Thursday, 14 July 2011

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired!
Absolutely exhausted in fact.
I've been absent from here for a couple of weeks after a recent manic spree of about three posts, as I went to the Czech Republic for a week coming back Monday afternoon, Tuesday night I went to see Primus in Manchester and I've been working all the other days without much joy at having sleep in between.

Coming up soon on the blog is a full and expansive review of the Obscene Extreme Festival I went to whilst in Czech which is already pretty much complete, with pictures and videos that I have to sort through. Obviously this is going to be quite a specialist post for some people to read, so I thought I'd give you warning to cower behind your sofas.

Now back to the unprompted ramblings.

I recently read some of the awe-inspiring Charlie Brooker's latest book 'The Hell of it all', a collection of his weekly columns from a few years ago. The man is a true genius, and a moody, grumpy, funny, intellectual, angry swine. I like that. I can relate fully. In one of the pieces, he mentions a word I'd heard of but previously didn't know the meaning of (thanks to there being a black metal band called it)... Anhedonia.

Now, I'm not saying I AM anhedonic. I'm not latching onto another word or feeling and deciding that's what I'm going to be this week, but the reading on the above Wiki link is definitely interesting and excruciatingly relative and apt to me at this moment, and certainly explains a lot of the feelings I've had since, well, birth, pretty much. It linked further on to other words that I'd heard of but didn't know the meaning of... Cyclothymia (click for Wiki reading)... Dysthymia (click):- I'd heard of this word before as there is an Icelandic depressive black metal band of this name who did an immense album called 'The Shivering Opus'... (and they say 'extreme metal' isn't good for you. It's certainly educational, and well educated too, think back to when you first got 'Symphonies of Sickness' by Carcass and tell me you didn't get a dictionary out to look through all those alien words in the lyrics!)

Anyway, It's strange just how many offshoots there are of what is, basically, 'being depressed, feeling down, struggling with day to day life'. I do know there is more to it than just that, and that it also brings into play an unbalancing of chemicals in the brain, with sudden swings on both sides of the spectrum, from manic depression to euphoric happiness without much control, and generally with not much in between, so it's not all as clear cut as feeling a bit rubbish for a long time.

Add on Bipolar Disorder - of which there are subdivisions 'i', 'ii', the mentioned 'cyclothymia' and more, there is Major Depressive Disorder which has many variations and other names, and so it goes on, with Subcortical Ischemic Depression and Executive Dysfunction being further on in the learning chain, and then Dementia, Psychosis and Schizophrenia all coming into the loop and there are many offshoots of those too. Not saying that each leads on to the next, it's just amazing how much stuff can affect the mind. Add in all the components of obsessive compulsions and attention deficits, and shower it with the usual lathering of general every day stress, it's a wonder any single one of us can function!

This world is a scary place. Especially when your own brain can cause such horrors to yourself.

am I just making a list of depression's various disguises? Well, I was but it came from strangely being able to empathise with each and every one of them, but unfortunately (and unexcitingly) the notion of anhedonia is what mainly triggered this. What strikes me as odd is how can some of these be pinpointed as different when they are essentially delivering the same outcome to its host's brain, which is basically feeling like utter shit, even at times when they ought to be feeling great, good, even just a bit happy. Is all of this a reflection of the society that now engulfs us with its difficulty for survival, that even when we're happy or things are going well or good experiences are being had we can't truly enjoy them or take actual mental and physical pleasure from them? Or is Science and Medicine just more able to make more widescale, impressive, incisive prognoses after the many years of study?

Of course, I don't have the answers to these, all I know is that inside me, my brain, my mind, my existence, I am cancerously riddled with something from the above list, and I'll simply call it 'Physical and mental exhaustion incapacitating my existence and enjoyment of anything that I should really consider positive, fun or normally happy' Syndrome. Of course, I tried to give that kind of snappy, acronystic shortening, but PAMEIMEAEOATISRCPFONH Syndrome doesn't really have any sort of musicality, or pronounceability either. I could add on to the end of that 'because it seems over-ruled by overwhelming dread of things going wrong again or things that are always wrong' but PAMEIMEAEOATISRCPFONH-BISOBODOTGWAOTTAAW Syndrome is even less likely to win some kind of Nobel Prize, or get in any dictionary, or even be pronounced properly, ever! (Although the second part does seem a little like a word, just spelt quite oddly!)

It has just struck me however, that since EVERYONE is different, and everyone's situations are different, and people grew up around different people with different attitudes, mindsets, ways of dealing with things, the whole works, surely it should be [insert your name] disorder or syndrome or dysfunction or whatever other words for the same thing you prefer to use. So maybe I am being a little hasty in thinking there are too many, maybe there are not enough. I just can't stop thinking in two minds it seems, with every situation.

'Without more specific classifications' they'd say, 'you can't diagnose and treat people correctly'.

'But' I reply, innocently and inquisitively, 'surely this is just over-complication and makes me wonder whether it's all just another big business strategy, without our best interests at heart. With all these millions of variants of drugs for all the hundreds of variants of a very similar state of mind, it just seems like big money is being made through over-expensive prescriptions'. I take a drink of water and rejoice at my introduction to the table of a huge conspiracy theory.

'The brain is a very complicated place and we're learning more and more about it as we go along' I schizophrenically reply to myself in a strange conversational charade to prove a point.

'That's true, it is a complete marvel of the universe how it works'.

I wonder where to go next with this, unfortunately I realise that waving with jazz hands or doing a funky little dance isn't the direction to go and so I continue with '...but surely with so many tiny variations and so many apparent antidotes being made available you've just increased the chances many fold of picking the wrong drug for the wrong ailment? Also by coining names for so many of these variations you're offering up more things for some people to claim they have. I'm not saying by any stretch of the imagination that these problems don't exist. I know full well they do, but the more it is in the media (which ultimately can glamourise almost anything), the more derivatives there are, the more potential it gives some people to take time off work at the drop of a hat.'

Things go silent for a moment.

'They' start to wave with jazz hands and do a funky little dance and run out of the room.

In all honesty, 'they' probably wouldn't, 'they' would come up with a much cleverer reply than I can think of to give myself, and my whole angle would be deemed as paranoid witterings. Maybe that's what you think too. Maybe you agree. Maybe you think I'm a complete idiot. Feel free to constructively discuss underneath this entry, as with anything else on this blog.

I'm still looking for the way to be happy in my skin, with my brain, in this body, with my situations, with all the stuff and nonsense I'm trying not to dwell on that has collected inside me since birth.

I think this is one of the more damaging things really, but how do you STOP dwelling on things that have happened? It's all a part of what has brought you to the point you are at, that has shaped you, how do you suddenly blank out the bad parts? I try, but some things just pop back into your mind without any warning, how can this be blocked, how can this be ignored, how can this be dealt with? Surely forgetting about it completely is one of the (many) steps towards full scale dementia! Bizarrely (and contradictory as it is, as ever in this world), that seems to be the only way to be truly free! To be unshackled from the every day torment a brain can give you, to get 'out of the system' that enslaves you. How annoying is THAT! It's like the ultimate Pyrrhic Victory.

I am scarily feeling very little excitement for much at the moment.
Pretty rubbish that.
I'm not giving up hope yet though, which is something surely? And of course, apparently, half the battle is acknowledging the problem, so I'm already 50% better than I was yesterday.

Is there a variant called 'Anhedonic But Almost Positive' Syndrome, or ABAPS?

That's a bit catchier I feel.

No comments:

Post a Comment