Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
« I Am So Stoned | Main | Tampons For Sale! »

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

It's ba-ack. Like Arnold Schwarzeneggar's terminator, (you know, when he's like 'I'll be back" with the cool sunglasses at night and shit and the guy is like, what the fuck was that and stuff and then there's like, LOTS of explosions!) IT'S back..

The depression and the self-loathing that has dogged me throughout my life tracked me down and began incessantly knocking at my door Mormon missionary style a few weeks ago.. When I didn't answer, it broke in, sneaked up on me and tackled me... Pinned me like a lightweight footballer.
"I thought I lost you."
"Nope! Still here, SUCKA!"
"But... but--"
But it's too late.. Depression delivered several rapid karate chops (HIIII-YAAA!) to my kidneys and left me languishing in my bed, begging for mercy.

Soon I will be working overnights again. The Surge leaves for Spain in a few days. It's exhausting just thinking about it all. I try to be positive, try to exercise (endorphins my ass) but in the end I submit to auto-pilot. The White Noise will lunge for the wheel and I will relinquish control and lurch through life like a Dawn of the Dead zombie. I generally bare a striking resemblance as well.

The White Noise: it's really all bullshit. You can worry your brain to Cream of Wheat about money, your relationship, family,, death and it really makes no difference... Does it? I'd like to be a thoughtful person.. I'd like to think I consider people's feelings, I'd like to be the friendly light that draws other moths toward me but I have a sneaking suspicion I am selfish.. Overflowing with thoughts about myself, my life, me me me... Isn't this blog evidence of that?

Sometimes the effort to converse with people becomes so much I want to crawl into a thick comforter and shrink from the complexities of human contact for days. How do you do it? Tell me your secrets.

Small talk (how was your weekend? Wanna hear what I did last night? Not unless it involves sex, lies, or videotape) disgusts me yet it greases the way to the heavier stuff... the more interesting stuff... the stuff that doesn't leave me feeling as hollow as the tin man before his trip to Oz..

I am making herculean efforts to be content with myself in the quiet moments. But, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it's a fucking magic trick, ain't it? So far I'm shit at it. My insides are Mexican jumping beans.. My brain whirls out of control and I can't concentrate. Life is just so much, isn't it?

As an exclamation point on the above... just as I was hitting publish on this entry I was summoned into the manager's office by the powersthatbe... My services are no longer needed.. Downsizing. Guess I won't have to worry about those overnight shifts.. Heh heh. Small consolation.

Excuse me while I have an anxiety attack.

Reader Comments (50)

Jesus Christ Monica did you just lose your job? I just realized that I am not breathing right now....I can't imagine how you are feeling...
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Whoa! That fucking blows Monica!

Nor can I imagine what you are feeling.
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
Silver lining is there somewhere, just look for the thread that's loose and you'll find it.
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAME
I've been busy and missed your reads and writing and now to give it all the time it deserves and have it end with this one? I'm so sorry Monica.

Publish the book. Get it out of here and work on publishing it or anything else that you might have going on in the background.

You are a great writer.Very great.
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre
Thanks for the comments everyone. Am sitting here at work.. feeling a bit lost. They broke the bad news just before my lunch break.. Good strategy I suppose.. Let me have my freak out on my own dime then be back in time to get cracking on the second half of my shift
May 17, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
So many things...

This is a really great post with a sucker punch. I think you know we are all completely supportive of you and are so sorry this is happening right now. (Speaking for the group at large here!)

It really really sucks to be laid off. I know how it feels, and it feels personal even though it's not.

I think what you write in this post and elsewhere is common to many of us...depression, weeding through the bs to get to the real stuff, looking for true connections and trying to make our way with only our hearts as a guide.

You always have your heart as a guide, and you're not alone. I hope you can feel what I can see, here on your blog.
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Losing your job just helped you jump into the next phase of your life. Try something new, take a risk! Cliché, but when one door know the rest. Opportunities - they are a knocking! (And maybe get some meds to help you over the dark time.)
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Oh my God, that sucks!
Sorry I don't have anything inspirational or upbeat to say, but I'm sure it wouldn't help you feel better anyway.
I've been in that dark place before and I really understand how it feels...though I was never able to describe it as vividly as you.
I hope it all turns around for you soon. I'm rootin' for ya!
May 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
The demon has some pretty amazing timing, doesn't he? Parked in his Nova eating bird's heads cured in a salty brine.

