I am what ails me

As if personality tests in magazines weren’t enough, now I can’t watch TV or use the Internet without being assaulted by ads telling me I’m depressed, suffering from ADD, and that my cholesterol is too high. But good news: I have no more control over my health than I do over my personality.

I’ll admit I’ve taken personality tests before. After recently answering one of them, I was happy to learn that no, I am not a diva. Apparently I have never been and can never hope to be one. I wonder if this means that my children will inherit my non-divaness as well.

I guess that also means they will inherit my ability to be a good friend (from the “Are you a good friend” test) and my inability to say no to chocolate (“Are you a chocoholic?”).

Who we are is not our fault, according to these tests. Some of us just aren’t genetically capable of being romantic or of being adventurous in our relationships. “Look, it’s not my fault. I’m just not creative,” or “I have a limited imagination,” we can say when our partners complain.

And, according to the drug industry, we can’t control our health problems, either. Some come in the form of rain clouds-like the one that follows the little gray rock around on TV. Apparently someone in Utah has seen the commercial since our anti-depressant use is one of the highest in the nation.

I watched a special on “60 Minutes” last Sunday about ADD. My favorite part was the commercials. The drug companies shamelessly plugged their products while viewers were still thinking about ADD: “Do you have trouble concentrating?” Sometimes. “Do thoughts get jumbled up in your head?” and “Do you get confused?” Yes, especially during my theory class.

How about, “Do you feel sad?” During these commercials-yes. “Do you ever fight with your loved ones?” Yes. “Do you ever get angry?” Yes, dammit, yes!

Now that I know I suffer from depression and ADD, there is one thing I can control. I can tell my doctor exactly what drug she should prescribe.

When she asks me how I have been caring for myself, I’ll remind her that it doesn’t matter if I eat at McDonald’s and avoid all forms of exercise. And there just isn’t time for talk therapy. It’s just not my fault, I’ll tell her. It’s just not worth trying alternative cures, because my ailments are who I am.

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