Monday, May 31, 2004

Type 2 Diabetes

I'm in trouble at work. Last night I suddenly felt all nauseous and disgustingly gross, felt like passing out or puking my brains out. Called in sick to work, but for some reason they didn't get my message and are now mad at me for not coming in. Crap. I'm still waiting for my blood tests to come back, but I'm pretty sure I already know what the results will be. Type 2 Diabetes. It's quite common among people with mood disorders. Some people say it's connected to the disorder, some say it's connected to the meds. But I have honestly had Type 2 symptoms for many years, even before I was on medication.

Another awful medical problem for me to worry about. I know so many people who have Type 2 Diabetes and manic depression. It's unfair. I mean, if you have a mental health problem, that should be it. You should get a get out of jail free card from all the other awful health problems. But no, that's not how life works.

Reading the list of symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes is like reading a menu of all the strange symptoms in my life. Being poor doesn't help either, by not having any food to eat I put mysekf at risk of going into a diabetic coma. Sucks. This all sucks.

Anyway, I haven't gotten my results back yet, and I am still learning what this all means for me. But my lifestyle is going to be changing this year, that's one thing I know for sure.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Shoo Fly Shoo!

My room is full of flies. Flies I tells ya! Today after cleaning up the room and making sure there was absolutely no more food items for the flies, I trotted off to the hardwear store. Fly strips please. Came home and got stuck. Oh secours! Unstuck myself, taped the strips to my closet doorway, where the flies seem to enjoy congregating. Within minutes there were already two flies trapped forever in 62% Rosin rubber mineral oil and 38% Tack paper tape.

An ignoble way to depart this earth, for sure.

And yet there still seems to be some kind of shoo fly shoo and the little fly flew dance party happening in the centre of my room. I am tempted to place yet another fly strip there, but I just know when I get up in the middle of the night to piss I am going to get stuck to it.

Oh, and I keep listening to Alannah Myles Song Instead of a Kiss. How maudlin.

This is a blog instead of a kiss.

No way can I have a girlfriend with all these flies in my room. THE FLIES MUST DIE!!!! I declare war on the flies. No amount of buddhist wisdom can deter me from my mercenary position on the flies!

Any advice on destroying the flies would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps a shock and awe campaign with big mean spiders.

Fuck Normal

Quite possibly the scariest thing about being involuntarily hospitalized is realizing that your freedom is now essentially determined by outside forces. Questions multiply as you wonder exactly what constitutes normal. Was I ever normal? Little kid memories of crying underneath the bed in a fetal position are so vivid. Who decides what normal is? What about when your identity is just so complex, how do you ever reach the measuring stick of normality?

I remember one of the things they noted in my psych report was that I was morbid. Morbidity is a sign of mental illness. Tell that to all the horror flick fans, or the Edgar Allen Poe readers, or even viewers of 10 o'clock news.

Who can really be considered normal and healthy anymore in this crazy world. Everyone has some major flaw, an addiction, a co-dependency thing, depression, acting out to avoid themselves, I mean, we are all pretty fucked up when you think about it.

One of the things that upset me the most in the hospital was watching George W Bush on television. He was considered normal and healthy, running a country into the ground and advocating for a war on fictional grounds. He was a pathological liar, a sociopath. He thought he was the new jesus, america's neo-colonialist messiah. And yet dignitaries shook his hand and a nation rallied around their troops in mob mentality fashion, while I waited for six weeks in a psych ward eating gross hospital food and becoming more and more dependent on the institution.

So who is normal? I was locked up for being a danger to self or others, while the american president was and is a danger on an even more massive scale.

On a side note, you know what is so obviously going to happen to the united states? While they've got their troops embroiled in an unnecessary conflict, another part of the world is going to smack them in the face, and they're not going to be able to respond because they've already made a military commitment some place else. Going to war in Iraq to prove military might has been the worst decision a president has made in recent times.

But what do I know? I'm the mental patient.

In other news, today I went for my diabetes screening. The anti-psychotic I am on can cause diabetes in people, along with a bunch of other awful things. But it keeps me from getting those odd thoughts, so you know. Nursey couldn't get a vein in my arm, I have crap veins, no way I could be an I.V. drug user. She had to take blood from the back of my hand. In the hospital they once had to use my wrist. Bleh.

