The English language isn’t very useful for describing emotions. Perhaps that’s why native English-speaking countries are full of materialistic robots (myself included, I’m sitting on 4 maxed out credit cards and I have no regERts). John Vervaeke mentioned in his lecture on Marcus Aurelius how over-used “love” is in our language. We love fries. We love our children. We love sunny days. You don’t have to be an expert on semantics to know that those three versions of love aren’t the same thing.
Unless you want to eat your children and put fries through college.
I’m experiencing what I used to label “depression” again for the first time in almost two years. Since just before THE PANDEMIC (placeholder for ominous graphic text dripping like an 80’s slasher title) I’ve been taking Adderall. First it was 10mg twice a day which was okay. I could take it or leave it. My psychiatrist didn’t like that, apparently, so he increased my dosage to 20mg twice a day and 10mg in the afternoon to “wind down”. Needless to say, I haven’t slept in a year. I’ve also been on a cocaine buzz for all that time.
Likely another effect of the pandemic, my psychiatrists appointment calendar is exploding, so I was handed off to a nurse practitioner. She immediately lowered my dose while making it sound like she wasn’t lowering my dose. 20mg of extended release Adderall twice a day. “You’ll get about half the effect right away and then the rest will slowly release over 6 or 7 hours, so if you take one at 7AM and one at 1PM, you should be pretty balanced through the whole day.”
I slept pretty much all last week but I’m finally acclimated for the most part. I’m not upset about this; I’m glad. I had talked to my psychiatrist three times and my therapist many more than that about how I felt empty and zombified all the time; that I was exhausted from 5pm til I went to bed but then couldn’t fall asleep. Upon waking I couldn’t get myself out of bed. I’d taken to masturbating in the morning because at least then I’d have to get up to clean myself off (even I am not gross enough to just lay there in my own dirt).
With the lowered levels of whatever the hell Adderall does to my brain, my ever-present cloud of emotional aporia has returned. I don’t even know if aporia works in that context but I wanted to use it anyway. WordPress’ dictionary doesn’t even recognize it as a word (it also doesn’t recognize WordPress but I guess that’s because the ‘p’ is also supposed to be biggie sized. You learn something new every day, I’ve heard). You’ll have to let me know! I suppose I could say “fog of sadness” but that sounds dark and pretentious simultaneously. I’m not “sad” all day any more than one “loves” their children and freedom fries the same way. I don’t think it’s depression. It can cause depression if I allow it, but the two aren’t directly connected. I may be more prone to fantasizing about horrible things like losing my job, falling in love and then being betrayed, and so on, but I’m aware of that enough to somewhat control it now. And when I don’t control it… well… sometimes it feels good to think that way. My life is pretty awesome right now so I don’t really believe those things will happen. It’s more like a reminder of what could happen in the worst possible scenario. Maybe to defend myself against it? I don’t know. I don’t understand what causes a teenager to start thinking that way and then carry those thoughts with him his whole life, minus crazy-fun-stimulants times.
So, I welcome the return of my old friend (as someone else put it in a lovely read). Life feels more real now. Tangible, I suppose. It seems like my last two years were spent staring at my computer monitor like a zombie. In just the past week I’ve sorted out my garden in preparation for planting (late, I know, but what can you do), cleaned the house, and started drawing and making music again. All I did for the however-many-months prior to that was play video games and watch movies I can’t even recollect.
I’m happy that I’ve never been one to abuse medication because I definitely feel a longing for that high. I still have a full bottle of 20mg Adderall (be careful who you tell that to by the way, holy shit there are a lot of pillheads out there that you’d never even know about) but haven’t even come close to doing a bad thing. I plan on getting rid of it the next time I talk to the nurse because I’m going to be open and honest and tell her all of the bad things that come with this lower dosage as well as the good things. Truthfully, though, I don’t see myself asking to return to the old levels. I feel too human now.
This happens every time, too, doesn’t it? If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know that I’ve tried more or less every antidepressant mankind has invented as well as several ADHD medications and it’s always the same story: I feel great for a month, then I start to think “hmm… I feel kind of hollow”, and then I either stop taking them myself or my medication gets changed and I feel so much better than I had been feeling. Maybe drugs aren’t the answer but who am I to say? I’m told that sometimes pills are the only solution for people who are genuinely suicidal. Perhaps. I’ve never met someone like that. Is it uncouth to say that living in the state I was in for your whole life doesn’t seem to be a whole lot better than being dead? I got about the same amount done as a dead person would have. That’s not true, even remotely. Sorry.
So here’s what I think happens: I’m obviously the kind of person who looks for the easy solution to his problems. Studying for college and setting aside time to practice piano take so much effort. Then my psychiatrist says “well lets try this pill it should give you a lot more energy and then you will magically just want to do everything without even thinking about it!” That is never how it works. Instead, I get a bunch of energy and sit on my ass all day (even more than I was without the drugs) but now that I’m high as fuck, I feel good about it instead of feeling like I’m being a bit of a loser. But if a pill is offered to me, I have to try it. Something in me says “this could be the one”. I’m let down every time, sometimes catastrophically (Lamictal made me actually suicidal for the first time in my life and I never want to feel that again).
But I’m old now. Wiser. Some people scoff when I say that and say “pah, you’re still young! Just a kid!” but it’s not that I’m not old, it’s that they’re super old. My mortality has been a more frequent point of interest while lying in bed. I’m finally faced with the reality which has always been true but young people pretend isn’t: there isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do. Not in a day and not in the rest of my life. That’s not a good or bad thing it’s just a fact of life. I think I’d have been a lot happier if I’d known that my whole life; I could have picked a thing to care about and master. I don’t really have the time left to master something. Of course, none of us knows how much time we truly have left. I could die tomorrow. I wonder about that more often than I should as well (I have had this strange sensation in the side of my head for years and I’ve convinced myself it’s cancer but my doctor laughs at me so I’ve never gotten an MRI).
As you may have noticed, if you pay attention to such things, my ability to write has slowly returned as well. I could not sit down and write more than a few paragraphs on high doses of Adderall. It’s supposed to make you focus but I wouldn’t call what it does “focus“. You can sit still and do one thing for 8 hours, yes, but in my experience that thing usually isn’t one that requires a great deal of focus. I could play a video game for an entire day but if I was doing homework, for example, my attention would constantly hone in on minute details which really didn’t matter and it would take me four hours to finish an assignment I could have done in thirty minutes. Too much Adderall. I think right now the way I feel is the perfect level. I’m not a zombie and I don’t yell embarrassing things to complete strangers, but I’ve retained some of that attention to detail. That’s always been a personality quirk of mine, though. It’s why I did so well as a manager… sweating the small stuff is a positive thing in that field.
I could go on and on here. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything substantial that there’s a lot I want to say, but I’ll leave it for another day. Maybe I’ll get back into a morning blog post routine now that I’m about to go back to work full time. I equally dread and love that.