*minor trigger warning. mention of the death of sometimes-lover/mostly best friend aka Monkey Man L, other general depressive shit and brief mention of self-harm*

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Dear Dotty’s Words of Wisdom: Grieving for the Mentals Can Be Worse  

Dear Dotty was right. There’s something I knew but hadn’t been giving much attention to, not enough attention to at least. A trigger. A trigger beyond triggers, a stressor beyond stressors has set all of me bouncing more and more off the walls, down the corridor, down he street, like a rubber ball down a seemingly endless cobbled stone road. It’s the loss of Monkey Man L.

Yes Dear Dotty, thank you dear. Much of what I’m going through is grief. But how much of it adds to the mental mix dear lovely lady? That’s what I wanna know.

Today marks the second month of his death. JUST TWO MONTHS AGO! ONLY two months ago! Actually, we don’t even know if he died that day or two days before. It doesn’t fuckin’ matter. All I know is that on March 22, I got the horrible call.  What is up with people dying at twenty-seven? Fuck, I’m about to be twenty-seven.

Sigh. I don’t even know if he died by his own hands or if his body just gave out from the combination of his past self-abuses and his present condition as well as the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). His spine was compressing his chest, he’d become a chain smoker, etc.

All I know is that I’d seen him a week before. And a few days after, when I saw the Rapper K, I talked to him on the phone. And that was the last conversation we had. He didn’t pick up my other calls that weekend. I only got a measly text message in reply, saying, “I just want to be left alone right now sweety”. So that’s what I did. I left him alone. And that was the last time I talked to him. The day I’d seen him that week before, he looked terrible.

In the post I wrote about him after the funeral, I mentioned doing my best not to let myself fall into guilt. Well, sometimes that guilt tries to come up and take over.

He was found in his apartment sitting on the couch as if he were watching T.V. That’s all I know. And I keep thinking I could’ve been there; I SHOULD’VE been there. And I know this has me bouncing more that I would have been.

Then there’s the added factor that I was ALREADY falling, spiraling into a deep depression–I don’t even like using that word, “depression”–but that’s what we’ll call it and that’s how I was before his death. Depressed. And now what?

February was hell, then March came with the news. “He’s gone”.

This. THIS is one reason why I’ve been so much more mental than my usual mental. That, and in terms of this week, it could be the hormones added to the mix. I think this week I’m having the PMSS. That extra S was put there on purpose. It’s what I call the Premenstrual Suicidal Syndrome. It’s when my suicidals get more intense just before the cycle. I know the APA has a name for it, it’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder but fuck their labels and their making everything a disorder.

I’m just bouncing too much. Off the charts…

Looking back on that trigger my brother’s girlfriend set off when she innocently mentioned Vicodin, I realize it was actually a double trigger, no a triple trigger. One, it reminded me of what I’d done to myself the Sunday before last–or was it Monday?–anyhow, it reminded me of the incident. Two, it reminded me of my own problems with painkillers in the past. Three, it reminded me of Monkey Man L and his addiction. And that, THAT was the ultimate trigger because I was fucked for the rest of the night (it wasn’t the good fucked, nope).

No one prepares you for what you’ll feel when you loose someone you cared for so much. No one. We were co-dependent. We had an intense, tumultuous relationship. No one prepares you for grief just like no one prepares you for the feeling you’ll get when you become a parent. Sure there are books out there on parenting and on grief (what a lovely combo no?) but they don’t actually TEACH you how to FEEL about being a parent or how to FEEL  about a LOVED ONE when that loved one is no longer there to say anything back.

This was not my idea of “(mis)adventures of a mentally unstable” mouse. When I started this blog, I had meant to write about my past misadventures not my present ones. But life has a funny way of throwing more at you. They say things come in threes and they did. First, my face and the Bell’s Palsy; then, my arm, and lastly, my L.

Threes. One. Two. THREE. I wonder if there’s some sort of cosmic thing in that or if we’re just trying to make sense of what seems so incomprehensible.

Then after Dear Dotty reminded me, I began to think about mental illness and grief–there’s another set of words I don’t like to use “mental illness”. I think my dislike for the term has something to do with my Christian Science upbringing, though I suspect it’s much more complex than that.

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But is it really much more difficult for a mental? This grief thing. I mean, can it send an already distraught person over the edge? Of course it can! If it can send a non-mental over the edge, then fuck… Then again, I think what makes the most difference in grief is the nature of the loss. I had such a turbulent relationship with him and I know this will make my grief more complicated. Also, the the fact that he died so tragically at such a young age complicates the grieving process further. The nature of this grief is inherently complicated.

