Because no good can come of reading the comments.

I know better. I really do. I’ve held my tongue for a long time on this issue, but when I recently read the below comment in response to a news article on Bill Cosby, I imploded. Then exploded.

“If Cosby did all, that these women said he did, I can’t condone it but I believe these women should have come forward 30 years ago. There is no proof of anything now. Back then those drugs were the norm for sexual enhancement taken knowingly by women and men. I think some of these women are just looking for money and attention. You lived with it for 30 years, what’s the point of bringing it up now. his career is just about over anyway.”

Then the red haze clouded my vision, and outrage fired from my brain into my fingertips; I had an anonymous expulsion of disbelief and anger for the hapless ‘gentleman’ who made the comment.

It’s no secret that sexual abuse is a hot button for me; my history has made sure of that. I understand that not everyone ‘gets it’, but sometimes the ignorance is too much to bear. To say I unloaded on the guy would be an understatement. How could anyone not see it? I suppose it’s possible that some of the women may have jumped on the bandwagon, but I have a hard time believing anyone would want to willingly expose themselves to such ridicule and defamation of character.

I’ve lived with my abuses for over 30 years. It’s never over. The years of therapy can never erase what happened. It will always be part of me. It’s one of those pieces that make me who I am. I may not look broken, maybe I’m not truly broken, but… there are always cracks. Invisible. Sometimes I wonder what it will take for those cracks to expand. What if I get to the point where I can no longer patch them?

I replied to comment after comment on that post. We went back and forth for awhile. Eventually, he took down his post. I felt a flash of victory, but it was fleeting. The bottom line is that the comments section of an article on a controversial issue will never give me any sense of accomplishment. No warm and fuzzies. No closure. No peace.

THIS IS WHAT LIVING WITH SOMETHING FOR 30 YEARS LOOKS LIKE!!!

Common side effects.

Anyone who has ever taken a medication is familiar with those three little words – common side effects. Try to imagine keeping track of them when consuming a molotov cocktail of medications (which seems to be standard operating procedure for those with mental health issues – God forbid a physical condition gets thrown in the mix).

During one of my very productive hypomanic episodes, I created a binder to keep track of my moods, medications, physical well-being, exercise, diet, etc.  I had spreadsheets, forms, and calendars organized to the nth degree – we’re talking table of contents, color-coded tabs, sheet protectors, and even a reference section. The pièce de résistance, however, was my side effects spreadsheet.

I compiled the list, filled out the medication and dosage information at the top of the sheet, then checked off boxes.

Dizziness. Drowsiness. Headache. Blurred vision. Nausea. Vomiting. Irritability. Confusion. Constipation. Loss of coordination. Tremors. Decreased Appetite. Increased Appetite. Weight Gain. Weight Loss. Insomnia. Dry mouth. Excessive saliva production. Anxiety. Depression. Fatigue. Suicidal Thoughts. Decreased sex drive. Rash. Sun sensitivity. Cold sweats. Hot Flashes. Heartburn. Swelling of the testicles. Enlargement of breasts. Hair loss. Mood changes. Concentration problems. Hallucinations. Suspicion or distrust. Hyperactivity. Restlessness. Black tongue (my all time favorite – probably because it’s never happened to me).

I’ve experienced pretty much every one of the above side effects with the exception of swollen testicles (because, well, I don’t have testicles…) and black tongue. I discovered the sun sensitivity last summer after starting a new medication; after spending a day on the beach, I crisped up like bacon in a hot pan (despite sitting under a heavy canvas umbrella, slicking skin with spf 50,  shrouding body shrouded in long-sleeved cover-up, and topping it all off with sunglasses and giant floppy hat). Freshly boiled lobsters paled in comparison to my Glorious Crimson Glow. Having never experienced a serious sunburn in my 40+ years of life, I was baffled.

Fortunately, I’ve been on meds long enough to realize the sunburn was most likely pharmaceutically-induced. I’m not even sure why I was surprised to begin with.

I wonder sometimes what it would be like to start with a clean slate. Would it take smaller doses to address my mental issues? Would I have less physical issues? Being meds-compliant is exhausting. It’s not a stretch to understand why people refuse their meds.

I will say this, meds-compliant or not, if I get swollen testicles I will be quitting COLD TURKEY!!!

Because fireworks.

I did a very un-Patriotic thing last night. I made the (apparently) controversial decision to skip the annual 4th of July fireworks ‘extravaganza’. When asked if I was going, I simply stated ‘no’. The verbal volleys afterward crackled with sparks of their own. I had 15 people cajoling me (aka guilt trip) into coming along because my absence would hamper their enjoyment (Facebook posts to the contrary). In the end, I prevailed, and anticipated a quiet evening alone with Hannibal Lecter and his gory grocery list.

Once the house emptied, and the last of the corn cobs and watermelon rinds were discarded, it struck me that no one asked why I didn’t want to go. No one. No. One. There were various reasons I wasn’t interested, and granted, my physical and mental challenges are well-known, so I’m predictable enough that conclusions would be drawn based on those (which, in and of itself feels pretty crappy).

To be fair, I did express that my borderline intolerable nerve pain was searing its way down my body. And that I haven’t had feeling in the fingertips of my left hand since Thursday. And that I can’t get rid of my fingerless gloves of napalm. And that my doctors collaborated to add yet another medication to the shaken-not-stirred-mega-martini-of-hope I faithfully consume.

Adding insult to injury, I dissolved into justifiable tears after dropping a dozen delectable deviled eggs. I sobbed shortly thereafter cutting into my under baked brownies. Perhaps no one noticed that I was curled in a fetal position by the beer cooler murmuring ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home’. Still, the unconcealed miasma of depression and defeat swirling around me weren’t really the primary reason.

If anyone had asked, I would have explained that I have tapped into a wellspring of disdain for celebrating events whose victories cost thousands of lives. That I have no desire to jockey for position at the funnel cake stand while realizing that had the teenaged boys in line been born a couple centuries and some change ago, they would likely have been marching into battle with empty bellies and muskets in hand, rather than wiping powdered sugar off their mouths before taking selfies and posting on Instagram.

It’s easy to say we’re celebrating our freedom while the sky is lit with beautiful explosions of color in the sky. It’s not so easy when you picture it coming at the expense of some kid who wasn’t fast enough to dodge explosions on the ground. May be that I’m missing the point of the celebration, but I don’t give a crap.

Hannibal Lecter didn’t win out, by the way. Though I still ended up on the couch, I decided to dig into the Declaration of Independence, to remind myself of how it all started in the first place.

Edit: Pompous, party of one! Reading that last line made me cringe – I did read the Declaration, because I really did need the reminder. Also, this only reflects how I feel – No judgments here!