Archive for March, 2013
I really wish I could remember everything I’ve planned to write, whenever I write one of these drunken posts–but I think of so many things, it’s impossible. So I have to narrow it down. Most of the time, I’m sober. I only drink alcohol once a week, at a social event, and after it. The only time I drink alcohol more than once a week is when I attend a reading of my writers’ group, once a month, between Singletons dinners. Am I an alcoholic? I don’t think so. Could I become an alcoholic? Of course. But there are much worse things to be than an alcoholic. My maternal grandfather, Granddaddy Pyle, was an alcoholic at one point in his married life–long before I was even born. But he got involved in AA, and was sober the rest of his life–which was most of his life, since he lived into his nineties. Still, he was a dry drunk. In fairness, he helped alot of other alcoholics in AA. But he was a real bastard toward women and children the rest of his sober life–including my mother and me. He wasn’t mean (though occasionally quite grumpy), just very insensitive.
I have a dual diagnosis of obssessive-compulsive disorder and autistic spectrum disorder (previously called “Asperger’s Syndrome”). People with autistic spectrum disorder have difficulty empathizing with other people–thus they have difficulty on the job, and in social situations. Granddaddy Pyle had this disorder–but so does my father. It is impossible for my father to empathize with me. For example, I will be 47 this month (he will be 80). He knows I’ve never had a wife, never been able to maintain a relationship for more than three months, and haven’t even had sex since 2004. But he couldn’t care less. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart, my mother, since age 18 (she was 17). He lucked-up–found a compatible lifetime mate as a teenager. So he’s completely incapable of understanding how lonely I am. He’s also incapable of understanding what a hell my life is, with mental illness. He’s mentally ill himself–has the same dual diagnosis I have (though he’s too proud to admit it). Yet he’s managed to remain afloat, without taking psych meds (probably because he’s had someone to lean on all his life)–while I’ve been sinking since November, 1985, and have much further to sink.
Reminds me of a song I was taught at Mobile Christian School, called “Love Lifted Me”: “I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. Then the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, (and) from the waters lifted me–now safe am I. Love lifted me, love lifted me. When nothing else could help, love lifted me. Love lifted me, love lifted me. When nothing else could help, love lifted me.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple? Wouldn’t it be nice if our only problem were sin, and the “love” of Jesus could simply save us?
But it’s not that simple. “Sin” is caused by suffering. Were there no suffering, there would be no “sin”.
Before my mental illness surfaced, in November, 1985, forcing me to realize how complicated life was–especially for people with mental illness–I could take some comfort in that silly song.
Now I know the truth. And indeed the truth has set me free–free from the bondage of ignorance. And though this freedom comes with a heavy price, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Remember that poster in “The X-Files”–the one “Mulder” places on his office wall, after inheriting it from a woman killed by a were-dog she was protecting? The one that reads, “I WANT TO BELIEVE”?
I don’t want to believe–I WANT TO KNOW. Knowledge is far more painful than belief. Most people simply believe whatever their parents hand down to them, and live reasonably happy lives. But some, like me, encounter mental illness–an agony far worse than any physical illness or injury. And if they survive it (i.e. if they don’t succeed at suicide), they ultimately realize that knowledge is far more important than belief. Like me, they realize that truth is more important than anything else–no matter how painful truth can be.
I’d rather live, knowing the truth, than die having never known it–no matter how much agony I endure.