Awareness

There’s an old Peanuts comic strip featuring Lucy and Linus, in which Linus announces he is aware of his tongue.  Now you’re aware of your tongue, it’s sitting there in your mouth, and you.  are.  aware. that.  it.  is.  there.

Exactly Charles Schultz’ point.  You can suddenly become aware of something small or  irrelevant and your focus diverts to it for a while until life distracts you away from it.  Your fingernail.  Your rear.  Your elbow.  Your knee.  And having announced his awareness to Lucy, she suddenly becomes aware of her tongue, and calls Linus a “blockhead.”  And after the over-awareness, we get back to life.

So this is my hope for today.  I know I haven’t written in a while.

Honestly, I’m depressed and life hasn’t been great and nothing has really changed.  I’ve been making myself busy in the hope of distracting myself from the depression, which is my go-to.  And over the past maybe three weeks or so, it’s gotten worse, circumstantially and emotionally.  It’s not getting any better, despite prayer, work, anger, relationships, and other things I’ve tried in order to distract myself from my awareness of my depression.

Further awareness advises me that another “awareness” is just my depression talking, so take it with a grain of salt:

I am aware of my irrelevance.

In Christ-follower circles, people reassure each other that they matter.  In this recent wave of depression, I’ve become aware of, and focused on, my personal irrelevance.  I’m waiting for God to show me whether my irrelevance should continue letting other people suffer from it, or whether He can set things up such that my irrelevance doesn’t continue to interfere with other people.  I have a specific prayer for a specific answer.  If the answer is affirming to me, to show me I’m wrong about my irrelevance, or perhaps minimally, I’m blowing my irrelevance out of proportion, then I hope to receive the specific answer I’ve asked for, or something better.  If the answer is not affirming, I can expect to hear nothing, and to see further evidence that I should continue in despair.

This depression has lasted longer than “normal.”  I was getting used to a 4 month depression, but my circumstances haven’t changed and I feel like I’ve been depressed now for about 5 or 6 months.  It lends further credence to my theory that my depression is partially circumstantial and not just chemical.  I’m still getting up and going to work and coming home and doing housework and watching the kids grow up and telling Mrs M I love her, but it feels mechanical, and I’m not able to do anything more.

These pills only make me move, an animated angry mummy, still feeling dead inside these wrappings.  But I want to be like Lazarus (John 11), after they took the wrappings off.  I want God to show me that I matter to Him.  I want to be alive, and free.

NEWS MEDIA: YOUR STUPIDITY AND BIAS AGAINST MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE ARE SHOWING! AGAIN! STFU!

bipolar shooter

First, let me apologize for taking this harsh a position because I don’t know the actual facts of the situation.

But second, FUCK ALL YOU STUPID IGNORANT ASININE NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS! 

And third, FUCKING STOP IT!  YOU ARE IGNORANT of ALL ASPECTS OF MENTAL HEALTH, so FUCKING STOP MISREPORTING AND SUGGESTING BULLSHIT when you DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE BLABBERING ON ABOUT because all you want to do is fill your pages and your news reports with horrid news wherein you malign people with labels that are fucking “possibly” true (and equally “possibly” complete fucking BULLSHIT), and give the mainstream audience an explanation that in some supposed-to-be-comforting-to-mainstream-audiences way, says it’s WE vs THEY, and THEY are mentally ill people.

The truth is that the late accused shooter is dead and can’t be properly diagnosed, the family has no clue what the fuck went down, and conspiracy theorists are already saying he wasn’t alone in the room and someone else was probably shooting from the other window that was broken, and eye-witnesses described two people walking calmly down the hall away from his room before the police had control of the room, who may have shot the guy themselves after shooting down at the concert-goers.  The authorities did not find and detain these two for questioning or a gunshot residue test, so THEY DON’T KNOW!

And, as I have already expressed, from my experience and all the genuine hearsay evidence and personal testimonials I have ever evereverever ever seen, bipolar people are not the enemy.  When we’re up, we’re up and we love life and people and have the ability, most of the time, to ignore a great deal of stupidity and bullshit circling in our orbit.  When we’re down, we doubt ourselves, we’re anxious and prone to panic attacks, the bullshit piles up around us until we feel hopelessly and helplessly buried and someone hid the fucking shovel and all we want to do is stay home in bed and be left the fuck alone.  And there’s the rage, sure, but it’s not something I’ve ever heard being used against people except in words (see also… this fucking article), maybe occasional screaming or throwing plates, cell phones, and other relatively harmless and avoidable objects.  And then there’s the hypersexuality, but I don’t hear MY victim bitching about THAT.  For the record, I don’t throw things, except piles of assorted clutter, and I don’t throw them AT PEOPLE.  I’ve never thrown a knife (but I think I’d like to learn and practice that).

Criminals are the enemy if you want to play it like that, and I haven’t heard any plausible reports that mental illness in general, nor bipolar disorder, are undeniably proven as causal of criminal behavior.  “Mentally ill” in any given news report, is bullshit.  It is a pall to put over any given dead criminal, such as a bomber, mass shooter, bank or gas station robber, or whomever the news wants to protect, portraying them as helpless fucking idiot lame-brains who seem to have had no choice but to turn to the dark side and go somewhere to kill people until the police come to shoot back and then scrape their eyes and what’s left of their heart off the walls and their brains and liver off the floor for the autopsy, and hose the blood out of the carpets.  And the fucking mysterious and poorly represented and totally not understood people with bipolar read or hear the reports and we collectively know it’s utter BULLSHIT.  Even at my worst rage I still know I have choices of whether and what to throw and in what direction, and if there were any, the people I might actually want to throw shit at aren’t anywhere close enough for it to serve me any real benefit.

