Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rerun:Memories Of The Way I Was

A year ago, when my parents sold the house my sister and I grew up in, and moved into one of those new Over 55 retirement communities that are being built up around here, my mother asked me to come over to the house she found somethings she would like me to have, and if I didn't want them, she would toss them.

I went over the next day, where she handed me a large Macy's bag with my childhood memories. Everything was neatly collected. I was amazed.

Mom had kept all things bright and beautiful from my childhood, K-12. There were finger paints, coloring, cut outs, reportcards, extra wallet sized photos, You name it, it was there. Writing exemplars when you first learn how to print, and then in 3rd grade when we learned script.

Stories I had written. It was really wonderful and weird at the same time.

I saw somethings that were amazing and strange. In first grade the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I wanted to be a mommy. And an astronaut. I was fascinated with the whole NASA program from about 67-69 or so.

Then in 3rd grade, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be.

I of course, still wanted to be a mommy. I drew a picture of me with my favorite dolly at the time.

But I wanted to grow up and write books.

it stayed like that for the rest of my life. Motherhood and books.

Strange. Well, motherhood is out of the question unless when and if I ever meet my soulmate and he is patient and wants to go for medical assistance and en vitro and things like that. Or adopt, or has children of his own already.

My mother was the perfect 60's-70's mother. A combination of June Cleaver, and Mrs. Brady. And she was the hottest mother in the PTA. I admire her so damn much.

It is from her I have nothing but respect for anyone who is a mother. Juggling work, a house, children (or child) and hubby is hard work.

I'm crying now. Bare with me.

I realize I, as someone who has not been blessed yet with children should or should not make the next comment.

It's true I don't know what it is like to be a mother. It is true while some part of my brain can only imagine what it must be like to do the 3 am feedings and diaper changes, I've never done it. I've changed diapers in my life, yeah, and I have been "christened" by several friend's baby boys.

I know I would honestly die for my friends' son who will be 2 in September.

But I do know in the animal kingdom, baby birds are kicked out of the nest by their momma and they have to fly or they go ker plunk on the ground. That is nature.

Human beings usually don't experience this until they are about 17 or 18, graduate high school, and then it's either work or college.

I imagine cutting the cord is a hard thing to do.

I know that parents never stop loving their children, no matter how old they get,, and how many mistakes they might make.

By making mistakes only can we grow.

But some day love is... love is.... I always found this to be what I wanted love to be.

From "The Fountainhead"

I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breath air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I've given you not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way you can wish to be loved. This is the only way I can want you to love me. If you married me now, I would become your whole existence. But I would not want you then. You would not want yourself-and so you would not love me long. To say 'I love you' one must first know how to say the 'I'. The kind of surrender I could have from you now would give me nothing but an empty hulk. If I demanded it, I'd destroy you. That's why I won't stop you. I'll let you go to your husband. I don't know how I'll live through tonight, but I will. I want you whole, as I am, as you'll remain in the battle you've chosen. A battle is never selfless. [...] You must learn not to be afraid of the world. Not to be held by it as you are now. Never to be hurt by it as you were in that courtroom. I must let you learn it. I can't help you. You must find your own way. When you have, you'll come back to me. They won't destroy me, Dominique. And they won't destroy you. You'll win, because you've chosen the hardest way of fighting for your freedom from the world. I'll wait for you. I love you. I'm saying this now for all the years we'll have to wait. I love you, Dominique." [Howard Roark]

I need to find my I. I need to be incharge of my life again, captain of my destiny.

If I fail it was not from something you did. You gave me the bike,and the training wheels. It's time to take the training wheels off. I realize you did that once before, before my diagnosis, and even during my diagnosis until it became abundantly clear in my 30s I was and always will be bipolar.

But it's time to take the training wheels off now. And like the momma bird, baby will be fine and soar beautifully.

See, mom and dad gave me beautiful wings to soar with.

And I love them with every breath I take and am grateful to have been blessed by them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hoppy Holidays

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter and Passover holiday. May your families be happy and healthy, and everyone gets a chocolate bunny.

Please keep in mind, should the stresses of being around your family be too great, remember these CBT techniques, stay in the moment, don't let people empower you, and of course, what always works for me- when all else fails, hug your pet, or eat chocolate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where I'm Calling From

My father is dying. It could be weeks, months, or days or hours. We don't know.

