Filed under: Uncategorized — trinque @ 9:50 p.m.

Since MP's adnotation of another of TLP's American quackery apologetics, I've been reaching back into the gap spanning my twentieth year. The period before is easy to recall; the period after idem. In between there are just fragments.1 Nevertheless...

I was in college when a brief lifetime of continuous anger began showing signs of wear. A friend's grandfather had a saying: nature extends a lot of credit, but never forgets to send the bill. Lived experience confirms. Phenomena receded down a black corridor; meanwhile sleep became more lucid, less restful.2

I visited a pastor of a local McChurch. My tirade against the suburban gods riles him up, and he throws me out of his office sputtering "I just don't think I can help you."3 Later I play pool with a couple of other corpses; we bare our teeth at each other and smoke cigarettes.

A few days elapse and Donnie Darko's showing at the campus theater. There's a pointless sci-fi element, but the film has some merit as the picture of a young man in the post-meaning American suburbs.4 Naturally he's medicated, he starts burning things down, and his life ends as though he was never there. It was true, and it shook me up. I threw what I felt like keeping in an old beater Z and left Texas.

The period before my return is uninteresting. Let's imagine a young derp bumming around on the beach importantly with an acoustic and a notebook like it meant something,5 and then let's move on.

I returned to the Texan suburbs to join a software startup. It was a constructive first-hand experience of entrepreneurial failure-modes deserving of its own post. A bunch of hipster derps failed to listen to each other and a couple million dollars were burned with little to show for it. Meanwhile there was still insomnia and disquiet, and I went to see a doctor. There's always the same color-palette in these rooms; desaturated blues indeed. At first he's the one of the corpses from the pool table. They were holding; he's holding. He prescribes sertraline, and it's worth a few months of giggles, confusion,6 and callous detachment. I don't recall the specifics, and I still wasn't sleeping much.

At a follow-up visit with the doctor, I erupt. He's the pastor, and I'm the devil.7 He quietly listens, bares his teeth, and says that he understands my frustration. Would I be willing to try something else? "Sure, whatever, only I'd better sleep." He prescribes quetiapine for insomnia off-label, and he has me stack it on top of the sertraline. The subjective experience of it is a reduction of the frame-rate of being. It works in that whatever ailed you ails more slowly. Will is nonexistent, relationships devolve, identity evaporates, and decision-making becomes arbitrary. Every now and again the sertraline pops through with a bit of mania.

While nobody was home I built up a little network of idiots with which to play substance abuse. The details are again uninteresting, or at least barely able to be recalled. There's a flash of broken glass here, a speedometer pegged there, a swing of a fist, all swirling in the pointless quetiapine fog.

At some point I pick up a gun and regard it. There's a distant memory that the object should have gravity, a flash of a fatherly lecture8 on the seriousness of the tool. In this moment it's a pointless object in my pointless hand, and suddenly I have what with to measure the extent of my descent. It shows me the way back. I abandon the band of idiots, quit my job,9 and lock myself in my apartment.

Down the can go the pills. The next day shit's getting weird. Vomiting, anxiety... what to call it... cognitive disjunction. Weird movement at the periphery of my vision. The apartment is an unintelligible mundane hell where everything's about to happen to you and nothing does. I haven't any idea how long I spent in this state. Months later I'm walking on a pier and the sun is intolerably bright. The light sensitivity, migraines and other effects last for a long time, months or years. It's entirely possible they were indicative of brain damage.

There's no moral in any of this. I'm not blaming the doctor for poisoning me; he knew what I was there for, and he gave it to me. Years later I went to a different doctor, demanded a blood test, and finally surfaced a significant vitamin D deficiency. A few drops a day cured just about everything.10

What kind of creature has a brain this size and no idea how to maintain itself? Ask yourself that as your surroundings become less intelligible, and your identity dissolves. As for me, I'm out.

