Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Are You Off Your Meds Again?

People who erroneously view themselves as "normal" (since there is no such thing) love to make fun of those of us who are passionate in our beliefs about what we "know" will happen.  It might be as simple as believing you will meet President Obama, or predicting which party will win the White House in 2016.

In both cases two different people asked, "Are you off your meds again?"  And of course I have to laugh, because expressing outrage would be unacceptable.  That would be exhibiting one of the two by-products of being bi-polar.  One is difficulty "filtering" what we say, which is a real pain in the butt. 
But the second by-product more than makes up for it, because our brains process much faster than "normal" brains ... which is terribly handy when conducting business transactions.  By the time the "normal" person catches up, they realize that we have already closed the deal in a way that is favorable to us.

Both of the people are friends, and their comments were said in jest no with malice.  Without thinking, of course, about all the sad things that happen to real people who actually are "off their meds again."  But then, how could either of those people possibly know how many people are "out there" with brain chemicals that are screwed up through no fault of their own? 

It's no different from the child born with severe Scoliosis, or with some hard-to-pronounce disease that they must have the courage to deal with through no fault of their own.  Or the child born with CP or autism or with a deformed limb, or blind.  None of those kids volunteered to be given this extra challenge in their life.  And no one born with a mental health issue choose it either.  Nor did they do anything to cause it.


Some of us believe with all our heart and soul that something we want more than anything will happen because we put all that passion and belief "out there in the universe."  Some people scoff and say "oh how ridiculous is that?!"  But instead of being deterred by the nay-sayers, we manage to find people who care about our believing so strongly in our vision that they offer their help and support.

This is actually happening with me now.  I have found some property that I believe belongs to me because I will be the perfect steward and care for it with all the love and strength that I have.  Instead of being sadly neglected as it has been, it will be nurtured and turned into a lovely peaceful refuge for me, for deer and bunnies and eagles and birds, and a little boy who loves to climb trees. 

The helpers in making my vision come true range from wonderful ladies who say Norwegian prayers over a "good luck" candle bought for $1 at ACE hardware.  To a special man, living with pain every day because of old college athletic injuries, who kneels down and plants 21 "lucky" sweet peas under a cherry tree loaded down with gorgeous white blossoms.  With the finishing touches done by a kind man who willingly staked up a wire lattice to support the sweet peas and then created a protective barrier with chicken wire held in place by a dozen wooden stakes he hammered into the hard ground.

Then there was the man who works for Skagit County who gave me a copy of the papers I needed to understand all the very complex issues with this piece of land.  When I asked how I could repay him for his kindness, he handed me the folder and said,  "Just go buy your home, Dorothy.  That's all I need in return."

Another person who is helping with the home I will live in one day, visited the site, waved his arm in a broad gesture and declared, "Yes!  I can see it says Dorothy all over it."

My trusty, capable property attorney didn't believe at first, but reluctantly agreed to help me anyway.  And just since this morning has revised his stated chances of my succeeding from 1% to some much higher number.  And two weeks from today will help me submit my offer which will ensure that I am in the proper queue to be chosen by a nameless institution to be the new owner of "my" place.

And two people in another state, who don't know me from Toto, both understand why I care so much and have extended a helping hand in my endeavor.  One of them was kind enough to email me documents while on her lunch break -- twice because my server "lost" them the first time.

And the other person is a real bonus, because we're both fans of "Breaking Bad" but he knows how it ends and I don't ... since I've been too busy to watch the 3 Netflix DVDs I've had for 5 months.  This young man said, "You have to call me when you've watched the final episode." 

And he went on to tell me that the amazing actor who played Walter White's son with CP, actually does have CP, but with therapy and much hard work, can speak better and walk without crutches.  So he is "acting" to ensure this character has a firm hold on our hearts as we watch this amazing series.


There are other people, like me, who feels so passionate about something that they believe anything is possible if you believe it with every fiber of your being.  Only no one asks them if they're "off their meds."  Lucky them. 

But lucky me, too, because I've seen extreme cases of people who are either "off their meds" or some doctor, out of ignorance, has screwed up and put them on some terrifying drug that is not right for them.

If a woman is bald as a result of enduring the painful and overwhelming side-effects of chemo because she has cancer, she has our immediate sympathy.

But if that same woman just acts strangely because the chemicals in her brain are messed up through no fault of her own, the police call her "one of the crazies" and most strangers look the other way instead of reaching out in compassion to see how they can help someone who is overwhelmed and suffering.

So ... perhaps the next time you are tempted to say in jest or seriously ... "are you off your meds?" ... you might just stop a moment and think how hurtful it might be if you referred to someone with a physical disability as "here comes the gimp" or laughed at someone with CP struggling to speak and walk ... without realizing that the person's brain is perfect.  And they know exactly what they want to say and where they want to go.  They just have some mysterious "disconnect" through no fault of their own.

Why is such a simple concept as kindness so difficult for people to grasp?

One would expect it would be as natural as breathing.  Some of the new-agers talk about "random acts of kindness."  Why make them random?  Why not internalize being kind as something you simply do without even thinking?


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