Many people have trouble expressing how they feel. I have the opposite problem; I have trouble keeping what I feel inside. If you get to know this blog, you will know me better than people who see me everyday. I don't post as much as many, but everything I post really means something to me, a little sliver of who I am. I'm a passive conversationalist; I listen more than I talk. But I put all of myself into what I write. Oh, and, for what it's worth, I'm so much INFP it's like the description was written specifically for me. Please ask anything you like.
Bass: Aaron Hemphill Guitar (Acoustic): Annie Clark, Beck Hansen Guitar (Electric): Sergio Dias Keyboard / Synthesizer: Brian Lebarton Koto: Brian Lebarton Original Performance: INXS Shaker: Julian Gross Violin / Fiddle: Daniel Hart Vocals: Angus Andrew, Annie Clark Vocals (Background): Beck Hansen, Sergio Dias Written by: Andrew Farriss, Michael Hutchence
Okay, I like this one even more than their version of Need You Tonight. So incredibly sublimely wonderful…
Name the battle and I’ll be there,
arm like a second backbone, voice
like an amplifier - whatever you’re
screaming, I’m screaming too.
You’re marching with four feet
now, you’re leaving 64 teeth marks
every time you bite down. I’m
saying you’re not alone anymore.
You’re not alone.
Late Saturday night conversation with The Silverback. Specifically about his drummer’s girlfriend who committed suicide about a year ago. The Silverback has never asked for many specifics regarding her death. But his other band mate knew more than a few details and shared them with him this past Saturday.
The Silverback came home rather upset, with loads of questions for me. It’s no secret that I am clinically depressed and also suffer from various forms of anxiety. I take medication for both, engage in behavioral therapy sessions once a week, and see my phychopharm at least once every three months (more so if need be).
He was most distressed that his drummer’s girlfriend had been on medication as well - he thinks she was bipolar. However, she decided she was well enough to take herself off the medication and not long after that killed herself. We’ve known two other women - both also bipolar - who have made similar decisions regarding their medications, then attempted suicide. The Silverback wanted me to answer the question - “Why do they go off their meds? Don’t they know that they are ‘OK’ probably because of their meds? You would never just go off your meds? Would you?”
That’s a hell of a lot of questions for someone who has one understanding of mental illness - but not every understanding of mental illness. It can be very different for everyone. I had to make a lot of speculations regarding his questions. “Well, she may have been on an ‘up’ swing when she decided to go off her meds. Then she dove into a depressive swing and committed suicide. I cannot really say.” As for others we have know who have decided that they are “well” without their meds and then end up in hospital… Again, I am not inside their heads. I cannot exactly say what would prompt someone to stop taking their meds. Also - each of these particular people were/are bipolar. I am not… I have teased at times that I almost wish I was - that I could do with some “ups” to all my steady “downs”!
But this conversation was no laughing matter at all. Eventually we spoke about me in particular… As in many ways, a lot of his concern was about my stability. I reassured him that I have no intent to stop my meds. I have accepted that my brain is just different from other people’s brains. It’s OK. It would be nice if I had a so-called “normal” brain that did not require “supplements” to allow me to function “normally” in this world.
In some really bizarro way… I think I was lucky to know that mental illness ran in my family. My parents did their best to “protect” us kids from episodes with my maternal grandfather, but we still knew things were not right. He was “manic-depressive” - as they used to say… He would disappear in and out of hospitals for periods of time while I was growing up. My mum definitely carried these genes… She was depressive most of her adult life. But often did not seek any treatment. Later in life, her depression seemed to switch to a bipolar state. The year after my father died, I cannot fathom how much money she spent compulsively shopping. Then she crashed. Crashed, bad. So, I was witness to mental illness within my own family. I wasn’t sure if it would hit me or not - but it did. Unlike my grandfather and mother - I did seek treatment, immediately. Any treatment they received was more or less “forced” on them - not voluntary.
