The Mind's Racking Cough
Retracing a three year odyssey of little but bleeding, naked mental pain, transformed into politics, is ample excuse to want to avoid Blogger Dashboard.
But the several day hiatus of work on that post wasn't true procrastination. The fever to start writing it seized me at 6:00 pm on the evening before my bout of insomnia, when the general shape of my attitude toward the material I was quoting so extensively finally coalesced and my conscious mind was summoned, given marching orders, and sent out to finish the job. By 10 pm I was exhausted with reading, cutting, and arranging quotations, and I went to fitful sleep along side the glub-glub, putt-putt of my companion's oxygen concentrator, and the sustained whoosh of my CPAP pushing 10 p.s.i. of air pressure through my nasal mask, to keep the adenoidal valve at the back of my throat open.
But, by 3:30 in the morning, the part of me that does the real work on this blog wasn't taking no for an answer, so I was back at the mouse and keyboard. After six hours, the quoting and cutting was largely done, but at my day job that morning I was beginning to really feel rocky, despite stoking myself with Starbuck's largest Cafe Americano.
Sleeping is the curse of my mind's racking cough. I have been on the CPAP and Sleep Apnea mask for five years. It has been a lifesaver, giving me some solid sleep after nearly a decade of undiagnosed apnea. But there are days when the mask still galls my face too greatly for sustained sleep. My thyroid condition is medicated as precisely as humanly possible but I still have hot flashes in the middle of the night and then wake up freezing because I have kicked off the one light fleece blanket that covers me. After 5 t0 6 hours being horizontal, my body's hunger, exacerbated by my Type II sugar problem, morphs into acid reflux. And my aging man's prostate is constantly elbowing my bladder.
Ain't life grand?
As it is a biochemical imbalance, my bipolar mental health condition may well have been latent from childhood. If it was, it would explain a great deal about my feelings and behaviors in those years.
So I often wonder if the general accumulation of nagging health problems, and the Sleep Apnea in particular, was a trigger that caused the latent bi-polarity to manifest.
My slip off a plateau of worry-free health was quite abrupt. It started with the discovery and laproscopic removal of a polyp from my colon at my first 50 year plus interior examination. From that point forward, there was a cascade down to a level where doctors and medications influence far too many life decisions for my taste.
I am very lucky. My Buddhist center in Columbus is one of the strongest in the country. I am able to make a very worthwhile contribution to it, and this in the area of the actual group meditation practices, which are things I feel strongest about.
If it were not for this, Mrs. Claus and I would feel like we were stranded on a desert island here. Sometimes I still do. Though I grew up in Columbus, both Mrs. Claus' manners and mine are far more forthright than is commonly comfortable for most Ohioans. Further, the land here is not quite as flat as a pool table, but it is certainly not very enthralling. Columbus has climate rather than weather [if you live in a place where there is weather, trust me, there's a real difference] and Midwestern life, architecture [outside of the oasis of Chicago], and institutions are pretty much out-of-the-box with no customization.
On bad days, the people here are pretty much out-of-the-box, too. Virtually everybody I see in Columbus vaguely reminds me of someone I've already met somewhere. I make an exception, of course for my mental health contacts. Mental health is a business where someone is very likely to tell you that they feel they have been wrongly diagnosed, and that all three of their personalities agree with this.
But, even then, people with delusions seldom have very creative ones. The same motifs emerge over and over again with depressing frequency. Microchips planted in the head by the FBI to monitor your thoughts; the correlation of newspaper reports of events separated by years into a vast, overarching conspiracy; constant nameless and faceless stalkers obsessed about following you everywhere you go; the devil-worshiping and magic making of the local county sheriff and his deputies; are all of a piece and obtained directly out of stock.
So I would not be adverse to moving somewhere more interesting, and Mrs. Claus is positively and irredeemably alienated by her sense of social, cultural, and political isolation here. But the medical issues keep us chained to the place.
I guess I got spoiled by a glorious and wandering youth, and we should both just count ourselves very lucky simply to be alive.
Okay, I'm very lucky simply to be alive.