Just got done chatting with a friend who is going through some rough times, and it just amazes me how life can be so perfect and wonderful and at the same time be cruel and hurtful and drive people to their limits. So many of us, myself included, do so little to help people, mainly because there are people suffering in silence all around us, and we just don’t know what to do or how to help. And, in reality, even if we know there is a problem, it may be hard to help. When I was going through my anxiety attack crisis, there wasn’t much that could help me other than xanax, a little Lily under the covers, and cold showers. I really thought I was at the end and ready to do things that now, in retrospect, seem absurd.
But I got through it. I was lucky. I had friends, I had family, I had professional help, and did I mention the friends?
Again, another John Cole post where there is no clear ending, other than to state that it just bothers me that there are so many people out there who are hurting, lonely, and just really at the end of their ropes. It’s just sad, because in too many cases, they are looking at the immediate situation, and not the long term. I don’t pretend to have answers for everything, but I do know that every single person has people who care about them, and no matter how bad the situation may seem, there are alternatives. Yes, there is a lot of ugliness and horror and evil in this world, but there is so much more good. The good outweighs the bad by such wide margins, it is not worth debating. My goodness, just wake up to kisses from a rescue dog, and tell me if your life does not have worth.
And to go with this mawkish post, we have this:
And now for something that I watch probably two to three times a day, because I just love it:
I have to be up in a few hours. I’ll make sure I re-read this post then.
It makes me feel a little better to read this, to know that there are caring people out there who support those they care about. I’m currently dealing with a brother who has decided in his never-went-to-medical-school-or-even-any-college wisdom that the severe illness I’m battling isn’t real, that I’m choosing the way my life is, and that I’m not a “victim” of my disease but rather, I’m just being stupid and ought to cut it out.
Oh and I’m too repulsive looking, due to the effects of my illness, for him to come to our home to visit. Because he does not want to look at me. Because I’m sick
Yeah. Sorry to dump on the nice post, but again, I am glad to know that there are people like you, John, who are not douchebag assholes like my brother. When people are struggling, the last thing they need is for those close to them to turn away. Thank God my mother is here for me, but it still hurts like hell to be shit on by my own sibling.
No man is an island, but some do function quite well as peninsulas.
This is spooky because I had this very conversation with my mother today. I’ve been in a bad spot, missed work a bit due to poor health driven by stress and mild to moderate depression. Today I woke up with a toothache and a text from my brother that Dad was in the hospital. My parents just got back from a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands that had been planned for over 2 years and he returned with some bacterial infection in his right leg that caused it to swell and the tissue to be under a lot of pressure and cause a fever. So he’s in the hospital and I’m 1500 miles away and haven’t seen them in 10 months, and it really put in perspective what is really important as opposed to my daily Eeyore tendencies.
I find I get down when I isolate myself and become sedentary. When I’m exercising or when I’m around people I care about who care about me, my gigantic sense of self-loathing is diminished or removed completely. I don’t know why my mind is wired the way it is, but here at home, given a day without actual human contact, self-doubt just becomes a feedback loop and amplifies itself. If you are down, reach out and talk. Just get it all out because the likelihood of you being the only person to feel down when you’re alone is practically zero.
There are people who will listen, a lot of them post here.
Love to all my fellow depressives out there tonight,
ETA: An update on my Pop since I kind of left that hanging. I was worried until he emailed me asking if I watched tonight’s Mythbusters. Like, oh, he’s on IV antibiotics and probably lovenex and an anti-inflammatory and probably a mild pain drug and he’s comfy enough to ask me about what’s on my TV tonight. Phew! He’s gonna be okay, it sounds like.
every single person has people who care about them
If this were only completely true, it would be a better world; but there are a lot of lonely old people out there who never had kids, or lost them, and who have outlived all their relatives and friends and loves and interests.
Thanks, John, for helping someone tonight.
You’re a mensch.
Hold strong, Cole.
That goddamned boulder ain’t gonna push itself up the hill.
TBogg has an amazing quote from Ann Althouse and in the comments, I found inspiration for a possible tag for any of the FP’ers if Althouse comes up. First blogger to claim it gets dibs:
Tags: The Diary of Anne Franzia
I find that when I get depressed I isolate from everyone because I don’t want to dump on people. What I also tend to do is help everyone. Once someone else has a problem, it’s like mine doesn’t exist so I tend to give til it hurts sometimes. I seem to have this bottomless energy to listen to people’s problems. But I have no one that cares about me that much except my family and my ex-husband. Helping other people and ignoring my own problems gives me a sense of accomplishment. I wanted to be a psychiatrist but my detachment is non-existent.
