Monday, November 2, 2009

…and they flew.


Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them...and they flew.

-- Guillaume Apollinaire

Maurice Vlaminck, Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire (1903)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Climbing Mount Everest

mount-everest-summit …especially these days. Even in good times, its bad news that sells. News media after all is ultimately a money-making venture which seeks to satisfy the voyeuristic lusts of the masses in order to sell space to advertisers. Human beings have a curiosity and a hunger to gawk at the sufferings and ill-fortune of others. It takes our attention away from the problems at home. In a rather macabre way, it is a relief to know that others have it worse than we do.

And if we watch or read the news day after day and turn away from it without doing anything positive with what we’ve seen or heard, then we are forced to admit that it has served no greater purpose for us than to be a voyeuristic distraction and fodder for another session of bitching and moaning.

Often I have found myself in a desperate search for a distraction…something… anything that will take my attention away, even for a few moments, from my own anxieties, problems and pain. But I cannot shoulder the weight of the world. In my struggle with depression I have often had to wean myself from the news, for weeks or months at a time, in order to survive. And I don’t feel guilty about it in the least.

I try my best to be a loving father and “dad” to my daughter, a respectful and caring son to my aged parents, a gentle caretaker to my pet cats, and a responsible steward of the part of the planet within my reach. And for now, this is my mission and my task, my reason for living and breathing each day. It is all I can handle.

It is also the reason why I have not been blogging since my I initial burst of creativity. I never dreamed that it would take so much energy and discipline to sit down and write something on a regular basis. But then again, it should not have come as a surprise to someone for whom simply getting dressed, all too often feels like an attempt on Mt. Everest.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dog overboard found four months later

I rarely read, watch, or listen to the news, but today I stumbled upon this uplifting news story and it made me feel happy for the dog and its owners. What an incredible animal. It made me think to myself, “If Sophie can do what she did, then I too should be able to do what it takes to survive and get back to where I need to be.” For those of you who have ever been in survival mode, or might be in the future, take heart. Click on the link for the AFP story. You’ll be glad you did.

Dog overboard found four months later

AFP – A handout photo by Jan Griffith shows cattle dog Sophie Tucker, a pet dog that fell overboard in rough …

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Until further notice...

I will not be blogging. If I don't post anything within a month I will simply take it all down.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ups and Downs

Hugo ChávezImage via Wikipedi a

I am going to try to catch up on a few responses on my last couple of posts, and then try to visit a few of your blogs. I've been a slacker, and just totally emotionless and unmotivated. Par for the course with me, really. I hope to swing back the other direction soon.

I really am amazed how most of you seem to be able to interact consistently.

So to Mark K, Stan, susan, Stephany, Ana, naturalgal, Gianna, preciousrock, Betsy, Ruth, Anonymous Drifter, The Addict, D Bunker, andrew, Andy A., discoverandrecover, merelyme, marissa, Cheryl, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Presidente Hugo Chavez (of Venezuela), Bill Gates, and all of the others who have visited this relatively new blog... I apologize for my negligence. And after several days of self-flagellation (NOT self-flatulation), although that would be torture too) and other due punishments I will return to you and seek reconciliation.


OK. I'm back to reality now. I am once again of sound mind...

No you're not.

Yes I am.

But you're not. You're just saying that to make me go away.

Shut up I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to them. Just stay out of it. ... Hey, I've gotta go. I don't like arguing in public.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

check the gate

Marcel Duchamp. Nude Descending a Staircase, N...Image via Wikipedia

[the room is drab and lit dimly by a single lamp in the corner]
[at a small table sits a woman across from a man with unshaven face and crooked glasses]
[a blank expression on his face as she utters in stops and starts her broken narrative]

"I figured one day ...

I'd just wake up and find out what yesterday was all about ...

I'm not too keen about thinkin' about tomorrow ...

and today's slippin' by ...

I guess [sic] I went into a bad time ...

when I was watchin' everything go around me while I was standin' in the middle ...

watchin' it like in a dark theater ...

before they bring the lights up ...

I'm sittin' there ...


how can this be?"

[phone rings many times]
[neither acknowledges ringing phone]
[man eventually gets up walks out of room to answer and speaks to caller]
[she exits unseen down long dark staircase screwdriver in hand]

- dialogue spoken by Susan in the movie "Inland Empire" written and directed by David Lynch

- scene descriptions by Pyrs

Friday, February 27, 2009

Could someone please bring me...

I am sitting here on my couch, leg elevated, and an extra long heating pad shoved down the right leg of my flannel lounge pants, along the length of my saffenous vein. I am taking 2 Aleve twice a day to lessen the inflammation (phlebitis). The surgical procedure cannot be scheduled until the phlebitis is absent. So I have an excuse to be a couch potato for about 2 weeks. But I live alone and my cats won't make my coffee, cook dinner, do laundry, or get the mail.

