HOLY SHITBALLS! The last time I wrote a “Borderline Girl Song” series post was over a year ago… I had to search my own entries list HERE to figure out what number I left off at.

****

AHEM.

I’m coughing and hacking greenish gooey phloem still, and I’m crackin bones in the process, yet I’m high high high HIGH or hypo hypo hypo or both! Yes, both. Same shit, sort of. I’m high on life and speedy typing (NOT Speed). I was crying non stop last weekend. Been giggling and singing all morning. Emotional dysregulation any? Just a bit.

****

Anyway, I’m high. And content, relatively happy. Fuck. I’ll just say it: In this moment I am happy. (That’s lyrics from an Incubus song FYI)

I’m high on life… and cold medicine,  antibiotics for the N1F1 flu that upperecutted me three weeks ago, and half a hydrocodone for my cracked rib (yes I broke a rib coughing, maybe two), and dare I say I’m also high on LOVE…

Pretty Little Demons: Love? Like “romantic love”?

P/Mouse: YES!

I can’t even hear myself say or phantom the thought but, but, but (breathes), I may be falling in love with someone. This person “asked me out” back in August. (I hate the term dating by the way). That’s one of the reason I’ve gone MIA here on Bloggieland. Too busy with the boyfriend and work.

****

Falling in love… maybe. Falling in love may be. Falling in love, falling, falling in love. 🙂

I’m sitting here on my bed covered in icy-hot muscle rub, Vicks vapor rub and pillows; three socks, bandage on my right leg, an orange wool scarf, and a laptop on my legs writing to you. I’m writing to tell you that people with Borderline Personality Disorder (or whatever they call it these days) can remain stable for–well, I’ve been relatively stable for a good while now and I’m busy in my “real life”, so I haven’t been able to complete a single post I begin. Started a few, but then had to go do this or that or him. heee.

Cup with spilled ice

Better Cancel School

It was 30 degrees fahrenheit  out this morning and it rained all day yesterday so we have sleet. Amber Alerts were sent and schools were closed. Truth is, the sleet melted by noon. We Houstonians can’t handle a little snow or ice. P Mouse is fine with that ’cause I get to work from home today and I ain’t going out in no cold while recovering from a cold in my wheelchair. 🙂 YAYUH.

****

Anyway, where was I? Oh da song. This week’s Borderline Girl Song post is Dido’s “Thank You”.

I thank him, the guy mentioned above, for having the courage to tell me he had feelings for me/a crush or whatnot. I’m thankful for giving him a chance. I’m thankful that I gave him a chance because therapy helped me help myself give him a chance. And. Here. I. Am. Thankful for being alive, even though shit still pisses me off and I have my low moments (don’t think recovery is like that, I don’t).

****

In my next post, I’ll tell you who this mystery man is. He’ll be introduced, I promise. I was writing his introduction on Monday actually–on Reverend Martin Luther King Day–but as I just said, I keep getting cut off to do this or that or him. In this case it was him. Too much info? 🙂 Then that evening, my dad and his friend interrupted… No, no, no I’m not explaining myself right. In other words:

On Monday, MLK day, I spent all day with HIM (mystery love) at his place, then that evening when I was back home, I logged on WP and started writing a post, which I will post tomorrow.

Sigh.

Well, here’s my song for this series. I dedicated this to him the other day.

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It’s almost the end of the third month into 2013. I blogged for mental health all of last year. No, no. I BEGGED for mental health all of last year. And I never pledged the pledge but I walked the walk or whatever.

My fellow Canvas bloggies have established a pledging that connects people with the mental-health blogging community. This blog has been a reflection of my personal journey in the last year and a half. My mental health has improved drastically since then. No drastically sounds too negative. It has improved INCREDIBLY.

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I am at a point now where I’m not having to fight off suicidal ideations, thoughts and urges damn near every hour of everyday. I am not constantly cryin’ or having panic attacks all the time. Since the start of this blog I lost someone dear, had a ton of medical issues, and made a suicide attempt. Then I found out that my Ex-Young therapist had diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder, my therapist left (that was just before the suicide attempt) and in June of 2012, I finally got back in therapy and tried different medications.

