Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Irreverent Little Joke…

Charlie stopped by again late last night.  He spent most of the afternoon trimming back the wild grown shrubbery over at his new house (the drug dealer’s house) in between bouts of pouring rain.  He left to go take Horsefly to the movies and to get his Dora doll, and then stopped by on his way back into the Valley.  I was already in the bed at nine – Maggie astutely alerting me that someone had pulled up in front of the house.  I have so much enjoyed not having that nightly medication ritual that went on for years – me being able to go to bed early without having to wait up for dad to come and he would always be so late – never being cognizant of my needs and that I get up so early. 

“I brought you Jesus fingers,” Charlie said laughing handing me a Styrofoam dinner box. “Here they are. Enjoy!”

Jesus fingers is our irreverent joke for the chicken finger plate from a little Christian restaurant establishment down in Opelika.  They sell the best chicken fingers you have ever eaten.  Horsefly just loves them eating them like it was his last meal – Charlie ever worried he is going to get choked.  Inside the establishment is plastered with bible verses and Christian sayings. Inside the box was a container of slaw, six fried to perfection chicken breast fingers, spicy fries, Texas toast, and some dipping sauce.  Maggie went nuts at the smells.  I unabashedly gave her a few fingers feeling generous last night which she relished.

“I’m not very religious,” Charlie said. “But they do have the best food. Their chicken finger plates are addicting.”

Charlie soon left noticing I was already in my pajamas. We hugged each other and said I love you.  I ate my box of food sitting on the bed Indian style and watching Nancy Grace on CNN, and was soon fast asleep getting seven hours of fitful sleep last night.

The Seventh Week of Work…

I believe tomorrow starts my seventh week of work (I am starting to lose track – each week seeming like the last).  I am off today – Sunday traditionally being my day off. We are going to have to add an extra day off soon – Walmart frowning on overtime. I don’t know what to do with myself with Stacey not getting home until late this afternoon and with me not working.  I think I will call my elderly neighbor a few blocks over and tell her I can cut her shrubbery after all today if the weather cooperates.  I still have 8 clients whose yards will need cutting in a week or two – especially after all the tropical rain we are getting.  I have decided to keep them already being committed. I got a call yesterday about mowing a lawn and told them I would call them back when the weather let up and I could do it.  I am such a waffling fool – not knowing what to do next. I know ya’ll get tired of this about me. It must be so frustrating reading my blog these days.  I do know I am feeling much less tired now from working full time – felling more able for “extracurricular” activities.  A few days there, I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I hung in there. I am now ensconced in a comfortable stasis about fulltime work.

Charlie Brown Syndrome…

“The Homeless Guy” wrote this yesterday on Facebook…

“I spend a great deal of energy just trying to be acceptable, and yet I rarely achieve it.” 

A Facebook “friend” wrote back…

“Just be yourself. If people don't like it, it's their loss!”

Kevin then wrote…

“It's my loss too, if I'm always alone.”

I know being alone.  After George went to jail, sometimes my only visitor for days on end would be dad at night with my medications and he wouldn’t stay long – really not interested in how my life was going as long as I was taking my medications and things were quiet. He was terrible company to have always causing me lots of anxiety.

Kevin has thousands of “friends” on Facebook yet not one visits him on a regular basis.  Even with social anxiety, humans are such social creatures – seeking out the company of others even if it is uncomfortable.  I wanted to write to him to get out and start volunteering in homelessness efforts instead of sitting in McDonald’s all day writing about politics. I knew he would “unfriend” my stealth persona of Martha Leah if I wrote that though.  I found my current love interest and friends by returning to work and “getting out in the world.”  Sometimes, you have to go to where social is and not wait for it to come to you as he keeps expecting. You also have to give of yourself which will be very hard of Kevin to do – having a friend takes being a friend first and foremost.  For years, he took and took and never gave back.  I fear it is a habit that is going to be hard to break for him.  People don’t like being used.  I also can’t escape the fact that he is entirely unlikable and irascible to be blunt and honest.  I have come to the conclusion that he is your classic example of a sociopath. If you went to see him, he would expect you to buy him lunch.  That turns people off.

Mental Wellness…

I didn’t realize how physically sick I was until I came off all those medications. I was extremely, extremely over medicated.  Things mentally have been so nice lately.  Each week gets better and better – my confidence in my mental health growing with every day.  I realized my diagnosis was wrong – that I was not schizophrenic nor bipolar.  I just had a problem with severe substance abuse which would exhibit signs of mental illness.  After all, drinking heavily will make you crazy and paranoid thus my initial diagnosis by a doctor in LaGrange which each subsequent doctor would carry over. They often say in AA that the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. My insanity was drinking myself into oblivion to feel better, but I just kept feeling worse.  I do have problems with compulsiveness and an all or nothing nature, but I chalk that up to just being a part of my personality.  It is okay to have a few quirks I have decided.  It makes me interesting as a person as long as it doesn’t make my life unbearable and takes over my wellbeing.  Charlie will often say we are all crazy in our own special way.

Dad’s issue with the medications was that it was a method of social control. It really wasn’t about my mental health or he would embrace the new me and my new found mental health.  I couldn’t work and go about life on all those medications which kept him in control.  It kept me at home quiet and complacent afraid to go out of the house allowing him to live his life unfettered.  I had to play my role of the sick mentally ill docile son to keep my family happy much to my detriment.  I couldn’t make waves without severe consequences. Many threats and much coercion has been thrown about over these past few weeks of independence. My extreme anxiety also caused me to be very extremely adverse to any confrontations for fear I would have one of my major attacks which are the scariest things I have ever encountered. 