Mrs M (bless her heart) turned on her choice of news channel today, looking for the temperature after sending me to take the dog for a walk, and then I endured the reports of two fires in a neighboring city’s low-rent downtown-ish area (here, if you dare, read “shithole”), with “THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF WATER FLOODING THE STREETS!!” like it’s the beginning of the end of the fucking world because the firemen PUT OUT THE DAMNED FIRE, and USED WATER TO DO IT!!  That’s the idiotic sensationalism I CAN’T STAND!  I honestly don’t think the fucking weather ever came on before we left the house this morning.

All that and I had already told her it’s not raining, and the temperature is in the mid 40s or low 50s.  FFS.

Oooh, (if we’re to believe it) the Vegas shooter was a germophobe!  I’m fucking terrified, because Howie Mandel is too, and he hasn’t been locked up yet.  And oooh, (if we’re to believe it) he was bipolar too.  Well, if that’s true, then when will the authorities send the fucking rubber truck over, give me one of those NICE fucking robes that let me hug myself because no one else will, and feed me and do all my chores and give me a nice warm bed to sleep in, and don’t hold me responsible for MY actions (or inaction)?  I loved Howie Mandel from back in the day- the adorable “Bobby’s World” cute little fucker, the actually funny, not forced-funny, guy with the rubber glove on his head, before all of this damnable “reality TV” gameshow formatted so-called “talent” shit started overtaking anything that might have actually been a tolerable alternative to the news.

I shut off the damned TV and my son took it over to play his time-wasting video games for a while.  It’s off again, but now on my computer the news feed is shoveling out this shit.  And “normal” “mentally healthy” people are comforted with the “possible” explanation for the alleged criminal’s alleged behavior so they can ignore the conspiracy theorists theories and eye witness accounts of the other things that might have happened.  If the conspiracy theorists are right, the gun control advocates who engineer (YES, I FUCKING SAID IT!), and/or manipulate, reporting of such events have won again, the “normal” people still have their shallow opinions and misconceptions about mental illnesses in general and bipolar in specific, the criminal or criminals in the hallway get away with it again, and live to do it all over again somewhere else, and people with mental illness in general and bipolar in specific, lose yet again, in a battle they didn’t pick to fight, and they’re relegated to the “special-needs” room.  And the news media ass holes get away with reporting bullshit-as-fact AGAIN, give a smarmy smile through their straight, bleached, capped, perfect teeth, and tell us all to “have a nice day.”

I dread Monday morning already, because I know the news will be on (I love you, Mrs. M., but your choice of morning programming is awful!), and we’ll all be served thick, “gravy” covered slices of creamed bullshit on toast, to go with our coffee.  Fuck.  If it’s all the same, can I skip breakfast and just have my damned coffee?

It’s the Little Things

Yeah, I’ve got things to be thankful for even as I had to prepare to work today.  Yippee.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, I should be sleeping off Triptophan and whiskey while Mrs M spends money I don’t have on things I don’t want for Christmas “because they’re on sale.”  I’ve got a garage full of things and I can’t fit my car in there, but yesterday I ran across bath toys my kids haven’t used in …10 years?  Does that make them “vintage,” so I can sell them on e-bay and make my millions?  I fear not.

The little things, I’m thankful for them and despite being depressed in general about life events and being barely afloat unless I decide to fix my teeth and set myself back a few thousand, or until one of the cars breaks again (and sets me back a few thousand more).  I say “more,” because we really got drive-shafted last time I tried to keep my old car running relatively safely.  It was a “classic,” a vintage model POS.  You know the type, they cost a ton and the check engine light pops on right after you get it home from the mechanic, or “the razzafrazz chiklitzerings need replacing or it won’t be safe to drive.  It’s pretty urgent.  Those things could break any time, and you could be stranded on the side of the road, and you don’t want that.”  Or the tires spin on 1/16″ of water so God forbid it should snow.  The car shop “fixed” the car once, and it broke down almost immediately and we paid them to “fix” it again, whereupon it broke down a third time, and we declined their services and traded for another used POS.  And we get what you get when you trade one POS for another:  another person’s problems became our problems.  I’m currently driving a newer model POS, so I’m thankful for it, despite the need for two new tires, and the damned check engine light being on, and the back doors randomly locking, and the window motor being broken so unless I keep vigilantly pulling the damned window up MANUALLY it leaks.  I put one palm on the outside, the other palm on the inside, and give the thing an upward jerk (fml, I’m an upward jerk!).  Anyway, the car before the other old car was a REAL POS, and we wasted going into serious debt before realizing the auto repair people were racketeers and we were never going to get the thing working well enough, so we cut our losses a few thousand too late.

We try to be trusting.  But we learned, I hope.  It’s just, we’re STILL trying to dig our way out, and actual cost of living has nothing to do with income, and merit raises have nothing to do with actual merit at my company.  There’s a list of repairs on the cars to be made, my wife drives a POS brand Minivan that has rusted to the point a jack won’t raise it from the side to change a tire.  It broke through the rust last time I tried, in a few places.  It’s possible a board on top of the jack would distribute the weight better among the rusted spots, but I’m not holding my breath.  If she gets a flat out on the road, I fear we’re screwed and it has to be towed somewhere.  Plus, the jack is too tall to accommodate a board and still fit under when the tire is flat and the car is lower.  Yay, car fun.