I’m still going to therapy once a week, mostly. It’s on Fridays these days. No more Thursday therapy ’cause I’m working and Brunet Young changed her schedule. Therapy has been a major lifeline, so has this blog (as I’ve mentioned dozens of times before) and my swimming. I’m still swimming despite all the shit thrown at me. I’m fortunate that my mom is still working at the gym and I’m able to go and release my demons for free, for a bit at least.

Of course I still struggle. Life is a struggle and for those with mental health issues, that struggle becomes unbearable, so painful that it kills. It is another kind of struggle in itself. But I have accomplished many of my “goals for therapy” and am still working on others.

My “stability” has settle some.

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I have a bit more clarity in my life now and feeling a sense of direction, despite my many changes in course. There are so many challenges, so much more to endure and enjoy. I don’t know where I’m at with this blog. I’ve considered retiring it many times (as a “borderline” I’ll drastically change my mind from one minute to the next ha). But I think I’m giving it a go for a bit longer.

I’m continuing my pledge to write for mental health, to shout out, to show that we are not alone in this.

Please visit my Canvas family at A Canvas of the Minds. It’s a great little blog of mental health bloggers and shenanigans!

Oh oh. And I ALMOST forgot. Thank you Laura/Soul Survivor for pledging me this year. You can find her blog, Bipolar for Life by clicking the link.

Blog for Mental Health 2013

Blog for Mental Health 2013

OI Chicks Are HOT

September 8, 2012

I’ve been on Facebook a lot lately. heh. Very unlike me, then again I’m hyped so this is how I am when I’m hyped. I message everyone. One good thing happened while I was on Facebook, the other not so good.

I’ll talk about the latter first. So a friend of mine from high school is about to get married. We haven’t talked in nearly two years, beside occasional Facebook hellos. I’m really happy for him and his fiance. The girl is so cute! And they look soooo happy together. He’s also a musician and we both went to the same college for sound engineering/music production, only he started two years after I did. In fact, he started the program because of me (mainly because I told him he’d like it).

Anyway, this guy and I started flirting for a while back in ’06-’08 and even ’09. I didn’t even realize I’d been flirting until MUCH later. One time, when I was hanging out in his apartment playing his synths, he wanted to have sex with me but I rejected him, not because I didn’t want to. God, I really wanted to. He has the prettiest big blue eyes, curled eyelashes, curly hair, glasses and thick lips. He sometimes wore a goatee. I just felt it was IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to be attracted to me. I somehow thought it was a sick joke of his. I don’t feel as shy now as I was then, but I still am very insecure.

For me, it’s as if it’s impossible for anyone to find me attractive–so tiny, so angry and in a wheelchair, nah. Maybe that’s why I reach out so much for approval of men? Yet, no matter how much approval I get, I seem to want more. And when I get more, I still feel the void.

I really liked M. back then. We went to local shows together (most of which he performed in), he bought me drinks and dinner, he’d visit me at my parents house, bringing his entire synthesizer collection with him etc.. I realize now, he must’ve been really into me. At his shows, I used to get so jealous when he made out with this one bass player–a really short, cute gothic chick (she was drunk as hell though though, an even bigger drunk than me).

I kicked myself in the ass for sabotaging any kind of “romantic” relationship I could have had with him. I began to idolize him. He is quite possibly the most gorgeous guy I’ve been “involved with” more or less, but it wasn’t that. And oh god his heavenly hands! Long fingers, long strong hands–long pianist hands.

We clicked. He’s intelligent and funny, a bit geeky and really sweet. We are musicians, so we had that in common too. And though he’s a little on the “crazy” side, he wasn’t “mental” (as in he didn’t seem to have a severe mental disorder like most other guys I’d be involved with) and the best part, he wasn’t addicted to anything hardcore. Funy enough, he now works as an instructor in the same performing arts center we did the audio engineering program in.

Why did I reject him then? Why did I find it impossible to believe that he “liked” me? Why did I not care enough about myself to believe anyone could like me? I did the same damn thing with Jaque Cousteau, only Jaque was an insecure, immature punk (literraly, he had a mohawk when I met him). Ughhh. He was also a musician, the Cousteau guy. It’s just.. It’s just that seeing M’s pictures with his fiance on FB yesterday brought back some of those feelings. I guess I’m jealous. I don’t know. I know comparing myself to peers from the past (and present) isn’t good for my mental health.

It will pass.

