Daily Archives: January 24, 2015

Backlash Of Anxiety

I am on sensory overload after a week full of sensory overload.
Every sound is like a hundred voices through a megaphone. My eardrums cringe in pain.
Most of the noise is coming from my kid. I don’t know how one 5 year old can fill every single moment with loud idle blabbing. I couldn’t talk that much if I free based speed while drinking Red Bull.
Plus I like to take a breath. She apparently doesn’t require air.

I’m grumpy. My entire body aches. I am hungry but can’t motivate myself to cook. I just feel drained.
Weekends are a time for people to go do things.
I spent the week doing things. I feel a little bruised, like I went a few rounds with Tyson.
The more noise I am subjected to the more unnerved and bruised I feel.
I do not like being this way. I wish with everything I am I could be anything but so sensitive to outside stimuli.
It’s not a behavior that can be unlearned. It’s simply the way I have always been. Even as a small child I did not want to attend large birthday parties or crowded events. It’s too much for me to process and the price I pay is high.
I have tried so hard to find a happy medium.
But it seems to be about extremes. I sit it out and stay within my tolerance zone. Or I try to assimilate even in a controlled fashion and I end up overloaded and overwhelmed.

As the morning progresses, I find myself having lulls in my agitation. They are brief respites because the instant my kid’s chatter starts up again…My ears literally cringe with pain caused by the sound. It’s an awful feeling when the sound of your child’s voice hurts you.
I hate being this way.
I don’t mind quirk or dysfunction or even imbalance.
But to be this fragile over mere sound…This is ridiculous.

Fragile…And irritible and hostile. I am snapping over every little thing. I can’t stand this. If this is what high functioning results in, then low functioning should be my goal. I don’t want anything that taxes me to the point of being a grouchy monster because this is not who I normally am.

Much as I wanted to bow out of, well, life today…I had promised my kid I’d take her to Pizza Hut so she could get her reading reward pizza. it wasn’t busy and I wasn’t panicked, but there were some men at another table basically yelling with laughter. It was obnoxious. I’m not opposed to having a good time. I just don’t think it should infringe on the ability of those around you to hold a quiet conversation. Nor should it be so loud and obnoxious an anxiety ridden stressed out trainwreck wants to leap up and stab you in the eye with a salad fork.
I had to take a xanax. I was seriously getting bent, to the point I loudly snapped, “Were you people raised by wolves?” In this town, that might get me physically assaulted.
So while we waited for our food I kept my kid busy with games of Hangman.
I am proud of her. She behaved well, not one fit. No, that would be on me this time. i hate stupid people. They are a trigger.

But we are done with the dish outing, I kept my word to my kid in spite of my own issues. Oh and we saw her sperm donor standing outside a gas station talking to his girlfriend. I said, “Say hi to your daddy.” And she asked, “Is that the one that left us?”
Meh. How he holds his head up is beyond me. I mean, I break a promise to take her to the park, I beat myself up for days. Having a conscience can suck.

So…done with the dish. Hoping no family visits. I have had a busy full week and I really need to destress.
Which means the stress is just going to keep coming at me.

And yes, I know, I have made a big display of my social anxiety issues. It is not a bid for attention. It is my way of keeping track of just how drastically the anxiety issues hinder and affect normal life for me. It’s easy for others to see you do well a couple of times and assume you’re fine, just a lazy malingerer. I want this blog to tell the truth. There are good times. There are bad times.
Mostly, it’s just a rapid moving merry go round of both and rarely anything in between.
I have a lot to be thankful for so I can’t say I am without quality in my life. It’s just diminished at every turn, by the anxiety, and the aftermath of me battling that anxiety.

Aftermath. What a way to live life.

Just Realized. . .

that “Caught” was my 100th post on this blog!  Thanks to all of you reading and following me; I’m at 2,056 page views and almost 600 visitors for the life of the blog.  I appreciate each and every one of you reading and commenting, encouraging me in the faith.  Here’s to 100 more posts before we’re through!

Compassion, Not Judgement, For Girls Like Me

I have been unwillingly sucked into a Facebook conversation with the wife of an old and dear friend.  She loudly condemns abortion, and calls everyone who has had one a “murderer.”

In that case, I guess I am a murderer in her eyes.

