Interpretive Faculty, Know Thy Place!

I’m still trying to hone in on exactly what these drugs are doing for me. This is the best way I can express it so far: they seem to dull my interpretive faculty.

That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. If my interpretive faculty would just stay in its place, I wouldn’t want to dull it. But it has a habit of getting mixed up with everything else, and sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

Example 1: I am having a conversation with friends. I say something I think is funny, and nobody laughs.

  • Undrugged Interpretive Faculty jumps in and says, “You are trying too hard to win people’s affection. They have detected this, and have decided not to laugh on purpose to show you that you should stop trying so hard. Therefore, I’ll be taking the reins now, so I can screen everything that comes into your head for ulterior motives.”
  • Drugged Interpretive Faculty says: “That wasn’t as funny as I thought, was it?” And then notices that nobody laughed at the last thing my friend said, either.

Example 2: I am sitting in church, getting ready for Mass. My friend joins me. I notice that when he slides into the pew, he leaves a whole person’s worth of space between us.

  • Undrugged Interpretive Faculty says, “Since he knows about your SSA, he has probably decided that it would be an occasion of sin for you to be within 12 inches of another man. Does he really think of me that way? Or possibly he is disgusted by the idea of being close to another man who might conceivably be attracted to him. How hurtful! You should consider sitting him down and explaining to him that he doesn’t need to worry about either of those things, although by doing so you may run the risk of weirding him out even more. At the very least, then, will you please allow me to obsess about this for the next hour and ignore the miracle that is taking place on the altar? K, thx.”
  • Drugged Interpretive Faculty says, “Oh, it’s nice that when he arrived at Mass he decided to look around and see if I was here.”

I don’t really know the extent to which the drugs are responsible for this. Maybe they’re only responsible for 50% of it, or 25%, or none. But whatever’s going on, I vastly prefer this version of myself. Drugged interpretive faculty is such a nicer person! I think we’ll spend more time together.

20 Comments on “Interpretive Faculty, Know Thy Place!”

  1. mariecarolk says:

    Hehe I love this. I feel this way often.

  2. Sarah says:

    After years (YEARS!) of not knowing why every little thing has to feel so damn intense and awful and wreak such havoc on my emotions and my relationships and spiritual life, I discovered recently that there’s a strong possibility that all of it can be explained by… a thyroid problem.

    Finding out that some of the bizarre bodily quirks I just took for granted about myself are actually symptoms of one simple hormone deficiency that also-oh-by-the-way can lead to depressive episodes, well… to say that it felt like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulder would be a gross understatement.

    This is something that I can *finally* explain. This is something I can treat and fix. As my priest said, I can take medicine for this like I would for any kind of biological problem. To hear that was like the answer to prayers I’ve been saying for years. I’m not crazy or abnormal, that this problem isn’t ME… I could weep.

    1. Tyler says:

      Sarah, could you tell me more about the thyroid issue? *I know someone* who I think may have a similar problem.

  3. Sarah S. says:

    I don’t have SSA, but I really identify with this post! My “interpretive faculty” has always been on uber-sensitive mode, too. I can’t for the life of me understand how some people can just be SO DAMN self-confident. And then I wonder if they’re all just really good at pretending. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten easier to just brush off the crazy thoughts, but I’m wondering now if the other Sarah isn’t on to something. I had some serious hormonal imbalances for quite a few years & now I’m wondering if getting all that stuff on a more even keel may be the reason I don’t get “in my head” as much? Hmmph.

  4. Melissa says:

    The more you post, the more I’m wondering if drugs might be helpful to me…everything you describe as sans-drug is horribly familiar!

  5. Jamey T. says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting, just for a day, to go around to absolutely everybody with whom you interact and freaking grab them by the shoulders and go, “Okay, no, REALLY–what exactly were you thinking just then?! NO BULLSHIT!!!!!!” (I mean, obviously it would just get you punched in the face a lot, but if we can postulate a day full of close friends, for hypothesis’ sake, who might actually give honest answers……..) How many people you thought were super-confident would turn out to be trembling with fear inside, and how many people you thought were slinkingly disingenuous might turn out to be sincerely indifferent to what other people think and merely doing their own thing in total innocence? I guess we never really know. Unless, of course, this Gershom guy has enough pull to start up, like, a National “Grab the Guy Next to You and Ask What the Frick He’s Actually Thinking Right Now” Day, or something. Whattaya say, S.G.?

    1. You know, this has always been kind of a fantasy of mine, but I can’t think of a way to get it done. Maybe when I am famouser.

  6. Nayhee says:

    I can’t wait until you are famouser, Steve!

