I laid down four hours ago to write this post and I ended up writing nothing.
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This is happening a lot lately.
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I know what to write about and I know, in some cases, exactly what I'm going to say but I end up doing nothing. Is there a word for losing the ability to do anything except stare aimlessly at the internet or TV?

Sorry to disappoint the, like, fifty readers I have after doing this daily for a decade.

96 thoughts on “FAILURE TO LAUNCH”

  • virginia penley says:

    It is a common symptom of depression. I know you regularly exercise, if I am wrong, do that again, ongoing.

    Find a way to do comedy again, or start to watch old Abbot and Costello shorts. Laugh more.

    Get laid, a lot more.

  • Yes. It's called crippling depression.

    It happens to all of us at one point or another. Take the day off and let it envelop you until you get sick of it and muster up whatever reserves you can to roll yourself off the couch to face the day.

    Maybe pick up some Camus and dabble in absurdism. It worked for me.

  • The precise medical term for it is "middle age"

    Sorry, Ed – it comes for us all. Most days, my wit is about as sharp and as heavy as a bowling ball.

  • It's called (crippling) depression. I have no advice on how to get over it. For some people, it passes on its own. In my case, I needed professional help. The only thing I can say is that no matter how hard it gets, you have to force yourself to eat at least once a day.

  • It's the wrong time of the year, generally, for easy access to a day's worth of roller coaster rides. However, outside exercise has usually lifted my spirits, while staring at the TV and internet for any length of time has the opposite effect.

  • middle seaman says:

    Do you have enough light at home or may be too much light? Take some restoretive yoga. Before the cold comes take long walks. How about joining a hiking group. Listen to music you like as often as possible.

    Always do something. Wait idly is your enemy.

    Good luck!

  • Everyone runs low on gas now and again; if some days you don't have the energy to hammer out with a blog post after a long day, or many long days, I think that's something anyone reasonable will understand.

  • I think there are actually 75 of us.

    I don't know that you are depressed and you might just be tired. I'm tired all the time but then, I'm probably 20 years older than you. Exercise regularly for sure. Do other things you enjoy doing. Comedy, music, sex, whatever. You have to enjoy your life first, then the other things will come.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder… I have found that I start feeling terrible when the days get shorter, then I get used to it and everything is fine. I will second all the other comments… get out and do something, go take hike along the Appalachian Trail — either literally, or find a woman in South America and go there…


  • I agree with Rosie's Dad: you might just be tired. You just took a long, boring car ride. Do something that makes you happy today, and see if the energy returns.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Poop happens.
    And what everyone above, said.

    Just don't quit writing permanently – if you feel you need a break, slow down.

    Without your blog, and some others, on top of being stuck reading the papers (at the library, since for budgetary reasons buying is not an option) and/or watching the idiotic TV news shows more, 'I'd have no mouth, and I'd still need to scream!'

    Here's the best compliment I can lay on you – you make me laugh!

    When you boil it down to it's essence, politics is absurd.
    And you help me to remember that.

  • I agree with several others here: classic depression symptoms.

    I recommend you avoid national politics for 6 months. Also avoid contact with American college students and their embarrassing inadequacies.

    Fill the gap with gardening, perhaps petunias.

  • Road trips will most definitely sap your will to live. I recommend very loud punk rock. Though that fresh air and exercise thing'd probably help too.

    The "sorry to disappoint" thing sounds to me like depression. Don't worry about your readers– try to take care of yourself.

  • By the way, anyone know what happened to Riley, over at Bats Left, Throws Right? Last post was 7/25. He was heavily into politics, too. The current brand may be lethal.

  • In the interest of fair-minded bi-partisanship, I want to offer the far right diagnosis of your situation:

    You're weak and worthless and nothing you do will ever matter in any way and you're clearly suffering from pro-gay-agenda, but if you'd only embrace Jesus and eliminate the death tax, everything will be magically perfect.

    Have to report both sides of the story, people. Just because *some* of us (49/50) regard Ed's symptoms as depressive, doesn't mean those people are correct. The story is always the controversy.

