Daily Archives: October 12, 2013

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words

This really got me choked up. Some people’s last were so profound, some are so sad, others are unexpected.

It’s scary to think about death, when you think about others that have died. Mental Illness has killed a lot of our brother and sisters, I wonder what they were thinking or said before the end. I wonder if they regretted their life and their illness?

I know when it’s over for I hope I’m on my death-bed with a better understanding of my life, my illness, and what is to come. I hope my last words on this earth are: Spice up your life.

but..who knows..

614

How many parts does a bicycle have? ‘about 242′, ’114, but it depends if you count each link in the chain as an individual part’, are just a couple of answers I have heard. It also depends on which kind of bicycle you mean: a mountain bike with disc brakes, a tourer (like mine) with a pannier rack, a time trial bike with additional handlebars for a more aerodynamic position? You get my drift. The numbers don’t always add up, not everyone agrees about what to count, let alone agree a figure. Some people question the need to ask the question at all. Others ask why anyone would ask it in the first place, something along the lines of: ’what difference does it make, anyway? Like asking why some of us ask such questions, some people don’t understand how people like me can feel guilt for just having been born; how we can relate to the world in such a ‘negative’ way.   So, I want to pick up on this topic - I wrote about in a recent edition; you can read it here:

http://puncturerepairkit.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/metamorphosis/

I was writing about the guilt I feel at just having been born. Judging from readers’ responses I am not alone in suffering such an  existential crisis. What response can there be to overcome these potentially life – threatening feelings? These feelings are a close cousin to the phenomenon of Survivor Guilt, the inversion of the cry of ‘why  me?’ Severe mental health problems and suicide amongst survivors of genocide is not uncommon, as longitudinal studies of  survivors of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide have shown. Furthermore, the variety of stressors for suicide is broad. Jews killed themselves during, and in the immediate aftermath, of Kristallnacht in November 1938. Inmates of concentration camps did so during the Holocaust. And decades afterwards,some  killed themselves as a direct result of Survivor Guilt, Primo Levi’s death in 1983 being perhaps the most well-known example.

the 20th century Jewish theologian, Emil Fackenheim (1916 – 2003), attempted to provide a response to how I feel.   Writing in the 1960s he asserted that an additional commandment should be added to the 613 that the scion of Jewish philosophy, Moses Maimonides (1135 – 1204) enumerated. In his book ’To Mend the World’ Fackenheim explains his approach:’This [theory] proposes that people of Jewish heritage have a moral obligation to observe their faith and thus frustrate Hitler’s goal of eliminating Judaism from the earth. … we are, first, commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. We are commanded, secondly, to remember in our very guts and bones the martyrs of the Holocaust, lest their memory perish. We are forbidden, thirdly, to deny or despair of God, however much we may have to contend with him or with belief in him, lest Judaism perish. We are forbidden, finally, to despair of the world as the place which is to become the kingdom of God, lest we help make it a meaningless place in which God is dead or irrelevant and everything is permitted.’

There’s a lot in this passage that merits a response.

We are ‘commanded’ and ‘forbidden’ how to think and act. Judaism is big on commandments, obligations (in Hebrew we use the same word – mitzvah – for commandment/ obligation as we do for good deed.) So in the language of his 614th commandment we must behave in certain ways including active remembrance and prohibiting despair. Well, I’m a practising Jew, religious commandments are central to my practice and help anchor me. But I also know that the 580th commandment as set down by Maimonides, states that we cannot add or take away from the commandments.

Perhaps I can try to meet Fackenheim half way. My Judaism has an energy to it that is independent of its truth of spiritual value, apart even from its moral codes. Even without my belief in an absent God I would still practice ritual commandments such as eating ritual foods on festivals and prayer.

Does that rob Hitler of a posthumous victory? Perhaps the Algerian/French philosopher Albert Camus (1913 – 1960), the only footballer – he played in goal for Racing Universitaire d’Alger - ever to have been awarded the Nobel Prize (for literature, 1957) wrote in ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’: ‘revolt gives life its value.’

I C A N N O T F O R G E T

THE ACTION IN THE GHETTO OF ROHATYN, MARCH 1942.

