Psychic Acne

I woke up this morning from a high school reunion dream.  This is not a good way to start the day.  But, it feels more like a subconscious zit coming to a head after churning through current events.  So, I’m hoping I can just give it a good scrub and move along.

I tried my hand at another old skill yesterday—public speaking.  My mom asked me to talk to her social club about bipolar disorder.  So, I put together a presentation and, after the huge potluck, gave my spiel.  I think it went well.  No one nodded off after all the cheesy potatoes and macaroni salads.  And several people had questions or wanted to talk about grandchildren or friends who had BP.  I always figure that’s a good sign when a speaker can get folks to talk.  Others came to me privately afterward to discuss the material in more depth.  That felt right, too.

Discussing mental illness is frightening to some, fascinating to others.  The freak-show aspect of it can be a big draw.  If I can be articulate and funny while also candid about how the illness manifests for me, I like to think I humanize a condition that’s usually kept secret.  That’s my hope anyway, and I think I was pretty successful yesterday.

But, I was exhausted afterward.  And wired.  Telling my story always effects me that way.  Even though I’m completely comfortable being “out” as a person with bipolar disorder, there’s still an element of risk in telling my tale.  I share intimate details with strangers, then give them permission to make comments about my life.  It’s a vulnerable situation.

On my way home, I stopped to check out a new chiropractor.  I injured my shoulder years ago, and the laps I swam to recover my range of motion after surgery woke up that old injury.  The pain in my neck and shoulder was only getting worse, so I knew I needed to take care of it.  My former chiropractor stopped accepting Medicare, so he wasn’t an option.  I had to find someone new.  Dr. Beane and his wife led the Unitarian Universalist service on Sunday.  When I learned he was a chiropractor, I grooved on the synchronistiy and found his office.

So, once more I had to tell my story—different focus, but life events are life events.  He listened thoughtfully, then went about his business.  The scar tissue and inflammation around my shoulder had progressed so far they had pulled the bone out of the socket.  Dr. Beane said I had a significant “droop shoulder” and worked to snap it back into place.

I’m encouraged and in less pain this morning, though it will take several sessions to reap the full effects.  Money will be an issue.  His office requires full payment up front, then Medicare will reimburse me for whatever percentage they cover.  Money—the constant worry.  But it seems important to take care of his injury before heading in for another surgery.  I feel like I need as many parts of me strong and in working order as possible to compensate for the upcoming restrictions and pain.

So, I’m not surprised that my brain churned out a fussy, uncomfortable dream about feeling vulnerable and judged. Today—observe and get some Clearasil.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:32:56

    Clearasil, indeed. That will do the trick. I understand how exhausting it can be to share your story. I don’t know why, but it has been known to nearly level me afterward. Sounds like you did an amazing job though.


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:49:27

      There we go again, sharing experiences I think are freaky, but are bipolar-universal. God, I’m so glad to have you as a friend, Kathy. Someday, I’m coming to take you and Sara out for coffee.


  2. ManicMuses
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:08:26

    I really admire your being able to put yourself in a vulnerable position to help others. I’m sure you helped everyone who spoke with you and a few you don’t even know about. Hope your shoulder feels better, too!


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:46:09

      Thanks, Vivien. I’m off center today, so getting other people’s perspectives helps a lot. Your words always seem to come from an ancient source of wisdom. I love that about you.


  3. pegoleg
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:08:39

    Love the idea of Clearasil for our subconscious zits.

    I think most people are interested in mental illness legitimately, because it HAS been such a taboo subject. Also, at the risk of sounding like an idiot, it’s not something one can usually talk about with a sufferer, because they are, well, mentally ill. Your ability to articulate, even while “in the moment” is a rare and unique thing. At least I think so.


  4. Penny
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 15:49:39

    Should that we all learn from your reflection… Nicely articulated, my friend. You have so much to teach others.


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