I’m so glad that your dad is okay! Hopefully with the IV antibiotics and the anti-inflammatory he’ll be out of the hospital soon!
Karen aka contessakitty
I find I do the same thing. Just admitting to Mom that things may be going okay but that my feelings haven’t been reflecting that recently had me on the verge of tears this afternoon, but then I went to a comedy show with a buddy of mine that I met through work and is going through his own stress and financial issues and I paid for everything and was just glad for the company. We don’t get paid for a few days and because I recently got a bonus that he didn’t get, I was insisting that I take care of this and he didn’t owe me anything. It was a really fun night.
If I can, I love to reach out and give, but because I spend so much damned time with myself, I don’t really consider myself more than the most minimal of efforts. I think that’s something that’s actually super common.
I find that when I succeed in amusing other people, that is when I seem to be satisfied with who I am. When Mom told me about my Dad’s leg, I was immediately worried about vascular issues and his survival, but the dark part of my funny bone gave me some immediate gallows humor. I thought,
“if my Dad loses his fucking leg below the knee because of an infection he got while sailing through the Caribbean, I don’t know wtf I’m going to do. I don’t know what anybody’s going to do. I guess we’ll have to get him a parrot, a tri-corner hat and some eye shadow cause God or the Universe or whatever wants him to be a pirate.”
The prospect of something so awful happening to someone you love so much is so unacceptable to my mind (and I’m guessing many others) that I laugh so that I don’t cry. Thanks for the well wishes.
Thanks for posting this, John.
@Mustang Bobby: I second that emotion, John. Reading that post was a beautiful way to start my day.
While we’re being all contemplative and shit, has anyone read Thoreau’s Walden?
Yeah, me neither … but I played the video game!
(via Alison Rose)
Dude, I appreciate the sentiment. That’s awesome.
But you know what else is awesome? You. Alive. So you can ACTUALLY help people, including hosting this blog.
Lack of sleep is the number 1 cause of death among 40 something year old males.* So get to bed by 11 or 12. Please?
* Not intended to be a factual statement.
I’m really shaken up from a comment on Daily Beast. One of the commenters had a clip of President Obama with the words “He’s Dead” flashing over and over. Maybe I’m silly but I found that threatening so I reported him to the moderator of Daily Beast. I took a screen capture but it only captured the pic, not the flashing. Am I crazy? I don’t think this guy is going to kill the President but he’s obviously thrilled at the thought of having Obama dead. I won’t give you the link but it’s on the Cheat Sheet:#5 Mitt Slams Handling of Dissident Case.
John and the other Front Pagers, how would you handle something like that?
And before people start shouting Obamabot and say that I demand only happy comments about the President, let me make one thing really clear. We have free speech and anyone can trash the President, trash everything he does and call him everything under the sun, including the N word. It’s not right but it’s Freedom of Speech.
But when you start saying “He’s Dead” that takes things too far.
I feel sick to my stomach right now.
Anniversary of Kent State today.
I used to live in Plainview, NY til my 20s and when I was in High School the parent of one of the kids that were slain – “Jeffery Miller” used to come to my high school and speak about the event. He was from Plainview as well and that was how I found out about Kent State because in the 80s we weren’t about to learn about it in history.
@Alison: I’m familiar with the subspecies: they don’t know what to do, maybe annoyed at you for the attention, decide that gee, life is easier if you made it up, and they go with that.
Even though they are your relatives, it doesn’t mean they aren’t their own persons; who are challenged in some way. I have 3 brothers, and I’m only close to one; it’s the odds.
So sorry to hear you are so ill.
@karen: I had flunked out of Illinois the 1st semester after I came home from Vietnam. I moved back up to Chicago and I’d go back down to Champaign-Urbana on the weekends where I met a girl that I would eventually marry. We were hot and heavy and very involved in the anti-war movement when Kent State went down. I really thought it was the beginning of a civil war and called her and told her to stay put until I got back down there. Ten days later Jackson State went down with 2 students killed and 12 wounded. I guess that’s why, when I hear all the hand wringing about how awful things are now, I think back to those days and what it felt like.
