I’ve been searching for sanity for sometime. Some days, I feel like I’m pretty darn close. Other days, it’s blatantly obvious I’m miles away. The majority of the time is just learning to accept that I have a mental health condition. In fact, that’s the hardest part.
The messes always get cleaned up, the debt gets reduced, the apologies get said. But the acceptance…that’s a whole different ballpark. Who wants to accept that they’re crazy? Who wants to accept that for the rest of their life they need to take medicine every single day? Who wants to accept that the belief that you’re invincible is…well, just a belief? Who wants to accept that when you don’t get what the point of living is that neither does most of society though they don’t wallow, mope, and contemplate taking that last gulp of life…tonight.
There’s this voice inside me that thinks, maybe they got it wrong. Maybe I’ve just been tagged bipolar and stuck in this track that isn’t even for me. But then, a simple reflection on the past twenty years of my life provides some reassurance, (reassurance? More like eesh, did I really do that?), that the docs got it right.
I’ve battled addiction since I can remember. As soon as I first started smoking pot, I knew this was the drug for me. I plucked a seed out of the crap 13 year olds smoke from the Midwest and stuck it in a nice planter box on my windowsill. A few days later, my dad asked what I was growing. “It’s for science class”. He went away. Next day he tells me we live in the city and you can’t just grow that in the window. “You’ve got a day to get rid of it”. My hopes of growing my own supply died in the city park. I haven’t smoked in a couple weeks. I guess it exacerbated my conditions. Never realized it, but that’s what the experiments are all about.
I don’t drink much anymore either. I found that every two months or so, I’d get a wild bug up my ass. I’d want to get down right wasted, go dancing, socialize with the whole world, drag a stranger home and fuck his brains out. And most of the time when I got this way, being only about 110 pounds, I’d black out after so many shots and well, you tell me what happened cause I sure as hell don’t remember.
Lately I’ve been feeling energized. Like there is new life inside of me. I feel this buzzing, this force…but like I have a seatbelt on. The meds. The meds have become my seatbelt. I can’t go too high, can’t go too low. The damn meds.
You can read that there are famous people out there, diagnosed or assumed to be bipolar. Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Mozart; geniuses of their chosen fields. They didn’t take meds and they created masterpieces. Sure, they may of all killed themselves but they’re immortal through their work. It’s the drive to make masterpieces that makes me want to flush the white pills, the blue pills…all the pills down the drain. It’s that urge to renew that direct connection with the Universe so that all I touch is gold, all I think is gold, all I do is gold. But alas, I need to remember that I take my meds to avoid another suicide attempt. For the seatbelt effect. I take my meds for the damn seatbelt effect.
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Thanks so much! 🙂
Tony and I were talking about his hallucinations yesterday. One was especially interesting. 23 years ago, before he was unable to work or maybe before he or others realized it, Tony blew a kiss to a waitress. He and she subsequently had a brief semiromantic and nonsexual encounter. Since then, she has kept him company. With such good company, it’s no wonder that Tony doesn’t take his antipsychotic med as prescribed — it would be too lonely.
Refreshingly real. Thank you for this.
WELL WRITTEN. I DO LIKE YOUR QUOTE “…When you have sanity, anything is possible”.
MY SINCERE THANKS FOR LIKING AND FOLLOWING MY BLOG. I TOO HAVE LIKED YOURS AND AM FOLLOWING YOU WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. LET US MOVE TOGETHER.
And so we bob on down the river together, united and stronger from it! Love it!
I don’t think your honesty will scare anyone off, there may be a few who are afraid to face themselves but your honesty is a mirror for many of us. True intimacy is letting yourself be seen in all ways, I for one applaud your bravery!
So I’m brave to a point. I have no intention of putting a face behind my stories. It’s been a long road, and I’ve had company most of the way. Some good. Some bad. And some I’m sure would never want to be associated with someone who spills all the beans just for shits and giggles. Cuz that’s my goal…more giggles in the world…
Love the honesty and appreciate your following the blog. Look forward to reading more…
Thanks so much! Look forward to enjoying yours as well.
I don’t think there is anything such thing as too honest.
Ok, well some things I guess you’re just not supposed to say. I forget that, occasionally, but in all reality, I agree whole heartedly with you!