I feel like an old man. And if you tell me that yes, you are 44, you are an old man, then I will say... OK I won't write what I would say. When I get up off of the couch I have to remember to unplug myself from the extension cord. I then walk around with a thick electrical cord sticking up out of the waist of my pants, dangling to the floor and dragging along behind me. One of my cats enjoys playing with it. He thinks I'm more fun than ever. Just a big mousey with a long tail.

Prior to this week I thought this stupid vein was a fluke, but I've now been told by the doctor that I'm just unlucky. The veins closest to the surface of my legs will always have a tendency to develop varicosities, and maybe some of them in deeper unbounded locations as well. And when I stand up they have a tendency to flatten out, according to the befuddled sonogram technician. So far it seems that my arteries are OK. I have no problem getting blood to my parts since my heart and arterial plumbing seems to get the job done just fine, its the lousey plumbing I have for making the return trip that is questionable.

Some may wonder what most of my posts have to do with depression. I have pictures of my cats on my blog homepage, and that li'l bit of "cute factor" doesn't gain me credibility I'm sure (especially with some blogger named Stan... LOL). Well I counter, everything in ones life has to do with depression if one is depressed, or prone to be such. And health issues can be especially related. My blog is not a mental health advocacy blog. I'm just trying to make it day to day and sharing my journey, and hanging out at some blogs that actually can justify their existence as being useful to others.

I read yesterday in a blog that was bashing someone else's blog, that any Tom, Dick or Harry can create a blog these days, and garner the traffic of legitimate blogs like his own. (I can hear a sense of inferiority and need for attention a mile away.) It was as if he resented the fact that us little people, or "useless eaters" were simply a nuisance to be discounted. While at the same time assuming that his blog was legitimate and in some way necessary. But wasn't that the original point of the blogosphere? That anyone can do it, and the world is a much richer place because of the diversity of experience to be found there? Well, maybe not, but its why I blog. And its certainly a lot easier to get a blog up and running than an old-fashioned useless website. Anyone who resents the little bloggers having a voice too, should get out of blogging altogether and simply create a website and be a real professional.

But I rant, or was beginning too. And I'm just in a bad mood again. So if your veins are OK, and you can make your own coffee without being in a race to get back to the couch, and not trip over an electrical cord on the way, or over the cat who is attempting to hold on to said extension cord, and then once wrestling the cord from the cat has been accomplishing, remembering to plug yourself in like some questionable bedside appliance... well then you can be thankful.

But of course you have your own set of challenges. We all do (even Stan). In the world in which I meander, there are those with high white cell counts, bum knees that won't heal, daily bouts of nausea and vomiting, those who are banished to their beds by pharma issues, or daily facing the fact that a beloved child suffers in some way beyond their control. And the list goes on and on. And those things are all worse problems than my stupid veins I've been bitching about.

Hopefully my morosity has at least made you laugh or smile a little, and if that happened at during this reading, then it was worth the several hundren words I tapped out to get the job done. If that didn't happen, then you should probably find something better to do with your time then visiting a blog with alienating antisocial tendencies.

So to you and this wonderful little corner of the blogosphere, this is Pyrs, a.k.a Pete or Peter, signing off. Good night. God bless. And may your dreams come true.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Friend Who Sticks By Me

On Monday I made a visit to the doctor and was sent to have a sonogram procedure done "Stat" to rule out the need for emergency surgery on my right leg. I've been in pain and somewhat immobilized for most of last week through today. I will be looking into a couple of different medical procedures tomorrow. Perhaps I'll say more on that in the coming days.

For now I wanted to post a picture of a friend (above) who has kept me company while I've had my leg elevated on the couch. Shen is a wonderful little critter with a tremendous sense of humor and a warm affectionate heart. I can always count on him to stick by me when times are tough.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Before I Knew Better

It was careless and largely the result of my lack of organization, my poor memory and my affinity for putting things off. This tendency to procrastinate gives rise to monsters which would otherwise never have been born. gave rise to my brief "accidental" Paxil withdrawal.

Please keep in mind it was before I began reading blogs such as Beyond Meds and Furious Seasons. In fact I had largely been a passive patient during my 15 years wrestling in the dessert with my depression. A passive wrestler seems and oximoron. But I gave it as much effort as survival required. So much was going on in my life during those years, so when meds were offered I simply took them.

