Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All of a Sudden, I See Sheriff John Brown, Aiming To Shoot Me Down. So I Shot. I Shot Him Down.

Today has not been a very bitchin', sweet ass day.

The hypomania's gone, but you'll notice that quickly enough, unless you're mentally retarded, which was the subject of a handful of my Abnormal Psych test questions today. No, I don't think I did a stellar job on the exam. I am also confident enough to reason that I didn't fail. On this one, I elect to resolve myself to the depths of the average. My professor showed me my cumulative score thus far, and I've received 10/10 on every quiz except one, where I got a mere 9.5. (Throwing hands in air!) and the dreaded B on the first exam. Alas...

 I over-studied molecular genetics, had a wee bit too much knowledge about delirium (from being my own best case study), could've spent more time on anterograde amnesia (but in hindsight, I forgot, ha ha) and under-studied the statistical percentages of the chance of schizophrenia in the event I had a baby with a man who had a fraternal twin who was schizophrenic. Color me embittered yet again, but one would be amazed at the seemingly grave irony of a question as hypothetical as that on a college exam, given my withered, decaying, life-endangering uterus is, AS WE ALL KNOW, a memory in a biohazard landfill, probably making New Jersey stink more than it already did. I still do wonder, though, if inside my uterus, it said, "LUKE WAS HERE. NO TRESPASSING!" and if that was, secretly, why I had secondary infertility. That certainly would've been a more interesting conversation to have with my gynecologist than the ever-hysterical topic of douching.

(It's not that I wanted to have another child. I didn't want to because I knew I couldn't, for a very long time, though in-vitro fertilization might have had a chance when I was still married and fertility drugs failed, though we never pursued that avenue. (Craig and I sort of figured that I was psychotic enough on fertility drugs and that the idea of shooting me up with hormones or whatever to be artificially inseminated was a really, really poor plan.) I'm satisfied, blessed even, with the Mouthy Miracle lifted out of my abdomen and have zero desire to attempt to raise another small human, so no, I don't plan on adopting late in life. And frankly, my uterus was chiefly a mere source of (it got to be tri-monthly) aggravation and on those odd occasions when I remember actually having had sex, when it wasn't gravely traumatic and incomprehensibly emotionally scarring, I guess my cervix was involved, though most of that had been removed prior to the hysterectomy, likewise laden with cells that could've potentially killed me. I should think females would sympathize with the reality that, aside from my ovaries (which again, only give me acne and moodiness once a month), my reproductive system is a big ol' cavern of nothingness these days, both literally and figuratively. Fellas? Think of it this way. Your balls were cut off. End. Of. Argument.)

I honestly *do* love the fuck out of the jewel of my belly button, though it's obvious...it runs in the family:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the professor said not to self-diagnose, but I either have early-stage Parkinson's or really shouldn't drink an entire 12-cup pot of coffee before I go to school. All day, I've had this twitchy tremor in my right pinky finger, and Lord knows, I shake enough as it is (some of which, I have learned, could be a side effect of my anti-psychotic). 

What'd I eat today? I had a breakfast bar & a peach at 5:30am. A cup of cereal with a hand full of blueberries and almond milk for lunch, and will have a taco when my mom makes dinner. Given my anti-psychotic is more effective when taken with "food", I'll allow approximately a liquid medicine cup full of almonds when I take my night meds. (Yes, I've abandoned the bowl of cereal night snack ritual. A pound shy of my brother? I was frightened when I weighed 113. At 116-118, I was more or less quite content. But 124? Not acceptable. It's all in my belly, too, which is super uncool. As if bikini season weren't upon us and I didn't already have abs laden with mutliple, obvious surgical scars.) That's it for today. I'm staying hydrated. And it's enough to survive on. So spare me. If it gets to the point where my son can no longer, with his brute strength, lift me 4 inches off the ground, I'm booking a liposuction appointment. 

Just as Kate says she'd be really jealous of me if she didn't love me so much, the reverse is also true. She's ten years my senior and has the bum of an 18-year old, muscular gymnast and didn't have to exercise to attain it. (She actually used to play basketball when she was young.) She's recently lost a decent amount of weight that a thyroid snafu had induced. I've got my whole family remarking about how much weight I've gained. Perhaps we both have body dysmorphic disorder, but I think we mutually agree that for the two of us, anyway, hyper-thin is the way-to-go. Kate and I now weigh the same, I believe, though I'm about 4 inches taller than she is. (Come to think of it, Kate's got me trumped on another anatomical front, a highly-sought-after-bragging right, where, up until the hysterectomy, we were proudly, triumphantly, even, and bragged about it to one another. Think about it, Kate. Get back to me. Hint? It separates the girls from the women.)

