rather than letting them slip by. Maybe I would have learned to achieve things for myself rather than to spite others.

Maybe I would have grown to be the kind of person I hate, an arrogant, loud know-it-all jerk who thinks they are so special and they are entitled to things the rest of us are not.

It is dangerous to spend too much time thinking about “what-if” scenarios. It is impossible to know what might have happened, and it makes no sense to dwell on it. The past happened, and it led me to this point in time and space. Everything that happened created the person I am today, whether or not I like that person. I guess I have some control over the future, if only a little; maybe I can make my future a little better despite the past.

Maybe now I can put her in the past for good.