Links from Here and There, Plus Commentary on Social Isolation

August 30, 2009 at 5:16 am | Posted in Links, Sociability | 2 Comments

I was moved by this letter to the Atlantic; the writer’s struggle to find working meds and consistent insurance is certainly familiar. I found this missive via If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going, a poetic take on bipolar disorder that blends myth with lovely images.

I feel guilty for not discussing the ABC special on Mad Pride. I didn’t see it because I don’t have a TV, and I believe that the medium as it has developed distorts all attempts at intelligent conversation. However, Liz Spikol of The Trouble with Spikol live-blogged it with wit and accuracy, if you’re interested. There’s also a good deal of information on the Icarus project website, since they were mentioned prominently and have apparently received a lot of traffic as a result.

Salon and The New York Times have been actively covering the psychiatric problems of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; the stories about post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide and homicide are tragic. It sounds from the coverage as if the armed forces are so desperate for fighters that they accept people who already suffer from psychological disorders; after multiple tours, these soldiers have little hope of working the system and remaining sane.

On the topic of social isolation … boy, do I identify with this snippet from Mentally Interesting:

Pains and worries that shyness and anxiety encapsulate are self-fulfilling prophecies. A lack of alcohol, the awareness that I shouldn’t mention any of my personal problems lest I start rambling and the slightly clipped manner than medication has instilled in me has made sociability a nightmare. Because I am so nervous, I end up doing all the things I don’t want to: haltingly blurting out a personal problem, then nervously trying to cover up for myself by rambling, then feeling so self conscious that I can’t properly focus on a conversation, then my concentration slips and I lose the thread entirely, so I end up saying something rather odd, which lands like a lead balloon, and then I feel too stupid to contribute again. I also have very little to talk about, being that my life is pretty much spend most of my day alone, have no money or no job and feeding the cats. Just idiotic, simple things like a conversation with another human bean has become so stressful to me that I avoid it. Everyone feels this way to a degree. My degree is just more steep than some others’.

Yes, yes, yes. Boy, am I one for saying odd things that seem, before they come out, as if they are perfectly appropriate. Then when I see people’s reactions, I realize that I’ve just exposed my weirdness, and I lapse into a difficult-to-puncture silence.

In fact, all of the blogs and websites I’ve been reading speak movingly about the problem of social anxiety, which seems to worsen with age, and with the conviction that not only will the author never be normal, but that she won’t be able to channel or hide her abnormality so that it’s either charming or entirely internal. I’ll try to write on social anxiety and isolation later today in a bit of a self-help vein, but for now I’ll simply remark that it’s one of the most prevalent and miserable and least-discussed symptoms of bipolar disorder.

More links and love later.



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  1. Thank you so very much for the link- you have a lovely blog and i just added you to my feeder.

    I look forward to reading more of you.

  2. I don’t think any of these things have to worsen with age. Recovery is not only possible, it happens ALL the time… there are many things we can do to care for ourselves and promote our health.

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