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Anson Stevens-Bollen

My Private Eschaton

October 28, 2015, 12:00 am

As we’ve briefly discussed before, much of my day-to-day life is tempered by a constant struggle with anxiety and depression. Throughout my adolescence, there were a handful of options, opportunities and great ideas that I either allowed to slip through my fingers, ignored outright because I was fixated on ruining something with my obsessive tendencies or deliberately destroyed out of fear. Fear of what? Couldn’t say. Success, maybe? Worse yet: the potential shame of knowing that I actually tried something, and it hadn’t worked out exactly as my delusions of grandeur expected it to.

Like many in my generation, I was (probably inadvertently) raised a narcissist. I was always told I was special and promised the Disney ending. I was convinced (to an extent by myself) that whatever problems I would face in life would either end in a clear dichotomy and a “To Be Continued…” or the credits would roll, and everything would go back to normal. It took me the better part of two decades to even begin to accept that this is not how life works.

As a result, there is a buzzing, physical discomfort that begins every day when I wake up. “Something is wrong,” an inaudible voice whispers deep in my subconscious. And, over the course of several years, as I pursue whatever avenue of my life I manage to convince myself will finally lead to “happily ever after,” it builds imperceptibly. There then comes a time, every three to five years, where I can no longer ignore or reason with the voice in my head that is now screaming, “Everything is fucked! Run!”

And, in my panic, every time that faint inkling reaches critical mass, I experience (read, “initiate”) my own personal apocalypse. The bad guy rode off into the sunset with the girl, and the credits still haven’t rolled. So I burn all my bridges, I sell all my stuff and I walk off the side of whatever I consider “my world” at that moment. I’ve moved to other towns, states, even continents, running from my dissatisfaction with what my advancing years are starting to reveal to me is probably how everyone feels a lot of the time.

See, the only silver lining to drawing hard lines in the sand every few years is that I’ve begun to see patterns in not only my behaviors, but also in the things that happen to me that are out of my control. Since my last single-serving eschaton, I’ve become convinced that not only is life itself cyclical in nature, it is also made up of smaller cycles, all of which build on one another in a staggeringly predictable way.

Armed with that observation, I’ve begun paying closer attention to my cycles of self-sabotage. It’s fair to blame my problems on some amount of both narcissism and delusion, but somewhere between “Something is wrong” and “Everything is fucked,” there lies a truth. I may be unreasonable in my reactions and expectations, but at the heart of the issue, there is something in my life that has to change. Something is wrong. Things are a little fucked.

But in this life, the credits will never roll, even after it all fades to black, and there is no lesson I will ever learn that won’t lead, in turn, to another question. That’s the thing about revolutions, personal or otherwise: One begets the next. So I’ve begun to try to learn how to chip away at whatever lies at the root of my terror, without having to set fire to everything around me just to light the way.



The point is often the least interesting part of the conversation. Have one with the author: miljen@sfreporter.com


 

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