My Legal Drugs (Part I)

I consider myself a manic-depressive. I haven’t been diagnosed as such, so I’m not on any medication.

By Raymond Viger 

Medication can be an important thing to stabilize your life. But until now, I’ve passed on all that. My life is a roller coaster. But I feel like most of the time I’m in a manic state.

I’ve also tried to commit suicide twice. Though it doesn’t always surface, there must be a latent depression involved, ready to rear its ugly head at any moment.

That may explain why I work 15 hours a day, seven days a week. I can’t count how many years it’s been since it I took a vacation. Something like 7 or 8 years. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I’m not easily made happy. No photographer has ever been able to immortalize one of my smiles.

Legal Drugs: That’s why I’ve been able to complete three university degrees from three different schools. Or why I was able to study full time, work full time and help my mother get through her chemotherapy treatments. Or how I could stay awake for 148 straight hours to fulfil all my responsibilities when my son was born. Back then, nicotine and caffeine kept me functional. Two legal drugs, but drugs nonetheless.

When you drink 20 cups of coffee a day and smoke three big packs of cigarettes, you can say you’re doped up but good.

I was always okay to be around… as long as my drug wasn’t far away. When I had to perform, my drug of choice was coffee. When I had to suppress my emotions, it was a puff on a cigarette. To remain viable in this world, I did 40 years using this regime, sleeping only about 4 hours a night.

If you don’t by now think I have a major problem between my ears, I was able to say I did, every morning when I looked at myself in the mirror.

I can define myself a bit by each syndrome inventoried in psychiatry. I can say that my main difference resides in the speed at which certain emotions or certain exchanges of information transpire inside my brain. Surprisingly, in an emergency situation I can react quickly and with detachment thanks to the oddities of my slow brain.

Dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin… everything in life that lets you be in or makes you smile happens slowly if at all in my brain.

At amusement parks, I feel truly alive only on the most intense rides. While others are screaming their lungs out in fear, I adopt a placid, beatific smile.  Roller coasters shake up the little snowman inside of me, and my snowflakes fly everywhere.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines:

Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553).  CLSCs can also help you.
Canada: Canada Suicide Prevention Service 833-456-4566
U.S.: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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