I'm nervous about my test results. My family has diabetes running all through it, as do most aboriginal families. Kind of tricky. We'll see what happens, I think I have to change my life style drastically to stay healthy.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Suicide as an alternative to Insanity

It's a fact, suicide is a huge concern among people with mental illnesses. I should know, I have survived it too many times to count. Those bleak nights, that impossible emptiness. It can make you feel dead even when you're still breathing. Make you ache like you're bleeding, and you're so shocked that no one can see these gaping soul wounds.

I think that it is more than depression that makes the suicide rate in our little sub-group so high. There are a lot of socio-economic factors to consider. A study found that the cornerstones for good mental health are a home, a friend, and a job. Homelessness is a tremendously huge issue for us little crazies. There is the stigma to overcome, and there is the money thing, the jobs. Capitalist society doesn't allow for disabilities, you're either always a good worker or you're on welfare or disability, constantly trying to prove you're crazy and making yourself sick so that you don't lose your meager income. Lose your income - lose your home. Lose your sanity and you could lose your home too, this almost happened to me in fact. I was insane and therefore not 'deserving' of a home.

Then there's the stigma in day to day life. We are the pariahs, the lowest of the low, the scary people, the losers, the freaks and the weirdos and the psychos. Everyday our position in society as subhumans is reiterated, to make sure we remember that we don't deserve the good life.

And there's the fear, that quiet little voice sneaking up in the middle of the night to remind you of all your hopes and to tell you lies that they will never be now that you're a crazy person.

Mostly though, I think it is how our society shuns people in mental crisis. Even if you're not in mental crisis, even if the crisis is over, you can tell that people act differently around you, they tip toe, they back away. They stop calling. They leave you. They act like you're an idiot, even if you can still do all the crosswords. And they can make you feel very guilty and small about all the weird things you did when you were crazy.

For probably a good year after my break with reality I was going to do it. I was going to leave this planet and hope that there would be something better on the other side. Something kinder, more human. People close to me were telling me how scary I was and how I had to give up my dreams of this, that, and the other thing. And I didn't want to live a life like that. But since they were the 'sane' people and I was the crazy person, they had more power, and maybe more insight. So I believed them, and I didn't want to trouble people anymore. I wanted to go away.

Suicide can be prevented by three simple things. Respect. Dignity. Love. There are a lot of hurdles that crazy people jump to survive in life, more than the average person. But if our allies would remember to respect us, treat us with dignity, and love us, so much would be different. How terrible a society we live in, how inhumane, when a person thinks that they are too much trouble to stay alive anymore!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


I have a cousin who is crazy like me, but more on the manic side. I tend to live mainly on the depressive side of manic depression, a soft lump of sadness on the couch, gripped by the powerful undertow of absolute existential despair. Not so much these days (thank god). Anyway, our story begins way before I was taking mood stabilizers, when Celexa was crapping out on me and yet out of some kind of pharmaceutical devotion I continued to take it.

I needed a place to live at the time, which was contributing to my depressed state. After much himming and hawwing, my cousin finally agreed to move in with me in a new place. So far so good, she was away for the first month, which made co-habitating easy. Anyway, I was using her bed because I was dead broke, looking for a job, and needed to sleep on something.

Despite my flipping flopping gender identity issues, my period came along. Yes, it's a crucial part of the story, so bear with me. I have been having my period for well over half my life, and while I know I should be expert at it by now, I am not. What can I say about the bloody tragedy that was one small leak for woman, one giant breakdown for friendship?

I spend about four or five hours trying to get the stupid stain out, but really, a futon is pretty much the same as a giant tampon. I mean, it would not budge. And I was depressed anyway, feeling crappier because my female troubles were now staining a friend's bed. Later on someone told me I should have used a black marker to turn it into a ladybug. Or signed it.

I left a very apologetic note about the whole incident, saying I would buy her a new futon or a cover for it if she wanted, whatever, I just wanted to atone for my sins and move on. She came home and spazzed right the fuck out.

It all snowballed into a very dramatic exit where she told me a litany of things that were wrong with me and how horrid I was for bleeding on her bed she bought with her sex work money. There wasn't really much I could say. She was so on edge, she even refused to let me put a loaf of bread on HER side of the cupboard. And when her cat killed my rat, she refused to believe me.