After the incident last week or the week before last or god knows when (I forget), I talked to the New Male Therapist-Who-Is-Really-a-She and told her what had happened, the freaky dream about him, the thoughts, the pills, more or less descriptively than here. I find it easier to write feelings out than to talk about them. My writing is stronger than my verbal communication. Maybe that’s what makes me a “poet”, ha, then again, maybe that’s just what makes me become more mental. Anyway, I told her, strangely enough, that the week before last, I’d began obssessing about my hearing loss again–something I hadn’t done in months.

“Could it be I’m combining my griefs?” I asked her.

“Yeah, possibly,” she replied.

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Stages of Grief

According to the Kübler-Ross model, there are five stages to grief . They are:

  1. Denial (a funny one that denial)
  2. Anger (my best friend who’s no good for me… Actually, that’s not entirely true. In small doses, anger is motivating. Anger is part of our innate autonomic response to danger. It tells us a lot about our experience.)
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression (oh look another friend)
  5. Acceptance (when? six months from now? a year? years? a lifetime?)
Yesterday, after a family friend was over, I found myself crying in the bathtub again. Why does washing dishes and showering go so well with crying? Anyway, I found myself BARGAINING. Of all the stages, that’s the one I said I wouldn’t get into. Silly me, saying what my brain will or won’t do. It wills itself sometimes.

I was there crying, “Dear god, I’ll take his place. No, wait, I’ll take the six fractures he had after that accident last year. I’ll take more. Fuck, fractures are nothing, I’ll take as many as it takes. Just bring him back!”

These stages aren’t quite lined out in chronological order. I mean, mainly they are, but you can experience them simultenously or even switch from one to another and then back again. I found I’ve just gone all over the place. It’s my style of doing things.

But I’m too lazy to go all out and write about these stages. Besides, this post is getting long and I’m opting for non-monumentally long posts at the moment.

So here’s a great little post by Sailor Carrie titled “The Five Stages of Grief”.

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Emotional Instability, Repression and Acceptance in the “Borderline” Mind

Another dear fellow blogger’s recent comment brought something else to mind. Well, two things: 1. I have no close friends or FEEL like I have no close friends and, 2. I don’t know how to open up to people which is why I feel like I don’t have close friends.

Isn’t it funny that I find it easier to run a knife down my thigh than to tell my dad “I’m upset”? Or that I find it easier to pop a dozen pills than to call a friend and say, “I need someone to talk to”?

Yeah, quite funny P.

The support network we mentals generally need but often neglect or just plain don’t have, that’s what came to mind. We often lack support strategies or non-destructive exit-strategies, coping mechanisms, distress tolerance, or call it what you will.

If I didn’t have maladaptive coping mechanisms and maladaptive friendship patterns, I wouldn’t have been in therapy in the first place. That’s what the therapist was for–for DBT, CBT and retraining on how I can reach out to people more effectively.

In responce to said fellow blogger’s comment, I said, ” I have trouble with communication”. I was a communications major; another funny thing P. But that’s what’s at the core here. Fellow blogger suggested friends, which is great, but I have trouble with friends. Aren’t people too busy to talk to nowadays anyway?

Getting myself to actually TALK to friends was something I was working out in therapy before Young Therapist had to leave. See, I said in my comment, “a ‘healthy’ coping mechanism someone without a dysfunction might have is to run to a friend in time of deep distress. I do the opposite. I run into a hole and throw on a cover and don’t let anyone in, which only makes it worse in the end. Despite knowing this, I find it EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to just reach out and say ‘I’m desperate…'”

A therapist can do something a friend can’t but a friend can do something a therapist can never do–be a fountain of mutual support. That is, if you have a good friend and therapist to begin with.

Why do I have such a terrible difficulty reaching out to people? Why can’t I express negative emotions besides anger?

Here I am, deeply in need, needing to confide in a friend all the while feeling completely unable to. Sadly, I can’t think of but one friend I’m comfortable talking about this “suicidal” stuff with and she’s pretty mental, so I can only let her have so much. She’s the BPD friend I mentioned in earlier posts, the one who I keep at close distance. Besides her, there was L and well, fuck, he’s gone! ha. He’s the reason I started this post.

Not being able to talk to people about my emotions, or just not reaching out and having enough social interaction to begin with is what the Young Therapist was trying to get me through; it’s what we were working on, finding solutions for. Sure, I can talk to people at parties or in social situations. I seem “normal” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) but really, I’m not. I’m constantly thinking, “Oh my god, I wanna get out of here, I wanna get out of here,” and if I’m not thinking that, I’m thinking something else that’s pretty similar to that.

I just can’t think of a friend I can confide in and that just made me very sad to think about, realizing how lonely I’ve let myself become. I’m glad I live with my parents and little Luna is the best, but I’m becoming uh oh, here it goes, “empty”?

