Monday, March 28, 2011

Someone open a window, It's much too funky in here

Yes, yes, I DO still exist.

No, I am not a victim of early blog burnout just yet.

I am also not going to be one of those people who writes constant streams of "Sorry I haven't written in a while!" posts.  At a very basic level, I am writing this blog for purely selfish reasons.  Helping myself feel better.  I even slapped up the "Blogging Without Obligation" banner just to the right over there, which links to a pretty smart philosophy on blogging.

However, in the interests of being a good blog neighbor and communicating with my new blog friends, I did log in to offer this quick update.

Truth is, I have been down down down in a deep dark funk.  It's been rather paralyzing really.

I have so much I want to write about.  I want to do a post on feeling suicidal.  I want to do one on Avoidant Personality Disorder.  I want to write extensively on why Casey Heynes is my hero, why the school principal that suspended him should be fired instantly, how it is ridiculously unfair that the student who made that video is not also suspended and/or expelled and one on why bullying is horribly scarring.  (Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?  We all know better now.)  I want to write about how reading other people's blogs about depression helped me recognize bad habits in my life.  How sharing other people's experiences helped me recognize how low I am, and how low I have been.

I want to write.  I want to share.  I want to heal, and be a friend to others who are healing.

But I am down down down in a deep dark funk.  It's not one of those deep dark Major Depressive Episodes that makes me question my continued existence on this earth, although goodness knows I have enough of those.  It's more of a thick coating of malaise.  Dysthymia, I believe is the technical term.  It has stopped most activity in my life, not just my writing in this space.

I come home from work, I sit on my couch, eventually I feel drowsy and head off to bed.  I sleep for 9-10 hours, then wake up to my alarm feeling as if I had not slept at all.  I head off to work, come home, and the cycle starts again.  Weekends consist of me sitting in front of the TV from Friday after work until Sunday night at bedtime.  Not good!

Just for good measure, I am achy and painy all over.  The Cymbalta commercials come to mind.  "Did you know depression can have physical symptoms as well as mental symptoms?"  Yes, Cymbalta, yes I did.  Fully aware.  Me and ibuprofen are totally BFFs now.

So.  This is not an apology for not writing, as I am going to write when I am so moved, and not feel guilty when I am not.  However, I have a lot to write about and my wish is to be able to push through that wall that is preventing me from doing so.

Darned wall.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Yes yes, I am about to do a Charlie Sheen post.  But I bet it's not what you think....

Much has been said by and about Charlie Sheen in the last week.  Certainly he has brought most of it on himself.  Clearly he is also a fellow with issues.

Or... is he.

What troubles me about the whole Sheen drama is the amount of people who are diagnosing a mental illness.  Words like "bi-polar" and "manic" have been thrown around all too often by people who are not in a position to diagnose.  So called psychologists, counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists are saying things like, "Oh it's clear he is bi-polar", based entirely on excerpts of comments he's made on various radio and television shows.  

Even the general public gets a say in the matter, as normal people-on-the-street are interviewed about what they think is wrong.  How exactly is some random passerby qualified to answer questions on the mental state of someone they never have met and know only through movies and TV?

That kind of irks me.  It reminds me of the news story floating around a couple weeks ago about Steve Jobs.  I saw the story early in it's life.  A Doctor hired by the National Enquirer looked at  pictures some paparazzi had taken of Steve Jobs leaving a cancer clinic.  This (undoubtedly saint-like) Doctor pronounced that Steve Jobs had 6 weeks to live, based solely on the photos.  Later in the day, someone dropped the National Enquirer part from the story, and the mainstream media started reporting it as fact.

Yes, Charlie Sheen is the flavor of the moment and everyone seems to want to watch the guy self-destruct (whether or not thats actually what's happening).  However that is no excuse for supposed professionals to go off the reservation and diagnose someone based on sound bites.  Isn't there some sort of professional code of conduct?  Or is a professional code of conduct totally negated by the amount of money that TMZ might pay for you to say, "BI-POLAR!" on camera?

I think most people assume Charlie Sheen has some sort of issue. Is he ill?  Or is he just Peter Pan, refusing to grow up.  Whether it is a real mental illness or its something as simple as a guy who has boatloads of money preferring to party and live with porn stars rather then conform to society's definition of what a man his age should do, only Charlie Sheen and his actual Doctors know. 

The nonsense that's been going on in the news does a great disservice to real mental health professionals, and trivializes people who are living with actual mental health issues.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Regrets, I've Had A Few

Anyone who says, "I have no regrets" is quite frankly, lying.

Perhaps they are sociopathic and have no feelings at all.  Oh but that's rather harsh.  I know... let's just give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say anyone who says, "I have no regrets" is slightly self-delusional.

We've all done things we regret.  We hurt someone's feelings.  We said something that unintentionally embarrassed someone.  We lost our temper.  We stole a gumball from the corner store as a kid.  Something.  Doesn't need to be a big thing, although goodness knows many of us have some whoppers in our past.  We all have things in our past that we wish had turned out different.  That's regret.

The constructive thing to do is look at regrets as lessons.  Life lessons to be learned.  Look back at something that happened and say, "OK that was bad, but here's how I would handle that next time".  Learn.  Grow.

Of course, that's all well and good for someone without a mental illness.  "Normies," as the interesting folks over at Mixed Nuts call them.

For someone like, oh say....Me, it's much harder to translate a regret into a lesson.  I tend to dwell on things.  things that may have happened 20 years ago... or more.  As I have discussed before, I also sometimes "catastrophize" things.  Combine those two things and you've got a recipe for more darkness.  A fragment of a memory of something that happened in high school and has very likely been forgotten by all others concerned, can have a physical effect on me.  When one pops up, I can feel it hit me like a briskly swung pillow.  I usually openly and physically flinch when something like that enters my addled mind.  It's quite ridiculous, in fact.

I read someplace that learning to deal with past trauma (real or imagined) involves a very important step.  One has to learn to remember the event without re-living the event.  That's key.  I just don't know how to do it at all.  Been trying that one for years.  I still remember and re-live stupid things that happened ages ago.  It's like I am a skipping record that repeats the same part over again without getting to the end of the song.

In the end, I have to remember that regrets represent moments that something went wrong.  To not learn from these moments would be something to regret even further.

"Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention"