The darkness is overwhelming.
David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,230
As I do from time to time – I come here to share some of my darkest thoughts, my greatest pain. To begin with…
Simply maintaining a reasonable level of sanity and/or functionality requires me to take medications. I do not know why this is so – but I know that it is. I’ve gone off them, tried religion, yoga, meditation – you name it, I’ve tried it. Yet every time I have fallen apart. The downside to the medication is that it severely weakens emotions. While some times this can be good – particularly when you are severely depressed, anxious, or living in daily terror of sudden madness or death… it is also the case that it is more difficult to be sad. Or happy. Or even angry. Psychiatric medications are powerful things – and they alter the chemical makeup of our brains. I often wonder who I would be without them, if I didn’t have the issues that require them.
In any event – there are days when what I feel most strongly is apathy. In which I must struggle, mightily, to feel anything at all – and some days in which I do not, in which I feel like I am sleeping through my life. I understand, all too well, how easy it is to lose one’s self, to give up, to hide from the world. I understand denial – as a means to protect ourselves from pain. Some days though… understanding or no, I cannot stand it. Heh.
I look around – and all looks grim, dark – and ugly. Any hope, optimism or truth seems irrelevant – everything has gone mad. The world has been turned on it’s head, there is no hope, no faith, and precious little love left… or so whispers my darker half. Some days I am better able to resist that than others. Today, though I do not feel sad, or feel anything particularly strongly at the moment (aside from general anxiety, a tightening of the chest, shortening of the breath and oncoming panic attack – probably in the next hour or so – it tends to build up for a bit) but somehow I find that there are tears in my eyes, as I ponder things like climate change, global oligarchy, the harshness of ugly truths that people prefer not to face.
Then I remember, too… that so many people are hungry, poor, alone, homeless, suffering. Nations are under siege by the very Empire in which I live. The truth is under siege – and finally, humanity is under siege. It is not emotion that pushes me on at times like this – but dedication, I think, maybe. Dedication to the common good? Or perhaps… perhaps nothing so noble. Only convenient lies I tell myself to avoid the truth of my own insignificance, how pathetic my life is – how I really feel about myself. Ah, damned doctors, psychiatrists (paychiatrists), therapists and so on and so forth ad infinitum.
Don’t get me wrong – most of those I have known I have come to care for. Yet, we live in a sick society, so deeply sick that the treatment is often worse than the disease. Go see a psychiatrist, without health insurance – and tell me that this is not so. You will spend hundreds of dollars for an hour – and you will then have to spend more for medications – see three different ones – and chances are you will get three different ideas about what your problems are. The diagnosis will change – not depression, but schizophrenia! Not paranoia, but narcissistic personality disorder, not agoraphobia – but bi-polar. The list goes on, forward or in reverse.
How do you heal someone who is mentally ill? How does a mentally ill person who is unfortunately somewhat aware… cope with the knowledge of who and what they are? A scapegoat for society’s ills, a statistic for media and political purposes… but rarely a human being. Something to be, not healed by Doctors of the mind or body – but treated for symptoms. It often seems to me, that even the doctors fear me – as if what I have might be contagious. At the very least, they are not truly comfortable in my presence. Yet I have never been a dangerous man – I haven’t done anything particularly violent since a fist fight when I was a kid.
There is good news… that I struggle to remember and be grateful for. I’m getting SSI – 771 a month, which, for me, is a small fortune. Then there is facebook – my old buddies and pals (even some democrats) who like to rant about the welfare system. People who are too lazy to work, living off of their hard earned tax dollars. Or, universe forbid, someone buys ice cream with food stamps! Crucify em! ….
Perhaps this is just another aimless rant of mine… but for some reason today I feel particularly overwhelmed. My doctor tells me I should see a therapist – I have been seeing all kinds of therapists for the vast majority of my life – it began when I was in the third grade, if I remember accurately. It only intensified as the years went on.
Maybe the drugs have broken my brain, maybe I’m a drug-addled lunatic who truly isn’t aware enough to notice what he is. I remember hearing things at my old job like: “We have sick people here. Mental break down kind of people. They should be in a psych hospital.” Oh, I would sagely nod my head, not mentioning that I was one of those people who has had quite a number of “mental breakdowns”.
I guess I’m trying to figure things out. Trying to understand my disability and cope with it… but shit… today it is fucking hard. I want to drink until my brain shuts off, or sleep until I feel better – but I know that I will do neither. Neither will really accomplish anything lasting. The truth is…
Our entire system of medicine and treatment for the mentally ill does not work. It is a band aid at best – a treatment worse than the disease at worst. People are not symptoms. You cannot really fix them with an hour a week of therapy, or medication. You cannot really fix them with five days spent in a psych ward. You might be able to heal them – but to do so requires one to accept their humanity, their own vulnerability and pain – and to genuinely practice empathy.
Gnome is dreaming, perhaps, of a world that will never be.
April 19, 2019 at 3:08 PM #56123
April 19, 2019 at 3:28 PM #56134David the GnomeParticipant
- Total Posts: 3,230
Some times, music is the best therapy of all. Some times it can set you free, even if only for a little while. When I was younger – before I screwed up my back, I used to go out dancing every Friday night. I never needed to drink a lot – a couple beers, maybe. The marijuana on the other hand… I’d take a few hits, then suddenly feel… hmm… strange. Nerves on fire kind of strange. Then I’d walk into the bar, I’d order a beer and set it down… and I’d make my way to the dance floor. The loud music, the vibrations felt in the floor, in the air, on the walls – the way you can feel it right in your chest… strobe lights. Man, I didn’t care who was watching or who was there, I’d dance, I’d dance like a madman all the way up until closing time. I’d hurt the next morning – but for a little while, for a few hours every Friday night, I felt free.
Not sure if this makes much sense, but it was like I was able to get out of my head, to just be, through dancing. I don’t know if I was really any good at it – I’m sure that, compared to a professional dancer of any kind I looked ridiculous, but for a while that didn’t matter… well, after a few months of doing that every Friday night, some men got annoyed with me. Their girlfriends were giving them shit for not dancing. So they’d come onto the dancefloor, skip around me in circles, shove me a bit so I’d fall. A few of them told me I looked like a “total retard” dancing by myself. Eventually I stopped. It wasn’t worth fighting them for, it wasn’t worth making a scene, getting hurt, or hurting someone else.
Besides, I suppose I get it – as a nervous person myself. A lot of people are way too nervous about looking stupid to dance. I always just figured “I probably look dumb anyway – and this should be fun.”
Yeah, music… can’t move like I used to, but some times I wish that I could have a little dance floor with some really loud music, all to myself. For me, that was great therapy.
April 19, 2019 at 10:22 PM #56297
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