At age 16 I was drugged, dragged into a dark, damp basement, and brutally raped.  Then the same rapist started “sharing” me with his friends.  I finally escaped, onto the streets, where I traded my body for food, shelter, and sometimes a five dollar bill.  I was in a state of dissociation that has followed me down the years–45 years, to be exact–as of this coming April 22.

This righteous lady crows that she was also raped, and managed to have her baby, with the help of my friend.

Lucky lady.  I had no friends at the time, nor anywhere to turn.  I was homeless, and knew that my baby would be taken from me by the state if I had her.  I’m sure it was a “her.”

So I took the only path that I could see, and I had an abortion.

It was horrible.  It turned out to be on the the last day of the third month.  It traumatized everyone, including the doctor who did it.  On my follow-up visit to the hospital, he accused me of “having sex irresponsibly and then getting rid of it.”

I could not reply to him.  His judgmental attitude triggered feelings of my mother’s constant judgment and criticism, and it rendered me speechless.  I took his verbal thrashing and went away feeling like a kicked dog, along with the terrible sadness of pregnancy loss.  I had already felt the little flutter of life, I knew I had killed my baby, and I was being castigated for taking the only path open to me.

A few days postoperatively my breasts swelled up and started leaking fluid.  I made a panicked call to the medical resident who had performed the abortion.

“You’re lactating,” he said coldly.  “Buy a tight bra.”

“Lactating.”  I had to look that one up.  “Producing milk.”  Oh no.  More grief, fueled by the physical evidence of no baby.  And I bled profusely, because of the lateness of the abortion.  Money for pads there was none, so I relied on rags ripped from cloth things I found in the dumpsters, that I washed by hand without soap, because there was usually no soap in the public restrooms where I washed my hair in cold water, and rinsed out my underwear when they got too stiff to be comfortable.

“Tight bra?”  I didn’t have money for a 25 cent hamburger, let alone any kind of bra.  So I leaked and ached for a couple of weeks till it went away.

Oh God, those were horrible times.  And yet, they were nothing compared to the abuse that drove me from the parental “home.”

Sure, I could have gone to one of the “homes for unwed mothers.”  One or two of my classmates had suddenly disappeared, only to return several months later, depressed and bereft, stigmatized and avoided.  Our mothers strictly forbade us to socialize with them.  One of them whom I knew well suicided.  I could not bring myself to go that route.

Yes, I had an abortion.  I don’t regret it.  I’m sad about it, always will be, and wonder what would have happened if I had had my baby.  She would have been almost 45 now–what would she be doing?  She would not have had much of an upbringing, if I had kept her the way this lady did.  I had no resources myself.

Nowadays there are many options for girls who get pregnant: open adoptions, where the girl can participate in her child’s life, and in the adoptive parents’ lives, almost like another child in their family.  There is foster care, which can help a girl grow up while her baby is in a safe place (usually!).  There are many programs that support pregnant teens with educational and job skills while they complete their pregnancy, so that they can support themselves and their baby and not be dependent on their own families or the state for sustenance.  And of course there are the many grandparents–more grandparents than birth parents are willing to help their grandchildren through an accidental pregnancy and with helping to raise the child, for multiple reasons.

So I ask, don’t judge me for the decision I made as a child.  What I need is compassion.  Even if you are vehemently against abortion for your own reasons, and would never have an abortion in your own life–please be kind to those who are in desperate straits, and choose abortion because that is the only avenue they can see at the time.

the flying troutmans – miriam toews

This is the fifth book by Miriam Toews that I’ve read, and the fourth I’ve reviewed on this blog. Because of the theme and motivation of my blog, I only review mental/neurobiological illness related stuff.

The Flying Troutmans is the sort-of-sequel to A Complicated Kindness. The narrator is Hattie Troutman, who goes home to Canada to look after her sister, Min and her two kids, Logan and Thebes. Min is taken to a psych ward and we see very little of her for the rest of the book.

All her life Min had been surrounded by pills and sometimes she took them and sometimes she didn’t and sometimes she took way too many of them.

We know she is psychotic and we know she is suicidal, but that’s as far as the diagnosis goes. Her children have had to mature fast and take care of their mother.

Bright, precocious and completely averse to washing, Thebes is an absolute delight, and a good contrast to her moody but likeable 15 year old brother.