If I weren’t so blessed I wouldn’t have these first world problems to deal with.  God provides a minimum.  We can afford a little less than the rest of what I believe we need, which I chafe at thinking that I don’t need what I think I need.  There was a generous shot of whiskey, sufficient to make yesterday’s celebration that much more festive for me, and I am grateful.  The good people at a local church have provided us with some food, I am grateful.  Insurance has been granted for another year for our daughter, so I am grateful, as she uses a number of medications and is hopefully learning from a counselor that provides.  Our cars are running, in the style of Penny’s from Big Bang Theory, that is to say, with the check engine lights on.  And we were provided a car for our daughter somewhat miraculously, when it was time for that.  So I am grateful.

But what I want, and what I think I need, is to be enabled to move on to something greater.  (See also John 14:12, from a guy who’s not very good at John 14:15)

I hear some people say there’s a “calling” for their lives.  Am I missing it, or am I here?  And if I’m here, what am I supposed to do?  Maybe I’m here to encourage.  And I’m grateful for people online who care, we are a great community.  I try to be encouraging.  Even when I am feeling none of it.  I spend time when you come to mind, praying for you individually and as a group.  I know Christ-followers say they do, and I’ve been guilty of saying and not doing, but I really do pray for our circle.

I know, even when we have to grin and bear it, or cry and hate it, or vent because no one else will listen, I can.  And I know, even when my heart wants to deny the realities and benefits of my faith, at my core I do believe in a God Who cares.  Life is more than food and clothing (and cars and other shit that falls apart Matthew 6:19, 31-34).  There’s a spiritual component, an eternal component, and we need to be aware of this and handle that business too.

I’m encouraged and grateful for the confidence I have in eternal and spiritual things that goes deeper than I can believe.  Even if the world is completely wrong (and it often is) God still cares and helps me through the lost feelings I often have because the world is completely wrong. (To minimize the reading requirement above, verses 18-24 are really enough to understand, confusing as they can be when life is upside down or sideways.)

I know verses 16 to 18 are there, and I could let that upset me.  Oh, sure, sometimes I let it, but I know I shouldn’t.  It could be a communication issue, because my Christ-following “brothers and sisters” don’t seem to understand well enough (or perhaps are less innocent than just not understanding, but who am I to accuse?) to help.  They don’t know what I really need, because I don’t know what I really need.  And when I have tried to communicate it, I’ve had empty promises or confusion or less than I thought I needed.  I’m grateful for the help I received at that particularly low period in my life.  I have one friend at church who seemed to understand, when I hit that very humiliating and crushing low and reached out.  Actually, Mrs M reached out, because I didn’t think I should, I thought that God should answer my cry for help.  But after that, when another low came, I found out I have a group of “friends” who are in authority who told me they already helped us once, and I should “just” get a better job to cure my esteem problem and my depression problem and my poverty problem all in one fell swoop.  Which would be great, but the “funny” (not very funny) part is, I gave the friend (a deacon) who seemed to understand a resume, WITH my educational credentials and history of volunteer service, but I’m not considered a good candidate when a (paid) pastoral staff position opens.  So, is that really a “friend,” or just a good actor?

And I also know verse 22 is there, and I could let that upset me because I don’t have “whatever I ask,” but I know I shouldn’t.  There are those annoying conditions I’m supposed to meet before we receive whatever we ask, and I know I don’t because I’m not that good at “keep[ing] His commands and do[ing] what pleases Him.”  I’m well-intentioned, but sometimes I’m better at the opposite, or at doing little to nothing, depending on my energy level.

But if I can care about people here online, and sometimes succeed at encouraging others, and sometimes succeed at actually helping others in some tiny ways, in spite of feeling like I’m basically useless, worthless, and helpless at my own life, why can’t I do that in real life, and only here online?

Welcome to The Bipolar Online Church!  I’m pastor Deon Mumple, and I’m here to care about you, and pray for you, and if I can, help you, in the name of Jesus.  Let me know.  I will absolutely do what I can, and will absolutely pray for the rest.  I’ve seen some unexpectedly oddly twisted answers in response to some prayers, and marvelled, despite the lack of very many resoundingly complete answers that I wanted toward any prayers I’ve made for myself.  And thank you for caring about me too- I’ll just presume you do if you’ve bothered to read this far in, whether you are a Christ-follower or not.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I hope you have enough of the little things to be grateful for, in spite of any First (or second, or third) world problems we may face.

With those little things, I hope it was enough for you to have had a good Thanksgiving holiday celebration.  And I hope the weekend is restful enough for us to be on track for a good week to follow.

Blessings.

Deon (the not very reverend) Mumple

I Think You’re Beautiful (A song for my whole tribe)

I think you’re beautiful, you, with that soul,
Sharing life’s hardships, each taking its’ toll,
Heart marked by darkness, stirring to light,
We learn to love but sometimes love’s a fight,
Dreaming those beautiful dreams like you do,
I think you’re beautiful.  You.  Yes, YOU.