I have to admit, I am cringing every time the phone rings and I see their number on caller ID.

Since September he has been going downhill. A year ago he was strong. He was the one who wheeled me in the hospital. He helped the nurses turn me over to change my bed. That man is gone. Since then he has dropped four inches in height and lost over 40 lbs from not wanting to eat. He's wasting away in front of all of us.

This is changing the whole family dynamic. With my dad unable to be the patriarch, my mother has slipped into that role, with my sister not far behind. I don't have a say in anything. Which is Ok with me- both my mother and sister have very dominate personalities, and I have always been more introverted then them.

What isn't good is the medication issue keeps coming up, raring it's ugly head. My mother and sister want me on medication. I just want to be left alone with that, I'm still trying to detox from being on psych meds for over half my life. I'm still having problems urinating, and sleeping. I really want to try to see what will happen if I go med free.

I've never felt so alone. I talk to the cat, I talk to my best friend on the phone. I dread seeng my dad- it's so heartbreaking to see him the way he is, so fragile, but on the other hand, if I don't see him, I don't want to have any regrets. But I'm scared. I've lost grandparents. I've lost friends. I even had to put down a beloved cat, which was a hard thing. But I never thought- really thought my parents were going to die. I always thought they would just be there.

My dad is the one who taught me how to ride a bike. He was a very big man, and it wasn't beneath him to play tea party with my sister and I- his big hands could barely hold the delicate cups of invisible tea. My father taught us how to throw a ball, and at the same time, to introduce his girls to opera, took us to the Met to see a production of the Student Prince. My father was the one who read me bed time stories, and as I would find out later, was the tooth fairy. My father taught me so much about living, and now he is showing me how to die with dignity.

I don't know if I will continue to blog every day- I find my writing goes in spurts. Some days it's like diarrhea of the pen, other days I am as sterile as the Waste Land. I suppose this is the way it will be for the next little bit. My moods keep fluctuating like the tides. And I hang on, trying to get out of bed every day and visit my father. Because I never know now whether the phone will ring in the middle of the night, it will be the call we all dread to get. And because I am my father's daughter, I will survive it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday Time For a Cute Fix

I will be spending most of the day with the urologist, to figure out why I am having problems urinating. Bladder and kidney tests, blood work, oh fun!!

So to keep everyone happy- here is a new video with a cat and a dolphin. How can you not like it? The cat even looks identical to my cat- cept the cat on the video is a boy. It's a keeper.

Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

IRE Award Winner- Robert Whitaker!

Congratulations to Robert Whitaker, author of "Anatomy of an Epidemic", and 'Mad in America", for being one of the few recipients of a 2010 IRE award, winning the category of best book. This prestigious award, given to those in journalism was just announced, 430 journalists were considered for these awards.

The awards, given by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. The contest covers 18 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes.

What IRE had to say about Robert Whitaker,

Book: Robert Whitaker for “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” This eye-opening investigation of the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship with the medical system lays out troubling evidence that the very medications prescribed for mental illness may, in increasing measure, be part of the problem. Whitaker marshals evidence to suggest medications “increase the risk that a person will become disabled” permanently by disorders such as depression, bipolar illness and schizophrenia. This book provides an in-depth exploration of medical studies and science and intersperses compelling anecdotal examples. In the end, Whitaker punches holes in the conventional wisdom of treatment of mental illness with drugs.

The entire press release can be found here.  His books can be purchased at Amazon, or your favorite book store. "Anatomy of an Epidemic" is also on audio tape via Audible, and will be released in paperback on August 2, 2011. It's available for pre-order right now on Amazon.
My review on this book can be found here. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Psychiatry Tales or I don't want to go back on Cymbalta!

I’m sitting in my psychiatrist’s office in an overstuffed beige wing chair. It reminds me of Archie Bunker’s chair. My mother is near me sitting on an overstuffed red pattern that reminds me of William Morris. I wish my mother wasn’t here. This is the downsize of my bout in November with shut kidneys and bladder- she is treating me like I am 16. It’s getting on every last nerve I have, and like a teenager, I want to rebel. Smoke or drink, or do something to irritate her. 

