Angry Panda on Laptop

Read at your own risk

This post may be monitored by the U.S. government. Monitoring may include data mining options including but not limited to: clicking/viewing/”liking”/commenting/sharing of this post and its contents. Not only do companies know your consumer habits and demographic profile (to increase profits by manufacturing consumer desires), but the government also can determine how literally boring your life may actually be and how it may play no particular interest to them (or perhaps the contrary).

Yeah, who’s a crazy conspirator now??!!! Finally, my hypothesis of wide ranging surveillance by the U.S. government of my digital presence has been validated!

It’s kinda nice to be validated.

June Penguin

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This is the June Calendar Penguin.

Is that lone penguin crying out in existential angst and ironically having his own voice drowned out by the noise of the hundreds of penguins dotting the background?

Or Is the lone penguin expressing great relief at finding his home and calling out to loved ones?

Maybe this simply is a chance moment when the penguin was caught clearing his throat after eating his fill of fish.

Or perhaps the penguin is exasperated by everything that is going on his life and wanted to just vent.

And yet maybe this is the case in which the penguin has reached the light at the end of the tunnel and is overcome by such immense joy he shrieks!

Maybe it is one of these realities or none of these.
But for time being it is all of these realities for this penguin.

Strange sensations

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I can feel the strangeness of my being. My neurotransmitters are firing incorrectly. There is both a foggy feeling and a tingly feeling. The tingly vertigo that I generally experience as withdrawal syndrome if I take hours to take my Effexor at its regular 24 hr intervals. But these are occurring way too close to my normal dose interval. Cognitive impairment, vivid dreams, sleepiness these have all returned. Too many changes threatening my sense of consistency.

 

PS

Well it turned out that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms or “discontinuation syndrome“. I found 1 of the 2 effexor pills in my little bottle, which means I only took half my dose yesterday.. I am glad to know the main source as to why I felt so grossly horrible. If this is any glimpse as to what addicts detoxing from drugs experience, I am only speechless.

silver linings

Silver Linings

Dr. Patel: Pat, you have to have a strategy.

Pat: I hate my illness and I want to control it. This is what I believe to be true. This is what I learned in the hospital. You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.”
– Silver Linings Playbook (Film)

That scene in the movie fascinates me. The statement: “This is what I believe to be true:” is said with calm conviction that I envy.

I watched both the movie and read the book Silver Linings Playbook and I thouroughly connected to what the main character expressed about his frustrations with living life. The movie and the book are different but enjoyably so. First time I can say that about a book made into a movie.

In other news, I ran across a fascinating piece on social science research regarding the effect of prayer. According to  More than a platitude: Praying for others promotes hope, optimism, studies suggest By David Briggs in ARDA, there are observable effects on those who know that they are being prayed for. This even includes people who many not necessarily be religious. I am glad this type of research is being done and I realize that the results are helpful for the “doubting Thomas” in me. I have the tendency to easily write off prayer when things begin to get rough, because I rationalize that God already knows what’s going on. I end up thinking “Why should I waste my time rexplaining things to God.”  But I will say that when someone out of their own volition shares that they are praying for me, it actually grounds me to understand that A) People care about me, so much that they are going to God about it. and B) God is still out there to listen to me.
So as I pray for anyone who reads this, I hope you take time to pray to God and keep your eye out for silver linings.

-lp

PS-Here are some more quotes I liked from the actual book. 

“If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.” 

“Life is hard, and children have to be told how hard life can be…So they will be sympathetic to others. So they will understand that some people have it harder than they do and that a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.” 

“It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain. So I need to run, and as my lungs burn and my back rebels with that stabbing knife feeling and my legs muscles harden and the half inch of loose skin around my waist jiggles, I feel as though my penance for the day is being done and that maybe God will be pleased enough to lend me some help, which I think is why He has been showing me interesting clouds for the past week.”

― Matthew QuickThe Silver Linings Playbook

floweremo

A reblog and some recent considerations

A good friend of mine forwarded a blog post that is both extremely helpful and in my view hilariously written. The topic? Depression Tips in the World that lives in the Cult of Happiness.   The post is aptly named  “21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed”.

I definitely can concur with #8 where the remedy to the insomnia is Nightly Business News on PBS….and limiting caffeine intake. Many of the tips seem common sense, but as those who have wrestled with depression can attest to, your notion of “common sense” is a bit disrupted and you need reminders.

Go ahead and enjoy it for yourself, I know I am gonna keep these in mind for myself:

21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.

Right now due to my resurgence of some more moderate to major depressive episodes, I am having to reevaluate my current medication and blood levels. Do I have to increase my antidepressant or is this something regarding my thyroid hormone levels. I will hopefully figure it out in the next weeks or so. I can’t find myself lying in bed asleep all day on weekends, especially as I attempt to finish my graduate degree.