One can only actually have been diagnosed with PTSD (and have made progress in therapy towards recovery, despite *too many* dreams about it lately, which killed any aforementioned mojo I was thrilled to feel, which was firmly DENIED anyway), have been assigned a psych chapter about stress disorders, the link between depression and cardiovascular disease, how a compromised immune system plus stress fucks you up, Type A, B & D personalities (I'm a Type D, FYI, with a heart condition, who smokes, so in all likelihood, I'll keel over eventually), to finally arrive at the section actually about PTSD, only to find that the authors of my textbook spent a larger portion of the chapter explaining the difference between systolic and diastolic than they did on, specifically, women suffering from PTSD, without needing a little break.

Of the nine pages covering PTSD in the chapter, ONE paragraph of ONE page was devoted to the prevalence of PTSD in women who have been raped, tortured or repeatedly assaulted (physically, sexually or verbally) and the ramifications thereof. 8 3/4 pages were about people in the Armed Forces suffering from PTSD, with one-sentence odes to non-military service professionals like firefighters, who were depicted as men. While I don't begin to negate the devastation of PTSD and the fact that war is hell, but by first reducing rape to an acute "adjustment disorder," on the same level as "losing your job," or "getting married,"  then switching pitchers on the mound and acknowledging abused women as sufferers of PTSD in one measly paragraph? That's A) an insult to my intelligence, even more so than the great length of explaining the basics of blood pressure to a grad student, B) completely clueless and C) ignorant but consistent with contemporary American society, which is collectively still walking around in denial, wearing Puritan regalia, which, if you haven't noticed, is now khaki-colored.  For a book that is meant to educate future clinicians and destigmatize abnormal psychology, the authors do a pretty good job of stigmatizing PTSD in situations other than in the military, which is funny, given 2 people with whom I share my life closely also suffer from PTSD. Either the incidence rate is higher in this country than the book realizes, or I hang out with a delicate bunch of souls.

Regarding stress, however, my book *did* say that writing was one psychologically healthy way to find relief, so I put PTSD to rest for a while before starting my blogging and decided to hang out with Luke in his room, trying not to fall asleep on his bed while he was playing Minecraft. Day Two of his "gifted" program was only marginally less uninteresting than yesterday. At least blue fire was involved today. He had to explain what combustion was to one of his classmates, unnerved that the kid (who was probably younger than Luke) didn't know what the hell he was doing in the class called "Combustibles and Pyrotechnics" to begin with. He said, "I thought  I'd meet a bunch of other 'Lukes' there," meaning, kids more like him. "These kids are 'gifted?'" he said. "What does THAT mean?"  In other words, he's nonplussed about not only the infantile level of the work that's expected of the kids but also the personalities (or lack thereof) of his fellow little smartasses. Maybe by college, Luke will meet more Luke-like people, though NOBODY is like Luke. 

And, not unlike his mother, he's zeroed in on one or two physical characteristics of his classmates that give him, in his mind, justification as to why they're a bunch of dopes. In Luke's case, he nearly had a seizure after school describing his fellow students' a) sandal-wearing and b) thumbnails. "Yes, but were they wearing socks with their sandals?" I asked. "No, thank God!" he said. At least we agreed upon that much. Yeah, Luke can be a little fuck nuts when HE wants to be, too. I'd much rather he flip out over thumbnails than be mute, formal, stuffy, and only speak when spoken to like....his father.

Hey, now, I admit Luke's inherited not only my bold green eyes. He's also inherited (or rather, mimics?) my penchant for grossly arrogant intellectual superiority and holds himself to impossible academic standards, and simultaneously has delusions of grandeur and grossly erroneous, unrealistic self-loathing, thinking he's a loser who loses better than any of the other average losers in the world. 

But I like to think, or at least it's my impression, that my son is nothing if not frank. He calls 'em like he sees 'em, just as I do. So no, it was of no great surprise that he said I looked like I was "getting fat again" at the family dinner Sunday night, seemingly ignoring the fact that he, himself, is legitimately overweight. It was also no surprise that while I was lying on his bed trying to relax with him today, while he was playing, he happened to blurt out, "You're really fucking ugly." What? I didn't slap him across the face? No. I didn't take away his XBox? No. I didn't demand my son apologize to me or reprimand him in any fashion. What's worst, maybe? I didn't even disagree with him. I just walked out and said I was going outside. Color me apathetic and an over-lenient mother who shouldn't let her son talk to her in such a fashion, but karma's a bitch and I figure I'll wait until his therapy appointment to rat him out. 

I have to hand it to people--friends of mine--who encounter Utter Awesomeness during their average days. My heartiest chuckle today came via a college girlfriend who's husband is going in for a vasectomy. And they happen to live in New Mexico. That's not the funny part. The funny part is the doctor, totally legitimate, truthfully, he's going to have perform the operation. I did a little Googling after my friend posted a picture of the names on his office door and was praying this guy wasn't the vasectomy surgeon, and told my girlfriend that this urologist is actually listed on a web site of the "13 Most Unfortunate Personal Names for Their Jobs." See below. I swear to God. With a name like that, if you're a witty and self-deprecating enough practitioner, why the fuck *not* go into urology and end up with your picture on Jay Leno's "Headlines?" You don't believe me? Here's his office door, and his listing on the "13 Unfortunates" list:

Speaking of MD's and piss, I heard from Guy Friend via email early yesterday morning, and hastily replied to him (not that he'll read THAT for another week or two), not having fueled myself with enough caffeine yet to write with any vim or zip that is typical of my banter. Worn out from my multitude of manic-texting and assuredly fed up with me, he sent me a sequentially numbered set of sentences that referred to the topics I'd texted him about over the last several days, none of which received either an acknowledgment or a reply, though I'm used to that with him. Probably fearful of my overt instability, he thought it best to say something, albeit abbreviated. 

