I got a taste of my old self recently, and frankly - it sucked balls. It's a strange defeat.
I was prescribed a drug in 2006 to help with "Generalized Anxiety Disorder". I never believed much in that kind of bullshit diagnosis, but I sure was an anxious little fuck. I felt that if I was anxious, well... that's how I'm supposed to be. Anxiety helped keep humans from being eaten into extinction a long, long time ago. For me it felt like a safety mechanism.
I blame the boy scouts for this. The slogan "Be Prepared" was rammed up my ass and hammered into my skull at every meeting, every campout, every event. The world was out to kill me, and it was up to me to prevent it. It was similar to the driver's education program. They showed films of terror, blood, brutal death and suffering - combined with math and physics - to instill respect for the machines we wield.
So back to the drug. After pumping the chemical into my body for a week or two, I slowly changed. I began to feel ...flat. Not void of energy, but a little less clever, less creative....and less anxious, I suppose. I stopped standing up for myself, or so I felt. Caving in and accepting things I did not agree with became ok with me. I didn't care.
As a result I came to a conclusion. Apathy is my tool for fighting anxiety. And I have to accept that the only way I can live apathetically, is to drug myself.
These ramblings stem from my attempt to ween myself from the drug, beginning about a month ago. I implemented a slow, methodical decrease in my dose. Three weeks later, I was without the selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors in my blood and my brain.
An old demon, who had been sleeping soundly, began to stir. He was rage.
At the smallest feeling of being unconsidered by someone, I'd snap. If I felt disrespected, I'd snap. By "snapping" I'd speak in harsh tones, with sharp words. I felt I was standing up for myself again. Defending myself. Not letting them "step on me anymore". No more caving in and pretending to agree with things just to keep the peace. No more apathy.
But the demon was cruel to me as well as those around me. I could feel the physical manifestations of the anxiety. Shortness of breath. Sweaty palms....obsession with details and possibilities. Here's a good example:
When driving a car, I am computing and processing many things. I have a sense of the mass of the vehicle and the 4 small points of contact between the tires and cement. I factor in the condition of the street, the weather, the rubber - and I feel the friction that keeps the car upright and on the road. I feel the brake pads squeezing the metal discs - hot metal, and it's incredible stopping power, converting inertia into heat. Driving a car, to me, is the most dangerous activity I partake in. Not just due to the crushing, killing potential. It's also because of the dipshits, simpletons and careless others driving their cars beside me.
Have you ever seen bumper bowling? Retractable rails in the gutters allow the bowler to roll the ball hard, fast, crazy and carelessly without consequence. In fact, with a reward! I feel most drivers treat the highways and other cars like bowling bumpers. They don't take the responsibility that I feel they should, for the safety of the people in their car, or those around them. Obsessed with time, drivers take risks. Following a car at 70mph, less than 50 feet behind, is gambling. Gambling that the person ahead of you is competent. Gambling that the guy who tightened the lug nuts on that car was competent. Gambling that the guy who inspected the tire at the factory was competent. Gambling that the guy in the other lane will see the car in his blind spot. All of these gambles, for the sake of time, willing to risk the lives of me, my family, and the people around me. Driving is gambling. Driving without care often becomes murder and suicide.
So that's how it goes on in my head. That's "why" it's unnerving to me. And I'm not wrong. Like all gambling, it's all about the odds. But I have to admit, careful drivers kill people too. By accident, or mechanical failure. Maybe a deer jumping out, causing a swerve. Maybe a blowout in a front tire. It is not possible to travel at high speeds without risk. Period.
So yes, I look forward to the numb, flat apathy that is coming soon. Ignorance as we all know, is bliss.