The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? – Poet, painter, and novelist Kahil Gibran (1883 to 1931), best known for the book The Prophet.
“We need to talk” is probably one of the scariest sentences in the English language. It ranks rank right up there with the classics “We’re going to prison,” “I’m leaving you!” or “I see tanks rolling down the street.” Now that I have your attention what I want to talk about is mental illness, more commonly referred to as wacko, bonkers, of his rocker, 2 sandwiches short of a picnic, and other untidy euphemisms.
Why do people tend to dance around the subject and stop just short of actually looking right in the face of it? The stigma attached is one reason. Another reason is the very real possibility of intense and profound loss; loss of self-esteem, self-worth, spouses, friends, lovers, jobs, finances. Shame, embarrassment, fear, and denial are on the short list too. Nice, moral, stable, responsible people don’t go crazy. It just isn’t done! How rude, snap out it. Get up outta that bed and wash your silly head.
Today I don’t feel nice, moral, stable or responsible. I feel a bit medicated and that’s OK. Also I feel stripped naked and walking around with a tattoo on my forehead that reads “Warning – Mentally Ill.” The scarlet letter M. The medicated part came about at the last emergency to my psychiatrist a few days ago. I was in an extreme state of agitation, panic and was sleeping as little as 2-3 hours a night with horrendous technicolor nightmares.
I also was doing some strange things. An example is I went to put on shoes and discovered that I had rearranged my massive shoe collection. I put 1 of every shoe on the shoe rack and the mate to every pair was in a jumbled pile on the floor of the closet. Maybe it seemed logical at the time, but I have no recollection of doing it. That’s the scary part. I knew something was way wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me. I also knew that I was not functioning on anywhere near a “normal” level. A mere shadow of my former self, so to speak.
I was expecting my Doc to say something along the lines of “there, there, it’s not so bad now. Have you tried meditation and hot baths? ” Instead she became extremely concerned, we had a long talk, looked at a menu of new meds to try, and gave me paper bag full of mood stabilizer sample meds. She explained that “functioning” bipolar patients frequently get misdiagnosed as clinically depressed because being depressed is when we seek treatment. I left the office with instructions to call her every day to check in until our next appointment in a week instead of the usual 3 months.
The worst part was that I also left her office with a shiny new diagnosis – Bipolar Type 2, rapid cycling with mixed states. Say what?? What the hell does that even mean? And why is it so long. I hate a diagnosis that is longer than 4 syllables. It grates my nerves like fingernails on a black board. That right there is a clue that I have a few issues. I prefer neat concise descriptions that can be boiled down to acronyms like TB or HIV.
The rapid cycling part means that I hop on the emotional roller coaster from hell and ride it every day. Sometimes up and down several times per day. The mixed states means that I also experience manic and depressive episodes at the same time. I want to do 587 different things at once but am too tired to get out of bed.
So we haven’t actually talked yet because this is a monologue, but it’s a start. I look back and realize that my disorder manifested in my blogging as sometimes writing many blog posts in one day. And then not touching me laptop for weeks. Thank God for the “schedule your post” feature of WordPress. This helps because I don’t shoot all my posts out in 1 day like a verbal fire hose and then disappear off the face of the earth for weeks. Well sometimes I do disappear but at least now I know a little more of what I’m dealing with.
I had one of my lovely epiphanies today? Is news more shocking because it is sudden? Or is it shocking because it is presented in a shocking manner, as in an hysterical tone of voice? The big squawk on Fox news this morning was the new Google interface. It harvests and combines your internet history from Google, Gmail, and other services. Hello…Gmail is Google mail? Why is this news to anyone? The merger happened years ago, and of course they share info. The contents of you email is scanned for keywords to direct advertising to you.
Fox reporters would have us all up in arms about this new Google interface. It invades our privacy, etc. This hoop de la is much like trying to slam the barn door after the horses already got out. Google claims this collecting your internet browsing history will improve the user experience. Oh right, lining a jail cell with mink will improve the user experience, but it’s still jail.
Data mining is not a new thing. The internet made it a lot easier, true. Anyone who ever got on a catalog mailing list can attest to this. I signed up for the Victorian Trading Post catalog 10 years ago. Now I get so many catalogs in the mail that we could build a pueblo out in the back yard using recycled catalogs. Most of them go straight in the trash.