  • anotherbozo, Riley passed on to whatever awaits after death.

    Ed, many more than 50. add some zeros and you will be closer to the number. Do whatever you have done before to get out of a funk. If that doesn't work, try something else.
    Cheers. I hope you feel better soon.

  • First, do some volunteer work with people less fortunate than you.
    Second, count your blessings that you have it so well.
    Third, figure out how to make it better. You're very talented – maybe fiction writing?

    If that doesn't work, see a doctor and get some prozac and try it again.

    Get well soon.

  • Hey, these comments are good! You guys are an arguable consolation prize. RosiesDad is wise, Dryden is funny… or is it the other way around…

    Another option: read Richard Rodriguez' "Darling," just out. With writers like that still at work, there is hope for us as a species.

  • virginia penley says:

    first, this. I thought everyone knew.

    there are way more than 75 of us, and we'll wait.

    Prozac makes me sick as a dog, it does not mix with alcohol at all well, and going cold turkey on the alcohol is the first step anyhow. everyone finds there own way, pills were not mine, at least not that kind, but if you can, see a shrink and see what works for you.

  • Hi, everyone. Ed's post galvanized me into coming forward — I've been lurking here for ages. That and the fact that I'm a furloughed Fed, so I can actually read and post the same morning as y'all! Ed, like the others here, I can definitely recommend exercise, restorative yoga, playing music, reading trash historical mystery novels, and when all else fails, Ben and Jerry's. And yes, the light is very important. Get better soon, Ed, your site is therapeutic for me! I've sent your treatise on libertarians to numerous acquaintances (always properly attributed, of course).

  • I'll concur with the others, sounds like depression, time perhaps to read some Douglas Adams? Hope you escape "
    "Can'tgveashitistan" soon, and try to forget Joplin.

  • I recognize it also as depression, could be SAD, could be worse…if it lasts much longer, hie thee to a doctor! You'll be very very glad you did.

  • Lying down to write–there's your problem. I think a couple of years before I hit 30 I became some version of narcoleptic where any time I lie down, I fall asleep more or less instantly. Try sitting up maybe? And you can always check in with your doctor for a physical and general work-up. THANKS OBAMA.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    You could come over and wash up those dishes I've been meaning to do since August. Simple therapy is good.

  • I agree with whomever wrote "sorry to disappoint" sounds like a classic depression symptom. I started reading this blog (and facebook updates) about a year ago, and while I can't always tell if Ed is taking the piss on some of his posts, or if he's serious.

    Ed- I can't tell you to go see a doctor or therapist about your feelings, but I wish someone that was your friend would force you to go- as in sitting by you as you made the appointment, and driving you there. I was lucky enough to have a friend who literally forced me to get help, and it really did get better. Yes, like can really suck. Watch hockey. Go to a bar and watch hockey with other people. Go to a minor league hockey game in Peoria and come back and rant about how fans at these games don't know anything about hockey. You'll get something to focus your annoyance and anger at that isn't life or politics.

    Also, get a pet. Dogs are always happy to see you, to the point of obnoxiousness. Go to a shelter to get one. They will be so grateful (if dogs can feel that emotion) that you got them out of the shelter that they will follow you around no matter what.

  • 51!

    (Sorry, but somebody had to do it…)

    Also, too, apathy cure: fresh home-made from scratch cranberry-orange-pecan muffins and a strong, black coffee. Gerrunteeeed!

  • Ed – get your ass back up to Madison. My roommate (who occasionally posts here as Jude) and I are both regular readers and we'll gladly offer you a couch and at least a weekend's worth of company and hopefully more stimulating conversation than you're apparently getting in Peoria. Also beer, because Madison.

    And we're both serious about that. My email's attached to this comment (or so your website tells me); use it.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    My second post overlapped with Khaled's, and I can verify that "go to a bar and watch hockey" is better therapy than just watching it. Of course I live next door to a bar and maybe beer is not the best antidepressant, but it many of the patrons are depressingly ignorant of Our Game, but it definitely helped me.

