I felt as if my consciousness had suddenly reappeared back in my own body. In the exact moment from which it had been plucked days, or perhaps years before. In between? I had no idea.
Something completely different?
Unless someone is familiar with the ideas from Thomas Khun’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, calling psychology “one step up from witchcraft” sounds like the first shot from someone planning a war on psychology. That reading takes the angry words of a disillusioned 22-year-old too literally, even if it was how he had meant them in 1984—long before he understood how science was born, or how disciplines grow and change.
While avoiding as much contact with the world as reasonably possible as a husband, father and self-employed writer provided some sanctuary, I remained assailed by accumulating effects, both psychic and physical.
The unwelcomed journey back to the land of the damned wasn’t apparent at first.
Having escaped the world of the damned and back on a clumsy, but effective seizure prophylactic, I waited until my brain healed from the neurosurgeon’s saw and scalpels. Once the swelling receded and the scaring was set, I was given an EEG that, if clear, would let me say goodbye to phenytoin, be drug-free once again. As I had been for seventeen years before the rude growth under my temporal lobe slapped the epileptic label back on me.
In the neurologist’s office, electrodes were pasted to my scalp. Read More
Only recently has the concept of decision fatigue as a form of mental exhaustion become a subject of psychological study— decision fatigue acknowledges that
choosing the least effortful action in every case regardless of possible outcomes.
A recent study (2011) looked at boards granting parole in Israel.
This pervasive, grinding ennui exhausted me.
It also challenged most of what I thought I knew about clinical depression, which I had studied while getting an undergraduate Psychology degree. I’d read about the exhaustion, the feelings of pointlessness, but had always conflated that with what I had personally experienced as feeling down, blue, bummed, hurt, let down, disappointed, fearful—yet my current state bore no semblance to any emotion I’d faced. To any emotion whatsoever.
Rather as I moved limply through the hours of my waking day, I felt nothing at all. As if emotion had been severed from me—all desire, all displeasure, and every shade of feeling in between. Read More
So, life hands my new wife and me a choice between three options, each involving some chance of me dying sooner rather than later and in some more or less gruesome way:
The odds on that last one were stacked heavily in our favor with 98% chance I’d avoid becoming a sad movie cliché.