The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED ONE: L.O.S.
Here’s a question I want you to think about for a minute before you continue reading.
How would you feel being alone on a planet about 34 million miles away from Earth?
Thought about it?
It’s pretty overwhelming to put into words.
Of course, this is the premise of the 2011 book and the 2015 movie, The Martian starring Matt Damon. The book was written by Andy Weir. And the movie was directed by Ridley Scott.
I really love both versions. The movie is pretty close to the book other than being shorter, of course.
For those that haven’t seen it (and shame on you), it’s about an astronaut they are left for dead on Mars but isn’t dead and has to ‘science the shit’ out of his situation to stay alive until he can be rescued. That’s the very, very short summary. The other astronauts had to leave or they would have ruined their chances to escape a storm. Mark Watney (Damon) was hit by a piece of debris and sent flying into the dust of the storm. His radio was knocked out and they thought he was dead.
So, there you are. Alive (and stabbed with a piece of debris) but alone millions of miles away from home.
Now to ruin the movie if you haven’t seen it: he gets saved. He lives on Mars, becomes a space farmer and a space pirate, for about 560 Sols (days).
The first few days (Sols) after being left, he’s nursing himself, seeing what he has to survive with…and thinks. Imagine the weight you would feel with that reality.
This is what I want to talk about.
L.O.S. is a NASA abbreviation for Loss of Signal. This is what Mark Watney is dealing with at this moment. An L.O.S. with home and his crew and an L.O.S. with what to do.
People on Earth, in the real world, can have their own version of L.O.S. It’s a loss of signal with other people.
Most of the time, the L.O.S. is started by the person themselves, and not by family or friends. It’s a total shut down of being social. They put themselves on their own ‘planet’ and the radios don’t work. They become dependent on themselves and dependent on no one else. They ask for no help and they talk to no one.
This is extreme social anxiety.
I am someone that has this but not to the described degree. But I do have it. I have trouble going out socially unless it’s with a certain few that I have got to know over a long period of time. Even then, if I’m feeling the least amount of stress, I have been known to bow out of commitments. I might invent some or ‘discover’ other things I need to do at that time. It’s not that I don’t want to go ‘hang out’. Trust me, I really do. There is a part of me that craves it like the crave of wanting cold water after working hard in the sun. But I start watching the clock and the countdown begins. I start to think of other things I could do. I think about what horrible things might happen when I’m out. I think about how the cats and the dog will miss me. Sometimes I can push all of that down and go out. Other times, that monster gets a hold of me and I start texting out excuses.
Then I lie on the couch and do nothing at all but stare at the TV.
Loss of signal.
I’m better than I was. I can make my way to the car and head toward whatever destination we’re meeting at and after a bit, I can have a good time. By the end of it, I look back and remember how much it was worth it.
The signal gets through.
Then there are those times when I shut the radio off and I sit there in my own mental turmoil.
I’m not sure when it happened. I was not like that when I was younger. I was more than ready to get out and be with other people. I stayed out late, got home and slept for a while and was ready to do it all over again. I didn’t party, I just wanted to be around friends and do things. It could be going to the Mall and just walk around (that used to be a thing, kids) or go to somebody’s house and watch movies and be silly.
Now, sitting at home doing absolutely nothing seems….safer.
When did I get that loss of signal, I don’t know. It could be one thing or a bunch of little things that turned off that radio in my head.
We all experience it to different degrees. Some it’s just an every once in a while thing. That can be good. It gives you a chance to recharge if you’re going out too much. Then other people can have it a lot worse. They never go out. Their radio is broken and smashed beyond repair. Think Howard Hughes.
I fluctuate somewhere in between.
I have some very social friends they do things all of the time. I envy them. They are able to shake off any social anxiety (if they have any at all) and go out into the world to see what there is to see. That is how you live. That is how you become one with society.
Like I said, I’m working on it. I try and push myself out there. I will succeed. And I will fail. The radio will have its switch flipped on and off depending on my mood.
I just ask to those that need to hear this, don’t stop putting out the signal. I will hear it when I need to. Maybe I’ll keep the radio on more than not and see what this life has to offer.
I’ll work on turning the L.O.S. into S.A. (signal acquired).
Testing, testing…one, two, three, four….
March 9th, 2018
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.