Monday, June 04, 2012

little pills and the bleak past

My thoughts always seem to go to my faults.

No, really. Whenever I have a minute to just let my mind wander, I tend to start thinking of elements in my past where I behaved less than admirably. Was I a jerk to you? Did I bungle my relationship with you in some way? Were you witness to some level of my stupidity? Did you catch me being terribly shy? Juvenile? Idiotic? Socially maladroit? Then chances are, I've thought of the event in question sometime recently.

I don't know why this is the case. Ever since I moved to Ohio, I've taken great pains to try to improve myself. I like to think I'm a lot more socially adept, thoughtful, and with purpose. I honestly try to be a better person, and I think I've made some great strides. I try very hard to be a good husband to my wonderful wife, a good father to my daughter, a good band mate to my band, and a good friend to anyone willing. I work a job where I feel I honestly help make the world a better place (albeit to some undetermined degree). I try to treat people with dignity, and I try to leave the world better than I found it.

Why, then, do I always dwell on my failures? And I mean always. This morning, my daughter woke me up with some particularly crabby yelling. I stumbled out of bed, stumbled into the restroom, then stumbled into her room. I wished her good morning and picked her up, but her head immediately collapsed on my, instead of proceeding with our morning routine (morning juice for her, hitting toys, and reading some silly book (such as the classic of Western culture But Not the Hippopotamus) before Total Baby Freedom), we sat down on the chair in her room, where my daughter snuggled up next to me and fell back asleep. It is particularly touching when she wants to be close to you, but then she rolled onto her side, and whenever I looked down, I could see her face twitching and smiling as she dreamed her infant dreams (I wonder what she dreams of...probably all the electrical cords and plastic bags she can chew). Yet in between bouts of marveling at this wondrous bit of life I helped create, I couldn't help thinking of embarrassing relationships from high school...even though it was the least appropriate time to be thinking these thoughts.

About two months ago, I was seeing my doctor for a follow-up appointment--to make sure my brain pills weren't giving me any ill effects, I think--and I happened to mention to the nurse that I had problems sleeping that week. My awesome doctor latched onto this, and, after we talked, he theorized my insomnia was somehow related to my depression and offered me a prescription for some sleeping pills. I asked why, if the two were related, I've had insomnia as long as I can remember, and he said, "you might've had a chemical imbalance your whole life." I was always (as I told him) a mopey kid, so this made a surprising amount of sense.

Afterward, when I think about my life, I've begun to suspect I've always dealt with depression...that my moods were more than me just being introverted or awkward. Certainly, though, clinical depression was just something you didn't discuss when I was in high school, so that it never came up as an option to explain why I always felt and acted like a loser isn't really surprising. And even if I could've admitted depression (and found a doctor to agree), I'm not really sure what the benefit would've been. Medicines for depression were not all that great back then. In fact, my sleeping pills are in fact really an early anti-depressant. They just shut down all the noise in the brain and calm down the volume on your thinking...which, while wonderful for my sleepless nights, would be a pretty rotten thing to be on all the time as it would've removed much of "me" from the equation. If I had to take something all the time which tuned down my mind, I think I frankly would prefer the depression.

The crazy pills I'm currently on, however, are awesome. They leave me myself, but just a version better able to deal with any disappointments (such as the weekends where no one wants to play with me). And generally, I'm in a great place in life. I have an awesome band. I have a wonderful wife who finally has a full-time job worthy of her. I have the coolest, funniest, and most amazing daughter. I'm paying off my debts. We're moving to a new house in a quiet neighborhood. We're gonna have more space and a garage (where I've already been given permission to hold monthly poker games). Hell, we even have done, in anticipation of the move, the most adult and high-class thing I've ever done: bought brand new matching couches rather than salvage furniture from friends or dumpsters!

So why, tell me, do I, when I close my eyes, so often look upon regretted incidents in the past?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two cents: I thought about this recently-read posting after driving to work and constantly rehashing a couple of exchanges from the morning--one at daycare and one slightly different type of situation/rehashing with a three-year-old. I don't know about you, but part of why I do this is that I learned to do it so long ago, and it seemed normal (invisibly so) for so long, that trying to catch myself, catch the thinking, and then hopefully let it go (there's the bit of magic, eh?) or to think otherwise is a constant battle. I don't know how much cognitive or cognitive behavioral type stuff you're doing along with the pills. I can say that I have had some slow but steady success through my relationship with my own (very experienced, well-qualified, and empathetic) counselor. It's pretty fucking tiresome-- exhausting really--to beat myslef up every day. You'd think I'd burn more calories doing it. Doesn't seem to work that way. I can't seem to keep the thoughts from coming. I do seem to have developed some control over how much time I spend chewing on them and on my self. I'm mostly working on that and on not teaching my own kids to do what I learned to do--cut myself down for every mistep, failed attempt to charm, or semi-public display of immaturity (just to name a few).

By the way, I'm feeling self-conscous about my punctuation and use of parallelism, and I'll probably wish that I could come back and change it after I get done wondering whether I should have posted any of this. I'm hoping not to have to kick myself for not prepping right now.

For what it's worth--