Grandiosity, Branding, and the Purposeless Driven Life

REVISED

square8532Any inclination of mine to become a famous bipolar author — the kind that writes a best-selling book, gets invited to national conventions, gets coverage in the national magazines, etc. –is curbed by one reality: that I live with bipolar disorder and one of my symptoms is grandiosity. Grandiosity — for you outsiders — is different from narcissism in that the latter is strictly an extreme self-love while the former is a beyond-passionate-conviction in a crusade and the belief that one is ordained to be the leader of that crusade. It is a thing that easily falls into a shambles as people are scared away by our hyper-exuberance. As we ramp up into psychosis, we may style ourselves as prophets or even God him/herself. I have been there — once I talked a Quaker Meeting into sponsoring me for a trip to former Yugoslavia in the middle of the 1992 war when I had no clue why it was important for me to be there, other than it being important for me to be there.

Oh, I developed a rationale for my spiritual mission, and I did interesting things such as become one of the first non-journalists to report first-hand on a crisis using the Net. The governments over there didn’t like me much but that is to be expected when you know the Truth and report it through that warped, half-melted lens. The incident leaves me with several doubts about myself — where was this belief that the Spirit was calling me to do this really coming from? and Should I repay those who financed me now that I am disabused myself of the sacredness of my mission? I believe some people — quite a few — tell you that I did good and maybe I did. Others grew to hate me. Since my diagnosis, I am wary of any motivation which suggests that I alone possess a message that should be heard.

A minister friend told me “Joel, you’re a leader.” I don’t know what to do with this since people seem to ignore me out there on the Net. The other thing is that I detest branding. The word smacks too much of the days when cattle were seared on their buttocks. I see many people get out there and become pundits in this disease, but I have to ask for myself “But what else?” As I have said before, I think it is healthy for us to remember how our actions in mania have disturbed the lives of others. These memories can help us identify warning signs of impending psychosis. Two things I watch for: first, just repeating what everyone else is saying. Second, believing that the uniqueness of my voice and activities entitle me to special consideration and respect. I don’t want to be one of those people who says what everyone else says, I don’t want to dress in business suits for talk shows (though I will go if invited), and I don’t want my “brand” to define who I am as a human being anymore than I want people to say “Joel Sax and Bipolar Disorder are the same thing.”

When you experience grandiosity — and its close cousin religiosity — it can destroy what is truly unique about yourself as you sacrifice your very identity as you crash around promoting the Cause. Someone says something interesting? You’ll say it, too, because you want them to join you in The Vision. If someone contradicts you or questions you, they become The Enemy. Paranoia easily enters when Grandiosity opens the door.

I never liked defining myself as functions, so branding never appealed to me. It has been for the better and for the worse. On the one hand, it has freed me to do many things that might be denied me if I labeled myself too narrowly. On the other, it has two negative effects. First, it denies people who think like this a way to condense you into a handle. (I tend to test as hyper-perceptive so labeling feels poisonous though I do it so others can crudely understand what I am on about.) Second, it can lead to a lack of focus: just what am I supposed to be doing in this world? That is a problem that has hounded me since I got my degree.

The idea of purpose also disturbs me. I had a purpose when I was manic. It drove everything I did, reaching into every moment, every interaction. Then in the emptiness of depression, the feeling vanished. I was a dead leaf floating in a brackish pond unable to act. Was this loss of motivation, a product of my attitude or my illness? I suspect the latter. Just like the admonition to exercise, the insistence to set goals is demanding of depressed me to do the impossible.

But purpose or no, I continue to write and take photographs because I do have my own experiences to which few others can relate. I’ve come a long way from my mania days when I felt my gifts were the only ones worth having. As for fame, I have learned to do many things without crediting them to this face. Leadership has changed from being the center of attention to being the one who ensures that things get done, often without fanfare or recognition. I shy away from calling this a purpose because that reminds me too much of the days when I thought I was God’s anointed. Things get done by me because I see that they need doing. That is what drives my volunteer activity, my blog, and my photography. I take satisfaction in what I do and celebrate the contributions of others. I hope people can learn things from me. I hope that the tendrils of the grandiosity kudzu don’t wrap me so completely that I become scattered, unfocused, and certain that I am more glorious than others.