However, last year, months before I began blogging (I suppose it was in September), I had procrastinated about getting my Paxil refilled. It had run out on Thursday, and I was scheduled to travel to PA from my home in NJ for the weekend. I figured I'd take care of it after the weekend was over. I was feeling emotionally paralyzed and taken to laying on the couch, and banishing thoughts of all that I had to do, allowing it to stack up in the back of my mind like a pile of fermenting manure.

In total probably about a week before I was able to get meds again.

I was like the average person, alone with his own lack of knowledge, and no support at the time. I had no knowledge of the withdrawal symptoms or dangers.

Since Paxil has long half-life, things weren't too bad at first, and I began contemplating just letting myself go off completely. During the first several days I began to feel things deeply again. I had feelings of things long since past that I had gone through while on the meds. I it felt as though I had not truely felt nor experienced them then, because the new feelings I was having about the events went beyond the numbness for the first time. As if the things had just occurred, somehow.

But then at about the end of day 3, I started feeling extremely agitated and scared. I felt completely and totally alone in all the world. And my empty house was not a good place to be making myself a ginnie pig in the first place. I just didn't know about the dangers. But it was perhaps the most frightening experience I had.

I couldn't believe I actually had to get through that entire night. Time had slowed almost to a stop. I needed to tell someone. But everyone in my world was asleep, since it was the middle of the night. And that compounded the problem.

I desperately needed to know someone somewhere knew I was hurting. I don't know how to say it in words, because there is no words to describe the existensial experience I felt. I was simply disintegrating as an individual soul.

The best I can do to describe how I was feeling was that it was like watching a kite at the beach as it becomes merely a dot in the sky, connected to the person flying it by hundreds of feet of skinny string held taught by the wind, threatening to break the kite's connection to the earth. When suddenly the string goes slack, and you realize the it has broken somewhere along its length and the kite is getting smaller and smaller and smaller as it floats off irretrievably into the stratosphere. And all you can do is watch it happen. My sense of who I was, my "personhood", where I stopped and others began, or whether there was a me or others at all, was coming apart in chards in a slow but painful explosion.

I used that experience as evidence that I could not be without Paxil. Because anything, and I truly mean anything, was better than that experience.

But I am learning now that it was my Paxil dependency talking, and a bad withdrawal resulting from an unwise and uneducated approach. But it sticks with me. I usually have trouble remembering my feelings or being able to describe them. But this has been etched in my soul forever.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Losing things

Different glass marbles from a glass-millImage via Wikipedia

I’ve grown pretty good at losing things. My mind seems always distracted. Right now I can’t find my checkbook. I misplaced my flash drive and have had to give in to purchasing another one. My keys often lie buried somewhere for days at a time, while I try to hold on to my spare set. So many things I’ve lost over the years. Some more important than others. So with that as my major preoccupation today, I leave you with a short poem. A memory from the end of my marriage. Sounds like a limerick of sorts, but its not, and it isn’t supposed to be funny. It was a show of concern for someone I was losing back then.


Obsessing over her words,

seemed I was losing my marbles,

for she was holding her love back,

from me, but not him.

Yet I was holding her hair back,

as she was losing her dinner,

vomiting over our toilet bowl.

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While thinking over her words,
seemed I was losing my marbles.
She was holding her love back,
from me,
not him.
Yet I was holding her hair back,
as she was losing her dinner,
in the darkness over the bowl.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What if you have nothing to say?

Writers block.

Brain fog.

Silence except for Tinnitus.

Mind-numbingly mellow.

Can't put my thoughts together.

Be back soon.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

These boots were made for walking... again

A close up of a shortfin mako shark head.Image via Wikipedia

On Friday I picked up my boots from the local cobbler shop. The soles had developed some cracks and my feet were getting soaked whenever I wore them on a rainy day. Since the uppers were in good shape, it was worth it to have them fixed. Now they are as good as new, and I can wear them even in wet weather.

I like the leather they are made from too. It is tough stuff that at one time resided on the exterior of a mako shark. I wasn't too sentimental about that because sharks are nasty, regardless of their importance in the oceanic food web. And I figure some happy restaurant goers probably scored a few mako shark steaks as well. When I wear them I sometimes think about the fact that what is encasing my feet at one time prowled around the dark ocean depths. rather than grazing in a pasture somewhere.

It got me to thinking about this brain of mine. I wish my brain was more like my mako shark boots. I could take it to the nearest brain rewiring shop, leave it there for 4 or 5 days and pick it up again, good as new. You see, there are a lot of things I like about my brain. There's some pretty cool stuff I've stored away in there, like memories of my daughter being born, etc. But there are also some pretty dark and debilitating things in there too.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Remember dial-up connections?