With mania, a bigger problem is repeating oneself, and increasing volume with each repetition, then getting angry at the otner person(s) who one thinks is not listening because the other person(s) does not acknowledge “me” each time. These statements often begin with “I” such as “I feel” or “I’ believe” so it becomes personal. One of the characters in Rarity from the Hollow has bipolar disorder, by is hypomanic most of the scenes until Lacy Dawn helps him by getting him involved in a cause so important that the “I” becomes almost irrelevant — saving the universe.
When I quit cocaine, that’s what I needed. Something greater than I alone to pull me out. I’m not really a big god person but I’m a huge energy believer…neither created nor destroyed, only transferred. Coming out of my bubble world was hard at first. A treatment I’m getting in acupuncture, which I recommend you start getting done yesterday, is about this stage. Lifting your head up and looking out rather than just, “me, me, me.” The faith that there is an energy out there that if you tune in, you become like a super hero. Leap tall buildings in a single bound kind of shit. Radiate love out of your heart and watch the world unfurl in this ridiculously blessed way every where you are with everyone you meet. Powerful stuff that love is.
Well said. Have you ever seen the movie “Powder?” It was released years ago and comes across as a teen movie, but it is very heavy. The spiritual theme is that human beings contain energy that does not die but that is converted at death into a differnt form. Rarity from the Hollow also addressed the “me, me, me” thinking that you mentioned.
I’ve never seen Powder but I have an apple TV. No cable. I like to watch what I want to watch on my time. I guess that’s why they invented Tivo. I’ll check it out for sure. Congrats on the book. Is this your 1st, been at a while?
3 short stories published in mags before this novel.
First novel!! How exciting!! Congrats to you!! Must feel great. I’ve been writing a book for 8 years. I think I’m close to saying I’m done. But how could you ever truly be done? That’s a hard pill for me to swallow…the “when to walk away satisfied you did the best you could with something” pill. I hold a lot of useless resentment towards people who haven’t even thought of me in years probably. I think that’s a skill developed over time and I’m still working on mine. I just always search for that damn blessing in disguise. Gotta keep your eyes right on it. That helps. Congrats Again!!
I had superpower when writing it because the vision was to raise funds to prevent child abuse. I’m a mental health therapist. Author proceeds are donated. It was published by a company in England that is not afraid of controversial books. For example, the word, “dildo” is in the 1st chapter and spoken by a 6th grade victim. But, it’s actually a fun, self-help guide for folks with PTSD and bipolar disorder disguised as SF / F. The sequel is almost finished.
Wow, kudos to you!! I look forward to reading it when I get caught soon!! I’m grateful that we are blogging pals and look forward to your presence coming along for the ride on this blogging adventure…
Maybe you will, maybe you won’t like Rarity from the Hollow. It is empowering and some people aspire to spiritual activism, a passive role where acceptance, prayer, meditation and other cognitive techniques do not necessarily impact one’s behavior. Following is a press release that I wrote last night. I needed a new one to be eligible for a free book review by Midwest Book Reviews. Midwest will review self-published, even ebooks, for $50. It is free since Rarity is a paperback and professionally edited. I don’t know if I like the press release. What do you think?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Robert Eggleton
PSYCHOTHERAPIST / AUTHOR: SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ARE NO SURPRISE
Fun Science Fiction Novel Raises Funds to Help Prevent Child Abuse
Robert Eggleton grew up in an impoverished home filled with alcoholism and domestic violence. He was lucky. Thirty years after completion of his education and then writing nonfiction, such as investigative reports, statistical reports, policy manuals, and other works intended to reform dismal children’s services systems in his home state, Mr. Eggleton turned to fiction. Based upon glowing book reviews, the public is also lucky that he started writing fiction.
Rarity from the Hollow was recently reprinted as an ebook, paperback, and hardback preorder by Dog Horn Publishing in Leeds, England. Author proceeds are donated to prevent child abuse and neglect, well established precursosr to teen suicide and violence, including the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. “Child abuse and neglect are public safety issues – abused kids become angry teens and adults. Left untreated, childhood mental health concerns also affect our economy, national defense, and virtually every aspect of life in free society. For the victim, lack of treatment is a constitutional violation of that individual’s right to pursue happiness,” Eggleton.