Four Dead in Ohio
Kent State survivors seek new probe of 1970 shootings
(Reuters) – Survivors of the shooting of 13 students by the Ohio National Guard during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University in 1970 called on Thursday for a new probe into the incident that came to define U.S. divisions over the Vietnam War.
@Alison: following WereBear here… your brother reminds me of my mom. Whenever I am foolish enough to tell my mom about something I’m having trouble with, she invariably responds with some cutting, blaming remark that says this problem is all my fault, and that what I deserve is not caring, but contempt. I’ve come to realize this isn’t just about her not caring about me — it’s actually about her caring a lot, but feeling powerless about my problems and being completely incapable of dealing with those feelings. The feelings get turned outward into hostility. I guess what your brother’s behavior reminds me of is my mom’s aggression and hostility — not only does she lack sympathy or empathy, but she speaks as though she actively wants to hurt me. And I think in some deep confused way, she kind of does! She’s lashing out at me for putting her in a painful, helpless position.
It’s messed up, mind you, but at least I have the peculiar comfort of knowing the level of her nastiness is a function of her concern. I hope that’s the case with your brother. A sad irony about life is that when something terrible happens to us, often our family members are of very little use because they’re busy dealing with the terrible thing that happened to them (that is, what happened to their sister/daughter) in their own dysfunctional way.
Good luck to you.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Knowing people who are at the lower end of things, I can tell you that there are far too many people who have little to nothing to fall back on. People who are on their own with no (or distant) family and no real friends to ask for help. People for whom things have been so bad that the immediate situation has been their long term and is perceived to be staying that way.
I wish it was otherwise but that isn’t happening. While the world has a lot of good in it I know that it has some pretty damned bad stuff in it too. I just can’t bury my head in the good, like the ostrich in sand, like so many others do today. My wife and I help out whenever and wherever we can but live on that same edge, we’re just a little bit better off.
I would like to think that if I had the money that I would like to try and help as many people as I could. Of course, I could also turn into a rich, greedy asshole too.
Seems that money has that effect on a lot of people.
I think a lot of people side with the Republicans because they think sucking up to money will get them some. This might be the same mechanism that makes them avoid “lack of money” because it might be “catching.”
Primitive? Of course. But when you don’t understand how things work, primitive is what you use.
As a consequence of Being Sick in America, the WereBear household is pretty skint most of the time. But I just concluded a fund drive for my cat blog, and was incredibly gratified that so many folks love my advice enough to donate. I’m in the Catch 22 position of being trafficked enough to need to pay bucks for bandwidth, and working on getting advertising that won’t flat out contradict what I’m saying in my posts. (I’m looking at you, google algorithms.)
the fugitive uterus
this looks like a good place to plug Ruckus’s dog bleg – everyone check it out if you haven’t – i am hoping we could raise some money or something, the situation is problematic and heartbreaking, i don’t think it will be resolved right away. i feel for his situation and want to help, from way over here on the other side of the country. the beauty of the interwebs and places like this.
the fugitive uterus
@joel hanes: yes, it is not true, if only it were. we all need to keep a look out for those that don’t. i went through some rough times and my family always had my back but i never stopped thinking about how lucky i was to have them because i know there are those out there who have no one.
just look at the homeless and the severely mentally ill (often both). gubmint used to help those people, but we have chipped away and chipped away on those services, leaving so many to rely on crime and other underground economies in order to survive, or just wander the streets homeless, begging and visiting soup kitchens – republicans/libertarians want to do away with those programs altogether and they must not win. just because someone is down and out does not mean they are a loser.
and why should we give a fuck if they are? not everybody is born a winner. the fact that these so-called freeloaders cannot start their own fucking business or something (have we not been hearing this bullshit for years now) does not mean they are not worthy of our love and support. but republicans would have you believe otherwise – they like to prey upon other people’s sense of superiority and, yes, entitlement! the irony.
Sportstalk guy discussed the Seau sitchy, mentioned about depression and such, and was FLOODED w/ callers denying depression exists, that its a real condition, etc. Did I mention that callers were from redneck Missouri? Republicans, the lot of em.
the fugitive uterus
ironically, this morning, Washington Journal is taking calls on “What is the American Dream?”
@Punchy: Republicans in denial about their own sludgy soul-state, no doubt.
I generally regard anyone who can spontaneously channel Norman Maclean as being a pretty decent human being.
Odd timing, though. Got a FB cry for help yesterday from a friend who is an absolute mensch, and loved by everyone who meets him. Talking about how he felt alone in the world. Full moon this week?