B., a friend from college came by last week. I wasn’t able to make it to his graduation so he stopped by. How nice of him, right?  And I wasn’t able to tell him about L because he came by with his mother who just came in from AUSTRALIA(!) and well, I was being a good host. I was meeting his mother for the first time so telling him was out of the question.

Eloise, who lives in Florida, was the only person I’d told but well, she lives in Florida. She called me last week and I haven’t been able to muster the courage to call her back. Yes, it actually takes some courage from me to call people! Even the close friends like Eloise (oh wait, I do have a close friend)! Because calling people gives me anxiety!

Maribel also knows. I told her only because she’d called me to tell me her mom died and she needed someone to talk to. Funny, I can be the support but not reach out and ask for it.

It would be nice if L and I had mutual friends because then I’d be able to call them up and say, “Hey man, yeah, you miss him too?” But we didn’t have any mutual friends. Not one.

Only A.F., his stepsister, but she lives all the way up in New York City and even so, she hasn’t called me again after I called her and we had our last talk a month ago. She’s probably really busy with her little three-year-old and the baby.

I can’t even talk to my brother about most of this. I mean, sure my brother’s been kinder to me. He’s a sweetheart. But we are just beginning to rebuild the bridge I’d burned between us last year. See, six months ago, my brother and I were not in speaking terms.

“I’m not talking to your fuckin’ crazy ass again! Don’t contact me, just don’t!” he’d said.

Yeah. I’d pushed him away again.

I know telling him some of this might even make our rekindling stronger, but then I get discouraged. Every time I try to bring up the BPD diagnosis, he seems a bit aloof like he’s not really listening (of course, that could just be my misinterpretation). I haven’t even been able to muster the guts to show him that Five Faces of Borderline video I posted, which I think he’d find funny. I just, ugggh. I mean, I listened to him rant about his OCD. Why is it so difficult for me to simply do this?

Emotional Acceptance

I started looking up information about BPD and the inability to express certain emotions. I found these really good, really simple and straightforward  links:

How Accepting Emotions Can Improve Your Emotional Health (from about.com)

Defining Invalidation as a risk factor for developing BPD 

Post Traumatic Stress, BPD and Suppressing Emotions (from about.com)

A common string I’ve found connecting a lot of this BPD literature is the notion of invalidation. Invalidating environments is a hallmark for BPD.

See, I always assumed invalidation equated to neglect. But “I WAS NEVER NEGLECTED” I’d say to myself. Yet I realize invalidation can come in so many flavors. For L, it WAS CLASSICAL neglect. His mother would get high and leave him on the toilet for hours. She’d forget to feed him. Yeah. My parents ALWAYS made sure to feed me. When my mother couldn’t, my grandmother would. Even at our hardest times, when my dad was getting bread baskets from a local church, I WAS ALWAYS fed. Well fed!

So what flavors did my invalidation come in then? I wonder. My parents never outright said, “Don’t express yourself P! Don’t talk about your emotions P! We don’t wanna hear you crying P! None of that in this house P.” No, not at all.

Then I begin to think, of course! My invalidation is definitely there. I can see it. I can see it in my Christian Science years. I can see it in my mom running away when I screamed in agony in the hospital beds. I can see it before then. I can see it in a very subtle way. Invalidation for me was not overt.

I’ll give you an example. By the time I became a toddler, I stopped crying when I’d break a bone. I mean shit, after you’ve had your fiftieth fracture well before your fifth birthday, you just don’t cry about that shit anymore–unless it’s a femur, because femur fractures FUCKIN HURT LIKE HELL!

So my parents interpreted my not crying about fractures as: “This here is a brave one! Much braver than her wimpy brother! She doesn’t cry about ANYTHING.”

And I interpreted that as: “I have to be the brave one. Be BRAVE P! BEING BRAVE IS ALL YOU CAN BE. Braver than my cry-baby hermanito! I cannot let people discover that I DO cry. I cannot let people see me cry or else they’ll see I’m a faker! And no one likes a faker! I’m a mean challenger!” I think that’s more or less how I started to develop my calloused sense of self.

Then there was my mom’s bullying. “And blah blah blah smack, blah blah, BLAH BLAH BLAH, smack smack SMACK, SMAAAACK.” You just can’t let a bully see you cry. That would only give them power over you and you wouldn’t want that.

Just yesterday my dad asked me, “Have you been crying?”

“Yes, but sometimes I cry you know,” I replied trying to be assertive of my discovery.

And he replied with something about him not being able to withstand my crying because it tore him up inside.He didn’t say this in a way to hurt me. He said this as his way of expressing his OWN hurt, sure and his love. It was a bit selfish though. It’s maladaptive but he doesn’t know better. It works for him. He was hurting when he saw my swollen eyes.