Lacy Dawn, is the protagonist of all of Eggleton’s stories. She is a composite character of actual child abuse victims. Rarity fits within the Science Fiction / Fantasy genre. However, as noted by both Barry Hunter, publisher of Baryonline Science Fiction Reviews, and Adius Garten, publisher of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine, the story is satirical of everything it touches upon including: the global economy, marijuana, inadequate treatment of PTSD for veterans, and intended to serve as self-help for victims of Bipolar disorder. The story begins with Lacy Dawn in the sixth grade, but, caution, this is not a children’s story. Best selling author, Piers Anthony said that it was, “not for the prudish.” It is a children’s book for adults only due to violent content.
“ don’t think you’re going to be reading something harsh and brutal and tragic. This book is laugh-out-loud funny at times…funny almost to the point of tears…. It’s absolutely fantastic….” (Garten)
The release sounds great and has good depth to it in a short amount of space! Congrats Again Robert!
Thanks. Spread the word.
I’m completely blown away by your raw honesty and moved by your words. In my circle we define insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. I can tell you that my drug addiction has taken me way over to the other side of sanity. I’ve stood in my room with a shotgun waiting for imaginary people to break down the door, after the paranoia would subside I would get out my hidden cocaine and do an even larger dose to repeat the process. If that isn’t insanity I don’t know what is. I found sanity through a power greater then myself or atleast the belief therein, so I guess that’s my seatbelt and I’m grateful to have it!
Thank you so much! Sometimes I’m a little too honest for some people. I’ve accidently hurt a lot of peoples feelings with that rawness. But really, honesty is efficiency, in my eyes. I’d rather someone tell me I’m full of shit and incorrect than let me bobble on blindly.
You know, it wasn’t till saying out loud my paranoid mindset to my therapist did I realize how far I’d gone. I had just come to accept the fact that when I would open the front door, I would be attacked and so just go ahead, get it done, open it up. I haven’t felt that way in some time, and damn if you didn’t take me right back there with your experience. Thank you so much for sharing and your seatbelt sounds like the kind drag racers use…Powerful! Kudos to you!
Good luck, you can do it, all i can say is we are here and we have to do it, and it will be better, even though we have to accept that this is us, being happy in good times and picking ourselves up in bad times. x
Love it!! Well said. Love your perspective…Happy Solstice.
Please leave comment for Steve. Bipolar is my best acquaintance and the above novel will empower him and others.
RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW
ISBN: 1907133062 / ISBN-13: 9781907133060
Dog Horn Publishing, Leeds, England
Author proceeds are donated to prevent child abuse in West Virginia.
Review by Adicus Ryan Garton (excerpt as intro), Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine http://susurruspress.com/Atomjack/7/current.htm
“Imagine Wizard of Oz and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of West Virginia. Now you have an idea of what to expect when you sit down to read Rarity From the Hollow….”
…unabashed, unashamed exploration of the life of young Lacy Dawn, as she learns that she is the savior of the universe. The naked, genderless android, Dot-com… Add her abusive father, her weak-willed mother, a sexually-abused ghost for a best friend…trees that talk to her, a dog that can communicate telepathically with cockroaches and so much more.
There is so much to this story, and its writing is so unblinkingly honest…spares us nothing…her father beating her and her mother, the emotions…the dark creeping insanity that eats away at her Iraq-veteran father, and the life in general of people too poor, too uneducated to escape.
In part, it is a grueling exposition of what children endure when …abused. …the only way…to escape is to learn that she is the savior… strong, tough, smart—all those attributes that any child should have—and she reminds us that children are survivors, adaptive and optimistic.
But don’t think you’re going to be reading something harsh and brutal and tragic. This book is laugh-out-loud funny at times, satiric of almost everything it touches upon…The characters from the hollow and from the planet Shptiludrp (the Mall of the Universe) are funny almost to the point of tears.
…It’s absolutely fantastic….”
Adicus Ryan Garton is the editor of the online science fiction magazine Atomjack. He is currently teaching English in South Korea. Email: Adicus Ryan Garton
Cozy in Cardboard
Inside her first clubhouse, Lacy Dawn glanced over fifth grade spelling words for tomorrow’s quiz at school. She already knew all the words in the textbook and most others in any human language.
Nothing’s more important than an education.
The clubhouse was a cardboard box in the front yard that her grandmother’s new refrigerator had occupied until an hour before. Her father brought it home for her to play in.
The nicest thing he’s ever done.