Using Gmail is pretty much like spreading out your laundry on the front hedges to dry while living on a busy street. Trust me, everyone will see it sooner or later. Unless you have been living under a rock there is no way anyone can possibly not know this. I must be patient though. I’ve lived under other varieties of misinformation rocks many times in my life.
Even this beloved WordPress snips a little out bit of data out of our posts to use in the link at the bottom of the post that says “similar articles” or something like that. These links show occasionally on my blog and are loosely based on what I write. Although the logic of the algorithm eludes me. The problem with this process is that sometimes things are waaaaay out of context.
For and extreme example let’s say I mention something like “naked greed” in a post. The similar links may link to something about nudist camps or naked men. Now a naked man in my house, AKA, my husband is not disturbing. A naked man in the grocery store leering at me is extremely disturbing. The point is that he has nothing to do with what I am writing about. But the links show up on my blog and many can or will assume that it is my doing. Oh well, I love WordPress anyway.
So back to privacy and old news. Please pay attention and before you get all hysterical about something you hear on the news, take a deep breath and ask yourself 2 questions. 1) Is even true? 2) Is this way old news which means there is nothing left to shout about.
Friends and neighbors, as a public service announcement please read this article on LifeHacker.com Top 10 Simple Privacy Tricks Everyone Should Use. I re-read it from time to time because I get lax about it and also I tend to computer hop.
On December 23rd in the year of our Lord 2010 I posted my first ever blog post. It was the first step to the wildest ride of my life. I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon! It started out as a chronicle of my road to involuntary retirement. But that was only the beginning. I learned a lot this first year about blogging and writing. The WordPress community is full of friendly and supportive people. I was honored with a Freshly Pressed in January 2011, and received a several nominations for Versatile Blogger. One of the many things I want to do in 2012 is get of my behind and give back via nominations to bloggers and commentors who inspire and encourage me.
January through April of 2011 was the last four months of my job. Marking time, waiting for it to be over. There wasn’t much to do those last 4 months. Many of my posts during those months were written at work. All I had to do all day was sat at my computer and bang away. Nobody asked what I was doing because it didn’t matter a whole lot. On my last day at work I threw my stuff in the car and left. That was that. I don’t miss it. Really, I don’t.
Immediately I took off on a train trip to Seattle with my Mom and sister. That was a hoot and a half and fodder for many posts. Then came the long summer of my discontent. What to do with myself. What to do… 40 years of the 9 to 5 fried my mischief bone and I had no clue how to go on. Still wrestling with that one.
The Cosmos handed me a project in the form of a 23-year-old grandson who came to live with us. He was in trouble with substance abuse. He stayed here for 3 months. Mr. Husband and I put 30 pounds on the kid. He was an interesting and expensive pass time. While he was here I took him to every doctor in the Dallas Fort Worth area. At least that’s what it seemed like. The diagnosis was he was as healthy as a horse.
September found me on a road trip with my mother. We went to Yellowstone National Park, and Mt. Rushmore. We had a blast. And Mom and I hadn’t spent time alone like that since….well never. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I took temporary leave of my sanity November and decided to join the NaNoWriMo challenge for National Novel Writing Month. My novel turned out to be too much like a memoir and I practically had nervous breakdown in the process. I don’t recommend a 30 day forced march through one’s psyche and past. It’s no wonder they stress that a novel is supposed to be FICTION. I’m still working on my book but, it will be nothing like it started out to be.
And now here we are on the last day of December. I made it through the holiday season with nothing worse that a head cold. I hope everyone out there in Blogolopolis had a wonderful season. I also wish us all a wonderful 2012 full of new horizons and exciting adventures.
Happy New Year and big hugs and kisses to one and all.
Just for the fun of it, below is a list of most viewed posts of 2011:
DVD Hoarders Anonymous
A Squirrel Ate My Car
I-Like-Big-Steaks and I Can Not Lie
Just Smack Me With a Hammer
News Flash -Texas Declares Independence From Mexico
Never Cutteth Thine Own Hair
Ejected From the New Age Movement