And as I type this blog post, I am watching PBS (yes, again)-The Truth About Excercise with Michael Mosley. It’s not lost on me that I reallly really really need to add excercise into my life. Hopefully this documentary helps to convince to commit myself to being active physically in just some way. Hopefully.

I will end this blog post with a prayer for all of those who suffer or are afflicted with mental illness/disorders.

Lord, our God, you graciously chose St. Dymphna as patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders. She is thus an inspiration and a symbol of charity to the thousands who ask her intercession. 
Please grant, Lord, through the prayers of this pure youthful martyr, relief and consolation to all suffering such trials, and especially those for whom we pray. 
We beg you, Lord, to hear the prayers of St. Dymphna on our behalf. Grant all those for whom we pray patience in their sufferings and resignation to your divine will. Please fill them with hope, and grant them the relief and cure they so much desire. 
We ask this through Christ our Lord who suffered agony in the garden.

Amen.

Known by the Unknowable

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Easter. I look at the image that St. Faustina depicted and it seems rather distanced and abstract. The idea of divine mercy is lost on me.
Divine mercy is as incomprehensible as unconditional love.
Our own hearts and even more our own minds are too conditioned, too attached to causal relation to understand the mystery and gift of God’s unconditional love. And yet in the end that which we do not “know” is what our hearts seek ardently.

A recent Easter post by Steven Gershom speaks to a facet of this love as it is revealed when Jesus calls Mary by name.

Jesus turned to her and said, “Mary”. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!”

What is lonelier than not being seen, not being known?

It is said that the Holy Spirit is the look of love that passes between the Father and the Son. Think of the look of love: think of how unafraid it is, how it sees every bit of us, and delights in what it sees. Think of the certainty that it produces, the certainty that we are understood.

It is this look that kindles in us our selfhood, gives us confidence to live, gives us ground to stand on.1

Some of us grew up unseen. Our parents, maybe, saw only the reflection of their own failures — or were too consumed with their own hurts to see us at all. Or our schoolmates looked and saw only our differences and kept their distance, as if our social leprosy was catching. Or, somehow, nobody saw us at all; we didn’t fit into any group, were outside of every plan. We were spare parts.

What happens when we are not given the look of love? We become afraid. We will go to any lengths to draw this look out of others, but we despair at the same time, because we know that the look is worth nothing unless it is given without our asking.

You can read the rest here.

And yet sometimes, in the high tides of my depression I will question whether God sees me, whether He even knows my name.

“It is this look that kindles in us our selfhood, gives us confidence to live, gives us ground to stand on.1″

I can identify with this loss of self in the struggle of living with an illness of the mind. I painfully know the thrashing towards peace of mind seeking that my value as human be validated. Yet there lies a paradox. A few years ago during an emotional session, my p-doc (psychiatrist) asked -“What is it that you want?”
Me-“I want to told that I am loved and that everything will be just fine. … But you can’t just ask someone to tell you that bc you want someone to just say it without you asking. Asking for it somehow negates its validity.”

Yet the only One who can know all of our needs, our heart, our entire being is Jesus. I try my best, when troubled in mind and heart, when feeling unloved, unneeded, when questioning the worth of my life, to slowly just breathe and hold onto the thought that God is there, that God loves me and that is all that truly matters.

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Tyranny of the other & Tyranny of the Self

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The Hunger Games trilogy indulged my affinity to dystopian literature. Yes affinity…because I really find the dystopian narrative hopeful, redemptive, and existentially satisfying. As a borderline non-optimist who’s best coping mechanism is sarcasm and cynicism, I hold a strange,almost contradictory, belief in the good. As in the goodness in human nature, since my religious belief holds that all of us humans are made in the image of God. Yes, I pulled the God card…. and now I lost some/most/ all of you who have read this far…. No? You are still there? Ok good. Thanks for reading. So the young adult fiction trilogy Hunger Games allowed me to visit again dystopia and the inner and outer struggle that exists in all of us as humanity. To serve as a reminder of the subtle and not so subtle pervasive virus of evil in humanity and the indifference/despondency that enables it. This can feed into an resigned state of living, that strips the dignity and freedom of the human person.
Yet, there is always hope, a grain or spark of what is always depicted as a rebellion against the structure of evil. The (reluctant) hero (thank you very much Joseph Campbell) or in the case of the Hunger Games, the Heroine, Katniss Everdeen becomes the agent that seeks freedom generally in the form of sacrifice of self.
Yep…so why this rant? … umm..well seeing that I ran into a Hunger Games thing twice today one being an article I enjoyed, I wanted to share said article but provide a small context as to why this topic is of interest to me. In essence, a really long segue to Andrew Wilson’s article “Hunger Games and Dystopia” I hope you enjoy reading about what is the crux of the article, “the tyranny of the other and the tyranny of the self.”
Maybe next post’s subject will be the tyranny of relativism.