As you may imagine, she moved out of the apartment, very slowly I might add. She came in once a day for a week just to be intimidating and stompy while she slowly moved dishes into her room. One day it would be the soup bowls. Stomp stomp stomp. The next day cutlery. Stomp stomp stomp. And I thought to myself "Holy shit, what a freakin' freak of freaks!" I pretty much ignored her by now because I didn't want to be part of the bad blood growing from a single menstrual accident.

I told my good friend Maggie about it, she said "oh, she's bipolar, she can't help it."

Little did I realize that within a few months I too would be a raving lunatic.

A side note: I do not trust two kinds of people, the kind that don't have pets, and the kind that don't have a bed with at least one menstrual stain. I don't think it's normal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

R and F: AWOL.

Okay, here's my story, and I'm sticking to it. But first! Oh yay!! There is a brand new feature on Fit of Pique: The Comments. Yeppers, you too can now join in the insanity that is this little blog. Simply click on comment and go from there. Debate, engage, whatever, all I say is that around here there is only one Queen and I am she, harrassing or threatening comments will be summarily executed by the delete function only I have control of!! Okay, I was probably too gleeful about that little warning, but you know, I'm a mental patient, I only have power over a very tiny portion of the universe. Unless I'm manic, in which case I'm god and you'd better watch your back!

You may be wondering why I haven't written much lately. Well, there's a funny little story about that. The other day I was awfully excitable and accidentally knocked over a bottle of water right onto my keyboard. OMG! My keyboard is wet. So I go through all the keys and find that three crucial keys have gone awol; the R, the F, and Delete.

Ucking hell, or as Joni Mitchell says, you don't know what you got til it's gone.

Vey little can be witten without the R and F keys. Some wittes base thei wok aound the pemise o omitting cetain lettes o numbes om thei novels. Howeve I am not one o those wittes, and it O Pique is not one o those blogs.

So why are the R's and F's showing up now? Quite simply the fear of God, they knew I would banish them from the english language if they did not obey orders and return. See, I even control the very letters your language is based on, I'm that good. Seriously, I don't know what happened. I prayed that my keyboard would heal thyself, and apparently it did, although now the shift key on the right hand side is ucked.

I am grateful to my little* letters R and F, who are in some of my favorite words, like 'favorite' and 'fruitful' and 'fuckers'. But I think the key I love the most is the delete key, and I am most appreciative for it returning. For me, my two best friends are Delete and Edit Undo. Edit Undo is practically a mantra, I feel so calm when I say it outloud. Edit Undo. Edit Undo. Edit Undo.

There are some loftier than thou people out there who would tell me that Delete and Edit Undo are terrible things to base a sense of serenity on. They would say that you should live your life free of regrets. But you know what I am thinking more and more? I think that you haven't lived if you don't have at least one soft little regret that sticks in your heart and makes you wistful.

I'm sure I have a ton of regrets, mostly involving romantic liasons, but other ones as well. I'll tell you three of my big regrets and you can post yours if you want to try out the sexy new Comments function.

1. Not taking the Valproic Acid the first time it was prescribed.
2. Not going into the Catacombs in Paris.
3. Not staying for Pride in San Francisco.

* I had a couple girlfriends who were always annoyed with me calling them little. They were kinda little, but mostly I meant it as a term of endearment. Anything I like I call little, maybe because I connect with the underdog.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

All right, so I promised I would write my take on the by now infamous abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. There was a really great last episode of Counterpoint where a woman pointed out that this so-called "War on Terror" is little more than neo-colonialism, trying to bring civilization to the savages and that sort of thing. I believe that. It is a war for oil, but more than that it indicates that we do not have any faith in the ability of people of color to manage their own affairs. Change must come from within, when imposed it is bound to collapse.

Personally I am not surprised by the scandal. This is something which has been a historical constant with America. Murder and torture of people of color stretches to the birth of what is now The United States of America. Take the Sand Creek massacre for one example. An entire village slaughtered, including women and children, and gruesome trophies taken, such as wombs and genitals that were worn on saddles and hats. "Nits make lice," and so on. That's only one of the countless American-Indian wartime atrocities. Then let's move on to slavery. And My Lai. CIA sponsored coops. The list just goes on and on.

