Northward Midget Pole to Pole

21Sep/103

Existential Depression

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.

Posted by Quinn

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. this sounds exactly like me except for a few things;

    1) im probably half your age…barely in my 20s…i entered the ‘mindstorm’ at a young age and couldnt get out of it. it was originally a release from a pretty nasty ongoing depression but made me crash when it wasnt backed up by any meaningful connections. my frantic pace of thinking only sped this up more. its been 5 years since i committed ‘equivalent suicide’ and finally got the guts to make a serious attempt. i failed but i mostly died anyway. its felt like about 50

    2) i have this fire inside, this feeling that i was meant to do something gigantic, to keep fighting, to keep resisting. even though ive known its pointless BS for awhile that…stuff running thru me has kept me deferring on the side of trucking it out. which over time has eroded my ‘drive’ and ‘will’ to the point of like you said, mild ‘catatonia’. im the kind of person who has more than enough brains to manipulate the world around me to a significant degree, but not enough. my high social needs ensure that im stuck in that buridan’s donkey conundrum. i dont enjoy socializing with the people available but because im not the ‘sit by yourself’ type i crave it strongly. that and being stuck here. and that void inside me continues to burn me alive, though very slowly. i grew up without genuine emotional connections. i obtained one recently but it lacks the depth that i need. which is almost worse because you cant help but expect and demand better if it burns you so much. i think with enough ‘high value’ social interaction combined with emotional connections, i could survive if i distanced myself from society in general a bit. but such is not possible

    3) i WOULD actually off myself but im afraid of failing. extremely afraid. im also afraid of intense pain or fear being the last thing felt. i want to go peacefully. these two things are probably the biggest roadblocks keeping me here. i almost feel as though if i did something short of a severe barbituate overdose combined with anti-emetics, I would ‘miraculously’ survive and would be completely fucked. i think despite the most peaceful ending my last ‘event’ would be an ear splitting scream of rage and frustration. because i dont want to go
    and things were never supposed to be like this. the world was never supposed to be like this.

    i have great amounts of knowledge which basically amount to ‘being able to make millions of dollars’ (literally) if i was not trapped in this borderline catatonic state. i have so many things related to making money and making it in this world figured out like clockwork, AND reality tested accurately. instead, im stuck rotting in my own little hole where the garbage and dishes pile up, along with endless half finished tasks.

    im being pressured at this point in time to go the meds route, as you probably were many years ago. i also had a run in with tranquilizers (and still take them), and id say they bought me time, maybe a few months.

    even if i find a med that makes life more livable, why bother? as much as id hate to do it, if i had a .44 right now id pull the trigger

  2. by the way, you may find these ‘songs’ moving:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p52KnFg1pnU (requires high volume due to ambience, the guy in this outfit committed suicide two years later)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zCZh2zz-9Q

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sbURPlF-QQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfhUfEPCBU0

  3. I know what you mean, Brian, and I’ve felt like that since I was your age. Maybe part of it is a holdover from the child and teenage years where the entire world is you and you feel indomitable and like you could do anything, then the reality of adulthood slams you in the head and nothing seems to satisfy that desire. You’re always hit with realities and decisions and trade-offs that keep you from reaching what you believe is your true potential, if you can even figure out which potentiality that is.

    I also identify with the fear of attempting but failing at suicide, particularly if what I value most — my mind — is lost or severely impaired in the process.

    At first, I also held off because of my mother, then it was my wife, then my kids.

    Now it’s just the kids. I brought them into this sty of a world and I’m responsible to at least make them happy pigs while they roll in its muck.

    Do drugs work? I can’t say. I know that my most recent has had the worst side effects of any. Constant dry mouth, feeling high at work if I take them too close together, and worst — some erectile dysfunction. Maybe most people wouldn’t notice it, but I used to be able to go for longer than an hour and that ain’t happening anymore.

    Anyway, alcohol has been the most effective anti-depressant for me, even if it’s technically a *depressant*. Not in excess, but a little buzz quiets all the noise of life and helps me just enjoy the moment.

    I would advise against a *marital* commitment (as opposed to a long-term “unofficial” relationship) and certainly against having any children.

    Meetup.com might help you find some like-minded people. I’m not talking depression and anxiety support in particular, but just people who share your interests. It really helps to have friends who know what you’re going through. Hard to find, but good.

    Therapy has never helped me besides having someone to talk to who doesn’t criticize me, and when someone doesn’t criticize me at all, I don’t trust them, so it’s a wash.

    Hang in there if you want, but I’m not going to deny you the desire I still have to just go to sleep forever. Life is a net negative, death is a zero, so I’d come out ahead by offing myself.

    But then, I have those kids. Not that I’d care after I’m gone, but, well, I do now.

    Even a gun isn’t certain. Apparently you have to do it a certain way to be sure. I’m terrified of trying a shotgun and just end up blowing away my fucking jaw and looking like the monster I feel like.

    Eat, drink, and pretend to be merry. Maybe that’s the best we can do, and if we’re lucky, we’ll fool ourselves back to life.


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