Do I want to remember?

The peaceful ghetto, before the raid:

Children shaking like leaves in the wind.

Mothers searching for a piece of bread.

Shadows, on swollen legs, moving with fear.

No, I don’t want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, the creation of hell?

The shouts of the Raiders, enjoying the hunt.

Cries of the wounded, begging for life.

Faces of mothers carved with pain.

Hiding Children, dripping with fear.

No, I don’t want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, my fearful return?

Families vanished in the midst of the day.

The mass grave steaming with vapor of blood.

Mothers searching for children in vain.

The pain of the ghetto, cuts like a knife.

No, I don’t want to remember, but how can I forget?

Do I want to remember, the wailing of the night?

The doors kicked ajar, ripped feathers floating the air.

The night scented with snow-melting blood.

While the compassionate moon, is showing the way.

For the faceless shadows, searching for kin.

No, I don’t want to remember, but I cannot forget.

Do I want to remember this world upside down?

Where the departed are blessed with an instant death.

While the living condemned to a short wretched life,

And a long tortuous journey into unnamed place,

Converting Living Souls, into ashes and gas.

No. I Have to Remember and Never Let You Forget.

Alexander Kimel (1939 – )


The Crystal Method ~ Slipstream (on Divided By Night)

I am not sure where the Slipstream is but I am pretty sure I have been in it.Filed under: change, …

Continue reading »

*Waves Tiny Flags of Victory and Defeat*

Good not-morning thing!

Today is a good day. And a yuck day. My little girl’s best friend at school had a birthday party this morning, so of course we were in attendance. But yanno, it was before noon. And I slept badly. And I woke up with my body being unsure what temperature it was, and overall flu-ish. Which isn’t exactly ideal for getting out of the house, but we managed and everyone had a good time. I think I even found a potential new friend who lives walking distance from me, which is most excellent. The other adults were all refreshingly normal, so it was a big relief. As I was discussing with one of the other adults in attendance who also happened to be an introvert — there’s limited resources to spend, and we both agree there’s no point in spending them on people we don’t like.

For now though, I’m going to try to get some food into me and see if helps me feel a bit better. I hope everyone out there is doing well/better!

<3

The post *Waves Tiny Flags of Victory and Defeat* appeared first on The Scarlet B.

the sound and the fury

i am so angry right now i feel like i could vomit.  i actually don’t know what to do with myself.  i’m just kind of sitting here, confounded.

it’s bittersweet really.

i don’t want to minimize the first part of this story just because i’m angry about the most recent event, so let me see if i can manage to articulate it coherently.

y’all who read this blog or even my “about me” page know that i was diagnosed bipolar II in may 2012.  it was traumatic, to say the least, and brought me to the brink of suicide on multiple occasions.  it has had far reaching effects on my well-being, my relationships with family and friends (and lovers), and professionally.  and still, over a year later, i reap the consequences as just this week people in my professional circle have made reference to “my problem”.

lucky for me (and i do mean lucky), for whatever reason, whether it be because i am a graduate student in psychology, or because i have an insatiable quest for knowledge, or because WHEN YOU ARE DIAGNOSED WITH A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, i sought out a phd-level clinical psychologist who specialized in bipolar disorder.  of course, i went in for a second opinion, but it was probably a good idea anyway because i had no the fuck idea how to handle this diagnosis and it only made my depression even worse.  i literally lost my mind, and to this day i still experience the fallout from that serious short-circuit to my brain, where i could barely form sentences, let alone understand what the fuck anyone else was saying.  memory, gone.  ever seen memento?  yeah, that was me.

so i kept my end of the bargain.  i went, faithfully, to this woman, every week.  sometimes i really didn’t understand the purpose of our sessions but in hindsight i realize they were more about gathering data about me.  what am i like?  what are my behavioral tendencies?  how do i react to stress or challenges?  how do i react to great experiences?  what is the pattern of my mood fluctuations?  you can’t really figure all of that out in an hour session; it *requires* multiple observations over a long period of time.

this is much unlike the practice of she-who-shall-not-be-named, the evil cuntwad who diagnosed me within the first ten minutes of our first session.  we’ll get to her in a minute.

almost a year and a half has passed and i had actually forgotten (not really, more like…set aside) the fact that i was seeing a psychologist weekly to get a second opinion about my bipolar diagnosis.  then, when i returned from the great pacific northwest, after my aunt threatened my life and a bunch of other shit happened (yeah, i haven’t blogged about that yet), i was sitting in her office trying to figure out how to navigate the situation with my aunt and the rest of my family and it happened.  i don’t recall what immediately preceded this moment.  i only have the flash memory of what she said.

she said:

i don’t think you’re bipolar

and i heard it and i stopped and i said, what did you say?  i’d heard her, but i just wanted to hear it again.  to savor the moment, maybe, i don’t know.

i don’t think you’re bipolar

and this was just, like, too much for my brain to handle, so i didn’t follow up with anything.  i kind of just let that idea enter my brain and percolate a while because i could not fucking handle it in that moment.  so i missed maybe a beat, and kept talking about my aunt.

a few weeks have passed since this moment, and i can still barely look it in the face.  it may be shock, but when i think of it it’s like a flood of emotions and an absence of them at the same time.  i don’t really know how to describe it otherwise.  so i kind of downplayed it.  i took it as a working hypothesis, rather than fact.  simply that the evidence indicated that i was not bipolar.  there is no certainty.  and that’s been the only way i’ve been able to deal with it.

until this week.

this week, on three separate occasions, two individuals have mentioned “my problem” in passing.  as if it’s ha-ha, nudge-nudge, funny.  and maybe i was okay with that before.  maybe my response to those comments was permissive, or encouraging even.  but this week, they just made me fucking angry.  and as each one occurred, i became more and more angry, so that i was just operating with a general level of irritation about it.  my daydreams were usurped by imagining telling them off for making jokes about my being bipolar (because HELLO, I’m NOT now…as if they could know), and the furious fucking letters i would write to the campus psych services, the psychiatry ethics board, and hell, the a.p.fucking.a. about the evil cuntwhore witch doctor who both diagnosed me prematurely and then told me i was “immature” when i hadn’t told my advisor that i was diagnosed bipolar, leading to these comments in the fucking first place.

so that’s what i talked about in therapy today.  i was nearly brought to tears recounting the breadth and depth of damage done by this woman, recalling wanting to die, desperately, and the damage it caused to my relationships and myself.

and do you know what my motherfucking therapist told me?  i couldn’t fucking believe it.  she said:

i had another patient come in, who was diagnosed right away with bipolar.  the same woman who diagnosed you.

let’s just sit with that for a moment.

..

..

because this means a lot of things.

this means, 1) i was fucking vindicated, 2) there was reason to suspect that her diagnostic decisions were a pattern, 3) she is, as i suspected, a danger to others.

those are really the most important ones right now.  so yes, we have an n=2 (sample size of 2).  but that’s two who happened to end up going to the same psychologist to talk about it.  probabilistically, then, there are probably more.

and remember, i consider myself lucky – LUCKY – to have had the insight or drive or whatever the fuck it was to GO SEE ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL.  what about those who don’t!?

so now, i am sitting here, ready to vomit, because i’m angry on behalf of myself and terrified for others who might suffer the same fate, who might not, for whatever reason, seek alternative opinions or care and who will LIVE ON AS IF THEY HAVE A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE.

and it is fucking DAMAGING folks!  Many of my readers know this implicitly because they or a loved one experiences it themselves.  MY PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION IS FOREVER CHANGED BECAUSE OF THIS.  MY FAITH IN MYSELF WAS COMPLETELY DEMOLISHED, DESTROYED, AND I WANTED TO DIE.  DESPERATELY.  FRIENDS AND FAMILY DISTANCED THEMSELVES AND I WAS ISOLATED AND ALONE.  somehow i survived.

BUT THE NEXT PERSON MIGHT NOT.

THIS IS NOT OKAY. 

so i ask you, mental health community, what can be done?  who can i report to?  where do i sent my letter of complaint?