The InterNet Argument Addict

square843Difficult to end when I am feeling stable but energized and impossible when I am manic, InterNet disputes are a drug of choice for me. I just ended an exchange that went on for over an hour with someone on Facebook. She would not stop and neither would I. It seemed to me that no matter what I said to refute her, she kept repeating the same thing over and over. My ire was up: I had a defense to make and, equally important, someone to skewer. Then in the middle of it, I realized that I had become a Facebook Mr. Hyde, shared one last anecdote, and announced the end of my participation. Others have responded to the thread since then and I have not read what they said. Whether they indict me or stand up for me, I shall not involve myself anymore.

Someone is wrong on internet

Long ago — on the abUSENET, I learned that it was a waste of time arguing against the trolls and cranks of the Net. If I spent a long time preparing an intelligent rebuttal to something they said, they’d dismiss it with a brute-force remark or lame witticism. Some even went so far as to create robots that would repeat the same argument every time certain key words appeared anywhere in the newsgroups. You could easily exhaust yourself fighting these. I gave it up for the Web because I realized that the newsgroups were a waste of time.

Continue reading →

This new country: ADD

square835I seem to accrue more and more diagnoses to cover my symptoms. Two months ago, I handed my therapist a pile of questionnaires. A week later, she confirmed a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (without hyperactivity). Two weeks ago, the day after I transferred her findings to my psychiatrist, I began taking Vyvanse.

Having traveled the country of mania before my acquiescence to mood stabilizers, I worried what this daily ingestion of a stimulant might incite in me. The night before I began, my entire body cramped up in dread of losing control. I took the capsule on schedule and went about my day. The kitchen table was a project which had defeated me in the past, so I decided to try it as a test. Somehow I saw the difference between necessary papers and trash, a distinction which I had had trouble gloaming onto before. I packed some of the contents into three boxes, stacked a few books and tablets, and crammed everything else except for my laptop and an iron mouse paperweight into a plastic bag.

Was this mania? I checked for the other signs: Paranoia? No. Grandiosity? No. Irritability? No. Impulsiveness? No.

What I feel now is nothing like mania. I don’t jump to fulfill every whimsey, running up credit cards to their max. I think of myself as just a human being not all that much different from others. The spies and government agents who used to follow me when I was in the throes of bipolar disorder don’t lurk next to the cable hookup outside. I am clear-headed and able to motivate myself. I have discovered that for the longest time I was more depressed than I had realized.

Such a map I lay out. Dismal forests overrun with kudzu swamp my head when I go untreated. This pill, I hope, closes the gap created by the last of my debilitating symptoms. I set my keys and wallet in the same place each night, keep the table clear, and go through the mail every other day for junk mail and old magazines. I find the energy to experiment with my camera and make no excuses for my sluggishness because I just don’t feel that way anymore. The only thing that remains lost to me is my poetic imagination. This new country reserves no place for it, so far, but I shall plow the field for it soon.

Colors

square831Awakening brought a turbulence of thought. The Supreme Court decision, troubles online, and other matters swept through my head — and like a white water raftsman passing through the Inner Gorge, I thrilled to every second of it. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my therapist. I dressed, ate, walked the dog, and then got in the truck for the drive to Laguna Hills. Enroute, I came to a rise on El Toro Road. A pair of bikers mounted the crest. One wore Day-Glo green-yellow and the other a pink so bright to my hypomanic eyes that I averted my gaze so that they wouldn’t hypnotize me. Then I saw the double yellow lines streaming over the top. They had never seemed so brilliant as they had at that moment. I knew by this that my mood was surging with the slope of the road.

“There are certain difficult things that I need to do,” I told my therapist, “but I can’t do them now because I would enjoy them just too much.” She laughed because I was laughing hard.

On the way back, I saw a cop car stopped by the side of the road, its lights flashing. It started moving as I approached, then picked up speed, turned a corner and vanished into traffic. A second sheriff’s deputy came from the opposite direction. Then as I came to a stoplight, a third one entered the intersection, slowing at the crossroads before zooming to the scene of all the excitement, its lights flashing white yellow red, white yellow red.

PTSD and Bipolar: Vampires in the Warehouse

square828I’ve been dreaming of vampires lately. The vampires work normal jobs as clerks in huge warehouse stores. You pass through the aisle and then come to the checkout stand where the vampires are waiting for you. There are people who kill the vampires, but when they do, they turn into vampires themselves. Nicholas Gage is one of the vampire hunters. This is never a good sign.

