Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Lunatic

Today is the day of a spectacular lunar eclipse visible on the other side of the globe from me. The perfect day to start a blog about madness.

Just so you know, from 2004-2006 I wrote a political blog called A Straight Shot Of Politics. I had to stop because the stress of constant anger over what was being done to our country, eventually left me too symptomatic. I can't do anything more with that blog. I had to abandon my old e-mail address for one reason or another and I could no longer convince Google that I owned it.

Maybe I don't. Maybe I have finally changed enough that I no longer have the ethical right to post there. Such things happen in my life. In any event, I am not likely to write about politics here. I did not enter that fray willingly, though I try to vote regularly. I did all I could to help elect a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate majority.

Now it's up to them.

I did, however, write about other things in my life over there and I may revive a few of these here, at least until we get fully acquainted. As my profile says, I'm bipolar. This has now become the medical label for what used to be called manic depressive psychosis. It is now a "bipolar condition". Whatever the value of this medically, in common parlance this is politically correct equivocation.

I am beyond equivocation. I am mad. Manic depression took over my life in 1993 and destroyed it over the next ten years. Last month my doctor made it official. I can no longer work full time at anything.

You'll get to hear about my symptoms as we travel together, suffice it to say for right now they are exhausting, unpleasant, and make me both erratic in word and deed. The mad are frank, far franker than the sane, and I cannot count the number of people whom I've pushed away by the intensity of that frankness.

I may have simply offended or angered most of them. I hope not, but I don't really think so. My emotive frankness is simply too intense, too prone to make people look into the places in themselves where they don't want to look, for real give-and-take in friendship. I am not alone. The mad discover this about their family, friends, and neighbors all the time.

Consequently, I am lonely and old at 57 rather than at 77. I have been always mostly alone for half a century, even when I was in contact with other people. I was only occasionally lonely because I generally had interesting and fulfilling work. This has been stripped from me.

Suicide is a constant danger for bipolars, or any other of the mentally ill, and the possibility of it is my constant companion. I am Buddhist, and my Buddhism remains with me and is very clear about why suicide is a bad idea. You are not likely to read many Buddhist posts here. I no longer can handle the ideas in prose all that precisely, and I outlined the essential ones on Straight Shot. Maybe I'll bring one or two over, but for now they seem beside the point.

But there is a dance with death beyond suicide that brings no serious karmic consequences. Death rides with all of us, but only the mad or the holy are constantly aware of him. Both know that the only reason to live is to do good for oneself or for others. Little by little, the mad have the honest pleasures of life stripped away from them and their world contracts step by step until it is bounded almost solely by their own symptoms.

So if Death shows up wanting you, why fight him? Why go through all the gyrations of skim milk and broccoli and bioflavanoids just to eke out a few more months of the same goofy freakshow you've become the geek in. Why fight him?

No good reason, really, unless you are terrified of him. I got to know him early [he is one of the best religious acquaintances I've ever had, by the way] and though passion and hot blood and interest in life generate their own fear that they will cease, now that they have largely ceased for me, there is relatively little fear in me of death itself.

What I am terrified of is Seroquel. Like so many psychotics I am gradually slipping toward the space of no good alternatives, where the choices are to let the symptoms become the perfect kaleidoscope from Hell or to zombify yourself with Seroquel. And, like most psychotics, by the time I get there it may no longer be my choice to make.

Seroquel eats the mental tools I am using to write this blog. My tools and my workshop are one of the few things I have managed to keep, and if death comes before Seroquel, I'd just as soon go with him.

Maybe by now this has gotten too intense, just like meeting me personally, and you are departing from here never to return. Sorry. It's lonely and drafty in here so please close the door on your way out.

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