I really thought I was at the end and ready to do things that now, in retrospect, seem absurd.
We’ll all be contemplating such things in a Romney Presidency.
Bristol Palin’s latest ghost-written post is hilarious. She says being a CHRISTIAN (all caps, don’t know if there were stars and hearts instead of dots over the i’s) is better than being a Palin.
Meanwhile, I read yesterday that Levi Johnston named his latest spawn, a girl, “Beretta,” after the gun.
I love these posts, J.C.–thanks for sharing them. You really are a mensch!
Love the van sessions, best band I never heard of. I’ve watched every video of theirs I can find.
I wasn’t blog reading for a while earlier this year, and so I missed your panic attack avowal, John. I went through exact same thing (exact same symptoms) years ago, and it is so liberating to discover that it’s a *thing* that happens to real people, and that it’s a think probably happening to many real people right now. And I don’t agree with Carlin, who suggested that it was just a Western thing. So, you’re absolutely right: there are so many people hurting, and often in silence. Not everyone can be helped so effectively, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from at least acknowledging someone else’s humanity. Thank you for this and for that earlier post.
Help, please. BJ automatically came up in mobile view on my new iPod Touch, then I clicked something to change to “normal” view out of curiosity and now I can’t get back. What do I do?
Sorry about your mom. You have quite a burden to carry through life.
Have you surrounded yourself with animals? They only judge you in the here and now and their judgments are based 100% on what you do, not how different you are from their expectations.
And the cross-species love is just as real as the other kind.
[Live long and prosper.]
Just wanted to say: even family members can have the oddest way of expressing fear of situations, and it sounds like your brother’s reaction to your illness is to try to minimize it, as if to erase it. As WereBear said, it is the lottery of odds to have family members that are not necessarily the most sensitive. So I hope you don’t take his comments to heart (easier said than done I know).
And though a little late: thank you John for this post. Like many here I too have a tendency to get inside the bunker when things are hard, but feel very lucky to have people in my life that know this and know how to draw me out and be there for me. Going through some really hard times with my Dad about to have brain surgery for a tumor. I find it is only manageable if I think about everything in steps. First getting out of surgery. Then whatever rehab he will need. Then getting him back to normal life and coping with whatever changes (eye sight, movements etc) the surgery and radiation will have on him. As John said, having people in your life who are there and not only listen but know what to ask is the biggest of blessings.
@Odie Hugh Manatee:
If I ever have the money, I will help people who have a situation like mine. Just jump in and help. I help in other ways automatically and can’t seem to stop it.
I am on SSDI and can no longer afford the apartment I’m in. I am on my way to an eviction summons to court. I don’t know the court date yet. I have gone through the agencies and have to call one back today.
I am all packed except for the need of a few boxes. I won’t miss this place as I have trouble taking care of myself here. This situation makes me feel like a real failure.
The lawyer said if I had one dollar of SSI, the program for people who are disabled and didn’t work enough to have SSDI, I’d have my rent subsidized. Of course.
I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I am confused as I haven’t solved this yet.
As to two women I have know a long time, one said I should become homeless as a solution and lose everything I own. The other didn’t care one whit.
I can’t get on the HUD list because it is closed until next year. The state, well, I’m on SSDI.
I want to land safe and sound.
I just read the last thread. Does anyone know how Simon Tavener is doing this morning?
You are not responsible for your brother’s character development. That’s his lifetime project. And if he’s a jackass, it’s not your fault.
I take it your health problems may be with you for a while. I wish you many, many moments of comfort and pleasure in the days ahead.
You can’t help if you don’t know something’s wrong. I had a (rare) phone conversation with my beloved younger sister last week, and asked a fairly basic question: “So how are you doing?” She replied by bursting into tears.
It turns out that the stress of planning her wedding, arranging to have her business bought out, working 80+ hour weeks four hours from home, trying to help her stepdaughter apply to college/not get back together with the manipulative a-hole boyfriend while dealing with the cancer scares both our parents had in the last four months was all, you know, a bit much.
But I get why she hadn’t said anything up to that point. You feel like you’re imposing, or that other people have worse problems than you do (and they do), so yours aren’t worth mentioning as long as there is famine/rape/war in the world. But it doesn’t make your own problems any less real.
Take my current problem, for instance: did you know that you can fracture your ribs through repeated violent coughing? Even if you’re under 35 with healthy bones? True story. And now I seem to be developing pneumonia as a result of the restricted breathing. This blows.
