Episode 2-82 – American Presidents 

Why I haven’t I been able, or willing, to update this blog so frequently lately? 

An excellent question, and not one to which there exists a simple answer. 

I have been writing – a story; an historical draft; stratchings of stanzas – all handwritten, in pencil. How very quaint. My laptop is still away in the sanatorium, hopefully regaining its alphabetical sanity on its path to keyboard-to-screen communicative recovery. 

But this blog… it’s not that I’m bored of it: I’m scared of it. 

I never knew it would become such a public self-exposé and the problem is that now, in my relatively stable state, I am loathe to reintroduce myself to the vulnerable girl who lurks behind the eyes of the confident woman I am somehow capable of presenting to the world at the moment. 

Living in this bubble – I need to come up with a name I can call prolonged periods of productive stability; Upcylcles maybe? – the liquified fear of a relapse skulks in my arterial system waiting for one major, or maybe a collection of small but cumulatively detrimental thoughts or events, to petrify thereby occluding any stream of rationality from reaching my perspective deprived brain. 

But, of course, the brain and the mind, are two separate entities, one of which exists only in the most abstract of forms and my mind, well Jackson Pollock could’ve painted it. 

It’s a strange thing to recognise your own denial. I am adamant, during my more lucid, grounded moments, which have recently been stretching into almost entire days, that I do not recognise that sick girl who trashed other people’s things and her own body. I can’t get inside her head. I can’t see out of her eyes. You’d think this was a good thing; an emerging distance between being able to function socially; converse in formal phone conversations; get out of bed; feed and wash myself (always a good start) and the batshit crazy chick who can go through a box of appetite suppressing codeine quicker than you can hide your sharp implements. But it’s frustrating. I need to look into her brain, like an MRI, to look at the connections between triggers and bright red activity zones in her skull so that I can fully understand what not to do, what not to expose her to. 

I have noted in the draft for this post some thoughts on the Germanwings tragedy. Over the last few days, I’ve been reading articles and gathering information, trying to form an opinion, or at least a basic knowledge of why. But I think enough has been written and more will follow, much of it massively unhelpful in the fight against mental illness stigma. I just want to point out that the overwhelming majority of individuals suffering with depression, anxiety or personality disorders only ever want to hurt themselves, not others.

… 

This much I had written last night. Today, once again straining to cough up what feels like gallons of bronchial mucus, I have been forced to remain indoors using the opportunity to read, research and learn. I love learning. I’m an information junkie so it’s hardly a chore. And as for going out, where would I be going? 

I can’t recall where I read it but I came across something about BPD patients/sufferers and those living with other mood and personality disorders feeling an overwhelming urge to change the world, worrying about “bigger picture” issues like social injustice or the environment and leaving some sort of legacy: not in a fame hungry; break the Internet; remember my name kind of way but in a “I don’t want to get to the end and not have anything substantial to show for it” kind of way. Do depressives and those with mental health troubles often feel the need to create something or effect a change on a situation they perceive to be unfair? The research would seem to suggest so. 

I have mentioned my (bordering on?) obsession with achievement and being productive during more than one key worker session and blog post. I frequently worry over what I’m doing with my life, not for myself or because I think I’m so special that I expect my life to mean something extra, but what difference my actual being makes. I thought this was what went through every individual thought process everyday. Perhaps it is not. 

Last night I watched the BBC’s Hillary Clinton: Women in Power. It featured Madeline Korbel Albright and Condoleeza Rice as two feminist (how could they not be?) former Secretaries of State among other women activists and politicians from the Middle East and Africa whom I must research and follow on Twitter. It is a powerful documentary and regardless of your opinions on Rodham Clinton and her seemingly imminent announcement for 2016, it is one all students of history, civics, CSPE should be shown. I asked John Knox, my history teaching father had he seen it: he had not. I was disappointed yet not surprised. Although the father of one daughter, he is not a feminist. He’s not against gender equality or women’s rights – he’s just been trained to view and explore history from the viewpoint if its winners and writers which have been, for the most part, men. 

The documentary charts the strides and set backs made in the global fight for women’s basic human rights such as, you know, education and not being raped, from Rodham Clinton’s 1995 speech at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women – hailed as a watershed moment in the next new wave of feminism. It made me cry and rage and hope such strength and resilience of the women interviewed. 

I will ensure ElsaDaughter watches it. If I were teaching, it would take priority over coursework for a day or two. Tangent teaching was always one of my favourite classroom activities: the discussions, energy and curiosity that wakes up in a classroom full of young, often bored yet inquisitive minds when a teacher is allowed (or just does it anyway) to go off-piste is perhaps the kind of utopia modern educators like Sir Ken Robinson envisage and one which might serve our students better. 

Add to that my reading of this article http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/lincolns-great-depression/304247/ on Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong battle with depression and how he used it to fuel his beliefs, convictions and political successes. His work became his refuge from constant melancholy: the darkness he recognised in the world educated his wisdom. 

I suppose that I felt inspired, or at least buoyed, in some way. We are, if you follow many mental health organisations and publications as I do in attempt to understand my condition and the world around me,  bombarded with messages of it being ok not to be ok. But what does this really mean? It means it’s ok to see this world as a cruel and barbaric place, to see the inside of your mind as a cage of burning despair. You don’t have to be happy and cheery and going out for brunch in a pretty dress, coming home afterwards to lounge languidly in your perfect Pinterest home. It’s ok to be bleak and have bad thoughts. Sometimes, you can use them to your advantage. 

One of my favourite poems is Robert Frost’s Acquainted with the Night. Frost was another depressive; that didn’t stop him winning four Pulitzers; the Congressional Gold Medal and reading his own composition at JFK’s inauguration. Only a mind who had known utter despair could create something so beautifully human and true:

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rainand back in rain. 

I have outwalked the furthest city light. 


I have looked down the saddest city lane. 
I have passed by the watchman on his beat 
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. 


I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet 
When far away an interrupted cry 
Came over houses from another street, 


But not to call me back or say good-bye; 
And further still at an unearthly height, 
One luminary clock against the sky 


Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night. 

In short, I am going to try to use my fear and the darkness that still envelopes me (though thankfully it as often or as dramatically at the moment) to do things, useful things. Things that will mean something when I get to the end (which hopefully won’t be by my own hand) so that I can look back and say, well it might be a shitty old world but its a tiny bit less shitty because of me. 

Do I sound like a cliché? Probably. But at least I’m a cliché with good intentions. 

Coming up on Dotty’s Rocker…

Next time I will be exploring BPD and relationship. How love and sex with a BPD sufferer can be extra complicated, often because of sexual trauma or abuse in their past. Some more light reading for you then. 😉

A Request 

Please could I ask you, should you find yourself so inclined, to like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/offmydottyrockercom/704701376285324and follow the Twitter account @DottyRocker for this blog. I can’t afford to promote with Facebook! My aim is not so much for promotion of this blog but more to curate and centralise artickes, campaigns, ideas, research and experiences related to the wider mental health field; sexuality; rape and sexual abuse; feminism and global women’s rights. 

Sometimes I post funny stuff about dogs and being mental. 

Dot 💋

One comment

  1. Karen Van Benschoten · April 2, 2015

    I went to your Facebook page, but I think I forgot to ‘Like’ it. I understand a lot of what you have written here, myself having a personality disorder, among other things such as PTSD. I live in a building for elderly and disabled persons. It is a 95-unit building and I think close to half of them are here with a mental health disability, as I am. I have been here 15 years, and have seen a lot of things happen. But I had to add a physical disability, due to MS. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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