Doing the Strange, Hard Things

There’s so much going on that I wish I could write about, hell, wish I could even talk about, but it’s very draining and I need to be able to talk about it in depth a couple of times today. I’m just so mad and scared, though. And I need to be able to make wise decisions in ways that I have heretofore never done before. A thing needs to be done. I don’t know what I’m doing. But I must do the thing anyway.

JESUS, CRAWDAD, DEATH is still happening. It was delayed, but it seems to be back on track. I saw some potential covers and one is just so brilliant. They’re all great, but one is stunningly beautiful and hilarious. I hope that’s what we end up with.

The Butcher and his family came by last night. It always delights me to see the nephew and both times he’s been to my house he seems so delighted and surprised to see me.

He called the dog “Bah” which is what he calls the cat at home. The orange cat’s name, if you didn’t know, is “Hobbes,” which has me convinced that the littlest nephew has made the connection that that sounds means that thing, which is awesome and smart, but also I think he’s extrapolated that “Bah” refers to a furry thing, so there’s another furry thing, it must be “Bah.”

That, to me, feels like a big cognitive jump. Categorizing.

It’s funny and weird to think that he may have the ability to compare and sort things, to understand his world to that extent, before he can speak.

Being a baby must be so frustrating and weird.

And Anthony Bourdain… man. I don’t have anything intelligent to say. Just that once I read an article about David Foster Wallace and about how terrified he was that not only wasn’t he going to get better, but that he was going to ruin the lives of the people around him, slowly dragging them down with him. The implication being that, in Depression’s twisted way, he thought he was doing the loving thing by making it quick and getting it over with. Harm reduction.

And that really clarified things for me. How people who are so loved and, in some cases (though not DFW’s, at least not completely) so very deeply loving, could still take this course of action.

Sacrifice yourself so your loved ones can be safe (from you).

I think, sometimes, it’s unhelpful to completely get rid of one model of understanding mental health for another. I don’t have a better answer. Both together won’t work.

But as much as I know mental illness is an illness, and one that medical science is figuring out how to treat, as much as I myself have benefited from advances in medical science and would not have benefited from an exorcism–stay with me here–I wonder if the useful thing about the demonic model of mental illness was that it gave a clear metaphor for why you would do things you wouldn’t normally do, believe things that everyone else can see aren’t true, and why you’d resist getting help when it’s so clear you need it.

Because there is a way in which mental illness feels like a competing foreign entity with its own goals and agenda.

And I wonder if it’s easier to get help if you think something that is not you has come for you.

Instead of feeling, however accurately or not, that this is something you’re doing to yourself and therefore, further proof that you’re fucked up and you suck.

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