Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm Either a Really Sane Crazy Person, Or a Really Crazy Sane Person

After Tuesday's post, in which I laughed about being asked if I was on medication, I have thought a lot about how much I joke about that fact. I have wondered if anyone thinks that I am too flippant about mental illness or the use of medication to help control it.

I'd like to state, for the record, that I do not support or condone the use of any drug for recreational purposes. Mental illness, in and of itself, is not funny. No disease is funny. Some diseases are horrible and sad and debilitating and my heart aches to see people who suffer from any kind of ailment.

I would also like to state two facts:

  • I suffer from mental illness in the form of depression. It ranges from mild to severe, depending on the day and situation.
  • I take medication to help my body cope with the chemical imbalance that makes my brain and emotions all out of whack.
Now that we have the serious facts out of the way, here are a few more facts:

  • I have a mental illness. It is mine, and I will choose to deal with it in any way I see fit.
  • Mental illness is not funny, but some of the effects are hysterical.
  • I choose to laugh at my situation, because who wants to be serious all of the time? Besides, laughing about it makes me feel better about the situation. If I can laugh at my mental illness, then it won't win. If you were ever bullied as a child and had the nerve to actually laugh at what the bully said, you understand the power that laughter gives you over your opponent.
If you didn't read my friend Cristina's comment on my last blog, please take a few minutes to do so now.

Go ahead. It's okay. I'll wait.


*insert elevator music here*


That, my friends, is how I choose to deal with my disease. Granted, I will probably never have the guts to actually do something like that, but the thought of it makes me pee in my pants a little with mirth.

(Cristina: I went shopping with my hubby last night and your comment was running through my head the whole time. At one point, I turned to him and hissed in my loudest whisper, "Pixie Stix! I need Pixie Stix right NOW or I'm going to lose it!" The look on his face was priceless. Then I explained your comment to him, and we giggled together for the rest of the shopping trip at all of the socially inappropriate things that I could do in a grocery store. I actually had to hold myself back from hucking a package of strawberry cream Twinkies at the back of a lady's head who bumped into Moe with her cart. We're going shopping again today; maybe I'll be braver and have a better story for you. Here's hopin'!)

So, if my seeming lack of respect for a serious subject offends you, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you have not learned of the power which laughter holds. The most serious of situations can be diffused with laughter.

I've seen a bumper sticker several times, and I only wish that I had thought of it first:

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it."

Now that we have all of the apologies and explanations out of the way, here is another great mental illness related thought

Since I have had several secretarial jobs, I know what it's like to be the first person in the company that a customer or client has contact with. I know that people can be very irate when the person that they are trying to reach is unavailable. Some of my best conversations with strangers have started with me answering the phone saying something along the lines of "Thank you for calling My Place of Employment, how may I help you?"

Now that I have had some experience on the client side of the mental illness industry (Industry? Is it really an industry? ....let's just run with that, shall we?) I have often wondered what it's like to be on the secretarial side of that phone. Really, don't you think that that must be one of the most interesting jobs out there? You know that nine times out of ten, when you pick up that phone there will be a nut job on the other end. It must take people with loads of compassion (and self control to not totally mess with the patients) to handle those kinds of calls every day.

I'm thinking about this particular subject this morning because I had an appointment scheduled today with my psychiatrist to discuss how well my new medication is working. The sweet secretary just called to tell me that my psychiatrist is sick and could we reschedule.

Who wants to have that job?

"Ms. Smith?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Please call this list of fifteen certifiably insane people and tell them that I won't be able to meet with them today."

"Yes, sir! Right away, sir!"

I would quit my job right there on the spot.

I actually considered messing with the girl a little bit, like totally wigging out and screaming "but she made an appointment with me! That's like a promise! I can never trust anyone ever again!" but I played nice and expressed the appropriate concern for my doc, sent warm wishes of good health her way, and then cheerfully rescheduled for next week.

See? Even crazy people can behave themselves.


trisherann said...

While I do condone the use of some drugs for recreational use... I must say that it takes a lot of balls to not only ask for help but to write about it. I don't know how many times I have read your blogs and thought, "See, she can do it, just make an appointment." It's easier said than done, so if you choose to joke about it, more power to you. People who don't laugh don't interest me much and I try to avoid them. I'm glad I don't need to avoid you :)

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

You did start singing on the phone in the middle of Costco...

Cristina said...

I must confess, I'm so glad you didn't take my comment the wrong way. I was a little worried about that. I didn't want you to think I was dismissing your very real and very frightening battle with depression, or that I didn't care or understand the seriousness of it all. It's just that I, too, try to find humor in all situations. I'm well aware of the fact that it's a coping mechanism.... but I figure it's a much healthier coping mechanism than constant wailing or seething negativity. Laughing is delightful! It burns calories, it releases endorphins and all kinds of feel-good chemicals..... and it's fun. So why not?!

Just know that while making irreverant and/or flippant comments, I by no means am trying to hurt you or make light of your struggle. I think you are the bravest woman ever for baring your soul and being honest about all of your experiences, and I so admire your courage. You are amazing!

It's so nice to know there's another person out there who sees the world.... no matter how ugly, sad, frightening, or nasty it may be at times.... through Groucho Marx glasses. We're kindreds!

P.S. ~ Yay! I'm glad you're imagining all the creepy and inappropriate things you can do in public to weird people out! LOL!

Here's another one to add to your to-do list: Whenever someone wants to politely, yet publicly, inquire about everything that's been going on, but ends up approaching you cautiously like you might be contagious, and speaks about your depression in hushed, awkward tones, do this.....

Give an answer like, "Oh, things are going pretty well.... thank you for your concern", and then give them a long, lingering hug and murmur in their ear, "But some days, like today, I feel like I'm just going to snap and go postal on whoever's around me..." And then just keep hugging them. And hugging them. And hugging them. Hug them waaaaaaaaaay past the point deemed comfortable and acceptable in any social situation; make sure to REALLY invade their sense of personal space and safety. Then, after eons of hugging, break away.... but not completely; place your hands on their shoulders and look deeply into their eyes for several beats too long. Then whisper, "I really should go now.... before something happens."

:) Yeah. I'm a freak. I delight in thinking up awkward situations. I rarely have the cajones to carry them out, though. I just end up thinking of them and giggling maniacally to myself. (Which I guess, in and of itself, is quite creepy and awkward for people nearby.)

Cristina said...

Speaking of thinking crazy things and giggling like you're mad, I remembered this bit from comedian Bill Burr. I don't know if you've ever heard him do standup.... I think he's hilarious!

Amy and Darin and family said...

I don't know Christina, but oh how I like her!

I have to say that laughter IS the best medicine. Sometimes ya just gotta laugh- like when Joshua tries to pick his nose with his now too-short finger and looks confused. He has now started calling them his "shooter fingers". Makes me cringe a little, but it sounds pretty funny! I could choose to dwell on the horror of it all forever, but it will change nothing, and I knew that it was at times making me physical and even mentally sick. So I had to choose to deal. And, LAUGH a little. Good for the soul...