The stigma I have experienced for being a sufferer of PTSD is worse than that I experience for being bipolar. Though bipolar disorder is not what some call a “casserole illness”, I can at least talk about it without people telling me that my symptoms are figments of my imagination. Standing up for the reality of my bipolar disorder was hard with my mother to be sure, but it was harder to speak about what my childhood had been like. Like many abusers, she denied her part in the emotional and physical abuse perpetrated against me to the very last day of her life. After she died, her friends told me what a great person she was. They did the same for my father. I have learned that the most beneficial salve for this is simply to remind myself that there exist as many different perspectives on each of us as we have relationships. But this comes dangerously close to buying into the denial about what was done to me.

Things continue to trigger me. The other night I was facilitating a support group when a man walked in from the street. We were mid-meeting and were about to listen to a fragile member. “Do you understand what the group is for,” I asked. “I saw the sign that said ‘Quakers’ and thought this is where the Universe wants me to be.” “This is for people living with depression and bipolar,” I said. His eyes lit up. Had he lucked into the right place? I asked him his name. He started bragging that he was a certified NLP1 therapist.

I held up my hand. “You’re trying to control me,” he protested. “We’ll get to you in time. First we listen to Regina.2.” Our NLP therapist took a seat and leaned forward hungrily. I focused my attention on Regina so that the other members of the group would do the same. When she was finished, I made a remark or two, then asked if other members of the group had feedback.

Mr. NLP rattled off a series of probing questions that, in his mind, established him as creditable. The look on his target’s face suggested that she was overwhelmed. Other people looked scared. I held up my hand. “This is inappropriate feedback,” I began.

“You’re trying to control me,” he shot back. “I’m the facilitator of this group,” I replied. “I’m supposed to do that.”

Insert the standard paranoic lecture about people who get off on having a little power into the mouth of Mr. NLP here.

I pointed to the door. “Out.”

His protestation that I couldn’t make him leave was drowned out by five angry women telling that, indeed, he had to go. My wife rose up and crossed the room to hover over him. “You have to leave now!” she said. He stood up and started accusing us of being a bunch of whiners who he could cure. He called my wife bipolar. I followed them to the door where he made his exit. There was shouting, yelling. I saw that the affair was over, so I went back into the meeting room where one member sat calmly in her chair.

“We can just talk you and me if you want,” I said, craving calm.

Lynn came back. Then Regina showed her face at the door. The two other women came back. They requested that we secure the Meeting House so he couldn’t sneak back in. Lynn locked the doors.

I held a moment of silence, then let people talk about what had happened. Many expressed their fear that he was going to be violent. One woman needed to use the bathroom. Lynn went with her. A frantic feeling filled my gut, one of panic not anxiety. I returned the focus to Regina, then continued through the circle. When it came to me I reported that I was shook up and scared. The other members made it clear that they did not fault me.

Afterwards, we gathered in shocked silence in the foyer. Everyone had brought out their cellphones and studied the keypad as if memorizing the correct configuration for Nine One One. I told people that we would all leave together. We went from car to car, checking the back seats as I had learned to do on a college campus years ago. I was the last to leave.

The people in whom I confided my feelings of being scared laughed them off. One person spoke of how she would have liked to have handled the guy and implied that my accompanying people to check the backs of their cars before they left was “oh so American”. “I don’t have that problem because I have a bicycle,” she said.

It has been a chore to write about this in the aftermath of the event itself and the facetious commentary. One fellow survivor of abuse observed on Facebook that people will often shut down the victim relating their experience by outright denying the abuse or otherwise belittling the telling of it. He writes:

It closes the doors for someone to talk about their feelings and forces them to keep it inside. This can destroy a person’s life. Many suicides result from this. Once any of these lines are used, the person may loses trust with the person who used one of these lines. Unfortunately much of this comes from family. The ones who we are supposed to trust to talk about our feelings are the very ones shutting us off. This forces us to seek friends or even strangers to talk to. This type of abuse is worse than the original abuse we went through.

I am worried for myself. I’ve detected faint flashes around the rims of my eyes. I feel the panic of the dream — that there are vampires around me and people treat it as a joke. Worse, I fear signs that I am becoming abusive. Or that my confessions will brand me as untrustworthy.

