Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A message from the other side.

Part of the misery of losing someone is divvying their remaining material items. My brother left a book that found it's way to me. It is called the "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton. It's a fun little read. Interesting concepts but there was one page that seemed to be left specifically for me from my brother. It is both funny and interesting how we will find and feel these things after some one has passed. But for me I will embrace it what ever "it" may be and share it with you.

"Like many intelligent men, Stone took a rather suspicious attitude toward his own brain, which he saw as a precise and skilled but temperamental machine. He was never surprised when the machine failed to perform, though he feared those moments, and hated them. In his blackest hours, Stone doubted the utility of all thought, and all intelligence. There were times when he envied the laboratory rats he worked with; their brains were so simple. Certainly they did not have the intelligence to destroy themselves; that was a peculiar invention of man.
He often argued that human intelligence was more trouble then it was worth. It was more destructive then creative, more confusing then revealing, more discouraging then satisfying, more spiteful then charitable.
There were times when he saw man, with his giant brain, as the equivalent to dinosaurs. Every schoolboy knew that dinosaurs had outgrown themselves, had become too large and ponderous to be viable. No one ever thought to consider whether the human brain, the most complex structure in the known universe, making fantastic demands on the human body in terms of nourishment and blood, was not analogous. Perhaps the human brain had become a kind of dinosaur for man and perhaps, in the end, would provide his downfall.
Already, the brain consumed one quarter of the body's blood supply. A fourth of all blood pumped from the heart went to the brain, an organ accounting for only a small percentage of body mass. If brains grew larger, and better, then perhaps they would consume more-perhaps so much that, like an infection, they would overrun there hosts and kill the bodies that transported them.
Or perhaps, in their infinite cleverness, they would find a way to destroy themselves and each other. There were times when, as he sat at State Department or Defense Department meetings, and looked around the table, he saw nothing more then a dozen gray, convoluted brains sitting on the table. No flesh and blood, no hands, no eyes, no finger. No mouths, no sex organs-all these were superfluous.
Just brains. Sitting around, trying to decide how to outwit other brains, at other conference tables.
He shook his head, thinking he was becoming like Leavitt, conjuring up wild and improbable schemes.
Yet, there was a sort of logical consequence to Stone's ideas. If you really feared and hated your brain, you would attempt to destroy it. Destroy your own or destroy others.
'I', tired,' he said aloud..."
Hmmm.... Interesting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Wise Mantis once said...

