Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere Too Soon

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We is snowed in!

Well…I had to break my blogging policy of only one post per day for this one.

Accuweather says it’s going to start snowing again in a few minutes, so we ran outside so Atina could pee and I could wrestle with the back door to get another bag of her food out.

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Atina makes sure there are no boogey-people lurking around

One good thing is, we don’t have to step down to get out of the van.  On the other hand, If we get the additional 8 inches that’s predicted, we won’t be able to get the side door open at all!

That’d be almost as bad as the time we got bogged down in cow manure out in New Mexico.  Fortunately there was some handy cut brush lying around, and I shoved that under the wheels and got out of there.

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Ol' Jenny is hibernating

One good thing, all that snow and ice makes good insulation.

Packed With Wholesome Goodness

And it’s heart-healthy, Zero Everything, Good For You, and 100% Whole Grain (OK, the grain is white flour, but still).

Where have I just come from, dear readers?  Planet Claire?  Well, yes, and they also have grocery stores.

I would like to find the advertising executives who work for the companies that use this vapid copy. 

Can I write for you?  I can put together asinine slogans such as, “Filled With The Wholesome Goodness of Heart-Healthy Whole Grains.”

I actually saw a number of combinations of these exemplary examples of advertising copy, as I was cruising the aisles looking for what I really wanted, which was of course buried among the Good-For-You foods.  I don’t really like things that are Good For Me, as a rule.  I mean, I do like them, but at the moment I am too depressed to prepare them, let alone eat them; so I am making do with Heart-Healthy microwave meals, which are much too small for the calories contained.  Did I mention I’m a recovering anorexic? 

It was really terribly amusing to amble through the aisles noting the repetitive, monotonous descriptive cliches.  Any reasonably motivated blogger could make a pile of money cranking out Zero, Good For You, Wholesome Goodness, with a little Delicious and Nutritious and maybe Yummy thrown in to clinch the deal.

Since all advertising has to adhere to the Stick To Eighth Grade level of literacy rule, I guess “Scrumptious” is out of the question.  It’s ninth grade.

On a positive note, I discovered a brand of gluten free Oreo knock-offs that promise to be “Wonderously Rich.”  Splendid! 

They made it as far as the van before I took a scissors to the wrapper and sampled them.  It was my duty.

I don’t know about Wonderously Rich, but let me tell you they are CRUNCHY and DELICIOUS!  It’s very difficult to find crunchy and delicious gluten free cookies.  I ate two.

Speaking of ad speak, what’s this garbage about (fill in the blank)-free?  What are these things “free” of?  Disease?  Germs?  Lead?

Caffeine.  Gluten.  Lactose.  Fat.  Sugar.

Hell, in the olden days we used to say things like, “sugarless candy,”  or “skim milk (that’s fat-free), or even “diet pop,” which might have been sugarless, but it was never caffeine free.  What’s the point?   You want a bump, maybe you don’t want 240 calories (you want to know the caloric content of anything?  Just ask any anorexic), but decaf soda?  Ridiculous.

It was an uplifting experience, strolling down the supermarket aisles and sneering at the creme-filled, whole-grain, heart-healthy cupcakes.

Bon appetite!

Where I’ve Been

Dearest Readers,

Yup, you’re right, I haven’t been posting lately.

There are a number of factors that I hold responsible–of course, I cannot possibly be held responsible for my own shortcomings as a blogger  ;-).

I’ve been having a bout of the flu, and it seems endless.  I came down with it a week before my trip to Israel–I don’t remember telling you about the trip to Israel, so now you know–and it let up a couple of days before I left, so I thought I was out of danger.

The flight was magical.  I happened to be seated next to an adorable Jewish fellow, not too far from my age, and it seems that we have lived parallel lives.  We yakked for about twelve hours, sprinkled with power naps.  We exchanged communication details at the baggage claim, and I went to my usual Hotel R. in Jerusalem (actually the apartment of a good friend) and I am told that I hit the rack and slept for a week.  I believe that’s true, in retrospect.

