Last year, I had a bad summer. My grandmother died (I found her dead in her apartment) and it took me to a very low place. My mom pointed this out to my wife who in turn pointed it out to me - including the fact (yes, fact) that I hadn't really been happy even before my grandmother died (before I found her dead). So I went to see the doctor.
One of the things I learned in college is what it means to be happy. College wasn’t a happy time for me, but in my second year philosophy class, I learned what “happy” meant in the strictest sense of the word. You could argue (because arguing is what philosophy is about) that the opposite of happiness is … passion.
Last summer I was feeling neither passionate nor happy and I went to see the doctor who gave me a split diagnosis: it was either depression or dysthymia. The reason my mom wanted me to see the doctor was that there is a history of depression in our family that results from bad brain chemistry – low serotonin levels. This can be treated with medicine. The prescription for dysthymia is sessions with a psychologist. The doc and I took the lazy route and I’ve been on pills ever since.
And feeling better.
An interesting thing about these pills:
There are several side effects. Most of them occur as you start taking the pills and then diminish as you get accustomed to them. Weird dreams was one. A heightened sense of anxiety was another. Raging appetite. Diarrhea. For the first month and a half, the cure was worst than the sickness. But then things settled down.
There are also sexual side effects. The one that would be most alarming for the red-blooded male would be impotence. Fortunately, that was one I missed. But there are other types of dysfunction, and the one I experience is described alternately as “anorgasmia” or “ejaculation disorder” or “you can’t cum, no matter how much romance/and or porn is involved”. Achieving my little death takes a lot of work.
I can go all night, baby.
Now, I’m a 43-year-old man at the time of this writing and elsewhere on this blog I’ve written about what kinds of panic set in at this age for men. (So is it any wonder that I’m on pills? Hmmm….) The flame of youthful romance is gone between you and your partner and all you have is reminders of how sweet that flame was. These reminders often take the form of beautiful young women who wouldn’t give you the time of day, you sick old fuck, you. Looking at women like that, twenty years younger than you, why you could be their father.
Yeah, but ....
But now I’m on the pills and if anyone was interested why, I could go all night.
It’s like a secret identity, but a with a wasted super power. Like if Peter Parker never for the rest of his life turned into Spiderman.
Like Superman always taking the bus.
Hey, it's a good thing (Martha) that I’m on the pills or it would be fucking depressing.