You may have noticed that I’m not writing quite as many articles as I usually do. This is because I am experimenting with taking an anti-anxiety drug. Most people think of me as a depressive, but this is not at all true. Or at least, it is not that important. I definitely have a manic-depressive cycle. And it seems I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. Most of this too seems unimportant, although the past few years I have this problem of imagining my fingers being slammed in a door (and much worse). This takes a far amount of effort to not think about it and I have been told this is known as “unwanted thoughts.” On the plus side, other people have unwanted thoughts related to harming other people. On the minus side, these thoughts come into my mind ten to twenty times per day and can last for a long time.
Since taking the anti-anxiety drugs, I don’t have these thoughts as much and they don’t bother me as much. In fact, nothing bothers me as much. I am filled with a sense that I hope is common among other people: everything is going to be okay. Now, I’m not a stupid man. Even at my worst, I know that somehow tomorrow will come and I will manage to find food and stay warm enough. But that doesn’t mean that normally I don’t freak out about just such things. Well, actually, I’m more of a planner, so I’m usually more concerned about next week rather than tomorrow, but you get the idea.
What I find interesting about this new reduced-anxiety experiment is how it has changed my writing. The most obvious thing is that I just don’t find as many topics as interesting as I once did. That’s especially true of political stories. There is so much of the “who cares” in these stories. After all, we know that nothing any of us thinks or says is going to change anything. I don’t have a million dollars to donate to any candidates. And if you do, I have no idea why you’re reading this article! So I would have thought that what I wrote would have been more laid back. But it’s been just the opposite.
I think that reducing the emotional thrust of my writing, I can get more deeply to the intellectual thrust. Emotionally, I care very deeply about equality and justice. But intellectually I am completely disgusted with the world. Think about Obama. Most of the time, I have warm feelings toward him. I think that his preferred policies are the same as mine. That makes me feel good about him. The same for Bill Clinton: he only destroyed the welfare system to get other liberal policies enacted. But in my clear-headed, non-anxious thinking, I can’t escape the truth: they’re just liars. They’re both millionaires. They aren’t total bastards, but the first thing they think about in the morning and the last thing they think about as they fall off to sleep is what they must do to keep their wealth and power.
So if you think I’m being awfully harsh these days, you’ll know what’s going on. And I think think it is a net positive. For you, there is greater clarity about what is really going on in the world. And for me, there is a far lower chance that I will just kill myself. Although I must admit: the thought doesn’t sound especially tragic.
I think I’ll go watch Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.