Camen Design Forum

An Update From Clint

Kroc

http://clintfranklinblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/loose-ends.html

I have known Clint for ten years and tried what I can to encourage him in what limited manner allowed his Internet connection and my own reservedness to pry into the private lives of others.

But this is too much for my abilities, too much for my words also. I don’t think he is open to listening to what I would say.

I have no words.

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Replies

#1. Codehead

It's a very worrying thing. I've sent you a PM over at GPWiki, not sure if you're still visiting.

#2. Johann

Might he be willing to talk to a total stranger? i.e., me? Look at it this way, I'm neither friend nor family, he can't hurt me. And I'd be up for it.. I'm more intimidated by ignoring someone who clearly needs love, than by whatever is torturing him. Other than than I feel completely helpless, but yeah... if there is any way I can help, I would want to. You or anyone can mail me at [anything] [at] johann-lau.de. Take care :/

#3. Johann

from a friend of mine:

Many times when someone has fallen into a low level of functioning, it can be all downhill from there. Spiraling downward the traits of these lower levels can keep someone from getting back on their feet, and they begin to believe that they cannot. They pick up personality disorders that become worse with each level they sink to in their personality profile. Most often, when someone comes into this state of mind, they need medication to clear their thinking and bring their emotions back to a point that they can even begin to work with a councelor or even themselves. I will pray for this person, definately, ... but the ticket would be to get his mom to get him to a doctor and on some medication.

#4. theraje

I'll say this one last time:

For your sake and mine... stay out of my way.

#5. Johann

Sir, with all due respect, you don't see clearly... and you are smart enough to know this can happen to others? It can also happen to you.

You *are* in people's lives, as you should be. You can try to ignore this fact, but you cannot undo that. You cannot give yourself up without hurting those that love you. And you don't need to, although it seems that way to you right now. Someone in my school killed himself when he was 17, because he failed his drivers license test. Stabbed himself in the heart, no kidding. Are you telling me that's a choice I need to respect? No, that's a pointless fucking tragedy I could not prevent because I only learned of it when it was too late. For your sake and mine I wish I really could throw myself in your way.

The world needs people who actually care. As a generall rule -- if you think you're a burden, you're not. You're needed, and you're loved. While good people are depressed, people who think the world is their carpet run amok... so for my own sake, I speak up. And I wish you'd re-read all those letters people sent you and see if you can't find some truth in them after all? Yes, we don't know you. But believe it or not, you're not the first human to hate himself. In that way, we do. I often wished to never have been born. I'm not saying I walked in your shoes, but I know self-loathing. And I know it's a lie, a filter that distorts the world and what we see in the mirror.

I wish you all the best. If that pisses you off, be pissed off at me, I can take it :) But if you think you can just tell people to not love you, "just" because you you're mistaken. It just doesn't work that way. 2 + 2 equals 4, and not even suicide makes it 5. To be perfectly blunt, as someone who has been in similarly murky waters.

If your objective is to make people let go of you, I'll have to say, that doesn't even work on me, a random stranger. It won't work on your family, either. You mentioned your mum, and how you interpret that she's avoiding eye contact. I don't know you or her, maybe you're right. But maybe she's worried sick and just feels helpless. Maybe she just doesn't know how to handle watching you self-destroy. And fuck it, man, you can't do that to her! You really can't. A big hug for you -- kick me in the nuts if you want, I don't care.

#6. Johann

But if you think you can just tell people to not love you, "just" because you don't love yourself, you're mistaken.

fixed, sorry.

And I put that in quotes because I don't mean to make light of it. I know for YOU that inability to like yourself seems insurmountable, I was there myself, and many people are there. But I also know that in hindsight, that seems like... a fata morgana or something. Like a monster made out of shadows and squinting your eyes.

Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.

Forward!

Walt Kelly, foreword of "The Pogo Papers", 1953

#7. theraje

Sigh.

Are you telling me that's a choice I need to respect?

Respect, no. Accept, yes. Dislike the situation all you want. It won't change anything.

I don't know you. I don't know why you're addressing me... if you're just trying to illicit a response, then fine, you win. I will respond by telling you this:

When I finally blew up and all this mess started, I made the decision to go into "crisis management" mode by pushing people away from the blast site, as it were. Everyone pissed and moaned about how great a friend I was, or how I was their best friend or only real friend, blah blah blah etc.

