It’s been a trying time for me, which is why I haven’t posted to this blog as regularly as I used to. The problems of the usual complications of my mother’s declining health, my declining health due to menopause, trying to find out what happened to my relatives out in fire-and-flood swept Colorado and a rising tide inside of me that just doesn’t give a fuck.
Although I have not been diagnosed as being bipolar (I have endogenous recurring depression), I do still go through cycles of having no energy most of the time to having a nice surge of it for about three days a month. These cycles of “not giving a fuck” and “giving a fuck” are normal for me and my mental health. I suppose I’ll suddenly get a whole new surge of inspiration once my bills are due.
In the meantime, enjoy swearing and still take the medication. See you when I see you.
Well, the year has just blown by, hasn’t it? It seems like yesterday that we were putting up the World Suicide Prevention Day decorations, sending World Suicide Prevention Day cards and braving the lines of last minute World Suicide Prevention Day shoppers. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, where we all get together and convince the world to keep on orbiting around the sun for another year.
No, seriously — I just found out that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. That’s only because I follow the American Psychiatric Association’s Facebook page. However, I know all about Miley Cyrus’s tongue gymnastics on the MTV Video Music Awards from television, newspapers and just about every website imaginable. Perhaps mainstream media needs to get their priorities in order.
There have been some celebrities that have committed suicide in the past year. And yet that doesn’t seem to stir up much interest in mainstream media. When Kurt Cobain killed himself, there was a lot of suicide prevention articles or features in news outlets. And yet nearly 20 years later, there’s not very much out there.
Perhaps they all want us to die. Well, SCREW ‘EM! Stay alive and mess up their plans.
“Some folk might say there was madness in his method,” muttered the Inspector.” — “The Adventure of the Reigate Square”
One reason why the public is so fascinated with Sherlock Holmes since his first appearance in 1887 is his quirky behavior. Doyle made a fully formed heroic character complete with very real flaws. Readers in modern times can’t help but wonder, when reading the Doyle stories, if Sherlock Holmes suffered from bipolar disorder…
Now, granted, thinking in extremes (“I never get ANYTHING right”) can affect our mental health. But let’s be realistic here. You don’t want to swing to the other extreme (“I ALWAYS get things right!”) You want to keep things in their proper perspective. (“Sometimes I’m right — sometimes I’m wrong.”)
Part of the problem of depression or mental illness is that it skewers your perceptions. You cannot truly see what is right in front of your face. It takes time (and often a combination of medications and therapy) to truly perceive what is going on about you and not what you FEAR is going on around you.
And you know what? Much of the time, real life does indeed suck donkey balls. Being able to perceive when it really does and when it doesn’t is a big step forward in your mental health. If something upsets you, don’t try to cover it up with positive thoughts. Be upset. But if something does not upset you, don’t look for reasons to make it upset you. That’s a big difference.
Any well-meaning friends who talk on and on and on about “be the change you want to be” and “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” can wind up making you feel worse. Tell them to shut up (if you can safely get away with it). You’ll feel better. Trust me.
Sorry I haven’t updated for a while. Things have not been well for me. I won’t go through all the gory details, but the main problem is that, at the age of 43, I am deep in the throes of menopause. The hormone crashes are making me mental. I can barely sleep, I get hot flashes, I’m tired all the time and this post is the first thing I’ve been able to write in days. The only good is that I’ve seemed to almost totally lost my appetite and am now losing weight.
The really embarrassing thing is that my sex drive has returned. My libido went totally bye-bye for more than two years. I really didn’t mind at the time. I got a lot of work done. I read a lot of good books. My days were full. Any sexual feelings I had went entirely into my dreams. As soon as I’d wake up, the libido was gone. It actually simplified my life quite a bit.
And now I can’t get sex with Sherlock Holmes out of my head. Specifically, sex with Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes. (Sadly, Brett himself died at the age of 59 in 1995.) Sherlock Holmes can find anything — including my libido, apparently I try to do something else and somehow wind up on YouTube watching old episodes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
It’s not really sex with him that I can’t stop thinking about, but a sort of merging with him. Wouldn’t it be nice to one day wake up, look in the mirror and see Jeremy Brett’s Holmes looking back at me? It would be great to be Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes. I already have an addiction (although to Brett’s Holmes and not cocaine). I’m also mentally ill. I, too, have given up romance for a life of stimulating the mind.
Today I cut off my long hair (it’s too hot for it, anyway) and slicked it back with gel like in the photo of Brett’s Holmes here. I actually look better. Maybe I’m on to something here.
In April of this year, New Scientist website started a new column about funky brain problems called Mindscapes. The first article deals with a patient from the UK suffering from Cotard’s syndrome — the persistent belief that your body or parts of your body are dead.
Cotard’s syndrome (also called Cotard’s delusion or walking corpse syndrome) was featured in a couple of memorable Hannibal episodes. (Picture from Episode 9) I originally thought it was a fictional diagnosis like “pure empathy” (the problem with protagonist Will Graham) but Cotard’s really exists. Whenever you feel as if you are having a sucky life, look at someone suffering with Cotard’s syndrome and suddenly you’ll feel better about yourself.
The patient interviewed, known only as Graham (nothing to do with fictional character Will Graham) woke up one day and was convinced his brain had died. He saw no point in doing anything. Food had no taste. He lost the ability to smell. He stopped brushing his teeth and they all turned black. He led a “joyless existence.” The good news is that he quit smoking because he could not longer get any relief from tobacco.
It took years of treatments, but now Graham is able to do chores about the house and has found some interests again.
Things you need to know about Cotard’s syndrome:
- It’s extremely rare
- No one knows what causes it
- It tends to appear in conjunction with other mental illnesses such as major depression
- This is often fatal because patients will no longer eat or will drench themselves in boric acid
- There is no cure
- Current treatments include electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy and anti-psychotic medications