johnpalmer: (Default)
[personal profile] johnpalmer
I don't know what it was, but this last week was completely and totally exhausting. At least I can say one thing with relative certainty: it is not physical exertion that drains me the most. (Which isn't to say it can't - but physically, the week wasn't strenuous.)

There's an expression I sometimes use, and it's some morbid dark humor though I know a lot of depressed people would understand it.

I say I live on "grenade watch". Why?

Well, if a fragmentation grenade lands near you, and there's no hard cover, and there are people around, there's no real cost to throwing yourself on the grenade. You're already in the kill zone. All you're doing is making sure it only gets *you*, not you and others.

If there's hard cover, you can debate what's best, what's heroic, etc., but, if there's hard cover, that changes things. Get behind it, and you have a good chance of living. So there can't be hard cover in this hypothetical.

A person who's finding life miserable, but is emphatically not suicidal, would find such a situation to be a blessing (at least hypothetically - lots of people, when facing death, realize that life isn't as bad as they'd thought).

Because, you see, it's not suicide. You don't lay that horrible burden on friends and family (family by blood and by choice) that you killed yourself. Even the Catholic Church, which has strict rules over this sort of thing would rule that it wasn't suicide, as long as some part of your motivation was "I will protect others". That you also wanted everything to be over - well, you couldn't choose death for that reason alone, but to choose to be the one who sacrifices themself, that's not a sin, especially since you could just do nothing and (unless someone else throws themself on it) die anyway.

Your friends and family would mourn, sure... but in a clean way, and with a tiny thrill of pride. And no more slogging, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, with nothing to look forward to except a long, hard slog though a pointless life.

Grenade watch - because you wouldn't want to miss such an opportunity. And on bad days, I'll tell you, there's a sense that it's not fair there are so few psychopathic grenade throwers who have excellent choice in where to throw them.

I feel I should throw the obligatory warning to our viewers at home: there are many grenades that won't hurt you long term unless you're dumb enough to throw yourself on them. Throwing yourself on a flashbang, for example, is a good way to have serious, excruciating, injuries. Know your grenades!

(If you didn't click through: I've been feeling pretty badly - not suicidal, but not exactly loving life - and please remember my gift for understatement!)

Last week, I was asking myself when was the last time I didn't feel this way, and I couldn't remember. Months - since the beginning of the year for sure. It feels like eternity.

The good news is, in the short term, I now know that plenty of rest will help, and I've certainly earned some downtime. I finished up my first documentation project at AWS, and I'll see what they think, and I have some ideas for more.

It was kind of neat. I wanted to write up how to control IO on SQL Server. In RDS (where I work) we supply provisioned databases, and they have one serious weakness: they have only one volume - one pipeline for data. This isn't insurmountable, and it's not intrinsically bad, but to reduce contention on anything, the best way to do it is make more of them. With database engines, multiple data paths are considered a very good thing.

There are ways to control most IO traffic, but to explain why they're important, a person needs to know a bit about indexes and file storage in SQL Server.

Well, we have a Wiki for knowledge sharing, and Wikis are good for linking things - so I now have three articles, one on databases and file storage, one on indexing and indexes, and one on IO control. And while I'm exhausted and know I haven't got a lot of energy to spare, it feels really good. I accomplished something, and something more permanent than just helping one customer get through one question/problem/situation. So, that's something. I'm feeling a lot more positive about life and it is, thank god, the weekend.

Here's hoping life is treating you all well.

Date: 2017-05-20 11:48 pm (UTC)
dubhain: (Spike_wall_rain)
From: [personal profile] dubhain
I'm not sure how to respond here, but being me, I'm going to jump in with both feet and damn the consequences. Apologies if I overstep. Not looking to. (Yeah, yeah. It's my nature.)

First, congrats upon finishing the documentation project. Seriously. From a former techwriter / editor to a current techwriter. Congrats. And many happy future articles. Were I still in IT, I'd likely ask for a copy. Hell, I wouldn't mind seeing one anyhow, if you're so inclined.

As to grenades: I don't know whether I've mentioned this, previously. I may well've. I've been dealing with suicidal ideation on pretty much a daily basis — on the bad days, more like an hourly basis — for a bit over forty years, now. (This statement isn't meant to be competitive in nature, simply a statement of fact.) The fact that I've managed to life this long without an actual attempt (I've come very, very close once or twice, mind, over the years,) would seem to indicate that I've some sort of handle upon it, gods know what or how.

Basically I've come to look at the depression / ideation much as I do the weather, in an "Oh, it's raining." sense (although I actually much prefer the grey, rainy days as I'm a more than a bit sun sensitive.) It comes / it goes. It's here / it'll pass. When it gets particularly bad, I change my plans if I need to, and stay indoors until it passes. If I can. Many times, for me, that means avoiding other people. Because I can be unpleasant during those times and I know it. The way I feel and tend to act then may not be my 'fault,' but I'm still responsible for my behavior, and I don't consider it fair to subject other folks to it when I'm being unpleasant. (Note: That doesn't preclude asking for help, when I need it. That's different, and it's important to know that difference.) Sometimes I need to be around people, then, but not to interact much. I find that going to a cafe or a pub, sitting an a booth near a trafficked street, and just watching the world go by while drinking something non-alcoholic and reading a book can help. But that's me. You'd know what works best for you. I couldn't say.

