Quite unfortunately I tried to post for a few days from my phone and couldn't connect to the internet for some reason so I gave up. I'm gonna cut myself some slack and just pick up where I left off.
Here is the scoop. It is not my story.
One of the people who is a presenter with NAMI and did the In Our Own Voices presentation was killed by suicide . He went missing at the beginning of May and was found just this past week.
Let me be clear: I did not know him. I never met him. I'll call him J. I had no personal connection to him. My reaction to his death was abstract and removed. I was saddened at the intellectual level. We are a small group. Maybe 30 of us in Minnesota? And I know it hit many people quite hard.
I went to give an In Our Own Voices presentation yesterday. Got home late. Did not post. Also partly because I was a bit frazzled by the experience.
I drove out in nasty traffic and was 10 minutes later than I wanted to be. When I got there my co-presenter was not there and I couldn't remember who I was speaking with. So I checked my email.
Turns out I was originally scheduled to present with J. I found a later email in which I learned there was a substitute presenter due to arrive shortly. But it was unnerving to have this reminder of... crap like this that can happen. And it made me anxious in a way that I m usually not right before I speak to a group.
I heard a speaker at NAMI talk about his son's death and that he preferred to say his son was killed by suicide. Because he wanted to acknowledge that it was his mental illness that did him in. Lost his fight with Depression wasn't quite strong enough. Killed by suicide.
When the substitute presenter showed up he too realized for the first time who he was subbing for. As a result his talk was a bit rambling. We went over time. Not badly. And his story was quite compelling. His connection was much closer. He had presented with J. He was the last person to present with J. He had spoken about his own suicide attempts and wondered aloud if he had put these thoughts in J's head.
And intellectually my co-presenter knew this. But still he was shaken. This sucks. There are ripples that run through the community and I am on the far edge, but even I feel the motion of this sad event.
I was struck as my co-presenter talked that I am a very vanilla white girl. I have never attempted to carry out my own death. Never been hospitalized for Depression-related or Manic-related episodes. Never had any run-ins with the law. Never struggled with addiction. Never had to confront painful truths about my sexuality or gender.
And for a moment I felt like I must be a terrible choice for a presenter. What do I have to say... my story is so dull.
But I realized that it is important for people to see this contrast. To see that not everyone living with a mental illness fits this stereotype of someone who crashes and burns before seeking treatment. Important to share the importance of a robust support network. Important for people to see that this vanilla white girl with a loving family and a good job and a cute little house and fantastic children... is also the face of mental illness.
So you can't tell just by looking at someone that they are living with a mental illness. There is not just one story. And I am grateful that my story is boring. My story is lucky. I have one scary episode in which I had a psychotic break while driving. It could have ended horribly. It did not. Lucky. And I relied on my support network to return to reality. The episode was short in duration. I bounced back. Lucky.
But also smart. In a deliberate way. It was a conscious decision to not engage in recreational narcotics. An easy decision for me. I am far too rule-bound to flout the law.
A choice not to drink. Never been drunk. Never plan to be drunk. I knew I had an addictive personality and had no desire to become a recovering alcoholic. It seemed like a real drag. And I had this fear that with my obsessive streak I would engage in more than just recreational use of alcohol.
So I rather obsessively avoided alcohol. Except that I read somewhere a long time ago that teetotalers don't live as long as other folks. So occasionally I will have a drink. One. And I nurse it over a long stretch of time.
This too made me lucky. It is much more difficult to treat mental illness when there is a dual diagnosis of chemical dependency. And being drunk isn't so great for people with bipolar. Alcoholism is certainly not recommended for anyone. There can be long-term damage to the brain that makes it much more difficult to treat mental illnesses.
I don't know what J. had going on in his life or what he struggled with. I don't need to know. It isn't my business. It is not my story.
But I left frazzled. But also grateful. And lucky. And smart. But mostly lucky.
Thank you, my broad support network of family and F/friends. i wouldn't be where I am today without you.
project: paint wall. Fix floor. Hang shelves. Completely reorganize entire kitchen. Project creep.
Waited too long to post now too tired dropped book on head while reading and now cannot be bothered to provide you with punctuation so I shall have to do better tomorrow
As a self-preservation method I have been looking through the thousands of pix I have (with a mysterious gap during 2006) and posting them to my Facebook page.
One if each child. One of something or someone else.
I have also been obsessively checking news and Facebook.
Went to see a play with daughter tonight. It was great.
Counting down own the days of school.
I feel less tired today.
Daughter has a nasty sounding cough (back to albuterol for a while) and I am unreasonably worried.
Because of her several hospitalizations this spring.
I wanted not to post but yesterday and day before I really said nothing so I thought I should step up.
I have a talk for NAMI next week.
taking my meds
thinking about exercising
glancing toward garden
light returns and the earth warms its fragile shell
is my lethargy part of lingering illness or sign of mood episode?
cant write. too worried about current occupant. must treat fragile snowflake self to tea and Jessica Jones. because deeply disturbing superhero tv is prefereable.
but here is a bonus cute picture.
This is not a political post.
This is a post about why politics are not good for my mental health. Because with news of Current Occupant possibly casually disclosing stuff that shouldn't be disclosed... I feel like i need to be checking for new news every few minutes.
Which is not true.
I should not be.