Clear your browser cache, or “history,” then reopen Balloon Juice. Might need to reopen your browser.
John you may not think you help people much. but just having this blog is helpful for many people who can sort out their thoughts here, express ones grief here, get money donated to a cause that’s important to them here, yell to release tension here, etc. You know the list is very long. And you provide that outlet and that helps a lot of people.
“Bin Laden Documents Disprove Claims of Iran-Qaeda Connection”
the fugitive uterus
@Alison: i am so sorry to hear this. unfortunately, many people, unless they experience the disability or illness themselves, want to “blame the victim”, but to have your own brother do it to you must be terribly painful. i just don’t know what to say. :(
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
the seau situation is almost a perfect microcasm. on twitter so many people seemed to understand the basic facts the same way, immediately, then some folks don’t really seem to want to, or aren’t capable of getting it.
its a little different than depression, because no one knows anyway of really reversing or even controlling the condition.
this will sound a bit sick and twisted but i am sort of in awe of the sacrifice he made to make a point. for those that are in denial, seau had a better life, and a life that was better in ways they can’t even fathom. the worst thing about it, for him was knowing that its a progressive disease, and seeing that the corporate nfl is still trying to set up blaming the players, for the culture surrounding concussions.
the fugitive uterus
@Cathyx: true dat – thanks John
On a music note, I really like the band Chromeo. They describe themselves as “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” They cover No Can Do, too, with Daryl Hall here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXXvUa5Tzco
Music starts at around 3:55-ish.
Unemployment numbers just out: 119K jobs added last month, plus upward revisions of +19K and +34K in Feb and March respectively.
End result: down .1%, to 8.1%. Never enough but in the right direction.
Everybody has someone, who cares about them. The problem is getting people, who wouldn’t mind helping an elderly person in touch with that elderly person.
@Maude: I sure hope you do land safe and sound. It’s so twisted that Right Wingers squall about how much the government does “handouts” when it doesn’t at all; it makes people who are already struggling with too much jump through hoops they can’t make.
If I weren’t around, Mr WereBear couldn’t have tackled his recent, lifesaving, broke-our-bank treatment we did.
I hope someone turns up for you. And it need not be the person it’s “supposed to be,” like a social worker or a friend.
It could just be a kind stranger who wants to help; so broadcast your situation so they can find you.
I don’t think denying mental illness is exclusive to right-wingers. If it was awareness and the stigma of being mentally ill would be a lot less.
From personal experience, I don’t know what cultural blind spots exist, with regards to understanding people may have mental illness and accepting people need treatment for their condition, like people with genetic predisposition to diabetes or high cholesterol.
I think denial about mental illness is a bi-partisan problem.
somebody take all the sharp knives out of cato’s kitchen.
much of it is just plain cultural. the older, stodgier side of american culture is very skeptical about therapy and psychology, especially in the red areas and the midwest where people think they should ‘take care of their own problems’. my parents surely were like that. and there are still plenty of people who have passed that sort of attitude down to their kids, although it’s thinning out with every generation that passes.
one of the big reasons that so many more kids and adults these days are being diagnosed with things like depression, autism etc is that a great deal of the stigma surrounding mental illness has slowly disappeared and people are more likely to try to get some help.
strangely, while my parents didn’t really dig the idea, i went and married a psychologist, so i now know that there’s a condition for every goddamn thing.
Great post John, as usual. It got me thinking about low periods of my life and how those times eventually turned around.
I was incredibly close to my mom. She was like most moms, caring, giving, fun, and beautiful. We spoke everyday when she wasn’t staying with my family. When she passed from a long and painful battle of cancer, I sank into a deep depression. It was like living in a twilight, that time between asleep and waking up. I completely checked out.
My husband and son didn’t know how to help and my sisters couldn’t help as they were struggling with the same depression, but my friend did. Beth was raised by two therapists, luckily for me. She made me lunch with her every week. One day she said something remarkable: “Paula, you’ll get through this, it’s not like your mom can die again.” As soon as she spoke those words, she realized she didn’t like her phrasing and was nervously waiting for my reaction. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. She laughed too.
Next, she told me that she was concerned about me. She said I wasn’t handeling my moms death well. She encouraged me to get help and recommended a grief counselor her parents knew. That was my turning point.
