Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Stranger

Over the weekend, while everyone and their mother was out playing softball, tennis, basketball, catch, I made a comment to Debbie about how absurd our time on earth is--this throwing of a ball back and forth--given the fact that we are all going to die, how arbitrary it seemed...that the configuration and running around of colors on a pasture seemed as good a thing as any to pass the time on the way to the grave. She laughed at my fatalism and I laughed too, because I knew it was true. There is a comment in Andrew Solomon's The NoonDay Demon about the value of work--how, if nothing else, it was a distraction from the existential depression that comes with knowing our lives have little meaning other than the meaning we assign it. We may as well work, not just because we have to, but because there is satisfaction in it...satisfaction in being distracted from the inevitability of our own demise for a few hours a day.

Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and going on medication, there have been few days in which I have felt truly happy and grateful to be alive. I have not felt truly sad for anything either. Just awful indifference. It is like Zack Braff in Garden State waking up in a whitewashed room and going through the motions of life--pumping gas, driving to work in traffic, waiting tables--with little to no change in his emotions; it is all the same to him. Life is not bad, but it's not all that great either. The days of high and low waves seems like a dream, another time. I am more stable, but at what price? I can see this is the point when many with this illness 'accidentally' drop their meds in the toilet, saying 'to hell with stability...I want to feel, to live.' I want to care about something. I have abandoned a lot of my hobbies...building bikes, reading, writing, painting...for lack of interest; not doing them seems just as good as doing them. This feels very tragic, and maybe I would be better just to force participation in more things for the distraction, if nothing else, like they say with sex: even if you don't feel like it, do it anyway; you might end up enjoying it.

But I am considering some med changes. Things are 'good,' if goodness if judged by the lack of highs and lows. But it is an awful way to live. My sex drive, my life force, is in hibernation. I suspect that is the Zoloft doing its job. Maybe that should be the first to go? The thing about medication is there is a warranted fear in going off of them (and I'm not talking about going off all of them, just cutting down or eliminating one, for trial's sake), but the 'safe bet' is to be content with feeling 'okay'--not good, not bad, just ok--should be equally feared. Thankfully I have a good relationship with my doctor, who listens to my concerns and takes them seriously, and isn't afraid to step out of the box and try new things, as long as they are closely supervised and monitored. With the sun and the spring weather here in full swing, I would just like a little bit of color back in my day. Life still may seem absurd...but at least the absurdity would be a little easier to laugh at.

1 comment:

Regina Terrae said...

I feel for you, Rob. The good thing about Zoloft is that it's one of a whole class of drugs that do the same thing for your serotonin -- there are more SSRIs to try, see if one of them works for you without flattening you out TOO much.