Poems of Further Neglect

Well, I still can’t write.  Because reasons.  Lots of stuff stuck in my head.  But apathy.

Also, the upcoming move is kicking my ass.  Even though I’m not actually doing anything.  I kind of suspect that’s why I’m stuck in anhedonia-land.  It’s like some evil plot that mental illness likes to play: Need to get something done?  Tough!  Time to put on the brakes and completely paralyze and defeat you!  Whee!!!

Or rather: meh.

I feel like if I don’t post anything at all, I’ll completely lose momentum and also NO ONE WILL EVER READ ANYTHING I WRITE AGAIN.  Because melodrama.

So you get more poetry.  My poetry (sorry if you were hoping for something more clever).  These are from my book I Am Not These Things.  Which you can totally buy and I will be pennies richer.

~~

THE ACTRESS

There are times outside of the proscenium
When you, your tongue loosened by wine, and fire reflected in your eyes,
Become especially beautiful

Your laughter mirthful,
Alternating between throaty guffaws and the giddy giggles of guilty indulgence

You close space
And stop time

Spilling compliments and golden droplets of affection
To coat my palms And tuck into my heart’s back pocket

The waves of your hair, platinum mixed with straw
More often punished from view
Now resist constraint, twisted carelessly in a loose braid
Ready to swing away, unpartnered
Or perhaps only waiting for my fingers to cut in
And begin the dance

~~

BEAUTY

When you holler
Hey baby Hey baby
Looking good baby
Look over here, beautiful
Uh huh
Hey gorgeous

I get angry because
How do you know I’m beautiful
Just by looking at me

When you don’t even know me

~~

MOTHERS

I distinctly remember being much more mature for my age
When I was your age
And more respectful of my mother

Don’t believe your grandmother, though
Because she wasn’t nearly as understanding as I am
When she was my age
Back then

/rk

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Riding the Anhedony Pony

It would be great if I was prepared for days like this by getting everything done that I needed to ahead of time.  That’s not quite how it works, unfortunately.  I took it pretty easy this weekend because physically I was in the middle of a bad flare-up of my arthritis and figured that somehow that would prepare me for being super productive today.

Unfortunately my body and brain never seem to have their shit together, cooperation-wise.

So here I am today, over the worst of my arthritis flare (and therefore technically capable of getting things done), but I am stuck.  Can’t do anything.  Don’t want to, don’t care, and didn’t even want to crawl out of bed this morning.

Can’t think.  Can’t write.  Can’t get up and move things to the new house, which I was really excited to do yesterday but was physically unable to do.

Anhedonia has got to be the most pathetic and useless state of being.

If someone tells you they’re too depressed to do something, you might have sympathy for them.  I’m not depressed.  I just don’t feel anything or feel attached to anything or feel motivated to do anything.  I mostly want to just stop doing anything.  Even watching a video feels like too much work, because I’d have to make a choice about what to watch.

When I’m suffering from depression, I spend a lot of time sleeping.  But I can’t nap.  Everything seems unachievable – even nothingness.  I can’t even do that right.

I feel uncomfortable in my own skin.  Textures bother me.  Lights are too bright.  I don’t feel like eating, but if I don’t, I’ll feel worse (thanks diabetes!), so I eat anything that’s easy and doesn’t require decisions.  But it doesn’t taste like anything and it’s more about function.  Eat something and my body won’t bother me for another few hours.

It’s taking me a ridiculous amount of time to even complete this post, because no reasons.

Actually?  I don’t think I will.

/rk

Poems of Neglect

Between a migraine that refuses to fully depart (if the pain behind my right eye doesn’t develop into laser vision soon, I’m going to be seriously disappointed) and preoccupation with our upcoming move, I haven’t been able to focus long enough to write.  But I hate going more than a day without posting something, so here are a few original poems (which will be in my next book of poetry):

On polyamory:

I’M NOT JEALOUS, I’M ENVIOUS; THERE’S A DIFFERENCE

Honey, you know I love you
And I’m happy he makes you happy
It’s just that I’m not happy
That I’m not happy
With someone else right now
Too

I want to frubble
And comperse
But instead I curse
That your body gets to be poly
While only my mind does
Boo

On vaccines:

MOTHER OF THE YEAR

Although I am clearly
The worst
Most irresponsible mother
Ever

For injecting my child repeatedly
With autism

It is secondary to my crime
Of robbing him of the opportunity
To experience
Character-building

Via measles
Mumps
Rubella
Polio
Tetanus

Because nothing quite equals the strength of character
Gained through

Blood poisoning
Testicular pain
Brain swelling
Paralysis
And death

On religion:

AN ATHEIST BELIEVES

Meeting genuine
Caring
Altruistic
Open-minded true believers

Only serves to reinforce my belief
That the rest of them

Are doing it wrong

/rk

#DyingnotDying

I’m dying.  I mean, faster than some and slower than others, but it’s not going to happen in the next 10 minutes.  Probably.  But we’re all dying, aren’t we?  So how exactly, if you are occasionally prone to morbid delusion, do you reconcile that?

