Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Dark Times

The dark times. I think I've had them all my life, periods of time where things felt hopeless, dark, devastating, and ... all right, I'm using the word, depressing.

The dark times predate things brought about by my own stupidity, but it really bugs me when people blame all their problems on a dysfunctional childhood, so I won't. My mother's imbalanced thyroid and my father's affair with the victim-witness advocate at his office and their subsequent acrimonious divorce did not cause the dark times. There were times I lived in a darkness inside of myself long before my father walked out the door and my mother told me that it was my fault.

Sometimes I think I would be a therapist's greatest dream come true.

The problem is that I don't believe in therapy. I've seen too many people become four or five times more fucked up than they were going in following therapy. I've seen therapy destroy familial relationships. I've observed people who learned through therapy to direct their hate and angry feelings onto people that weren't the only people responsible for said hate and angry feelings. In a nutshell, more often than not, I've seen therapy make problems bigger even as the individual in therapy thinks they become smaller. I'm sure this is not always the case, but I guess I'm one of those people who can only judge on what I've seen, and that's what I've seen.

Is there truly a value for therapy? And how about medication? I've heard about the wonders it allegedly works, but I haven't seen such an idyllic experience in my observations. Sometimes I wish that medication was truly the panacea that so many people think it is. Any thoughts on this? Perhaps I need to change my thinking on this one ...

In my experience, all medication does is change the essence of who or what a person is. It's not that I don't believe in depression or anxiety or whatever. Trust me, I know as well as anybody that they exist. Frightening as this sounds, I found self-medicating through a variety of substances to be more helpful than any of those drug-of-the-month with full page ads in magazines and those ridiculous television spots to be. For example, one of my favorite people in the world became a completely different person after starting Lexapro. He is as addicted to the so-called security offered through that doctor-approved drugging as I ever was to anything. His refusal to admit to the changes brought about by the Lexapro, none of them positive in my opinion, has altered the nature of our relationship, possibly forever.

When push comes to shove, what's the difference, really, between wanting a Marlboro when you're overwhelmed by stress and wanting an Ativan?

I just read through what I wrote, and I almost deleted it. The thing is, though, everyone who knows me well is aware of the dark times. They are also aware that I've tried various ways to make them go away, both medically-sanctioned ways and ways that could probably have me put in jail. I'm reading Stephen King's It at the moment, though, and it made me think about the combination of light and darkness that exists in everyone, the yin and yang, the balance.

I guess I can write this now because I actually like myself now. There are a lot of good things about me, and I can admit that even as I know that there are some things that are not so good. The thing is, the dark times are a part of me. The black cloud that threatens to overwhelm me sometimes is as much a part of who I am as the smile and the laughter that many people think is me.

Can I embrace the things that make me so woefully unhappy when they are ingrained in my soul, pumped through my heart, an integral part of the very air I breathe? Would trying to get rid of those black feelings alter the essence of who I am?