Dried green paintImage via Wikipedia

I am sorry I've been so quiet the last two days. I am up at my parent's place with my daughter. The only internet connection I have up here is an old-fashioned dial-up that is so slow it makes browsing almost as much fun as watching paint dry. So I am going to post just a short note to say that I have not forgotten about this blog nor the great friends I've been making here!

Perhaps I will be able to get to the tiny public library about two blocks away where they have a broadband connection. But weekends are a busy time for me.

Usually on Fridays I travel 2 hours from my home in NJ to my parent's retirement community in PA. I help my dad with my mom. But most importantly weekends are the days I get to spend with my daughter. I share joint custody with her mom, and I am happy to be able to spend as much time with her as I do. On Sunday evening its back to NJ so my daughter can get to bed on time and up for school the next morning. Often she reads or draws in the car, and we also listen to book tapes or audio dramas. No TV or video games in my automobile!

My 2 cats, Michael and Shen, make the trip with us every time. They have racked up thousands of turnpike miles and are fairly good sports about it. I don't even need to use pet carriers. They sleep most of the trip. Shen, the younger of the two barely moves from the spot he first settles into. Michael on the other hand almost always ends up switching between the front and back seat once or twice. And sometimes he rest on the rear dash and looks out the back window like a bobblehead cat.

I'll pop in if I can, but more than likely you won't hear much from me until Monday.

Love and kindess everyone. Pay it forward.


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

To drink or not to drink coffee

Histopathogic image of senile plaques seen in ...Image via Wikipedia

You probably have already read about a recent study of Swedish and Finnish participants that purports to have found a correlation between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of late-life Alzheimer disease. Depending upon the amount of coffee consumed, the risk was reduced by as much as 65%. Wow! Go coffee... go coffee... go coffee.

Many folks in this corner of the blogosphere have understandably sworn off drinking coffee altogether because of the deleterious affects of caffeine. But the study did not call out caffeine as the beneficial agent per se. It was not designed to do so. That is left for further studies to determine. However, if the positive effect is found not to be caffeine-related, then one could assume that naturally decaffeinated coffee would have the same effect and become an option for some who currently abstain. Furthermore, once the efficacious substance is identified, it might also be found to exist in other foods as well, and at the very least could be separated or manufactured and consumed in an extracted form.

As for me, I am sitting here with my steaming hot cup of Java, and there are about 3 more cups left in the carafe that sits next to my SAD light. And I will probably wind up consuming my regular daily dose of between 3 to 5 cups, before I stop some time around 2:30pm. I have set this no-coffee deadline because 6 or 7 hours is, according to my psychiatrist, about the amount of time it takes for most people's bodies to fully metabolize caffeine. My goal is to largely have it out of my system by bedtime or else sleep disruption is likely to occur, in addition to a few nocturnal trips to the bathroom. Even if you do not find it difficult to fall asleep after consuming caffeine, it is almost certain that it is shortening the amount of time your brain spends in the very crucial REM sleep cycle.

But I digress, as usual. The coffee/Alzheimer's study received my attention because my 83 year old mother suffers from dementia. It started to become noticeable about 7 years ago. Though it is steadily progressing, she is still able to move around in her apartment with her walker, and still gets to and from the bathroom, but her short term memory is shot and there are other noticeable deficits. She requires a person to be with her at all times, though she tells us thats not necessary. Fortunately she has a very patient, loving and healthy husband. My dad just turned 84 in January and is a wonderful caretaker. If it were not for him my mother would have required placement in the health care unit quite some time ago.

I visit them almost every weekend, often with my daughter, who is learning how to be a good companion to her gramma. I believe it has been an excellent experience for her. She is learning the value and wisdom of the aged population. Often she pushes my mom in her wheelchair, and goes for walk to the in-house library, gift shop, or cafe. I always give her my cell phone in case there is a problem. There never has been.

I in turn cook the meals and frequently do some grocery shopping. And because I am there with my mom, my dad is freed up to go out and do something he enjoys for several hours. Fortunately, he has never really suffered from depression as have his wife and 5 children. But that's a story for another time.

I will be listening closely for more news on what it is in coffee that has kept so many of the Swedes and Finns from aquiring Alzheimer Disease. Let me know if you hear something too! Hopefully I won't have already forgotten about this post.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not a good group meeting

Traditional Amish buggy, Lancaster County, Pen...Image via Wikipedia

I'm feeling pretty down tonight. I'm not really sure why. There are a bunch of things on my mind. And it wasn't a very good group meeting tonight. Sort of bizarre and chaotic.

This particular support group is held in the cafeteria of a local mental health hospital. And only 5 of us were from the outside this time. And the group from the hospital was more wild than usual. Whoever brought the group in didn't seem to give them a good orientation concerning the nature of the meeting. Its essentially based on the self-help principles of CBT.

