Saturday, December 02, 2006

God, party, and cricket.

First off, thanks for the comments. And have a look at that map on the side, and think of the many hours it took me, logging on and pretending to be lots of other people from various other countries, and be impressed.

Anyhow, I am trying to cut down on the tales of incipient madness for today. There is something in psychiatry we call inappropriate self disclosure - the sharing of something that causes a crossing or redrawing of boundaries, the telling of a story that forces the listener into another role, perhaps the role of the therapist. It may be that this is particularly easy on the Internet - you can self-disclose into what seems like the Void, feel catharted... and subsequently find that the Void is full of a lot of people laughing at you.

I started writing this blog partly to explain (although I couldn't have said at the time to whom) my experience of bipolar disorder, particularly a doctor with bipolar. But when I am depressed, "This is how this feels for me" can easily become
"Look how much pain I am in", which is only a few lines away from
"Care for me."

I don't want to do too much of that. And I do appreciate the numerous posts and well-wishings and private emails from the deeply caring and compassionate people I have received - thanks again. But part of getting well again is doing something other than being sick.

Consequently, party at our place this Saturday. The invitation we sent out reads, in part,

"Drink fine wine
Eat delicious food
Stare at ornamental cats and chickens
Play backyard cricket (talent capping applies)

We supply BBQ facilities and cheap, good and plentiful alcohol (the red wine may be good, the white is cheap and plentiful). You supply that fine wine and delicious food we were talking about."

The cricket talent capping is necessary because one of my friends can really bowl - he bowled Steve Waugh out once at a cricket academy thing, and Steve Waugh was the Australian cricket captain - and if Matthew gets the ball in his hand and a glint in his eye we are all going to have to take evasive action.

My brother will be fielding from very very deep mid wicket, near the drinks fridge, and I will be providing tactical and moral support somewhere in the kitchen. The rest of us bowl, bat or field like flowerpot men.

The cats and chickens are as previously described. There is no real purpose to the party except to cheer everyone up and get us to clean up the house - I sortof came up with the idea when thinking about a low-calorie, single dose, side-effect free antidepressant. Come one, come all.

In the interim I have been cleaning the house and thinking about religion. This is something that has been going around in my head ever since, on my first night out of Clearwater, my wife took me to the U2 concert (seriously, tickets bought months ago, nothing was stopping me). Anyway, sometime - and I don't know when, sometime between sixty thousand of us singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" for people imprisoned without trial, and seeing the Coexist symbol up on the screen when he sung "One" - sometime in there I felt some kind of communion.

As far as religion goes for the last ten years I have been a believer, not a belonger. When Ruth and I broke up there was some kind of understanding - possibly only on my part - that I got the uni, she got the church, and I have not really been back since. When I go to the country to visit my sons and they go to church, I go, and four out of the pastor's last four sermons have been about the damnation awating those who do not believe in the six days of creation.

Due to my previous excesses I am a bit wary of belonging, a bit mistrustful about that feeling of communion. As far as the church goes, I am particularly wary about belonging to something that requires me to believe in things I can't believe in any more. I can't do the whole homophobia/creationism/patriarchy stuff. That stuff that makes most of my friends think of Christianity as a mediaeval grotesquery.

But during the concert - and the echoes are still there, still with me - I got the idea that there was a communion for me. That there were Christians who believed what I believe, who took the same things as central as I take as central. Religion rooted in concern for social justice, voluntary simplicity, a religion with more humility than the high-pitched voices of rage I hear on the radio whenever a towelhead or a queer or - God forbid - a woman gets out from under the thumb.

Anyhow, preachy and a little bit bitchy - not a good note to end on. But, if this makes sense to anybody, do tell.

Better go - I have dishes still to wash, and miles to go before I sleep.

Thanks for listening
John

6 Comments:

Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Where's my invite?

Anway there appears to be a logical error in your prose, sic:
"I am particularly wary about belonging to something that requires me to believe in things I can't believe in any more"

It should be something like
"I am particularly wary about belonging to something that requires me to believe in things I THINK I can't believe in..."

Unfortunately once you start thinking there is no way back (Pandora's box and all that)

Benny

11:07 PM  
Blogger Juanita J. Sanchez said...

Well, BJ, I didn't comment on your last post because... I guess because I didn't have anything useful to say. However, I wanted to say that your paragraph, which described hopelessness leading to thought disorder, was so incredibly accurate -- it was hard for me to read. It is not an experience I have had, but one that I witnessed, and you put it into words better than I could ever have done. But after reading this post I realize that I am not expected to say anything useful! So that's a relief. Have fun at your party. I'm sorry I can't be there, because I would gladly crash it with my sister Laurita if only you weren't a 24 hour flight from here.

P.S. About God. I think you're on the right track. Whatever that's worth.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Dude,
Some interesting stuff from the Clinical Psych...

Therapeutic Relationship and Bipolar Disorder Outcomes
In what seems a reasonably well-designed study in Psychiatry Research, researchers found that therapeutic alliance (quality of relationship between treating psychiatrist and patient) predicted manic symptoms six months after the relationship quality was measured. In other words, patients who reported good relationships with their docs at the start of the study tended to have reduced manic symptoms, even when controlling for the initial level of manic symptoms. This fits nicely with other research suggesting that docs should be trained in how to develop and maintain therapeutic relationships with their patients.
As the view of psychiatric disorders becomes increasingly skewed toward biology at the exclusion of other factors, research like this should help to remind clinicians and researchers that there is more to treatment than simple pill dispensation.

Let me rephrase. It would help remind them if they were to actually notice studies such as this, but, unfortunately, this study will likely be read by few whereas poorly designed, tell us next to nothing clinical trials such as the recent Risperdal for depression study that I wrote much about (here, here, and here) will be read by thousands of docs. He who controls the distribution of information (via reprints, speakers, continuing medical education, etc.) controls clinical practice.


Benny

1:53 AM  
Blogger lauritajuanitasanchez said...

Oh yeah. That relationship is paramount. It's true in teaching as well. The more of a "bond", the more effective the instruction.

About God...

I found a wonderful church, but was bothered by that whole anti-homosexuality business. Then I began to think that I need to take from church what is truely from God and discard those parts of church that are of man. It helps to have the ability to think critically...baby and bathwater and all that.

Have fun at your party.

Laura

2:17 AM  
Blogger Niamh Sage said...

Amen to that. At the risk of sounding weird, I get the same feeling when I'm out walking in the woods.

I hope you guys have a wonderful party. Please say hi to anyone I know who's going to be there!

(I miss parties, no one seems to really do that here. I think I might have one anyway, to heck with "when in Rome" :D )

Camilla
:)

ps your map is very impressive!

pps "tlsweh" - Cthulhu's little brother?

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Danny said...

Now, this party...do I have to wear pants? The other half says she'll make sure I behave myself this time...but there has to be a trade off.

2:44 PM  

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