This is a year or two year old e-mail from my very wise and redeeming older sister who has helped me through many challenges. I have wanted to post this for some time, it's one that just I don't want overlooked.
A little back ground.
She wrote this to me when I was in a particularly delicate state. I was rapid cycling through all kinds of crap but I did not wish to visit any doctors as I had little faith or trust in them especially in this particular field. It is important for people to understand, though I am quite sane and though I am little if any risk to society in general, I do have the potential to be quite literally and legitimately "crazy." Really wish I didn't. Really have fought that. Even tried denial.
But sometimes we have to face reality and be responsible.
Just yesterday a friend who went through some bizarre panic attacks that were thus far acute to labor, was quite surprised by them. Surprised by how they came on so unexpectedly, how they affected her physically and how she really was trying to do what she was "supposed" to be doing (which was breathing). She was glad that I really did understand and could relate/explain a few things. It's like I told here "Unfortunately I relate to all kinds of crazy." (but maybe it is not so unfortunate)
Back to my point of what my sister wrote to me as I was starting to realize I needed help again. Not wanting to get to the point of a complete breakdown, I was starting to see that I really did relate to crazy yet I was not yet ready to accept it. I sent a little cry for help to my sister since she had been with me at other near breaking points in my life if she thought I might be a particular diagnosis.
I am happy she let me share this here and now because I think here writing and intellect is a very rich and savory treat.
Here is her reply:
"If you look in the genetics of this family, the environments and choices, you'll find symptoms of all of the below, with more inclination towards Anxiety and Depression. ( Not to mention Bipolar, thick-headedness and possibly glandular diseases... ; ) )..... However, each individual isn't going to fit one category explicitly. Mental health is a many headed monster with hundreds of faces. In trying to categorize symptoms into " this is depression or this is bipolar" you limit yourself and fall into the mindset of "This is what I have / This is what I am", when in fact you're probably fragments of "each", combined with YOU.
People are not the disease, they HAVE it.
There is so much people don't understand. It's been my experience that if you visit a doctor with a clinical guideline in his/her head of what the symptoms are your limiting yourself.
- There is a reason "shrinks" have a quacky reputation, because when someone puts their trust in a doctor they assume that what the Doc diagnoses is fact. Doctors are not Gods. Psychiatrists are nothing more than glorified Personal Relation directors, some more educated than others. In pigeonholing an individual you limit their success at management with a clinically closed mind because it's a mental health disorder and NOT a medical ailment, in the common sense of the word, and the damage done to the individual is nothing less than devastating and dangerous. A good quack knows this. A great one practices it.
In answer to your question, no, and yes. I feel your focusing on how to categorize "you". Don't. Self diagnosis can be an emotional roller-coaster that leaves you with too many unanswered questions and your limiting your treatment.
If you had say, a skin disorder that infected your entire body: would you only visit one Doctor for a diagnosis if what he prescribed continually didn't work? - Say it does work, would you only treat one or two limbs, hoping that the rest of you would just catch on and heal? Or, if the prescription healed most of it except the more advanced/infected patches. Would you then consider trying a new prescription or approach, or stubbornly stick to the first and take your chances?
Your dealing with the spirit here, not the body. Yes, I know it's genetics and chemicals, but what happens to your physical body is secondary to the anguish your soul / mind is left scarred with.
-Diagnosing yourself will only lead to boxing yourself in. I can guarantee your not "this" or "that". Your [You]. What your mind does is going to be different than the next. You can't categorize the mind. Period.
Even if you were to be diagnosed [this] you would like a snowflake, each [this] is different than the next. Throw in other avenues of mental health and you'll never hit the right pitch unless your open to managing ALL of your collective demons.
Self medication is hit or miss, and I can guarantee it's short lived as the "supplements" are not strong nor regulated in their consistency, to be enough. Couple that with the body's ability to overcome and figure out how to get around it, and you'll be left standing in a mind full of demons before you know what hit you. -- Take CAREFUL consideration that when the body figures it out it'll come back to bit you in the ass, usually before you even know it's coming, because it's not overnight. It's gradual, and before you know it your back at square one, oblivious that what you were taking stopped working a long time ago.
At that point your usually too consumed by your own mind to steer straight and your judgement will be skewed. Back to square one.
-- Which is why you MANAGE mental health, you don't cure it. In managing it you are able to touch bases with the doc. (one who knows what he's doing) and he's able to detect the subtle change and currents and adjust things accordingly. I know money is a factor. FIND A WAY. If anybody can, you can. Open the mind to possibility.
I've taken everything from seizure medications to hard core Bipolar horse pills. I do best on two completely different medications that I take every day. And, every year it changes. That's the nature of the beast.
If you truly want relief from the angst, open your mind and find a way, don't stand on indecision waiting for a set of rules to follow. Go forward with courage, nothing doubting, believing in yourself, have faith, keep hope at hand and all things will work towards your good. Believe that your already there and you will have the knowledge and confidence to accomplish it.
Let me know how it goes. Sorry for the lecture .. OK, not really, you knew me for what I am when you asked the question. : )"

And I absolutely love her for what she is. How could we ever really learn, grow or accomplish much with out people like her in our lives.
She often leaves us speechless, so don't feel bad if you to have to read through more then once and really have to let your brain work to take it all in and to fully grasp the idea's presented. Please take the time to fully grasp it all. It's well worth it.
Thanks for listening and have a lovely day.