I had a friend (the late Paul Tuitean, who, with his partner, co-wrote Lewellyn's Pocket Guide to Wicca,) who was on something similar to your "grenade watch." Paul had Asthma something terribly. He had neurological damage, from the massive doses of steroids they used to give children for it, in the 1950s, had died several times in E.R. from attacks — from one of which he came back swinging, and decked a nurse — and, basically, was always hoping the next one would take him. He was known, when someone threatened to kill him in a fight, to confound them by replying (quite sincerely) "Oh, you don't understand. If you kill me, I win." (He had to go out fighting so hard as he could, you see. He couldn't just let himself be killed, no matter how much he might desire it.)

So, yeah. Grenade days, grenade watch, and the whole (if you'll pardon the unintentional half-pun) shebang. I do get it, FWIW.

And, FWIW, I'm rather glad you're still around. We've interacted in person very few times, but I find I like you, and that I'm glad you're here. You make my world a little brighter, and I don't doubt you do that for others, too, whether you notice that you do or not.

Which, yes, doesn't necessarily offset all the other things which keep you on grenade watch. Yes. I understand that, too. But it is, nonetheless, and I'm glad of it. And I'm glad to have, and to have had the privilege of knowing you as well.

Take care of yourself, eh? And I hope that life is looking a bit brighter for you, tomorrow. Or if not tomorrow, then soonish. You're good people. You deserve it, I think.

Date: 2017-05-21 01:00 am (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
Hoping that your grenade watch is more like mine. I can go back and forth several times a week between "I can't remember what it feels like to be hopeful" and "I can't remember what it feels like to be despairing."

Date: 2017-05-21 07:48 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I don't have coherent words. But virtual *hugs* are on offer, if you want them. Fatigue does indeed made those very bad thoughts so much louder.

Date: 2017-05-21 10:07 am (UTC)
acelightning: purple starry sky (space)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
I really hope nobody ever throws a grenade anywhere near you. I'd miss you terribly. You're intelligent, helpful, and kind, and there should be more people like you in this world, not fewer.

On the other hand, I do understand, in a quite visceral way, what it feels like to just be so tired of having to keep being alive.

But if you ever do find yourself with your toes hanging over the edge of the abyss, imagine that I'm standing right behind you. I've got a firm grip on the back of the waistband of your tighty-whities, and if you so much as think about stepping forward, you'll give yourself the great-grandmother of all "atomic wedgies"!

Besides, you have to come to my 100th birthday party in 2047.


Date: 2017-05-30 10:25 am (UTC)
acelightning: charcoal sketch of a bunny curled up asleep, in soft purple twilight (sleeping bunny)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
Having raised a "special-needs" child to astonishingly successful adulthood, I'm familiar with being too tired to feel happy. And physical exhaustion really does suppress just about every feeling other than despair and, well, tiredness. Not eating will do the same thing, and so will dehydration. Always try to remember to check the physical stuff first - often a really deep emotional swamp will vanish after you've had a couple of glasses of water, a sandwich, and/or a nap!

But the bit about giving you a wedgie was one of the bits of twisted humor I've come up with over the years when people have expressed such thoughts to me. I'm not the psychologist in the family (my son, mentioned above, is), but it's been my observation that a joke - usually the sicker the better - will make the person laugh no matter how bad they feel, and then they're surprised that they remember how to laugh, and pretty soon the moment has passed.

I'm not joking about my birthday party, though!

*hugs*, because they're always useful...

Date: 2017-05-21 12:47 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
I know that feeling.. waiting for a good cause to die for. It's harder finding a good cause to live for some days.

Most days, I settle for a bad cause to live for, "'cause I'm too fucking stubborn to die", being the most usual.

Date: 2017-05-30 10:31 am (UTC)
acelightning: inverted US flag (distress signal) with "Is It 2021 Yet?" (2020)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
Living for a cause is far more useful than dying for it - there's not much you can do once you're dead, and people are beginning to see through that martyrdom thing.

(Personally, I can do without causes anyway. People get their knickers in a twist about "What is the meaning of life?", but my reply is "Why does life have to have a 'meaning' or 'purpose'? Life just IS, and we're supposed to live it as best we can. Try to leave things better than they were - or if you can't manage that, then at least do your damnedest not to make it any worse! - and HAVE FUN while you're doing it!")

Date: 2017-05-22 02:18 pm (UTC)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
From: [personal profile] elainegrey
I'm hoping this week brings less grenade watching and that you had good rest over the weekend.

Date: 2017-05-30 12:37 pm (UTC)
bkwrrm_tx: (White mask)
From: [personal profile] bkwrrm_tx
Oh, I so understand grenade watch. If it weren't for Cassie, there are times when the physical stuff she fussed me into going to the ER for... I wouldn't have gone. Not committing suicide (waves at ideation so it doesn't feel lonely) but ending up in the same place anyway.

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