Being a Canadian, there is a certain amount of guilt mixed with smug superiority about American Imperialism. But up here we can't be complacent about these issues either. One must remember Somalia and the actions of our "peacekeepers" there.

And now let's focus on the type of abuse the Iraqi's have suffered. One of the articles of the Geneva convention forbids abusing someone based on their religion or faith. The abuse perpetrated was calculated specifically to be heinous for muslims in particular. Forcing people to violate their own religious codes is no better than what the Nazi's did to the Jewish people. Especially considering some of the things the prisoners were forced to do carry death penalities in some muslim countries. I don't think it's been emphasized enough how these tortures are specific to violating muslim law. Obviously someone up high designed these "interrogation" techniques.

These acts do not stem from a mere lack of discipline, these acts stem from the highest levels of american policy, as they have for 512 years. These acts are war crimes, and should be prosecuted as such. America has gotten away with it for far too long.

Friday, May 14, 2004

If you know anything about me you'll know my number 1 absolute favorite book is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, an absolute masterpiece about his experiences in Dresden during the firebombing (which incidentally killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined).

Well for fellow Vonnegut fans, he has recently written Cold Turkey, a state of the union address from a beloved American literary icon. Go read it, you'll be glad you did.

Next blog: Iraqi prisoner abuse and America's history since it's birth of the torture and killing of people of colour.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Sometimes I catch myself giggling over things which are so immature. I'm gooney I know. Surfing Bipolar World I came across a question about CBT (which in this context means cognitive behavioural therapy) which always makes me think of the BDSM term CBT, which means cock and ball torture. And I'm always so confused, I'm like, why does cock and ball torture help with manic depression?

Who knows, maybe there's a CBT afficianado reading this whose all "Yeah, I do feel better after a long session of CBT!"

Being a part of so many different communities, like the bipolars, the bi-gendered, the dykes, the butches, the halfbreeds, the aboriginals, the leather folks, the video artists and the filmmakers, makes life very funny. Sometimes when cultural groups collide you can get some really amusing moments.

I remember one time during a video production this dyke friend of mine had some friends coming by who didn't know she was a card carrying homo. So she told all of us "Don't tell them I'm out!" (Which is funny for the sole reason that she obviously WASN'T out). So this aboriginal friend of ours said "Okay, so if they ask, 'is so and so out', we'll say 'No, she's in.'"

Immature can be fun though, there are a lot of simple pleasures out there. Like watching a three year old north korean genius named Mo Kin play the zylophone.

Monday, May 10, 2004

I hate being grumpy. This whole experience has really dragged me down for quite a while, I felt so frusterated and pushed to the edge. I hate the edge. Whenever I make work I go a little bit crazy and it's nice to have a curator who accepts that and gives me room to breathe, and support. It all makes me very relieved to remember that I'm a video artist. It's so easy to show at festivals, just give them a tape and they go on their merry way.

I'm also glad to be returning to my feature screenplay. It's been like a neglected girlfriend, waiting and sighing for me to return. Yet for some reason some people don't really regard me writing this thing as making work. I don't know why, it's such a big project and it's taking a lot of time and thought. People are weird man!

I'm also glad to be returning to my short video project "Love & Numbers" (working title). It's a lot of fun for me making videos, I just love the process so much.

I'm thinking again about this creative process thing, people have often given me shit about the way I make things, how long it takes for me to make up my mind about certain aspects. And usually in the beginning when people see what I have it all looks like a bunch of nothing.

I think my main problem is that I'm an artist who needs secrecy to make my work, for various reasons. One is that the process of making work can take so much out of me emotionally, because I try to give the viewer an emotional reaction, I think that's what good art does. I also know that it all looks like a lot of frantic nothing in the beginning, and I don't like how people devalue the images I get just because it doesn't tell a story or seem like art to them yet. And finally, I'm a manic depressive, and I can't help but have a manic depressive way of creating. For me that translates into a lot of last minute changes as I finally put it all together, which to some people seems flighty.

Why is it so hard being an artist? This is why I like to live a hermit-like existence, away from the people who like art to be made in a certain way and be all about nothing.