I had all sorts of icky business-type things to do in Jerusalem.  My passport had expired, so I went to the Ministry of the Interior, took a number, and waited for two hours among the wheezing toddlers and Muslim women covered head to toe while their husbands sported bare heads, muscle shirts, and cutoff jean shorts.  Shoulder-to-shoulder, Orthodox Jewish couples all in black, National Religious couples in headscarves and colorful knitted kippas. Everyone jostled for baby buggy space.  Everyone looked vaguely worried.  Government offices make everyone worried, because your fate is in the hands of some clerk who might or might not be having a bad day.

At the bank, things were really bad.  I had a bill with the National Insurance agency that was normally directly debited, but having been in America for almost four years, I had lost my bank password, and could not obtain another without passing my debit card through their own ATM, so I was screwed there.  No possibility of doing it over the phone, either, since that also requires a password.  Oh, and they force you to change your password every six months, because they got hacked a few years back and are more stringent now.  That’s probably a good thing, but it trashed my bank account and all the other accounts connected with it.

So, when I finally was able to present myself to a bank officer, I found that my account was not only frozen, but had accrued more than four times the original debt in fees and interest.

I heard that one could get those fees taken off by hiring certain lawyers who specialize in such matters, but their fee was more than what I owed, so I decided to just pay it and cut my losses.

But whom to pay?  The bank officers said not at the bank.  The original source of the debt said not with them.  Who, then?  I did what every Israeli does when having banking issues: I went to a different bank.

Used to be that you could do that, just open another account, and then deal with the other bank in your own time, or not at all.  But now they have a centralized system for catching bounders like myself, who only want to pay their bills, past and present.

The new bank was ready to open me a new account, but wait!  My other frozen account came up on their computer like a zombie rising from its grave.  This new bank was eager for my business, though, so they were kind enough to tell me the name of the government office where I could pay my dept.  But they didn’t know where it was.

Frustrated as hell, and fuck if it wasn’t too cold and damp for ice cream (which usually soothes my inner savage beast), I trudged back up the hill (did I tell you that Jerusalem, and most of Israel, for that matter, is bristling with hills?) and fell back into bed.

After a reasonable nap I turned my energies toward finding that damn office.  First I searched for its English transliteration, which usually lands you on the Hebrew site of government offices, but no dice,  This must be a really elite office for people who have been out of country so long that their bank accounts have frozen.

So I hitched up my britches and switched my keyboard over to Hebrew, and voila!  Found it.  Turned out to be about four blocks from where I was staying.  And it looked like it would be open the next day!  You must understand, dear readers, that Israeli government offices, as well as banks and other official places, are not open according to what Westerners consider to be “normal business hours.”  For instance, most banks are open Sunday and Monday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, Tuesday 8:30 am to 12 pm and again from 4 pm to 6 pm.  Wednesday we’re back to 8:30 to 1:30, but Thursday mixes it up by only being open from 4-6.  Got it?  Me neither.

And it’s not homogenous among the various official offices.  You have to go to their sites and make a note of their hours.

So: having identified the location and opening hours of the office for bad debt payment, I dragged myself down there the next day and found it packed.  I guess there are a lot of debtors around, and you can’t tell by looking at them who they are.  I mean, I think I look fairly respectable.  If you met me on the street, you’d never know that I was a person who had her bank account frozen because she was a debtor.

But that’s in the past.  I paid my bill, received the usual sheaf of paperwork that I never look at no matter what language it’s in (dear readers, one thing you should know about me is that I never read instructions unless I have pieces left over, or get an alarming string of numbers on my computer screen, or have my bank account frozen).

The important part is that they gave me a piece of paper with official signatures, seals, and stamps on it, and declared my debt to be “mevutal,” cancelled.