She talked about her friends. We’re all mostly white nerds, she said, with minor physical and emotional flaws that do not require medication but do brand us as losers in the bigger picture.

With Min out of the picture most of the time, the narrative centres on what impact her instability has had on those around her. Hattie is an old hand at it and worn out by it.

How do you love someone who wants to be left alone to die? How do you stay? How do you walk away?

After Min tells Hattie she doesn’t want contact with her or the children, she decides to distract them by fabricating a mission to locate their father in the USA. All three of them try desperately to be strong for each other, and of course all three of them are fragile.

Thebes, I said, are you okay? Why aren’t you talking?

I don’t know, she said. I think I might be depressed.

Logan and I both whipped our heads around to look at her and the van veered towards the dotted line. Nobody gets away with using the D word in our family without a team of trauma experts, a squad of navy SEALs, Green Berets and a HazMat crew appearing instantaneously in the midst.

The roadtrip takes them on a metaphysical journey too, as roadtrips should – and the plot unwinds with the winding road.

I liked it a whole lot. From the start, it reminded me a bit of Catcher in the Rye and a smaller bit of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Despite those comparisons, the book holds its own with ease. Echoing her own life, which you can read about in Swing Low: a life, Toews’ recurring themes keep recurring in distinct and interesting ways, as if she’s working stuff out. Sisters, suicide and mental illness are the three that feature most strongly in The Flying Troutmans and as usual, the story proceeds with gritty reality, grace, heart and intelligence. Again, I can recommend her book with less than no hesitation.


The other books I’ve read are:
All My Puny Sorrows
A Complicated Kindness
Swing Low (a biography of her bipolar father, who committed suicide.)
Irma Voth

The Manic Author Part #1

authorI published a little fiction in my last post and several of you were very positive about it. A few of you asked for “more” so today I thought I’d tell you the story of the manic author. (This is not fiction, but I sort of wish it was.)

You know how a lot of people dabble with writing in high school? They might keep journals, write poetry or stories, or just write for fun. That was NOT me. I remember having to write something for an English lit class and practically getting sick. Fiction was not my thing. Poetry was REALLY not my thing. I would just sit and stare at my paper. (Yes, in those days we used good old fashioned handwriting.) I had writer’s block forever.

This all continued through college. I always had great grades and could write any non-fiction or technical paper but forget fiction. It just never happened.

Fast forward to age forty. Yes, that would be about twenty years or so out of college.

I had had manic episodes before and had done all sorts of things but I got centered on the computer. The whole internet world was new to me at that point and I couldn’t wait to try it out.

One night I was watching television and I saw this celebrity on there. He was about 28 or so and looked pretty cute to me. (Remember, I was 40, married, and had three kids at this point.) So with my hot desktop computer, I decided to look this guy up on the internet. Well, lo and behold, there was a huge website about him. There was information on things from the kind of socks he wore to how he liked his eggs. It was pretty extensive.

At first, I just read a lot on there. I saw who some of the “important” posters were and which threads were popular. Little by little, I decided to post a few things of my own.

Now I did not want to seem weird, so I passed myself off as much younger than I really was. I liked this internet thing. You could be just about anyone you wanted. This was back in the day when it was hard to find out where someone lived from their IP address. And everyone else was pretty anonymous, too. We were all scared some psycho would get our info and show up at our door with a machete.

I quickly made some friends on the site. One of them I got really close to. (I actually wound up sending her money, but that is another manic story.) One day, someone suggested that I check out the “fanfic” part of the site. I had no idea at all what this was. I had never heard of it. But I found out it stood for fan fiction. All sorts of people wrote fictional stories about celebrities. Some of these were pretty steamy, other were about the person and aliens, others were just G rated. You name it, it was on there.

I started reading some of these stories. Many of them were incredibly long. But they were addictive. Once I started reading one, I couldn’t stop until I finished it. I quickly learned that some people on the internet are really bad writers and some were pretty good. Every once in a while, I’d run into someone excellent.

Most of these stories were written in a serial format. The author would post a chapter every day or two and people would post a lot of feedback. All kinds of feedback. Some people would tell the author what they wanted to come next. Some would critique the hell out of the chapter. Others would just say “oh, it made me cry…..” I can’t really explain how emotional people got over these stories. I have to admit, it did make this guy come alive in a weird way.

