I am taking a blogging break to work on a project.
I’ll be back at the end of September.
In the meantime, enjoy some forgotten greatness.
The Firesign Theater is best known for its biting and complex social commentary.
The group mixed the conventions of radio drama with the recording and writing techniques of The Beatles.
The result was rich multilayered surrealist satire.
“Animals without backbones hid from each other or fell down. Clamasaurs and Oysterettes appeared as appetizers. Then came the sponges which sucked up about ten percent of all life. Hundreds of years later, in the Late Devouring Period, fish became obnoxious.
Trailerbites, chiggerbites, and mosquitoes collided aimlessly in the dense gas. Finally, tiny edible plants sprang up in rows giving birth to generations of insecticides and other small dying creatures. “
Released in 1970, “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers,” is the story of George Leroy Tirebiter who lives in a world under martial law. Tirebiter is a former child actor who spends his time watching himself on late-night movies, a staple of broadcast television in the 1960’s.
Rolling Stone calls it the greatest comedy record ever made.
‘The Death of Marion Crane’ (c) Rob Goldstein 2014
A few days ago I told my partner I envy people who can live their lives without DID.
He asked how envy made my life better, and I said, ‘It doesn’t. That’s the point.”
No one wants to admit to feeling envy, yet learning to manage envy is crucial to successfully managing a chronic illness.
These days I struggle with an old demon: raised in a culture of disdain for intelligence, intelligent little boys were beaten for ‘showing off’.
The beatings were especially brutal when they came from my Mother.
I’ve spent most of my life avoiding attention and playing second fiddle.
I’m not afraid of succeeding, I’m afraid to be seen succeeding.
I’m most vulnerable to feelings of envy when I’m struggling.
Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place. Susan Sontag 1978
I’ve always had Dissociative Identity Disorder but I have not always been sick with it.
Prior to my diagnosis in 2009, I had a career, interesting friends, and an active life
One day I woke up and I was permanently too sick to go to work.
I told myself I hated the job, I told myself I’d find another job, I told myself I’d eventually get better, I told myself I brought it on myself, I did not have DID, I was burnt out and needed a rest.
Ten years later, it’s obvious that I’m not going to get well enough to work and I’m getting old, as in elderly.
The difference between fifty-seven and sixty-seven is like the difference between five and fifteen in reverse.
Whose body is this? Whose aches are these?
The problem is acceptance; I know I’m ill and getting old, but I still live in emotional denial.
I still expect myself to be healthy.
Knowing is not accepting and this is at the core of my envy and sense of frustration.
Envy is about someone getting ahead of you, someone doing better, someone possessing qualities that you wish you had. You think you are losing the race. You are falling behind. And you are feeling sad, angry, resentful, anxious and you just can’t accept it. Psychology Today
It’s easier to be angry, or sad, to smother envy with somatic symptoms or to project it onto others.
We don’t want to admit to envy. We see it as a petty, selfish, sour-grapes emotion. So we hide it, we harbor it; we disguise it with claims of unfairness or with character assassination. And we may avoid the people about whom we feel envious. You might think, “I don’t want to be around him because it reminds me that they are doing better than I am doing.” Psychology Today
Finally, who wants to admit to wishing ill on the healthy?
Defusing envy is not as simple as not feeling it
Not letting yourself feel or validate envy makes it more toxic; repressed emotions express themselves in passive aggressive ways such as criticizing others, hostile and cynical comments, shaming and chronically feeling unappreciated.
The first step in defusing envy is acknowledging that it really does suck to be sick: life is already hard, and on top of it, you have a painful illness that saps your strength.
It really does suck to have an illness that interferes with your talents and goals.
The illness ends when you die; it’s a fact you have to accept.
In 2009, I could write a six-hour training presentation in less than a week while working full time.
In 2009, I could walk for miles without panic attacks.
In 2009, I thought I would be the clinical director of the agency I worked for by 2019.
In 2009, I was still a young man.
Today I am old.
Acceptance is a daily practice.
Just for today, I can accept my life as it is, and I will let myself feel joy when others succeed.
Just for today, I can focus on my talents and take pleasure in my substantial accomplishments.
Just for today, I can forgive myself for being human and respect myself for having the courage to discuss my envy.
When are you most vulnerable to envy and how do you cope with it?
Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.
Dan White grew up a world of normalized homophobia.
Queers were criminals in the eyes of the law, abominations to the Judeo-Christian God, and described as clinically deviant by psychiatry.
White’s political leaders and ministers told him his honor as a man was under attack; they said perverts like Harvey Milk were a threat to everything decent God-fearing patriots like Dan White revered.
Political leaders who use hate speech to ‘fire up’ their base know that some of those people will act on what they hear.
I assume they want it.
Dan White had every reason to think he’d be seen as a hero when he gunned
down Harvey Milk and George Moscone in 1978.
Herb Cain, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote after the trial about the police Department’s support for White, and their “dislike of homosexuals.”
As a former police officer, White must have known he could use some form of the ‘Gay Panic’ defense and get a reduced sentence.
Historically, in US courts, use of the gay panic defense has not typically resulted in the acquittal of the defendant; instead, the defendant was usually found guilty, but on lesser charges, or judges and juries may have cited homosexual solicitation as a mitigating factor, resulting in reduced culpability and sentences. Wikipedia
A new and profoundly important paradigm for understanding overwhelming emotional pain has emerged over the last few years, with the potential to change the way we conceptualize human suffering across the whole spectrum of mental health difficulties. It is an evidence-based synthesis of findings from trauma studies, attachment theory and neuroscience, which offers new hope for recovery. It also presents a powerful challenge to the biomedical model of psychiatry in that it is based on scientific evidence that substantiates and attests to what many individuals with first-hand experience of mental health problems have always known — that the bad things that happen to you can drive you mad.
A 2018 review found changes in the structure of the brain in people with DID. These changes are complex and include decreased limbic activity, increased frontal lobe activity, and changes in communication between these two regions.