My mother is talking to my doctor; I cannot get a word in edgewise. Something about me sleeping the day away. I try to tell her it’s from the kidney/bladder medicine, but she isn’t buying it. Not now. I’m lazy. 

She’s talking pills. The only pill she recalls me taking is Cymbalta, and she wants the doc to put me on that. I get upset. I don’t want to go on that drug. I was on it three years ago and the side effects after the first 2 months were horrible. It's because of Cymbalta I developed agoraphobia, not to mention a dozen other side effects like severe bloating, confusion, twitching in my arms and face, impossible to read a book, constantly thirsty, itching, a feeling like bugs were crawling over me (I had that one with Prozac too), and the worst, when I went off cold turkey on the doctors suggestion, I had brain zaps for the first time in my life.

The doctor says she will look into it, call my kidney doctor and get back to my mother. Mom is adamant I need to be on something. I’m depressed. 

“I’m not depressed mom, I am sad, in pain and frustrated”, I tell her. My father doesn’t want me to be on any meds. But my father is going downhill. My mother is calling all the shots now in their marriage. In any marriage there is always a dominate partner, even if it’s 50/50 it’s always 51/49. 

My mother looks at my psychiatrist. “She needs to be medicated. She needs to get out of the apartment more.”

I look at my psychiatrist. She’s the most petite woman I have ever seen, doll like at 4 8”, and exotic since she was not born in the States, but in India. As a person, she’s nice, she even gave me a recipe for a vegetarian korma. 

I will give her props. She asked me a month or so earlier to give her a list of every med I have ever been on. She called the kidney doctor to check which one(s) I should be on. And she knows I do not want to go back on any psych meds, and respects me for that. 

Only now it’s my mother telling her, begging her to put me on something. Begging for a script for Cymbalta. Not understanding why I cannot be on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer. 

The doctor does her best to explain I do not need to be on both, and right now, it’s all about the kidneys. My mother goes back on her tirade all I am doing is sleeping and crying. 

Yes, I am sleeping too much, but I found if I miss a dose of the kidney/bladder pills I sleep 10 hours a day opposed to 18. I cry because my gynecologist is saying I am perimenopausal and anything and everything turns on the waterworks. I wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat like I am bringing off a fever, and find for some reason it’s easier to sleep during the day than the night, even with a fan blowing directly on me. 

I’ve been on psych meds for about 5/8 ths of my life. I’ve been off them now since November, and I am noticing some things happening to my body, all-amazing. Physically, my body is a wreck. But my brain, the brain that had the photographic memory, the brain that could read a poem once and have it committed to memory, who never forgot a book from the first one I ever read “Pat the Bunny”, to the last one I read, “The Noonday Demon”, when I had ECT. I am watching “Jeopardy” at night and actually can get more questions correct. 

There seems to be two camps both on line and in real life. Those who are pro meds and anti meds. Let me state this here and there. I don’t know where I am. I don’t think, any of the psych meds I have ever taken have helped me, and two came close to killing me, one actually had me flat line. Personally, I don’t think they did anything for me, but I stayed on them all these years because of the propaganda; doctors telling me it was like diabetes, I needed these drugs to stay alive. Playing Monday morning quarterback, I don’t they did anything for me. I might have felt good for a very slight time when they started working, but after a couple of months, they always made me feel worse. I was always told to cut the drugs cold turkey and start another one. I was a good girl, I took the drugs, blindly like a sheeple. My parents believed I should be on these drugs, and I wanted to be a dutiful daughter. And I believed the PR, the promises, because all I wanted was to be the person I was when I was first diagnosed. 

That person is gone. “She’s dead and gone lady, she’s dead and gone”- but unlike Ophelia I don’t think I am mad. I pray I do not succumb to suicide like she did. Gosh knows I’ve been in her shoes. But I am older and wiser. And I know the only Dane to die for is a Danish. (Preferably Apple Cinnamon). I want to rebuild my life again. True, the dreams I had at 22 are gone, but maybe I can make new dreams, and have a good life for how ever long I stay on this big blue ball called Earth. 

ETA: Here is the video I posted a few years ago on Cymbalta and the side effects. I will be showing it to my psychiatrist on why I hate Cymbalta. It’s a keeper. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The most beautiful song I have ever heard.