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THIS WOMAN NEVER HURTS ANOTHER PERSON AGAIN?

and if i can’t do that…

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THIS PATTERN IS ON HER FUCKING RECORD?

so that maybe, just maybe, when the next person complains, they will have a second complaint – my complaint – on record to show that YES, this is indeed a pattern, and YES, this woman is not professional and possibly not ethical, and YES, she is a risk to others.

please tell me: what can i do?


the sound and the fury

i am so angry right now i feel like i could vomit.  i actually don’t know what to do with myself.  i’m just kind of sitting here, confounded.

it’s bittersweet really.

i don’t want to minimize the first part of this story just because i’m angry about the most recent event, so let me see if i can manage to articulate it coherently.

y’all who read this blog or even my “about me” page know that i was diagnosed bipolar II in may 2012.  it was traumatic, to say the least, and brought me to the brink of suicide on multiple occasions.  it has had far reaching effects on my well-being, my relationships with family and friends (and lovers), and professionally.  and still, over a year later, i reap the consequences as just this week people in my professional circle have made reference to “my problem”.

lucky for me (and i do mean lucky), for whatever reason, whether it be because i am a graduate student in psychology, or because i have an insatiable quest for knowledge, or because WHEN YOU ARE DIAGNOSED WITH A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, i sought out a phd-level clinical psychologist who specialized in bipolar disorder.  of course, i went in for a second opinion, but it was probably a good idea anyway because i had no the fuck idea how to handle this diagnosis and it only made my depression even worse.  i literally lost my mind, and to this day i still experience the fallout from that serious short-circuit to my brain, where i could barely form sentences, let alone understand what the fuck anyone else was saying.  memory, gone.  ever seen memento?  yeah, that was me.

so i kept my end of the bargain.  i went, faithfully, to this woman, every week.  sometimes i really didn’t understand the purpose of our sessions but in hindsight i realize they were more about gathering data about me.  what am i like?  what are my behavioral tendencies?  how do i react to stress or challenges?  how do i react to great experiences?  what is the pattern of my mood fluctuations?  you can’t really figure all of that out in an hour session; it *requires* multiple observations over a long period of time.

this is much unlike the practice of she-who-shall-not-be-named, the evil cuntwad who diagnosed me within the first ten minutes of our first session.  we’ll get to her in a minute.

almost a year and a half has passed and i had actually forgotten (not really, more like…set aside) the fact that i was seeing a psychologist weekly to get a second opinion about my bipolar diagnosis.  then, when i returned from the great pacific northwest, after my aunt threatened my life and a bunch of other shit happened (yeah, i haven’t blogged about that yet), i was sitting in her office trying to figure out how to navigate the situation with my aunt and the rest of my family and it happened.  i don’t recall what immediately preceded this moment.  i only have the flash memory of what she said.

she said:

i don’t think you’re bipolar

and i heard it and i stopped and i said, what did you say?  i’d heard her, but i just wanted to hear it again.  to savor the moment, maybe, i don’t know.

i don’t think you’re bipolar

and this was just, like, too much for my brain to handle, so i didn’t follow up with anything.  i kind of just let that idea enter my brain and percolate a while because i could not fucking handle it in that moment.  so i missed maybe a beat, and kept talking about my aunt.

a few weeks have passed since this moment, and i can still barely look it in the face.  it may be shock, but when i think of it it’s like a flood of emotions and an absence of them at the same time.  i don’t really know how to describe it otherwise.  so i kind of downplayed it.  i took it as a working hypothesis, rather than fact.  simply that the evidence indicated that i was not bipolar.  there is no certainty.  and that’s been the only way i’ve been able to deal with it.

until this week.

this week, on three separate occasions, two individuals have mentioned “my problem” in passing.  as if it’s ha-ha, nudge-nudge, funny.  and maybe i was okay with that before.  maybe my response to those comments was permissive, or encouraging even.  but this week, they just made me fucking angry.  and as each one occurred, i became more and more angry, so that i was just operating with a general level of irritation about it.  my daydreams were usurped by imagining telling them off for making jokes about my being bipolar (because HELLO, I’m NOT now…as if they could know), and the furious fucking letters i would write to the campus psych services, the psychiatry ethics board, and hell, the a.p.fucking.a. about the evil cuntwhore witch doctor who both diagnosed me prematurely and then told me i was “immature” when i hadn’t told my advisor that i was diagnosed bipolar, leading to these comments in the fucking first place.

so that’s what i talked about in therapy today.  i was nearly brought to tears recounting the breadth and depth of damage done by this woman, recalling wanting to die, desperately, and the damage it caused to my relationships and myself.

and do you know what my motherfucking therapist told me?  i couldn’t fucking believe it.  she said:

i had another patient come in, who was diagnosed right away with bipolar.  the same woman who diagnosed you.

let’s just sit with that for a moment.

