I have bipolar disorder. Much of the time, that will not be relevant to this blog – but sometimes it will be relevant. My grocery store blog, Real Life in the Checkout Line
– which has been active until the creation of this blog – sometimes referred to this condition. My bipolar blog, Bipolar Integrity,
focused on this disorder very intensively. I don’t have a wish to get into this stuff in this blog except where to leave it out damages the story. It seems like a necessary dimension to this particular story.
I have been MIA from this blog for the last two weeks. After two weeks depressed through the holidays (often a hard time of year to lots of people who deal with depression, including me), I surfaced on New Year’s Eve day (when a lovely young woman flirted with me at church). Then on January 2, this project got birthed (have I told that story here? gotta check.) For the next 25 days (way longer than I usually am up), I was absolutely on fire for this blog. I can’t remember the last time I cranked out so much creativity in one concerted stretch – stuff that (so far, at least) has held up over time, that really seems to be grounded.
On Saturday night the 27th, I came out of a meeting at my friend Joanie’s house around 9 p.m. It’s a dark neighborhood
and I have only a couple of time previously been at her house. I missed a large curb between her house and the street and took a bad fall, which I broke with my forehead. I got two big scrapes, some blood and a big bump. To this somewhat-male-conditioned man’s credit, I laid in the quiet street for some moments to assess what was going on, then didn’t immediately get in the car and drive home (which at some points in my life I definitely would have done), but went back in the house – where people looked up to see why I had returned – and said, “I took a fall. I’m injured, I don’t know how bad.” My friends nurtured me physically and emotionally, including Joanie walking me around the block before I tried to drive. Caroline had offered to drive me home, which I couldn’t accept – 20 minutes, too far :). But I knew I still wasn’t ready to drive. I suggested that I would walk around the block, and when Joanie offered to do this with me I jumped at the idea.
The next morning I upchucked a lot – which I never do – and I think I had a concussion, though this thought did not occur to me then and I never sought medical attention. Whatever, all this trauma sure did break my positive momentum – even though the meeting the night before had been a huge shot in the arm. And then I stayed emotionally down until the last couple of days. (I’m surfacing much more gradually than usual, which seems positive to me.) And I didn’t write.
Not only did I not write, but I felt totally disconnected from all the ferment of creativity and productivity of the previous three weeks. None of it made any sense or seemed of any value. (A non-depressed friend told me a couple of days ago that she went through almost identical symptoms after a concussion.) Whereas for those three weeks I felt like I truly had discovered how, in this moment at least, I was meant to respond to the chaos and carnage going on in our country, now I felt like I had – maybe permanently, that’s how it looks in this state – lost that thread. Even what I had produced in those three weeks seemed of dubious value. I kept reading the New York Times and Washington Post online, kept taking in these daily doses of presidential lying, Congressional pandering to the presidential lying, sexual harassment and spousal abuse, discrimination towards minorities and more that are around us all the time – and had no effective response. I was rolled over by it.
That’s what it’s like to be a conscious person in this country who does not know how to respond to all this – who doesn’t have an outlet, doesn’t have a support group for dealing with this, doesn’t have some direction for making a difference.
This is why I am writing this blog, offering the conversation series on “Activism with Heart“, offering “Activism Coaching“. This is why I’m giving out my spiffy new little business card and having little conversations with my grocery store checkout customers at work – today at least. For the last two weeks, those cards sat in their little box on my dresser.
This is why I say to you, my reader, “Let’s work on this together. Together we can find ways to make a difference. You will find your way, I will continue to find mine. I think this blog can help. For you to make comments after the posts may help. Journaling about all this may help – or talking to your family or friends. Or any of the ideas on the For Starters page here. But let’s keep going – together, not alone. We can do this.”