I felt a bit intimidated by some in the group this time because unlike the three previous evenings I attended, these people had a rowdy contingent.

I had been sitting alone at a table, but I actually moved myself from the periphery to be in the midst of the the others. Someone else had to leave because he was being a jerk, and that freed up his handout packet. I had forgotten to bring my copy. So instead of grabbing his copy and returning to my original seat, I wanted to sit where he had been because I like to be "group minded". I isolate too much as it is.

The guy I moved next to had prison gang tattoos all over his arms. They are like flashing neon signs to fello gangbangers in prison and out on the streets. I know such tattoos have all sorts of interesting meanings, like who he's killed and how, stuff like that. But I of course was clueless. I grew up with Amish neighbors and a cow pasture in my back yard. I actually answered a couple of the questions he had during the meeting because he didn't know what was going on really. And I knew what it was like to be new there since it was my 4th meeting.

It was just a weird meeting. And I left feeling sort of negative and down because I had forced myself to get up and go and it wasn't what it was like previous nights.

The one positive thing is that I took a nap beforehand and when I awoke I contemplated not getting out of bed to go. But I did go. So that is at least a minor victory, right?

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What a strange person.

King Arthur and his knights of the round table, along with their servants, "ride" up to a castle. King Arthur's servant, Patsy, blows a horn.

An armour-clad face appears at the top of the rampart. It speaks in an outrageous French accent.

Soldier: 'Allo! 'Oo is it?
Arthur: It is I, King Arthur, and these are my knights of the Round Table. Whose castle is this?
Soldier: This is the castle of my master, Guy de Lombard.
Arthur: Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail.
Soldier: Well, I'll ask 'im, but I don't think 'e'll be very keen-- 'e's already got one, you see?
Arthur: What?
Lancelot: He says they've already *got* one!
Arthur: (confused) Are you *sure* he's got one?
Soldier: Oh yes, it's ver' naahs. (to the other soldiers:) I told 'em we've already *got* one! (they snicker)
Arthur: (taken a bit off balance) Well... ah, um... Can we come up and have a look?
Soldier: Of course not! You are English types.
Arthur: Well, what are you then?
Soldier: (Indignant) Ah'm French! Why do you think I have this out-rrrageous accent, you silly king?!
Arthur: What are you doing in *England*?
Soldier: Mind your own business!
Arthur: If you will not show us the Grail, we shall take your castle by force!
Soldier: You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person! Ah blow my nose at you, so-called "Arthur Keeeng"! You and all your silly English Knnnnnnnn-ighuts!!!

(the soldier proceeds to bang on his helmet with his hands and stick out his tongue at the knights, making strange noises.)

Lancelot: What a strange person.
Arthur: (getting mad) Now look here, my good ma--
Soldier: Ah don' wanna talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food-trough wiper! Ah fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!
Galahad: Is there someone else up there we can talk to?
Soldier: No!! Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

My coffee mug is filled with steaming hot java and the rest is in the carafe sitting on the tray with my SAD light. One thing no one will convince me of, is to stop drinking coffee. Wonderful stuff. My liver likes it, my kidneys like it, my brain likes it. Every part of me likes it. So just stop right now if you are going to try to convince me to taper off caffeine. Ritalin yes, Wellbutrin probably, Paxil most likely. Caffeine no.

A Danish study this past month said that those who drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimers. (Figures it was a danish study since they go so well with coffee. Probably the danish companies funded the study, because if people start drinking more coffee obviously they are going to want a danish with each extra cup.) So since I'd rather not end up like my mom I will keep drinking my pot of java a day, thank you very much. Besides, I'd rather die of almost anything else than Alzheimers. My dads extremely healthy and a loving caretaker of my mom. I help out on most weekends. And so far she can still use her walker and the bathroom.

Anyway, what I was trying to do was to write about how its the little things in life now that bring me momentary pleasure. And before I digressed I was trying to paint a picture in words of my little setup that makes me feel snug as a bug in a rug and content for an hour or so each day.

So lets see, lets try again, I am sitting on an ugly beige couch, next to the arm on the right side, next to the SAD light which rests upon an oak TV tray my woodworker dad made for me. My all important coffee supply and various other doodads share the same tray. I am sitting Indian... I mean Native American style with my lap covered in a green mexican blanket. On my lap is my lapdesk and top of that is my laptop (a 9 year old Toshiba TECRA 8200 - I use my geek skills with pride to keep my decade old computers going forever, like the 1950s automobiles in Cuba.) Damn! I cannot stay focused no matter how hard I try... My cat is licking himself everywhere (because he can) and is snuggly pressed up against my left thigh.