I’ve had a few actual brushes with death, which doesn’t help dismiss the notion.  When your body is in a real and actual degenerative state with various organs telling you to go fuck yourself, it’s hard to ignore the steady decline towards what seems like an inevitable conclusion.  And migraines — sweet Jesus — when it feels like your eyeball is going to explode out of your head it is easy to imagine that a stroke is not only possible, but imminent.

IMG_0146I’m not sure where this started.  It pre-dates my actually being sick, I think.  As a child I suffered two things:  chronic nosebleeds and headaches.  (I say headaches, because I don’t think they were migraines back then, but getting regular headaches were still a bit of an anomaly, in that other kids didn’t seem to get them except when they were sick.)  The nosebleeds were presumably benign, but blood is scary.  Even more scary was the fact that I’d often get them in my sleep, so I’d wake up to a bloody pillowcase.  If that doesn’t convince a six-year-old with an active imagination that she’s dying, I don’t know what would.

Fast forward several years and there was more blood, this time in the toilet.  Yes, gross.  Yes, embarrassing.  Yes, I didn’t tell anyone about it for years out of said embarrassing grossness and instead just waited to silently die from a bowel perforation.

Thankfully I did eventually seek treatment, but not before my fatalistic (although at this point not entirely unjustified) delusion was fully entrenched.

This is where you will tell me that imagining that I am dying is what makes me sick.

Ok.

Now I’m imagining that I am dying because I am imagining that I am dying.

So thanks for that added layer of guilt.

See, this is the problem with delusion and obsessive thoughts.  If I could stop myself from ruminating, I wouldn’t be mentally ill.  It’s not that I don’t know much of it is nonsense — or at least that it serves no purpose to obsess over my mortality other than to further harm myself.  I know that.  But the thoughts continue to niggle at my brain, and the fact that I continue to get sicker reinforces it.

The definition of hypochondria is excessive preoccupancy or worry about having a serious illness. This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition.”  But that’s not me, exactly.  I do have medical conditions.  Real, quantifiable, testable conditions.  

When we were kids, my brother said to me “you don’t fake being sick, you really make yourself sick.”

Did I make myself sick?  I don’t know.  Maybe?  Sometimes when I’m feeling especially self-destructive, I do blame myself for that.  The illnesses that I have genetically come from both sides of my family.  I just seem to be a repository for all of them, all at once.  I am either very unlucky, or there is something about my mental and physical makeup that has made me prone to triggering them.

Ultimately though, does it matter?  If somehow I ‘talked myself into disease’ with my negative attitude, they’re here now, and real, and have to be dealt with.

Conversely, what if I didn’t cause them?  What if my frustrating paranoia has helped me.  Most of my illnesses were detected very early (including my skin cancer), and were diagnosed after initially being dismissed by doctors because I was too young, or the wrong sex, or they had doubts.  But I wasn’t wrong.

So maybe being paranoid and overly sensitive to every change in my body has served me well.

It would be a strange sort of irony if my conviction that I am dying is inadvertently responsible for the prolongation of my life.

/rk

Urbanitey Nite

We take possession of our new house tomorrow.  It will be a few weeks until our actual moving day, but it’s still pretty significant mentally as the shift from here to there.

The last 10 months have been really tough for me.  I made a decision to move out of downtown to the suburbs; which was sound financially and good for my partner, but unfortunately rather disastrous for me.  I can’t honestly say I didn’t see it coming — I just didn’t want to see it coming.  Sometimes my inner mental and emotional needs (and outer physical needs) aren’t practical.  But I’m finally getting the message that they can’t be ignored.

I grew up in the suburbs, and it always felt like a prison.  It’s difficult to explain.  All I know is that when I was there, I felt oppressed and constricted and trapped.  I started to get a glimpse of urban life in my teens when I got into an accelerated program at a high school downtown.  I ended up becoming best friends with a girl who lived not far from the school and spent most weekends at her house.  But I still had to go home eventually.  In my 20s I moved downtown for a year or two, but that changed when I started dating (and ultimately married) my first husband.  I was back in the suburbs.  Trapped again.

During my second (common-law) marriage we nearly went into financial ruin because of my push to move back to downtown.  It was an obsession, definitely, but I knew I wouldn’t feel right again until I was there.  And I did feel right once I was there.  Unfortunately I also felt trapped because of the relationship, so I left the husband, moved out of the house but stayed downtown.

Again, we were briefly pushed out of downtown when I became disabled and couldn’t afford the rent there while we waited the three months for the disability payments to come through.  But as soon as they did, I cut out of my lease after only six months and we moved back to our old neighbourhood downtown.