Oh right, what’s the good news? The good news is I’m in this Facebook group for women with OI–“OI Chicks Are Hot”. OI is Osteogenesis Imperfecta aka Brittle Bone disease.

The group consists of all these “hot” OI chicks talking about… anything. It’s a private group, so I don’t care if you try to find it. Anyway, I think I still have that deep seeded insecurity about myself, BUT I’m more aware of how to control it now–or how to restructure my cognition–and hopefully I’ll learn to stop sabotaging myself so much. I still don’t trust any man, anyone for that matter (including myself) but I’m slowly learning to be more open. I hope. And groups like these are definitely a good thing for building up that self love.

In the group, I found some pretty amazing women. Here’s one of them (and yes, I think she’s hella hot):

Nadia Roberts interview in a contest to win a wheelchair <—- Click it, damn you!

She’s also been through a lot, much like I have.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

I began life in St. Petersburg, Russia and was born with Osteogenisis Imperfecta, (OI). I was bounced around hospitals and orphanages for the first 9 years of my life, and eventually given up for adoption was a challenging way to start life, including several surgeries under severe conditions such as no anesthesia…

mouse Love

Those of you that have been with me here on WordPress since the birth of this blog are already familiar with the rare connective tissue disorder I was born with: Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) aka Brittle Bone Disease.

As I started writing this blog, I realized I wanted to explore the relationship between chronic illness and mental health. I wanted to share how the two have blended in my own experience. To an extent, I’ve done that, though not as much as I’d like. And when I found out about the BPD diagnosis, I began to look deeper at how my medical condition has been a factor in my development of “BPD symptomatology”.

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The first therapist I went to see in 2008 was more of a general counselor at the university. Her specialties were not relevant to my mental problems. But it was because of her that I was able to accept the fact that I’ve dealt with a lot of traumatic experiences.

“Your mother has been abusive to you P,” she said quietly, “and on top of that, you’ve had to deal with a lot of medical trauma. Give yourself some credit! You deserve it. Don’t you think?”

I’ve always refused the thought of being a “trauma survivor”. In The Buddha and the Borderline, Kiera Van Gelder says something I completely connect to: “And while I still resist seeing myself as a victim of trauma, it’s becoming clear that I have some lingering unresolved issues…”

Lingering and unresolved. Don’t we all have some of the lingering and unresolved?

I think about what I deal with on a day-to-day basis–the triggers, the anxiety, the high-voltage electric current of emotions and suicidal ideations. I start to connect things. For example, I’m easily triggered and flinch with certain things that remind me of past fractures. If my brother does a sharp turn while pushing me in my wheelchair, my heart leaps, then stops. And I instantly get a chill up my spine. When I protest, he reassures me by saying, “Don’t worry. I got this shit Shorty. How many years have I pushed you?” I know he won’t drop me or let me fall, but my reactions are like clock-work despite my best efforts. I’m beginning to think I may have a form of complex post traumatic stress (C-PTSD), something very common with those who also have BPD (borderline personality disorder).

I think of these last seven months.

When February hit, I was already suicidal again. But then I came down with Bell’s Palsy. And then I broke my T-Rex arm less than a week after playing a prank over at Monkey Man’s apartment. All hell went loose in my head after that. I mean, the Pretty Little Demons had their way with me, leaving a wreckage in my head. I’m glad and lucky to have survived this last “episode” thus far. And though it feels like it’s lessening, it’s far from over. I’m not out of hell yet; I’m just in the suburbs now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to drive farther out of it when I start therapy Thursday (yeah, we rescheduled yet again).

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It hit me hard, the fracture. Those first two months after the fracture coupled with Monkey Man L’s death were too much. And it hit me not so much because of the physical pain. I deal with chronic pain; it fucks with your life, but it is what it is. And what’s funny is I can talk about that pain with people but I can’t talk about the mental/emotional pain even with those closest to me like my brother.

So what hit me most about the recent fracture was the inability to do certain things on my own, things I’ve grown accustomed to doing. I’m pretty independent and mobile despite the physical limitations, so not being able to do things as simple as getting into the shower on my own ( it was hell waiting on my mom to help me wrap my cast in a bag and carry me in everyday), plunged me to the bottom quicker. I hadn’t broken a limb since I was sixteen, so even though I’ve fractured dozens upon dozens of bones, it all seemed new.

