It has come to my attention that I am a nutjob. Not a hard-core nutjob (meaning, I take only one medication, and the lowest effective dosage of that one), nor an unmedicated nutjob, but a nutjob nonetheless.
Please. I am not "depressed" or "differently serotonined". Euphemisms are for the differently brained. I am nutso. A whackjob, if you prefer that terminology. A crazy. Whoo-whoo-whoo, a la Moe of the Three Stooges. I have a shopping list of things that gets me through the day, most of them mind-altering substances of varying availability (Caffeine, Effexor, Caffeine, Simple Carbohydrates, Norepinephrine, Effexor, Scotch, and venlafexine for dessert). I have been known to have anxiety attacks for no particular reason, and in fact had one today.
So. In the spirit of past Things To Do lists, here's:
What To Do If You Know A Whackjob, Version One-point-Zero
1. Do not, under any circumstances, indulge their desire to talk about nuclear holocaust or other forms of apolcalypse. See, whackjobs get anxiety in weird ways, and this is one of them. Steer them away from the David Brin and onto the Spider Robinson, where everything turns out okay.
2. Do indulge their desires for simple carbohydrates and alcohol, within reason. Carbs raise serotonin levels while alcohol in moderation can keep the garden-variety nutcase from jumping off a bridge. Make sure it tastes good, and you'll have accomplished another goal: showing the loonie in question that tomorrow is indeed another day.
4. Crazymeds dot org (thanks, Anon, for the correction!) is an excellent resource website for both the interestingly-brained and their friends and relations. True, there are some postings on the site what will make you say "Wooo. Buh?", but overall, it's a nutjob presenting what it's like to be a candidate for the whackshack with grace and humor.
5. If your crazy pal needs a warm body around, be that warm body. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes from the loonie perspective to have somebody around who can quote Bloom County and make coffee. It's invaluable.
6. If you work with even one other person, do not make denigrating comments about crazy folk at work. That one other person might be me, and I might be on a short leash due to my antidepressants not working all that well, and then there might be a lot of mess to clean up. Crazy people *are* different from you, yes: we're often smarter and more creative. We're certainly posessed of a well of nastiness that you can't even conceive of. So be nice.
7. Answer the phone at 3 am.
8. Don't pressure the nutcase in question to go out in public with you. Often, nutcases such as myself can't muster the energy to go to the bar or a restaurant. It's simply too overwhelming. Bring by a clamshell of Chinese instead if you really want to see me.
9. Make sure the nutcase keeps their doctor's appointments. This is not such a problem with the minorly-medicated, but can be a real issue with those of the brotherhood who take multiple meds or meds in major doses.
10. If in doubt, call 911. I am not saying here that this has ever been an issue for me. I have been blessed up to this point with having not had any serious thoughts of self harm....but I can certainly see how some people might.
If you work with, live with, or love a moderately- to severely-depressed person, or a person who deals with bipolar disorder, keep in mind that calling the fuzz in might someday be necessary. This does not mean that you or the other person has failed; it's a modern response to an age-old problem that used to drag the median lifespan down. Think of it as your way of boosting our national life expectancy.
Tomorrow I see my Muppet-like doctor. We'll talk about how to regulate this pinkish lump of neural tissue behind my eyes. I'll certainly, since everything is fair game here, keep things updated.