It's been a backslide weekend.  I'm still sober... so it wasn't that kind of backslide. It was my health. I am having serious problems urinating again, and I woke up this morning with a rash that's oozing blood and pus over my entire chest.

The weird thing is I am not depressed. Here's the reason.

I couldn't sleep the other night, and had the radio on. And heard the most beautiful song I have heard in a very long time, if ever. A rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo╩╗ole. I defy anyone who hears this beautiful rendition, not to feel happy, to feel hope, albeit sadness for such a talented singer who left this world too early.

It got me through this weekend, and I don't feel so sad and alone now. I hope it does that with anyone reading this post.

Bless you IZ, where ever you are.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rerun:On Suicidal Ideation

Therese Bouchard of Beyond Blue had a gem earlier this month I must have missed.  It was on Suicidal Ideation.

I think I am the Queen of Suicidal Ideation. Right now I have my ibook on my lap, a razor next to me. I want to pick it up, go into the bathtub and play with it. What is stopping me from that? I am writing this, fast, furiously, hoping among hope I can stay busy until the feeling passes and I can put the blade away without any cuts or blood to my person. But oh! It would be so tempting to just pick it up, go into the bath tub, strip down to my underwear, crawl into the tub, run a little hot water so that one delicious vein in my wrist will show, and cut deep.

But what stops me is what if I screw up, and only destroy a tendon. Not loose enough blood to sanguinate?  That is one. But if I mess up and can never use my hands again? I gotta fight it.

And in fighting it, fighting this feeling, I could take Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali down with one hand tied behind my back. I   have been doing this most of my life, since my first attempt at four.

I have learned various tricks to stop it when it hits, write. Write as if your heart is breaking and just keep writing. Don't proof read, just write/type as fast as you can, and when you are in a better frame of mind, proof read, or destroy the manuscript.

Another trick I have learned is to take an ice cold bath. Don't know why but it works. Another trick is to smoke- this probably won't work for everyone but for some reason after a few cigarettes, I feel stable. It must be the nicotine.

Sometimes the feeling comes and goes quickly, in minutes. Sometimes it goes on for days and weeks like it did when I wrote this to Liz Spikol, who was kind enough to print it.  Three weeks ago my mother phoned me and I was crying, begging her to let me come over and pick up the rifle my dad has. That is a rifle for game, not people. It doesn't even have ammo, and hasn't been used in over 40 years. I got over that by staying in the apartment, until it passed.   I don't drive. I try to identify what triggers, if any made me get Existential and want to x myself out of existence.

It's not that I want to die. I  want to stop living. I want the pain- whether it would be real or imaginary, to stop. What is painful to me, may not, as triggers and thoughts go, be the same for another. For me, it's broken dreams. The realization I peaked at 23, and the life I wanted never would happen.Wishing when i was 22 and had a chance to have my novel published, I choked.  From that point on, my writing and my career dreams went down the toilet.  Other things, the fact I am not a mother, that ranks pretty high. Seeing couples being happy and being in love, makes me want to stab myself in the heart and rip it out like an auto-sacrifice of my own in a mock  Aztec fashion. Only I would continue to live, without the heart.  It's not a big deal because I think honestly I am living that way now.

I still feel like I want to go into that good night, not sure if I will hit the publish button or delete. Maybe should try to sleep a bit? Lie down and arrange the pandas in the bed with me. With a bit of luck, the striped one will finish her nocturnal rounds and snuggle. She is my saving grace, my saviour. She leans up near me so close I can hear her breathe, and feel the fur against my naked leg. And it soothes me.

I know I will pray as I do most every evening of my life to not wake up in them morning. To learn if you dream you are falling and you really hit bottom and don't wake up. If a heart attack really hurts. And I have trepidation because I am such a loner and introvert it could be days if not a whole week before they find me. So what ever it is, will be. There are some things I can change, and other things I cannot and I need the courage to know the difference.  And dying, no matter how tempting it seems, isn't. Not now. Not ever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trying to write when it's impossible, a bit more about me

Lately, my writing has been sh*t. I know that, and it upsets me. It seems that since November when my kidneys failed, it's been impossible to write due to illness, and now, impossible to write from depression. And it's not even depression. It's down and out suicidal despair.