I realize that now. He just doesn’t know how or understand how someone like me can twist those words up; how someone like me can distort them so. He doesn’t know how to effectively express his hurt while acknowledging and validating my hurt and my need to let it out.

That’s my flavor of invalidation. The child me, years back, would’ve seen this as, “Oh no! I must NEVER ever let him see me upset again or cry in front of him because it will DESTROY him! TEAR HIM UP INSIDE! And I don’t want to destroy dear daddy. No, I cannot kill my papi.”

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I’ve been thinking about texting Warrior D. She’s a friend who also just graduated. Just got her masters in Social Work. She’s someone I’ve been getting kinda close to in the last year or so. Oh yeah, she’s the other person I told. She’s great at listening. Trouble is, I tried to get her to meet up with me after L’s death and she got back to me but didn’t follow through with plans. I understand she was in the middle of her end of semester mayhem but it hurt me to wait, expecting to talk and go for tea and then not. So now I’m hesitant. This is why I feel I do need therapy still. Young Therapist would help me find ways to deal with this situation and call Warrior D. Truth is, I said in my last post that I’ve gotten along all these years before without a therapist. But come to think of it, I JUST BARELY got by.

I might’ve/might end up like L if I would’ve kept getting by the way I was.

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addendum: I went swimming yesterday evening at my mom’s friend’s gym and it was awesome! Took pictures of the cold, cold water.

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…so I can’t stop changing all the time” ~ Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

I’ll try and make this one a quicky because the one below this is a bit long. It was my first attempt at “scheduling a post” heheh. I had forgotten all about it until I saw a “like”.

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Anyway, I’ve been feeling ambivalent about blogging lately. VERY ambivalent. And the last few days I became painfully aware of how much of myself I’ve put out there. If it weren’t for my semi-anonymous voice, I don’t think I could’ve ever expressed some of this. And even so, I’m holding back on what I call some of the “darker stuff,” most of what the Pretty Little Demons feed me. A fellow blogger, well two actually, recently wrote about such conflicts when it comes to writing a personal or somewhat personal blog.

I submitted the photo and felt ecstatic at the reply I got from Broken Light , but I also felt very self critical.

“What are you doing? You only set up the first shot, even then it was a mutual take. You’re not even a photographer. You’re an amateur, a whanabe. What are you anyway? What are you doing exposing yourself like this? Do you want pity?”

No, I’ve always hated the pity people have showered down on me! This is fucking expression of art; it’s NOT a pity party! Besides, it’s cathartic, therapeutic even and what if I inspire someone? Quit being so overcritical P!

“Ok, ok. I’ll stop being so critical, so harsh. But really, are you this narcissistic? You need to tone it down! What if you embarrass your family!? hmmm? They don’t even know about your little drug adventures anyway, not most of them at least.”

Ugh. If embarrassment is the case, I’ve done that already and the only one I’ll really be embarrassing is myself. That’s been done too. I’m used to being uncomfortable, remember?

Here’s where I realize that the other voice is just my punitive parent trying to punish me for expressing myself (and hell even indulging myself), much like the guy in the video I shared in my Five Faces of Borderline post.

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Then today, something odd happened. I was feeling alright, well, let me go back a little…

Last night I hung out with my brother, my brother’s girlfriend, his girlfriend’s little daughter and a new co-worker he’s been showing around (he just got here from Britain and is originally from Iran). We went to a park in downtown called Discovery Green. They play movies on certain weekends. We packed up fruits, pita chips and other snacks. It was a beautiful starless night. The weather was gorgeous, slightly windy, slightly cool and NOT HUMID–so unlike Houston. And despite my worry about the Bell’s Palsy returning (yeah, my lips ain’t right) I had a great time.

Oh, we watched ET on a big projector they set up on the park hill!

On the way home, I sat in his girlfriend’s car while my brother rode with his Iranian/British co-worker in his co-workers rental. And for the first time, I warmed up to her. We ended up having a great chat on the way to my house. She seemed to have warmed up to me too, telling me about her difficulty with trying to stay in nursing school while having C, her little girl, and having to drop out in the end. We talked about our mothers and all sorts of fun nonsense.

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Then this afternoon, my brother stopped by again with his girlfriend and her little girl. He’d brought fish tacos for me and some other food for us to eat.

Well, we were having a good ole time, a good ole talk when all of a sudden, they started joking about drugs. I don’t know what prompted this. But it made me very anxious. See, my brother has never been a drug user or abuser like me. He’s very nervous about putting things in his body for fear of contamination. The only thing I think he’s done is weed and alcohol and alcohol is probably one of the worst drugs ever in my opinion, but anyway… weed, eh, I don’t really see it as much of a drug, though it is a substance and here I go contradicting myself. So yeah, I’m kind of the black sheep of the family in that aspect.