I marched into my (former) bank with the papers, and the officer set busily about reinstating my account.  She looked quite downcast when I told her that I intended to close that account.  She looked so downcast, that I settled for putting the account on hold, but in good standing.  I made her PROMISE that my account would not accrue any fees, because bank fees accompany every transaction, even depositing money.  At my bank it costs 6.5 shekels just to make a deposit.  That’s about $1.25, depending on the exchange rate.

Well, then I had to go back through all those government offices and make sure they had received all the information on their computers.

That done, I went on to have a spectacular flirtation with the man from the plane, which ended with both of us fleeing in terror.  Luckily he has a cooler head than I, and prevailed upon me to stay friends.  OK, I really like him.  He is a magnificent guitarist, and we had a lot of fun playing together, he playing and I singing, in an empty underground parking lot.  Then we went to a dangerous park and smooched for a couple of hours.

“How long does it take to get to the Dead Sea from here?”

I thought he was asking just because he wanted to know, so I said “45 minutes, depending on traffic.”  It was 11 at night by this time, not much traffic, I suppose, although rock throwers are always a hazard, everywhere in Israel now.

“Let’s go,” he said in earnest.  “Come on, let’s go.  I want to see the sun rise over the Dead Sea.”

I have in fact seen the sun rise over the Dead Sea, and it is spectacular.  The Dead Sea is full of bromium, which combines with other chemicals to make bromide salts that are lighter than water but heavier than most air, so they hang in a pearlescent haze over the sea.  When the sun comes up over the desert hills, the bromide cloud refracts it and shatters it into thousands of sparks of pinks, purples, and golds.  Just gorgeous.  And bromide salts are a natural antidepressant!

Unfortunately, my health prevents me from staying up all night anymore, so I had to decline.  Rats.

So, as the old-time song goes, we “kissed, shook hands, and parted.”  Not for the last time, I am quite sure.  I hope.

A couple of days later, the remnants of the flu raised their heads and turned into bronchitis.  Luckily, I happened to be visiting a couple with whom I am particularly close, and alarmed at the dreadful cough I had developed, they dragged me to their doctor, and the husband braved the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh (which has historically been friendly, but in these times you just never know).  Thankfully he did not get rocked or firebombed the way so many of my friends have, and the antibiotic worked wonders, and I felt better in a couple of days.

Comes the trip back to the US, and I was blessed with a whole row of empty seats, with no fascinating man to keep me awake.  So I slept until all the babies simultaneously woke up and began campaigning for their breakfasts.

On American soil again, I hit the ground running (driving, really), went and picked up my dog, and slogged home through the haze of jet lag.

Over the next few days I thought I was having a protracted case of jet lag.  I usually don’t get much in the way of jet lag, because I think my body has given up on the idea, having been schlepped through so many time zones, and it doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon.

Unfortunately the “jet lag” turned out to be: either a relapse of the flu, or some other new, different, and wonderful virus.  I spend my days and especially nights alternating between racking chills and burning sweats.  I have threatened my body that if it doesn’t straighten up and fly right I will drag its sorry ass to the doctor.  It seems unimpressed.

Wishing all of you a healthier New Year than I’ve been having so far,

Laura

Talking Shop

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I’ve noticed, that I haven’t been posting.

Lord knows I’ve wanted to.

Blogging serves many purposes for me, as I’m sure it does for you: catharsis, self-expression, connection, community, dialogue, intellectual challenge, exercise and sharpening of one’s writers’ craft teeth, etc.

But: things around here have been less than peachy.

Dad had another stroke a week ago, was in a coma for a couple of days.  Then he began his struggle back into This World.  He’s not quite as “with it” as he was before–and he wasn’t too “with it” then either–but sometimes he knows where he is.  Thankfully he still knows who I am.

While we thought he was dying or about to die, there was a certain amount of drama (really?!) on the part of my mother, who actually hugged me and wept on my shoulder for an uncomfortable while.  I do feel sorry for her, but not that sorry.  But it’s not as if I would push my mother away while she’s having a dramatic sad moment, or a sadly dramatic moment, being about to lose her husband of sixty-six years.

