49. Thank you

Thank you non-commenting readers, because my stat tracker tells you you have at least stopped by.  I do not know who you are, so with you, I can assume I am being of service.

Thank you Blogathon 2007 for giving me this outlet.

Thank you Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, for being a place to reach towards when it is too dark for some to see.

Thank you Mom, for reading this with an open heart and mind, and giving me the chance to express myself, even when I was little.

Thank you Matt.  There are too many words and too many ways you are wonderful.

Thank you.

Thank you commenters for making sure I know someone is listening. Thank you sponsors for believing in a good cause, and for giving me the lightning flashes of motivation I have needed over the past twenty-four hours.

48. A note about content

In these writings, I have tried to stay as true to my first- and secondhand experiences with mental illness as I possibly can, with one notable exception:  Sexual activity.

I wanted these entries to be as accessible as possible to a wide range of readers, and thusly felt that it was a justifiable omission for the intent.  There are, of course, some indicators of bipolar disorder and depression marked by drastic changes in sexual behavior, and there is plenty of information out there about this.  I hope if you have concerns, you will seek out this information from a reliable, unbiased source.

Also, though I tried to make as many entries as possible applicable to a higher number of mental illnesses, in the end, my experience is with Bipolar disorder, and I felt more comfortable staying in this range.  Suggested topics for these short essays included Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post-partum depression, but I felt that any attempt I could make at retelling those experiences would be hollow and unfair, as I have not felt them myself.  Those are stories meant to be told by the ones living with those diseases, and I do not wish to take that opportunity away from them.

I hope that the gaps in content have not led you to believe that you are alone in this.  Even if I did not discuss your specific experience, I am confident you can draw the universal parallels that exist just by so many of us sharing this struggle together.

47. The cause of it all

It is pointless to say never, because you will always be proven wrong.  But hey, I’d love to be proven wrong, so I’ll say this:

There may never be a pinpointed cause for what we go through.  (There.  Did I trick fate?  Will there be a rational reason now?  I’ll check the news in a second to see.)

Oh?  Did you think I was so full of myself as to pinpoint some source of blame for what ails me?

Fair enough.  I have written about myself and those around me for about twenty-three hours now.  I can see how you would come to that conclusion.

But no, I don’t believe there is a definite universal cause.  I’m not really sure there should be one, either.  Looking for the cause will be dandy when we’ve already found the solution.  Until then, we’re just pointing fingers, trying to take away our personal responsibility to being the best person we can possibly be.

And really, how much will it help us?  Now that we already know what we are dealing with, and that we have to deal with it, how much good does it do to look at some fixed moment in the past, and know if that one thing (be it genetics, some great childhood trauma, a food we ate, environmental issues) had been different, our whole lives could be different?  Better maybe.

We can’t change the past, and we can’t see the future.  The only thing over which we can exert any will is this moment.

Wait, that one’s gone, so this one.

Oops, again it has passed.  This one.

And on.

Stop looking for a cause.  There are researchers out there who just get all tingly in all the right (or wrong, depending on where you were raised) at the thought of figuring out the ground zero for this stuff.  Who are we to take away their data points and tedious reports?  We don’t need to find the cause, because we already know the effect.

And if we set out to use the effect to make ourselves and our world better (in whatever way you choose to define that) we will find more peace in this than some pat historical explanation could provide.

For cause?  All you need to know can be summed up in four words.  Five if you hate contractions, but obviously I don’t.

It’s not your fault.

46. I may have covered this

I had not expected when I signed up for this event the number of insights it would bring to me.I do not know how you, the few who have stuck with me, feel.  I hope you feel the same way and that something I have said has in some way given you a greater understanding of someone in your life.  I’d love if that person was you, or anyone you know.  Hell, I’d be just spanky if it were someone you might run into on the street one day and have a moment of pause before you allow your head to fill up with the same negative perceptions you’ve always had.

And we’ve always had them.   It was vital for our ancestor’s survival to have these biases.  We would not as a species still be kicking around if we didn’t try to keep the crazy out of the gene pool, and then keep the crazy away from our family.

A lot has changed, though, and there is more space in our modern society for compassion.

And that compassion needs to start in yourself.  For yourself.

Even if I haven’t said a single thing in the past forty-five entries to which you could relate (and yes, I realize some of the late 30s and early 40s are total gibberish) you still need to find compassion for yourself.

I did not realize until entry twenty-five last night that I was lacking a compassion for myself that I have quite readily had for others, and realizing that, and making a step towards change . . . I feel much lighter.

And I hope I’ve done the same for you.

45. Reflection

Renee sat out back.

She liked her back yard, because it was quiet, and reminded her of camping even though she lived in the city.  The property owner beyond her back yard came from old money, and could afford his large in-city home and land, and that meant there were no other people she could see, no roads, just a fence leading to his personal forest.

It gave her time to reflect.  An activity that she didn’t engage in often, but had managed to do nearly every thirty minutes for the past twenty-two hours.  And realized.

With all things, there is a balance.

A balance between weak and strong.

A balance between highs and lows.

A balance between reflecting on one’s life and staying out of one’s own head.

She had never been very good at balance.

All or nothing and impulse to spare.

It was getting better though.

She was getting better in many ways.