  • Clocking in at #52! Yes, all the above, but look for a counselor who is qualified to lay down the CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). It's not insight-oriented work, it's short-term, goal-oriented, and logic-based — and it relieves symptoms quickly.

    After you catch your breath you can tell Herr Doktor about your childhood if you want, but depression is TREATABLE. If you decide not to get treatment, you are surrendering a degree of moral high ground over the antivaxxers. Don't let them win.

    Also, read Achewood by Chris Onstad, who hates many of the same things you do. He kind of lost it after 2010, but here are a few that seem pertinent:

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    While I am at it, Ed , obviously everybody wants you to stay on the internet enough to satisfy our addiction to GT… but if you have not come across it, give DowgoesBrown a read. Best and funniest hockey blog ever, the Secret Transcripts of Disciplinary Hearings and accounts of Gary Bettman's inevitably disastrous parties would cheer up Job.

    Positively my last shift this period, promise.

  • If you start posting pictures of Cats and of yourself gnawing on ribs, like John Cole, then I'm outta here. And I only just arrived. I don't need daily posts, once a week is fine. That is still far more than the slug Cole puts out these days. He's farmed it all out.

  • Could be worse*, Ed. Could be raining. Can you still drink beer? That's usually a good therapy, if someone to talk to isn't handy. Or, the medicinal fermented poison of your choice. Just don't overdo it, and remember to drink a lot of water before sliding to the floor, unless you like crippling hangovers. Also, too, I've been feeling a bit SAD over the past week, just like every year about this time; I just figured there was some bear in my family tree, the way I get hibernation cravings every year. Maybe you have some, too. Either way, once the good cold weather gets here, it usually passes. Otherwise, I generally work my way out of it by blowing up aliens in XCom (the magnificent reboot) or by MERCing my way through Arulco in JA2 (v.1.13). A good day wasted in front of the computer gets it out of my system enough to get things done. Whatever you do, I bet this passes, and hopefully sooner rather than later. I just wish we weren't struggling with the Raging Toddler Party to get even a half-assed government to work.

    *The man said "Cheer up, things could be worse!", so I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.

  • Even White People get the Blues – paraphrase of Rufus Thomas

    For all y'all amateur psychs n' shrinks…He ain't medically depressed, he got the blues. Normal human situational stuff.

    Come back in a month and he's still acting/feeling that way, then maybe Mr. Ed would need to see the Doc.

    Ed, you're a player…get on them skins and beat out few songs in 6/8


  • Ennui? Weltschmerz? Seasonal Affective Disorder? Fatigue from a long trip?
    All, or none of the above?
    You are not suffering from a deep depression I believe.
    You simply need time off from Blogging for a while.
    I am a lot older than you, and this is how I tackled my own weariness: I stopped writing my diary/blog. stopped going online, stopped Kindle-reading, and rested up. It's healing, restoring, energy-saving. Nobody will desert your blog if you do. You are too damn good. I'm new here. I know you'll return when you're good and ready. Read a regular book. it helps. I should know.

  • Seasonal affective disorder, middle age, lack of outdoor exercise, general feelings of futility…yep, creeping depression seems a reasonable diagnosis.

    A dog is better than zoloft and ice cream, in my own experience. Nothing gets your mind out of your own sorry ass better than some wet-nosed, earnest chunk of fur gently nagging you that a walk would be nice, also food, you don't happen to have a chew bone around by any chance, and how about that tennis ball, hey? Also, a good foot warmer when you're working at the computer. Dogs are 'way more aggravating and total slobs than cats, which is a large part of their appeal, IMHO.

  • I've only felt this was for 30 years, so statements of "It passes" and "If it lasts more than a few weeks" are quite amusing to me.

