An impulsive fool

If I have a major flaw, it’s that I can be a very impulsive person. A flaw that I thought I had under control, up until the beginning of March when I restarted medical treatment I had been neglecting for at least two years, and likely more. I knew this would happen, and it did, exactly as feared.

Looking back on my calendar, I see that all my spontaneous weirdness this spring began exactly one week after my injection, which is just about the point I would expect it to start taking effect. Naturally, my body must have been unprepared to received that sudden hit, resulting in that psychological high, counteracting twenty-four months of inattention. My negligence up until that point no doubt accounts for the heavy gloom which hung over me for so long — well that and a global pandemic, restricting personal freedoms.

My remiss was deliberate — I won’t say medically or scientifically sound — for it was my way of managing my mental state. I don’t mean to suggest that having the blues is a better state of being. Indeed we could say that the blues is more problematic than the problem I was trying to solve, because it leads to a state of ingratitude, which is inimical to faith. But all I can say is that I had my reasons — spiritual in nature, to my mind — even if those reasons are illogical and ill-founded.

Anyway, it was time to take action, because my bones were killing me, and my anxious depression was killing my family. So I arranged a blood test and my GP confirmed what everybody already knew to be absolutely obvious — my levels were extremely low — and therefore it was imperative that I restart my treatment without delay. So that I did, and the next week everything got very weird.

Weird in that I had been down at the bottom of a very deep trough, and all of a sudden I was at normal. That normal may have led to optimism. It may have resulted in happy. It may even have caused contentment. One thing is certain: things then went haywire. And I did a few things, completely spontaneously, that were — let’s say — strange, to say the least. Things a normal person would not do. Impulsive things that were probably quite stupid and irresponsible.

One, for reasons I can’t really explain, I wrote to an old foe to apologise for having such a bad opinion of him in the past. An opinion, of course, that he had no idea I held. Indeed not only did he have no idea what I was apologising for, but he had no idea who I was, for I was speaking of matters that had occurred over a quarter of a century ago.

And, in any case, the more I have thought about it over the couple of months since, the whole affair was probably largely my late-adolescent depression-induced paranoia, blowing everything out of proportion, likewise caused by my inhabitation of a very deep plateau caused by the absence of signalling molecules, undiagnosed and therefore untreated. Or am I just gaslighting myself here?

The reason I’m able to reflect on this now? Perhaps because I am on the downward curve again now, back towards my normal — my normal non-manic melancholic state. Indeed, my calendar tells me it’s time for me to book my next injection, which means we’re either about to see part two of my extraordinarily irresponsible impulsivity, or we’re now approaching a more normal state of being, in which case I will just withdraw back into myself and stop being such a prick.

Were this the only impulsivity we had witnessed this past spring, but no! In truth, this is precisely why I was mismanaging — aka completely abandoning — my treatment. This impulsivity. The annoying compulsions. The resurgent addictions I thought I had mastered and overcome. Despite the melancholic gloom that had me in its hold, I felt better that way. I was more content in myself and in my relationship with my Lord. I felt like I was making progress spiritually.

But perhaps that’s just analogous to the Sufi wearing the itchy woollen shirt — perhaps that’s not truly how we’re called to live our lives. Perhaps we just have to live, dealing with the tests that come both from within and without. Better the awkward mental state than painful joints and bones. Better the frenzied weirdness than the lack of energy and persistent blues. And, who knows, perhaps the impulsiveness is merely happiness or self-confidence — emotions I just need to embrace.

Perhaps so, but I still feel that I’m an impulsive fool. I have so many regrets for so much. I really don’t know why I did what I did at the beginning of March. I don’t know why I waved, “Here I am!” I don’t know why I felt the need to apologise to people who didn’t even remember that I had once walked amongst them. I suppose the only consolation is that they said hi and bye, and wandered off as if I had never uttered a word.

Perhaps that’s the best response to an impulsive fool.

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