Then, out of nowhere, my brother’s girlfriend started saying, “I just don’t like to be out of control. I don’t like not being in control of my thoughts or my body. I even freaked out when I had to take a Vicodin after I had C. [her little girl].” She started to giggle but I didn’t. I couldn’t even FAKE a smile. It was a trigger.

Holy shit, it was a HUGE trigger. I began to panic. The mere words, “I took Vicodin…freaked…took Vicodin…freaked…took Vicodin,” sent my head spinning.

After what happened when I wrote the “Voluntary Hospitalization Post” I’ve been so wary of talking about anything related to painkillers, especially VICODIN. Of all things, why did she… of all things? (Vicodin is the same thing as Hydrocodone by the way)

So I quietly removed myself. I pretended I was too busy clearing the dishes to hear her. And once they were in the living room watching TV, I was washing the dishes, bawling my eyes out. I ended up having flashes of L and I downing painkillers. And after I was done with the dishes I went to my room to cry some more. I hope they didn’t notice but then again, I feel like running and telling my brother, “I don’t know what to do anymore”.

Good thing is I managed to cry just enough and re-enter the living room looking calm and collected. To a certain extent I was. I was being mindful of my thoughts and feelings–of everything around me. I was changing.

“I’m used to being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time”

This, my friends, is what it’s like to live with BPD. Any little thing can trigger you.

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Oh and I know I haven’t been coming up with anything funny as of late. Sorry. I think the recent overdosing/relapsing incident drained all the funny juice, well not all, MOST of the funny juice out of me, but I know I’ll refill soon and be a little funnier and less depressing with these posts.

p.s. FREE HUGS FROM COPYRIGHT BOUNCER BEAR Y’ALL! COME AND GET’EM! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY ONLY!

HEY HEY! NO SHOVIN’ NOW. EVERYONE WILL GET THEIR TURN!

*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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You know you’re borderline when you can not only relate to a comic book character that has of-the-charts anger management issues, but you suddenly feel deeply connected to this character as though he may be your long lost soul mate.

You wish he were real even, because then you wouldn’t feel so damn lonely. You imagine that the two of you would make the best of friends, so long as you’re a good dozen kilometers distance from each other when one of you ill perceives, imagines or exaggerates a slight and transforms in a fit of rage.

And you then imagine that the two of you, best mental friends forever (BMFF), would be able to stroll down Central Park sit down on a park bench and laugh and laugh and then SUDDENLY cry together, a long, hard cry.

As you sit there crying with Bruce, Bruce crying with you, Dr. Bruce Banner-Hulk suddenly hugs you and you hug him back, gripping tighter. And between sobs and drools, you cradle Bruce’s head, begin to stroke his hair and spit out, “I know man, I know what it’s like. I know exactly how it feels to wake up naked after a rage and feel confused and lost, not really remembering what happened, not knowing where the hell your clothes went or where the hell you are or if you’re still you or that dreaded other. I know Brucito querido. I know, oh dear god I do… And when you tell them not to push you there, not to take you back to that place you’d left because you fear you’ll loose control again if you go, fear what can happen if you abandon your new-found zen, you say, ‘DON’T, PLEASE‘. But you’re shoved inside a room, shoved between the wall and the Black Widow and her gun. Her tantalizing eyes intoxicate you and pierce your soul. Funny, because NOTHING can pierce you! Not even bullets! Not even the fire of bombs or radiation or torpedos! You say, ‘Please don’t. I’m done with that shit. Fuck off! I’m not going back there. I’m not allowing myself to go back to that level of rage. I’ve left all of that behind.’  You plead so much because you fear the other too, more than they do. See you’ve even tried to KILL the other, too keep him back at bay but he is YOU and he will NOT let YOU kill HIM  because your’re always angry anyway you say; you’ve merely learned to teeter on the edge of anger, learned to deal with that, to let the currents of anger swish you like seaweed swishes in the crystal blue. And then, SUDDENLY, it’s too late. You think you had it in your palm but the anger grows too big to hold: it takes control. POP POP–your muscles tighten; your veins flood; your fingers curl, only they’re more like claws than fingers now, and your bones pop. Everything swells! And you find yourself naked again, shaking your head in dismay, shivering body, fearing what you’ve done, hating yourself! Hating what you’d become even if only for a moment! So when everything around you begins to come back into focus, you grab the nearest person and demand, ‘Did I SMASH anything? What did I SMASH? Was it WORTH SMASHING? What happened? Answer me! Please!’ I know. Yo lo se querido Brucito… yo lo entiendo…”

This is exactly what comes to mind when I think of the Hulk as seen in the latest film adaptation of The Avengers, released this weekend but long overdue, anticipated for over five years.

