2009 has been a rough year for the BigDumbHick. The good news is that I am still alive and I think that my dick still works. The bad news is that I am still unemployed.
In March of this year I lost my job. I am grateful that they kept me on as long as they did. I was told that the reason they let me go was due to the economy, I was the last technician hired so therefore I was the first technician let go. I understand all of that, but I also know that there were some other extenuating circumstances that factored in to my being laid off, things that were never actually brought up when I was given my pink slip.
First of all, I don’t think that I was really a good fit for that position due to a variety of unspecified reasons. They did everything they could to welcome me and I did everything I could to earn my keep. I tried to do the absolute best job that I could do. However, looking back, I can see how the quality and quantity of my work was affected by undiagnosed severe clinical depression as well as ADHD. That doesn’t serve as any kind of an excuse for anything, but it does explain a few things in my mind.
I was having trouble getting to work in the mornings. I was having trouble sleeping at night. I was having trouble even getting out of the truck once I did get to work. I was having trouble staying focused on task, and then standing around and just watching and observing a machine run was nothing less than wallowing in the deepest pits of hell for me.
I need shit to do, I’m no good at standing around. I was absolutely ecstatic when I had a task, especially one that I felt that I was competent at, or if not competent, learning something new. When asked to write operating and maintenance manuals, I would sit in my cubicle, turn on my mp3 player, and I would just get into the zone and write. I would get so into it that I would forget to go to lunch, I would lose all track of time and not know that it was quitting time until someone started turning off lights to go home.
When I was let go, My direct manager told me that one of his minor problems with me was an apparent lack of energy. I always seemed to be dragging ass and I had no enthusiasm. There were no issues with my personality or my technical skills. Everyone really, really liked me, and they were sorry to have to let me go, but they had no choice. He told me a couple of things I I might want to look at with my next job were punctuality and energy/enthusiasm level… and please don’t come back in here and kill us all later.
I’m extremely grateful that he told me that, and a few months later I called him and told him just that.
I took his advise to heart and did some deep soul searching looking at my life and my work habits. Looking back, I have known that I suffered from depression for years, but I had always just stiff-armed it and ignored it. Looking back, I could see where my depression had been steadily getting worse for a number of years. I had always encouraged others to seek appropriate help for whatever mental illness issues they might be facing, but I felt that for me to do so would be a cop out.
Well, things finally got so bad that I had no choice but to do something or die. I considered driving into a bridge support at 120 mph. But I don’t think my truck would do 120mph and with my luck I’d just end up too crippled to play music instead of dead. So I went to the VA Mental Health Clinic and told them that I was having some problems and asked for help.
Think whatever you want about the VA, but those people treated me right.
I ended up with a great psychiatrist who has no problems explaining things as well as asking questions and working with me to help me to find solutions to my problems.
I have experienced some decent highs this year along with some definite painful soul crushing lows. During the late summer/early fall I had about a week long period there where I had this suicidal compulsion come over me that I didn’t think I was going to make it through, but I did.
I have worked really hard on taking care of myself and being compliant with my psychiatrists directions and meds. As a result, I am actually starting to see some improvement in my life. Someone really smart and famous once said that it is only through pain that we grow. That guy was an asshole. However, I have had a lot of damned growth opportunities this past year.
It is the end of 2009 and I am still unemployed. Earlier in the year I was fortunate enough to be able to write Casey Driesson’s bio for his newest release OOG. It sucked. My bio that is, not Casey’s record. I liked Casey’s record, just not my bio. I just went and checked his website (http://www.casetdreisson.com) and I can’t seem to find that bio on there anywhere. I understand, and I’m grateful. Still, I wrote one and I actually got paid for writing one, even though I shouldn’t have. My writing absolutely sucked and I feel like I stole his money.
One of the things I found out about depression was that it left me unable to write at all. I was unable to work, or to even look for work. Some days I found that I was even unable to move my big ass off the couch.
Things are better today, HEY LOOK! I’M ACTUALLY WRITING AGAIN!!