It’s amazing how quickly we forget the intensity of the pain once it’s gone just as we forget we ever experienced joy when in the midst of deep depression. I also find it amazing how a new life seems to emerge out of these deep dark cracks in our lives. Mine has many, like the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what life I’m in at the moment. Life number ten or eleven?

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Anyway, as I mentioned in Whiskers and Lashes, I’ve had a ton of cartooning ideas milling around my head but the Mouse hasn’t been able to catch one, even with my rebirth and the PLDs quieting down some.

One of the ideas I have is a little comic strip explaining OI, like “OI 101: Adventures of Mr. Healthy Bone and Mr. Brittle OI Bone” or something silly like that. Then I started thinking about the mad anxiety I’ve been having lately–the damned morning panic attacks that have been waking me.

Little P and Little T circa 1993-4. my dad left this on my desk last week. He must’ve found it while working in the garage. The furry guy riding behind me is Tito, the one I found huddled with pigs in a pen at the Mexican flee market.

I’ve struggled with loads of anxiety since I was a child; it’s only now I’m beginning to realize it. Chronic indecision is often reflective of high anxiety levels. When I was fitted to get my first electric wheelchair (see picture), I remember sitting in a physical therapy room with a giant binder full of samples and a tall man (all men are tall to a tiny girl) flipping through sheet after sheet of fabric colors. I got dizzy looking at what was to me a monolithic block of color. I got physically ill from looking through. I wanted to cry because the choices overwhelmed me as they do now. Would I make the right choice? Who was I do decide? Pink is always for girls, why? No, I like the blues! Why do they keep asking about the pink?

“Can’t I just have all of the colors!?” I finally yelled. They had a rainbow-colored option for the belt which the man kindly suggested!

But I digress.

For the last few weeks, maybe a month or so, the deep depression–the core of it–seems to have lifted, mostly. It has lifted to the extent that I feel as though I’m emerging from that hell, shedding a layer of skin and climbing back up from the grave of that ninth life. But with this emergence something else has come up–increased awareness of the jaw pain.

Funny enough now that the emotional pain isn’t at a constant crisis level, I feel the physical pain coming back. It could also be the anxiety that’s tightening the muscles on my face and causing the pain to return. (My arm still hurts but that’s not as disturbing as the jaw pain.)

Ugh, the fractured jaw and nerve damage incident! Talk about fuckin’ trauma. They jacked up my jaw! I’ll have to write out that story some other time.

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Several days ago, I ran into a comment on one of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Facebook groups.

“Any of you have horror stories from the past, from the hospital, from doctors and nurses and such?” the group’s creator asked.

Replies came in almost immediately. I replied that I’d waken up during the end of a surgery in my femur, among other things. It’s a surreal experience being a twelve-year-old, waking up naked (with the exception of a tiny towel over the crotch), surrounded by half a dozen doctors and nurses covered in blood and tubes and beeping machines closing in above your head.

I sat there thinking, Horror stories? Hell’s yeah I got them. I got Post Traumatic Stress up my ass! (Literally, my bum’s been messed with.)

A mom in that Facebook group has a little eight year-old girl with type II OI (I have type III). This lady is on there chatting away as much as I’m here in WordPress. She’s constantly talking about her little one. The girl has broken over 500 bones! Jeezus! I think I just barely passed the 100 mark. But 500? I can’t imagine, or rather, I don’t want to. I wonder how many of us have PTSD from just the fractures alone! Monkey Man L was having his leg turned for an X-Ray when, BAM, they SNAPPED it in two. It was already broken and they just added another break! All more reasons for me to think of this PTSD and BPD correlation.

So, on Sunday, I started researching: “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Osteogenesis Imperfecta” and “Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder”. I found some interesting things, but more on that later. 🙂

Yep, that’s me. I think I was three years old in this one.

I have a bisphosphonate infusion to look forward to tomorrow. It’ll be the second time I get one. Wish me luck!

Much Love from the Mouse

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Oh and here’s some info on bisphosphonate therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta.

No Matter What

July 9, 2012

I feel like no matter what I do, I’m going to slip into an early grave. I’ve got my right foot in the coffin and my left foot in the pool. I’m no longer at a “kill yourself” mentality most days but rather a, “haha, you’re going to die soon even if you don’t kill yourself so best enjoy this fuckin’ ride” mentality.