The Avengers

A Brief Review and a Character Study

(minor spoiler alert)

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 Joss Whedon, screenwriter/director, did it right! Whedon pulled off a REAL believable non-cartoon, no bullshit Hulk in The Avengers (2012), what director Ang Lee’s disproportional body-to-head, Eric Bana-faced Hulk (2003) failed to do while flying across the Rockies and being shot by jet missles; what Edward Norton was left hiding in shame from in Louis Leterrier’s 2008 Hulk–ugh, and his overuse of the clichéd one liner, “Hulk SMASH!”

Yes, WE KNOW the Hulk SMASHES. It’s what the Hulk fuckin’ does! We get it! Thank you Joss Whedon for not having Mark Ruffalo or his animated counterpart speak such ugly words, not even once throughout the film. Thank you for handing that down to Captain America, who towards the beginning of the last, epic fighting scene turns to Hulk and says, “Hulk, you can smash now!” That’s how you slip those words in, by handing them over to another character: it builds irony.

In fact, thank you for not having Hulk speak at all with the exception of growls, screaming and that one time  when he finds Loki in Tony Stark/Iron Man’s mansion and Loki’s mocks him by calling him a brute and claiming, “I am a GOD”. Only then does Hulk reply with a quick smashing and a, “Yeah, a puny god” remark. This should be taken as a serious lesson: DO NOT INVALIDATE or UNDERVALUE HULK FOR HE IS BORDERLINE.

So thank you once again Joss Whedon for keeping Hulk’s angry vocabulary nearly absent while maintaining a complex character. Bruce Banner’s “I am calm” and “I am ok” vocabulary is layered and intelligent. Ruffalo does an excellent job of charming the audience almost as much as the charismatic Robert Downey Jr.

This is the thing, Whedon aims to excite and entertain us with bombs and explosions à la Michael Bay style–and that’s what summer blockbusters do, that’s how they still manage to cash in–BUT unlike Bay’s sole eye-candy (think Transformers), Whedon does so with thoughtful, well-crafted artistic flavor. He does so while tending to character development. And if there’s anything I learned from my own film obsession and my film studies classes is that a good film need not have an amazing plot, or a sensible plot even (look at Easy Riders, 1969) if it has good character development.

So yeah, this 2012 Avengers Hulk is the REAL DEAL HULK. This is what I like to call, the BORDERLINE HULK, the way Hulk should be! This is the Hulk that will live up to his true comic book origins.

Hulk is and always will be about the loss of rational thought our primal, basal reaction to stress can leave us with; it’s about human anger. Hulk, however,  is the epitome of human anger response gone to extreme proportions–gone wrong, gone dare I say “disordered”.

And to portray him in a whimsical somewhat childlike but not one-dimensional manner (with few exceptions) says something about the quality of this film.

There was just the right amount of sarcastic wit in this film, a bit of cheese but not over-the-top cheese. Yeah, there was cheese of all flavors. Enough cheese to fill up a school bus full of melancholically manic mouses, but not so much cheese to make them all throw up out the windows. And for good measure, there is a pinch of darkness in the film. Mouse likes darkness more than cheese flavor and variety even, but not more than coffee.

The Hulk in an ending scene from The Avengers 2012. Look at that face. Is that not the face of a hurting borderline? And isn’t that gorgeous, realistic 3D animation?

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We first see Bruce, played by actor Mark Ruffalo in Calcutta, India working as a doctor. He’s in this small, crowded shanty home caring for two sick boys when an impovershed girl runs in begging for him to help her dying father.

Of course this is all a lure, a lie the Black Widow also known as Agent Natasha Romanoff played by the sexy Scarlett Johansson, has created. The Black Widow has sent out and paid the little girl to deliver this deceiving message in order to trick him into joining the Avengers crew.

As fans may know already, Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson is the man in charge of getting all of these amazing superheroes (and demigod Thor) in a round table for round-house kickassery; they must save Earth from Loki, Thor’s adopted brother who’s filled with jealousy and has completely lost it, oh, and those evil creatures from Thor’s neighboring planet who are aiding him.

But the Hulk is reluctant at first, more so than pompadour sporting Captain America who also doesn’t want part in it and feels confused in the twenty-first century (with good reason). See, Bruce Banner/Hulk has taken a lot of shit from people, even more shit that Captain America has. That’s why he’s run off to India before they have to drag him back in to re-enlist as an agent (or a weapon of mass destruction depending on how you view it).

In the first half of the film Agent Romanoff/Black Widow tells Banner he must help because, “This is the Tesseract. It has the potential energy to wipe out the planet.”