Anyway, back to our regularily scheduled program next blog. I think my grump-fest is over. I am soooooo ready to stop thinking about this damn show.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Lists! (with a nod to A., who knows who she is)

Things people gave me today:
White carnations.
Orange Blossom Peak Freans.*
An opera ticket.
Ketchup chips.
A calendar of pictures of bouquets.

*Once when I was a little kid and first learned to read, I read the phrase "By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen," on a pack of Peak Freans. I was terrified and reluctant to eat the cookies in case we had accidentally gotten the Queen's special cookies and would be in violation of some royal degree, which would involve us losing our heads. (I ate them anyway.)

My Favorite Candy:
Candy Corn.
Cinnamin Hearts.*
Juicy Fruit.
Blue whales.
Mint Aero.
Candied Ginger.
Red Lips.
Carmel Popcorn.
Glossettes Raisins.

*Every Valentines Day I have nobody to neck with so I console myself by eating copious amounts of cinnamin hearts until the first layer of my mouth is burnt off. (I could hear you go ew! :P)

My Favorite Movies:*
Mullholland Drive.
The Wizard of Oz.
Show Me Love.
The Celebration.
Ma Vie En Rose.
The Hours.
Fight Club.
Children of Heaven.
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.
Dancer in The Dark.
Dazed and Confused.
Party Girl.

*The best movie I ever went to was years ago when I had a date for the Blair Witch project, the projectionists were locked out and we didn't want to cross the picketline, so we went to my house and . . . uhm . . .

Senator: God must go if responsible for Iraq Prisoner Abuse
Homestar Runner

Friday, May 07, 2004

Disclaimer: From the Edges of Gender and Madness

A show by Thirza Cuthand

Opening night TONIGHT! May 7 at 7pm, and May 8 at 7pm, with a performance on May 7.

At the Alley Gallery, 713 E Pender (use Alley entrance).

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Almost a year later I have finally shipped my stuff from Montreal to my new-old stomping grounds of Vancouver. After a brief perusal of my old junk, I somehow thought it was worth a blog.

First of all, I have to put this all into context. At the time I packed all of it I was in a major depressive phase after a major manic episode that took me to the hospital. And life sucked and I had no friends coming by to cheer me up, in fact at the time I was getting threatened by people I'd flipped out around. And I realized everyone I cared about who would go have a beer with me and let me be myself was way far away in Vancouver. So I packed up and left, with very few belongings because I showed up in Montreal with very little. And you can live for a long time with just a coffee cup, a tin soup pot, a fork, a spoon, and a knife.

Oh but wait, I went MANIC, see, which means I also went shopping, A LOT. I bought $60 cultural studies books, knickknacks and gee-gaws, movies and lampshades and other things which really don't mean anything to anybody else but me. And coming out of my bipolar emotional ruins I started thinking "Aw hell, none of those things really matter in the end does it? It's just junk, material goods, why do we need any of this stuff anyway?"

Well I have to say, almost a year later I am looking through all these boxes, and I'm in a pretty good mental state, and I say "Fuckin' rights this is good stuff! When am I ever going to buy a Buddha again? And dammit, I need my DVD's and I loooooooove my books, and I've really missed this pornography, and my Columbia figurine is beat up but so freakin' cute!"

Okay, I admit it, I'm a materialistic little chickadee. I feel better when I am surrounded by stuff. It's just stuff, but somehow it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know when I need to think about my precarious gender tightrope, I've got a Kate Bornstien book to read. When I want to study films I can pop in my DVD of Mullholland Drive or whatever and sit back and analyse structure and themes and all that nerdly film stuff. And when I'm naked, I still have my bathrobe that I wore in the hospital.

Some people call it hording, and it's true that I do that. Apparently people with OCD often horde. I'm not a meticulously clean person, but having things around gives me a sense of stability and calm. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's craziness, maybe it's just human nature. We pathologize everything these days, but you know, maybe it all just comes down to our own unique quirks.

At the same time I have to say, some of the things I bought were just ridiculous. At my bipolar support group I came up with what I thought was a brilliant plan to have a garage sale of all the things we had bought in a manic state. I mean, you can rack up some intense debt in an episode! But no, the Manic garage sale has yet to happen. If any of my dear readers would like to contribute something to the sale, email me!