Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And now and then a surprise....

In previous blogs I've spoken of my family and how they are kind of on the edges of my life.  Not totally their fault, maybe mostly mine, but my early bipolar ways didn't help.

I bring this up because of two things:

1. Various members of my extended (work) and personal family have been all over my radar over the past week, with more to come, and....
2. My search for a new psychiatrist returned me to bipolar time with questions about who I hurt through my weird reactions to what was going on around me.  It was a trip back to the late 90s and the early 21st century.

In the psychiatrist search I contacted a doctor that was recommended to me by my psychologist (my visit with her on 7/30 went well) and the routine at the possible new doctor's office was that you filled out a form online and then would be contacted by staff at the office to set up appointments and all the usual paperwork would start.  Fine and dandy.

The questions were enough to get anyone thinking.  After you put in your demographics, the questions were like this (I paraphrased the questions so that I don't get a legal action from anyone):

A. Have you ever had so much energy that you could stay up all night, not sleep and never miss it?
B. Have your actions while you were in a manic phase ever caused pain to others, either physically or verbally?
C. Did you ever think the world revolved around you?

Yes, yes, and yes.  It got me thinking about arguments in my family and how I also damaged relations with friends at work by being a total jerk. This is pre-drugs, pre-psychologist, my bipolar  mother still very much alive and demanding attnetion, because she should have answered the three questions "yes", but at the time we would have said, "Well this whole thing is stupid and I'm gone." 

And yet some of those people hung around.  Some moved on, and I wish them well.  But when I'm screaming and leaping over furniture (wish there had been an Olympic try out for that - I would have won because the world revolved around me) it can make others ponder (I was certain they were just in awe of me).

So in 2004 my two closest friends at work leave to pursue other opportunities - good for them (actually how dare they leave me!).  Now I was stuck in a job I did not like, the only people I had any interest in were gone, and my chances of moving up in the agency were slim.  I went from manic right down into depression, a failed maybe suicide attempt at Christmas, and then I finally got help.

When I got my own unit at work to supervise I made sure that we stayed close, even after I had to retire.  We've had picnics, parties and soon a wedding.  I know what's going on in their families more than in my own, even though my work family sees each other maybe every 3 months.  I sit with them and maybe not reign supreme, but grateful.  I'd like soon to reach out to those I messed up with, sort of my own 12 step program (Curious- Buddhists have the 4 noble truths, and the eightfold path [12] Jesus had 12 apostles).  Let them know I'm better, and hope they are gracious enough to forgive a middle aged fool.

My family, consisting of neices and my nephew on Jackie's side were over on the weekend as we assisted in moving one of them to new quarters, and then heading out to a local establishment for pizza.  This was repeated Monday. We spoke about being in therapy, looking for assistance in life.  These kids lost their Dad suddenly one November morning some 15 years back, and that loss has echoed down the years, as did the quickly added on passings of nearly 1/2 of the family within 5 years. We can talk about things...sometimes.  And that's a step forward.

My brother called (this time without the bad news which is normally the only reason my family calls)and asked to stop by.  He's always welcome, and he came with an old friend.  My sister in law died last year and now my brother has taken a step in moving on, and going a bit of back to the future with one his original girlfriends.  Both are widowed, the kids grown and gone. This is most pleasing, and I hope the his family approves.  We're all so familiar with each other (50 plus years of history) that we spent a lot of the time we visited catching my wife up on things on all things Lansingburgh.

My brother and I went over family history, the newly rediscovered gravestones of ancestors, and how there is a need to keep in touch.  I will try.  Else this is what happens....

(That's my recently rediscovered grandfather's grave site.  He's been alone for 40 years up there. Not anymore.)

Soon we will leave this planet with only a name and a reputation.  The reputation may linger for some time, the name a bit longer on a grave stone.  What do we want said of us?  After years of being a screw up, unaware that my own mind was doing the screwing, I want it to be said that I was a good guy who tried to help others, even if with just a laugh, or the touch of a hand. 

And who knew when to shut up.

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