I hope I’m expiating lots of karma.
Angry Mike has been coming to the mission for at least five years. He supports himself by panhandling. He’s OK, rational, but he’s got some kind of mental illness and knows it. He’s doing better at the moment, but in the past he was angry
Physical pain can make you irritable.
Saturday, December 8
The arthritis in my knees has been getting worse and worse in recent weeks. Continue reading Dealing with physical pain
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
This morning on my walk from Dunkin’ Donuts to the library, I stopped at the corner of Fayette and St. Paul Sts. to finish a cigarette, before I’d go into the convenience store. To my right, on a bench, sat this woman, bent over with her head between her knees; she had turned her head to the left and was calling to me. I couldn’t make out her words. She is a “taker.” Sometimes I respond to such folk with compassion; sometimes I respond with contempt.
How would Ayn Rand have responded?
Living as Jesus taught actually changes your physical body, in desirable ways.
I will focus just now on body chemistry, and specifically one chemical, serotonin. Dozens of chemicals are probably involved, and I don’t mean to exaggerate the importance of just one. However, it happens that, on the one hand, serotonin plays a major role in the challenges I have personally faced in my life; and on the other hand, it has profound ramifications for how well anyone does in life. Continue reading Serotonin and the individual
Friday, October 6.
I arrived at the shelter where I stay at 14:32. There was no line of people waiting admission. They nominally open the gate at 14:30, but in fact sometimes do at 14:15, 14:00 or even 13:00. When I later asked what time they’d opened today, I was told 14:30. That can’t be factual, though: given current intake procedures, they can’t possibly have processed 30+ persons in two minutes.
Marvin arrived at the same time. I stayed outside to finish a cigarette, and he slipped in in front of me. He got assigned #41, “my” bunk, a bottom bunk. I got assigned the only available remaining bunk, #40, a top bunk and thus much less desirable.
If I had arrived only 30 seconds earlier, I would have been assigned “my” bunk, a bottom bunk, the one much more desirable. I found myself scouring my memory as to anything I could have done to have left church even 30 seconds earlier. I would recognize the mistake of looking only at my last activities before leaving; whereas 30 seconds at any point during the day would have made the difference.
I would recognize that I was “bargaining.”
I have suffered with obsessive-compulsive disorder and genetically-based clinical depression all my life. I first became medicated for these conditions, with SSRIs, in 1991, and the improvement was so drastic I never wanted to be without those medications again.
On or about December 6, 2015, however, it seemed as if they abruptly became ineffective. I was not in a position to find a medical doctor competent to change them. So, on the one hand, I’ve lived with clinical depression from then till now and continuing. On the other hand, a positive is that in this state I’ve obtained certain insights that I never could have “seen” any other way.
One insight in particular would have changed my entire course in life, had I only learned it as a child.
It occurred in four steps. The blue block quotes below are excerpts from my diary. However, I recall that C.S. Lewis referred to diary-keeping as a “time-wasting and foolish practice;” that a diary is, “even for autobiographical purposes,” far less useful than one might suppose. As to the first two steps below, I lost a good deal of time and effort searching for diary passages that didn’t exist.
In mid-December 2015 …