Then a little over a week later, when I got sick of all the whining and moaning, I decided to write an addendum. How did my friends react to that?

Fanfare was minimal. I think after that, one guy managed to be hardheaded and try to hang on with the "you are my only friend" crap. Another guy even seemed to support the idea of suicide (which I have no current plans for, but I appreciate the thought none the less).

I did go back over the correspondence from after the original blog article. All it revealed to me was how little people think of me. The last thing I wanted from anyone was pity, but they all threw me a pity party anyway. It's rather pathetic -- I'm an adult now, people. I'm a big boy and I can make my own decisions, however stupid or undesirable you may think they are.

I guess maybe they believed that the right amount of patronization combined with a heaping helping of empty encouragement would make me feel better. That isn't to say that there weren't one or two very good letters to which I was more receptive... but the majority of them just managed to make me angry enough to reiterate my stance short of consulting the Sailors' Dictionary.

The thing that is really pathetic is that somehow everyone thought their relationship with their "friend" was humming along nicely until this happened...

My friends kept things so impersonal that I had no real relationship with them anymore.

In reality, they shunned me in their own way -- long before I shunned them. Maybe things could have been handled better on my part -- I could have just let them open their newspaper and find my name in the obituaries, and left them with no idea of what happened. I really wanted to be an important part of someone's life, but for some reason or another, it never happened.

When I say I want to be an important part of someone's life, I have a rather specific meaning. It's not about what people do for me, or vice versa; rather, it has more to do with being "connected" to someone. Pretty much all the relationships in my life have been one-way streets, in one direction or the other. The relationship I have with my mother is of that nature. The only reason I have no plans of suicide is because doing such a thing would kill her. That's about the extent of our relationship.

Other relationships consist of similar mechanics, where only one side of the equation is ever meaningful.

I wanted to avoid mentioning Kroc so I wouldn't give him the wrong idea, but I really don't see any other way to get my point across to you in a meaningful way. So, here goes...

I love Kroc, but he really doesn't have a clue. Probably my fault -- I didn't make things clear until now... but I don't care about having broadband. This whole "Help a Man Get on Broadband" campaign is something I *never* should have agreed to... but I could literally see the excitement and the glow in his eyes from across the Atlantic when he brought the subject up. I knew in the back of my mind that I didn't really want this kind of complication, but at the same time, Kroc was really enthusiastic, and I thought "what the hell, if it makes him happy in the end, I'll go along with it."

If I had known then what I know now, I would have probably put more thought into the possibilities.

In the end, it was looking to me more and more as though Kroc was digging himself into a hole he couldn't get out of. Why? Because of some bandwidth? Jesus Christ. I don't care that it takes 10 minutes to get a page to load, or that I have to make a half-dozen attempts before I can download a file over 2MB. Not if it means Kroc is going to bring his entire life to a screeching halt and sell stuff that has sentimental value to him for the sake of me having a slightly more convenient method of perusing the Web.

Not only that, but things are so impersonal between us now. I don't know if it's just something I started to notice more, or what. But for a while it has seemed that he's just been withdrawn from me. Our conversations had become a routine four-message non-starting ritual. I would ask him how he was, what he was up to, etc., only for him to say "tired" or "I don't know" or whatever. End of conversation.

I'm not placing blame squarely on Kroc -- surely I have equal accountability -- I just felt as though, in a way, I was losing him. We used to have lengthy, deep, interesting conversation. We grew together, bonded, whatever you want to call it. One was always interested in what the other was planning, and then before you knew it, four hours had passed and that plan had all but become a concrete dream-come-true.

I know things are rough from time to time, and conversation isn't always going to be exhilerating, but it (seemingly) went deeper than that. I perceived Kroc withdrawing from me. Maybe I was wrong, I don't know. But I was really missing that two-way street situation.

It's not just Kroc, though. I use him as a primary example in this post, but he is not the only factor in all this. It also has a lot to do with my inability to focus, and my inability to remain calm when something I am working on doesn't go as planned (i.e. I fuck up and break my work). There are of course other friends with whom I've had "problems" with in some way.

...