I cannot say it was initially easy to accept these diagnoses. I first sought treatment nearly 20 years ago, when the stigma of mental illness was even greater. On one hand, there was immediate relief due to the medications I was prescribed - I could suddenly engage in life again. That was beyond huge. On the other hand, accepting that I was mentally ill was not so easy. It probably took a good two years for me to come to terms with the fact that I was just “different” than other people. If people wanted to label me as “mentally ill” - that was their issue. I labeled myself as biologically-challenged, inheritor of genes over which I had no control.
When my Mum died, I did have a “major depressive episode” - or what would be called a “nervous breakdown” back in the days. I am a lot better now. We adjusted my meds, and I went into hardcore grief counseling. Did I ever once think of stopping my meds? No. Did I think of suicide? Yes. Did I discuss these feelings with my shrink, friends, and The Silverback? Yes, again. Here’s the thing… I do know how overwhelming depression and anxiety can be… I still go through periods of having to work myself up just to take a shower! Just basic hygiene! But I suppose I’ve been a little different because I’ve been aware enough to notice these changes in myself and then take action to get better.
Of course, we all still feel massively for The Silverback’s drummer and his loss. And his girlfriend who did kill herself. But I cannot explain “the why” that he has asked of me. I did explain where I stand on suicide as far as a philosophical question… If our existence is merely a series of decisions as outlined by many of the 20th Century philosophers… Then the greatest decision we make every day is to live or to die. To live is a decision we must willingly make each day. Some people make the decision to die. I cannot fault them for that decision. Even within my most secular practise of Judaism, I accept that we are all born with free will. I have wanted to die - but I have stepped back from the edge - and I have chosen life over death. But who am I to say those who choose death are wrong? I am not. I cannot. It will never be my place to judge.
I am certain many will disagree with me on these thoughts, expressions, etc. I understand that we all want to help those who are suffering. We should. Sadly, we must also accept our own limitations as to what we can do to help. We didn’t plan this conversation… I wish to hell that The Silverback came home and wanted to tell me all about his show… Which he did! But then came this… And it’s been on my mind for a few days now. Can anyone really explain anyone else’s actions? I tried…
So much to say about this from a true friend. I could sit up all night discussing this very issue…hell, I would love to. It’s one of the very few things on which I actually feel I have something to offer.
"What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place you call ‘here and now,’ and you are something the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing." —from The Tao of Philosophy By Alan Watts
What Can Five Wet Monkeys Teach Us About Creativity?
A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage. In the middle, they placed a ladder with bananas on top.
Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.
After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others would beat up the one on the ladder.
After some time, no monkey dare to go up the ladder, no matter the temptation.
Scientists then substituted one of the monkeys, taking one from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. The new monkey, upon seeing the bananas, went up the ladder. The other monkeys quickly jumped him, beating him.
After several beatings, the new member learned to not climb the ladder, even though he had no idea why.
A second monkey was substituted, and the same thing happened to him, with the first substituted monkey joining in the beating, again, even though he had no idea why. This continued, one by one, each original monkey being replaced with a new monkey. Each time, the new monkey would be beaten as he approached the ladder.
By the end, none of the original monkeys were left; none of the monkeys in the cage had been sprayed with water. But the beatings continued, even though, if they were able to, no monkey could tell you why, except, perhaps, to say, “That’s the way it’s always been done.”
How many things do you do in your everyday life simply because, “That’s the way it’s always been done” ? No, different isn’t always better, but doesn’t it at least seem better to have a little understanding of why you do one thing or another?
Robin Williams Roxy 1977 “Little spark of madness”
Never, never, never, NEVER lose that little spark of madness. It’s the only thing keeping you grounded in an insane world. The more old clips of Robin I watch, the more I realize how much my sense of humor is actually founded in so much of what I saw him do when I was 14-15. Love is not too strong a word for one who tossed a life preserver to me, saying, “Hold on tight, kick your feet, and follow my voice…”