That’s an improvement right?

ha.

Look at me Monkey Man. I’m gonna die young like you!

I’m laughing like the Joker and whimpering with all the oxygen I have left.

I hope it ends quick, but clearly it hasn’t been. I can’t keep waking up like this–nauseated, shaky, dizzy, with a croaking frog lodged in my throat, with a well of tears backed up behind my eyes, with my stomach churning, my chest palpitating, my toes and fingers tingling and my lungs so out of breath! People with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) tend to have heart and lung problems but I know this is due to anxiety, not my OI.

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Is this a panic attack?

Am I getting one every morning?

Is it the medications?

What the fuck man!?

Oh heavens…

I’ll admit, I took two painkillers and an Ambien last night because the jaw pain has gotten bad again. I don’t know why it’s gotten bad again but it has. I know I have to have the metal plate removed. I should just get it over with, but I’m afraid. The surgery I mean…  because of how they fucked it up last time. Anyway, I only have three painkillers left.

I just don’t know what to do. Hang on I suppose. Hang on tight. Hang on clawing if I have to.

But I feel like tearing at my skin in hopes that it will stop.

I

can’t

keep

waking up like this.

With heavens help, I’ll carry these Pretty Little Demons well.

I have a question for all of you bloggers that are writing personal blogs in an anonymous or semi-anonymous fashion the way I am. In particular, I want to ask the Beepers (those with Bipolar Disorder) and the Borderlines (those with Borderline Personality Disorder), but really, anyone who just writes about their experiences day in and day out.

Yesterday, after I wrote about my grieving, I began to realize that one of the reasons why I have not shared much of the stories or “misadventures” as well as the adventures in as much detail as I’d like is because I have fear of discovery. Also, there’s just not enough time with all that’s going on with me.

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Fear.

I fear that my family and/or friends or just people I know in my personal life will find this blog and feel insulted that I’ve written about them. Or that they’ll feel like I was distorting the truth. I also fear that those that are only distant friends and aquiantances will eye me differently if they read this. I realize I’m being a little paranoid. But there’s some genuine, founded concern in some of this.

I tried to keep as much of my family out of my earlier posts, as much as possible without being dull, but I realized how futile that was considering the nature of my blog is to: A) crack jokes and make comic-y doodles, B) talk about immigration and how my personal immigration experience has been, C) share my experiences of what it’s like to be mental and D) share my experience as a mental person who also has a physical disability/chronic illness.

Taking all of these factors into account, there’s no way in hell I can just write about my mental problems without writing about my familial problems and some of my fucked-up experiences growing up. There’s no way to separate one from the other. I’m not blaming my parents for how I am, but there are forces at play here beyond me, and we cannot deny how much our environments shape us and break us.

Here’s the thing though, when I wrote yesterday’s post and gave a brief example of what I think some of my invalidation growing up has been, I feel I mirepresented my dad. I also feel I oversimplified the whole “invalidation” thing (which I will get back to sooner or later), but I think you got that being the smart bloggies that you are.

Still, I’m conflicted with the relief writing brings me, the unrestrained flow and the fear that I’m mirepresenting him or anyone, or that someone will misinterpret what I write. I feel like–and I have to use “feel” instead of think in this case–I made it out to seem like my parents never let me cry and that’s not the case at all. One thing about Borderlines is the sensitivity level combined with invalidation or perceived invalidation. It can get quite layered. I just hope that’s not how I made it seem. My mother was very violent though, especially with me, and often ignored our needs (my brother’s and mine) but she came from a far more abusive household, so the cycle was just repeated with me in a lesser extreme. She didn’t know better then.

See, my dad has been a very loving father, generally speaking. He’s actually much more affectionate than my mother is. He’s the “lovey dovey” type that always asks for hugs and gives you kisses and showers you with little sweet surprises on your birthday (even if he has no money) and buys you ice-cream, etc. But I think some of his affection actually stems from his own fear of abandonment. He grew up in Colombia, was born in the 1940s to a single mother. That stigmatized him a lot in a country and at a time in our history when a single mother who’d had her child out of wedlock was akin to being a “whore,” thus making my father–her child–nothing but a “bastard”.

