Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Depression sucks almost as much as anti-depressants

prozac.jpgDepression sucks. I’ve struggled with it my whole life. I hate saying I was suicidal, though I was. I hate saying it not because it is embarrassing to admit (It doesn’t embarrass me at all. I think a lot more people should be suicidal, actually. Their lives are totally pointless, but they are so busy staying entertained that they don’t know it. At least a suicidal person has some idea of who and what they are…)

It embarrasses me because Becky and I were sort of the mom & dad for bunch of 19 year olds. So many of them were “suicidal”. It always frustrated me, because they would tell me how suicidal they were. I’d ask what their plan was, and they’d say they didn’t really have one. Over and over again I would say something to the effect of,”Suicide is not a lifestyle, its an event. If you’ve been suicidal for 10 years and never had a plan, I think there is something else going on here. Lets talk about what that something else might be.” But privately, I was much more judgmental. I’d think “where’s the scars up and down your arm? Where’s the gun loaded with just one bullet? Where’s your special kit that you have for mutilating yourself?” Because those things mark someone who takes ending their life, or at least hurting themselves, a little more seriously than just mentioning in casual conversation, “Oh, me, sure I’ve been suicidal for years now!”

But anti-depressants always scared me more than death. I always felt like I hated my life because of legitimate complaints, not because I just had biochemical screw loose that made me hate my wonderful life. Seriously, it wasn’t a wonderful life. It was bitter and sad and desperate and lonely. I didn’t want to feel better about my shitty life. I wanted to have great life, not be stoned into believing that my shitty life was great. I’m sure someone who reads this will have had their life saved by anti-depressants. Great. I am very happy for you! I believe that there are biochemical imbalances that cause depression and that anti-depressants are healthy and positive way to deal with said chemical imbalances. But that’s not what my problem was. I am very analytical. I self assess my life constantly. When I was really depressed it was because I dispassionately analyzed my life and concluded as any sane person would that the life I had really sucked. When I was suicidal it was because I had a an experience when lead me to (very reasonably, I might add) to think that if I kept on doing what I was doing I would keep on getting what I was getting. That’s not the thoughts of an insane person. In fact, quite the opposite, since the definition of mental illness is doing the same-thing over and over and expecting a different result. On the occasions that cut myself it was because I hurt so much inside that I want hurt outside too. Is cutting yourself an acceptable way to deal with pain? No. Does the fact that I dealt with my pain badly mean that the pain should not have been felt in the first place? Absolutely not! Pain is supposed to hurt. I did not want then, nor do I want now, any chemical that makes my emotional pain less. Analogy: I don’t want it to not hurt when you hit me with a hammer, I want you stop hitting me with a hammer.

Anyway, I decided the only way to change my life was to sit down and change it. I told my church to screw it, told God to screw it, dropped out of all my closest friends lives, and joined the Air Force without telling anyone but my wife, and some close family. We just sort of disappeared. I don’t regret it. About 6 months ago we patched things up with people, became friends again, and apologized where apology was due. I don’t think that I “dropped out” right. There were probably a hundred different ways I hurt people and didn’t actually NEED to. But the spirit of me leaving: God, my friends, my family, my church, and my town, was dead on.

I did it because I refused to live a life in fear anymore. Not of God, not of approval. Not anything. Since then, the times when I want to kill myself have been few and far between, I haven’t struggled with wanting to hurt myself almost at all (which is a big deal for me). Oddly, I think the whole thing has a lot to do with God, even thought I turned my back on Him. (Losing my faith did more to cure my depression than anything else I’ve done!)

I turned my back on God because I had a faith that was unexamined, and an unexamined faith isn’t worth having. In the Bible there’s these people called martyrs. They were given a choice of saying that Jesus was BS or dying. And they chose to die. I never understood why. Why not just say “Jesus is a phony” and then live to tell others about how great he is. But they died. And the Bible says this pleased God. Well that pissed me off. Why would God be happy when people died because they wouldn’t say he was fake? Saying and believing aren’t the same thing, so who cares if they say “God’s not real” and then go on to a life full of miracles and helping people. But God does.

I decided that I wouldn’t call myself a Christian unless I am sure that if someone put a gun to my head, and said “Renounce Christ or die” I’d chose death. That sounds hardcore, but its not. Not really. I’d die to protect my daughter’s life, or at least if I don’t, then I’m not much of dad. Heck, female dogs will die to protect their puppies, I’d better have at least as much morality as flea-bitten mongrel bitch. So I still don’t call myself a Christian (not yet).

But I’m working on it. The simplest thing I’ve ever found is this: If God’s real treat Him like it. They say he wrote the Bible. They say he wrote the Koran. The Bible says there are no other books of God. The Koran says that followers of the Bible have no place in Heaven. So ask God to help you find him in the books people say he wrote. Then read ’em. If He is who he seems to be, it seems the Almighty Master of the universe could show you which biography is the most accurate.

He shows me stuff. (I thought the Koran sucked, btw) I read the Bible and I see stuff about this guy named God and what He thinks. Gradually, I begin to understand that the reason the faith I used to have made me want to cut myself to let all the pain out was because my faith wasn’t in God at all. My faith was in this made up God that the Church sells people because the Church wants to keep its stranglehold of power. The real God that I find in the Bible doesn’t bother me half as much as the one that people twist the Bible to invent. I still don’t love him, which the Bible commands me to do, but I don’t hate him anymore, and that’s progress.

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Pharmacology, Religion | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment