me

Do you want to know more about the guy who's on the other side of your screen, saying all this stuff?

Then come right in...

ribbons

These are my Mission Statements.

rant

These are my longer "deep-dive" articles on specific subjects so they don't get lost.

partyfavor

The fun stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.

To Be a Conservative

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There is a difference, as the old saying goes, between good, sound ideas and ideas that sound good. I think this pretty much means the difference between Conservatives and Liberals. True Conservatives have definite, solid reasons and reasoning behind their positions on any subject they take a stand on. Liberals will, by and large, either default to “Because it’s the right thing to do.” or start spewing meaningless statistics from a left-wing group. These statistics rarely stand up to critical review.

Let’s take gun-control for an example. I have a clear bias, I am pro Second Amendment, I am a life member of the NRA, and before I got sick I had a Concealed Weapons License.

A Liberal will spew “10 children a day are killed by guns.” Of course, who wouldn’t want to save 10 children a day? That’s the emotional hook. But if you found out that most weren’t children, that they would probably die even if there weren’t any guns, would your position change then? Would that prompt you to determine the source of the problem, rather than treating a non-existent symptom? The bad news is they fail to define “children.” You are left to think 7 and 8 year-olds, while in fact, about 8.5 of those 10 are actually 15+ years old. And to round it up to 10, they had to include 18 and 19 year old ADULTS as well.

“…[T]here were just 20 fatal gun accidents among children under the age of 5 in 1998. Contrast this with phony claims you hear about “10 children a day killed by guns.” The greatest part of that factoid comes from gang-related homicides perpetrated by inner-city, 17-to-19-year-old male criminals.

(Excerpted from the article “Not-so Safe Storage Laws” by Dave Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant & Dr. Joanne Eisen of the Independence Institute, published in National Review Online 10/18/00.)

Of course the death of a child is a tragedy. Even if the “child” is a member of a gang, capable of performing deadly violence on anybody who gets in his way. But it is by no means an accident. That young adult made a conscience choice to get involved with groups known for consistent and brutal violence. In some of these groups you actually have to commit a murder to be a member of the gang.

John Lott, in trying to show gun control actually works, decisively proved to peer review that 2.5 million (2,500,000) crimes are prevented every year by armed private citizens. Now for the sake of argument, let’s say that we were able to get rid of all guns in private hands. Would that cut down on the “10 children a day”? Probably not. They would use baseball bats, or knives, or whatever was on hand. Would that cause more crime? Absolutely. By at least 2.5 million a year.

Do you see the difference? I did a yahoo search and found a bunch of sites, more of which were promoting the “10 children a day” than were opposing it.

They are too fixated on the factiod to question it. Liberals don’t care that most of it is gang-related. If you take away the gang members, the rate drops to about 1.5 a day. Less than drowning. Less than poisoning. Liberals don’t like guns, they don’t like the common citizen having so much power and responsibility, so they are willing to quote any absurdity to justify their position. And the people who do it because “it sounds good” fall right in line behind them.

On any subject, which category do you fall under? Good, sound reasons or reasons that sound good?

Living with depression

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This is the reason for this blog. For me to tell you people what it is like to live with a mental illness.

My alarm clock went off at 8 am this morning. I am trying to get up at the same time every day for stability. That means no sleeping in. I got up long enough to feed my birds, then I was driven back to bed to hide from the world. This wasn't a fear attack, but rather a "I can't face anything" type of attack. 8 o'clock suddenly became 11:30. I am angry over this. But then the definition of depression is "anger without the enthusiasm." On a 10 scale of being depressed, I am about a 5. This slope I am on is steep and slippery. Below me lies closet time and suicide attempts. Above me lies normalcy. I struggle with easy things. Personal hygiene is a monumental task. I don't smell, but if I shave twice a week, that's good. If I brush my teeth 5 times, that's outstanding. Taking the trash 30 feet outside the back door might as well be climbing Everest. I know these things need to be done. I want to do them. I know they are not hard to do. But actually completing the task is nigh impossible.

But I also have an added danger in my life: mania. "Normal" bipolars spend months or years on either side of the scale before falling off the other side. I myself was mistakenly diagnosed as ADD instead of bipolar. I spent most of my life on the manic side. A fast cycling bipolar can literally switch in seconds. Several of my suicide attempts were preceded by a severe manic swing. I experienced a perceptual narrowing (I overfocused on something small and insignificant) on something dangerous. When my wife got through to me about how stupid I was being, I would go from a manic 10 to a depressive 10. These severe manic swings also led to trips to the hospital under police escort. I was on a first name basis with the police that specialize in handling emotionally disturbed people. Luckily the Memphis police don't carry Tasers, I would have been brought down at least twice that way. Let me clarify something. I was a standard bipolar (diagnosed as ADD) until I started taking Effexor in January of 1999. This drug piledrived me into a depressive swing and I have been like a ping-pong ball ever since. My first hospitalization was in early 2000 and I have had at least 15 hospitalizations, the last one in November 2002. My last manic episode seems to have been in May, and I have settled on my "slightly depressive" spot ever since. Now is the time to move up emotionally. Wish me luck.

I'm sorry Mr. Ashcroft

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I happened across this article, Ashcroft rips 'Patriot' critics and I have to stand against the AG on this one. I think it is always a bad idea to pass 'knee-jerk' legislation. It violates a lot of freedoms and rarely actually addresses the problem it is supposed to solve.

Ashcroft's comments came after the release of a memo he wrote disclosing that the Justice Department has never used a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows authorities in terrorism investigations to obtain records from libraries, bookstores and other businesses without notifying the subject of the probe.

Just because you haven't used provisions of a bad law doesn't mean that you won't in the future. I don't know everything about the Patriot Act, but I do know that opening doors like this make them very hard to close. I know they already do similar things in RICO and Drug related cases. I still don't like it. With today's interlinked society, your buying habits are closely scrutinized and studied. Why? So you can be targeted with personalized advertising, to get you to stay brand loyal or to jump ship. Every time you use a check or credit card, a record is made with your name and info, to be kept on file at that place of business for who knows how long. To have a barcode on your receipt means that store is tracking you by name. They can tell you what you buy, how much, how often and if you prefer store brand over brand name or not. They know which credit cards you use, and can guess how many you have in total based on statistical averages. Use a frequent shopper card? You're in it up to your eyeballs now. I could go to my local grocer, drop my FSC in the basket, and just walk the aisles, and 90% of my shopping would automatically fall into my basket, based entirely on my past shopping habits. I'm bipolar, not paranoid. I know all about the data mining being done on me every day because I used to be a data miner. Because of my financial and emotional position, I don't make impulse purchases anymore. Every dollar spent, every transaction is checked and verified internally before I actually spend the money. If it is necessary, I know where, when and how to make a "transaction free" purchase. And the answer isn't just paying cash. To allow law-enforcement access to those records for any reason without a court order is scary to me. The tools are there for police to find data that didn't exist 10 years ago. There are commercial tools that document sales that didn't exist 10 years ago. I don't mind the tools, I mind how easy it is to get permission to use them. To be able to call an investigation "Terrorism related" and get a pass on any meaningful control scares the daylights out of me. The depth that the governmental anal probes can reach get a little deeper every year. If law-enforcement on any level decided to perform a a maximum effort investigation on me, very little outside of my own thoughts are safe. Considering the content of this blog, even my thoughts can be scrutinized. Scary stuff.

The Dreaded Knock

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I got a rude awakening this morning about 1:30am. The apartment got a loud knock for some reason.

The only two knocks you get at that time of the morning are "police raid" or "death of a family member." It dumped a large amount of adrenalin into my system and took a while to go back to sleep.

Short on time again, nothing really interesting on the news web sites. I'll post something conservative tomorrow when I have the time.

UPDATE: I meant to say the apartment ABOVE. I did not get the knock, but the people above (or maybe even next door).

What I do

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I've already stated that I work part time. I put in three days a week at a Drop-In Center, which is a socialization center for people who have a mental health diagnosis. It's a job requirement that the staff also have a mental health diagnosis as well. It's so we can better relate to our clients.

I drive for the center. I go out and pick these people up and take them to the center. In the afternoon, I take them home. In between, I interact with them. These are people who by and large will never be a contributing member of society. A good portion of these people also have developmental disabilities such as mental retardation on top of being schizophrenic, or bipolar, or whatever they have. Seeing these people struggle against what you don't even think about helps me do my best to make it through the day. Most of them are happy, because they can't even conceive of the things that are beyond them. They look forward to coming to our center like normal kids look forward to going to Disneyland.

Me? I feel like Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon. I remember when I was an Information Technology Manager, my work affecting hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. I used to eat stress and deadlines like candy. Now I must carefully manage myself. If I get too excited or stressed, I end up on the manic side of the scale. That means my productivity drops to zero and I run around like a headless chicken, followed quickly by my ending up back in the closet, screaming like I'm being tortured. I dream about being an IT manager again only 3 to 4 times a day. Followed by the realization that I still have a long way to go, plus there are things that must change externally to me as well before I can go job hunting again.