What I’m getting at is, that I have some anger issues about a lot of things still–clearly–and that leads to my mixed feelings about all of this. I want to share the bad because I feel this has been one of the only outlets where I can talk freely about some of my family’s dysfunction without fear of being reprimanded.

Besides, from an early age, from the time I could write I used it as a tool to cope. When I got older, I toyed with the idea of becoming a writer. Yet I fear that I’ll veer too much into the negative with this blog. I want to show the light too. And then, more importantly, I fear they will find this and not like it, not approve.

I say to myself, “Fuck what they like, it’s your blog. It’s not like you’re disclosing their names or anything identifying.”

I’m still hesitant.

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What do you guys think? I mean, have you experienced this ambivalence about writing about your friends, families, etc? I guess the memoirist and non-fiction writer must get some of this inner conflict as well. How do you reconcile the two–the freedom this writing gives you with the fear of reproach, of hurting those you write about? Do you fear reproach?

I’d love to read your replies but you don’t have to answer all of the questions or any of them. Feel free to share your experiences/conflicts about blogging however you like, or don’t.  I just thank you for reading. 🙂

I appreciate those who’ve read and those I’ve shared ideas and experiences with in particular. Also, since NO ONE seems to click on my other pages 😉 (e.g. my Disclaimer page), hehe, I figured I’d put it in a post and MAKE YOU READ IT. muahahah.

Much love to you bloggers. Blog on!

addendum: I forgot to mention, I got my 100th follower sometime last week. When I started this blog, I didn’t even know that was possible. And I’m at 3,939 views. Not that that should matter much, but it just shows me what dedicated readers and WordPress addicts you all are!

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The Disclaimer

This blog is not for the faint of heart. Some content may be triggering so if you have a case of the mentals and believe you’re feeling unstable, look away. I joke a lot but I’m not kidding here. I’ve had to back away from other’s triggering posts too and from blogs I generally enjoy reading, so please note this.

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If you are offended by any content here, should you take offense, well then… you’re a big wiener. LIKE THIS WEINER!

In all seriousness, I don’t mean disrespect, but… you’re still a wiener, a flacid one at that.

I appreciate and respect different points of view, but hate talk will be ignored. I admit though, I can also be harsh, vicious eve, especially when it comes to IGRNORAMUSNESS.

A lot of conversations have been translated from Spanish to English so things may be lost in translation.

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Names have been abbreviated or fictionalized for discretion to protect the innocent and the guilty. These stories are not a representation of their person as they are based on my perceptions and/or my distorted memories and tendency toward employing hyperbole for comical effect. (Readers, I don’t underestimate your intelligence so I assume you already know this but I gotta watch my back y’all.)

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I make a LOT of assumptions and statements about psychology, psychiatry, mental disorders and mental health/illness but I am NOT a mental health professional. Sometimes I bash psychiatry, other times I cuddle it. My statements are not empirical. They are merely based on reading from mental health professionals, my own research of other’s research and my personal experience as a mental health patient as well as observing, reading and hearing the anecdotes of other mental health patients. To me, that personal means a lot, however.

By poking fun of mental health issues, I am not trivializing mental disorders. I’ve lived with a number of them most of my life, so I have no wish to trivialize and further stigmatize my own mental struggles as well as those of others. I am making fun of how others trivialize and misinterpret mental health/illness. I’m merely a mental humorist and a poet (aw sheeeit, note what I just did there?). Besides, I just have to laugh a hearty laugh before I finally put the barrel in and pull the trigger.

bukowski crazy

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If you think you know me, you probably don’t. Even if you do, you don’t know a lot about me. So if you do, please don’t mention anything personal about me on here or elsewhere. Please leave that to me, myself and I and yo and je. Oh wait, never mind, I just won’t approve any of your comments if you do!

I don’t wanna take myself or anything too seriously even though sometimes I tend to.

*trigger warning, though it does have a hopeful message akin to ‘art is my salvation’*

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The Heiligenstadt Testament or What Mouse Likes to Call Beethoven’s Suicidal-ish Letter to His Brother(s)

(English translation)

For my brothers Carl and [Johann] Beethoven

Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, me heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was ever inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to withdraw myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly I was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, “Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.” Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.–Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.

My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for companionship.

