The Local “Buzz”

Driving home this evening after a trip to the grocery store, I was listening to the radio — 102.9 The Buzz, a radio station out of Nashville, TN. The two radio hosts were bantering back and forth as radio hosts often do. The initial comment made by the male host was a joking remark about multiple personality disorder. From there, the exchange just got worse as he trivialized both multiple personalities and schizophrenia to announce completely unrelated upcoming concerts.

As I listened to this in disgust, I actually said out loud to myself, “What the fuck?!”

When are people in the public eye going to get it through their thick skulls that careless comments like the ones these radio hosts made tonight are damaging? They’re not only in poor taste but stigmatizing to those of us who suffer from mental illness. Misrepresentation in the media accounts for a large portion of the prejudice and discrimination that lead to negative attitudes about mental illness.

Dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia aren’t even the same thing which proves the fact that, obviously, these two radio hosts were speaking out of complete ignorance.

Blatantly joking about something that affects so many people — not just the individual who suffers from the illness, but also their families — perpetuates stigma and does nothing to educate the public about illnesses that have devastating consequences on people’s lives. Joking about mental illness trivializes and invalidates their struggles.

Public broadcasters have a responsibility to the public NOT to spread stigma in this way. They have the responsibility to be mindful of their role in our communities to support positive change through rejection of stigmatizing stereotypes of this nature.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I’m stuck in a creative block. I haven’t drawn or painted anything since December. I have no motivation to play the piano. Writing has been particularly difficult. I have little to say, my thoughts a jumbled mess. The Critic steals my words. I’ve taken a few photos, but even photography isn’t bringing me the pleasure it once did. Creatively, I feel uninspired to create and disconnected from the parts of myself who express themselves in these ways. They’re distracted, with what? I don’t know.

Exhaustion is kicking my ass. I’m sleeping far more hours than I need to be, waking up much later in the afternoon than I mean to, often after sleeping 10 hours. I’m struggling to make myself get out of bed at a reasonable hour. Mentally, I feel blank. When I Googled “feeling blank,” it brought up “emptiness.” That’s not right. I don’t feel empty — except of energy.

I mean literally blank, like looking at a blank sheet of paper, nothing going on upstairs kind of blank. Maybe I’m dissociative. I’ve experienced this type of detachment plenty of times throughout my life, but I usually don’t recognize it while I’m in it. Usually, it’s afterward that I look back and think, “Oh, I spaced out for a while there, didn’t I?” These days, it’s measured more in moments or hours. Years ago, I could survive that way for weeks or months at a time, functioning at minimum capacity through a foggy, dreamlike state.

Why now, though?

There’s nothing particularly horrible going on. In fact, things between KR and me have been pretty good. He’s been in good spirits and much more relaxed lately. So have I. I’m still sober — on day 54 this time around. I can’t think of any trigger dates in the month of February that would warrant this level of detachment and emotional numbness. My son’s birthday is coming up. That’s not for another week or so, and I’ve been feeling this way off and on for more than a couple of months.

I keep wondering will these episodes of whatever this is never end? Maybe it’s just hormones. Maybe it’s just who I am. Maybe it’s the usual depression I fall into every winter. Maybe it’s this nasty weather — cold weather, grey skies, rain, snow, more rain, torrential rain, drizzly rain — when will this rain stop?! I anxiously await spring’s arrival. This really does feel like a never-ending cycle. Maybe that’s all the explanation for it I’ll ever get.

Why Are You So Angry at God?

My counselor asked me the question, “Why are you so angry at God?,” close to the end of our last session. I shut down. It’s not anger at God that caused me to shut down. After all, the short answer is: I would have to believe in a God in order to be angry at Him. And I do not. Regardless of what my beliefs are, they don’t include a supernatural entity.

I don’t know how to make this any clearer.

It is, however, anger at my counselor that caused me to shut down. I was angry he asked this question given the numerous attempts on my part to explain my disbelief in God. In my mind, asking this question disregarded my firm position: belief in God is an unnecessary illusion for which I find no value in my own life. Hence, this “lack of relevance to my life” is the reason I discarded my belief in God so many years ago. Asking “Why are you so angry at God?” arrogantly presumed the contrary and attached an emotional bias to it.

