Two years ago, in this very space, I said something to the effect that "my life for years now has consisted of a series of minor irritations, punctuated by major anxieties," a statement, sadly, I have had no reason to amend.

In an effort to get past some of the major anxieties — under medical supervision, I hasten to point out — I started treatment with benzodiazepines. The nature of these drugs is such that while starting treatment is as easy as pie, finishing treatment is a task worthy of Heracles. Does this mean I'm ready to go on a speaking tour titled I, Junkie? Not necessarily. But the notion of being drug-dependent, however beneficial the drug, is at the very least a minor irritation.

Taking the edge off the nervous system, furthermore, doesn't do a thing about the sources of frustration. There's some doubt in my mind whether my expectations are too high or too low, and some further doubt as to whether it makes any difference either way. I do know that I've advanced about as far as I'm going to (which, as "far" goes, is not very) in my current job, and frankly, I'm too old to pull up stakes and start all over again doing something that won't necessarily be any improvement. I also know that vague dissatisfaction with one's lot is something that doesn't remain vague for long, and my tendency to complain, usually loudly and bitterly, is not likely to enhance my prospects.

Then there's the ongoing issue of isolation. In some ways, I think I'm better off alone; I have a seemingly-unerring knack for alienating people, and most of them don't much like it. This wouldn't be a problem, particularly, were it not for the periodic spasms of gut-wrenching loneliness, usually at a time when I can deal with them the least. It seems to me these days that if I did actually find myself in a position to love someone until the day I die, I would most likely be giving that someone an incentive to wish for my speedy death. At least we'd have that much in common, I suppose.

As inventories go, this is not a particularly happy one, but not a surprising one either. And while I can't really handle all this emotional baggage, I can't very well foist it off onto someone else; even I have standards. Nor will I look for someone else to blame. My battles, such as they are, I must fight — and eventually lose — alone.

The Vent

25 November 2000

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