I think I love you.  No, it’s not a crush.
Sometimes we laugh, we flirt, I love your blush,
When life is challenging, encouragement
When I’m too quiet, that caring comment
We have each other, in good times and blue,
I think…no, I love you.  You.  Yes, YOU.

I think you’re beautiful, pain, scars, and all
Facing all of life’s fears, crushed, standing tall
Though others may not say, you make me proud,
So glad to call you “friend,” always, I’ve vowed.
We lift each other’s hearts, our hopes, renew,
I think you’re beautiful.  You.  Yes, YOU.

Grown-ass Geeks Baiting Trolls

The two…or possibly three… of you who follow my blog are fully aware that my writing is crap.  So am I.  But fortunately for me, you’re the kind, gentle sorts of souls who tenderly say encouraging things anyway.   But now, after two years of blissful goings-on about life’s traumas, cyclothymic disorder with mixed episodes, the bullshit at work, the bullshit at home, and the lovely way all things here, there, and in between fall apart, and being left alone by misunderstanding haters, it’s happened.  I’m a shitty writer, and someone has called me on it.

How did I react?

I laughed at it, because I’m thick-skinned like that.  And because one must give deference to one’s betters.  I could have just commented:

Oh, look! A troll!  Someone get the torches.  Forget the pitchforks; where the fuck did I put my two-handed sword?  Oh, fan-fucking-tastic, you’ve used it to grill the shish-kebabs this time, haven’t you, Mrs. M.  What was it last time?  Oh yeah, I remember, you used it to open that cereal bag.  And because I keep all the knives in the house sharp, it worked, when nothing else in the whole house would!  It’s fine, I know where the dishwashing detergent is, and I’m not afraid to use it.  And, you’ve done it again, Mrs. M, these kebabs and rice are aMAzing; almost as amazing as YOU are.  Thank you!”

Back in my high school geeky days (mostly weekend nights, actually) of playing Dungeons and Dragons, we used to roll the dice until our characters had hacked those things to bits and then scraped the bits into a fire pit, along with ogres, goblins, orcs, assorted other monsters, such as the occasional dragon.  That’s right; laugh it up!  I’m old and geeky.  So fucking what?  Just to tell you HOW old, as a VERY young Deon, I first played the ORIGINAL Dungeons and Dragons that came in a small box, with one small pamphlet of instructions!  Thank you, Ernest Gary Gygax!

I also watched the reruns of Star Trek, whenever my older sister wasn’t watching her stupid Little House on the Prairie.  Damn it, Michael Landon!  It was YOUR fault, because she thought you were cute.  It’s not even really your fault, you rugged, beautiful bastard!  I blame Bill Shatner for his unbearable self-awareness-of-his-own-awesomeness-of-being-Bill, and ALL the rest of his male co-stars for not being quite sexy enough.  I can hear the late DeForest Kelley, weirdly addressing Jimmy Doohan as Jimmy Doohan and not Montgomery Scott, in character as Dr. McCoy:  “Damn it, Doohan!  Why didn’t you step up your game?  If you just tried harder with the single ladies instead of just romancing the single-malt scotches, Captain Kirk would have been eclipsed by Scotty’s wild (mock-)Scottish charm!”

Leonard Nimoy AND his character Mr. Spock would both have given assent to the unexpected logic of DeForest’s Dr. McCoy as DeForest, if he ever had said it in their hearing.

The braver of my readers who religiously follow what I write, and vigorously defend my right to write it, are already on the way to the troll’s domain to burn it down and hack the troll into tribble-chow.  Don’t eat that shit, you poor tribbles!  It’ll taste like shit and give you upset stomachs (because it IS shit).  And calm down, you beautiful followers!  I think I handled it, and without my beloved two-handed sword. (I keep a variety of imaginary and enchanted items in my bunker, including this blindingly shiny, sharper-than-shit, two-handed, plus seven sword, with a three-out-of-twenty chance of instantly decapitating my enemies and a five-out-of-twenty chance of causing an enemy to bleed out within two turns.)  I’m going to be fine, having had experience with everything from demons, bullies, and fiends, to various lesser ass holes including the occasional troll, since my childhood.

There I was, innocently reading an enlightening and well-written article about current trends in news and sociology.  That should surprise my loyal readers, because I hate the news.  And I hate the social trends, for the most part.

There are good things coming out of certain social trends, such as intimidating current and would-be harassers and abusers of women, and letting them know that modern American society as a loud group, and women as a now empowered and vocal subset of that group, do not want guys to try to pull any of that kind of shit, ever, and aren’t going to let guys get away with it if we have anything to say, or do, about it.

Another good social trend is letting victims of bullying know it’s not our fault, and asserting to would-be bullies that bullying is ugly and causes lasting harm.  It also teaches that the kid you bully today may grow up to collect bullies’ bodies in his back-yard rose garden.  I’d potentially call it “social justice,” or “karma,” if I believed either were possible.  But if a victim of bullying is strong enough, they can sometimes figure out ways to approach their trolls.  There are ways of slaying trolls that don’t involve actual rusty ochre bloodshed.

Bullies, stalkers, muggers, and rapists, they’re all cut from the same cloth.  They are shitheads who see an opportunity to take an unfair advantage of others, and take it. Another of the same are the thieves who steal investor’s money and tell them the stock market crashed, and another is the rich bosses who vigorously underpay their employees and work hard to try to bullshit them into thinking they’re not victims of trickle-down corporate greed, they’re actually getting better than they deserve, because according to the company’s standards, they’re worthless.  But sadly, social justice is rarely truly just, and karma doesn’t show up on a regular-enough basis.  It’s just as random as the rest of life, leaving lots of victims invisibly suffering at the hands of their assailants.  The victims rarely come forward, because they report any events at their own peril.