Like I said, things have turned around for me as of late. I am able to write some now. I just did a small Cd review for American Songwriter. I’m actively looking for work and I’m even able to talk to potential employers face to face and on the telephone without sounding like the worlds most hopeless human being. I no longer sit in my truck crying for no reason at all, and I no longer wish to die.. or to kill your sorry ass. I’m still not back up to 100%, where I once was, but I feel like I am making progreas and am definitely headed that way instead of in the opposite direction. I got some hope back in my life today. Severe Clinical Depression ain’t no joke y’all. If you need it, get some help. It really has saved my life…and maybe yours.
As for my 2009 Musical wrapup:
– I got to meet the legendary Joe South and not only did I get to meet him, but I find out an article I wrote about him is on the front page of his website.
– The Drive By Truckers release The Fine Print was a G-R-E-A-T album. George Jones Talking Cell Phone Blues is a perfect song. I’m so damned glad that Jon Neff is back in the band. His playing was one of the things that caused me to fall in love with these hairy bastards more than 11 years ago.
– I got to meet Spooner Oldham and hang out with him for a bit. Great guy
– I got to make a record with my old buddy (emphasis on the word OLD) Donnie Winters
– My wife let me out of the house (actually kicked me out of the house) to go play music and she didn’t kill me in my sleep like she has threatened to several times..
Music really gave me a lot of comfort this year, both listening to music as well as playing it. I’ll get into the playing part in another post here in a few, I got some stuff to share with you.
As far as listening goes, Old standbys such as Jimmy Martin , Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ralph Stanley, John Doyle, Muddy Waters, The Steeldrivers , all got listened to a lot. There should be a law that says that everyone is required to listen to Jimmy Martin, Muddy Waters, Ralph Stanley, and Lightning Hopkins on a weekly basis.
I was asked by a couple of different publications to send in my Best of 2009 list, but none of them were willing to pay me to do so, so I didn’t get real excited about it. I don’t really like ranking music. On one day, I might be in a huge JJ Cale mood (actually most days), the next day I might be thinking fondly of Barbara “Babs” Lamb and in the mood to listen to her.
So here are the 2009 releases that all spent the most time in my mp3 player….
(on a side note, concerning mp3’s, Mp3’s really suck for sound quality, and unfortunately my old piece of shit truck doesn’t have a CD player so I get to listen to Mp3’s, Satellite radio, or Terrestial Jesus Radio. Please, please, please don’t illegally download these people’s music. I personally know most of them and they ain’t making shit. If you absolutely have to illegally download their music, you should hit yourself as hard as you can in the dick with a ball-peen hammer, then listen to your shitty mp3’s before deciding that the record is awesome (and if it wasn’t awesome, I wouldn’t be telling you about it dumbass) and then once you can walk again, you should go buy the disc from the artist at one of their shows. Buy a T-shirt as well you cheap theiving bastard. SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC.)
BigDumbHick Best of 2009: (in no particular order)
The Drive-By Truckers – The Fine Print
Gurf Morlix – Last Exit To Happyland ,
Guy Clark – Somedays The Song Writes You ,
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit-Seven Mile Island ,
JJ Cale-Roll On , (I love me some JJ Cale)
Kris Kristofferson – Closer To The Bone ,
Levon Helm – Electric Dirt ,
Loudon Wainwright III – High, Wide and Handsome,
Miranda Lambert – Revolution (Nice Fred Eaglesmith cover on here)
Peter Cooper – Mission Door, (This might be a 2008 release, but I spent a lot of 2009 listening to it)
Radney Foster – Revival,
Scott Miller-For Crying Out Loud,
Son Volt – American Central Dust,
Bottle Rockets – Lean Forward, (one of the best LIVE bands in America)
Barbara Lamb – Twisty Girl ,
Robert Earl Keen – The Rose Hotel ,
Tanya Tucker-My Turn ,
The Black Crowes – Before the Frost…Until the Freeze
There you have it. Thanks for the support people. Take care of yourself and each other.