Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Random Spew

Well, things have gotten better, all around. I feel the depression lifting and feel like I can go back to my normal self now. This bout of depression seemed unusually intense and really took me by surprise, so I've been trying to take a step back to make some some observations.

It's just so weird because I felt like everything was turned upside down and I was very stressed about it all. Only things seem manageable now, even improved in some areas, and I wonder how much of it I simply made up in my head. How much was imaginary? I mean, I kind of wonder if I'm nuts, because I know my mind is really powerful when it comes to psyching myself out of stuff, is it powerful enough for me to invent events in my head and really believe them? How much did I cause, make up, or misinterpret, and how much was real?

I'm not on medication anymore. I took it during the darkest days of my life and sometimes it helped, though most of the time it didn't. I stopped taking medication altogether after an intentional overdose of Lithium that by all accounts should have killed me, yet didn't. It wasn't the first try, and I finally realized that the universe wants me around for some reason or another and gave up the suicide bullshit.

After I left my psycho ex, things got better. I was off meds and feeling much better about things. It was easier to deal with the blows life deals, easier for me to either fix things or let them go, instead of the usual freaking out and obsessing. I was losing weight, too, which was a huge bonus. And while I think for the past few years, I've been a very happy and healthy person, I sometimes wonder whether I should be on meds.

Is it normal to go through periods of internal darkness like this? Were the doctors' diagnoses correct, and the harsh mood swings are a symptom of something else? Or is this just me, is it necessary for my emotional growth?

I was thinking today about my attempt to join the Coast Guard. It's been on my mind since I read a list of all the American casualties to date in Iraq -- a surprisingly long list -- and noticed that one of the people had been in the Coast Guard. During my preparation to join, they told us that during times of war, the CG was transferred to the command of the Navy. (In peacetime, the CG is listed under the Department of Transportation)

This meant that I would find myself in the Navy, and possibly deployed to foreign countries to fight a war. This took me a little by surprise, but I'd wondered about it, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. I don't believe in war to solve problems, and I was hoping that being in the CG would be more of a defensive, rather than offensive, kind of job. It's not an issue of courage; I would be happy to defend our coasts if we were at war and being attacked. I'm just a peaceful sort of person.

Anyway, I went through just about everything the U.S. military had to throw at me, and was all but in. I aced the ASVAB with no studying; there were only two jobs, highly technical (i.e. I missed some shop questions), that I didn't qualify for. I passed the six-hour physical and drug test (whoo!). Well, other than being five pounds over the max weight, remediable, and the fact that I was deferred for medical reasons.

"Medical reasons" being a nice way of putting the fact that I was denied entry into the U.S. military, during wartime, because I'd spent time in a mental ward in a hospital. Two weeks, if that, and it was mostly to find the right combination of meds and get me out of the extremely hostile and emotionally twisted environment in which I was living. It didn't matter that I wasn't taking medication anymore, that I hadn't been for over a year and was obviously in decent mental health.

I explained the situation and asked them to have me evaluated by any psychiatrist they liked, but I supposed the military has a high enough volume of recruits that they didn't care to hear what I had to say, or to take the time required. I was denied, and sent a retarded letter stating that 'while the Coast Guard had no doubt that I would have a very successful civilian life, the Coast Guard couldn't accept me'. And that was that. Dream gone in a heartbeat.

The Coast Guard had been my dream for nearly ten years. Back when I was in high school and fat, I dreamed of being in the Coast Guard. The only thing that had ever kept me from pursuing it was the 40-50 pounds I had to lose, and frankly, I wasn't emotionally healthy enough to seriously focus on losing weight. I tried more than a few times in my life, and each time I ended up gaining back the weight, plus another 15-20. I was tired of trying, and I was depressed.

When the weight melted off by itself, it was a miracle. I found myself considerably thinner and suddenly my Coast Guard dream was in touching distance. It felt meant-to-be, just as it had always seemed what I was meant to do. So when I was rejected, I couldn't believe it. I'd never wanted something that badly and not gotten it, and I figured there had to be a reason. After all, the universe generally helps in endeavors to follow your dreams, and it was the first time I'd ever had a dream that no amount of doing on my part would ever gain. What do you do when you find something torn out of your grasp? And why wasn't that my path? It was supposed to be. What the hell was I going to do now?

So I wondered why I wasn't meant to get into the Coast Guard. I wondered if that path included something bad, or even death, but I figured my days would be spent on American coastline and didn't figure that likely. But when I saw that Coast Guard sailor on the list of people killed in Iraq, it stopped me. Say I'd never been in the hospital and joined the Coast Guard.. could that have been me? And more importantly, am I on the right path now?

And, by the way, in spite of how downplayed casualties have been, the list of American dead is sombering.

Currently Playing...
Song: Bond - Korobushko
Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Obsessing Over:

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