Guy Friend, who's used to reading medical journals, certainly is used to the abbreviation "et al." Me, being too sweet on him as usual, passed on the temptation, in my return email, to correct him and tell him that he should've used "etc." While "et al" is used to cite an abbreviation of a number of authors, i.e. (or e.g.) "Miklasz, et al.", when you're talking about exploding car radiators in addition to other replacement parts, you use "etc." You're all saying "Meh, semantics!" or "Take it easy on the poor, overwhelmed, disinterested guy who tolerates your mania slightly better than your mother!" In re-reading his sentences, after I'd responded kindly, once caffeinated and awake, I interpreted his tone as patronizing and agitated, walking-on-eggshells over land mines. Which I guess I understand, but he can't say he wasn't forewarned of my state of mind multiple times.  

And he doesn't want to go to Riot Fest with me in September! He said I "needed to find someone" to go with who'd "enjoy that musical marathon," seeing as he didn't recognize any of the other bands performing other than the headliners. Duh, neither did I. But that's part of this:

Riot Fest...definitely not the scene of Slaves of the Ordinary.  It ain't no wine and cheese party like Ravinia, pal. (I wonder if my punker ex-boyfriend's cousin is still the guy who organizes it. I also wonder if Craig'd ditch the girlfriend and let me tag along on his press pass.) I'm not so much hip and interested in all the incidental bands, but I sure as hell AM interested in seeing not only Iggy and the Stooges but more importantly, ELVIS COSTELLO. While physically shorter than Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop has a commanding stage presence and his music would probably scare Guy Friend, whereas I rather enjoy some Iggy. Elvis, on the other hand...MY memory, anyway, serves me correctly, and we had a conversation about Elvis in my alley, the night he met Best Male Friend, where he professed to be a fan. It's his loss. My guess is that if Elvis Costello had been playing at Ravinia instead of paying his punk fans their credit due at a punk festival, he'd be more hip to going. 

He must have been either rushed or pissed off, because I didn't even get his obligatory ending of "Take care." No, in emails and not for some time in person or on the phone, has he said he loves me in the last several months, which he used to with some degree of regularity. But he sure as hell said it shortly after the Elvis Costello discussion, looking me straight in the eyes. (Granted, he'd nursed 2 beers in 6 hours, and he's probably a relative lightweight when it comes to handling his booze, despite his heritage, though he didn't appear intoxicated.) "Thank you for riding with me, Ms. Miklasz. Hit the "reject" button, not the "eject" button on your way out the door." I'm left drawing the following hypotheses: a) he never loved me to begin with and had been blatantly lying all those times he did say it, why, I don't know, b) he doesn't love me anymore, or c) he loves me, but thinks it's improper to express that for some strange (probably religion-induced guilt) reason, which is utter nonsense. In this case, literally, cheer down for crissakes. 

For the record, Guy Friend didn't say anything to me about having gained weight when I saw him last week. I think he's wise enough *not* to say that to a woman and wouldn't want to suffer the wrath of such a statement. Because he knows about my roundhouse kick.

 I don't *think* Guy Friend and I are at this juncture. Because I, at least, am a pragmatically pessimistic optimist and believe that our friendship is strong enough to handle my neurotransmitter misfirings:

Best Male Friend, on the other hand, expresses his love for me in very creative ways, including songwriting, as I've said before. But he's so unapologetic about it that he actually WROTE it on one of my sneakers. Seriously. I have a pair of high-top gray glittery sneakers in my closet that, on the side of one shoe, says in black permanent marker, "I (heart symbol) YOU FOREVER!" One of the benefits of having an atheist voraciously love you, I suppose. Best Male Friend? I'll love you forever too. You too, Guy Friend, for what it's worth. I appreciate both of your patience during my neural functioning interruption.

That's the tricky motherfucker that's bipolar disorder. Sometimes it ebbs to a stable state and you carry on with your normal, daily routine. Other times, the chemicals in your mania-driven brain alter too quickly or unevenly, and you consequently wind up in a depressive episode. While my symptoms were largely hypomanic and slightly depressive at once, I've tanked to the DARK SIDE. Believe me, if I had the capacity to cry, I would. Crying, according to my professor, is also very healthy. But I'm too chemically cocktailed up to express emotion that vibrantly (part of the flat affect I talked about I don't know how many blogs ago). So I write. 

Welcome to The Depressive Episode. Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times. "I've got some bad news for you, sunshine...."

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