Managing the Bad Times

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Life doesn’t come with a trouble-free warranty. A year ago exactly, I was stuffing my personal belongings into six or seven shipping cartons. My marriage of three years had just broken up, and I was taking a leap of faith by moving in with a friend on the opposite coast. My one-way ticket was booked. No time for sentiment. The clock was running. I had affairs to settle, things to pack.


    Mercifully, the gods were smiling on me. I landed in a situation that was uniquely suited to my recovery and healing.


    Now, a year later, I’m pulling out of the funk from the break-up of a short-lived relationship. Our illness doesn’t appreciate dimensions or proportionality. One ton of bricks dropped on my head is as good as ten tons of bricks so far as this illness is concerned. Often, it doesn’t take much. We feel something subtle shifting in the brain, and next thing we’re thinking, oh no, here we go again.

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    Time to man battle stations.


    Late in the evening of the day my relationship broke up, I went online and bought myself a 24-inch screen iMac. It had been a decision I had been contemplating for more than a year. Finally, I could stick it to Bill Gates. Thus, I managed to conclude an otherwise disastrous day on a high note.


    Because I had requested an extra gigabyte, my iMac took way longer to arrive than usual. In the meantime, I celebrated Thanksgiving by turning on my music and cleaning and reorganizing everything in my room. My first choice of Louis Armstrong was a mistake, Louis Armstrong is my personal antidepressant. I can always count on him for a quick fix, but this time his exuberant style did not exactly sync with the mood I was in. And Duke Ellington, one of my favorite composers and musicians of all time, sounded positively hollow.


    Time for high-risk therapy. I broke out the Puccini. Sad songs. Songs of doomed love. Perfect. Something I could relate to. Now I didn’t feel so alone. Gradually, over the course of the afternoon, I ratcheted up the tunes, allowing slightly more upbeat music to engage me and pull me up. By evening I was stepping lightly to Rogers and Hart. 


    Thanksgiving alone was somehow good for me, but I was also getting out of the house. Taking walks, regular Saturday water volleyball, tagging alone with my housemate, Paul. Serendipitously, one of Paul’s friends turned up at the house, and we hung out talking guy talk.


    In the meantime, I went online and ordered an Apple laptop (I require both a laptop and a desktop for my business.) I had been planning on investing in a new laptop in another year, but what the hell. Believe me, it was a sound business decision.


    My Apple desktop arrived on Monday, and, take my word for it, my heart sang when I fired it up and I didn’t have to look at a Windows display. I immediately set to work learning iMovies. I’m looking to producing my own webcasts in the near future. I did a “screen test” of me reading one of my blogs, and was reasonably encouraged. 


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    Today my laptop arrived, and I immediately pressed it into service as my backup computer. My desktop is in the Apple store, receiving a data implant from my old PC. I just finished a pizza that I made.  I’m composing this sharepost on my new laptop. Kathleen Battle is singing, “He’s Got the Whole World in HIs Hands.” 

Published On: November 29, 2007