One of my pet peeves is the SOP of asking how someone is doing. It’s a conversational given and out of habit dismissed as an actual question expecting a real answer. It keeps things nice and easy and superficial. It’s not so much that a true friend will answer the question beyond a one word reply, but more that a true friend is one who will want to know more beyond the one word reply and ask for more details. Try it with someone you know today. :)
As a person who woke up depressed about politics I’d like to say that I prefer to see the glass as half full, in my own life. The mother of some kids I don’t even like, in my daughter’s school, is ill and in the ICU. The entire school, including myself and the teachers, stepped up to cook meals for that family on a rotating basis. Instantly. Like, the chart was filled within the first hours of the call being put out. Our entire street looks after our elderly 95 year old neighbor. But I also lurk on a mommy board where the most horrific injustices of our economic and educational system are laid bare, where abused children give birth to other children and fall through the cracks because the shelters are full and there is no full service caregiving institution for teenage mothers, or for battered women.
Last night I dreamt I worked for Lyndon Johnson, and woke up this morning unable to breathe, with awful pains all over. I tried going for a walk, I sat and controlled my breathing, I ranted to my husband, and he said nice, comforting things until I cried, and all of that helped some, but it wasn’t until I read this post and the one it’s linked to that the pain really went away and the breath came easy again.
You done good, JC. Thank you.
Thanks for posting this one John. Over the last several months my engagement has fallen apart (he had alcohol and other problems that he would not address) and it has been very difficult. I’ve often wondered why I needed this particular life lesson. Then I look at my Mom and my dear friends who have been there for me and supported my decision. The lesson was right there in front of me–appreciate your loved ones and all the small blessings you come across each day.
PS-Now I’ll start asking you to marry me again. LOL.
that hall & oates cover is frblcking amazing!
the fugitive uterus
anybody who thinks mental illness doesn’t exist and want to blame the victim should try to live inside the tortured brain of a mentally ill person, for about a month or so. physical disabilities are often, but not always, easy to spot.
it’s like my friend who is being treated for Lyme disease(a type of chemo) and was trying to work at the same time, absolutely exhausted and barely able to stand from her treatment regimen as she rides the “L” home from work, because she is trying to work as much as possible before the treatment gets so bad she will be confined to her home and bed a lot of the time. (for economic reasons, of course)
the disability is not visible to passengers and therefore she cannot sit in a handicapped seat and would not dare try to take one for herself for fear of being yelled at.
if they can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.
I don’t know, JC. When I’m in the throes of depression, it’s usually all about the long term. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate even a small miracle like the wet kiss from a dog (or in my case, a cat, whose breath smells like catfood) because the long term is an overwhelming motherfucker of endless shite.
mike in dc
For me, depression and the circumstances surrounding its inception are a chicken-or-egg kinda thing. Usually, if I look around, I can find some reason to be depressed at the time. The depression I can live with. The anxiety is a real pain-in-the-ass, though. Exercise, nutrition, friends and pets are all good mitigators, though–as is therapy and(where appropriate) medication.
“Dark clouds may hang on me sometimes, but I work it out”. Depression is terrible. Panic attacks can be like bad acid trips. I have fought both all of my life and expect I always will. Onward and upward. Oh, and that cover is one of the greatest things I have ever seen posted here. Can’t get enough of it.
Great post, John. Thanks.
Thank you so much. The agency said it can’t help unless the rent is about $300. It would be nice if she had told me this Monday when I talked to her.
I have hit a full Catch 22.
Really great post… awesome, coated in awesome sauce. Muchismas Gracias.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Never read the anxiety attack post. You and I, John, are almost the same age, and I’ve been dealing with exactly the same thing since 2008. I thought (not unrealistically, given my family’s history) that I was having precursors to a heart attack.
In addition to getting tranquilizers, which helps a lot, I got a cardiac CAT scan to make sure that it wasn’t my heart. Turns out I’m a member of a very small percentage of the population who does not form arterial plaque. In short, I’ll never have a heart attack. Not physically possible.
Oddly enough, that does not help with the anxiety. At all. Changing jobs would, but I’m 46 and working in IT. Not gonna happen, this is my last employer in the computing field, so I gotta try to keep it going for as long as I can. My next job won’t be with computers and won’t pay nearly so much, I’m betting.
My doggy helps. So does my wife. It’s a good world. Hard to remember that often.
