(Warning: this post gets a bit personal, but says what needs to be said — because the truth is paramount and I owe it to you, my amazing subscribers. What’s posted here is no great, dark secret that I felt a need to hide, but something that save once before and again here, there’s simply been no occasion to mention. The original post dates back to March 24, 2010, and this repost is identical to the original in text and context.)
Hey, guys. Many of you might have found out about James (the Amazing One) Randi’s recent ‘coming out,’ and it gave me the idea to open up to my incredible readership in revealing a little something that hasn’t been mentioned in great detail in the past, though I’ve occasionally alluded to it from time to time.
Some of you may have suspected it from my writing style, some from my early comment responses, others of you already knew, to more than just a few this may be a bit of a surprise, and some probably just won’t give a crap…
No, I’m not gay — not if any of my ex-girlfriends have a say in the matter — but I do harbor a rather bothersome medical condition that I’m not particularly proud of, nor especially happy about, but which I’ve seen no reason to hide in person, and as of now, here…
This condition is one of the most debilitating neurological disorders known to Man (or Woman for you readers of the fairer sex), and something that I have struggled with ever since my early twenties.
My particular condition is one of a family of related disorders, having nothing to do with ‘split-personalities’ as they are popularly termed (That is actually referred to, if I recall correctly, as Disassociative Identity Disorder, an entirely different class of condition) in the media, and this is one of the many reasons among others that I’m a skeptic, since keeping better in tune with reality is a Good Thing™, as this enables me to stay out of trouble more easily than would otherwise be the case.
Is skepticism effective for combating mental illness? I would venture not by itself, and I recommend to others with mental illnesses that you stay on your treatment plan and follow it scrupulously, just to be on the safe side.
You are not alone.
For me though, skepticism is a useful adjunct to my basic treatment. Learning to think clearly is always a good thing with or without a problematic condition.
Few with the more extreme variants of my condition can benefit from skepticism, and many often require physical care as well. But fortunately my illness is mild enough and sufficiently amenable to treatment to allow me to function in daily life and do the things I enjoy, like post on and administer this blog.
I consider myself lucky, to the extent luck actually exists, that I got treatment for my affliction during the early stages before it became too advanced, otherwise I would not be typing this into my browser window for you all to read.
Pushing the ‘publish’ button for this entry was not an easy decision, but a necessary one. Some things are important enough that they need to be said. The Randi-Meister was a big factor in this…
As one of those ‘fervently dogmatic, pseudo-skeptical, pseudo-intellectual (and according to one recent commenter, ‘unread’) debunkers,’ there is no point in pretending to be what I am not and can never be — perfectly normal, ‘just like everyone else’ — since the truth should always be paramount.
Hence this post.
I have little doubt that this entry will be used as a convenient source of ammunition by those online who’ve expressed impatience towards my ‘attitude’ as a skeptic, and that’s fine with me — as long as any disagreement between me and others remains bloodless and gentlemanly — including disagreements with those I’ve annoyed in the past. And believe me, I’ve annoyed quite a few…
For the past couple of decades, I’ve worked at a vocational rehabilitation business as an administrative assistant, only retired as of last December, and this has helped immensely in my personal growth and experience in the workplace.
The people I met and knew there, clients and employees, will always be a reminder how much stigma is still attached to mental illness in this country, as well as others. They will also be a reminder of the incredible resilience of human courage, hope, and ability.
I plan to diversify the subject matter posted on this site to include advocacy for the rights and well-being of those with disabling psychiatric conditions, both like and unlike my own.
I’ve so far immensely surpassed where I was when my illness first popped up some years ago, and I plan to do better still, helping others like me as well. You, my readers both locally and around the world are an absolute joy to write for, and this blog is a wonderful journey & learning experience for my Troythuluness.
Let’s travel and learn together.
Like it says in my collector’s edition copy of the Principia Discordia— Fnord.