Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Babysitting My Shrink

When I first moved back to Memphis a couple of years ago, I tried to find a local psychiatrist to manage my meds.  I saw a couple of them, but they were absolutely terrible!  The doctors never really listened to me, and it was obvious that they put absolutely no thought into my case except for the twenty minutes of our appointment.  They were nothing but prescription mills, interested in only a quick turnaround and a quick buck.

So I called my wonderful psychiatrist in Los Angeles, and he agreed to keep managing my case.  We would "meet" via Skype, and he would continue to prescribe my medications.  Recently, though, my brother began seeing a psychiatrist that he really liked, so I figured perhaps I should switch to a local doctor.  I knew that my Los Angeles doctor, wonderful as he is, was basically continuing my care as a personal favor, and that prescribing medications (even though he never prescribed anything like tranquilizers, etc.) across state lines was somewhat inconvenient.

I made an appointment with this local doctor, and he was just great.  (I wish I could give him a shout out, but I don't think it would be appropriate.)  The funny thing is that I used to babysit this man and his brother way back when I was thirteen to fifteen years old.  I actually knew that going into the appointment, but I wasn't concerned about being under his care seeing as how I hadn't seen him in twenty-seven plus years, and that time seems so remote and disconnected from the present.  And like I said, he is a great doctor...very positive and affirming.  So I'm more than pleased with the arrangement.

Afraid of Failure, Afraid of Success

Whenever I attempt to get it together and submit material for publication, I become so monumentally overwhelmed by whole process.  I have such naked ambition for being recognized for my creative efforts, but the astronomical amount of luck it would take to rise above everybody else who's trying to get published and actually be noticed seems utterly beyond my reach.  Talent and perseverance only get you so far; so much of life is pure, dumb luck.  The emotional baggage of simply trying seems so insurmountable that I often just give up.

What if I never find any amount of success?  How could I ever accept a complete failure in the only purpose I have assigned to my life?  I'm so scared that I'll never realize any of my dreams so that not trying seems an attractive prospect.  But of course, putting it all off has resulted in what I am now, a broken middle-aged man who isn't one step closer to achieving anything.

What if I do succeed?  Would I feel empty without my raison d'être?  Personally I doubt it.  What I really fear is that some tragic misfortune or circumstance will come along and snatch anything and everything I manage to accomplish away from me.  I guess everyone has to overcome self-doubt; it's a part of the human experience.  But I feel so much like a has-been of wasted potential and that it is too late for me to change that.

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.  One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
{Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"}