I recognize the possibility that much of our discussion about God, spirituality, and the nature of religion, as well as the emotions attached to such discussion, are possibly a form of transference/ countertransference. I don’t want this to become a power struggle despite our obvious opposing views on matters of faith and spirituality — me as a non-theist and my counselor as a theist. I had hoped my post, On Belief and Godwould eliminate any confusion and place a boundary on matters of spirituality to “agree to disagree.”

Like I’ve stated previously, my spirituality is the one area of my life where I don’t need validation from others.

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks, since that last counseling session, attempting to reconsider this question of anger at God to no avail. I’ve literally started and re-started this post 5 different times! There’s simply nothing there to dispute within the question itself. Only the blatant disregard of my lack of belief in God warrants any comment.

Zinnia Jones said it best in her article titled, “Are atheists ‘angry at God’?“:

“…when believers treat a difference in views as pathological in nature, it allows them to refuse to consider the actual merits of the position they don’t agree with.”

Atheism can be a deeply spiritual experience in that it allows the individual to search and find ways to meet one’s own psychological and social needs through the “living experience” of each moment rather than placing faith in the belief of God to overcome life’s struggles. In short, each moment of our lives has the potential for creating awe without the requirement of a supernatural entity creating it. Rather than arguing about who is right or wrong about the nature of god and whether or not it exists, understanding why that belief persists in our society could potentially promote more compassion and tolerance, not only in discussing this matter, but also in how we treat one another in daily life.

In the following video, Why We Believe in Gods – Andy Thomson – American Atheists 09, Andy Thomson makes the point:

Morality is doing what is right, regardless what we are told. Religious dogma is doing what we are told, no matter what is right.

We don’t need religion to tell us to practice “good” behavior or to promote hope. We don’t even need a belief in God to accomplish these things. We need empathy and compassion.

Also, two articles on the Psychology of Belief that I found interesting:

Rambling

I took a three and a half hour nap today! I didn’t mean to sleep so long, but I guess I wouldn’t have unless I truly needed it. I could have slept longer; but I hate napping because I know it messes with my sleep schedule, which is why I rarely, if ever, nap. I haven’t been sleeping well, getting far too little sleep for this time of year. Most days for the past couple of months, I feel like I’m sleep-walking through my days, not really there.

I’ve started several posts to my blog over the past month, scrapped every one without posting anything. It’s been over 2 months since I posted to my other blog. I’m not feeling motivated.

We had to euthanize one of our cats last month. Both KR and I are heartbroken over our loss. We sat with her at the vet’s office until she passed. This experience gave me nightmares. I spent most of a couple of weeks sobbing at times, in quiet tears at others. Three weeks later, it still hurts; but the tears come less frequently. Watching our other cats, I wonder, “Do they understand what happened? Do they feel the loss as well?” I think they do.

Is it wrong that I find cats’ level of detachment inspiring?

I’m feeling numb, the usual winter depression taking on a form of dissociation with the added loss of a beloved pet.

Numb dissociation.

Typical.

At what point will I accept this is as good as I get. It’s not that my life is complicated or chaotic now. I purposefully simplify my life to keep it manageable. I understand that most of the chaos and confusion I feel nowadays is internal, more or less perceptually flawed. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, but at least I recognize I have this tendency to make mountain out of mole hills.

I finally saw the nurse practitioner today after an hour and 45 minute wait. She likes to talk, so her appointments always get really backed up as a result. I’m not begrudging her for that. I actually enjoy talking to her. Today, she had an intern with her, though. My first reaction when the intern, alone, came out to get me was an internal panic that went something like: You’re-not-stranger-danger-I-don’t-know-you-how-am-I-going-to-talk-with-you-in-the-room-red-flag!

I had hoped I appeared calm. I generally try to hide my panic (or any emotion, for that matter, when in the presence of others); but all the way back to the NP’s office she was trying to put my mind at ease after observing at least part of my panic, introducing herself, and explaining her reason for being there. I should have cancelled this appointment because I quit taking the Latuda back in December. I told the NP that. She asked about symptoms.

My mind went blank. I don’t even remember what I finally said.

She didn’t pressure me about taking psychiatric medication. For that, I’m grateful. Since I’m not on medication, there is no reason to continue seeing her. Probably the shortest visit I’ve ever had with the NP.