Coming to terms with being human.


Who pulls the strings?

A lot of people are uncomfortable with me being on Paxil. There are two main objections. First, medication is a crutch. I am not facing real issues. Second, medication masks the true me. I understand these concerns. I even agree, in part, with the first. The basis of the second question, that there is a self beyond the one I experience on Paxil, is outside of my own philosophy.
Sixth grade was all ulcers and migraines. My family life was great and I was getting straight A's but one day I just couldn't feel. Everything that I previously enjoyed, including my friends, felt distant and gray. For a while I decided I was a Vulcan (you are reading the ramblings of a geek) and embraced my unemotional self. Junior high, however, is not the time to be stoic among your peers. My stress grew and the first line of this paragraph came to pass.
Eventually some emotions came back, namely anger and disgust. Thankfully this dynamic duo of feeling worked perfectly in high school. I gained new anti-social friends who were also balls of rage and angst. Anger let me feel alive. If I wasn't raging I wasn't living. When I was angry I wanted to kill others, when I wasn't I wanted to kill myself.
By my young twentys the anger had gone and so had the daily feeling of helplessness. In it's place was extreme anxiety, paranoia, and deeper (but less consistent) depressions. Anxious people are difficult to understand and befriend. Still, I gained a few close friends over time. Anxious Matt was nicer than Hostile Matt. One of my friends is soon to become my wife. This is why I decided to get a handle on my emotional problems.
I am now free of paranoid thoughts and anxiety. I haven't experienced a depression for two months, so that is probably gone too. I still have problems, but these problems aren't created in my head. They are real problems with people, and money, and mosquitos. I actually deal with these problems now instead of locking myself in my apartment or using back alleys to get to a cafe (I was afraid to talk to the people at the front door). Even if there is a real me, I prefer Paxil Matt.
So ask yourself this question. Is there a true self that expresses itself through the brain? If there is, then I probably am wrong in taking this drug. The real me is still depressed and anxious and suicidal. But if there isn't a real self in that sense, what is the self? What makes us us? Who pulls the strings?


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