Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Meaning of Life

“Try to stop unnecessary suffering. Be in awe of beauty and truth.”

———The Meaning of Life, egregious, 11/28/06 on fdl

Monday, November 27, 2006

Candle, both ends

Punaise notes that Billmon must have crawled back into his self-imposed obscurity - his site is post-free these days. MayDaze responds that he was taking a hiatus and then Foley struck and he kept posting through the election. [end fdl quotes]

Sounds familiar. Sometimes people who run at a high energy/creativity level have to rest and/or crash to regain sanity. I know a guy who used to work and work and work and then go to the hospital to recover. Maybe we can improve on this model.

I tried a couple of times to take some serious time off starting in the summer but always got sucked back in by the next egregious political development. Perhaps I will burn brightly til the end. Or perhaps I will learn to step back and reflect.

These elections were critical. We have our walking wounded among us. I could say hope it was worth it, but ya know? It was. Those of us with children, nieces and nephews, neighbor children, anyone thinking about the future will see that November of 2006 was incredibly important.

We turned back the tide.

We live not for ourselves alone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pushing back against the darkness

For those of us with seasonal affective disorder, Thanksgiving thru Christmas is usually a rough time. I am trying some new ways to push back against this darkness.

Accepting physical lethargy: instead of feeling ashamed of how slow I am, just realizing that's the way it is. Maybe I get so overheated the rest of the year, I need this slow time at some deep level.

Putting one foot ahead of the other: Literally and symbolically. Walking seems to be a calming exercise, and is easier than going to the gym right now. Symbolically, just trying to keep going with work, but slowly.

Reaching out to friends: being honest with friends who want to know how I am has been liberating. I try not to lean on people too much, but maybe we can take turns.

Caring less about "what people will think." Even when I'm not deep into winter depression, going to the grocery is almost as hard as working in Russia. [Hence, might as well work in Russia.] But as I contemplated the sorry state of my manicure and hair this morning, trying to work up the energy to buy Thanksgiving food, I had a revelation: People here already know I'm mentally ill! I've given speeches to thousands of people here. If they see me look a little under the weather, they will know why.

Preparing early for Christmas with the children: The more I can do in November, the less anguish I will experience in December. Of course it helps to cut expectations, cut the greeting card list, cut back on activities. Just rest...what a concept.

Trying to keep a sense of humor:. This darkness and lethargy will come every year, despite having a psychiatrist, being on meds, and getting lots of interpersonal support. I'm trying to find the humor in the little humiliations of daily life in November-December. Hey it's probably good practice for being old.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to my fellow bipolar folk, hang in there, this too shall pass.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Falling once again into the abyss. Need help.

It's late November, I am once again falling into the abyss. Pray for me that I may arise whole after the dark winter is over. It is hell on earth every year. Hope my creativity otherwise is worth this pain. This year I feel I have used this creativity to help Webb take back the Senate and others to take back the House.

I had decided over the summer to retreat, to rest, to give myself the space to recover from stress and not resort to unsatisfactory means of making things ok *cough*drinking*cough*. But the moment was upon us. Should I have sat this one out, hoping there would be enough other people to make things happen? Risky business. I jumped in with all 3 feet [one in mouth] with the hope that my involvement would be worth the cost.

Yes I am seeing a psychiatrist. Yes I am on medicine. Yes I have people at church praying for me and my health and our program in Russia. Yes my family is there for me. But it is still hell on earth every winter.

Democrats in Virginia and Alaska are probably glad of my decision to become involved. My doctor will have his own opinion soon. Hope it was worth it.

Senator-Elect James Webb

I just like typing that. Also Senator-Elect Jon Tester. They were amazing today on Meet the Press. The Senate may never be the same, after these regular guys, these truth tellers, these people who represent the people of the United States.

[edit---Jane Hamsher provides us with a Snoopy dance for the victory party.]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What we owe our veterans

Senator-elect James Webb included in his campaign a call for a new Veterans' Bill, similar to the one after WWII.

I personally pledge to work to get returning vets their mental health care. We sent them over there to hell, we owe it to them to care for them upon their return.