The romantic stories about this guy were sort of a joke. I mean the authors would give the character incredible attributes. No man could possibly come close. I always wondered if this guy ever read any of this stuff and what he thought if he did.

Well, you probably know what happened next. I decided I had to write a story. I knew I could write a story at least as good as half of them because I could put a sentence together and I could spell. And I didn’t have to worry about plot: girl meets celebrity, they fall in love and get married (after having chaste sex), they have a kid or two…you get the idea.

So I started writing. And I really got into it. I posted a chapter a day. And these were not short chapters. I would get up in the morning, get the kids off to school, and start writing. It would take me an hour or so to put the chapter together. And then I would hang around the computer desperately waiting for feedback from my readers. I never edited this stuff. I had no overall plot or theme. I just sort of let the story come to me as I went.

I got lots of feedback. Most of them wanted more sex. I hated writing about sex and I avoided it like the plague. This was a wild group of women! But basically everyone liked the story. I had quite a following. And this was from someone who had never written a story or anything before.

I attribute it to mania. There’s just no way I could do this now. Making sense out of nothing and writing intimate details about some guy I don’t even know.

This story went on and on and on. I can’t totally remember how long it got, but I know it was some amazing amount. (I will try to find out for you before the next post. A friend of mine actually saved a copy of this thing.)

Don’t you just love mania? You can’t make this up. Part Two will be on the way soon.


“The weather is so bipolar”

I don’t know how most people feel about statements like this, but they don’t really hurt my feelings. I even used them prior to being diagnosed. I do think that it’s such  great opportunity to share with someone the truth about bipolar. I know for a fact that most people I have ever come in contact with would not think that I am the definition of bipolar. Maybe that’s because of the stigma, or the way people think bipolar really is, but I actually had people tell me they didn’t believe it after I was diagnosed. It was actually a little humorous for me because i was having to defend my diagnosis.

There are too many things that people don’t understand and there are too many people afraid to be honest and ask questions. I’m not afraid to share, so whenever I have a chance I do just that. I don’t usually share it with just anyone, but my co-workers know and most of my family. I have my blog attached to Facebook so anyone can read my thoughts anytime they want. I have had people comment in ways that have brought me through the fear and uncertainty and I have had people who have thanked me for sharing my experience with them. It’s not always an easy thing to navigate. You don’t want to say too much but you truly do want others to understand. AND…let’s be real. The truth is being bipolar often mimicks weather or many of the other things that people like to use compare it. Don’t get me wrong it is a serious condition and one that needs more awareness and understanding by most people. But why can’t we laugh about it. I mean we laugh because of pretty much everything else in life. Nothing is off limits. Laughter is healing and while some of my “bipolar moments” arent really a part of my disorder, who cares!!

And the truth of the matter is that if someone is acting or reacting in a way that seems bipolar they may need some love and concern pointed their direction. They may be struggling and upset or even excited about an event in their lives and they only want to share it. When it comes right down to it many people don’t understand. And it’s up to those of us who truly suffer from this to be the ones that speak up and say something when someone obviously doesnt understand what they are doing. I have found the majority of people in my life are receptive, that they want to know what it means, and that they want to understand the difference in what they “think” being bipolar means and what it is in reality.

I cant even begin to describe the freedom that I have felt since being diagnosed. I like to ask questions, I want to know they whys about everything. I was set free when someone looked me in the eye and said, “you’re test results show a diagnosis of bipolar 1 and possibly a personality disorder. I was freed!! Free of the years of believing that i wasn’t enough, of thinking that I didn’t have enough faith in God to change myself, or enough self control to walk away from the negative factors in my life. Not only are those things not true, but with my meds(which are still being worked on) I KNOW that I have faith that can move mountains, I know I have the self control to do anything I put my mind to, I know I can change and I know I can make a difference. For the first time since I can remember my mind can be and often is calm and silent. I can make a plan and stick to it. I can have a conversation and actually follow through with it.

For many years I was so confused and in all seriousness completely bipolar. I couldn’t control so many things internally that I didn’t even realize I didn’t have control overl. You know those times when someone does something and you wonder if that’s normal for everyone? I used to have those all the time. I used to wonder how something wrong can happen in someone’s life and they just take it. I have wondered how people are able to speak and respond the way they do when I just want to explode. I spent years in both little and major arguments and disputes. I was told more than one time that my feelings were out of proportion, but I didn’t understand what they were saying because those feelings are “normal” for me.

