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Sunday, February 9, 2014

World's End

"Well, Mary," Dr. Korman said.  "After listening to your paranoid ramblings for several sessions, it is my professional therapeutic opinion that you are, indeed, batshit bonkers and could benefit from a great deal of pharmaceuticals.  Here is some Valium and Xanax.  Take as much as you like, whenever you want.  Preferably with wine and vodka tonics."
"This is awesome," I replied.  "Thanks, Doc.  See ya when I run out!"  I skipped away into the traffic.

Of course, this conversation never took place.  I would have loved for Dr. Korman to tell me I was nuts.  How much easier for me than having to be truthful.  My therapist informed me that he couldn't authorize the use of any drugs.  He explained that as a psychologist, he wasn't licensed to write prescriptions.  I would have to go to a psychiatrist and convince him that I needed medication. Jumping through all these hoops was a real pain in the ass.  But when I make up my mind to do something, by jove, I stick to it!  Except for almost destroying my life.  That was totally an accident.

Although Dr. Korman stiffed me on the scripts, I kept going back to see him.  He was easy to talk to, even though most of what I told him was bullshit.  He was smart and well-informed.  He explained the difference between bi-polar disorder and post traumatic stress.  I was hoping I had both, as long as it got me some tranquilizers.  I cancelled a few times when I got too high to show up.  He billed me for the appointments and told me if I did it again, he'd drop me as a patient. That hurt my feelings.  I bet I got super drunk that night.

I finally secured an appointment with Dr. Elrafei, a psychiatrist who came highly recommended in Dr. Korman's circle of nerdy shrink friends.  I had no idea at the time that Dr. Elrafei's speciality was substance abuse.  When I showed up for the first meeting, I was relieved there was no drug test.  That would have put the kibosh on my surreptitious intentions.  I told him a little bit about my traumatic pretend life.  I used compelling buzz words like flashbacks, nightmares and mood swings.  I left out the parts about all the drinking and dope I was doing.  Dr. E suggested Paxil for anxiety and Klonopin for panic attacks.  I did some research in the drug handbook at CVS, and I was unimpressed.  Neither of these feeble concoctions were any good for taking the edge off; my edge was sizable.  I needed something with sandblasting potential.

Back I went to Dr. Korman, exasperated.  He explained how anti-depressants work.  Something about receptors, synapses and neurotransmitters.  His explanation sounded like lame and ridiculous science fiction.

"Can I drink with these?" I asked him.  "You know, in case I go out some time."
"Well, I wouldn't if I were you," he said.
Yeah, but you're not me, I thought.  I'm not even me.
In the final throes of my active addiction, I had no identity to speak of.  I was like one of those fast-moving zombies in the World War Z movie.  Feral, wretched, loathsome.  Looking back, I remember sprinting about, searching for anything to put me out of my misery.  I must have been a sight for sore eyes.  I hate that I frightened the folks who love me.  I know I scared myself half to death.

Everything was agony once I couldn't get enough.  I could not cut back or have less.  There always had to be more to cover the need, but by then, the need was too huge.  No joy came, only the intermittent relief from smothering the high with short periods of unconsciousness.  Mostly, however, I was awake.  That was the whole ride - blurry acceleration with no stops.  And I just stayed on.

My duplicity continued for seven additional months, with Neurontin thrown in as the final crowbar to the head.  I was still getting drunk and doing speed every day, plus taking the Paxil and benzos.  At night, I'd chew my way through handfuls of Tylenol PMs in efforts to further anesthetize myself, 20 to 25 caplets.  They never did shit.

I'm always amazed when I can recall memories.  They return in vague chunks.  I like to sit with them quietly until they come into focus.  For the life of me, I can't remember the specifics of the very last time I got loaded.  I'm sure it was a day just like every other.  I know David was mad.  Interestingly enough when I think about it, I find myself wishing I had seen it coming.  I would have hit it much harder.

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