A tale of ten strangenesses
Yet another "damn, that was the best essay..." experience. Thanks, and keep typing.
I am a psychotherapist and a former pt gave me an image of EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY when it comes to treatment. The expectations is a smooth, continually upward moving line where the reality representation is of a line going all over the place, looping back on itself, getting tangled though coming out on the other end all the same. Also, one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who about linear narratives: “People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.”
Thanks. That's a very honest and interesting look at sadness.(I thought of other descriptors but I don't want to imply that your experience was something that it may not have been. I am pretty sure you were sad.)
I'll give yall a story from my past. When I was a teenager I had what I guess you would call real bad teenage angst. Very apathetic, very low energy, irritable. Well when I was 15 it got bad. I started having migraines so bad I would just lay on the couch and scream in pain and bawl my eyes out. I wound up in the ER, and believe me my parents never took anybody to the hospital. When i went for a migraine and when my brother went for a moccasin bite were the only two times anybody went to the ER. I remember being there and staring at a sign and not being able to decipher the words. I had terrible dizzy spells where I couldn't see through the whatever that stuff you see when you are having dizzy spells is. I had one so bad I fell and smashed my head on the floor. No one ever associated any of this with mental health.
After that year I left home. I entered college after my 10th grade year 4 hours from home. And everything started getting better. It all sorta eased up and I forgot about it. It was ten years later that i realized that all of my problems were the year of my parents divorce, which was also the year after my brother moved out. It was sorta like a light bulb going off. Some things have big reasons that make sense and some don't.
I'll end with a joke I tell sometimes, tangentially related. 'I grew up thinking I was a dark and cynical person, turns out I just lived in gnat country.'
I had my own pandemic skull poison experience too. Some different symptoms and also my wife and I had our first kid mid-pandemic. I coped by drinking a lot and that got me through day to day, but it was breaking me down the longer I leaned on it. After 2 years of brain poison I became convinced I had a brain tumor and I was dying. I didn’t, but it put me in a bad place.
Long story short, therapy, exercise, much less booze, a new job, and my son sleeping through the night helped me a lot. But I still had lots of brain fog. That’s when I got my first ketamine injection... I don’t believe in magic levers either, but that’s pretty damn close to one.
But yeah, still have a little brain poison, but I’m feeling like pre-pandemic me again.
Glad you’re feeling better too dude.
Wow. Well written and clear. An incredible counselor in my twenties taught me tools. When I started with her, I talked a few sessions, until she asked me, "Do you want to just talk about this stuff or do something about it?" Umm, do something, I guess. I've been through more stuff since - a "touch" of cancer (hey, trust that seventh doctor you go to who says he doesn't know instead of giving you less than a year), a bad marriage, a car slamming into me on a sidewalk, cutting off one foot. The first thought through my head with that accident as I controlled my fall backwards, holding the remains of my leg in the air, "Here's something else to deal with." Same with the cancer. (The . . marriage took more time.) I thank my counselor for teaching me that. Those experiences may seem like some of the worst. No. I knew I could figure out what to do. I have yet to figure out how to help those I love who suffer depression. I choose deal, and wish I could give some of that to several I love, deeply, so their lives could be happier and fulfilling. You've done an excellent job of relaying you deal. Your writing is a gift to the world.
Excellent. The selfish and boring bit is very relatable. The "generic misery" also feels very on point: while I tend to default to fear nowadays (what triggered my head poison originally was death related, and basically there's this idea that ALL fears are about death pretty much which I buy into), I know now, when this state is only occasional; that I can shift it to "sad" or (if I feel better - this one doesn't feel anywhere near as bad) "irritated/resentful" (which isn't far of "angry" which feels good). But really, it's HEAD POISON. Bravo.
My skull poison emerged on October of 2020 and your account, while some the details vary, resonated with me so much. How having knowledge of the evolution of psychology does not always help your own experience in your own head. How general practitioner doctors prescribe meds easily but how difficult it is to get an appointment with therapist. How “healing” is non linear and varies every day. Thanks for all the humor in this piece and non clinical language.
I like what Chantel Miller says about how she cares for her depression, which she’s carried around for years. Depression can feel like a narrowing of focus, like looking through the world through a toilet paper tube. And so if you’re looking out at the world through a toilet paper tube, you might as well be looking at something nice, some small joy in the world.
Brilliant and very relatable.
I really liked this piece, thank you. Contructive here. Would love more color on how you feel the pandemic kicked things off.
What a wonderful, honest piece. Well done. And thank you for sharing.
Awesome. You're honestly next on my list to give money too. It will take a month.
If you want to explore some of my work (jibes well with your academic observations, but with nonlinear systems theory thrown in) here's a not-bad starter piece about Life in The Matrix and the academy.
I actually write about the Deep 'How' of how people think. It's not what you think. Well, maybe. You're a smart guy.
Great article! Thank you for sharing this.
Geez, you're good. Bravo.
Not directly related, but this made me think of the EconTalk i just finished this week which followed your own appearance last week: https://www.econtalk.org/marco-ramos-on-misunderstanding-mental-illness/
Worth a listen/read!
February20th 2023 you already published my favorite substack of this year. I am going to print you up hard copy find your address and send youbtwo no one! Dolla in the mail. A maze ing!