“So, Deon, how did you deal with this troll?” I hear one voice asking.

I complimented him.

I left it up to him to decide if I was complimenting him on his highly superior knowledge, literary talent, and amazing use of …um… uhhh… what’s the word?  Oh yeah.  “Words.”  Or if I was being sarcastic.  It’s possible that he’s the best writer the internet has ever seen.  In my comment, I told him he probably is.  It’s also possible, in the nicest and most complimentary way I could (with my feeble verbal skills), that I meant the opposite, that he’s a useless, lowbrow troglodyte, a waste of a perfectly good shit-sack, who should fuck off and not troll or insult me or anyone else, ever again.

Either way, one hopes, he may mend his ways.  If he’s the latter and I was being sarcastic, perhaps he’ll realize that bullying and putting on airs of superiority don’t win any friends, so he’ll decide to be less (undeservedly) prideful, more constructive, and less critical with his comments.  If he’s the former, in fact truly superior, and committed to his own, greater-than-Shatnerian greatness, he’ll realize that with his giftedness, he is only wasting his time approaching anyone beneath his deservedly high and lofty station, and he won’t bother to comment or try to encourage anyone to improve their writing skills because we’re not worthy.

Um…  I meant it as a compliment.  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  Because if anyone commenting humorously on someone else’s blog gets a comment from a third blogger, intent on asserting their own superiority while insulting the humor-writer’s writing skills, it’s the obvious go-to response.  Right?  Especially since he said he read my tag line, so he knew everything he needed to know about me, and my blog, and how to pass fair and righteous judgement, and execute written condemnation.

Yeah, he knows all about seasons of sleepless mania, seasons of depression, triggers, bipolar and all other manners of mental health issues, too.  I bet if he applied his obvious superior knowledge and skills to the field, he could cure us all within a fortnight.  Imagine, no longer needing or feeling compelled to hide because of all the panic-inducing shit in the world!  Imagine, no longer needing medication to feel closer to whatever “normal” feels like!  Imagine, not feeling out-of-control!  Imagine not worrying that what you think is real might not be!  Imagine not stressing out because toxic people tell you you’re not enough and you never will be, even though you keep trying and trying to measure up to what they say they want, so they will accept your offerings and service without criticism!  Imagine not having any trace of a rage that makes one want to choke the living shit out of all manner of evil- bullies, trolls, abusers, rapists, corporate executives, their managers, and other thieves, muggers- and stupid newscasters who report all the horrors in the world with smiles plastered on their perfectly groomed heads and then tell people to “have a nice [fucking] day.”

About my writing talents, sure.  He was obviously right.  He very constructively told me that he was the superior writer, and that I should bask in silent awe at the glory that is his relatively infinite knowledge and talent.  I know!  But some people, like my kind readers so far, have been too nice to tell me.  And I thank you.

Obsessed

Obsessed, 07/19/2017, Deon Mumple

When I wake up, you’re on my mind,
Add the chaos of routine every day,
When routine’s never quite routine, I find,
It’s to routine, I wish I could get away.

I sip my coffee, check, and think of you,
Try to smile, check, and to start to pray.
There isn’t ever enough time to do
Everything, and change is here to stay.

The hornets’ nest spins at the queen’s command,
Minions rise to detest her fair bidding,
I throw guesses in a bag, to face work’s demands,
With blurred eyes.  Don’t imagine I’m kidding.

She might kiss, brutally, before she’s mini-vanned
Well-hid exhaustion behind beautiful flurry
Then I regret everything failed I’d planned, and
Check again, then rush off, in my own too-slow hurry.

Radio drones simulate everything’s great; all stupidity,
As we drive to work, dodging two-plus ton bullets,
Too much laughter at things that aren’t funny,
Then a song, the only escape we might get.

On the outside pretending I give a shit for work goals,
I think of you, when not spitting silent bile at my screens,
Hope you’re all right, remembering your life’s tolls,
Wait for a break, hope you’ve written anything.

I might write, stealing time from a self-made hole,
Leave the reader wondering what it means
Don’t be alarmed, the writer would barely know
Tomorrow, from yesterday’s routines

Don’t worry, I’ve got a routine to hang from
Don’t alarm yourself for my emotional state
If change shreds all, who knows what will come?
Would it be worse than what I now hate?

Before I try to sleep, I check one more time,
To see if you’ve checked in, in some tiny way,
An email,  rant, a narrative, a tear, a smile, a line
Just to know, bad as it may be, you’re relatively ok.

I want at least that piece of peace of mind,
That peace of my world, as intact as you can be
Despite life’s grind, the rewind, and regrind
And I am sorry if I ever make you worry.

Compared to the alternatives I know are possible-
I’d rather not read about you from any other source
Though my normal seems comparatively dull
Routines, checking, checking, rechecking of course

If routine disappeared from the queen’s kingdom
I’d just worry more, for her, her minions, and you.
If you’ve not written, you’re who I’m waiting to hear from,
Call me obsessed; I’m just your biggest fan, being true.

