Monday, February 21, 2011

Natural Disasters, Therapists, Holistic Medicine, and Depression....and Aunt June

1. Found a photo of Joseph Lyons as a teacher, on the Library of Australia website.  He taught in Tasmania before becoming Prime Minister.  He was about thirty in the picture. He became Prime Minister of Australia when he was fifty-two.

2. Read part of speech from Rachel Siewert of The Green Party.  It's a response to Julia Gillard's speech about closing the gap.  Most of it goes over my head. I'm not sure I understand it. But I do see that she focused more on health issues. Gillard focused more on self-determination. Go to school.   Work hard.  Take care of your families.  If I'm understanding Siewert right, she's saying first people need to be in good health.  It's hard to do well in life, if your health is not okay.  

3. Read page on The Australian Green website about an invasion of Asian honey bees. They say the government claims that they can't do anything to get rid of the bee.  The Greens think the government should try harder, because this invasion could end up being as bad as the cane toad one.  Right now the bees are only in a small area of Cairns.

I wonder if there is a way to stop them. I think it's usually very difficult to stop invading species.   But if they're going to try and do it, probably best to be quick about it.

4.  Felt nostalgic after reading Andrew's post about his favorite buildings around the world. One of the buildings he mentions is The Flatiron Building in NYC.  We used to live right near there. Here's the path from there to our apartment on Google Maps.  Although the map has us going around Madison Square Park. I think we'd usually go through it.

We haven't been back to NYC in almost five years.  We might go sometime this spring.  I hope.  

5. Read a business editorial entitled "Are you like Lionel Logue?"  Jayne Tancred talks about soloists.  These are people who work for themselves.  She says, He has so much faith in his abilities and methods that he refuses to change them, even under pressure from his most valuable client. He’d rather risk losing the account than back down from his professional convictions and do a second-rate job. 

I respect that.   It's better than businesses that treat their customers like crap, and then change their song and dance once they find out the customer knows someone who is powerful and influential.    Oh.  I'm sorry we treated you the way we usually treat our customers. We didn't realize your grandmother was a local celebrity.  

I don't know if I'm like Lionel Logue, because I don't own my own business.  Maybe with writing I am...sometimes.  Once my dad met a publisher, and they became acquaintances. The publisher agreed to look at one of my novels.  It was my big chance.

My novel was this lesbian psychological drama.  The publisher guy read it, and pretty much wanted me to change it to a mainstream thriller type novel.  I wrote back thanks, but no thanks. I was polite, but probably not subservient enough. My dad wasn't too happy with me.

I was strong, and stuck to my convictions.  It didn't get me very far though. I'm an unpublished and unproduced writer. Unless you count self-publishing.

Outside of the money issue, I'd much rather be the writer who said no, and then became a blogger; than a writer who sold out and published a novel that had very little resemblance to what she originally intended.  That being said though....the publisher didn't even talk about publishing my book.  He just advised me on how to change it. I MIGHT have decided to sell out if he said Hey, we'll publish your book if you make these changes.  

The saddest thing of the story is I LOST the novel.  It might be somewhere on some computer or disk in our house.  I haven't made a huge effort to find it; but in my minor efforts, I've come up empty.

6. Got an email saying that Carlos is back in action, and he's headed to Exmouth. I hope Carlos isn't too much of an asshole over there.  

7. Watched this surprisingly interesting 1954 film clip about building pipes from Geelong to Melbourne for Petrol. The cheerful tone of the narrator, when talking about increases in cars on the road, is so different from the environmental mindset of today.

8. Read the part in The King's Speech about Logue's spiritualism. On this paranormal website, they say that the book is dismissive of Logue's beliefs. I'd probably agree, since Mark Logue writes,  Although otherwise a rational man, he became attracted to spiritualism.....

Is a belief in life after death irrational?  I guess I'm irrational then. I wonder if that's my most irrational belief. Probably not.  

This online dictionary says rational is Having or exercising the ability to reason. Of sound mind; sane.

But why can't you think and reason, and then come to the conclusion that there's life after death?

9. Listened to Silhouettic by Birds of Tokyo.  I didn't like the very beginning, but then it was okay, a bit later on.  

10. Finished reading The King's Speech while baking egg-free cookies.  The cookies turned out good.   The book was sad, but lovely. I still don't have a clear picture of Logue's treatment methods. I think it was something special....and a bit mysterious.

Mark Logue says, ....the crucial factor appears to have been the way in which Logue, from the start, managed to persuade his patient that his was no deep seated psychological affliction, but rather an almost mechanical problem that could be overcome through hard work and determination.    It goes back to Logue's own self-confidence, and his ability to get others to have faith in themselves.

Lionel Logue's daughter-in-law had another interpretation.  She said, Anyone can do tongue twisters and breathing exercises, but he was a first class psychotherapist.  He was a super good daddy where George V was a ghastly one.   