Life is now a patchwork of caregivers and nurses coming in and out of the house.  That’s good, because I cannot help with physical needs other than the food-related ones.  I can prepare food, and help him eat it; and if he’s too “out of it” to get his food into his mouth, I can feed him.  Some days he’s able to feed himself, and some days he’s just too exhausted.  He’s hungry, but he just can’t manage the eating part.  I never realized how complex the act of eating is, until this experience of watching Dad’s stepwise loss of the mechanical ability to manipulate food, even with his hands, let alone utensils.

Once it’s in his mouth he can usually chew it up and swallow, but sometimes he needs his food “blenderized” and sometimes he just can’t eat at all.  I know that’s part of dying.  And sometimes he absolutely refuses to eat, and that’s part of dying too.

We try to keep him hydrated, at least.  He’s on a medicine that decreases the fluid in his blood, taking some stress off his heart, which does make him feel better but causes increased urination, so getting the fluids into him is important.  I know, it seems paradoxical: on one hand, taking the fluids out, on the other, shoving them in.

The other day we were sitting alone together, watching the afternoon coming in through the brilliant greens of the forest canopy, and he said:  “You and I need to go up into the woods and talk shop.”

I know what he meant.

We have always been best buddies, even when times weren’t so good, even though he served as my own private “Flying Monkey” who tried to explain away my mother’s evil ways.  I always came back, for my dad.  Here I am!

Just about every night, starting from…when?  Maybe after I got back off the road, when I was seventeen–every night when I was visiting and would be staying over, my dad and I would sit up late drinking whiskey and “talking shop.”  We would solve the world’s problems, solve problems for worlds that were entirely theoretical at the time but in fact exist now, and dig deep into authors, poetry, philosophical genres, the nature of human existence, art (of course), artists (same), relationships of all sorts….and now and then my mother would stick her head down the stairway to ask us to please “keep it down.”

I do salute her for allowing us those times together and not throwing a monkey-wrench into things, which she is quite capable of doing.  She knew that those late-night rap sessions were sacred.

The only time my dad and I ever got into a shouting match was oh, around 3 am when we were both three sheets to the wind, and somehow or other we fell into the topic: “Does God have a sense of humor?”

He staunchly and solidly maintained that God does NOT have a sense of humor.  The Holocaust.

I equally stubbornly held that God DOES have a sense of humor, because WE exist and that is the ridiculous proof!

Neither of us would budge, and having put a good dent in a fifth of Bourbon whiskey, the volume worked its way up until we were actually shouting at each other in earnest.  Luckily my mother yelled down the stairs for us to “knock it off down there.”  We sheepishly toasted “to Life” and stumbled off to our respective beds.  We never did resolve that point.

So, we need to go up into the woods and talk shop.  Some more.  Soon.

The Whole Social Media Thing

To begin with, I can’t see sh*t.  That is because I got new glasses about a month ago, with the usual promise that “I will get used to them.”  Having worn glasses for 53 years, I do have some experience with that phenomenon.  These are wrong, and I’ve been round and round with the eye people about them, so until I get that straightened out (probably by forfeiting the $385 they cost me and going elsewhere), I have about a centimeter of lens in my left eye that I can actually see out of.  So if I make typos (horrors!) here, please forgive Little Miss Picky because she is mostly blind at the moment.

Social media: WordPress.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Google Hangouts.  Google Plus.  Or is it Google+?  I don’t care.  For some reason it infuriates me.  Perhaps it’s the feeling of chaos that overcomes me when I know for sure that I have no control whatsoever regarding what little groups, or big, or medium groups I get included in.  I’ve tried posting on Google+ that I don’t want to be included in it.  Of course that generated discussion, good-byes, and affirmations that people would respect my wishes.