Fight it with all the hidden therapy tools NYC has to offer. Bookstores, Thai Food, walks along the promenade in Brookly Heights, Tompkins Square Dogpark, the Hans Holbein paintings at the Frick Museum, and getting on a rooftop with friends every chance you can during the summer.

Here's to hoping that sonofabitchin' closed door opens up the door to a cherry ass '68 Corvette.

May 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterereiberg
"The White Noise: it's really all bullshit. You can worry your brain to Cream of Wheat about money, your relationship, family,, death and it really makes no difference... Does it? I'd like to be a thoughtful person.. I'd like to think I consider people's feelings, I'd like to be the friendly light that draws other moths toward me but I have a sneaking suspicion I am selfish.. Overflowing with thoughts about myself, my life, me me me... Isn't this blog evidence of that?"

It's your blog you can be selfish. It's ok! Because I know you do consider people's feelings, you are a thoughtful person.

Life has many bumps in the roads. Boy do I know! This is yet another one Monica! You'll figure something out. I know you will.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
Monica - I just can't stop thinking about your situation - I am so sorry...

...although I have nothing helpful to add...the posts above echo my thoughts...I am thinking of you...hang in there girl.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Do some vigorous exercise. I mean, really vigorous. You'll be surprised after a few months.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Cascadia
that's fucking awful. i'm really sorry to hear that, monica. everyone else has already made the "hang in there" post, so i'll just much is that...tampo--fuck. i already used that one today. hang in there.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
That's really awful news! I really feel for you.

Do you think that it's a possibility that maybe you lost your job due to your blog and not downsizing? Just asking cos I remember once wondering what your bosses would think about alot of your writing topics. In Europe nobody would care but I could imagine that in the holier than Jesus USA your bosses might want to distance themselves from your very "un-conservative" writing.

Try and see this as an opportunity. You'll certainly get your book published now and become a fulltime writer!
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen very sorry to hear about how you are feeling. My husband has those types of feelings too and I know it is hard just to make it through a day. Take care of yourself and if you can't do t alone please consider seeing a doctor. I tell you...Paxil changed my husbands ( and my) life. Not that I am suggesting you need meds but who knows
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkat
This happened to us. My wife was "right sized" a few years back.

The slip was actually pink. But enough about what she was wearing... (Attempt at wryness.) No really, she actually received a PINK pink slip.

Mon, I'm about to spend 10 hours on the road, to Maine and back. I'll try to think of something better to say, but this IS an opportunity.

Easy to say. Hard to see. But it's true.

May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
Put your dog in the car and go see your Mom while your husband is away. A road trip with your best friend Max, a drive through those beautiful mountains, some maternal nurturing -- it will help you get through to the next thing. Because there will be a next thing, you will get there, and it will be good,

May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjls
I started an entirely new career at age 30. Even, went back to college to get a 2nd degree. Best thing I ever did.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


I know it sucks... but from what I've read you've never been one to be afraid to make the hard decisions or shy away from adversity.

You have a great network of friends here. Don't be afraid to lean on the folks that care about you.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStFarmer
"My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon."

This could be the greatest thing that's ever happened to you. Stay focused on the big picture.

Assvice over and out!
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersusan
Hugs for you Monica! You are a resourceful woman, no worries that you will bounce back!
I definately think a little road trip to regroup would be an awesome idea! Catch up with all those great people back in Utah that you miss so much!
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Oh, I had another idea. Invite everyone to a pity party - be sure you say "I've just been laid off" frequently and loudly in every situation -- digging for change in your purse at the checkout, sitting in a cafe for a cup of coffee, watching your dog poop in the park -- best case, someone overhears you who is in a position to hire you, worst case, you get a free cup of coffee, as much sympathy as you can handle, and understanding looks if you don't have anything to pick up the poop. Work it, girl!
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjls
I just came across your blog a few days ago. I am so sad to hear that you lost your job. It's awful timing, but then again, there's really no good time to lose a job. I won't say that this is an opportunity, because you probably don't want to hear that right now. Depression has a funny way of washing out anything labeled as an "opportunity". But I do want to say that just from the few postings I've read, I can see that you have immense talent. You have great things within you that will one day, when you're ready, find a way out. This blog isn't selfish. It's you trying to connect with the world outside of you; in fact, it's very human. It's what we all want, to be understood and to be less alone. You will be okay. No matter what happens to you, you'll never be alone. Just keep reaching out and trying to let people see who you are.