With my newfound independence, I also wanted to dabble again with the drinking thinking I could drink like a normal person. I so wanted to emulate George. I also wanted to so emulate Albert’s nightly sunset brews finding that so alcoholically romantic.  I quickly learned after all these years of not drinking which was forced upon me that I just didn’t like how it made me feel anymore. I don’t want to feel badly. Hangovers are the most horrible experience.  I would even be so bold as to say they were more uncomfortable than the extreme anxiety I would experience from time to time. I’ve gotten so used to feeling well mentally and emotionally that I didn’t want to upset the careful balance I’ve obtained this past month.  

A sad fact of when I revealed I was no longer mentally ill was that many of my online friends with mental illness shied away from me.  As if mental illness was this exclusive club for which I was no longer a member.  I have found myself shunned on Twitter lately in these regards.  I guess I should be proud I am no longer a part of their club.  It was far too much drama for me anyway.  

So what’s in store for me mentally and medicinally?  To soon be antipsychotic free and to only have to take one pill a day, my Paxil.  The Risperdal, I have found, makes me feel very tired and fatigued.  A common side effect.  Many of these antipsychotics have the terrible side effect of extreme drowsiness.  My doctor warned me the week before last that I was going to experience some insomnia when I come off Risperdal.  I just hope it doesn’t last long.      

17 comments:

forsythia said...

Wise words about the Homeless Guy. From my own limited experience volunteering here in Laurel, I know that many of the men who live under the bridge in the summer are as scared of other people as feral cats.

Sophie said...

I love reading your blog these days Andrew, you have come so far that sometimes I almost have to go back up to the top to make sure I'm on the right blog! :-) It is so nice to read how your job and your life are settling into a nice routine and how good you are feeling over all. I'm a firm believer that a huge coctail mix of medications makes it impossible to tell what helps and what hurts. It sounds like you did wonderfully at finding the right doctor who is working to get you down to the minimum of what enhances your life and helps you function without overmedicating you. You are exhibiting so much wisdom in your choices these days and I know that comes from hard experience and a desire to maintain your new life. I am thrilled for you! I wish you were my neighbor! :-) You show everyone what someone can do with their life if they are determined to make changes. I'm betting deep down your dad is proud too, even if he is scared of losing all that control he maintained for so many years. Keep up the good work, and have a happy evening with Stacey!

Lena said...

You have summed up the last few weeks very well.

It has been quite a journey. Will your psychiatrist officially change your diagnosis soon?

I see kids mislabeled all of the time. If they can't be quiet and compliant than off to the hospital and pump them with too many meds.

It was a brave thing for you to be able to see your way on your own and make the attempt to get your meds reduced.

justLacey said...

Although I always enjoyed your writing, I think your writing and your thinking are much sharper and clearer now. It must be so eye opening for you to not be in a stupor induced by medication all the time. With this new clarity will come some gears but you will be able to think them through more logically. As for quirks I hate to tell you but we all have them. It is the way of being human and no one escapes them. It is what makes us unique. I really am shocked and thrilled at how well you are doing off your medication. Your progress being so fast is amazing too. I like that you now have all sorts of friends and don't limit yourself to the fringes. They are interesting, but most people are interesting in their own way. You have learned to thrive in all circles and I only expect this to continue. You are a wonder to behold these days.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

Nag Zone: Keep in mind that Stacey may have had a very emotional weekend. Between missing you, her nagging mother, happy to see her kids, sad to leave her kids, etc. she may need extra TLC. End of Nag Zone!

Long before you figured out how to implement your 'independence' plan, you often said you were over medicated - and that your dad was just keeping you calm and compliant. I really want to think that all of this was based on a screwed up diagnosis he was given ages ago. It just floors me that you were never given a re-evaluation over all this time.

Oh well . . can't fix the past - but you can sure make the best of the future. From what I can see, you are doing a great job with every bit of it!

Congrats!
Grannie

Jenn said...

I'm glad the blog is opne to all readers again. Thanks for doing that. You've come a long way, you should be proud of yourself!

Berryvox said...

Hmmm, I can see how the 'shunned' thing on Twitter might have happened. A lot of people might have looked it as 'not taking your meds' and with all the warnings they must have heard over the years, that might have freaked them out.

becomingkate said...

Hope you're having a nice Sunday Andrew!

Sharon said...

My gut feeling tells me that the mentally ill folks who are distancing themselves from you are experiencing their own paranoia and mistrust. Maybe you're correct that they feel mental illness makes them belong to an exclusive club and if you're not mentally ill, what are you doing crashing their party? As your life continues to change, you'll find less and less in common with them. The bottom line is that you are, and should be, cultivating friendships that are healthier for you in the long run.

Leann said...

Enjoy your Sunday my dear.

amelia said...

I think you're doing great for what it's worth!! Keep up doing what you're doing and enjoy your life. It's been a long time coming!!

Tee said...

Outstanding post! You have come so far and your future is so bright. I must agree less meds is better. :-)

Mary K said...

If being mentally ill is a club than it's one I'm glad you're out of. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, let alone a friend.
I think when you talked about throwing off labels earlier in your independence that it might be frightening to those of us struggling with mental illness. I'm talking about the people who *are* OCD rather than *have* OCD. These are the people to whom having a label makes them feel comfortable. Personally, I'm learning that I'm not my diseases. They're just something I have to deal with. And yes, with anxiety the scariest thing about it is you either eventually face up to what scares you and do it over and over until it doesn't or you're anxiety's slave forever.

Carol said...

Having worked in the mental health field I know you're right about a diagnosis sticking from MD to MD. It seems like you're coming out of a nasty Grimms fairy tale.

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Syd said...

Good for you to be almost off the drugs entirely and doing so well. I don't think that I could function well at all being on so many meds. Glad that things are going well all around for you.

PipeTobacco said...

Sir:

I am glad you are feeling so good and so happy.

PipeTobacco
http://frumpyprofessor.blogspot.com