I've always been able to write when depressed. I've always been able to function at work- just getting through the day to the best of my ability. Perhaps it's because for the most part I've always had jobs that I was so overqualified for I could do them in my sleep. What kept me going was knowing when I got home I could write for hours on end. It was lovely. I am, by nature, somewhat of a hermit, an introvert. I would be perfectly happy to be stranded on an island with no other human company if I had my books, paper and pens to write with and a cat or two.

Since my kidneys failed, I sleep an average of 18 hours a day. It might be from the kidneys, it might be from depression. Sheer depression, I don't want to wake. I will only get up when the cat runs across my bladder, hitting it hard and reminding me it's time to go to the toilet.

I don't know what I would be able to do if I didn't write. It was the only thing I was ever good at, as a child, I would spend a lot of time alone, I never really bonded with the other children my age. I would make up stories and by the time I was 7 I had started out of the juvenile books to the adult books, starting with authors who started with A and reading everything in the library.

School, other than English classes was hard. Math was the worst. I was expected to do two hours of homework a night by High School, and an hour of clarinet on top of that. When it was done, I had a journal, which was my best friend and I wrote all night long until 11 when the lights were turned off. Then listen to talk radio- back in the day when WOR radio had Jean Shepard, Bob and Ray, and Long John Neville. I didn't sleep, I lived on fumes, and dreamed of the places from the books I would visit when I was 17 and out of school. I've written I was bullied, first from the fact I was one of the youngest girls in my class, and by 8th grade I had a full blown bosom, when the other girls , a lot older were stuffing Kleenex into their bras. I prefered to be alone, and got teased for that. And so on and so on.

I went to college/uni because I didn't want to work, it was the lesser of two evils. And for the first time in my whole entire life, I was happy. Genuinely happy. For now I had professors who actually knew something, not the awful teachers I had who were draft dodgers and had not gotten out Vietnam by teaching would have done something else. By the time I got them , the war was winding down, and for the most part, they stayed with a few more years before leaving to go into the private sector, where they wouldn't be destroying children's dreams by their ignorance and complete inability to impart knowledge to minds that were as soft as sponges and like sponges, trying to absorb it all.

I graduated with honors, and finagled a grad assistantship that paid for my tuition and housing. I taught Sunday School and cleaned houses on the side, and tutored high school kids for the SAT and Achievement tests in the summer. In three years, I had two degrees, I was completely manic at this point, existing on coffee, sleeping three hours a night and taking 12 courses a semester, including summers. I was happy. I didn't know I was like a watch that was wound too tight, going to fast, and about to break.

I broke during the time I was defending my thesis. I was going for a MA in English Lit, and when it came time to submit a thesis, I handed in three names to the department for them to pick. Joyce, Tennyson and Dickens. Joyce, was pooh poohed, wasted on a MA and should be saved for a PhD.  As for the latter two, I did love them to bits, but they were- well, everyone does them. Why not an American writer? Because I don't like them, other than Salinger, it's the Brits that speak to me. American writers prior to 1950 for the most part bored me.

It was then my advisor gave me a very bad piece of advice. Try Raymond Carver, he suggested, handing me a copy of "Cathedral". He's writing now and there's hardly any lit crit on him.

I picked Carver. For those in school - never do a thesis on a living author. Wait til they are dead, at least a couple of decades. While I did fall in love with Carver's writing, it wasn't the time to be doing him. It became the thesis from hell. By sheer stubbornness I stayed with it,  while part of me begged to go to the English Dept and ask for a "safer" author, like Dickens or Hardy.

And so it went. Last semester, filling out applications for PhD schools,  where I stated flat out I wanted to study Joyce; writing a thesis from Heck, and finishing a stage in my life. Then the s**t hit the fan. The guy I was dating dumped me. He was my first boyfriend, it was the first time my heart was broken. The exams were all passed, orals, writtens, foreign language requirement. Just the thesis was still not quite right. Never worry, I still had two more weeks before it was due. Then the impossible, something I am not comfortable writing about, but I was raped one night going to my car from teaching a class- to this day, it's like something out of Faulkner to me, and I why I will never wear the color pink, and a mini skirt.

