Sunday, February 28, 2016

Unedited Sunday Spite

Some mornings call for three to four cups of coffee. Not for lack of sleep, nor for the day ahead: I will not go to church, not this time, anyway. But in spite of the day ahead. Because I have made the decision to skip church. No, it is not a guilt inducing decision. No, it is not an unusual decision—I have yet to attend church this year. From where, then, comes the spite? You’re right, it is the church choices.

There is guilt, I suppose. Self-inflicted guilt. Do I not want to be accepted into the Christian MFT program that rejected me last fall? But, honesty first: I don’t want to be false. I will not go to church for the program. I will go if it feels somewhat correct. And currently, it is not correct. Yes, I have carved myself out of church. But, God carved herself out too. At least so far as I can tell.

I find—and it is miraculous I can say this—a touch of God when praying. Nope. I don’t pray with spoken words rolling through my head or off my lips. Yes, I write God letters. And while I still feel no response, it has become a peaceful exercise. And while I hate to admit it, that peace just might be God.

Why would someone so frustrated, so angered by God’s silence, be so hesitant to admit to his possible presence? Because hating God has become safe, comfortable, known.

Back to church. As in my Sunday Prayer entry, I’m fearful of what might be should God show up. I’m fearful of what the priest might say. I’m fearful of what the people will want. Of expectations.

And that is what I associate the church with: fear. And, I don’t want that fear confirmed, justified, by some careless sermon; I take the words I catch to heart.

Spite. In spite of today. Spite feels better than guilt, so I spit fire at the day I choose not to have: a day of community (what a lonely person needs), a day of listening (what an introverted, word-lover excels at), a day of possibly feeling a distant deity (what I think I crave). Or, is it a day of people (those overwhelming beings), a day of judgment and chastisement (the Church’s specialty), a day of rejection by an ever-absent God (confirming my fears).

Conflict. That’s what I feel. Assume. That’s what I do. Predict. That’s my specialty. Twisted thinking. That’s what I’m indulging. Spite. That’s my crutch.

So I drink coffee.  Four cups to clear my foggy mind, to mask the bitterness my soul is producing, to awake something  in me, something distracting and satisfied to justify my spite.

Friday, February 26, 2016

More Name Calling

I’m too young to write a memoir. Twenty-five years is little time, although the last five years have been an eternity of hypomania and depression and anxiety, of undiagnosed “crazy in the blood,” as Sarah Griffith Lund would refer to it. An eternity in a lifetime of low serotonin, of social hell, of topsy-turvy existence. Yet not of memoir-material hell: no alcoholism, no abuse, no horrors beyond horror. Just the horror of living in this world that everyone at some point experiences, unless intentionally blind and na├»ve and ignorant.

In her memoir Blessed are the Crazy, Sarah Griffith Lund refers to being mentally ill as crazy:
cra*zy (krayzee)
1)    a slang word that describes a person with a brain disease
2)    a description of a situation that is out of control

And she refers hereditary mental illness as “crazy in the blood”:
                        cra*zy (krazee) in the blood (blud)
1)    a phrase that describes the genetic predisposition to suffering from a brain disease
2)    the reason why some families are more dysfunctional than others

The specific crazy she refers to is bipolar:
                        bi*po*lar (bi poler)
1)    a brain disease that causes mood swings from the lows of depression to the highs of mania, sometimes referred to as “manic depression”
2)    a term that describes having two poles that are extremes

Frankly, I don’t like being called crazy. Although, I appreciated her boldness in word choice al principio. I’m not sure what changed, but it became irritable to me that she used such a term. Perhaps it is because I am bipolar—of course I went from deep appreciation to irritable to fine. Perhaps it is because she is not bipolar—while her dad was and brother is, I don’t like her choosing names for anyone but herself.

What would I call it, then, in my own writings, in my own, maybe someday, memoir? That, that is a very good question. I do not like any of the names: not mentally ill, not with a mental disorder, not even bipolar II, the truth. All of the terms are loaded with connotations, negative connotations, thanks to a stigmatizing culture, a misunderstanding culture, a generally clueless culture.