But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me almost to despair; a little more of that and I would have ended me life — it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me. So I endured this wretched existence — truly wretched for so susceptible a body, which can be thrown by a sudden change from the best condition to the very worst. — Patience, they say, is what I must now choose for my guide, and I have done so — I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it pleases the inexorable Parcae to break the thread. Perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not; I am ready. — Forced to become a philosopher already in my twenty-eighth year, oh it is not easy, and for the artist much more difficult than for anyone else. ‘Divine one, thou seest me inmost soul thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good’. Oh fellow men, when at some point you read this, consider then that you have done me an injustice; someone who has had misfortune may console himself to find a similar case to his, who despite all the limitations of Nature nevertheless did everything within his powers to become accepted among worthy artists and men.

You, my brothers Carl and [Johann], as soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmidt is still alive, ask him in my name to describe my malady, and attach this written documentation to his account of my illness so that so far as it possible at least the world may become reconciled to me after my death”.

At the same time, I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called); divide it fairly; bear with and help each other. What injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. To you, brother Carl, I give special thanks for the attachment you have shown me of late. It is my wish that you may have a better and freer life than I have had. Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience; this was what upheld me in time of misery. Thanks to it and to my art, I did not end my life by suicide — Farewell and love each other —

I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky’s and Professor Schmidt — I would like the instruments from Prince L. to be preserved by one of you, but not to be the cause of strife between you, and as soon as they can serve you a better purpose, then sell them. How happy I shall be if can still be helpful to you in my grave — so be it. — With joy I hasten to meed death. — If it comes before I have had the chance to develop all my artistic capacities, it will still be coming too soon despite my harsh fate, and I should probably wish it later — yet even so I should be happy, for would it not free me from a state of endless suffering? — Come when thou wilt, I shall meet thee bravely. — Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead; I deserve this from you, for during my lifetime I was thinking of you often and of ways to make you happy — please be so —

Ludwig van Beethoven

Heiligenstadt,

October 6th, 1802

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Though he never completely was able to rid himself of his depression, Beethoven went on to write Symphony No. 9, his most famous work to date, after writing this letter/will, much after he was pretty much completely (no my favorite but a damn good one). Life has more irony than fiction.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) often causes hearing loss. Whenever people find out that I have pretty severe hearing loss (in my right ear mostly) and know that I’m also a musician, they almost always mention Beethoven.

“Oh, that must suck, but you know Beethoven…”

I often feel ambivalent towards their attempt to comfort me. I don’t like to mention my hearing loss because I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, but I often have to so people can know not to whisper around me. Imagine how difficult it is to have severe social anxiety with normal hearing, and then having a loss like that just multiplies the anxiety. If Beethoven lived in our modern day, he’d be labeled with “social anxiety disorder” and “major depressive disorder” for sure–among other things.

Whenever people start to give me their puckered face and their, “Beethoven did…” speech, I always want to show them this letter he wrote, as if to say, “SEE, it wasn’t easy! Beethoven wanted to kill himself for many years. So please, don’t give me that fuckin’ shit! In fact, some say he may have drank himself to death! But yes, you’re right, he did keep on writing his music. And thank you for your kind words, you make a good point about determination. Whew. Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on ya…”

The good thing is I’m learning to habituate. Again, art has been my salvation. And this letter has been a source of comfort.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Resource:
http://www.all-about-beethoven.com/heiligenstadt_test.html

More SHAMELESS self promotion in which I make more typing errors!

Ok. That’s enough for the week. I think I’ve been whoring myself on WordPress a tad too much these days. But please do check out the Broken Light Collective. They’re awesome!

By the way, my Copyright Bouncer Bear Sends his hugs and is asking me to remind you that every Sunday they’re free (today was just a special freebie from him).

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photos taken by Paz, who was initially diagnosed with bipolar II, but recently got a new diagnosis of major depressive disorder comorbid with borderline personality disorder. She was also born with a brittle bone condition, hence the wheelchair.

About these photos: This is a two-part piece taken in 2009. It was during a time when I was messing with a lot of drugs. I was on the way to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Music and Film Fesitval (SXSW), on a highway that is covered in blue bonnets and other flowers. Although the scene is tranquil and almost spiritual, I could not find any peace of mind. I was feeling very frantic and empty. I was genuinely trying to enjoy the scenery and the trip there but it was difficult. 

The first one is called “Empty”. It’s just my empty wheelchair. The second is “Paradox Road”. This one was…

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