Monday, May 18, 2009

What Kind of Blog Am I

Dear La Belette Rouge,

I'm having exactly that same problem with my blog. Am I a bipolar blog? Is it all about my craziness--my reclusivety, my lack of interest in the outside world, always about the navel gazing? I occasionally write a poem or post a bit of political outrage, and then there is a small palate cleansing of a bit of jazz. But even I know that I grow stale, old, dull on certain days. Mondays seem to be the worst for me. Now that you have me thinking about it, I realize that I will probably post this email to my blog, since I woke up with nothing to say. Nothing. I have nothing to add to what's been said. The conversation has come to an uncomfortable silence for me. Where do I go from here? Do I have too many things in the air juggling like mad and is it all about to come crashing down on my head in a loud clatter and then a deafening silence?

There are so many days I wake up and face the keyboard with nothing at all to say. I will have listened to the news, but neglected the newspapers, or big news blogs to find later in the day that had I done the slightest bit of reading I would have found something of substance to shout about. But today I'm a tabula rasa. So I'll probably take this letter to you and try to make it into something.

And for me, the reader of your blog, your therapy sessions are my favorite days. I worry about you when you go shopping, having been the sort of woman who used shopping as a substitute for whatever my life lacked. What my life did not lack was new designer clothes, fifty pairs of shoes, jewelry I never wore, the latest handbags, new sheets, new towels, the latest kitchen gadget, a vase, scented candles in new fragrances, and on and on. So I see shopping as a substitute for meaning. I see shopping as a way to fill the hole my mother left in my soul. And yes, at my age with my mother safely dead almost three and a half years, she still haunts me now and then and even as I say that I realize how silly it sounds that a dead woman still has the power to scare me, take whatever pleasure I have in a moment and turn it into pain. I know it is me giving her ghost power. I also know my hiding out like a woman living in a self imposed prison is a pathetic attempt to have a little control over what has been a chaotic life.

Why is it that in moments like these, I hear lines from The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock running through my mind? It's a poem that was written by a very young man. Why does it now hold such power for me? Why has it always? From the moment I first read it, sometime in my teens, it has held my attention and made me feel as if at least TS Eliot would have understood me. More than likely had TS Eliot the slightest relationship to me, he'd have thrown me in some moderately priced looney bin and been done with me. I'm amazed my family didn't. I suppose knowing that they might made me pretend with all my might that I was peachy. And there it is again, another echo from the long dead Eliot.

Well, now I have a post I think. I hope you won't mind if I post this letter to you or at least portions of it. Thanks for the inspiration. Were it not for you, I'd have nothing to say today.

Love,
Peggy

32 comments:

PENolan said...

All I can say is, "Testify, Sister!"

Utah Savage said...

PEN, I would, but what am I testifying to or about? Humm? That I have finally begun to bore even myself?

giggles said...

Me,too, Utah! And i will be telling LBR as well....

themom said...

We all have spells like this I believe. You can be anything you want or say anything here. The sense of anonymity (ha) is soothing sometimes. Me....I don't give a shit - I let it all out!!! Have a great one friend.

MadMike said...

I don't know a lot about bi-polar disease, but do have a friend who has two sons that suffer from it. She tells me that as long as they stay on their meds they are fine, but when they go off, they literally go off the edge with depression, mood swings, and etc. So I guess my question is why would a person go off their meds? Is it because one is feeling fine and decides who needs them? This is a such an unhappy condition. It deserves more attention.

PENolan said...

When I used to get 6-8 week bouts of depression, getting bored with myself was generally I sign that it was about to lift. You've been keeping your chin up and stuff, but it seems like it's been about a month or so since you plunged.

For myself, I think most of our blogs are a lot like talking around the kitchen table - sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes frivolous and very human all the time. Since I started blogging, I've felt subtantially less isolated.

Gail said...

Hi Utah-

Keep on keeping on. Your blog? It's about you - as are every other blog read, as is mine. Oh we delve into issues, and politics and whatever - but ultimately, every post is about the writer. We are all self proclaimed narcissists. :-)

And the stillness? Ah yes, stillness. Try and relax in it - because as you know, it never lasts for long.

Again - keep on, keeping on.

Love Gail
peace.....

Utah Savage said...

Thanks guys. Now I feel better.

