I live in limbo - a world suspended between mental illness and medication and
subsisting on benefits and the charity of friends and family. I am a 28 year old child.
In a more nakedly Darwinistic social order I would be institutionalised, sterilised or
exterminated. Anxiety is an emotion essential to human survival. It kept our hunter
gatherer ancestors alive. The adrenaline released in a fight or flight reaction
prolonged many a Palaeolithic lifespan. Unfortunately for me, the same neurological
mechanism that was so useful to my ancestors has crippled and stinted my life. A
glitch in my brain means that my fight or flight reaction is on a hair trigger. I can be
sat in front of the TV apathetically wallowing in the anodyne mundanity of an episode
of Neighbours or standing in the produce isle of Tescos squeezing avocadoes in a
pyrrhic search for ripeness and suddenly some faulty part of my brain is telling my
body I am now in a life or death situation. This is not an appropriate situation for the
fight or flight reaction to occur. There is nothing to fight, nothing to flee from except
myself. Faced with this discordance of mental and physical paradigms my nervous
system rebels. My nerves and muscles become a crystalline lattice of tension
suspended between hard nodes of amorphous fear. What is there to be afraid of?
Nothing. But my body is, nevertheless, flooded with cold adrenaline rush of fear. This
is apparently because I suffer from a chemical imbalance of the neurotransmitters
serotonin and noradrenaline. Smug, condescending doctors happily prescribe me
insidiously mind altering drugs to redress this balance. These drugs work by making
me passive, apathetic, disinterested and asexual. These drugs are essentially
amnesiacs. They make me happy by making me not care. I know there will never be
any miracle drug to fix me, no magical tomorrow where everything will be alright.
Although it took me quite a long time to realise that. Maybe I can find a balance
between medicated zombie and un-medicated dysfunction. Maybe I can learn to be
a grown up, a functioning productive member of society, maybe.