  1. And I find it deeply uncomfortable to relate on those grounds. []
  2. The kids longing for the goo-tube are what, too cowardly to go crazy properly? []
  3. In retrospect I'm rather proud of this result, and at any rate fortunate. More young men should get themselves thrown out of churches. []
  4. At least to a post-meaning young man in the same. []
  5. Maaaaan. []
  6. Bad sex! []
  7. Ever notice how the devil asks permission of God to torment Job? []
  8. From a guy with a double-digit count. []
  9. I had managed to stack up enough savings to coast for a bit. []
  10. Except being an asshole! []


  1. > I threw what I felt like keeping in an old beater Z and left Texas.

    Ahahaha, I'm sitting here tryna picture angry collegiate Trinque driving about in a we-dont-talk-about-the-rust Nissan Z (red, I hope ?) tryna not say anything too rage-y long enough for the ditZ in the sophomore seat to proceed to the blowjob. In fairness, the Datsun S30 does kinda look like a Porsche...

    This shit's pretty cool, you realise that ?

    But yes, young male failing to get itself thrown out of church is rather like young female managing to get itself thrown out of orgy -- substantive, personal failure of an enduring, life-shaping kind.

    > At first he's the one of the corpses from the pool table. They were holding; he's holding.

    That didn't parse, if it makes a difference.

    > "Sure, whatever, only I'd better sleep."

    What the fuck is wrong with barbiturates, then ? These fucking people, so I don't permit amobarbital & friends in the harem because of the cycle danger, yes ? Yet they patently don't give a shit about any of that, as proven beyond words by their willingness to prescribe all sort and manner of psychotropes. But still, they won't fucking prescribe the actually indicated thing! Anything but the thing that'd work, it's like self-parodic by now.

    Same culture that's pushing margerine as a "healthy" replacement for butter, holy shit, if you're eating too much eat less and if that ain't the problem have butter not "i can't believe it's not butter" bullshit.

    Here's how asomnia treatment works in sane lands :
    1. If there's good cause for sleeplessness (bereavement, shock, trauma) or if there's good cause to suspect irrelevancy (NO INSTANCE IN THE PAST YEAR and any of being a young adult, being a first time mother, etc) ;
    2. If common sense physical measures were taken to no improvement (separate, comfortable sleeping quarters with no lights / noise / stressors, warm milk half hour before bedtime, no blue lights in the environment during the evening, and a general "simmer the fuck down" attitude & set of controls deployed, counting sheep, whatever)
    3. Then a few hundred mg of amobarbital or equiv is given to the patient to administer qs, with the understanding that a) it's all he's getting, period ; b) should prolly start with a quarter pill the first night and see, then increase dose next night if AND ONLY IF no sleep improvement, but should discontinue if sleep improvement and see if improvement maintains -- in other words, the pill's there to prime the sleep pump / choke the sleep engine, not to drive the headcar about.

    All the while the sufferer's protests re intricacies of 1 and 2 most likely to provide also the solution, "but doctor, I can't simmer the fuck down, the moment I try to close my eyes I think of that dumb whore" is prima facie unmedicable. In ~all successful treatments the subject returns about one third of the dose as "not really needed anymore" ; in all other cases the problem's not what's being claimed ie somebody somewhere's lieing. Yes there's such a thing as unspecific sleep disturbance, it happens to people, namely about one twelfth of the people who come in complaining of sleep disturbance, and yes it responds well to medication. Everything else's just something else.

    > He quietly listens, bares his teeth

    The juncture at which MP finally realises the author's been using "baring teeth" as a private symbol for "smiling" all along.

    > The subjective experience of it is a reduction of the frame-rate of being.

    I would say this is absolutely exact.

    > It's entirely possible they were indicative of brain damage.

    Not very likely.

    Anyways, great read A++, would read again!

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — 2019/09/03 @ 5:37 a.m.

  2. Fwiw this drug prescription for insomnia must be an American thing - I know people in Europe that went to doctors (in several countries even) for insomnia and the "prescription" each and every time was much, much closer to what MP says above (including initially "exercise more outdoors" because yes, vitamin D among other things).