..

..

because this means a lot of things.

this means, 1) i was fucking vindicated, 2) there was reason to suspect that her diagnostic decisions were a pattern, 3) she is, as i suspected, a danger to others.

those are really the most important ones right now.  so yes, we have an n=2 (sample size of 2).  but that’s two who happened to end up going to the same psychologist to talk about it.  probabilistically, then, there are probably more.

and remember, i consider myself lucky – LUCKY – to have had the insight or drive or whatever the fuck it was to GO SEE ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL.  what about those who don’t!?

so now, i am sitting here, ready to vomit, because i’m angry on behalf of myself and terrified for others who might suffer the same fate, who might not, for whatever reason, seek alternative opinions or care and who will LIVE ON AS IF THEY HAVE A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE.

and it is fucking DAMAGING folks!  Many of my readers know this implicitly because they or a loved one experiences it themselves.  MY PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION IS FOREVER CHANGED BECAUSE OF THIS.  MY FAITH IN MYSELF WAS COMPLETELY DEMOLISHED, DESTROYED, AND I WANTED TO DIE.  DESPERATELY.  FRIENDS AND FAMILY DISTANCED THEMSELVES AND I WAS ISOLATED AND ALONE.  somehow i survived.

BUT THE NEXT PERSON MIGHT NOT.

THIS IS NOT OKAY. 

so i ask you, mental health community, what can be done?  who can i report to?  where do i sent my letter of complaint?

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THIS WOMAN NEVER HURTS ANOTHER PERSON AGAIN?

and if i can’t do that…

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THIS PATTERN IS ON HER FUCKING RECORD?

so that maybe, just maybe, when the next person complains, they will have a second complaint – my complaint – on record to show that YES, this is indeed a pattern, and YES, this woman is not professional and possibly not ethical, and YES, she is a risk to others.

please tell me: what can i do?


The Best Part of Being a Mom


It does my heart and mind so much good to have all three children here with me.  I am enjoying the girls being out of school for a four day weekend. While I do admit my anxiety can get really out of hand when they start fighting with each other, for the most part I do a lot better.  It’s the only time I feel whole: when all of my children are under the same roof.  The heartache comes after, when they have to go back home to their father.  Then it’s just my son and I, and even the nonstop noise of a two year old can’t fill the emptiness in the house when my daughters are gone.  

No amount of time will ever lessen the grief I feel over losing the privilege of being full-time present mom in their lives.  I have wasted too much time wishing for a way to get that time back, to erase the mistakes I made that led to it, etc.  It’s useless to do that, of course, but what parent doesn’t when living part or all of their lives without their offspring?  But despite pain and regrets, I can only move forward.  I cherish every moment they are here.  I know what a gift it is, and I don’t ever want to take it for granted.  I also try to remind myself of this when my toddler son is being “less than cute”. Parenting is hard, even for the most level-headed people.  Mental illness adds a lot of problems to the arena.  I experience burnout a lot.  I wrote a post about that burnout not too long ago, but I refrained from posting it because I was pretty harsh.  I may post it sometime when I am in a bad mood.  We’ll see!  Still, as stressed as I get, I love my three children more than anything.  I try to be the best parent I can, knowing I fail repeatedly, terribly, shamefully.  But then one of my girls will write a card saying I’m the best mom ever, or my son will give me a hug and kiss my belly (he’s fascinated with my fat belly) and it makes me think I must be doing something right. And nothing in the world brings more hope or joy than those moments when I feel like my children see something better in me than I see in myself.  I will always strive to make them feel the same way. To me, they are the most beautiful, amazing people in the world.  I never want them to doubt that, not for a second.