Friday, Mar. 28, 2003
Alex's anxiety/depression crept up on him earlier in his life than mine did. Never one of the popular kids (yet probably more intelligent than all of them), he wandered through high school and college quietly suffering, not knowing why. With or without company in the room Alex was always alone.
I, on the other hand, was well known in high school, although never popular. Everyone knew my name, but I didn't need the whole hand to count my friends. I was the guy who did whatever, whoever, whenever the fuck I pleased. And got away with it. I never earned a diploma, but the state gave me one anyway. My brash disregard for others' sensitivity to following the rules made me the low-class cousin who never got invited to parties - until I started dating a princess. While structure and survival were granted, I just did not care. About anything. My future. My reputation. My education. Until it was all gone.
After five months of crying myself to sleep every night on MaryJane's shoulder in a cheap four-wall studio by the freeway I called a city clinic out of the blue pages. For fifteen bucks a pop, my too-good-looking-for-this-job therapist watched me spill everything in a self-conscious purging of confused thoughts and emotions, mucus and tears. Then he offered generic samples of his Master's education while I sorted out the spillage.
They say the best psychologists become so by studying their own problems. After sitting through (and paying for) the required sessions before my too-sexy-for-this-shirt therapist could qualify me for anti-depressants, I had figured out where my wiring had gone wrong, why I was shut up in an isolated cave with no apparent friends, why I was a shadow of the person I used to be before all my decisions became my own. I was also figuring out why my therapist was sitting in a municipal clinic instead of a private office, listening to drug addicts instead of county club alcoholics.
Therapy is for crazy people who really need it. Or weak-minded people who can't decide without it. Or friendless people with no one else to trust to talk to. That was me on all counts. This diary is supplemental to the continuing therapudic rituals I have to practice day after day for the rest of my life, none of which have anything to do with the crowned professional notion of "therapy". I've learned to expand the concept beyond the oxy moronic conventional wisdom. Brass time with Alex is one of those rituals.
He wrote an entry a while ago which included his impression of my social behavior.
...Go read it, you lazy, selfish bastard. Now.
It amazes me that my self image can be so oposite my projected image. As the abuse of pot can create a lasting sober paranoia which parallels the subsequent depression, I just assumed that people could smell my self loathing across the room like a bio hazard. That particular entry of his has never come up between us, but it helps to keep it in mind while he - or anyone else - and I talk about our states of mind shifting between personal responsibility, failure and success with women, substence dependency, secret aspirations, war and politics, religion and spirituality and family.
Alex thinks I'm good with people. Actually, the only time I'm good with people the way he thinks I am is when I don't give a fuck. What he sees isn't neccessarily my abusing the local help or insulting the tourists. It's my otherwise reclusive personality uninhibited by a total lack of investment in the opinions of complete strangers. This is what Alex sees when he and I go out. What he doesn't realize is that it's a level of comfortability I've reached with his participation in my personal life that becomes amplified and projected by his presence. The cracking of shells works both ways.
I've already worked through a lot of the problems he's facing now for the first time. Although his problems are slightly more severe given the time he's been carrying them, I get a lot of satisfaction out of the way we can finish each other's anecdotes. I worked on mine alone, but not everyone can do that. Then again, I'd be stuck in a holding pattern if Alex wasn't dealing with this now. And when he's healthier, it'll be his turn to talk to another friend, to hold up the flashlight so they can both crawl their way out.
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