Faith lay beside her with a hand over the words and split fingers to cheat as they were called off. She lived in the next house up the hollow. Every other Wednesday for the last two months, the supervised child psychologist came to their school, pulled her out of class, and evaluated suspected learning disabilities. Lacy Dawn underlined a word with a fingernail.
All she needs is a little motivation.
Before they had crawled in, Lacy Dawn tapped the upper corner of the box with a flashlight and proclaimed, “The place of all things possible — especially you passing the fifth grade so we’ll be together in the sixth.”
Please concentrate, Faith. Try this one.
“A, R, M, … A … D, I, L, D, O,” Faith demonstrated her intellect.
“That’s weak. This is a bonus word so you’ll get extra points. Come on.”
Lacy Dawn nodded and looked for a new word.
I’ll trick her by going out of order – a word she can’t turn into another punch line.
“Don’t talk about it and the image will go away. Let’s get back to studying,” Lacy Dawn said.
My mommy don’t like sex. It’s just her job and she told me so.
Faith turned her open spelling book over, which saved its page, and rolled onto her side. Lacy Dawn did the same and snuggled her back against the paper wall. Face to face — a foot of smoothness between — they took a break. The outside was outside.
At their parents’ insistence, each wore play clothing — unisex hand-me-downs that didn’t fit as well as school clothing. They’d been careful not to get muddy before crawling into the box. They’d not played in the creek and both were cleaner than the usual evening. The clubhouse floor remained an open invitation to anybody who had the opportunity to consider relief from daily stressors.
“How’d you get so smart, Lacy Dawn? Your parents are dumb asses just like mine.”
“You ain’t no dumb ass and you’re going to pass the fifth grade.”
“Big deal — I’m still fat and ugly,” Faith said.
“I’m doing the best I can. I figure by the time I turn eleven I can fix that too. For now, just concentrate on passing and don’t become special education. I need you. You’re my best friend.”
“Ain’t no other girls our age close in the hollow. That’s the only reason you like me. Watch out. There’s a pincher bug crawling in.”
Lacy Dawn sat almost upright because there was not quite enough headroom in the refrigerator box. She scooted the bug out the opening. (delete here for word count) Faith watched the bug attempt re-entry, picked it up, and threw it a yard away into the grass. It didn’t get hurt. Lacy Dawn smiled her approval. The new clubhouse was a sacred place where nothing was supposed to hurt.
“Daddy said I can use the tarp whenever he finishes the overhaul on the car in the driveway. That way, our clubhouse will last a long time,” Lacy Dawn said.
“Chewy, chewy tootsie roll. Everything in this hollow rots, especially the people. You know that.”
“We ain’t rotten,” Lacy Dawn gestured with open palms. “There are a lot of good things here — like all the beautiful flowers. Just focus on your spelling and I’ll fix everything else. This time I want a 100% and a good letter to your mommy.”
“She won’t read it,” Faith said.
“Yes she will. She loves you and it’ll make her feel good. Besides, she has to or the teacher will call Welfare. Your daddy would be investigated — unless you do decide to become special education. That’s how parents get out of it. The kid lets them off the hook by deciding to become a SPED. Then there ain’t nothing Welfare can do about it because the kid is the problem and not the parents.”
“I ain’t got no problems,” Faith said.
“Then pass this spelling test.”
“I thought if I messed up long enough, eventually somebody would help me out. I just need a place to live where people don’t argue all the time. That ain’t much.”
“Maybe you are a SPED. There’s always an argument in a family. Pass the test you retard,” Lacy Dawn opened her spelling book.
Faith flipped her book over too, rolled onto her stomach and looked at the spelling words. Lacy Dawn handed her the flashlight because it was getting dark and grinned when Faith’s lips started moving as she memorized. Faith noticed and clamped her lips shut between thumb and index finger.
This is boring. I learned all these words last year.
“Don’t use up the batteries or Daddy will know I took it,” Lacy Dawn said.
“Alright — I’ll pass the quiz, but just ’cause you told me to. This is a gamble and you’d better come through if it backfires. Ain’t nothing wrong with being a SPED. The work is easier and the teacher lets you do puzzles.”
“You’re my best friend,” Lacy Dawn closed the book.
They rolled back on their sides to enjoy the smoothness. The cricket chorus echoed throughout the hollow and the frogs peeped. An ant attempted entry but changed its direction before either rescued it. Unnoticed, Lacy Dawn’s father threw the tarp over the box and slid in the trouble light. It was still on and hot. The bulb burned Lacy Dawn’s calf.
