Sunday, April 4, 2010
Two weeks ago, I asked my readers to submit questions to me, and I will answer them.
It's a little late, but here are the answers from their questions!
Q: If you could have any super power, what would you like it to be?
A: Other than having George Clooney fall madly and passionately in love with me, I would like to learn the secret to have a successful blog and keep readers! And to be able to balance my checkbook to the penny. That in itself would be a super power, no?
Q: I check your blog daily for updates and am curious about so much about you. Thank you for opening up to questions! Do you have any of your writings prior to treatments available for reading?
A: Thank you for reading my blog every day! I am beyond flattered. Do you mean my treatments prior to therapy/diagnosis or prior to ECT? If you mean therapy/diagnosis I was 22, so it would be a bunch of papers from college which I am sure are floating around somewhere, I have them in boxes, some where published in journals back in school, and one poem which was published here, actually won a prize, but I don't know. I lost my thesis several moves ago, and I don't think any of the articles or things i wrote for the school Lit mag or newspaper were collected on computer form. I have several unfinished novels and what not, which alas, will never see the light of day, they were thought to be good once upon a time, but I think they are just talented juvenalia But I am my own worst critic.
The writings on mental health I did prior to ECT for other sites have been reproduced here, and are also on my ex's site under a pseudonym. I did a lot of entertainment writing which you can find via Google,but that is extremely dated. Basically almost everything I have written then in my life that is not academic is here, with the exception of my private diary.
Q: Did you get some relief on your struggling with daily tasks? Do you have any tips? I am in one of those places.
A: Daily tasks, the best advice is "One Day At A Time". Some days I can do a few things, some days if all I can do is shower and take care of the cat, microwave a TV dinner and write a paragraph, it's still a good day. I just cannot compare myself to other people. There are a lot of high functioning people out there, and a lot of low functioning ones too. I know I will never be high functioning again, and just have to keep that in mind. One Day At A Time.
Q: Winston Churchill is credited with saying what you named your blog. Does it inspire you when you read about significant figures in history who struggled with what we struggle with?
A: Sir Winston does inspire me, but I actually got the quote from a friend. I was originally going to go with a quote from Shakespeare. I would say honestly the one person in living history that I could relate to and inspired me was Princess Diana, I know it may seem lame but she seemed to understand depression, eating disorders, and since she was a year older than me, I looked up to her and was gutted by her untimely death. Two books that helped me with this and find other historical figures that dealt with issue were Kay Jamieson's "Touched By Fire", and "Manic Depression and Creativity' by Jablow, which is on my night-table, as well as "The Noonday Demon". These are my mental health "bibles". And I am in awe of Andrew Solomon.
Q: Does loving on your cat help you feel better?.
I have told you that I have 8 cats, that is a long story and I didn't choose it but one day my husband said "It takes a lot of cats to heal" he has been amazingly flexible and accepting of my past which did include some horrible treatment of cats by my tormentors. Having cats and treating them right is healing for me.
A: Both of the cats I have had in my life have made my life livable, I shudder to think where I would be without either one of them, and how lucky I am that they found me. Both were abused and would have been put down if it wasn't for me, so we bonded., they need me to stay alive, I need them to stay alive. And they need me to open the can opener.
Q: If you could choose, what historical figure you would like to meet?
A: Honestly, I cannot think of any. I have been disappointed by every famous or "A" list celebrity I have met, and I have met quite a few. I like ordinary people best. The only historical people I would like to meet are my two grandmother, one of them died before I was born. But if I had to pick any historical person to answer your question- I would pick Jack The Ripper so I could finish my novel on him. I would also like to meet Dr. Doolittle so I could talk to the dogs and cats.
Q: What would a Raymond Carver short story about your current life say?
A: Other than the fact I have 13 1/2 years sober, I don't think he would be too proud of me, and tell me to keep writing harder and push myself harder. My favorite writers that I would sell my soul to write like would be Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce and Carver. I shudder to think what a Carver short story of my life would be like, could he handle something so Existential? I think my life might have started out like Carver but right now it's Kafka on a bad day.
