Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Crossing the Eel River at French's Camp

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Butter in the fly...

July Jewels

July Jewels
Bees to the Kingdom

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

They Have to Let Me In, Don't They?


They have to Let Me In
Don’t They?
My family is planning a gathering for the first week in September, a week which also happens to feature my sixtieth birthday.  I do not believe there is a connection, because one main reason for the reunion is my brother Tom’s presence amongst us, all the way from Hawaii, with his wife, Reiko.  Many people enjoy family get-togethers, and look forward to them for the most part.  I enjoy them also, but I do not always look forward to them.
Much depends on the environment, in which the festivities take place, and whether it’s one of those confined, everybody-jammed-against one-another situations.  It also depends on whether or not I already know the people gathering.  In the case of this upcoming event, I should know the participants, because they are my siblings and respective partners/kids.
However, this particular occasion is different because it will be the first time the family has gathered since my diagnosis of MSD.  It shouldn’t make any difference, right?  I mean, they have to let me in; I’m fourth in the line-up.  But what about others who will be there, who may not feel all that thrilled about having someone there who has, well, you know, mental issues?  Everyone knows that all families have a few of them, but mostly they don’t draw much attention, unless they go off.  You don’t even usually see them, because they're off in some back room.
Now, Annie says there is no reason to think that anyone will have a hard time with my being there, but she also says she understands what I am experiencing.  When I think to myself that I have only talked to half of my sibs about my diagnosis, I then wonder exactly what it is I am looking for.  The answer is, I don’t know, except that I cannot help thinking that there are reservations out there that have nothing to do with dinner.  
When all is said and done, though, I would just settle for knowing that there was no serious degree of discomfort being experienced by anyone because of my presence.  I have already made it clear to a couple of my sibs that I have to feel there are no red flags, before I could consider it a go.  The only time I can do that is the morning of the event.  I cannot tell in advance what kind of impediments may be present; maybe some day I will gain that ability.
For now I have six weeks to figure out how to deal with this whole arrangement, but I also have a session with Dr. Mark on this coming Thursday, so I can ask him for some guidance.  One of the most influential parts of the cognitive behavioral therapy, was the section on self-talk, and negative patterns of thinking, including that of making assumptions about what people are thinking, when you have no way of knowing.  
These examples of negative self-talk represent the most logical place to begin, because already I am making assumptions about what others are thinking, that are based on nothing more concrete than my own cottage cheese brain.  Keeping in mind my success rate with cognitive therapy in the past, gives me a firm foundation upon which to build my current social stage.  Therefore, I feel there is a good chance that I will be able to work out the logistics, so that I can not only attend the event, but that I can actually enjoy myself.  

3 comments:

  1. C'mon Mrak, with all the nuts in the Oatmeal clan, all I can say is that you'll be in good company. Viva la difference. For God's sake, you're one of the awakened ones. You better be there else I'm not coming. BTW, just in case it's escaped your attention I'm not exactly crazy about crowds either. Whenever I get feeling wound up I just take a hike. Sometimes I even come back. See you on your 60th!

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  2. I'm with Tom on this one! If your weirdness registers as anything odd in the group, then that one person is the weirdo! Right? I don't think anyone really has any problems with your mental health - we all have our own stuff, right?
    I sure understand if you don't make it to Sebby - I get that 1,000% - so no worries - but I hope it works out for you --
    xoxoxxo

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  3. OMG! You think you're the only one with mental issues in this family??? Move over, mister!
    I, for one, would be sorely disappointed if you didn't make it, and will personally come over to escort you if necessary! PLEASE PLEASE BE THERE!
    XXXXOOOO

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