10 Things the Church Can Do for People with Bipolar Disorder

I can hear you now, both of my regular readers, saying “Holy Shit, Deon!”  (Literally)  “A (potentially) USEFUL article?!”  Uhmm, don’t get your hopes up or anything.  It could be the regular installment of shit this blog normally has to offer.  And any guests from the actual church are either offended I said the word shit (TWICE!) and had the nerve to joke about it, and have been triggered into throwing their internet device into a bowl of bleach to sanitize it, OR, they’re offended I said shit and just closed the browser window because I’m obviously beneath their standards of holiness, OR, they’re curious enough to continue but reserve the right to choose one of the above options at some point while reading.

If you’re one of the third-option choosers, good for you!  I applaud your patient tolerance.  You may be one of those who saw a Tony Campolo clip in which he dropped the same expression but chided his viewing audience for being more offended at the expression than the worldwide situation he was trying to draw attention to.  If you haven’t, and you’re curious, here’s the quote:

“I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”
― Tony Campolo
I do not know if that statistic is still accurate, nor if it was accurate at the time of Campolo’s message, but if it was, and/or is, we oughta do something about Campolo’s awful profanity!!  No, I’m kidding.  We ought to do something about the starvation and disease.  And some are.  And sadly, some still don’t give a shit.  I’m going to err on the side of promoting life and curing the diseases we can cure, permanently, at the expense of the rest of the world somehow, and not at the individual expense of the human who just needs a vaccine, for fucks sake, they shouldn’t cost so much as to be inaccessible to “the least of these.”  I wonder how much it would actually cost out of the worlds gross domestic product or the investors in the world economy, to do that all around the world. I bet it wouldn’t hurt anyone at all, if we weren’t surrounded by greedy corporate fucks and idiot investors who are trying to squeeze every damned penny they can.

That little side rant though is not the focus of this article.  Or is it?

I promise, I will get to the point, and if you continue to read it you’ll get it too.  If you read it all and still don’t, send me a comment that says “Deon, you’re a fucking idiot and I still don’t get what you were trying to say.”  I LIKE comments if they’re not spam.  Well, most comments.  I’ll let you know if your comment was so mean or overly critical that I decide to never blog again.

So what CAN the church, or more to the point, PEOPLE from the church, do for people with bipolar?

This smacks of a list!  I wonder how many things there are.  Maybe you can think of a few that I didn’t think of.  Go ahead, include those in the comments and if I like them I’ll steal them and pass them off as my own original thought let your comment stay here published just they way you said it.  I’ll guess there are at least 10 things, and that way you won’t think my title was wrong.

10:  Love us unconditionally.  I hear you saying, “oh, but we do!”  Really?

What about that lady near the back who ran out of patience, and fired the person because they didn’t have a satisfactory medical reason for their absence during the last crushing depressive phase, when they couldn’t even get out of bed to eat, much less clean house, and driving to work seemed impossible?  She didn’t even bother to check on them, she just signed the papers electronically by check box, the one that automatically files the electronic termination documentation, sends the termination notice by text or email, and demands they turn in their laptop and any other corporate property within 30 days or face civil litigation, and had her HR manager’s assistant get someone new to fill that slot.

What about you, that guy over on the right?  You were charmed by her mania, seduced by her hypersexuality, and married the woman, but couldn’t figure out how to live with her flirtations with other guys, or other ladies, or her depressive phases when she just wanted to be allowed to cry and not fake a smile, or be left alone, didn’t shower for a few days (and how to keep her from trying to do potentially dangerous things),  or her overly talkative manic phases when all she wanted was someone to pay attention and listen, and go along for the ride (and keep her from trying to do potentially dangerous things).  You loved her when she was in between, when she was able to do everything “normal” people do, or force herself to do everything “normal” people do, but you ran out of patience when her mind went too fast and she couldn’t finish, or couldn’t even start, what you think are normal, basic, chores or tasks.  You ran out when she was too depressed to try, and the thought of trying and the expectation of failure made her cry and give up without starting, and the regret of wasting her life carried her down even lower.

What about you?  You were his best friend, you should have seen the trend and understood the symptoms.  He told you he was bipolar, trusted you with that information.  Then you and him got into a fight over nothing when he was raging, and now you refuse to even talk to him.  You might not even remember what the fight was about, and he certainly doesn’t.

Unconditional love means staying, at least trying to understand, and helping.  And then, staying, to be there when understanding and helping is needed again.

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

9:  Don’t presume anything demonic.  Just.  Don’t.  Do.  It.  I mean, if the person has an “I ❤ Satan” or a “Fuck Off and Die, Idjet!” bumpersticker, a tattoo of an inverted pentagram with a goat head inside, and a fully-reassembled chicken skeleton mobile including skull and feet hanging where your normal neighbors would hang their wind chimes…it’s probably a joke, so still just don’t do it.  They’re probably trying to frighten away annoying little children, their local PTA, their landlord, and the Homeowners Association.  That tattoo was probably buzzed on them when they were either drunk off their asses, or they were trying to be edgy or funny, or both.  Most people aren’t that kind of darkest-satanic-evil-evil.  Most of us are just normal-evil-evil, and a few of us have those very occasional episodes of if-you-don’t-leave-me-the-fuck-alone-I-will-murder-you-and-they’ll-never-find-the-body-evil.  ALL of us, even the pious holier-than-thou jerks, have our various favorites from the sin-buffet that we routinely, habitually choose.  I think the rumors about the rock and roll bands are mostly publicity grabbers and the song lyrics may very well be intentionally geared to “stick it to the right.”  If you get the song from those 5 words, well done, music fan.I mean, I want to scare away annoying little children, the PTA, the landlord, the HOA, other people’s damned pets, who feel it’s necessary to crap well into my yard and the owners don’t have the decency to pick that shit up, and their owners, and sales people, and burglars, and my own family…  do you think the chicken skeleton mobile would work?  I would LOVE to have that, as a work of art.  With an artsy, colored wax decorated egg hung on the inside.  (note to self…)  Why, WHY, are these called “Devilled?”


