Saturday, February 23, 2008


...or is it panic? Regardless, it has been attacking me relentlessly since early January.

Frankly, I always classed "anxiety attacks" with those made-for-TV "syndromes" that irritate bowels, give people problems sleeping or otherwise bug them, and can be cured by the little blue/pink/red/purple pill the ads try to get people to bug their doctors for.

I do know what the common symptoms of anxiety attacks are, though, and I've lived with them for more than 50 days straight. It's no faux disease, Jim.

And please don't tell me to go to a doctor. My medical insurance (a/k/a checking account) won't allow it.

I've been working like a madman this year (and in November and December, for that matter), and have earned enough to stop the tidal wave of sewage that is about to engulf me.

No, make that: I would have earned enough, had payments arrived as they do for workers in any legitimate business. Thanks to the joys of "payment-on-publication" (and sometimes uncertain publication dates) plus the editor of a magazine that is about to cease publishing not letting me know the news before I began initial work on several articles that he would neither be accepting or paying for, I am, as we literary types say, screwed.

Well, there's a more appropriate term, but it's not family friendly.

Attempts at horizon-broadening have borne no fruit. I've found that while I might be interested in doing new and better things, the number of those willing to hire me to do said things is hovering right around zero.

The fact that I am just over a month away from hitting the big five-eight and most companies prefer younger -- and cheaper -- employees might have a little to do with that.

To be honest, I have simply run out of ideas.

A few people -- including one very good friend -- have known about the impending crash for a while. D., the photographer, thinks all I need to do is keep working on the shit articles based on old photos he pulls from his files and sends en masse to editors. The fact that clients who fall for these elderly images -- when any do -- are the same ones who underpay/late-pay with sickening regularity means nothing to him. His girlfriend pays his bills, and more.

Others, who have long called on me for freebies, don't seem willing to exert themselves when I'm the one looking for advice and contacts that might put me in the way of reliable employment.

From this, I can only conclude one of two things: a majority of the people I know are, at best, fair-weather friends, or I am simply a worthless lump of dung who doesn't deserve their time or concern.

I tend to think the first answer is correct.

But, especially in the past few days, I have come to put some credence in the second....

Aside from the discomfort -- both mental and physical -- this year has brought so far, I have been forced to cancel my trip to Detroit next month to see my friend R. perform in concert. It was the one just-for-me thing keeping me sane. R. did not take the news very well; he was looking forward to our reunion as much as I was.

I should be angry. Instead, I am simply too worn down to feel any emotion at all.

That's a good thing, actually. Considering the traumas the next few days and weeks may -- probably will -- bring, numbness may be a blessing.


Anonymous said...

I'm saddened to think that someone as good (and I KNOW you're a good person) and as talented as you has to go day after day just hanging on. This is just NOT fair! If there is any justice in this world, you'll eventually get the wonderful rewards you deserve. :)


Anonymous said...

I too am sad that you will not be able to go to Detroit as planned.

Recently I have been continually overwhelmed with angst over my inability to help financially needy people in real crisis situations.

Maybe someone who reads here will be able to help.

John said...

It's no faux disease/condition.
The thing of not being worth whatever is false. Always easy for others to say, I have my share of being corrected on that matter, too, but they are right.
I'm very sorry that things are as they are.

kit said...

Mr. S you are a talented and nice guy. I'm holding good thoughts for you and I am praying one of your friends does come through. I would also urge you to keep working on them. Sometime it's just a matter of timing.

emd said...

I'm sorry to hear about this too. I hope something, or someone, comes through.

WhimsicalMadCap said...

Mr. S, ask anyone who's been thru the grinder and they'll tell you real friends are as rare as black diamonds. I know from my own experience (even if I'm not a writer). Don't allow self-doubt to make your burden even heavier than it is.

And the panic, OHHHH it is torture: in '90, when I was unemployed for 8.5 months and had no income or outlook for any, I used to have the WORST panic attacks. It would feel like I was falling endlessly down a deep gorge. Horrible sensation.

Do you have a private email where we can contact you? (I promise not to spam you, LOL!)


Anonymous said...

i've been through that stuff. not fun. as we're all different, keep searching for something that helps. you're ok, you're ok. take care/j.sni

Japee said...

I am so very sorry that you've had to cancel that trip. It can mean so much to have something to look forward to. You've had such a long stretch of tough times.

Justfly said...

I get those totally anxiety moments. I don't like them.
When is the concert in Detroit? Is it just the plane ticket that is preventing you from going?

MrScribbler said...

JF -- The concert is March 16th. I was planning to use accumulated miles to buy the ticket, but motel room, food, gas for the car, etc., would add up far too quickly.

I'll sit home that afternoon and listen to my CD of his previous concert at that venue.

Kim said...

Anxiety attacks - welcome to my world. It's just horrible isn't it? Wish it was a faux condition, but alas, we just have to slog through them.

Justfly said...

I wish there was a way you could go, seems like it would be good thing. I certainly understand the expense of a hotel, gas and food.

Anonymous said...

I know all about panic or anxiety attacks. I've lived with them for years. I wish things would look up for you, I really do. You deserve so much more.