Carrie Fisher, may she Rest In Peace, battled her mental illness for years, sometimes quite publicly. But I was surprised to learn that she credited electroshock therapy with helping her to cope with the depression. My Grandma Layton didn't have the positive experience of that therapy. But, at one of her darkest hours, it offered hope, and her thirteen treatments were completed before she found the healing art of Blind Contour Drawing. An excerpt, titled "Transverse Shadows", from her biography/memoir, Signs Along The Way:
I was cold, hard marble. Despair and fear are at least feelings, and very intense ones. And affection is better than none. Having once been sensitive, I recalled the sensations, and as with pain, I could and did hold and examine them. Now I was unable to experience them.
In this vacuum I wanted to make dejection and fear my friends, the way a person in unbearable suffering makes friends with his pain, groping the way to death.
I wanted to feel my way back to life, even if I had to endure death to do it.
Different experiences with different results. But Carrie and Grandma shared a common denominator: living with, and battling to overcome their disease by expressing themselves - some way, somehow. Carrie wrote, acted, and advocated. Grandma Layton wrote, drew, and advocated. I am glad they both have found peace. - Judy Kay
One Sunday morning Liza woke up with a start when she felt arms laid heavy on her chest. Mrs. Burress was kneeling there, her head on the bed. She stood up, picking up a little suitcase. The catch opened and a potted Easter Lily fell out. The pot cracked, spilling dirt all over the floor. Mrs. Burress took hold of the bloom and raised the plant high. Dirt dropped off of the roots and onto the bed. "What God hath joined together let no man put asunder!" she cried loudly, "I’m going back to my husband! God blesses marriage. We are still married, and he wants me back!" That said, she returned to her room.
Liza ran downstairs and called Mr. Burress. He came right over, and together they persuaded the woman to check into the nearby rest home. Liza went to visit her for three days, then the lady in charge said, "We couldn’t handle her anymore, had to tie her to the bed, so we sent her to the insane asylum."
"There but for the Grace of God, go I," Liza whispered.
From page 126 of Signs Along the Way...
June 2016 was a good month for bad news. A co-worker, Barbro, lost her battle with cancer... I thought for sure she was too stubborn to let go. Mary, another co-worker, lost her husband to cancer within a couple of weeks of Barbro's passing. Orlando Florida lost 49 souls at the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack, the deadliest attack in US history. A couple of days later a two-year old boy was pulled into a lagoon by an alligator at a Disney World resort, and in spite of his father's valiant efforts to save him, was killed - his body recovered days later.
And then we have our personal daily life obstacles and burdens. Judy Kay was reluctant to talk to her sisters about any of her job related stress - she figured her problems were not as abysmal as my marriage dissolution, or as agonizing as Kathy Beth's rheumatoid arthritis. I really didn't want go on and on about my endless, bizarre arguments with my meth-damaged husband - everybody else seemed to have much bigger miseries to bear. That's the humanity in us, I suppose, to feel empathy and sympathy for our fellow humans and critters when they are suffering and sad. While I usually don't think, "There, but for the grace of God, go I"... the first words to myself are often, "My troubles aren't that big..." Until Kathy Beth told me and Judy Kay about a conversation between her and her RA doctor concerning Kathy's close friend, that went something like this: "She had just been diagnosed with RA and I told him I felt bad for her, that she would have to deal with the pain and all that goes with RA. He patted my leg and said, 'Kathy, very few people have RA as bad as you do'. I'm glad for her!"
Yes!!! That was my reaction. Let me explain... The doctor's simple mention of the severity of Kathy's RA was an affirmation of sorts - that yes, it's a deep trouble.
What I am about to relate is not a woe-is-me, self-pity rant - it's just a simple statement: My marriage is bad - very, very bad. Unbearably horrid. And it's been like that for the past three years. Before that, I thought we were pretty darned good together. I'm not going to go into the bizarre changes in his personality, suffice it to say that I thought he had a brain tumor, and was desperate to help him. Stupid me. The day I tried to sit him down and talk him into seeking medical help is the day my love for him vanished; he was cocky, mean, ugly, defensive - and tweaking. No brain tumor messing with his head, he proudly admitted, meth was his madness. Months before that day this monster had been accusing me of witchcraft, porn making, hiding money from him - at one point he even accused me of kidnapping children - and of being an actual stolen child myself. I have found seven hidden (well, not very well hidden) mini-recorders, two super dooper motion-activated video camera's (one was in my bedroom, and one was in the vent above the toilet). There's a lot more, I could write a book! Turns out he had been spying on me incessantly, I can't even begin to describe how violated I feel...
Apparently all meth addicts behave in this manner, it kills that part of the brain. But you can't tell them that - they live in their own perverted fantasy world. My emotions have ranged from compassion to fury, all the while attempting to keep up the house, my job, and my own sanity. And my money. Part of his insane delusion is that I pretty much own the internet, along with China, Germany, Canada, Gill Studios, horse stables, etc. Since he is unable to maintain steady employment, he wants all he can get from me. Oh, and he has a girlfriend. Which tickles me to no end, although I did hope that he would find somebody who could support him financially. But I should have known that he doesn't run in those kind of circles...
So for now, my entire life is carried along in my purse, truck, and office desk drawer, for thirty-four days, when our divorce is final and he is out of my life for good. Thirty-four more horrid days with a meth addict, free-loading off of me while recording my every move, and accusing me of impossible, disgusting things. I feel better already, admitting to myself that yes, this is a very, very bad trouble. Oh wait - he's leaving town with his (slightly) younger girlfriend! For three glorious days!!! A taste of the freedom yet to come! So by next Friday I will have only thirty-one unbearable days to go...
A few months ago I had the bright idea of incorporating material from our old dresses - prom, bridesmaid, school clothes - even baby clothes (if there was enough material). My plan was to use bits and pieces as yokes, collars, panels or pockets. I have lots of old patterns from the 70's, and have become quite retro as I age. Anyway, I came across this box of dresses that Mom had made for her three little girls - and was whisked back in time as I washed, sorted and ironed the tiny creations. I imagined Mom at the iron (at least 54 years ago), and had small flashes of memories - especially while pressing my favorite gold and black dress. Dad had left before I turned four, so I imagined there were a lot of tears shed while doing such domestic work, on top of her job at Sears, and while ironing clothes for neighbors, and caring for her daughters on one income. Mom was an excellent seamstress, and I marveled at the perfection of every detail. So - I won't be cutting into these dresses any time soon... I really miss Mom, and am comforted to hold onto pieces of her love.
If an inquisitive somebody were to demand a DNA analysis be done on the 3 sisters, he may not be surprised to find those twisted strands are coated with a healthy dose of printer's ink, given our pedigree and the many literary contributions from our maternal ancestors: