SecondHand Tryptophan

To Make a Short Story Long

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.”

Shh!

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.

10 thoughts on “To Make a Short Story Long

  1. One thing in which I can assure you that you’re not alone – is the talking yourself through things like your assistant is creating a schedule. I do this CONSTANTLY. I talk myself through my day, out loud. I talk myself through each task, out loud. I even occasionally offer myself the encouragement I need, especially when something is physically painful to my knees/back/hands/arthritis, saying OKAY OKAY OKAY YOU GOT THIS, COME ON NOW, A FEW MORE STEPS, YOU GOT THIS YOU GOT THIS KEEP MOVING….
    I chalk it up to the fact that I’m home with Josh all day every day (and I talk to him out loud too even though we don’t carry on conversation, per se) and when Becca gets home from work she’s face-first in her phone or xbox or some shit.
    We should just turn on our skype or facetime and talk AT each other all day which doesn’t require actual listening for either of us unless we say something that catches our attention, at least then we could pretend it was interaction. 😀
    xoxox

    1. I used to do it a lot before this new med. But the difference is night and day. I’m doing it so much more now than before. As for the Skype thing, I probably could get by without putting on pants. That might work.

    1. Sure, blame the drugs. But if you recall, I was pretty long-winded with the old blog, too. Be thankful you don’t have to hear my internal monologue EXTERNALLY.

  2. (mom, living in mental health land) – have you mentioned this to your dr? (mom, again) just worried it’s a mania signal, and I want you to be ok, but I am glad you are feeling a bit better. (Ok, me now) I was always a big talker, I still am… but the older I get, I do find myself pulling back and just letting others run on, even if it drives me crazy. I only tend to talk to myself when I’m in the grocery store and trying to keep myself on track, otherwise I probably would go days without hearing my own voice if it wasn’t for the family and pets. Put people around me I know though, and I’ll talk a lot! Also, I do the imagined arguments too. 🙂

    1. I did mention it, yes, but it’s been a few weeks to a month. Been sick for a few now. It’s mostly to myself. It’s not mania, I don’t think, though it’s like mania in some ways. I don’t have the hyper energy of a manic episode. It’s kind of like being the best parts of manic. Like the creativity, being a bit more social, etc. The narration of my trip to the mailbox, complete with the importance of looking both ways before I cross the street…well, that’s new.

      Now, all of the talky talky bits with me? All that goes away if I’m around strangers. Then I’ll choke to death on my internal monologue, but it’ll stay internal.

  3. You’re like me…you just have a lot to say. Your words, concepts, opinions, criticisms, compliments, all of it are relevant.

    At least that what I tell myself,when a blog post I’m composing has just surpassed page 16.

    Great writing,,,,,I’ll be back.

    Best,
    LK
    Texas

    1. Well, they’re all relevant to ME, at any rate. If you’re writing dissertations instead of blog posts, there’s another something we have in common.

      And thanks!

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