My cool Latin-speaking brother was so impressed with the blogging system that he had us help him setup his own blog. It doesn't have anything on it at the moment, but it will. Oh yes, it will, and it will be COOL.
I have bipolar II disorder. I bring this up because I'm struggling with the symptoms today and in trying to understand and deal with the disorder, I hope that talking about it will help -- at least hopefully help others that deal with this same problem.
Bipolar 2 is different from regular bipolar disease (aka manic-depression) in that there are not full-blown 'manias' -- in other words, I don't hallucinate or completely lose control, I just get rather hyper and talk very quickly and overcommit myself.
What does this sort of thing mean? Well, if your first instinct is to step back and think I'm a loony, then you should stop learning your medical diagnoses from TV shows.
However, this thing does cause problems. Months of depressions so deep that I can barely function, let alone tackle and move forward with my life. Weeks of excited, frenetic energy where I say and do things that embarrass myself and others. I overreact to emotional situations and have trouble concentrating on tasks. Recently I started medication for the disorder and that brings its own baggage. My head feels stuffed with cotton, making it hard to think as clearly or as quickly as I used to. And as I move forward day by day in the normal patterns free of the extreme highs and lows, I find it very difficult to know how to move forward without the jet pack of hypomania to drive me. Before, everything was either awful or awesome. Now everything just sort of..is. How do normal people live like this?
But my family says I am better, more even-keeled, easier to get along with. I know personally that tasks are generally not as overwhelming as they used to be, and honestly, the lack of the constant voices of self-derision telling me how I couldn't do anything and that I was a failure, that's nice. I wonder how I grew up with this (since I've had it since I was very young), and how I would be different if I didn't have it.
And I think, if I had never had to learn to deal with the depressions, if I had never had the grand ideas of the hypomanias, my life would not only have been dull, but I would not have learned oh so many great and wonderful things that not only help me through the real highs and lows of life (because those sorts of things just happen, no matter how you are wired), but help me to help others who haven't had the opportunities of the same perspectives. And I'm actually grateful. Because God knows what he's doing -- and knowing that brings me peace.
I'm probably not going to be saying anything here that hasn't been said before, but it chaps my hide so I'm going to say it anyway.
When our country was founded, one of the founding principles was freedom of religion. Religion was core to the life of every person in the colonies and the countries they had come from, even if they personally did not believe. Church was not only the primary social venue, it was where people received their news, their education, where public records were recorded and kept, and where people were laid to rest. Whether you believed or not, the churches were fundamental to every part of life. However, especially in Europe, the churches went beyond simply being ubiquitous to being very powerful. The few denominations in existence held great power in all of the governments, from creating and enforcing laws to crowning the rulers. People who spoke or acted against these powerful political bodies were ostracized, punished, driven from their lands, bankrupted, even killed.
So when our founding fathers looked to create an ideal government, they put forth the ideals of freedom of religion in the form of separation of church and state. With this in place, no one could be punished by the state for what they believed or how they worshipped, unless in doing so they violated some of the other laws. It took quite a while for this to really be well enforced -- there are countless examples of citizens in this country having lands and property taken, being denied the right to vote, and other injustices. But there were a lot of things we didn't get right in the early years, and we're getting better now.
But in the course of getting better, I fear that we are starting to go to an extreme that hurts us almost as badly as the Church of England hurt the early Pilgrims. In fact, we are starting to embrace a new state religion -- secularism.
Of course, many people will deny this. 'Secularism is not a religion, duh,' they will say. But according to the dictionary, one of the definitions of 'religion' is 'A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.' And with the way that many people argue and pursue the complete elimination of references to a deity, it can easily be described as 'zeal' and 'conscientious devotion.'
If the secularists agree to that point, the rejoinder could no doubt be, 'so what? Mine is the TOLERANT belief system, not oppressive and intolerant like those religious wackos.' To which I must point out that it has been many, many decades since there was true oppression by religious organizations in this country. You are not required by law to pay any kind of tithes. You cannot be denied housing or education or a job because of a different religion. You can't be thrown into jail because you don't believe or be tortured or killed because you spoke against a church. However, more and more these days it is becoming difficult to live a religion in this country. At this point in time, the problems seem minor. But anytime a group is barred by the government from publically stating or displaying tenets of their belief, particularly when that group is the majority, then we are treading on very thin ice. We can't pass laws or try to interpret existing laws to punish our citizens for their beliefs. That's an obvious road that we dare not go down.
