When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Yin And The Yang Of It All

(Originally 4/26/07)

After yesterday's post about My Other Hero's loss, I didn't exactly want to come here and gush about positive things. Yet My Other Hero seems to have coped with it better than I have, and I didn't even know Jamie Bishop.

For the past month and a half, my allergies have been fierce. A month ago I couldn't sleep a solid night for the coughing, and I resorted to a $9 pack of Alavert, which didn't seem to cure me. Well a month later, I'm sleeping through the night, but I'm still coughing all day--producing nice yummy little blobs of phlegm every time (where is all this fluid coming from?). So I went to the doctor for a checkup. I was prescribed antibiotics and a chest X-Ray, which I took yesterday. The results are not back yet.

This is going to sound maudlin and self-serving, but if the results come back showing something awful, like The Big C, I'm going to breathe a sigh of relief (and then probably cough). Because I'm ready to move on. This life is a failure and not just sometimes, I despair of it.

I move from one distraction to the next, trying to eek whatever joy I can get from my circumstances, but generally it's only the quality of my fantasies that determine how good my day is going to be. I live through virtuosity. Not only through fantasy per se, but through other people's lives. Through your families and loves and successes. Because it feels like the only success I'm going to personally experience in these areas can only be imagined. The chemical ingredient that transforms my deepest desires into reality is not present.

You understand, of course, that I'm not in any way, shape, or form contemplating suicide. There's still a glowing hoper inside of me that would like to see things get better, and I'm not going to cut off my chances of that happening. But if something else that I can't control comes along, like a fatal illness, -- the way that accident came along, despite my wrestling with the steering wheel like an action hero -- then so the hell be it. I'm ready to write my farewells, throw all my junk out, give my books away to charities and friends, and shed the effluvia of my transient life.

Am I having a bipolar shift into depression? Maybe so. Will succesfully courting a mate and marrying her (or him) solve this depression? Probably not. So what then? Get some medication? Get the hell over it? Get another comic book? Write another story? Dive back, and this time go deep, into the fantasy world?

I'm going to call my insurance carrier again, and this time instead of X-Rays, I'm going back to therapy.

Now, here's the craziness of it all. On that Friday Night a few weeks ago, between the Moon and New York City, along with the dancing I did, I sang. The mood was right, the live band was playing, and the people were encouraging. So when Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" started to play, I lifted my head and went "Mother, mother ...there's too many of you crying ... Brother brother brother ... there's far too many of you dying ..." My Friday Night Date made the same expression she made when she first saw me in my tux and said, "Sing it, Al!"

Oh, the encouragement of a good woman. No medicine like it.

So a few nights ago, I broke open my podcasting mic, plugged it into my laptop, and sang three songs. No, make that four. Then I listened to them, all the way through. And whereas I've tried this before, both privately and publicly, I have arrived to the place I wanted to be with this singing thing. I'm ready to put these renditions of mine online somewhere.

I know it now. I actually can sing.

So with that major goal in life met, why am I ready to accept cancer and shuffle off the mortal coil? That's why I'm going back to therapy. Unless you guys reading this can tell me if this is a normal state of The Human Condition? And that is, with all the ups in your lives, there is an equal amount of downs. That you can go along in a great mood, and suddenly something comes along and it all gets dark, like there was never a reason to feel good in the first place? And if not, then is it just me ... and the millions of others who suffer from mood disorders?

You'd think I should know, right? Being a therapist and all. (OO! Don't go to that guy!)

Talk to me, somebody.

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