I am not a part of the 24 hour news cycle. I so wish that the 24 hour news cycle was not a thing. It really is the worst sort of cycle. Far below motorcycles and bicycles and unicycles. Nowhere near popcycles.
I want there to be a time when the news is really just put to bed. As if that ever happened. It just gets reported on more frequently now than in the printing-press only days.
Nothing really changes all that fast, I tell myself. I don't need to check and recheck and then check again a few minutes later to see if anyone important has come forward with anything new.
I am not interested in what my friends and family have to say. They agree with me or don't and are not more or less well-informed than I am. And the FB feed becomes this treacherous place where inflammatory quotations and hastily-written stories are traded back and forth without people even reading through them before they click "share."
Really I want people in government to step forward and tell me personally in a real way that they will work together and that they are reasonable and smart people and they don't hate me and my family and my friends. And the streets will be paved with gold. And the Current Occupant will just decide that he doesn't want the job anymore. Because I think that's true. If there were just a way that he could bow out while saving face.
This is not a political post.
I had gotten better at not looking at the news so often. But now I feel like I have to. I wonder what I have missed right now.
It is my OCD tendency that comes out. I want to correctly DO reading the news. And it keeps changing. So I have to keep up. But I never can.
It is stressing me out to write about this.
Ok more personal. More inward...
I am excited about my gardening. I got a fig tree. I finished my final observation conference at work and it was fine and good.
That's about it.
Went to plant sale with mom for Mother's Day. Got a lot of plants. A whole vegetable garden. A fig tree. A vine.
Because I've heard we should all have a vine and fig tree. Biblical. (Micah 4:4)
Had some good food. Weeded some garden beds. Slept a lot. So still lethargic. But don't feel sick otherwise.
Daughter gave me roughly 20 handmade cards. Here is one
Feeling tired but not sick
Feeling internally focused
Looking forward to looking back on these days.
I was intending to do a reasonably-scaled project today. My plan was to ONLY to move the refrigerator over and mount a shelf.
You (if you have ever done any projects... or if you have ever met me) know exactly where this is headed. But just for the sake of amusement, lets follow the bouncing ball...
Move refrigerator over and remember that HOLY CRAP I forgot there was a giant hole behind the refrigerator from when I tore out the broom cupboard with my bare hands a few years back in a somewhat manic phase.
Realize while moving the refrigerator that the tile is NOT EVEN on the floor because when I tore out the kitchen floor some three years ago I didn't exactly cover the hole in the floor (once a laundry shoot?) with anything but what the previous owners had used; an old for-sale sign circa 1950.
Go to the store to get ONLY THE REQUISITE SUPPLIES.
Here I felt I was doing fairly good at the whole limited scope of the project.
I purchased: patching kit for hole in the wall, particle board to patch the floor, a circular saw to cut the board (and because quite frankly I'm not sure how I have managed without a circular saw for so long), and anchors for mounting things into the wall.
I cut the floor thing and got that mostly sorted. Did the wall patch thing and got that mostly sorted.
Then I painted a bunch of stuff. Walls. And then a little bit of the ceiling wear the broom closet used to be because it was discolored. Now it is just a patch of semi-gloss white against the flat-white that rest of the ceiling is, but I am NOT going to redo the whole ceiling right now thank you very much.
Lacked the proper mounting hardware for the shelf so had to wait for the following day.
And also when I went to get mounting hardware I also picked up several flats of plants. So that while I was waiting for the final coat of paint to dry and before Spouse retrieved my drill from F/friend's house I weeded, amended the soil, set up and planted my square foot garden.
Then I did a bunch of other stuff. Put the shelves together and hung them and I am pretty well pleased with the result. But I can't feel my right hand. Or part of it. And I got fairly well chilled while gardening in my shirtsleeves today in the after-rain chill.
The moral of the story: this is my TYPICAL modus operandi. NOT what I am aiming for.
I do have a finished product that I like.
And I guess I was somewhat less disruptive of the ENTIRE house than past all-in projects.
And i might not take DAYS and DAYS to recover... so maybe this is progress.
At one point during the gardening process I turned to son (oh whoops! we made it until 4:00 before realizing we hadn't eaten lunch) and said, "I'm too tired to keep planting. Let's stop and clean up." Usually I engage in project until too tired to clean up. So this was a more grown-up version of zombie gardening. If I had scaled it back a bit sooner, or worn gloves, or eaten lunch I would have called it a complete win.
i was strangely tired today. Lethargic. Asleep really. Feels like my body needing to recover some lost energy from being sick.
now I don't feel sick. Just tired.
daughter was tired too. We napped for hours.
two bits of wisdom from 6yo
Sometimes I am astonishingly tired. Then I can sleep anywhere.
Then, when she asked me about the origins of her mer-lion, she corrected my erroneous assumption that he was part lion, part mermaid.
No, he is more properly half lion, half fish. To call him half mermaid would imply he has arms.
I am forbidden to go outside until Mother's Day. The offspring are up to something.
Current events are stressful again. Facebook becoming treacherous. Current Occupant of White House is not good for my mental health.
may have mentioned before that NPR did a story on the worlds worst bosses. They weren't the meanest ones. They were the most unpredictable.
im meant to be asleep
but I wanted to
post in advance of midnight.
Quaker, teacher, parent,