    I work out constantly, I regularly eat ice cream and drink booze, I take many doctor-prescribed things, and I try to Get Out and Do Things to the greatest extent allowed by living in a place where there is absolutely nothing to do. As my friends like hundreds of miles away and everyone in this city walks around with a hollow stare indicating that they are seriously contemplating killing themselves, I doubt my appearance or behavior strike anyone I encounter in daily life as unusual or inappropriate.

  • There is definitely a word for this condition. I would try to think of it for you but I can't be bothered to turn off Cat Detectives. Sorry.

    Hope you feel better, dude. Or at least more productively bummed out.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    Ed, you are a piker. As my username shows, I have felt like this for 46 years and counting, so offer mere palliatives but hope they palliate.

    I know I said I would not post again but I lied.

    Visit Canada. Just cross the border and go anywhere.

  • Don't worry. I equally spend 2+ hours writing up a long comment, delete it all, and fill it with a smiley. You'll get the meaning of my well-thought-out discussion and point by a smiley, won't you?


  • Turning from major clinical depression to small town angst and ennui for a moment, I've found that the best way to make incredible friends and find a really diverting local interest is to determine to move away.

    The 12 month countdown to relocation triggers this process so that you can be miserable in your new town AND miss people in a place you used to hate. Albuquerque, Phoenix, San Jose — I'm looking at you.

  • Yeah. I got nothing. I guess you know it's depression and you likely by now have figured out all the potential treatments for the affliction.

    Hey, wait–I DO have something. I am not going to be all "oh, if you feel bad and don't want to post I understand." Fuck that shit! We depend on you, goddamn it. Because we feel like shit, too. We just lay down and turn on the boob toob and watch the images bounce around hoping it might help and it doesn't and we turn over on our other side and wish things were different and then we remember aha! There's Ed out there! Ed will have something fun to say–Ed will make us laugh or even tear another lump of hair out of our heads. But if there's no Ed…well, what is the point of even fucking getting up? Goddamn it. Your posts are balm for a wounded soul.

    And, even though Ladiesbane hates Albq., I can tell you that this time of year is so beautiful it makes your heart hurt. Just going outside and basking in the warmth of the sun under the deep blue sky….aaaaahhhh. So Ed, if you wanna visit, let me know. You got my e-mail. Shit…I need someone to hang at my house and watch the cats while I am out of town at trial for a couple of weeks at the beginning of November. You interested?

  • You have a 30 year history of depression by your word. Obviously that's not the Blues. So sorry, but that is a piece of data, if shared by you before, was not received.

    Everyone gets the Blues, obviously you have a greater problem.. I hope and pray for your improvement.


  • guttedleafsfan says:

    No, Ed, do not let him pressure you, you just take a rest and we will all carry on the blog until you feel up to returning. Don't worry about a thing. I know my cogent analysis of the chances of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles winning the QJMHL championship will fascinate everybody.

  • Hey, ABQ has many moments of great beauty, and the smell of green chiles roasting is my favorite airborne narcotic. I got my fill of flat, dirty towns in Arizona, as well a lack of good jobs and mass transit. Too much heartbreaking poverty and wealth disparity for me, thanks. I'm glad to be back in the cool green hills of Portland, where the sun doesn't hurt me and there are no arid winds. Mothra, if you're ever in town, I'll buy you a drink and we can sing the praises of the snowcapped Sandias. But I'd rather miss the Burque than live there.

  • There's always the chance that Ed is rantless because of Armageddon-on-the-Potomac, the Tea Party Orgasm, the Kamikaze Kool-aid Jamboree that defies all scorn and mocks mockery. Maybe that's the elephant in the room, that's caused even Jon Stewart to commit unfunny rants recently. Causing even a 30-year depressive to clam up, maybe.

    God, I know it would me. What, for Chrissake, is there to say any more?

  • Exercise. Healthy foods. Healthy regular bowel movements. Talking about shit that matters face to face with old friends. Responsibilities for the happiness and well being of other people in the personal sense, not the abstract. Scrub your own corner of the world and be an outside observer of the rest until the depression lessens.

    Oh, orgasms are good too.

