I’m now weeks into this laryngitis thing. The voice is slowly coming back, but I still don’t sound much like myself. Far better than a week ago, for sure, which definitely helped for yesterday’s online D&D session. I still got mocked, but not as bad as the previous two weeks when I was communicating with grunts. Some friends, though, are thankful for my recent loss of voice. I’m going to get to why in a moment, after I explain a fundamental little something about myself. And then we’ll brush lightly on a little something called anhedonia, a gift from bipolar depression that just keeps on giving.
I can be verbose. Now, anyone who knows me outside of this space is probably laughing hysterically since that was a remarkable understatement.
Fine. I can be overly verbose.
I’d say I come by this trait honestly. In fact, my long-winded skills are dwarfed by my late father, though I could give him a run for his money today, I think. My mother isn’t any slouch in this department, either. It may now be worth mentioning that, if my mother discovers I put her and my father in the same blog post, let alone the same paragraph, her head is going to explode.
You could ask my Dad if he’d seen the TV remote and suddenly find yourself embroiled in a 20-minute lecture where he lamented the fact that at least we used to get up to change the channel. And he’d continue spouting on about how technology is fantastic but could tear society apart one day if we’re not careful. And he’d really be talking fast, maybe quoting an article from Scientific American, and I’m like, okay, Dad, sure, but I’m just trying to get my Letterman on, you know?
My mom, on the other hand, is the opposite. She’s a slow burner. With Dad, you often couldn’t get a word in because his brain was just firing so many thoughts out there. I can relate all too well with that. With Mom, when she tells you a story, it’s still going to be a long one, but a lot of that is because she interrupts it here and there with things that aren’t pertinent to the story. “You remember Annette?” she’ll say. And I”ll say no. “Annette, you know her! She worked in the office next to mine?” And I’ll say no. “She’s in her 40s, a little taller than me, dark hair. Has two boys? She’s a pretty girl…Annette!” And I’ll say still no, but that’s okay, you can go on with the story, unless me remembering Annette is crucial.
Then there are these dramatic pauses peppered throughout, which go on so long, you’re just about ready to start filling in blanks for her when she continues.
“So I was going to…”
And you’re waiting…
And you’re just about to say…
“…the doctor. And on the way…”
“…do you remember Annette? Pretty girl? Worked in the office next to mine?”
Now, In case you’re wondering where I fall on the verbosity spectrum, I’m a combination. Naturally. I am like Dad in that I can be one fast-talking individual and dive into way too many details that nobody cares about. But then I’m also like Mom because I get thrown off the point 20 times in a minute. Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man. Sometimes (okay, oftentimes) I have to be told to get to the point. This is especially true if I am manic. In fact, you can magnify all that by 100 when mania is upon me.
Which brings us to the bipolar depression and the anhedonia. So I recently started on this new medication to help me feel something again. Most people know what hedonism is, living for nothing but pleasure all the time. In ancient times, we had Caligula and Hugh Hefner. Mr. Tiger Blood Charlie Sheen also comes to mind.
Well, you put “an” on the front of hedonism and you get the opposite of hedonism. Anhedonia is the complete absence of pleasure. You don’t even like the things you most love doing. In my case, that’d be things like reading, going to karaoke, hanging with friends, eating my favorite foods, mocking the president on Twitter, and watching my most favorite shows. It’s a real buzzkill.
Anyway, I’m pleased to say this medication is actually having a positive impact. But one fun little side effect is that I CANNOT STOP TALKING TO SAVE MY DAMN LIFE. I am talking around the clock. Well, while I’m conscious.
All. The. Time.
I’ll be watching a movie with my best bud and I’ll comment on something the main character did. Next thing I know, it’ll be two minutes later and I’m still talking and he’ll finally say, “Will you shut the hell up?” I’ll think to myself, “What is wrong with me? I hate when people talk during the movies.”
It’s even worse when I’m by myself. I am literally narrating my whole day to nobody. For instance, I’ll be on my way to the bathroom, saying as I walk, “Okay, after the bathroom, we need to get another load of laundry started and call the barber,” like my secretary is trailing behind me, scribbling things down for my calendar. Or then there’s this special tea I’ve been drinking a lot of to help my throat and voice recover. I have to make it pretty much daily, right? The whole time I’m cutting up lemons and ginger root, it’s like I’m giving a TED talk to an unseen audience. I do this all day long with virtually everything I’m doing.
Unless I am having imaginary conversations with people. No, not like voices in my head. Those are different. I mean, I’m imagining people I know arguing with me about various things and I’m having debates with them and filling in their side of the conversation. It is very realistic dialogue, I assure you. I know these people rather well and know how they’d talk to me. Like right now, I’m arguing with you about how batshit crazy all this is. And frankly, I didn’t expect that kind of judgment from you.
Then I’ll catch myself taking out loud, call myself a moron, and shut up. For 17 seconds until I start all over again. It is as annoying as it sounds. It can be more than a little exasperating to be me right now. Maybe more so to be around me.
The last few weeks with my absent voice, I haven’t been annoying all that many with my gabba gabba, hey! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still talking my own ears off. I sound like utter crap, but it’s not stopping me.
It can take quite a bit of effort to just…not…talk. Still, I have been on a ton of pharmaceuticals in my time and it’s pretty rare to find one that works. It’s been quite a while since I felt anything at all, so I will definitely live with the incessant narration. Or my friends will hit me over the head with a shovel and throw me in a ditch and I won’t live with it, in which case I’ll finally shut the fuck up.