Money is a funny thing. It doesn't matter if you have a lot or a little, it is something way too easy to obsess over. My husband and I find ourselves in the position I have long had as a semi-goal: we can spend $20 here and there and not really notice. I have been rather poor most of my life, yet I find this position more 'natural' feeling than the poverty I had forever. I wasn't ridiculously weak most of the time when I was poor, and we're still not terrible about spending money (crud, we're still using folding chairs from Wal-Mart and a table I got as a hand-me-down about 10 years ago), but aside from the more constant panic, not much has changed. We still say no to most of the stuff I want (well...the stuff I want has graduated from cheap lamps to SUVs) and still have problems paying off debt (though we don't get into new debt) and we still live like recent college grads. (Which I still claim to be, no matter what you say! lalalalalalalala) But when I deal with friends and family on tighter budgets, I feel bad at how our DINK (Double Income No Kids) position has made me more lax about money, while they usually need it more than we do. But then I remember that it all evens out -- I WANT kids but can't have them, and we paid our dues with finishing college and working towards good careers from a young age, which hasn't been easy and often isn't fun. I don't want to do this all my life, and when I stop I'll be struggling financially same as all my friends and family -- though they will have stronger money-management muscles than I by then. So it all evens out. Eventually.
I'm freakin' addicted to the things. Some I am dying to know what happens in the story and I spend every day watching for updates so I can find out what's going to happen next, one tiny bit at a time. Some I just love for the art. Some I'm not sure why I read them every day, though I would feel sad if I didn't. But most are ridiculously silly and they bring that funny little feeling to my mouth that makes me happy. Lots more than most syndicated comic crap does. I wonder if webcomics would be more successful if we called them 'open source comics.' :)
Or weird. Take your pick. He is a genius of ancient history and languages, and he's also rather...unique. So for fun he translated some Britney Spears into Latin. He's looking into translating them into Akkadian as well but he says he doesn't have the grammar skills. Not that any of the rest of us would know the difference. :) So even though I don't particularly care for Britney Spears, I gotta share this with all y'all.
Oops Id Egi Iterum sic sic sic sic sic sic sic sic sic sic sic sic Puto me id egisse iterum Feci te credere nos plus solis amicis O infans Id vel videtur similis dementia sed hic non vellet dicere meam esse gravem quod amittere omnes meos senss Ille prorsus est solitus mei O, Infans, infans
Chorus: oops, id egi iterum Lusi cum tuo corde, Amisa sum in ludo O infans, infans oops putas me in amore esse esse missam desuper non sum innocentissima
Vide, mea difficultas est haec ego solum somnio cupio heroes vere esse. Fleo, videntibus diebus Poresne videre me stultum in multis modis sed amittere omnes meos sensus Ille prorsus est solitus mei
"Omnes conscendete" "Brittania, Ante is, desidero te quidam habere" "o, est pulchrum, sed exspecto prominuto, nonne hac...?" "Ita, ita est" "sed putavi anum id in oceanum in fine iecisse." "Infans, ivi deorsum et cepi tibi" "O, tu egise non debes."
Oops Id ego iterum cordi tuo amissa sum hoc ludo, o infans oops tu putas me desuper missam esse non sum innocentissima
OK, I'm freaking lazy about posting to this crazy blog, I'll admit it. But if there is one thing I am good at, it is procrastination. Case in point: I turn 35 this year and we are just now getting the paperwork done to try and adopt. I've known for years that I can't really have my own children, and I've always wanted kids, but the opportunities never really presented themselves very well. Finally a couple of years ago I realized that, like contributing to your 401k or going to college, the window of opportunity to maximize on certain life events was rapidly shrinking and I needed to get moving. It's really easy in today's world to think that we have lots of opportunity. Somehow it almost seems like we are entitled to more youth. But I've had enough illness and struggles the last few years to know that getting older already stinks and I really don't want to be going to my child's high school graduation in a wheelchair, so no matter how old I can 'technically' have children, I want to do a better job than that. Which means that I can't wait until everything is perfect, ironically. So once I prayed and decided with God that this year would be the year, things miraculously started falling into place: my husband lost a weak job (that had nevertheless given him marketable skills) and got a GREAT job with great benefits. I lost a job where I had learned a lot and was able to get a job with a company large enough to offer adoption and legal benefits. Both our incomes increased and my faith in God has been once again pushed to complete Awe. So we're adopting. I'm actually very surprised that more people don't adopt. I've heard all sorts of horror stories about drug-addicted babies and 10 year waiting lists and things like that, but always from people who have never adopted themselves. From what I have seen, the program we are going with through our church has remarkable success, and everyone I know that has adopted through this program has received beautiful, healthy children in 6 to 18 months. I won't get my hopes up for perfection but I have faith that this will be a good experience, though I'm already terrified that I'm going to be the worst mom EVER. Still, one thing I know for sure -- though the child we receive will not have our genes, she will be OUR child. I don't think that people are simply gene packets begging to reproduce. I believe that we are all living souls, that exist as more than our bodies and we have a purpose for being here, that God has a plan for each and every one of us. And as part of this belief I think that Heavenly Father puts our families together if we seek His will in the matter. So whatever child I get will be the child God wants me to have, no matter how she comes to me. For this I am grateful. That is, I feel grateful while I am still far distant from stinky diapers, anyway. :)