I guess my point is that isn’t the use of the word bipolar a good opportunity to encourage and teach those around us. Doesn’t it give us the perfect opportunity to say, “ya the weather kind of is bipolar, but there’s more to the illness than quickly changing emotions. And it’s not something that is easily controlled as some would have you believe.”

I will continue to try to use those offended comments people make as a way to open a door to better understanding and compassion. And pray tat when the chance comes I will fly through it with flying colors and someone else will understand in a way that they have never considered before.

Be blessed ya’ll!!! Have a great day!!


These were the days before cell phones, so Darren had to way to call my parents  But some how Mom get it in her head that I’d had my own denstist’s appointment that day and was probably there waiting.  The desk called me to the phone, and it was my mom on the other side, telling me that my dentist appointment had been canceled and rescheduled to another day.  “I’m coming to get you in just a minute,” Mom said.

It was all I could do not to break down right then and there in the office.  I still wanted to run away; I still didn’t want to live at home; I still didn’t think my parents cared about me—except I could tell mom had been crying before she got on the phone.  I was angry that my plans had been disrupted and I was going to be going back home after all.  But I held back those tears of frustration until that night when I was supposed to be going to sleep. If she ever figured out that I had tried to pull a stunt like running away, she never let on.  SO I escaped punishment but still had a long time to go before I could leave home

Social Woes Part 2

Before the fun…

Less than an hour til we are due to leave for my birthday outing.
My stomach’s been in knots all day.
My heart rate is speeding up more by the minute.
I am dressed “up”.
Most would be excited to go.
I am excited only to get it over with.
I sometimes wonder what on earth made me this screwed up.

Five minutes later…
All my brain can do is screech GET IT OVER WITH, MAKE IT END.
The anxiety fucks up everything.
I want to kick its ass.
I just don’t know how.

Ten minutes before go time…

My kid is being a fussy mouthy bratbeast.
My anxiety level is through the roof.
I just want comfy pajamas and a warm blanket.
Novacaine for the brain.

10:38 p.m.
The aftermath.
Well Mrs. R was a half hour late getting back so I was left at their house, to my own devices, with R who has so little social grace I had to ASK for a drink rather than be offered one. And ok, maybe on some level, (mostly his wife’s) I am supposed to feel free to make myself at home. It was awkward as hell, especially when I learned R’s eldest daughter and her husband were going to meet us there while R watched the kids.
I was in “rip off the bandage mode”. It sounds gutsy but it is really the ninth circle of hell where those around me seem so happy and light hearted…I feel like a grinchzilla. And as is always my fear, my low mood made R jump on the defensive. I have NO idea why men assume when a woman is in a bad mood it’s all about them.
My mood was low today. My kid was very defiant and trying. It took a toll. Throw in hour upon hour of anxiety…It doesn’t take a physicist to do the math.
THEN came the car ride chat and walking into the packed restaurant. Four people at a table, three of them yapping and tapping away on their iphones while I look at the floor and pray for a fiery ball to land on me. They were all a flutter about wedding plans for the son of Mrs R…Like I care about coral bridesmaid dresses or whether the nazi bride will allow the moms to wear navy. It all made me feel thankful my weddings were at the courthouse. My give a damn is busted as far as dresses and color schemes go. It’s pretty much a given were I to have a formal wedding…It would NOT EVER involve pastels or bright fruity colors. I did get my snark in when R’s wife and daughter commented, “I don’t like black, it’s such a funeral color.”
And me, head to toe in black, I said, “My life is a funeral then.”

It was Friday night supper hour so the place we went to was packed. It took a half hour to get our Mangoritas. Which meant a half hour of more anxiety and social awkwardness and fighting off the overwhelming urge to go postal on the 50% of the restaurant all on their smart phones. RUDE.
But hey, by the third margerita I was relaxed enough to get the stick out of my ass. I think that’s one thing alcohol does that xanax does not. Xanax calms the anxiety, but it doesn’t relax. Once relaxed and my mind had slowed down, I was able to fake the social experience. I even enjoyed my meal since I was able to order something bland that wouldn’t cause digestive warfare. Now I was still painfully aware that I was out of my element. It’s like that when you’re friends with people on a surface level but really have nothing in common other than happening to know each other. It’s not a matter of like or dislike, it’s just…well since I’m the oddball most conversation revolves around their interests because no one wants to hear from funeral chick.
And that’s fine, I don’t want to waste my best macabre snarks on those who don’t appreciate them. Snarky banter is an art form lost on mundanes.

