Winter Dispatch from the Bunker

It’s hard to give up on life and the possibility of human connection when people keep trying to help you. I’m humbled by you guys, especially – I have to say it – those of you who contributed money to me through PayPal. I tried to be all self-sufficient and turn down the offers, but in the end I really I needed help.

Portland hasn’t exactly opened its watery, mossy arms to me. I can’t find enough work here to pay the rent. I can’t even get a job interview. I don’t know if there are too many people moving here or what, but it seems like jobs and wages aren’t keeping up with the rents.

All this time on my hands, flat-broke and a stranger to this city. A new shrink re-diagnosed me with recurrent major depression – my old pal the brutal fog hasn’t really lifted in three years. She said that suicidal ideations are an indication that it’s been going on for a long time, and is nearing its logical conclusion.

So I’ve got a toolbox full of psych meds.

I needed something to pin my meager hopes on, something besides the prospect of another shitty, low-paying job that would merely get me by.

So I’ve spent the past couple of months pulling myself up through the fog by applying to Ph.D. programs in writing for next fall. I had a lot of time to think about the times when I felt most awake, most alive, and they’ve always been in academia. I like the life of the mind, and I think I could make a good professor.

AgnesEllaIn the meantime, though, I’m almost out of money. I’ve decided to leave Portland and accept my sister’s offer to live with her family in Boston, at least until I know if I’ve been accepted by any school.

Melanie is officially a step-sister, my mother’s partner’s daughter, but we’ve always been close and have grown closer over the past couple of years. I got to spend time with my niece during a recent visit. Agnes flew with me. It’s sweet having a tiny dog sometimes.

I think I’ll be a little happier with some family around me. I leave in a couple of weeks, and I think I have enough money to get me across the country in time for the New Year. Me and Agnes – road trip!

13 thoughts on “Winter Dispatch from the Bunker”

  1. Michael,
    I too struggle with what is at times debilitating, crushing depression. I have absolutely nothing in the “don’t worry, it will all be okay” category to offer, but I do believe that buying yourself time (i.e. staying with your sister) is a great idea. You need room to just focus on getting well, not also worrying about paying rent.

    I have thought of you recently and hoped you were still keeping your head above water. I hope Boston treats you better than Portland did, and I hope you will still, occasionally, let us all know how you are.

    Peace.

  2. Hello,
    I was so happy to see a new post from you. I think of you often old friend. I hope this move to the east coast will relieve some of your burdens and give you a chance to focus on yourself.

    I think you will make an amazing educator. I wish you safe travels and positive vibes for the new step in your life. Take care and I look forward to hearing how it is going for you. ❤️

  3. Maintain your authenticity and your move to Boston will be fulfilling. You should also check out Fenway Community Health Center–where nearly all the staff and doctors are gay–for physical and behavioral health needs. I live along the NH border if you ever want to meet.

    1. Hey thanks David for the recommendation – I will check it out since I definitely will need new docs.

  4. Michael:
    As someone who feels like he’s ‘known’ you from the earliest days of dogpoet, I feel like you’ve given me the happiest holiday gift ever.

    The sadness and depression are so understandable, and I’m so glad you’re getting help. But the notion of being with family is what really gives me comfort.

    I know there are so many of us who have cyber-known you and who care for you.

    And I hope that the next few weeks/months provide you with, to use a timely phrase, comfort and joy.

    Please let us know how you are from time-to-time, if not more frequently.

    All my best.

  5. Bon voyage, Mike. Boston, while still some distance, is a lot closer than Portland & I hope you know you’d be welcome here in Catskill any time. Glad to know you continue to be around people who truly care for you (as do we) & I hope the job situation, the educational opportunities, and your own health & well-being continue to improve. We’re pullin’ for ya, bud.

  6. Here’s to the future Dr. Michael McAllister! And if you should end up back at Columbia, I look forward to catching up with you over some shabu shabu at Swish.

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