Monday, October 20, 2008

Truth May Set Us Free, But It Sure Is Uncomfortable

(cc) Douglas CooteyLast Thursday I had the worst ticking episode this year, or past few years for that matter. I twitched like I had been lobotomized with a cattle prod. My insomnia had me up around the clock, sagebrush had been trying to colonize my nose for three long weeks, and I had to run my girls all over the Western United States. Well, it felt like it at any rate. Take a look for yourself. It was an unusually busy day. Load the map up into Google Earth to get a better idea of how many miles I drove. It pushed me beyond phycical limits on only 4½ hours of sleep. And that's life, right? We all work hard. By the end of this day, however, my brain was a puddle of quivering goo. I had done too much.

Despite all the work I needed to do, despite my deadlines such as my client's website awaiting completion and an unfinished manuscript I needed to complete for an upcoming writing workshop, I couldn't push any further. So I sat at the kitchen table twitching & ticking & vegetating.

I was also getting mad. I had things to do and my mind was letting me down. I thought about blogging about it or working on the fourth installment of the Will or Wallow series and realized I couldn't type. Then my thoughts took a negative turn and I thought of the different people over the years who assumed I wasn't truly a depressive because I managed my Depression, and without meds. As if my life was somehow easy. Didn't they realize the situation I was in was caused by meds?

I also thought of readers on the other side of the spectrum who seemed intimidated by my "accomplishments", thinking they could not do the same - as if I had accomplished anything. To be honest, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. That is when it occurred to me to do something I had never done before. I decided to video blog my feelings.

Shock can jumpstart adrenaline which can help me manage my tics, and nothing seemed more shocking to me at that moment than actually showing people what I looked like on my frequent bad days. I posted the video on and had a small, but satisfying response. In addition, the shock worked. I stopped ticking and had a few hours of non-spastic bliss. Unfortunately, the days that followed were a blur of sleep and ticking with nothing notable to show for it.

I've struggled over the weekend whether I should post the video on my blog here as well, and ultimately decided in favor of posting. It is a big step for me. I hide my ticking from the public. I have for 16 years. I don't let anybody see me tic if I can help it. Ultimately, however, I do not believe this has helped me. People only see me when I'm in control, so they find it hard to believe I'm disabled. I also miss out on a lot of living cooped up in my apartment. And maybe, just maybe, somebody out there will find inspiration from my struggle.

There was another reason I thought I should post the video. I wanted to test my mettle.

I have recently made the acquaintance of Rick Walton, a children's book author. Rick has advanced Parkinson's Disease and still goes out in public all atremble. He gives keynote speeches. He teaches workshops. He interacts with fans, and he writes, writes, writes using voice dictation software. I will be attending a workshop of Rick's this Saturday here in Salt Lake City. I am sure Rick will be there despite his illness. I have decided I will be there, too, even if I am ticking as bad as you see me below.

One thing to keep in mind before you watch the embedded video is that this will probably be uncomfortable for you. An online friend of mine had to open up another tab in her browser to cover the video so she could concentrate on the audio. My wife worries I risk setting myself up for ridicule, but I believe this will do good for my readers who struggle with their own issues. I should also warn you that I ramble a bit. It was difficult to express myself over the nine minutes of the video.

What I'd like you to take away from the video is the need to fight. Don't give up. We didn't ask for these mental hurdles, and they are difficult to leap over, but we have the power within ourselves to overcome. Change your thinking, and change your life. I believe this. I have to believe it, and my life is better for it:

Do People Think You Have It Easy Because You've Succeeded at Something?

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