That Old Familiar Sting

I’m depressed today.

Last night it came up that I hadn’t taken my cat to the vet for a check-up in a while. She over-grooms which we’ve deduced to being likely a matter of nerves, of abandonment issues, and of not getting enough play. But still it’s alarming when she chews new bald spots or new open wounds on her legs. And the logic is that she could use someone looking her over to rule out any other possibilities, or unnoticed conditions, and to make sure she gets her middle-aged shots.

At the same time, my last vet experience with her didn’t go well. They charged me heavily, including a zinc tooth gel which I never figured out how to apply to my cat’s teeth without entirely annoying her. And I have a habit when it comes to my own doctors treating me poorly of being extremely reticent to returning, hence a migraine problem worthy of a neurologist yet unmonitored due to a solitary bad experience with my last neurologist.

I have issues with responsibilities. I am resistant to taking on new ones because of so many past experiences with old ones, and a confrontation. And when I take on responsibilities and then fail to meet them, and it’s loved ones or cute, fluffy people who suffer, well, that doesn’t just make me feel guilty, it’s triggering. It makes me feel super guilty and awful. And that’s the end result of last night’s revelation.

Depression is not merely about strong neural pathways, as is modeled in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Sometimes my brain drugs me with special hormones.

This is very much true regarding sex. It is no surprise that male harem fantasies commonly portray a protagonist with an unlimited libido and unending ability to perform. When I’m mid-experience (with a partner or otherwise), I certainly feel like I could hump forever.*

That’s because the brain flushes itself with a drug, a hormone, to turn itself into a sex machine.

My depression works similarly. The brain flushes itself with a different drug to turn the world five-gagillion shades of gray.

This is why depression convincingly seems forever even though past episodes have always been temporary (though particularly lengthy depressions have run over a year). When under the influence of depression, all my emotions are well toned with a lot of meh. Nothing is exciting or enthralling or alluring, and all my memories and aspirations are similarly colored. That really awesome date with my girlfriend? Meh. The time I almost met the front grill of a speeding pickup? Meh. Getting to play my new game? Meh.

These days, I recognize it as a chemically induced state, and have protocols to weather it. Some cheese toast and low-drama games and I can wait out the meh fog.

But right now, my brain is full of the you suck! hormone. This was a deluxe dose. That really awesome date with my girlfriend? You sucked. It’s a wonder she doesn’t break up with you. The time I almost met the front grill of a speeding pickup? You suck! If that pickup killed you you wouldn’t be neglecting your cat right now. Getting to play my new game? You suck! You don’t deserve such games when you’re neglecting cats that love you.

Sometimes depression isn’t just meh. it’s you suck!. It’s still temporary. I’ll still be okay when it wears out, but for the moment, it’s like a thunderstorm in which the rain against the roof is so loud I can’t think.

* Our society’s medical history is rife with incidents to prove that this isn’t the case, of people hopped up on drugs breaking their bodies trying to have sex for too long. In fact the condition priapism (an erection that doesn’t quit) will get painful and problematic in just hours. (I hear the condition of unending orgasms, male or female also gets painful and is not one to be envied either.)

Still, human males, like all other mammals are subject to the Coolidge effect. There’s a story of the captive guinea pigs in which a male made his way into the female pen and almost killed himself of exhaustion by mating unrelentingly with each of the twenty-odd females. Death by Snu Snu is a viable possibility where a healthy man will enthusiastically bang himself to death by exhaustion given circumstances that could supply enough new partners. Lucky bastard.

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