I’ll admit it: I had a bout of depression once, the real thing, so bad I went to see a shrink about it. I didn’t end up following the shrink’s advice (“here’s six different meds, plus twelve more to balance out the side effects of the first six”), but the whole process was interesting.
So much of “family practice” is just doc-in-the-box, which makes the title “primary care provider” a joke — you never see the same guy twice, and even if you do, you never build anything approaching a relationship. So when you present yourself at the office with four of the six necessary diagnostic criteria for a “mental health” issue, he’s pretty much required to refer you up the chain. At which point you think you really do have “depression” (or whatever), which means that drugs can cure you, so you show up at the shrink demanding the drugs. After all, what’s the shrink for, if not to dispense the SSRIs?
At no point, however, did anyone suggest that maybe I was overreacting. Which is why I was there in the first place.
Let me back up. The reason I suspected I had real, clinical depression — by which I mean, a serious chemical imbalance in my brain — was that I was blue way past any possible rational justification. Objectively, life was pretty good. I had no more stress than the next man; there were, in fact, millions of people who’d be happy to take my place. So why was I so paralyzingly miserable? I’d say “you’d have had to put a gun to my head to get me out of bed some mornings,” but on mornings like that, kameraden — thankfully few — I might’ve told you to go ahead and pull the fucking trigger. That’s the kind of sad I was.
The docs, though, just applied the checklist: Sleep disturbance, drinking too much, eating too much, inability to concentrate, and have I lost contact with friends? Hahaha, what friends. Yep, that’s depression, let’s get you pilled up!!
Maybe I was overreacting, though. For all they knew, a good swift kick in the ass would’ve sorted me right out. I got that same list of excuses, minus (usually) the “suicidal gestures” stuff, every time a sorority girl got too drunk to type out her term paper the night before it was due. Maybe all I really needed was to get screwed, blued, and tattooed, as I think they say in the Corps. Certainly the docs had no way of knowing…
What I’m getting at, comrades, is that something as simple as the return of a sense of proportion would cure most of our ills. I really was depressed — literally, chemically — but was this guy?
The reason why he’s so hard to pin down as right wing or left wing (or patsy) is that it’s not important to him, writing the note. The purpose of the note isn’t to convey information, it is to convey mood, and the seemingly random and contradictory positions he takes on issues is all in an attempt to win you, the reader, over to his side. He knows for sure he is angry, he knows for sure he feels wronged, but he can’t logically and realistically link the real world events to his level of anger. So he confuses you with words while blanketing you with mood. You have no idea what he’s talking about, but you definitely sympathize with the frustration. Boom– he got you.
“This guy” being Joe Stack, so there was definitely something wrong with him. But note the conclusion:
If you had granted every single one of his wishes, he would still not have been satisfied, he would not have been happy. As bankrupt as he was, he still had a plane, a house to set on fire, a car… note also he didn’t seem to care about his family he left behind. The problem isn’t what happened to him in his life, it’s how he viewed his life and its expectations.
Emphasis his, but it’s dead on. This guy’s misery was all out of proportion to his circumstances, and he knew it, and yet… he didn’t know it, because he thought “his happiness” and “his circumstances” were supposed to be interchangeable.
Note the solution we seemed to have settled on for this problem. We’ve medicalized the universal student tendency to not want to go to class into “attention deficit disorder,” but this loopy bint is sanitizing the insides of her nostrils against the Kung Flu and she’s in the Washington Post. And I’m sure I don’t have to point out the likelihood — by which I mean metaphysical certainty — that this woman lives a life beyond our dreams of avarice, in a neighborhood the entire Rotten Chestnuts readership couldn’t afford even if we all went dutch.
I’ll put it as plainly as I can. Nothing, not even the bubonic plague, justifies this:
as long as I’m buying the soap, I should stick some up into each nostril and wash it out a bit. He also suggested isopropyl alcohol, not to drink, but to dip a Q-Tip in and then gently move it around the inside of each nostril. It may sound almost as ridiculous as the suggestion to somehow put bleach into our bodies, but a little bit of soap and alcohol probably can’t hurt. I also dab my eyelids with Ocusoft Lid Scrub in the hopes that any virus on my eyelids won’t go any further.
I’m not a psychiatrist or anything, but holy cow, that’s florid psychosis. (Needless to say, she’d actually inject bleach if she hadn’t convinced herself that the Bad Orange Man told her to, and she’d much rather die of COVID than take hydroxycholoroquine).
In my whiter pilled moments, I’m coming to believe that’s all it will take: Calling a spade a spade, or, in this case, calling a lunatic a lunatic. Somehow injecting into our discourse the idea that maybe, just maybe, behavior divorced from any possible tether to reality is bad.