This post isn't - by far - the most tightly-organized on in this blog.
Writing it, I let my attention wander, doing minimal editing apart from adding headings by way of signposts along the path I took. There's a reason for that, which I may get back to: in yet another post.
Why this prologue? I figured you might appreciate a sort of 'heads up' about what to expect. Or a warning. I'll leave it up to you, to decide which it is.
I've sometimes wondered 'why did God do this to me?' (June 8, 2009) From what I've gathered about other folks, that's hardly a unique experience. Not even, most likely, a very rare one.
next heading. Or take a break from the computer: It's up to you.
Where was I? 'Why did God do this to me.' Right.
For example, I was born with congenital hip dysplasia. A five-dollar word meaning that my hips didn't form properly. Between that, being born in 1951, and a medical experiment my parents didn't know about - but I've been over that before. (February 3, 2009) A few years ago I had both hip joints swapped out - along with some other long-overdue under-the-hood work. 2006 was a busy year. And that's another topic. (Through One Dad's Eye (June 3, 2007))
Not long after that, I was diagnosed as having major depression. Which explained quite a bit. Medication helped sort out my brain chemistry - then we discovered that I was ADD. Make that ADHD-inattentive. Next year the psychiatrists may have another term for that sort of thing. Another diagnosis: more medications.
methylphenidate I take. It's a sort of generic form of Ritalin - and quite effective, in my case.
Still, anything that has "psychotic symptoms" listed as a possible side effect gets my attention.
FDA. That outfit also says to look out for side effects like "nervousness and insomnia," "aggressive behavior or hostility," "psychotic symptoms," "hallucinations, delirium," and "sudden death."
I gave my wife the heads-up on what to look for before my first dose. Which was something of an anticlimax.
My experience with the stuff has been comparatively tame.
Apart from not having to 'fight the machinery' in terms of thinking. I haven't had this sort of clear-headedness since before my teens. Maybe ever. It's like having been driving a car without power brakes or steering, and with a sputtering motor - and then driving the same car with power everything, after a thorough tuneup. Same car - only now it works the way it's supposed to.
Off-the-50th-percentile thinking runs in the family. (example: Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (November 12, 2010)) Can't say I'd recommend having my brain chemistry - but the package as a whole has its advantages.
Happily, the Catholic Church teaches that we're supposed to be ourselves - the way God wants us to be. I mentioned diversity, Catholic style, in the last post before this, and have been over the topic before. (August 26, 2010) Just as well, since I don't do conformity. Not very well, anyway.
It's a historical thing, partly. I was born in 1951, when the 'Man in the Gray Flannel Suit' conformity craze had some of the 'older generation' setting folks my age up to make Timothy Leary and Woodstock seem to make sense. By the time I was in my teens, quite a few of my contemporaries were defying conformity. By letting their hair grow out, and wearing jeans.
I wore white socks throughout high school - it was (just) inside the dress code. I'd probably have stood out from the crowd, anyway. Or been stood away from. I have yet to figure out which way that works.
Where was I again? Conformity. I don't have anything against folks whose dream is to be an accountant or a bank clerk. Or a lumberjack, or astronaut, or dental hygienist. If we were all alike, most of us would be redundant. And, probably, dead. Just getting things done seems to require different folks being more-or-less competent at different things. Yet again another topic. Topics.
I'm certainly not going to say that folks who are 'conventional' are dull as dishwater, which is a calumnym on dishwater. The stuff's fascinating. Many the time's I've watched flotillas of bubbles evolve, marveled at visible consequence of molecular interactions between water, grease, and detergent - and those are several other topics.
May 21, 2010) Criticizing folks who aren't 'colorful,' I mean: not dishwater. Even if the Church didn't have something to say about it (Catechism, 2268), and Western civilization was only now forgetting about Hitler's efforts to clean Europe's gene pool, I'd probably not approve of removing 'inferior' persons from the human race.
Mostly because I've been aware since my late pre-teens that I'd be culled soon after the first sweep. Which gets me back to 'why did God do that to me?'
Job. I don't expect to understand what God does. And certainly not why the Omniscient, Omnipotent Lord of Hosts does what he does. And I'm not about to demand an explanation. That kind of trouble I don't need.
That doesn't keep me from being curious.
I was born with bad hips - and God allowed (at least) a doctor to use me as a sort of lab rat. Without my parent's knowledge or consent. (February 3, 2009) Decades of pain later, I'm walking around reasonably well - but it hurt, in several senses of the word.
God also blessed me with a brain that operates at somewhere between the 95th percentile and off-the-chart. Except for being able to concentrate, or hold onto data for short-term operations.
There are a few folks in the state of Minnesota who'd make worse accountants than I would - but not many.
That's not speculation, by the way: being tested recently, I did the verbal-intelligence test perfectly, and barely scored in what used to be called "clerical speed and accuracy."
No bragging, or complaining - that's just the equipment I was conceived with.
What's bothered me is - why would God decide to give me a body that pretty much guaranteed that swimming and parallel bars would be the only athletic activities I was competent at; with a brain that's crazy-powerful in some ways. And just plain crazy in others.
My wife's suggested that I was born a cripple so that I'd have opportunities to learn humility. She's got a point. If I had been a star athlete as well as an intellectual whiz kid: I might have been even more insufferable than I've been at times.
About the extreme peaks and valleys in my psychological and intelligence tests? This is sheer speculation: but I've suspected that maybe I got the smarts, to give me a fighting chance for dealing with the deficits; or maybe those neural speed bumps were put there to keep me humble?
I - really - don't - know.
And that's okay. I don't need to. Uncertainty, and dealing with it, is part of life-as-it-is here on firebase Earth. And I've posted about that earlier today. And on April 5, 2009.
- "Brilliant, Talented, and On Medication"
(November 30, 2010)
- "ADHD, an Apostolic Exhortation, Another Document, and V8"
(November 11, 2010)
- "Attention Deficit Disorder, Catholicism, and Looking Sandbagged"
(October 8, 2010)
- "Twitter, Gallbladders, the Catholic Church, and Me"
(September 18, 2010)
- "Prayer, Medicine and Trusting God"
(March 4, 2010)