Better Late Than Never - Post-Thanksgiving Reflections

John McManamy Health Guide
  • I’m inspired to write this as a result of a comment to my latest Question of the Week by Nonethewiser. Owing to a recent change in her meds cocktail, every day right now is posing a serious challenge. She had a turkey to get ready, along with the fixings. And here she was, instead, time running off the clock, in front of her computer, crying.

    Finally, she willed herself to get to the kitchen. The pressure was on. She rose to the occasion. Thanksgiving was a great success and she wound up having “the best time.”

    My guess is Nonethewiser is feeling like a wrung-out dish rag right now, and I trust she is allowing herself plenty of recovery time, but her concluding words, in the flush of success, resonated with me:

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    I can't allow myself to stay in bed, to crawl into the corner on my mind to hide and never to emerge again.  I've fought this disorder for too many years just to let it finally win....I REFUSE!!
    It's back to taking life a day, a hour, a minute, and sometimes even by seconds at a time.  But I am a survivor, my childhood didn't kill me, nor being raped and molested.  I'll be DAMNED if BIPOLAR will do it to me!!
    Love to all my family here on Bipolar Connect....thanks for standing by me!  YOU’RE the BEST!!

    I had to cancel my Thanksgiving plans. Someone very close to me is in a psychiatric unit right now. But for a full day he was AWOL, and I wasn’t sure if I would be boarding a flight to attend a funeral. The evening before, I had been involved in an extremely stressful board meeting that wound up costing me a good night’s sleep.

    So here I was, running on empty, at home, conserving my strength. At the last minute, I decided I was going to do Thanksgiving. I went out and bought a roasting chicken and veges, and whipped up a quick feast for me and a friend. Okay, it wasn’t quick. I like cooking. I can’t help myself. I got a dough going and baked bread. The cranberry sauce was homemade, from fresh cranberries. The chicken had a sprig of hand-picked sage stuffed into the cavity. The mashed potatoes had my secret weapon Ranch dressing. I had three orange vegetables ...

    But I wasn’t exactly feeling thankful. Then, today, I read Nonethewiser’s comments. It was time to put in some effort, so here goes:

    This year, I survived the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Had the economy tanked, my boat would have been one of the first to sink. It didn’t. I’m still here.

    Late last year, I started a new blog, Knowledge is Necessity. The challenges of the new blog took my writing in unexpected new directions and established new friendships. As a result, I am now working on my second book on mental health.


    At the same time, with the support of the people who run HealthCentral and you - my readers - I retooled my blog here as a dialogue with you rather than sounding forth as the resident “expert patient.” From my point of view, the experiment has been a great success. I have been the beneficiary of your wisdom and insight. We’re all learning together. 

  • Earlier this year, I was asked to join the board of NAMI San Diego, which is one of the leading NAMIs in the country. I felt highly honored, but wasn’t sure how I would fit in, if at all. I had my own personal issues that I would have to contend with. So far, I’m contending surprisingly well.

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    In the middle of the year, I battled intense sciatic pain. I got through it okay, but the experience gave me a foretaste of old age. Several months later I turned 60, thereby entering the decade where things fall apart. New realizations began popping. I wasn’t as stupid as I was at age 59. Imagine that.

    Around the same time, I stood up to a couple of a-holes whose behavior was ruining everyone’s enjoyment of our weekend water volleyball game. The support I received from the others was extremely gratifying. I had fought back against the playground bullies. The whole weight of a lifetime seemed to come off me.

    Two months ago, my daughter in New Zealand phoned me with the fantastic news of a healthy baby boy, little Teddy, my first grandchild. Words fail me.

    Plus, my friendships, plus my living situation, plus a zillion other things. No, I didn’t win the lottery, Angela didn’t ditch Brad for me, and the Nobel Prize Committee didn’t phone me at four in the morning. It’s all about the small things in life. Sometimes I was successful. Sometimes life’s challenges got the better of me. I’m facing some major challenges as I write this, but I feel I am facing them as a better person than I was a year ago.

    That’s quite a bit to be thankful for.

    Finally, many thanks to my community here at BipolarConnect. You are a major part of my life and my recovery. Here’s to sharing and caring ...

Published On: November 28, 2009