  • I'm no armchair psychiatrist, so I can't speak to your problem, Ed, but if you really want to get depressed then continue to watch the tele. I junked mine about twenty or so years ago and even though I live in the six months dark Northwest, I get through it with a smile.

  • I wish armchair clinicians would stop assuming that every passing moment of inability to be a performing blogger meant that Ed suffered from depression. Sometimes it's just about not putting pressure on yourself by setting deadlines. Take a couple of days, do something else – and if you feel like blogging, blog away and don't sweat the details or the perfect intellect rigour. You can edit your first draft before you post it.

    Either way, please don't take the screams of "He must be depressed! He must be depressed!" too seriously.

    Relax, unzip, set your heels and let your golden inspiration flow. If it doesn't want to, zip up, leave the facility and drink a cup of damn fine coffee.

  • If it makes you feel better, I really look forward to reading your blog every day. The combination of sardonic humour and insightful observations make it one of my favourites. If your readership is low, that's because most people are idiots.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    As a part of the readership who is proudly low, both in class and standards, I strongly resent the implication that I am also like most people.

    Where is NL anyway?

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    bozo, no I am not either. It is not my fault I cannot edit text here. Well, maybe it is but I do not know about it. "Where in NL anyway… and what about them Icecaps eh".


  • guttedleafsfan says:

    Ed, somebody not joking said move to LA but do not do it. My cousin flew over LA on her way to Edmonton and it was all smoggy and nasty.
    If you consider moving, follow the advice of your parents like I did and move where they do not have to support you so heavily.

  • You may be rantstipated. The air lately is unusually full of highly processed, artificially flavored and non-nutritive political posturing; even moderate attention to this kind of junk can lead to debilitating blockages.

    When it happens to me I absent myself from the source: turn off the machines and go as far away from them as you can reasonably get, both physically and psychologically. I've had success with a stack of books in a forest, LSD on a small and quiet island, and pretending it's still 1979 on my record player, really loud.

  • Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Hey, add one more. Or maybe I'm a net negative, I dunno.

    If it's any help this just came out on Steam. Time to let the inner utopian political junkie out.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    Intelligent loving partners are not much help to the depressed, as our 0utreaches to Ed show.

    But they can't hurt all that much either… can they?

  • Ed:

    You and Mrs. Dr. Ed need to get out of town on a regular basis. Go to Chicago, go to St. Louis, get out of Peoria. Museums, comedy clubs, whatever floats your boat.
    And find someone—a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, yogi–who can help you unwind and take the load off your shoulders.
    Make time to Skype or FaceTime with your distant friends and make time to meet them at fun events, even if it only a couple of times a year. Rock Festivals, Jazzfest, a tour of a city's comedy clubs, whatever.

    Take care of yourself. There is a small army of devoted readers out here who enjoy your contribution to our days and who want to see you well and feeling good about yourself.

  • it's called depression and considering what a small group of Americans are doing to their own in this country, re: shutdown, I can't admit to feeling all that much better.

  • Hey Ed,

    We feel you. And will wait patiently (for a little while) until you continue providing thoroughly maddening and hilarious content for free. You're welcome ;-)

    All the best (really),

  • It sounds like exhaustion. Travel is surprisingly exhausting and people frequently underestimate what it takes just to wake up in a strange bed in a strange place, find one's clothes draped on strange furniture and so on. Sheer excitement and sense of purpose can keep you going, but it can take a week or more to recover, even from a short trip to a familiar place.

    It doesn't sound like depression. I have had my share of depression and it is much more totally overwhelming. You wouldn't even be considering writing. The fact that you got this message out suggests it is exhaustion.

  • To second what guttedleafsfan said, read Down Goes Brown. A couple of those posts almost made me pee myself laughing. Be sure to watch the YouTube video of some drunken Flyer fan jump into the penalty box and try to "fight" Tie Domi (I think it was Tie Domi, I could be wrong). And yes, go to Canada on vacation- Toronto is cool, Vancouver is less pretentious than Portland or Seattle, but still has a great vibe to it. Lots and lots of loud bars on Granville.
    Oh, and if you go to the outdoor game in March between the Blackhawks and Penguins, I hope to be there throwing snowballs (pray for snow!) at the Blackhawk fans.