And I thought I was crazy

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This article, Albright Still Unqualified, rips the Clinton Secretary of State a new one. I always knew she was in over her head. I just didn't realize that she put on cement overshoes before wading in.

The Democratic Party's fixation on race and gender explains why black Supreme Court justices can't be conservative, why Hispanic parents should not want their kids to learn English, and why members of both hues should all think alike. It explains how you get Gray Davis supporters shouting "He's a for'ner!" about an immigrant candidate, and how you get the Democratic governor responding that if you can't pronounce the word "California," you shouldn't be governor. It's also how you get the Democratic Party of Minnesota discouraging black Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Paige from running to fill the late Paul Wellstone's Senate seat in last November's elections.

I for one would not want to discourage Alan Paige from doing anything he wants to do. He was a fearsome linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings back in the 70's. I have no doubt he could still stick your left foot in your right ear if he wanted to.

Gotta go to work

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Today is one of my work days. I did manage to get up early and make it through my blog and news list. I'm running out of time, so posting is light this morning.Right now my two Sun Conures Rocket and Corkscrew are on me, cleaning me. They're not happy unless they can spend some time on Daddy. I even have a special shirt for them to tear up. They are especially noisy when I get back from being out. They don't quiet down until I put on their shirt and let them out. I keep their visits down to about 10 minutes or so, then put them back so they can have a "poopy break" so they don't do it on me.

The one thing I wanted to comment on is this story, where Governor Davis made an interplanetary gaffe:

"My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth," he said.

As if California didn't have enough trouble with illegal Mexicans, they have to worry about illegal Venusians and Martians as well. Heh.

Thursdays are Fun Days

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Thursdays are my fun night out. I play a futuristic tactical game called MechWarrior:Dark Age where the main battle unit is a BattleMech, a 40 foot tall humanoid robot bristling with weaponry and a man at the controls. It’s about the year 4,000 and Man has spread to the stars. It’s based on the old (but still played) BattleTech. It’s a fun game that can be played in an hour or two and doesn’t require pages of charts and stats. Everything you need to know about a unit is on the base, which is clicked as the unit takes damage. So the stats go downhill as the units get more and more damaged.

This and model rocketry are my only two hobbies at the moment, things that actually get me out of the apartment to mix with other people and have fun. I get to do this once a week at most. We used to have eight tournaments a month, but changes at the company that sells the game have cut things back to four events a month. You see, this company hands out free prizes if you win. Not a lot of other game companies do this.

Anyway, I loaded my stuff into the car, went and got my son and we went to Midtown Toys and set up. He played, I refereed. For some reason, we don’t have a lot of players in this area to begin with. Tonight it turned out to be my son and one other player. No multiple battles, no exciting finishes, tonight was a 5 on that 10 scale of fun. I did get to talk with people of like-minded interests for a couple of hours, which is more than I usually do. I also got to spend some quality time with my son, which is always cherished time with me. That’s always a 10 for me.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to post more today, but I also had to take my wife to a doctors appointment. I am going to respect her privacy and not delve into the details, but I am worried. If you pray, please put her in your prayers at night.

Thank You and Good Night.

Balance

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My work hours are 10:30am – 7pm. With this in mind, getting up at 9am is perfectly acceptable. One of the reasons for this blog is for me to adhere to more acceptable hours. I got my alarm to go off this morning at 8am and I managed to get out of bed without an attack. After getting up at 8:00 for a couple of days, I’ll shoot for 7:00. I’m not sure what I will do at that hour, but I’ll find something.

One thing that I must be careful about is doing too much. My life is boring and vanilla as possible on purpose. Last week, in one day I paid the families rent, washed my overflowing dishes, did my laundry at the Laundromat, then took my family out for something to eat. Halfway through the outing with my family, I was overcome by a fear attack. I was able to hold together until I took everyone back to my apartment and I had to hide in my closet for a while. I also had to repeatedly thump my head. Not hard enough to bruise, but enough to provide a small physical shock to the brain. It serves as a “reboot” for the brain, providing a small measure of comfort to me.

The first indication that my life had forever changed was me crawling into the hall closet and started screaming and crying while beating my head into the wall. I was two weeks into taking an antidepressant treating what I thought was adult ADD. I was in the closet because I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had let down everybody that I had known. I was out of control and my only saving grace was my loving wife crawled into that closet with me and calmed me down. But that was the first of many, many times in that closet. Over the next 6-8 months, I think I spent more time in there than I did out. I went in there for the sensory deprivation. My thoughts would spin out of control and the only way to get them to slow down was to go into that dark, quiet place and let time pass.