My brain is disordered. I know it. But I am not bipolar I. I’ve got it good. Nonetheless, I am crazy. I am mentally ill, sometimes more than others. I have crazy in the blood; the prospect of reproducing is horrifying. (Why bring a being into this world with a predisposition to suffering?) I am heavily medicated; I practically have my own pharmacy. I even have medications I don’t take anymore, just incase. I see the psychiatrist every four to six to eight weeks. I go to counseling every week. I stop by the pharmacy so often they know my name and any quirks in my medications.

Yes, Ms. Lund, I am crazy. No, not undone or incomplete, just disordered. Yes, I am bipolar II. And no, it’s not okay. But it’s truth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Name Calling

I’m not supposed to call myself “antisocial.”

How about “socially inept?” It doesn’t have the same negative associations as “antisocial.” 
You’re right, it’s not positive.

But why does it matter? It’s negative no matter how I phrase it. What matters, though, is that I’m able to be honest. And “sociable” is a far ways from honest.

You’re right, I like people. In moderation. They scare me. Also correct. Even the ones whom I know I like, and like well. But what of this “anti” and “inept?”

I said “anti” because in my fear, I find myself disliking people, strongly so. Perhaps the dislike is a form of protection—if I dislike you, if I put myself at a distance, if I push you away, if you feel antipathy from me, you can’t, or won’t, hurt me.

I say “inept” because of the situations in which I find myself with those whom I indeed like. Because of the things they say to me.

Sitting in conversation, I rely, quite near entirely, on the other to guide the words, to create a specific space for words, to construct sentences in which I fill in the blanks. In order for me to say “hi,” another must say “hello.”

Waiting on openings, waiting in silence, unaware of the fact that I am often waiting, I am told that I am too quiet, too in-my-head, unresponsive . . . inept, maybe? As in unable, without skill, clumsy, awkward, incompetent?

Yes, I think so too.

Monday, February 15, 2016

That's NOT Hypomania


What is hypomania? You tell me. You’re the brainy one.

Hypomania is fall of sophomore year of college: gloriously high goals, little sleep, wringing hands raw, scratching face open, sitting on the floor of the kitchen crying and crying, gasping for breath. Oh, and talking a mile a minute, and being asked if I was okay?

That was hypomania? My eighteen units? But I dropped two classes. That can’t be hypomania. My three to five hours of sleep per night? And not being tired? But I only had four classes. That can’t be hypomania. I pulled off three Bs. But I also got a C. That can’t be hypomania. Wringing my hands raw? But it was cold, and I have dry skin. That can’t be hypomania. Scratching my face open? Well . . . that was just weird. Anxiety, perhaps—I was taking Oral Rhetoric, for Christ’s sake—but not hypomania. The crying episode in the kitchen? I didn’t have any friends around; I was lonely; I couldn’t run or walk normally; I was behind in my classes, and I was probably overdue for a cry (a biannual or an annual or a biennial occurrence) . . . that wasn’t hypomania. Talking? Hell, as I said, I was lonely. That wasn’t hypomania.

According to Google: “a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity.

That wasn’t hypomania.

According to Wikipedia: “a mood state characterized by persistent disinhibition and pervasive elevated (euphoric) or irritable mood but generally less severe than full mania.

That wasn’t hypomania. (P.S. “Disinhibition” is not a word. It would be “lack of inhibition.”)

According to Psych Central: it’s more complicated than that.

Shut up. That wasn’t hypomania.

What is hypomania? Telling the manager to get off her ass? While working 50-60 hours a week? No. That was warranted irritability. She needed to be told that.

That was not hypomania.

If none of it is hypomania, then I’ve never experienced it. Therefore, I am not bipolar. Ha. So there. Just usually tired, occasionally depressed—okay, okay, often depressed—and a little, fine, a lot, weird. And entirely socially inept.