Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Think I'm Going Out of My Head

I don't know if this is normal or not, but I take my mental stability very seriously.  That hasn't always been the case; when I was younger, I used to do quite weird things in public places--my school, my church, at the store, at home when company was there, etc.--that led to some people thinking I was nuts.  True, some of that may have been a product of the various psychological meds I was trying out at such a young age; it's been so long, I honestly couldn't say.  I'm still on an anti-psychotic, but only one, and I'll probably be taking it for the rest of my life.  My mom tried taking me off of it twice, back in 1999 as well as last year, and things didn't go well at all either time.  That's okay, though; I know I'm not the only one who can say he/she will be taking the same medicine until he/she dies.
You may wonder: If I'm on the meds and take them regularly as prescribed, then what's there to worry about? Well, even though I try to refrain from doing anything that would lead to anyone thinking I'm mentally ill, I don't always succeed.  One such case was last summer, when my grandmother was visiting from Florida.  It was her birthday, and we were having a party for her; we invited both some family members and a couple of my dad's friends.  While we were sitting at the table eating, we were having a normal dinner discussion, and one person at the table--not saying who--was talking about things being lost in translation, which is a topic I like to talk about.  Naturally, I started launching into stories about kids in my middle school or high school Spanish class trying to cheat by using online translators, and how the teachers found them out by the literal (and inaccurate) translations of slang phrases, as well as Jim Davis' commentary on his Garfield strips getting translated into countless languages.  A few weeks later, my mom and I were having a day out, and while we were in the car, my mom mentioned to me about how, if I have a story to tell, I should keep it short, and if I tell a long story--like I presumably did at that birthday party--I sound as if I'm mentally ill.  She even used a guy we used to know who was insane (in the literal sense) as a comparison.
Of course, my mom and the other people present at that party know I'm not mentally ill, but I wonder if other people think I am.  I know, I know; I'm not supposed to care what people think about me.  Still, it makes me wonder if that's why I've been losing friends left and right on Facebook.  At least half of those who have unfriended, blocked, and/or denied me on there have been people I'd just met in the past year or so before adding them.  You may say that's just the Internet and not real life, but I seriously think a good part of them did so out of disgust with what I was saying or doing online.
Pretty much everyone has experienced cabin fever; whether you've served in the military on a submarine or battleship, or just been stuck in your house for long periods of time for whatever reason, you know what it's like.  Well, that used to be what I had to face on a very frequent basis.  I've talked on here about my severely disabled older sister, and one thing about her was that someone always had to be with her.  My mom used to work nights, so she'd leave me in charge of her, and, not only was I not allowed to leave the house, there were certain parts of the house I couldn't go in.  I once got grounded for going on the Internet while I was supposed to be taking care of my sister.  I wasn't looking up anything obscene; if I remember right, I was reading reviews of Final Fantasy II for Super NES.  It was wrong for me to be on the computer in the first place, though; it was in a different room, so doing that would have been leaving my sister alone.  I deserved to be punished for that, because I disobeyed my mother and was being a jerk to my sister.  Still, I wonder if being confined to only part of my house so many times didn't drive me insane.
I know most of you friends of mine reading this don't live alone; you have at least one person--spouse, kid(s), parent(s), etc.--who share your abode.  I've never lived alone either, but I have been left essentially alone, if not completely alone, countless times.  I'm reminded of an incident back in the summer of '99 involving an elderly family friend.  This friend had found some recipes in the local newspaper that he/she couldn't see very well because of the tiny print, so he/she'd asked my mom and I to use our computer to make them easier to read.  We didn't have a scanner at the time, so we just went into a word processing document and copied them by hand.  When we gave the finished results to that friend of ours, he/she said, "Well, it doesn't look like it did on the newspaper, but I guess that's okay!" Yes, he/she didn't understand the technology; that didn't surprise anyone who knew him/her.  Still, it scared me because I thought he/she had gone nuts; his/her response reminded me of the nutcase Exidor on Mork & Mindy, my favorite show at the time.
Fast forward to September 2011, and now I am the one acting like Exidor, and not on purpose.  No, I'm not alone 24/7, but my parents often leave me by myself at our house, and it's been happening for years, especially back when my oldest sister was alive.  I'll be the first to say that I do not need a babysitter; my parents know very well that I can take care of things around our house quite well, and I'm not blaming them for my problems.  My mom did the best she could given the situation; I don't doubt that.  Still, I don't like the feeling of being alone at all.  Being essentially by myself all that time has led to me talking to myself, which has caused all kinds of problems, such as the birthday party incident described earlier and plenty more.
In conclusion, let me say this: I know I'm not insane.  I may be taking anti-psychotic meds, but at least I'm capable of having an intelligent conversation with someone.  Many things I've seen people who were mentally ill say and do, such as one lady at my psychiatrist's office a few years ago who told my mom that the very late--I think you know what I mean--former President Ronald Reagan was still living somewhere--"A lot of people don't know that," she said--are not things that I say or do.  Still, I often wonder how I come off to those that don't know me.  I know I'm not supposed to care, but I wonder if others' first impressions of me have led to lost chances for friendship or similar things.  In a previous post, I mentioned that people are going to misinterpret and judge others' actions no matter what they say or do, and that's true.  However, that doesn't give me or anyone else an excuse to act like an idiot in public.  I'm not sure whether I come off as a crazed lunatic to others or not; yet, if I had to wager a guess, I'd say I do.  I hope I'm wrong, though; do any of you know?

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