Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Opiate of the Masses - The After School Special

According to the NIMH (who are not quite as secretive as I was led to believe as a child) mental disorders are fairly common in the United States, with approximately 1 in 5 adults suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder. Some of you reading this will be thinking to yourselves, “Hell, I have seen James’ desk. Mental disorder is the least of his worries.” As a general rule you would be right, however over the last several years I have noticed that starting around my birthday and running through sometime in February, I have a tendency to be a little more down than usual. I used to attribute this to the fact that my life has turned out VASTLY different than I had planned and, quite frankly, has not lived up to the expectations that my eighteen-year-old self had. As I am an introspective lad this sort of thing will be on my mind when important anniversary’s come up, you know, like birthdays and the end of the year.

I just assumed this was a natural thing that everyone went through. I just happened to be extra lucky because as soon as I was coming out of my birthday funk I would get into the most stressful part of the year. In addition to the usual holiday stresses and demands on my time, this was the time, in my former job, when we were prepping and performing our big end-of-year inventory. I would get so stressed and sleep-deprived during this time that I would generally spend the first week of the New Year sick as a dog. All of these factors added up to an annual bout of depression for me, and that’s just the way it was meant to be. Or so I thought.

About a year ago I started to hear about this thing called Seasonal Affective Disorder from a buddy of mine who suffers through the same thing (although he HATES Christmas with a passion) and attributed it to pretty much the same things I did. He is much more motivated than I am when it comes to researching these things (I think this has something to do with his dedication to BSing people) and thus he filled me in on the ins and outs of SAD.

Basically SAD is due to increased levels of melatonin being produced by the pineal gland (sneaky little bugger) due to a decrease in the amount of sunlight we are exposed to during the winter months. In past years this was particularly bad for me since I spent my days in a windowless cell praying every day for release…..I’m sorry, I mean to say that my workspace did not have any windows in it and therefore my exposure to sunlight was minimal, at best.

There are two reasons why I am bringing this up now.

First. I just wanted to join the millions of Americans who are dodging personal responsibility by blaming their crappy behavior on their mental disorder or the fact that their mommy didn’t love them enough. I now have a NIMH approved monkey on my back! The government has given me an excuse to be a bitter git. Suck it.

Second. This past weekend I was gut-punched by my SAD. I am lazy. I have embraced my lazy and I am on comfortable terms with my lazy, however when I go to bed at 1 in the morning on Sunday and do not drag myself out of bed until sometime Monday night. Well, that ain’t my lazy. My buddy Brandon described it best when he was discussing how working in Rentsys felt. It goes something like this:
You could be having the best day of your life. You just hooked up with Miss October. Carmen Electra called to say she had a great night last night. You got CRAZY drunk and there was no hangover. It’s a beautiful day outside. Birds are singing. People are falling in love. Even the squirrels are happy (squirrels are notoriously unhappy little beasties). The minute you walk into Rentsys then BAM. It all goes away. It’s like there’s this little green gremlin standing right by the door who punches you in the nuts. There’s no recovering. It just sucks the happy right out of you.
That’s what this weekend was like for me, admittedly without the crazy drinking or the hooking up with ridiculously airbrushed women whom everyone and their dog has seen naked at least once. I had a good time at the Christmas party Saturday night and then when it came time to get out of bed on Sunday I just couldn’t muster the energy. There was no point. I had stuff to do and people to see. I didn’t frackin’ care.

On the plus side I don’t think I am operating on a sleep deficit anymore AND I got all caught up with the comic reading.

Here are a couple of links for additional reading:

1 comment:

James said...

I totally remembered the original reason for writing this post. Besides being able to blame someone/thing else for my problems, I wanted to explain to you guys why the Goddamn funny has been pretty sporadic of late. I hope once the New Year begins I will be able to bring my game up a little.