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gallery_2_325_4262.jpg Name : Cerberus

Note: Cer•ber•us. As in the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld. People seem to have a hard time with this, and spell it Cerebus, Ceberus and other odd permutations...

Location: The Abyssal Inn, deep-ocean trench, somewhere very dark indeed

Dx: Double Depression (Major Depressive Disorder + Dysthymia), treatment-resistant; Asperger's Syndrome; Hemiplegic Migraine; Tourette's Syndrome

Rx: Effexor XR, Adderall, Topamax

"If you gaze too long into the Abyss, the Abyss gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I live in the Abyss, and make myself useful as the Innkeeper of the Abyssal Inn here in a hole in the bottom of a ditch in the bottom of the deepest trench in the ocean, where the fish dung drifts down like snow. I have a coelacanth as a majordomo, and a rather useless lanternfish named Edward as a bellhop. Everyone who's depressed drifts down to spend some time at the Inn, but nobody stays forever. Except, so far, me.

I gazed too long into the Abyss. I've been depressed my whole life, I suspect, as I cannot recall a time when I was every joyful except for two isolated moments: the births of my son and my daughter. It didn't help that nobody had a clue what Asperger's Syndrome was when I was a kid. It didn't help that a bisexual orientation wasn't on the menu for a teenager in Appalachia in the 1970s and 80s. It didn't help that the stigma of mental illness kept people from prescribing medication for depression. So I spent my youth staring down into the Abyss of shadows and darkness that made up my memories, my experience and my expectations, trying to understand why life hurt so much. I put myself in therapy when I got to college. After nearly 15 years of that I took a few years off to be married for a bit, then started again after the marriage ended.

Bizarre, freakish things have happened to me, really rotten things involving betrayal, workplace assault, discrimination, character assassination, loss of Faith and failure of a Dream - things you can talk about in therapy but therapy can't fix. Sometime during the last ten years of therapy I realized that the blackness I had been peering into for so many years had entered into me and I couldn't get it out.

I don't feel human, and really don't consider myself human (a perspective people around me tend to share). People's behavior often baffles me. Friends tell me I'm a lot like Data from Star Trek, and all my heroes have been either aliens who are not quite human (The Doctor, Data, Spock) or humans who are emotionally detached and logical (Sherlock Holmes, Phileas Fogg). I always wondered why I was so different, until four years ago when I learned that there was such a thing As Asperger's Syndrome, and that I had it. It Explained Everything.

I won't sugar-coat it. My outlook is bleak, bleak, bleak. But the core belief that sustains me is that everything happens for a reason. If I've suffered through all this misery, there must be a reason for it, and perhaps that reason is so that I can help others avoid the Abyss, to help them turn their gaze away in time. I don't have much left in the way of hope for myself, but I do believe in hope for others, and if I can help someone on the way to something brighter, then that is worth all the rest.

++++

When I'm not collapsed in a heap, I'm an avid student of the works of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and I'm teaching myself electronics and basic robotics. I also write.

Edited by Cerberus

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