But alas…we went back to Mrs R';s house. R survived the hour watching the little ones but she was irritated he let the girls use her “good” throw pillows to build a fort. Really? Well, it’s that class thing, I guess. I was born middle class poor and well, others weren’t. Different priorities.
I had a couple more drinks. I wasn’t getting drunk, that was the weird part. Not so much as a tingly buzz. Just a relaxed “Okay, I’ve got this” mind frame.
Of course R had to ruin it by asking me to come in on Saturday to help make room at the shop for a sixty inch TV coming in. Seriously, dude? I was there four days last week. I promised to take my kid to Pizza Hut today with her school’s reading reward certificate. I may not have much of a life but I do have a bit of one outside his obsessive compulsive world of busted stuff. And I won’t even point out the bruised rib that will cause me agony if I have to lug heavy TVs around. (And I do that all the time there, it’s not an issue but at the moment, it is.)
Just…Grr, for once, shut the fuck up about that damned place and have a good time. Or let me.

I survived.
I won’t say I had fun, but I will say it was a nice gesture. T and her husband even bought me a box of chocolate and a gag gift of a pink birthday princess sash. Which I put on proudly when they had the restaurant employees put a big sombrero on me, sing happy birthday in spanish, and they all took pictures and video to beam out my humiliation.
Whatever. I wanted to crawl under the table but I just went with it. If those pictures end up on Facebook tagged with my name, there will be bloodshed. I pride myself in having almost no fooprint of my legal name on the internet. I’d like to keep it that way. Pen names are used for a reason.
That and Facebook is eeeeevil.
Hey, we all need our villains. Mine are Facebook and apple products.

I survived.
let’s do it again in another…five years.
I just want to breathe today.
And fantasize about how nice it must be to truly enjoy such outings and not need alcohol to endure it.
Something I may never know.

31 days of bipolar: 5

Youuu dooo something to meme / something that simply mystifiiiiiiiies meme …


5. What treatment, therapy etc do you do?

Disclaimer: this is not a treatment plan you should follow, it’s limited by and adapted to my circumstances. And I certainly don’t always get it all right.
Datclaimer: there is some good stuff there though.

Okay, here goes another 5km long post (sorrynotsorry).


Psychiatrist: definitely the most important tool in my toolkit. I pay privately, because I have no medical aid and it still works out cheaper. State facilites in South Africa are usually pretty basic and frequently rather alarming. My psychiatrist is fabulous.
Medication: having spent the past two or three decades dancing with psychology and psychiatry and meds, as well as doing my best to only do it my way, I am unashamedly and unequivocally pro psychiatry and meds. With one caveat, the psychiatrist has to be bloody good, trustworthy and ethical. I’m only 6 months into the bipolar meds-go-round, having been misdiagnosed for most of my life. At the moment: lamotrigine, serdep, wellbutrin, concerta.
Love: for me this means friends and nextofkin. Very important for obvious reasons, like not isolating myself completely.
Dogs: the dogs keep me to a strict routine, get me out walking and are always available for cuddles. Girldog makes sure I get up by 6am at the very latest and she wakes me up after a couple of hours when I nap.
Calm: ptsd and panic attacks taught me that stress management is essential. I live quietly and avoid drama.
Routine: structure is important, to avoid sliding down the horrible depressive vortex of doom, soaring up the rainbow of giddy mania, or killing somebody while in a mixed episode.
Sleep: as regular as possible, and as uniform as possible.
Diet: as healthy and as close to a Mediterranean diet as possible. Plus zinc and magnesium, as recommended by my shrink. 3 meals per day and no cutting out carbs – also shrink instructions and intended to help allay anxiety. I don’t drink alcohol and I limit coffee to roughly one cup a week.
Exercise: walks on the beach with my dogs.
Writing: my version of talk therapy – with you guys as various types of therapist.
Reading: I read voraciously and always have. I read mental illness to learn and understand myself, and a wide, wide range of other stuff to understand the rest of the world.
Light: sunglasses outside, blue light filter on digital screens. Apparently it helps in avoiding mania being triggered by sunshine. Blue light = bad for bipolar.


