Tuesday, December 30, 2014

a trap without a spring

i think something is very wrong with my brain.  i have trouble discussing this, as people usually seem to have an unassailable knee-jerk reaction of incredulity.  it almost seems as if people don't want to believe the brain really has all that much to do with who we are, and will only admit anything has gone wrong, if given indisputable medical evidence.

why is this?  if i have trouble holding an object in my hand, nobody would doubt me, for saying my hand isn't working.  they wouldn't insist i need proof, before even considering the possibility.  i might be wrong about the exact nature of the problem, but not that there IS a problem.  certainly, no one would try to tell me that i've spent my entire life failing to use my hand properly, because i'm just not trying hard enough.

in a recent post, i attempted to frame this as being all about how tired i am, and how my efforts to stay awake have shaped my behaviour - but that's not as clear-cut, as i made it out to be.  i'm trying to figure this out, experimenting with different explanations, struggling with how to make sense of it, to myself, and anyone else.  i'm not really that tired all the time.  i am tired an awful lot, and have my coping mechanisms for that, but probably shouldn't chalk quite so much up to that.

this problem goes back about as far as i can remember, but became especially bad, when i was a teenager, after going off growth hormone - that's a big part of why i think it could be related, although i admit, it might not be.  if it's not that, though, it really has to be something else.  something that seems to be growing increasingly disruptive, as i'm getting older.

in my early teens, i was an avid reader.  an aspiring musician, an artist.  i'd often wander manhattan in search of obscure sutras, exotic cooking supplies, and punk rock.  if anyone asked me what i liked to do, i had a reasonably healthy selection of answers.

when i was about sixteen though, i abruptly stopped reading, i pretty much stopped all of it.  i was capable of reading, capable of catching a train into the city, i just never felt like it, anymore.  when i tried, anyhow, i had a hell of a time concentrating - because i just wasn't into it.  i didn't care where the story went.  something had gone missing, in my ability to feel engaged by the activity.  in the twenty years since, i've only read a handful of books, and it is always a frustrating struggle.  what the fuck changed so profoundly?

as the years have gone by, i've noticed that inability to engage has expanded, to include just about everything.  from watching television, to playing video games, to even socializing.  these are not ambitious behaviors.  these were never things i liked to admit to spending so much time doing - but i used to be able to get into them.  it was better than the overwhelming nothing i do, now.  much like reading, i can play a videogame, or watch a movie, but i won't really be into it.  i won't feel any motivation to do it.  i won't care how it goes.  i might as well be watching paint dry.

this extends to everything i do, everything i should do.  every phone call i should make, every trip i should take, every event i might participate in.  i'm not incapable of doing these things, but i will have a hell of a time doing any of it, because there just isn't any organic motivation there.  not to even get into why i dropped out of school, and have never gotten a job.  massive minefields of countless things i had trouble doing, to even make any attempts in such a direction.

something in the way my mind works just doesn't click into place, the way it should.  i have to really force myself, just to do every little thing, and i don't know how to express just what a profound all-encompassing deficit this is, except to point at my entire life;  anyone who gets to know me, realizes i really do a pretty shocking amount of nothing - but usually maintains the belief that it's just a perplexing choice i seem to be making.

most of my life, this was framed as typical of depression.  some still latch onto that explanation immediately, as if determined not to let go of it.  as if "depression" is a somehow comforting straight-forward explanation that dodges the anxiety provoking prospect of something else going on.  one reason it is impossible to rule out is that it's not a clearly defined concept - even if it's accurate, it's vague, it can be a symptom of something else, it isn't necessarily much of an answer at all.. but it also doesn't fit all that well.

depression doesn't account for the lifelong deficit i'm referring to, here.  depression doesn't typically sabotage the capacity for mindless escapism, like watching television or reading sci-fi or playing video games.  exceptionally severe depression might, but that comes with a variety of other symptoms that are pretty damn impossible to miss.

i may very well have co-occurring mental health issues that compound the problem, but that does not account for the entire problem, and it's a pretty useless explanation, given that i've tried to treat it as mere depression and anxiety, for so long.  only to find all sorts of medications and therapy completely ineffective.  i don't understand why "it's just depression" seems to be such an automatic response, or what it even means, really - especially to people who don't even know much about mental health and depression, anyhow.

no, this is something else, something that pervades my entire existence, and seems to be getting worse.  incidentally, it's normal for growth hormone to decline somewhat in later years, so that could be reducing my already low levels to an even more acute deficiency - if it has anything to do with all this, at all.

whatever the issue is, bear in mind, i'm not a stupid person, nor an irrational person.  i'm not easily swayed by ill-conceived theories or pseudoscience.  i'm not prone to just making shit up.. but having battled this all my life, i'm pretty sure something is seriously physiologically wrong, here.. and i have no idea how to even attempt to explain it in more succinct terms.

i can't blame anyone for not wanting to read all this, but i have no idea how else to attempt to tackle the problem or help anyone understand.. how badly i need help.  this is destroying my life.


Meredith said...

I think you've explained yourself very eloquently. I wish there was something I could do or say to help, but I know there isn't. Just keep on hanging on...

Joshua Abell said...

Thank you. I know there isn't anything most people can do, but I appreciate the sentiment, none the less.