I realize that I don't know you, so I don't want to give you advice. But I liked what the person said above about taking a road trip to see your mom. Parents are anchors. I've depended on my mom everytime I've had something awful happen to me, and she's always made me feel better, even if the problem itself didn't go away. Take care of yourself, and let other people take care of you too. You'll be okay no matter what.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarina
yea my little baby monica, come home and give me a hug, spliff is here waiting.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenternot mama
lots of good advice here. I'm sure it doesn't make it any easier, but hopefully with a little time it will. one thing, wait a few months for you head on out to utah. it's fucking HOT right now. mid 90's blech.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterClint
Thanks to you getting canned, I was 45 minutes late to work this morning. may have been the 4 whiskeys I had, but who's really to say?

It was well worth it, my dear.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSicksadworld
Oh dear. Monica, I'm so sorry about this although I'm confident that things will work out for you. If you're interested, I'm going to be in Williamsburg for my writing group this evening at 7:30. There are only 4-5 of us, all nonfiction writers, and it's a lot of fun. I'd love for you to come, let me know if you'd like to.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Not sure I have anything useful or enlightening to add...I used to work for a software company that 'downsized' very unexpectedly. I was lucky enough to hang on to my job but the experience of seeing friends escorted to their cars with family photos, coffee mugs, and other cubicle detritus hastily tossed into cardboard boxes...puts the fear into the ol' gut. It really factored into my decision to go to grad school and change careers. Which is where I met my husband...and wow, what a lucky break that was!

FWIW, hubby battles depression too. I don't know you, but I can say that it actually makes him *more* patient, more sensitive, more understanding of other people's sadness--more of a "friendly light".
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPurr Meow
monica, go get your unemployment paperwork taken care of, call me and I'll buy your plane tickets to come home. I know you, you'll say there is too much to take care of.Well then go get another job, knowing you, you will have another before sunset, tell them you'll start in 2 wks. then come home for a minute. Hide out in the hot tub for a few days, see old friends and US. I love you Missy, you'll be ok..Breathe. I'm going to go call you.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
shit. I'm so sorry. Hopefully you'll get some unemployment $ to make this a bit easier - enough to not have a meltdown with worry right away. Good luck.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
So sorry to hear about that. Have a pity party and hide out a bit, then go to Utah and let your mom spoil you -- they're great like that. Sending good thoughts your're amazingly talented and I'm sure you'll land on your feet again soon.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersandra
Well, I think you should hold off on getting another job until after Bonnaroo - I have to tell you I was so excited to see that Marah was playing! Come to Manchester, we'll party.

You're in my thoughts! You definitely need some mom time.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralissa
Good luck! What a bunch of idiots to let you go! Don't worry - in about a week they'll be cursing themselves as dribble comes out of their anchors mouths.
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentertallangie
looks like that book just got closer to fine
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercat
Wow, Monica I am so sorry. I don't have any good advice to share...but my first thought was that if there's anyone who can turn around and find something 10x better, than it's you. I realize that I don't really know you...but I know that I, and many others on this board have faith in you.

I'll also 2nd Alissa's proposal...come to Bonnaroo and party. I'll be there too, near the front with a camera, and hopefully under the influence of one thing or another :)
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterktphotog
Eeek...I say go with what your momma said. Take it easy and don't put too much pressure on yourself until you're ready. And yeah, go to one of the greatest music festivals out there, couldn't hurt!
May 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJacynth
ps - got any sick days left to take?
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
It is hard to believe that this could be for the best, but it may be.

I had a hissy fit at work two years ago when my boss started cursing me out for being on the phone while working (after hours on a Friday night for no pay). I quit without thinking about my kids, house, responsibilities or the future. I unsuccessfully begged my office manager to move me to another department, then had to leave for a week on a prepaid vacation.

Before my three weeks notice was up, I found a better paying job for a great boss in a great firm with better benefits. Everyone told me while I was twitching during that vacation that it would work out, that it was for the best, that I would be much happier, but I did not believe it. Keep your chin up, this may be for the best.

You have a strong network of people who have their eyes and ears open for you.

Go see your mom, she will make it feel all better for a while.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStarsky
Love, I'm here rooting for you, and I applaud you (with one of those shrill screams from the back seats) for sharing so honestly. I'm sure you make so many feel less alone. And like I said, I'm here. Will listen. Totally get ya. Would never offer advice. Wish I were closer. I'd make you grab your camera and get out of your head for a while. Walks are cleansing that way.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Klein
I don't really have anything to say that hasn't been said already. Just hoping that the situation works out for the best in the long run.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUtahSpanky
You will find a new and better job soon! I keep my fingers crossed for you. May be it really is a good idea to go to to utah or somerwhere for a couple of days. Your husband will be in Spain - and it might not do you good to be in NYC on your own because of the mood your in right now...
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMechthild
Yea, get to Utah....and bring a friend.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterspliff
i hear theyre hiring over at feel free to send in your resume. and by "resume" I mean "measurements." Unless the Surge is reading, then I mean "resume." Otherwise, I mean "photocopy of your behind." So to review..what the fuck was I talking about? oh yeah, The Surge's "measurements"...
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
Note from Xmastime, who drank an ENTIRE carton of milk whilst dogsitting Max as I attended The Surge's show in Philly:

"Sorry bout the milk. But hey, that's life. Actually, I'm not sorry, Fuck you and your bourgeous, skim-milk drinking friends. I hate all of you! Go to hell!


XMASTIME" (quaint drawing of santa here)


Good for you Xmastime! Milk, it does a body good.
May 19, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonica
Additionally, thanks for all the kind comments and emails.. It means a lot. Really. I always love to hear from everyone.. I get sick of reading what I write, listening to me yap.. So thanks for commenting.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
lets not mislead the good folks here. when I think of an ENTIRE carton of milk, I think of a "gallon", or "the amount of milk I guzzle while bringing in the groceries from shopping", or "The Surge's measurements." it was MAYBE 1/2 of a 1/2 gallon, if that. what's 1/2 of 1/2 a gallon? ironically, if we DIVIDE 1/2 by 1/2, we get a whole "1". Is this really ironic? Prolly not, but my typing this with my life-giving breasts might be. squirt.
May 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime
Lost my job 3 weeks ago. Lotsa' years invested in that fuckin' loser's game.

You didn't seem happy in your job.

Neither was I. It wasn't the job, really. I like to work. Most of like to work. It's what we do.

I couldn't wait to get out of it. I spent weeks after finding out about my impending downsizement, counting down the days. My machiavellian employer, Mr. De Sade, saw a payroll reduction opportunity, and squeezed two months of work out of me in three weeks.

It's his brand of vicious capitalism that pushed my work self-worth into the abyss. I hate his "new world" order. Everyone is climbing over everyone else to get the upper-hand. My severance was pathetic. De-Sade took me out for 2 beers and greasy, shitty, $6.95 chicken-shit snacks. It was a far cry from those halcyon days of yore when things were profitable...and I still took it up the ass because I'm a nice person.

Or maybe that little self-esteem/depression problem just gets activated by any money-grubbing, type-A personality, with an agenda? Hmmm?

Maybe I ought to try an avoid those types in the future?

Or...maybe I shouldn't be so nice any more when it comes to my own priorities?

Monica, I empathize with you. We both seem to struggle with a lot of the same things. I'll bet a lot of the contributor's here empathize. It's a mean ol' world, especially if you are sensitive.

Keep writing! That's the only thing you can do right now. Ultimately, it WILL be the only thing you need to do.

Me...I get to watch Guiding Light for a few months and keep up with the retirees in my neighborhood who cut their yard's every other day.

Peace! 26 weeks and counting down.

Awww.. Joe, what a bummer. The bright side: you can spend more time on my blog.. Okay, so that's not really a bright side, but still.. maybe YOU should write more. You have a way with words, my friend.
May 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Dogs...all of em. DOGS!!
Oops wrong posting! I completely empathize with you, Monica. The last stinkin' job I had was run by KGB Russians, that's right, seething mobsters who make a living of American Taxpayers via Medicaid Fraud. That's right Adult Medical Day Care is wrought with shiester skimming off the top,manipulating numbers,fudging reports, misapprioriating funds.The place was so vile and air quality so poor we all choked on mold spores from clock in to clock out.I will never regret telling the cheesy new administrator that I would not be back the following Monday. Mot my fault my replacement quit after one day at the senior center with old lady hot breath on her back. I swear the place was bugged. Can you believe they set up a phony camera above the time clock?

Better opportunities are out there just waiting for you, Monica. Take a well deserved breather, You Pray for guidance and wait on the answer. Doors will open for you. Don't be afraid. Everything will be alright. Your readers will back you and we can always take up a collection.

Keep your sunny side up. You are a gem.
June 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGina

This might help you:

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNo One

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>