And like a watch, that is overwound, the springs exploded. I was almost 23. I handed in the thesis, went back to the apartment I shared knowing the roomate would be gone all weekend. A bottle of vodka, mixed with orange juice and pills. Note left on the night table.
Woke up by the police on Monday when I missed class, brought to hospital, in a semi coma, stomach pumped, and then six weeks in hospital, where I heard for the first time I was "manic-depressive".

Since then I've seen 28 different shrinks, and been on over 40 different drugs. I've been in hospital 5 times. I've not had a good shrink, I am jealous of those who have had. Mine have destroyed me, first telling me I couldn't go on for a PhD, I should take a year off. Of course, I never went back. It would be too stressful, you cannot do it. I was told I would never have a full life, I would never accomplish anything, I've peaked. My parents were advised to put me in a state hospital because I would never be able to hold down a job, or do anything with my life. I was put on med after med after med, which side effects made me go from a slender 105 lbs to an obese 220.

This is one of the reasons I started blogging. I noticed there was a plethora of blogs by twenty somethings, and they all were so different than I was twenty years earlier. The diagnosis of "manic depression" in 1986 was a Scarlet Letter, it was a cancer, it was a death sentence. In 2006 I noticed it was just a label to them, attitudes had changed, and it wasn't talked about in hush hush tones like it was when I was diagnosed. Things had changed for the better. I don't want people to forget what it was like.

My ex once told me I could write about mania and despair better than anyone else he knew. I wanted someone, who did not suffer from this, to understand it. Maybe they had a sister, a wife, a mother, a co-worker, who was bipolar, and wanted to understand it. And that's what I did. Or tried to. Maybe I should have stayed with this. I look on my blog roll, and the other blogs I read, and there really aren't any by anyone over 50. Or even 45. I wish there were more writers out there in that age bracket. Maybe they are like me, ashamed of the label. Had their  original dreams destroyed and had to rebuild with new ones.

Or maybe they just don't make it to 50. This is a fear of mine. Maybe they are like me, body worn out by decades of drug use, P-docs who only prescribe drugs and don't care about the side effects and still tell patients to quit meds cold turkey and go on to another drug. People who are psychiatrists, who became psychiatrists because they couldn't pass to become surgeons.

Which leads me to the present. I'm on disability, I long to be off to work again. My body is too broken right now I would have to work from home.  In the last few years, I am both anemic and borderline leukemia from side effects.  (Only a blonde would have blood cells that cannot figure out which way to go). My kidneys failed, and my bladder still isn't working right.  I haven't been manic in about three years, a few bits of hypomania, but nothing proper mania. Just depressed. Constantly depressed, with the last three months suicidal existential anguish.

And the only two things keeping me alive, not going into that good night that I wish I could- are this- this blog and my cat.

I am grateful to whomever took the time to read this, and I want to tell you, you aren't alone.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My latest depression-I feel like a bananafish

It's been a strange weekend. Depression, anhedonia, unable to get out of bed, unable to eat. Thoughts getting blacker and blacker. I've been through this a million times. "Hello depression, my old friend". 

If I had to describe this attack of depression, I would say it's my Seymour Glass/bananafish depression. I cannot  explain, but I always felt a kindred spirit to Seymour Glass, then his brother Buddy. Never felt that way with Holden Caulfield. I've never felt this type of depression so hard before, but I feel like a bananafish. I can't explain, I don't know if anyone would understand. 

Here is part of the story below. 

"You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect
day for bananafish."
"I don't see any," Sybil said.
"That's understandable. Their habits are very peculiar." He kept
pushing the float. The water was not quite up to his chest. "They lead
a very tragic life," he said. "You know what they do, Sybil?"

She shook her head.

"Well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. They're
very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in,
they behave like pigs. Why, I've known some bananafish to swim into a
banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas." He edged the
float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. "Naturally,
after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. Can't
fit through the door."

"Not too far out," Sybil said. "What happens to them?"
"What happens to who?"
"The bananafish."
"Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can't get out of the banana hole?"
"Yes," said Sybil.
"Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die."
"Why?" asked Sybil.
"Well, they get banana fever. It's a terrible disease."
- J. D. Salinger, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"

The complete story can be found here.  

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