Q: I also hope you can continue to write daily. I was sent a tip on ‘Writer’s block’ recently: ‘Record what you want to say, transcribe it and then edit’. I don’t know if this would help you. I haven’t tried it yet, as I am having a different problem at the moment (not enough time to write or shall I admit my ‘poor time management’?)Any tips?
A: I have a microcassette recorder and I speak into it when I cannot write fast enough or I get an idea for something, a sentence, a vignette, something. It helps. My head always has ideas, the problem is most of them don't pan out, they are skeletons which I cannot put flesh on. For time management, get a maid. Housework can wait. Writing can't! (I hope my mother doesn't see that).
Q:Where did you get the inspiration to start blogging? What keeps you going with it?
A: When my marriage ended, several friends helped me to write a few pieces to guest for their blogs, and then encouraged me to start my own. It was the best therapy I could have. What keeps me at it is other than the cat, it's the only thing I have in my life that is good and pure, and means anything to me.
Q: If somebody gave you a "monfellou", what would you do with it:
a) play it, because it's a musical instrument;
b) cook and eat it, because it's a vegetable related to the marrow;
c) wear it, because it's a kind of cloak; or
d) call my bluff, because you believe that I've just made the whole thing up?
A: Call you bluff, you made it up! But I will take a moonpie, any day, even if they are fattening!
Q:: I just started a blog about depression (http://www.reflectionondepression.typepad.com)and I was planning to write about the problem of evil this weekend. That is, if there is a god how could he let things like illness happen (especially mental illnesses that are so bad they make people want to kill themselves)? Has illness affected the way you look at life? I think everyone confronts this question in some way, whether it's through illness, or hardship, or the loss of a loved one. It's kind of deep and maybe too serious, but I find it really interesting to talk about. Check out my blog this weekend for my thoughts on the matter! www.reflectionondepression.typepad.com
A: This is a toughie, and probably deserves it's own entry. It's also on every entry of this blog. I was diagnosed when I flamed out and crashed at 22, I probably had this since 7th grade, if not earlier. I've been depressed and suicidal since I was four. It's made me look at life much differently than anyone else I know in real life, which is why I relate better to books than real people. I don't know, but yes, illness has affected how I look at life.
Q: I have one more question. If your life were a movie, what genre would it be and who would you like to play you?
A: If you were to portray me as a child through high school , it would be Lisa Simpson, get rid of the sax and add a clarinet. As an adult, it would either be Edie Falco, or Alice Ripley. I like stupid movies I don't have to think about and just enjoy but I love Film Noir, and anything by Frank Capra.
Q: I know that you have written about suicide, you've lost friends to suicide. You've written about feeling suicidial.
What would you tell someone, how do you move away from that feeling, those plans, those thoughts?
A: It passes, do anything to take you out of that feeling; eat chocolate or ice cream, go for a walk, listen to music,phone a friend, get a companion animal, have sex, do anything to take you out of the moment. I find a warm bath helps, a good cry, and a cat snuggle. If I had a boyfriend I would jump his bones so the feeling would pass, and it burns off calories at the same time. A win win!
A: To Wonder Woman who left no question- Thank you.
Q: At what point did you decide to become a mental health activist?
And how did Holly get to be so smart?
A: From my ex, he was and I learned from him, I am grateful for his mentorship. Holly is smart because she is a cat. I believe she is smarter than me, because she picked me to be her human to share her life with. They say fish is brain food, and her favorite food is tuna, maybe she got smart from the fish?
Q: Do you resemble Barbara Eden?
A: Yes, before I went on Seroquel, and if I put my hair up in a pony tail, no, she has an innie, and I have an outie. Do you look like Larry Hagman?
Q: if your soul was pulled out of your body, what would happen to you?
A: This is just my opinion, I am not a religious scholar or a theologist. Your soul travels on after you die and depending on your religious beliefs you either go to heaven, or you get reincarnated to the next life(s) until you become an angel. Or a spoiled rotten kitty cat. But if you want to know if people can live without their souls, yes, they can. But those people are not happy. That kind of unhappiness has nothing to do with depression, and I have spent too many sleepless evenings listening to Art Bell on the radio.
I really don't know the answer, I struggle with these questions myself.
Q: chocolate hot cross buns or just ordinary, run of the mill hot cross buns?
This was a lot of fun. Lets do it again sometime!