So what, exactly, made me think I could survive another move out-of-town.  Not just to the suburbs either, but the far suburbs.

I guess the simple answer is that I didn’t want to make it a money issue between my husband and I.  He’s a very practical person.  I wanted to be practical.  It was hard for me to justify the additional expense because of a feeling I had.

A feeling.

It’s interesting how, as someone with mental illness, I get angry when others diminish the impact of the effect of emotions on me as a sufferer of bipolar disorder, and then turn around and do the same thing to myself.  I guess when it comes to me, I can be a bit of a hypocrite.

So we moved to the suburbs and everyone adjusted quite well.  Except me.

I mean, I put on a good front for what seemed like a long while.  I tidied the house, I made dinners, I took the dog for long walks.  I tried to adjust.  But the bad feelings started to creep in, anyway.

I stopped doing much around the house.  I stopped showering.  I spent most of the day sleeping.

That went on a long time before I finally spoke up to my husband to tell him that I wasn’t happy.  It’s a really hard thing to tell someone you love, at a time when you’re supposed to be happy for finally being together, that you’re not.  Especially if they can’t change the thing that is making you unhappy.

So that’s where we were stuck for a while.  Me feeling unhappy and trapped but trying to fake my way out of it, and him being unhappy that I was unhappy and feeling stuck with no way to fix it, until finally thanks to some unexpected financial changes, we found a way to fix it.

At no small cost to them, mind you.  My son has to change schools again.  My husband now will have a long commute to and from work everyday.  All because I couldn’t hack it.

That’s a huge responsibility.

On the one hand, I’m relieved.  I’ll be back in the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Close to people walking and moving and being.  I don’t know what it is that is so important to me about that.  Something about knowing I can walk to everything.  I’m not trapped by needing a car.  Things are laid out in a grid and I can find my way around.  I guess there’s something about being downtown that makes me feel very self-sufficient.  Very un-trapped.

But there is also a certain amount of pressure, because I worry about everyone else adjusting.  If they hate it, I will be to blame.  Which I guess is why it was so difficult for me to speak up in the first place.  I don’t like always being the squeaky wheel.  Except unfortunately, I am always the squeaky wheel — or at least the wheel that squeaks the loudest.  When I’m miserable, everyone is miserable, because my misery tends to get amplified by my mental illness.  I hate that about myself, but I also can’t deny it.

The next two weeks will be the hardest as we dismantle our current house and set up the new one, and I have to deal with mixed feelings of exhilaration and guilt.  I want to jump ahead to when we’re settled in and know that it hasn’t been a huge mistake to put my needs first.

/rk

 

Pot Meet Kettle

WHEN HIPPOCRATIC AND HYPOCRITICAL COLLIDE:
How NIDA’s anti-marijuana bias is hurting the people it professes to protect

There is a long history of negative propaganda associated with the use of marijuana dating back ~80 years to the film Reefer Madness (1936): A movie which was so comical in its representation of pot-smokers as murderers, rapists and generally depraved individuals, that it enjoyed a re-branding as an exploitation film in the 1970s and was even remade into a musical satire in the 1990s. Not so comical is the continued reticence of federal governing bodies to objectively (and fairly) examine both the negative and positive effects of the drug.

The use of marijuana as a psychoactive drug and for medical purposes is hardly new; evidence shows cannabis use dates back at least as far as 2727 BCE. in ancient China, as well as historically in ancient Rome, Greece, the Middle East and Northern Africa. In fact, cannabis’ history of cultivation both as medicine and for pyschoactive effect closely mirrors that of two other crops: the coca plant (cocaine) and the opium poppy (morphine, codeine, heroin and oxycodone). Unlike those other crops, there has been a persistent stigma associated with marijuana use and cannabis research that has stood in the way of extensive unbiased research.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org

This is curious, considering that the potential negative effects (addiction and withdrawal properties specifically) of cannabinoids compared to cocaine and opioids/narcotics are significantly lower.

Research into the coca and poppy plants has been thorough and extensive (in spite of the higher risks associated with their derivatives) and the results have yielded numerous medical advances, with applications in multiple areas of medicine including pain management, eye and nasal surgery and anaesthesia.

Objective research of cannabis efficacy is harder to find. This is not to say that there has not been any research performed, or that those studies in themselves are unreliable. The issue is moreso that studies are forced in large part to make use of anecdotal evidence and patient self-reports, due to limited availability and access to medical marijuana for research.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) currently holds a federally-granted monopoly on the U.S.’s medical marijuana supply, with a laboratory at the University of Mississippi being the only facility permitted to grow medical marijuana. They also oversee an estimated 85% of the world’s research on controlled substances. The effects of this on the research of marijuana both domestically and abroad are complicated: NIDA exerts control both over what studies are approved for research, as well as what types of studies are approved.

[… read the rest of my essay at Medium.com]

/rk