Not.  I keep getting family photos, adorable pictures of the new baby sister, etc., all on Google+.  I don’t respond to any of it, so the way I know it was heaved in my general direction via Google+ is when I get an irate, or disappointed, or whatever negative emotional reaction, in my actual email inbox.

Other people try to send me stuff (or register their displeasure at my non-response to Google+) via Facebook.  I look at Facebook, oh, maybe once every two or three months, except when there is a war and then everyone in my country uses it to communicate so I am on several times a day.

Quiet returns, I’m no longer there.

Oh right, Skype.  F*ck Skype.  They send me all kinds of communications in I think Icelandish, by the look of it.  I don’t understand that language.  I do use Skype once or twice a year, but I sure as hell do not leave it open so that it can start ringing and disturb my train of thought.  Anyone who knows me well enough to Skype me knows my email address.  We can make an appointment.

Twitter.  Yeah, I’m sure it’s really useful, especially in times of war and natural disaster.  It’s just that, people, I am on the autistic spectrum and I just don’t care about most things.  I care about my family, my dog, my son especially, my ethnic group, the scary situation with the honeybees, the scary situation with the bats (another very important creature that most people don’t even know about), the bad things that are done to whales by our “Defense Department(s),” and other things I’m quite sure most other people don’t know about and might not care about even if they did know about them.  I do not give one shit or Shinola about my mother’s hellish cat.

So Twitter, unless there is a war or natural disaster that you want to keep up with, is just plain intrusive.  I finally figured out how to turn off audio notifications in my current flavor of Android (who the f*ck cares whether it’s “Ice Cream Soda” or “Strawberry Suppository”?).  They’re just trying to keep up with Apple’s infuriating system of naming their big operating systems after big cats.  Jeeezus K. Reist (thank you R. Crumb), not only do we have to figure out how to stop the effing Apple Store from taking over the whole damn computer, but in addition have to remember what CAT we’re running?  I HATE that.  “Hello, Applecare, there is black smoke coming out from under my keyboard.”  “Oh I’m sorry to hear that, are you running Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Abominable Snowman today?”  “There’s no such OS as Abominable Snowman.”  “Oh yes ma’am, you’re right, I was just fucking with your head.  Now how may I help you today?”  (I discreetly send reverse amplification to their dumb and dumber terminal, causing a chain reaction on their side that blows every circuit in their personal MacBook Pro Titanium, and also gives them a hell of a toothache.

So.  No, Twitter gives me a headache.  Use my email if you want to talk to me, OK?

There’s an email in my right sidebar.  You’re welcome and encouraged to use it!  And of course I fastidiously monitor and respond to comments on my blogs!  That’s where I really feel there is a personal connection.  It’s great for people on the Autistic Spectrum, because you can interact on a personal level without ever having to do air kisses, or hug people you don’t know, or try to avoid people crushing your arthritic hands in their “firm handshake,” or smelling their idea of perfume that makes you gag, or making eye contact for any reason.  Right.  It is a panacea for all of the threatening forms of social intercourse, while opening space for actual exchange of ideas and, yes, emotion, Dr. Spock.

In the meantime, well….there really isn’t any meantime, since you’ve already read all about it above!

Love yas all, peace…..

Daily Prompt: Verbal Ticks

Thank you, Ben Huberman.  I really needed a larf, and Huberman’s  Daily Prompt has got me rolling on the floor: “Verbal Ticks.”

Do you have a “verbal tick” you can’t get rid of?  Does it bury its head in your skin, suck your blood, and give you Lyme Disease, all the while chattering away like a demented dummy?

Ben, darling, I really am not dissing you.  It’s just that I’m a compulsive editor/proofreader with a cranked sense of humor.  I would have left you a comment in the “comments” section on your post, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the Daily Prompt, and if there is, I couldn’t find it.  My bad.

The word you wanted was tic.  A verbal tic is a vocalization, whether recognizable or not, that builds up inside the sufferer’s mind/body with increasing pressure until it exits, one way or another.  It’s a common feature of Tourette Syndrome.