I think both of them have good points.  I think it speaks for holistic medicine/treatment.  If a person goes to a therapist for a problem, and the therapist sees the person as just another patient; does that really help?  I would think it helps more when the therapist truly cares about the patient, even to the point of considering the patient/customer as a friend.  I don't know. I think some of us can sense when someone likes us and believes in us. And I think feeling the love would help us overcome the problem.   

11. Read article about Carlos visiting Western Australia.  It caused a tornado in a town called Karratha, and is expected to bring strong winds to Karratha, Exmouth, and Coral Bay.  By the time I post this, it might be a past event. Hopefully, it won't have caused too many problems.

12. Started reading Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre. I'm entertained by it so far, but I'm a little weary.  It seems like another one of those books in which I am unable to relate to the protagonist.   

13. Realized that Vernon God Little takes place in Texas.  I'd rather read about Australia. But there's no law that saws Australian authors can't write about American states.  It's good there's no law like that. Otherwise there might also be a law that saws American bloggers can't write about Australia.  

14. Asked Lord Wiki about DBC Pierre. DBC is the guy's pen name. His real name is Peter Finlay.

He was born in South Australia, but was raised mostly in Mexico. Maybe he took some trips up to Texas during that time.

Lord Wiki says he's done lots of drugs, and some illegal stuff.  

15. Decided to read Andrew Denton's interview with Pierre.  

Pierre moved from Australia to Mexico when he was eight.

The interview is pretty funny. Pierre says he was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.  Denton says, So here's the weird thing: You'd gone through all this therapy, you put a tag on what was wrong with you, narcissistic personality disorder, you weren't as great as you thought you were, then you publish your first book, it wins the 'Booker Prize', suddenly everyone's telling you you're as great as you thought you were.

I don't think believing you're great is a disorder. Why shouldn't we believe in ourselves? Why shouldn't we believe we're capable of doing amazing things, and having amazing lives?

To me, self-love becomes problematic when the person often puts his or her needs over other people's.  I am important, so people need to listen to me.   I am important, so people need to take time out of their busy schedules to serve me.  But then they don't see a need to give back in return. I have people like this in my life. They expect a lot of help and attention from me, but don't seem to feel the need to return the favors and/or attention.

I don't mind jumping through hoops for people. It's just I'd rather not do it for people who believe they're more important and more deserving than me.

16. Decided I should shut up and read more of the interview. Well, it pretty much sounds like Pierre was a criminal, and then he turned into an author. There's a story of him tricking a man into giving him his house. That's pretty awful.  But if I'm reading this right, when he won the Booker prize, he paid the guy back.   Maybe. I'm a little lost.

17. Read article about DBC Pierre.  

It's basically like Sawyer from Lost writing a book, and then winning a big prize.  I think Pierre was a con artist....pretty much.

The article says, In his 42 years he has managed to get himself shot by a neighbour in Mexico City, work up debts of hundreds of thousands of dollars, cultivate drug and gambling addictions and leave behind a trail of wronged women, despite having to have his face reconstructed by surgeons after a horrific car crash. In between he has managed unsuccessful careers as a filmmaker, treasure hunter, smuggler and graphic artist.

That's quite a life.  

18. Heard that there was an earthquake in New Zealand. I hope everyone's okay over there.

19. Read article about the University of New South Wales gaining an Aboriginal Elder in residence.    She's going to be there for the medical school.   I think it's a way to bridge the two cultures.  The article talks about the two main advantages.   A) She'll inspire the aboriginal students, and maybe make them feel more at home.  B) She'll help the non-Aboriginal students be less ignorant about Aboriginal culture.

I think it also pushes holistic medicine. People are not just made up of tissues, organs, and diseases.    They have a culture. They have traditions.  They have wishes and fears.

I hate going to the doctor.  I end up feeling exposed, humiliated, and violated.  Is it like that for most people? Or am I unique?  And was it different for people in the past?   I think I have this idealistic Little House on the Prairie view.—where the doctor knew you and your family, and actually cared about all of you.  Now the relationships seems no more meaningful than the one we have with the guy at the drive through who hands us our fries and hamburgers.  The doctor asks me the same questions every time.  No, I do not drink or take illegal drugs.  No, I do not smoke.  I have had one pregnancy, blah, blah, blah, blah. Can't they at least quickly read the charts and PRETEND they remember what I've already told them. Well, I don't know. Maybe the fakeness would bother me just as much.

It's not that I expect all those who serve me to know me and care about me. But with a medical professional, it's different. They ask you very personal questions. They handle your breasts. They reach in and poke at your genitals.  Then at the same time, they make you feel like you're really just a notch on their paycheck. 

Is it better that way?  Would it be worse if the doctor was my friend?  Would it be more uncomfortable if she knew me, and cared about me as a person? I don't know.  

I don't like the medical model that I've experienced in my life. The holistic approach seems so much better, but maybe I'd hate it just as much....or even more so.  

I really don't know. 

20. Saw from Facebook that the earthquake in New Zealand was really bad.  It's so depressing.  And scary. I feel like the world is falling apart. Is life getting worse, or am I just reading the news more?  

21. Dealt with some major woe-is-me inappropriate when an earthquake has just happened. I hate myself sometimes.  

Anyway, I thought about the people with whom I feel like I have to jump through hoops (see #15).   I can't really call them narcissistic, because although they don't extend much compassion and attention my way (in return for what I give to them) they do sometimes show compassion towards and attention towards other people.   So what must I conclude?    I must conclude that for some reason, I am undeserving of compassion and attention; or less deserving than other people.   I think I must have done awful things in one of my past lives.  Although maybe it wasn't so bad, because I have an easier life than many people I know these days.   Everyone seems to have SO much drama.   It seems like other people are living melodramatic TV movie-of-the-week type things.   My drama is more subtle inner stuff....quirky.   It would probably be more of a sitcom type thing. I'm grateful for that. I wish other people could have less melodrama, and more quirky sitcom type stuff.

Oh, and just to be clear.  No, I'm not expecting compassion and attention from those who are currently experiencing major melodramas.  That would be ridiculous and silly. Then I would diagnose ME with a narcissistic personality disorder.  

22. Started to feel better because I'm thinking of people, and remembering that there are people in my life NOT currently experiencing major melodrama.  I think I blow things out of proportion sometimes.  I know a few people with major problems, and suddenly I feel like everyone is having major problems.  You add that to all these cyclones and earthquakes, and suddenly it feels like the world is completely falling apart.

23. Tempted to quit reading Vernon God Little, because I don't feel it's good for my state of mind right now.  I'm not good at quitting books though.

I think I'm mildly (very mildly) depressed. I think most of my depression in life is caused by me exaggerating things in my mind. Writing might help me put things into better perspective.   So, this blog is very therapeutic.  Sorry if it gets annoying sometimes, and thank you for listening.

Anyway, I realize now that my life is NOT full of people with horrible lives. I know of a few people with MAJOR depressing problems.  I know many people with one or two stressful problems.   And I know people like me. They have relatively easy lives, but some minor dramas here or there.  

There are earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and wars.  But there are also places where people are safe and least for now.

For some unhappy people, it helps them to think of those worse off then they are. For me, that makes me feel a million times worse. I feel sad for them. I feel guilty that it's happening to them, and not me. And then I feel worried that it WILL happen to me.

I think for me, it helps much more to think about people who are doing well.  

Maybe not.   I am trying to picture happy people going about their happy lives. Then this little voice says.... and that was their last happy moment, because a week later one of them was diagnosed with cancer.

My friend had this Sesame Street clip on her blog the other day.   It reminds me so much of me.   

I just want to say that if some Dementors came on my street right now, I would NOT be able to produce a Patronus.

24. Read article about earthquake in New Zealand.  It's a very bad situation. The world down under seems cursed right now.  Floods, cyclones, earthquakes, shark attacks, crocodile attacks. And New Zealand had that mine disaster in November.

25. Looked at American news sites, and saw the earthquake is top news for them.   I don't think it's because they care more about New Zealand than Australia. Maybe earthquakes are seen as being more newsworthy than massive floods and cyclones?

I have no idea really. 

26. Tried to cheer myself up with a song from Bran Nue Dae.  

27. Remembered that when I was depressed in 2008, the person who helped me most was a Kiwi girl living in Australia. We've drifted apart, but she will always hold a special place in my heart.  I hope her relatives are okay.   No matter what though..... I can imagine it's devastating for her.   She has so much love for New Zealand.  

28. Listened to another song from Bran Nue Dae.   It does kind of cheer me up a bit. I love the chorus part. 

I think life would be more bearable if it were a musical. 

29. I went to find this old post because I thought it might bring me some much-needed dark comic relief.  In it, I quote from one of my favorite authors; Jaclyn Moriarty. It's from her book The Ghosts of Ashbury High.  It's a person being described, but right now it reminds me of the Oceanic area of the world.   

Here it is.....

I have an Aunt June. 

Last year she got cancer.  We were all so frightened and sad for her. Going through chemotherapy.   Turns out, it sucks.  It seemed to work, however, phew. But then, not long after that, she got kidney stones. Those were even more painful than childbirth, she said, and that kills (I hear).  Poor Aunt June! Anyway, then her washing machine malfunctioned and flooded the living room.  Poor Auntie June. And then her car got stolen, and oh, for crying out loud, enough already.

Do you see what I mean?

I know it sounds harsh but when too many bad things happen to a person, it's just, like, I have to feel sorry for you again?!!  Couldn't you let someone else have a turn at bad luck for once? Aren't you being a bit greedy with it?  And well, could some of this be your own fault? Are you taking care to avoid things like kidney stones and laundry floods?

I love Jaclyn Moriarty.  She's brilliant. Reading the above is making me laugh and cry at the same time.