Would an I ❤ Ruthie Connell bumpersticker work as well as the others above?  Because I do.  (Note to self… )  I don’t ❤ Satan, but I think that’s hilarious.  A lot of things that Jesus healed on the spot when He was here were mental illnesses, most were more obvious physical illnesses or birth defects, and a few were legitimately demonic.  Only a few.  If medication helps in any way, it’s probably an illness and not a demon, so just don’t presume that.  Don’t judge, just love.  God is big enough, and good enough, to convict the world of sin,  or to convict a person with bipolar, if it’s important enough to Him.  Let God do that; don’t “help.”The bipolar person you know may very well be an atheist “on the highway to hell,” but you’re never going to reach them and get them to even consider Jesus unless a) you get the joke, because if they don’t  believe in God they probably don’t believe in Satan either, and b) you don’t judge but instead you work really hard on #10 there, which points squarely at you, Christ-follower. But you can

8:  Help them in spiritual ways.  I know people who claim to follow Jesus, who will openly, even pridefully,  say they don’t pray for people who aren’t Christ-followers, except to pray they repent (admit that God’s standards are right and they are sinners who need a Savior, turn from whatever sin, and ask Jesus to help them follow Him).  Well if you’re one of those legalistic pharisaical “Christ followers,” a) fuck you and b) I pray YOU’LL repent, you sanctimonious prick!  You’re putting a condition on God’s love that He didn’t put there.  If Jesus commands you to love your enemies, and if you have an enemy, there’s a good chance they don’t exactly follow Jesus.  If Jesus commands you to pray for those who persecute you, and if you’re persecuted, there’s a really good chance they’re not Christ followers.  If you refuse to pray for God to help, however God sees fit, or pray for God to tell you what to do to help them, you’re just plain doing it wrong.  And just to clarify, having a mental illness does not make someone your enemy, so why not pray for their need to be met, since that’s the smallest thing you can do?  Or are you a chicken-shit, afraid God will ask you to handle it personally for Him?  Which brings us to

7:  Help them in practical ways.  If you’re a Christ follower but in any way light on your own available resources, this one could suck, honestly.  I mean, REALLY, God?! I don’t even have enough for myself!  Praying is free, and You’re my witness that I did that already!  Now You want me to do WHAT?!  Yes. He wants you to help in practical ways.  Your church, or a church in their area, may have ways to help.  If you are at a distance, maybe you could refer them and if you’re really bold, call or email the church and ask them to try to make contact.   Other than the time you invest being a reference, or researching what’s in their area, and passing that information on to the person, that shit is FREE.  And the church will be (or damned well should be) delighted to reach out to offer help, unless their hearts are cold and they’re already spiritually worthless and dead.  You might find other free resources the person could use.  If you live nearby, you could personally deliver helpful things.  Bipolar is a mental illness.  It’s an illness that for some, is a disability.  The person may look completely normal in all ways, because mental illness doesn’t always show on the outside.So, what the fuck is wrong with me?  Why don’t I just find a better job?  Well, after you do it for 20 or so years, the routine is comfortable.  It was hard finding a job, and then we moved and it was hard finding a job again, and it depresses me to realize that no one wants to hire me unless I’m completely helpless and at their mercy to offer whatever shit wages they want to offer.  I tried to find a job that worked with my professional training and experience, and then after yet another few doors were slammed in my face, by churchy people, I’ve kind of given up on most churchy people.  They say they care, but when it comes right down to it, they just don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves and anyone who looks and acts homogeneously, and fits in their clique.  And when you get to know me, you realize that my cyclothymia/bipolar won’t let me fit into ANY clique.  I’m not even “normal-cyclothymic.”  But I’ve found more genuine, heartfelt acceptance, maybe even LOVE, from the bipolar community, than from churchy people.I hate change.  I hate not having a shred of control.  I hate not having money, sure, but even more than that I hate change.  The job may be shit, the pay may be shit, but it’s a job and keeping it is easier and less stressful than quitting, becoming helpless, doing the resume thing again, going out searching and begging for another job, trying to find something that fits my qualifications and pays more, having those doors slammed in my face, only to wind up being forced to accept being shoved into some new entry level job where I don’t know shit about how to do it, so where is the benefit?  Fuck that.I know a few churchy people who said they’d pray for me when I asked them for practical help.  One pridefully said he “could” pay our bills for a while while I looked for a better paying job, but never actually gave us anything.  The church, at that time, was helpful, when it was really really dire, they’ve helped with food, and they actually made one of our house payments, which was a huge blessing that kept our heat and electric from being shut off.  I am VERY grateful for that.  But when we were short on income several months later and we asked, we got a letter that said they’d pray for us but wouldn’t help with the actual practical need.  Fuck that.  When I’m depressed, when you withhold the good it’s in your power to do, because you think I should be, or I look, strong enough to “just” dig myself out of this hole you think I’ve dug myself into on purpose, you only depress me more.HELP PEOPLE IN PRACTICAL WAYS, if you can afford it.  Don’t brag that you can and then do nothing.  I realize I am applying a rather liberal interpretation to Proverbs 3:27, but I believe God wants you to help in practical ways.  Maybe you can spare an extra something around your home.  Maybe you can afford to go to Goodwill and you might find something they can use.  God’s funny like that; I’ve found things there that I am still using for myself.  Pray about that one, and go, and PLEASE tell me if you found something that just happened to be there that would be perfect for the person on your heart.  Maybe you could even save up a little and give them a small financial gift, or you were given something you can re-gift, that they need more than you do.  OK, I know the next few are actually things that fall under #7, in the strictest interpretation, but maybe you can do something, and again that might cost nothing but your time and a little sweat.  Consider it as sweat-equity, invested into a positive relationship with a person God wants you to love in His name.  You’ll have to ask permission, because some of these things are kind of personal, and some people will tell you to fuck off, but here are a few ideas:

