The Awakening of UNIT-01

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of my favourite anime shows. Since mid-August, I’ve been rewatching the original 26 episode TV series and the various follow-up movies.

The show would be awesome to me if it just featured bad-ass giant robots fighting evil monsters. But there’s so much more depth to it than that.

The show is dark and disturbing, but not just for the sake of it. It earnestly explores many deep aspects of psychology and philosophy. The characters have deep, believable, realistic motivations and weaknesses. It’s also peppered with Western religious iconography, though that’s mostly just to make the show seem exotic to a Japanese audience.

But that’s enough of me trying to justify why I’m such a giant anime “weaboo”…

Running out of Power

In my favourite episode, our hero Shinji is giving everything he’s got in order to defeat the latest angel (monster) threatening mankind. He’s screaming with battle fury as he pilots the giant robot UNIT-01. It looks like he’s about to win, when suddenly the robot stops moving.

UNIT-01 has run out of power. These giant robots only have batteries which last 5 minutes. After that, the robots freeze in place and deactivate, becoming totally vulnerable.

Shinji grasps desperately at the controls, but UNIT-01 won’t move. The wounded angel sees its chance and smashes UNIT-01 against a mountainside. It looks like it’s all over, surely the angel will destroy UNIT-01, killing Shinji inside…

That’s how I feel at the moment. I’ve run out of power. I can’t fight the disease of addiction any more. I want to give up.

I’m full of sadness, anger and resentment. I feel so alone. Fellow addicts at meetings say this all the time, but if you’re not an addict, then you really don’t get it. It’s such a relief for addicts to come to 12 Steps and hear other people describing the same thoughts, feelings and behaviour that you have too. It’s a rare feeling of connection.

Most “outsiders” don’t even bother trying to learn or understand the experience of an addict. It’s so taboo, so full of societal judgements. People carry around in their heads their own image of what a drug addict is… and they rarely stop to actually question if that’s accurate.

It’s really fucking hard being an addict, knowing that almost everyone you encounter pre-judges you in a negative light.

I’ve often said this, but I really wish people would just take the time to listen to me and understand my point of view. Maybe ask a few questions even. That’s partly what this blog is about. I want people to understand what it’s like to be an addict, to be someone like me.

When (most) people learn you’re an addict, they start treating you differently. You can see the difference in the way they look at you. It’s written all over their face. Suddenly you are utter scum, the worst of the worst kind of human filth. Morally, you are the epitome of a bad person.

Very few people make the effort to break through that stereotype and challenge their preconceptions. Very few people attempt to empathise with addicts and actually listen to their experiences.

I’ve been dangerously close to buying DXM yesterday and today. For now, I’ve diverted those urges onto Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I’m feeling so disconnected from the people around me that I’m even questioning whether 12 Steps is for me again. This is despite the fact that people at 12 Steps truly understand addiction better than anyone else.

Even GPs and the mental health crisis team – they don’t get it. If I’m honest, they’re mostly fucking useless and often do more harm than good. I saw a psychiatrist for the first time last week. Even a highly qualified mental health professional like her left me wondering if she actually has a clue what she’s talking about – she gave me some pretty flawed advice.

I just want to give up and become unconscious. I’ve run out of power. I can’t fight the evil angels any more. I’m done.

Awakening

But then, something amazing happens… UNIT-01 awakens.

Even without power, UNIT-01 reactivates and starts to fight back against the angel. It’s moving of its own accord, Shinji is not in control.

It’s clear that UNIT-01 is vastly more powerful than before. It has become bestial, like a werewolf with unimaginable strength. The sync ratio between UNIT-01 and its pilot Shinji has hit an unprecedented 400%.

The robot shrugs off the angel’s powerful attacks, UNIT-01 cannot be harmed now. And then UNIT-01 proceeds to utterly annihilate its enemy in the most brutal fashion, ripping it apart and eating its insides.

In My Life

That’s what I hope will happen to me. I’m currently trapped in the cockpit and I’ve run out of energy. There’s nothing I can do, I’m totally vulnerable to attack.

I’m going to surrender my will, like I mentioned in the blog post from the other day. I’m going to stop fighting. I’m just going to relax and trust that everything will be OK.

With luck, my Higher Power will reactivate and save the day for me, just like UNIT-01 did for Shinji.

Let’s hope so.

The awakened UNIT-01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion

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