I was misdiagnosed.
But I don’t really blame the psychiatrist. He was a victim of Stephanie. Just as I was. She didn’t so much convince him I was crazy. Just as she didn’t convince me. We both just surrendered.
And that’s the way my ex – Stephanie Ann Blatt (now Middleton) – always worked the system about most anything. She just printed reams and reams of data from the internet that she barely perused, and certainly didn’t comprehend. And then inundated you by fax, e-mail, snail-mail, telephone calls and surprise personal visits. Until you were drowning in her babble. And you capitulated waving your once white underwear. Because the only other alternative was to buy a bear rifle… and hope that Stephanie was out and about during sow season.
In case you didn’t know it, female bears are technically known as sows. But if you thought I was calling her a pig, I have to apologize… because I wouldn’t want to denigrate the swine family – even if they aren’t kosher. Because neither am I.
But once we got to court for all sorts of outlandish charges that Stephanie fabricated, even the bevy of female judges, assistant district attorneys, psychiatrists, police and social workers had to eventually agree: The wrong person was under their microscope.
But of course!
However, being terribly outnumbered – not only by being the only Jew in the room, but just about the only testosterone – no one would listen at first. Even when I pleaded that of course I am crazy, but that doesn’t mean I am wrong. I mean, if we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.
But like my favorite childhood book entitled: ‘No one listens to Andrew!’ no one was listening to me when I pleaded for years that Stephanie needed help. She was so lost in her lies and delusions that we all got lost. Or buried.
And no one but me would connect the dots. After all, the Palestinian father of her first child ran back to Gaza to live in a cave and start a rational relationship. The next lover killed himself by ‘autocide.’ The third guy planted himself in a focused marijuana haze.
And then for some reason I heeded a tennis player from a peculiar Estonian family recommending Stephanie to me. I don’t know why, really. I mean, I was mostly working and living in Russia at the time. And weary me forgot that the delusional guy advocating her has had the two most acrimonious divorces east of the Mississippi.
So when a judge asked me what ‘I’ was thinking when I hooked up with Ms. Stephanie I could only gaze down at my crotch and scream: What were ‘you’ thinking?!
I mean, I know that one is very crazy when in love, but this definitely wasn’t love. It was a what-duh-hell, what-duh-heck… it’ll do. And she was pretty enough. And I was nearing the point-of-no-return to start and raise a family. And I was crazy about her five-year-old son. I loved the kid.
But as my first ex lamented when I drove her into the arms of my ex-best-friend Ed: Love just ain’t enough.
I bring this up, in part, because of the suicide of genius comedian and actor Robin Williams. The newspapers and talking heads are going to start screaming again about this being another illustration of our broken mental-health system as well as our broken prison system stocked full of ‘crazies’.
But like gas, it’ll pass. Only the stink will linger. After all, we do have the attention span of a gold fish.
Hell, wasn’t the pot stirred a few weeks back when a psychiatrist at a mental hospital was forced to pull his gun and shoot a patient who was trying to shoot him, after already killing the social worker.
And of course if a labeled ‘crazy’ with the fashionable bipolar malady, or an unfashionable schizophrenic homeless soul, or some non-celebrity in a bout of depression does something more egregious than kill himself then the national news rivets us with the harrowing details.
And all it proves once more is that some may never live, but the crazy never die.
What I actually had when finally and correctly diagnosed — without Stephanie’s helicopter hovering — was Depression. It was triggered by Post Traumatic Stress from a variety of past events.
This included a life and death firefight years before in Africa. Also a ‘failed’ and arduously grueling 3-year-project in Russia. And then there was my younger son being born to a life of lingering death — with all and more of every possible and unknown heart, lung and physical abnormality.
So I finally crashed. And then a number of months later I was much better, but didn’t know it, because Stephanie had the doc over-prescribe a bunch of pills. And those psychotropic drugs prompted me to introduce myself to trees and hold metaphysical conversations with stray dogs who tilted their heads in curious amusement while hoping I would throw the damn stick for the ten thousandth time.
But of course!
And then Stephanie poisoned me. She overdosed me until I collapsed. And while urinating on the 911 drivers and the nurses who rarely changed my sheets I spent the next 5 weeks in the hospital – cathartically not taking any pills.
Until, pill free and pissed-out I was finally cured of something I didn’t have – except what Stephanie gave me and convinced everyone I must have. That is, according to some cryptic articles in an esoteric medical journal for the intransigent life forms who believe that it must be true because the writer is from some obscure Universidad in Austria, or Aukland or Australia and such.
And all I can exhale is: That’s crazy. But it ain’t crazy enough – to be true.
And when people stopped listening she started espousing that I hired a Russian mob to kill her.
But of course!
Nevertheless why is it that 99 percent of the murders and other heinous crimes in this and most countries are committed by people ‘other than the Russian mob’ and such? People considered to be a ‘great neighbor.’ ‘Always said hello.’ ‘He never schtooped my wife.’ Etc. etc. etc….
But let one crazy escape the asylum, pull a trigger or rape and the next day’s broadcasts madly scream: ‘Nut, bolts and screws!’