  • I live in Canada and read your site regularly to keep up on US perspectives. You have many more readers than you think, I'm sure. Look after yourself – just let us know what you're contemplating later this week – perhaps by Friday if the credit deadline has (or hasn't?) been breached. Certainly look forward to your thoughts.

  • I like your work, Ed, and your blog is the only one, since the great google reader massacre, that I visit every day.
    You're not obligated to do anything for anybody, though. You don't even have to be happy or productive.
    Just rock on.

  • guttedleafsfan says:

    "Jean Maurice O'Higgins skated to the faceoff circle, still dazed from his encounter with his landlady's sister, Tamara, while around him his teammates began to scream and their hated archrivals the Victoriaville |Tigers attempted to growl…."

    …What? Maybe Ed has trouble getting to sleep.Just trying to help out here.

  • Ah, to name the game means perharps a cure? batshit. Depression, they say. Or Maybe it is the upcoming of wisdom? Life is quite void, dear Ed, please don't pay attention to all the previous siren comments about the need to be well. batshit from those who can't help themselves to be in the deep hollow. Nothing here to go for, nothing here to battle for, life is essentially void. Zen words, huh? Yep. And there is a diamond beauty to that state, a very very lofty beauty, after crossing the gap. Who are you? Is the "Ed as you know" crumbling? Then you will be close to who you really are. Is the place you are now particularly boring? It only takes away from you all kinds of distractions, like being in a city sized monastery. Welcome to the opportunity of just being, with all the sore, and take your time, even if we, as adults, need to face our Ed-abstinence-syndrome. (a rock star always comes back!)
    Don't cheer; its an artificial effort. Just flow, because this is you. Wanna read more?

  • Well, I was going to suggest a new rat, but someone beat me to it.

    For what it's worth, we all have what I call "meltdown days". Face it, we're living in a world that's rapidly turning into some sort of globally-warmed post-apocolyptic Randian corporatist dystopia (not to be melodramatic or anything), and there's nothing we can do about it. How's that for depressing? Some days it just all gets to you, ya know?

    Stop blaming yourself. Take some time off. We'll be here when you feel lie ranting again. It's not like we have anywhere better to be either.

  • "You need an intelligent, loving partner who gets you at a deep and personal level. Time for a new rat." courtesy of E* had me laughing out loud!

    Have enjoyed and shared your blog name with all my family. From TX orig. and have recently moved back – DFW…. Gin and Tacos are my kind of thing.

    I enjoy your posts and always look forward to the new ones. I 'liked' you on FB so I get your droll comments as you make them – again, looking forward to each of them because they make such a nice backdrop to all the tea party, christian, happier than a pig in $**t comments from my other FB 'friends'. That small dose of reality helps!

    Ever in the area – let me know – I'll take you for a G&T and a taco!

  • Maybe ALL CAPS ED could cheer you up.

    I'm sorry you feel badly and I can relate. More rants will come when the time is right.

  • Mingent Whizmaster says:

    Wrote 3 or 4 comments in this thread but didn't post–others have said all I tried to say. Your blog has gradually worked its way to the top of my 'favorites' list & I just wanted to stick my head in the door & give an encouraging wave. Nobody these days needs to explain why they feel bad. It is those inexplicable cheerful people who need to account for themselves.

  • Question: Is there a word?
    Answer: Anhedonia

    I know the meaning of this word because it was the working title for "Annie Hall."

  • Clearly it was the dearth of Juggalo and Insane Clown Posse references.

    I'm back to remedy this… And with Ted Cruz, Steve King, Dr. Paul Brown and other Tea Partiers in the news… I'll have more chances than I can take advantage of, frankly.

  • Yes. It is called worn out and there aren't enough meds in the cupboard to overcome the inertia today. Keep napping and hope you feel better tomorrow.

Comments are closed.