Mike, there are many reasons people with bipolar disorder go off their meds. All bipolar meds come with their own set of problems in the form of side effects. There are certain drugs that shut down the creative impulse and for some of us that is intolerable. I'd rather be a tortured crazy batshit old woman with a bit of creativity than a manageable semi-zombie. For a lot of women the weight gain aspect of bipolar drugs is a big problem. I'm now old enough that I'd happily trade Zoloft's weight-neutral feature for the forty pounds of drug weigh that comes with Doxepin Hydrochloride in order to be capable of dreaming. Women really hate the weight gain. Also, a lot of people believe that once they are stabilized by their meds they are cured of this incurable disorder. I blame therapists and ignorant family members for this misinformation. It is genetic, and doubly genetic. It is one of very few genetic illnesses that comes with two DNA markers and not the usual one. So your friend who has two sons with bipolar disorder has others in the family who have passed this gene and its horrible illness on to the boys.

jurassicpork said...

Hell, Peg, I have days like that all the time. Sometimes I have to force myself to function because there is one overriding imperative that makes me do this every damned day of my life:

I. Can't. Let. The. Cocksuckers. Win.

It has nothing to do with responsibility to my readership or their expectations of me. Sometimes I just have to hunker down in my bunker mentality and just bull ahead.

I've been bipolar all my life. Not dramatically, not Robert Lowell-class, but I've been a victim of mood swings. Perhaps this is the biggest reason why I've never fit in anywhere. Not in the Air Force or the Navy SEALs, nowhere in the civilian world, nowhere.

The blogosphere and whatever small circle of readers whom I've yet to permanently alienate is the closest I've ever come to fitting in anywhere and I've been at this for going on five years.

Sometimes, Peg, it's just a matter of putting one finger on the keyboard at a time and watching the words painfully accumulate.

Do. Not. Let. Them. Win.

Utah Savage said...

Jurassicpork, Welcome and thanks for the encouraging words. I will now follow you home and blog-roll you dear. Bipolar Bloggers of the World Unite!

pplongstocking said...

Dear Utah Savage

I hear you and will hear you more as I read more of your posts...

As I posted to you yesterday, my mother is bi-polar, was diagnosed only about 4 years ago, but we all knew there was something going on there all our lives, my siblings and I.

I have not posted much about my mother, if anything really, in my blog, I have tried to keep her out of my stories as my history with her has been a difficult journey. She has been in and out of hospital quite a few times in her life, amazing that it took the doctors that long to diagnose her.

I still don't fully understand her diagnosis, I am so used to her ups and downs and side effects I still think at times it is just her being her, which it of course is, but with the aid of b.p.

As one blog spurs on another, so yours has spurred me to think about writing my experiences of being close to someone with bi-polar.
And how we can create a pattern in our lives, as my partner had a complete breakdown 6 months ago, I sometimes wonder if he may ever get diagnosed himself.... and if, as you have commented, being bi-polar is genetic, maybe I am trudging through life unaware that maybe I am to...
Hmmm.

Anyway, Hang on in there, I have enjoyed the posts I have read so far very much and if you feel like writing a post about what you think is absolutely nothing, I can guarantee that it will always end up as something!!

jurassicpork said...

I've BG'd you, too, Peg. Keep on truckin', babe.

Just for the record. I'm flying pretty high these days. I just engaged to a liberal chick who digs my writing and she's moving up to live with me in MA later this summer.

That's right, we've never met. But we have such a connection that meeting is really just a formality. Although I wouldn't be looking to Pottersville for any new postings for the first few days after her arrival, if you know what I mean. ;-)

Utah Savage said...

pplongstockings, What a wonderful and insightful comment. I hope you keep coming back, and I will drop by your place often.

I have one small insight in to why you picked a mate with bipolar disorder or other issues. We choose what is familiar. I had both a sexually abusive father and an undiagnosed bipolar mother with the complicating factor that she was also a narcissist. Every man I married or lived with was a narcissist. I was always made to be the audience for someone else's talent or drama. Now it's only my drama I have to deal with.

pplongstocking said...

I'm still hearing you Utah... I'm still hearing you...

My guy is doing great right now, he is difficult at times, but so am I.

But I understand patterns as I have a collection of them that I have been cultivating over many years!!!

You betcha I'm coming back, do me a favour and save me a seat... I usually like to be somewhere near the back and slightly off centre....

Kristen said...

Beep beep, beep beep. Our brains go beep beep beep. As we both know, bi-polar is the suckage. But by blogging the random we clean out our minds. All the swirling thoughts have somewhere to go.

My blog thrives on the random. It is a way to keep me sane.

You are not boring, never will be.

Ghost Dansing said...

the way i am......

