Monday, May 12, 2008

i jump from every rooftop

I'm breaking with all the serious posting and we're going to play a game.

Let's play make believe. You're a doctor. Maybe you really are a doctor, in which case, this will require no effort on your part. You run a general practice in an old neighbourhood. You have clients who have been coming to you for the length of their lives. One client in particular. You don't see her more than a couple of times a year for checkups as she's barely sick. You have 26 years of her medical history in your records.

When she asks you about alternatives to prescription anti-depressants, do not look at her like she's just asked you if grafting a live walrus to her face will increase her chances of getting laid.

Just because you have made her cough and say 'aaah', taken her blood and shoved steel umbrellas up her twat does not mean you have any, any idea of what is going on in her head. Reacting as though she's being silly, possibly attention-seeking and overly dramatic, and telling her that she doesn't need any such medication because, well, she's not depressed, is going to do several months of damage.

I was asking for help.

Regardless, I went on St John's Wort which smells funky and comes in tablets the size of my head. Couldn't hurt to try. It's a slow accumulating drug, and it was some weeks before I noticed any effects. As far as I could tell, the only thing the pills did was take away my desire. All desire, for anything, everything, small immediately desires and material desires and long term dreamy desires. I did not become content with my lot, I simply had no urge to change gain move anything. It didn't feel like apathy. It wasn't numbness. I found that, instead of forcing myself to be a not terribly brooding mopey person around other people, I was forcing myself to want things.

If you don't desire things, if you don't have desire driving you through your life, pushing you to act, making you change the world around you, then what is the point of anything? Desire makes us go. Without desire, any desire, nothing I did had any meaning.

None of this actually stopped my head from being a noxious place to be. None of this made me feel any better, or made every day life anything less than a tooth and nail ordeal. The pills stole my sleep dreams, which did not impress me in the least. And when it came down to it, the act of taking these pills every morning made me feel like a faker, a poser, and a failure.

One night, one particularly bad night, I stood in the dark and threw the pills, one by one, out the window.

Most satisfying thing I've done in a long time.

St John's Wort is prescribed instead of Prozac in Germany, and has been in use for so long I don't doubt it helps a lot of people. But the effects I felt weren't helping me, they were scaring me. They took away some of the tools I use to keep going.

So what if night after night I dream of the end of the world, and when I wake up I'm nothing but thwarted desires? These things make me me. These things give me meaning.

Maybe I am being entirely irrational, making up any excuse to return to the devil I know. These certainly don't seem like rational or sensible decisions. But, I'm not scaring myself anymore, and while I haven't yet decided if this is a good or bad thing, it's justification enough for me.

You can stop playing make believe now.