On Prozac, Sisyphus might well push the boulder back up the mountain with more enthusiasm and more creativity. I do not want to deny the benefits of psychoactive medication. I just want to point out that Sisyphus is not a patient with a mental-health problem. To see him as a patient with a mental-health problem is to ignore certain larger aspects of his predicament connected to boulders, mountains, and eternity.
I admit to having become of fan of Carl Elliott. He is
a professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Departments of
Pediatrics and Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. I believe
this passage is taken from his book White Coat, Black Hat: Adventureson the Dark Side of Medicine. Maybe not. Professor Elliott’s ego is
kept under control by his younger brother who trails him around on
the internet and makes fun of him.
Long before I became aware of Professor Elliott, I had come to a point in my own pathetic little existence when the chaos, the mess amid which I lived, had become unmanageable with my own resources. It occurred to me that in those circumstances I was supposed to be miserable; I was supposed to be depressed. Had I not been depressed, had I been happy in those circumstances, clearly then something really would have been seriously wrong with me.
The principal of counter-ambush technique is simple. Detect the ambush in
advance and do not walk into it. Because if one walks into a well set
ambush, one is pretty much generally fucked. One may, in spite of
one’s best efforts, walk into a well set ambush. In that case, as an
old sergeant once told me, one must do something even if it is wrong.
You will probably not save yourself, but the only other option is to
roll over and show your belly.
One can profitably view life itself as a well set ambush, a well set ambush into which we must walk.
Extrapolating from all that, in my misery I determined that I had two courses of
action available. I could continue to jack myself up with drugs,
anti-depressants and otherwise, in order the endure that life until
the blessed relief of death arrived. Or I could do something about that life. I determined to try the latter, the course of action not
available to Sisyphus, poor bastard.
The thing is, a little fine tuning of my life was not going to do the
trick. I had to take an ax to it. Which I did. I employ the ax
metaphor to convey the fact that in using that rough tool, I cut out
much good along with the bad.
I believe that therein lies the catch, the thing that deters most from
doing anything about their life and brings them around rather to
medicating themselves in order to endure the life they currently
live. They cannot abide losing those good things in their life that
are nonetheless intimately entwined with the very things that make
their life miserable. I certainly do not think the less of them as a
These are all only opinions. I could be wrong. I am, after all, only
72% sure of those things that I am most sure about.