Of course Bruce Banner is so self-doubting, so impulsive and quick to judge that he automatically assumes they only want the HULK side of him and completely disregards the fact that they need his scientific knowledge too. Black and white thinking ya’ll.

That is not the case, however, not yet, not until things have gotten really bad, not until that gigantic metal-covered slug teleports in from Thor’s neighboring planet and starts flying over New York City, killing hundreds and causing mayhem. (Why is it that every time something comes from another planet, it just so happens to land in New York City? Except for in Distric 9, good movie by the way–great social and political commentary.)

So when things get real bad, they will ask for the Hulk. But before then, when Black Widow is begging him to join because Loki has gotten the Tesseract–the energy thingy that could kill all living things–Banner replies to Black widdow, “What does Fury want me to do, swallow it?”

No Bruce, Fury merely wants your scientific genius for now! Jeez, they’re not all out to get you!

Remember what Captain America says, “We’re not your enemies Bruce!”

You sabotage yourself querido Brucito!

But you will help save people too querido Bruce, you will.

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Next

Part II: Why Bruce Banner/Hulk is suicidal and how the Mouse’s agressive vs. quiet borderline personality disorder (BPD) type and criteria matches up with his.

Why Hulk is indestructible but mentally vulnerable.

And…

Movie was great but why the hell aren’t they more like this second photo? Seriously, Scarlett is lovely and all, but she isn’t the only one with an ass.

Avengers, fo’ real.

Don’t remember where I found it. Sorry original artist. If I find your name I’ll post it.

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DISCLAIMER: 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 them. 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. Also, this is more of a character study than a full film review.

Oh, one more thing: the “you know you’re borderline when…” meme was taken from Jaen Wirefly, LMSW & Nut Job’s blog. She has a great blog about borderline personality disorder, loads of humor too. Check it out, it’s a no bullshit, good information blog. If you don’t click, just remember I can go She-Hulk on you any moment.

“May is Mental Health/Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.  😉

As many of you may already know, I have brittle bones disease which is scientifically called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). As a result, I’ve broken roughly 100 bones in my life, stopped counting after 70. I was born, or rather already had 17 fractures before leaving the womb.

Infants with type II OI, the most severe type, generally die from a collapsed lung, pneumonia or heart complications because the rib cage is so frail. Some die during birth or are stillborn with disconnected spinal and cranial bones.

I have type III, so I’m a little stronger than those with type II and fortunately, I can walk short distances while holding on to things. I mainly use a wheelchair, however, I do have a walker and would like to get crutches. Type I is the most common and also the least severe (I know, it’s funny how these are all out of order, you’d think type I would be the most severe).

Anyway, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll remember that I wrote a post titled “Hooray, Phuckin A It’s Rare Disease Day!” and well, this is my promise of updating on the “awareness day” for OI. See, I do keep my promises! Some at least.

Now, I’m not going to place any links or any such things on here because chances are you won’t click (no offense) and I understand and don’t blame you because considering how many good blogs are out there, how crazy and fast paced life is, there’s just not enough time to read up on these things, especially some depressing disease. Who wants to know about diseases? They’re fuckin’ depressing man!

Really though, it’s not that bad. (HAAA, yeah, sure P). No, it’s not. I mean it’s not lethal like cancer or anything… wait… type II… nevermind. The case is, I’m going to keep my OI brothers and sisters in mind today.

As of today I’m also going to make a commitment to write more about chronic illness/disease and its relationship to mental illness (though I don’t like to use the term “mental illness” much). Anyway, there is a huge comorbidity there folks. For example, it’s no surprise major depressive disorders (MDD) are more common in a sample population of people with a chronic illness than in an otherwise “healthy” population. This to me, shows a high relationship with the psychosocial aspect of mental health.

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So here’s to the little OI kids with little mangled bones all around the world! Keep on truckin’ little ones! Keep on! Keep on!

Wishbone Day is May 6th. It is held internationally in various cities to raise awareness and funds for Osteogenesis Imperfecta.
for more info visit http://www.wishboneday.com or
http://www.oif.org/site/PageServer

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addendum: Yous guys ever heard of the film Unbreakable directed by M. Night Shyamalan? Well, this Shyamalan guy is one I can’t seem to figure out. He’ll do one good film and then two terrible ones. I’m not going to say Unbreakable is TERRIBLE because I’ve never actually seen it and therefore, it would be very unfair of me to say anything. What I CAN say is that M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening was a fuckin’ complete waste, bloody rubbish (ya’ll Brits have been rubbing off on me, I swear).

So, back to Unbreakable. (I swear I’m going to make a really good point here if I don’t forget.)

