Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I hope I shall arrive soon

Strong language, although not strong thinking or strong writing alert.

I can’t think.

I can’t write.

I can’t do any fucking thing.

"Drugs", or "depression", or "depression plus drugs", or "the unbearable fuckedness of being" seem to have done something seriously stupidising to my mind, damped down the amplitude till all you get is a fuzz of background noise, an intellectual and creative flat-line. Nothing is emerging from the water.

I am going home soon, and I really don’t know how or if I am going to cope with what seem like the gargantuan tasks before me. The tasks are of this order - packing up my stuff from here. Driving my car home. Picking up cat food on the way home. It is as if I am a child again, in the sea-green water, and the salt backwash is drawing me in and the waves tower over my head.

I used to run resuscitations.

I’ve been noticing a few things, particularly when stressed. I notice the tendency to want to apologise to everyone (nurses, orderlies, reception staff), but to simultaneously hide from them. One of the things that makes depression a killer is the way that the depressed person, as s/he descends, cuts him/herself off from everyone who could help. Almost as a pre-emptive strike, the way the killer in the movie cuts the phone lines before closing the lights and bringing out the carving knife.

There are times now when my own thoughts repulse me.

And I notice the way things are rorschached – and I don’t know a better word for it – into images that correspond with my emotional state. There is a small patch of chipped paint on one of the railings that looks like a screaming face. The patch of oil outside in the car-park looks like a tumour. A bird outside cries, it sounds like a razor scraped over a whetstone.

We see what we believe. And I don’t believe in the screaming face, or the tumour, or the razor, but you can see how these things could happen. There is, by the way, some self-censorship going on here. I write and delete, or write and rewrite, so that the nett result is that I seem better than I am. The worst times are the ones I don’t write about.

That reminds me of something I read once, years ago. “A ghost is an outward manifestation of an inward fear”. That’s what makes a good ghost story. You create someone the reader cares about and you make them afraid. Read M.R. James for unalloyed perfection in this area.

I think the things I have going for me are many. I don’t have a comorbid substance use problem (i.e.: am not smoking or injecting my olanzapine*). I continue to have a bafflingly strong support group – a faithful and tireless wife, glorious friends, supportive if overly emotionally charged family. I am normally capable of doing stuff – running an ED overnight, studying, writing. I can remember a time when things were better. I understand the objective side of my illness and my treatment better than most people, I know what to expect from the drugs and the disease.

One thing, weirdly, that helps is writing. So I’m going off to write something easy, something bright, something therapeutic, fresh, satisfying and brainless.

Sounds like someone I knew in high school.

Thanks for listening,

*When I heard this I thought "God only knows why people would do this. The stuff is an emotional and creative and intellectual anaesthetic". And of course, there's your answer.


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