Thanks. I did “Clear cookies and data” and I’m good. Now if only Comments would stop crashing Safari on iOS?? :)
@Linda Featheringill: thanks! My mom is not so bad — she just sucks in a crisis. :) but yeah, I have kitties, and they are a great boon and a balm in hard times.
[live long and prosper to you, too!]
Someone upthread mentioned breaking ribs due to coughing. And then said they had gotten (or were on the verge of) pneumonia from the treatment. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and was wondering if they taped your chest to treat the broken ribs.
I*’m not surprised about the pneumonia… A decade or so back, I fell up a short stair. A few weeks later, my chest was still hurting so I went to a doctor about it. He took an X-ray and there was no fractures. He said I probably had a very bruised rib and muscles. He also told me that they usually will not tape the chest anymore. Research had led to the conclusion that taping the chest to keep ribs in a position meant that the ribs and chest muscles couldn’t move with the lungs and that often led to pneumonia. He prescribed naproxen sodium (aka Aleve). Just wondering if they told you about this.
@Maude: Maude, I’m sorry to hear about your problems. I wish I had words of wisdom for you. (After several eviction proceedings in 2011 when I had no money left, my family sold certain property and my share is keeping me going now.) If at all possible, make that court date, it is most likely just for a conference. But do keep it. Have you looked up the eviction process in your state (I forget if you live in NY or NJ) on the web? I need to leave the house soon, but I found a lot of information that helped me through the process.
Knowing somebody has your back makes all the difference, no matter what kind of trouble you’re in . . . and so you’d think that right there would be the point of organized religion.
Get peoples’ backs, for fks sake. Forget the confusing text from the bronze age. Stop sweating over peoples’ use of their own nasty bits. Leave off those droning songs. Religion ought to be performance art done publicly + showing up to ease all manner of rough patches.
I know whereof I speak. 2001. Me, husband two pre-teen kids, beloved dog named Rocky, beloved cats named Oreo and Sophie. We went to church b/c the camps were awesome & the rest of it not too insulting. Husband breaks neck skiing. 3-month hospital stay, house ripped apart for wheelchair access, insurance fkers did their usual, years — not exaggerating — years of trauma and grief and needing somehow to get on with it.
Church friends, AA friends, art school friends, writer friends, some family, some random neighbors ALL SHOWED up, and not just for the early look-at-that-train-wreck stuff. They took care of us in hundreds of ways we didn’t even know we needed taking care of, and only backed off when it was obvious we’d come out the other side. It’s possible to love life even it’s hardest, right? But I don’t know how I could have done that if I’d felt alone.
Amanda in the South Bay
Life’s been tough lately, I don’t have a lot of real life support, and, well, things have been better.
@aimai: That was one of the great things that friends did for us when our daughter was born and was in the NICU for 12 weeks. I will always remember it and appreciate those who made the effort and I’m sure the family you prepared food for will, as well.
I doubt the stigma has disappeared or else folks like Don Cornelius would’ve sought treatment, rather than shooting themselves dead.
Nobody says out loud, “boy, I don’t think I should do ‘x’ because I have some mental health issues and the stress would be bad for me”. Diabetics openly say they won’t do ‘x’ because of their condition. People with congenital high cholesterol will openly talk about special diets and what not and no one judges them for it, because they usually talk about people in their family, who died young because of heart disease.
I don’t know, if it is possible to change that mindset. Person A has problems and overcomes them. Person B has similar problems, but because of mental illness can’t handle things and self medicates.
If Person A doesn’t have a problem, why does Person B have a problem?
The idea there’s something chemically wrong with Person B’s brain is something that people aren’t accepting, so I don’t think the stigma around mental illness has changed much.
We’ve just gotten better meds to treat mental illness with, so some folks can get there lives back together again.
“My goodness, just wake up to kisses from a rescue dog, and tell me if your life does not have worth.”
Well, it’s going on walks with my daughter that does it for me; but I take your point.
In case anyone’s still reading, just wanted to pop back in and say thanks to those who expressed sympathy – it’s much appreciated even if I don’t know you all very well. In fact, it’s even more appreciated because of that, I’d say.
Good group of folks here…for the most part :P
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.
(The Hall and Oates thing is awesome, btw.)
I think the Buddha said “Life is suffering.” It’s the nature of existence. Once a person accepts that, it’s easier to find the silver lining in personal clouds, to stop focusing on personal gripes and more on how one can help others, which is the only way that I, at least, have found real satisfaction.
