Entitlement

Lately i have been struggling with a decision.  That i should need to make this decision comes as a bit of a surprise to me.

I once read that someone believes that i have a “sense of entitlement”.  A sense of entilement that is somehow wrong, pathologic.  At first, that opinion surprised and angered me.  But after long reflection, i find that it is true.  No, i don’t believe the “world owes me a living”.

I have come to see that i am entitled to one thing.

There are many ways one can feel the world can/should be.  To have a sense of safety, to feel hope, to believe that the world is neutral – neither for or against any one creature, to know happiness. That anyone can know and follow the “right path”.  These are false truths.  They are manufactured.

I am entitled to myself only.  I alone am responsible for how i fit into the world/human view.  I belong to me .  I don’t believe i should (can) exist for the benefit or comfort of anyone else.

Narcissistic?  Perhaps.  But as i run down my checklist of wishes, expectations, and beliefs it has occured to me that we don’t exist for others, not really.  Underneath it all, if we don’t admire, respect, or cherish ourselves then it is time to depart, to step off.  To be needed, have worth, to belong are all artificial constructs of man.  We only really, honestly, exist for ourselves.

I am rational, well-educated, self-aware and utterly pointless.

There is a kind of freedom in how i feel now, that i see myself truely, finally.

It is not my intention to hurt anyone.  I do not presume to have any such “right”.  In point of fact, i will strive to do everything i can to avoid this as i leave.  Everything is planned to erase myself painlessly.  Both for myself and as a residue of social responsibility for others.

I write these words so that i may reflect on them in moments of unclarity – which can surface and try to scramble the truths i have discovered only recently.  I trust myself and need now only to find the courage to proceed.

I don’t owe anything to anyone but me.  To myself i will be honest.

I am entitled to that.

Doc.

No, that wasn’t me.

I hate it when people tell me i’ve said or done something that i know i haven’t.  Recently a friend of my brother-in-law told me that he had already told me about the time he found some old silver at a salvage site. “Of course i told you about this before.”  “Ahh, no, i’m sure you haven’t.  I would remember.” Strange look.  Frown.

Or when i asked my mother why she had taken down the chiming wall clock.  She said that i had “demanded it be taken down” when we visited in Sept.  No way.  1) i would never ask (let alone demand) that she do this and 2) i like chiming clocks, i have one of my own.   In the end, i’m left believing that she’s telling me the truth AND that i didn’t ask this of her, that it didn’t happen.  How can i believe both are true?

Some of my supposed experiences (that i dispute) could  be the result of memory loss secondary to ECT.  I’ve had over 30 treatments in the last two years.  Like a colleague telling me i had taken an ultrasound course. Can’t recall that, but sounds at least reasonable.  Or someone coming up to me and thanking me for something i don’t remember doing.

As an aside, i’ve read a few blogs lately in which people are considering having ECT and are concerned about any long term side effects such as memory loss.  If you read the literature or ask the “professionals”  most will claim there are few if any lasting side effects.  I’m not convinced that’s true.  Certainly for me, i have had both short and long term memory impairment, to the extent that i’m insecure about my ability to remember, think, and act safely for my patients’ sake. (Raised as a veterinarian). But like most theraputic interventions, there are risks and not every person will be  adversely affected.  Each of us must decide for ourselves.

Right now the biggest twist in my panties is the lie someone has told about me having sex with them when i was a kid.  He told the shrink that i solicited him. This did not happen.  Period.  What is hard for me to explain is why this man would admit to this.  It certainly did not help his case or show him in a good light.  It would not have exhonerated him of blame.  He’s admitting to having sex with a minor when said minor has never accused him of it.  I’ve heard of people admitting to crimes that they haven’t committed.  Could that be it?  That he sexually abused me over several years is not in dispute.  What is in dispute is that we had penetrative sex AT MY REQUEST.  I would remember this.

I am not a liar.

Doc.

Barnabas Collins, i presume

….or how being mental is a lot like being a vampire.