By the way some older vets are developing screaming nightmares and other PTSD symptoms--Vietnam, Korea, even guys from WWII. Norske help me out here, you know about this.

And not just mental health; physical health. And not to need food stamps--a disgrace! And respect. And no more stop-loss.

My father was in WWII, Navy. Both grandfathers were in WWI, Grandpa Mc got shot at in France. Other ancestors were in the Civil War, 1812, and the Revolution. MrEgregious' father was in WWII, and the grandfather was in both WWI and WWII. We have his aviator cap from the former, the War To End All Wars. If only. This used to be a rite of passage for manhood. Highly recommend Webb's book Born Fighting, which talks about the military in America.

My grandfather Sp. was President of the American Legion for our city. When I was young it was great watching them march every Memorial Day from the town center to the cemetery. Of course in those days I didn’t really understand the cemetery part.

He must have suffered to see me openly oppose the Vietnam War. But he never said anything to me. We have to try to do what we think is right in each generation. For many young people, serving with honor takes them into the military.

We count on them to be there, but if we continue to abuse and neglect them and send them into vanity wars, they might change their minds about participating.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dems take the Senate, House, Governors

Those of us who are praying folk have repeatedly begged God to smite this evil that is killing our nation.

Many prayers have been answered yesterday and today. Not always on our time: I want patience and I want it now…but in good time, and in His plan for us.

Matthew 25 is the to-do list for my professional life; Ephesians 6 is the inner guide: Put on the full armor of God…Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world…Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

At firedoglake we were asked if we had a favorite inspirational song.

My song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, because it captures my longing to do something far away. When I was little I wanted to be Mighty Mouse, fly through the air and save innocent creatures. Now I work 5,000 miles away in a children’s hospital.

Dream big, and dream over the long arc of time.

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Get Out The Vote!

Cross-posted at firedoglake. Please VOTE and GET OUT THE VOTE this Tuesday. The nation depends on YOU.

DEPU’d. [double EPU'd] Fight back against the insanity!! Joe Wilson says we don’t need the tinfoil, it’s happening for real. The nation is spiraling out of control. The boat has capsized, start swimming. DO SOMETHING!! FIGHT BACK!!!!

The EPU’d part:
You want to talk vision quest, I have had some amazing things appear wrt Alaska/Benson. Don’t know whether it’s for 06 or 08, but something is developing. Reading in a novel and the words egregious and Alaska appear in consecutive paragraphs. The story has nothing to do with Alaska, it’s a gratuitous reference.

I go to the Dominican Republic, not exactly the cold capital of the world, and from there I’m trying to run an online egrBlue fundraiser on dialup for a candidate I’ve never met, raising funds from people whom I’ve never met, and then look up to see that my light fixture says Alaska on it.

And several other such happenings. Not proof, but for the one capable of seeing the light beyond the visible light, something is happening here.

Diane was asked if it was hopeless, since she was an unknown challenging an incumbent, whether this campaign was being run on a wing and a prayer. She said yes, but it’s a big wing and a big prayer. That just sank deep into my soul. She is stepping out on faith and trusting that God will provide, other people will join in, things will happen to make it turn out all right.

I picked some very dark horses early in this campaign: Webb in February when he looked hopeless and mrEgregious was mighty skeptical of my large donation; Kissell-NC opposing a powerful incumbent; Laesch opposing the speaker of the house for goodness sake; and Benson in Alaska. We will see.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An apology to our Vietnam veterans

One of my biggest regrets about the antiwar movement in the Vietnam era was that we activists felt that we were somehow against the troops that fought over there.

This showed a lack of understanding on our part about the hideous sacrifices made by those serving in Nam. We ask people to join the armed forces, and depend on them in an emergency. It was wrong to vilify them then, and I ask forgiveness from any soldiers here who were hurt by our antiwar movement. I would like to hear from you, please? I am truly sorry. It took a long time for me to understand the nature of your sacrifices. Webb’s book Born Fighting helped push me over the top to understanding what you all have done for us, with such little praise or affirmation from folks back home.

I am so happy this time around that progressives and veterans are working TOGETHER to make things come out right. Who would want to be opposing such a force of nature as Norske?