Daily Archives: September 28, 2014
Sally Field in one of my favorite movies “Mrs. Doubtfire” with my hero Robin Williams I saw the Oscar-winning actress Sally Field in the flesh once. The sighting took place when I was a teenager, during a time when … Continue reading
It was in St Louis, Missouri in October 2003, after witnessing a motorist strike and kill a cyclist, that Patrick Van Der Tuin placed a white-painted bicycle with a sign saying ‘Cyclist Killed Here’ at the scene of the accident that Ghost Bikes first started to appear. Since then these bicycles have cropped up across the globe at the scene of a cycling fatality.
What do these stripped down, stationary, painted bicycles represent? A memorial, for sure. A reminder to cyclists and motorists alike to take care. One aspect of these bikes tends to go unnoticed, however. They have been stripped of several vital parts before being placed at the scene. The rationale behind this is that it will deter thieves.
When I cycle past one of these bikes I give it a nod. Out of respect to the dead cyclist, one of my tribe. Yes. Yes I should say that. But that’s not the real reason. The real reason I acknowledge these ghost bikes is that they concentrate my mind – and that’s something that takes some doing. I do not mean that they serve as a reminder to me to take care on the road – that’s a topic for another edition.
No, what they make me think about is … is the basics. These are bike frames that are meant to represent their riders and they call to mind basic feelings in me which I choose to identify as those devious fiends: facts. It’s easily done. Any out of breath rider will agree that how they feel ( burning chest, sore legs, numb feet) are facts. How these physical feelings impact on our mood (elation, despair, a sense of achievement/failure) are also facts.
They are true.
So, for me, feelings are facts. Thinking back over the years, all my counsellors (1), psychoanalysts (2) and psychiatrists ( 4 or 5 ) have tried to persuade me that my feelings (despair, suicidality, hopelessness and guilt) do not fit the facts. The only people involved in my recovery that do not try this approach, by the way, are peer support groups. And, you will be interested to hear, they are the most effective form of treatment I know.
So what are these facts of which I write? It is the fact, the fact, as bloody – minded and as selfish as it is, that I envy them. I envy them their death, I envy them their stark tributes, their lack of responsibility that life demands, their air of mystery, the absence from suffering that their crushed bones bring.
While I, all I have, are slow legs and a passionate intensity that can only end in stony sleep.
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939)
An unusual version of the bipolar parent story by Olivia Snaije, it was a really good read.
Before long he met my New York-born Jewish mother, an artist. She told me that, at the time, he was already suffering from what was then called manic depression, now bipolar disorder. He had said to her: “I always fail at the height of success.”
I am still recovering but today was pretty good.
We went out to the lot which is always awesome and wandered around one of the houses that is the same model of ours but is further along in the build.
Went out to lunch with MIL and we did a little shopping. I needed some stationary as I’ve decided to write my grandparents a letter. I want to communicate with them while they are still alive. I miss them and went them to know it.
I cooked dinner for the entire family, SIL, FIL and MIL plus hubby and everyone ate a lot and complimented it. It was just tacos but it made me feel good non-the-less.
Lastly we all watch the newest X-Men movie together which was nice as my MIL has surround sound. We shut down all the lights and it felt like we were enjoying it in a theatre. I enjoyed it as well as the ambience.
so no real complaint today except for the fact I have to do laundry and I am a little hypos manic. I am at least getting things done!
WordPress just wished me a Happy Anniversary! Today is my one year anniversary blogging. Hurray! The process of blogging, of writing, of networking with other writers both in “real life” and online has shaped me over this past year. I now feel intellectually engaged, emotionally supported, purposeful and hopeful. Yes, hopeful. That is HUGE. I now have goals for the future that have grown out of my experience blogging as a mental health advocate. I can see those dreams coming to fruition. Pretty awesome, actually.
Filed under: Mental Health, Vocation, Writing Tagged: anniversary, blogging
I’m at that phase of The Chest Cold/Bronchitis Opera where initial mania (Ooo, goodie! I get to sleep all day and eat Raman Noodles!) gives way to the longer aria of depression. I’ve been singing this part for several years now, and sometimes the Dark Solo can go on for months. As can the bronchitis itself. It’s a nasty, double whammy. Sorta like Brünhilde losing her immortality AND getting thrown on a pyre. Heh, Heh. That Wagner. What a cut up.
This season, though, I’m finding the depression to be different. Not easier—that strum und drang never gets easier—but simpler. This time, I have the gifts my mom left me to help me through the whole Ring cycle—her almost-new Honda and a small monthly income from investments.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—the stress of poverty kills. The hopelessness and desperation it creates turns a person into a sack of mindless meat. It yanks away the will to live and leaves said person on bloody knees. It’s a weight that can’t be shucked off or reasoned with—like Sisyphus’ stone (Oops. Wrong Mythos).
I thank my mom every day for taking away my need to choose between medicine for chest blight and gas for her wonderful car. I thank her for taking away the stress of being squashed-flat by poverty. Eliminating that stressor has already made a huge difference in how I deal with my bipolar disorder. Now I have a real chance to manage it.
But I still have to manage it. Last week, someone asked me if, since I had a little more money and didn’t have the stress of my Peer Support job, I’d ‘get over the whole bipolar thing now.’ I wasn’t sure how to answer. It’s not like a cold sore that flares up when you get nervous and then fades away. It’s not a case of hives. It’s a mental illness. I still have to strap on my breast plates and take the stage. Every single day. And belt out that damned song.
Don’t be fooled. The fat lady sings because she has to, not because the show is over. This is one show that never ends.