Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Up Appearances...

It's a novel thing me keeping myself up.  For a year, I would go without shaving for a week.  Sometimes it would be days before I showered.  I wouldn't buy deodorant for sometimes months.  I would wear the same clothes for days.  Soap was like kryptonite. It exasperated my father.

"Take some pride in yourself, goddamnit!" he would say to me. "Shave and get yourself cleaned up!  We didn't raise you to live like this!"

It was my mental illness.  I felt too terrible to do anything of the sort.  It was the most maligning form of apathy - an apathy that put a big wedge in between my father and our relationship.  He's keen on keeping up appearances.  You never see him without crisp, clean dress shirts.  He always has a dash of cologne on.  I have never, ever seen him with facial hair.

Now?  I got some new soap today and couldn't wait to try it.  I spent $6 dollars of scarce money on something I used to would never use.  It was so nice to get in the shower with a bar of Irish Spring (with a moisture beads gimmick) and wash myself clean.  I take a shower everyday now religiously.  Sometimes two.  I am taking pride again now that I am feeling better.  

The hardest part about mental illness is it so effects our behavior as it relates to conventional society.  The norms and rules of society can escape us or we no longer care.  That's why you see so many homeless mentally ill people.  You can see cancer on an MRI or X-ray.  You can't take a test that shows you have schizophrenia.  There is no certain course of recovery except to trust in a doctor to carefully try different medications till you find something that works. 


Jessica said...

So glad things are going better for you! I love the beach background! :)

Lena said...

Your blog looks great!

Good to hear that you are feeling up to taking better care and that you are enjoying it!

Jenn said...

Glad you are feeling well. I don't know about everyone else, but I have a hard time reading the white letters on the blue background, especially when the words are highlited green. Maybe it's just my monitor. It looks nice though.

forsythia said...

Love your ocean view. Fresh, like Irish Spring. Glad to hear that you are enjoying more of life's little pleasures.

PipeTobacco said...


Even though not to your father's liking, please keep in mind that beards and moustaches *can* be neat, tidy, well-groomed and rather professorial. [grin]


Cheryl said...

Your writing is so good! It's a pleasure to come here and see what pearls you've left :)

Happy day!