I heard of a lawyer with Tourette’s whose main tic was verbal.  His brain compelled him to utter foul curses!  Most of the time he was able to blend them into a faked cough, but occasionally he had to exit the courtroom in order to drain himself of curses!  The judges all knew of his disability and made accommodations for his needs.

So now I’ve had my larf at the expense of our dear Ben, and it really is bedtime; but I will have to distract my mind, perhaps by watching Betty Boop cartoons, lest my dream be populated with chattering blood-sucking arthropods.

The Letters After My Name

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA, FAAP.  What do these letters mean, of themselves, and what do they mean to me?  Why do I use them, here on Bipolar For Life?  What, if anything, do they have to do with bipolar-ness?  And most importantly, why do I insist upon using them when the professional qualifications they symbolize are now meaningless?

MD: Medical Doctor.  A passion since childhood, hard-won.  I put myself through college (oh yes, another set of letters: BA, Bachelor of Arts) by holding down three jobs while taking a full course load.  I know, I know, hypomania.  But it was fun, and I would have graduated with honors except that the required Honors Seminar conflicted with one of my jobs.  Oh well.

The MD turned into a combined degree program in Medicine and Medical Anthropology, six years.  Graduated with a perfect grade point average, 5.0.  Number One in my class (actually shared with my then-husband, who also had a 5.0), inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

My first year in practice as a Pediatric Emergency Physician, I was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Pediatrics, and added FAAP to the collection.

All that stuff, including the wisdom garnered while cocktail waitressing as an undergraduate:  I used it until that very bad day, April 4, 2000, when I locked my office door for the last time, drove home, and went into a catatonic depression that resulted in my permanent disability.

All those letters, lost.

OK, yes, I did earn them, every one of them.  And it could be argued that in so doing, I earned the right to keep them after my name, forever.  No one can ever take them from me.

On the other hand, I feel lost when I look at them.  It’s as if–no, it isn’t as if–it’s the reality, cold and hard, that I am no longer who I once was.  I no longer go to the ER or the office every day.  I no longer practice Pediatrics, or anything else.  I live moment to moment.  My energy goes into keeping my mind in a reasonably healthy trajectory, and it takes every once of energy I have just to keep living from one moment to the next.

For a long time I used the letters after my name as a reminder of what I have achieved in this life.  But now I feel that they have become a burden.  I look at them and cringe.  This is not what I wanted for a life.  This is not what I worked 20 hours a day during my undergraduate years, who knows how much during my Medical and Graduate School years, 120 hours a week during internship and residency–I did not work all those hours to be sitting around like a bump on a log just trying to keep my shit together so I don’t start screaming and scare the dog.

I look at those letters, and I start to cry.  I think about the people who read this blog, or my comments, and think I am a practicing physician with oodles of money, knowledge, and perhaps power.  And I think I am misleading them.  In fact, I know that’s the case sometimes, from comments I’ve received.

Those letters weigh upon my soul.  They sit on me like an elephant.

It’s not that I don’t want them anymore.  I earned them with my sweat, blood, and tears, dammit.  They’re mine.

It’s just that right now I’m feeling the grief of my lost life, and I don’t want them staring me in the face every time I look at my blog or my email signature.

So I think you will see the letters after my name disappear.  Not today; I don’t have the energy for it.  But soon.  Maybe tomorrow.

To My Readers

Dearest Readers, how can I ever hope to express my gratitude for the love and support you have given me during these hard times?  Truly, I don’t know what I would do without you.  Your words of comfort and encouragement have soothed my soul.  The stories of your own experiences with your aged parents have encouraged and strengthened me.

May you all be blessed with healing according to your needs, peace of mind, and good friends–whether “in the flesh” or here, in our wonderful Mental Health Blogger community (and everybody else too)!