Regarding my SAD light, I also have its high density ionizers activated so that the air circling my head smells fresh like after a summer thunderstorm. I've had this thing for a while, but like everything in my life that I should be doing (should is a bad word) I have never done it religiously. But lately I've been trying to keep it next to my couch where I spend 90 percent of my time.

So where was I... My coffee, my light... Oh yes, my laptop.
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Sitting intimately close to my SAD light

Its morning... no, nix that, its 12:15pm. It feels like its morning because I just got out of bed about 30 minutes ago. My sleep cycle has got me completely screwed, which is amazing because that hasn't happened in an embarrassingly long time, and I'm assuming never will again.

(Start of Digression...)
However, I have found that the thing I miss most is simply soul-intimacy with that other human being. To mingle physically with that other person is certainly exciting and fun... I think, I don't really remember... but even though I am a guy, my lengthy time of being alone has caused me to realize that what s~x (am I allowed to type that word here?) was really pointing at (for me, and I think for most people even if they think its just for recreation) is a much deeper place than physicality can ever take you. We want to be known, totally opened up to someone with our entire being, and still accepted unconditionally and loved, and know the other person is not going to run away in fright or disgust. Anyway, if I was forced to choose between physical intimacy (and romance, which I feel is highly overrated... its all about projecting your fantasies on some poor fool, which isn't fair and it sets you up for disappointment... like "You complete me" & "You had me at hello" which will always be the movie lines I've come to most hate - yuck!...) and the much deeper intimacy it seeks to express or find (whether or not it is admitted), I would take the broader more satisfying "love"... soulful intimacy... extreme friendship... love in the truest sense. I have found there is a broad central core of LOVE that has different expressions for different types of relationships, i.e. couples, parent-child, friends, etc. But the broader central essence of LOVE, I have found, at least for me, is the same stuff. My daughter has taught me more about unconditional love, forgiveness, humility, saying I'm sorry, than any other relationship. And what I have learned in that school of parenting I am able to use in how I interact with others.

Now I'm getting wordy and preachy...
(End of Digression...)

Oh hell, I'm just going to post this and make the rest part II or whatever. I've exhausted myself. I can't stick with the program today. Its not at all what I was going to write about, but I just keep branching. You should see the rest of what I have written this morning, that I am not posting right now. I'm all over the place. It would be fine if you were actually here sharing a cup of coffee with me (or tea... I've got decaf... or hot water... you name it). But its so hard to write from top to bottom of the page sometimes. Its confining.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ocean revelations

The ocean is speaking. It says "Come and visit me today. When you were young I'd see you much more often standing on the shore amazed at my imensity. I have many secrets to reveal, if only you'd return to the magical place, where my waters sift the sand and kiss your feet."

Its siren call almost wins me over. But I am very tired. And not so young anymore. Instead I sit and listen to the time as it moves past me, in the slow mechanical monotony of the clock's pendullum, which swings above my head like a damaclean sword.

Tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow. . .

It is cold and the gray windswept sky presses down with the force of my deepest fears. The sand feels cold and sticky as it collects between my numbing toes. My shoes lay somewhere in the tall beach grass that permeates the dunes.

Time seems endless here. I lose track of it while plodding through the pasty sand and the frigid water, that once again has dared to reach my feet. Thinking I heard someone call out to me, I swing around, but no one is within sight. Instead I see a single line of footprints that disappears around a bend in the shore. "Only one set of footprints" like in the poem, except these I know are mine and not God's. I know well by now the prints my feet leave behind. I've spent half my lifespan leaving them in endless circles, or along paths I wish I'd never taken... past others I wish I had.

Shards of shells coughed up from the surf like an infection are gnawing at my feet. These, I think, will be the only secrets given up by this coquettish sea. The momentary silences between the crashing waves give way to the mocking laughter of some gulls. My feet are hurting, one is bleeding, and the wing'ed white beings above just keep laughing from their lofty position in the sky, like a chorus of demon angels announcing the birth of absolutely nothing. Their screeching calls echoing and building, make me dizzy with angst and fury because the ocean reveals nothing to me anymore. My head feels like it will explode from the relentless cackles of the birds, which have now been joined by others.

Hands over my ears, I stand here and try to ignore the chorus, and watch my single path of footprints being erased by the careless tide. It will wipe away every trace of my presence here, as if to say, "Look, you were never here at all."
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I am sick and tired of dreams. I hate dreaming.

Yesterday I was bouncing off the walls.

Last night I slept miserably.

