October Morn

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It seems I can’t write a word into this little text box unless I first put a photo here.  I did want to post this photo of the tiny chapel where I attend daily mass.  It is full to capacity every time I have been there.  It is a beautiful thing.  The photo was taken from the last row, so the photo shows the true size.  Tiny.

I am now on vacation and don’t have to be back to work until next Tuesday.  That is a good feeling.  I told the staff in my department that if they need anyone they should call my boss, because I am not on call.  I never do that, but I need to be really away.  I still have lots to do at home before my sis gets here tomorrow.  But I am starting to get into the fun things.  Tomorrow I will cook, which is awesome.  I have invited my family and a few friends to come over tomorrow night to meet my sister.   That should be fun.

Yesterday I was remembering things from my youth and early adulthood.  I am realizing that if I were a child today, there is no way I could make it in today’s world.  First of all, as soon as I started school, I would have been diagnosed with something.  And put on meds.  Maybe ADD, maybe ADHD, maybe ODDO, maybe something on the autism spectrum.  I was in no way “normal.”  I’m still not.  Earlier in my life I might have been considered quirky.  Now I may be old enough to be considered “eccentric.”

And then there’s my alcoholism.  When I hear about the things that kids get in trouble for these days, I think back and say “wow.”  From the time I put booze into my system, I was doing crazy stuff.  Drunken stuff.  Going places and passing out.  Getting falling down drunk in mid-day and walking around town, falling on the railroad tracks, still getting up with my stockings hanging – more holes than stockings.  Yes, I got falling down drunk in skirts, a kilt if I recall in the falling on the railroad tracks incident.  I would get picked up by the police and my parents would be called.  I was the youngest of five, they didn’t get rattled about much.  They did try to send me away to a boarding school in Wisconsin at one point, but the headmaster told them I  would find the same trouble no matter where I went.  Smart guy.

I drank my way through my last two years of high school.  I kept a bottle of Southern Comfort (inspired by Janis Joplin, who was still alive) in my purse, which I drank pretty openly.  I found that if I combined speed with the booze, I could drink all the live long day.

And yet, I was allowed to stay at home.  I was able to finish high school.  I was never sent to rehab.  There weren’t any meds for these behaviors back in the day.  You were just considered a “bad kid.”   And you know what?  I am grateful for that.

I drank until I was done drinking.  And when I was done drinking, I was desperate for help and fell upon the doors of AA.  Where I was grateful for anyone who would talk to me.

I didn’t think anyone was doing a hard-sell to get me sober.  And I know that if I had it would have been a huge obstacle for me to overcome – if I ever did.

Perhaps people are born into the correct era.  I don’t know.  I just feel so sorry for kids now.  Everything is considered pathological.  Something to medicate.  Something to analyze to death.   Trying to find a magical way to control the world by controlling their reactions to it.

We grew up with clear lines between the bad guys and the good guys.  Adolph Hitler was bad.  Writing inventory about my reaction to him will not change the fact that he was just a bad m-f.  We didn’t have this kind of magical thinking.

Coming to be grateful to be old.  Definitely grateful I sobered up when I did in the way I did.  Grateful I was considered a “weird” or “bad” kid and not a mentally ill kid.

And now I shall step down from my soap-box and get to work!

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5 Responses to October Morn

  1. Annette says:

    Oh.my.gosh! I wish we could sit together over coffee and have a big long conversation about this. I agree so totally! Believe it or not. Lol out of my 4 kids they ALL could have been dxed with one thing or another….as could my husband and I. Parents get put into a position of needing to accept these dx as a means to get their child’s need met in school. I refused for the most part. We are all different and individuals with strengths and weaknesses and our own ways of doing things. However, Your stories of your youthful drinking are scary to me and I think that fear is what makes parents dx and categorize and seek help…to feel some illusion of control.
    Anyway, I could go on and on…learning disabilities, aspergers, ADD, addiction, mental health issues, we’ve got it all! Lol

  2. Syd says:

    I was actually a pretty good kid, but I got into some situations as any kid does. I’m just grateful to still be above ground. And raising a child in today’s world would be more than difficult. Seems as if there are so many terrible things going on. It just would be hard to be a kid today.

  3. Mary LA says:

    What a lovely small chapel.

    Mary Christine, if your depression had been diagnosed earlier, it might have saved you so much heartache and self-punitive blaming. And I know many young learners with attention difficulties and dyslexia who have been helped to understand anti-social behaviour is not the answer. You were deeply troubled in school and a teen pregnancy was part of the trauma you had to live with for so long. I don’t know that life is harder for youngsters now, just different.

    There is more understanding and skills training, more counselling now — but also more labelling and over-diagnosis or misdiagnosis in the First World. Out here we don’t have that problem but we still have children from alcoholic dysfunctional families acting out as a cry for help.

  4. Just to clarify: I was first diagnosed with depression at 16. Given a prescription and sent away. The psychiatrist and the medication didn’t help.

    I think in today’s world, a kid like me would be hospitalized, institutionalized, and medicated out of her gourd. I don’t think I would have the chance to finish school or marry and have children and be a productive member of society. I would be labeled and disabled.

    It would have been nice to have had actual help, but I don’t think the “help” we provide kids today is much more help than ignoring problems was back in the day. I think a lot of the “help” we provide actually damages and causes permanent disability.

    Perhaps my years of experience at a state hospital has made my view more jaded.

    • Annette says:

      I agree. My girl was dxed at 14, and given meds and sent away with a good dose of shame for the both of us. I have often wondered if she got caught in a cycle that eventually led us here. Maybe we would have ended up here regardless, but some of the experiences we have had, have most certainly not helped and actually been damaging. I don’t know what the answers are…. I just know I was scared out of my mind and did what I could to figure it all out. If we turn everything into a “condition” or a “disorder” we make people crazy. If we under-react, the one’s who truly are mentally ill and need help, get overlooked.

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