    Overall it was a pleasure to read (even though I have no idea what "Donnie Darko" is/was).

    Comment by Diana Coman — 2019/09/03 @ 7:54 a.m.

  3. @Trinque:

    Great piece, enjoyed reading; and IMHO a lucky job that you found the strength to get off the USG.dope train in time; I knew several people who didn't get off until the final stop with the chimney.


    Re: amobarbital & equiv.: these are ~verboten in USA, and TLP documented, IMHO accurately, why. (Largely because out of patent! But also on account of the dynamic described in MP's "fat train riders" piece -- it is considered ameri-acceptable to prescribe e.g. lithium pill, which is ~guaranteed to slowly and painfully kill the eater, but ~not~ barbital, where he ~could~ eat 10 instead of 1 and die quickly like Magda Goebbels if he ~wanted~; the system does not want him "checking out".)

    @Diana Coman:

    Film "Darko" is relatively unknown outside of USA, because -- I suspect -- is just short of incomprehensible to foreigners, it is very narrowly a dark caricature of "VHS America" circa 1989 or so. Even to slightly younger generation than Trinque's, it already I suspect will make ~0 sense ('why does his father have a house?' 'how is he drinking rotgut and firing rifles with his friends in a field, why haven't gestapo come?' etc)

    Comment by Stanislav Datskovskiy — 2019/09/03 @ 10:55 a.m.

  4. I notice your blog ate my ~the cycle~ reference. It was

    Could comments permit a tag mebbe ?

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — 2019/09/03 @ 12:00 p.m.

  5. @Stan Re barbitals, yeah, I can see it. Idiots.

    Re film, it came out / came into my field of vision ~same time with Donnie Brasco, and I swear to god I always assumed it's just a shitty hottopic-ization thereof. This is the first time I even realise it's a film rather than a kinda "Basic Incest" or "Flesh Gordon" or whatever

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — 2019/09/03 @ 12:10 p.m.

  6. @MP:

    Ha! Not far off the mark. It was a white '87 and - if you can believe it - in near-perfect condition when I bought it. Pull that thing off the side of a country road at night, lay the back seats flat, and pop the T-tops. The highschool ditzen got way more 80s cool out of the whole thing than they deserved.

    On the corpses thing, I have the tendency to make lateral leaps without building enough context. I'll work on this in my writing. The point was that both folks were dealers, and I had the habit at the time to literally visually perceive folks as copies of the same entity. Looking back, it's not so far off.

    Re: link, dunno why it'd have been eaten. Is there a setting I ought to flip? Looks like your second link worked. And lol yes, it sounds like a porn title, and I think on some level it is. After all, the terrorists win.


    Stan has it re: Darko. I'd be curious what it looks like from the outside.

    Comment by trinque — 2019/09/03 @ 8:51 p.m.

  7. I enjoyed this post quite a bit. Btw, I agree with you in that I think you are also the counterpoint to my superfluous verbosity.

    I loled at the Darko reference. I remember watching that in college as well, except in my experience I was blazed off of my ass and watching it in some stranger's dorm room crammed with ~20 people. This was when I first started smoking weed, too, so I remember virtually nothing from the movie except a feeling of relief when it was over and something about a bunny rabbit man. It was heavy man.

    Re: the blog eating MP's link, do you have the fix applied? ( )

    Comment by lobbes — 2019/09/03 @ 11:44 p.m.

  8. [...] Buckle-up and prepare to sleep. Forget the barbiturates and leave that milk in the fridge. If you are looking for an insomnia [...]

    Pingback by To Ohio and back again: a photo journey (with cat pics) « lobbesblog — 2019/09/04 @ 12:51 a.m.

  9. @Mircea Popescu:

    Indeed "Darko" was "actual film", and not -- afaik -- a direct copy of anything. I suspect you would find it to be of strictly entomological interest, if any.

    Comment by Stanislav Datskovskiy — 2019/09/04 @ 1:38 p.m.

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