Saturday, February 28

Everything's amazing and nobody's happy

Many of you have probably already seen this clip -- whether on TV, on Brunette on a Budget, or as it skyrocketed to Digg fame.

But I wanted to show it again to those of you who might of missed its other incarnations. For a couple of reasons.

Reason #1: This is the fourth or fifth time I've watched it (had to sit a couple different people down to be sure they actually watched it) and I'm still giggling maniacally. Reason#2: It is actually excellent food for thought.

Before I get into that, though, I'll go ahead and let you check out the clip.

Okay, are we all on the same page now? Excellent.

The fact is that Mr. CK is absolutely correct. Yes, the economy is terrible. We're living in scary times. But, really, we are living with amazing, mind-blowing innovations that keep getting better all the time.

Whether or not you think we consume too much (we do) and are overly encouraged to live outside our means (we are), you have to admit that these are fascinating times.

We have absolutely awesome technology at our fingertips. And we take most of it for granted.

This was a good nudge for me because Tim and I have been in a funk for a week or so now. You probably noticed I haven't been posting as much as usual. I have a few ideas in my head, but writing anything halfway decent has felt like a painful extraction.

We have some good reasons for being in a funk. The student loan debacle is continuing to be a blow. The last couple of weeks, we haven't been able to make any dent in our credit card debt. And, Tim got the news that he may be bipolar.

That one has been big. It obviously sounds pretty ominous. Really, it's a different form of depression, more prone to cycles. For Tim it mainly shows up in impulsivity -- sometimes he's fine, other times it's all I can do to keep him from storming out the door on a mission -- and sleep -- he'll sleep whenever possible, then will barely get any rest.

But Tim's also dealing with all the feelings that come with a new diagnosis for old symptoms: Why didn't someone see this earlier; why couldn't everyone see I wasn't getting better?

Of course, the answer is that ADD was still a brand new idea -- when he was diagnosed, ADHD wasn't even known about. And when Ritalin didn't work, they just shrugged and got him in a program where, luckily, there was a very patient teacher who taught him to block out all the excess noise that distracted him. That helped to an extent, but he self-medicated through most of his youth, and his parents just kept insisting he was smarter than the grades he was getting. Overall, pretty demoralizing.

So, Tim's caseworker over at the Dept of Vocational Rehab has told us we need to focus on getting him on an even keel. That means finding a psychiatrist (or psychiatric nurse) that Tim is comfortable with. Then we can find out for sure whether he's bipolar. After that, they'll explore medication options.

All that will probably take awhile, which was something of a hit for us. We had been exploring some options that would at least let Tim do some phone work from home. It wouldn't make us rich by any stretch of the imagination, but he was kind of looking forward to earning a paycheck.

In the meantime, we have about 9 weeks left before his unemployment runs out. There is a chance he'll qualify for one more extension, which would give us an extra 13 weeks of breathing room. If that doesn't happen, we can make do, but it will be somewhat tight.

Because of all this, we've been just barely scraping by, physically and emotionally. We're completely sapped by the most basic chores. We're both sleeping more. Essentially, we're just trying to make it through. Like I said, things have been kind of hard.

And so I saw this clip. And I laughed. That, in and of itself, is such a big deal. But it also reminded me that we need to remember the good in and among the bad.

This is a big, scary, uncertain time for us -- and for the nation in general. We don't know what the future holds (other than some psychiatist visits) or when Tim will be able to work again. It's worrying.


We also have an amazing support system. Our families will always welcome us with open arms. They will always do everything they can to help. My mom has and will help us financially, though we hope we can avoid future borrowing. And if it ever became necessary, we could move in with Tim's parents.

Again, that's a worst-case scenario. But we won't ever be homeless. That's a pretty big load off our minds.

More immediately, seeing a psychiatrist will help Tim get some answers. Uncertainty can be hugely unsettling. So, no matter what the answer, just knowing will be a good start to making life easier.

Once he has an official diagnosis, Tim can also start getting properly medicated. As a depressive, I can attest to what a difference the right prescription can make. Life becomes less of a struggle. He may also have fewer swings in mood and behavior, which will make things easier for both of us.

The right medication may also help Tim's stress tolerance. Right now, it's pretty low, and so his skin flares up in reaction to difficulties and uncertainties. If he can tolerate more stress, his skin may calm down more. That could make it easier for him to find sustainable work opportunities.

We're not expecting miracles. We are prepared for the idea that Tim may never work full-time. He'll probably need to be eased into part-time employment. But it would be a measurable improvement. It would give him options.

So, yeah, there's a lot of bad things looming on the horizon. But that's only half of the picture. We have at least as many good possibilities as bad.

Most of us -- myself very much included -- tend to be overwhelmed by worry and uncertainty. We forget all of the modern marvels around us. And that makes the world pretty small. So I say, let's stop and just marvel at a few things that we all take for granted.

  • We can get water from a faucet -- no going to the river with some buckets
  • We don't have to build our own homes or make our own clothes
  • We have machines to take us quickly from one location to another. By and large, walking is a choice in this society
  • We can contact people simply by punching a few buttons -- either on a keyboard or phone
  • We can talk to people around the world at near-instant speed
  • We "post" thoughts on technology that most of us can't begin to understand: Can any of you explain what the web is, exactly, and how we can all access it, leave information on it, etc?
  • We can get paid and pay our creditors without touching any money
  • We can find information and entertainment practically instantly
  • And (as a nod to Louis CK) we have made machines that defy gravity. Metal machines.

What about you guys? What stuff have you been struggling with? What small miracles (of technology or society) have you been overlooking?

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Blogger JulietduPreez said...

Hi there

Wonderful attitude you have. I'm sure it's not always easy to keep it there, but even efforts are admirable!

I hope that the two of you have some answers soon - waiting and not knowing are very difficult to handle.


P.S. See you at the blog carnival next Monday -

March 2, 2009 at 3:19 AM

Blogger Hortensa Dewalt said...

It's hard to be positive with everything that is happening, but it's absolutely necessary to be positive, especially when you consider where this world is coming from.

Thanks for your participation in our daily all articles and topics blog carnival -

Feel free to participate again.

Great post

March 4, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Anonymous Everything Counts said...

Excellent and thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing such nice piece of writing. Keep up the good work.

July 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM


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