My father kept a picture of Jesus on the console of his car. It was the Anglo Jesus we Americans raised as Christians know so well, with the soft flaxen locks and the blue eyes. This was after the divorce, and I remember seeing the picture there and asking him about it on one of his weekend visits. It was to remind him that "God is his co-pilot."
He wasn't always a Christian. I have vague memories of him explicitly telling me he was an atheist. I recall being very upset on one visit seeing his stack of Playboys. I knew those were "wrong" according to God, and I threw an awful tantrum. Being a father now, I can imagine his frustration with a child wailing about something no amount of logic would assuage. It wasn't just the dirty girly mags, but more the thought that my father was Godless, as had probably been hinted at by my mother.
He left us for another woman, when my youngest brother was still a baby. I know he regrets that to this day. I can barely remember it. I was in kindergarten or first grade at the time. I have memories of my mother crying a lot, but that seemed to always be the case. The father role was dumped on me, at least inasmuch as taking care of my brothers and comforting my mother.
My most recalled father anecdote is when he'd remodeled a room in our house, before the divorce. It was to be our playroom, and he asked if I liked it, and I replied, "I love it!" He said, "You can't love inanimate objects."
I remember him from those days as all logic, much as I am now. He didn't find Christ until he was hospitalized. It was for depression or anxiety of some sufficiently acute nature. I should ask him about it before his time on Earth is done. Maybe he'd have some advice for me, although since he's still a Christian, that advice would likely not apply.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to wander back to God. I left Him in college, when my loneliness was so severe that I begged God in midnight sleepless prayers to just kill me, let me die, stop this terrible life. Then I turned to Satan, begging for him to buy my soul.
I know God and religion are crutches, allowing those to walk who would otherwise be crippled by the cold realities of life. I'm pretty sure I'm too far gone now to be propped up by them. Godlessness has become part of who I am, and killing it would be killing one of the few parts of me of which I retain some amount of pride.
That picture in the car seemed to give my father some comfort, and the presence of Christ in his life continues to do so. I don't know if he'd still be around without it. Part of me doesn't want to discuss religion with him (or my other relatives, for that matter), because I don't want to take it away from them. They need it.
And they can have it.
How do I write about something when that very something saps me of the will to do anything? Really, I should stop bitching about this and do something about it, right? Just snap the hell out of it and be a man, live life. Sure, you've got problems, but we've all got them, and you're better off than most. You've got two beautiful girls, a good job, a roof over your head...
I just don't care. Apparently, our toilet leaks. I didn't realize it. Hell, I'm looking at the damn thing and it doesn't seem leaky. Our yard is overgrown. But I mow it! Everything in our house is from someone else. Why didn't I buy us more stuff?
Sometimes I sit on the couch and stare, like Puddy from Seinfeld. I'm not particularly sad, in an active way. I'm just sitting there. Maybe a mild catatonia. I could be doing any number of things, but I can't decide on any of them. There's a philosophical paradox called "Buridan's Donkey." A donkey is standing between two bales of hay. They're both exactly the same, but he has to decide which to eat. He can't, so he starves to death.
I am Buridan's Ass.
Also, my mind works against me. I can't finish thoughts. Maybe I'm just getting old. When I was a teenager I had a book on how to be "psychic." One of the exercises involved just asking yourself something and it'll come to you later, even if the mind blocks it from you right then. I don't have time to wait for the answers. I have all the time in the world, but not for that. Maybe the Internet is to blame. Why remember anything, why bother storing (or moreso, recalling) the minutia of life when you can just Google it?
But, it's always been that way. Before my joints started creaking, before I got online almost twenty years ago. That kind of thing used to be blamed on TV. Did TV do it? I watched a lot of it. I have loads of old movies and TV shows in my head. I know the professor on Gilligan's Island is named Roy something. I recall it sounding like a serial killer's name.
MTV had a VJ named Tabitha Soren. I used to wonder if it was Tabitha from Bewitched, all growed up.
Am I digressing? My whole life is a digression. Existential depression, in my terms, is a lack of desire to live. I do have a desire to have a desire to live, but that's one step removed from actually wanting to live, and more trouble than it's worth, apparently. There's always laundry to do, things to pick up, dishes to wash, chores and worries. Where's the payoff? Where's the fun in life? The closest I come to being happy is when I'm working on something, in that blissful zone of creating or troubleshooting.
Or when I'm drunk, and all the arguments in my head are dampened down to a soggy warmth.
Or there's sex, but I won't go there other than to label it what it is -- a brief vacation to the primal. It's how animals must feel.
Anyway, here I am. Living. Many believe suicide is a cowardly act. I've always considered it the bravest thing you can do. You're acting against the urge of every cell in your body to keep going. You're silencing a billion little fellers who selfishly want you to keep breathing, walking, talking, working, washing that laundry every goddamned week. You're telling them to shut the fuck up and you're pulling that trigger.
Me, I'm a coward. They've got me by the balls. When I was in the hospital, I was asked a half-dozen times if I'd ever attempted suicide. What qualifies as an attempt? When I was in college, I downed a bunch of over-the-counter sleeping pills. I don't think I even went to sleep.
I also pissed in a jar. In college, not during my stay in the mental hospital. I lived in a dorm room and hated/feared going down the hall to use the bathroom, so I pissed in a Mason jar. I'd dump it out at 4AM when nobody else was around. I wore a trucker hat and a military surplus trench coat that was a bit too short, and had long hair, and wondered if I'd ever have a girlfriend. I didn't know alcohol until my second year, when I was out of the dorms. If I'd drank and smoked earlier, my life would have been entirely different. Better? I don't know, but certainly different. Maybe I'd have married someone down in West Virginia. Maybe I'd have finished college. As it was, I just couldn't make it. I was crippled by a fear of everyone else.
Digressing again. Where was I? Suicide. When life is a net negative, when you're at -1 or less on that line, then the zero of death is an improvement, is it not? And really, honestly, who can say their life is a net positive? Is it worth all the work we have to do to keep going?
But again, let me reiterate that I'm a coward. I won't pull that trigger, jump that cliff, or sleep in that exhaust. I don't even have the motivation to turn myself off. It's like watching infomercials until the wee hours because you're too lazy to get up and fetch the remote.
Currently, I'm taking Pristiq and Abilify for depression, and Provigil for weariness associated with sleep apnea. While I was in the hospital, I tried Xanax and got a script for Klonopin. Today, my psychiatrist decided to add Symbyax to the mix. What a name! It's a combination of an antipsychotic and Prozac. There appear to be some good reviews online, but I'm not counting the ones where it turned people fat and suicidal.
If it does what the dozens of others in my pharmacological cavalcade have failed to do, then I'll be sure to post about it. I don't have a lot of hope, but then again, I just don't care.