Therapy: I’ve had a metric fuck-ton of therapy in my life, of varying levels of helpfulness. The most helpful, in the end, was CBT. I didn’t do it for long, but it taught me some invaluable skills. If I could afford therapy now … I don’t think I’d bother. I’m still content with taking a break from it. Idc if that’s wrong.

I Understand You’re Right

Some people just want to be understood.

Some people just want to be right!

What’s not to understand?  If you’re right, you’re right.  Right?

I’ve been scratching my head a bit lately, wondering why it is that for some people, it is crucial to Be Right.  Doesn’t matter about what…..they’ve just…got…to…be…RIGHT!

Take, for instance, the computer geek that I recently dated for, like, 90 milliseconds.  He wrote me a whole email about the fact that I was mistaken about the date my antique Mac was released.  Whew.  I am so glad that I didn’t go around for the rest of my effing life with that misconception.  But he was right.  He.  Was.  RIGHT!  And I told him so.  I am wrong, and you are right.  And he was happy, and satisfied, and had a nice warm feeling in his belly.  Good-bye.

And then there was my weekly aggravating conversation (if one could call it such) with one of the people who call me every Friday, in honor of the Sabbath; his name shall not be mentioned, so instead I will call him Bob.

Now, Bob is a very good person.   A bit selfish, yes: always complaining that he gives more than he gets, always picking apart every woman who comes his way and then moaning about how God isn’t sending him his wife…but the thing that sticks in my craw is that the man Must.  Be. Right.

It hit me today, as I meandered about the kitchen with the speakerphone on, making myself breakfast at 2:30 in the afternoon.  He kept on saying, “But you don’t understand!  Yackity, yackity, yackity, yack….”  (It does not matter what we were talking about, because Bob will only ever argue about it anyway….)

“So,” I mumble, in between bites of egg……

“You’re mumbling!  I can’t understand you!”

“Yes, I know I’m mumbling.  I’m trying to eat my breakfast.”

“Oh, yes, breakfast.  I ate breakfast too, this morning.”  I am so happy that Bob had a good breakfast.  It leaves me in tears.

He is in a much earlier time zone, relative to mine.  I considered mentioning that it was 2:30 in the afternoon here, just for interest, but tossed that out, as it probably would not have drawn any interest on Bob’s part; and it would rob me of precious seconds in which to eat my egg while it was warm.

“Good, good.  I’m glad you ate breakfast, Bob.  May it be in good health.”  I took a bite of toast.

“What’s…that…crunching noise?”  He said accusingly, with no small hint of suspicion.

“A time bomb.  I’ve affixed it to your ear, and in ten seconds…”  Sigh.  No, I did not say that.

I changed the subject to one that I know is dear to his heart: the Splitting of the Sea.  Like in the Bible, right, when the Sea split to let the Children of Jacob through, and afterward it drowned all of Pharaoh’s armies?  We like to argue, um, talk about that one. There are jillions of ways it can apply in one’s life.  I like to pull that out when we talk, because I know it’s one he can go on about forever and I can get my breakfast eaten and the paper plate thrown away–I am not yet well enough to face dishes–without my having to say a word.

In my constant quest for learning something by which to earn a living, I came upon a sage who taught me that there are two broad categories of human beings:

–people whose only wish is to be understood;

–and people whose only wish is to be right.

It hit me like a ton of bricks today, while listening to him on the speakerphone whining,

“But you don’t understand!  You don’t understand!   It’s not like this, it’s like that!

“You’re right,” I said, having finally understood.  “You’re right!

“What?”  He said, sounding a bit lost.

“I said, you’re right!  You are absolutely right!”

By this time, I don’t think either of us remembered exactly what it was that he was right about, but it seemed to give him immense satisfaction to know that I knew that he was right.  There was a satisfied silence on his end of the phone.  Then I knew I was understood, which is, to me, the object of life: to be understood.

He understood that I understood that he…is…RIGHT!

“Well,” I lied, “Gotta have both my hands now, to do the dishes!”

“OK, I gotta go too!”  He sounded so happy, it gave my heart wings.  To fly away.  I hung up, feeling light and happy.  Now I understand.

Next week, I hope Bob will still remember that he’s right, and not need me to remind him.