In Unbreakable, the fabulous actor Samuel L. Jackson plays a character–or was it Bruce Willis’ character–whatever, one of the two played someone that had none other than OSTEOGENESIS IMPERFECTA (OI). And, though I’ve never seen the film, I know that at one point they mention he has THE WORST TYPE of OI! WORST TYPE? HAHA! OUTRAGEOUS! If you’ve read this far, you know what happens to most of those who have the “worst type”. I’m a “midget” people! How can one of these two, muscular to built and tall to average-height men have it worse than me? I don’t even have “the worst” type to begin with!

And how do I know this? Because my dear deceased L told me this, and I believed him because he was a movie addict; when he wasn’t poppin pain pill after pain pill, drinking like a sailor and flipping out, he was flippin HBO channels. Also, he had type III OI like I do.

This just goes to show you guys that “REALITY” (whatever that may be) and FILM/TV are FAR FAR APART. And this is coming from someone who ADORES FILM, who DREAMS of MAKING FILMS ONE DAY!

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Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson… My next post will be “P’s First Film Review: THE AVENGERS, a Character Study On the Hulk’s Raging Borderline Personality Disorder” (yes, I am now CONVINCED Sir Bruce Banner aka Hulk is borderline and I can say this without offending because I’m officially certified borderline myself and yes, I’ll take the label and milk it for what it’s worth for now).

Yep, I just got back from seeing The Avengers and did not have a panic attack!

Thanks for reading!

*mouse nibbles*

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addendum 2: I just realized it’s MAY 5th today! Bahaha. NOT May 6th! Oh well, for you New Zealanders I’m not off at least, am I? It’s already May 6th there isn’t it?

I really do think I need to be hospitalized at this point.  NO NO NO P, you do NOT. You will NOT go to a county PSYCH WARD! Nevermind. Shhhht. You don’  heard nor read nothin’ alright. Alright? I’m out.

*le mouse sigh*

I was looking up blogs on mental health related topics and BPD and I came across this:

Broken Light: A Photography Collective, a WordPress blog of “photographers living with, or affected by, mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time.”

Mental photographers!

How saweet is that?

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May is mental health awareness month, so I submitted two photos I took of Eloise’s sister when I was in Florida back in December-January. Why would I do that? Validation? Sharing? Release? Caring? Impulsive? Maybe? No? Why? Ah, it doesn’t matter.

I’m kind of regretting doing that though. Why? Insecure? Self-doubt? Ah, it doesn’t matter.

I’m not a photographer! I’m an amateur everything. But I did grow up around photography all my life because of my dad (although he had to leave the photography for many years to to work as a janitor and other random dead-end, low wage jobs after we migrated to the States).

But I was so excited to have found such a blog!

Then I decided to add a “photography” page on my Shenanigans collection. Here.

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What the hell am I doing?

Oh, I’ll tell you what I’ma do. I’m going to add some of my photo restorations on my new photography page and maybe someone will have a photo for me to restore? Maybe? (Well, I already know about yours Jill ;))

Mouse needs money to pay more shit to the Department of Homeland Security before I.C.E.–that’s Immigration Customs Enforcement for you Brits and Aussies–arrests her. Mouse also needs money to pay the Bill Collector Mafia before they show up at her door with two shotguns. I no longer suspect they’ll be breaking my neck. That would be too easy. That may be a good thing as I’ve said before, but then again, it would mean no more mouse sketches for you.

It sucks that money makes this society go, but it is what it is. And P and Mouse don’t like to beg, so here’s our way of begging.

Mouse’s credentials:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications – Media Production, minors in English and Interdisciplinary Art
  • Shitload of hours retouching photographs since the tender age of ten.
  • Portfolio available upon request; some samples will be placed in the “photography” page of this here blog. However, because of the semi-anonymous nature of this blog, I cannot show you my personal portfolio website because it is currently stored under a borrowed domain name owned by my university, but I do assure you all work that I share with you is mine.
  • View sample of work here.

Commissions/Contract work for further discussion can be emailed to: melancholicallymanic@gmail.com

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I don’t do business with those that abuse workers! I’m more business savvy, more paranoid and less naive now that some old Colombian fucker tried to rob me of my work in Orlando. (Don’t think I don’t know who/where you are arsehole.) Thanks to that fucker, I have standard procedures for doing business now.

Nothing will be completed/handed in without a prior signed contract, deposit, payment arrangement (such as PayPal), etc. I like to be fair and reasonably ethical, therefore I will treat your photos as I would treat my own. *Prices will only be discussed once serious contact has been made, like “ET phone home” serious*

I, mouse, would love to work for/with you. (Don’t mind her dirty mouth, she’s a hard worker.)

Think about it.

*Le mouse squeal*