The final stigma of PTSD that haunts me is the implication that because I don’t have “a thick hide” I am unfit for being in a leadership role among people enthralled in the suffering of mental illness. My sensitivity is a mark against me even though I feel and others have told me that I am more empathetic because of it. This feels like the final revenge of my dead parents: when I was young, it was always my protests that were the problem — not their considerably more violent rages. For the longest time, I have not stood up for myself and when I have done so, I have done it badly. Now it is my sensitivity — my feelings of upset by encounters with aggressive people — that is labeled the problem. Don’t feel. In cases like the one I have just described, I have felt a distinct uneasiness and shame for having allowed the situation to develop. As I told Lynn: “I am sorry that I put you in a situation where you felt you had to act the pit bull.” After all of this, I am the vampire. So far those with whom I have talked about this have not gainsaid me.



  1. Neuro-linguistic Programming — a scientifically discredited therapy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming []
  2. Not her real name []

Guilt vs. Shame: Torture vs. Tool

square803Coming out of a manic episode can be a struggle when we start to consider or hear about the things we did while we were in episode. I have many sorrows to relate: there was the time, for example, when I decided to have a race down a crowded city street in Palo Alto with another person — possibly also bipolar — who cut me off.

I put the pedal to the metal and swerved around several vehicles, cutting them off as I had cut off the jerk who — in my mind at least — had started it all.

My wife was in the seat next to me, clutching the handle in front of her and all but screaming for me to slow down.

I did manage to realize what I was doing after a few cars honked at me and flipped me off.

No one got hurt, but afterwards I felt badly — I had lost control — that I had come so close to the point where I might have ended up in jail or on a slab in the morgue next to my wife.

There’s a scene in The Silver Linings Playbook where the main character is so frantic looking for his wedding video that he knocks his mother down by accident. This is the kind of violence that people with bipolar disorder are mostly known for. Like the Bradley Cooper character I never set out to harm people, but I came too close for their comfort. People were afraid of me.

Therapists often tell us to forget about such things, to write them off as “things we did in mania”. They are trying to save us from the daily self-torture known as guilt. Every time we are reminded, we think we must put ourselves on a rack and stretch until we cry out.

But I don’t think that is a very good answer because I have seen people give themselves too much license. “I did that in one of my episodes, so it is OK.” They miss the point: many of the things we do in mania are harmful. A few of us have spent large amounts of money — run up credit cards and stolen to feed the rampant materialism of mania. We may choose to ignore the anger that overwhelms those around us. Or the acts of vandalism — one guy I know put a hole in the wall with hist fist — that frighten those we love.

I don’t think the answer is feeling guilty but part of my recovery has been to feel a proper amount of shame for the demonic releases that I perpetrated while I was high on my illness.

Guilt doesn’t do anything except make us feel awful. It is torturing ourselves over and over again for the things that we did.

I prefer to engage in shame. What is the difference? Guilt punishes us repeatedly. Shame reminds us that the thing we did was harmful. We don’t muse over it, we don’t spend our time getting the high again or inflicting emotional damage like an experimental psychologist might electrify the floor of a cage to punish a rat.

In guilt, we keep revisiting the scene of the crime. In shame, we simply say “What I did was wrong. And I will not go back there.” This means that we take steps to prevent future episodes of mania and live as responsible human beings. Our episodes are no longer an excuse: they are things we avoid.

Gun Addiction

square792The nation’s mental health experts are hard at work trying to explain yet another mass shooting. In some cases, they have been able to find a root psychiatric cause such as bipolar disorder, but usually they confront a mystery. People with mental illnesses are more often the victims of bullying and more violent crime than they are the perpetrators. So what can we do to better understand these slaughters and the obsession on the parts of some which lead them to hold out against any meaningful gun reform.

Think about cocaine. Most people take a snort and are satisfied with the experience of having tried it. A few, however, can never get enough once they have tried it. Thousands of dollars go up their nose as they try to satisfy the intense craving for the sense of power that cocaine enthralls its users in. They ruin their lives, the lives of their family as they become more and more convinced that life is impossible without the processed powder of the coca plant.

Guns act in a similar way. Some of us fire a gun once or twice for the experience and that is enough. Others can never have enough firepower. They buy gun after gun, bullet after bullet. The idea that the government may come to take their guns away becomes an obsession: they can’t imagine life without it and they become consumed with paranoia about separation from their addiction.