I missed your original anxiety post as I wasn’t following the blog closely at that time. I was more focused on the treatment I had recently begun for major depression. It took me years to admit there was a real problem and get help, but now I’m making good progress.
I don’t blame you for keeping your situation private – I don’t think you are or anyone is under obligation to reveal everything about themselves. But talking about this stuff is (almost) always good: it’s therapeutic for the person who’s opening up and can be helpful to others by letting them know they’re not alone in their struggles.
As I sit here, packing as much as I possibly can, I know people don’t ask for help. But it’s often because people don’t know they need help. The man is…less than helpful during this crisis and still thinks he has no problem. I have to say that nearly every person I called friend has been horrible, but there has been at least 2 people who have helped me out and given me some really great perspectives from having family members who have also been crippled by depression. I just wish I had more of those people and less of the people who I think could watch me bleed out slowly and do nothing but look all sorrowful and be silent. Not really worth the title of friends, actually.
After the court date, there is a set time and then the Sheriff comes and removes the tenant.
Matthew Reid Krell
@Forum Transmitted Disease: It’s a tough life out there for IT guys, but my dad left academia in 1995 (he was a professor). Since then, he’s worked by my count four different jobs, all with computers, and all increasing in pay every time.
It is possible. I’m not saying that it’s easy, or that you won’t have barriers he didn’t, but don’t lose hope until there’s no hope left to lose.
I met this incredibly awesome nun a couple weeks ago. She did a workshop on peace issues for a Unitarian org I help run. People like her are why I always caution people to be really clear on what we say about Catholics. She’s the face of a faith that is beautiful and adamant in its justice.
Anyway, she said this in an interview on nuns reacting to the Pope‘s crackdown:
Sometimes I think, John, that if we all knew how much pain and suffering was in the world, we’d be so radicalized that whole systems would collapse. It’s why a certain person was nailed up on timbers and killed. And lots of others have been burned, drowned, shot and of course marginalized and silenced.
But we keep on keepin’ on.
the fugitive uterus
i am so glad this post has opened up a thread that has allowed all of you who are suffering to express your pain and receive support. you deserve it, each and everyone of you. you are my brothers and sisters in suffering.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest book gives a decent perspective on the uniquely American pressure and obsession to “think positively” in order to overcome any negative circumstance, however dismal it may be, and that if you are in a ditch, it’s just because your thinking is not right!
it’s such a load of BS and, again, just blaming the victim. not that positive thinking doesn’t have its merits by any means, but it doesn’t solve everything, especially when your basic needs are not even being met! (see Maslow’s heirarchy)
I also have a friend who is a genuinely nice and honorable person, who has been going through some very difficult times with one of his (adult) children. Like most decent people in this situation, he’s asked himself over and over if he failed his child, and if her problems reflect poor parenting by him. I commented to him once on the irony that the parents who ask themselves those questions are usually the ones who did a pretty good job, and the parents who NEED to ask themselves don’t, and instead find somebody or something else to blame. Anyway, he’s been going through a lot, and how he’s been able to hold it together and continue to work at his (very demanding) job I will never understand. He has also apologized to me repeatedly for leaning on me about all of this, even though I have told him every time that it helps me to be there for him, as that makes me feel a little bit less helpless in the face of such utterly undeserved pain.
I love posts like this and the comments they generate. Not to dump my own personal experiences, but I will…
I have been treated for anxiety and depression for my whole life. Bad chemicals in the brain. I stayed home sick for panic attacks as early as the fifth grade. At the time they were seen as performance anxiety around grades. In elementary school. Seemed like the surface reasons were the cause at the time, turns out it’s just something I have. Sometimes it flares, sometimes it’s not that bad.
However, it can be isolating to know that you can’t complain about it at all. No one will understand, everyone will say ‘it’s not that bad, look at so and so with this much bigger problem’ etc. The way I was brought up it’s a sign of weakness to even talk about it. So online communities really help. If you knew me in the physical world, you’d never have any indication I was anything more than the most laid-back, well adjusted lucky guy you’d ever met. And unforunately many others feel compelled to keep up that charade as well. Posts and comments like this give us all strength.
KS in MA
@the fugitive uterus: I’m sorry about your friend’s Lyme– that’s no joke– but, do tell her to carry a cane. She will get that handicapped seat– also no joke!
Those guys & gal (in the van) are great, they make me happy! I’ll keep an eye out for them if they come up to Minneapolis. I’m sure if they keep singing they’ll drive through eventually.