Much love,

Laura

 

Two Hebrew Kings Blog For Mental Health

I lived in Seattle for a time, and was crazy as a bed bug (ugh! bed bugs!) due to indiscretions in several arenas of my life and untreated bipolar disorder.  Fortunately, I found a wonderful psychiatrist named Ray Vath.  Dr. Vath, if you are reading this, please know you saved my life.

On more than one occasion, I got so manic and paranoid that I locked myself in a hotel room for several days at a time, hallucinating, emerging only to walk my service dog and get more bottled water.  I ate nothing.  No amount of Ativan slowed my mind.  I had to wait it out.  I would not call the doctor for fear he would put me in the hospital–something I feared worse than death, having been in twice already.

On one post-mania visit, Dr. Vath, after writing a script for Lithium, suggested that King David was manic-depressive.  Just look at Psalms, he said.  In one poem he would be elated, dancing and singing before G-d, and in another, crying out in pain and suffering, begging forgiveness and professing to be nothing but a lowly sinner.

I did look at the Psalms, but at the time had no Hebrew, so I had to make do with translations.  These did put across Dr. Vath’s point.  But it wasn’t until I learned Hebrew that I really got the impact of the language David used.  It is so poignant–and so bipolar.

As I got more confident in my Hebrew (and my ability to use a dictionary) I set myself the task of reading the first book of Samuel in Hebrew.  It’s easier than a lot of the ancient texts, because the language is more like modern Hebrew; and it’s easier than the later prophets, because they raved on so.  (It says in Samuel I that the prophets would fall down in something like an epileptic fit and prophesy.  Hmmm, sounds like a Pentacostal Church service.  Maybe they read the Prophets too?)

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that David’s uncle Saul, the first King of Israel, suffered terribly from depression!  He would send for David, “The Sweet Singer of Israel,” to play his harp and sing for him.  That was the only thing that would pop Saul out of his black melancholy.  But what happened then!  David, playing his lyre and seemingly oblivious, would jump slightly to the right or left, in order to avoid the spear that Saul, waking from his depressive trance, heaved at his head!  And David would just keep playing, while Saul hurled spears at him right and left.  Crazy, or not crazy?  I vote crazy.  Sounds like one of my family get-togethers, fortunately rare.

Saul did some other manic-type things, like going to a necromancer to call up the prophet Samuel, who had recently died.  Saul needed some information quick, so that was the best course of action, he reasoned.  He got severely punished for that through Divine Retribution.

Saul had this thing about trying to kill David.  David would run to various difficult to get to places in the Land of Israel, like the caves at Ein Gedi, which overlook a beautiful waterfall and pool. I have taken a dip in it.  It was cold.  The caves are very high up, but that did not deter Saul and his army from hunting David down.

One time, David was hiding in a very dark cave.  Saul needed to “relieve himself,” so he went into the very cave in which David had crammed himself way in the back.  While Saul was indisposed, David sneaked up and silently sliced off a piece of Saul’s garment.  Must have been a very sharp knife!  After Saul finished and left the cave, David ran after him and handed him the piece of cloth, entreating him to show some reason and call off his dogs.  This only intensified Saul’s paranoia, and he continued to hunt David from North to South and East to West.

It gives me comfort to know that I am not the only crazy person in the world.  Yes, I know the numbers and statistics, but sometimes the isolation of my own particular variety of bent mind makes me feel as if no one else could possibly have experiences even mildly reminiscent of mine.

This is where Mental Health Blogging comes in.  Here in this wonderfully crazy part of the blogosphere, we let our hair down, and let our brains hang out.  We listen and console and comfort each other.  We do not throw spears at each others’ heads.  Instead, we provide a warm, loving community, something we all need desperately.

Some of us are more functional than others, holding down jobs, having families and social lives.  Others, like myself, confine our social interactions to the safety of the Internet and especially our safe Mental Health Blogging community.

