Nowhere Man

He’s a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his Nowhere land
Making all his Nowhere Plans
For Nobody

That’s me.  At least that’s what it feels like sometimes.

I have no purpose.  At least, I have no purpose that is really important.  Oh, I stay busy enough.  And I have friends that I enjoy hanging out with.  And even a relationship (of sorts).  But really I’m just going through the motions.  There’s no excitement, no specific interests, and nothing to look forward to.

There was a time when I had a job where I could make a difference; both in the success of the company and with mentoring my employees.  Now, I just have a job.  I’m not a leader; I’m just one of a bunch.  There is nothing to set me apart from anyone else, and if I were to leave the only impact would be to increase the work load on the others a little bit.  I do the same thing, day in and day out.  I’m very happy to be working; life would be a lot harder without it.  But it’s a ways to an end.  I work to eat, and have shelter; nothing else.

From the outside looking in, it would appear that I’m living a full and interesting life.  I do things, I go out, I have free time and privacy when I want it.  My married friends / coworkers in particular are very jealous of me.  The grass is always greener, and no matter how much they love their spouse, the idea of some freedom and less responsibility is very appealing.  Not that they are looking to change anything; it just seems like such a carefree and fun life.

But it’s not.   I just feel empty.

There are a lot of activities I have enjoyed over the years.  I was really into golf, and played three or four times a week.  I was on a bowling league for almost 10 years, and got pretty good at it.  When I had a pool table, I would play every night, constantly working on my game.  Music has always been a passion of mine, and I would play my guitar for hours on end.  Reading three or more books a week wasn’t unusual.  And I’ve always loved history, and spent a lot of time learning as much as I could about the periods I have such an interest in.

Not so much anymore.  It’s too much effort for too little in return.

I’m getting older.  The time just seems to go faster and faster.  I have nothing in place for retirement, and I just don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.  I’m living hand to mouth and keep dipping into the little bit of savings I have during the really tight times.  I know that sooner rather than later I’m going to be too old to work, and I’ll be completely dependent on Social Security to survive.  That is, if the program lasts long enough.  As the ‘baby boomers’ reach retirement age the benefits being paid are higher than the money coming in, and for several years there’s been a lot of worry that the funding will run out before I can take advantage of it.  I’m going to be in enough trouble just trying to live on the Social Security benefits I’m qualified for; it’ll be impossible without any at all.

And yet; I don’t really care.

I never expected to live long enough to have to worry about retirement.  I couldn’t imagine myself at 40; or 50.  And I can’t see myself at 60, or even older.  Yet, I’ve made it this far and honestly I have no reason to expect that I won’t continue to make it.

I have a lot of acquaintances.  I even have some really close friends.  But am I really touching others?  I want to make a real difference to others.  There is no legacy to my life, and like a soft breeze, I’ll be gone without a trace.  My daughters are the exception.  They both are amazing people, and are accomplishing great things.  But I’ve managed to screw that up, and have little if any effect on their lives.  They will have their own legacy; it won’t be mine.

I try to find interest and fulfillment.  I’ve put a lot of effort lately into developing a new relationship; and have been somewhat successful.  But is it really important to me?  Am I really making a difference to her?  Maybe I am, but knowing it isn’t going to last, the difference I’m going to make is only going to be harmful.  If I do have a legacy, it’s a path of pain and destruction.  Any good I’ve managed to do has ended up in disaster and heartbreak.

Oh, I know what it sounds like. My feelings are just a growing depression.  But that’s really not the case.  It’s not a depression; I’m just numb.  I’m just drifting with the tide without direction or plan.  I’m sure the medications I’m on have a lot to do with it.  The mood stabilizer and antidepressant are designed to prevent excessive mood swings, but what they have really done is remove all motivation and create a feeling of apathy.  It’s really a Catch 22.   Without treatment I am out of control and crazy; with treatment I’m an empty shell.

The comedian Red Skelton had a story many years ago about a little tree in the forest who felt he had no purpose.  Birds are responsible for spreading seeds to grow new plants.  Bees make honey.  Horses provide labor.  But the little tree felt like there was no reason for him to be.  And one day, a woodsman came and cut him down.  The tree was taken home, put up in the woodsman’s house, and decorated for the Christmas Season.  On Christmas Morning the little tree saw the joy and excitement in the young children’s faces, and realized that he had a purpose after all.  His meaning was to celebrate the birth of Christ, and represent all that’s good in the world.  He had purpose after all.  It wasn’t until he believed it was the end that it became apparent.  (Okay…it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the story.  I’m sure the details aren’t right, but the meaning is).

So those are my choices.  Stop my medications and start feeling again?  Or continue on through the void.  How do you make such a choice?  Having lived most of my life undiagnosed and out of control, I know what the right choice is.  It’s only though the grace of God and dumb luck that I haven’t either killed myself or killed someone else through carelessness and lack of awareness.  That’s really no way to live and die, and the last thing I want to do is to continue to hurt others.  So it’s not really a choice after all.  It’s the result of being bipolar.

I’m a Nowhere man.

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3 Responses to Nowhere Man

  1. bpnana says:

    I’ve been where you are. Many times, like most of us who suffer. The numbness can be unbearable. This isn’t advice, but have you thought about adjusting your meds? You might want to look at that. Most people in my support group have had their meds adjusted (or try new meds) and sometimes, it does wonders. I hope your spirits lift soon. Just remember. YOU ARE IMPORTANT & YOU’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH TWO DAUGHTERS. ME, TOO! WE LET OUR ILLNESS DEFINE US, AND BEAT OURSELVES UP ABOUT HOW LOUSY WE WERE AS PARENTS. I HOPE YOU WILL TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTERS AND REACH OUT TO THEM. AND EVEN ACQUAINTANCES CAN BE GOOD LISTENERS. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I JUST HAVE TO BITE THE BULLET, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL SOMEONE. LET OUT MY FEELINGS, SO THEY CAN DISSIPATE. REMEMBER, WE’RE ALL HUMAN AND DOING AS BEST WE CAN. THE WINDS WILL CHANGE IN YOUR FAVOR. DON’T GIVE UP. YOU HAVE US AS WELL. WE ARE YOUR COMRADES IN ARMS, FIGHTING STIGMA! DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!


  2. John Hayden says:

    A very moving post. You are making a difference through your writing. I know the nowhere feeling. I’m alone and generally unable to connect with other people on more than a superficial level. It usually feels like I’m not making a difference, have no legacy, no money, nowhere.

    As your story of the tree indicates, we probably do have a purpose that we don’t see or understand. I try to remain hopeful, to be open to the possibility of some place, some meaning, some purpose.


  3. Edward Braquet says:

    Man can I relate to your article! I felt like you were taking the words directly from my mind. I have been on high amounts of drugs (currently 9) trying to find the right combination to fight the depression. So I can totally sense your pain about the emptiness of feeling so emotionless and adrift at sea. I’m currently waiting on my disability trial and not working at all so I feel as though I have NO purpose in this world. Each day is just like the previous day with no joy or happiness. I have cut myself off from my friends and most family because I feel they just don’t want to hear nor do I want to talk about the emptiness of my condition. I really don’t say much at my Pdoc appointments because I just feel like nothing really works so whats the point. He keeps saying soon one of these drugs will just wake me up and we will have found the one. Recently I started Geodon and it is the first drug that I can say I am optimistic that there might be some hope. However, I still feel like my life has no point to it at all. I can’t shake the vision / nightmare of who will be at my funeral. I feel if I were to die today that few would attend my funeral and just how few words could be said about my life and what difference I made in the world. It is a really shitty feeling to feel so meaningless. Thanks for sharing your feelings. I’m a 48 year old male and brother I feel your pain!


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