c.1994 Nina Paley
The comic above is used without permission.
I am not used that way.
I've given permission. I've signed every waiver, consent, release form and contract handed to me. I've swallowed my pride, I've swallowed my pills, I've practiced my breathing, had ten weeks of therapy -I've done everything that was asked of me and it still hasn't cured me of feeling badly hurt and badly used. With permission.
The last time I said "never again", my resolve lasted a few weeks or so before my depression and desperation got the better of me.
One evening earlier this year, I had a craving for a roast beef sandwich- a really good one, the kind you have to make yourself. So I went to the market, got fresh French bread, onions, some bouillon, horseradish, cheese and a pound of expensive deli beef that was on sale for a great price. It was so low that I asked the deli-dude if it was really that price. He said yes, it was. I got a pound, sliced thin. I would make onion soup and the best baked roast beef sub ever...I could taste it.
But when I got to check-out, the price came up as $13.99, nearly double what I had been told. I explained this to the cashier and she called the deli. They said it was 13.99, that he'd given me the wrong price by mistake. No apology or offer of reduced price, just the admission of error.
I only had cash with me , and not enough of that, so I decided not to buy it. Without the meat, the condiments and accessories were useless, so I didn't buy them either. A black cloud of failure, disappointment and betrayal settled in on me and I went home with no food at all. When I got there I curled up on my bed and cried for hours, wishing that I had died in 2005 when I had the chance, hating myself and everything about my life.
But my life is actually pretty good and I certainly shouldn't be cast into a suicidal depression just because I couldn't have a friggin' sandwich; so the next day I made some calls and wound up with an appointment with a therapist the following week.
And it helped. But after a few sessions, some of the things I had been forced to confront started taking over my mind. My thoughts were not my own, they were becoming unbearable to listen to. I could still go to work and do my show and that was OK, but when I was alone, all hell would break loose inside my skull.
So theygave mesomepillstomakemestopthinkinglikethis.
I have had problems with pills in the past, but I was assured that these were not addictive- it may take a some adjustment until they worked, but no habit would be formed. OK, I said.
Adjustment. I wrote about it later as a joke, but at one point I was convinced that I was ruining the planet just by being alive- not the human race in general, just me in particular , single-handedly destroying everything that is good in the Universe simply by existing.
There were other moments that I was totally at peace with the whole world, no matter how rotten or under-handed the activity I was engaged in. I was suffused with a sense of well-being that transcended ethical or moral thought. Everything was fine no matter how sordid or sleazy. I also found that my libido had shifed into overdrive and stayed there. This, combined with my impaired judgement, was a recipe for ugliness, and it wasn't long before I was trying to convince an angry cuckold that he sure was taking this hard, after all it is only sex, right? Looking back at that, I can't imagine a worse thing to have said- but it felt reasonable at the time.
He was getting ready to kill me and was big enough to do it, but somehow I managed to convince him that I was dangerously insane - which wasn't hard to do because it felt pretty much true at the time.
I escaped and the next day I called my doctor. He said unless I felt like I was at risk of hurting myself, I should stay on-course with the pills for the time being and the side effects would likely subside, if not stop. I was too embarrassed to admit that I was afraid that someone else was gonna hurt me, so I kept that to myself.
But I told my therapist about it. She pointed out that if I was embarrassed over what had transpired, then it sounded like I was feeling shame and that the false sense of propriety that I had described must be waning.
I sure hope so. Because I can't go through that again.