Johann, you're good. I was thinking this would be a short conversation, but I think you've provoked me in a way that got some gears turning. Either way, I've rambled enough. I don't bear *anyone* ill will... I just don't know how to deal with problems like these, and after a while, I go off the deep end.

I'm not saying I've changed my mind on anything... but hopefully this is a start toward understanding one another.

#8. Grimmeh

I would have a million questions to ask but that isn’t likely a good start.

Instead, the best thing for you now that I can think of is a distraction. A very good distraction. Broadband sure would help with that! So would moving. Going someplace new just to go someplace new. Maybe a place with lots of broadband! :p Any place with no broadband is probably a place with few people and likely a place for depression to manifest. A big city sure would immerse you in distractions.

Of course, I’m making many assumptions as just a lurker of Kroc’s site. I won’t patronize you and say I’m concerned too much (I hope that’s fair to say to and from a stranger). But I am curious, that I am. My two closest friends are both suffering in some bit of depression, but not quite like yours. I, too, have had my depressions, but mild, comparatively.

#9. Johann

Hey, I very much appreciate you responding. You are right, I don't know you, I don't know Kroc, but if it helped get a conversation going, or help you think aloud, then that's ace :) And you know what, for a while I kinda was hostage of my mother in just that way, too -- I could get myself to ignore anyone's feelings, I was rather secluded as well, but I wouldn't have been able to do that to her. And time offering new perspectives kinda get me away from that ledge... that's I guess partly why I addressed you that directly. Why not. "this is a public website", blah blah :) All the best, peoples.

#10. Impressed

Just for the record, Grimmeh and Johann, I think you are really nice people. Neither of you had to comment and yet you did. That's a measure of consideration for others that isn't common nowadays. Most people on this forum seem really kind and it doesn't go unnoticed.

#11. theraje

Just so you know, I'm doing better now.

I think Johann "provoking" me into talking got the ball rolling... got me thinking about things, and later that night I got some more email, which also helped a lot. So I guess once I started to think -- rather than just blindly continue down my former path -- I couldn't really justify my behavior.

I owe Kroc and his friends a huge apology. I've already been talking to Kroc again, and I hope it's helped... I know it's too much to expect things will mend themselves overnight. But I will work on it.

It's kind of funny, but I was doing well up to the 10th of this month... then in one particularly lousy day, everything went to hell like a rocket-powered knife through a paper-thin sheet of warm butter. Someone mentioned the 9/11 situation, which (possibly) may have triggered something, given that another friend said that I tend to have a major meltdown every other year or so, around this same time.

I'll have to talk to the doctor about my medical situation, to see if anything has changed. This particular tirade was especially bad... so it may be that I need to get checked out.

Anyway... again, I profusely apologize for the scene I caused, and for causing any worry. I'm going to try and just relax for a while and try to sort things out in my stupid head. I'll be around in the meantime.

Thank you for your concern. I'll work on making the proper amends.

#12. Grimmeh

:)

#13. theraje
#14. Kroc

That was wonderful. Supremely well worded. Thank you.

#15. Richard

Truly beautiful Clint. I'm happy you're back. :)

#16. Nicolai

Way to go Clint! :)

#17. Johann

yay!!! that is all I have to say :) :) and that blog post is beautiful indeed.. you do have a way with words :D

#18. theraje

Heh, thank you, you guys :)

Now if I could only manage to get my sleeping arrangements back to (relative) normalcy. I tend to have rather bizarre sleep patterns, but at least I got enough sleep... right now I can't sleep when I need to, and when I finally do go out, I wake up a couple hours later... o_o

Once I get that taken care of, I'll be golden. :)

#19. cthom06

Good to hear you're doing better Clint.

#20. cushman

I've been reading here for a few months and your turn around has inspired me to post. I'm happy that you're coming back. I spent some years (and some time in institutions) with severe depression in my twenties and there are two things I have learned from it. One, I couldn't go through all that pain and not emerge stronger, more compassionate, less self-centered. Two, when that emergence came, it was largely because, as they say in AA, I had smart feet: I did what I was told by people who had been where I was and I didn't listen to the thing that was keeping me in trouble, my own lonely thoughts. Glad you're back.

Your friendly neighbourhood moderators: Kroc, Impressed, Martijn