Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm not well. This, I'm sure, wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has known me for any length of time.

Sure, I have periods -- sometimes long periods, sometimes short -- when I *am* well. When my mood is just fine, when I seem able to at least function in the world, when life seems to be more than just a chore.

But, inevitably, those periods are temporary. Eventually I find myself falling down into a deep, dark, bleak pit, where the surface seems so far away that escape seems to be a hopeless dream.

And, inevitably, the more times you fall down into a pit like that, the harder it becomes to climb back out again.

It's a bit like making the bed, something I've always had trouble with. What's the point, I tend to ask myself, when I'm just going to climb back into it again and mess it all up?

And so it goes with the hole. What the point in climbing back out if I'm just going to fall back down into it again eventually anyway? And this leads to questions like, why bother with anything at all if our existence here on this earth is so temporary and so ultimately meaningless? And this, of course, is never a good frame of mind to be in.

More often than not I place the blame on the world around me. I feel sometimes like I'm not built to properly function in this world. Any and everything that I love or care about eventually becomes tainted with something, whether its people or employment or hobbies. Eventually everything loses whatever it was that made it special to me in the first place, and I'm left surrounded with dusty fragments of things that used be significant.

And for this, I blame the world, because it's easier to do that than to blame myself. Easier to blame billions of people than it is to look in the mirror and think that maybe there's something wrong with *me*.

But today I had that moment. A moment when I had to realize that maybe the problem *was* mine and not, after all, the world's. Maybe it's not the world that's broken -- maybe the world is just fine -- maybe it's something in my head, in my wiring, in my chemistry, that's wrong.

Hooboy, that would be a problem.

I was on antidepressants a few years ago. For anxiety, not for depression, but the effect the drugs had was the same. I felt better. I felt less anxious. I felt less depressed. For the six months I was on them, I was OKAY.

But I talked to some friends afterwards, after I had been off them for a few months, and I heard something odd from them. How I wasn't me.

Is this something more than just the realization that unless I'm a periodically miserable person, then I don't really seem like myself? Did these drugs make more significant changes to my psychology than just improving my mood?

And even if they didn't, maybe that one change is significant enough?

Who am I? What defines me as a person? If it's not my mindset, my hopes and dreams, my fears, then what is that defines me?

And if it is those things, then what happens to me when I start popping a pill to try to fix those things that seem to be broken? If those things define me, then who do I become when those things are replaced with something else?

This is why I've been wary of medication since my brief experience with anti-depressants. This is why I've avoided them like the plague, even during times when they probably would have done me some good. Times like now.

It's not a question with an easy answer. It's probably not a question with any answer at all. Just two different choices, neither of them right, neither of them wrong. Just two different choices, each with their own set of consequences, and no way to know which to choose.

The path of least resistance will likely prove to be the path I take. It always is. If I'm going to run the risk of feeling like this anyway, I might as well make sure the path I'm on makes for an easy stroll.

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