Beach Bum said...

One of my cousins is bipolar and all through his youth he had an exceptional talent in art. So much that he received a full scholarship to college because of it.
It was in his mid-twenties when his condition became such an issue that he finally went on medication that has only grown in dosage as the years went on.

His artistic creativity nose dived because of his medication and now he doesn't even try anymore. Which of course makes him depressed even while taking his medication.

But he has been doing something Jurassicpork mentioned. He is pulling out his sketch book and drawing anything he sees, its not as detailed as what he has done before but he is drawing something so his condition doesn't beat him.

susan said...

I said something to Bellette that also applies to you and that's the fact that people who apply labels to others are practicing the injustice of oversimplification. The blogs we love to read are written by those whose perspective is unique and honest.

Utah Savage said...

Ghost, Smooch! You just gave me my next post.

Beach, Your cousin's story is so terribly sad. And I really want him to get the message that there are many drugs to treat bipolar disorder and not all of them are creativity killers. I will not go on lithium. I will not go on Geodon or Depakote ever again. There are things worse than a bit of mania or a bit of depression, but to be a profoundly creative and talented artist and have it killed by a drug is tragic and probably preventable. I hope he has a psychiatrist willing to work with him to find a drug that will allow his creativity to bloom again. Denied my creativity would be almost worse than death. It is a soul killer to have that spark extinguished. I am glad he's working on drawing whatever he see, but there is such a thing as a creative flame and if it resides in you, having it extinguished is tragic.

Hi Susan. It was awfully nice of LBR to let me use my letter to her. I'm so glad to have a conversation going with her.

thelass said...

The simple answer to your title question is "Good." I would also add "real", "honest", "well-written", and "the sum of some interesting and thought-provoking parts".

Utah Savage said...

Wow, thelass, I'm now hopelessly smitten.

La Belette Rouge said...

Utah: I feel so lucky to know you and have the kind of conversations we do---and I am tickled pink that my post today brought about all this thought, insight and contemplation. You know that I love you but I am telling you again, I do.
Please don't change your blog. I love it just as it is.
xo
p.s. Sometimes shopping is just shopping and other times it is something more. ;-)

yellowdog granny said...

I'm surrounded by people i love that are bi-polar, my daughter, my good friend who is like my daughter, one and possibly 2 of my granddaughters...maybe i'm a carrier?....

Utah Savage said...

La,I love you too. And I feel the same comfort in having you to talk with.

YDG, If you aren't a carrier, someone in the family is. Probably going back generations. My biological father was hospitalized for schizophrenia in the late 1940s. Whenever I've had to give a family history and I mention this to a mental health professional they tell me that schizophrenia was almost always really misdiagnosed bipolar disorder. Mania turned psychotic. And it is this mania turned psychotic feature of the bipolar cycle that used to be diagnosed as schizophrenia. So I got if from both sides of my family. lots of families used to hide the crazy aunt or cousin from the rest of the world. As if it were something terribly shameful. In fundamentalist families I'm guessing there is still a lot of shame around being bipolar or having a bipolar member of the family.

Sherry said...

hell, keep on keep'n on!

you never ever bore. you do help people as well as inform and all the other goodies that come with well done exceptional blogs!

The Peach Tart said...

I enjoyed this...I face this issue often when I sit down to write something that will make me laugh, think, or cry....but it is my therapy

Spadoman said...

Just wanted you to know I stopped by to read what's going on in your life. Wouldn't dare comment on an e-mail to someone else, but must say that to me, the sharing of your life that you do is the sign of someone that seems to have an inner sense on some unknown level. I love it.

Peace.

Randal Graves said...

There's nothing wrong with having nothing to say some days. That's when you toss up some tunes or some incoherent babble.

Everything is a facet of yourself; there's no law that says each post has to qualify as lit.

And if you're really really stuck, might I suggest sports.

Nan said...

You might be a lot of things, but you're never going to be boring.

Lisa said...

It's okay to say nothing. It's okay to do nothing. You don't have to entertain us ever. These posts are gifts you give us. Little gifts of yourself, glimpses into who you are. We'd have to be terribly rude to fuss at you for not delivering a gift to us EVERY day.

I really like how you did this in the form of a letter.

P.S. I told MathMan that we have to have the entire house wired for webcams. Do you want a live feed from every room, all the time?

Utah Savage said...

The answer to that question is YES! Yes Lisa, yes!

MadMike said...

Thanks Utah. I never thought about side effects. Her husband suffered from some major issues.