Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm Sick of Myself

Yes, I'm sick with something I can't seem to shake. When I get sick and don't recover quickly I worry that it is the beginning of depression. But then being sick is depressing. It's a chicken/egg sort of conundrum. Am I sick and is it depressing me, or is it depression coming on that starts as feeling sick? Depression for a person with bipolar disorder is often perceived as illness in the early stages.

We had a period of air so bad that warnings were issued to keep children inside, to keep old people inside, and to keep those with chronic illness inside. I have a friend who is a school teacher who said for weeks they were not allowed to let children go outside for the entire school day. When I first went to my doctor with upper respiratory symptoms I was told that everyone she was seeing was in for the same problem. So I didn't feel so bad. When the air cleared, I would feel better. Now the air is clean and my breathing is getting worse. I have asthmatic wheezing, and my usually husky voice is now a croak.

I was working on a story that I played out as if it were real. And now that it's over I'm drained. I have yet to put it together as a final unified story, but the pieces are all there. But now that it's over, I feel drained of creativity. I'm resorting to recycled songs that are a comfort to me but bore you. I still follow news but my fellow Democrats are turning on President Obama for not taking a harder line with the opposition party. I too would like him to do more arm twisting than courting, but in less than a month in office he got a stimulus package passed and ready for signing. I'm thinking that's quite an achievement even if the details of this aren't exactly what some of us would have wanted. He has signed orders to close Gitmo, he has stated that America will no longer torture, and he has said he is more focused on the future than the past, but has not closed the door to investigations into his predecessor's crimes. This is a great deal accomplished in a very short time, yet no one seems happy about all this. He is pretty wonderful, but he isn't god. What the hell do we expect?

So it is hard to tell whether this is depression or merely a transient bug that will eventually go away. And if it is depression, is it situational, or is it organic and part of the larger, underlying bipolar disorder? In several years I haven't missed taking my medications. In the past three weeks I have twice missed my evening dose of all my medications--these are all my bipolar drugs, my pills to control the atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Maybe it's just that I'm a little off from having missed those two doses of my medications. But why did I miss them? Taking medications at the correct time of day is like a reflex for someone with a lifetime of most of these health problems. Why have I become careless about taking the drugs that make "normal" life possible?

I feel I owe some of you an apology for playing a trick on you. I have tried to examine my visceral response to a certain type of possible romantic situation and ended up offending some of you, especially the men among you. I wrote a scenario too personal, and full of stereotypes that really did alienate some of my male readers. I claimed that my female character's reaction to her visceral response to the appearance of a man she had talked herself into seducing was "shallow" and that this shallowness was a rather male reaction to a lack of beauty. Surface beauty. I have never lived with a man who wasn't a fan of pornography. When I tried to find out why this was such a seemingly universal phenomenon, my male friends told me that men are more "visually" stimulated than women. So I see this as a shallow reaction to a visual stimulus. Yes, there is a judgement that shallow is not a particularly good thing to base love on, but it wasn't love exactly that I had in mind for my female character. I had sex in mind for her. And attraction that leads to sex is often a mysteriously shallow reaction to the visual. Chemistry is a necessary component for sexual passion and for my female character, the "I" in the story, in her mind prior to actually seeing this man there is chemistry, like the strange chemistry you feel in a dream. But confronted with the actual man face to face, she finds that there is no chemistry at all. And to her this lack of chemistry based solely on appearance is a shock that makes her see herself as more masculine than she thought. She views this as shallow. She equates shallowness as a male trait. She is wrong to do so. Shallowness is a universal. So is depth. To any of you who have been offended by the stereotyping in this small saga, I apologize. To the men who identified with the character Cal, I might have hurt your feelings. For this I'm sorry. But I will continue to work on this story on one of my fiction writing blogs.