6:  Bring them a meal.In my geographic region there are churches, including the one I’m currently attending, who run food pantries and some even deliver meals at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas and/or Easter.  If you live close enough, bring over a hot meal, or if they have a kid, maybe some milk or bread or chocolate, or wine.  Yes, WINE.  See also, Proverbs 31:6B.  No, I didn’t make that up.   It reads, “Give… wine to those with heavy hearts.(KJV)”  If you know the person is an alcoholic, obviously, don’t encourage that destruction.  But if they’re not, and you can, then DO IT!  A meal a depressed person doesn’t have to burden themselves with preparing, and leftover meals, are literally a God-send.  See also Psalm 104:15,  which in context teaches that God creates “…wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.”  You should ask first because a person may have food allergies or whatever.  Be mindful, be respectful, be humble about it.

5.  Do something to help them around their house.  Maybe they need plumbing help and you can do that.  Maybe they need their lawn mowed or their snow shovelled, depending on the season.  Maybe their car needs something you can provide, like an oil change.  Maybe it’s a small, simple household repair kind of project, and you know it needs to be done and you know how.  Ask first, tools in hand, and then do it.  I struggle with certain house things, with certain others I can hold my own, but if someone offered to help me with something, I’d say yes in less than a heartbeat.

 

4:  Detail their car.  Or maybe buy them a car wash package or coupons or something.  I’d love to get my car washed and waxed and vacuumed.  And my tires need to be checked for proper inflation.  And my oil needs changing, and that damned check engine light for the sensor is on.  They’re on my list, but if anyone wanted to do any of it for me?  A God-send.  A gift of energy and/or time that I didn’t have to invest, or think about investing.

 

3:  Clean their house.  Well, maybe not the whole house.   Maybe you can afford to send a hired maid.  If not, maybe you can go wash their dishes, or take out their trash, or do some small thing(s).  And I said it before, don’t judge.  Their house is not teeming with filth and squalor (why are those two words both needed when they mean the same thing?) because they want it that way.  It’s that way because their energy levels are on a time limit, and they’ve run out of energy before they got to that sink of dirty dishes, that basket (or three) of laundry, that floor that needs sweeping/vacuuming/mopping, those windows that need washing, that woodwork that needs dusting and polishing, that trash that needs to be disposed.  (of.?  Where is my grammar-enforcing mum when I need her?!)  Maybe they ran out of dish detergent, or whatever other cleaning supplies, so they can’t do the thing, unless they can find the energy to go to the store.  I get to a point where I just can’t do any more, and sometimes Mrs M pushes me and I can fake it, and sometimes, I can’t.  I think everyone does.  But if you can help someone, even a little, be a blessing.  Maybe you CAN clean their whole house.  So why not ask, and then DO IT!

 

2:  Offer to run errand(s), or drive them to the store.  Offer to go to the store, or go with them to do the things they have to do that are out of their comfort zone.  Offer to drive them to the doctor, and then show up and do it.  Offer to watch their kid(s) so they can have a little genuine alone time.  See also

 

1 a) : Be a friend.  Get to know them, their family, their situation.  Be there.  Show up, check in, ask about them in ways that show you genuinely care and understand their disability.  Learn about it.  I’ve only ever been asked ONCE before about my personal care, when I was depressed, by someone who knows what bipolar does, and it wasn’t my doctor.  It made an impression.  Did I shower today? Brush my teeth, comb my hair, dress? Take my medications? Did I eat anything today?  What the fuck?!  Wow!  In my depression I wanted to ask, what fucking difference would THAT make?  But holy shit!  That level of caring about me, impressed the hell out of me.  And, 1 b) : Be a friend, and remember that at times people with bipolar just need to be alone, so when that happens, remind the person you love them, tell them you’ll check back later, and then, fuck off.  And then come back later for 1 a) , when it feels right.

 

Ever wonder what Ephesians 2:10 means for you?  Well, maybe (puts on sunglasses like CSI Miami’s Horatio Caine) it means one of these things. (YEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!)

 

I wrote this whole top 10 list and I am aware that I am teetering on the brink of another depression.  Ugh.  These are things I would dearly love for people to do to help me when I am down again.  But right now, I need to go home and fake some mania for Mrs. M.  Wish me luck.  Or pray for me.  Or something.