The doctor leaned up against the desk searching through her notes. "So sometimes you feel depressed?"
I could clearly see the writing in my file but didn't care to read what it said. What could it have said that I didn't know? So many words I've seen and heard before. Medication levels, notes on diets, mood, other observations. These are words I planted myself. I keep a close eye on them like a chess match. Always watching my moves. Never letting myself get trapped. I prefer bland, ambiguous phrases. Don't really whole-heartedly commit to anything I say. Is it being truthful? I don't know. Did you see me wink? I didn't.
A few years ago the notes might have said things like, "Severely anxious in groups... unable to focus, even for short periods of time... always feeling stress... anti social... thoughts about suicide... impotence... irrational fears... illusions of grandeur..." No, I think I kept that last thought to myself.
What was my point? Does it matter? I am just a normal guy going through depression. It's no big deal. Sure, it was a good thing I opened up and got help when I did... okay, I mean was forced to get help. But regardless it was still a good thing. I got my stupid Merit Badge now let's move on. Life is good again, or at least I keep telling myself that, and nothing is going to fuck it up. No new expensive medications, no return to twice weekly visits. I don't have that fucking kind of money. I can't ask my family for it, because they would give it. You must protect your self-esteem. Anti-psychotics will make you psychotic. Others will make you fat and lazy. And forget sex, your broken goods...
Somewhere all these rationalizations break down. There are flaws in your reasoning, boy. Your motives are not necessarily healthy. So you make half-hearted compromises and tell your psychiatrist things like, 'sometimes I feel depressed'. Like somehow that should be the flare that prompts your doctor to say, "Oh my god! That's awful. This is going to require major surgery."
'Major surgery' being some new treatment - a new approach - psychiatry is like any other field in Medicine. They strip away our thin veneers of uniqueness to find that basically... everyone has a cold.
There you have it. If you take these three times a day, rest, watch your diet and stop smoking you'll be fine.
You know what? I really don't care for that previous metaphor. Can't say I agree with it or even understand it. I should just edit it out. I can do that you know. I control the words. Sure don't want to get caught saying anything stupid.
But I'm feeling lazy and careless. Anyway what have I really shown you? Nothing. I feel like I just should continue typing the word "cold" for the rest of the day. It wouldn't really matter. Would it? You probably think I'm not really into this right now and you'd be right. I couldn't care less what you think.
You know what I also don't like? Writing in first person. Usually I wont read something in first person. If I open a book up and see the words "I" or "me", I'll shut it. It could have been the greatest masterpiece ever written. I won't touch it. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. But I keep thinking those damn narrators usually know far too much or they're complete idiots. So without much of a reference point to go from and not caring, I'm vaguely aware of doing both. But my mind is drifting and the doctor has asked me something about how I'm feeling. I'm trying to be honest. I'm trying to tell her something. Can you tell this didn't happen yesterday?
I think I said, "Some days I felt down, unmotivated..." Now why had I told her that?
"It's not that I feel that depressed, I don't, but I have had a hard time motivating myself. Getting anything done."
"Do you have difficulty sleeping?"
"I sleep good."
"How's your diet?"
"Feelings of anxiousness?"
"No more that usual."
"How about in groups?"
"Doesn't bother me."
"Feeling stressed? Tense?"
"No relaxed. Almost sleepy."
"Any trouble concentrating?"
Waiting for an answer she shrugs. "When?"
Damn she's good. "When I'm working on art or reading - I just feel lazy... and upset I can't motivate myself. But I don't really feel depressed. It happens times to time, but I get over it." That's it. Clam up. Good job!
But I don't clam up. "I worry sometimes that I might be getting depressed again. When I was hospitalized I spent months struggling at everything I did, till I couldn't hold things together anymore. I couldn't take care of myself." Bravo! A True Confession. Its at this point in therapy I tell myself to shut up before things get fucked up.
The doctor looks at her chart. "Your at 30 mg."
"Yes, twenty in the morning and ten at night." And don't you dare change that.
"If this continues maybe we should try upping your dosage..."
Thank God, a reprieve I think.
I'm not sure why, but my protective instinct is to resist change. Maybe the doctor senses that, but she lets me go. I promise to call if things start getting worse, but wonder if I really will. I don't want to be destructive, or so I tell myself...
"If this continues we might want to up your dosage or even change your medication."
Yeah, we'll see.
Hey, I'll tell you all a little secret. Maybe you already figured it out? This is not me writing. No sir. Your writer is somewhere off napping. Not because he's tired, because there's nothing else he can do. The big lug. It makes me laugh when he tells himself that this will go away. That he'll work on something tomorrow. Sure, whatever you say. I'm sure you know what's best. And that there is how moments in his day pass, sitting on the couch, taking a nap, smoking a cigarette, constantly aware of the emptiness inside, relying on self-control to not let desperation tear him apart. It will. Don't say I didn't tell you so.