May 12, 2020:

Breakdown changed my anxiety profile.

Antebreakdown I had trouble sleeping. I was hypervigilant of noises inside and outside the apartment, where the rustling of leaves would send me bolt upright, not breathing, listening intently. But I was entirely confident in social situations, spoke naturally without anxiety to large groups, was extremely gregarious, could talk with anyone. Postbreakdown I could sleep whenever I liked, but was withdrawn in social situations, awkward meeting new people, and very tense speaking to crowds, to the point of hyperventilating. Severe depression changes brain chemistry: it's likely these were some of the outcomes.

With sadness I remember bumping into my friend, the brilliant musician Jonathan Segel, at an antiwar rally in Dolores Park. I was not an organizer that day, was simply lending my body to the count, and had gone there alone. Jonathan cheerfully approached with a big "Hello!", but despite not having seen him for months I was able to summon only mumbles. I was alarmed that someone expected me to interact with them; I felt that I didn't know how, and that trying to remember was exhausting. I have a clear memory of staring at my feet, with concern that I must be hurting his feelings by responding so unenthusiastically. I don't remember the year or the war, there've been so many. Gulf War II most probably. I distinctly remember feeling it would have been better to have stayed at home.

Bupropion restored my gregariousness. More than that, it made me want to party. Sociability, libido: I became the social director in work situations and a frequent dater outside the office, experiencing a renewed energy I remembered from "before", but never thought I'd experience again.