A cornerstone of our community is that paragon of group blogging,  A Canvas of the Minds.  Masterminded by Ruby Tuesday and Lulu Stark, it is truly a place where mental health issues are out of the closet.  If you haven’t been there yet, I urge you to do so immediately!  But not before you finish reading my post 🙂

Although Lulu has retired from Canvas, she left a very special legacy.  Each year, Mental Health Bloggers from all corners of the Blogosphere take the following pledge:

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

blogging mental health

 

Well, that was easy, wasn’t it?  Because that’s what I do anyway, and I intend to continue to do it until my fingers dry up and fall off (Heaven forfend), and after that I’ll have to learn Dragon Dictate that I already bought but haven’t even looked at yet.

So.  You’ve heard about my crazy Hebrew relatives, and I hope you enjoyed their stories.  Reading this post over, I realized that my own 21st Century family gatherings are no more shockingly unhealthy than the Hebrew families of 2500 years ago.  Not that it makes me feel any better about family gatherings.  On the contrary, it reinforces my commitment to being a recluse.  Lonely at times, but many fewer slings and arrows!

I have HAD It With Stalkers!

I’ve HAD it.  HAD IT with lurkers from my past who read my blogs and either comment, knowing I will delete them (but I’ve fixed that now), or don’t comment and then private email me because they’ve figured out they’ve been blocked.  Or try to Facebook me, which results in my blocking them there too.  Don’t they GET it?  I don’t WANT certain people from my private life, whom I have already banned from my private life, stalking my blog.  I mean, didn’t I JUST write a post about that very thing???  You people from my private life (NOT my Bloggie Friends), get out of my blog and leave me alone.

One of the truly wonderfully comforting things about our welcoming and supportive community of bloggers here in this corner of the Blogosphere is that we choose each other, because we are people we want to share with.  We share deeply, honestly, openly.  It’s a world of trust that I don’t have “in real life,” so I really treasure it here.  We are “family of choice.”

I’ve considered doing a blogroll, but there are so many of you whose blogs I love that it would take much more sidebar space than is allotted to get you all in.  And that’s not even including those of you whom I read and don’t comment, usually late at night when my brain isn’t so functional anyway.  There, you see, I am a lurker too, I admit it 😉

What I’m trying to say here is that our ever-growing Bloggie Community, and especially our Mental Health bloggers, are my trusted family.  And I don’t want to have it in the back of my mind that some creepy person that I used to date, or some other people with whom I’ve gone No Contact, are reading my words–because in this blog, I don’t hold back.  It’s straight from the gut.  Yes, sometimes I write anecdotes or amusing stories for comic relief, but then I often follow those up with exactly what’s going down for me now.

And I really love and appreciate all of you amazing friends who support me with your wonderful comments.  It’s such a comfort to know that you are there, each and every one of you.  I wish we could have a party.  Hey, wouldn’t that be fun?  A bunch of us could all get on at the same time and hop from one person’s blog to another….I’m sure that’s not an original idea but it sounds good to me right now!

I’m slowly recovering from Thursday night’s attack of mania or whatever it was.  One of my shrink-o-matics thinks that I have nocturnal seizures.  I think I agree with him, at least this time, because after making some food for myself Friday afternoon, I fell into bed at 7 pm and slept until 12:30 Saturday afternoon.  And woke up with a headache that has lasted till now, Saturday evening.  I even put my carbon monoxide monitors into service, just in case, and they said zero so it’s not that.

Even now, I don’t feel like the sharpest knife in the drawer.  It might take a while to recover from that one.

So I think I’m going to wind up this day with our usual 5 minutes of obedience training (my dog Noga and I) followed by her Tooth Cleaning Treat, my Tooth Cleaning Ritual, a dose of Cod-Acamol, which is a wonderful Israeli concoction of 10 mg codeine and 500 mg acetominophen, just enough codeine to get a run-of-the-mill headache gone, and a large dose of Bedtime.

‘Night, y’all, and thanks for listening.