February 2010

Coming home last night I looked up in the sky and saw a beautiful sight:  a sliver of a moon, just a fingernail shaving of bright silvery yellow hanging in the onyx sky…and I involuntarily gave a relaxed sigh of relief. Or was it just beauty appreciation exhaling from my clenched breast?  Either way, it felt good…and my mood lifted for the first time in days.

Call me crazy, but I am one of those people…and we are many…that are highly susceptible to the fluctuating cycle of the moon.  This I have learned from the culmination of all the months of my many years, observing my moods, their intensity and when they happen…sometimes obvious and intense, sometimes barely a whisper of change…but with every moon cycle, there are always some fluctuations of mood, of sense of well-being.  Boy oh, boy, though…this weekend I was wondering about my sanity. 

Generally, Full Moon for me…with all its abundance hanging in the heavens like a pregnant, warmly glowing party lantern…accentuates my contentment, happiness, often fueling the itch to go out and stir up a heap of fun, or just the urge to indulge via pillows and bubble baths and rich savory foods all just for me.  I find that New Moon, on the other hand…when the moon’s reflection is completely blocked by the earth and appears invisible, like a menacing mega-magnet just out of sight…tends to hype my anxiety issues. I often need to withdraw from everyone and everything and I feel a distinct vibe of a vast vacant vacuum on some barely perceptible but all important level. It can be very unnerving.

For all our modern knowledge, our prescriptions, our rationale, our denial of the intangible, I can’t discount what I go through every month of every year of my more-years-than-I-like-to-admit life.  But boy-howdy…this weekend was a doozy.  And it got me thinking:  If I can feel like this…me, a seemingly “normal” woman with a “normal” office job, with “normal” social functions and a “normal” face to the world, doing all the “normal” things…how can we know what sane really is?  How close are we all to losing it and calling the aid-car for a ride to the mental ward for observation?  How many of us are only a thread from a breakdown? And what constitutes “a breakdown”, anyway? Are we talking going postal at work?  Is the aid-car coming to your house/work/anywhere a prerequisite for it to be called “a breakdown”? Or is crying off and on for most of a weekend…for reasons you’re quite not sure of, or for reasons that you’re very sure of but aren’t sure they should elicit such a vehement reaction…does that count?

The social stigma of “having a breakdown” is one that leaves a very nasty metallic taste in one’s mouth. We’ve all been brought up to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” and “put a good face on it” and…add whatever “that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” -type of cliche for “take a deep breath and deal with it” you find most comforting here.  Little girls are told “Big girls don’t cry” when Mommy wipes their tears away…and little boys are told to “Take it like a man” no matter what the hurt, physical or emotional. 

On top of all that, if you don’t visit regularly with friends at a furious pace…go for coffee, meet for lunch, have a drink after work, got to the movies, have them over for dinner at your house, go to their house for dinner, do outdoorsy things on the weekend…etc…etc…there must be something wrong with you. I mean, you’re going to become a shut-in like that “lonely” old lady down the street when you were kids or that “creepy” guy that you only ever saw come out to get his mail or…blah blah blah.  How do we know that they didn’t just prefer to be alone? That they learned long ago that humans en masse are idiots and an all around pain in the ass?

With such long-ingrained attitudes and expectations of self-reliance, it’s no wonder that so many put off asking for help until it’s too late.  Damage is done…both to oneself and those around them.  Lives are turned upside down, relationships are twisted and torn, friends are alienated or lost…or worse. 

We as a society don’t exactly know when it’s “okay” to ask for help.  We think we might be overreacting to our 15-hour crying session, making too big a deal out of our repeated angry outbursts, and we tell ourselves that our panic attacks can be controlled if we just breathe and not think about it (whatever “it” is).  No, we  don’t need help. Nuh-uh. It’s not like that. “Crazy” is that person that talks to themselves on the bus.  Crazy” is that person that collects disability checks from Social Security because they can’t keep a job because of their “issues” and see a “Case Worker” every week.  Yeah…keep telling yourself that.

Not only do we not know when it’s “okay” to ask for help, once one finally gets the gumption up to do so, our so-called healthcare in this country doesn’t exactly make it so easy to get help. If you have traditional insurance, you usually have the best of it, but there are still a few hoops to jump through.  As uncomfortable as you are with the possibility that you need mental help, you now have to tell what starts to feel like the whole world:  1.) first your primary care doctor, and 2.) they have to tell your insurance provider so that 3.) you can get a referral to a psychiatrist.  If you’re lucky, you get one you click with right off the bat. Usually though, you’re not so lucky and you end up having to try a few before settling on the one that fits you best. Oh, and let’s not forget that you have to tell your employer that you need to leave early or arrive late because you have a “doctor’s appointment”…every week.  Maybe you can just say you have a “class” every Wednesday?  But you know where you’re going and it feels like everybody knows, too.

Oh, and every week? Yeah, you’re insurance isn’t going to like that. Be prepared for your coverage to end after anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months. You get to pay for the rest of the year’s visits…at anywhere from $100.00 a pop and up.  And I didn’t even get into the 10-ring circus that is trying to get help if you don’t have insurance…and don’t have $3-$5K a year to spend on it.

You start to remember why you just wanted to hole up under the dark covers with a sharp object in the first place. That seemed so much more low-key, more private, more…safe.

Yeah, a sharp object safe?  Who needs the medication now?

© 2010 D. Kessler

So you see, there’s been no action over here for quite a while…like months. Part of that was due to some weirdness with my ‘puter (see previous post), part was because I no longer have wi-fi access anywhere in my apartment, and part (most?) was because I was Just Plain Lazy. Tired and Uninspired. Had a serious case of Writer’s Block. Ok ok…I Just Plain Suck.

HOWEVER…as part of the Jump On The Bandwagon Program (also known as the New Year’s Resolution Brainstorm, version 20.10), I plan to…I endeavor to…I’m gonna TRY to…?  Whatever. Let’s just say there’s going to be a flurry of activity over here…well, at least compared to what’s been going on here in the past few (many!) months. It’ll be starting out as a small flurry…an occasional dust devil, if you will…nothing big enough to lift a farmhouse out of Kansas over the rainbow…but it will be SOMETHING.  And that’s the important part.  Writing SOMETHING…anything…getting back in the swing of things.   

Ya’ll should bear with me, though…I might have forgotten how to ride this bike just like I forgot how to drive a car.  We won’t be poppin’ wheelies or yellin’ “Look, Ma! No hands!” right away. And we may even be a bit all over the place, wobbling back and forth from one side of the road to the other, sampling a plethora of topics as they flit though my mind (like they always do. Focus? What’s focus? I swear sometimes I…Oh! Wow, look at that! SHINEY!! Wheeee!)

Uh…Where was I?  Oh yeah. Topics. Bunches of them. Some fun, some we’ll have to try to make fun, some angry, some just there…but then again, this IS Dy’s Mind’s Eye.  It’s just observations from my reality. So, welcome back to my reality, Everyone.  And welcome back to Me!  It will feel good to breathe again, I think.  Because that’s what writing is in my world: Life’s Breath.  And I’m back from the grave, Baybee!  Oh yeah!