It is uncomfortably warm in my house. It is early afternoon as I write, and the sun is unforgiving, yet somehow glorious. The sun, when you're as far north as I am, is different than anywhere else I've lived. I can't describe it, but then again, who can?
I wanted to describe what it's like to come out of the darkest depths of depression and get a bit of help, and begin to heal. The short answer is: you know that heavy-duty industrial grade, translucent plastic that comes in big rolls? Yeah, my experience is that I was previously seeing the world through a thick layer of this plastic, and now that I'm taking medication, I am able to see the world a little more clearly.
The real answer is a lot longer. I doubt I can get it all out succinctly and accurately in a sitting, especially when I have to also cross-post this to my blog as well. That can wait, though: I thought of you, first, as has happened so often in my life.
I have always suffered from depression. There are warning signs when I'm getting too depressed to help myself, two of them: I lose interest in sex, and I essentially cease personal hygiene. Ironically, I'm quite a clean guy otherwise, and I do enjoy "going balls-deep," or whatever the kids are calling it these days. What's the definition of "indefinitely?" When you're in up to the nuts, you're "indefinitely."
The first thing I would like to talk about is an over-riding fear I've been experiencing for several years now: that if i took any medication for my "disorder," that I would somehow lose a key component of whoever I really am at the core. I've always been about one-third crazy, prone to bombast and mouthiness, the sort of dude who gets punched in the bar for saying something uncouth about somebody. I've always shouted and laughed loudest and squeezed myself into the exact centre of attention. I've ejaculated myself into sticky situations and have not always come out clean, but I've always come out alive.
Craig Ferguson discussed this fear on his show, with (I think) Robin Williams. He said that, after he'd sobered, he had this crushing fear for a minute that some of the brilliant madness would be lost. But, he also said, he's sure that he's simply gotten madder as he's gotten older. I happen to agree: after I was able to see the opposing shore of relative personal peace, I indeed noticed I'm still loud, still brash and an arrogant bullshitter. I like talking about myself, I'm self-absorbed and occasionally horrible. Mostly, however, I'm still here and happy. I'm sane and I love you and I've survived: I'm still hopelessly romantic. I still know more about Roman history than you do, and I know less than you do about the motorcar.
I am taking three different drugs to combat bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. I take Wellbutrin and Abilify in the morning, and I take Seroquel at night. Never mind the doses, friends: suffice to say that I'm pretty fucking useless after I take the Seroquel at night. It says "do not operate heavy machinery" on the bottle. It should simply state: "do not involve yourself in any tasks more complex than opening a can of tuna."
My woman, Skyla, says that I "go somewhere" when experiencing an episode. She always asks, "where'd you go just now?" Usually I argue and tell her that I am completely here and present, but along with PTSD et al., I used to lie quite a lot, and this was simply me stretching the truth. Where did I go? I don't know. I would simply stare into the abyss, and it would stare back, of course. Part of this was having no creative outlet; for a long time I had no guitar with which to silence that inner demon-thing. The larger part was me sliding into some sort of emotional darkness. Who knows why?
When I was fourteen I got in a fight, and I punched a young gentleman in the head, and broke my right ring finger. It swelled and subsided, and I never went to a doctor. As a result I have one weird knuckle within an otherwise normal (if somewhat effete) set of fingers. The same Fuck It, I Can Handle It mentality has long existed where my mental health is concerned. Your average bipolar guy or gal probably believes they can handle it. I sure did. Only after I sought help, and took some meds did I truly realize that bipolar disorder is a physical fucking ailment, and meds help to combat it.
Here is what happened to me after I began taking medication. The first thing was, I wanted to clean my house. This is two days after beginning to take Seroquel. Even though I was fairly useless at bedtime, the following morning(s) I would be completely willing to tend to the housework and errands and chores. Secondly, I noticed that if I skipped my medication I was prone to crankiness and a general feeling of worthlessness.
Two other things of great import: at some point during my life I began to have this strange voice in the back of my head that would tell me to go home, if I was outside for any more than two or three hours. That voice was squashed resolutely and with great alacrity. Lastly, at thirty-one years old I began to have a truly absurd libido. Dudes: remember 19? Yeah, like that. Maybe even worse.
I hate being an emotional fuck-head. I hate taking the meds. I dislike even the notion of having pill bottles in my home. But, finally, I think I'm able to work. I mean, the bills have gotten bad. Sure, I'm sitting here using my Samsung laptop and my Samsung Galaxy Nexus cell phone, but Jesus, do I need money. If it were any worse, I'd ask the internet for money.
I wanted to tell you about all this because I almost feel as if I'm genetically different. I am not the same person that wrote everything else I've shared with you over the years, but I am grateful you were here. I'm crazier than ever, and I hope I'm prepared for it.