it's often remarked that there's a fine line between genius and idiocy. it's less often remarked that there's an equally fine line between wisdom and depression.
in early 1998, i was generating quite a bit of concern about my mental well being. ironically, i think this actually coincided with a period of very rapid mental development and maturation. i kind of just went to sleep one night as an immature teen and woke up the next morning as an overmature young adult. i can't really assign any kind of catalyst to it, either. while i haven't looked into this at all, i suspect it's a less uncommon phenomenon than might be imagined.
i should maybe give my parents, which at this point in time means my father and step-mother but primarily my father, a little bit of credit for at least being aware that my character underwent a fast and drastic shift from being kind of hyperactive and full of snarky wit to being quiet and sort of withdrawn. the immediate interpretation of such a shift is inevitably going to be that it is at least consistent with the onset of some kind of depression. so, i ended up dealing with the spanish inquisition for a while, regarding my shift in demeanor. was i alright? if i wasn't, would i tell him? would i agree to talk to somebody?
i did agree to talk to somebody, mostly to ease his own concerns. i mean, i just didn't see the need for him to be worrying about me like this.
the reality of the situation was that i had simply matured a little bit. sure: there were some real life concerns happening around me. life at 17 is not childhood any longer; it can be stressful. maybe that had affected me a little bit. but, depression? i didn't feel that i was suffering from anything. i just felt that my personality was asserting itself as something that was kind of stoic. i don't want to call myself a sociopath, exactly: stoicism gets the point across better. what's the point of getting irritable? what does it solve?
the doctor keyed in on some of the music i was listening to. now, it's the late 90s: right after grunge. people are still reeling from, like, kurt cobain copycat suicides. i was in a bit of a different musical head space than that, one defined mostly by nine inch nails (and including influences on nin and offshoots from it). that's actually considerably worse, on first glance, although i was aware of the fact that reznor was writing from the perspective of a character rather than from personal experience. the point is that i understood where the concern was coming from and was able to effectively articulate that point to the doctor. we agreed that i didn't necessarily need to be put on anti-depressants right away, but that i should accept a prescription and fill it at some point if i get overwhelmed.
so, i came home with a prescription and immediately hit the internet to research it. i didn't like what i found. i had explicitly told the doctor that i was experiencing a lack of emotional instability, not an excess of it. so, i didn't need to turn my emotions off; if anything, i would have benefited more from something that amplified my emotions more. the idea that i was depressed was just a misperception. nonetheless, the mere *idea* of taking drugs that would suppress my emotions and may have long term or permanent effects scared the hell out of me. the xfiles sample that appears on the original mix was something that i had put aside for future pro-atheist use but, after doing this research, became very relevant in a completely different context.
so, i wasn't keen on taking these drugs that were going to at best turn me into a zombie and at worst turn me into a mass murderer. nope. no thanks...
my dad pushed the point for quite a while, though. in his mind, i came home with a prescription and ought to fill it. this song is a reaction to his insistence, which i always knew was coming from a good place. in fact, he never really dropped the argument.
the doctor and i also talked a little bit about my own music, and how it was an outlet for various frustrations. i made the argument that, while i didn't feel depressed, i was nonetheless better off working out issues of the sort through art than i was taking pills. so, this song also exists on that kind of meta level.
in hindsight, i don't want to give off the impression that i reject psychology or the medicalization of depression. that is simply untrue. the honest truth is that i simply did not feel that i was suffering from any kind of depression. yet, i've also always been very uncomfortable with the way that this process unfolded. we talked for less than an hour, and i walked out with a prescription for a mind-altering substance that could have dramatically damaged me. why is there not more oversight in this process? one would think that i should have been given a blood test to determine if i actually had an imbalance or not. no doctor can determine an imbalance through intuition. that is flat out quackery! an imbalance must be measured. if it can be determined empirically, it ought to be reacted to. yet, i was never even tested.
as an artist, i'm glad that i had the presence of mind to reject the drugs at this age. i simply don't know what they would have done to me, or who i would be today had i taken them.
originally created in april, 1998. a failed rescue was attempted in 2013. reclaimed july 4, 2015. remixed july 15, 2015. vocals added jan 6, 2016. finalized on july 23, 2016. as always, please use headphones.
the album version of this track appears on my first record:
this release also includes a printable jewel case insert and will also eventually include a comprehensive package of journal entries from all phases of production (1998, 2013, 2015, 2016).