Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dr. Bobblehead and Mr. Hyde

SCARY! El pretends she is the Bobblehead's alter ego

Being a Bobblehead is not easy. The constant dizziness and distractions took a toll on my spirits something terrible. I became listless and moody. Insomnia is something that still plagues me even after seeking treatment. A combination of a Migraine attack that lasted for weeks, the slow loss of being able to do things I loved and needed: driving, exercise, reading, music...eventually even spending a day walking around was forsaken for a day in the wheelchair. The fatigue from the insomnia enflamed my moodiness. Hypoglycemia dropped my sugar and made me out of touch of my moods. It was a storm brewing that I had a horrible time hemming in.

Many chronic migraine sufferers have clinical depression. I definitely had some of the symptoms. I avoided taking any antidepressants. Sleeping aids were avoided but in the end needed. Fatigue worsened my overall ability to make it through the day.

Those I loved around me usually brought on the wrath of my despair. I usually made it through the work day without getting too riled up, but once home and amongst formally comfortable people and surroundings, my pain seeped through. On more than one occasion I found myself shouting insults and vulgarity at my wife and children. As always, I felt ashamed and slinked away and begged forgiveness. Then, sometimes within minutes, I felt buttons pushed and started up, again. I clearly recognized an abusive cycle with me in the roll of the abuser. Yes Bobblehead has a temper, but this was different. This was fear and pain leaving myself in an attempt to cleanse. Truth, however, was that my soul was vilified and those I loved were suffering. I wanted to avoid medication but also knew I could not keep this path for fear of the pain I was inflicting on those who were reaching out to me.

During a calm day, I sat down and discussed the concept of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde with my two girls. I told them that inside each of us lies another being, one of darkness and despair. I needed to remind myself that I needed to remain as Dr. Jeckyll and I needed to keep the Mr. Hyde personality deep inside. Easier said than done, but this concept worked for me very well. A few days later I had picked up El's cell phone to charge it. She had snapped some silly photographs of her sister, her cat, and her friends with the phone's camera. I came across this photo and immediately started to laugh. El had donned the mask of a friend and was acting silly. Yet this photo displayed the essence of what “Mr. Hyde” meant to me. I mailed it to my own phone and computer. It is now the wallpaper of my cell phone and my laptop. “Scary El” is a visual reminder of what I want to avoid in myself. Often, when I feel frustrated or discouraged I will flip open my phone and just gaze at this brazen image of the demon within.

Visual reminders are a good coping tool to assist with many recognized flaws. I have a tendency to talk and not listen. I keep a small plastic hour glass on my desk to remind myself to take a turn and then stop and let others have turns as well. Dice and the concept of randomness in life are another symbol I use. I love control but often have to concede that in the end, none of us are fully in control. We can only cope with the random rolls of the dice that come up.

A friend of mine is having problems at work. She is in a turf war with people in an other organization. She is weary of fighting yet leery of surrendering when she feels she is right. In the end, she is best off fighting the tide. I call her Don Quixote de la Mancha and suggested that she put a copy of the famous painting by Pablo Picasso on her desktop and wall. A little windmill is another wonderful analogy for her. Again, this is her visual queue and no one besides herself need know the iconic connection between the image and her desire to cope with a frustrating situation.

I went out during a full Bobblehead moment and purchased a copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson at a local bookstore owned by a friend. Due to the Bobblehead's constant double and blurred vision and lack of attention span, this short novella was a long read that I only finished this morning. It was not quite what I expected. Having only the image from modern cultural references and never read the original the duality portion was clear, but Jeckyll's desire to transform in Mr. Hyde was never conveyed. I thoroughly enjoyed the novella and portions did translate well into the case of Bobblehead being a sh*thead at times. It is a must read.

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