For this reason, I don’t call people “gun nuts” because, frankly, that insults the overwhelming majority of us who have mental disorders who have no interest in violence. Because the addiction model fits ever so snugly, I speak of gun addicts, instead, because there is nothing so pathetic as a guy who thinks that his arsenal is going to protect him from anyone who really wants to kill him — an illusion that cost one Internet gun personality his life.

Gun addiction is expensive and dangerous — not so much to others as to one’s self. As the diagram at the end of this article shows, your average gun is more often used to kill others or kill oneself than it is to protect one’s property. In fact, guns tend to attract burglaries rather than deter them.

Most gun owners retain sane relationships with their property, but there are those — the Alex Joneses of the world — who certainly could stand an intervention. The most disturbing thing is that the same frat house ethos that eggs people on to drink also works with guns. And with the #NRA playing interference with sane and reasonable gun laws that even its members — if not its national board — support, the party goes on and on.

There needs to be a new classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. 55 guns is beyond sanity. Alex Jones and others like him require some time in rehab.

guninthehome

Accountability and Loss of Memory

square790I’ve seen many people in bipolar support groups counsel the newly diagnosed not to feel shame for things they did while they were in episode: it was the disease that did it, not them is the reasoning. This cleaving of the self, I think, does not help us get a handle on the illness and its effects on others in our life. In fact, it strikes me as downright irresponsible: you never have to make amends1 for anything you did.

Too often, I have seen people who say this to themselves relapse repeatedly. Perhaps it is due to the fact that they do not understand the seriousness of their disorder. Or maybe they desire license to act on impulses that they would reject on moral grounds if they were in their better minds2

I take a different approach: I am responsible for my actions even when I do not remember them. Because of my denial of my illness, I harmed others. Therefore I either make peace with them or avoid them so they are not disturbed or shocked by my return to their lives.

But there is a bonus: because I am accountable, I get to own the good things I did with more resolve. I get to own the steps I have taken towards resilience3.

Here is the grim truth: if I do not take ownership of the bad things I did while in episode, I cannot own the good things I accomplished. To claim otherwise invokes a socipathy that case workers and other mental health practitioners best not encourage.



  1. I have heard from some that making amends has nothing to do with apologizing. By some warped logic, it means for some trying to avoid the full impact of our illness nothing more than admitting to yourself what you did without making restitution or apology to those we harmed while addicted or in the throes of mental illness. I find this cheap recovery and I am suspicious of anyone who flaunts it. []
  2. Families might find it better for their sanity to forgive things done in episode for the sake of their sanity while expecting the patient who now knows better to take proper steps to minimize further recurrences. []
  3. I believe that one cannot recover from mental illness. What one can do is do a number of things such as taking one’s meds, exercise, cognitive reform, etc. to lessen the frequency of my episodes and decrease their intensity. []

Depression Finds References Everywhere

square776Sorry for my absence. I got word a few weeks ago that my mother had a [[glioblastoma]] growing in her head and had only a few weeks to live. Since then, I have been swinging from depression to mania and back again, with a day or two here and there where I feel neither condition. When I feel [[hypomanic]], I feel curiously happy though without reference to anything in the world. Depression, of course, finds references everywhere.

So I am waiting, scanning negatives, cleaning out boxes. I don’t know how much longer this will go on.

Odd Logic by the Anti-Medication Crowd

square769The anti-medication crowd among us bipolars sounds off in a strident voice. Medications, they tell us, are little more than an attempt by the pharmaceuticals industry to enslave us. According to them, psychotropics kill us and prevent us from experiencing the full impact of our glorious emotions1 . Psychiatrists are predators who don’t know how to cure people, only get them addicted.

Sometimes, their arguments betray a certain loss of reality as does this gem from a comment by an anti-med proponent:

Consider for example: “Drugs Work” because “We Tried Drug X on patient Y” and “Effect Z happened in response to Drug X tried on patient Y” and “We Liked What We Saw” and “We Are The Sole Arbiters Of What We Like” therefore “We are Right” and “We Know What We Are Doing” and “Drug X has effect Z” and “People like patient Y need Drug X” and “We Can Supply Drug X” so “Patient Y should get Drug X from us on a perpetual basis” is not explicitly circular, but if you try to complete the logical dependencies, logical circularities will result or else the explanation will grow out of control. Any thoughts on this kind of thinking?

Did you follow that? Later, when the talk turns to statistics:

[C]onsider these: 100% of dead people who have taken medication have died. 0% of living people who have not taken medication have died. Living people who have been given medication may die, and almost certainly will. So, based on these statistics, should we be offering medication?