  7. TN says:

    I have a friend in his 50’s who is trying to get off the anti-depressants he has been taking for years. It is frightful. Over the years his doctors developed a cocktail of antidepressants for him, they simply added to what he was already taking. His new doctor is weaning him off, one by one. Almost every SSA man I know depends on anti-depressants.

    Be carefull

  8. Mark from PA says:

    TN, things are slowly getting better for gay people so maybe then less people will need anti-depressants. I suppose I am overly sensitive to people that dislike gay people and homosexuality because when I was younger I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of homophobia. I have come to the conclusion that I was really protected as a young person. Being exposed to the hate that some people dish out on the internet has really been eye-opening for me. Also learning about some bishops that have a strong dislike for gay people has been disheartening to me.

  9. California Jack says:

    I don’t know that a World where everything is OK for “gay people” is a World where “gay people” — or anyone who insists on being one with sin–would really want to live.

    O see ye bit yon narrow road
    So thick beset wi’thorns and briers?
    That is the path of Righeousness,
    Though after it but few inquires.

    And see ye not yon braid, braid road
    That lies across the lily leven?
    That is the path of Wickedness,
    Though some call it the Road to Heaven…

  10. Gabriel says:

    🙂 Well done. Love it.

  11. Jamey T. says:

    Yyyyy, well, yyyyyyyyes……. If I might, on behalf of people who try to be good Catholics and who happen not to have SSA, slightly amend your statement, Mr. Jack. Obviously we don’t want a world in which the ACT of homosexual sex (or any unmarried sex, for the matter of that) is considered okay, because the act itself is not at one with the purposes of nature. (Aquinas: God is only offended by us because we act contrary to our own good.) But I have a hard time objecting to the idea of a world in which everything was okay for people, as people, who merely happen to be gay. Personally, I would like a world in which everything is okay for people who are lazy, drink and cuss too much, and have a serious problem with their tempers–AS PEOPLE. But you’re right, of course, that such a world would be achieved precisely through helping me–errrr, helping those hypothetical people–to be free of their deliberate, free-willed choices against their own good and the fulfillment of their proper natures. I’m just trying to draw a sharp distinction between disapproving of an act and disliking a fellow human being. Sometimes it’s not so easy to do in practice; and frankly, I’m not sure that in such cases, it might not be better to err on the side of charity. But anyway, that’s a whole separate debate. Regarding Mark from PA–bishops are sinful people too, and subject to failures of Christianity. But again, they OUGHT to be drawing that same distinction between speaking against an act and supporting the love of fellow children of Christ. If they fail to do so, it is they who are failing the Church, not the Church that is failing us. In closing–
    And see ye not yon bonny road
    That winds about the fernie brae?
    That is the Road to fair Elfland,
    Where thou and I this night maun gae.

  12. California Jack says:

    I stand corrected.

    It is better to err on the side of charity. Though I certainly didn’t intend to be hateful, I’m afraid my response was not charitable, so my apologies to Mark in PA.

    Incidentally, Tolkien quotes this rhyme in his On Fairy Stories, though I’m not sure he actually wrote it.

    I will consider this a deserved public shaming, and be on my way.

  13. Jamey T. says:

    Dear God man, nobody intended to shame anyone. I just wanted to be sure we were all on the same page. And yeah dude, I’m with you on the Fairy Stories. I–think?–maybe, he was quoting an older poem, though my erudition falls well short of knowing which one. But anyone who goes around quoting Tolkien has our immediate respect. Shit hell, Steve G. himself will back me up on this. STEEEEEEVE!!!!!! [cried he, gazing up to the author of this little universe…….]

  14. Mike H says:

    I have family members who take anti depressants. They also get help. One of the doc said better living through chemistry. I agree. Do what it takes to help you. By talking to a professional, it is not their first rodeo, they’ve seen it before and they can help. Maybe it is anxiety or something like that? You need to learn to like yourself and these people can help through time.

  15. Dubravka S. says:

    I’m not fighting with the same problems but I definitely need some help in the interpretive faculty department (your blog helps) 🙂 although, some of it is already getting better through natural spiritual, physical, and psychological growth (I’m going to do my best to keep it going)…but yeah, this definitely rings a bell

    Your blog is always a great read, God bless you Steve

    P.S. I just love when I look at a comment section and see nice, normal people talking normally, without judgement, with logical arguments and kind words… 😀

  16. Rivka says:

    The thing that helped me most was a certain friend. It’s hard to explain; it’s just the way he is.

  17. John Snow says:

    Why is it okay to take drugs, when God made you the way you are. Taking the drugs changes who you are. That is playing God, is it not?

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