This is the first in a series of episodes, detailing my dawning realization, that I have some mental issues, that I must address, or risk losing those around me, who mean so much to me. I do not know how many installments this will entail, because I do not have an outline, for this particular avenue, that my Life has chosen to pursue. Because I have always found writing to be therapeutic, I am going to share my journey with anyone, who cares to read along. Believe me, I am not having that much fun.
Pretty Much a Wreck
A brave new world exists out there somewhere for me, and I am going to have to track it down. My circumstances are a little out of the ordinary, but since I did not request any of this action coming my way, I just think of it as rolling with the punches. I don't do whine, and as you know, if you have been reading my work, I do not do fiction. I write about what I know best, and that is why I write about myself.
At this moment, however, even though the subject is still me, what I am attempting to write about is very murky, very disjointed, and very complex. I am not recounting the details of a specific event, with consequences, and a little humor thrown in. No, I do not see a lot of humor in this process. because it involves my inability to see clearly what those around me, have been seeing for a while now, about eighteen months, to be exact.
Simultaneously, as my therapy and subsequent follow-up work with negative self-talk has progressed, and I have established myself as a writer, I have been exhibiting symptoms that indicate I have mental issues. Even being able to write the words, is an extraordinary accomplishment, because up until Sunday night, I was as inclined to scoff at the idea, as I am inclined to scoff at those who feel the Giants are still also-rans. I felt that my track record has been so well-established, that no one could suggest a faulty mental mechanism.
Unfortunately, my actions indicate strongly, that I have been sailing on one course, while those around me, have been observing my actions. They have noted the changes, conferred amongst themselves, and then watched, as I became more and more mired in a downward spiral, which will undoubtedly end in a physical collapse, even if I overcome my mental Ish. I must conclude, that I am pretty much a wreck.
Because we human creatures have the ability to not only rationalize, but to jostle those rationalizations around, I have viewed my emergence as a writer, in a different light than those around me. I have justified the time spent, and the passion displayed, because I have lived my life, completely devoid of right-brained outlets. I didn’t comprehend, that this right-brain was an area that needed exploration, primarily because I was given opportunities to engage in art activities, but was inclined to give up easily, when I could not produce with my hands, what my mind would like to have seen.
I was given a guitar, at age twelve, for Christmas, but had zero interest in it. I sat down with my new guitar, and when I had not mastered it, during the hour in which I applied myself, then too bad for me, and I returned it to Mama, telling her that it just wasn’t me. My logic was faulty, but it worked just fine in my mind, so you really can’t say it was faulty.
My idea of art, during the half-hour set aside each week in my elementary parochial school for such purposes, was to draw maps, at which I was very precise, using my colored pencils to outline the boundaries, and shade in the interior. I labeled all important data, in flowing penmanship, creating a reasonable facsimile, of whatever country I was sketching. Sister Mary Cruz would examine the finished product, and compliment me on the fine points, but then ask why I didn’t draw a picture that came out of my head, instead of one that I copied from a book. She explained that my map was not actually art. I looked at my map, and I looked at any/every attempt I had ever made to draw a cat, and went with the map agenda, every time.
I directed middle school Shakespeare performances, that were noteworthy because I extracted much from my pre-high school actors, and required that students fulfill all facets of the dramatizations. They succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. But it was still not me painting a “Starry Night,” or pounding out “Sunshine of Your Love,” on the drums. I am thrilled to now be able to offer “Howie,” a piece of writing that began my crusade into supporting the family of Jamal. What has been to me, a cathartic rebirth, has been to those around me, a painful process, constituting my downward spiral, emotionally, becoming more and more distant, from those around me, and engaging in self-destructive behavior, that I was incapable of controlling.
I got socked in the solar plexus, when I was ten, with the onset of panic attack syndrome. There was little research, and less known about this syndrome, in 1962, the year I had my first attack, even had I been able to articulate more effectively, what was happening within my head/body. I was therefore unable to extricate myself all of these years.
However, I have spent the last eighteen months, extending my parameters, to include a trip to Ireland, and an assortment of written narratives, which open me up to outside scrutiny, a development that I would never have been able to accomplish in the past.
My oldest told me, again, the other day, that he thought that I was bipolar. I said, fine, whatever, I have no fear. My only request was that he allow someone with a little more experience in the field be the one to diagnose me. It seems that what others feel is bipolarism, I have been thinking is merely passion. I do get motivated by circumstances around me, but feel that writing is an appropriate outlet for me. I got so amped up, a week ago Sunday, that I forced those around me to make the decision to exit the building, until today, Tuesday, at which time, a long-awaited appointment at the counselor’s office in Eureka, was scheduled to take place. That appointment has been canceled.
My unpredictable actions, all viewed through my eyes as justifiable passion, have forced those around me to seek an environment that excludes me, and that is why I know that I am in the minority on this one. Those of you, who know those around me, know that I am in good company, and that if they have decided to seek sanctuary from my emotional outbursts, then I can pretty much now determine on my own, that I have Mental Ish.