I’m not well.
There really is no two ways about it, for as long as I can remember, I have been waging a battle against my mind just to function in human society. I often sit back and watch as people mill about wondering if their heads are as loud and busy and distracting as mine is and if so, are other peoples’ noises as…angry as mine.
Recently, and I do not know when this happened, or what caused it, my regiment of prescription drugs, vodka, and weed stopped working. It was gradual, but fast, and I found myself unable to focus on, care about, and find joy in anything. Furthermore, having always had difficulties with these aspects of life, along with the outward projection of human emotions, I lost the ability to fake it.
Actually, to be fair, I lost the ability to care about faking it. I’d look around me and see all these happy, normal, people who view depression as something that happens when their favorite sports team loses and not a way of life, and I wanted to …
Rage was building up inside me, and I had spent enough time “in my own head” to know that I needed real help.
Anyone who has ever tried to address mental health knows that needing help and getting help are completely different things. After panic attacks forced me to leave work twice in two weeks, and three times in one month it would still be another 3 weeks before I could get in to see someone trained to deal with people like me. What to do in the meantime?
(This is where this article begins to make some sense for this site.)
Now, I’d hit periods like this before, when I just didn’t give a fuck. I hated people, and people hated me. These funks (for lack of a better phrase) didn’t really alter my way of life as I had no one for whom I was directly responsible and if friends/girl friends drifted away then so be it, other people were really never all that important to me anyways. The real world sucks, and I wanted nothing to do with it beyond the few pleasures it allowed me and I could always retreat into my fantasy life inside my head.
In other words: Comics kept me sane.
It is one of those non-funny jokes WIFE likes to tell people about our relationship; that no matter what, “RU needs his comic book budget.” She blows it off as one of her husband’s quirks, while recognizing that I do need the escape my comics have provided. The problem is, along with vodka, weed, and Prozac – comics stopped working.
I’ve been betrayed!
These inanimate objects that have meant more to me and have done more for me than most real-life people I know just up and decided to start sucking all at once. From Age of Ultron to Prophet, comics began to make me angry. Angry at their stupidity, angry at the characters, angry that they were in color, and angry that they even existed and took up some of the finite space available in creation. I have a volume 2 of Saga sitting unread on a coffee table, and I am preemptively mad at it for … I don’t even know what I am mad at it about, just that I am.
Comics and their peripheries have become the anti-fun in my life. Now, instead of running my fingers along the spines of my trades, instead of looking at my filing cabinets filled with thousands of comics as gateways to escapism, I see them as just one more thing to deal with while I am alive.
Comics, as of right now, are a habit of mine instead of a hobby. I am going through the motions hoping that as my medication is adjusted and as I become accustomed to the new chemicals in my brain my love of the medium returns. But, like a failing marriage, I am not so sure this relationship can be fixed. Has my quest for mental health (I cannot believe that I actually typed that phrase) ruined comics? Am I stuck in the real world without the 616 taking up real-estate in my fantasy life? Is this banal, quiet, boring existence what normal people deal with?
My therapist asked me last week when the last time I had fun was, and I really have no idea. I’m not even sure what my definition of “fun” is anymore, just that, right now, it doesn’t involve comic books.
And that makes me a sad RU.