So with all things in life, I must find a balance. I have been on the low side on purpose because my primary diagnosis is fast cycling Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t ever want to go manic because I would be out of control and that would be very bad. Trust me. So this blog is part of my effort to creep back to the center and balance, instead of staying on the depressive side. While being manic is a danger, I want to be able to do more, so by doing more, I hope to be able to do more. We’ll see.

Something Conservative

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I happened across this article, The Goose is Dying. A quote is below, but I wanted to comment on it. Half of the money the federal government collects is redistributed to other people. Since I am on SSDI, I am one of them. The last I heard, only 26 cents of every dollar collected actually makes it to the person that it’s intended for. 74 cents disappears into the bureaucracy as overhead.

If 10 percent of an economy’s national income depends on government spending and control, then its economy can be called 10 percent ‘socialistic’ and 90 percent free-market. Today, shockingly, fully 42 percent of the economy is socialistic, that is, utterly reliant on government spending. Thus only 58 percent of the economy is free, and that figure is rapidly diminishing.
Call it “creeping socialism” – it’s happening one step at a time, so it’s hardly noticeable until we wake up one morning and discover that Karl Marx has replaced George Washington as the father of our country.

There is also this article, NYC’S Latest Gun Misfires in which John Lott muses over the latest anti-gun knee-jerk measures being considered by the “Republican” mayor of NYC and the City Council. When John Lott writes about guns, you better listen. He started out as a liberal meaning to come up with the quintessential study showing that gun control works. He found out the exact opposite so strongly that he switched camps and became an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment.

Wednesdays are important days

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Wednesdays are very important days for me. This is the day that I meet with my case manager. This is a licensed social worker who comes by to check up on me. He makes sure I've been taking my medication, that I'm still stable on it, that I haven't been doing anything stupid, etc. I see him weekly, because of my past history of instability means I must be closely monitored. I used to see him twice a week, but budget cuts cut it down to one. I'm one of the "lucky" ones, most under case management only see their case manager once a month.

Today was doubly important because today I also checked in with my medication nurse. She is a licensed Nurse Practitioner who is in charge of my current drug "cocktail." Between my NP and I, we decide on a monthly basis as to how well my medication works and if any changes are warranted.

Without my medication, I would be dead, literally. When I am not on the correct medication (or none at all) I have an overriding urge to blow my brains out. A constant mental picture of pointing a gun at my head and pulling the trigger. I have been ill for five years now and it has only been the last year that this urge has been under control. I stopped counting suicide attempts when I hit an even dozen. I have tried hanging, pills, guns, even a half-hearted attempt of suicide by cop. I've had the SWAT team out to the house twice that I can remember. Just think about that. Average one suicide attempt every four months for four years. Not good. I never really wanted to die, I just wanted the urge to go away. That was how desperate I was.

Now imagine what kind of pressure that puts on a wife and child. My wife has PTSD from all of the out of control meltdowns that I went through before trying to kill myself. To this day I cannot raise my voice for any reason in front of them. The pets are even scared of me when I raise my voice. I am separated from my family for just this reason. I do get to see them, but it's as a visitor, not as a true husband and father.

So you see, it is very important that I have the correct medication and stay on it.

Greetings and Welcome!

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Thank You for visiting my humble blog. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a 42-year-old man who is living with a severe mental illness. I used to own my own home, I used to have a family. I used to be an IT Manager, pulling down $50K a year. Right now I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment, working part time to support myself. More details in later posts.

I meant to get up early and start on this first full entry, but I had an attack this morning. What I mean by “attack” is an attack of fear. I am afraid to get out of bed. Nothing that I’m afraid of, I’m just chilled to my bones with fear. I fight it as best I can. I toss about in bed, punch my pillow, yell at myself, that kind of stuff. It is frustrating to be rational and fearful at the same time. To know that there is nothing to be afraid of but yet still afraid is very disconcerting. So I got up 90 minutes late. There have been days I have missed work because I can’t fight the attacks. Luckily I have been able to keep the attacks to my days off, as I only work three days a week. That’s all I can work for several reasons.

I’m up now, so I’m going to go surf and see what I can see. More posting later.

Oops

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Oops. Still working out how all this stuff goes.

First Post!

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Just created. Tune in a day or two from now for something more substantial.