I had a nightmare of being handcuffed and taken to some place of confinement. I had threatened to kill myself because my ex-wife/partner/companion was once again rejecting me. Finding a man with better looks, better brains, better earning potential, and a 2-door Mercedes coupe with "WooHoo" license plates. It was just a matter of fact Darwinian choice. He was there. He was better. Only the successful survive. The female of the species has gotta look out for her future. Who would blame her? Its been happening since we lived in caves. But I seriously think I would have won out back then. The sabertooth tiger would have pissed the wrong person off if he had decided to stalk me. And there would be no law against inflicting bodily injury on a man who wandered in the mouth of your cave to break up your family, and steal your wife. No, it would have been advantageous to hold on to me back then.

But times have changed. We are civilized now. We don't kill each other. We just routinely betray trust, cross boundaries, and leave each other behind.

With nightmares fueled from the stories I've been overdosing on while reading all the blogs, it seems to have reawakened some things I thought I had dealt with before, or at least successfully repressed. Its like waking up underwater with no reserve in my lungs, and not knowing which way to the surface.

It time to move on. In fact in many ways I already have. But I can't stop the nightmares when they decide to invade my head at night.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Writing in Hindi by mistake...

Now that was weird! I was transliterating my english into Hindi. I must have been falling back into my past life as Gandhi. I know. I know. Obviously, I've regressed BIG time! (i.e. as Peter since being Gandhi)

Actually, what happened was I screwed up my blog settings, but things seem to be ok now... with my blog settings that is.

What I was trying to write was "Ok, I lied..." I haven't been writing, and will probably not write anything today. Instead I've been having a pretty good jaunt around blogland. I just left Am I Still Ill? a blog by Zoe, which everyone probably already knows about but me. But if you want something to lift your spirits, I suggest going there immediately. I could barely keep up with her humorous wit. It made me smile... a lot. She's a very talented writer.

Take a look if you haven't already.
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ओके, सो इ लिएद

वही ऍम इ व्रितिंग इन हिन्दी...

Too much to write about... I am leaving this post to say, I'm writing right now. Trying to organize my thoughts because its all just swirling around up there as usual. But its all good today for a change. I'm taking the steps, but there are people at my new support group and in this blogosphere that are pretty darn wonderful!
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've been searching for a new way to approach my illness and the adverse affects it has had on my life.

While reading through a recent Beliefnet email I clicked on a link to Therese J. Borchard's blog Beyond Blue which had posted an interesting piece from the blog If You're Going Through Hell Keep Going. From these two blogs I began reading the blogs that were being followed, and went from one to another, reading, reading, reading... and often subscribing, as you can see by the list of blogs I am currently following.

My brain is shutting down, so I thought I'd write a post and then go to bed.

Since losing my job at the beginning of 2006, I've been spinning my wheels, and there is very little tred left on them. After a few fitful starts and stops attempting to gain momentum for a career transition, including returning to college fulltime for a year (Fall '06 /Spring '07), I have recently come to the conclusion that I am not going to get out of this alive, alone.

I have been taking some faltering steps in a new direction, for me. First, I've been actively looking around for a depression/bipolar support group, visiting three different ones so far. And second, I've decided to birth this blog. I suppose for the forseeable future it will look more like a boring, whiny, personal journal than anything like the enlightened commentary I've been reading in your blogs. But if so, I can't really apologize just yet.

However, I am depending on learning from my fellow bloggers out there who are sooooo much more experienced than I am at putting it all out there, and hopefully at recovery too. I need desperately to interact (hopefully!) with others who are willing to share their insights on what I will be writing, as I hope to do for them as well.

I need to begin to become part of something bigger than myself. I am very sick of this little world of 'Me' I've been inhabiting. My own personal planet has only gotten smaller and smaller over the duration of my illness. And soon I fear I will simply disappear from view altogether. And no one will know I even exist, like the dustspeck in Horton Hear's A Who.

Its time for something, anything to change, for the better.

I found so many diverse views on depression and bipolar issues, especially concerning the efficacy of the various psychotropic pharmaceuticals used to treat depression, bipolar and otherwise. It seems a revolution is taking shape that I've been left out of, and the rebellion has already begun against the entire present day psychiatric paradygm. Besides the drugs, the DSM diagnostic criteria itself is being attacked as simply a tool of the pharmaceutical industry to create market niches for their products.

Needless to say, its all quite confusing to a struggler like me, who is just getting his feet wet by joining in the discussion, both here in the blogosphere and in person in support groups. It seems there is no firm footing. Nothing is solid anymore. I can't even count on the validity of my diagnosis, or the prognosis of whatever is going on in my head, nor the efficacy of my meds. Instead, I must now contemplate the damage they have already inflicted on my grey matter over the past 15 years or so.