He didn’t mean to hurt me — the second nicest thing he’s ever done.
“Test?” Lacy Dawn announced with the better light, and called off, “Poverty.”
“I love you,” Faith responded.
“Me too, but spell the word.”
“P is for poor. O is for oranges from the Salvation Army Christmas basket. V is for varicose veins that Mommy has from getting pregnant every year. E is for everybody messes up sometimes — sorry. R is for I’m always right about everything except when you tell me I’m wrong — like now. T is for it’s too late for me to pass no matter what we do and Y is for you know it too.”
“Faith, it’s almost dark! Go home before your mommy worries,” Lacy Dawn’s mother yelled from the front porch and stepped back into the house to finish supper. The engine of the VW in the driveway cranked but wouldn’t start. It turned slower as its battery died, too.
Faith slid out of the box with her spelling book in-hand. She farted from the effort. A clean breeze away, she squished a mosquito that had landed on her elbow and watched Lacy Dawn hold her breath as she scooted out of the clubhouse, pinching her nose with fingers of one hand, holding the trouble light with the other, and pushing her spelling book forward with her knees. The moon was almost full. There would be plenty of light to watch Faith walk up the gravel road. Outside the clubhouse, they stood face to face and ready to hug. It lasted a lightning bug statement until adult intrusion.
“Give it back. This thing won’t start,” Lacy Dawn’s father grabbed the trouble light out of her hand and walked away.
“All we ever have is beans for supper. Sorry about the fart.”
“Don’t complain. Complaining is like sitting in a rocking chair. You can get lots of motion but you ain’t going anywhere,” Lacy Dawn said.
“Why didn’t you tell me that last year?” Faith asked. “I’ve wasted a lot of time.”
“I just now figured it out. Sorry.”
“Some savior you are. I put my whole life in your hands. I’ll pass tomorrow’s spelling quiz and everything. But you, my best friend who’s supposed to fix the world just now tell me that complaining won’t work and will probably get me switched.”
“You’re complaining again.”
“Oh yeah,” Faith said.
“Before you go home, I need to tell you something.”
To avoid Lacy Dawn’s father working in the driveway, Faith slid down the bank to the dirt road. Her butt became too muddy to reenter the clubhouse regardless of need. Lacy Dawn stayed in the yard, pulled the tarp taut over the cardboard, and waited for Faith to respond.
“I don’t need no more encouragement. I’ll pass the spelling quiz tomorrow just for you, but I may miss armadillo for fun. Our teacher deserves it,” Faith said.
“That joke’s too childish. She won’t laugh. Besides, dildos are serious business since she ain’t got no husband no more. Make 100%. That’s what I want.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.” Faith took a step up the road.
“Wait. I want to tell you something. I’ve got another best friend. That’s how I got so smart. He teaches me stuff.”
“A boy? You’ve got a boyfriend?”
“Not exactly,” Lacy Dawn put a finger over her lips to silence Faith. Her father was hooking up a battery charger. She slid down the bank, too.
He probably couldn’t hear us, but why take the chance.
A minute later, hand in hand, they walked the road toward Faith’s house.
“Did you let him see your panties?” Faith asked.
“No. I ain’t got no good pair. Besides, he don’t like me that way. He’s like a friend who’s a teacher — not a boyfriend. I just wanted you to know that I get extra help learning stuff.”
“Where’s he live?”
Lacy Dawn pointed to the sky with her free hand.
“Jesus is everybody’s friend,” Faith said.
“It ain’t Jesus, you moron,” Lacy Dawn turned around to walk home. “His name’s DotCom and….” Her mother watched from the middle of the road until both children were safe.
I can so relate. I’ve been living consciously with Bipolar for 17 years, not knowing it for many more and that may have been worse. I think knowing is helpful because I now know what to expect and know the terrain of my illness. It’s still hard to believe and to accept it but too many things have shown me it’s real so I do, mostly. 🙂 I still struggle. I wish you the best in yours. Thanks for following my blog.
Thanks Steve. There is power in that knowledge, albeit hard to swallow knowledge…Look forward to struggling together, thus less wait to carry alone, huh? Happy Winter Solstice!
I am all for seat belts. Life is a roller coster ride and they come in handy.