DID: Chronic Illness and Envy

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.

Accepting Envy

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.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I could walk for miles without panic attacks.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I thought I would be the clinical director of the agency I worked for by 2019.

That’s gone.

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?

Rob Goldstein 2019

 

1920s Covers Revealed!

Teagan’s Cover Reveals

Teagan's Books

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Welcome to Jazz Age Wednesdays and a double cover reveal!

That’s right not just one, but two covers — both for Roaring Twenties books.  

I’ve brought along a couple of 1920s musicians to liven up this celebration.

I love making book covers and promo images.  Today I’m double excited to reveal two of the designs I’ve created for my upcoming books.

First, and most importantly, the third book in my Roaring Twenties series will launch this autumn.  It continues the adventures about the flapper, Pip and her friends.  Here’s the cover for A Ghost in the Kitchen.  

A Ghost in the Kitchen by Teagan Ríordáin GenevieneA Ghost in the Kitchen by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Announcing my first non-fiction book!

During seven years of publishing stories with a Roaring Twenties setting here at my blog, in addition to the books about Pip, Granny Phanny, and their friends, I’ve done a lot of research.  That…

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Politics: When Hate is Normal

First posted Jun 17, 2016

 

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

 

A homophobic Meme showing Donald Trump saying, Get in Faggot, We're Making America Great Again
Homophobic Meme found on Twitter

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.

Dan White was a straight man.

Dan White was a Viet Nam Vet.

Dan White was a devout Catholic.

Religious and political leaders on the right raged that fags like Harvey Milk and liberals like George Moscone deserved death.

If Dan White was a patriot, he was misguided.

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.

meme of Ted Cruz saying there is no room for athiests and gays in America in a speech at Liberty University.
The cynical use of hate speech to win votes.

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

That’s what happened.

Whites defense attorney’s argued diminished mental capacity.

On May 21, 1979, a jury found Dan White guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison; he was paroled in 1984.

“A middle-class jury, not a bunch of kooks by any stretch, had decided one can kill, twice, complete with coup de grace, and get away with it.” Herb Caen, People Magazine, 1985

Dan White killed himself in 1985.

“Nobody knows what’s going on inside of me,” Dan White once said, but he
was wrong.

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

A meme that depicts a permit to hunt democrata and liberals
Liberal Hunting Permit found on a right wing website in 2016

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2016

First posted Jun 17, 2016 as Turn or Burn, When Hate Becomes Normal

 

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