And everybody gets to be a water-cooler analyst.
And as I have often explained to a rather large medical group of mostly psychiatrists that I sometimes lecture to (can you believe it?) — I tell them that their patients are the “normal’ folks. It’s the rest of us that are bloody damn nuts! It’s the so-called normal people who are selling illegal guns and knives, dealing dope, lying in court, bundling bank loans and running Washington.
And this often percolates a question that sometimes drives me hazy. That is: Am I or are the others crazy?
One particular psychiatrist in the group — who I consider exceptionally enlightened because he watches porn and listens regularly to Howard Stern — keeps promoting that it is alright to feel bad some days. It’s all right to be sad or unhappy. It passes. It is called life.
In other words, he feels some people ‘think’ they’re depressed. And they come to him and want pills. And he just thinks: ‘You hate where you live, you’ve lost your job, your boyfriend has dumped you, could all this be why you’re depressed?’
So what’s your point, Doc?
However, I must point out that when I really was suffering my bout of depression the only person I felt like hurting was myself. Just like Robin Williams did.
Only I couldn’t use a gun because I am such a bad shot. I was afraid I’d miss. And just screw things up. And I couldn’t hang myself because I am such a screw up the rope would be too long. And I couldn’t take pills, because they’d probably turn out to be aspirin. And in an hour I would be feeling better.
And then I spent one hot August afternoon on the edge of the rooftop of my 14-story apartment building. I kept fretting that it wasn’t high enough. And I would just cripple myself. Then I thought of the kids, especially the younger one struggling bravely to survive. And I realized I was just being a selfish coward.
In other words I am a coward. And a coward dies a thousand deaths. While the brave die but once. So, as the man in prison said: Get on with living, or get on with dying. That is: shit or get off the pot.
Yet once, under Stephanie’s overdosing me with pills, I did happen to confide to her that I thought some of my post traumatic depression was triggered by a firefight – or two – a few years back in Africa. And she seemed absolutely frightened and appalled that I may have killed people – even if those people were first aiming to kill me.
‘How many did you kill?’ she demanded, widening her little green eyes.
And all I could respond was: ‘A few… I think…’
And later in court, in the midst of defeat and despair, she injudiciously pointed an accusing finger at me and yelped: ‘He kills people!’
And the exasperated judge exhaled, yet again, and wondered what this was all about. I simply pointed to Stephanie and mordantly intoned: ‘Obviously I killed one too few.’
I think today that along with the shrill reaction to people who may be going thru or have gone through some mental challenges is the lack of confidentiality. People like Stephanie. And a few deleterious folks in my former occupation – journalists. Everyone feels they have a provident right to invade your life. Your secrets become weapons they eventually use against you.
Isn’t it deviously bizarre? I mean, I have discovered that half the planet is on something — particularly anti-depressants. You take aspirin for a headache. Statins for cholesterol. Alcohol to escape a day with bureaucrats. Marijuana for medicinal purposes…
But take one psychotropic pill and you are a nutcase for life. And no one invites a nutty professor to be a guest in their home. Unless its Robin Williams welcomed into your living room to make you laugh insanely on TV.
So let me suggest: If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.
In the meantime, before we start creating new laws or changing the old ones, perhaps we ought to first try to change the channels in our minds. That it ain’t no big deal to be crazy. It’s not like the circus coming to town. It’s just a matter of you and me and everyone else swallowing, snorting or syringing whatever we can get.
Like I already said: Most crazies aren’t certifiable. Because we are all crazy –just to keep from going insane. And as my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy used to exhale from his omniscient corn cob pipe: You can never be too crazy, but you can be too sane.
To tell you the truth I don’t get upset if people think I am crazy. If you go to a mental hospital and someone calls you a name, would you get upset? Of course not. Well, that’s the way I think about the world. ‘They’ just don’t know any better. And they mostly want you to act just like them. Which is, of course, crazy.
It’s like, you can’t have any fun. But if you do have fun, if you do your own thing, you’re considered crazy. And they want be put you in a mental institution. Now, that’s what I find creepy. I’m eccentric. I am not messed up.
I am not THAT crazy… am I?
After all, crazy people don’t sit around wondering if they’re nuts.
I mean in the wake of Stephanie, some friends I’ve known for 40 years would approach me – if at all – and talk as if they always thought I was crazy, but now they were absolutely convicted.
Like my old friend Bob. Well educated. Successful developer. We drank together. Played tennis together. Golfed together. Flew and owned an airplane together. Bob apparently felt so comfortable around me that we even discussed, once or twice, his dogmatic assurance that he should be able to beat his wife.
But in the aftermath we happened to bump into each other on the street – after my pill and Stephanie days were over and done. And paying no heed to my health and survival of 5 weeks in the hospital, Bob gruffly inquired if I was taking my pills.
But of course! Obviously no doubt exists that we are all crazy; it’s only a question of degree. And naturally I simply replied to this sincerely supercilious erstwhile friend, as we were bobbing and smiling our chic-o-lets in the sunny winter wind: “But of course, Bob. Aren’t you?”
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…