I was watching a movie the other night that featured the cast and story from the ’70’s soap opera “Dark Shadows”.  I remember racing home every day from school to see the show.  Started at 4pm.  Never missed it.  My first love affair with vampires that continues to today.  As i was reunited with my old friends, i noticed how very similar my life is with the undead.

Case in point:

1)   the most obvious similarity – the hours we keep ( or that keep us).  As i write this it is 402am. I don’t choose to be awake most nights, i just am.  I am more familar with how my house, yard, and neighborhood looks in the moonlight than i am in the light of day.  I know and cherish the night sky and find the never changing stars to be a comfort.   I love the way the moonlight sculpts the trees and welcome the scurrying animal noises.  I know when my neighbors are up, whether work related or unexpectedly.  I prefer to see the smoke rising from the chimney  against the night sky.  When “Julia”- the doctor on the show believed she could cure Barnabas of his affliction, her treatment allowed him to appear in light of day without ? bursting into flames. Not unlike what the shrinks believe they can accomplish in us (me).  Ultimately, the cure was short-lived and doomed to failure.

2).  The ability to survive on a very limited food source.  Indeed the cravings for the occasionally unusual.  Now, for me, soft-boiled eggs and robins eggs easter candy.  Needing to know that my next meal is scoped out or at least planned.  Luckily, egg shells and empty candy bags are easier to dispose of than drained corpses.

3).  The dark thoughts.  “Living” with the knowledge that there is no hope, no going back.  Weighing the options of when and how to self destruct.  Deciding if there is anyone to tell your secret to or learning to perfect the convincing facade we need in order to go on another day living in the midst of normal people.  Who can we take into our confidence?  What power are we willing to relinquish in order to continue this existence?  How much of our real selves,  our true natures can we share?  In fact, not much.  We must keep up the pretense (of “normality”).

4).  Knowing (and accepting) that there is no cure.

5).  How easy it is to forget your previous life.  What did it feel like to be human?   Happiness becomes fantasy. Humans become prey.  People move on and live out their lives without you.  You have only old pictures of yourself and wonder “was that really me?”

6).  Where we choose (need) to rest, retreat to for safety and confinement.  Historically vampires chose coffins.  I don’t sleep in a coffin.  My bed is where i crawl to to escape the light and dangers of the real world.  It’s not silk lined, but it could be should i so choose and i could get off my ass to make happen.

7)  The wardrobe.  Some vamps dress with style (depends on the era of their “birth”) but many mentals (me) can’t manage better than pj’s, slippers and a hooded sweatshirt.  Although i suppose black capes could be todays’ equivalent of hoodies.

8).  The self perceived ability to talk to, influence, control animals with our minds.  I may just have a special talent for this.  Don’t know.

If i think of any more, i’ll add them later.

Doc.

Right hand follow up

I went to see my orthopedic surgeon recently as a follow up to my right hand surgery and subsequent injury.  My thumb, index, and middle fingers remain completely numb.   Strangely, my index and middle fingers are usually ice cold while the other 3 digits are warm.  Some kind of neurovascular effect perhaps.   I can move them and grasp objects grossly but if i’m not looking directly at my hand, i couldn’t tell you what my fingers are doing or where they are in space.

I drive a standard transmission and shifting is painful and difficult.  So, i will often shift with my left hand. Zippers are nearly impossible, writing has been relegated to my left hand and cooking is an adventure fraught with sharp knives and hot pots.  I have been brushing my teeth left-handed and can’t use the fingernail clippers.  I have trouble putting my gloves on and it is bloody cold right now on the east coast.  Moan, complain, moan.

I had my EMG and nerve conduction velocity study on 2/1/12 and the results were, not surprisingly, “abnormal”.  The report notes 1) “absent median sensory response 2nd digit”, 2) “absent median motor response APB muscle”, and 3) “active denervation with no motor unit action potential seen in the APB muscle”.   These findings are consistent with a right median neuropathy (consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome) “that is very severe in degree electrically”.

So, anyway the ortho. guy sees me and starts himming and hawing.  “Well the question is whether to reoperate or wait longer”.    Inside my head i’m screaming – CUT!    In the end, he decides to refer me for a second opinion.

Well, i couldn’t get an appt. for a month (3/5/12)  and then i’m supposed to wait 2 weeks after this appt. before i reschedule with my guy.   I WILL NOT MAKE IT.  I’m losing it.  I’m am very tempted to take a scalpel to my wrist, make a deep cut and force someone to deal with it NOW.  Time will tell.  I make no promises.

Doc.

Therapy, con’t.

I got “lost” on my way to see my T on friday.  I’ve been there 6 or 7 times, so it was weird.  I remember looking at the clock in the truck and noting that i  was pretty much on time, then the next time i looked 11 mins. had elapsed and my cigarette was down to the filter and i didn’t know where i was exactly. I remember thinking during this stretch of driving “Hmm there’s 2 Sunshine Lanes on this highway , strange” but i kept on driving north.   Finally it dawned on me that i must have missed my turn and i turned around, headed south and arrived about 15 mins. late to my appt.  Another time slip.

We talked about various things : my dreams “well, last night i dreamt repeatedly about cobras and why i couldn’t seem to pick one up (to remove it) without getting bitten, why i smoke pot “it calms me, and slows my thoughts, and helps me sleep”, and did i have a fear of sleeping “no”.

I asked her if she remembered the band The Grateful Dead (she did) and the line from “Truckin” –  “living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine” (she didn’t).  I told her i’m living on pot, cigarettes and vicodin.  She asked me if i would use the vicodin to overdose.  “No, i’ll use my psych. meds.  After 2 1/2 years of trying this, then that, i have an impressive stash”.

She asked me if i have been depressed all or most of my life and i told her no.  It’s true.  My depression started when my dog died in April 2009.  Then we talked about whether some anniversarys relating to her were triggering.   But the strangest thing she said was that she wants to talk to my wolf (stalker).  She stated she “wants to know why he demands his pound of flesh”.  She wants my permission to talk to him.  Why in fuck’s sake would she want to invite HIM into her world?  I told her to reconsider because he is (has been) quite capable of causing pain and destruction in my life and gave her very specific examples.  It’s not up to me what he does or who he chooses to talk to.  But i told her i would consider her request, but now on reflection, i’m not going to make it.  It’s a VERY BAD IDEA.

On my way out, she told me “don’t get too undone”.  Sometimes i don’t understand people.

Doc.

Psychotherapy, again

So… where was i?

I had stopped therapy for about a month in Dec.-Jan. 2012.  I had been seeing someone since June 2009 1-2x/week and was really beginning to think it was making me worse.  To be honest, i was and still am, not exactly sure what i was (am) supposed to be doing.  I asked one of my therapists once “what do you want me to do here?”.  She said “If i tell you, you’ll do it.” Emm…ok(what?)   So, when i got discharged from the hospital last time (Oct. 2011) the shrink recommended a therapist with “more experience”.   But as luck would have it, i’m NOT better just because i’ve stopped talking.

So, out of the blue (probably not, but that’s a story for another day) my current T called me up last week to “see how you’re doing”.  I caved because i’m doing crappy and asked to resume our sessions.  She agreed and i went in last week.  Maybe the first 5 or 6 visits were “gettin’ to know you” sessions because last week she finally asked me some probing questions.

“Are you sleeping?   “no”

“Are you eating, going outside, seeing your psychiatrist?”  “sort of, no, no”

“Do you have any friends?”  “no, i can’t seem to keep that going”

“Have you had any visitations?  “what?”

“The wolf.”  “i’ve heard him, i haven’t seen him lately.”

“What does he say?”   “he wants to know why i haven’t killed myself yet.”

“What did you tell him?  “i make deals with him, i do other things for him.  If i don’t, bad things will happen (again).”

When i told her that i’ve recognized certain behaviors in myself when i’m not well, (like now) as before,  she said “like before when you’ve ended up in a psych. hospital after an overdose?”.  “yes”

So, she made a couple of suggestions re:  sleep (5-HTP),  seeing the shrink (do it),  my visitor (tell him you’re not ready).  As i was leaving, she said she was worried about me.  I didn’t know how to respond, so i just left.  I see her again tomorrow.

Doc.