I haven’t talked much about the mental effects of my various life traumas (heart attack, brain hemorrhage, fibrillation episodes, defibrillator episodes…), because, well, I’m a shy person. Some have said that theater, even radio theater, is a funny hobby for someone who suffers stage fright to have, and I won’t argue the point. I do it largely to force myself to do it.

I’ve just taken a bold step (for me) in this process: I’m now seeing a psychiatrist.

Some might say “what for?”, while others say “it’s about time.”

I’ve tried to conceal my concentration and attention span issues, but the truth is I’ve been unemployed since my heart attack / brain hemorrhage in 2002, and I haven’t looked very hard for a job. The main reason is that the prospect of trying to focus on one task (or group of tasks) for eight hours at a stretch fills me with uncertainty and doubt. When I had a job, it was in IT, tech support. The Windows computing environment has changed dramatically since I left it, and I don’t think I’m capable of undergoing the training it would take to bring me back up to speed.

But if not that, just what kind of work would I return to? And how would I train for it?

Another factor is the intensifying of existing anger-management issues. Saying it that way may convey the wrong idea: I don’t get violent. I never have. But what I do get is sullen and uncommunicative — or, worse, resentful and adversarial. It all seems perfectly reasonable at the time — up to a point. When that point arrives, I don’t stop begin unreasonable and belligerent, but a part of me does step back and watch in horror as I continue this verbal cruelty. I’m aware that what I’m saying is irrational and wrong, but I say it anyway because, well, once having gotten on the train, I can’t seem to get off.

Enough of that.

The psychiatrist is helping me on a multi-layered approach. He’s suggesting some alternate plans of action, and adjusting my medications in hopes of producing a more balanced effect. (Those I’ve taken to this point either don’t mute the anger enough, or mute joy as well leaving me feeling–well, emotionally numb.)

I can’t say I really want to be a pharmaceutical experiment, but such is the reality of 21st century mental health care.

Wish me luck, my friends.

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