It all has me a bit off balance, and its opened up a Pandora's box of new demons to swarm and rattle their cages inside my skull.

It makes me doubt that I can say anything useful here that someone may find helpful, challenging, or even worth commenting on from time to time. Considering how difficult I find it to start new projects and especially to stick with them, I so much want to be equal to the task. But I just don't know.

I have always sort of been an outsider. I've felt that way most of my life. I'm not cool or hip. And if I begin worrying about saying the right things, or being rejected or never noticed, then my writing will not be authentic. I don't want to say only what I think others want to hear.

When I see followers come and then go, will I simply want to give up? I know that I need to do this for myself, but I so much desire the perspectives and viewpoints of others, else it just won't seem worth it. I guess I'm feeling intimidated.

I've been alone too much. I have been an island too long, and I hate my tendency to isolate myself from others. Its the last thing I need. But dialogue and relationship take energy. And that is one thing I don't have right now.

For the timebeing, I will continue to follow the blogs I've been finding interesting and helpful, and hopefully eventually contributing something of worth as I come up to speed on the issues. I hope to fill you in on the history surrounding my diagnosis and treatment plans, past and present. And once I've gotten my foot in the door, I am hoping you will let me in.
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Making coffee is hard, so is taking off my boots

This morning I picked up my thermal coffee carafe, jiggled it, and was happy to find that it still had a cup or two of coffee in it, left over from the previous day. That meant I could remain seated on the couch with my laptop and put off disentangling myself from all the stuff I have plugged into it. In my current state of immobility and paralysis, I was more than happy to make the trade-off of drinking day-old cold coffee rather than trekking to the kitchen to measure and grind the beans, clean out the permanent filter, fill up the water reservoir, turn it on, and return to the couch only to get up again minutes later after it began making the gurgling noise indicating it was almost done.

Last night I went to bed with my boots on. It was snowing on and off all day. I had to make a late run to the pharmacy for one of my meds that I had run out of the previous day. Upon returning, unlacing my boots just didn't seem doable.

Somethings got to give.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Starting over again... and again... and again... and again...

I've dealt with depression since before I knew what it was, along with ADHD. And a bipolar diagnosis which stays mostly in the unipolar realm of clinical (chronic, debilatating, paralyzing) depression. I get stuck... a lot. Sometimes for months. Or for a couple of years. Like the last two.

I am divorced and live alone with my two cats Shen and Michael. I have an 11 year old daughter. I never wanted my marriage to desintegrate. And it was devistating for me to lose my family and life partner. I am horrible on my own. I've never been a self-starter nor a self-continuer. It seems I quit everything I start. And I desparately need to create a new life for myself. But I just keep rolling the same old rock back up the same old hill.

I don't find any reward in doing things for myself. When alone, I do very little of worth. When I am around others and doing things for them, I feel a lot different. There is at least some sense of satisfaction and at times joy. Like when I cook an actual meal for my daughter or my elderly parents, or when I give my dad a respite from caring for my dementia-ridden mom.

My daughter was born in 1997 when my marriage was completely unravelling. Prior to that event I had absolutely no instinct to reproduce. I was born the youngest out of five kids with my youngest and oldest siblings being 5 years and 15 years older, respectively. I never had to babysit or care for a younger sib. Back then I watched the population of my family dwindle down from five kids to one... me... long before I was ready to be out on my own. I felt abandoned and really alone.

To make a long story short, the birth of my daughter changed my life. Right before my eyes she appeared, as she was delivered from the safety of her mother's womb, and I remember vividly that my eyes spontaneously, and totally unexpectedly, filled with tears. She brought with her a whole new depth to my life, and with it a growing ability to see beyond myself. But the marriage was not to be saved. And after 4 years my daughter and her mom moved out.

Obsessed with my loss and aloneness, I could only pretend for so long at work that I was really doing something useful. After two leave-of-absences in 2005, I failed to regain my equilibrium, spiraled ever downward and crashed. I went AWOL from my software job. I turned off my phones, closed my bedroom door, and remained in bed for several days straight, except for bathroom breaks of course. I slept and slept, or tried to, as my 18-year programming career went up in smoke. I was terminated at the end of January 2006.

After numerous false starts at recovery, I still find myself unemployed. My home has morfed into an ominous cave littered with countless stacks of clutter rising from the floor and almost every other surface like so many slow growing stalagmites. I often let the dishes pile up until mold begins to grow on top of the watery swill. My finances are shrinking, and I lack the energy to think about what that means. I sleep, watch movies, and eat to forget, or to simply not think. It seems impossible to focus long enough to come up with a plan, or to actually stick with one if I did.

I need a community... a group of others who suffer and understand. I am looking.
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