This writer thinks he has hit on a profundity. I think it illustrates the tragic loss of rationality that can afflict us in mania.



  1. Fuck you, [[Thomas Szasz]]. []

The Scary Guy Defense

square715A friend of mine who is a mental health professional in Germany and I often watch a certain social media site for signs of distress among the denizens. Recently, I dropped her a note about one fellow who struck me as being on the proverbial roller coaster. She shuddered when she checked him out and told me that she was sure that he was going to be explosive.

All this causes me to look back at my own behavior when I was in extremis. The world looks as if it is always about to teeter and dump you and anyone close by into a pit. Some people find this fascinating. They hover around you, watching you as you rant and rave about your unsteadiness and the threat the world poses toward you. They are often nice people, kind people. You think they don’t know you, they can’t possibly know you. And their proximity adds to your sense of [[Koyaanitsqatsi]].1

They laugh at your jokes. They find you interesting. The edge of an episode cleaves your consciousness. You are beginning to repeat yourself. What can you do to right things again so that you can resume stability? The problem, your troubled mind jumps to conclude without reasoning, is that you are dangerous. So you have to show them that you are genuinely and truly mad. You launch into what is called the Scary Guy Defense.

Thanks to your mania or mixed state, you have already emitted a series of cues that suggest you are losing it. You raise your voice. You shake. You wave your arms. Words pour out of your mouth at an erratic pace. The lids of your eyes roll back and the orbits bulge out. The euphoria squares your shoulders and tenses every muscle sliding across every bone in your body. A terrible strength props you up. And it seems fit to exaggerate these symptoms because you want people to run away, because nothing scares you more than the prospect of your body flipping blindly about and striking one of the gentle ones. You pull on a monster mask because you don’t want to hurt anyone.2



  1. In Hopi: “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living” []
  2. One time I got into an email exchange with a Berkeley student who shared my interest in [[Stephen Sondheim]]. With each long letter, I felt encroached upon. So I suggested she come down to Palo Alto to have a threesome with my wife. It worked. She never contacted me again. []

Arguing with the God Within

square705Near the end of Ingmar Bergman’s classic [[Winter Light]], the troubled minister who is the film’s main character, can’t decide whether to hold the 3 o’clock service or not. His day has been especially depressing because he gave counseling to a parishioner who subsequently committed suicide that very afternoon, he fought with his mistress, and he has the flu. The church sexton, a disabled survivor of a railroad accident, talks to him about the part of the Gospels which he has been reading, the Passion.

Jesus, the sexton reasons, didn’t suffer all that much on the cross. Why, the janitor goes on, he personally suffered more pain in his life than the four hours that afflicted Jesus and his pain was probably much worse. No, the [[crucifixion]] is not the most important segment of the Passion. Think of the [[Garden of Gethsemane]], he says. The [[Last Supper]] is done. The disciples who have accompanied him have no clue about what is about to happen, so they go to sleep. Jesus is all alone, so he kneels down to pray. And what does God the Father say to him? Nothing. God is silent. And that, the sexton reasons, is the most terrible ordeal that Jesus endures.

Agnostic that I am, I still value the Gospels as a guide for understanding the suffering that is happening in my life. But what I would give for a silent God at times! In the void, my depressions fill the emptiness with the voice that is the worst of the Old Testament combined with Catholic guilt. I call this my inner god — a false god to be certain — because its primary purpose is to torment me. My illness exists, according to this voice, for the purpose of punishing me. But therapist after therapist has asked me What have I done that is so terrible that I deserve this constant hammering at my self-esteem? I can throw out a number of things, but they are all trivial compared to the actions of some of my peers who feel no shame for what they wreak against others1 Surely there should come a place where my penance is over? But no matter what amends I make, the god inside me continues to berate me and declare me worthless.

One reason why I value my manias is that they shut down this voice entirely. Only my own ideations occupy me — obsessively. My thoughts race from project to project, propounding desperate philosophies that enthrall me more than [[methamphetamine]]. The evil god, the blasphemer against my happiness is put to death and does not rise again until I crash. Then for more than forty days at a stretch, the god assaults me with shame.

For the depressed and the anxious, the silence of God is a scream.

This post is in response to Day 9 of the Health Activist Writers Challenge: “Health Activist Choice



  1. Do you hear me, [[Newt Gingrich]]? []